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ARTWORK – By Author DATE OF PUBLICATION 2013-05-13 WEBSITE A visit to the Emma Jane website will allow you to peruse current and forthcoming titles. You will also find some free, but unedited articles as well. Please tell us what you think of the book and read what others have said. - www.scribd.com/dappermuis DISCLAIMER All characters in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living, dead or fictional, is purely co-incidental.
Copyright - All rights reserved
ABOUT THE BOOK
THE SLAVE GIRL Born amongst the stars, in a universe where differences were not tolerated. Tragedy struck early in Emera's life. Yet despite all of this. She flourished. But would her upbringing help her face the biggest challenge of her life, when her world gets turned upside down once more? Would she be able to face this new challenge and survive, alone, far from anyone that she knows?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
EMMA JANE (Pseudonym) Emma Jane was born and raised in the heart of South Africa's beautiful Eastern Cape. She is in her 30's and enjoys the outdoors and activities most girls would not consider ladylike. She is more at home getting covered in mud and grime, than painting her nails. Emma never intended publishing, she loved putting her thoughts into words for her own enjoyment. She never considered ever becoming a writer. But the bug eventually bit, and badly. She is currently working on completing a number of other books. The decision to publish came when she saw the horrific things children are allowed to read, many by unsuspecting parents. Just a few years ago such books would have got Authors into trouble with the law, for indecency and distributing pornographic material. She decided that if she couldn't find a book with good action, clean language and no sex, she was going to have to contribute something better, especially for adolescents. Her books are, however, intended for those from 10 to 99.
This book is dedicated to my family and all those who encouraged me throughout this journey. Thanks for believing in me and for all the tips along the way. This book is further dedicated to all other writers. Thank you for hours of joy. Thank you for worlds worth visiting over and over again. I have read more than 1 000 books over a 10 year period. Libraries are wonderful places, read to your children and change the world.
Emera sat on her mother's lap as she cried. With her arms wrapped around her. Her mother trying her best to comfort her daughter. She had been made fun of at school again. It broke her heart to see others so cruel to her just because she looked a little different to others. While the rest of her class mates all had black coarse hair, she had lovely red silky hair, like hers. But she had her fathers olive complication and not the milky white skin like hers. “Mama, why do I have to be so different from all the other children?” she cried. Looking up at her mother with tears in her green eyes (another difference, everyone else had brown) Zela looked looked lovingly at her daughter, with an ache in her heart. But knew at this age it was hard for little ones to be different from others. However, Emera would have to learn to live with it, she could not change the way she looked. She herself faced such challenges of not been fully accepted by those around her. She had done her best to fit in, but like her daughter could not change her looks. But what kept her going was her husband and Emera. They gave her hope for the future. “Darling, you seem to forget my child, that you are special. Unfortunately many people are envious or scared of those who are special. Many times they do things to try and hurt them, like those calling you names, to make themselves feel better,” she gently replied. “But I don't want to be different,” she cried, pulling herself into her mother and cried even harder. Zela lifted her daughter's head and looked once more into her eyes. “My darling, don't you realise that those who are different in society, land up being the ones who make a bigger difference to those around them? You have a bigger destiny than you realise.” she replied. Zela held her daughter and let her cry. It was best. To hold such hurt inside was not good. Zela Knew there would be many days of heart ache for her daughter over this. The Fen believed that anyone wishing to be in their universe had to be like them. But would leave them alone on their home worlds and recognised them as independent. Off it, was a different story, they didn't accept any into their society unless they conformed to their way of life and did things their way. Those from other planets that refused to do this, were not treated kindly by them. Since they dominated the universe and believed it was their territory. It meant anyone not wanting to do so, their lives were almost made impossible for them, off their home worlds. So most opted to stay on their home worlds and not be bothered by the Fen. But like she told Emera, she truly believed that she was destined to do something great. At the age of seven Emera lost her mother. It was devastating. Her mother was the only one who truly understood her. Her father, Fenwick, bless his soul, did his best but he had no clue how to look after a girl. So Emera got a very unconventional education. Her father traveled a lot and she went with. Being that they were on the frontier, many of the restrictions that were found in the more 'civilised' places were either ignored or interpreted more broadly. Her electronic teacher was her school. She very quickly learned to stand up for herself. Her father had done his best to protect her against those who where horrible to her, but she knew even then at that young age, she couldn't keep running to him for every little thing. She had gotten into more than one fist fight. At first she came off second best, but learnt very quickly how to defend herself and now very seldom lost, which was pretty good considering that almost all her opponents were mostly male and most times much larger. But would still sport a black eye or two every now and then. When she did go to school on whatever planet they were on for a longer than normal time, she struggled to fit in. Not all of it was due to living like a free spirit, without the conformities of the 'civilised' world. Fenwick was busy helping load off some cargo he had delivered to a client, when he got a text message. It was the school that Emera was at, while they were on the planet. He was told that he
was needed there. Quickly he off loaded the rest of the cargo and then took a shuttle to the school. When he got there, one of the teachers was waiting outside. She looked like a thundercloud. She looked at him disapprovingly. He knew he was late, but he could not just drop a client. Word would get round and he would have no customers if that happened. So he had seen to his client first before coming. For the text message did not say that Emera was hurt or in any danger. The teacher took him to the Head of the school. Fenwick spotted Emera sitting on one of the benches outside the Head Teacher's office. Emera saw her father coming down the corridor. When he got closer he gave her a look. She shrugged her shoulders and gave him a look back of resignation, that it had happened again. But that she was not going to apologise for it. Seeing her reaction, Fenwick now knew why he was summoned. He entered the office. The Head Teacher was looking equally unhappy. “It's about time you got here,” she chastised him. “I did warn you, that there would be a possibility of me being late in coming. When I enrolled her, due to the nature of my work,” he replied, without any remorse. “Two hours late,” she continued. “With such an inattentive father, no wonder she has problems,” she replied snidely. “Lady, I don't have all day. I have less than an hour before my next cargo and if I don't deliver it I won't be paid.” He knew he was being a bit rude with her, but she was pushing all his buttons. It was one of the reasons he had moved to the frontier. To be away from those that were 'civilised' and not to be treated like a person of low class. Like the Head Teacher was starting to do. “Well, since you are in a... Hurry,” she said with contempt. “I will get to the point. Your daughter was caught fighting..... again. It has been less than two days since her last incident. She does not have etiquette and is totally unrepentant about what she had done. Ladies were supposed to be mild mannered, pursue womanly crafts and prepare to marry. True, there are some woman leaders, but they do it with finesse, but her...,” she said pointing at the door, with a look of contempt growing more on her face. “She is a wild creature and a suggest you send her to a rehabilitation school for girls before her problems become more.” Fenwick did his best to remain civil with the Head Teacher. “I do not think that will be necessary,” he replied, trying to keep his anger in check. With that he left the room without waiting for her to indicate that the conversation was over. Leaving a very flustered Head Teacher behind him. Without saying a word he nodded to Emera and she got off the bench and followed her father out. This was not the first time he had been called to a school she was at for fighting. Nor was it the first time that the teachers had accused her of not having 'etiquette' as the teachers called it. So for now it was back to using her electronic teacher again. Looking at her, his 'Firebird', as she climbed into the shuttle, he decided that from now on she would not go to anymore schools. They didn't seem to make her happy and he suspected seeing the reactions of the teachers, that one day he would be reported for negligence, which was not true. He truly loved his daughter. But like his wife, he too was not for the stuffiness of the 'civilised' world. She had shown him a whole new world. Even now he missed her so. Emera was so much like her mother. He did not want to quash that. He knew she was different from other girls, but he loved her even more because of this. He would have hired others to teach her 'etiquette', if he had thought it would have helped in making his daughter happier at fitting in. But he knew within months of her mother dying, that it would not have. The reason he had called her 'Firebird' was two fold. Firstly for her lovely red hair and secondly for her fighting spirit of not letting life get her down. Because of living on the frontier so much, Emera thrived. It was not a place for ladies of 'etiquette'.
Fenwick eventually 'settled' to a degree and stayed with in the Grev solar system, traveling to all three planets within its bounds. By the time Emera was fifteen, she could out shoot most of the men. She could also out ride just about anyone by then too, whether she be given anything with legs or an engine. No one smart enough picked a fight with her, if they didn't want to be beaten within an inch of their lives. Despite being a very independent young lady, those around her jealously guarded her. She was their light in a place that could get very lonely. That year tragedy struck. Emera was helping her father with the unloading of their latest cargo. Fenwick looked at his daughter with pride. Emera was growing up. He had no worries about her future. She was able to take care of herself and was doing well in learning about what was required of a courier. This had been her first run on her 'own'. She had sourced a client on her own, even making the deal on her own. All he did was stand back and supervise, that she didn't make a major mistake. Otherwise she was on her own with this one. Including the flying of the ship. She had done it flawlessly. Emera had a good head on her shoulders and was a born trader. She deserved a reward. He saw Emera saying goodbye to her client. She was smiling broadly when she came towards him. He too could see she was over the moon about her accomplishment. He lovingly stroked her face and said, “Firebird, I am so proud of what you accomplished today. You have done well.” Fenwick saw her smile get even bigger as she looked at him. Emera flung her arms around her father and gave him a big hug. He smiled and said, “it's time for your reward.” She looked up at him and nodded, with an extremely happy look on her face. “Where are we going?” she asked. “Ahh... well you will find out tomorrow,” he said, giving her a mischievous smile.
Before breakfast was finished, she had asked once more, where they were going. He saw her eyes light up when he told her. By his standards and hers, he splurged a bit and they were now going to spend the entire day at the Amusement village. It had been a while. Fenwick was very careful with their money. For though he was paid well and made a good living. He knew what a few bad months or something going wrong with a delivery could mean. Also, he knew that as the frontier became more 'civilised', the larger companies would begin to come in and push the little guys out. If that had to happen, he had to have contingency plans for such an occasion. Even Emera as young as she was knew this and did her best to help him. For one thing, she didn't complain when he made her do her schooling. He wanted her to have an education that would be useful. Her electronic teacher had been working overtime in that regard. Fenwick had his daughter study as much about engineering, mechanical and electrical, as well as, learning about computer systems and how they worked together as a whole. For he had seen the mistake that specialising caused. By not understanding how the other systems affect each other, they missed quite a few things or it took long hours and many people to figure it out. Especially out here on the frontier, where such skilled people were few and far between and extremely expensive. So when he had seen Emera's brilliance and love for these things, he had encouraged her as much as possible. They went from stall to stall, enjoying the different games at hand. Fenwick saw Emera smile, as she saw the disdain of the Vendor at the next stall, at the Amusement Village. He knew she was going to clean him out. Everyone knew of Emera's shooting abilities. She gave the young man a mischievous smile.
“Poro, don't worry I will only take one thing no matter how much I win,” she said, smiling at his discomfort. She saw him visibly relax and sigh with relief. “Thanks Emera, my boss would not be very happy with me if you had taken it all. I would have lost my job.” She gave him another one of her smiles. “Now, we couldn't have that could we?” she said laughing and held out her hand. Poro sheepishly nodded and handed her the ancient looking weapon. At the Amusement Village they used old air guns, also known as pellet guns, with lead or tin bullets. Using a laser gun was no fun. It was too easy with all its automated systems it had built in. With the air gun, it was skill that was required. Emera began. She hit every target. Soon a crowd was gathering. Others too decided to try their hand at it and see if they could beat her. Fenwick smiled as he watched his daughter. She knew how to make waves, even without having to get into a fight to do so. None came close to beating her. But everyone was laughing and having a good time. Even Poro was smiling. He was making a roaring trade, with everyone trying to beat her. In the end Emera call it a day and chose a small stuffed animal as her prize, which Poro gladly handed over. Those that had gathered tried to get her to stay longer, but she told them she had to go. They couldn't keep one of their clients waiting. As they left the Amusement Village, Fenwick could see that Emera had enjoyed her reward, as she leaned against him as they walked. He lovingly placed his arm around her and gave her a squeeze. She looked up at him with contentment on her face. After meeting with their next client, arrangements were made to have his cargo loaded the next morning. They returned to the ship. Fenwick could see Emera was still buzzing with excitement about her accomplishment the day before, but he could see she was also beginning to tire and ordered her to bed. She went willingly and the moment her head hit her pillow she was out like a light. They got up early the next morning to to tend to the cargo. They had to move the ship to collect it, it was in another part of the space dock. Emera landed the ship in the only space that was available for them, which meant a short walk to their cargo. Once Fenwick was satisfied with the cargo, he began to direct the dock workers to take it to the ship. Emera began walking back to where her father was, to ask him a query, on where one of the bits of cargo was to be placed within the ship. It was a bit of an odd shape from what they normally transported. She was halfway there, when she saw one of the other couriers come with his son Pol. He saw Emera and waved to her. She smiled and returned his wave. Pol dashed ahead of his father. It was then she heard the horrible sound of steel cables snapping and she heard her father shout. She turned to see her father running for Pol, who was now quite some distance from his father and reached him, when to her horror, the equipment above Pol's head broke completely from the cables. Emera screamed. The look on Pol's father's face too turned to horror. He didn't need to be told, he had lost his son. In his grief, he managed to grab a hold of Emera as she tried to go to where the pile of equipment lay. She tried to fight him, but he managed to hold her and there was not much fight in her. She was devastated. She too had lost her father. She sank to her knees in Pol's father's arms and cried and cried. The tears flowed down his face as the reality hit him, as well. Two days later the funeral was held. The news of Fenwick's death hit everyone hard. He was well liked. The question now arose, what was going to happen to Emera? At the age of fifteen she was now an orphan. Emera's greatest fears was she was going to be sent to one of the orphanages. She made a promise to herself, if they tried to do that she would run. Life on the run would be better than what happened in those places. In the end, she didn't have to worry, after the funeral, Barton her father's partner, came and got her and took her home with him. A year later she was doing her father's runs. She tolerated Barton and his wife. She was always cautious of them. Yet they never seemed to make an effort to make her feel welcome. She got the impression that Barton was doing this out of duty to her father, rather than wanting to. But they were not unkind to her. Though she
always felt like an outsider.
CHAPTER 3 Two weeks after her sixteenth birthday, they came for her. Emera had been working in the workshop aboard her ship, trying to make a new part to replace the one that lay in pieces on the workbench. The ship was so old that many of the parts were not freely available and if you could get them, it could cost an arm and a leg. Also she liked the challenge to see if she could do it. For many a times, if something like this broke, there was no repair station one could pull into to get it fixed, especially out here on the frontier. Emera heard someone enter the ship “Emera?” El, Barton's wife called. “Yes, Aunty El?” she responded. “Where are you child?” she called back. “In my workshop Aunty El,” shouted Emera back. “Well, could you please come outside I need to talk to you.” “Coming,” she responded, wondering why El wanted to speak to her outside instead of coming to the workshop like she normally did. Putting down her tools, Emera made her way to the hatch. As soon as she stepped off the ship, she was grabbed. Emera let out a yell. She struggled and managed to get lose from one of them, which was not good for the one that had been holding her. She decked him, before the rest that were there, could rush forward to try and restrained her. The man she had decked clearly had a broken nose and was out like a light. His superior knew when he woke, he would have a major headache and a very sore nose for a while. After a short struggle Emera was cuffed and they were dragging her off. “Why are you doing this?” she yelled as they did so. “I have done nothing wrong,” as she registered their uniforms. But none answered her and only have her a black look. She continued to yell. In the end the leader of the group that took her, responded angrily at her. “You my dear are under arrest for debts owed. Since your father is not here to pay them, you are his only next of kin and will do so. This would not have happened if you had paid before it got to this.” Emera looked at him in confusion. “But my father doesn't owe anyone anything. In fact, he has left enough to keep me comfortable for quite a few years,” she responded. The man scoffed at this and told her to pull the other one. Emera realised they were not going to listen and she fought even harder. She couldn't understand why Barton and his wife didn't rectify the misunderstanding when they had come looking for her or now by telling them they were mistaken. Instead they were nowhere to be seen. Once taken aboard their ship, they left her chained and threw her into a cell. She sat there for the next couple of hours, miserable and totally confused at what had happened. What was going on? Emera was brought before a man that looked like he was in charge. Denus looked at the girl in chains before him and saw how nervous those holding her were. Their bruises and scratches had not gone unnoticed by him. He too had been told of her defiance and was glad for their presence. He handed her sentence to her. “Because your father cannot be found and you are his only child, you would will be required to work off his debt,” he told her. Emera was stunned. “How many times do I have to tell you people,” she wailed, “He has been dead for just over a
year!” “Really now,” said Denus, with venom in his voice. “If that was the case, you like everyone else knows you, had a year to report his death and all his debts would have been forgiven. But this has not been done and the interesting part,” he said continuing, “is that I have proof that he as taken out quite a few loans and defaulted on them in the last few months.” Emera was in total shock. This was not possible. Emera couldn't believe this. She had seen her father die, how could they say he was still alive? No matter what she told him, he wouldn't believe her. Denus held up the damming evidence. “These papers cannot not lie.” He held them out closer to her. “Can you deny these were not her fathers signatures?.” Emera didn't answer at first and just stared at him wide eyed. This was not possible. Denus put down the papers. “You my dear, will be sent to work in the space core till you are twenty-six and a further ten yrs in a career of your choice, but living at one of the work houses, till the end of that time. All money earned would be given to those owed.” Emera shook her head, this was all wrong. Denus had to admit she was good but he was not going to fall for her deception and nodded to the men with her, who dragged her away screaming that her father was dead and they couldn't do this to her. Emera was angry. She was a non person. No better than a slave. But she was not going to take this lying down. As a result, she spent many a night in the brig. But to her it was not much worse than her 'room' she had been assigned. She refused to do as told and punched out quite a few who tried to force her to work. When she relised that this wasn't working and all she got was a couple of weeks in the brig, on emergency rations. She knew she had to think of something else. With no legal recourse, as she was a minor, she began to plan her escape. She slowly began to pilfer things and it seemed without any of them noticing. But the hope of getting away never came. She had pilfered another part she had needed. Emera had been very careful, when doing so and believed it was not noticed. But it eventually was. Worst of all she was caught on tape. Too many things had been misplaced the last couple of months. Now they knew why. When they tried to get her to tell, what she had done with them, she refused and clammed up. No amount of threatening and promises would make her talk. She knew as soon as they got what they wanted, they would 'forget' any promises made, claiming they never happened. The man in front of her was that kind of man. She had Denus pinned from the day she met him. Denus was not too happy, Ebwa, his superior was present when the problem with the child they had brought in a few months before, to pay off her father's debt, came up again. She had been nothing but trouble. Ebwa had now taken an interest in what was happening, which was not a good thing. She was making him look bad. Denus had Emera's room pulled apart. Since she had refused to talk. To the point that the paneling was also removed and everything else in her room was broken down into its basic parts. They eventually began to find some of the missing things. This kid was good at hiding things. But what also amazed them, was what she had made with them and how. Denus had Emera hauled in chains before him. By now Emera was looking worse for wear. She fought against those holding her but Denus had made sure those handling her were way bigger and stronger than her. Also, he never left her unchained. Denus looked at her from behind his desk. This girl left a sour taste in his mouth. “Well, you really did this time. I have tried to be understanding in your sudden change, in your lot in life. But you have gone to far this time,” he said angrily. “For this latest 'infraction' you are going to be sent to the strictest reform school, I have been able find. Hopefully they would be able to straighten you out before you become a menace to society. Which at this point, I am beginning to wonder, it is not a lost cause with you. But don't think this means you will get out of your sentence. It will only lengthen your sentence,” he warned. He then indicated to her guards to take her back to her cell.
