Chapter Seventeen: Mess
The next morning...
The Resisters had to put fur in everything that they used, because their furnace was known to quit on them frequently.
The coats, beds, and even the pillows were filled with animal fur. I wished that these resisters could export their fur to other bases. The Resistance wouldn't have to worry about being cold while fighting the Empire, at least.
I opened my eyes, half expecting to get blinded by the sun outside, but then I remembered that my room didn't have a window. As a matter-of-fact, the entire base was almost completely dark. There was exactly one light bulb in every room, and the lobby had candles lined up on the wall. I didn't think that candles were used any more.
I sighed and then left the extremely fluffy bed. I didn't want to, but I remembered that Marcus had called for a meeting to be held. I checked the time and found that the meeting was in one-half hour. I wanted to eat before I went to that meeting, so I had to hurry.
I got dressed, grabbed my coat, and walked out of my room. A blast of cold air hit me immediately. I shivered, remembering that the furnace had died again. I wondered when the furnace would be back up and running. Maybe I could ask someone later.
I made my way to the mess hall. It was practically full of hungry Resisters. Several of them were in a line waiting to be served. I shrugged and then entered in the back of the line.
The "mess hall" lived up to its name spectacularly, because it was a mess. It looked as if a food fight had just taken place moments before.
When it was my turn to order, I smiled at the chef. "What are we eating today?" I asked him.
The chef smiled back. "Soup!" He exclaimed. I could hear groans from behind me. He grabbed a bowl and poured an orange substance into it. I winced as clumps of whatever it was splashed into my bowl. He handed the full container of food to me.
"Excuse me," I said to the chef as he began to serve another resister. "What exactly is in this?" I pointed to the bowl.
The chef smiled and opened his mouth as if he was about to speak. He stopped himself and then frowned. "I actually don't know. It was my father's recipe. I'll probably find the ingredient list when I clean up my room a little..."
I stared blankly at the chef. "Then...how do you make it?"
The chef shrugged. "I just follow my gut, you know?"
I didn't want to hurt the chef's feelings in any way, so I just smiled and then thanked him for the...food.
I scanned the mess hall for an empty seat. I saw two men sitting together, chatting. There was an empty seat at their table, so I decided to join them. They probably wouldn't mind.
I walked over to their table and asked, "Can I sit here?"
One of the resisters, who had black hair, didn't even turn his head to look at me. "No."
Was it too much to ask for a seat these days?!
The other resister, a blonde haired man, smiled. "I apologize for my friend's rude behavior. You can sit with us." He motioned to the vacant seat with his hand.
The dark haired resister frowned as I sat down with the two. I set my bowl down on the table and dipped my spoon into the orange substance. I lifted it to my eyes, deciding if I should eat it or not... It actually smelled pretty good! I stuck the spoon into my mouth, and after a few seconds, I began to nod slowly. It wasn't that bad-
My eyes opened wide. It was the worst thing I had ever tasted in my entire life! I wanted to spit the soup out, but to my dismay, I noticed that the chef was looking at me with a smile upon his face. Hope was in his eyes.
I swallowed the soup with great effort. I closed one of my eyes halfway, and after a few seconds, I managed to give a thumsup to the chef. He smiled wide, and then went back to serving others.
The light haired resister smirked. "How is it?"
I nodded. "It was..." I was going to say "good", but I just couldn't bring myself to say it. "Unique...?"
The light haired resister laughed. "That was exactly what I said!" His laugh died down to a chuckle, and then he extended his hand for me to shake. "My name's Liam, and this is Jack." He pointed to his friend with his other hand.
I shook Liam’s hand. "I’m Rex."
"Nice to meet you, Rex."
Jack glared at me, causing me to frown. I didn't understand why he was so hostile towards me. We just met! And besides, we were on the same side. We had to work together if we wanted to beat the Empire.
I motioned towards Jack. "Why doesn't he even look at me?"
Liam opened his mouth to speak, but Jack cut in. "Because you could be a spy for the Empire. Right now, at this very moment, you could be engaging in 'friendly' conversation to get information from us."
