“Oh Gods, Corra, something’s happening,” Leta said breathlessly. “They’re talking to a security guard. They’re leaving the party. You need to get out of here.”
Corra pounded through the kitchen, rushing out the back door and onto the loading dock. A few shuttles sat in her path and she haphazardly dodged around them straight out onto the main lawn.
Above her, the sky was alight with falling stars, blazing through the atmosphere and burning out, sending shimmers across the grass. Just ahead, moving far too slowly and carefully, she could see the mass of allies making their way out. And just to her right, descending from the side of the house, a security team.
An armed security team.
Panic ripped through her, but action set in only a moment later. She fumbled to grasp her own gun, never stopping her race towards Cai and the others, and lifted it into the air. A decisive bang filled the lawn and all at once, five security guards and sixty four Almost-Frees were looking her way.
She seized the chance.
“Run!” she roared at the top of her lungs, and then the scene dissolved into chaos. Suddenly half the guards were barreling towards her and the other half towards the escapees. All of them were on their COMMs calling for immediate backup. A cavalcade of screams erupted amongst the allies as they too tripled the pace, a stampede of legs and desperation all sprinting towards the gate. All except one.
It didn’t take long for the dark shape of people to surpass the one skinny man who couldn’t keep up. Cai’s leg, of course. She’d forgotten. He was clearly going as fast as he could, but it wasn’t fast enough. The three guards who’d gone straight for the allies were gaining on him and quickly.
“Cai! Look out!” she shouted.
One of the guards — so dangerously close — raised a night stick above his head. Cai spun around, but his legs got tangled up and he fell backwards, landing on the grass with a thump even Corra could hear.
“Don’t damage ‘im too much, he ain’t ours!” one of the other guards yelled. “Get after the rest!” shouted another. But all Corra could see in her tunnel vision as she ran towards the scene was her friend about to be beaten by a slaver and it filled her such fury that she didn’t even feel it as her finger pulled the trigger.
Cai scrabbled backwards and stumbled back to his feet as the man with the stick screamed and fell to the ground, clutching his abdomen as it started to seep with blood. Minutes too late, Cai seemed to remember the gun in his own hand and pointed it haphazardly at the fallen man, just as the second approached with a gun of her own.
“Put the gun down, kroppie, or I’ll–” started the guard before she too received one of Corra’s bullets, right in the shoulder.
As the woman reeled back, Cai looked back at Corra in alarm, and it was a second later when she realized why.
A sharp, searing heat tore across her shoulder. She clapped her hand over her upper-arm and felt warm sticky blood between her fingers. And only moments later, both of her arms were torn back as the guards caught up to her and held her in place.
Her vision grew hazy, and the pain in her arm making her nauseous, but in the darkness she could see Cai’s panicked face. And he was coming closer. At once, she was struck with a panic of her own. “No! No just run!” she shouted to him. One of her captors tried to hold a hand over her mouth, but in her desperate struggle, he couldn’t keep it there. “Get them out, Cai! You have to get them out! I’ll be fine!”
“Sure as hell you won’t be, you kroppie bitch!” growled one of the men behind her and she jerked her body to kick him in the leg. Still, she couldn’t free herself and already, they were succeeding in dragging her back toward the house.
Cai, who had stopped running halfway between the gate and her, was just staring, lost like a deer in headlights. He needed to get back to the group. He needed to get them on the ship. He needed to finish this job.
“Just go!” Corra shouted, angry this time. “Go! Now!”
He was shaking his head when he followed her order. Shaking his head and looking back in regret as he turned and started to run back to where the allies were still being pursued as they fled the gate onto the streets of the city. They’d be okay. He’d lead them back to the ship and they’d be alright. Corra breathed a sigh of relief. As for her…
“Don’t care whose property you are, the boss is gonna have your head for this,” said one of the men carrying her as Corra struggled against his grip. It turned out, though, that it wasn’t her head that was in trouble. One minute the guard was yapping slurs and threats and the next…well, he didn’t have a mouth to yap from.
Again, Corra barely heard the shot. But she swore she saw the bullet as it went straight through the man’s head and out the other side. She also didn’t realize that she shrieked until the second one fell and she was staggering backwards away from two men who barely had faces any longer.
Frantically, she spun around and easily found the source. Finn, his gun raised and his face stone, was marching towards her.
Just beyond Finn was Leta who was sprinting towards them as fast as she could while dragging a young blonde girl behind her. Elli, Corra assumed. Snitch as she may have been, Corra couldn’t hold a grudge and she certainly didn’t want the poor thing to face whatever wrath awaited her now that sixty of her peers were gone.
“Corra!” shouted Leta. “You’re bleeding, are you okay?”
Corra waved her off, “I’m fine, we need to go. There’s probably more of them coming and–”
“I really don’t think so,” said Finn. He flashed her a grin. “There’s enough chaos at that party to keep ‘em busy for a while, we made sure of that.” As Corra tilted her head at him curiously. “He’s not dead, if that’s what you’re thinking. But he’s certainly gonna have a lot to think about for a while.” Finn lifted his other hand which held a knife, a copious amount of blood and–what was that? Corra squinted her eyes at the bloody chunk of — was that — it was — an ear.
At first she was shocked. Nausea swam in her stomach. And then she thought of all the conversations the one-time ally owner was going to have in future where he had to explain that he was not, in fact, the kroppie scum he so loved to abuse, and she felt a grin bloom on her face.
Corra hadn’t trusted Finn when they first took on the Beacon together. He’d always seemed mostly out for himself. That opinion had already changed over the last few months, but never had she respected him or cared for him or trusted him as much as she did that night. Unable to stop herself and despite the searing pain in her shoulder, she threw her arms around him and squeezed.
“Thank you,” was all she could bring herself to say.
Finn laughed, hugging her with one arm. “For cutting somebody’s ear off? You’re welcome? I guess.”
“No, not that,” she scolded, shaking her head and burying her face in his chest. “Thank you for taking this on with me. Even though we’re not getting paid for it. Even though Callahan will be mad. And everything. Thank you. This means a lot to me. I really appreciate it.”
“You two are adorable,” said Leta, “but we need to get out of here before someone finds us.”
“And before you bleed all over me,” Finn added, patting her back. “C’mon, back to the ship.”