Authors: Saxon Andrew
Tags: #Science Fiction & Fantasy, #Science Fiction, #Alien Invasion, #First Contact, #Galactic Empire, #Genetic Engineering, #Hard Science Fiction, #Military, #Space Fleet, #Time Travel, #Teen & Young Adult, #General
“What was that beast looking for?”
The second warrior took the whistle out of his mouth, “It might have chased a small animal along the wall and then smelled us. Would you like to go over and take a look?”
“Are you crazy?” The warrior shook his head, “However, if it’s coming this close, it’s just a matter of time until we’ll have to go out and kill it.”
“Yeah, but we might not be the ones on duty that have to do it. Go and tell the lady of the house we’ve run it off.”
• • •
Tyler watched the two warriors move toward the house and he slipped down off the wall. He walked quietly down one of the rows keeping his feet under the plant’s branches. He arrived where the slave was picking pods and tried to decide how to get her attention without causing her to scream. She continued to pick pods and Tyler knew he had to say something. He thought for a moment and quietly whispered, “Ophelia loves you.” Olivia heard the voice and jerked her head up and looked around. Tyler said, “Continue picking pods. Don’t let anyone see us talking.”
Olivia looked in all directions and didn’t see anything; after a moment, she bent over and continued picking pods, “How can anyone see us talking if I can’t see it?”
“I have a way of not being seen. I’m kneeling beside you.”
Olivia looked at the ground where the voice was coming from and saw two footprints in the soil. “How do you know Ophelia?”
“She’s sent me here to try and help you escape.”
Olivia snorted, “That’s impossible.”
“I genuinely think I can get you out if you’ll help me pull it off.”
“And just where will we go if we escape? The forest is a death trap and the city is certain death for a slave that tries to escape.”
“I have a ship waiting for us off shore. We just have to manage to get to the cliff where we’ll find our transportation.”
“The Destroyers have ships standing guard off shore. There’s no way you can get around them.”
Olivia abruptly stopped picking for a moment and then resumed pulling the pods. “You make a good point. Why would anyone run this risk just to save me?”
“Actually, you’re not the reason we came. However, Ophelia asked if we could make an effort to save you while we’re here.”
“Why are you here?”
Tyler hesitated and then said, “We’re looking at the defenses the Destroyers have been building.”
“Are you the reason the Commandant is so scared?”
“Not me personally. But we have had a few run in’s with the Commandant’s forces. He’s concerned we’ll be coming here to get to know him better.”
Olivia smiled at the audacity of the voice. “What if I decide that the danger is too high to go with you?”
“Then tell me now and I’ll…disappear.”
Olivia smiled and shook her head as she looked at the two male slaves staring at her. She said under her breath without moving her lips, “Gren and Logan are watching me. I assume you’ll want to make this attempt after dark.”
“That’s the plan.”
“If you unlock my door, Gren will start screaming. First he’ll call out the Master’s name to request he also be allowed out and when he gets no answer, he’ll start screaming.”
“Why would he do that?”
“He intends to assault me at the first opportunity. He won’t allow me to escape.”
“What about the other two?”
“They will do all they can to go unnoticed. They won’t say anything.”
“I notice your disdain for this Gren.”
“He’s evil. He was formerly in the army but his bloodthirsty ways of treating conquered people was even too much for the Destroyers. He’s told me what he’s done to the women and girls he captured and says he’ll do much more to me than he did to them.”
“He’s just trying to frighten you.”
“Well, he’s succeeded. I have no doubt he’ll do everything he says, given the opportunity. He whispers at night for hours describing what he’s going to do.”
Tyler sighed and said, “I’ll handle him so that he won’t give a warning. Are you in?”
“Do you honestly think you can do this?”
“Only if you do exactly what I tell you without hesitation and without any questions.”
“How do I know you’re not an agent of the Commandant?”
“Your sister has a small scar on her left shoulder. Also, have you ever seen a Destroyer able to make himself invisible?”
“Anyone could know about my sister’s scar.”
“Yes, but they wouldn’t know you gave it to her.”
Olivia’s eyes widened and she said, “She told you about that?”
“No, she told a friend of mine, who told me.”
