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Metal screamed. Clunk. The huge ship suddenly detached from the mile-long magnets that were holding it in place. Worr watched as the thousands of yellow-suited engineers scattered in all directions. Seconds later the engines flared, blasting yellow and blue and white flames which Worr felt on his face, though he was the other side of the spaceport.

Everyone around him stopped in their tracks as the roaring, screeching sounds hit their ears. Some darted indoors for cover, but most just stood and watched in complete silence. A woman next to him said to her companion:

"There's no launch today, is there?"

The other woman shook her head.

A horde of drones soared over their heads, bobbing dangerously as they adjusted direction at full speed. Their blue lights flashed. Long cables dangled beneath them like tentacles.

The long spacecraft was now lifting, its nose rising towards the sky. The drones reached it and their flight patterns instantly changed, suddenly swarming like insects, working together as they wrapped their cables around it, so the grey metal was streaked with tiny black lines. More and more drones poured in from elsewhere in the city – hundreds of them.

The engines flared again, torching dozens of them. Seconds later, a crisp, static sound blasted across the city and the drones dropped like flies, their systems overloaded by a sudden blast of electricity.

Worr smiled. That was a classic Nortarion trick.

Black naval fighters were swooping in now, but it was already too late. The old freighter's nose was pointing, its engines roaring in anticipation. Seconds later it disappeared, hurtling into the sky at lightspeed and leaving a blackened mess on the drydock behind it. Everyone screamed.

The navy fighters came to a slow stop, echoing their pilots' confusion. Worr had to stifle his smile as an officer walked by, but his heart was happy. There was no way they'd catch him now.

There were so many stars out there, no reasonable person could count them. He could have gone anywhere. And Worr alone knew exactly where he was headed.

He glanced up at the particular star, the star Nortarion had pointed out to him so many times during their hours wasted together. Back then, it had seemed so, so far away.

His friend would be there in a matter of hours. The crazy bastard had actually done it.

For him, the space between the stars was nothing.

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