Five years since Earth Force arrived on GunSmoke, Only a few "plants" remain after the "Battle of GunSmoke". The few plants that are left are exclusively controlled by Earth Force. The incompetence that happened the last 155 years on GunSmoke influenced the Admiral of the Earth Force fleet to issue Martial law. All civilians were relocated to three cities created by the Admiral and Earth Force. During these last five years, Vash has been looking for Knives. Since their battle, the twin brothers have not talked. Vash stops in a town outside the first of the three Earth Force cities, Frisco.
"I feel Knives presence but it is faint," He rubs his chin as he thinks to himself, "I would ask my "sisters", but I have not been able to talk to them since Earth Force showed up."
Vash's bounty was already 60 billion double dollars but due to the events that transpired five years ago, his bounty has gone up to 100 billion dollars. Vash did not realize that Earth Force and the Bounty hunters were looking for a blonde so none of them came for him because his hair was black olive now.
"I've had a pretty calm five years, hopefully, I can find Knives before they catch me."
The waiter finally comes over to Vash's table. "I'm sorry about the wait," she blushes, "Do you know what you want?"
"What's the cheapest thing on the menu?" he taps his cheek, 'That would be the fried scrapple," she points on the menu.
"I'll take two of those," he smiles. 'Two scrapple coming up," she smiles and walks away.
While focusing on Knives' energy, Vash sees a glimpse of him inside a plant. He is in the fetal position and one of their "sisters" is inside with him. She has wrapped Knives in a cocoon looking sac. As Vash comes out of focus, the waitress brings his food to him.
"Two scrapple sir," she puts down the plate and puts silverware on the table.
Vash licks his lips and digs in to the scrapple. He devours it within a couple of seconds then downs his glass of water. In reality, he does not need food. He can get more energy from the sun and living creatures but he chooses this way because he still has a soft spot for humans. He is not as naive as he once was but he still wants to give everyone a fair shake.
The waitress comes back and drops his bill for him. Vash picks it up and looks at it.
"ten double dollars!" he gasps,"Even out of "plant" towns haven't changed with the prices.
Vash sluggishly leaned to the counter-top to pay his bill. He handed the cashier his bill. The cashier said,"that will be ten double dollars."
Vash begins to run his hands through his pockets looking for money, when a man in a green uniform hands the cashier the money. The man has Pale Ivory skin and brown hair. He's about the same height as Vash with a well toned build. He looks to be middle aged because his hair is starting to grey.
"Keep the change," He winks.
Vash blushes, "Thanks sir, I appreciate the help."
"No problem, My name is Atlas," he reached out his hand. Vash shook his hand. "My name is Eriks; nice to meet you."
"Eriks, do you mind going on a stroll with me?"
"I can't read this guy," Vash thought to himself.
"Sure Atlas," he responded.
Vash and Atlas waved goodbye to the cashier and waitress and walked out the restaurant.
Atlas took Vash to the center of town were benches were around a fountain. There were not many people around because many of them were working or moving to the three cities. Atlas sat down and Vash sat by him. Vash took his shades off and looked at Atlas. Atlas smiled back.
"Why so serious Eriks?"
"I appreciate the meal," Vash bowed, "But you clearly have some motive."
"I want to help you find your brother," Atlas runs his hand through his hair, "You are looking for Knives, right?"
Vash immediately grabs Atlas and drags him to the nearest alley. He pulls out his .45 and sticks it in his gut.
"How do you know me and how do you know my brother?" Vash whispers.
"I was sent by the Patrons to find you and your brother," he whispered, "We are trying to help you and your brother, but we also need you to help us.
Vash was checking every physical and metaphysical marker, but he was telling the truth or doing a superb job of lying.
"Can you really take me to Knives?" Vash's eyes dilated.
"Yes," he placed his hand on Vash's gun.
Vash removed his gun from his gut and placed it back in his holster.
"I know he is in one of the plants in the three cities," Vash bit his lip.
"I know where he is," Atlas smooths the crease in his shirt, "I will take you there."
"How will you get me in?" Vash raises his eyebrows.
"I will take us through a secret passage," Atlas grins, "I have access to all the "plant" facilities.
Atlas moves off the wall and starts walking down the alley. Vash follows close behind.
"Where are you going?" Vash licks his lip.
