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Philipp was looking at the mangled thruster. That was going to cost a lot. The thing was huge, easily twenty meters in diameter and fifty meters long. Keyword ‘was’, as a huge gaping hole could be seen in the thing with the rest badly deformed from the force of the explosion.

 

What didn’t make sense to him however was why no one had stopped the slave from doing this? It made no sense in his mind.

 

Was everyone else truly so incompetent? He paused for a moment.

 

Yes, yes they were and it wasn’t the first time he had come to this conclusion. He was plagued by incompetence all around him. Well, he could always count on himself to get the job done.

 

It should have been obvious someone was planting a damn bomb and walked away. How could they have missed it? It didn’t cross Philip’s mind that no one knew there was a slave on the loose and that they weren’t even looking for an intruder.

 

One thing was sure, the slave had definitely come here, planted a bomb in front of all of these morons, and walked away. But where?

 

Philip was a genius, he knew that if someone was to figure it out it was him. Free the slaves, plant a bomb… the next step in this misguided plan was obvious.

 

They would escape with the shuttles! Hah! It was obvious for a genius like himself. Of course he figured it out. He had barely even needed to think about it. Sometimes he really was amazing.

 

Elated at his own genius, he took off towards the hangar, he could check on the slave quarters just in case as it was on the way anyway.

 

He knew scum had a herd mentality, they simply had to stick together. Weaklings. Plus it was clear that someone had meant to free the other slaves, but was waiting for a distraction to leave.

 

Thinking back on his last encounter, he decided to take a little detour to the armory… better safe than sorry.




****************************************



Kali had lost a lot of time forcing all the doors open to free the slaves. Someone had activated a lockdown of the area. They had to hurry before they were found out. The sabotage on the thruster would hopefully make their response to their escape more delayed, but she knew full well they would be after them.

 

The only real question was how much of a headstart they would get. Ideally enough to reach the hangar and steal enough shuttles to get the hell away from here. Pursuit with one thruster down would be too hard on the main ship.

 

More and more former slaves were out in the hallway with her, using different tools to cut holes in the thick doors. This was taking so long, and she cursed that she hadn’t thought about arming them.

 

Should they just make a run for it and hope they wouldn’t have to fight? Or go by the armory to gear up before making a run for it?

 

She looked behind a corner in the main hallway leading up to the prison, or slave quarters as some called them, still no one in sight. It was either incredible luck, her diversion was working better than expected or, and this one felt more and more likely, they were preparing an armed force to deal with them.

 

Looking back she saw that they were almost done with the last door. They were making so much noise too! She took another peek in the hallway and her heart almost stopped. An officer was walking towards them from the far end.

 

She turned around and gesticulated wildly to get everyone’s attention. They all fell quiet, and she mimed that someone was coming.

 

Leaning towards the corner again, she peeked down the long hallway. He was a bit closer now and what she saw made her fear for the worst.

 

He had at least five different weapons on him! He was armed to the teeth, and coming their way.

 

She knew he hadn’t seen her, but as he got closer she couldn’t risk peeking. Turning back to the others, she made a motion for them to keep silent. Armed as he was, their only option was to get the jump on him.

 

It had been quiet, but now they all fell truly silent. And maybe it had been just in time, as she soon started to hear the clanking of the different weapons on the man's armor getting closer.

 

A few big men crept closer to her, using hand signals to coordinate their ambush. She knew one of them even had the [Grappler] class which would be useful.

 

The clanking of metal on metal got louder and louder, until it felt like it was upon them. If he escaped for any reason and alerted the rest of the ship, they were probably done for. He could probably hold them all off if he knew about what they were trying to do, with all the weapons he had on him.

 

Her heart was beating so loudly! Everything seemed to slow down. If they failed here, they would probably all die. She thought she had made her peace with it, but maybe that was a lie she wanted to believe. Finally, she could see the man enter into view.

