The Fugitives (1 of 3)

02Jun12

off worldAlex stood on the sand looking at the far horizon. There was absolutely nothing to see but more sand, she realised with a sinking feeling that was rapidly being overtaken with crippling dread. How had it come to this?

She was naked but for the soft slip-on shoes and the bonds of course. One pinned her hands behind her back and the other around her neck to link her to her companion.

Both had been rendered devoid of all body hair, except for a light dusting on their heads, which until the unfettered starkness of this moment, had been the second worse thing to happen to her since the whole nightmare had begun. Had it only been a week?

Just eight days before she had attended a meeting on Plexus Four to discuss some missing funds. Plexus was a long way from the capital world in the Nova Sol system, but it had been her account and as the VP for off-world accounts, her boss had insisted she handle it herself.

The trip to Plexus had taken nine days and once she saw what a shitty little colony world it was, she was ready to jump the star cruiser back just as soon as business allowed. However, Plexus was a semi-independent world with its own way of doing things and nothing was ever that simple.

She seemed to remember that she had talked down to them at first. A big city girl in a 1000 credit clothes who was bored with their completely crass assumptions. The first inkling that things were about turn very bad was when the silent suit in the corner had spoken and she found out he was a cop.

“According to our files you signed off on the credit transfer,” he said accusingly.

“That’s hardly possible and in any case…” Alex had begun.

“Along with 50 million credits that didn’t belong to your company; state funds that you ‘borrowed’ and now seem to have…” he had taken a deliberate step forward and shrugged as he added, “gone.”

“Fifty… but that’s…”

It had taken just three days to come to court and the evidence was compelling. Since she had been prevented from contacting the home world due to some quirk of local law, she was remanded in custody pending a full trial.

Skipping bail and running for the star cruiser had seemed a good idea until she had been caught.

“What’s the big deal?” She had thrown at her lawyer in a bored voice, words that now mocked her. “Let me call head office and we can straighten this whole deal out. It’s obviously some locally instigated fraud. Can’t you bumpkins see that?”

“This is no ‘deal’ Miss Stanos. This is evading justice, resisting arrest and…”

“Resting arrest, come on, it was only a slap,” Alex rolled her eyes up.

“…and assaulting a peace officer. Each offence carries a penalty of three years on a penal colony, which very well may be handed out consecutively. Even if the other charges are dropped, you are in very serious trouble.”

In the end the missing funds case had been deferred for six months and Alex had been sentenced to five years on the penal colony on Plexus Five.

The punishment centre, where she had been ‘prepared’ for transit off-world, had been a shock. She still did not believe that this wasn’t some huge mistake and that she wouldn’t be recused by her boss. That was until she saw the red head in the line ahead of her hosed down and shaved about as intimately as a girl ever was.

“No freaking way,” she had yelled as she walked indignantly to the door. “Have you any idea who I am? Just wait until…”

She had been grabbed and hauled over to a padded bench that stood beside the line of naked women emerging from the shower and getting ready to be shaved.

“Get your hands off me… I… I…” Alex was thrown face down across the bench while someone grabbed her wrists.

Without further ceremony one of the male guards stepped forward and launched a short thick leather strap across her exposed bare bottom.

The pain took her breath away and it took a moment for her to draw in enough air to scream. By which time another spanking blast had landed.

“Star-freaking and buggeration,” she yelled.

It didn’t save her as six more heavy swats were landed until she was sobbing incoherently, although not incoherently enough apparently, as judging from the heckling, at some point she had cried for her ‘Daddy.’

“Aw Daddy,” some called out in mock sympathy.

“Daddeee…” Several of the other women chorused.

“You done playing the great ‘I am,’” the guard snarled at her.

“Yes sir,” she sobbed.

“So get in line and wait your turn,” he ordered.

“Yes sir.” Alex sounded almost eager.

It had been shortly after this that she had first met Gaynor. Gaynor had been a pretty blonde before her enforced haircut, with a body that mocked Alex with its slenderness while still holding a breasts and prominent bottom that men went for. Despite their shared predicament, Gaynor winked at her and tested the guards with a cheeky manner that fell just short of insolence.

At first Alex had been too sullen and miserable to care, but then she had been cuffed and collared so that she was joined by an alloy chain to Gaynor shortly before they were herded into the prison ship.

Roughly 200 women were marched two abreast in a crocodile into a plain dark hold until each was standing in a small indentation in the floor.

