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Chapter 11

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Chapter XI

The Raid in Broken Mountain Institute

 

In the dark of night Olly, Russel and Jeanie sit on the bed in Martin’s old cell. Jeanie still feeling slightly nauseous sits with a strip of cloth that had been previously a part of Russel’s bed. Which is now wound tightly around her head, covering the gash in her forehead, they had been too afraid to seek professional medical attention after hearing the screams of their friend from room ninety-nine, and whilst Jeanie said she was fine, the boy’s secretly thought that she wasn’t being honest about that fact. But there were more pressing matters to speak off with Olly is the first to bring up the elephant in the room, their missing friend.

“We’ve got to do something.” Olly said looking serious for the first time in all the time he had been here. “We can’t let sparky rot down there.” Olly finished; his usual carefree attitude was no longer right in this situation. At this Jeanie looks up at this.

“What can we do?” Jeanie asked, she wanted to help, but she also didn’t want to end up in the same place. “We have no way of getting down there Olly.” She finished looking equally as serious.

“We need to tackle one of the guards.” Russel said, he reckoned that whilst it would be difficult, between the three of them they could manage it. “Take their card and go down there.” Russel finished. At this Jeanie did scoff.

“Easier said than done.” Jeanie replied with a hint of annoyance in her voice, wondering whether Russel had also been hit over the head to come up with such an outlandish idea, but Olly looks at Jeanie.

“You didn’t hear sparky in that room. I’ve never heard him scream before.” Olly shudders at the recollection, he had heard the sound that others made inside that room, but it was nothing like that. “Whatever that… That thing was doing to him must have been worse than what that mad scientist was doing beforehand.” Olly finished and the three remain silent, both Olly and Russel remember the cold that had come into the cell block as whatever that thing had been, had glided through and towards room ninety-nine.

“Aye. He looked almost dead by the time he was dragged out of there.” Russel said, angrier than frightened at that fact. “He obviously didn’t give any of us up, otherwise we would be down there with him.” Russel finished, he knew that they couldn’t just sit up here and wait for help, after what Martin had been through in that room.

“He’s been down there for more than twenty-four hours already.” Jeanie said with an anxious look on her face. “Do you think he’s still alive.” Jeanie finished looking at the two boys. The three pause a moment thinking about this fact. No one who had ever been sent below ever came back up again.

“Course he is.” Olly said his usual sense of optimism returning, although he didn’t entirely feel that it was justified. “Come let’s go get our boy back. For sparky.” Olly finished and looked at his two companions and, after a moment both Russel and Jeanie both get up at the same time.

“For Sparky.” Russel said and the pair looked over at Jeanie who nodded her agreement.

“For Martin.” Jeanie said. after which the three kids were just about to leave the cell, when an explosion rocks the walls, coming from the next cell along. The room violently shakes with the force of the blast and the three look at each other.

“What in the gods name was that?” Russel said looking around, the room that they were in was undamaged. However, visibly poured into the corridor outside, as the trio heard the sound of rubble collapsing to the ground.

 

As Russel, Jeanie rush into the neighbouring cell, which luckily happened to be Olly’s, the blast would probably have deafened any person that may have been asleep in that cell otherwise. The two kids look up at the newly created hole in the wall.

A dwarf stands looking down into the cell. By the time that Mazgux hops down from the hole, Olly makes his way into his newly renovated cell, never having been the fastest kid, his friends had easily outstripped him in the race to find out what the noise had been. At which point, a few seconds later, Doraghek hops down into the cell and begins looking around, before turning back to his comrade.

“Good work Mazgux.” Doraghek said, clapping his fellow on the back. “Radio the others and tell them we’re in.” Doraghek finishes and Mazgux nods and raises his wrist to his mouth. Informing the others that they had made their breach. A few moments later, five more dwarves; Jotrulir, Tursumlin, Throzzoug, Erilatir and Komatin enter the cell followed by Codsworth, Barca and Dave. Codsworth surveys the room and notices Olly, Russel and Jeanie gaping at these new arrivals. As Dave walks up to them.

“Have you seen this boy?” Dave said, in his hand was a picture of Martin, it was one of the few pictures that had managed to have been saved from the manor after its fall, it wasn’t that up to date, but it would have to do in this situation. Olly takes a few moments to look at the picture for a few moments before nodding.

“Yep. That’s sparky, only with hair.” Olly said, trying to remember the last time he had seen Martin without a buzzcut, that being when they had first met each other in the holding cell on their first day in this hell hole. Codsworth and Barca exchange a look with the latter mouthing the word ‘Sparky’ in confusion as Dave puts away the photo. Codsworth merely shrugs and goes over to join Dave by the three kids. As Bruce, Abi and Jimmy enter the cell.

“Do you know where there keeping him?” Codsworth asks the three kids. His tone was quick as he wanted to get in and out as quickly as possible.

