Saturday, July 8, 2017

Star Talker: Part 5: Prisoner




I simply stared at Rha'han as the door to the cabin slid shut and the beeps and clicks of him securing the door. The bastard seemed well-pleased with himself. I touched the bandage on my chest, the skin still numb from the anesthetic. Branded like cattle, again. I was getting a bit sick of being marked by Lo'Rahni men. As a child, it was supposedly for my protection, but rather than protecting me from Rha'han, the sight of it had simply spurred him on.

I looked about the cabin. It was a sparse appointment. A bunk, a desk, a small bathroom attached. There were no personal effects to be seen, but that was unsurprising. If it was only a few hour flight from the capital, he would have no need for personal items. The Centauri facility was not equipped for combat nor built for defense. Centauri Prime was a passive station. Our purpose was purely academic. The Centauri Scientific Federation had been contributing to the information databases in the quadrant for decades through the various stations posted in the surrounding star systems. We were universally recognized as a peaceful federation, so the attack made no sense.

Sitting down on the bunk, I tapped on the Arkiv and scanned for active remote radio links. A couple of the Arkivs were still on. Litai's was active. I requested a connection, pleased when she quickly accepted the exchange. I transferred a text file, advising to tell the others to activate the RRLs. I pulled up my translation software and began transferring it to each active link. So far, the program was only completed for English, but I was slowly building the dictionaries for the other interstellar Terran languages. The English software would be enough to get them by though.

I sat the tablet aside. The files were massive, so the transfers would take a bit. I stretched out on the bunk, suddenly tired. The last couple of hours had caught up with me. The adrenaline had faded. My ass still ached, although the burn had faded. My lids were heavy. I didn't fight it. I had nothing else to do. Might as well nap.

~*~

The feeling of the descent woke me. I felt groggy, the few hours' sleep not enough to wipe away the exhaustion of the day. I picked up the Arkiv. All the files had transferred. New text files had been transmitted to my device. Several transcripts of the conversations the Lo'Rahni soldiers had been having during the flight had been sent. Mostly innocuous chatter. A few exchanges were of note however. Litai had sent one with a note in bold at the top.

Jin Fai Empire attacked planet. Lo'Rahni victory.

Of course. Jin Fai had arisen in the wake of the last Terrestrial War, a few hundred years ago. They had pioneered extrasolar colonization, conquering the closest habitable exoplanet, forming the administrative seat of the empire. As they'd grown, they'd begun conquering subsequent planets for resource farming for their ever-growing population. Lo'Rah had apparently been their next target.

I had never looked on Jin Fai with any sort of favor. They took slaves of the populations they conquered. They started wars specifically for territory acquisition. And they'd just fucked over the Centauri mission on Lo'Rah, gotten half of my coworkers slaughtered and the rest of us enslaved. Despite the authorization Centauri had been given, I had little hope that the women of the facility would be released. Lo'Rah needed females too badly. And Jin Fai had likely shattered any Terran-Lo'Rahni relations. Most planets did not see that Terrans weren't a unified species. They blamed all Terrans for any Terran aggression, regardless of the nations that initiated it. It was pretty damned inconvenient.

The door slid open to reveal Rha'han's massive form in the hall way. He held a pair of bracelets and a coil of chain.

"Hands, please," he said as he strode toward me.

I looked at the bracelets and then craned my neck to look him in the face. "Why?" I said evenly, turning off the Arkiv's display.

"You are not properly attired for display as a mate, so you will enter as a captive. I will not allow you the disgrace of improper status."

I cocked an eyebrow. "Just the disgrace of being seen as a slave."

He sighed. "A captive woman is valuable. A mate, even more so. If I allow you to walk about as you are unfettered, then it gives the impression that I neither respect nor properly care for my mate."

I snorted. "So, it is not me you're saving from disgrace, but yourself."

His eyes narrowed. "Hands. Now."

I stood and tucked the Arkiv into the waistband of my pants in the back, lifting my shirt to cover it, and held out my wrists as if I were being arrested. He snapped manacles onto my wrists. They were wide and thin, appearing more like delicate vambraces than restraints. A chain about as thick as my thumb connected them and extended into a sort of leash which Rha'han held in one of his lower hands.

"Keep your head down. Look no man in the eye."

I glared up at him, a defiant quip on the tip of my tongue, but his expression kept my lips closed. There was a promise in his eyes of something far more unpleasant than his earlier punishment should I disobey. I was somewhat familiar with Lo'Rah, but the intimate details of their culture were still unknown to me. I suppose it was best that I heed him, not knowing the reasons for the command. I wrinkled my nose with a sigh and ducked my head.

"Thank you."

I simply grumbled in response. He tugged on the chain, and I trudged forward, staring at the back of his boots as we disembarked. I hazarded a glance to either side, to see the others shuffling along, chained to each other. One line of slaves, another line of breeding stock. I glared hard at the chains on my wrists, clenching and unclenching my fists. I could feel my nails digging into my palms. I closed my eyes, breathing deeply, trying to calm myself.


Wicked Wednesday... a place to be wickedly sexy or sexily wicked

4 comments:

  1. This is good, I'm hooked... looking forward to reading each week now.

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    Replies
    1. p.s. love the artwork, is this you?

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    2. Thank you! And yes, that's me.

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  2. I wonder what adventures await her now...

    Rebel xox

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