“I hate this bit,” Gaynor had said.

The implication that despite her youth Gaynor had done this before was hopeful somehow. It meant that one day at least this nightmare would end. However, before Alex could wonder about which element of this process Gaynor hated so much, something grabbed at her ankles and upended her.

For a moment Alex, along with all the other women was left dangling upside down, but then some hidden force hauled her up until she folded in half hanging from the ceiling with her bottom at the lowest point.

“What the…” Alex cried out, but her voice was lost amid dozens of other confused shouts.

“Try to relax,” Gaynor suggested, “We’ll be out for most of the trip anyway.”

Just then, something clamped onto Alex’s sex and something else pressed at her anus. The latter became suddenly insistent until it was firmly lodged. Before she could complain or ask Gaynor what was happening, something warm and wet pumped into her smaller orifice sending her eyes wide. The drowsiness followed almost at once.

It was the last thing she knew until a blast of cold water awoke her. There were people below her with hosepipes who did not stop washing the women until everyone including Gaynor was screaming from the icy shock. Then in quick time the apparatus that had been attached to them was removed and the women were dropped to the floor.

“Rouse yourselves,” someone was shouting and in a jumbled rush 200 women were set running towards the increasingly light end of the hold.

It was all Alex could do not fall over, as running in a mob while linked to another girl was somewhat problematic. However, she had not been too distracted to feel the blast of heat as they stepped out into the blinding heat.

“Welcome to hell,” someone said.

Alex looked up then as her eyes adjusted. That was the first time she saw the sand.

The induction had been short and bitter.

“This is Amberlin,” a short bald-headed man said once all the women were lined up. “It is a prison colony far, far from home.”

Alex glowered at him until someone was pulled from the line, along with her partner and dragged to a trestle to be strapped as Alex had been back on Plexus Four. Her eyes dropped at once.

“Amberlin is extensive and has no well-defined borders,” the man continued ignoring the punishment. “There is no need for borders here. The jurisdiction of the prison authority extends to the whole desert continent of Amberlin.”

Alex risked a look around. They seemed to be in some sort of fort carved from sand-coloured rock that matched the surrounding desert.

“Shortly you will be divided up into groups of 20 and sent to various camps…”

The threats, rules and explanations had gone on for hours as they stood in the hot sun. Then they had been hastily watered and fed and herded once again, this time into sand cats for their onward journey.

Only Alex and Gaynor had never made it.

One minute they had been dozing in the less than air-conditioned vehicle, the next they had been pitched headlong into the sand. What caused the crash wasn’t clear, but when Gaynor said, “run,” she had.

Now she stood naked and chained to another girl, miles from just about anything.

“Great, just freaking great,” Alex moaned as she kicked at the hot sand.

*

“Where are we going?” Alex groaned as she struggled to keep up with the irrepressible Gaynor. “We are going to burn to a frazzle in this sun.”

“No way. We might die of thirst, but we won’t get sunburn,” Gaynor said dismissively. “That clystering they gave us back on the ship pumped us with all kinds of goodies. Apart from bacterial and viral immunisation, they gave us about three months’ worth of inherent sunblock. You might tan a little with your complexion, but I won’t even do that. Well barely anyway.”

“So where are we going?” Alex said stumbling.

Gaynor shrugged.

“What?” Alex exclaimed stopping dead in her tracks. “I thought you had a plan.”

“No plan exactly, but I figure the ocean is not so far away. There are a few illegal freebooter settlements along the coast. Failing that we might get picked up by a slaver from one of the free cities.”

“What? I mean what the freak? That’s your plan?” Alex was horrified. She hadn’t given up hope of getting some kind of reprieve in the courts.

“Hey what did you expect? Have you ever been to one of the camps? I mean the induction speech was not kidding, they are hell. I am on my third count of dipping; three strikes, you know. Three counts and I’m most definitely out. Or rather I am in for the duration. Twenty years minimum. And listen sister, a posh bitch like you won’t stand a chance in one of the camps.”

“But… slavery, what are you on?”

Again Gaynor shrugged. “Listen baby I’m a whore with a side-line in self-help bonuses,” she hated the word thief, “If I can get the right man and play my cards right… well prospects are good. Better than the camps believe me.”

“But slavery, are you…?” Alex thought about crying, but she doubted she had the water in her body.

