The base’s alarms go off yet again, in what seems to be such a frequent occurrence that you’re starting to think you’ll hear the clanging in your dreams.

“Don’t move,” Grisham says as you pull the pillow off your head. “That will be Terra’s brat, I guarantee it.” She clenches her jaw and shakes her head, looking thoroughly pissed off. “I should have known that scared little girl act was a front. I’m going to tear her ass up.”

She rushes out of the door with a determined expression on her face. You sit up, wait for a second or two then go scrambling for your panties and bra. Grabbing them from the bed and floor you put them both back on, glad for the scraps of fabric covering your sensitive regions.


Just as you get your butt covered, a ceiling tile drops out and hits the floor a few feet away.

“Goddamit!” You curse in surprise as Sarah comes sliding down through the ceiling. She has bundle of stuff under her arm which she tosses at you. It falls open to reveal an undershirt and a pair of black tactical overalls. She’s got boots for you too, strung around her neck.

“Put these on and come with me,” she says, tossing them in your general direction. “We’re getting out of here.”


“We’re leaving,” she says. “You and me.”


“Jesus, Cadet,” she says, exasperated. “I told you that you two country kids were going to end up shot full of holes and now your boy’s being stitched back together. I know why Terra wants you now, but I don’t have time to do a whole expositional monologue, yannow? This is a rescue, dummy. Let’s go.”

You scramble into the overalls, borrow some socks from Grisham and pull your boots on. It feels damn good to be clothed again.

“C’mere,” Sarah beckons you. “I’ll give you a boost back up here.”

This is madness, but it has a momentum all of its own and you’re caught up in it. Sarah seems very focused and sure of herself, and even though there are doubts in your mind, you find yourself doing as she says. Sarah laces her fingers together beneath your foot and boosts you up into the ceiling where you can see joists running the length of the building.

“Don’t stand on the tiles or you’ll fall through,” she warns, pulling herself up after you. “Okay,” she says, her voice coming from somewhere near your butt. “Head straight until you hit the end wall and go right from there. They keep their birds ready to fly on this base, quick response style. All we gotta do is make it to the chopter, okay? It’s easier than you think, just don’t lose your nerve.”

“Terra is going to be pissed at us,” you say as you start to crawl in the direction she told you to. “So is Grisham.”

“Let them be pissed,” Sarah says. “You’ve got to stop being such a passive little suck up. It’s going to get you killed.”

“How do I know you’reĀ not going to get me killed?”

“You don’t,” she says. “You gotta do this for you, Cadet. Either you want to take control of your destiny or you want to stay a sitting duck who can talk to swords.”

You stop dead. There’s grunt behind you as Sarah runs into your butt.

“What did you say?”

“Terra knows you can talk to swords,” Sarah says.

“I can’t talk to swords, what does that even mean!”

“That sword of hers that you took, you didn’t talk to it?”

You didn’t talk to it, technically. It talked to you though. Sort of. Even though it happened to you, it still doesn’t seem quite real.

“You’re a weapon whisperer,” Sarah says. “Doesn’t even sound like it’s a thing, right, but it is. Terra’s one too, I think.”

“Are you?”

“No, I’m a genetic freak,” she says. “Now git moving!”


“Seriously, Cadet,” she growls. “We’ve got about two minutes to hit that helichopter and get off this base. I’ll tell you more once we’re free, but I’m not going to sit here in a crawl space and hold your little hand and wipe your butthole and explain everything in picture book form, okay? Let’s. Fucking. GO!”

You start crawling again, before Sarah really loses it, your head spinning. How could anyone else have known what happened with the sword? You haven’t said a word about it. Does Terra know somehow?

“Maybe I should talk to Terra first.”

“Great fucking idea, Cadet,” Sarah snarls. “Just poke your head down through one of the ceiling tiles and ask someone to get Terra for you so you can decide whether to escape or not. Great fucking plan.”

“Could you stop swearing at me?”

“I’ll stop swearing at you when we’re both out of here,” Sarah says. “You’re so damn mouthy.”

With all the arguing you’ve been doing, you’ve managed to crawl the length and width of the building. You find yourself behind a grate at eye level with the landing pad. The helis are just feet away from you.

“Okay, move out of the way,” Sarah says, squeezing past.

You do your best to get out of her way, just in time to see her punch right the hell through the grate. It goes flying off the wall, warped to heck as Sarah pushes through and makes a run for the nearest helichopter. She grabs the door open and gets in, pushing the ignition to make the blades start spinning.

“Come on, Cadet!” She screams at you. You take one deep breath and run for the helichopter. To hell with it. Sarah’s the only one so far whose given you anything remotely resembling answers. If you have to escape a base to get them, that’s what you’ll do.


You look over your shoulder to see two teams of soldiers converging from either side of the helipad. They’re twenty feet away. You’re ten feet from the helichopter and you run as hard as you ever have in your life to get the hell in. The bottom of the beast is already lifting off the ground as you throw yourself through the open door.

You grab a welded metal bar attached to the inside of the craft, Sarah jerks the control stick and the two of you hurtle up into the sky in a stomach sickening instant, leaving the fortress receding below. Filled with adrenaline and elation, you let out a scream of excitement.

“I can’t believe we just did that!”

Sarah grins at you and pats the co-pilot’s seat. “It’s fun, huh. Once you get the hang of breaking the rules, you’ll never go back to following orders. The stakes are high, but at least this way you actually get to live your own damn life.”

It’s been less than ten minute since she came bursting through the ceiling of Grisham’s room. Ten minutes and you’re now flying through the sky miles away from the base. It’s all happened so fast you can barely process it. You buckle yourself into the seat next to Sarah and look out over the land beneath you. As the adrenaline starts to subside, your thoughts begin to clear a little.

What are you thinking, Cadet?

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