I shrugged. "Well, I can assure you that I can be trusted."
Jack turned his head away from me. "That's just what an imperial would say."
I rolled my eyes. Some people were just impossible.
Liam shook his head. "Arguing isn't going to help anything, so you might as well stop it." He sighed. "We have to get to some meeting, anyways."
I perked up. "Hey, I'm going to a meeting as well!"
Liam smiled. "Well then, let's walk together."
I smiled, but then saw Liam’s full bowl of soup. "Hey, aren't you going to finish your soup?"
"Aren't you?" He replied with a smirk.
We both laughed, and after a few seconds, stood up and left the table. Jack followed us, scowling. He apparently didn’t want to be around me any more than I wanted to be around him.
"I'll be watching you." Jack squinted.
I frowned but then quickly dismissed his comment. "Hey, Liam, which way is the meeting?"
After a few moments of silence, Liam shrugged. "I don’t know. This place can seem like a maze some times."
"I guess we'll just follow everyone else." I said. Liam agreed. Once we were out of the mess hall, we found a large group of resisters going down a hallway marked "Meeting room -->"
On the way to the meeting, the Resisters got a little jammed in the small hallway. While they were attempting to make it through the equally small doorway, Liam and I chatted together to pass the time.
"Don't worry about Jack." Liam said. "He distrusts everyone, not just you. And it doesn't help any that you just arrived with an imperial." He cleared his throat. "And Jefferson..."
"How did he ever become your friend if he never trusts anyone?" I replied.
Liam chuckled. "Oh, he didn't trust me at first either. I used to be his enemy."
"You mean he was an imperial?"
Liam nodded. "Yes, he was. One of the best at his job, too."
"What was his job?" I asked.
Liam could tell I was intrigued. He looked at me as if he was about to answer my question, but then stopped himself. "I better not tell you everything right away." Liam smiled. "It makes you sit on the edge of your seat." He nodded towards the Resisters at the doorway. It was now empty. We were the last ones left in the hallway. "Besides, we're here."
I sighed. And it was just getting interesting, too.
We emptied into a large circular room filled with chairs. Most of the chairs were already occupied with Resisters. All of them looked exited, yet worried and afraid.
Liam looked at me. "It was nice walking with you." He waved goodbye, and then walked towards two open seats with Jack. I scanned the room for someone that I knew and
spotted Jaiden a few feet away. There was an empty seat next to him, so I walked over and sat down.
I didn’t see Jefferson, which was odd. "Hey, Jaiden?" I asked my friend. "Where did Jefferson go off to?"
"He’s heading back to his camp, now. He acted like the happiest man in Aethasia when he left."
I frowned and then thanked Jaiden. Even though Jefferson didn’t seem to care about anyone--and he probably didn't--it was still nice to have him around.
Marcus entered the room about a minute later. He stood at the center of the circular room, getting ready for his speech. He raised his arms to quiet the crowd, but it still took a minute. Eventually, the resisters quieted down enough for Marcus to speak. He took a deep breath and then opened his mouth.
"Most of you probably know what this meeting is about," He began. "But I'll inform you all again because we have some new arrivals at this base." He motioned towards me and Jaiden, and each of the Resisters in the room turned their head to us. I smiled and waved nervously as I shrunk in my seat. Marcus continued. "We have been talking about this for a few months now, but we finally have enough resources, Resisters willing to aid us, and a solid plan to pull it all off. This is less of a meeting and more of an announcement."
Marcus paused for effect, and in a few seconds he continued.
"It is time. All of the Resisters in this mountain will band together to take the fight to the Empire! We are going to attack the imperial factory near this location, and we will succeed!" The Resisters raised their fists into the air and cheered. Marcus shouted over them all. "Some of you may be worried, but I am here to put those worries to rest! The Scarlet Man will be with us, and with him, we cannot fail!"
