The man raised a hard metal tool above his head ready to cave Shauna’s face in.
The woman shouted, both hands pressed out onto the man’s chest. The look of rage on his face changed instantly to puzzlement as he looked back at her. He threw the wrench away behind him. His eyes met Shauna’s and he spoke.
“Where are you taking us?”
She couldn’t answer, still gripped by shock her look darted between the two unexpected passengers.
He reached forward, picking her up by the folds of her overalls.
“Where are we, where are you taking us?!”
Footsteps of someone in mag boots came from the rear of the cabin. The first two looked up. Shauna’s eyes followed their gaze.
Another man, older and hairless with dark eyes stood in the hatchway. He looked fearsome but the sight behind him drew her breath away again. Eight pale faces peered around the edge of the hatches, still more in the shadows behind.
She had a hold full of slaves..
The business she had felt so smug about swindling must have been a front.. She felt sick.
The older man stepped forward. He looked down over her, fierce anger and yet strong patience in his stare.
“We’ve been in those canisters for two days. At least twenty jumps and four stations. Where are we and where are the rest of our families?!”
She took a long breath.
“I don’t know where you are from. I took a contract to carry cargo, that’s all.. Please.”
The older man looked up from her.
“Mersia. Go down below, find Sander, he might be able to fly this ship.”
She nodded and pushed herself along the cabin towards the open bay hatch.
Shauna stuttered, this wasn’t her fault, she didn’t know..
“Where are you from. I.. I swindled the canisters from a company in the Delkar system. Was supposed to take them to Orrerve.. This ship is a mess.. Falling apart at the edges..”
“Pick her up.”
Timor pulled Shauna upright and held her a little way off the deck.
A small dark haired man appeared in the hatch way. The first woman, Merisa, following in his wake.
Words buzzed in Shauna’s helmet.
“Type-9 Helenica, this is Breckland orbital control. Please state your intentions. Failure to respond will not be tolerated.”
The approach! She needed to get back in the seat. Not many planets warned off approaching ships.
“I need to prep the landing. No wait, I need to abort. You’ll all get thrown about. Please!”
She reached up and twisted off her helmet. Timor let her go and pushed himself away slowly as the helmet hissed and clicked. She pulled the helmet off and leant her head to one side revealing angry red scar tissue on her neck in the shape of a hexagon. Two vertical dark lines inside still visible after all these years.
“It’s the scar from the clamp. I wore it for eight years. Since I was twelve years old. I was a slave like you.”