Sam glanced up as Dean landed in a pile of garbage next to the rest of them with a huge squelch. Sam was still picking chunks of slop out of his hair from coming out of the chute and into the muck sideways. That had been fun. He shook his head and spit, still tasting whatever-it-was on his lips and trying, really, really hard not to think about.
“Ahh!” Dean tried to keep his gun up out of the mess. “The garbage chute – great! Good one!” He shook away some of the debris clinging to his arm and scowled at Bela.
She was perched precariously on a mangled pile of debris, up and out of the thigh-deep sludge. “I didn’t see the rest of you offering any better alternatives,” she returned waspishly.
“Better than the garbage chute? How about anything else?” Dean growled and began wading towards the man-door set in the wall across from him. “What’re we waiting for? Let’s get out of here.”
“Right, of course, because the rest of us are hanging out in the garbage for our health,” Bela rolled her eyes.
Ree clicked and squeaked with irritation from her spot near the door.
“The door’s magnetically sealed,” Sam piped up. “We’re trapped.”
Dean glanced incredulously between the three of them, then rounded on Bela. “You led us from being cornered by troops, which we could have fought our way past, into a sealed trash compactor? If it’s magnetically shut, we can’t even blast our way out!” He waved his gun at her.
“I didn’t know it would be locked with no way to open it! At least we’re not getting shot at anymore!”
dug in his suit’s belt compartments for the comm he’d stolen from the
control hub earlier – its counterpart currently in Bobby’s possession.
The intention had been to remain radio silent unless the situation was
‘hellfire and damnation dire’. He figured this counted.
“Bobby!” Sam spoke loudly into the palm-sized, tube-shaped device. “Bobby, can you hear me?”
Dean shushed Bela and faced Sam. “Is he there? Can he get us out of here?”
Sam shook his head. “I’m not getting an answer.”
“Keep trying. It won’t take them long to figure out where we went.”
Azazel felt the tremor in the Force before a lieutenant reported trouble in Detention Block AA. His lip curled. The Jedi woke up.
“Orders, sir?” asked the commander at his side.
“Put all sections on alert. Clearly someone has come to spring Winchester and his buddy from our prison.” Azazel spun on his heel and his cape flared out behind him as he marched towards the door.
“Not one of them leaves alive!” he roared over his shoulder.
Well, this put a bit of a damper on his plans for the pair’s execution. His fingers went to the lightsaber hanging at his belt.
He was going to have to improvise.
moved like a ghost from hallway to hallway, using the Force as his
guide. He reached out to feel for other beings and was able to avoid
troopers and Imperials almost effortlessly.
It was incredibly refreshing to be able to just do something after months locked in that cell. He could feel the Force flowing in him again – being stagnant for so long had been exhausting. Not to mention dealing with the initial interrogation tactics of the Imperials and Darth Azazel, intent on prying the location of the Rebel base from him. When they failed to get anything from him and killing his friends and crewmembers in front of him did not break him, they’d tossed him into a cell to rot.
Castiel had long stopped wondering why they were bothering to keep him alive.
The moment that boy, Sam, had opened his cell, Castiel had broken from his daily meditation. It felt as though he had been asleep, dead even, and the tremor in the Force Castiel felt in the boy’s presence woke him like a bucket of ice water to face. And, something about him was strangely familiar…
When he discovered moments later that Dean, his best friend, was alive and free from a cell of his own merely a few doors down the hall, it was testament to how long Castiel had been locked away and how out of touch he was. He had never sensed his friend’s arrival at the Death Star.
As Castiel wove down the bland corridors of the Death Star in search of Azazel’s private quarters, he looked forward to being free of this hellish place and properly reuniting with his friends.
“Bobby? Bobby?” Sam tried.
“Still nothing?” Bela inquired dully.
Sam sighed and raked his hand through his hair in frustration. “Either he has it off, or the magnetic field in here is jamming the signal.”
“Okay, we need to come up with another option to get out of here,” said Dean. He looked up at the ceiling but quickly dismissed the idea that they’d be able to exit the way they’d come. The hole was too high up. There were no other openings, small or large, and their blasters were useless on the door. He cocked his head at Bela.
“Hey, you’re good at breaking out of things,” he shrugged and gestured at the door.
“Correction, I’m good at breaking into things.”
“So break into the hallway on the other side of that door,” Dean shot back.
“With what tools?”
Dean gestured to the chunks of metal and who-knows-what surrounding them. “Start searching.”
Bela scoffed at him.
“Bobby!” Sam shouted into the palm-sized, tube-shaped device. “Bobby can you hear me?”
Just then, there was a loud, far away grinding sound, like massive gears turning. This was followed by a revving and humming sound – engines booting up. The three humans and Ree promptly fell silent. Dean’s stomach knotted.
“That can’t be good,” he mumbled, glancing around the filthy, debris-filled space.
“They’re turning it on,” Bela realized, her voice shaking a little.
She and Dean locked gazes and Sam tried more frantically to raise Bobby. He continued to receive no answer.
With a loud mechanical whirring noise, the walls began to close in.
Ree squeaked wildly and waved her arms around. Dean raced for the nearest wall, climbing through the grime and garbage.
“Brace them with something, hurry!” he hollered.
Bela hopped down off her perch with a splash to help Dean move a massive metal beam.
