The Great Escape?
Historiae Terrae Et Imperii
Location: The Pyramid
Timeline: Date 2371-08-16 at 1405
5189 words - 10.4 OF Standard Post Measure
Giana had been swinging between rage and despair since she had left Paolo in the hospital wing of the Pyramid. She knew she could have used the transporter to be back at her apartment near instantly with just a short walk from the transporter area, but she had opted to walk a good portion of the way back herself for no other reason than to clear her head and try to figure out what to do at this point. She had done everything in her power to be better, to do what was asked of her, to make her father actually proud to call her his daughter and not just think of her as vapid little Giana, yet it still wasn’t enough for him to choose her, to protect her. She clenched her fists as she walked, grinding her perfect white teeth together. The worst of it all… the worst of it all was she imagined she realized what Giuseppe had felt the moment their father had betrayed him by usurping his position and giving him a lowly lordship in its place. Antonius wasn’t wrong, of course, but that wasn’t the point of it; the point was she understood her older brother.
And a small part of her sympathized with the Giuseppe of that very moment.
He had tried for not quite a month of course… she had been trying her whole life to some degree, but she had been trying harder lately and she had thought it had been working, that maybe things could be mended. She was wrong of course, she always was.
She walked into her apartment and looked around. Not immediately seeing Sacha, she called out for him. “Sacha?”
Unlike most, Sacha had no interest in the happenings of the court and the moving of men between different locations and power structures. He wanted to be near Giana and make sure she was taken care of. Since his job was obviously done in their secure location, he had resorted to sitting in their apartment in the Pyramid half-watching the news on TV. Giuseppe’s face appeared on the screen with words underneath it which read “Enemy of the Senate and People of the Empire.” In his hands, he held a glass of milk.
“Giana?” he asked with a smile. “I honestly didn’t expect you back so soon.”
“Yeah.” Was all she could really come up with and she offered a meager smile to go with it. Walking over to him, she took a seat next to him and then looked up at the TV. Immediately she made a face and then turned her attention to Sacha. “Hey, how about we get out of here?”
His eyebrows went up immediately. He sipped his milk shamelessly, ignoring the liquid that collected in his stubble with his last sip.
“What you want to go for a walk?”
“No, I want to leave.” Giana clarified. “Maybe your place or a friend’s place or something.”
“You think these hair-trigger soldiers are going to let us out of here without a fight?” He asked with a slight smile, “or are you wanting me to sacrifice myself so you can get away?”
She didn’t meet his smile, instead she merely shrugged at him. “We used to be good at sneaking out. Do you think we’ve lost that talent in our old age?"
“No, but I’ve been encouraged to be good by a certain princess.” He said with a frown, leaning forward and putting his milk on the table. “And, if I managed to carry out this caper, I’m not sure I’d still be considered marriage material. Taking the Princess Royal during a security crisis with no protection from the Imperial Guard? Sounds like the sort of thing that might get me disappeared.”
“Well let’s go get married and then find somewhere to go. Call it our honeymoon, yeah?” She opened her arms and looked down at him. “You have milk on your face.”
“Hey, that’s my line.” He said with a sudden burst of laughter. He reached out and pulled her in with a bear hug, nuzzling his head in her neck in a way that he knew would tickle her. “Ayayayah.”
“Sacha, I’m serious.” Giana said, placing her hands on his shoulders and smiling despite herself. “I want to get out of here.”
He looked back at her, his expression unreadable. Eventually, he gave her a boyish grin, despite his more seasoned charm.
“Then pack your bags..”
“What’s the plan?” She asked, her hands on his shoulders and her beautiful blue eyes looking into his.
“I’ll go to the transporter room and tell them I want to leave. The technician will let me because who gives a fuck, and then you’ll come into the pad with me. If I knock him out, he probably won’t lose his job for letting you go.”
She listened to him and then made a slight face. “I don’t think that would work. It would be easy to just trace where we went, and that kind of thing is instantly backed up so even if we were to delete it at the site, it wouldn’t matter. We could probably just walk out with a little bit of effort. It’s not like anyone around her really gives a shit about me when push comes to shove.”
He looked at her as if she had just told him she was a poached egg and he knew, in that moment, that she was running away from something. Yet, still, he had every intention of helping her.
“So we’ll transport to my apartment building, clear the log, transfer to a common transporter hub, and then, from wherever we go next, we can take a cab.” He said, not seeming worried. “Put on some glasses and a hat and we’ll be golden.”
