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Crawling Underneath a Starry Sky


Sarah Tintagyl
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Sarah sat against the marble wall in her palace in Valkurheim of a fading image. The great painting of the Valkyrie that hung above her didn't seem as powerful and strong as it had only a couple of months ago. It feel like she was fading along with the image above her, she felt that she had betrayed a great many people. She had betrayed the Nords in their time of need and she had betrayed her Communist friends when she had accepted the position of President. The world had jumped on her so quickly and now she didn't even feel that she could go one. Acts had already been passed to begin the removal of Hanseatic citizenry and government officials out of the region. It wasn't that they weren't welcome, it wasn't that she wasn't welcome, but she wasn't the Valkyrie of Peace that the Nords said she was and she needed to escape the gaze of the picture above her.

To be honest, Sarah had so much on her mind. A world descending into war, a marriage that she wasn't being faithful to, and a people that needed her guidance even when she couldn't even guide her own thoughts. The room around her was abandoned, the tapestries were gone, the statues and the golden works of art had been returned to Prussia, only the painting had remained. In her hands, she held a phone, her guards had left her alone before they would come up and get, all she would need to do is call them and they'd take her to the jet that awaited her at the airport, but for some reason Sarah didn't want to go back. Not yet at least. Sure she would be missed, for a bit, but that was what the government was there for. Sarah knew she overworked herself and since she had talked with Martens in Niflheim and he had talked about the ultimate piece she had been searching for her own, ultimate peace, yet she was hard pressed to find it and maybe it was that that was keeping her from finding true happiness. Because to be honest, she doubted that she could find it as a leader or a person of respect, but as a citizen, as a traveler, perhaps.

Getting to her feet Sarah walked to her wardrobe and rummaged through the clothes. Taking an old backpack that she kept with her for short travels she stuffed the bag with clothes and some cleaning supplies and then stuffed her pockets with a few wads of cash to help her. She would return to Brisbane, but not until she saw more of the world. Putting on clothes better suited for traveling she walked through the abandoned palace and towards her guards. She smiled at them as they explained that it was time to go, but she waved them on, she said that she had more important things to do, personal things and that McAlpine and Doyle could run the government while she was gone. They were shocked, but they couldn't say no to her and quickly stepped aside for the young lady to pass. Hours later, Sarah found herself on a refugee bus heading towards the German border of Moscow and from there out of the Nordic Confederacy towards the steppes of Asia and beyond. Looking out the window as the bus traveled down the dark Russian roads, Sarah sighed. The world was beautiful and all this was going to be destroyed.

Almost a week or more had passed of almost constant traveling on different buses, cars, and once in awhile a small plane. Slowly they passed the prior land of Altin Urda and arrived of the Neo-Japanese outpost of Changchun. The amount of Imperial influence there was amazing and Sarah could tell that she was a true foreigner, as the only one with blonde hair and blue eyes on the whole bus. Stepping out into the town she looked around and adjusted her backpack. From here she could find another vehicle, but for now she would try and relax, moving towards what looked to be a cafe, relaxation, it was exactly what she needed.

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Changchun is a growing city, at least, it is now. Imperial Construction crews were left in right in the city, even in broad and wealthier places like Chonquing Road. Changchun was an industrial and economic center, and the rumor was that it was slated to become the Capital of the Manchurian Region. Fortune smiled on the city of Changchun; during the short time under Altin Urdan control, Changchun was one of the few places that didn't suffer horribly under the lack of Internal Development. The City government, who are hailed as heroes by the local populace, kept things running smoothly. Now, under Imperial Control, things were even smoother. New hospitals were being built, as well as schools and other public works areas. In the suburban and outskirt areas, Temples were being erected as well, both Buddhist and Shinto.

Sarah was noticable, yes, mostly because she didn't get off in the Inner City, where most of the Tourism was. Some people stared; they either didn't like what they see, they did like what they see, were curious, or had simply never seen a white person before. At the Cafe, none of the waitresses spoke Finnish, as the part of the city she had arrived in was a suburb and not used to Tourism. Eventually the owner of the Cafe had to come out and talk to Sarah (as he spoke International Basic**) to get her order, and ended up serving her himself.

