The Planets Bend Between Us

Chapter 9

Bobby was nearly there. He’d reached the last hallway without incident, hardly daring to believe his luck. He’d been no slouch at infiltrating enemy camps back in the war, but that had been over twenty years ago now. It was good to know he still had the touch.
A trio of Stormtroopers were milling about shooting the breeze when Bobby approached. In his best command voice, he told them they were wanted in CB-9 Block for a training exercise. One of them began to question Bobby and he promptly chewed him out for not following orders.
“Did I stutter, soldier? You have five seconds to get your asses to CB-9 before I take up your ID numbers and report to your direct supervisor!” Bobby bellowed.
All three promptly scurried away in fear, mumbling hasty apologies. Bobby allowed himself a satisfied smile inside his helmet. This was the advantage of managing a network of people with fear and threats in a gigantic multi-level space station: they jumped when you said jump. He figured it would take some time before his false orders were properly discovered.

The controls for the beam, Bobby found, were conveniently positioned on the side of large cylindrical console attached to the side of a narrow catwalk, suspended over a cavernous, wide open power trench.

“Balls!” Bobby hissed. He wanted to punch out the genius who’d designed the set-up.

He supposed it was logical. No random person could easily access and disable the beam. But he didn’t do heights. The catwalk alone was enough to make him sweat, let alone where the controls were situated, on that narrow rounded ledge.
He doubted he had long to get at those controls. If someone discovered him he had no excuse, troop uniform or not, that would explain his reasons for being there. So Bobby dug deep, and did not look down and did not think about falling to his death. He walked to the middle of the catwalk, grabbed the handle on the console, and began to shimmy along the ledge inch by inch. He hugged the console tight and reached for the beam controls.
The beam powered down with a soft boop noise as Bobby lowered the lever. He thanked every star he could think of that he’d run into a similar (if far older) set up years ago in an Imperial base he and John had made a run at capturing. If he hadn’t done something like this previously, he probably wouldn’t have known which switches to flip or handles to pull.
There was no way the loss of the tractor beam would go unnoticed. Bobby only hoped that he and the others could make it to the Impala before the issue was resolved or they’d be back at square one.

It was back to the prisoner routine for Ree, Sam, and Bela, as they ascended in the lift to Detention Block AA-23. Sam’s mouth was paper dry and he could tell Bela was nervous too. She’d refrained from making snarky or flirtatious comments under breath for more than a full minute. He adjusted his stance and his gun.
The doors to the lift opened and the three stepped out into the Detention Block. Straight ahead was a control hub: a wide circle of consoles, at which sat a pair of command Imperials. Beyond them lay a long hallway lined with cells lit with dim white lights.
The man in the centre of the hub, wearing dark gray command clothes, turned and observed Sam, Bela, and Ree curiously. He did not look pleased to see them.
“Can I help you?”
Sam took a step forward while Bela kept a grip on one of Ree’s shackled arms. “Scanning crew found her on the captured ship,” he said. “We were told to bring her here.”
The man raised his eyebrow. “By whom?”

“Our commander,” supplied Bela, forcing her voice into a low, male-like tone. Sam would’ve laughed if he wasn’t shaking inside his suit.
The commander looked Ree up and down then glanced over his shoulder to the other worker at the console behind him. “Any notifications of this?” he asked coolly.
“No sir,” the woman answered. “No alerts of any kind.”
The man faced Sam, Bela, and Ree grimly. “I don’t have authorization to accept this prisoner without direct transfer orders. I’ll have to clear it.”
It took Sam a second to realize what the man meant by ‘clear it’.
Several black-helmeted guards stepped forward, blasters outstretched. Panic spiked in Sam’s chest and he froze. Thankfully Bela was thinking on her feet.
“Help – she’s loose!” she screamed, ducking for cover as Ree suddenly threw off her binders and began shooting the guards with Bela’s gun.
Sam stumbled out of the way as Bela surged forward to clock one of the guards in the face with her armored hand. She scooped up his fallen gun and started firing. Sam followed her lead.
Bolts flew back and forth, alarms blared, Sam ran and dodged, shot and punched. Bela took out cameras and blew away sensors. Ree clambered over the console to take care of the pair of Imperials hiding behind the hub. The whole thing was over in less than a minute, and the only ones left standing were Sam, Bela, and Ree.
Sam yanked his helmet off. He sucked in a sharp breath. He felt claustrophobic and oxygen-deprived, but the smoky air that smelled like signed flesh wasn’t much better. He stepped over the fallen Imperials on the floor to reach Bela and Ree in the control hub. Ree slapped off various alarms. Bela’s fingers dashed over the keyboards as searched for information on Dean’s exact location.
“What’s going on up there? Copy? Do you copy!” A tinny voice yelled through the nearest console.
“Get that,” Bela instructed, still sounding out of breath. “I’ve got this.” She scrolled through the long list of prisoner names.
Sam jabbed the communication button, cleared his throat and spoke, trying to hide the slight tremor in his voice.
“Sorry about that, just a bit of a… uh, weapons misfiring… mishap,” he said.
“It seems more than ‘a bit’ – all the cameras and sensors are fried,” came the worried voice on the other end.
“Uh, yes, singed a little, but it’s all fine now!” Sam chirped with a wince.