it looked like he feared the girl and he shook his head. Ebwa did not lambast him for this. Now tied to the seat she was in. The guard put down his book and with a look of . So after having the guard tell him in which cell Emera was. But she could find nothing. handing it to him and left once more. “What do you care? No one else has.” called Ebwa. She has been nothing but trouble. Ebwa looked at the girl in the cell. CHAPTER 4 Emera saw they had come for her and she braced herself for a fight. a while later entered the brig. .. Besides you can tell that sniveling creature Denus. Even chained. So he went to Denus and asked him to give him a full report on the girl. That was one angry young woman. Now. trying to calm him.” replied Ebwa. “Tell me child. seeing she was not going to talk. “Why is this child still in chains? Have them removed immediately. The guard thanked him and returned to his seat at the entrance of the brig. He was there just to make sure the prisoner or prisoners were seen to and regulate who came to see them. without answering. he told the guard he could go back to his reading and he would call him if he needed him. The girl sure seemed to get to him. returning with the girl's file. I'm beginning to think a reform school would be to good for her. “Now. Ebwa left. seeing there was no way the guard was willing to co-operate. The guard looked up from his book. she broke a few noses.” Denus took a deep breath and with more venom in his voice continued... “Sir.. She glared at him for a moment before answering.” Ebwa saw the look of contorted anger on his face and he stomped off. Denus. in the brig. That was no way to treat her. things are surely not that bad. still looking like a thundercloud. you seem to have gained quite a reputation. He saw the fire in her eyes. He looked back to the guard reading his book. He turned his attention back to Emera. “You there.” he scoffed.” Ebwa nodded.” he demanded.. The guard on duty who was reading a book stood up and acknowledged him. They held on to what was a wild and writhing thing. In the mean time she was looking to see if she could use anything to help expedite her release from her seat. child. “Calm your self Denus and go and get that report I wanted..” she replied angrily. With four guards carrying her. to Ebwa's surprise. Denus was looking like he was about to start frothing at the mouth like a wild animal.Ebwa. They had been very careful not to leave anything lying around. trying to have someone sweet talk me is not going to work. why are you doing this?” He asked gently. She did not make it easy for them to get her in to the shuttle. Perhaps a penal colony would be better. Once at the ship that was to take her to her new destination. as they were not a war with anyone. “Well. if you wish to risk life and limb go ahead. “But as for me I intend to live another day. “I stand corrected.. Then she turned her back on him. That wild thing. the fun and games began again in moving her to one of the cells in the brig. He was angry. “Sir. He saw her lift her head and look at him. honestly I don't know why you are even bothering with that.” he commented. so his duty was not being neglected. They had left her chained. They managed to get her on to the shuttle.” he said. Then came the fun and games of 'settling' her in. she waited till they had to release her from it.
” Emera responded. She was told they were now ordered to take Emera somewhere else.” she said. Sella was less than pleased.” she laughed sarcastically. like a her prized object had been snatched from her. stopped the Sella in her tracks. She didn't want to be around when she was free of her chains. it was now looking rather red and swollen and she was starting to have two black eyes. She glared at Emera. “Looks like you are going to have to wait a while. “Why don't you come in and I will give you my reply to that. Emera then called out to her and said.. Emera had broken her nose. But it only seemed to increase her . That was one place no one ever comes back from.” She said looking at Emera like the prize at the end of the rainbow. when she heard one of the male guards tell her. It made her shiver. “It's ok Emera.” she said.” Emera glared at her and replied. A few days later. Sama and the rest of the security crew were having a job and a half holding her. I have no idea Sella. heading home. They were intercepted by another ship. But it was not working. told her. you are safe now. “Where are we going now Sama?” Sella asked the male guard who had come in to tell them the news. So no more broken noses were suffered or too many bruises. seeing the disheveled look of the security crew and their injuries. Which everyone was only too happy to do. But the smerk on the her face disappeared later when one of the male guards came in. “We will have to see about that won't we?” Something in the look of Emera's eyes. The smerk growing on her face.” Emera shrugged her shoulders and turned her back on the guard ignoring any further conversation or threats. “I'm not that stupid girl. Emera threw herself at him and tried to scratch his face. Emera saw a few of the men come in to her line of sight and then the force field to her cell was deactivated.A little later one of the guards returned. then turned back to Emera. “Looks like your luck has just gone from bad to worse girly. She didn't seem to be listening to them. Sama nodded and they returned to their ship. The next day the Sella reappeared with a smirk on her face. They quickly maneuvered her into one of the cells on the Brig. She put up quite a fight as she was held down by a number of the crew. they had tried to tell her more than once what the man she had attacked. Emera braced for a fight. in a menacing voice. “You are going to pay for this. “Be careful of this one. She got a few of them where they were not protected. Emera smiled. she is more than a handful. while pointing to her nose. with a mean smile forming on her face. “Don't worry I can assure you that there will be no more trouble from her.” The guard gave her a black look.” The Sella gave a mean smile and laughed. “My aunt owes me big time and you are the payment. This time they wore their helmets and body armor to lessen the effects of her blows when dealing with her. Emera's new hosts. But it didn't mean they got away unscathed. “To be honest with you. The Sella shook her head. “Just a few more days and you will be all mine. She also got a good few blows in. with orders for Emera to be transferred to their ship. It was a good thing that this 'kid' was going to a place where she could never escape from.” Sama warned. But they never made it to the Penal Colony. “I know the head of the reform school you are been sent to personally.” said one of the men holding up their hands in a gesture of trying to calm her. before they managed to subdue her.” said Feren. But all I know is we are now going in the direction of the Melar Penal colony.
It turned out that her father's business partner. he rushed forward and injected her. In the end they had to call the doctor on the crew to come help. But she had put it down to them taking her out of obligation or not knowing how to deal with her. as he was standing in its projected path. She heard the door open and she looked towards it. “How are you feeling?” He asked. Quickly what happened to her came back and she sat up and nearly passed out. It was filled with nutrients as well as a sedative. For she was neither a helpless child or an adult yet. as it was supposed to have gone over his head.” Emera gave him a look of distrust. She looked at him. Ebwa saw the look of confusion on Emera's face about her surroundings and treatment. Ebwa came closer but making sure he was still at what was considered a safe distance from her. Moving quickly. He hoped what he was about to offer her would make life a little bit more bearable for her. Now she understood some of the things why Barton and El had done and said things that didn't feel quite right. The equipment was supposed to have fallen on him. “What do you mean by that?” she asked warily. Everything went black. it was discovered. Barton and his wife had been forging her father's signature for years. He came closer. The accident that had taken his life. Ebwa began to explain. They were now on the run and in hiding. “Emera?” said Ebwa. You are no longer under arrest. He was the one that had come to her cell and asked her why she was giving them so much trouble. She was even more confused when she started taking note of the room she was in. were seen to. A drip was inserted into her arm.” she whispered.” Ebwa saw the look of confusion spread across her face once more.attempts at getting at them. before she could react to his presence. If you are willing. He saw her confusion begin to turn to anger and the fire in her eyes flare. Emera nodded and pulled her legs up and looked miserably down at the blankets. which she immediately ripped out. But instead it had broken loose too early. because you are a minor. He could see in her eyes she was hurting. The first thing she noticed was that she was not chained and then she saw the drip in her arm. She sure had put up a fight. Ebwa sadly shook his head. She would have to move slowly. it would still be a year or so before you would be legally able to tend to your own needs. “Emera as you know that. After some further investigation. as well. What did he mean by one of his departments? . Now and from previous attempts. She would not wake till they let her. that a corrosive agent had been applied to the wire cables. Also she saw the bandages on her wrists where the cuffs of her chains had been. then suspicion. Quickly he held up his hands trying to calm her. feeling it was now safe to do so. Which resulted in a young boy losing his life. Unfortunately. then had her chains removed. “Emera. “There must be a mistake. After that he had her moved to one of the cabins where he saw to her injuries which were due to neglect and those inflicted by her resistance. To Ebwa's surprise he saw the tears flow down her face and she looked at him with pleading eyes. that he had her case re-investigated and she was now cleared of needing to pay off the debt. its ok. It was not her cell in the Brig. The doctor nodded to those holding her and they let go in relief. Emera woke feeling groggy. absconding with all her money. She recognised the man. was no accident. The doctor. Emera felt like a bomb had been let off in her life. It was believed that her father had become suspicious of him and he may have been taking steps to correct this. I have arranged that one of my departments will become your guardian.
“I will have the papers drawn up as soon as possible. “Well. “If you do not want to take my offer. indicating that she understood. as you yourself know. she would have been better off serving out the sentence they had given her. her life had been far from easy. . “Well. stay out of the restricted areas. “What do I get out of this arrangement. Emera watched him closely to see if he was trying to pull the wool over her eyes. they would eventually filter through to the public. In many respects. Ebwa looked at the girl before him. no longer than my 18th birthday and half of everything I invent or help invent.” She gave him a look that told him that she was not going to budge on the matter. you will be sent to one of the orphanages. Emera nodded.” Ebwa replied.” She nodded. But with the goal in mind that it could improve the lives of those in space. Ebwa saw Emera shudder. “It is very different from where I come from. Any violation of that and our agreement with you. especially. when she accepted his offer. I have seen some of your little gadgets.” he gently replied. She had heard what some of the 'orphanages' that operated on the frontier were really like. “You will be given a room of your own and will be paid quite handsomely for the services provided. how are your finding things on the ship?” he asked. of where she grew up. Ebwa smiled. Emera gave him a dirty look. especially when you considered what they were made from and what equipment or should I say lack of equipment you used. Emera eyed him suspiciously. All I meant by that remark was that you mustn't loose your edge. will be null and void. Would you be interested in working for me?” he asked. True many of the gadgets would be used for secret missions. They too like work on gadgets like you. Emera held out her hand and he handed her the papers she had requested to be drawn up. He held up his hands. Ebwa nodded.” she warily asked. “whoa. As he was about to get up to go and sort out the paperwork on their agreement. no offence intended. Your ability to make things from almost nothing is the whole reason for this offer. She was one tough cookie and smart. when taking into inconsideration. He could see she was mulling over this. They were not what they were supposed to be. “I will not sign any contracts that locked me into serving you. A few hours later Ebwa found her looking out one of the port holes in the Mess. It will take some time to get used to the state-of-theart facilities. Ebwa looked her straight in the eyes. you are too old to be adopted. but as time went on. she held up her finger in warning. “What are my options if I say no?” she queried. It is your most valuable asset. before the clearing of her father's name. Then again. “Get this straight.” The look on her face changed and she nodded. The department I had in mind is the best of all the departments I have working under me. I must admit they are most remarkable. I hope you don't get too comfortable with the facilities. but in the mean time your are free to roam around the ship but just one warning.” she said.” he replied.” she told him. I get the rights to and I want it stated in writing.“Emera.
Ebwa had not told them much about her till she had arrived. True there weren't too many people as it was a science outpost. She actually gave him a smile.CHAPTER 5 Emera was not what the rest of the team she was assigned to were expecting. she had not had an easy life. Ebwa it seemed. “Thank you for helping me. but she didn't mind. The memory brought a pang of sadness. would get an ear full from her. True she didn't like them unless it was on her terms. functioning as a orbital space port for the planet below. When he greeted her. There was Gol the head of the department and Wiks. Meanwhile Ebwa told the guys to be patient with Emera. Sa. It reminded her of some of the places her father had taken her to. Her trust had been broken by Barton and the others she had encountered. “Emera how are you?” he asked. A year passed.” He nodded and said. It was out in the open. Ok?” All Emera did was give an expressionless nod and follow her out. “let the boys talk. that if anyone else asked her to. “I am doing alright. but he was sure she was going to like this one. “I was only doing my duty. He began to grow on her. that if she was not happy about something.” she gently said. she was no longer cold or weary of him like the first time. Ebwa returned her smile. She missed him so. Gol nodded and said they would do their best.” He indicated for her to sit at one of the tables in the mess hall where they were. Ebwa introduced her to them. “Emera. she looked like she could be like one of the few natives from some of the worlds they were told to avoid. She was far from the mild mannered meek thing they assumed she would be. Emera just stood there looking at her new team mates. Now that you are going to be turning eighteen in a few weeks time and your current contract . she would go out of her way to please him. but good in spirit. But he could see she was happy. Popie could see Emera was not too happy about her situation. He would ask and she would ask him how he wanted it done and was at a point the others noticed. but slowly she began to let them in. Then all he had said was that she had been wrongly accused and that she was extremely good with making things out of nothing. When Ebwa came to see them. didn't feel the need to elaborate further. she let them know in no uncertain terms. They were few in number. Many a times he would get a small smile from her when all she would do was nod with a blank face. Emera herself was surprised to see where the 'secret' base was. Much to everyone's surprise he got her to do things. Especially at such a young age. it was now only a few weeks away from her eighteenth birthday. though which one they didn't know.” she said and then looked him directly in the eyes. I want you to know that the work you have done for us since coming here has been of great use. when praised by others at how well she was doing. Very quickly they guys learned. “Come along dear. While I show you your room. No one should be allowed to be wrongly convicted of something. Then after a moment of silence she continued. Also. He had come to offer her another contract. like when he had first met her. Brun and Popie who made up the rest of the team. She was treated kindly by everyone at the base. They were surprised that she had actually left her home-world to join the modern world. She was cold and distant to them at first. Ebwa had left a few months before and had left her in the care of her new 'family'. She still had the fire in her eyes. Though she had to admit she didn't make it too easy for them. Gol had taken a fatherly interest in her care. He was also the oldest by far of the group. Emera had matured greatly over the nearly year and a half she had been with them.
