Episode 139: Subterfuge

Ensign Trell groggily walked through the corridors of the Dyson vessel, following the footsteps of the aggravatingly chipper Alsafi. She’d worked out from the context that this Wraithstrike soldier not only qualified as an officer in Dyson’s forces, but that she’d also led the assault to take back Pilot Tan’s ship. She heard the boots of the two soldiers behind her, an extra escort that Alsafi continued to ignore as effectively irrelevant while she was around.

They entered a hall that contained holding cells similar to the ones that Trell had been held in earlier. Alsafi examined them like fruits in a grocery store, and eventually settled on one four from the entrance to the hall.

“Step right in, please,” she said, waving Trell toward the entrance. “This cell has all of the accommodations from your previous lodgings, but it should lack the structural flaw that allowed you to escape from it. Sorry for the inconvenience, and enjoy the rest of your stay!”

Alsafi vanished from view and Trell rolled her eyes.

“Move along,” said one of the guards behind her.

Trell took a step forward but heard an energy blast. Eyes widening, she jumped forward and rolled into the cell, moving her manacled hands between her and the commotion. She looked back and gaped at the sight of one of the guards standing over the other guard, a discharged blaster in her hand. As the smell of ionized air drifted toward Trell, the treacherous guard turned to face her and smiled.

“Captain?”

“The one and only, Ensign,” said Captain Calen, spinning and holstering her weapon. “At least since my duel with Captain Anthonial Calen. Help me with the body.”

Calen tapped a keypad on her uniform’s wrist, and Trell’s manacles fell to the floor with a clang. Calen grabbed the legs of the unconscious guard and, after overcoming her shock, Trell grabbed the hands and the two easily pulled the guard into the cell.

“Why are we leaving him alive, Captain?” asked Trell. “He’s a security risk this way.”

“He has a usefulness that’s earned him some extra time. If this cell’s monitoring vital signs and it detects an absence of healthy humanity then they’ll know you aren’t in it. If we keep this guard in here, he may yet fool such insufficient security measures.”

“I understand. How did you get here? I thought you were thrown into a secluded confinement after your previous escape attempt.”

“The volunteer that I found to serve out my sentence is, in actuality, another guard who had the misfortune of styling hair as I do. Her uniform fit me well enough, and mine hers. By the time she comes to, I expect she’ll be three hours into an eight hour interval without being checked. Her uniform’s allowed me to move about without suspicion. Trell, this military lacks any semblance of security or cohesion. It’s like an impressionist painting of what an army is like, but it fails to capture the soul of what an army is.”

“There were no security codes required?” asked Trell.

“There were.”

“Then how-”

Calen held up a tiny, concave piece of clear plastic. It glowed and periodically twinkled with light and had a red and brown smudge.

“Is that one of the cybernetic lenses?”

“Let’s just say that my incarceration understudy will need to invest in an eye patch. Though she might not’ve had time for investing anything if your plan had worked. That was some clever thinking, Trell.”

“Thank you, Captain. I… didn’t like it. I knew it would destroy you as well.”

Calen frowned and narrowed her eyes.

“Let’s get two things straight, Trell. You did what you thought was best for our military aims, and while I might have suggested a different course of action, nothing you did came from a heart of malice or mutiny. You did well there. More importantly, you’re a fool to think the destruction of a ship like this would be enough to stop me from living to wreak my vengeance in the name of Morcala. Now… let’s get you a uniform.”

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