Their journey continued as the sun descended towards the horizon. Facil's depression led him into an unexpected snooze that set aside the heartache for his brief respite. The hedgehog wasn't the only one catching up on sleep. Eddie had long toppled over, dead asleep as he snored on and off on the smooth ride home. Cid couldn't believe these people could sleep practically anywhere. He would have to be physically put out cold to get any real rest like this. The icy floor and occasional bump of the terrain weren't exactly conforming to the bird's taste.

In an effort to keep his mind busy, Cid pulled himself back towards the front, watching the scenery fly by. Miracle was still wide awake behind the wheel, showing no signs of relenting. "Y'know, if you ever need a break I-"

"No thanks," Miracle cut the cockatoo off preemptively, not even entertaining the thought of letting him drive. She knew he would pussyfoot around the pedal anyways. Time was of the essence and the wolf couldn't afford to leave it in the cockatoo's hands. "Besides," Miracle added, "we're almost home anyways, few more minutes give or take," she glanced down briefly at her wristcom, reading its GPS estimate.

Cid stood down with a quiet, defeated sigh. There was no use struggling against her decision. The bird reclaimed his seat back on the cold floor, waiting for the end of an era to arrive. He assumed things were going to be drastically different once they broke the news. He wondered if Miracle would even handle the change well. "So..." Cid began, throwing his words quietly at the wolf. "What's the plan exactly? Who do we have to report to that the commander bit the dust?" The cockatoo wish they had thoroughly thought things through beforehand.

"We? What's this we business? Do whatever you want," Miracle scoffed at the bird's question, finding it completely pointless. "I'm not your fucking mother," she told him off without a second thought.

True, Cid winced at her response, wishing she had a little bit more respect for her own mother. However, her unexpected answer left the bird with more questions.

"Fine, so what are you doing when we get back then?" Cid tossed another curious query at the wolf, who was concealing her rapid loss of patience very well. Even if they were off duty, the cockatoo believed they were still a squad. Miracle's rebellious decision to break off from the pack was highly reprimandable in his eyes. If only Myra were here... Cid grumbled, knowing the late commander would put her daughter back in her place. He would have gladly done it himself... But he wasn't her father either, he didn't feel as if he was in the best position to lambaste her over her poor choice.

"Getting my shit and getting gone," Miracle stated plainly, having no reason to elaborate further to the cockatoo. Cid pondered the thought momentarily, podering if this was just how the wolf was handling the grieving process. If she were to leave, the cockatoo would be plenty content to let her go on her own terms, perhaps she would find herself within the journey he assumed. Unfortunately her response left more to be desired and Cid wasted no time going off.

"So where are you headed then?" The curious cockatoo awaited an answer with feathers slightly perked. Miracle gave a side glare towards the bird, ruffling his feathers by her piercing gaze alone. He knew he was treading forbidden territory, but he was sure he could hold his own if he would end up driving her mad.

"Y'know, somewhere on the corner of none-of-your-god-damned-business and go-fuck-yourself," the wolf threw up her defenses, more as of a warning if anything else. Cid was fazed for a mere moment before drawing up the courage to dig deeper.

"...You don't have anywhere to go, do you," he picked at her brain, hoping to get under her fur. She growled at his words, finding his tone highly demeaning. She would have socked him across the face if he wasn't so far away.

"Does it matter?" The wolf could only fight back with her words, she knew the cockatoo wouldn't shut up about it anyways. Cid hid the curves of his smile the best he could.

"Well, for starters, you're the daughter of a deceased Empyrean commander, you've committed crimes against humanity on numerous occasions from what I hear, and soon enough about to be on your own. I'd be worried about a pretty little bounty on that stubborn head of yours, missy." The cockatoo went in for kill, his words smacking every branch on the way down as it visibly affected the simmering wolf.

"I can handle my own, thank you very fucking much!" Miracle kept her guard on high, but the bird could only see the holes in them. He would have the wolf squirming if it meant putting her in her place.

"Your mother locked you in your room at the hotel," he threw that one in just for the shits and giggles. It had gotten a rile out of her in the form of an irritated growl and a roar of the engine.

"Fuck off! I was drunk!" Her voice became louder, stirring Facil from his light nap. Cid rolled his eyes. Excuses, excuses, he muttered in his head.

