She climbs back into Sa’s cave with dust burning her eyes. The Silosc is waiting for her with a scowl on his lips. She takes a seat on one of the large rocks and leans back; the Silosc’s scowl deepens as he sits across from her, “Well? What do ya’ hav’ t’ say about yer reasons for leavin’ th’ cave again when we ha’ more things t’ discuss?”
She swallows thickly and wishes that she had something to drink, “Th’ plan has changed again. I still need th’ combustible rocks though. Where ar’ they?” The Silosc motions behind him with a displeased gesture. She steps around him when he does not move and looks down at the two armful sized piles.
“Well? What d’ ya’ need now?” The Silosc’s voice is impatient and she tries to hide a grin, “Now, I need some rope for a few of these. Some from one of yer old clothes would work.” The Silosc leans down to brush her neck with his chin, “I thought ya’ said there was somethin’ t’ do tha’ actually mattered.”
She turns around and twists the Silosc’s arm until he is bent toward her, “Ya’ should know t’ keep yer space. An’ these rocks ar’ important. If your goin’ t’ follow my plan, you’ll hav’ t’’ be patient when it counts. I hav’ things t’ do. I expect ya’ t’ have some rope or cloth when I get back.”
She shoves his arm away from her and jumps out of the mouth of the cave. Her knees crack underneath her as she lands behind a boulder and turns toward the ship’s landing pad. She stops behind a large boulder before she reaches it and sinks to the ground; she is the master of her plan and the being who is in charge. But she does not feel as though she is in charge at all.
She grits her teeth together and tries to get rid of the tears that fill her eyes; she needs to find a way to make sure that no one ever tries to disobey the things that she says. The next time that someone, especially the Silosc, attempts to befriend her, she will break his arm. At least she caused him some pain with a joint lock.
But it was not enough. She takes a shaky breath; the Silosc does not matter. The only thing that matters is her plan, and her plan needs her. She stands up again and wipes her eyes before turning to the landing pad. No one will bother to be around the ship during the day unless they have something to grab. No one would be enough of a fool to try and tamper with a ship when the sun is out.
But she is a fool. She sinks behind a boulder next to the narrow, overgrown road that used to lead to a depot on the other side of the planet. The ship’s landing pad is across from her with metal talons sinking into the soft dirt. The ship groans even when it is resting and waiting for its next command. But the sound is strangely comforting.
A human walks toward the ship and whistles a tune that make her want to leap out of her hiding place and haul his arm from its socket. The man opens a small door in the side of the ship and removes a metal box. She grits her teeth together as she waits for him to leave.
They will not have much time to set the rocks in place; and there is no guarantee that what she is planning will even work. But her point will be made whether the ship is destroyed or not. She smiles thinly and tries to memorize the way the ship is crouching on the ground. I can reach you anywhere.
It does not matter if her claim is true or not. She would rather die fighting than running. And a fight is exactly what she expects. The ship is the first of her targets, but it is the only one that will immediately determine what happens next. Something clanks inside the town as she slinks back toward Sa’s cave.
She could easily complicate her plan and make things even more difficult for Marie. But she does not want Marie to know that she is working with a gang everyone is hunting for. Her advantages are in the things that she knows. And she knows just enough to make her nervous. If Keone truly has been seeing things that are similar to what Sa has shown her, than something must be falling apart.
She has always paid attention to disasters. And she has seen enough of them in her mind to know that it might be possible to see the future before it happens. But she has never understood what she sees, and nothing has ever bothered her as much as the things that Sa has showed her in the last few days. It seems like time is running out.
Keone must know that something drastic is going to happen, but it does not seem to be nearly as afraid as it should be. If the exploding planet that Sa showed her used to exist, then the dry taste in her mouth must be there for a reason.
She has never thought of herself as someone who believes in chance, but now her existence is be based on chance. Will her plan work the way that she has it set? Or will it change in the middle of a sentence?
The Silosc is waiting for her when she climbs back into the cave. He scowls at her and steps to the side as a gang member hands strips of cloth to her. She takes them and runs her tongue over her teeth as she chooses eight of the medium sized rocks and ties them into two haphazard bundles.
She triple-checks the knots, before straightening up and turning to face the Silosc and his gang, “It’s almost time t’ go through with th’ second part of my plan. Th’ rest of th’ rocks will be split into four piles an’ set behind th’ ship’s landing gear an’ out of sight. I’ll take th’ two piles an’ put them under th’ ship.” She dares the Silosc to challenge her as she looks him straight in the face, “Yer Causoki will light th’ rocks when it’s time.”