“Yeah.” Russel said and the commander turned to him. “They took him below yesterday. We were just on our way to break him out.” Russel finishes looking at the ground in embarrassment, it had after all, been a foolish plan without help. This however seemed to confuse the commander even more than the nickname.

“How do we get, erm, below?” Codsworth asks, looking slightly confused. Wondering what this below was. And why the boy in front of him sounded full of dread when talking about it.

“You take the elevator, but you need a card to access it. The guards have them.” Olly said, unlike his two friends he had no idea who this man was. “We can go get one if you want.” Olly continued before Codsworth interrupted and shook his head.

“No. How many people are imprisoned now?” Codsworth said. that was important as he needed to know if they had enough transports to evacuate the entire prison.

“About fifty kids.” Jeanie said before continuing. “Commander.” Jeanie finished and the commander nodded briefly at the use of his title and stood still for a second doing some quick thinking before coming back to the moment. “We should have enough room. Right how many entrances are there to this cell block.”

“Just the one.” Olly said, he knew the layout of this place well enough having spent the most time here, whilst the guards thought it was an excellent idea, he also knew that the layout could be used to their advantage if they were able to smuggle in weapons. The commander nodded at this before continuing

 “Right, you guys want to help. Wake up everyone you can and bring them back here. Where we can evacuate you.” Codsworth said, this was the only place that had a large enough amount of flat ground to land the choppers on, albeit only two would fit by his guess without some clever trickery.

“Sure.” Said Jeanie nodding. However, Russel seemed hesitant at the idea.

“What about sparky though.” Russel said looking concerned.

“We’ll get Martin out of here, don’t worry lad.” Codsworth answered, trying to smile in a reassuring way. But, at that moment Franklin Homer walks round the corner and looks into the cell. He had heard the sound and come to investigate the noise. But, before he can so much as yell however, Codsworth puts a bullet between his eyes, and he collapses to the ground. The commander turns to Bruce, looks the translator up and down and then nods as the dead man is dragged into the cell, by a few of the dwarves. Who he then turns to.

“Doraghek. Tell your men to start planting the charges, we’ll level this place once everyone’s out.” Codsworth said and the dwarf nodded before turning to his kin.

“Aye.” Doraghek said turning to the dwarves. “You heard him lads. Get yourselves movin.” Doraghek continues as he and the others rush of and begin setting the charges at strategic intervals. A which point Codsworth turns back to Bruce who having finished stripping the guard of his uniform and hands Codsworth a small black card.

“Jimmy, Abi. Make sure this cell remains open.” Codsworth says. “Bruce get the doors to the cell block closed. Barca, Dave with me.” The commander finishes and the team then splits up with Codsworth heading towards the elevator. And Jimmy and Abi to begin setting up a small defence and with Bruce putting on the uniform. Asking that Olly remain with him as Russel and Jeanie go to wake the other inmates.

 

When Dave, Codsworth and Barca approach the elevator, they can hear the sound of the first inmates groggily waking up, but they are distracted by the crudeness of the elevator, a single stone block jutting out from the centre of the plain wall in front of them.

“Let’s hope this works.” Barca said. Doubting himself already but, as soon as the card was held up to the scanner a small green light appears on the reader and the elevator doors open.

“Barca.” Codsworth said, turning to the lieutenant with a business-like tone. “Stay up here and guard this elevator.” Codsworth finishes, he needed to make sure that both he and Dave would not be getting off blindly into hands of the enemy.

“Yes sir.” Barca said taking up position as Codsworth and Dave enter the elevator. Before pressing a button and the doors begin to close as the elevator starts to descend.

 

Bruce, having changed into the uniform of the dead guard looks down at Olly who is standing a few paces behind him. As they both stare at a set of double doors up ahead that lead to the main part of the prison.

“So, lad, you’re sure this is that this the only way into the cell block?” Bruce asked whilst he straightens the epaulettes on his shoulders to make them look more official, something that he had learnt that people responded too, even if the person giving the orders were spouting absolute nonsense.

“Yeah.” Olly said. “It’s so they can contain us if there a riot or something.” Olly finished, he had been told that by an older inmate in his first week, and he briefly thought about what had become of her. Probably dead or worse, was the most likely answer.

“And this guard speaks Barter, and those guards will understand him.” Bruce said looking slightly nervous.

“Yes.” Olly said, it had been one of Franklin’s most terrifying characteristics, not knowing what he was saying, so you had no idea what his mood was from his words. All the inmates just assumed angry as a default, as it tended to be safer that way.