"Not to mention the time we saved your ass from being a science lab project. Uh...You're welcome!" Miracle felt that one in her bionic limbs as she cringed. She was defeated, but refused to admit it.

"Just shut up!" The wolf slammed the side of her fist onto the wheel, getting a jump out of the hedgehog as she shocked the life back into him. Facil peered cautiously out to the commotion, bewildered about what the hell was going on this time in Miracle's little world of problems.

"...I'm just looking out for ya," the cockatoo found himself saying, surprising even himself. Maybe it was an attempt to deescalate the tension in the air he reasoned. Miracle let out a shaken sigh, flushing out as much anger as she could.

"I'm not sticking around here, that's for sure. If you wanna come along with me, I'm not going to stop you. But if do... You're answering to me from now on, got it?" Miracle laid out the conditions, getting the bird's brain ticking to re-weigh his options. Both Miracle and Facil were looking for an easy out at this point and there was no way Cid wanted to get left behind with the prospect of Amber being at the helm of the base.

"We'll see... Commander Rufis," Cid joked with the wolf, throwing the title out there as a harmless quip. It got a small chuckle out of her as her lips curled into a slight smirk.

"Commander Rufis... That title fits me better," Miracle mused with hidden glee, having her ego stroked by someone else for a change felt quite nice. Facil rolled his eyes at her arrogance. In his eyes, the young wolf would never fill her mother's boots.

"You won't be hearing that out of my mouth," the hedgehog jeered, the formality getting under his quills. Miracle wasn't bothered by his lack of enthusiasm. As nice as the mantle sounded attached to her name, she would rather distance herself from Empyrean ways if and when possible.

The wolf took a hand from the wheel and grabbed Facil by the chin with it, sending a chill down his spine. "Please, call me Mistress Rufis," her sharp gaze locked with his, brewing a cold sweat within the hedgehog.

"I'd- rather not," Facil struggled to speak as Miracle's fingers pressed into his cheeks, forcing him to pout out a pair of kissy lips. The hedgehog feared if she still had a weird fling for him since their last intimate encounter. He felt the fingers of his comarm tingle, giving him a bad vibe as the thought of the wolf having ulterior motives crossed his mind. If there was one thing she probably wanted off of him, it was the commander's comarm.

Facil wiggled his fingers, wrapping them into a fist as he held onto the insides of his comarm tightly. The conniving wolf would get the hedgehog's new tech over his cold dead body. There was no way Miracle deserved it after all the disrespect she gave her mother, even after death.

"Uh... Guys," Cid cut into their conversation. "I don't think we're going home." He gawked out ahead, his eyes stuck looking upon the sight in front of him. Miracle pushed Facil away from her and brought her vision back to the open field, seeing pillars of smoke pour up into the sky, emanating from a smoldering crater from a location that was all too familiar.

"You got to be shitting me," Miracle's jaw hung open. Her mind was racing, locked in a state of fretfulness. Her few possessions now lost to the destructive nature of the Burrow. She picked her mouth back up, gritting her teeth in anger.

"I guess we double-lucked out..." Cid counted their blessings as their vehicle rolled to a stop. The trio sat petrified as they all frantically puzzled over what really was to come next. Eddie however, was still blissfully slumbering among them, spared from the current events for the moment.

"...You've got an awful concept of luck," the wolf shook her head at the bird's unique sense of judgment. "Well, looks like plans changed boys," Miracle shifted the vehicle into reverse, putting the cruiser into motion.

Her sudden retreat was shortly lived as the path behind them was swiftly and forcefully blocked with a hard thud, tossing the group around slightly as an opposing cruiser had them cut off. "The fuck?!" Miracle shouted, getting frustrated with the new bump in the road. Eddie was even rustled from his nap, but only for a few seconds as he laid his head back down.

"Nice driving," Cid stated sarcastically, "you get your license out of a box of rags?" He threw an edgy joke at the wolf, who wasn't in the mood for his provocative humor.

"Shut the hell up you over-sized chicken." The wolf countered, putting the vehicle back in drive as she looked to do a U-turn instead.

"BAW-BAW-BAWCAAAW!" Cid paraded in place as a fowl, flapping his elbows and wings as he turned himself into an obnoxious spectacle at the wolf's expense. Miracle was about to turn around and bash his beak in if it wasn't for more cruisers boxing them in.