She blushed. Gol told them that was all well and good.” She nodded and put down what she was working on and went with him. Emera stopped dead in her tracks with what she was working on. He could see even now it was still painful to remember what happened to her father and that she still missed him terribly. As you know it inside and out. sorting out the last few bits they needed.. Ebwa saw her sit and think for a while. looking down. asked Sa one of the engineers. “Thank you for doing this. “Since coming to the station. “It's the nick name Emera's father used to call her. Gol looked at Emera and then back at him. but it turned into smiles then grins. he continued.. then shifted in her seat. Besides I was not the only one working on this ship. “I am not worthy of such an honour.” she stammered in a whisper.” “Nope.” she said quietly.” he said. “The Firebird”. Would you be willing to do so?” he asked and waited to see what her reaction would be. A few days later Gol came looking for her and found her in one of the labs. before he was killed. working on one of her designs. Also you see. “Why the Firebird?” asked Quan. She then held out her hand and he handed her the pen. but it had no name. Pointing to the last paragraph on the page.please choose another name. Gol was quiet for a moment and then said. Ebwa Smiled.. “Please. everyone here has treated me with love and respect. “Well.will end. better than any one else. “No Emera. Every ship had to have a name. as she had been listening to the discussion and looked at him wide eyed. they had started working on it. Everyone was excited. She was greeted with smiles when she arrived. the pleasure is all ours. as he handed her the papers. But the biggest difference to our last contract with you is this. She nodded as she was a loss for words. his expression on his face was unreadable. a few months after her arrival at the station. This was the nearest that I had felt like it was with my father. Eventually she did find her voice. still very overwelmed. “Emera?” he asked. She looked at him with her green eyes. Ebwa nodded. I think you may be able to help. we would like to to stay on.” Emera was taken aback by the more than generous offer. The ship he was talking about. This rose a few eyebrows. That morning they were all in the hanger by the ship. all their hard work was coming to be. you will have half the rights to all inventions your were involved with. you will be handsomely paid for the work during the period of the contract. “Do you have one in mind?”. .” replied Gol. despite how I was towards them in the beginning. the contract terms are the same as the last time. Also you will receive any royalties collected when you do decide to leave. still stunned by their decision. A few weeks later it was ready to be tested.. This place has become my home and these guys are like.” she said. to work with someone as talented as you. a family to me. Two hours later the problem was solved. “You will have the right to end the contract without penalties whenever you wish.” he replied. It would be perfect.” Ebwa was taken aback by her response to his words. “Could you give us a hand? We are having a bit of trouble with the ship and since you are the one who contributed most to its design.
may consider our little 'disagreement' about who did what. She would also do any debugging so that Sa or Wiks would not have to leave their posts to help unless it was urgent. if not you? The rest of us are not anywhere in your league. “and she takes off like a dream.” he said in surprise. There were no more complaints. “Besides. Emera paled. Wiks and Sa won. Gol. besides. Ebwa may be in-charge of this department. they had tested all the systems they could while still grounded. The Firebird could be run with a minimum of one person. But for the tests. In truth. A few days later. she was honoured by their wanting to name it after her. with a few ideas thrown in every now and then.” The others nodded in agreement. Which was matched by the excitement of Emera and Sa. Emera kept an eye on the general read outs of the ship. as the expression on his face softened and gave her a loving look.” he said. “You my dear. when fully operational. Wiks started up the systems. One by one they took one.Emera gave him a questioning look.” he said. or do I have to remind you of what is at stake?” replied Gol. “My. While Sa was incharge of the engines. as a potential problem and decide to take the project away. Wiks started her up. As this was it's maiden voyage. Today was the day. grinning much better. and only deepened her love for them. Everyone groaned. The next day everyone was excited. They would draw straws. This is ground breaking stuff we are working on and so many would like to get their hands on it. so smoothly. There was a last flurry of activity as they went over the 'Firebird' with a tooth-comb making double sure everything was as it should be. Everyone agreed the Firebird was a dream to fly.” he said. Of course everyone wanted to be the first to do it. Till now. none of us have such a graceful or nice sounding name or nickname. In the end Gol solved the dilemma. as he patted the side of the ship. This was a good omen. It was going to be a team effort to get her off the ground. in shock. before taking it out for a test drive. He held them out to everyone standing infront of him. they needed a minimum of 3. The excitement was infectious and soon everyone was feeling it. . Gol nodded somberly.” he continued. it was decided to take a few days longer sorting things on the ground with it. Did they have to do this? “This is the fairest and quickest way to do so. as they all knew they had solve this little dilemma themselves before the big wigs found out or they may decided to take their project away from them and give it to someone else to test. were the one who has done most of the work on this baby. but his superiors. Especially since it had now being marked as top priority. “We only followed your instructions. “who would we name it after. For the next month they ran her through her paces. Many would be looking for any excuse to do so. but in a few days they would too get their turn at been on board testing the 'Firebird'. a father would give his child when extremely proud of them. In the end Emera.” Gol held up the six straws in his hand. “Could they do that?” she asked. The rest congratulated them. claiming it as theirs. Emera gracefully yielded to their wishes. The tops all showing evenly. Quan and Poppie would do their thing on the orbital space port. Each 'team' taking turns on flying her. “My dear. as he eased the throttle. showing on their faces. claiming they are wanting to protect it from being destroyed or mismanaged. she is quieter than I thought she would be.
what is that? “ She asked. They were too close. Quickly she shook herself free from the view. He made a call to Sa in the engine room. it would be about a day. it was pulling the ship apart! Wiks tried to restart the engines to turn the ship around and get away. This time they would be going further out from the station. Times would be shortened imensely. It just felt like seconds. Her bunk was beckoning. but we have to get the engine on line. She still had the potential to go even faster. But for now she would let that be. Once done. But nothing had so far.. This place is a mess. It was a light spectacle in space. shaking the entire ship even harder and alarms from elsewhere on the ship started going off. by a strange noise. in case something went wrong. she went to her quarters. but the lights were still flashing everywhere. “What is going on? What is that?” she shouted to Wiks. As soon as her head hit the pillows. He looked at her with worry on his face and then quickly silenced the alarms. tell Sa to take one too. “Sa. Wiks could hear the noise coming from the engine room and it was not the engine. The Firebird is going . Only brighter and more defined. The bad news is that.. Sa shouting above the noise of the alarms in the engine room. It looked like the northern lights seen at the poles on most of the planets she had been on. He was seeing a wormhole form. I will take first watch. it was Emera. the last explosion came from the engine itself. the second day as well. if hadn't moved in time. than they ever had. Sa eventually answered.” Wiks turned to see why Emera had suddenly stopped in mid sentence. Wiks and Sa's turn to do one of the last tests. After thanking Wiks. Once fully awake she stumbled as fast as she could to the bridge. The engine is history. He was in shock. it has severely destabilised the space fabric in the area. It was late that evening when they decided to call it a day. “Wiks. but that was just theory. it is one of the more complicated parts of the design. Everyone's spirits were high. I don't care what you do. we need power now!” he yelled into the intercom. They had pushed themselves and the ship much harder than before. the shaking was intensifying. It nearly took me out too. she headed to the engine room to tell Sa. even with doing this.” he said.. above the screaming alarms that were going off on his console.” Emera nodded and gave him a look of gratitude. Gol and the rest of the men would follow them at a slower speed with the support ship. They hadn't even been pushing her that hard in the tests. fearfully.” “Would love to my friend. They knew once the Firebird went into production. “I have no idea.. of the engine. She had to admit the last two days were catching up with her. which blew up. Tomorrow they would turn round and head back. like metal groaning and then the whole ship began to shake. if not longer before Gol and the others caught up to them. The first day went smoothly. “No can do. when there was a loud explosion. she was sound asleep. “Emera.” “Sa.” Emera looked behind Wiks at the anomaly.CHAPTER 6 A few weeks later. Then there was another explosion. but the damage is too much.. It had resulted in some good data and more ideas on how to improve the ship's performance. “but what ever it is. it would revolutionise the way space travel was done. The wormhole was unstable. but they refused to come on line. before she was awoken with a start. why don't you go and have a snooze for a while. do you . That was not possible. The sight she saw made her stop dead in her tracks. “Wiks. He was about to answer her..
When Gol and the other got to the co-ordinates a day later after trying to get a hold of them with no luck. She braced herself as she hit the ground and everything went black. even before going through the wormhole. Primary landing systems were malfunctioning. It was not designed for this kind of thing. It was a planet. She felt Wiks in his escape pod punching out. as the alarms were no longer shouting. no luck there either. Emera couldn't tell if Sa made it to the escape pods by the engine room. but he gave no answer. She tried Sa. The others that where on the support ship were definitely now out of range. But in the end they were declared missing. The search would go on for months in one form or another. CHAPTER 7 Out in the desert. you still there?” Wiks asked in concern. as it had come. A few seconds later. Quickly she strapped on her oxygen mask. . like nothing had ever happened. alarms started going off. to get a better look. the emergency lights barely came on. The next moment they were rocked with an even bigger explosion and everything went black. She managed to keep conscious. Just silenced the alarms” “Abandon ship” Ordered Wiks “Roger on my way. She tried her short-wave to call to Wiks. She prayed that her pod would stay together. Emera suddenly thought she saw something. The next moment she was ejected from the pod with a jolt. She was jolted forward against the straps of her seat. And the com line was getting more erratic. She was entering its atmosphere. A short while later the parachute opened and began to slow her descent. She then began to free fall. Getting worse by the second. “Yes. Then the shaking suddenly stopped and she saw the stars. But she knew the landing was still going to be a hard one.” “Sa.” Wiks looked at Emera. Then she twisted around in her pod.” Emera nodded and followed Wiks out of the cockpit. as she was ejected from the ship. The pod began to shake once more. They found nothing. She saw Wiks' pod go before her. Half way though the landing procedure. All she could do now was pray that he had. The ride through the wormhole was anything but smooth. The ship began to break apart before her eyes. The Firebird and all her crew had just disappeared. She only now could hope and pray that the landing systems for the pod were not damaged in her unexpected journey. her head hitting the back of her seat. It wasn't a moment too soon. But most likely only a few minutes. as best she could. just enough to see where they were. By now she had lost sight of Wiks. She quickly followed suit. Oh great. Her pod began to shake even harder and the next moment her pod and everything around her was being sucked into the wormhole. “It's for us to do the same. It felt like she was in it for hours. eventually getting to the escape pods and climbed in. Both stumbling along as the ship continued to shake and shudder. presumed dead. She knew what this meant. They continued to stumble on.nowhere. Sly saw Emera's hard landing from a distance. flickering. which seemed to have mysteriously disappeared.
The man lifted his hand and struck her in the face. She decked him. he had bought from one of the northern tribes. this was turning out an even better trip than expected. When he was stopped. It was found that this was the best method of keeping a handle on the slaves. He shook her ruffly and shouted something at her. referring to the bedraggled slaves chained together. indicated to his man to bring his kit. They could try to run. She heard animals. Luckily one of the men heard her coughing and ruffly pulled her out of the wagon and got the bread out of her throat. which resulted in frequent. It would make it easier to claim she was a slave. A few hours later. How long had she been out? She saw what looked like bread and tried to eat some. Slowly she looked around and saw she was in some kind of transport with a cloth covering. Perhaps with luck something to make this trip even more worth while. A few minutes later the feeding tube was inserted in through her nose and the end would be fused to the side of her face. She knew immediately something was wrong. He was looking really angry. She saw the fear on their faces and then she also noticed the pipes coming out the one side of their noses that ended by the side of their cheeks. She was in chains and not in her own clothes. He nodded and got the kit from the saddle bags of Sly's Oogler. Sly indicated to one of the other men to come with him. As they got closer. “As you wish sir. as they would starve to death within days. She had only been knocked unconscious Sly's helper returned. costly repairs. He smiled. Breaking a way from his party. It would allow for swallowing of spit. She looked almost like them. before she could loose consciousness. Her throat was sore. No one treated her like that. Emera tried to talk to one of the men guarding them. Also. but it was enough to badly stun her. but would not get very far. . If she wanted food or water she would have to have it inserted via the feeding tube. they saw some kind of silky material fluttering in the wind. Only their masters had access to the machines that liquified their food.” he replied. turning to the man beside him. He wanted to see what had landed. Sly had his man throw her over his saddle and they rode back to his men and merchandise. he nimbly avoided her and was going to strike her again this time harder. Fuel for such machinery had to be imported as the planet didn't have any such minerals for making fuel on it. A few moments later she was yanked to her feet as the procession started. But all she got for trying to talk to them was another slap in the face. Anger flashed in Emera's eyes. With the help of the man with him. the other end would be attached to the unit he had inserted down her throat. Yes. the desert sands seemed to get into every working part and jam up its works somewhere along the line. It was also more cost effective.” he said. he and his man urged their Ooglers on. they got her out of her seat and while checking her over for injuries. Only to start choking on it. Emera tried to tell him she didn't understand him. The next moment she was struck from behind. but her throat hurt too much and she could gave up trying to get her words out. These creatures were born in the desert. She was then dragged to the end of the line and chained to it. It was then he saw what was attached to the material by long strings. to get passed it but nothing else. One of the other men said something and it brought a evil smile to the man who had struck her. yet there was something different about her. This trip seemed as if it was going to be less profitable than the last few. They were big hairy and lumbering creatures and were far better than any machinery out here. The woman seemed to be ok. When she tried to deck him. The blow didn't knock her out. Emera came to. What was going on? Where was she? Why was she chained? She felt hungry and thirsty. When she turned around she saw there was a line of people in chains.“Tell the men to keep an eye on the merchandise. He saw Emera unconscious in her ejection seat. Sly took the kit from him and opened it and began to work on Emera. indeed she would make a lovely addition to his assets.
She now realised she had a tube coming out of her nose like the other prisoners. She had just thought she had had a blocked nose. besides. but not kill her. as all she got for her efforts was a beating. She was too sore and tired to give much resistance. her throat was too sore to get more than just a croak out. some stared at them. the wasteful demonstration with the food would make her understand any resistance and she would not be fed. a rich man. they were herded along again. meant no food. She was a better specimen than most of the other slaves. At midday they stopped. That evening when the sun had gone down long before they stopped. judging by his clothes. would be of great value. Even if she didn't get it then. It was actually a small town. They were herded into one of the large cells. He saw her look at the wet patch on the ground. Emera. Sly just warned his men to try not to leave any bruises. There was not much space though with all the people. They eventually arrived at the slave market. Especially by those who where not too picky about the paperwork. CHAPTER 8 Slowly the number of people in the cell with her began to dwindle. He would make quite a bit on her. Emera saw they inserted them in to the ends of the tubes on the faces of the people chained up and inject what ever was in them. but most ignored them as if they were not even there. Emera saw the village they came to. as they were taken out and never returning. He laughed and so did the men holding her. Their guards took turns watching them and resting by riding the Ooglers. Sly saw her feel her face and the shock of realizing that she was like the other slaves. Just enough for Emera to realise what it was. it was eerily silent. Sly had Emera's food withheld from her more than once during this time. She could see these people had technology. As they were dragged through the town. was given all of her food. Emera when she saw the place. it would devalue her. He could see she now understood what had been in the syringes and why she had almost choked on the bread she had tried to eat. Now. it could be cut with a knife. who now flung her to the ground. Then they came for her. Sly wanted to break her. But she could feel the despair of some and resignation by others. The man with the syringe came closer and then inserted it into the tube on her face. Emera eventually gave up trying to talk to them. The woman was done in front of her and then the man came to her. this time. But in her weakened state the two burly guards frog marched her out of the cell without much effort. but he saw she now was beginning to understand disobedience. Everyone gratefully sank to the ground. He injected a little of the food in it. Suddenly she felt two of the other men grab her. was waiting. Her feistiness. a few more times of food being withheld and she would. Even though she didn't seem to understand their language. They took her to another smaller cell. where a man. Emera was extremely thirsty and was getting even more hungry. most slaves were bought for. but other than that. Emera felt her face. they had pushed the last few hours. he was hoping to get four times the price. She was not going to make life easy for those that had wronged her. She saw the look of relief on many of their faces. There was just enough space to sit. then he removed the syringe and squirted the rest of it into the sand at her feet. After they had been fed. He said something to the man . In fact. A few of the men came out with what looked like over sized syringes. knew what this meant for her. She was now a slave on this planet and until she figured out how to free herself of her feeding tube. in certain circles. hopefully. Then the difference would have to come out of their pay. It was hot and dank in the cramped quarters. It took a full two weeks to get to their destination. Emera heard the crying of some of the babies. She fought like a wild thing. but in some cases preferred to do things old school.They had been walking for hours. Anger flared in her eyes. They were fed again.
she could do nothing. this time she took note of where she was. but she knew she was just some kind of trophy. Exhaustion overcame her once more and she slept. she saw him sitting watching her. He dictated what she wore.who she now knew his name was Sly. But he creeped her out. She was then chained to the back of his carriage. Most times. knowing if he disobeyed. He would feed and tend to her needs. that he may not stop and she would be dragged along. Yalan could see she subjugated to him. She staggered along. “Take her to the cell in my quarters. Seeing this. it could cause serious injury. Other times he would have her stand in the same pose for hours. She was too exhausted to take note. Emera had no idea what he wanted. It was a windowless room and it was sparsely furnished. She also saw the man was still in his chair. that she was helpless to free herself.” he ordered. It made a hissing sound when it did so. but the guards held her fast. He stroked her face. as the carriage was faster than a Oogler and the ground was harder than the desert sands. Yalan was very happy with his new acquisition. If it happened now. he barely touched her. At least with the manual way of feeding. Emera didn't take note of her surroundings. she was injected slowly. This time Emera tried to show some resistance and she got slapped in the face quite forcefully and then he injected her once more with some food. unless I say so. But other than that she didn't understand what was said to her. When the carriage finally stopped. It grated Emera badly. but was too exhausted to stop him. when it came to touching her all he wanted to do was stroke her face and maybe her arm at times. in fact any woman. The girl had now also learned to respond to the name of Mata and would come when called. She tried to resist. In fact she would rarely get to see another person. “Go. he would pay dearly for damaging his master's latest find. I shall be the only one to have that privilege. Within days Emera learned she must let him do what he wanted or her food was withheld. When she woke later. Gently he nudged the Groons forward. It made him want to more jealously guard his prize. he had once had. Yalan was satisfied with how she obeyed him. Thankfully. Many a times he would just sit for hours staring at her from his chair. but she never lost the fire in her eyes. I do not wish her to be harmed is that understood?” The slave in the driver's seat nodded and took up the reins. he got up and came to her. If she moved while he tried to paint a picture of her. She hated the feeling when it did so. He replied to the man and he gave her a mean smile.” Yalan ordered. “just make sure you don't go too fast. By now she was no longer chained. he climbed in. What she had seen of his work. He then said something and went back to his chair and just stared at her. A few hours later they arrived at his estate. He turned her head and injected its contents into her. Yalan purposely . is that understood?” The slaves before him nodded. He smiled at her. but it was not a warm smile. So long as he had control over how she ate. after the man that had tried to touch her. In many ways she reminded him of her. Sly nodded to the guards and they dragged Emera still struggling. He now led her out of her cell and into his quarters. she collapsed in a heap. It was then she saw he had a plunger-less syringe in his hands. Her fustiness just added to her allure. he was no artist that's for sure. When Emera woke from her exhausted sleep. other than his older sister. He looked at Sly and nodded. “No one is thereafter to ever touch her. Months had passed now. He got up once more to come to her. he would slap her in her face and she would not get any food. The man tried to lift her chin and Emera tried to pull away. he had to do it more than once. She hated it. This was done at speed and could feel the liquid hit the inside of her stomach quite forcefully. She was one of the most beautiful slave woman he had seen. After she had been chained to the back of the carriage. they had left behind a week ago. It may be of fine linen and jewels. Experience with Sly had taught her. trying not to fall.