OOC:**International Basic: Since there is no "English" or even an English peoples in CNRP, I figure there has to be some language that is universal to everyone. Thus I present to you, International Basic

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The city was nice for sure, but it wasn't the type of city that she was used to as most of the cities she had visited in Central Asia weren't what she had expected. For as politically versed as Sarah was, she had not truly understood the damages that had been done to the continent during the prior regime. Brisbane for all intensive purposes she considered to be a city well above the world's standards, modeled after the European standard that she knew so well. But before arriving in Chanchung, she had driven through countless slums and ruins. The people were poor and by the looks she received, she herself was a rarity, a white, blonde woman in the midst of darker tones and though she didn't want to let anyone know she had a great deal of cash on her, Sarah tried to give as much to the children she passed by as she could. No one needed to suffer like this and when she would return to Brisbane, she had every intention of pushing necessary aid into the region.

But Chanchung was much nicer, the streets were at least paved, though some of the buildings were a little dungy. As she walked, she would pass Imperial officials that gave her strange looks, she indeed did stand out like a sore thumb and in the cafe she felt even worse, they even had to bring the owner over just to take her order cause try as she may, her Finnish or even her Australian, didn't work with them. But finally she was able to get an order of a root beer and some bread and soup out of the owner as he went back into the kitchen. The entire cafe started at Sarah and she had never felt more alone as she slid down in her seat hoping their eyes would turn away. She really wished she wasn't alone.

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"Here we are" said the owner of the Cafe, coming back with the bread and soup that Sarah had wanted. He set down her glass of root beer as well and wiped his forehead.

"Real Tourist places in City" he said in his broken Basic "Out here, in suburbs, too much construction, too much rebuilding to do. City still glorious, not touched by Altin Urda" he said. He gave her a bow, turned to leave, when he noticed the Cross on her necklace hanging out.

"You new here in Empire?" he asked with a whisper. He didn't really have to though, as the answer was obvious (he is a businessman after all)

"Smart thing to do is keep it hidden. Nobody see it, you don't get in Trable" he said, and with a nod left her to her food

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Sarah's eyes were wide when he left her at the table, slowly she pulled her hair back behind her ears and tucked her small golden cross tightly underneath her shirt. She did know one thing about the Japanese, religion, especially Christianity was looked down on, if not unofficially forbidden. Sarah ate her meal with a feeling of anxiety and fear, the eyes were off of her, but the tension in the cafe was still there as when she had walked in, the conversations had bee loud and volume had not been a care whereas now, well, it was lucky if she could hear a whisper. When Sarah finally had finished with her meal and felt much better from the nourishment she reached into her pocket and placed ten Hanseatic Marks onto the table. 'That should be more than enough.' Sarah thought to herself as she got up from the table and started to walk towards the door as the waitress went over to collect her bill.

The stares came back and Sarah was extremely pleased as she neared the door and hopefully she could get out of the city as soon as possible...so long as there was no problem with the citizenry around her...

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Sarah was not stopped as she left; she had in fact overpaid and there weren't going to be any complaints about that. Out in the street, people paid her less attention. She was in one of those economic areas of the Suburbs (like a Main Street). The Helpful manager had left her pamphlets containing a list of Bus times and Train times and Airport times, all with destinations as well. The area she was in was a College area, the Campus clearly visible from any direction. There were many businesses and shops all along the very busy streets of the suburbs. There was an occasional Buddhist monk leading the Saturday walk with a group of children, an occasional Islamic patron praying on the sidewalk, students advertising a fund-raiser, people going about their daily lives, and lots and lots of Imperial construction. The area gave off a comforting vibe, even if the populace in this particular area was a little distant.

As she looked about deciding where she should go after the rather uncomfortable experience in the Cafe, the Manager came running out of the Cafe, panting and looking relieved to see her.