"Ugh! What the hell is this shit?!" MOVE, you knuckle dragging assholes!" The wolf laid on the horn, letting it blare out in protest. Her patience ran dry as she stomped on the gas and charged onwards in an attempt to pierce through their blockade. The vehicle roared as it jutted forth at the opposition, though it was to no avail as the vehicles only budged mere inches before becoming grounded in.

Miracle's crew were shaken yet again, garnering an annoyed grumble out of Eddie as he was roughed up from his beauty sleep.

"...This can't be good," Cid had dropped the charade, seeing the situation had grown dire. "We shouldn't piss them off Mira," the cockatoo went to take the wolf's paws off the horn, only for his arms to get slapped away.

"They shouldn't piss ME off!" Miracle kept her foot down, hoping the torque would kick in and start pushing the opposing cruisers. Eventually the other cruisers opened their doors, with fully clad Empyrean soldiers stepping out. The group didn't give it too much thought until the man of the hour himself stepped out.

"This really can't be good..." The bird nervously clicked his beak as he watched the silvery weasel climb out last. Each soldier had their weapon drawn and aimed in their general direction. Ronin decided to give them more of a personal welcome, climbing on to their hood and stooping down at the windshield.

"I'm only going to ask this once: Get out of the vehicle." The weasel's glare shifted between both Facil and Miracle. The wolf wasted no time giving him the middle finger, promptly telling him where to shove it. Cid had let the top of his beak fall into his palm, knowing Miracle was going to get them in deep trouble.

"Miracle, cut it out!" Cid interjected, pulling down her offending gesture. The wolf shoved the bird aside, swift to prop up her defiant finger yet again. Ronin grew impatient with their dawdling and took matters in to his own hands... Or hand in this case. His wristcom dominant hand was no where to be seen, only a mutilated stub patched together by the same medical procedure done during Miracle's traumatic rescue.

There was no time to dwell on their new discovery as the weasel began to tear his way through with a cutting laser from his wristcom. It didn't take long for him hack his way through. His assault didn't stop Miracle from retaliating as she brought up her wristcom to fight off their unwanted guest. Unfortunately, it refused to respond to her wishes, leaving her defenseless.

"What the hell!?" The wolf protested, unable to do anything as Ronin had stunned Miracle into a daze with a bright shock from his wristcom. He wasted no time taking her hostage from the vehicle. Facil was the only one able to draw out a weapon of some sort, bringing out a light auto-rifle to counteract the situation. Ronin was taken off guard by the hedgehog's quick and unexpected response. Quickly assessing the situation, the weasel put the bright blade of light near the wolf's throat.

"My reflexes are faster than yours, hedgehog..." Ronin threatened, almost egging Facil on to pull the trigger. "Shoot, and the wolf comes with me, I assure you." He added, not fearing the potential of death. The hedgehog panicked under the pressure of Miracle's safety. Myra would have his head in hell if this went sour. With Miracle struggling against the weasel's grip, Facil had to think fast and talk his way out of a messy situation.

"What the hell do you want with her?!" Facil barked at the weasel, keeping his gun steady as best he could among the trembling quakes. Cid and Eddie were reduced to helplessly watching the events unfold. The bird knew nothing good was going to come of the standoff. They were criminals now if this was how they were being welcomed by fellow Empyreans. Cid let out a quiet sigh through his nose, realizing fate had caught up with him after all.

"Her? No... I need you," Ronin confused the hedgehog for a brief moment. "This pain in the neck would have been in the way otherwise." He explained his reasoning as he gave the wolf another jolt, forcing her to go completely limp. Facil regained his frustration again, still filled to the brim with questions that demanded answers.

"Then what do you want me for?!" The hedgehog kept his sights on the weasel. He couldn't help but think Empyrean had found out about their little hijacking escapade. But Ronin wanted the hedgehog specifically... Which could only mean one thing.

"You were the last one seen with the Commander," Ronin replied, readjusting his grip on the wolf. "...While she was still alive. Tell me, just what exactly happened... And why you find it so necessary to wear her com?" The weasel glared directly at the hedgehog's weapon bearer.

Facil was stunned for a moment, realizing he would have to retell the events of that fateful night once more. But who would believe him at this point anyways? His friends didn't believe him about Baso, so why would someone like Ronin believe him about the commander's brutal murder?

