Sweet Defiance

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Romance, Supernatural, Fantasy, Thriller, Space Exploration, Slice of Life
Quinn and the Princess[/bg]​


Her back was against a cold marble stone wall. In her hands was a gun, though she wasn't the one shooting. Around her were a few men - staff from the palace - returning fire to the soldiers across the other end of the grand hall. Trying to catch her breath and swallowing down that want to cry, Princess Katarin was trying to run escape routes through her mind. Liyao was a peaceful place. There had not been war here for over a thousand years. But the palace itself was ancient. Surely there would be old passages built in..?

"Princess! They're advancing. If we stay here too much longer, we'll be captured."

Leave the castle. They needed to leave the castle. She tried to stay as long as she could. Did what the man asked, gave him power over her government so he wouldn't kill her people. In the end, people were still dying and he still demanded more from her. He wanted her to speak on his behalf at the Commonwealth. Tell them that Lorgunan wasn't a Warlord. But it was a lie. He was going to wipe out every planet in the galaxy at this rate...

"They're moving!"

The soldiers were now moving in. Katarin and the men with her moved from their hiding place, taking off for the doors in the back. Someone fell, shot in the leg and Katarin stopped to go back for them, but someone caught her arm to keep her moving.
The someone was Quinn. There was no point in going back for the person who'd been shot. Not that Quinn was a heartless man but frankly it came down to the Katarin's life. Going back increased her chances of dying and that would be bad not just for her, but for everyone. Half way down the hall Quinn tossed Katarin against the wall and fired several shots back the way they'd come. If she complained he'd apologize later but right now wasn't the time to be trying to cushion every fall. One quick more glance to be sure they were far enough down before he pushed hard at a wall seam right next to Katarin.

"When it gets wide enough, move. We don't have much time."

Quinn had spent hours studying the blueprints of the palace before he'd started planning this mission. The chances of it going awry were so high he'd needed at least ten back up plans in place before he'd even try it. Hopefully he wouldn't need to exhaust all ten however the chances of that were starting to look slim as he was on contingency plan number four. Giving another good shove at the wall it finally opened wide enough for a person to slip through.

"Go! GO! Make the next three rights! If I don't catch up with you by the third right keep following the main tunnel. One of us will get you out."
Katarin understood the necessity of getting away. But they were leaving people behind. Her people! Being rough handled and shot at was only a small nuisance. How he knew where a passage was, Katarin was unsure, but once the opening was wide enough, she squeezed her way inside.

There was a small hesitation inside the passage, but Katarin gathered her wits quick and got to moving. She had turned one right and he still hadn't followed. None of her men did. The corridor was covered thick with spiderwebs. No one had been down this way in ages. When she came across the second right, all of the sounds of the battle were gone. It was just a quiet, eerie silence. Still, no one followed. Katarin finally turned down the third right. Swiping away webs, silent gasping at flinging a creepy crawlie off her shoulder in the dark, and trying not to lose her footing.

Katarin stopped in the tunnel turning to look back. He said keep on going down the Main tunnel, but she had no idea what was supposed to be waiting. And she was supposed to forget the people that were getting shot up there too...?
Quinn got the wall sealed back in place just in time. Any closer and the soldiers would've noticed the passage. With a look around he was now moving on to plan five. There wouldn't be a chance for him to get into the tunnels at this access point he was going to have to move onto the next one. Quinn threw up a hand signal for the palace members to move back, within moments he was pulling the flash-bang from his belt and deploying it back down the hall. With any luck it would gain them a few precious minutes to get out of the area and disperse. With any luck the communique to the other allied members got through and the remaining people protecting the princess would head for the nearest passages as well. There as only so much he could do to help everyone.

Taking the nearest left he sprinted toward the gardens. There was another door close to where the princess should be now. When the spot came up he didn't bother to stop running, rather just headed for the weak spot in hopes the door was still there and not sealed over. The loud thud as he hit the wall hurt like a bitch but not anywhere near as bad as it would've if the marble hadn't given. Seconds later he was in the tunnel and pushing the door closed so that he wound up in pitch black.