Though just on his estate near the house. She picked up one of the shards. when he was not happy about something. using the corner of her apron so as not to cut her hand and stabbed him. CHAPTER 9 Emera's chance to escape came nearly two and a half years after her enslavement. it was now paying off. Collecting a few things . where ever he went. She lost all control. But still the hunger pangs got to her. He liked to taunt her that way. She had been keeping up her stamina by doing exercises. She began to take extra careful note of things. her hands were shaking badly and they were covered in blood. She also knew where he kept the syringe that he used to administer her food and also knew where the key for the storage unit was kept. She was his and he only could touch her. They didn't even make eye contact with her. She could no longer take this. make her watch as he made her food in the morning and then would only dispense it to her that evening. She made it out the house. As she did so. she had not lost the knack to defend herself. The more he 'trusted' her the better. if they needed to be in the same room. The next thing she remembered was she was unlocking the cabinet to get her syringe. Also. if he caught her not keeping her eyes on him at all times or if she tried to communicate with others. Emera had now gotten used to only being fed once a day. Yalan knew like the withholding of food. she could see he was still a bit dazed. She also realised. the hate. she grabbed her food unit and ran. just intensified the hunger pangs.would give her one or two word instructions. But the last piece. The unit he used was a portable one and it was no bigger than her head. that she had knocked over. Emera was lucky as most of the slaves were in their cells sleeping. But with no syringe left out to administer it. He was a hateful and spiteful man. Emera snapped. She decked him. so as to stop any interaction with the other slaves or invited guests. was not in place. would result in sever punishment and death if they touched her. as he would leave out her food in a container for her to see. He treated his slaves like dirt. anger and the hurt at what he had done to her came to the surface. when she was confined to her cell. Many a time she saw him personally beat some of them to with an inch of their lives and forced her to witness it. A few months later Yalan decided she was ready to go on limited outings with him. it was around his neck. he was really in a bad mood. Yalan would everyday. Emera also discovered how her food was produced. only having him touch her. when he tried to have a go at her again. Also. He also taught her the consequences for her and anyone she let touch her. Yalan kept one of the units in his room. As the weeks went by a plan began to formulate in her mind. bonded her more to him and made her even more obedient. going via the kitchen. Emera frantically looked around the room for something to protect herself better with. when she was outside her cell and what her punishment would be if she didn't. Emera felt like a non entity. That evening Yalan came to her cell. in made up words. showing his power over her but now she knew how the unit worked. Then he would make her clean the bloody mess off his boots. He had reduced her world just to him and no other. when he had first hit her. as he tried to get back onto his feet. He began yelling at her and for the first time. Emera's hate for Yalan grew. She spotted the broken vase next to her bed. he beat her for no reason. The other slaves knew that to even try and communicate with her in any form. she saw how light it was when one of the female slaves had come in and moved it to dust around it. He now began to teach her that she was to follow him and stand near him. After that.
Helon watched the young woman as she woke. Though not as filling as what she had been fed before. She had only a few hours of darkness left and she wanted to get as far away as possible. She lay down on the cold floor of the cave and fell in to an exhausted sleep. He had been surprised. But did use some of her precious water to clean her hands. She took out the bottle of water she had taken from the kitchen on her way out and plunged the syringe into it. Emera came to. as the land became more desert. without messing half of the water over her face. there was no time to stop. before realising what it was. He had spotted the vultures a few hours ago. before spitting it out. He could see she couldn't quite process what she was seeing. she reached the edge of the estate. Her mouth had been extremely dry. as she couldn't swallow it. She was almost all spent. She had not stopped running since leaving the estate. It was then that he found her food processing unit nearby. a number of hours later. She was totally spent. The next day. He carried her and her unit back to his house. on a cot with a blanket pull over her. The lack of proper nutrition was now getting to her. She knew that if she didn't find both soon she would die. to give her body time to process it. Soon it would begin to lighten. It was enough for two more meals. Only partly succeeding. Two days later. It would mean her death if they caught her now. realised she had lost her food processing unit. Emera took the fruit and one by one she placed it into the unit and activated it. He saw the look of confusion on her face. This time she thought she was hallucinating for sure. she found a small cave. Also. He had been lucky in finding her. He was surprised to see she had lived as long as she had. Looking at the blood all over her clothes. She began to see things and then to her horror. with a few trees dotting the landscape. Her clothes were in tatters. She thought she heard and saw something. So she injected the first amount immediately. Only to have the blistering sun waking her for a brief moment. The land here. Then she continued to move. but she didn't have that luxury. she felt much better after doing it. she dearly would have loved to have gotten out of them and burn them. before they found Yalan's body in the morning. Both times doing her best not to spill the food. Then began to look for a place to lie low. Two and a half hours later. . it was equal to one meal. when he had gone to investigate. She had had her last meal three days before and she had finished her water last night.along the way. it was food. once more. She was going to have to practice a bit more before getting it right. She also took a very small mouthful and swirled it around her mouth and then gargled it. knowing how strictly controlled these things were. he found her. Eventually she fell to the ground and passed out. like the rest of the estate. She didn't know where or when her next meal after this would be coming from. She was in a cool room. she picked what was left of the ripe fruit on the tree. It was evening when she woke. it drew the water into it and then she feeling for the end of her feeding tube placed the syringe in it. For three months this continued. before leaving on her journey. She needed to rest. Then she filled her blood stained apron with as many of the half ripe fruits she could carry. she ran out of the food she had snatched from the kitchen. she took the second feeding. He could see she was a slave and was severely malnourished and dehydrated. food and water was getting more scarce. She collected as much as she could hold in the apron of her dress. But passed out again. A short distance away. Her master must have really treated her very badly for her to be in the condition she was now. Thankfully not running into any others along the way and under the cover of darkness began to run as fast as she could. before carrying on. She kept half in the unit and the other in the syringe. But he was able to put two and two together. She had enough for two meals but because of the nutrient deficiency. was mostly Savanna Grasslands. But her luck continued. but was getting better at it. She was tired and thirsty. when he realised what the brown stuff that was caked on her tattered clothes. She came across a fruit tree. She tried to turn around to find it but got even more lost. as a few days without food should have killed her.
It felt good to be rid of her rags. Then she heard the door open. “It's ok. But with what energy she did have. than what the girl was wearing now.” he said. He placed the clothes at the foot of her bead and left. She was much thinner though. Seeing the man in his late forties. He placed the empty syringe on the cabinet next to the bed. Sleep soon took her. Once better he would reduce it to twice a day. as he pointed to himself. early fifties.” he said to her. trying to calm her fears. to alleviate some of the discomfort of him feeding her. She was a fighter. But she felt exhausted and slid back into bed. He knew it was the fear of him withholding her food or beating her if he saw it. He came closer. She only stirred slightly in discomfort. He felt sorry for her. she could learn to. despite there being some fire still in her eyes. Helon knew if he had tried to force her to change her clothes. She was about the same age and height of his daughter. He knew she would no longer fight him feeding her. Emera tried to pull away. He now knew how she had survived as long as she had. It was the best thing for her. Helon noticed she didn't seem to understand him when he told her he was not going to hurt her. she tried to pull her head away. Her muscles still protested. This time she knew she was not hallucinating. though she tried to hide it. But it was her life. No harm will come to you here. for when she came to visit. but could barely move. She had not spoken in over two years. They would be better for the conditions around here. she needed to regain her strength. Then he pointed to her. She had willing changed without him forcing her to. It took nearly two weeks. He saw her flinch at his touch. Helon was now feeding her three times a day and could see she hated every moment of it. you are safe here. To attempt do so would have earned her a severe beating and withholding of food. he had to firmly hold her head with his one hand as he injected more food into her feeding tube. He looked at her. come to her. She would never be able to eat like non-slaves. When Helon returned. Besides hers were not much more than rags now. before she was strong enough to attempt getting out of bed. she would choke to death as she . He saw resignation cross her face. Emera stayed quiet. He said his name a second time. it would most likely not be the case. In the end. But he knew from experience. when he injected her with some more food. But he knew of none who had. “Helon. It wasn't uncommon with slaves. slaves. bring in some clothes. There were some spare clothes of his daughter's in the other room. she may resisted despite her fear of him. She was feeling much better. if it was ever possible to remove the device in her throat. giving her a smile. Emera woke once again a few hours later. without the risk of her feeling hungry all the time. There would be time to question her later. Slowly Emera moved. He indicated with gestures that he wanted her to change out of her rags. which was unusual for a slave of her age. he took it that she was unable to talk. She managed to change her clothes. Wearing long pants and a shirt was far better than a dress to get around in. but also defiance in her eyes. Helon saw the fear. He nodded to her and patted her hand. unless they had been sentenced as slaves. Partly out of defiance and partly that she didn't know if she could still use her voice. A few days later Emera saw the one who called himself Helon.CHAPTER 10 Helon saw her close her eyes once more and fall asleep. but when she didn't respond. for longer than a few minutes. Perhaps with a bit of work. but knew she would fill out once she got some more food into her. he was pleased. they had never learning to talk. Having never used their throat muscles.
Helon was puzzled at first why she didn't try and explore her surroundings other than her room and then only when she thought she was alone. He shook his head at her and could see her confusion at this. he was suspecting she may not have been a slave all her life. She was puzzled by this. She showed no signs of been a sentenced slave. She did not wish to anger him. Helon indicated that she sit on the chair. this was going to take some time to get her to understand that she was not a slave in this house. because of this. A week later she was able to move around on her own. When he showed displeasure at this. as this land bordered on three other countries. But still she did not come out. but still continued follow him. She then got up and moved back to where she had been before he had called her. She leaned heavily on him. He now decided it was time to work on communication and teach her his language. He also highly suspected she was one of many who would simply disappear from their homes as children. So he decided to show her somethings she could do. only a step or two behind him. was not that uncommon. Especially as she didn't seem to understand the spoken word. . He could see her confusion at him for not making or expecting her to do the things like her former owner had her do. she could come from anyone of them or originally even further away. But there was an unusual alien beauty about her that he couldn't quite place. The girl was waiting for him to give her permission! So after giving her feeding at midday. He could see she was clearly confused at his actions. Which she did and looked at the floor once more. facing her side to him. he saw the fear of being punished and she backed off a few paces. until he could get her to understand she didn't have to do it. Helon placed his hand on her shoulder and she looked up. Helon now realised. with the symbol of their offense. He indicated to her to come get her food by showing her the siringe. Whoever had been her master must have made her stay in her cell till he told her she could come out.would never have used any of her muscles in her throat for swallowing. if moved to a foreign posting. it only lasted so long as she obeyed. he left the door open. He would most likely beat her even harder if she disobeyed. especially that he knew she was a runaway slave. Which she duely did. till he allowed her. but then began to follow him like a shadow. Then it dawned on him. Seeing how long she had been malnourished. He looked at her in sorrow and injected her food. but she had learned with Yalan. she most likely by now would have lost the use of her muscles for swallowing food. So they would be almost non-existent and in her case. Then when he messed something on the floor and he cleaned it up himself. Emera didn't know what to make of this man. He had shown her kindness. she looked to the ground. It angered him what others did to each other. CHAPTER 11 Emera saw Helon began to line up some of the objects in the living room. but would tire easily. She saw it as her new work and did it as if it was so. Especially around here. It had started with him waving her off when she came forward to remove his shoes. having to feed her. Helon then tried to get her to take interest in doing other things and realised he was not succeeding. as had atrophy by now. He helped her stand. being kidnapped and sold for profit as a slave. So her not understanding the language. She knelt before him. He didn't know from which province or country she came from. So a few hours later he indicated for her to leave the room. when he had put up his feet for a rest after a hard day. They were normally branded on the shoulder. Also. So she began to regain her strength but did not leave the room. wasn't helping either.
Emera saw him point to the first object and say a word. when she could. For once she was strong enough. Atar saw her response to seeing his father and then his response to her. She got there just in time as the door began to open. She was still too weak. About five hours later she heard the noise of someone coming. He watched her from the window. Atar saw the tube on her face. She eventually began to move around the room. did not look right. He saw that this kind of privilege of being allowed to explore the house at her leisure had not been given to her before. Hopefully before Helon suspecting anything. “Can you tell me where my father is?” he asked. was to turn in his direction. to hear if he was coming back. But to her shock who she saw was not Helon. He could see she was expecting a beating for moving from where he had left her. what did his dad want with a slave girl? His father.as the way he did it.” he said. But it was going to be a long process. It was then she recognised him. He saw her stand where he had left her. he indicated for her to stand before the objects he had on the living room table and he then took his place opposite her. He hadn't seen him in months. Helon knew it would be best just to ignore her and not even acknowledge her 'indiscretion'.” he said. Emera was extremely nervous. thinking that it was a trick. she was going to attempt escape again. But all he got back was a blank look. It was if she had been expecting a beating for not being where she was supposed to be. Helon greeted his son warmly.. closing the front door behind him. “Atar. she would understand she was safe and free. So he tried to move closer to shake her hand. at least for now. that he had scattered about the house. And all she did when he moved around the room. Atar had gone on an archaeological dig on one of the other planets in the solar system. Helon saw the fear on her face when she realised he had seen her move back to her original position he had left her in. but he couldn't quite put his finger on it. When he ignored her and began passing her. He tried again with the same result. He repeated the exercise. as he pointed to himself with his other hand. a universal gesture everyone understood as a greeting. Helon saw the look of understanding dawn on her. Once set up. she began to thoroughly explore the house. without her knowing he was there. She looked at the floor. Emera had realised he was trying to teach her his language. He was puzzled. . Helon could see from the corner of his eye. But by her reaction. He could see she was equally confused by having her food processing unit and syringe not locked away. He was in some of the pictures with Helon. She knew she had to get all the information she could. A slave. They had both been eying each other out and only realised that some one else had come when they both heard the front door begin to open. He knew she would not try to run. as he got over his surprise. Emera's reaction. but remaining on the same spot or if he came closer. It seemed he too was taken aback by her presence. with almost a nervous scared look behind it. Helon turned and climbed onto his Oogler heading for town. he realised she didn't seem to understand him. There was something else. like him was vehemently against people keeping slaves. So keeping a ear out. She was always sent back to her cell. he found that repeating it a number of times and then placing a number of objects in front of her and having her give or point out the object he had called out seemed to work. he could see she was a bit weary and kept stopping to listen. then did it with the other objects. but left openly on the table. he could see her body relax slightly. Yalan had never left her alone in the rest of the house. “Er. Quickly she replaced what she was looking at and ran to the spot Helon had left her. Helon the next day. He indicated for her to come out her room and then left. Hopefully by the time she was strong enough. Afraid he may punish her for looking around. had to go out.. Nor was he so careless with her food processing unit and syringe. hello. But she moved back keeping the same distance between them. Atar suddenly saw the fear on the girl's face and she moved as fast as she could to her spot he had found her in. It was a trial and error process and eventually. she would back off once more. for over an hour.
when she felt him give her a gently reassuring pat on the shoulder. in understanding.” Helon saw that Emera still had not moved from her spot. When he got there. It had angered both men even more when they realised . “Well. still scared. “I'm afraid that is exactly what she was expecting. I have been trying to tell her that she is no longer one. Emera used the opportunity to get past him and she came and stood before him. Then she saw Helon and her fear rose. he went to her. ignoring her reaction. Helon nodded. She reacted more like a robot awaiting instructions! Since The girl was sleeping in his old room. I will. but with the fire showing behind it. if there is anything I can do to help. But I am working on the language barrier. But if I enter.. yes. she has a tendency to follow me like a tail once out of the room. she will begin to understand she is safe and will not be harmed. She was trying to get away from him.” he stated. He was glad he had found his passion.” replied Atar. She was expecting you to beat her. but she was having none of it. She violently pushed him away and backed off. Helon who was in his room getting something. “This is one of the many challenges I face with her. with gratitude. How are things going my boy? I trust everything has been well?” he asked. “Er. but lifted her head. it has been. was one very mean person. He could see she was catching on and was doing well. To his surprise the girl moved in front of him.” “Thank you my son. “All I did was touch her on her shoulder. please tell me. came running when he heard something crash in the sitting room. Who ever had her before. when she went ballistic. “But may I ask why you have a slave?” he asked. But opened her eyes in confusion. he saw Atar was trying to placate the girl. Why was she not staying with them? Helon sighed. She had been treated worse than a slave. At least in her room if I am not present she will move freely around. before they saw she realised that neither she or Atar would be punished for touching each other.. Helon the next morning began again with trying to teach her some new words for things. When he raised his hand to indicated it was alright and he saw her close her eyes.” Helon told Atar how he had found her and the challenges he was having with her. Also. He placed his hand on her and she stiffened. if no instructions are given or they have been completed.” he replied. he would take his sisters old room.” Atar nodded sadly. “I have no idea father. till I tell or show her what I want her to do. “Atar. what happened?” he asked in concern. Always a few steps behind. He pointed to her room and she nodded and she went to it.” When Helon tried to move closer to Atar. like she now had been doing here. Helon saw his son's face light up as he talked about the expedition. “Maybe with more treating her the way she should be treated. Atar turned to see why and saw his father. she will stand like a statue.” Atar looked at his father in shock.” he said. “Yes father. “Father.” replied Helon. No one should live in fear like this. looking at him with a pleading look in her eyes.“It is good to see you. She looked at him with fear. Vigorously shaking her head. but she doesn't seem to understand. in confusion. Helon could see she was scared and she hung her head shamefully before him. “So that's why she reacted the way she did when you unexpectedly came back. bracing herself for a sever beating she seemed to expect was coming. Atar gave his father a look. In fact Helon had tried to encourage both his children to find their passions in life. It took a few more such incidents with Atar. A little later when his father left the room. Atar reached over and touched her shoulder to get her attention.