"She... Gave it to me when the Burrow killed her! It saved my life!" Facil couldn't remember much after getting impaled, the rapid blood loss had made remembering the rest pretty fuzzy. The weasel studied the hedgehog intensely.

"Tch, That's it? You expect me to trust your word, saying so little? Surrender the commander's com and yourself to us, nice and easy, and we'll work out the... Inconsistencies from there," Ronin ordered. The hedgehog hesitated, wondering what Myra would have him do. None of this felt right to Facil as he was further pushed out of place in this strange new world. He wanted to run, to fight, anything but to comply to this alien authority. But Mira's life was still on the line, and with her awful reputation, Facil assumed the weasel wouldn't spare a second thought on taking her life if it meant compliance in the end. He couldn't allow that to happen to Mira, for her mother's sake.

"...Fine," the hedgehog discarded his weapon into nothingness with a grumble of defeat. "You win, just let her go. Myra doesn't deserve to have her daughter butchered because you think I killed her." His words had made Ronin pause for a moment to chew over the hedgehog's statement.

"I wouldn't put it past this wretched she-devil to influence you to kill Commander Rufis! Her mutiny was in the making for years!" He shook the wolf as his anger begged to take control, though losing her now over volatile emotions would turn the situation extremely hairy. His assumption had Facil livid, but there was nothing he could do unless he want to escalate matters further.

He brought his emotions down with a pent up sigh, pushing out the heated thoughts within. He went to fiddle with his comarm silently, searching for a way to peel it off of his person. He tried wiggling it off like a glove, however it proved to be fruitless as it refused to budge, remaining wrapped around as if it was bound to him as a cursed relic.

"I-it won't come off!" Facil cried out, becoming immensely upset over the fear of what would happen if he couldn't pry his arm free. Ronin had became fed up with the hedgehog's nonsense, assuming the nervous wreck was just biding time at this point.

"Enough with your moronic stalling!" He tossed the wolf aside carelessly, letting her tumbling onto the ground with a thud. "That thing is coming with me one way or another!" He leaned in and snagged the hedgehog by the bracer, yanking it towards him as he readied his glowing knife to dive down into Facil's flesh.

"No!" Facil couldn't take his eyes off of the weasel's weapon, fearing he would have matching scars with Myra. The thought of losing a limb was paralyzing, the hedgehog couldn't find the strength to fight back. "Don't do this!" Facil's allies only stood idly by as they didn't know if a full blown insurrection would be worth it.

Is this how it's all gonna end huh? Facil questioned to himself as he watched the knife come down. I'll meet you again soon Myra... He closed his eyes, accepting his fate as his trembling quelled. He humorlously wondered if they would just let him bleed out and die, bring the rest in for questioning and forceful re-education. Who needed a supposed traitor after they had gotten what they wanted after all.

The hedgehog wondered what took the weasel so long to deliver the blow. Where's the pain? Facil peeked out sheepishly to see the weasel flop over on the hood, unconscious. "W-What?" He withdrew his arm from the air, speechless on what was going on. Suddenly the bigger picture came into view. Facil spotted Biggs standing over Ronin.

"I couldn't bare to witness that traitorous shit any longer!" The golem stepped over the weasel, reaching out a welcoming hand to the hedgehog, offering to pull him out. Facil was almost about to take it before a bullet ricocheted off of the rhino's head. "AH!" Biggs pulled back, facing towards the impact's general direction. "Y'all really think that's gonna-" One shot turned to two, four, eight. Until a swarm bullets had showered across the golem, barely scratching him. "CALM DOWN! YOUR DUMBASS RAT BASTARD CAPTAIN'S STILL ALIVE!" Biggs roared at his hostile squad-mates.

Facil could only stare dumbfounded as the chaotic scene unfolded. The rhino went postal, launching himself off the cruiser, quick to charge at his comrades. Biggs put on a show as he neutralized a few grunts before the rest turned tail and fled, leaving their unconscious allies behind.

Dusting his hands off from the dark deeds, the rhino turned back to face Facil. "Well... That could have gone a lot better. Apologies for the shit show." Biggs gritted his teeth, knowing he was about to become ex-Empyrean. "Things are going to shit fast, but there's no way in hell I believe that albino asshole when he says you're behind the commander's death."