“What about you though, Sacha? Your face has been plastered in the news about as much as mine as of late. The people are so eager to see us married after all.” Giana noted and wrapped her arms around herself again, a bad habit when she was feeling uncomfortable.
“You said you want to go, Giana.” he said with a shrug. He was playing his role, and he was increasingly aware of that. All of this was likely rhetorical. He refused to even let it bother him. “You say to hell with the plans, let’s elope. So let’s do it. I’d love to marry you in a small place nobody knows. I don’t have any big wedding dreams.”
Giana rolled her eyes. “I know, and I want to. What I’m saying is if you walk out without a hat and glasses yourself, we aren’t going to get very far.”
“Oh..” he said, smiling as he realized he’d misunderstood her. Perhaps Giana had genuinely lost her mind this time and she was actually going to go through with this. “Oh, right. Yeah, I’ll pop on something simple and casual along with a hat and sunglasses. That should do it for me too.”
“Alright then.” She said and started to walk to the bedroom proper to get changed, her heels clacking sharply on the marble floor with each determined step.
Sacha waited a few moments, allowing his mind to turn over what was happening for a while. He hadn't asked her what was going on and he honestly didn’t plan to until she wanted to talk about it. Finally, he followed her back there to the room and went to his own back, searching for an outfit that would make him fittingly anonymous.
Giana rifled through her closet to find a simple dress that she would wear just in the apartment or wandering around the private royal halls where she didn’t need to worry about being quite as dressed up. She found something soft pink with a slightly darker pink floral print and pulled it out. It was a modest length sundress that complimented her skin tone and hair. She tossed it down onto the bed and began to strip out of the more formal outfit that she had been wearing.
As Sacha pulled off his own shirt, he stole a few glances at Giana. He didn’t disturb her more than a look in her direction, however. He pulled on a pale green V-neck and then he pulled out a bear of jeans to go with it. Dressing neatly in the casual outfit, he sprayed a bit of tasteful cologne on and started looking for the right shoes.
Giana hadn’t really even bothered to look back at Sacha as she dressed herself in the new dress and added a simple gold chain belt to accent the waist. She left off anything else and pulled out one of her pairs of white low heeled shoes to go with it all. Maybe this was foolish, but she really was convinced that nobody would care at this point. Her status in the family had been made very clear, and so she was going to act like exactly what they thought of her. She grabbed a pair of her lower end (though still designer) sunglasses and put them on her face.
“I couldn’t be more ready.” he said with a grin, moving to the door and holding it open for her. “Let’s do this then.”
Giana grabbed a white hat with a pink ribbon and plopped it onto her head. She spared only a glance at herself in the mirror and turned to leave, still walking with that determined, angry step she had been using since she had come into the apartment. She breezed past Sacha without a glance and took a few paces down the hall before she finally stopped and waited for him.
Sacha followed after her, giving little more than a roll of his eye at her display of irritation. If he thought about it, he really didn’t like being handled without information, but he wasn’t planning on thinking about it. Whatever.
He pulled in front of her as he fully intended on seeing his plan through and stepped into the transporter room first. Looking at the technician behind the controls, he offered a military salute. He then walked around the console and input the address of his apartment building in Paris into the transporter control.
“I’m getting out of here. Don’t worry, soldier, nobody gives a fuck about me leaving.” he said, leaning toward the guy. “Just get it set up.”
“Uhh… sir, I’m really not supposed to let anyone leave.” The younger man replied, frowning and looking at Sacha uncomfortably.
“Did I fucking ask you about your life?” Sacha asked, turning his head and looking at the man through his sunglasses. “I’m a private citizen who only came here because I’m close to Princess Giana. I can leave and it won’t be a problem for anyone.”
He took another step closer.
“Or should I give my very busy, very irritated, very powerful future father-in-law a call and have him set things straight for you?”
“I… b-but…” The other man stuttered out, looking very nervous. His eyes darted around as if he were looking for someone to come and save him from what was happening. “But I was told-”
Giana for her part was waiting outside still, though as the moment dragged on she crossed her arms and began tapping her foot on the floor in irritation. He needed to hurry up with this.
“Put the code in, you fuck.” Sacha said with a roll of his eyes. He then paused for a moment, seeming to think, and then he chuckled and shook his head. “Alright, it's your job on the line, not mine. Computer, contact Empero-”
“WAIT! Wait. Gods… fuck…” The transporter tech looked like he was about to have a mental breakdown then and there. “Alright. Alright. Step on the pad and I’ll get you out of here.”
“Good man.” Sacha said with a grin and a wink that couldn’t be seen behind his sunglasses before stepping up onto the pad.
“Alright, alright.” The poor tech tapped on the console in front of him and then glanced up to Sacha. “Energ-”
As soon as the man input his security code, Sacha pulled his phaser and fired a stun beam directly into his chest. The man slumped back, banged up against the wall, and then collapsed to the floor in a heap. He smiled.
“All clear, Giana! Get in here!”
“Finally.” Giana let out a sigh and rolled her eyes behind the closed door, the expression having cleared by the time she was walking through the doors. She gave Sacha a half smile and stepped onto the pad with him. “Alright, let’s go.”
Sacha pressed an activation key on the wall directly next to him and the two of them disappeared in a shimmer of light and sound. A few seconds later, they materialized on the transporter pad on the same floor as his penthouse apartment. He grinned at the familiar surroundings.
“I’ll go get my keys and we can go for a drive to a transporter hub. I know a place in Montana where people may not have even heard of you. Just purple mountains and beauty as far as the eye can see.”
“Okay.” Giana agreed and walked forward, looking around the familiar space. While Sacha had more often been at her place, she had come here from time to time. She stepped over to the couch and was looking down for no real reason when a bit of hot pink caught her eye from between the cushions. Reaching down, she pulled out a pair of panties and smiled despite herself.
“I wondered where these disappeared to.”
“Hey!” he said, stepping up to her and snatching the panties out of her hand with a grin. “Hands off my trophy. Besides, if things don’t work out and you decide to leave me, I can always sell these for like 7 million crowns.”
“These are expensive panties, you could probably get at least ten.” She grinned in return. It was strange - and Giana really didn’t even realize it - but the moment she was taken out of the hostile environment that was any of the Imperial housing near her family, she tended to be much more his Gigi.
“Trust me, mon cher, the man who buys this won’t care who sewed the fabric.” he said with a grin. “He’ll care who made the smell!”
He laughed and instantly raised the panties with his extended arm so she wouldn’t be able to snatch them away from him. She might not have noticed that proximity to halls of power meant distance from her most genuine self, but he did. She just wouldn’t listen. Maybe they would find a balance one day. If not, one of them would have to give up.
“Oh gross you haven’t washed those?” Giana stared up at them, her nose scrunching slightly and her arms folding across her chest. “Weirdo.”
“Giana, you found them between the cushions of my couch.” he said with a chuckle. “Do you think I washed them and just stuffed them back there for later? Besides, I don’t think guys who collect panties wash them. I don’t actually do that, so I don’t know, but it doesn’t quite seem…gross enough to fit, you know?”
“Well hell I don’t know. Men are weird and gross a lot of the time.” She shrugged and eyed the panties warily one more time before setting her gaze back on Sacha. “We should probably get out of here though.”
“True. They’re going to figure out we’re gone soon and this is the first place they’ll be after looking at the transporter records.” he said, and then lifted up a small black fob. “I’ve got it. Let’s get to the garage.”
They didn’t delay any longer and walked down to the lift that took them to the garage with some matter of haste. As they stepped out, Giana was half expecting to be immediately accosted by royal guards, but there was nothing. She took hold of Sacha’s arm and followed him to his assigned parking spot. “So… Montana?”
“Montana.” he said, unlike the sleek black vehicle. It resembled an expensive sports car but there was no seam between the black-tented windows and the shiny surface, giving the impression a person inside wouldn't be able to see outside. As he slipped into the driver's seat and the colorful controls came to life, he turned the car on and activated the steering wheel. The W-shaped wheel slide out from its housing before expanding and lighting up like the rest of the LED displays. As Giana’s door closed, he smiled at her.
“I wish I had one of these when we were teenagers.” he said with a devilish tone. “Think of what we could have gotten into with autopilot activated.”
“All sorts of trouble.” She chuckled and reached over, placing her hand on his knee. “Are you sure Montana is the place? Don’t forget Amalie is from there, so they’ve had considerably more royal fever this past month than probably ever in their entire history of existence.”
Not waiting, Sacha guided the car carefully from the garage and onto the busy road. He kept pace among a series of other vehicles as the two of them blended in to the city of Paris.
“We could just stay here, but both of us are extremely recognizable here. After all, this is my home.” he said, and looked over at her for a brief moment before directing his eyes back to the road. “Do you have a different idea?”
“I was just wondering if somewhere like Oklahoma or one of the Dakotas would be better… I’m not convinced people actually live in either place, honestly. I’ve never been, but that’s what I hear.” She shrugged and looked out of the window at the city. She didn’t come to Paris often enough.
“That sounds fucking terrible.” Sacha said with humor, though he didn’t smile. “We have to be able to do better than boring shit Dakota. Perhaps some place outside your country like a small town in South Africa. We can even try our hand at leaving the planet. It really depends how committed you are.”
“We can try South Africa or something. I don’t know about leaving the planet though. The moon and Mars are both so boring…” She sighed. “There has to be something we could do.”
“How long are you trying to get away for?” he asked. “It would be easier to decide if we knew what we were deciding.”
This question gave Giana pause and for a few beats she sat there silently, frowning.
“I don’t know… I didn’t think that far ahead.” She admitted honestly and pulled her hand from his knee back to her lap. “I just… wanted to leave:”
“Okay, well then don’t worry about it.” He said with a smile, putting his hand on her knee now. “I’ve got this. Montana should work just fine. We’re kidding ourselves to think we aren’t universally recognizable everywhere. We stay as long as we can without being found out. Like a game of hide and seek.”
“Yeah. Yeah, okay.” She agreed with a nod but he could see on her face the wheels were starting to turn and she was starting to doubt herself and this bright idea she had. “Just uh… stay away from Bozeman.”
“No problem there. Where we’re going is way prettier.” He assured her. “Way prettier.”
“I trust you.” She put her hand down on top of his on her knee and held it lightly so he could pull away if he needed or wanted to.
Sacha gave her a grin which was light and satisfied, not asking more from the moment than just that, and he piloted the car down the street still-further. About a half hour later, he pulled into a parking space near a the transporter hub on the other side of town and stepped out of the car.
“Remember, act casual and let me do the talking. I have a better chance of blending in after all.” He said to her as they walked into the bush building.
“Right.” Giana confirmed and got herself out of the car instead of waiting for him to come around. She joined him at the front and took his hand, the two looking like nothing except a cute couple. She was nervous though, and behind her sunglasses her beautiful blue eyes darted around to keep a look out.
Sacha, on the other hand, was perfectly at ease and having fun to boot. He grinned as they entered the line for the transporter portals, a modern invention that made going from one place to another as easy as stepping through a doorway.
“The problem is they normally require IDs here.” Sacha said, turning his head towards her. “Would you believe me if I told you I had some fake ones made up for just this occasion?”
“Yes, I would.” She said without a moment's hesitation. That was exactly something Sacha would do. “I better not be fat.”
“You lost a lot of weight recently. Let’s just hope they don’t want you to remove those sunglasses. If they do, just tell them people tell you that you look like a princess all the time.” He said with a grin. He was having fun. “We’ll need to go to different stalls though. If we go together, they’ll know for sure.”
“Yeah, of course. Give me my ID then.” She held out her hand to him, waiting to be extremely offended by the picture he had chosen for her.
He handed it to her, his face a bright indication that he knew she wasn’t going to like it. He took his own in his hands and looked down. It depicted him rather fat with a full beard.
“See you at the gates then. Tell them Kalispell.”
“Grosssss.” Giana practically moaned out as she walked away from him while looking absolutely disgusted with the picture on her ID. He needed to get a refund from whoever had done these for them - she was going to be absolutely amazed if this worked. She stepped into line at one of the gates and considered the last time she had to stand in a line was another occasion where she and Sacha had left the palace on an outing similar.
The tired-looking attendant at the gate scanned an ID, took a cursory glance at the man holding it, and waved him along without much fanfare. It was about two minutes before Giana got to the front. He eyed her much longer than he had the others, looking her up and down.
“Where to?” He asked with some obvious interest. It was clear he didn’t recognize her one bit, but was more interested in her as a woman.
“Kalispell.” Giana said after just a slight delay which she played off as if she had just been looking around. When she noticed him staring at her, she looked back through her glasses and then looked away from him, disinterested and just waiting for him to clear her and return her ID.
“I see the hard work paid off for you.” He said, looking down at her ID and then back up at her again. One of his hands ventured down to his slightly extended belly. “You must have lost 150 Lbs. What’s your big secret, if you don’t mind me asking?”
“Hurry up!” Sounded the shout of an older woman several people back in line. She spoke a shrill French.
“A parasite. It came highly recommended by some Trill doctor I met at a bar. I haven’t really felt myself since then so I’m going to get it removed.” Giana shrugged. “Tell me your name and I’ll put you on his list.”
The man’s face turned immediately in disgust and he swiped the card across the simple reading device. It flashed green, indicating she was cleared by the system.
“That’s disgusting.” he said simply, shaking his head. “You’re all set to go. Good luck with your…parasite thing.”
