His body was bruised and battered and his head wouldn’t stop spinning, but he was vaguely aware of shouting. It sounded happy. Giving his skull a shake, he realized he wasn’t crazy, one of the voices really was coming from his ear.
“You did it Duran. You had me worried there for a moment,” Yellow said.
“Couldn’t have done it without you.” His voice was as unsteady as his body.
Their conversation was cut short because the townspeople of Blue Skies were pouring out of their impromptu bunkers. He saw the faces of men and women, many of them bloodied. They still clutched weapons in their hands, but they were raised above their heads in triumph. Gent and Blackstone brought up the rear.
“Why do I have a feeling we just got in way over our heads?” Gent asked.
“I’m still trying to figure out why you got involved in the first place,” Duran said.
“Well they shot up my bar for one thing…” Gent trailed off, this was something even he couldn’t joke about. “I lost a father to strike breakers and a brother to a mine collapse. I moved out here to get away from the corporations. Everyone else has a similar story. Except Blackstone. Old bat was out here already.”
Gent turned to congratulate some more of the townspeople. Duran and Blackstone seemed to be the only somber faces in the crowd. For the moment, Blue Skies was a free settlement again, but Duran and Blackstone had seen enough battles to know when another was coming.
“We should see to the wounded,” Duran said.
“I’ll take care of that,” Blackstone said. “I was talking to your friend on the radio. She tapped into all our cameras and piped the feed straight into a couple major news networks. Overrode the regular broadcasts and everything. Apparently there’s a riot on our account going on right now.”
“Is that true, Yellow?”
“Yeah,” she said. “Apparently people aren’t so totally desensitized to geo-corporate excess that they’ll sit back as they invade and destroy innocent settlements. The Resistance has been waiting for this kind of spark—they’ve been waiting for you.”
Duran sighed. The townspeople were surrounding him, clapping him on the back and hugging him. Yellow hijacked his personal computer and started showing him images of protesters holding signs with ‘Free Mars’ and a crudely drawn figure with a giant sword held above his head. This is exactly what he didn’t want to happen.
“I guess I don’t really have a choice at this point. You win. Yellow, count me in.”