The pounding in my head told me that it was time for me to floated. They’d sedated me to help with the suffocation that was about to follow, but can suffocation be less painful? I didn’t think so. The Chancellor had been tied up with something so the medicine was wearing off. He had to be present at this kind of floating.
It was a good thing, though, since I had requested an audience with him when I was arrested two weeks ago, but I’d been denied of that privilege. I slowly got up to my feet, nausea taking over. I took deep breaths and looked straight at Thelonious when he arrived. “I know.”
The chancellor held up his hand to stop the guard from pressing the button of my death sentence. He approached the door. “Alright, Sasha, you wanted an audience with me. What do you know?”
“The 100 kid prisoners. You’re sending them to earth in a few weeks.”
“I don’t know where you heard that absurd story—”
“It’s not a story and you know it. I hacked the system. I have the files and the documents with your signature on them. All of it is ready to be sent to the entire colony upon my imminent death,” I said, watching the worry spread over his usually calm demeanor. I warned him that there were holes in the system.
Kane stepped forward and looked down at me. He was the one who ordered my interrogation be less than traditional. “She could be lying for all we know.”
“What do you want?” Thelonious asked. Now we’re getting somewhere.
“A job? A re-trial that you survive?” He asked, trying to puzzle out what I could possibly want.
“Don’t be absurd, Chancellor. We both know I’ll never get either of those things. A re-trial would upset the colony since I’m twenty-two. And a job? That’ll last until you find the files, then I’ll be floated anyways,” I said, putting my hands on my hips. I’m not an idiot. I know how the system works. My future looks pretty bleak standing on the edge of death.
“Then what do you want, Ms. Hensley?” Kane asked. His discomfort with this conversation made me want to smile.
“I want to be sent to the ground with the 100,” I replied, receiving silence from the other side of the door. “You get your files, and I get my freedom far away from this ship. It’s a win-win, if you ask me.”
“I will think it over,” Thelonious said. Bullshit.
“It’s a deal made for now or it’s off the table. Though, I do hope that an uprising is something you’re prepared for, should you choose to float me.” I turned and walked up to the hatch that separated me from endless space. They have to take the deal. They have to.
The door behind me slid opened, causing a grin to spread across my face. I let Kane handcuff my hands behind my back. He walked be back into the safety of the ship.
“The files, Ms. Hensley?” Thelonious asked, accompanying me to my old quarters. It’d been turned upside since my arrest. Since it was past curfew, the entire colony would assume that I was already dead. The public trial had brought a lot of on-lookers.
“Not until the day of the launch, but feel free to look around,” I said with an eye roll. To my surprise, Kane unlocked the cuffs. I rubbed my wrists.
“Confinement will draw attention. You’ll be allowed to live here until it’s time for the launch. Your rations will be half of a normal prisoner, and you will not leave this room or contact anyone under any circumstances. Break these rules and you will be floated after interrogation.”
“You mean torture.” I laughed. “I’ll try to follow the rules this time.”
“Good. Your personal guard will be happy to hear that,” Kane said. He waved over a guard. “Bentley will be staying and keeping an eye on you.”
Three weeks feels like an eternity when stuck in one’s own quarters. Bentley wasn’t good company. He barely talked to me and even ignored my attempts to play card games with him. I thought I was going to lose my damn mind in here.
Like clockwork, Kane returned on the exact date he said he would. “Give me the files now, Sasha. The launch is almost ready.”
I took the small drive out of the hidden compartment in my desk drawer and put it in his outstretched hand. “No, I don’t have any back up files. I didn’t have the time to make any before I was arrested.”
“Very well,” Kane said. He motioned to the guards, who seized one of my arms each. It wasn’t necessary but he did it because he could.
All the prisoners were already on the ship and most of them were still sedated. Thelonious met us at the door. “This is what you really want?”
“Like you’d let me live, Chancellor. At least with this option, I get my life and I can help them survive. I did study all the material available about earth multiple times.”
The guards raised the bay door, locking me inside. There were only a few chairs on this level. All of the prisoners must be on the second level above me. I sat down, about to strap in when I heard the commotion outside. It was followed by a gunshot.
It could be anyone. I hid behind a stack of supplies as the door started to lower. From my spot, I could see Thelonious on the ground with blood pooling around him. I didn’t exactly feel bad for him. Someone in a guard’s uniform backed into the dropship with the gun raised.
He only lowered it when the door had closed completely. His hat fell to the floor as he ran his hands through his sweaty hair. I watched him, recognition flowing over me. I know that messy head of hair.
“Bellamy,” I said, stepping out from my hiding spot.
Bellamy froze, turning slowly to look at me. His eyes widened, like he was looking at a ghost. Which, in retrospect, he was. “Sasha.”
My heart skipped a beat when he said my name. I didn’t think that I’d ever hear him say it again. A smile spread across my face and he strode across the ship. He put his hands on my cheeks, staring into my blue eyes.
His lips met mine and I let my hands slide down to settle on his hips. He tasted exactly the way I remembered. He pulled back to rest his forehead on mine. “You’re alive.”
I titled my chin up to kiss him again. “I missed the hell out of you.”
Our reunion was cut short by the rocket launchers roaring to life. We had to strap in quickly. My hand fit perfectly in his. If we survived the trip to earth, we both had a lot of explaining to do. The dropship jerked, sending all of us hurling toward earth.