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Chapter 4

When Alaina awoke from the drugged sleep she had been in, she found herself in chains, in a dark, bare room, which she identified to be a prison cell of some sort. (AN: Chains in 2397 consist of something like two pairs of handcuffs separated by a thin laser beam strip, which causes just enough pain to slow down any escapees.)

"Awake at last."

She glanced at Nathan who was sitting on her right watching her.

"I dread to think where we are."

"In some cell in the Fire City."

"Great," Alaina's reply was sarcastic, "Just where I've always wanted to go."

"Have you? I've never."

Alaina shot him an annoyed glare before saying, "How long have we been here?"

"Hard to say exactly, but I reckon 6 hours, but that's including the time it took us to get here."

"What do we do now?"

"Well, altogether there are 16 of us left out of the 20 that set out. 4 per cell. I managed to get a message to the others, don't ask how, though, and the result is we don't have a single weapon of any sort among us. Obviously we were searched after they drugged us."

"Yes, but not everyone's awake yet."

"It doesn't matter. Those who are know that they don't."

"I do."

"You what?"

Alaina produced an exceptionally well-hidden, small dagger.

"OK, I'm impressed. But how's one little dagger going to help us?"

Alaina shrugged, "No idea, but at least it's a start. Do we have any communication devices?"

"Yes, but that fire thingy that surrounds this place distorts any signals except theirs. Anyway I thought you knew that."

"It slipped my mind. What sort of door is that?"

"What, you mean lock picking et cetera?"

"Well, that's what I had in mind. I mean it looks about the oldest sort of door possible. It looks like it's from about the 1st century."

Nathan smiled, "Not that early but it is worth a try. Give me a moment."

Nathan crossed the cell and examined the door, also noticing the 2 guards at either end of the rows of cells.

"Well?" Alaina asked as he returned.

"Well, how do you intend picking a lock and getting out without being heard or seen by either guard?"

"OK, OK. I'm not perfect and anyway how was I supposed to know there were guards?"
Nathan paused for a moment before saying, "One, it would have been very likely there would be guards and two as you've predicted every enemy movement so far, I'd have thought you'd know there were guards at either end of that corridor."

"I don't know what you mean by predicted, I've done nothing of the sort."

"Yes you have," Nathan focused firmly on her, "Think about it, Alaina, at HQ just before we were sent out you said something felt wrong. Just after you'd left our craft you saved my life when that spy attacked, and if that don't prove what I'm talking about, what about just before we got captured? You said you sensed movement all around us. Alaina, however it happened, you have the power to predict any Firian movement which will affect us."

Alaina looked up and met Nathan's gaze. Neither of them spoke for several minutes.

Nathan moved first, "Here," he said as he handed back her dagger, "You might as well keep it until we can think what to do."

Just as Alaina took back her dagger he asked, "Can you sense the guards outside?"

Alaina remained silent for a moment before answering, "Not clearly."
"Why?"

Alaina shook her head, "No idea."

Nathan thought hard before voicing his thoughts aloud, "Well, maybe as we're in the Fire City itself and there's hundreds of Firians all around us, there are too many to focus on at once as they're all in different areas."

"Hmm, maybe."

"I shouldn't worry about it. I mean, you've been brilliant so far."
Alaina gave a small smile, "Glad somebody thinks so, but don't you think that it would be more constructive if we thought of how we could get out of here? Though, Nathan, do you know where Jane, Emma and Jean are?"

"Actually I do. Emma and Jean are next door and Jane's directly opposite. And I'll make things even easier for you and tell you they're fine. Okay?"

Alaina nodded and moved to sit in a quieter corner in their cell.

Nothing much happened for the next 2 hours. All of the members in Alaina's cell were asleep and had been so for the past hour. But as footsteps drew near, Alaina awoke. She crawled across the floor to Nathan and shook him awake.

"Huh? What?"

"Hush! Someone's coming."

"Who?"

"I don't know. A Firian of some sort."

A key turned in the lock and the door was kicked open, awakening the remaining fighters. 2 Firian guards entered and stood either side of the door, armed with lasers. Adrianne regally walked in, stopping in front of Nathan, who spoke harshly,

"What do you want?"

"This was not how I intended this conversation to go. Now…"

"Since when was this supposed to be a conversation?" Although it would have been wiser for Alaina to have remained silent, none of the other SF fighters attempted to hide her response; anger and hatred of the Firian leader was too great.

Adrianne fixed her cold eyes upon the young woman who had spoken and it took her only a moment to remember the battle, which had taken place just less than a week back, "Still alive? Clearly you were not slain as I had been told. Let me inform you that Adrian has 3 days to remove all of his so called fighters from all SF bases, otherwise, you die and I suggest that unless you want to die before then you should remain silent and show a bit more respect."

"You know, it's hard to believe that you and Adrian are related."

"I shall also inform you that the more respect is shown, the quicker your death. Show less respect and you will plead for death to come quickly before I have finish with you."

With one last icy glace around the room, Adrianne turned and left, followed by the 2 guards. At the door she paused, faced them and said, "Oh, by the way don't bother to attempt any escape plans you may have, I've stationed guards throughout the city so even if you succeeded in slipping past some you couldn't do it for all."

She left and the door was locked behind her.

Alaina looked at Nathan, "I can't see Adrian handing over all SF bases just because some backup fighters managed to get themselves captured."

"You're right but also because the chances are that they'll just kill us anyway. No point in giving free troops away. However I do think that Adrian will mount a rescue mission."

"Oh, right, and we're just supposed to sit here, obeying the Firian's every command until he magically breaks down that ring of fire to free us?" Alaina's voice was laced with sarcasm.

"No, we're going to have to find a way of escaping."
"But how? Because, although I don't always believe Adrianne, I do this time. I think that there are guards throughout the city."

"Ok, let's skip ahead a little. Say that we've escaped from these cells, do you think that altogether we'd be able to take on Firian guards, providing there aren't more than 16 of them."

"Yes, but the chances are that there will be more than 16 of them."

"Will there, though? Adrianne has to divide her troops evenly enough to cover the whole city, which is pretty large when you come to think of it, and have enough to defend the city from Adrian's rescue force."

"Alright, fine. But they'd still be armed, which we're not."

"We can easily take the weapons of those who we've brought down." Alaina and Nathan looked at the woman who had just spoken and was now approaching them. Her name was Danielle. Alaina knew very little about her apart from that she was a good fighter and had many followers, both male and female.

Nathan next spoke to all those in the cell, "There's no way I can plan all this on my own so we might as well sit down and see what the 4 of us can come up with."

As time passed slowly by, the 4 laid down a plan, which would revolve around one little dagger.

TBC… _

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