"Good...I catch you" he said. He took a moment to catch is breath (he had a bit of a belly)

"I forget to mention, Don't go to East part of City. All travel is rerouted to go around, but people still walk there. Very bad place, East Side" He points down the busy street. Very, very very far in the distance, Military vehicles could be seen.

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For as fearful and cautious as Sarah could be, she had a horrible curiosity and that curiosity often got her into trouble, whether it be politically or socially. This was one of those times when her mind was telling her to turn around and leave the city to get traveling towards Brisbane, but her legs slowly began to pull her towards the East Side of town. After the owner of the cafe had let her be, she began to creep down the street towards where the military vehicles had been stationed. The city didn't seem to change all the much, no dilapidation in the buildings, just more noise, maybe more construction. Finally after making all the way down Main street she arrived on the border of the military vehicle parked on the sidewalk as a staunch warning to keep people away. Not Sarah though, she only hoisted up her backpack and walked further in to explore what the old man had talked about, which had been so incredibly dangerous.

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Walking down the main street of the suburb was an interesting experience. There were tons of people, all enjoying the spirit of rebuilding and the growth of their city. Something interesting would catch her eye, however. The nearer she got to the Military blockade on the end of the main street, the more and more she would notice that the City, its skyscrapers and buildings and business, etc, were on her left, which was North. The Cafe manager said that this way took her to the East Side of Town. Was he wrong?

As she neared the military blockade of the street, she would see several mounted guns, what looked like an Anti-Aircraft vehicle, a couple Type-X tanks, and a lot of tents. All of which sat behind what appeared to be some form of Metal barrier, which would could be opened and closed it seemed. That was when she saw the sign, which was written in Chinese, Japanese, and International Basic:

"Warning, Entering Old City". The realization would dawn upon her that to the "East Side of the City" was in fact where she was, at least in the Suburb part of it. Beyond the military barrier was definitely the Old Part of the City. Unfortunately the Barrier extended for quite a ways, and nothing could be seen of the Old Part of the City due to the high walls of the barrier. Before her curiousness could be disappointed, however, a voice came from a slightly opened door from one of the buildings closest to the Barrier.

"Hey, you, Foreigner" the voice, female, said in Basic (well spoken).

"You looking to see the other side of the Barrier?"

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Sarah had been tilting her head back when the voice had caught her ears. She didn't say anything for a long time, instead she just stood there and looked back at the barrier. The voice sounded shady to be honest and surely there was nothing good that was going to come out of this, but Sarah's curiosity was driving at the edge of her brain to see what was indeed on the other side. Turning her head and looking at the building, Sarah walked over. "Yeah, I am a little bit curious to see the other side of the barrier. I think it would be something interesting to tour and check out. You can take me over there?" She shouted to the voice.

Edited by Sarah Tintagyl
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As sarah got near the front door, it suddenly and violently swung open and she was pulled inside. The door slammed shut. It was fairly lit in the building, an apartment building. They were in the entry hallway. A hand clamped over her mouth so she couldn't speak.

"Be silent, it's a wonder those soldiers didn't hear you" the woman said. She was a 30 something woman, plainly dressed. She opened a sliding viewer on the door to look outside. Seemingly satisfied, she closed up the door properly again and released Sarah's mouth.

"Come this way. You'll want to see what your getting yourself into if you want to get past the barrier" the woman said. She led Sarah up the stairs; up a first floor, then a second floor, a third, a fourth, 5th, and even a 6th. Going up doors would occasionally open, where a child or another would look out to see who was making the noise. The apartment building was strange; there were street punks and very serious looking people. All of them also happened to be, if Sarah could tell or not, Mongolian. As they reached the 6th floor, the woman looked at two younger men who were loitering by the windows. They looked at her for a moment, then one of them pulled on a string that was hanging from the ceiling. A step ladder came down, revealing access to the roof. The two climbed on top, and the woman pointed Eastward for Sarah, who then looked, and saw a horrible sight.