 

The men around her burst into action, the first tackled the surprised officer, while the others jumped to immobilize his limbs and quickly remove all the different weapons. It had taken an instant.

 

“Wh-What are you doing?!” She heard the man splutter as he was quickly immobilized.

 

“Do you know who I am?” He asked loudly as the weapons were quickly being stripped from him.

 

That was enough to actually equip six of them, even more than she had expected.

 

“Kali? What do we do with him?” One of the former slaves asked her as they hauled up the now trembling man. Five men held him straight up, all limbs firmly locked in place.

 

Upon seeing her, the man’s face quickly changed, going from shock, to unbelieving to finally settling on pure hatred.

 

You” He spit the word out with pure disgust.

 

“You…” He seemed to be looking for a word.

 

Manaless cur” the man finally managed to spit out.

 

“System abandoned abomination, leveless whore. You tricked me!” He continued, gaining momentum after his first insult.

 

She was almost impressed by the curses. But who was he?



****************************************



He was seething. Never before had he been so humiliated. A rage so raw he almost felt both hot and cold.

 

“Who are you?”

 

That’s what she had told him. HIM. Like she didn’t even know who he was! Like she didn’t even remember him!

 

The memory of his capture was vivid in his mind, but everytime, he would hear it again, like a soft echo taunting him.

 

Who are you?

 

Shouldn’t we just kill him?” Another voice had said.

 

Just lock him up in one of the prisons, he’s not worth it. She had said as she shook her head.

 

The memory played again and again, his anger and rage growing each time. He had never been so humiliated in his whole life. Not even his mother had managed to humiliate him this much.

 

And mana knew she had tried. Time and time again, she had done everything in her power to lower his self esteem. Making embarrassing comments in front of his friends, and clearly enjoying their mocking reactions.

 

Telling him he didn’t need friends, that they were all mocking him, which was her fault to begin with. The sly comments to chip away at his self esteem, again and again.

 

And it was far from the last time she had tried to humiliate him. But in the end, the universe had corrected itself. With a little help from him, he had never meant for it to kill her, it had been meant for her to slip and embarrass herself in front of everyone.

 

He was still conflicted about it, but tried to tell himself it was the universe's way of telling him she had to go. He had only made her slip, not make the most unlucky fall possible. He who thought she was the worst had still cried, still grieved, but a part of him had always felt like it was for the best. Like he was finally free.

 

He looked around his dingy cell. The hole in the door had been patched up to keep him inside. But it had been done badly. Like they didn’t even think he was worth the effort to truly keep at bay.

 

Not they, SHE. Because she didn’t think he was worth anything. Because she didn’t think he would ever amount to much. Just like his mother.

 

Who are you? Her voice echoed in his head again.

 

He’s not worth it. Her voice told him, laughing at him.

 

But the worst part? He knew she was faking it, as there was no way she had forgotten. They had had a… date of sorts set up and everything. The bitch.

 

But it was even worse. Kali, as was her name, had been the slave all along, and so had tricked him not only once, but twice! He could almost hear her laugh at him from here. Laughing and laughing and laughing.

 

She would pay. She would pay. She would pay, and he would savor making her scream in pain before he killed her. He had been so sure there was something between them, and then she had gone and done this. He had never felt so betrayed in his whole life.

 

Unacceptable.

 

He stopped rocking back and forth. He was calm, calmer than he had ever been. He walked over to the disgusting corner toilet and started hammering his makeshift cuffs against the metallic corner. Again, and again and again.

 

His hands and wrists were soon bleeding, but he felt no pain. He only felt joy in this moment. Joy in what was to come. With a manic grin on his face, he continued to smash his cuffs on the hard corner. The makeshift cuffs clearly bending and breaking slowly.

 

In a final swing, his hands finally came free. Blood dripping from his bloodied hands.

 

One thing was for sure, he would have his vengeance on Kali.

 

And it would be sooner rather than later he thought to himself, with a dangerous glint of crazy in his eyes, as he broke open the badly welded metal piece covering the hole in the door.



