‘We are finished loading the ship,’ the officer says.

The Mog waits for Five to acknowledge him, but Five stays silent for a long, awkward moment. He stays hunched over Eight’s body, breathing slowly. I tense up and wonder if his strange game is over and if now he’s thinking about sounding the alarm.

The Mogadorian officer does a bad job of hiding how much Five’s silence perturbs him. ‘One of the hunting parties hasn’t reported back,’ he continues. ‘And the mechanics are having difficulties getting one of the scout vessels to work.’

Five sighs. ‘That’s fine,’ he says. ‘We’ll leave them behind.’

‘Yes, those were my orders,’ the officer replies, not so subtly asserting his power. ‘Are you ready to leave?’

Five turns to the officer, a malicious twinkle in his remaining eye. ‘Yeah. Let’s get out of here.’

Five walks towards the hangar doors, his movements mockingly sluggish. We stand to the side, watching all this transpire, staying quiet. The officer arches an eyebrow, not stepping out of Five’s way.

‘Aren’t you forgetting something?’ the officer asks Five when the two are nearly face-to-face.

Five scratches his head. ‘Huh?’

‘The body,’ the officer says, annoyed. ‘Your instructions are to bring the Loric’s body. And the pendant.’

‘Oh, that,’ Five replies, and glances back at the metal table where Eight rests. ‘The body’s gone, Captain. The Garde must have slipped in here and taken it. Only explanation.’

The Mogadorian captain doesn’t know what to say. He makes a show of craning his neck, looking past Five to where Eight is still very much on the table. Then, he studies Five’s face, his eyes narrowed impatiently.

‘Is this some kind of game, Loric?’ the captain hisses. ‘Or are you blind in both eyes now? The Garde is right there.’

Five ignores the insult and shakes his head at the Captain, clicking his tongue.

‘Happened on your watch, too,’ Five says. ‘You let them steal a war asset from right under your nose. That’s basically treason, my man. You know what the punishment for that is.’

The Mogadorian opens his mouth for another disbelieving protest. He’s cut off by a scrape of metal, Five’s blade popping out from beneath his sleeve. Without hesitation, he drives the point into the underside of the officer’s jaw and straight up into his brain. Before he starts to disintegrate, there’s a look of total surprise on the Mog’s face.

Five doesn’t move as the Mog turns to ash. He disintegrates slower than the many other dying Mogs I’ve seen, and when it’s finished there are jagged bones poking out of his crumpled uniform. Five pushes his blade back into the mechanism on his forearm and kicks the officer’s remains away from the doors. Then, he carefully brushes himself off and straightens his coat.

From where we’re standing, Five is in profile, and the eye that’s visible is the one covered by the gauze bandage. Because of that, it’s not easy to get a read on his expression.

‘Good luck,’ Five says, then steps through the hangar doors, easing them closed behind him.

No one says anything or even moves for about a minute, all of us a little worried that a squadron of Mogs will be storming in here at any second. Finally, Nine shakes off my grip, popping back into the visible world.

‘Okay. What the holy hell was that about?’ he exclaims. ‘Is that kid trying to buddy up now or is he just totally loony tunes?’

‘It doesn’t matter,’ I reply. ‘We’ve got Eight, that’s what’s important. We can deal with Five another time.’

‘He’s alone and lost,’ Marina says softly, letting go of my hand as well. She notices me rubbing some warmth back into it, the chilled feeling still lingering, and frowns. ‘Sorry, Six. He brought it out of me.’

I wave it off, not wanting to get into Marina’s Legacy control at the moment. I tiptoe to the hangar doors and edge them open just a crack. I’m just in time to see Five disappearing up the ramp and on to the warship, the last one aboard. Once he’s inside, the ramp curls back into the warship’s underbelly and the huge ship begins to rise up, its engines purring with a softness that seems almost impossible for a vessel that size. Once it reaches a certain height, the warship starts to flicker and I begin having trouble distinguishing its outline from the purple clouds. Hulking, virtually silent, and equipped with some kind of cloaking device – how are we supposed to fight something like that?

‘You sound like you feel sorry for him,’ Nine says to Marina.

‘I don’t,’ she snaps at Nine, but I can hear some doubt creeping into Marina’s voice, that tough exterior she’s been putting on showing some faults. ‘I … did you see his eye?’

‘I saw a hole in his head covered by a Band-Aid,’ Nine replies. ‘Dude has that and more coming to him.’

‘Do you think Eight would want that?’ I ask, honestly wondering. ‘He died trying to keep us from killing each other.’

The warship risen out of sight, I turn around to face the others. Nine chews his lip and stares at the floor, considering what I just said. Marina has taken a seat in Five’s former chair at Eight’s side. She tentatively touches the electrodes and waves her fingers through the energy field. When nothing happens, Marina gently brushes her fingers through his curly hair. Her eyes shine with fresh tears, but she holds them back.