if they had trouble understanding her words. But he. CHAPTER 12 Time passed and now Emera was understanding more and more. shrugging her shoulders. you can stay as long as you wish. And as she had escaped her master. So they began to call he Allie. She didn't know where they were and she was not from this planet. A tear fell down her face. she thought she could. Helon had held her as she had cried her heart out. but they got her to understand she didn't have to stand like a statue till told what to do. “Emera can you speak?” he asked. knew it would most likely never happen in his life time. She had been a free woman once. but they didn't sound natural. “Do you know where your people are?” he asked.” Atar nodded in agreement. She was now able to speak after a fashion. When Emera had cried. she could not. It was illegal to buy more slaves or to retrieve those who had come across their boarders fleeing their masters. Slaves. As time passed. Emera slowly began to understand their language. they saw Emera flourish. She had cried the day she had understood from Helon. but sadly they knew it would not improve. But no matter how many times she had it done to her now. She longed to be able to eat and drink like she used to. There were certain sounds she had difficulty in producing. Helon understood. four years! She had given him an answer to part of her past. He wanted her to realise she was not a thing they would wipe their feet on. so she could be better prepared for her escape. she still hated being fed. For the guys in some ways it was learning how to understand a foreign language at times. Communication was still a lot more miss than hit affair. He had wiped away her tears once she had finished crying. “You can consider us as your family if you wish and as such. Helon and Atar looked at her with sadness in their eyes. But until they removed this tube and whatever was attached to it out of her throat. as he placed is hand on her shoulder. They could see her frustration and had encouraged her to continue and would only accept a note from her as a last resort. So she decided to stay longer and learn the language and what she could. She shook her head and pointed to the sky.” he said. when last did you try to speak?” Emera was quiet for a while again and then held up four fingers. Her new masters were much kinder than her previous one. Helon had noticed she was able to make some sounds. rather than kneel at his feet. Helon could see this and it was the reason he would make her sit on a chair. She had then pointed to her feeding tube and saw their sadness in their eyes. Atar told his father they had to give her a name till she could tell them hers. “It's alright dear. that any form of slavery was to be banned. like his son. She longed to be able to taste food. He saw her look at him uncertainly and then after a while she pointed to her head and then nodded. “My dear. she was safe in this land.why she had been avoiding touching Atar. The months began to pass. she was no longer a slave. but never sold or bought. She had cried the day when they had told her they didn't care that she couldn't make all the sounds . She flung herself into their arms and cried once more. however. This time she cried in frustration when they told her it was impossible to remove. could still be given as presents and inherited. He and a few others were trying to get the laws to change. They treated her more like a companion rather than a slave. due to how her feeding tube had been implanted.
“So what are you going to do now that is not an option?” he asked. you will find your calling here. Emera found her new passion with the help of Atar. she was a woman of strength and caricature.” She looked up at him with tears in her eyes and nodded. if he decided to make her permanently part of the family. which was not very far away. that slaves here had a gemstone on their foreheads. “Also. Also much to Emera's relief. He had woken her. Between trying to pronounce her name and using pen and paper. as it brought back less painful memories and was not uncomfortable when they injected her food. you will be just as successful. Besides. Especially if she wanted to live her own life. Both men saw her shrug her shoulders. because of her upbringing. He couldn't fault his son. giving her a smile. it hurts to much. She had tried to feed herself with it. that sometimes. Helon and Atar both encouraged her and she was signed up for a correspondence course. on the planet and of this race of people as a whole. if for nothing else.required of normal speech. to get some new clothes. you will need a some help in adjusting to how things work on this side of the universe. with the machines and computers like where you come from?” asked Helon. “need I also remind you once more. her fears melting away. Atar wiped it away. He was right. It also came time for her to be part of the world. “Because. if you decided to do so. as she had no knowledge of any of the worlds. she didn't know. Seeing her interest. as he saw the look in her eyes. They also now called her by her real name. instead of them making her try and feed herself. While Helon mounted his. As time passed Helon saw the look his son was giving Emera. interest in archeology. at his joke. “Give it time Allie. are you going to make that your profession here. It took only an hour or so to get there on these desert giants. held in place by a metal band. They talked and joked all the way to town. even though it meant she was fully dependent on them feeding her.” Emera nervously nodded her head. It is to help stop the confusion between those that had been freed and those who are not. don't forget. she would want them back someday. but almost impossible to do it with the manual. Helon placed his hand on her shoulder. She sometimes saw things that he or the others would have missed. Not that she was stopped here. She saw the buildings were made of the local rocks. She looked at him. for which she was truly grateful. but I am sure once you get the knack of it. “My dear. about society in general. she had gotten them to say it correctly. that this town is one of the few towns that no one owns any slaves? And anyone wishing to join the community has to free theirs. looking at the ground. as with the electronic one. But as Atar found. but not impossible with the electronic syringe. they now used the manual syringe when they fed her. Even more for her.” he continued. Besides. this could be a good thing too. You can't keep using my daughter's clothes.” Emera shook her head. “You need to go. He gave her a re-assuring hug. Atar helped her get on the oogler with him. but that they would learn to understand what she was saying.” he said. She had opted for the manual. Atar and Helon were very surprised to find out how 'educated' she was. but it was difficult. They did their best to help her to begin to integrate into their society. she needed to face the world someday. even just to think of all that has happened. Would they accept her with this as an equal? By now she had learned quite a bit. Atar could see she was nervous of this.” Helon nodded in sad understanding. They saw a tear fall down her cheek. “Of course they will Emera. In fact the opposite was true. as she saw things in a different light to them. She pointed to her tube. She had learned from the both . She was grateful to both men. “I cannot. which was a very broad field.” He gave her a mischievous grin and she smiled back with laughter in her eyes. to be willing to feed her.
she knew style. he could loose her. she shook her head and then pointed to one next to her. It was found. Atar introduced her to an old lady. he truly loved this old woman. she too found she like her. like it was done once a month. They met as they were walking along. The people had managed to balance the need to use technology and what the planet could offer in natural resources. this is Pin. Helon and Atar eventually found them perusing the flea market that was set up that day. When she heard that Emera needed new clothes. “Well.” said Pin as she looked lovingly at Atar. I must say. Emera had smiled at his unintended pun about the buildings made of stone being dirt cheap. once she was noticed. Emera smiled and nodded. As the fittings and going from shop to shop continued. Emera nodded. Pin looked at Emera. she saw how he reacted to her. “ he told her. it kept the heat out during the day and in at night. They laughed too when they found out why she was grinning much better. she requested that she be taught to understand what Emera was saying. she had seen the look Atar gave her. she smiled to herself.” she said turning to her. Pin started to give him a talking to. “I hate to ask this. even if she didn't follow everyone else's trends. But she knew that if he didn't act soon. Emera smiled. Like their buildings. rather that she had gotten what was needed. much to Emera's surprise. Laughing. all went well?” Helon asked. when they saw her feeding tube. She would have many come a courting. telling him they had come in well within the budget they had given Emera. CHAPTER 13 As predicted. that people on the planet sometimes used ancient or old ways to do things.” replied Pin.” she replied. she used to be my nanny when I was younger. It was then Emera saw the twinkle in Helon's eyes. but how much debt have the two of you put us in?” he asked. she was treated warmly by those she was introduced to in town. She could barely make out one or two of the words of Emera's reply. Pin showed Emera a top. “Emera. Emera nodded and smiled. this one was. It was all she could do as Pin would not understand her way of talking and she had no paper on her or any electronic means either. Pin had to agree. He saw her smile broadly and nod. When she came out from putting it on. I take it. much better than most man made substances and it was dirt cheap compared to having to import many of the materials from off planet. Pin heard Atar's question. But she could see he had understood her perfectly. He was not worried on what was spent. “I take it you enjoyed your day with Pin?” asked Atar. on the etiquette and requirements a woman needed. it was some looks of pity for her. “I too must say so. “Full of mischief too. Seeing this. “Are you wanting to try it on in that colour?” Pin asked her. she told Atar she would handle it. “Don't worry my dear you are in good hands.of them. Tears began to fall down Emera's face and she flung her arms . rather sternly. He had at last found someone. If anything did happen. But their people taught their children of the latest technologies and they used computers in their homes. but couldn't keep a straight face for long. “I now understand why you love her so and that she feels the same for you. He was having her on. Emera was finding the same thing out about Pin. as it was not a man's job and chased him off.
around Pin and hugged. What? Was the look he gave her back. that she was ready. Pin gave Atar a look. Emera nodded and said she would go get her things. Helon could see Atar was nervous about something. Emera called out. this time also from Pin as Emera gave her another hug. Pin smiled. as she came out from the house.” he nervously cleared his throat. “It is my pleasure and honour my dear.” she turned to Helon. “It is nothing to worry about Em. it grew even more with his next question. Over the next few months they got to know each much better and Pin was rapidly getting a basic understanding of her speech. traditionally the groom would give the bride. “New Friends are few and far between around here and I would like to consider you as one of them. He gave Emera a look as Atar disappeared into the house. Emera now too noticed how nervous he was. I thought you would like this more.” Pin told him. “Atar?” “Emm. Do not get up till he has given you the box. Emera not quite understanding. before others came a courting. She stared at him wide eyed and then nodded vigorously. “Thank you for making me feel so welcome. that you have grown in my heart?” Helon saw the look of surprise on her face. as well. It was about time too. (Atar translated for Pin) Pin wiped away Emera's tears. A while later Emera could no longer hold back her curiosity.” She nodded. It was going to be dark soon.” she replied. “Em.. this. “Emera. She told him about him saying Pin had said something to him. would you be willing to be my wife?” he asked. “She has talked of leaving?” he asked. as he was returning to his father's house. “Do you. “Please remain seated. Atar looked at her.” He gave her a worried look. but you better do something soon. Even Helon knew something was up with his son. But things are a little different this time. She is just been her over motherly self about my welfare as usual. She so wanted to jump up and hug him. “You better make your move soon my boy. “No. but she remained seated as ordered.” “Why did you give Pin a strange look when when left?” He was quiet for a moment. He smiled. She could tell he was brooding over something that Pin had said to him. Helon stopped her. Before he could give her his reply. this is a marriage box. you will understand soon enough. Helon knew Pin had an uncanny way of getting Atar to realise things. I didn't get a ring. He took her bag from her and tied it to the saddle and then climbed on and helped her up. But she didn't pry..... Helon now knew.” she admonished him.. “Emera. She gave him an inquiring look.. Turning her attention to Atar once more. “or she may leave before you do. “Emera. know that ever since the day I first met you. When he got down on both knees in front of Emera and took out the box. A few minutes later Atar came and joined Emera and his father who where sitting enjoying the night air.” she said.. asked him what was wrong and tried to kneel next to him.” . er. in it a wedding ring that he would place on her finger the day they got married. at seeing the look on his face and shook her head. Atar came to collect her at Pin's house.” After that conversation pretty much fell flat. He indicated to her to remain seated. after tending to things in town.” This brought on another spate of water works.
So she sent a video letter to them. why most others preferred to stay on their home worlds rather than mix with her father's people. Their ship docked. he had done something that truly told her of his love for her. with her fresh look on things. As they got closer to their destination. CHAPTER 14 It took them a month to reach their destination. but they were quickly set straight. the information of your illegal taking in the first place. It was still rather early in the morning. The ceremony went well. “How'd you get this right?” he asked. what he did to you. for quite a good while. declaring are a free person and no one could take that right again. It was quick and painless. He was hoping to break a few impasses they had arrived at. Some were not interested in the worlds run by technology and others were not technologically advanced yet to know they were out there. Atar's sister was unable to make it as she was living on the other side of the known worlds. “Em. is frowned upon badly. She had one or two encounters with people being nasty with her when they saw her tube. Even in the slave states. It was the main reason. During this time Emera was surprised to see there were number of other races. Atar was confident she would do well. Otherwise they would pay the consequence. only Pin was invited. They had a good honeymoon and then Emera was off on her first adventure with her new husband. Atar was surprised and touched by her gesture. The priest was surprised by the bracelet and not a ring. Emera broke with tradition and gave Atar his own bracelet. Who just smiled. the culture they were trying to study. Their bracelets were the latest in secure Passes. You are now in the registry. He was thankful for Emera's forethought. with her help. in one of the fastest ships available. but once or twice Emera beat him to it by decking the offender. They had their bracelets scanned. He got his answer when she looked at Helon. they could now by pass it. but said it was still legal as the bracelet was just a larger ring that went around the entire wrist and not just one finger. she and Atar went over their inventory. congratulating them. four a. Neither one of them had to now carry papers to prove who they were. Besides Helon. it would take over two years to get to them. is this.” she joked. He had helped her.She took the box from him and opened it. Though she was only halfway through her correspondence course. Emera and Atar decided to just have a small ceremony. Inside was a bracelet of fine detail. The next moment she jumped up from her chair and flung her arms around him and cried and cried. she didn't realised how well they worked together. not to loose their manners with her. though there were other reasons too. Both men were worried by the look on her face. The main crystal on the bracelet is your electronic papers. the reason for the bracelet instead of a ring. Atar had to jump in a few times to rescue them from their own stupidity.” Emera sat there stunned. She gave him a look. Atar would be taking over the dig from a colleague and friend of his and Emera was going to be helping him. By the time they .m. everyone had to conform to her father's people's ways or they were not welcome in their world. to be precise. it was beautiful. with a quick security scan and tend to their equipment. Also. not fully understanding. “We are now both paperless. Sly the slave master's days are numbered. So while everyone else had to wait in line. making sure everything was there. In the world she had grown up in. you can now officially go anywhere in the known worlds and not have to fear being taken as a slave again. Quickly word spread around the ship.
Otto arrived twenty minutes later. While out and about. not that he could remember. otherwise they would loose their oxygen. from their oxygen extractors as the atmosphere had only very low amounts of oxygen. you didn't know any better. Otto handed them their oxygen extractors. Otto warned them to keep the doors closed. thanked him saying it was ok. “It's ok. Otto put his on. It had an oxygen bottle attached. By his nose there were two smaller tubes that were just long enough to go into the nose to supply the oxygen. It was then he saw Emera's face drop as she looked at the device in her hands. they were to use supplemental oxygen. Also. She saw Otto's face fall.” He was about to get up to make an inquiry for her. “Is life always going to be like this?” she asked. Otto hadn't earned the nickname of 'scatterbrains' for nothing. I'll be back in a jiffy. So long as we are together nothing . Otto suggested they have breakfast before they left. remembered her food processing unit was packed at the bottom of the pile of equipment in the transport. “I am sorry. At the restaurant he ordered and then Atar. While they worked Otto gave his friend's new wife a look over. if the extractor stopped working. Atar looked at him in disdain. “never fitting in?” He lifted her chin. It was then Otto realised he had made another blunder. “She could now feed herself. These extracted more oxygen from the atmosphere so a person could breath on their own. when Emera indicated for him to sit and gave him a sad smile and thru Atar.” he apologised. He saw she was a former slave and noticed that her feeding tube had been extended. It gently pumps her food into her and not like the electronic syringe where it was done at such a force that it was extremely uncomfortable and sometime it could be painful. was there anything else he had forgotten? When asked. “Just one moment. as it went behind her ear and down her neck disappearing into her clothes. “You will learn to adjust and so will those around you. For now. but people it would leave them only able to take a step or two before having to try and get their breath back.” Atar told him. Many people bring their slaves with them as this was a way station before going on their destinations on other planets. Her feeding tube prevented that. by hooking the loop of tube under his nose and around his ears.” he said. “It was one of her inventions. Once finished packing. “I wish to apologise. Emera couldn't use it.” She gave him another sad smile and patted him on the hand. that were used for housing and the labs. Emera looked at Atar with tears in her eyes. He apologised for not mentioning it before their arrival.” she told him. Once they got to the camp which consisted of container units. Otto thought for a moment and then shook his head. Atar sighed. If there was a battle of wills. in case of emergency. with the way she now ate it is less humiliating for her.” Otto nodded in thought. she would win. She was a stunning beauty. They waited now for Otto. She lowered her shirt once more. But there was something he liked about her. When she just sat there and didn't order. He greeted them warmly and apologising for being late and helped them load all the equipment into the back of the large transport he had hired for the transport of the equipment. giving them hopefully enough time to get to safety. “It was not my intention to make you feel uncomfortable. After breakfast they left the landing facility and headed for the camp. It took them half a day to get to camp.were done it was just after five in the morning. “I am sure we can find you a food processing unit around here.” he said and disappeared from their transport. to come and collect them. His first impression of her was that she was a strong woman. Atar's colleague and friend from his university days. give it time. He pulled her closer and held her. for not thinking of her needs.” he said. She lifted her shirt slightly and he saw a bag attached to a small electronic pump. Enough to sustain smaller forms of life with ease. “Em.
made of stone. Though most was only knee-high. “Otto. But the climate here was more like the tropics and there were many plants and she spotted a few small life forms darting between them. Looking shame faced. just in case Otto forgot a few other things that were important like the need for extra oxygen. Emera was trying to stifle a grin that was starting to show. she saw it was some ruined buildings. Otto looked at her and then at Atar with a puzzled look on his face. how far is the dig from here?” she asked (Atar translated). so it could comfortably fit over her feeding tube. about his condition. They heard the door to the transport open and Otto returned with something.” he replied.” and held out what he had gone to collect. She knew it was harmless. Emera stepped forward and lifted his head by placing her hand under his chin. She and Atar had studied the information Otto had sent them on their new home while they were there. most likely had a more sustainable atmosphere. Trying not to laugh as he told him. Emera and Atar got a better look at their surroundings. She saw it was a face mask that was used to cover a patient's nose and mouth when giving them extra oxygen. Atar could see Otto was bursting to know what Emera had said. as he pointed behind them.” She gave him a sad smile and hugged him. my dear friend. blushing with embarrassment and shamefully lowered his head. “I wish to apologise once more about this. growing no higher than waist height. CHAPTER 15 Once out of the transport.could stop us. When she could see he was looking at her. Otto took them to the dig site. In some ways it was like the desert back home. Seeing it. As it apparently had been well documented by other around you. Then gave him a hug. By now Atar had his extractor on as well. She decided now she would look up some more than just the basics on the wildlife and the planet. she gave him a gentle reassuring smile and shook her head. she had thought that it was going to be a hole in the ground they were going to be working in. “Otto. that you suffered badly from it and I too must agree on that one. when given medical treatment. “Emera. Atar cut a notch out of the side of the face mask. they were not of any known race. She gave him a small sad smile and through Atar.. I am truly sorry about this. before leaving for the trip. or the people who lived here could live on very little oxygen or maybe it wasn't oxygen at all that they breathed. But as she looked down from the rise of the campsite. It was beautiful. told him he was forgiven. that whoever these ruins belonged to. Once everything was unpacked from the transport and they had dumped their belongings in their container that was to be their home for the duration of their stay. Otto heard her say something and Atar started to laugh. she said she has forgiven you. with its low and small plants. She had tried to . Atar had explained to when they were coming here on the ship. that the smaller tubes to the nose could not handle. Because of your Foot in Mouth Disease. She nodded and took the mask from him and with the help of Atar they adjusted the extractor so Emera could use the mask instead of the tube hooking into the nose. “It's just over that rise in a small pan behind those containers.” he apologised again. Emera was taken back by the sight. Atar had just told her. “I hope this will help you. Condition? She nodded and Atar saw a smile was wanting to break on her face. she too could tell this planet at one time. Emera thanked Otto for being so thoughtful.” Otto went pink.” he said.