"I'm taking us to my car," Atlas tilts his head to the side, "We need to move quickly."
"Why is that?" Vash fidgets.
"They plan on killing him," Atlas purses his lips.
Vash's brow creases and he stops walking. Atlas stops too.
"I feel there is more to this, but if what you say is true, i must save him," Vash clenches his fist.
"There is more but we need to save him first," Atlas says.
"Alright then, let's do this," Vash whips his sunglasses back on.
Atlas and Vash drive six hours to get to the city New Dallas. Atlas parks the car at a house only a couple miles from the "plant".
"We need to get you changed," Atlas eyes bob.
"I have this house here; put on this green uniform," Atlas walks in the house, "Its the only way we can sneak you in.
Vash walks inside and puts on the uniform. He puts his gun on his side and keeps his sunglasses on. Atlas hand him a cap to wear over his hair.
"When we get inside, let me do the talking," Atlas put his hands on his hips, "If anyone asks, you are my lieutenant."
Vash nods his head and they head out of the house. They get in the car and head toward the "plant". They get to the first checkpoint and two Earth Force soldiers stop their car. Atlas rolls down the window and hands his ID. The soldier takes a look at it and signals the gate. Within seconds, the gate swings open and Atlas pulls through.
"I thought he would ask for mine," Vash sighs.
"They wouldn't cross someone of my status," Atlas giggles.
They drive for a couple more miles to the parking area for engineers. They hop out the car and head into the facility. The soldiers on duty salute to the two men and open the door. Inside is a lobby area with two hallways running on either side.
"We need to head to the West wing," Atlas whispers, "Knives should be there.
Vash nods and they start walking down the West wing. They pass a couple engineers but most don't pay attention to them. They arrive at the chamber room of the "plant". Atlas uses his swipe and the door unlocks. They go inside the room and there is Knives and one of their "sisters" with him inside the bottom half of the bulb. Vash sprints up to the bulb and puts his hand on the surface.
"How is he doing sister?" Vash grits his teeth.
"He is stronger than when he first arrived," she says.
Atlas walks up next to Vash, "We need to get him out before they make their next rounds. We have about fifteen minutes."
Vash turns back to the bulb, "Sister I need Knives; I am taking him to a better place.
"No, He stays with me," she shakes her head.
"Please sister, they are trying to kill him," Vash taps his foot.
"Is this true?" she squints her eyes.
"It is," Vash spreads his arms.
She taps Knives cocoon and it begins to float out of the bulb. It lowers itself on the floor and lands, then it dissolves to nothing. Knives is laying there in a comatose state. Vash moves to his brother and picks him up. Vash can tell he is weak because he feels much lighter.
"We need to move Vash," Atlas taps his wrist.
"Let's move," Vash walks. Tears begin to roll down Vash's cheeks as he carries Knives. Atlas opens the emergency door hatch and they quickly slip down the back emergency staircase. A black car is waiting on the other side of the fence. Vash is a little suprised at first but realizes Atlas is a lot more connected than he thought. He cuts the wires of the fence and the alarms begin to ring.
"Looks like we made it just in time," Atlas smiles.
Vash carries Knives and puts him in the backseat. Atlas turns on the car and floors it down the back side of the hill. They speed down the hill and into the city then Atlas gets them back on the highway. The engineers are panicking and the soldiers are scouring the "plant" for Knives. Atlas drives two hours East to a ravine with a river running below. When Vash and him arrive, their is a space transport waiting for them. Atlas steps out the car and talks to the woman standing outside the craft. Vash picks up Knives and carries him to the craft. She opens the craft and he walks in a lays his brother on the med table.
Atlas walks in,"She will take you up to the space terminal. She will guide you to the transport you will take to get out of this forsaken galaxy."
"What about you?" Vash smirks, "I still have a lot of questions."
"In due time Vash. You will see me again, but I have to handle damage control to buy us sometime," Atlas says, "In the meantime Helen will take care of you. She can answer all the questions I can. You are in good hands."
Atlas put his hand on Vash's shoulder and walked away. Helen saluted to Atlas as he walked off the craft. A few minutes later, they were taking off and headed toward the space terminal in the atmosphere of GunSmoke.
"Hang in there Knives," Vash patted his shoulder.