Bela stopped reading names to look at Sam incredulously. I’ve got this? she mouthed.
“We’ll send a squad up to fix everything right away, don’t worry.”
“Damn concerned fellow employee,” Bela muttered.

“Uh…” Sam hesitated, mouth hanging open like a stunned fish.

“Oh for – ” Bela shoved Sam out of the way, taking over and pointing at the screen she’d been at, indicating he take over. Into the comm, she said hastily, “Hold on that, looks like one of our weapons, er, blew a hole in the reactor – it’s most definitely not safe at the moment. We’ll evacuate immediately, so no need for a squad!”

Sam scanned the screen and spotted Dean’s name right beside the second prisoner also slated for execution. He noted both of the cell numbers and took off for the corridor of cells.

“Hold on, who is this?”said the voice on the other end of the comm, suddenly suspicious.
Bela bit her lip, then aimed her blaster and shot the comm. She pressed the heel of her hand to her head as the console sizzled and smoked, dead.

“Hurry, Sam!” she called after him. “I think our cover is officially blown. They’re on their way!”
Sam waved his arm in her direction so she knew he’d heard. He reached one of the cells he was looking for and slapped the lock button. The door flew open to reveal a man with short brown hair sporting a set of brown robes. He was sitting cross-legged on the bench at the back of the gray cell. Haggard and rough in appearance, his eyes were closed as if he were meditating. They snapped open and he stared at Sam.
“Uh, hi,” said Sam. “Change of plans. You’re… free to go.”
The man peered at Sam with a mix of astonishment and curiosity, and Sam got the uncomfortable sensation that somehow the man was looking through him – in him, like a sort of mental x-ray. Sam backed out of the cell with a shiver and hurried on to Dean’s before he could regret saving two lives today. (He hoped it would be a start to make up for all the ones he was taking. He also hoped he hadn’t just accidentally set free a psycho serial killer or something. Maybe this wasn’t a good idea after all.)
Sam unlocked the cell three down from the strange man. Inside this one was the dark blond man from Bobby’s message. He was lying on the cell’s bench, feet up on the wall, arm slung over his eyes, humming some unfamiliar tune.
“Time, huh?” he groaned, but sat up confused when he spotted Sam. “Who the hell are you?”
“I’m here to rescue you,” Sam replied breathlessly. He could hear Bela shouting a warning down the hall that the cavalry had arrived.
“What?” Dean’s eyebrows scrunched on his forehead. “Bullshit. This Azazel’s newest game?”

“No game,” Sam shook his head. “I got your message. I’m here with Bobby Singer and we’re trying to – ”
“Bobby Singer?” Dean jumped to his feet and practically shoved Sam out of the way to get to the hall outside his cell. Sam anxiously followed.
The peculiar man had emerged from the other cell and was standing in the corridor looking dazed. Dean’s features went slack with shock when he saw him.
“Cas!?” he exclaimed.
The man whirled. “Dean!”

“You know each other?” Sam glanced between them in surprise.