But instead of feeling jealous or resentment about it. which had the two of them worried now too. adjusted things around them for Emera. Atar smiled as he watched her help fix one of the small transports they used to ferry back and forth to town when they needed to. since I have already made the appointment and we are in town. you shouldn't have. the doctor too didn't like how she was looking and had some tests done. He could see she still had a passion for engineering and was slowly over coming her reluctance to use it. Including her talking. chest height and other parts barely lumps on the ground. she was going to plant it in the ground and turn it into another sleeping cabin. She was not looking too good. but he said he didn't want to spoil the surprise of seeing it without any per-existing ideas having set in. without any fuss or fan-fare. for some reason it kept on breaking down. hoping to find some clues to their former owners. to what she was used to. A few days later Emera was feeling poorly and as it was his. The rest of the expedition were friendly and made and effort to help Emera learn about what they knew of those who had built the ruins. But could see too she loved the work she did now with him. He began to . The ruins were at most. She could tell they were hoping to find inscriptions of some kind. Quite a large portion of the plant life on it had already been cleared away. “Atar.” she told him. When explained the reason for their coming. that translated into words on the screen what she was saying. Some were even starting to dig down in the inside of ruins. Atar smiled back. she was putting him to shame in that department. I just have the touch of the flu that's all. He was was worried about her. even though she had tried to brush aside his concerns. She watched as some more plant matter was removed from the stones. He knew their bond was unbreakable. excepting for the slight language barrier. It turned out to be quite a useful talent to have when stuck out in the middle of nowhere and having a problem. Because quite frankly that was all it was good for. when it came to her problems caused by the feeding tube. A few hours later. With all her brains. Two months later. it only made him love her more. They could see the doctor looked worried. When they got to town.” he replied. though she couldn't figure out why. hers and two others turn to go to town. Emera was treated as one of them and she caught on quickly to what needed to be done. she was now slowly using her knowledge more and more over time. As much as Emera had originally threw out her idea of keeping away from anything to do with engineering. Her reply was when it broke down this time was. how to excavate a dig and were willing to answer any questions she had to do with her studies. Also. Everyone. Everyone was introduced and for the next few days. was taking daily lessons on learning to understand her without the help of the voice translator she kept with her. Otto stayed around to show Atar what he had done and what needed to be done. you could get some meds for it. if it did it again. In the end she reluctantly agreed to go. why not just go. at their own request. they returned to the doctor for her results. There was no need. he told her of the appointment. It was one of her smiles of happiness. in some places. some of them were working on it. They also quietly.ask him more. he called ahead to make an appointment with the doctor. before having to return to camp. she was trying to complete. She took careful note of the scene before her. with their technology. even before coming here. Emera was getting tired of having to fix it. It will pass. She had spunk and he knew she loved him too. Though she was still getting to grips with the differences. as they gently dusted it off with a soft paintbrush. neither could the others. Its engine was giving hassles again. that always melted his heart. “Darling. At that moment she looked at him with her grease smeared face and smiled. that either could delay them for days till someone was brought in to fix it or could potentially become lifethreatening if not sorted.
” Emera let out a strangled wail. ok?” She flung her arms around him and cried even harder. they had no technology to get there. “Emera. “This doesn't change how I feel about you. where she had come from was never mentioned. But now she wondered if what happened to have her flung into this world had not happened to her mother. We now have a problem. But whenever the subject of her mother had come up.. “You know we have always dreamed of having their own children. is that you have suffered a miscarriage. “Is there no other way?” he asked. the combining of her parent's DNA. It would have to be her decision. It came back to her now. Leaving Atar to come to grips with things.. Since she was too young to remember much of her mother. “Mrs Aroo.. Also she sat there like a statue and when Atar tried to hold her. “If you want to. I love you so much. “Em. she was like a stiff board. Atar held her as she cried and cried.” Emera sat there stunned. before he gave them the rest of the bad news. She tried to turn away and with a tear stained face. her mother was gone and never coming back. . she had to be given the choice to decide when. We can face this together. The doctor waited patiently for them to calm sufficiently.explain. Then she started to wail in her strange way once more. “I am sorry to say the reason that you been feeling so poorly of late. Excepting for one time. Atar too devastated by the news held her as she cried. When she had asked when her Father and her mother was coming back. that it would be best to have an operation to stop you being able to fall pregnant at all. He looked at the doctor pleadingly. It is my recommendation. with tears falling down her face and almost non responsive to his questions.” he paused for a moment. she cried some more and turn her face away from him in shame. the situation could turn deadly very easily. soon after her mother had died. This has just shattered her heart into a million pieces and mine along with it. When Emera woke and saw him.” Atar held up his hand.” he gently called her as he lifted her chin till she was looking at him. as if this happened again in your case. He sat down on the edge of the bed and turned her face to him. She later had taken it as her father's way of trying to tell his grief stricken daughter. she didn't even know the name of her people. He looked at the Doctor with sadness in his eyes. we can do the procedure now while she is asleep. He shook his head. She knew her mother was not part of any of the planets where she had grown up. Atar shook his head. “What do you mean partly of my people? Emera is not from this part of the galaxy.. She had so much taken from her already. it is about your unique biology and been partly of your husband's people. “Because of this. The doctor continued. so how can that be?” “Sir.” The doctor had become extremely worried as Emera was looking extremely pale. no matter what he wanted. that her mother had been called back to her people and they lived very far away. I cannot help you with that geography puzzle.” he gently told him. For Emera it was it was a longing I could see in her soul. He had told her when she was little. stopping the doctor from continuing. you will never be able to carry a baby to full term. Atar sat stroking Emera's face as she slept. he had told her.” The doctor nodded sadly and quietly left the room. but all my tests confirm she is partly or your people. trying to think of the words that he could use best to break the news to her. Eventually the doctor gave her a sedative to let her sleep. A few weeks at the most and then you will miscarry again.
” he said and pressed the buzzer on his desk. He wanted to play with them. The others too were over joyed at the news and were surprised by her one request. but Emera just nodded and went to their cabin and stayed there. Atar saw Emera smile at the boy and took his ball. A month passed. Pin came to stay for a while. But any time they were in town. even if it was in her own way. Atar was quiet and after he saw to the things needed around camp. In the end Otto arrived back to take over the dig so Atar and Emera could return home. They were the lost children. Helon's heart was breaking for the two of them. It took a full week before she came out and then like Atar was. They were given the freedom to wonder round the orphanage and meet the children. He looked at her “Are you sure?” he asked. Only now it was worse. One little boy caught their eye. because of this. Atar was on the mend and was starting to be more himself after a month or so. A week later they were back at the dig. Atar came to her. It broke his heart to see her like this. He placed his arms around her and held her. She gave him a startled look and then she began to cry. he would go to Emera and stay with her for the rest of the day. The fire in her eyes was gone. They will never amount to much. “But why do you want such a child? There are many here without the problems that come with adopting such a child. He took them to his office. He had nodded and told her that he would take any child she chose. A month later they were home. Atar saw the fire back in Emera's eyes. He saw Emera started to cry as she held the boy. Everyone gave them their condolences. Atar knew Emera needed time to come to terms with what had happened. “I will have someone show you around. When he saw them. “Em. I can see the loss on never having one's own child. he smiled at them and came to them holding out his ball. It took a further six months before Emera was more of herself. CHAPTER 16 Emera and Atar walked thru the gates of the orphanage and was greeted by the director. he could see he understood Emera just fine. He shifted uncomfortably in his chair. and the longing in your eyes for one. from her chastising and he nodded somberly. A short while later he felt her nodded and eventually saying yes. was completely sucked out of them. she said she wanted to give a child that many would reject. It would take much longer for Emera to come right. The little boy then flung his arms around her and gave her a hug. Would you be open to considering adopting a child?” he asked.” queried Atar. The look in her eyes was that at the time he had seen when he had first met her. no matter who they were. Atar didn't need to translate for the man. When Atar had asked why. After . The child was to be a former slave who's parents could not be found. The director nodded. She stared him down. He looked about four years of age. She wished. “I understand you have been informed of our request. when they first got back the joy. she wanted this one. to give the child a chance at a normal and fore filling life. She looked at Atar and nodded. generally preferred to avoid going to town whenever possible. he like the others could see the pain in her eyes return when she saw or heard children playing. She spoke angrily at the director and pointed at her own tube. for one with less complications. Emera.” For the first time in months. These other hapless creatures you are wanting to look at.In the end she agreed to have the surgery. He welcomed them. She nodded once more and he smiled at her and for the first time in months she smiled back.
they all seemed to have found away before that to understand each other. “It's a pleasure. as he had worked very hard at catching up. Then they would return home. there is always a possibility that his parents may be found. “We are. He was soon to be in the same class as those his own age. Are you sure you still want to do this?” he asked. He was always showered with love by them and his grandfather. He had seen such pride in his new parents faces when he had.” she replied. using her translator thanked her. but accepted it as he had hardly ever known what it meant to stay in one place or with the same people for so long. Ru was a little confused when he was taken by them. His friends now almost fully understood him. Years of malnourishment was not going to disappear over night but he too was already falling for the child with his big brown eyes. Now he would be able to spend more time with his friends as well. they went back to see the director and told him of their choice. Though no family could be found. He was excited. Emera smiled as Ru and a few of his friends disappeared off into the bush by the house. He loved to learn. “All they need is love. requesting the file on the child. Ru flourished with his new family. he had them sign all the relevant papers. were surprised by Emera's choice. But accepted Ru immediately as part of the family. they would be welcome into our home and we would help them too adapt to freedom. but like any child. should his parents ever be . Her heart filled with joy as she thought of him. It would normally last about three to four months at a time. Even his aunty Pin. but did comment. A few moments later it was handed to him.” Atar told him. Emera and Atar would still go on expeditions. unless.” The director nodded. Emera returned her smile and nodded. Emera looked at the little frail looking child and Atar could see her instant love for him. Though he looked four years of age in reality he was nearly six. that he was surprised however. the boy has been with us for only a month. He was a happy healthy eight year old. A few days later they got home. “According to the files. but would go only once a year and would take Ru with them. but has adjusted well to freedom. He began to read. Helon was waiting by the front door and Pin who had come to see their new addition. One of the mothers of the children had brought them to the house for Ru's 'Birthday' party. It was another reason why former slave children are not so easily adopted as there is always a possibility that a family member may came and claim them later.” Atar responded. rather than just a few hours a week. For at the moment he only came to town once a week when his parents came to get more supplies and then they would visit Pin and he would disappear off with his friends for a while. He was quite a remarkable boy. there were special circumstances. but at the same time make friends at home at the same time. They had told him as a reward he would be allowed to go to school with all the other children the whole year through.” Seeing that they were determined and he could not make them reconsider. Even if that did happen. Their love had made him want to never disappoint them. It was the day She and Atar had adopted him. but highly unlikely of finding more of his family. Then. As she watched her leave Emera looked to where Ru and his two friends had disappeared over the rise. The boy was going to need some extra care for a while. Nearly two years had now passed. The director buzzed for his aide.playing with him for a while. before he could speak. “We know that there is always a possibility. Though he still was very small. that they wanted a child not of their people. He had even began to learn to speak nine months before. It was so they could give Ru a chance to see the worlds. “A child is a child. with a smile on her face.” she told Emera. “I'll come and get the little monsters a bit later today. Today was also the official day that Ru became theirs permanently.
He tried to look away. “Ru. for the practice was wrong. as well. The next day the house was a buzz with Ru's excitement. “Em. take Ru and go finish packing for the trip. Emera went to answer it. “How would you like to help us choose?” Atar asked him. Emera had decked the man and told him if he ever tried that again. As he came towards the house. was never to let people treat him . They went into the house.” she told him. he wouldn't make it out of town alive. It was one thing that Emera had instilled in him. Without thinking. Using her translator. so shall your brother or sister be. he must have the wrong address as there were no children here with the same name as her son visiting and she slammed the door in his face. ok?” Ru nodded. he then pointed at Emera's stomach. that led to the rest of the house from the sitting room. It began to rub off on the others. Ru who was in the door way with Atar. saw and heard Emera's last response. “Can I have a sister?” asked Ru. He pulled free of her after a few moments. the disgust growing on his face.” Ru gave Atar a hug. from the doorway. it's ok. . They had promised him a present that they would only be revealing to him after his friends had left.” he replied. he would pay for it. Especially. He saw the hurt in her eyes as she shook her head. how would you like it if you had a brother or a sister?” Emera and Atar saw Ru's eyes light up with joy and he gave them each a hug. Anger flared in Emera's eyes. He could see it was something serious. But that he should treat any slave like they were not one either. Atar answered the door. Helon smiled as he watched what had happened. Ru had only seen his mother this angry. I will deal with this. Emera held her anger back as best as possible. “Just like you are a child of our hearts. Also. once before.found. She nodded and led Ru out of the room. He eyed her with disdain. They were in the process of finishing packing for their trip when the buzzer for the front door went. I have come to collect him. that is who we will go and get. no man had the right to treat anyone like that.” he said. when a man had treated him as a slave and when he had refused to do as he had been told. asked him why? “I have come to take him home. “Get Ru. gently rocking him. for he was not one. the man had hit him. rather rudely at her. Needless to say he didn't stay long) Emera had then told Ru. (The rest of the town had treated the man with cold indifference when he tried to talk to others. But she like Atar would never deny his real parents the right to come visit him as often as they wished if they were found. He would help choose his sibling? Emera nodded and smiled at him. Atar smiled. Emera saw him realise he had unintentionally hurt her and his shame at it. A few hours later Ru had said good-bye to his friends.” Atar told her. He flung his arms around her and Emera placed her arms around him. The buzzer began to buzz impatiently. when they told him to sit down. Ru's eyes grew wide. So be a good little slave and get him. When she opened the door a very stiff looking individual was standing in the door way. The man was not looking too happy. “If that is what you want. He was now excited and curious to know what they were going to give him. he saw his parents were waiting for him. but angrily told him that she was no slave and if he ever talked to her that way again.like a slave. “Ru. Emera lifted his chin and looked him in the eyes.
