"We need to split up," said Kalifa, "They know that were missing from the platform. If we get found, we'll attract too much attention in a group this large. We're not in the restricted area, so we might pass as a prisoner doing work. I'll go with Kaayla. Sc-Barriss, you go with Eroda and Ward."
Wow. She said that so calmly. There was urgency beneath the tone, but no fear. Even Barriss. On the other hand, fear was evident on Eroda's, Ward's, and my face.
She grinned and said, "Good luck, even there's no such thing. And relax. We've been through worse."
I can't believe I'm crazy enough to sign up for this little let's-get-out-of-prison plan.
Anyway, we reached a conjunction. Kalifa and I went right. Eroda and Ward went front, allowing Barriss to go left. Then they backtracked and turned to follow Barriss. Soon they turned again and went out of sight. We crawled on.
"Don't worry. Barriss told me there's two ways to enter the platform from here," Kalifa said conversationally.
I couldn't talk back because there was a lump in my throat. But I nodded. It eased the twist in my guts.
We reached a part with a covering when Kalifa motioned me to stop. She carefully opened the cover and peered down. Mouthing, "Stay here until I call you", she jumped down. A second later I heard a muffled cry and a crack. I winced.
"Kaayla?" She called up, "It's safe down here!" I jumped-or rather, fall-down, as there was Kalifa catching me. Putting me down, she looked outside the window and saw prisoners working as hard as they can. Pity filling her eyes, she turned away and motioned me to come.
A voice came through the comlink. "CT-7523, do you copy? Come in, CT-7523. There's a faulty comlink, commander. Perhaphs I should go check."
Kalifa piled the unconsious bodies up to the store room with incredible speed and grabbed my hand. Soon we were out of the door and on a narrow hallway.
"What next?" I asked.
"The hardest plan ever. We run."
I hope she was being sarcastic. It did seem like it... but everything is not always as it seems.
"Over there!" Came a voice behind us.
Kalifa hunched over and lost her usual grace. I did the same. Not that I had much grace.
They came over. "Who is your overseer?" He demaded.
"CT-7523, sir," Kalfia said in a weak voice. "He sent us on and errand and then we-"
"Silence!" He thundered, putting an end to her imporvised bables.
She fell silent and let them eye us suspiciously. Before he could call the unconsious clone on his comlink, Kalifa knocked him over and piled him up in a closet with his buddy. And we ran.
"Whoops. There's a security cam," she said regretfully.
We ran and ran. The troopers started chasing us. Soon they were firing and the central command room was closing doors, trying to corner us. I ran like I never did in my life. I stumbled a few times. My wild heart didn't help wither. Kalifa was the only thing keeping me from panic.
I felt a hot one against my skin, hitting the spot I was in a second ago. Out of sheer terror, I ran even faster. If it was not for the situation, I would have looked at myself and laughed.
"After this run, there's someone I'd like you to meet. She-," I heard Kalifa saying calmly through the chase.
Her sentence was cut off because I suddenly stopped. Despite our situation, I almost groaned aloud. I saw this before. In my dreams. Déjà vu. Again. Wasn't it ever gonna stop?
Before I can puzzle out why I have the skill of foresight, I told myself it's a coincidence. I was about to say "nothing's wrong" to Kalifa when something really went wrong. If you don't call the situation wrong already.
A blaster bolt grazed Kalifa's shoulder. I screamed.
"Chillax!" She called out, though there was pain beneath she couldn't disguise. "It's just a bolt! Get movin'!"
Her voice got me moving. Then-with a stroke of luck- the blast doors closed behind us just in time. Kalifa hit the control and it sparkled and died out. I took deep, calming breaths, but I could smell nothing but foul air. But that's good. It means we were getting closer to the platform.
We staggered through the rest as quickly as we can. They were getting the blast doors open. Soon they did get it, but then we were far way and there were two paths.
They searched us. They jogged off the one direction only, leaving two to guard the intersection. Huh. I soon knew why- they knew that this way led to smoke, and we were unlikely to escape it. Even if we did, we'd go to the platform leading prisoners to their deaths.
They don't know, however, that Kalifa had breathing masks. We continued on, but one of the guards left behing spotted a figure. Oops. Thinking it might be us (well, it was actually me), he jogged down and left one to guard that place. Maybe he thought that if it was really us, then he could handle two opressed prisoners.
We made our way through the smoke and he saw us clearly though his goggles. Kalifa didn't go back to dispose of him, however. She ran forward with me. There wasn't enough time.
He ran, too, but he had a good supply of oxygen in his mask. Stang. That was the secong mistake we made. By running, we use up more oxygen... which meant less supply. We better get through this quick. I was running out of air.
Kalifa realized this, too, and knocked him out. Reluctantly leaving him there, we moved on, trying to preserve oxygen. Kalifa did not have a problem, but then I was desperate for air now. I felt whoozy. She picked me up carefully, so she won't injure her shoulder, and bursted into a run.
When we reached the platform, I tore my mask of and took deep breaths. The air of Raxus Prime never smelled sweeter. When I trusted myself to stand up, we walked to the steady flow of prisoners. I broke into a smile when I saw Eroda and Ward with Barriss, and had to hold back tears. There was so much emotion inside me. Eroda, Ward, and I ran together for a group hug.
By the time we broke off and my heart beat turned normal (for now), I looked a Kalifa and Barriss, who was having a conversation with another person. So that's the person she wants me to meet. Oh. Okay.
We got abord and the guards herded the crowd to a room. Not an individual cell. Just a huge room that looked tiny once every one came in. I don't care. I was too happy to see them alive. We just took a huge step on the path to freedom.
"Kaayla, I know you're in the mood to throw banthas up in the air, but there's someone wanting to join your party," Kalifa said as that person and Barriss joined her.
"Eva Kalvin, nice to meet you," the women said.
We three nodded and smiled. A friend of Kalifa and Barriss is a friend of mines.
We went off to rest, waiting to discuss our plans tommorow.
Beofre I could sleep... I needed to see hyperspace. Pushing my way to the nearest window, I stared out. Below lay the massive piles of junk getting smaller. The murky air started to clear. Soon we were in space. I saw the twinkling stars. Then the stars streak by as I was jumped into hyperspace for the first time. Wondurous. Truly Wonderous.
My gasp was not the only one in the room. You can only imagine how we felt seeing the stars for the first time. This is the best moment of my life, I thought as I settled down for a good sleep.
I left behind the closest thing I can ever have to a home. But it holds so many bad memories. I hate that stink hole. I never looked back.
I hope I’ll never see it again.