“That’s good.” Bruce said with a grin, his nerves somewhat alleviated. “Go back and wake up the rest of inmates. I’ve got this.” The translator told the boy, who hurriedly ran back to the cell block, not wanting to see what would happen if this plan failed. Once Bruce was certain that he is out of sight he marches up to the double doors straightening his hat as he does so and steps into the control room on the other side. Bruce silently thanked whatever gods there were watching over him, that the man he was impersonating was clearly either respected or feared by his subordinates, so much so that they looked away as he approached.

“Zakorta bet derfs. Grazus sigtut ontocum. Rush!” Bruce said, in imperial it directly translated to: “Close these doors, we have a situation incoming. Now!”, Bruce bellowed at the four guards stationed in the room, in a very strong Barter. At which the guards saluted him, and as Bruce walks back into the cell block, as three of the guards seal the steel doors whilst the fourth runs off towards the control tower.

Once the doors close fully, Bruce uses a control panel to jam the doors opening mechanism so the doors could no longer be opened remotely, before destroying the control panel and walks back down the corridor.

“Suckers.” Bruce said in an undertone, smiling at himself. “Drawbridge is up people.” Bruce stated into his intercom system before heading back to Jimmy and Abi. He knew that it would not hold them forever, but it would buy them enough time, hopefully at least.

 

The elevator continues its journey further and further down, whilst inside, Dave and Codsworth stand not moving, waiting for it to reach it’s only and final destination. It was at this point that Dave broke the silence.

“Do you think he’s still alive?” Dave asked, looking nervously up at Codsworth, his throat was dry, and he felt slightly queasy.

“Aye lad.” Codsworth said trying to reassure Dave, even he had his doubt on that particular subject. But he reasoned to himself that there was no excuse to voice his doubt, when Dave was clearly looking for comfort about his youngest brother’s situation.

The doors of the elevator then suddenly open, albeit into the pitch blackness of a long rocky hallway. Codsworth and Dave stepped out of the elevator as the doors closed completing the darkness.

“Thank the gods these helmets have lights.” Codsworth said to himself as he turned them on, to his right Dave did the same. The lights allow the two to see what is in front of them. A long hallway made out of rock with thick iron doors with padlocks on them set into right hand side of the rocky hallway. And to the left side, nothing put sheer wall of rock.

Both Dave and Codsworth could however, make out the smell easily enough, which did nothing to enlighten their moods. The smell of decay and death was everywhere in this narrow corridor.

“How do we know which one he’s in?” Dave said looking down the corridor at the doors that line the wall.

“We’ll have to check each one.” Codsworth said with a hint of dread in his voice as if he didn’t even want to look at what could be inside these cells. But he put his fear to one side and sighs before drawing his gun.

The commander shoots the padlock of the first door and proceeds to open it. Using his light to illuminate the room he sees that it was empty other than a few small skeletons litters on the ground with nothing but rats for company. Codsworth tries to block Dave’s view of the scene but it was too late as the teen looks inside as well, as his light illuminates the remains of one of the inhabitants however, he quickly pulls back. Codsworth turns around to see Dave standing against the wall, pale as a ghost staring into the cell.

“Listen to me, Dave.” Codsworth said, exiting the cell and putting his hand on the boy’s shoulder. “We’re going to find him alive okay.” Codsworth finished. But Dave only nodded his head in response feeling that if he spoke, he would throw up. Codsworth couldn’t blame him either, he had seen death and destruction on the battlefield plenty of times, even having to open fire on his own men looked peaky at the sight that had greeted them inside that cell and wondering what kind of monsters could have done this.

As Codsworth continues to walk down the rocky corridor, blasting open the door locks and looking inside the cells, he finds nothing but more remains in various states of decomposition and decay, the only living things were the rats that scurried about as the light past over them inside these cells.

The commander also takes note that Dave doesn’t look instead choosing to remain a few feet away from the cell’s doors at all times, Codsworth guested that at the first cell the lad had lost his nerve, to which he thought that he couldn’t exactly blame him.

On the seventh door however, Codsworth once again blasts away the lock and peers in and sighs with relief. On the ground lies a deathly thin Martin chained by his wrists to the wall and curled up next to a few other skeletons for his only company. Codsworth turns around.

“We’ve got him.” Codsworth said looking at Dave. At which the fourteen-year-old rushes into the cell followed by Codsworth who puts two fingers on the unconscious boy’s neck, feeling for a pulse, and after feeling around for a few moments gives a huge sigh of relief and smiles at Dave.

“We’ve got a pulse. He’s alive.” Codsworth said. “But I’ll be a lot happier once we’re airborne.” Codsworth takes two shots at the chains that are holding Martin to the wall, they would have to get a locksmith to fully unlock the kid, but at least he was no longer attached to the wall. At which, Dave picks his youngest brother up and carries him back to elevator.

“Do you need any help?” Codsworth asks Dave. In response Dave only shakes his head, which the aged commander thought, could either be Dave trying to prove something to him, or Martin was so underweight that even the slightly built Dave could carry him out. He hoped that it was the former but silently thought to himself that it was the latter.