They will keep an eye on things till we can sort this out. Greng had the man bundled into the transport. “I have the legal right to come and collect the child. it's my pleasure. I am taking him back to his parents”. despite this. after insulting my wife ?” he asked. who was looking pale. If anything. Help should only be moments away. They confronted him about it.” “Kidnapping?” he said in disbelief.” “It's all lies. as he had stood inf ront of her. Especially. Emera came back in to the room.” Emera. “I have not got the wrong house and if you do not hand over the boy immediately you will be arrested for kidnapping. is this the man?” asked the officer in charge. they had . He too could see Ru was scared that he would be taken from those he loved. who would keep my daughter and son out of my hair every now and then.” Greng looked at Atar. It was safe to come out of the house.bye as the transport left. “Hand the child over or pay dearly for it. Their trespasser had been arrested. be gone with you. That slave of yours was quite rude. where she had loving placed her arms over Ru's shoulders. Greng and the other officers knew Ru was adopted. after being a slave. “We have received no such call and besides as of yesterday Ru is now permanently ours. turning to anger. who was still protesting much better.” he responded.” Atar was about to slam the door in the man's face. They waved good.” the man stiffly replied. She was a mother trying to protect her child and was scared that despite the law on their side. “Atar. Atar opened the door and came out.” Atar bristled. his sister. please make sure he can never bother us again. “That monster tried to take Ru. “I don't think so. Emera and Atar thanked him. After hearing the door slam. Atar nodded. “Besides if Ru were to disappear.” They gave him a sad but small smile at his attempt to cheer them up. when he placed his foot in the doorway stopping it from closing and gave Atar one last warning. till we find out why they wanted to kidnap young Ru. that she had activated their emergency beacon for the house.” The officer noticed. “You have the wrong house.” Atar managed to kick the man's foot out and he slammed the door shut and locked it. “Sir. “Greng. I will be calling the law for you attempt of taking my son. “Didn't you get the message. “I didn't have to. “I will leave two of my men here for now. but had found no such papers on the man or in his transport. “Hey.” he told them.“It's about time you answered the door. it was decided to postpone going to get him.” the man on the ground protested. something could go wrong. as he heard Atar's translation. pleaded from the doorway. CHAPTER 17 Due to the attempt to get Ru. Emera told him. I was told that there was no need. that Emera instinctively pulled Ru a little closer to her. A few minutes later Atar answered a call on the communications network. my boss told me that that they had been told to have the child ready for collection. The man was on his knees before the officers and was cuffed. She and Ru had heard what the man had said to Atar.
till it was deemed safe to do so. but they had not. Here at home they would just avoid any strangers and the officers could check them out more easily. they didn't show anger. he knew what he had done was wrong. So the man who tried to take Ru the other day. it is in connection with their son. have the decency to inform us of this situation. One sounded older than the other. The entire town was in shock when they heard about what happened. They were in shock. when found. As the State officer and the Welfare Officer were walking there. They had some bad news for them. They had merely entered his DNA into the system. she realised he didn't want to be away from her. how can this be?” he asked in anger. As they entered the room. Atar was now really angry. due to another case they had been dealing with. “We need to urgently speak to them. they saw the younger woman pull the child closer to her and they saw fear on both their faces. They wouldn't know a stranger wanting to help them or if it was someone trying to kidnap him again. The man told from Welfare said he was almost two when he was taken. “If he was a 'taken' then his DNA would have come back a match within hours of testing him. The State Officer and Welfare man both had very serious and somber looks on their faces.” The State Officer shamefully looked down. even when they knew. Are they here?” Helon led them to the room where they were with Pin. Emera still hadn't let go of Ru who was eying their visitors wearily.promised him.” he told them. As much as he loved them so. He was following her around like a puppy. For Ru was at a higher risk if he was in a unfamiliar place. playing a traditional board game. and would listen for hours as he talked about life with Emera and Atar. When we took Ru home. even Ru. The men introduced themselves. then they heard another reply the same way. Now two years later you come and say. “How.. That is just not possible. Instead they would encourage him to make things right and show him how. it was more than a month after he had been found and we were told there were no matches. his was in. as well. There had been a mistake with his files. oops sorry. Pin was his confidant. why did none of you. But as Pin watched the way Ru reacted. Helon had answered the door when they had pressed the buzzer. “If that was the case. Most times it was an innocent blunder on his part and Emera and Atar never showed anger about it or disappointment. Ru's parents had really been found. He was showing signs of like a very young child fearful of loosing sight of his mother. Pin could see the deep seated fear of loosing Ru. we now do have a match. while the others waited outside. Helon nodded. she would encourage him to tell them. Pin had encouraged him to talk. after being separated from her for the first time and had had a bad experience because of it. She could see it was also getting to Atar. Atar was angry. Atar was greatful that she had come. They had placed it on the checked group when they had tested him. They had found his DNA match only a few days before. A filing error? Everyone looked at him in horror. It had only come up when they did a retesting of a batch of files. with some of his men arrived and with another man from the Welfare Department. Emera had taken the attempted quite badly. Pin decided to come and stay for a while and give Emera a hand and support. She wouldn't let Ru out of her sight. instead . He couldn't bring himself to look at the heartache on Atar's face. Ru didn't even complain to her about his mother keeping him indoors almost all the time and she. They heard some strange talking. “Is this the residence of Atar and Emera Aroo?” asked the State Officer. who was he? “The man is a servant of Ru's parents.. he would tell her things that sometimes he felt too embraced to have to ask them or was frightened that what he had done may make them be disappointed in him. If he had done something. Ru like Emera was a 'taken'. The men stayed near their transport. Two days later a State Officer.
because Atar and Emera had adopted him. Atar saw her looking in sadness at Ru's picture. She was sobbing much better. It now would have been nearly three years since Ru was taken from them. we could loose him forever. I do too and like you I will never give up hoping that we will find him. extremely upset. He. they may use that against you. with tears flowing down her face. But so much time has passed. but still live in hope. An electronic note had been left on a case worker's computer to call them. Then a week after loosing the case. allowed a few supervised visits. he needs to come with us. “Em. we have to move on with our lives. It was deemed it would be too traumatic for him. He will help us sort this out.” “Atar. but they lost in the end. I think we should try to get another child. Atar held her tightly as the tears on his own face flowed freely. they were barred from seeing him. which was illegal of course.” The man was not looking too comfortable at that moment. In the end the officer had to physically pick him up and carry him away.” She gave him a look. By now Ru was also upset. They were. please don't take this the wrong way he said. vigorously shaking her head. Another six months had passed. not answering.” The officer heard the same strange talking from Emera they had heard when they came in and he was very surprised. it was impossible for slaves. they had the right to see him for a minimum of 1 month a year. He was old enough to understand what it could and most likely mean for him. Emera was in Atar's arms almost totally inconsolable. But they had never received it as the computer had it's memory core have a melt down. But after nearly two years they still couldn't find them. when. she nodded and embraced him. as he tried to get out of the officer's arms. “I am truly sorry about this. Then with a tear falling down one of her cheeks. in the end his parents simply disappeared with Ru. “Em. it is best that you help Emera get a few things together for Ru.” Helon gently told him. if we fight this now before we are ready. And they were in the process of fighting with lawyers about this. So on the day that would have been Ru's eleventh 'birthday' . Ru was not present during this time. Mr Aroo. Ru would be returned to Atar and Emera permanently. “Please. By now Emera was crying much better and Ru was clinging to her. It was hard to believe her little boy was ten and a half now. don't make this any harder than it already is.of this man. “I will in the meantime try and get a hold of a lawyer friend of mine. Emera was too upset and in the end Pin helped him get a few things together for Ru. Another error. The officer is right. He was letting out his strangled sounding wails as he did so. which now meant that when found. even former slaves to talk. He placed his arms around her and held her. The state officer looked at them sadly. like her still missed him terribly. Blocking any rights you or your husband may have over him. just rocking up and trying to take Ru away? Then. She began to cry. Atar a few days before the marking of Ru's 'birthday' approached Emera. but Ru was to stay with his real parents. when he couldn't get his way. There is another child out there that needs our help and love. Emera looked at the picture on the mantle.” Atar paled and nodded somberly. especially after the incident with his parent's servant. His understanding. I know you miss Ru. He saw her hold Ru even closer to her. but I need you to pack a few thing in for the boy. he had the audacity to threaten us.” Emera looked at him for a while longer. however. CHAPTER 18 It took six months of long battles with lawyers. If you resist.
she wanted this one. Just one look at Emera's face and he held up his hands. This time. Even the psychologist we have taken her to. that it looked like a Dontolin. But it didn't only affect slaves. From what she could understand. Emera looked sadly at her. The condition she had been diagnosed with.” She nodded somberly and held out her hand for the pen. she has been given the name of Peta. So she is locked in her own world reacting as she has been. She had not moved once since they had been in the yard. The child only flinched a little when she had placed her hand on hers. So for the first time. knowing their fear of losing this child due to another blunder. they were kept as pets at one time by the local population a few thousand years before. get her to find some of it once more. All the psychologist could recommend was to continue treating her the way they had. she was right. It was all she could hope for. Atar nodded and they went to see the director. was known as Slavery Syndrome. But did not look at her. hopefully. she knew the look in the child's eyes. Those that had been badly abused. She showed no affection or response to the unconditional and ever giving love of her new family. She looked at Atar. she would respond. Peta had a lot to over come. because there was something mentally wrong with the child. All Peta did was continue to clean as instructed. But did not interact with others. has told us he believes that besides her having to over come all the mistreatment and indoctrination to be a slave. with paint brushes. This time Emera was drawn to a former slave girl who was sitting quietly just staring into space. to have it so bad at this age.” he said. she had been with them for a year now. She would not respond to them unless instructed to and avoided their touch. She looked like she was about ten years of age. once tasting freedom. she would just sit or stand till given something else to do. since Peta joined their family. And once done with a task. Her results came back with no matches. For nearly a year and a half. The species had died out since then. Emera placed her hand on his arm. But in her case sadly. were finding it difficult. Everyone tired to treat her at the dig as any other child. Once back. “According to this. Peta would do as instructed. the child reacted like Emera had done when she had first been found. also showed some of it's traits. Atar took up a posting for a dig. had been squashed long ago. Her eyes were almost lifeless. This one appears to have been through much. But she still only just sat or stood where she had been placed till she was instructed to do something. Atar one night had voiced his frustrations over this. It was going to take time to. give her time. “Love. And is dealing with it by not responding to others. no matter what they tried. The papers were signed. but they too. The director opened the file in front of him on his desk. just one day. . everyone could see that any will of her own. no offense is intended Mrs Aroo. she has a deep seated fear of been sent back to a life of slavery. So they took her home. “Please.” Once again he tried to dissuade their adoption. He gave his condolences about the loss of him and then had someone show them around. Even having a food bag like Emera. Emera smiled at Peta and told her as they started to uncover more of it. two months had passed. She did her school work as instructed. she will in time come right. And she must have had it bad. At Emera and Atar's insistence they re-test Peta's DNA. they tried to get her to come out of her shell and failed. The director complied. There was no better treatment than that. she didn't seem to get the message. perhaps one day.” Atar nodded and gave her a hug. It's her way of trying to protect herself. “It is just that I am concerned for everyone's welfare.they arrived once more at the orphanage and the director greeted them like the time when they had gotten Ru. so as not to face going back. Emera had Peta with her and they were cleaning off some dirt off a skeleton of a animal of some kind. Emera moved to face her.
She took another step forward towards her tormentor. The language and the sound of the voice sounded frighteningly familiar.” he said with relief. on her way there.One of the students helping on the dig came and told her that Atar was looking for her. till I get all this paperwork sorted out to give to him. The student nodded and left. He should be dead! The man turned as he had heard the flap been moved. A few moments later she reached the tent herself. he would most likely hear a few grumbles about it not been him. but would grudgingly accept her presence till he could come. She had been so focused on Yalan. Emera quickly told the student to go and collect some samples that she needed and to bring them back to the review tent she had been using. “So this is where you have been hiding my pet”. So she was full of surprises. Even in town. Just as Emera lifted the flap to the tent. speaking angrily. go to the tent that Atar told us about. As Emera was second in charge. . then she remembered Peta was with her. RUN!” she yelled and prayed the child would understand what was going to happen. No matter and he nodded. In the language she spoke. it could become dangerous to leave her alone especially out where they were working in the bush. First the look of fear crossed her face. but realised because she would not respond to others.” he asked. This would be the first time he or Emera would actually be meeting him. He had picked this up from the few times he had correspondence with him. He too was in shock. Our benefactor for this dig is waiting there. grabbing a hammer from the table. were in actual fact fully fledged labs. The next moment Emera felt her arms being clamped behind her. She had to protect her daughter. Emera's first thought was to run. she heard whom she assumed to be their benefactor. At first they had tried to stop her. Having one of the students keep him occupied till he got there would not have gone down to well with him. with Peta in tow. So for her safety they stopped trying to stop her following who ever was looking after her. Yalan came closer and slapped her in the face and then undid his scarf around his neck revealing the nasty looking stab wound that had healed. could I ask you to go to the main review tent. Yalan looked at her in surprise when she yelled in that strange way. Emera turned to Peta. Emera saw one of the other students that she needed to have a quick word with. as she 'dutifully' did every time with Emera or who ever she was told to be with. CHAPTER 19 They met one of the other students also on their way back to the campsite. She nodded. Making her way to the campsite. Peta proceeded as told.” With no emotions showing on her face. that she had not realised there was another in the tent with them. She called to them and they came over. Do you think you could keep him busy for a while. But it turned into a nasty smile. in a tent. “Peta. was his response. then anger. “Peta. “Em. Their benefactor was a fussy man. She nodded and got up. “Thanks. She found Atar in their Sleep cabin. As she started to enter and then stopped dead in her tracks. She came forward. Just in time to see Peta enter. Emera left the cabin and headed for the main review tent. I will be there shortly. Emera now turned to go to the main review tent. Peta would not be able to out run him. All newly discovered items went there for cleaning and documenting. Review tents. it could be a problem.
” Atar said in a barely audible growl. Yalan couldn't seem to get her off of him. Emera gave one of her strangled screams and kicked him. he saw who had rammed him. he in a haggard voice full of venom. They quickly helped Atar and Emera get all their things together.” Atar and those that had come after him. he had ignored as insignificant. “Why are you trying to hurt my family?” He was too angry to see the fleeting look of surprise in Yalan's face. he would make sure they too didn't ever work again.” Everyone noticed that Yalan seemed to show no surprise at the revelation about Emera. getting him between the legs. Shocked by the reaction of the lead archeologist over the slaves. When Yalan came out later. It was the hammer Emmera had dropped. such a man is a disgrace to any species and is not welcome.” Atar angrily demanded. Once outside Atar thanked them for their display of support but didn't want them to pay for his defiance. Is that clear.” “If that is your attitude. How dare you demand that I leave my own dig!” he responded. turned to leave. Emera and Peta made good use of this and broke free of their captors. She would never run from him again. Slowly he stood up and told her. you have a contract to fulfill. Yalan managed to get the upper hand on Peta and pined her like his helper had done to her. Which earned her another blow to the face. “I will not leave. .” Yalan replied. they froze in surprise. You know how we feel about slave owners. The others nodded in agreement. could not believe the heartlessness of this man. Yalan managed to knock it from Peta's hands as she tried to go at him again but that didn't stop Peta's assault. as quickly as possible. the camp was deserted. “They are not yours.” said one of the students. Now stop this nonsense and get back to work. I can easily remedy that problem. Emera too was in shock at Peta's response to Yalan's threatening moves against her. You know the rules. Atar looked at his family in his arms and then turned them round and walked out without saying a word. Atar thanked them once more for their support. “Atar. he was going to enjoy teaching her a lesson. The next moment Atar came bursting in with some others. She spat in his face. Then to her horror. pointing at his neck. He was about to raise his hand and punch her when the next moment he was hit side ways. making a beeline to Atar and he placed his arms reassuringly around them. Yalan doubled over in pain. scratching and clawing for all she was worth.“You are going to pay for this. showing disgust and too. Emera is a Taken. Yalan demanded that his property was returned to him and the child would have to come with as she belonged to him too. Atar was in shock when he realised who the man really was. He was fuming. Getting up from the floor. They heard Yalan yelling in defiant anger that if they didn't go back to work. The others in the team that were there spat on the ground at Yalan. They both saw the fire in her eyes and the weapon she was holding. It was the young slave girl.” he hissed. Emera began screaming once more as she tried to free herself. Atar and Mata would pay for this. “Explain yourself. as she was the slave's child. “Well in that case. I quit. “I will make sure you will not get another job at another dig ever. Now begone with you. You no longer have a lead archeologist. “Unhand them immediately you brutes. She was a like a wild thing.
as well as hope. with hope in his eyes. Then he turned his attention to Peta. had his last act actually done some good? Atar turned Peta's face to his. He would claim he still believed she was his and that he was doing what he had the right to do in taking her back. But maybe he can do something else. He had not stopped. she responded by letting go of Emera and flung herself into his arms and began to silently sob. “I know of someone who may be able to help. Yalan cannot deny that he still does not know you are a taken. He reminded her gently. Atar held her closer as she cried.” Atar saw the fear subside. that she could do nothing to stop this monster from hurting others or pay for what he had done to her. are you ok?” he asked her.” He saw her look at him with hope in her eyes. Emera looked at him. “Em. Emera also told Atar of her attempts to protect her. was clinging to her and showing emotion. She saw the look of pain in his eyes. you ok?” he asked. He has been told in front of witnesses. who was clearly upset. He held her gently. She wanted to know the results of his call. I am sorry but that's not possible. I am so proud of you for trying to protect your mother.” he told her.” It turned out that Seagal was a countryman of Yalan's. “Seagal. Emera was still holding onto Peta. it's ok. with Peta still clinging to her. he went to make his call. Emera now too noticed the marked difference in her reactions to what she was normally. who much to his surprise. from my student days. A little later Atar started the transport and continued to the nearest settlement. but high enough to make Yalan's life very difficult. Atar saw the fear grow on her face. “Darling. Nothing? He nodded sadly. what are you thinking about?” she asked. she could see he was thinking about something. “Angel. When he climbed back into the transport. a friend.” Emera looked at him in horror. hit her. even the incident that happened at the campsite they would not be able to pin him for assault on that one.” he said. “Peta. He looked at Emera. “Atar. “I think there may be a way of getting at Yalan. Emera with Peta holding on her. Emera began to cry again and placed her arms around the two of them Later once everyone had calmed. to see if they were ok. Emera looked at him. looked at Atar as he drove. he stopped. his first goal was to get them away from that man as quickly as possible. that Yalan had no more power over her. Atar stopped in town and while Emera continued to comfort Peta in the transport. Their daughter was opening up to them and letting them into her world. That was a very brave thing you did. as she saw the resolve form on his face. Seeing the harsh reality of her predicament. We may not be able to have him arrested. He held a minor position in the government. He held her for a moment. what was his friend going to do? As Atar . Had after all the harm Yalan had done to Emera. Emera indicated she wanted to have Yalan reported and arrested for what he had done to her. which brought on some more silent sobs. All he would have to do is claim that he had bought you in good faith. of been taken by Yalan once more. He saw the look of fear in her eyes. Now that he felt it was safe. With the tears flowing. True to his word. said there is definitely another way to get at Yalan and there is not a thing he can do about it. Atar looked at Peta. even for a moment after leaving the tent. with surprise. we cannot touch him.CHAPTER 20 Once away from the campsite Atar stopped the transport. He will not be able to lay a finger on you now without getting into trouble. She nodded and began to cry. But also. the despair. wanting to know. and because slavery in his land was not forbidden. “Em. Atar's face broke into a smile. but was against slavery and was working to get it banned. Her eyes piecing.