Olivia looked at Gren leering at her at the other end of the garden and knew she was going. Death would be better than what he had planned for her. She knew it was just a matter of time until the Master was away and Gren would make his move. The woman wouldn’t lift a hand to defend her and leave it up to her husband to deal with Gren after the fact. The probability was high he wouldn’t do anything. She pulled another pod and said, “I’m in.”
“Remember, no questions and do exactly what I tell you to do.”
“I’m serious. You’ll get us both killed if you hesitate. Will you swear to do what I’m asking?”
“How old are you?”
“Does it matter?”
“I was chosen because I’m the right size to make this happen. Now do you swear?”
Olivia took a deep breath and said, “I do. At least I won’t be thrown over the wall.”
“No, you won’t. I’m carrying you over the wall; that’s the first place we’re going.” Tyler saw her instant fear. “Are you still in?” Olivia took a deep breath and nodded. “I’ll be back tonight.”
Olivia looked at the ground and saw the footprints in the row of plants move away from her. She looked above the footprints but couldn’t see anything making them. Her heart was hammering as she continued picking pods. She had seen the T-Rex looking over the wall earlier and her fear was monumental. She looked at Gren and decided he frightened her more than the carnivore.
• • •
Ophelia sat on the cliff staring down at the pier. It had been a month since the ship had sailed and she knew it wouldn’t be back anytime soon. She worked in the fields in the morning and spent the late afternoon and evenings staring out to sea. She had thought about Zeck going to rescue Olivia and as time passed and she thought about the rescue attempt, she realized that Olivia could be killed in the effort.
She was too young to be placed on a ship when they were captured, so she was sold to work in a Destroyer’s home. It wouldn’t be much longer before her master could sell her to be used in the slave pens on the ships. She shuddered at the thought and knew Olivia would be better off dead than enduring the pens. She also realized that Zeck knew she was approaching the age where she would be sold. A good female would pay enough for her owner to purchase another young slave and still make a profit. She closed her eyes and saw her parents and brothers being killed by the Destroyers. They had put up a fight to slow down the invaders so they had time to escape. It was all for nothing. She and Olivia had been caught before they had gone a mile. Now she would be the only surviving member of her family.
She looked out to sea. If Olivia died, would she blame Zeck? She still hadn’t been able to answer that question. If he could have gone and tried to save her and he didn’t…would she blame him for not trying? She suddenly saw that she had been choosing to cast Zeck in a bad light no matter what he did. She remembered how he looked at her and it was obvious how he felt. She thought about how he hated his parents and women in general. He felt they were all evil and selfish. She was the only one he had ever felt anything for and what had she given him in return? She only confirmed he was right; women were evil.
She looked out to sea and sighed. She was actually much worse than he had ever been to her. She had almost beaten him to death. She closed her eyes and fought the tears that wanted release.
• • •
Tyler went back over the wall and checked in both directions for the presence of carnivores. He pulled the beam gun and moved around the stripped tree and ran to the tree behind it. He gripped the trunk and climbed up to the lowest branches. He quickly scanned the area around the tree and then began climbing rapidly to the top branches. He looked over the wall and saw the slave was still picking pods and the two males were digging weeds. The one named Gren looked around and dropped his shovel. He began walking toward the girl and Tyler saw her stand up and run toward the house. Gren smiled and moved to cut her off. “WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING?!” Gren came to a halt as the Master came out of the house with a whip. He lashed out at Gren and slashed him across his chest. The slave screamed as the master pulled his handgun and pushed it under his chin, “If you disobey me again, you’ll die.”
“No Master, I won’t, Master.”
“Get back to work.” Gren turned, ran back to the other male slave, picked up his shovel and continued digging weeds. The Master turned to the female but she had already turned and ran back to picking pods. “The same goes for you!”
The Master went back inside and Tyler could see Gren’s expression from where he was. It was pure evil. Tyler shook his head. Gren was going to have to be dealt with. He tied himself off to the tree and untied the glider pack from the branch where he had hidden it. He pulled the straps over his shoulders and untied the rope from the trunk. He climbed down the tree until he was just high enough to see over the wall.
