Talon finally set me down, and we trudged slowly back to port. “We’ve got to find the rest of the crew.” My voice shook unnaturally.
“Why’d he call you Tweety Bird?” He interrupted.
I blinked in surprise. I didn’t think Talon had been listening to anything Chase said. “It’s a nickname from when I was younger. I joined the crew at twelve, and Chase thought I had a really high-pitched voice, like Tweety Bird.”
“That’s kind of cute.” Talon wasn’t really paying attention to me anymore. His bright green eyes were scanning the crowd. “Well, if the rest of your crew is here, we should try to find them before they get into trouble.”
He bit his lip, but didn’t reply. He pointed toward a few army soldiers. “Stay here. They’ll recognize you instantly, but they probably didn’t get a good look at me. I’ll ask them if they know where the cargo was unloaded to.”
He jogged toward the soldiers, leaving me by myself. Somehow, I felt even more alone, even when Talon was nearby. Chase was dead. The rest of the crew might have died too for all I knew. What if I was utterly alone in the world and I didn’t even realize it yet?
Talon must’ve had a way with words, because he was already returning. “They said the cargo was transferred to a couple of different ships, and some of it was sold off here. I know which ships some of the cargo is on, but I don’t know if your crew is there.”
I sighed tiredly. “I don’t know. I’m so afraid of picking wrong.”
“If we don’t hurry up and choose, then the ships will take off, and we’ll have missed an opportunity.”
“I guess let’s try for a ship. I can’t stay here anymore.”
Talon took hold of my hand and gently pulled me toward an unfamiliar ship. “There’s a crew onboard of this one, so we can’t steal it. We’ll have to sneak on.”
“I don’t want to be a stowaway. What if they catch us?” It wasn’t really the fear of being caught that I feared. It was quietly hiding, and having to be alone with my thoughts. I didn’t want to think.
“It’ll be fine. This one doesn’t look like it’s got any army guards. When the guys loading the ship aren’t looking, we can hide inside of one of the boxes. They’re big enough,” Talon suggested optimistically.
“I guess I can’t think of anything better.”
The opportunity presented itself almost immediately. All of the crew members assigned to load the ship were already inside for the moment. We hustled over to a box the size of a minivan. “What on earth is in here?”
We slid the lid off, revealing a half-filled box of ammo. “Well that looks uncomfortable.” Talon mumbled.
I jumped, managing to get most of my body over the box, and rolled in. Talon followed a moment later, resealing the lid.
“And now we wait,” He whispered.
It only took maybe ten minutes before our box was loaded onto the ship. It sounded like it took the entire crew to push it onboard. The ammo was pretty heavy in itself, but the added weight of Talon and I probably didn’t help matters.
We must have been the last box necessary to load. Moments later, my stomach dropped as the ship soared straight up into the atmosphere, breaking into space within seconds.
Talon leaned against one of the walls. “So, it looks like we’ve got some time, Marina.”
“I don’t really want to talk.” I admitted softly. “I’m still…”
“No, don’t worry, I get it.”
We sat in comfortable silence for what felt like an eternity. I stared at ammo belts beneath us, counting how many were visible to occupy my mind.
“Are you just going to sit here depressed all day?”
I glanced up at Talon uncertainly. “What?”
“I get that someone just died, but you’ve still got the rest of your crew to save. If they’re onboard, wouldn’t it make you all feel a little better if you found them? They might not even know about what’s happened.”
I blew out my breath loudly. “Fine.” We gently removed the lid, finding the cargo hold entirely empty.
“The only way we’re going to find them is if we split up.” Talon said. “I’ll go right, you go left, and we’ll meet back here as soon as we’re done searching.”
I nodded. “Got it. If you find them, you’re going to drop everything and come tell me, okay?”
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