“Bobby! Where are you?” Sam wailed into the comm. “Help!”
“Of all the ways to die,” Dean groaned, struggling to hoist the massive beam up.
Bela helped him level the beam horizontally between the oncoming walls.
“Can’t say I’ve ever imagined this either,” she admitted. “And after all we’ve been through...”
“Don’t start,” Dean growled.
The walls chugged closer. As they closed against the thick beam, the walls slowed slightly, but the thing was designed to crush just about anything, so the difference the beam made was marginal at best. Sweat beaded on Dean’s forehead as he abandoned his plan and scrambled after Bela, out of the muck and onto the higher piles of garbage.
“Sam, hurry!” he shouted, though there was nothing the kid could do except what he was already doing.
“Bobby! Bobby! Help!”
Bobby hadn’t learned much about where his friends were or what the hell
was going on. He followed groups of troopers rushing one way, he ducked
into a hall and joined a different group rushing another way. There were
intruders in the station, that much was certain, and they had attacked
one of the Detention Blocks in order to free a few prisoners.
The Imperials had since lost track of the attackers, and Bobby surreptitiously fell into step with a number of troopers being deployed to guard the captured ship in case the intruders were making a break for it. When they reached the hanger bay, Bobby hung back by a computer terminal, unsure what his next move ought to be.
With a frown, he remembered the comms he and Sam had grabbed earlier, and flipped it on. With any luck, the kid had his on as well and they’d be able to figure out what the hell was going on. Previously when Bobby had tried to hail him, he’d only received static back.
“-elp! Bobby! Come in, Bobby! Damn it, where the hell are you?!”
“Whoa, calm down! Sam, what’s going on?”
“Bobby!” Sam sounded incredibly relieved to hear his friend’s voice, but immediately resumed his desperate shouting. “Shut down all the trash compactors!”
“What?” Bobby was positive he’d heard wrong. Wherever Sam was, there was a ton of background noise. “Sam, say again?”
“Shut down all the trash compactors! We’re trapped in one!”
“Oh, hell,” Bobby scrubbed his hand over his helmet-covered face. Balls!
He had no clue how they’d gotten themselves into that situation and even less of an idea of how he was supposed to get them out of it. Even if he knew which compactor they were in, by the time he was able to get to it and open it manually to free them, it’d surely be too late. That left shutting them all down electronically, but how was he supposed to do that?
“Do you hear me? Bobby, get us out of here!”
Bobby turned to the nearest computer terminal and let out a frustrated breath.
Unlike with the tractor beam set-up, this computer was one Bobby was not at all familiar with. He’d managed to locate a simple navigational map earlier, but to find operational controls? And controls for the garbage mashers? He jabbed at screen after screen, finding nothing helpful. Anytime he spotted something that looked promising, there was some authorization password required. He let loose a string of ugly words.
“Bobby, please, we’ve only got about a minute left…” Sam pleaded, panicked and strained.
“Don’t worry,” Bobby assured him. Except his heart was pounding with fear and sweat was glazing his forehead inside the helmet. He had no clue how to stop the garbage mashers and Sam was about to die and there was no way Bobby could stop it…
He straightened and cocked his gun, ready to grab the nearest Imperial and force him to shut down the compactors at gunpoint, when there was a hand on his shoulder. Bobby spun around, gun raised, but the man wasn’t dressed as an Imperial. Instead, he was sporting a set of brown robes and a calm, slight smile.
“Allow me,” he said and stepped forward to the terminal, pressing his hand to the screen and closing his eyes.
This was it. They were about to die.
The walls were merely an arm’s length apart. Sam watched them inch closer, the trash and debris beneath him crunching and curling and squelching. He glanced helplessly at the others: Ree, green arms fruitlessly pushing against one of the walls, trying to slow its progress; Dean shoving his legs against one wall and his back to the other; Bela shutting her eyes and preparing for the worst.
Sam thought of Ellen and the disc of plans he would never deliver to the Rebels. He closed his eyes and waited for his bones to splinter...
Then the walls shuddered and Sam’s heart tripped over a few beats. The walls stopped. There was a split second of tentative, wild hope and total disbelief, followed by the four of them crying out in overwhelming relief.
“Sam? Sam!” Bobby bellowed into the comm.
“Bobby, you did it!” Sam exclaimed in response.
“Are you all right?”
“Yeah, we’re okay – we’re alive. The walls stopped!” Sam laughed. “We’re okay,” he repeated, still hardly daring to believe his friend had saved them in the nick of time.
The man-door unsealed with a loud ka-chunk noise, and Dean whooped all the louder.
“Thank you, Bobby,” Sam exhaled.
“Hell, don't thank me,” Bobby grumbled. “I didn’t do nothin’.”
Sam scrunched his brow. “Then how – ?”
“Later. Just get yourselves out, and get to the ship.”
Bobby slumped with relief beside the terminal.
“Son, I don’t know how the hell you did that, but thank you,” he said to the man in the brown robes. He held out his hand. “Bobby Singer.”
“You have an idea.” The man smiled slightly. “And you’re welcome.” He shook Bobby’s hand. “Castiel.”
He placed his other hand gently on Bobby’s armored shoulder. “Take care of Sam. We’ll meet again soon, Bobby Singer.”
Bobby didn’t have time to properly reply before the man swept away as silently as he’d appeared.