“Thanks, I’ll need it.” She said dryly, snatching the ID from the man and sweeping off into the crowd. She did her best not to get swallowed by it and looked around for Sacha. She didn’t want to get separated even now, but if they did she supposed the transporter would take her where she needed to go.
Sacha was next in his line and stood in a nonchalant fashion he had grown far more accustomed to as a soldier far from home than Giana had. He knew how to blend in and had no signs of worry on his face.
“One for Kalispell.” He said in a disinterested tone and handed his ID to the attendant.
“Kalispell?” The middle aged woman parroted and looked at his ID. “What’s a young stag like you going to Kalispell of all places for?”
“A party in the mountains.” Sacha said with a grin. “I wouldn’t want to miss that. Why do you care?”
“Just seems like a really random place for a young person like you to go.” She replied, eyeing the ID and comparing Sacha a bit closer before finally handing it back and buzzing him through. “Enjoy.”
“Oh, trust me. I will.” He said as he walked past her. A few seconds later, he appears before one of the seven transporter gates with Giana. The display above each had the destination that particular gate was cued up for. He looked for their destination, and when the word “Kalispell, Montana” appeared in official letters over the center gate, he grabbed her hand. “Ready to taste the first real freedom you’ve had since I snuck you from that luncheon to share a meal in Rio?”
“Yeah, I am.” Giana sounded tired all of a sudden and what could be seen of her face had a worn quality to it. She squeezed his hand regardless and continued to move up in line with him. When they were next, she couldn’t help but turn and look over her shoulder behind them into the crowd. Would they even notice she was gone? Eventually, probably, but would they care?
Sacha, glanced at Giana and saw through her display of being okay. To be quite honest, this was a normal state for her in adult life and he had learned to get used to it. He didn’t push for answers, generally, and he typically didn’t worry about it unless she said something. He had been engaging in his work more, even though it was a desk job, in hopes to continue in his own career ambitions. He didn’t think it was healthy for a man to base his entire life around a woman, and he noticed it did absolutely nothing to increase their attraction to a man. He had been with friends more, at work more, at the gym more, and had been sure to actually pay attention to her when they were together. For him, a vacation could only help him rest. If it would do something for her, he would find out soon.
The two of them stepped through the portal together and emerged in a similar room on the other side of the planet. This one, unlike the one in Paris, was small with only one gate. They both nodded to the lone operator and stepped forward so Sacha could ask for information on where to rent a car. After a few moments, they drove down a beautiful country road in the shade of the mountains in a tiny car neither of them would otherwise be caught dead driving.
“How long do you think it will be before they access my bank account and track my purchases?” Sacha said, taking a turn at too-fast a speed. “My bet is on a couple hours. Good thing my friend’s cabin is…very remote.”
“We might get a day or two while everything is in such chaos. I don’t think I’m going to be missed immediately by anyone. CJ might be the first one to notice if she comes to try and find me for company matters but she’s also particularly busy. My guess is when everyone starts leaving, my father will want a family meeting or dinner or whatever and when the messenger arrives and I’m not there, then they’ll start looking.” Giana looked out the window as she spoke, taking in their surroundings though her mind was far away.
Sacha’s eyes drifted toward Giana for a few seconds, his expression blank. The sun was setting over the purple mountains in the distance as he revved the quiet modern engine. They drove over a bridge and started into a thicker patch of trees. Eventually, he took a right onto a long drag of dirt driveway which twisted and turned for nearly two miles. Only then did they come to a large light-wood cabin which sat at the edge of the woods on the crest of the hill. The roof was green metal and a yellowish porch light provided serine illumination in the deep purple dusk.
He pulled the car to the side and stopped, putting it in park.
“Gigi, we can do this for a few days, but we have a life to get back to.” He said in a quiet but confident voice. “I can’t actually run away. I’m not a teenager anymore.”
“It’s not like I can either, Sacha.” Giana pointed out, not looking at him immediately. Then she smiled, though there was a sadness about it, and turned to look at him while placing her hand on top of his. “But… for a couple of days… let’s just pretend we are.”
“Sounds good to me, Gigi.” He said, returning her smile with his own warmth. “Come on in; I’ll introduce you to Hector and Naia. They’re nice people who settled down out here in the middle of nowhere-heaven. I’m sure they’ll let us intrude on their simple lives for a little while.”
“Alright.” She moved to get out of the car, not even remotely questioning the trustworthiness of the people they were about to see. If Sacha trusted them, that was good enough for her. She waited for him to come around and took his hand, letting him lead them up to the cabin.