Tilly led the way into the city. I followed, hoping she knew where she was going. Things were going well at first. We managed to avoid being seen for several blocks, but it was only a matter of a time until someone saw us. “Stop right there!” a Drac patrolman yelled, coming toward us. His partner following quickly behind. “What are you doing out here? It is way past the curfew!”
“Curfew?” I asked. The General really had been keeping things from me. Had he imposed this curfew because of the assassination attempt or had it always been this way? Why did I get the feeling this was the tip of the iceberg? The Drac glared at me.
“Sorry,” Tilly said. “My father suffered a brain injury during the war.”
“No excuse!” the Drac replied. “Lawbreakers have to pay the price!”
“We’re heading home now,” Tilly tried to assure them.
“Too late! You have broken the General’s decree! You will submit.”
“No. I don’t think I will.”
“Tilly…” I warned. “Be careful.”
“You should listen to your father,” the second Drac said, moving behind her. “We will not be gentle.”
Tilly smiled. “Neither will I.”
It was over in seconds. It took longer to drag the Drac bodies into an alleyway, then it did to knock them out. “We might not be so lucky next time,” I told her.
“Luck? That was skill.”
“We’re lucky there were only two. We’re lucky they didn’t call for back-up. We’re lucky no one saw us.”
“I’m doing my best, Frank. What do you want from me?”
“To start taking this seriously. We’re in danger here.”
We continued our way through the city to the airport and found it surrounded by soldiers. Clearly, the General didn’t want anyone leaving. “How do you plan on getting us in there?” I asked.
“Why’s everything got to be on me?” Tilly replied, sourly. I guess she was still upset at me for admonishing her earlier. This whole situation had us both on edge.
“It’s your escape plan, Till.”
“Well, I’m sorry, but I was busy trying to get you unbrainwashed…again.”
“All right,” I said, taking her point. She had already done a pretty amazing job getting us this far. It was turn to get us past the next obstacle. “Improvise it is then.”
I ran up to the gate and the soldiers moved to block my way. “Hey, boys, can you call the engine crew? I forgot my wallet inside. You know what, just let me inside and I’ll get it myself. I don’t want to bother anyone.” The guards stared at me. They weren’t buying it. Sadly, they weren’t complete idiots. “No? Ok, if you want to call…”
“Move along, sir.”
“I just want to…” The guards pointed their guns at me. It seemed the General’s leadership had bred a zero tolerance attitude in his soldiers. That was going to make things tougher. “Or you could just call the hangar crew. That’s fine, too.”
“Move along? My wallet is in there!”
The soldiers cocked their guns.I backed up. Maybe this wasn’t the best tactic. “Ok, guys. I get it. Move along, right? Ok. I’m moving. But really if you would just call..”
Then the soldiers both collapsed. Tilly appeared behind them. I wondered if I should be worried that knocking people out always made Tilly smile. “Good job, Frank. You make a great distraction.”
“Glad to help.”
We quickly went through the gate and made our way toward the hangars before anyone else could notice us. We found a small plane in the back. After making sure its tank was full, I started her up. I considered checking in with the tower because it wasn’t like we’d be able to sneak a plane past them, but I knew they wouldn’t give us clearance so I decided not to alert them. It was no surprise that as soon as we were in the air, the tower was yelling at us. I ignored them and continued on my way. As long as there was nothing else in the sky, we would be fine.
“I think they just got a missile lock.”
“Missile lock?” I glanced at the radar. “This plane doesn’t have any defensive capabilities.”
“I’m not really that good of a pilot. I assume phasing the plane is out of the question?”
“The whole plane? I could maybe phase the two of us before the plane explodes. But then we’ll be falling. Should I start looking for parachutes?”
“Don’t bother. Even if we survive, without the plane we’ll be back at square one, stuck in Ramstov with no way out.”
“Better than dying.”
“Not if the soldiers can track us down. Being blown up and being shot more or less amounts to the same thing.”
“We don’t have many…They’ve launched the missile!”
“I’ll try to lose them, but…” I took a deep breath as I turned hard, “I don’t think it’ll work.”
“Wait,” Tilly said. “I think I can do something.”
“Maybe.” She didn’t sound very confident.
I watched the missile come towards us on the radar. It was getting closer and closer! I couldn’t shake it! No matter what I tried it stayed on us. If we didn’t do something soon it was going to hit us. “Tilly!” I yelled.
“Just another sec…”
And then the missile exploded!
to be continued…