The hedgehog was speechless, watching the threads of his newfound reality continue to fray apart at the seams. Stress holding his tongue, Facil glanced back at his allies for any support he could muster up from them. To his dismay, they were as flabbergasted as he was. Biggs took the opportunity to remove the barriers that locked their cruiser in... With brute strength and sheer, reckless force.

Their escape presented itself before them, but before they could even think of taking off, Biggs had Miracle bundled up in his arms, ready to send her back to her crew. She still remained limp as the rhino handed her back off, through the windshield no less. Cid collected the wolf carefully, handling her in a delicate manner.

"Take good care of her," Biggs added, his respect shining more for the ex-Commander rather than her next of kin. "Anyways, you might want to make like a tree and get fucking gone. Anywhere but here." he shooed them off. "Don't worry about me though, I'm gonna go collect Wedge and I'll rendezvous with you guys later!" The rhino left the cruiser with a friendly pound on the hood before taking his departure.

Wasting no time, Cid took the initiative to replace Miracle as the driver. Seating himself in the diver's side chair, the cockatoo took a long look at the console before tacking a crack at it. "Well, here goes nothing." Cid muttered to himself before attempting to put the vehicle in drive. He gave the gas some pressure, pulling their way out of the mess. Cid let out a relieved sigh, able to let his feathers down again.

"Man! Thank the fucking stars you have friends in high places, Facil!" Cid squawked. The hole in the windshield providing a less than comfortable ventilation system.

"Yeah..." Facil shrugged, his emotions still fairly drained from the volatile fiasco. The new bounty placed on him put him at a further disconnect with the reality around him. Cid didn't give the hedgehog's dead demeanor much thought as there would be plenty of opportunities in the future to peck at his brain. At the moment, the cockatoo's biggest concern was seeking safety as soon as possible.

"Guess we're driving aimless 'til that walking talking bolder finds us." The cockatoo spoke at the windshield, unintentionally announcing his cluelessness to the crew. His leadership was questionable at best, but there was no way Facil was in any shape for the position and the iguana wasn't to be trusted after the stunt Miracle pulled. Even if Eddie was stuck with them, who would say he wouldn't sell them out for a crumb of freedom.

Cid would have to hold down the fort until the wolf returned to her senses. The bird would have to catch her up with the details when she came to, he suspected. Perhaps Miracle would even have a better idea of where to go than he did. The continued lack of faith in himself allowed paranoia to flourish, putting the cockatoo on edge.

"Think we might need to ditch the wristbands?" Cid popped the question to no one in particular? Forgetting for a moment that his own holoarms were also tied to the comnet. "I don't think it's gonna take too long for them to send another hit squad on our tail." The bird felt the paranoia creep upon him slowly. "And I'm pretty sure they're not going to be as friendly as the last one."

Frightful dread came over the iguana as he realized he might just get shot down along with his captors. Empyrean wasn't really known for being negotiable in hostage situations. The lizard wish he could at least Samantha's voice one last time.

Growing more generous with the gas pedal, Cid kept his eyes on all for corners of their surroundings. "I really hope that friend of yours has this shit figured out." The bird began to nervously ramble. "'Cause I never really got this 'on the run' thing down yet..." Cid cleared his throat. "I mean, it's kind how I got here in the first place... Kind of ironic, huh?" A dry, nervous chuckle escaped his beak, hoping to bring the mood to a better place.

No one had bothered to keep him verbal company. With the light on the horizon slowly fading, the night began to bless them with its astral shroud. "We're gonna have to find a place to stake out for the night, any ideas?" The cockatoo proposed the question to his crew, returning with a resounding nothing in return. "God, where's that crazy crocodile when you need 'em? Sure he'd have some idea of what to do..." Cid grumbled, feeling the pressure build up.

"Tch..." Facil didn't take to lightly to the mentioning of Baso. "Probably sucking sand dick," the hedgehog dealt out a low blow, not worried about expressing his thoughts of the crocodile. Cid rolled his eyes. Sure... NOW Facil has some words to spare. The bird didn't bother to start an argument, as the last thing they needed was infighting between them.

"I'm sure Yuki would devise some sort of plan here..." Cid's mind wondered about the whereabouts of the missing opossum. "She's the sharpest thinker out of all of us." His comments continued to rub Facil the wrong way. Impatience provoked the cockatoo to peek out behind again, only to spot that Miracle was still out cold.

