“Ally, don’t be ridiculous,” Jaden whispered. “And keep your voice down.”
“I can’t go with you,” Ally repeated. “We’ll never be able to get out and even if we did, how could we survive in the free world, hunted like animals the rest of our lives?”
“Keep your voice down,” Jaden hissed. He could hear Gaspar’s men all around them. They moved with a nervous energy, as if something big was about to go down. It was only a matter of time before he, Ally, and Tail were discovered.
“Ally, I want you to do just one thing for me,” Jaden whispered.
“Trust me. Can you just please trust me that I’ll find a way to make this work?”
Ally held her breath a moment, her eyes wide with fear. Finally, she nodded, breaking down in tears. “Oh, Jaden, I can’t believe you’re actually here,” she said.
“Oh, Ally, this whole mess has been my fault from first to last. I—”
“Under the current adverse circumstances, I think it would be wise to forgo the thank you for a lovely evening crooning with our host,” Tail said.
Ally cocked her head.
“Listen, Ally, the contraband I was supposed to bring to pay Gaspar for watching over you got stolen,” Jaden explained. “We’ve got to leave now, before he realizes we’re here.”
“All right, Jaden. Let’s do this—together.”
Gunshots erupted outside. Not just the little mini-lasers spread amid Gaspar’s heavies. Jaden’s trained ear picked up rifles and even a full-blown blaster cannon.
“Get down!” Tail hissed.
Jaden didn’t know who was attacking Gaspar, and he didn’t care. “Quick, we can slip out in the confusion.”
Suddenly Gaspar himself ducked into the hut with his gun drawn, ready to protect Ally. Speechless, Gaspar’s eyes narrow and he swiveled his gun to aim at Jaden.
“Traitor!” he shouted.
Gaspar’s anger turned to shock and surprise as a red stain spread across his shirt. He crumpled to the floor.
Heavy black boots stepped over the pirate’s body.
Reth strode into the hut, blaster drawn. His uniform was no longer trainee gray. It was the midnight black of a full-fledged ripper.
“You’re both coming with me.”