Resistors all around the circular room cheered and shouted again. It took a minute for Marcus to calm them down again. "It will take at least a week to organize our Resisters and become completely ready. You have that time to prepare yourselves!"
I would help, of course. And the look on Jaiden's face told me that he would as well.
Once the speech was finished and most of the resisters had left the meeting room, Marcus approached Jaiden and me. "Are you two on board with this plan?"
I nodded. "You can count us in."
Marcus smiled. "Excellent! We’ll need all of the help we can get."
Six days later.
I walked outside of the base, taking in a breath of cold, fresh air. According to Marcus, we would attack the Imperial factory tomorrow. Like Marcus said, the base wasn’t far from here, so we wouldn't have to walk very far. (That was a relief.)
The base we were going to attack was called "Glacier Factory". According to the Resistance spies in that area, that factory created large amounts of automatons each day. The Resistance had no chance of beating the Empire with that factory still intact. We had to put a stop to those reinforcements. We would likely come up against more automatons than any one Resister had seen before, but we had a pretty good plan.
I walked away from the Resistance Mountain. All of this talk about attacking the Empire could be annoying at times. I needed to be alone.
I walked up onto a snow bank and sat down. I looked at the Resistance Mountain in the distance. The snow was falling gracefully, and if I had a camera, this would have been the perfect shot. It was a breathtaking view. I closed my eyes and smiled.
"It’s beautiful, isn’t it?" A voice said to my right. My eyes shot open, and I quickly stood up and drew my sword. I relaxed when I saw that it was just the base commander.
Marcus walked closer to me and brushed my sword to the side. "I hope you aren't going to use that on me."
I smirked. "What are you doing out here?"
"Same thing as you. Commanding a base isn’t easy, you know." Marcus sat down on the snow, and I did the same. We both closed our eyes and sat there in silence together.
When I opened my eyes again, I noticed something I never had before. I couldn't see anything behind the Resistance Mountain because of a thick mist.
"Hey Marcus, what's behind the mountain?"
"The ground is very unstable back there. Underneath a thin layer of ice is a large hole. We don't know how far down it goes. It would be best if you just avoided that place entirely."
I nodded. I think I might check that out some time...
Marcus stood up. "We should be getting back inside, now. It's getting colder out, and that could mean a snowstorm is coming."
"You're right. We have to get back to work, anyways." I stood up and walked with Marcus back to the base.
Today was the day we were going to attack Glacier Factory. It would probably become one of the most famous battles in the history of the Resistance, and I would be in it. Well, as long as I got out of bed before we began the attack.
The door to my room shook again. Someone was knocking on it.
"Are you even in there?" Liam asked from behind the door.
I pulled the fur pillow over my head. "No!"
"Oh, okay." Liam said. "I guess we'll just have to make history without you..."
"Good luck on that." I replied.
I heard a sigh coming from the door."You can sleep later. We need you to help us now."
That comment made me sit up. I've never really been needed before... I rather liked the feeling. "Okay, fine! I’m coming."
I couldn't see Liam through the door, but I guessed that he was grinning in my general direction. I attached my sword to my back, and a pistol to my hip. When I opened the door to my room, Liam put his arm around my shoulder.
"Took you long enough." He said.
I shook my head. Liam always had to have the last say, didn't he?
"Everyone is mustered in the main room. We should be getting there too."
I nodded. "I hope we don't miss them because of me."
"Don't worry about that,” Liam said. "I asked them to wait for us. I have a little influence here in this base."
I smiled. "Thanks."
When we arrived at the assembly of Resisters, they warmly welcomed us. Marcus was standing next to the base's double doors. He raised his hands and called out for silence.
"Today will be remembered by all Aethasians! Today is the day we start fighting back against the evil of the world!" Four Resisters on either side of Marcus pushed open the double doors.
Everyone gasped. Marcus frowned and tilted his head. "What's wrong?" He turned around to look out into the field of snow. Four airships descended towards the Resistance Mountain.
This day would be remembered by all. It would be remembered as the day the Empire conquered the Resistance in the Snowmoors.