"Well. Shit."

Running a hand along his belt he located a crack stick and pulled it off, extending it as he did so before whacking it against what he hoped was the nearest wall so he could get a little illumination and a little orientation going on.
All of the silence was driving her mad. Katarin almost wanted the gunfire back. Stumbled down the dark tunnel, trying to find the edge, the was the sound of something sliding open. She was expecting someone to come trailing behind her, but this sound was coming from somewhere at the side.


It happened so fast! Something struck the wall right next to her. Light illuminated the dark, temporarily blinding her vision. But that didn't stop her from whipping out the gun she held and swinging it down over the person's head. That was the THWUMP. Whomever it was stumbled and cursed, but it hadn't knocked them out. Katarin was still rubbing her eyes trying to adjust to the new light!
Quinn was satisfied when the dim crack stick illuminated like it should when suddenly there was a white hot pain in his head that caused him to drop the stick and stumble.

"FUCK!! Fuck!! What the fuck!"

Clearly his vocabulary was suffering at the moment and he was half bent over holding the spot that was hit. Son of a bitch that was going to leave a mark. A wet trail made it's way down his temple. Wonderful, not only did it hurt he was probably bleeding everywhere. Fucking head wounds. Mother Mary what had he been hit with!? Quinn finally looked up at Katarin and blinked several times trying to focus and get his vision to unblur.

"You just fucking pistol whipped me, didn't you!?"
Now that she could see, Katarin was looking apologetic. ...at least until he was cursing at her. She holstered her gun with a frown.

"I didn't know it was you. I thought it was a soldier." Glancing down both ends of the tunnel, it was clear to see which way she came from. That's where a pathway of torn cobwebs went back a ways. Forward, they were undisturbed. So were the spiders. A LOT of spiders! Katarin was checking herself over again to make sure there were any more crawling on her. Even tilting forward to shake out her hair just in case. There was no hiding the shudder!

"Which way are we going now. Not the way YOU came from, I take it?" She was thinking 'Some Rescue.', but wisely she kept it to herself.
"Gah!! No, I know you didn't. Just. Shit I wasn't expecting it that's all." Quinn kept a hand pressed to the bleeder on his head and picked up the crack stick to hand to her. There was no way he could fault her for defending herself when she didn't know who it was. "No, not the way I came. I managed to cause a diversion that should've lasted long enough to get everyone else undercover and on their way. However I'm sure the soldiers are covering the halls now. We'll be taking the tunnels out the whole way. They'll bring us to the other side of the walls depending on which way we go. I planned on having us out the south side into a clearing a ways out."

With the free hand he got from her taking the crack stick he dug in the lower pocket on his pant leg and pulled out a small torch stick which he held up to one of the cobwebs. It instantly burst into flame and continued down the tunnel quite aways. Spiders were not his friend and if he could avoid walking through the webs he would. Quinn could all ready tell that Katarin's skin was crawling from having to walk through what she all ready had. Knowing he couldn't spend the whole time staunching the bleeder he wiped his hand on his pants and gave up on it instead flipping open the dial on his wrist watch and pressing a side button to make blue prints pop up.

"We're here...." He poked a finger at a glowing portion that showed them near the gardens. "We're going to have to wind up over here." The finger now pointed to a spot some ways away.
"Then we shouldn't be standing around here, hmm?" she cast him an uneasy grin. Any other day or moment, it might have been a playful and sarcastic look. But Katarin was still concerned with her palace been taken over and the people she was leaving behind.

With the glowystick in hand, Katarin took the lead down the tunnel. Now that the spider webs were gone and there weren't any more spiders in sight, she only had to keep watch where her feet were stepping. The light made the tunnel look a lot less creepy, but she was still weighted with so much fear of what could come next. They might not make it out, then the entire struggle would have been for nothing.
Quinn pulled out another crack stick and whipped it against the wall for himself before following after Katarin.

