When the Sky Men came back they brought weapons we'd never dreamed of. We had no answers. Lucky they wanted hostages, not corpses. The first attack, we found out, was just a test. They wanted to know how The Hub stood up to a fight.
Jack and our boys stood just fine.
Soon the place was up and running again. Jack worked showing the money through the tunnels beneath the boilers.
Sky Men took to constructing more tunnels, more boilers, more foundries, and all we built was more weapons.
It didn't feel like we were conquered. Sky Men treated us better than the founding leader of The Hub, for a while at least.
But then the new people came. Mercenaries, hard men, the best gun slingers in the galaxy. They all came for the tournament. We were each given a primitive rifle, they were going to hunt us like game birds. But we were armed to raise the stakes, and give us hope.
Some of the locals split up, I stayed with Jack.
We were stalked for days by two commandos from Kralliss, but Jack Steel knew the tunnels too well and led them into a trap. For one so young Jack had the patience of a chess master.
Soon we'd taken more than our fair share of scalps, and Jack was on top of the tournament's leader-board.
We based ourselves near the boilers, so that's where the best shots in the world wanted to come.
Sometimes it felt like we were dancing puppets though. It was time to escape, because we'd never be released, not from there.