“Hey with a bod like yours, you’ll do alright. Besides, you could always tell them your sob story, hell you told everyone else. Maybe someone will figure your bosses will pay a liberation fee.”

Alex weighed up the last suggestion. Now that kite might fly, she thought. Anyway, the die was cast, what did she have to lose?

*

John Carlton was a big man. He stood over 190cm in his socks and weighed in at 95 kilos. His once red grizzled prematurely grey hair was cut to within a centimetre of his scalp. Behind his wrap-around mirror shades his eyes were grey-blue and what he had seen with them would make most men quail.

He wasn’t in the best of moods that day, as sometime before dawn he had been pulled from his bed by security on account of the two runaways. It seems there had been a prang out on the sand and two newbies had made a break for it before the recovery vehicle had reacquired the crash site.

Now he stood atop of a dune looking out across a hard hot unforgiving desert. His communicator had been beeping at him for some time and he had been doing his best to ignore it. It was bound to be some fool from control telling him nothing that would be any help.

“We have two runaways John,” the voice on the communicator crackled.

“Yeah, I got the download. I am already on it,” Carlton replied. “I have two women about 20 clicks from the coast heading west from the downed sand cat, is that right?”

“That’s about the size of it, stupid bitches. They’ll fry out there,” the voice said, sounding is if he didn’t much care.

Carlton eyed the soft sand horizon already blurred by the heat haze. “Yeah,” he said under his breath, frowning. He had seen too many die that way.

“Hey, did you hear about Crazy Larry?” The voice said gleefully already changing the subject.

“I can’t say that I did control, is this relevant?” Carlton said impatiently.

“He reckons he saw a UFO out in the desert,” the voice continued oblivious to Carlton’s impatience.

“Is that a fact,” Carlton said wearily, “I’ll keep my eyes peeled. This is Carlton out.”

Carlton dropped his communicator back into his sleeve pocket and scanned the desert once again. Then with one last look he turned and danced down the steep hill of sand back to his sand hopper.

The heat was not too bad today, although he was use to life out on the sand, but the sand kicked up by the hopper, an open hover trike, required him to wear a mask and goggles; clumsy affairs which he donned the moment he stepped on. It took him a moment to kick it into life and then he was racing again across the temporary paths between the great sand dunes that loomed up either side of him.

*

William J Bonham didn’t need to climb a dune to scan the horizon. He had a cloaked eye in the sky skipping across desert, pictures from which he could see in his helmet. Once the little spy had found his quarry he would head directly there. There was no need drawing any more attention than was absolutely necessary. His employers had been most explicit about that.

Apparently one of their executives had been used as a patsy in some local fraud and then she had been conveniently buried in what passed for a penal system. It seemed her employers wanted her back. Others would track down the fraudster, although he had offered to do that for them as well; for a fee of course. William J Bonham didn’t do anything pro bono.

He turned back to his camo-tent where it was cool, not that his cool suit didn’t shield him from most of the inclement sun. This should be easy, he thought, a quick in and out and then summon the stealth ship from orbit.

*

“I can see the sea,” Gaynor sang as the two women topped their 38th sand dune.

Alex dropped open-mouthed to the sand on her knees, barely able to lift her eyes to the horizon. Blinking she fixed upon the distant blue line a thousand miles away.

“Shit, you are crazy,” she panted, trying to work some sort of moisture up in her mouth.

“It’s right there sister,” Gaynor urged, grinning from ear to ear.

Alex blinked again and lowered her eyes from what she now decided had been a distant cloud formation way out to… sea. The sea was below them, a shimmering crystal blue less than two kilometres away.

“You are a freaking genius,” she said, smiling weakly.

“There are usually freshwater streams at regular intervals running into the sea,” Gaynor explained, “All we have to do is follow the coast until we find one and then wait for… well…”

“To become slaves,” Alex said tartly. Although her spirits had gone up more than a notch and the prospect of a swim in real water was worth a thousand years of slavery to her right now.

“Well, we can always press on to a settlement and hope they don’t sell us back to penal authorities.”

To be continued.



3 Responses to “The Fugitives (1 of 3)”

  1. 1 paul1510

    Damian,
    you are so good at this, looking forward to parts two and three. 😀
    Paul.

  2. 2 Mindy

    Wow, another great story, DJ! Looking forward to the continuation. 😀

  3. 3 DJ

    Thanks


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: