Chapter 7:

EPISODE 2: 00000111:SEVEN


    It's funny you thought to check the low-sec shithouse. Most likely whatever thing you are looking for is going to be stored in their vault, which, is, in fact, high-sec. Based on my knowledge of the ship –
   Quil's eyes flattened, as did his cowlicks. "And exactly how did you get this information?"
   "First off, Kid: don't interrupt me." Filth jabbed a finger at Quil. "Second, I'm a bounty hunter."
   Quil rolled his eyes. "How incredibly unoriginal."
   Filth checked around the corner before jabbing his finger even more accusingly towards Quil. "Look, I don't usually like to take orders, so I picked a job where I could be my own boss."
   Quil pushed the man's finger out of his face.
   Filth scanned over the glove on his left hand. "There's a man aboard this ship that a good number of people would pay high-price to have him captured, and a good number more that would pay top-piece to have him killed. I'm just doin' the work of the people."
   "Seems rather undiplomatic of a Federation member."
   "Kid, I don't care if it's Federation, Liberation, or Obliteration – anything as long as it's not cooperation."
   Quil shook his head. "What does being a bounty hunter have to do with your knowledge of the layout?"
   "I did research," he stated simply.
   "So did I," Quil retorted. "There are no public documents on this ship."
   "I have connections."
   "The network has billions of times more connections than you could ever have, there are still no public documents available online."
   Filth's eyebrows narrowed. "You are an annoying kid, you know that?" He shook his head, "Look, okay, I have my sources. You don't need to know my sources, all you need to do is trust that I know where I am going."
   "I don't." Quil responded matter-of-factly.
   "Maybe you would trust me if you would listen to the plan." Filth snarked as he opened the door to the maintenance quadrant.
   "And what is," emphasis on 'is', "the plan?"
   "Well if you wouldn't interrupt me you would know, jackass." He rolled his eyes.
   I presume you know the ship is divided into quadrants. These quadrants are designed to deploy maintenance drones and worker models in a semi-efficient manner (take my word: it's not very efficient). Our best bet is to move through these corridors as it will be the easiest to be undetected.
   The vault is kept in Central. Central is called Central because it's where everything converges - you seeing where I am going with this? We take the maintenance quadrants through the ship which will pretty much land us right on top of Central. The problem is that Central is kind of an important place. You know, it's the heartbeat of everything that makes the ship tick, so it's not exactly going to be puppies and dandelions around the vault.
   - Filth watched as Quil was just about to open his mouth.
   "What did I say?" Filth stamped his foot, stopping Quil in his haste down the maintenance halls. "Don't interrupt me," he snapped at Quil.
   Quil's cowlicks lowered.
   We'll be walking a large portion of the ship. Taking the ship's transport systems to Central or any of the surrounding stops is a stupid idea in it of itself, but tack on the fact you are walking around with an escaped prisoner and that will land us suffocating in the cold grasp of space. If you want your science project to end swiftly then by all means, we can take the metro, but take it from a risk-taking bounty hunter that taking the metro is too risky.
   The maintenance quadrants give us a more direct route to our destination so it's just a hop and a skip down a kilometer or two or five, maybe seven - I never really counted - and we'll be standing just outside of Central.
   The difficult part comes in when we get to Central. As I was trying to say before you interrupted me, Central is compartmentalized - it's a separate section of the ship entirely; complete with its own generator, fuel supply, air supply, and, well, you know; everything necessary to keep the fat-cats living well without depending on the filth – no relation – of the rest of the ship.
   The problem here is that our secret little backdoor in their ship's design isn't going to lead to the door step of the vault. From there, we will be joining the great 'Vault reception' along with the other dozen or so guards around the area.
   I might be able to take care of the guards but -
   "Take care of?" Quil's muscles gave out as he fell against the threshold of a bulkhead separating one quadrant from another.
   "Yes, yes, yes." Filth shook his head, "'take care of' is what I said. Man up, Kid! What did I tell you? This is space. Pacifisms is only going to get you as far as a cold forgotten grave in the deep ocean of stars."
   - Filth cleared his throat.
