Before Finn knew what was happening, one of the guards pressed the COMM in her ear. “Control, we need backup at the gates.” The other pointed his gun at Finn’s chest and said, “Step away from the Free.”
“Oh for god’s sake,” Finn growled, holding up his hands in surrender and taking a step away from Cai anyway. “This is ridiculous.”
Cai himself tried to amend the situation. “Really,” he assured the guards, “It’s not like that at all. He’s a friend, honestly, he hasn’t –”
“Sorry, sir, we can’t take that risk,” said the guard as she tapped something on her tablet. “Now if we can just get your ally ID–”
“But — ugh, 210544 — please, this is really unnecessary–”
“Ah, here you are, Cailean, is it?”
“Yes, but listen–”
“Not to worry, sir, we’re well equipped to handle this situation–”
Finn watched them argue back and forth, his frustration mounting. This was so stupid. Not to mention a waste of time. All he needed was to see Raisa for five minutes. Maybe less. And yet he was stuck at the entryway, accused of keeping slaves. He internally groaned.
“Please, I know you’re just doing your job, but–” Cai was saying to the guard when suddenly Finn saw a way out of this. The woman he was speaking to hit a few buttons on a keypad and the pair of doors behind them slowly creaked open. The guard with the gun on him was talking to someone on his COMM, hardly paying attention to Finn. And when the woman told Cai, “Go right ahead, sir, you’ll be well-protected inside, I guarantee it,” Finn decided that he was fully tired of waiting.
In a flash, without bothering to give it a second thought, Finn frowned, turned on his heel, and bolted through the doors.
“Captain!” he heard Cai yell over his shoulder as he dodged his way through the crowded Conduit marketplace. “No!”
It was only moments before Finn was out of sight of the door. He slowed his pace, stepping easily into the throng and disappearing amongst them.
Well he was inside. That was a start. But as he looked around the market and down the hallways beyond, he realized with some discomfort that the truth was — Finn didn’t know where he was going.
As he chose one of the hallways at random, he realized something else: there were more guards, their guns ready and their eyes searching as the COMMs in their ears probably barked Finn’s description.
As he continued down the hallway, he ducked out of sight of one, sped past the back of another and then made the most unfortunate eye contact with another.
He froze in place. So did she. And then, in a flash, her hand went to her COMM, she barked, “Found him!” and Finn did all he could do: run.
Fortunately, the further into the Conduit he ran, the less people he had to avoid ramming into. Unfortunately, the further into the Conduit he ran, the less people he could hide behind. His feet pounded the metal floor, echoes bouncing across the walls and only barely behind him, a slowly growing barrage of pursuers. He could only be thankful that none of them seemed willing to fire off any rounds into the steel tube they ran through. At least not yet…
Still, as fast as Finn could run, they were gaining on him and he needed to reach Raisa before that happened. All he needed was a chance to explain himself. In twenty minutes, they could all be laughing about this.
But for now, he took his chances that he was going to find his salvation down the fork to the right.
Well, he was half right.
In front of him, some 30 yards, was a door that lead into the main command hub of the ship. Standing in that door was, he recognized from the calls Corra used to have with her, Raisa.
The downside was that standing between them was six more guards, far more armed than their counterparts and those arms were pointed directly at him.
Finn stumbled to a halt before them, his hands raised in surrender. His eyes locked on Raisa’s. “Listen, I need to talk to you, it’s –”
But before he could speak further, before he could smooth all this over and explain the situation, the stout older woman raised her own hand to silence him. Her forehead was creased into a frown as she barked, “I don’t know who you are or what you’re trying to do, but it ends here.”
Finn opened his mouth again, determined to get out his reasoning, but then the sound of six guns cocking met his ears and suddenly the words were lost on his tongue.
Someone else, however, found them.
“Wait! Don’t shoot!”
Finn swung his head around to find the source: Cai, gasping for breath and hobbling towards them on his busted leg.
“Don’t–don’t shoot him, he’s a friend!” he went on. “A friend of Corra’s.” Finn’s eyes swung back to Raisa to gauge her reaction.
Her frown hadn’t left, but she was regarding Cai with something a little more akin to curiosity. At last, she refocused on Finn. “Alright. But you better have a damn good explanation for this.”