Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9
Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12
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"OPEN UP! SECURITY!"
The banging on the door startled Rusack and he involuntarily pulled the blaster back while looking towards the front of the apartment. If I had had my military training back then I would have taken advantage of the distraction but instead I simply yelled, "Help! My brother is hurt!"
He looked back at me with a snarl on his face, angry that his fun had been interrupted. I could almost see the wheels turning in his head as he pondered if he could get one more shot off and still claim to be defending himself. His self preservation must have overcome his sadistic side as he backed away, the weapon still trained on me but finger off the trigger, and he called out, "Security! Please come here immediately!"
The door banged open and a team of four station security officers ran in with weapons drawn. One aimed at Rusack and ordered him to drop the weapon, another trained his sidearm at me and my unconscious brother while talking into his comm unit, asking for medical assistance to my relief. The other two scoured the apartment for anyone else. I could see out in the hallway the figure of Blodel's slave Derranna looking in with a worried look on her face.
The next few minutes felt like both and eternity and an instant. Rusack laid the weapon down while talking a mile a minute about how his home was invaded by us waving the gun around, while I was taken and put in restraints while lying on my stomach. I noticed with alarm how Rusack was not similarly restrained by my protests were stopped by an 'accidental' boot to the ribs. The paramedics finally arrived with a med-gurney and they spoke in jargon I barely understood as they tended my brother and ran out with him, my cries ignored as I tried to find out how he was.
With my brother gone from the room, the adrenaline was wearing off and my body ached from the awkward position on the floor, hands tied behind my back. My nose and back throbbed. I felt drained; beaten. Finally security was done taking Rusack's statement and I was roughly helped to my feet. "Don't leave the station," the guard warned Rusack as we were leaving, "but I'm sure we'll have this all settled shortly."
"Of course not, Jake, I mean officer, " he replied with a smirk on his face that only I seemed to notice. He felt more than heard the guards holding my arms chuckle and I realized the warning and compliant answer were merely formalities for the automatic recordings made of all security officer activities. It slowly dawned on my clouded mind that Rusack would be gone long before anyone came to corroborate my side of the story. I was however, too tired to care.
As we left the apartment I saw Derranna was still there and I wanted to say "thank you" as we passed but she was talking to a newly arrived Blodel. I could tell she was trying to explain something when a look of anger passed over Blodel's face and he backhanded her across the face with a practiced motion. "I told you not to get involved!" She crumpled on the ground, obviously taken off guard by the sudden blow.
"Sir," one of the guards said with annoyance in his voice, "don't do that." But I caught the unspoken implied word at the end: "here." I slowly realized that slavery was tolerated in practice in the State, but it was the least of my concerns despite the sorrow I felt for Derranna's plight.
"Of course officer," answered the flustered Amarrian, "I don't know what came over me."
As I was led away once more, I looked back over my shoulder to see Derranna slowly getting to her feet without help while holding her side of her face, Blodel looking all the more furious for getting publically reprimanded, and Rusack standing at his door with a smug look on his face.