   As I was saying, I will 'mingle' with our guests, but I can only 'mingle' with so many. The last thing we want are more 'guests' coming when we aren't prepared. This being high-sec, you can bet your own home-abandoning life they will have an armada of security cams keeping an eye on the halls, especially around the vault.
   I'll need you to use your techno-wizardry -
   "Techno-wizardry?" Quil's eyes went flat as he cocked an eyebrow followed by one of his cowlicks.
   "Yes, techno-wizardry," he shoved Quil into the wall of the maintenance elevator, "Shut-up."
   I'll need your techno-wizardry to cut the video feed from the security cams. This will only buy us a few extra minutes before the 'Galactic Idiot Empire' decides to investigate the offline cameras - and that only takes one quick communication to one of the guards. Once that guard doesn't answer (presumably because I have 'taken care of him') -
   - Filth wiggled his fingers hauntingly at Quil, mocking his fear -
   They'll send a fleet of well-armed idiots to take us out.

    Filth stopped at a door. A door that separated the maintenance quadrant from the main halls of the ship.
   He sat down, "take your time, Kid," he spoke rather reassuringly compared to his usual demeanor.
   Quil looked at the door then to Filth's calm, collected, and relaxed pose on the floor.
   "Once cameras go out, I'd give us a hopeful twelve-minute estimate before you witness an angry G.I.E."
   Quil moved his eyes back to the door.
   "Take all the time you need right now." Filth looked down at the strange glove on his left hand. "I don't know how you plan on opening that vault. Passwords aren't encrypted 'data' on this one. It's one of the most advanced mechanical locks engineered that has only been reinforced by a master control keypad in Central's Command."
   Quil intently focused on the door before him.
   "See." Filth stretched to help him prepare to sink further into his relaxed position. "This is why I can make promises like this. The journey ends before it can even start."
   "It's not over." Quil spoke under his breath, he kept his eyes fixed on the door.
   "Sure, sure, Kid." Filth was practically laying on the floor at this point. "I'll take you as far as we can possibly go, so if you got any idea on how to bust the vault open I'll take you there." Filth wasn't really paying much attention to Quil (because Quil was about as interesting as a log). "Just remember, you really won't have a lot of time to try many attempts at busting it open. Twelve minutes might be a generous estimate, or maybe a pretty tight estimate. I can't really say for sure, maybe you'll have twenty minutes to try something, maybe you'll only have five." Filth looked at the kid for a second just to see if maybe he got some sort of reaction. "The point is, unless you packed some high-powered explosives, I don't think there is much we can do here."
   "No." another soft whisper from Quil as the door drew him in. It seemed so silly to Quil that his dream was (quite literally) behind a door. Locked there. Out of reach. He stood before it's threshold and yet he couldn't understand it. He couldn't open it. He couldn't reach his dream.
   The gentle and brightly disappointed curiosity of Quil swept him towards the door, catching Filth's attention. In one swift reaction, Filth stopped Quil from opening the door with one heavy and powerful yank on the first thing Filth could reach – the handle of Quil's bag. With Filth's mighty force, Quil was brought down to the ground with his bag that now hung open loosely with a broken zipper.
   "Are you stupid, Kid?" Filth barked in Quil's ear, "We have about four guards posted just outside that door."
   "I need to know!" Quil was determined to keep moving forward, even his cowlicks leaned toward his goal.
   Filth threw Quil against the wall. "Yeah, well sometimes running straight through the problem to get to your answer isn't the best form of problem solving. Stepping out there right now will get us killed."
   "How do you expect me to do this without seeing what I am dealing with?" Quil snapped back at Filth.
   "You don't do it, Kid." Filth leaned forward with sharp eyebrows. "Have you ever thought about that? Have you ever once thought that maybe - just maybe - you can't always reach your dream without thought first?"
   Only silence punctuated Filth's statement as each other stared the other down through anger. However, Filth's anger quickly turned from Quil to the imaginary voice.
   "Dammit." Filth spat in disgust. A pause. Silence. His face untightened, his eyebrows narrowing. His weird, red eyes pierced Quil with a softer sincerity than the previous harsh anger.
   "I can tell you the design," he spoke soft thanks to his conscious (or maybe the particle of dust stuck around) with only a slight, tiny hint of Filth's own uninfluenced anger ringing through his gritted teeth.
