Satisfied, Alyx gestured them forward and they crept silently, unnoticed along the back wall.
“–need to fend for yourselves,” the distraction was saying conversationally. “You cannot rely on us to save you from your own problems. Band together, unite in solidarity and–”
Their timing was precise as they followed Alyx’s lead. They reached the back corner just as the ‘vessel’ reached the front and the door was mere feet away. They were so close. So very close, when someone near them shouted out, “But the prophecies say you’re meant to save us!”
The man at the front of the congregation halted and glared back at the naysayer. “Well like I said, the prophecies aren’t quite right, are they?”
In the back of the chapel, they reached the door, but Corra couldn’t help but pause to observe the scene unfolding.
“Then why did you come if not to deliver us?” demanded the same rebel.
Now, the vessel crossed his arms over his chest. “Because I was being polite. But if you’re going to keep interrupting me, that might change.”
Corra felt Alyx tug on her arm, but she didn’t budge. “Who is that?” she had to know as the vessel continued to berate his audience for bad manners.
Alyx just sighed and answered, “Daelen.” Corra’ eyes widened in alarm. Daelen? She’d let Daelen, the Span’s most moralistic, do-good, bad liar play the leading role in her rescue? Alyx must have seen her disbelief because she hurriedly explained, “He was the only one of us they hadn’t seen. We didn’t have a choice.”
Corra could have groaned, but something else caught her attention. The person who’d been shouting slander to Daelen (God, she couldn’t believe how bad that choice had been), suddenly snapped, “This is bullshit!” and turned away from the spectacle happening up front. Turned, to Corra’s horror, right towards them. His mouth dropped open.
“Time to go,” Finn urged, nudging Corra who nudged Alyx toward the door just as the man regained his senses and shouted to the room at whole, “She’s stealing the Transmitter!”
They were already sprinting out the door as the uproar inside began. “Now, now, now!” Alyx was shouting to apparently no one in particular until Cyrus and Addy poked their heads around the corner of the building across the street. They shared a quick glance and each pressed a button on a device they held in their hands. Corra glanced back just in time to see another burst of smoke fill the chapel.
The uproar only grew louder and Gatekeepers started tumbling out of the chapel, blinking into the daylight and waving around blindly. Some of them, Corra noticed, were armed. She felt Alyx’s hand around her arm again, pulling her down the street, back towards the ship, but she locked eyes with Finn. “What about Daelen?” they both asked at the same time.
Just then, a voice rang out from the commotion. “Fear not, faithful followers! I shall retrieve your device from the heathen and return it to you!” Only seconds later, the black-cloaked figure that had shed his hood and looked far more familiar to her came barrelling out of the building at top speed.
“Sorry! I was lying!” he called back as he ran straight past Corra, Finn and Alyx, joining Cyrus and Addy who were already sprinting back down the street. Someone back by the church let out a groan of rage.
“Really?” Corra snapped to Alyx. “You sent Daelen?!”
“I didn’t have a choice!” Alyx defended again as Finn grabbed an arm of each of them and pulled. Corra didn’t resist, save for ducking at the sound of a gunshot flying over her head. She clutched the Transmission in her hand and ran as fast as she could all the way back to the Beacon.