“You’re lucky your little savior didn’t cut a major artery on that soldier,” Odessa Krane hissed at Director Milton. They stood near the exit to the prison transport, as she gathered another round of painkillers for her patients. “That boy’s throat was almost slit. If I hadn’t arrived when I did, things could have been very, very different.”
“Almost better if you hadn’t arrived,” Milton replied. He leaned against the hatch in a bored manner, looking into the empty air hangar. “Now, we have to worry about a soldier blindly following the instructions of his superiors and-“
“A soldier following the instructions of his superiors,” Odessa finished the sentence for him. She looked into the hatch, at Adira Lark, lying on the floor in her neck brace, waiting for her wellness to be confirmed.
“I was not ending the sentence that way,” Milton countered. “There is no need for paranoia. Everything is as it should be.”
“She’s only sixteen, Milton.” Odessa looked to Milton, who was still staring into the darkened hangar. With a cold, firm hand, she turned him herself. “There are also difference between that soldier and that girl. For one, he’s following a military official with decades of experience as a trained soldier.” She turned his face towards the pod. “That girl just about gave up her life, following a boy with a fruitless dream.”
Milton rolled his eyes, forcibly removing her hand from his face. He stood straighter, as Odessa handed him the pain killers and then sauntered away.
“You are not going to forget about the plan,” Milton called after her. Odessa turned to face him from the distance.
“Of course not,” she replied. “I just need you to know that we are abolitionists, dissenters, even innovators- but we are not soldiers.” Odessa’s smart watch pinged, the sound echoing off the high metal ceilings and wide walls of the air hangar. She lifted her wrist, then continued to step away. “Also, Administrator Umbriel wants to see you.”
“If she needs to see me,” Milton countered, “then why did she notify you?”
Odessa spun around again, this time with a childish smile. “Because you never answer your devices.”
Milton stared for a moment at the painkillers in his hand, then looked up back up to Odessa. “I can’t leave Adira and that soldier alone.”
“I have to patch up that soldier a little more,” Odessa continued, jerking her head towards the prison transport front. “Go ahead. I’ll watch over her.”
A silent smile stitched itself to Milton’s lips as he strode towards Odessa. He held out his palm, the three pills inside. “I believe these were for Adira.”
Odessa smiled with a smug countenance. “And you believed wrong.”
She stepped inside the vessel and disappeared, leaving Milton on the outside, who held the pills in a first with a smirk, and walked onward to meet the Administrator.
On the inside, the soldier was slumped against the command chair, with dark purple stitches across his throat contrasting with his caramel colored skin. His long hair was damp with sweat, making it stick to his forehead and neck. He opened his eyes slightly as Odessa entered the front of the pod, slowly stepping up to his with a quiet confidence.
“Are you finally awake?” She asked. The soldier smiled tiredly back at her.
“Unfortunately,” he replied.
“What’s your name?”
The soldier attempted to sit up straighter in his chair, but failed, groaning in pain halfway up and inevitably sliding back down to his original position. “Arnold Hawkins,” he resigned. “Military Alliance Police Forces. Pleasure to meet you. Thanks for stapling up my throat.” He lazily grinned. “So, where I am?”
Odessa knelt down beside Hawkins, closely examining her prior handiwork to seal up his throat. She supposed it had been caused by a knife. Despite the trauma, the soldier had survived the accident with relatively few injuries, and that was feat, to say the least.
“I’m afraid I can’t tell you that,” Odessa answered. She positioned herself in front of him, clicking on a flashlight and looking into his eyes to check for addition trauma. “What I can tell you,” she continued, “is that you are unharmed, except for that cut that I gave patched up earlier.” She clicked off the flashlight and then stood. She dug around in her bag, pulling out a bottle filled with water.
“Thanks, that was, uh, completely useless information,” Hawkins mumbled.
“I’m assuming you are a full-earthen lifeform,” Odessa said, handing the bottle over to him. “So this should help. Now, all I can say is that you should rest and let your body heal itself.”
“And I can’t be fixed up with a healing aid?” He continued to pester, almost as if suddenly coming back to his senses. “You know, like a skin regenerator or platelet-fused injection?” Odessa looked away, busying herself by packing up her medical supplies. “Oh, come on. It the basic stuff you can buy at any port!”