   Quil's cowlicks cocked in confusion and doubt. "How?"
   "With my voice, how else?" Quil could practically hear the grinding of Filth's teeth.
   Quil rolled his eyes. "Why do you think you know the design?"
   "You don't need to know why, that's not the problem we are dealing with. The problem you are dealing with is knowing what the door is, right?"
   Quil huffed a rather bitter nod in agreement.
   "Sorry, Kid, every man needs to have his secrets. It's what keeps the ladies coming back," he gave a devious smile.
   Quil shook his head with a roll of his eyes. "And the door?"
   "Yeah, yeah," Filth plopped down on the wall opposite of Quil, opening the palm of his left, gloved hand. "Here's the deal Kid," Filth kept his focus on his palm as small metal strands began to rise out of his glove (This made Quil's cowlicks perk up). "The door is basically a blast-head door. My joke about explosives earlier was just that: a joke. You could fire the highest caliber ballistic at that door and it's not gonna budge. It's effectively two solid sheets of metal backed by a triangular-lattice reinforcement," the strands began wrapping around each other in the center of his palm.
   Filth broke his concentration from the metal strands that snaked out of his glove to Quil who was fully engaged, with Filth - or, more particularly, his glove.
   "Kid." Filth snapped to get Quil's attention. "My eyes are up here, not down there."
   Quil's eyes flashed between Filth's face and his glove.
   "It was an old project a friend worked on. Who cares?"
   Quil's cowlicks lowered with his sigh. "A man has his secrets?"
   "Bingo," he clicked his finger gun. "Now, about the door -"
   "I've heard enough," Quil turned an unfocused gaze to the barrier between him and his destination.
   "Oh?" Filth returned his focus to his palm, making the metal strands continue wrapping into a loose cylindrical shape. "Bored of my story already? I never said it would be interesting. You just wanted an idea of what you are dealing with."
   Quil sank a little. "Yes, I did."
   The metal strands paused as Filth looked at Quil. "Did? And what exactly changed?"
   Quil gave a slow shake of his head. Perhaps it was his acceptance of defeat, or perhaps he was considering his options.
   "Hm," Filth lazily returned his focus to his magical wire glove. "Well the log just became that much more of a stump."
   "I'm not giving up," Quil spoke softly, "if that's what you think I mean."
   Filth perked up a bit, lifting his head to look at Quil's determined eyes.
   "You said you would take me as far as you can," Quil moved his eyes to his watch, "this is not the furthest you can possibly take me."
   "So you do have a little life left in you?" Filth smiled as he turned his eyes back to the strands as they nearly completed the loose cylinder. "So you want to take out the cameras then?"
   Quil nodded, "Yes. Please allow me five to sixty minutes."
   "Yeah, sure that's -" Filth shook his head, "Wait, you said what now? Sixty minutes?"
   Quil nodded, but kept his focus on his watch - increasing his focus by sliding his goggles down over his eyes.
   "To think I was just going to have a quick drink. It sounds like I need to start prepping the kettle for a fresh brew." Filth shook his head, focusing back on his palm as the metal strands began to wrap into a loose spout shape at the top of the cylinder.
   "After some brief log tracing it's only a matter of tracking down the Sec-Cam port and disabling that. Depending on the number of cams on the port, the port's reset time may take a while, giving us a few extra minutes," Quil spoke confidently as he kept his eyes on the dialogue boxes opened on his goggle's HUD.
   "That's not how it works, Kid." Filth spoke nonchalantly as he watched the metal strands begin to tighten the loose cylindrical shape into something more resembling a kettle, "The extra minutes don't come from how long the cameras are offline, it comes from them noticing offline cam-"
   "I know." Quil kept his focus on his work. "I am saying I will crash the Sec-Cam port by setting up false virtual cam's that will send empty data packets. Once I have enough false requests being delivered to the port, it should crash the port. This will make it so that the last frame of the camera will be the visible frame."
   Filth paused, looking up from his kettle, "and that means?"
   "It will look like the cameras are still online." the data appeared in front of Quil's eyes as he continued his work, "it won't be until the G.I.E. notice the timestamp has stopped counting that something is wrong with the cameras. Even then, they will assume it is a technical glitch and less someone infiltrating their network."
