The Great Escape

"Change of plans Marshal, seems like these A-holes want to capture me and kill everyone else." He rolled to cover. He motion at a Ravaged to thrown him a gun, the Ravaged nodded and tossed a gun to his leader. X than began to shoot at the troopers.

Booker was confused, why did these freaks in white want X? He produced his sidearm and took a few shots at some of the troopers within range. Much to his chagrin, he found that their armor was tougher than it looked. The bullets seemed to only irritate them. The Ravaged were having more luck, however, as some of their arms were clearly meant for piercing more serious armor. Still, it seemed more or less an uneven fight given the trooper's more advanced weaponry.

One of the troopers armed with some sort of energy weapon reduced an unlucky Ravaged to ash. Booker was mortified by the sight. He'd never seen anything like this before. He looked to X who was still returning fire at the troopers on the steamer.

"We need to get the hell out of here! These guys are serious!"

The grenade rounds the Ravaged were volleying at the enemy were about the only thing that was doing any significant amount of damage. Troopers went flying into the air and fell into crumpled heaps on the sand. The Commander who had set his sights on X was even more of an issue. On top of his armor he seemed to have some sort of invisible shield which only showed itself when projectiles struck it. Booker was tempted to say the Commander had some sort of magic on his side, but it was clear these boys were using lost technology to help them.

"Concentrate fire on the expendable targets!" The Commander shouted into his radio. "Leave the plant to me." That was when the Commander produced an extending baton from his belt which started to crackle with electricity. He marched towards X with deadly intent. "Stand down your men and come quietly or we will kill them all and take you by force!"

---

Amber led the others to the cargo bay where their getaway vehicle was stored. The steamer was smaller than the one they were currently on. If Oberoth's steamer were compared to an Old Earth cruise liner, then his escape steamer was more like a personal yacht in terms of size. It would fit the group just fine, and no doubt would be fast enough to escape from these strange troopers.

"Alright ladies and germs!" Amber said as she stopped at the loading ramp to the escape steamer. "All aboard! This steamer is leaving the station!"

Harker quickly got on and went down below to stow his casket. He noted how Nikita seemed to become his shadow since all these odd characters showed up. He didn't seem to mind.

Amber carried the unconscious Connor and set him down on the bed in the master suite, no doubt Oberoth's due to the gaudy decor, then went back up to the deck to make sure everyone else was ready to leave. Again, she felt a twinge of apprehension in deciding to help these people, but the voice of her Big Sis kept insisting she do what was right.

Then she looked to the hulking behemoth that was Maze, unsure how the giant was going to fit on the small steamer. "You may need to just hang out on the deck and hold onto something when this sucker starts moving. The stairs leading below deck won't fit a big guy like you, I'm afraid."

Amber was surprised by how Maze responded to this. He shrank down to the size of a dwarf and came aboard. "It's a long story." He told Amber, who was clearly curious as to what the hell she'd just seen.

"I'll be interested in hearing it," Amber said with a smile. Then she went to the control room to get the steamer ready to go. She'd worked on a few steamers in the past, so it wasn't too difficult for her to get the engine started and open the cargo bay door. She went over to the array of speaking tubes, which served as the steamer's form of an internal communication system, and told everyone to buckle in as she throttled the engine and made the steamer rocket out of the cargo bay.

---

A group of men and women clad in white watched the ensuing battle taking place on the steamer from the safety of their hovering starship. Men and women of The Garden who were telling the troopers below various orders. There was an air of electricity in the air in the command center. Excitement. Because they knew there were two Independent Plants on that steamer. A remarkable find.

"Sir?" A young woman at one of the computer consoles exclaimed and looked over to her Commanding Officer who was standing over a holographic display of the steamer with various dots indicating the locations of troops and enemy combatants.

"What is it?" The CO asked as he looked to the young woman.

"The rear hatch of the steamer is opening." She told him. "It appears an escape vessel was launched!"

The CO's brow furrowed and he looked to his subordinate. "Launch the sidewinders, stop that vessel."

"Do you think one of those plants is on that thing?" The subordinate asked.

"No doubt. Neutralize the vessel, capture the plant." The CO said in a cold, yet firm tone.

From the outside various hatches in the ship opened up and a swarm of troopers in single-man flying machines flew out towards the escaping sand steamer.

https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0032/6762/5029/products/5464d655-b89f-41dd-a1f1-a4b6a5bfca3f_300x300.jpg?v=1545951433 (An image to give you guys an idea of what these sidewinder ships look like)

---

"We've got company!" Amber shouted into the speaking tubes to alert the others.

Harker was one of the first to get up to the deck and see the strange flying machines pursuing them. "Who the hell are these guys to have such miraculous technology?" He thought aloud. Then one of the flying machines opened fire with a blast of energy that nearly struck the steamer, causing a plume of sand and fire to shoot up at the spot the bolt hit. "Alright, they're gonna play nasty!" Harker said with a smirk as he brought up his casket and opened it up. He produced a quad-barreled rocket launcher and looked to the others. "Feel free to take anything from my wares! We need to take down these bastards before they take us out!" Then he looked back to where Amber was piloting the steamer. "I hope you know how to take evasive action!"

"Watch me!" Amber said as she began to turn the various levers in the control room to get the steamer to start swaying from side to side.

Another sidewinder fired a bolt of energy at them, missed, but was close enough to rock the steamer somewhat. Harker yelled in a fury and fired a rocket at it. The rocket flew up and struck the sidewinder dead on. It exploded into a fireball and the debris rained onto the desolate sands. Harker let out a whoop. "Alright! One down..." Then he saw the dozen or so sidewinders closing in on them. "...A heck of a lot more to go!"

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