“Unfortunately, Mr. Hawkins, you are off the grid.” Odessa picked up her bag and pulled it over her shoulder. “And I have another patient to get to.” She began making her way to the exit of the front pod, but stopped short. “I also need you to remain here for the time being. In a few days we will be able to transport you back to your regiment. That’s a promise.” She smiled at him, and then stepped out, walking towards the back of the ship to check on Adira’s injuries.
Hawkins immediately jolted up, closing the porthole before the medic had a chance to reach the back section. And then he went to work, sliding back into the command chair, allowing his fingers to hover over the multitude of buttons and screen intensively.
He pulled out his communicator. A message had arrived from Feather- she always did have a knack for finding him when he was in trouble.
This is Feather Tierney, messaging from analyst Stellan Clancy’s office. Please respond.
With the arrival of this message, he instantly knew that the transport had been docked on a stationary port- either on a moon or planet. He typed back, holding his breath as if it would quiet the world and keep the medic from returning too quickly.
Hawkins reporting. Held hostage by Adira Lark. Arrived at unknown location after explosion via Military Alliance electron canon. Entered coordinated and followed set course.
He sent the message, but didn’t wait for a response. Instead he scanned, the few monitors that were still illuminated with back-up power. Hawkins couldn’t risk turning on the pod for fear of the engine sounding and the medic rushing back. He had to make do with what he had available. And right now, he needed coordinates. He glanced down to see a new message.
Solution: send a distress signal, frenquency higher by 3.87 Hz.
Hawkins nodded to himself. That would work. Obviously, the space craft could not have flown that far in its current condition, rendering its position change futile. The ship should be in close enough proximity to register the frequency, especially if it was at a different level than the signature distress call.
“Brilliant,” he mumbled. He scanned the panels, then typed in his access code, unlocking the digital path to the distress signal. His fingers danced across a signal panel dexterously, as he searched for a way to change the frequency.
The porthole opened. It was too late.
“Mr. Hawkins, it seems you truly have had a miraculous recovery,” the medic chimed in. Hawkins didn’t turn around and instead focused on making the frequency change.
“Where’s the damn switch?” Hawkins muttered. He didn’t have time for any mistakes.
“Mr. Hawkins, please step away from the control panel,” Odessa commanded, in a surprisingly even tone. “I can guarantee your safety. I just need you to cooperate a little bit longer.”
He chuckled. “By saying that,” he answered, “you sound like there is a need to guarantee my safety.”
Odessa gasped. “Adira, no.”
Hawkins spun around. The girl- the rebel- that had attacked him earlier, stepped into the cockpit. He neck was still in a brace, and her steps were heavy to match her breathing. Bits of dried blood clung to her brown skin from the blow-out of the back transport window.
She had been standing with her arms through the porthole to press a knife against his neck. She had forced him to enter coordinates. To drive the moment her sister had distracted the guards with an electric orb. She had started to slit his throat when the back transport door blew out in the vacuum of space. But judging by the look of her, she had ended up with the worst of the injuries.
Most importantly, she had been – and now she was – dangerous.
And then she was upon him, dragging him out of the command chair and slamming him to the floor. With pained movement, she forced her leg forward, kicking him in the stomach. Hawkins didn’t wait to catch his breath, swinging his legs around to trip Adira, who crumpled to the floor.
Hawkins shakily crawled back to the control panel. He slammed his hand on the panel to send the distress signal. It wasn’t the frequency higher, but he was certain Feather would get the message. Just as he did, Adira grabbed a hold of one of his legs, yanking him to the ground. His chin thumped against the panel on the way down, and he was sure a stitch or two had come undone from his neck.
He turned onto his back, looking up blearily at the girl, who stalked towards him with heavy, wide steps. Her breathing was ragged as she stepped up to him.
“They can’t know I’m here,” she pleaded with fluctuating voice.
“Adira!” It was the medic again, who had rushed around from the back. She looked to Adira, almost helplessly. “What are you doing?”
Adira looked down to Hawkins again, with the same unwilling eyes. “Whatever I damn well please.”
Her leg went back, then swung forward in one quick motion, hitting his neck with surprising impotence. But it was enough. Hawkins laid against the floor, unconscious.