Though the garden was his hobby. it's ok. she had asked him why vegetables and no flowers. Atar then saw Peta at the door to their room. Emera held her hand out to Peta. A Few days later Atar was called again. “Darling. Emera placed her arms around Atar and thanked him for what he had done.” She told her. “They have caught him and he will no longer be able to hurt anyone ever again. he spent a lot of time on it. their Papers. “Peta. suspected Emera was not the only Taken that Yalan had had and was highly likely he had a few in his slaves. With even better news. But their DNA doomed him. His family was beginning to heal. The reason for the tears is good. Remember the bad man at the camp who tried to hurt me?” Peta nodded. When she first was able to ask him. he saw she was upset and scared at seeing Emera crying. It brought so much joy to their hearts to see her begin to flourish. as those forgeries were not as good as the others. but a little confused. It was found that he had at least one fourth of his slaves to be Takens. he noticed that Peta too was taking note. Emera saw this too. Slavery audit? He nodded. He nodded. It felt strange to see her react like his. Yalan tried to claim that Sly had sold them to him and he was none the wiser. Your father has just brought the most wonderful news.” Emera gave him a puzzled look. A second taken would be seen as bad luck and he would be fined heavily. he was sentenced to be a slave for what he had done and then was sold to one known to be one of the worst men to their slaves. She gave him a sad smile in return. DNA and all. A week before Sly had been caught. but vegetables had their own rewards for one's hard work. but we are lucky to even have this done. If one thing was out of place. he will be in for a whole lot of trouble. The paper work was impeccable. His reply was you couldn't eat a flower. Atar received the good news from his friend. Atar held them both. What he was told left him in a tailspin. After he was finished speaking to Seagal and said his adues.” Later that day they booked themselves on to the next available transport back to their home planet. “You have done more than. Doing everything in your power to do so. Oh what joy.” he said.began to tell her. Emera was helping Helon and Peta in the vegetable garden. who ran to her and threw her arms around her and cried silently. He had just gotten home. To Emera and Atar's joy the reaction with Peta was not a onetime deal and she began to come out of her shell. I only wish I could do more. She saw Helon look up and she turned to see what had caught his attention. Some of them he might have gotten away with that excuse. but at the same time he felt joy at her no longer reacting like a robot. Yalan too was in big trouble. “Yalan is going to have to account for every slave. you believed could be done. He gave her a hug and for the first time she smiled at him. as she began to sob. Thank you. that they could find. Yalan and Sly were never going to hurt anyone ever again. He thanked Seagal and said he would make contact once he had spoken to Emera. He fingered Yalan requesting the paper work. His sentence was now handed to him too. By the time they got home a few weeks later. It was Atar he was back from town. not Sly. “Seagal is going to arrange to have a slavery audit done. not bad. An hour later Atar's friend phoned back once more. Seagal. Helon seemed to have a green thumb. .” he told her. Peta ran to Atar. like Atar. He too was to be a slave. Frankly he didn't know what her reaction to news was going to be. looking at her with a sad look in his eyes. but that little lie about Sly was blown out of the water. They had sold him to the same man that Sly had been sold to. when they caught the guy who made the more sophisticated forgeries. He went looking for Emera. but if any more were to be found he would be in big trouble. Atar saw the tears in her eyes begin to well up and he placed his arms around her.
but with nothing to prove their case they had to let it drop. For the next couple of days. Emera stuck close to Atar. It was just the information I have just received from Seagal. But what I can tell you. they could tell Yalan resented the fact that she had control of his inheritance till he was older. “I think it's best that we all go inside and sit down. as he was still a minor. The report said 'lost in space'. she arranged that all the slaves be freed and that arrangements were made to help them integrate into society.” “How?” She asked. He took a deep breath and looking her in the eyes he told her what Seagal had found out. Atar spoke to Seagal once more and he agreed to arrange a meeting.. it's ok. all his lands and wealth will now come to you. She was related to that monster? Atar nodded. as the area she had disappeared in. Which now means that since you are the rightful heir. neither does Seagal. But from the reports. He wanted then. When Yalan was put in the slavery register. we need to talk.. his DNA was taken.. the others treated her with love and care and supported her as she processed what she had been told. Later Emera requested if she could see Yalan. was known for such disappearances. he was naturally the first one they suspected.” Atar saw the worry show on Emera's face and then Helon's. nothing bad is going to happen.” Atar told her. So Yalan got everything. CHAPTER 21 A few days later they left to meet with Seagal. If she didn't miss her guess. as she was now back in the land she was kept as a slave. Her mother? Atar nodded. Emera couldn't believe what she now owned. Your mother had done her best for Yalan. “Seagal believes that he may be your uncle. She also hoped to have a few answers from him as well.” Once inside.” He paused for a moment. She could read him like an open book. is that Yalan was the younger of the two of them.. taking her hands.” She looked at him wide eyed. The computer came up with a family match. All the lands and wealth were given to your mother as she was the eldest and Yalan's part was left in her care. Emera was feeling especially vulnerable. not later. But she was declared dead decades ago. Yalan was the opposite. “I don't rightly know. Emera's mind was a wirl. “The reason for this belief is. They had left Peta in the care of Helon and Pin back home. After eventually getting her head around it. A Taken. The way people reacted to her unnerved and angered her. but. Emera gave him a look. But how? The others too were stunned. “But it is explosive. She knew something major was about to happen. But she . only Yalan could answer that.“Em. Her! Emera's eyes grew wide in horror. Neither of them wished Peta to experience what they were going to have to face on this trip. that Yalan had only one sister and no other living relatives. “It appears to be the case. “Emera.. Some would be shut down as they encouraged slavery and others she would use to fund helping the freed slaves. The reports also stated that as kind and wonderful as your mother was. everyone looked at Atar with baited breath. She wished to confront the monster from her past. Atar went to where Emera was sitting and sat next to her.” he told Emera. She still hadn't come to the end of the list but knew a lot of it she would not be keeping.” Emera was in total shock. When she had disappeared. when their parents had been killed in an accident.
When Emera. The worst part of this trip. if he somehow managed to break free of his captors. in chains. They could still hear Yalan screaming saying they could not do this. Atar responded by moving in front of Emera. When Emera revealed who she was to him. Atar felt Emera flinch each time she heard the crack of the whip and then as the slave master yelled at Yalan that slaves do not talk and if he didn't keep quiet. She would be turning thirteen soon.was when they now entered the slave quarters where he was kept. “You are. His eyes bulged when he saw who was in the room to see him. Emera was angry and lean forward across the table. They now chained him to the chair by the table. trying to help others. that it reminded her of her own experience.” It was then it dawned on her why he was doing this. A death sentence. said that would be an excellent idea. no you don't.. She looked him straight in the eyes. Atar placed his arm around her and gave her a reassuring hug and look. Emera heard the crack of the whip and someone telling Yalan he was being a very naughty slave. I think we need to get someone to keep Peta company. Altar felt her flinch. She was a totally different child to the one a year ago. The memories and pain. Yalan was brought in. as they both watched with joy as Peta interacted with those on the dig.” she said. CHAPTER 22 A year later they were on another dig. he was going to get more. He was not going to get away with things that easily. “The same as the last time?” he asked. Seagal agreed and said he would not be charged with what he had been confessing to. but still out of his reach. Yalan let out a strangled scream and tried to have a go at Emera but was unable. she saw the shock of disbelief. through Atar. if there were any. Atar and Seagal escorted Emera out of the room. He had sabotaged her ship. She nodded and forged on.. to make sure Yalan could not get to her. “Em. she was thinking of Ru. Atar placed his arms around Emera. She made large donations regularly to organisations that helped in fighting slavery and those that helped former slaves learn to live in a free world. before meeting Yalan face to face once more . asked Yalan about her mother. Atar remembered that look. but to Seagal it sounded like gibberish. Emera and Atar understood what he was screaming. As she had to move from behind Atar to see what was happening. He let out a strangled yell and tried to have ago at Atar who was nearest to him.knew she mustn't make a scene. Telling him that confessing all of the heinous crimes he had committed. The past few months had not treated him well. “My mother was no weakling. Then Emera saw Yalan being dragged to the other side of the room. what do you think we should get Peta this year for her birthday?” he asked. He told them he wanted everything and not to be hampered by a weakling. he surprised everyone by admitting that he had till now believed he had killed her mother outright. Especially for Atar's friend. She was full of life and smiles. Emera had now accepted her heritage and was doing good with it. “When we get home. She looked at Atar with a longing in her eyes. .. They were shown to a room and waited. “Oh. would not get him what he wanted. Yalan could not believe that it was his sister who was exacting revenge from the grave. knowing how unstable the region of space he had her unknowingly wander into. He nodded and smiling. He could just reach the table so he could write his responses to their questions.” She hissed. Seagal had gone to a lot of trouble for them. don't you?” she replied.
placing her both her hands on his face cradling it as she looked at him and with tears falling. they only drew a small salary to cover their expense that their pay for doing what the digs did not. they began showing them what to do. Early the next day they collected their replacements. a young slave boy of about fifteen came with a note to Emera who was packing the last of her things. After a while she untangled him for a moment. but they had no say in who did what at the dig. The boy seemed familiar. Then we will be heading home. asked if they had managed to sort everything for their trip home.” Atar told her. With Yalan it had been the exception. On the last day of their stay. But the unpleasant week of handing over had to be done. Emera came closer and stroked his face hesitantly. Atar who had just come back from one of the other tents.” she shouted back. “Is there any other? Those children deserved a better life than many of them are facing. He had arrived with a large contingency of slaves. It was then she saw the boy's eyes grow wide and then stunned her by calling to her. Of the money they were getting in. Emera sank to the floor crying. do you think you can give me a hand?” he called from outside. “Em. He nodded with tears falling down his face. Atar when he saw her coming opened his arms and she flung herself into them. Peta using her writing table. He gave her a bad feeling. They nodded. He nodded and kissed her on the forehead. which he returned just as puzzled. She noticed both Atar and Emera were feeling the same way. “Ru?” The boy nodded. as the old one had run out of money to send. It was also the reason that Atar and Emera were leaving. A big smile appeared on her face and she put down her tools and ran to them. It was the first time she had seen him. His master wanted Atar to come and speak to him. He flung himself into her arms. “Those that are coming to replace all of us will be coming on one of the transports landing sometime tomorrow. which was not surprising as the man had brought more than a hundred slaves with him.She nodded. After getting a hug from both of them.” she replied. “Give me a moment. It was her parents. Ru could see she was trying to accept that he was really standing before her. They refused to work for a slave owner. “Is it really you?” she asked. who also didn't have their contracts renewed after the the new ownership of the dig. The Slaves were to take over the work of the students. So once their new guests had settled in. Which had not pleased the archeological team. We will still have to be here a week to help them settle in and show them what we have done. Emera and Atar didn't have enough money to spare at the moment to give to keep the dig going on their own. . It could cost them quite dearly if they refused. Peta didn't like the man taking over from her father. She stared at him for a moment. as breaking a contract was frowned upon. But they did warn the slave owner that they would still break their contract if he mistreated the slave in front of them. for then many would be reluctant to rehire them. “Mama?” Her eyes grew wide. Peta felt like someone was watching her and turned to look. It was part of their contract. He was also the new benefactor of the dig. Most of it was tied up in investments and the interest was used to help the causes that worked with the living and took priority over a dig. giving her a hug at the same time and then they both went back to watching Peta for a while. they had returned back from town.
” he replied. When Benaai came in pushing past Atar. The look on her face said it all.. I'll sort things out with him. His so called parents had whisked him away in the night.” she told him between her sobs. he was told that Emera and Atar had rejected him. in her arms and was crying. It had hurt him to hear that. “Atar. She yelled at Benaai. Had they knowingly given him a Taken? For they had told him that the boy was four years of age when they got him. as selling slaves in his land was not allowed. Now get!” Atar saw the fear cross Ru's face and then Emera stepped in between him and Benaai. Atar held tightly to his son. Atar went to find out why Emera had not come and was not responding to his calls. Emera. Benaai began to wonder if Atar and Emera were not . If they were telling the truth. “Papa!” he cried. “It's alright.” Benaai stopped dead in his tracks when he saw Ru. Ru and Atar heard the knock. saying they needed to get on a specific transport that would only come again in six months time.. was in exchange for money owed by them to be forgiven. Emera and Atar would never do such a thing. once I am done here. Atar saw the look of shock turn to distrust. those that had 'given' him the boy. It was time to get rid of him. “She said to keep away from our son. “That we have always loved you and that we have never given up looking for you?” Ru embraced her once more and cried even harder.. Atar went to answer the door. I will deal with you. He got to Atar and Emera's Sleeping cabin and knocked on the door. the more for sure he knew they were lying about it. after they couldn't take him away from his biological parents and they never wanted to see him again. as they all cried. shielding Ru. “You!” he yelled angrily at Ru. So he went to go and talk to Atar and then later he would deal with the disobedient slave boy. but the fear was still there. Emera got up and joined them. A little later once everyone had calmed. “Ru?” The boy nodded in response and then jumped up and ran to him and flung his arms around him. When he had requested to let Emera and Atar know where they were going. I need to speak to you right now about some.. That kid had been trouble since he was given to him. and the tears flowed down his face. Atar nodded and held his son closer. But the more he thought about it.“You know. Benaai looked for a translation and explanation from Atar. The anger exploded onto his face. CHAPTER 23 Meanwhile Benaai was angry that the slave boy seemed to not have taken his message to Atar. Benaai was stunned and annoyed.” He saw them calm a bit.. He found her with a teenage slave boy he hadn't seen before. Also. “Don't forget Ru is a Taken like you were Em. Emera turned and looked at him when she had heard the door open. what had happened to him.” he told them. before Atar could get an word edge wise in. for him to be found in possession of a Taken. Ru told them. Atar saw the fear on Ru and Emera's face. The boy was too was crying. it could be the cause of many woes for him. “Get to your quarters right this minute.. Benaai can do nothing to him now. placing her arms around both.
when those he was with. that it was not true. But he knew from the information he had been provided about Atar and the note of their son's disappearance. So till then the boy is still mine and must therefore go back to the slave tents till then. the distrust still showing. Atar returned to the sleeping cabin. “Honey. Atar told Ru about Peta.” “NO!” Everyone turned at the wail from Ru as he continued to shout at Benaai. Could they be using this as a ploy to get the boy away from him. Ru told them his so called parents were in DNA only. “You are safe now. but that was when things went wrong. they did everything in their power to get him. not from the area. Benaai was a hard man. Then publicly declared him kidnapped. Benaai no longer protested. as he could see what he was thinking. So they could legally. It broke their hearts to see the pain he had experienced since he had been ripped from them. Emera and Ru looked at him and he nodded. His eyes grew wide. once you were free of you 'parents'?” Emera gently asked. fled to safety. The anger increased on his face and despite the danger of getting into trouble for having him 'given' to him. No one will ever be able to take you again. Then taken in by Emera and Atar. the only reason they had claimed him. we could loose a hand if the master was angry enough. They had won. doing it for other reasons. He was treated pretty much like it too. Forcing them to go on the run. The Boy has proven who is. crying. Though he had no idea what the boy had said. But a spanner in the works occurred and he was rescued. They chatted for a little while more. looking into his eyes. They had then grudgingly looked after him till he was two.” he told him. “They had everyone believing. he was not going anywhere but with his parents. Which meant they were stuck with him. As you know Slaves are not permitted to talk.” Ru nodded with tears on his face and embraced him. leaving Emera and Ru to comfort each other. to those who saw them. Even reading and writing is forbidden. “Ru's DNA will say it all. Benaai was stunned that the boy could talk and it sounded just like the way Emera spoke. He began to cry some more. unless to convey orders from your master. claiming he was a child of a dead slave. or someone else. He discovered as time passed. He suspected.” Atar told him. as it was well known they were against slavery. So when the retesting of the batches occurred and the error with his initial testing came to light. but when they realised that all hope of getting his money and estate was no longer possible. With that he went to go get the information. “With pleasure.” he spat. why didn't you say something to Benaai. all was well. They had given him to Benaai in hopes of having some of their debt being forgiven. “You have convinced me. He was only nine months old at the time.lying to him. was that his grandmother had left a large sum of money and a estate to him and not his parents. If caught. To sell a freeman even in his culture was unforgivable. They had clung on to the hope for nearly four years. he had requested all those years ago. “It is no lie.” “That may be so. but couldn't prove that they had sold him to a slave trader. he had a sister. pretending he was their slave. Ru continued his story of what had happened to him since the night he was taken away. I will bother you no more on this matter. Emera . “I need all the information you can give me on those that had given Ru to you. After a while. “But that will mean we would have to travel to one of the clinics to prove it. Atar turned to a not so happy Benaai. when I had tried to tell others. claim his estate as theirs after ten years if not found. Both ran to him and embraced him. They were deeply in dept and their 'creditors' came after them. for debts owed by another.” Atar led him out of the sleeping cabin. Any attempted to speak was severely punished by them and later even by Benaai.” he replied.” Atar placed his hands of Ru's shoulders.
.nodded. Atar got up and went to find Peta. She would be meeting her big brother for the first time.
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