When Niko was pulled from the tank he was struck again, very hard this time, and enough to render him unconscious. He woke, painfully, back in his cell. When he began to move, he felt something underneath him and realized it was the food bar, two of them, underneath him.

More than hunger, he knew he needed the calories so he pretended to be in pain, rolling around until he could get them to his mouth and ate them quickly. He had to pull an orange hair of sorts out of his mouth and realized it wasn't one of his... Grok.

He could only lay there and hope his energy would return and hours later, he assumed anyway, he heard the familiar sounds of Grok coming. "Sheesh, you look awful," he said, helping Niko up. "You were out two days at least."

"Thanks... and thanks for saving my rations for me."

"I can barely stomach the ones we get so I wasn't going to thieve them. No where to hide them in our cells anyway."

"Well, thanks anyway."

"So... what's this plan of yours?"

"Cutting straight to the point aren't you?"

"Thirty seconds... remember?"

Niko sighed and began. "I noticed that wall of my cell is very different than the other three. Different in the way of what I suspect is on the other side. It's not a cell and if it is, it can't be empty cause there's too much mechanical noise coming from it. And I doubt they imprison droids here. There's two, distinct hums coming from there..."


Grok scrambled back through to his cell. "What sort of hums?"

"Like the start and stop of an incinerator," Niko replied.

Grok looked confused but knew he didn't have any more time for questions today and closed the gap.

~ ~ ~

Over the next few days, Niko explained while Grok hopped over to see if he could jimmy any of the panels loose on the wall. After three days, he had just managed to find one and get it set so on the fourth day - always guessing what a day was by the delivery of food bars - he was able to show Niko how he was able to pop out a panel without triggering any alarms. Niko was very impressed with how a Cathar could be so savvy and technical but held his compliments to himself since their time was limited.

He explained that if he was right, and there was an incinerator on the other side, they could get through, get over there and use that as an escape. Any incinerator had a shaft leading somewhere and anywhere was progress.

On day five, Niko got his first practice at opening the panel. After a few attempts, as he found out from Grok that he tried to keep efforts like this to a minimum in case the blips they caused in the system would trigger an investigation should they happen too frequently, he was able to open the panel himself and check on the other side. Sure enough it was a garbage room of sorts.

He'd spent the rest of his time trying to pick up if the incinerator ran on a schedule and it did but could also, he assumed, be triggered manually. They'd have to risk manual runs and time it between runs.

And so on day six they resolved to make a go of it rather than either endure another beating but more so risk being found out with so many sensors being disengaged. Their food bars came, which they both ate, and Niko gauged the timing of the incinerator and then gave the signal.

Simultaneously, their panels were removed and they were through the walls and into the garbage room. They knew they'd have to make do with whatever they could find in the room for protection from how hot the vent chamber would likely be and thankfully there were a few discarded uniforms in the bin to be burned up. While too small to wear, it was just enough to make some quick guards for protection on their hands, feet, elbows and knees.

In and down the shaft they went. They had 15 minutes till the next scheduled burn - less if someone came in and kicked one off. Roughly 3 minutes in, alarms began going off...

To be continued...

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