He used the rope to tie himself off again and settled in. He pulled out some jerky and a water pouch. He ate the jerky and heard noise behind him. He looked over his shoulder and saw the T-Rex was back. He was too high for the carnivore to reach him but the dumb beast could cause issues later. He took out his whistle and softly blew on it. The T-Rex’s head jerked up and it turned and ran back into the thick underbrush. Tyler shook his head. Evidently, the Destroyers sent a large number of slaves over the wall, this Rex had learned to stay near the wall for an easy meal. Tyler settled back in and looked back over the wall. Sunset was still four hours away.
• • •
Tyler jerked awake and saw the T-Rex was under his tree pushing on the trunk. “Damn this Carnie.” He took the whistle out and blew it softly. The T-Rex ran away so fast he lost sight of it instantly. He looked at the wall and breathed a sigh of relief. No one had seen the Rex under his tree. He saw the shadows were longer and the sun was just above the horizon. He looked to the north and south and didn’t see any Destroyer Warriors on the wall. One would think the wall would be regularly patrolled. Tyler saw the T-Rex moving through the forest and shook his head. The wall was too high for the Alpha Predators to climb over. The best defense for the Destroyers were the carnivores. He realized patrolling the wall was a waste of time. With that revelation, he smiled.
Olivia sat in her room and felt her fear growing. Every roar from the forest caused her to flinch. It had to be close to midnight. She grabbed her knees and rocked back and forth. Was she going to die tonight? Suddenly, she heard a small scrape and her door opened. She had never heard it open that quietly. She stood up and saw the head of a young man and he tossed her something, “Take off your clothes and put this on!” She held up the small uniform and shook her head. “It will fit. Now get moving.”
Tyler walked away from Olivia’s room and went to Gren’s room. He unlocked the door and pushed it open. Gren was sitting on his bed with his hands held out in front of him in the customary position all slaves assumed when their doors were opened. Gren looked out of the door and didn’t see anything. He had heard the female’s door being opened and he had almost called out to the Master. But after being whipped earlier in the day, he had hesitated. When he heard his door being unlocked he quickly went to his bed and raised his arms. His eyes narrowed and he was briefly blinded by a bright red light. A moment later, he was an orange mist that blew out of the room.
Tyler locked the door and ran back to Olivia’s room. He looked in and saw she was out of her slave clothes and was pulling the uniform over her legs. Tyler quickly looked away and turned bright red. He kept glancing at her until she had the camouflage uniform over her chest. He took his head cover off and handed her one, “Put this over your head. It’ll allow you to see me.”
“How long have you been there?”
“Too long! Now put it on and get moving.”
• • •
The young man’s face disappeared as she pulled the covering over her head. She felt his hands on her head aligning the head cover and, suddenly, she saw him. “Come on!” She stepped out of the room and saw him relock the door. He ran over to the house and quietly put the keys back on the hook. He ran back to her and grabbed her hand. He pulled her over to the wall and whispered, “Can you climb the wall?”
“Not without getting splinters in my hands.”
“Take the gloves out of your pocket and put them on.” Olivia put her hands in her pockets and found a glove inside each one. She put them on and followed the man to the wall. She reached up and gripped one of the logs and pulled herself up. The splinters didn’t penetrate the uniform or the gloves. She quickly climbed to the top.
Tyler was impressed. She was stronger than he thought. He followed her up the wall and grabbed her hand. He pulled her forward and they began jogging on top of the wall toward the north. Olivia saw the large backpack the man was carrying and wondered what was in it. She saw Destroyer Warriors on the ground below them but they didn’t look up. The uniform she put on had soles built into the feet. The soles were soft and they ran without making any noise. They had run a quarter of a mile when an almighty roar suddenly deafened Tyler.
He stopped running, went to a knee, and pulled his red blaster. He looked over the wall and saw the T-Rex running toward them from the south. “I’m going to kill that lizard!” Olivia had gone to a knee as well and her heart went into her throat as the giant carnivore was running through the brush next to the wall directly toward them. It was going to be on them in moments. Tyler raised the beam gun and aimed at the Rex. The giant was coming fast and it didn’t pause as it ran past them. It did look in their direction briefly, but that was all. Tyler watched it pass and shook his head. It was at that moment that he was shaken by a roar that shook the wall they were standing on. Tyler jerked his head back to the south and was stunned by what he saw. He whipped the whistle out of his shirt and blew it.