   "So we may have a long time to solve your little vault dilemma then?"
   "Not as long as you would hope. They do have a fail-safe system troubleshooter. Once the Sec-Cam port resets it will give an error-code which their fail-safe will determine as a breach to a seventy-percent accuracy, which is a high enough chance for the G.I.E. to want to investigate."
   "Was that the first time in your life you weren't completely light on words?" Filth looked from the kid to his makeshift kettle-glove.
   Quil looked from his work, to Filth, and back to his work. He nodded.
   Filth pulled out a small bag of dried leaves as well as a very simple metal flask. He tore a few tiny holes into the bag of leaves before opening the top and pouring a little bit of the flasks contents onto the leaves inside. The clear liquid (presumably water) sprinkled across the leaves before draining out of the bottom of the bag where Filth had torn the holes.
   He kept his eyes focused on the leaves, watching the liquid drain from the bag slowly. "The secret is washing the leaves thoroughly," he spoke softly to himself.
   Once the leaves were fully drained he dumped the contents of the bag into the kettle made by the strange glove and topped them with more liquid from the flask (not before taking a small swig of it himself to check for quality - which, the quality was superb, of course.)
   The strands that had come from his glove began to knit around each other more until the opening on top of the kettle was closed and the small puffs of steam began to come out of the spout of the kettle.
   Filth waited a couple of silent minutes, eyes closed. It's hard to say what he could be thinking about, but judging by how active his conscious - and therefore his imaginary friend - it could just be that he was thinking about the plan ahead. It's what a man does, right? He plans. He said so himself. Or, at least, something like that. Perhaps he thought about his newly reacquired freedom, or maybe he could only think of the only thing important to his manliness: women. Lots of women. In fact, the smile that grew across his face implied that it was indeed women that he was lost in thought with, unless he really took that much pleasure in "taking out guards". Of course, he could also take a lot of pleasure in his free-DING!
   "Hopefully a perfect brew," he concentrated on his glove as the strands receded from the top as well as sinking the spout of the kettle to form a more convincing cup to drink his fresh brew from.
   "Camera port located. System crash will happen in three -"
   Filth held up his hand signaling Quil to wait. He brought the cup of steaming liquid to his lip, blowing off the top layer of steam so that he could take that first taste to test the quality of his brew.
   He looked down, almost in disappointment, shaking his head. He pulled out his flask again, pulling both the cup of tea and the flask close to his face to rectify the missed quality. With intense concentration, he gently lifted the flask, waiting for the liquid to flow out. Slowly lifting. Slowly, ever so slowly. Careful now, too much could ruin a perfect brew, too little means wasting more time as the temperature of this brew begins its swift decline to unsavory. A single bead of sweat rolled down Filth's forehead. He stuck his tongue out to help him balance his concentration on the gentle tilt of the flask. He could feel the liquid shifting inside, it was about to come out. Gently and slowly, gently and slowly. And with accurate precision, the crystal liquid rolled from the flask into the cup of tea.
   "You realize the timer is tic-" Quil was interrupted by an aggressively sincere finger in silencing Quil.
   Filth tilted the flask back, screwing the cap on and shoving it back into his coat pocket. He could tell, Quil is definitely in suspense over how perfect his brew is. Filth lifted the cup to his mouth, once again, placing his bottom lip on the cup, and blowing the lingering steam away. He took a sip. A moment of peace. Quil's eyes and cowlicks both laid flat while he waited for Filth to finish the brew.
   Filth slowly lowered his refined brew from his lips, a very obvious sensation of relaxation sent ripples across his body as he let out one ecstasy filled word, "perfect."
   A pause as he let the sensation settle into his body.
   And then in a single instant Filth sprang to his feet, sprinting to the exit of their make-shift camp, here in the maintenance corridors, kicking the door open with one mighty kick. The guards swiftly turned to look at the commotion, though, that was all they really had time for. One mighty punch to the face for the first guard knocking him to the ground allowing Filth to grab him by the legs and throw him into the next two guards, as another guard watched the three bodies collapse to the ground like bowling pins, Filth gave a swift low-kick, tripping the fourth guard, throwing him to the other collapsed guards, followed by one majestic pile-driver into the stack of bodies. He finished by jumping up and falling back down into his throne of unconscious bodies. Filth crossed one leg, retracted the wire lid to his brew, and took a sip of his tea.
