Sunday, 14 September 2014

Escaping the Chains

The heavy grating set in the wall moved slightly. Again it moved, as if someone behind it was pushing against it. A faint sob from behind it as the person levered it open partially, the corner allowing fingers through, a redoubling of effort, a frantic hammering. The grating moved again as the person thrust their body at it and eventually made a hole large enough to squeeze through. A woman pulled herself out and tried to push the grate shut. She was bedraggled, dirty and dressed in a tattered ship suit. Looking up and down the corridor she was in like a wild animal she ran and opened a large door covered with warning signs. Great gusts of wind slammed the door back and she jumped through and pulled it shut.

Looking around she found herself on one of the walkways that ran under the great starbase of Mirabile, one of the decaying outlying Brotherhood stations in the Yank system. Wind howled and sent the waves from the sea lashing the thorlium columns that kept the station up. Holding onto the chains that acted as a barrier around the walkway she breathed deeply and let the spray cover her. For far too long she had been without proper air, or even water that had not been through the aging filtration systems. For a moment, she looked over the edge, into the steel darkness of the sea and thought about simply leaping into it. A swift watery death was better than being caught again.

As she stood there a sound moved her and she looked up. The great bulk of a freighter was lifting up from one of the landing pads and heading out. From the direction, to one of the starbases along the coast. Leaning out she looked up, and saw something. The great elevator of the hiport leading up into space, and from there it would be easy to jump a freighter. Easier than the landing pads here, they would be full of guards. It could be done... It... must be done. She started running down the walkway towards the main columns as fast as she could.

The maintenance bay at the base of the column was shut, but the window was glass and shattered easily. Inside she found tools and began working on the wrist cuffs and tracer belt. A small plasma cutter seared her skin, but the cuffs fell to the deck. Luckily the bays medical section had the necessary pain killers. Sitting back, rubbing her burned skin, tears streaming down her face she kicked the tracer belt through slats in the floor which fell into the ocean. With luck they would think she had drowned. But luck was never on her side. Dragging herself up and through the door she saw the markings on the wall and pressed the relevant button, a selection of rungs shot out slowly and led upwards. With screaming muscles and pain lancing down her arms she started to climb.

As she reached the top rung and looked over she heard the sound of the weapons being cocked. Standing just on the edge of the upper walkway was a woman, surrounded by several guards. She sobbed, recognizing the insignia of the Inquisition on the woman. Letting go of the rungs she felt herself falling back, only to feel herself grabbed by the woman who held her, then pulled up by the guards. They slammed her to the floor and fastened restraints around her then pulled her up, grabbing her hair and pulling her head to face the Inquisitor.
"I was interested to find that workshop. One of the hidden little places of the previous governor."
The Inquisitor sat down on the edge of the walkway, the ocean far below her boots.
"Did you know he leapt from here? Or some place like this. Did a swallow dive into the ocean. Body never recovered. Mind you, not that we looked."
"Let me go.... please.... "
The Inquisitor gestured to the spot beside her and the woman was forced down into a sitting position, her legs over the edge.
"I hate this place, this decaying monstrosity. I wish I could destroy it, but it's all part of the greater good."
"Let me go...." she pleaded. "I was taught the rite of the True One. I wasn't escaping from that, I was escaping the chains! "
"Yes, the old governor loved his slaves. I guess you didn't know that the new Lord Inquisitor decided to issue an edict against slavery in the Brotherhood. They were all given their freedom."
The escaping slave looked up at the Inquisitor.
"You mean.. I am free?"
"Technically yes. That's why we are here. You... do want your freedom yes?"
Her eyes gleamed at hope of freedom.
"Yes my Lord!"
"Then as the new Governor of this starbase and with the power of the Inquisition, I give you your freedom."
She gestured to the guards behind her, the slave bent forward so they could get to her restraints. Instead she felt the guard behind her kick her. She fell screaming into the waves below, the Inquisitor watched impassively.
"Well this is a cause for celebration. Mirabile, is now free of slaves. Praise be to the True One. Come on, lets hit the nearest bar. You boys deserve a drink."
Carmilla D'morenta stood up and dusted herself off, looking down at the body floating in the sea.
Yes she mused, no more slaves, only the purity of the devoted. Blessed be!

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