 

A few minutes later Codsworth and Dave who still carries the unconscious Martin remerge from the elevator into the now packed cell block. As Codsworth gets on the radio.
“Charlie. Come in, we’ve got Martin but, we need the medical chopper down here ASAP. Do you copy?” Codsworth said with urgency, for a few moments there was silence with the commander fearing the worst. But eventually Charlie’s voice comes through.

“I come in, bringing down the medical chopper as we speak.” Charlie said sounding slightly nervous as to the urgency of the request. At that both Dave and Codsworth rush through the crowds of inmates and out of the small breach created at the start of the raid and onto the outcrop only just large enough for their three choppers to land safety, which the medical chopper now does with Charlie rushing out even before it had set down properly. Looking down at Martin for a few moments.

“Get him on board now!” Charlie said with the even more urgency than Codsworth had had a few moments before. She then proceeds to help Dave load Martin onto the chopper as Codsworth radios into the rest of the raiding party.

“Doraghek, do you come in?” Codsworth said and after a brief silence tries again. “Doraghek we’re ready to leave.” Codsworth said, wondering if there was a problem with the radios as it seemed to take much longer than normal to communicate. After a few tense moments however, the silence is broken.

“Aye sir. We’re on our way back to you now.” Doraghek said before the sound of an axe being swung and colliding with something solid comes through the radio. The commander sighed in relief but was then distracted as Jimmy then clambers out of the breach and runs up to Codsworth.

“They’ve overrun our positions commander.” Jimmy said breathing heavily. “They’ll be on us at any moment.” Jimmy finished after catching his breath. It had not taken long for the guards to figure out what was happening, fortunately Bruce ploy had worked for a time. But eventually the doors to the cell block had given way and the guards had streamed in. there had been a lot more of them than they had first thought, but with the help of a few of the older inmates they had managed to hold off for longer that they could have ever hoped for.

“Get the rest of the inmates loaded into the choppers Jimmy my lad.” Codsworth said and Jimmy nods as he does as commanded, whilst Codsworth re-enters the prison cell, where he sees Doraghek carrying Erilatir on his shoulder with the other dwarfs following on behind him.

“Charges are set lad.” Doraghek said looking at the helicopters with some nerves. “We’re ready to get back in these infernal machines.” Doraghek said, he was more partial to the choppers than his kin, but all the same, he still held a mistrust of these things.

“Did you see anyone else?” Codsworth said with some uncertainty about how long they would have before the prison guards would be upon them.

“Aye lad. We saw a hooded figure leave this foul place just after the raid started.” Doraghek said. “Last we saw he was fleeing south. No doubt to tell his master what has happened here. Other than that, no, but the rear guard are being overwhelmed.” Doraghek said, it had been a close-run thing, but they may yet all survive this with a bit of look from Hurfim.

“Okay.” Codsworth said. “Get your soldiers loaded. I’ll wait here for the rest.” Codsworth finished and the dwarf agreed.

“Aye lad.” Doraghek said looking slightly queasy but doing as instructed. The injured Erilatir is loaded into the medical chopper whilst the rest of the dwarves get onboard another one. Codsworth could see that the lone dwarf did not take kindly to being left alone by his fellows.

At this Bruce, Abi and Barca along with two others of the older inmates appear and along with Codsworth exit the building back into the open air where one of the choppers had already taken off.

“They’ve broken through our defences.” Abi said as out of breath as Jimmy had been. “We lost a few inmates in the defence; we need to leave now.” Abi finished, there was a cut on her forehead, but it seemed that she was fine, as Jimmy walks up to Codsworth and the others.

“All of the kids are loaded up.” Jimmy said. “Now can we get the fuck out of here?” Jimmy finished looking around at the prison, hoping to never see this place again. On that statement Codsworth couldn’t agree more.

“Aye. Barca, Abi, Bruce. Head for the second chopper.” Codsworth said “Me and Jimmy will go in the med…” At that moment a gunshot rings out from the gaping hole in the wall, and a bullet hits Jimmy strait through the shoulder causing the young scientist to keel over to the ground. Barca turns around and shoots the attacker forcing him and his fellows back.

“You heard my orders, now go!” Codsworth shouted as Barca, Bruce, Abi and the four inmates get into the second chopper whilst Codsworth hauls Jimmy towards and into the medical chopper, firing his gun into the breach as the two other choppers take off, trying to buy them some more time, before closing the door to the medical chopper and hoping that guards had bought his warning shots.

“Get us the fuck out of here.” Codsworth said, now exhausted, looking at the pilot as Charlie takes Jimmy over to a medical bed, next to the unconscious Martin and the practically rowdy Erilatir. As the chopper takes off from the rocky outcrop.

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