   He let out a very audible breath of satisfaction as he lowered the cup from his mouth. "Good stuff."
   Quil looked at the line of guns that had been successfully disarmed from the guards without a single shot fired from either Filth or the guards. He was impressed at how skillful Filth had defended himself, making Quil cock an eyebrow.
   "This?" Filth laughed. "No, no, I just had a little steam I needed to burn off on these guys."
   Quil looked at the pile of bodies that Filth had perched himself on top of.
   "Don't worry, Kid." Filth rolled his eyes. "They'll be sore for a while, but they'll make a full recovery."
   Quil nodded his head, slowly.
   "Well, Kid?" Filth waved to get his attention. "We're at the vault. You want to take a look?"
   Quil made a slow, deliberate turn toward his destination, though his eyes lagged behind as they strayed from the unconscious bodies.
   Filth was certainly right in how impenetrable it seemed on the outside. Thick, heavy, cold, and towering in height. Giving a few knocks on the door almost seemed to imply the door was a fake. One could not tell there was a hollow chamber on the other side of the door due to how thick it was.
   There were no external combinations to be input. He definitely was right that it had to be released remotely.
   Quil stepped back to get a wider field of view on the colossal that stood before him, only to be quite painfully knocked to the ground, sending the strange cubes he had nabbed from the shuttle rolling out of the broken zipper bag.
   "Freeze," A man shouted sending a haunting chill down Quil's spine. It wasn't the man's voice, but it was knowing that immediately behind him was the barrel of a gun.
   Filth spit out his tea, swiftly reacting to the guard who had pinned Quil down. He lunged forward, the strands of metal breaking apart, sending tea splashing to the floor as they forgot their cup shape and instead became a disorganized mess of vines rapidly extending to the guard, wrapping tight around his leg, tripping him to the ground.
   Hook, line, and lure, Filth reeled in his catch, bringing the guard to Filth's sharp gaze, punctuating his fresh G.I.E. catch with a click of his gun as he shoved the barrel right into the eye of the soldier he had caught. The man let out a fearful squeak.
   "We're a little busy, if you don't mind." Filth spoke in sharp anger. He twirled his gun around, gripping it by the barrel to make sure he could get a firm grasp as he hammered the grip of his gun into the side of the man's skull.
   The body collapsed limply to the floor. "Yeah, he's definitely going to wake up with one gnarly migraine." Filth laughed, holstering his gun (not without giving a showy display of twirls first, of course) as he walked towards Quil.
   Quil started lifting himself to his feet. "I'm surprised you didn't shoot."
   "Oh!" Filth lit up, "That reminds me," he rested his foot on top of Quil, knocking him back to the floor.
   Filth reached into his coat pulling his gun back out along with a metal cartridge. He slid the cartridge into the grip of his gun with one satisfying click before putting his gun away.
   "Never mind my toys," Filth leaned in to look at the mess of the small metal cubes that had rolled out of Quil's bag. "What are you kids into these days? What are these? Puzzle cubes?"
   He pressed his foot down on the cube nearest him to give a little test of the durability of the child's toy.
   Quil wanted to try and speak, but he currently was finding it difficult to breathe with a very tall, well-built, grown man balancing all of his weight into the one foot that was holding Quil down while the man's other foot was too busy fiddling with the cube that was now shining brightly. That's what he needed to tell Filth, the cube was glowing and doing - well, it's hard to say. It was doing something.
   Of course, it didn't take long for Filth to realize this on his own as some of the other nearby cubes also began to shine brightly, spreading open to reveal the source of the bright light - too bright to tell what exactly. The white outer glow faded into a glistening gold that encircled whatever the source of the glow was.
   Filth watched as the glowing object inside of the cubes darted out, dashing towards the vault door, penetrating its dense metal like a bullet through water - complete with a trail of boiling molten vault door behind each puncture.
   Both Quil and Filth stood silent, wide-eyed. Things had seemed to have gone quiet in the brief moments of excitement from the cubes' release of whatever material was inside of it. It only took one loud thump against the other side of the vault door - spitting up the remaining molten metal - making Filth leap off of Quil and flee a short distance away.