She pauses and turns around in a circle to meet everyone’s eyes, “Does anyone hav’ any questions?” The Silosc scowls at her and a small Feliku cat-man hesitantly raises his hand, “Ar’ ya’ sayin’ th’ we’re goin’ t’ attack th’ ship i’ mid-daylight?” Tha’s crazy.” She smiles grimly, “An yer right, if ya’ want t’ die. Crazy is th’ thing tha’ no one will expect. It might be crazy, but it’ll work better than any good plan.”
The being shuts its mouth as she turns toward the entrance with the two bundles in her arms. The sun is high in the sky, but the sky is clouded and strangely dark. She swallows thickly as she tries to moisten her mouth. The sky almost looks like something that Sa showed her, but it must be a coincidence. It must be, because anything else would be disastrous.
She watches carefully as the gang divides the loose rocks between themselves The Causoki stays away from everyone else with his hands shoved in his pockets and his shoulders hunched downwards in an attempt to hide. She turns to the Silosc, “This is my plan, an’ I’ll give th’ orders for it. Ya’ can come along, but th’ Causoki is goin’ t’ do what I ask.”
The Silosc scowls and nods, “Fine, but they’re still my men an’ I don’t trust ya’ anymore than yer race says I should. Which means I don’t trust ya’ at all.” She bites back her retort and turns to the gang spread around the cave, ”All of ya’ will follow me t’ th’ ship. Try t’ keep up. An’ ya’-” She stares at the Causoki’s face, “Ya’ will stay back until everythin’s set in place. Than you’ll come out an’ burn th’ rocks. After everythin’ has been set, ya’ will get back t’ th’ boulders an’ I’ll follow ya’. I expect ya’ t’ follow my plan exactly.”
She glowers at the faces of the gang, “Do any of ya’ hav’ any questions?” A few of them shake their heads and everyone else stays uncomfortably silent. She smiles thinly and jumps out of the mouth of the cave. It takes a moment before everyone else joins her. She winces at the noise caused my their feet as she leads them toward the ship.
She tries to swallow, but her mouth is drier than it has been before, and she ends up feeling like she is choking. Her heart beats faster as they reach the last line of boulders across the road from the landing pad and she waits for a moment with crossed fingers. No one is around, but she can be sure that it will not stay that way. Her plan suddenly seems incredibly foolish, but she cannot back out.
She tries to swallow again as she ducks her head and relies on her legs to carry her across the old road. She ducks behind one of the ship’s clawed landing legs and shimmies underneath the ship itself. The rest of the gang sneaks across the road behind her and sets their of rocks at each of the ship’s legs.
She pushes her wrapped bundles underneath the large maintenance panel on the bottom of the ship, and motions the Causoki out of is hiding place behind one of the legs. She can see him swallow as he follows her orders and she turns him around to face the ship.
She cringes as she hears footsteps and shoves the Causoki behind her before he can object. A group of beings walk around the side of the ship to face her. She curls her hands into fists despite herself as Marie looks at her sharply. The ship’s beings are armed and well dressed, but they hang back and wait for Marie’s command.
She does not attempt to change into her normal form as she keeps the Causoki behind her. She had been waiting for this. But she is starting to wish that she had planned what she was going to say. Marie lifts her brown chin and catches her with brown eyes, “I thought you were hiding around here somewhere, but I did not expect this. What did you think you were going to do? You do not have power here; you are the preyEveryone is waiting for someone to bring your head back into town.”
She bites back the temptation to swallow and smiles instead, “The clothes fit you very well Marie, but I doubt you’re going to kill me right now. You’re too curious about what I might be planning. You know that I see enough to know what might happen and you are right. You also know that Hirpoun are known for putting up a fight.”
The words sound strange in her mouth. But Marie’s eyes narrow just as she wished, “What it is that you think you can get away with Meg?” The use of her childhood pet name surprises her, and she forms her face into a smile, “Now.”
Marie jumps in surprise as the single word echoes. Meg clenches her hands as the Causoki gulps behind her. He stays where he is for a moment, and then he turns toward the ship and screams.
Flames rises up on the rocks and the ship’s beings watching Marie scurry away from the flames. Meg’s smile turns into a grin as the last of the rocks catch on fire and she grabs onto the Causoki and jumps to the side.
They land on the other side of the road just as the rocks overheat and sink before exploding in white hot stars. She stands up and meets Marie’s furious gaze as she carefully stands out of the reach of the ship-sized bonfire in the middle of the landing pad. She gives Marie one last smile before walking behind the nearest large boulder. And she feels like singing as she follows the Causoki back into the safety of the hill.
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