MATTE-POST-APOCALYPSE-V031.jpg

"The Old City" the woman said in a very serious tone "It looked a lot nicer a couple months a go" she added. Sarah didn't have to ask why it looked as it did now. There were fires in many of the buildings, what looked like small craters dotted roads and houses and buildings. Then situation became very very clear to Sarah as what could have been nothing less then calculated explosions and gunfire echoed from the Ruins. Every now and then a Jet would pass over and drop ordinance on an area, creating more fire and flames and noise.

"Altin Urdan Loyalists" the woman said, still very very serious

"The last of them gathered in a massive group and attacked the Old City. There are still thousands of them, fighting the Japanese. The Imperials, they evacuated everyone out of the hold city; blocked it off with these barriers, and keep sending in troops" she explained, just as what can only have been artillery strikes hitting a distant part of the Old city. Some of the Empire's positions close to the barrier were even visible from this high perch.

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It was terrible, Sarah held her hand against her mouth in utter shock and horrific awe of what lay before her eyes. The entire city was literally in chaos. "This is terrible, this is absolutely terrible. How can they live like this, why even fight for a bunch of rubble on the ground now." Sarah listened closely for the sounds of gun shots and the piercing cries of the jets above in the sky. If the news was correct then, this fighting had been going on for months now, probably since Altin Urda had fallen due to internal struggle and strife. "God, they must have been living like this for months now." She reached down into her shirt and held her cross for a moment, saying a quick prayer for the people down in the craters and then turned back to the woman. "This is horrible, but please take me back. I don't want to involve myself in such danger anymore." Sarah's curiosity had taken a turn south. But as she turned around, the woman grabbed her hand tightly and pulled her back. Sarah turned and looked at her again. "What is it? Why do you want me to see this further?"

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"Shut up" the woman said. She had pulled a pistol out from under her shirt and was pointing it at the door. Gunshots could be heard inside, shouting, a scream.

"We can't go down there" the woman said. She ran across the roof and jumped the narrow space between the apartment building and its neighbor.

"Come on!" she said. Looking down, Sarah would be able to see Imperial soldiers moving in on the building.

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Sarah backed up against the wall in horror when the woman pulled the gun on the door and if Imperial troops were descending up the building, these people weren't Altin Urdin supporters were they? No they couldn't be, but this was all very confusing to her. But from the noises that were coming inside, the woman's alternative of jumping to the other building seemed the only logical choice. Perhaps, not logical, but definitely safer. Following the woman, Sarah hit into a sprint and she jumped high into the air coming down on the building with her feet front. Turning back she could see the door being hit from in the inside and turned back to the girl. "Look, if you're going to help me get out of here and if I can trust you I at least want to know your name." Sarah stuck out her hand quickly. "I'm Sarah."

The door broke down and the two girls set off running. Pulling her hand back, Sarah followed the girl where she was going to take her and hoped that she would at least introduce herself after they had reached a safe zone.

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"are you stupid or something?!" the woman asked incredulously as Sarah tried to shake her hand.

"Come on already!" she said angrily, heading down a fire escape. She led Sarah down to the ally, where they went behind the buildings instead of out onto the main road.

"This way!" the woman said leading Sarah down the dark back-allies. They turned a corner, and were now in an ally bordered by wooden fences.

"If we just go a bit farther up ahead, we'll rea-" the woman began, pointing up ahead, when suddenly the fence to her right exploded into dust and little pieces. Imperial soldiers came barreling through the fence. The woman screamed something in mongolian and shot at the nearest soldier, but one came up behind her and clocked her one on the back of the head with the butt of his rifle. There was a lot of shouting as Sarah was forced to the ground and handcuffed.

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"Ugh! Let go of me! Let go!" She screamed as the Imperial soldiers dove on top of her and forced her onto the ground, her hand forcefully placed behind her back and now interned in handcuffs. It was extremely painful, every move she made was painful and if she tried to open her mouth all she got was a mouthful of dirt and dust making her spaz and start coughing. "Please! Let me go! I didn't do anything wrong! I swear! I'm sorry for being on this side of the barrier I was only curious! I'm sorry!" Goddamn this, she was in so much trouble now and the girl that was next to her was unconscious. Normally this would be a good time to bring up who she was, but she really didn't have any proof that she was the Lady Protector so it would be better to just keep her mouth shut. Actually the more Sarah thought about it, it would probably just be best to cooperate with the authorities and so when they lifted her up, though with unnecessary force, she grunted in pain. The least they could do is treat her like a human and the European prejudice that infested her mind began to come out.