   Another thump came, punctuated by a metal piece - perhaps a bolt or a hinge - that collapsed to the floor. Filth turned to look at Quil, still lost in his surprise as he stared at the strange events happening behind the vault door. He wanted to know. He so desperately wanted to know what was on the other side of the door.
   Another thump and another, they came so quickly it was less like the beat of a drum and more like a harrowing, bone-rattling thunder that shook the entire floor. The temperature of the entire hall outside of the vault began to rise as the blood of metal rushed out of puncture wounds.
   Filth began to dash towards Quil, "Kid, get out of the -"
A ferocious release of energy blew open a massive gash in the vault door, releasing the massive amounts of heat that had been stored inside in one blazing draft that swept down the halls until equilibrium was reached.
   And with that, the calming silence that followed the storm, with only the sounds of debris settling in the wake of the aftermath.
   Quil stood up, his cowlicks on edge. Though his eyes appeared relax, a heat of excitement perhaps equal to the one just released from the vault was ignited inside of him. He paced around the debris picking up the cubes that did not release whatever was inside.
   "I guess some of your toys are defective." Filth said picking up one of the un-opened cubes.
   Quil looked down at another unopened cube. "I don't know how long they had been forgotten," he whispered to himself as he grabbed the cube Filth held and the two cubes back into his bag.
   "You okay, Kid?" Filth asked in a surprisingly concerned voice.
   Quil nodded as he focused on trying to fix the zipper on his bag in hopes of preventing future spills.
   "Are you sure that's you final answer?" Filth pointed towards Quil's right arm.
   Quil paused to look at his arm to see the large piece of metal shrapnel that jutted from the arm. Quil gripped the piece tightly as he pulled it out of his arm without a single complaint of pain, without a single wince towards the severe wound that had been inflicted on him, complete with splatters of blood dripping to the floor as the metal exited his arm.
   The only person to flinch at the sight of the wound was Filth as he watched Quil toss the scrap to some side of the hall (doesn't matter). Filth stood with his jaw agape. He watched Quil finish fixing his bag and walk away towards the opened vault as if he wasn't the least bit hurt. "He might have more chest hair than me." Filth spoke to himself.
   Filth stepped into the vault right behind Quil with an audible crunch as his foot disturbed the broken glass and solidified drops of metal that had dripped from the molten vault door.
   "You know, it was curiosity that killed the cat, right?" Filth snarked as he took in the damage that had been done to the room inside - thankful he was on the outside of the vault door, rather than being trapped in what one might assume was an overclocked oven at one point.
   Quil kicked large tiles aside as he moved towards the one object that remained standing inside the vault.
   Filth shook his head, stopping in place so he could keep an eye on the gash in the vault - waiting for when the guards would come to arrest them. "I have a feeling this 'fallen star' is more than just some space rock," he spoke concerned under his breath.
   Filth's eyebrows fell flat as his supposed imaginary friend was (probably) scolding him.
   "You didn't 'tell me so'," he mocked in frustration.
   He huffed as - one might imagine - he continued to get scolded.
   Filth shook his head. "Kid, we probably don't have a lot of time unless you want to go back to low-sec holding cells."
   Quil largely ignored Filth. He was lost in his own world as he took in the strange apparatus that stood before him, it was surrounded by a pool of viscous liquid that smelled strongly of chemicals.
   The apparatus stood taller than him, that is certain, but not towering. It was barely as tall as Filth (but he was a pretty tall man). For the most part it was hard to tell what it once was. Its frame stood torn apart with jagged edges that spread like rather wicked arms trying to welcome Quil. There were numerous pipes and tubing, wires and electronics that had collapsed on top of and around the destroyed frame. Whether they came from the ceiling or the apparatus itself, it was hard to say.
   Quil grabbed one of the electronic boards still loosely attached by a few thin wires. Most of the capacitors had been destroyed and most of the joints had been melted. While it was clear to Quil that the control device of the apparatus was no longer functional (outside of the obvious mechanical problem it has), he was glad to see that the memory unit was still attached to the board.
   He removed the tiny card from its slot as he slipped it into his own watch.