"I have some of my people trying to get as many of yours out as possible. With any luck we'll get most of them. We've been trying to evacuate since last night when we caught wind of what Lorgunan was going to do. A lot of my guys have family members that worked here so we'll see how it turns out." He was glad she wasn't struggling against this whole plan of his and hoping these words would comfort her a little bit. Katarin seemed like the compassionate person the media had always played her out to be. Well aside from the whole pistol whipping part. Quinn gingerly touched the spot again and winced.

A sudden burst of noise could be heard on the other side of the wall from them and he paused to try and listen. There was no way they could know they were in the tunnels or where the access points were. It had taken months of digging to find the plans he'd even found to get in here.
For all of his official talk and suggestions of having plans, he didn't seem to come across to her as someone who was... well put together. It was like she knew he was trying to keep her calm, but didn't have any more of an idea of what was going to happen than she was. She cast a look over her shoulder, about to ask who he worked for and to reach out and swat him from poking at that wound on his head when he paused suddenly.

When Katarin stopped with him, she could hear the sounds too. It was hard for her to guess where in the palace they were. Yet on the other side of the wall, they could her something akin to explosions, damages, and screaming voices.

A loud BOOM gave them both a big surprise when it hit the stone wall they hidden behind. Dust and stones dropping from the walls and ceiling. Katarin gave a startled yelp and quickly clamped her hands over her mouth. If two two of them could hear what's on the other side, surely those outside could hear in the tunnel too.
"Move. Quickly."

Quinn had a bad feeling about this. With that last blast he was pretty sure the wall was going to fall in and they needed to not be there if and when it decided to. They needed to at least get down to where the aqueducts started crossing the tunnels. The chances of anyone finding them by that point dropped dramatically from where they were now.

"I'm sorry we couldn't stop him sooner." Why he kept talking like that he had no idea because it was becoming clear it wasn't making much of a difference to her what he said one way or another. As they moved he keyed the blue prints again to assess their position.

"Left! Then head down the one that starts sloping down!" Quinn stopped at an intersection and felt along the wall for a moment. This would be a good place. Pulling another item off his handy utility belt he carefully counted stones then placed the charge. Another moment and he had the remote out. Keyed the charge, made sure the signal was good, and started running back down the hall after Katarin. Once he was far enough he keyed the remote and placed it back in the proper spot on his belt. The explosion was loud from where they were but would probably blend into the noises in the rest of the palace. With luck the explosion also caved in the immediate area around the charge blocking that section of tunnel.
Katarin gave him a soft look before she followed orders and got moving. She wanted very much to talk to him about the entire mess, but there just wasn't the time!

The princess skidded to a stop when the left came in to view and turned in the tunnel that started sloping downwards. At first it was only a slight decline. But soon it started turning downwards more and more. Finally it hit a point where she slipped on a point of stagnant water! With a yelp, she found herself sliding down a steep drop and then finally crashing in to shallow water below with a loud SPLASH!

Coughing and sputtering, she rose to her feet as quickly as she could. Her knees were shaking as she trudging across the water to the near wall.

"You didn't tell me there was water down here...!"
Another loud SPLASH occurred shortly after Katarin's. Quinn surfaced soon enough to hear her comment.

"Well it's not like I knew there was going to be water down here or that that was going to be such a steep drop!!"

Quinn shook like a wet dog would once he gained his footing. Wonderful, he was going to have to wear his boots until they dried out most of the way now unless he wanted them to lose their shape. Now they were so far under the palace there was no way anyone would be able to hear them. Which he supposed was good enough seeing as they'd made quite a ruckus coming down the slope. Squinting he surveyed the area and oriented himself before heading down toward the right. With any luck this water would clear up soon. Or at least he hoped it would.

"The chances of being caught or heard down here are extremely minimal at least."
"I am beginning to have second thoughts about this whole rescue..." she hadn't meant to say it out loud, but now that she was wet and beginning to shiver and knowing far above them her entire world was falling apart, Katarin was not feeling her most hopeful. At least she had kept a hold of her glowstick, so they weren't surrounded by darkness.