"I'm not an Altin Urdin. Look at my skin for God sakes. I'm Finnish." Ugh, she was talking too much...

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Indeed she was. Many of the soldiers didn't speak Basic, but they understood it as per military training. That little comment of hers earned her a clocking of her own, and the last thing she would see is the woman being dragged away before passing out.

When she would awake, she would find herself handcuffed to a cold, metal chair inside what appears to be one of the Army tents that she had seen on her side of the Barrier. In front of her was a medium sized metal table, absolutely bare. The sun could be seen in the crack of the flaps of the tent. There was nobody with her.

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Sarah groaned as she opened her eyes. Her head was throbbing and when she tried to massage her aching temple her hands didn't move, that was what pulled her out of her grogginess. She was handcuffed tightly down to the chair behind her and it was so tight, she could barely move any part of her body. Giving it a quick shot Sarah tried to wiggle free of the constraints, but as she continued to try and force her hands out, the metal began to cut her soft skin and the blood slowly began to run down her arms. Finally the pain became to much for her to handle in her hands and she stopped trying to escape. Beginning to calm down, Sarah took a deep breath and hung her head low. When she had left Valkurheim, this hadn't been in her mind of what was going to happen, but Sarah had already been though a lot, so she really wasn't extremely surprised that something like this had happened, though she was still a little pissed off. Actually extremely pissed.

The tent was abandoned, just a metal table, but the sound of footsteps could be heard close by as the flaps of the tent began to sway in the breeze.

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A tired looking man wearing a worn gray suit with a blue tie and a vanilla trench coat entered the tent. He was looking down at a clipboard. He was clearly Japanese, as was evidenced by the way he walked, and of course when he spoke Japanese to the guards.

"Do you understand me?" he asked in Japanese first. Getting no response from her, he made a mark on the clipboard

"Do you speak Basic?" he asked in very well spoken Basic.

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Sarah nodded. "Yeah, I speak Basic." She tilted her head up to get a good look at the man. He looked friendly enough and taking another deep breath she made sure that she would be calm. She was more scared then anything else and just wanted to leave. Smiling lightly from both fatigue and just trying to respect the man, she bowed her head again slightly. "Please, I'm sorry for being in an area where I wasn't supposed to be, but I wasn't even on the other side of the barrier I just got curious. I didn't think I had done anything wrong, but what ever I need to do to get out of here I'll do. I just don't want to be any trouble. But what did I do wrong?" She flinched and looked at her bleeding wrists. "Could I also get some gauze, I cut myself when I woke up. I was a bit frantic."

Edited by Sarah Tintagyl
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"Be quiet please. Do not speak unless you are asked a question" The man said seriously as he marked some things down on his clipboard. He called to the guards outside, and in moments a field medic came in and bandaged Sarah's cuts.

"You are the most interesting case I've had all day; Attempted passage into unauthorized areas, aiding Altin Urdan Loyalists and the Last Stand, Public Christianity, Traveling with no form of Identification, and avoidance of the Law. You could be put to death for at least two of these" he said. He continued to write more.

"Just for the record, I am required to tell you that you are being charged with all of these. Your personal belongings have been confiscated, and while you were unconscious we took a blood sample. You may not want us to know who you are, but DNA doesn't lie" the man said, continuing to write

Edited by Lord Frost
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She thanked the medic after she had been bandaged up and then listened to what the man had to say, his first warning to stop talking had pushed her voice box into her throat, but as he continued to read off the charges that she was guilty off she began to sweat in anxiety and when he had talked about the DNA sample she hung her head low in defeat. "Then you all ready know who I am, so I don't need to bother explaining myself. But I wanted to hide my identification so that I would at least be allowed to walk through the country without being hounded by guards. I apologize for that, this was wrong of me to do. May I ask what is going to happen to me then?"