   The memory unit contained little information on the actual object inside the apparatus, nor did it even give much of an idea on the purpose of the apparatus. He found dump logs and error reports. The best information it gave him was a log of system specifications.
   Multiple processing cores all clocked perfectly to not interfere with the other cores' clock speeds. Multiple bridges, multiple printed circuit boards, massive amounts of memory and storage, and even a separate controller complete with its own bridge, memory, storage, core, etc.
   This log only made him far more curious of what was contained inside. His cowlicks leaned back, his eyes narrowed as he tried to examine closer, moving the junk out of his way. But this alone wasn't enough for him. He tore his goggles from his eyes, letting the band snap them back to his head (quite painfully - but he was too preoccupied to care).
   He peeled off a layer of debris revealing a few tiny blue strands. He peeled more off, throwing the crap to the ground, revealing a few more blue strands.
   "I know you think I don't care if I go back to the holding cells or not," Filth helped Quil pull more debris away from the apparatus, "but, take my word, I'd rather be stuck with a creepy, weird kid than be stuck inside a cell." And with mighty strength he pulled the curtain of debris off the apparatus revealing what was contained underneath.
   So slender and small. So innocent and frail. Skin so fair that a single ray of sun had never once touched it. So extraordinary in pose as her frail body hung unconscious over Quil, suspended by the many wires that were attached to the apparatus, one would almost assume she was connected to a horrific torture device. This young and innocent woman against the soot covered and damaged devices that hung around her. She was so beautiful. She was so gentle in stature. And she had blue hair.
   Quil cocked an eyebrow grabbing a few strands of her hair in his hand to observe the rather strange colour. However, this only brought to his attention a baffling peculiarity. The hair was warm to his touch.
   Quil took in every detail of her body while Filth untied the wires and tubes that locked the fallen star inside her device. Each bit removed was more of her that Quil could take in as he continued to observe the woman, wondering what she was. Who was she? Why was she here? What did the G.I.E. want with her?
   A million questions circled through his brain, and with each second, each moment, each fraction of a moment he analyzed every inch of her body in hopes of seeing if he could come to any conclusions.
   Blue hair. Fair skin. Small in frame. Her torso wrapped in an overly tight material that clung to her body (and hiding the parts of her that Filth - or for that matter, any man - was more interested in).
   Quil tried to relate the log from the memory chip to her appearance, making him observe her closer, taking in her long legs, just as frail as the rest of her body. Every ounce of detail he took in as best as he could. It seemed that each moment that passed, as he took in more of her detail she grew closer, and closer, and -
   "Oof," Quil was knocked into the rather smelly liquid that was spilled across the floor, knocked down by the fallen star who had just fallen on top of him.
   "Glad to see you could at least keep your pants on, Pornstar." Filth lifted the girl off of Quil, "try not to breathe so heavily next time you ogle a girl, it just makes you," he paused with a grimace as he reorganized his thought, "well," another pause, "creepier."
   Quil's cowlicks lowered in annoyance as he stumbled in the slippery liquid to lift himself to his feet. The stench of the viscous liquid made his nose recoil in disgusted wrinkles.
   With one hand still wrapped tight around the fallen star, Filth grabbed a tube and squeezed it, blowing a pink mist onto Quil making him cough as his cowlicks reeled back in disgust.
   Filth couldn't help but sniff the now fragrant air. "Hmm, strawberries." He shrugged as he squeezed the tube again to blow the mist onto the girl in his arms.
   Quil wiped the tears that had formed in his eyes from gagging on the dense mist as he stared daggers at Filth.
   Filth shook his head. He tossed the girl over his shoulder so that he had a free hand to slap the kid rather painfully on the back. "Kid, you smelled awful. I did it for your own good," he slapped Quil on the back again, pushing Quil towards the exit. "Besides, now isn't the time to complain, we should really consider leaving since – you know – that whole explosion thing? It probably has stirred the hornet's nest, if you get what I am saying."
   Quil looked towards the fallen star that was draped over Filth's shoulder. He nodded, moving towards the exit following right behind Filth who had already rushed ahead.
   "Try to keep up, Kid." He looked back at Quil. "We'll head to hangar C and - OOF-" He collapsed to the ground sending the star rolling across the ground as the soldier moved the butt of his gun to his shoulder to take aim.