****************************************



Marco was pacing back and forth on the command deck. How had everything gone to shit so fast? It had seemed like a simple malfunction at first. And now look at this shitfest he had on his hands.

 

Thirteen dead.

 

Thirteen. And let’s not talk about all the wounded.

 

And who did he have to blame? Fucking Philip.

 

He hadn’t wanted to believe it at first. The moron probably couldn’t string two logical ideas together stuck in his own brain as he was.

 

But the evidence didn’t lie. There were too many things pointing towards him.

 

He had four different reports in front of him. Some were simply audio recordings of the crew reporting something to him, others had recorded images they had brought to him…

 

And from four completely different crew groups. Why would anyone lie about any of this? It didn’t make any sense, so he reviewed what he knew again.

 

One: Philip had overriden the locks of the slave prisons.

Two: Someone had seen him take out a LOT of weapons and some explosifs from the armory.

Three: He had been seen leaving shortly after the explosion on the right thruster.

Four: The slaves were now free and had the weapons he had taken out of the armory.

 

That last one was the most recent, and the nail in the coffin so to speak.

 

It was too much. It all pointed to Philip. But it made no sense! That had always been the issue with Philip. He was stupid to the point of being unpredictable.

 

Only mana knew what the hell was going on in that brain of his.

 

Had he really been responsible for the death of the previous captain? He had initially thought Philip had thought he somehow had had a hand, but ultimately dismissed the idea.

 

It had been an accident. No one could plan a malfunction like that. But now? Maybe he had underestimated him. Maybe, just maybe he had planned it all. The worst part? He had been the first to be duped.

 

It was obvious Philip had been happy about the previous captain’s demise, but had he been the true culprit? No one had truly believed him capable of doing it, and not in the sense that his morals would stop him, but smart and competent enough to pull it off.

 

Now though, now he knew that maybe, just maybe he shouldn’t underestimate Philip.

 

It was unclear what he had planned, but the slaves were clearly a big part of it. Why? He had no idea. What did he gain by doing this? It didn’t seem obvious at all.

 

What made the least sense was that he knew Philip as a coward. And a coward would never put himself through the risks he was taking now. Or maybe Philip didn’t think he would figure it out and thought he was safe from the crew?

 

What truly puzzled Marco to no end was the goal. Just what on dust could his goal be with the slaves? It made no sense at all!

 

These questions gnawed at him as he looked at the different reports of Philip. He went through them again.

 

And again.

 

He came to the same conclusion. Either the idiot truly was an idiot and it was extremely unlucky coincidences, or he had a grand plan and fooled all of them for the longest time…

 

The issue was, if he had a plan, which was the most likely case, there was no way he didn’t have at least a part of the crew on his side to help him. It only made sense that others would be in on it.

 

So calling him out as the culprit could backfire in a mutiny. Which was the last thing he needed right now. No the best plan was to get everyone mobilized against the slaves, and put in a word to his best and most loyal men to make an accident happen to Philip when things had cooled down…

 

Yes. That was the best way. Philip couldn’t overtly do anything to help the slaves in front of the rest of the crew. Still, it was probably best to get rid of him as soon as he could. Maybe it was time for him to put in some work himself.

 

Yes, the slaves had to be dealt with first.

 

From what his security had told him, the slaves were going straight for the hangar with all the shuttles. They would be there within 10 minutes by their estimates.

 

Every last door and blast-door was actively being locked down to slow them down, but even then they weren’t actually very far from the hangar.

 

The truth was that if they had caught on earlier, it would have been easy to handle this shitfest. It was like the universe had something against him.

 

Coming out of his personal armory, decked out in full combat armor, he muttered something under his breath.

 

Just as he was about to head out, he got another report coming in. Pulling it up on a screen, he could see Philip ordering blast-doors opened by junior crewmembers, who were decked out with combat gear. All going towards the hangar.

 

Fucking Philip.

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