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The man sighed, and spoke again in Japanese. A guard walked in and lowered his rifle to aim at her

"No further warnings will be given. Please, don't make this more difficult then it has to be, I'm late enough home as it is. No talking unless asked a question. Your DNA analysis has not yet reached here. The Lab is still pulling up your file, whatever it is" he said. He wrote something down, which even in Japanese seemed oddly like "Uncooperative".

"Do you know what that is?" he asked suddenly "Family? Terrorist scum like yourself destroys them" he said very angrily. He was clearly still brooding on his wife.

"Look at you, you probably don't even care. You couldn't care less that I have to deal with people like you and stay away from my family. I have a son, you know. People like you forced me to miss his birthdays, his acceptance letter to one of the best schools in the Empire, and now I hear he's getting married soon. And where was I? hm? out here, in this backwater place dealing you racist, terrorist !@#$%^&*, who want nothing more then to keep causing your own poverty and kill people, and make decent people's lives hell. I-" he ranted, but before he could continue, a soldier walked in with a vanilla folder. The man readjusted his tie, cleared his throat and opened it. He read it for what seemed like an hour. Finally, he sighed and looked at Sarah with a stern, but questioning look.

"Interesting, like I said when I came in here. Your DNA record is classified. Nobody out here except maybe the General has clearance to know who you are" the man said.

"I'm not allowed to ask either. I have been ordered to keep you here. What happens to you is now out of my hands" he said. Then with a nod to the guard, he and the guard left the tent.

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Sarah sat quietly when he talked about her DNA test not being back yet, that was her only hope to make it out of this place in one piece it felt like. She was extremely scared by this point, but when he began to yell at her about family and how terrible things had become in this land, she couldn't help be feel her heart dropping into her stomach and when he had called her a !@#$%*, she dropped her head to her chest and started to sulk. "I'm sorry, I really am." She wanted to tell him that she wanted to help him, that the White Cross and the Hansa could help them and bring some peace to this horrible chaotic land. Altin Urda was a dead land and if the Japanese needed help she would give it, but he would never believe her from being tied to a chair. All Sarah could do is feel sorry and sorrier she felt the closer that tears began to form in her eyes. But she kept her mouth shut, the man would only be able to hear a quiet whimper from the imprisoned girl.

When the man said that her DNA was classified, Sarah just shook her head as the man left. She felt horrible now and just wanted to go home, but once again she was left abandoned in the tent, waiting for the General the agent had spoke of to arrive.

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Sarah was left alone for at least an hour. There was much noise outside, and clear activity. Suddenly, 3 armed guards entered the tent. One of them uncuffed Sarah, a second helped Sarah out of the chair, and the third held open one of the flaps to the tent. Immediately outside was an armored transport. The back opened, and all 4 entered the transport. Sarah could feel the vehicle take off. 15 minutes later found Sarah feeling the vehicle slow down. Someone in a white Airforce jumpsuit opened the doors from the outside. They were at an busy airport in the City (the "New" City so to speak). There a military transport plane waited for them. The soldiers did not get off with Sarah; she was instead met by what appeared to be different soldiers (they were, in fact, Imperial Guard Infantry). She was led up the ramp to the plane, which closed.

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When the ramp closed a few orange lights illuminated revealing two metal benches that would normally be occupied by soldiers stood empty. Taking her time, the imperial guards walked her over to one of the benches and sat her down then watched her movements as the plane began a very noisy take off as it lifted up into the air. It was stuffy in the plane and Sarah who was already worn out from the trials and tribulations of the hand no reason to talk or any energy left to talk. She was tired, hungry, and even felt a little sick and when the plane was in the air a quick dizzy spell over took her as she laid her head against the bench and closed her eyes.

Sleep wasn't really sleep as Sarah continued to slip in and out of consciousness, to be honest she just wanted the plane to land so she could find out where she was going and what was going to happen to her. She could ask the guards, but they wouldn't tell her anything, no one else had, why would they. So she tried to sleep lightly, waiting for either the plane to land or someone to approach her with some answers.

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