• Chapter 4

    The near total darkness that engulfed the confinement unit on the ship was making me nervous to say the very least. The only light that was allowed to accompany me in on my ride was the ethereal glow of the planets and stars. It was soothing it a way but still didn’t do enough to quite my nerves. It’d been at least four hours since we departed from the jail’s dock. Several hours sitting in a black room with your arms, legs, and neck chained to the wall can really put someone’s mind into perspective.

    Just standing here thinking about what exactly I did to get into this situation and why this Nahrod was so bad. Who knows what happens on other planets let alone one that the UTA sends criminals. I let out a very audible sigh. I waited, in the back of my mind I knew no one was there but I was hoping to hear someone familiar ask my ‘what’s wrong?’ and console me. I knew that was impossible no matter how badly I wanted it to happen. What are my parents doing, I thought, they might be worried or maybe the UTA told them I died. ‘Damn the UTA!’ I screamed and that familiar silence came to rejoin me. Suddenly the whole room began to shake violently; I could hear the swaying of the chains that bound me and the screeching of abused metal.

    Through the window I could see a heat buildup on the ship, we’re entering orbit. I could faintly here sound of a familiar voice over the loud speaker but whatever was said was lost in the violent spasms of the ship fighting gravity and the screaming of the tortured heating metal. The noise was so loud I couldn’t even hear myself think about how much I hate the sound. I took a quick glance out the window to try my hardest to prevent vomiting; I noticed that a planet had nearly covered the whole window. So this is where I’ll be staying I thought while I examined the several expanses of green being choked by what appeared to be several space ports and cities.

    I tried to fool myself that I was simply going on vacation and I’d have a lot of fun walking through the forest and seeing the sights but my fantasy was violently cut short by a quick jerk of the ship that sent my head directly into the solid metal board behind me. As if the trip could get any worse, I was going into hell with a headache. A few minutes later we’d made planet fall and I considered sarcastically complimenting the pilot on such a smooth landing but the thought was quickly dismissed as the cabin’s door slide open.

    A burst of light flooded the room, illuminating my surroundings and nearly blinding me at the same time. Erics slowly entered the room and stopped directly in front of me and my restraints. He leaned forward and muttered something that sounded vaguely similar to ‘Welcome to your new home, freak’. A noise from behind him seemed to disrupt anything further he had to say to me. He glanced behind himself and took a few steps back to reveal Ms. Lara.

    Lara seemed to be dressed in a military armored suit; even behind several inches of solid metal you could still tell her form was quite magnificent. I tried my hardest to not stare at her especially with Erics present and the noticeable rifle slung on her back. I decided staring at the floor was my best option, even if a steel grate was far less interesting. I could faintly hear Erics chuckle, I smiled slightly but it quickly faded as I remembered who was where. Lara approached me and squatted down to be staring me directly in the face.

    ‘Don’t look so down, we’re setting you free’ Lara said as if I should be comfortable with where I am. ‘I think you should find yourself fitting in quite well with the other…people’

    ‘I don’t understand why you’re trying to make this freak feel better, they don’t deserve your sympathy’ Erics he said while staring at me. Lara shot him a glare I won’t soon forget. I began to laugh and Lara smiled but Erics just looked as pissed as ever and I was ok with that.

    ‘Erics, it’s time to get him to town. ‘Lara said as she left the cabin. ’Ready Jacob for travel.’ Only a few seconds went by after she left the room that Erics punched me square in the gut, which was still sore from the similar endeavor hours before. He smiled as my face distorted in pain, the bastard. He leaned forward.

    ‘Ms.Lara may like you but I sure don’t you f*cking freak’ He whispered. He began to walk away and suddenly pivoted around and I could see he was going to try and punch me in the face, so I moved my head to the side and his fist hit the steel board behind me with a highly audible thud. He howled in pain while I snickered away at his circumstance. He noticed I was laughing at him and prepared to punch me again when I Lara entered the room again.

    ‘What are you doing? Get him prepped now and stop screwing around or I’ll leave you here!’ Lara ordered and as quickly as she entered, she left the room.

    Leaving me with him once again. Because that worked so well last time, I thought, but unlike last time he actually listened to the command. He unchained me and pushed me out the cabin door and into the loading dock. He reached up and pressed some hidden button and a ramp slowly began to open up to reveal blinding light and arid sand.

    ‘Move.’ Erics commanded.

    My options were few so instead of some witty remark or an act of defiance I decided to skip on the bodily harm and move down the ramp. It felt good to finally have solid and stable ground beneath my feet regardless of the heat it was still preferable to the dark lonely cabin I’d just left. I started to take inventory of my surroundings. A few buildings in the distance could be seen; I assumed that had to be the town they spoke of earlier, and a few metal structures within a few feet of me.

    They looked like massive metal spires that seemed to stretch infinitely into the sky with windows covering each face of it; the base of each one of these buildings seemed to be a landing pad and some glass doors. I could see Lara in the entrance of one of these doorways talking to someone in a black business suit but beyond that I couldn’t make much out of them. Lara didn’t seem to notice us, probably too busy with her discussion I thought. Despite the fact she was damning me to this place, I found myself liking Lara more and more.

    ‘Enjoying the view?’ Erics asked sarcastically ‘Get moving.’

    He gave me a push and I started to walk towards the glass doors. Once we got close, Lara seemed to recognize us approaching and motioned for the man in the suit to leave. As he began to walk away he glanced back at me but only momentarily and I immediately recognized him as my History teacher, Mr. Richards, back on the colony. He must have told the UTA something about me and that’s why I'm here, I thought. No wonder everyone called him Mr. Dick back home. I was furious and it was showing, Lara walked up to me with her usual smile. Her smile quickly faded, and she took a quick look back at Richards then back to me. She must have noticed, I thought. So I tried to forget Richards even being there.
    ‘You know that man?’ Lara asked not even realizing that it’s hard to forget someone existed when you reminded them.
    ‘Yes’ I replied through clenched teeth.

    A worried look appeared across Lara’s face, as if I stumbled onto something. This immediately got me pondering all the different situations as to why Mr. Richards would be here. Lara clearly saw I was thinking about it, I was never good at trying to hide thinking I never thought I’d need to hide it. Trying to interrupt my train of thought she began smiling again and instructed Erics to into a kind of lobby room and towards an elevator. She left me and Erics in the elevator together down the twenty some odd floors. You really can’t get more uncomfortable than this, I thought.

    For some reason my mind immediately began thinking of home again I fought the images back but they wouldn’t stop. I tried to close my eyes but that obviously didn’t work. It was like torture, seeing my family’s and friend’s faces and the thought of how I may never see them again and just like that I realized the ride got more uncomfortable. The doors opened and Lara was there waiting to greet us. She must have seen the puzzled look on my face; she simply smiled and said ‘I flew’. She instructed Erics to follow as she walked outside the main lobby doors to a parking lot filled with APCs. She motioned us toward one and hopped in.

    She looked at me and gently patted the passenger seat as if telling me to sit there. I felt as if she really did like me or perhaps it was sympathy, as I climbed into the seat, but such thoughts were dismissed after all the executioner can’t be your friend can it? The seat was surprisingly comfortable and I took great satisfaction that Erics had to sit in the back seat. We started to head towards those buildings in the distance I saw earlier. Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad after all.