Dean ran forward to embrace Cas in a quick hug, slapping his back hard before pulling back. “I thought you were dead.”
Cas shook his head. “They captured us and slowly killed off the crew. They held on to me the longest, trying to force me into giving up our location. But you – ”
“A little help here!” Bela hollered from the control hub.
The doors of the lift were shut but sparking as the promised squad worked to breach them. Sam gripped his blaster and took off past Cas and Dean, who quickly followed.
“Oh hell no!” Dean moaned loudly the moment he entered the main area.
“Why hello, darling,” Bela winked at him. “We have to stop meeting like this.”
Sam almost got whiplash looking between Dean and Bela. “Wait, you know her too?”
Before any of them could get another word out, the door to the lifts exploded.

Bobby was unobtrusively making his way back to the hanger bay when a number of alarms blared overhead. He nearly jumped out of his skin and was about to run for it, when he realized his fellow troopers were blowing past him without a second glance.
“Intruder alert,” a mechanical-sounding voice began repeating.
Over the station-wide comm system, orders for back-up were requested in Detention Block AA-23. Bobby gritted his teeth and hurried after a group a fellow soldiers.
What did those idjits do?

The group took cover as shrapnel flew, followed immediately by a haphazard cascade of blaster bolts. Dean scrambled to the nearest body with a gun and snagged a weapon, wasting no time in joining Bela, Sam, and Ree in firing back at the white-clad soldiers breaking into the Detention Block. Cas was somewhere behind him.
Dean popped up to shoot at a couple troops bottle-necking in the lift before ducking down behind a control console again. He swore fiercely. Not that he wasn’t glad for a rescue party, but not only did this seem like the worst organized rescue party ever, that woman was here and it never boded well for him where she was concerned.
“What’s your next move here, kid?” he shouted over the din at the shaggy-haired guy who’d burst into his cell wearing a trooper’s uniform.
“I don’t exactly have one!” he hollered back.
Dean cussed again. Not only was there no plan, but they were getting hammered – they were already outnumbered and it was only getting worse as more soldiers arrived in the lifts. He yelled for the others to fall back and the group speedily retreated to the long corridor of cells. It was hardly ideal, but the supports on the walls stuck out a good few inches providing some semblance of cover, and the hallway narrowed the attack area.
Bela took up a position directly across from him, while the kid ducked farther down the corridor with Cas and Ree.
“Was this your idiot plan?” Dean barked at Bela. “Cutting off our only exit?”
“Hardly,” she said loudly and shot an oncoming trooper square in the chest. “I wanted to stay put then leave without you.”
“So why didn’t you?”
“Sam bribed me.”
He would have laughed if a blaster bolt hadn’t fired past his shoulder at that moment, so close it left a sizzling streak on his shirt. This situation was going from very bad to very worse very quickly.
“Typical!” he responded scornfully.
Bela wasn’t listening and instead aimed her blaster near the floor, left of his feet. She fired at the grate with a loud bang; it fizzled and disintegrated.
“What the hell are you doing?”
“Saving your fine ass,” Bela retorted. “Again.” She gestured to Ree and Sam then proceeded to slip through the hole she’d made in the grate.
“Damn it, woman!” Dean shouted but she was already gone.
Ree hurried after her, clicking and waving her hands.
“She’s your friend,” he growled.
Ree slid less gracefully into the gaping hole, squeaking as she disappeared down the chute beyond. Dean looked up to see what was keeping the kid and Cas, and spotted Cas talking urgently into Sam’s ear. Sam’s expression was hard to read as he pulled back, staring at Cas.
“What’re you waiting for?” Dean yelled at them. “Let’s go!”
He faced the end of the corridor and fired off another few bolts into the smoke. When he turned back, Sam was clambering into the hole and Cas reached out to grasp Dean’s shoulder firmly.
“I shall see you soon, my friend,” he said with a small smile.
For a split second, Dean didn’t understand. Cas was saying goodbye before jumping into the chute? He was a bit of odd guy, but that seemed a little –
Then his brain realized what was happening as Cas took off towards the layers of smoke and Imperial laser fire.
“Cas!” Dean screamed. After spending months thinking his best friend was dead, Dean wasn’t about to lose him all over again. He took a step forward but was jolted backwards by some invisible force.
Cas’s voice rang in his ears, and through his mind: Go!
“Damn it, Cas!” Dean grit out, before diving headfirst into the chute.

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