Star decided that she would have gladdly given her good leg just to see one familiar face, friendly or otherwise. Actually, on second thought, she would give her good leg just to have asked Spires a few more questions so she wouldn’t have arrived in his world so hopelessly ignorant of everything.
When she had first awoken, disoriented and, admittedly, a little scared, she had suspected she might be able to pass herself off as an amnesiac. She was very clearly being mistaken for the other Star. The nurses and doctors had been so polite. They’d even deactivated her eye (which had had gone all blurry thanks to the fall) in anticipation of having a mechanic in to repair it. But then they had put her arm into a curious machine and she had been arrested.
How many days ago that had been she wasn’t sure. Where she had been taken had no clocks and no windows. The lights were never turned off and the only way she had to mark the time at all was the appearance of meals, which seemed to be semi-regular at least. The interrogations seemed to happen at random times, the guards came and carried her out when she was sleeping or eating or, once, when she had been half way through counting pock-marks on the ceiling. Since she had irked the first interrogator they had to literally carry her to her next appointment. That one had decided that her peg leg could be used as a weapon and must be confiscated. She rather regretted that she hadn’t thought to pound him over the head with it before they removed it. He had been displeased with her inability to answer any of his questions, none of which had made even the least bit sense to her so she had been forced to answer “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” until she started to worry that was the only phrase she actually knew how to speak.
After they took her leg she had decided that she wasn’t going to talk at all any more. They hauled her in, she slumped in the chair and stared blankly at the wall and did her best to not respond to them in the least.
Now THAT got some amusing reactions out of them. Sometimes, after she’d been returned to her cell, she’d have to stuff the hard little pillow against her mouth to keep from howling with laughter. Something about her silence unhinged them, and it was well worth the occasional slap to watch them scream themselves incoherent.
She had lost track of how many of them she’d seen, but all of them promised her she was going to be executed for treason.
If she had ben pressed Star would have gussed that she’d been a guest of the Empire at least four days, perhaps five, depending on how long she had been unconscious after Samwise had thrown her.
Samwise… She was certain he would have gone straight back to where he felt safe, which would mean straight back to the city. If someone had been strolling the walls surely they would have spotted him. She hoped he’d been returned to the stables and unsaddled, poor beast. If her horse was found, perhaps someone would have realized she was missing and then…
And then what, exactly, Star? She chided herself silently, They search the woods and don’t find you. It’s not like you’ve been kidnapped to Steelhead. You’re on another bloody world. No one would even imagine looking for you here. Not even Spires, after that charming conversation you had with him…
Star had never been the sort to believe in being rescued, but just this once, she thought perhaps she wouldn’t turn her nose up at a little assistance.
She did notice that this whole business had not only killed even the vaguest desire for Laudanum but also that, for once, her head was blessedly silent. Which made it easier to plan, although the plan was fairly simple:
Step one, get out of this cell.
Step two, contact the underground (she was positive there must be one of some sort, as one of the questions she was continually asked was ‘who is your leader?’).
Step three, get out of the Empire (She recalled Spires saying there were a few places that the Empire didn’t rule, she needed to get to one of them. She did not think that the threat of execution was as idyll a one here as it would have been in New Babbage.).
Step Four, secure an airship and get back to New Babbage. Get back home and get the hell out of the Empire. Spires could keep it, so far as she was concerned, she was not impressed with the Emperor’s hospitality.
But first she just had to get out of the cell.