...but that did allow her to see the subtle movement under the surface of the water. Shallow as it was and deep under the palace, it apparently was clean water and supporting life. Katarin moved quickly to catch up with him. As gasp escape her when the spot she stepped suddenly gave way and she nearly tumbled face first in the water again. But she managed to keep her balance... even if she couldn't seem to get her foot free!

Katarin fussed for several moments trying to squirm her way out, but she was just getting more stuck. And now it was getting uncomfortably painful. She just hoped whatever had her foot wasn't alive. Which made it incredibly hard not to panic and start screaming.

"...I'm stuck..!"
Quinn bit back a remark about how she could just go back and rescue herself then if she had such a problem with the way things were going. A brow furrowed as he continued trudging through the muck and keeping his long stride which was probably too long and too fast for Katarin. He was a good way ahead of her when he heard her.

"...I'm stuck..!"

"You've got to be kidding me. What the hell did you do to get stuck??" Quinn turned and trudged back toward her but was now being careful of where he stepped, testing areas before putting his feet down in them all the way. When he was sure he was close enough to reach her and have sound footing for standing in water he held out his hands to her.

"Come on, grasp on and I'll pull you out."
"Yes, it is clearly my fault we are in ancient aqueducts and something is trying to eat me alive!" Katarin was scared! It was easier to handle that fear while directing her anger towards something, though, and he just ended up being the unlucky target.

Katarin grasped his hands and used his weight for the support. While he pulled she had one foot moving to get on more solid ground. Her second foot popped free so suddenly she was crashing in to him. Looking ever so slightly embarrassed she righted herself again, attempting to refrain from wincing and keep that look of solidarity about her! She was the princess of a world and beacon of hope for people... she shouldn't be taken out by creepy water and now what she suspected was a twisted ankle.

"Thank you. Lead the way..." she motioned behind him. There was no way she was going to let him see her limping. Not after all of this!
"Nothing is trying to eat you alive! Don't be so silly!!"

Quinn tried to make sure he had a good grip on her when she popped free so that she wouldn't go diving underwater again. However he was caught a bit off guard when she actually did and had to make a clear effort to keep her from going down face first. Once she was righted he let her go.

"Thank you. Lead the way..."

"No. Not yet I need to get a look at that ankle." Quinn looked around for a moment before he noticed the ledge running along the wall. "Here, up on the ledge so I can get a better look." He waded over to it and then held his hand outs to help her up onto it. If it'd been stuck as good as he suspected it was he wasn't going to make her walk on the ankle without at least wrapping it first. If it was bad enough he'd just have to buck up and carry her though. Quinn wasn't going to risk her slowing them down or getting herself stuck again. It was better to be safe than sorry.
"It's fine, really." There wasn't much room for argument, though. She was going to keep moving, but then he was capturing her arm and the next thing she knew she was sitting on the ledge. Katarin was just above eye level, so now she was getting a good look at that bump on his head she so graciously gave him.

Without thinking, she reached out to touch the side of the bloodied wound to test just how hard she had struck him. "This is bleeding pretty bad... We should be bandaging you up." The water must have been making it look worse, with the blood being diluted everywhere. But the cut looked pretty bad and it was bruising everywhere.
Quinn lifted her easily up onto the ledge and was about to lean down and look at her foot when she prodded at the wound which produced an audible sharp inhale and a wince.

"It's fine, Princess. I've had worse. Just don't poke at it."

He took a step back so he could get a better look at her ankle, gently moving it in a few directions to see which bothered her the most and to get an estimate on how bad it was. Once he was done with the assessment he dug in another cargo pocket and pulled out what essentially was a higher tech ace bandage. The thing was waterproof, not that it much mattered given the current state of affairs, and would adjust to her ankle to help support it as they continued on. Carefully he wrapped the ankle up and took another moment to make sure he did a good job of it.

"That should help. If it starts to bother you too much let me know. I'll carry you if I have to. I'm not going to make you walk the rest of the way we have to go on a bad ankle if it's too damaged. You'll just end up hurting it more by doing so."