Gunfire pulled Avery from a doze. He shifted, sitting up as best as he could within the scant room his chains allowed him. The shots were distant, but coming closer with each passing second. Avery considered himself something of an expert on guns. He closed his eyes, blocking out the miniscule light that seeped in from the crack at the bottom of his cell door, and listened. Each type of gun had a unique sound. It was hard to mistake the crack of a rifle for the boom of a heavy pistol. The volume and tone of the shot told him the caliber and the length of the barrel. In general, shorter barrels made louder shots. The amount of time between shots told him the type of gun. Faster meant automatic, slow meant single-shot.
The closest gunfire likely came from his guards and their modest six-shooters. Their shots were messy and sporadic. They weren't very good, though they'd been good enough to capture him. The approaching shooters fired in steady bursts. There was a rhythm to the way they shot that screamed practiced military maneuvers. They were also better equipped. He could make out the steady bang-bang of several semi-automatic pistols, intermixed with the louder thud from a shotgun or rifle. Whoever they were, they were definitely heading towards Avery's cell. He wondered who else was trapped here. He certainly hadn't heard any other doors open recently, but there had to be someone important imprisoned in the cells to warrant that large scale of a rescue. Maybe if he was lucky, they'd let him out, too, and he could run far away from this ridiculous colony and its barbaric ideas about the rights of a machinist.
A man screamed just outside his doorway. He heard two thumps, and then the gunfire ceased. His guards were dead. Faint voices filtered through the heavy metal door. There was a soft shuffling, as if something heavy was being dragged away. Keys jingled. Avery jumped as the lock on his door clicked open. He turned his head to the side and squeezed his eyes shut as light brighter than what he was used to momentarily flooded the cell. Three thick figures stepped through the doorway, blocking most of the light. He squinted in their direction.
"Are you the machinist?" The center figure spoke with a commanding tone. He was taller than the other two and thicker in a way that suggested an excess of muscles.
Avery licked his lips. His voice cracked. It'd been far too long since they'd last given him anything to drink. "I'm a machinist." He wasn't sure if he wanted to be the machinist they were looking for, though dealing with them had to be better than how he'd been treated at this colony.
"Take him." That answered his question.