Cid drew a worried sigh. if the hedgehog was too demoralized to fight, than he could at least get to work waking up someone else who could. "Facil, be a dear and see if you can get Miracle up and running again." His order fell to silence for a few moments before the hedgehog leaned over his seat to gaze into the back of the cruiser. His eyes met with the fearful iguana for a brief second before trailing over to the wolf.

He sat frozen in thought, reflecting if it was even worth it or not. He was about to disregard Cid's request until a dastardly idea sprang into his head. "Sure..." Facil unclipped his seat belt and worked himself over to the wolf. It took awhile before the bird realized what took Facil so long with answering.

"No funny business either!" Cid squawked back, knowing the spicy shenanigans his friends get into. Facil didn't bother responding. He had a personal score to settle with the wolf, and letting off a little steam in the process wouldn't hurt at all. Eddie's eyes were on the hedgehog, who quickly tuned him out. The iguana could only watch as the hedgehog went to work.

Facil mustered up the all the strength he could to prop Miracle up into a sitting position. "God, you're heavy. How about you lose some weight, fatty." Facil threw some verbal jabs at her, oblivious to his own less than ideal appearance. "There," the hedgehog brushed his palms off on each other. "Now how about you wake up..."

Nothing. Was there even a pulse? Facil leaned an ear close to Miracle's muzzle. Her soft breaths misting his hearing. "Okay, stop fooling around," he peppered the wolf with a few light slaps and back hands across the face. "Now how about you get your shit together, huh?" Miracle remained motionless.

Facil pulled at the wolf's cheeks, ears, anything to get her started up again. "Come on, we're up shit creek here." Facile grumbled, glancing over to Eddie. "You got some water or anything around here?" he asked. Eddie shook his head.

"That crazy bitch chugged down the last of my canteen, sorry man," the iguana was unable to help. Facil huffed, though it didn't stop him from coming up with a backup. The hedgehog got up to his feet. "Wait... What are you doing- DUDE!" Facil readied himself to let loose a golden torrent onto Miracle.

"Quiet!" Facil snapped back at the iguana, being extremely pee shy around others. "I'm making do here!" The hedgehog took in a breath between his teeth. Cid already had put the pieces together of what was happening but dared not to look back.

"Ugh, fine! But don't get it on me!" Eddie scooted himself away from the mess that was going to take place. Facil had to slowly work his bladder out. He knew he was doing this more out of spite than necessity, but the act of going through with it still proved to be a challenge. His flow started out a slow trickle and then grew into a controllable stream.

Facil was no stranger to aiming for the wolf's face, giving her a wash down from the top down. A small smirk of schadenfreude curved on the hedgehog's lips. Who cares if Myra was looking down on him in this moment. The joy of payback was too great to humor such a thought.

"Nnn..." The wolf groaned as the wet sensation and sharp scent brought her back to consciousness. "Ughh... why's my mouth tas- WHAT THE FUCK?!" Miracle hopped slightly, unable to move back more. "AH!" her body ached with pain as it began waking up, still reeling from Ronin's shock. Facil continued to let it flow regardless. "Fucking stop! What the hell are you doing?!"

"Sorry, it's hard stopping once you start!" Facil replied back as he slowly receded his stream. "But at least it worked," the hedgehog offered the wolf to look at the brighter side of the issue.

"Fuck off, If I wasn't so sore, I would rip your thorns out and shove 'em up your ass." The wolf added a groan to her empty threat. Cid peeked back as Facil stowed away his junk.

"Thank god you're awake." The bird chirped gleefully, "you recall what happened?" He asked, wondering if he had to bring Miracle to speed.

"...Maybe?" Miracle replied, trying to regain her footing but only proving to be a slippery mop for Facil's puddle. "I hurt too much to think right now." She glared at the hedgehog. "Hey needle dick, make yourself useful, and get me up," she demanded between grunts and groans.

"How about a please?" Facil rubbed it in, enjoying the position he held over her. His smug grin throwing fuel on her fire.

"How about I don't skin you alive?" Miracle threw another vicious remark at the hedgehog, who brushed it off.

"Fine, only because you asked so nicely..." Facil replied with a strong helping of sarcasm.