Today’s prompt was provided by Charlotte over at Upon My Desk. Please, check out her blog. Charlotte is an avid reader, writer, and just like me, a Harry Potter fan! Upon My Desk is definitely worth a follow.
He didn’t know how to say goodbye; he’d only just said hello.
A laser narrowly missed Marko’s head as he dived into the courier shuttle. He hadn’t flown a shuttle since his days transporting prison laundry from The Camp to the Space Station. A daily ritual for five years, under armed guard, that taught him some of his most impressive manoeuvres. He jumped into the pilots seat and prayed he could remember half of them. Tarik fell into the shuttle behind him, shooting at Stellar Rangers through the closing air lock.
“I thought you were dead, Dude.”
Tarik laughed. “As if. I escaped this hell hole once, I ain’t dying here now. Did you get it?”
Marko strapped his belt, and guided the shuttle out of its port. “Do you even need to ask?” He patted his top pocket where he concealed the chip.
“Hurry the hell up,” said Tarik, as he glanced out of the cabin window.
Marko simply grinned. They won’t be going anywhere. I disabled their shuttles, but Stellar Fleet will be arriving in five. Here, do your thing,” he said, and handed Tarik the chip.
Tarik brushed his long fringe from his eyes, and studied the chip thoughtfully. “What is this?”
“Eh? It’s the chip. It was in the digi-safe just like you said.”
“This isn’t a code chip, this is a comm chip, dickhead. Shit the bed! We’ve stolen some convict’s message from home. Are you sure there wasn’t another chip in the digi-safe?”
Marko slammed his hands against the controls. “If you’re having me on for shits and giggles this is not the damn time, Dude. That was the only chip in the digi-safe.”
Tarik flopped into the passenger seat and shoved the chip into the reader. The screen above their heads flashed with a sporadic green light, and the image of the Space Medic Centre’s patient bay. Zen’s sweating, scared face filled the screen as she clicked at buttons on the comm system. Her jet black hair slick to her forehead and her eyes puffy from crying.
“Sis,” Tarik whispered.
Marko’s heart had stopped beating and nausea ate at his gut. The sight of Zen flooded his veins with stone cold fear for her safety. He had left her with the Sandine people, they said they would keep her and the baby safe from the humans. His unborn son, Tarik’s unborn nephew, would be born a mixed species baby; half human, and half Sandine, and not allowed to take his first breath if Stellar had their way. Every recorded mixed species birth ended in infanticide at the hands of Stellar. Humans were scum. They were happy to dictate to the universe, but never to interbreed. Marko was disgusted at his own race.
“Help us, Marko. We’re at Medic Centre 10. They’re not killing the Sandine babies, they’re taking them for something. We have twelve hours from his birth before they take him. It could be any day now. If you find this it means Dagan was right. Please, let him be right.”
Before his brain had registered what his heart was doing, Marko set the shuttle into Stellar speed. Only Stellar craft were programmed to move at such a speed, but if Zen said Dagan had something to do with them finding the comm chip, then it was to Dagan they would head.
“Dagan would never betray Stellar,” said Tarik, his voice cracked around the edges.
Marko agreed that on normal circumstance Dagan was Stellar Ranger through and through, but this was different. “Dagan fathered a mixed species baby girl. She was taken after birth and murdered. I think he knew about our job, and he knew the safest way to contact us was to remove the code chip and replace it with Zen’s. I believe Dagan cares about what happens to my son.”
“Okay, let’s hope you’re right because Dagan is one of the only people who can get us into Medic Centre 10 without hiccup,” Tarik said, and he played Zen’s message over again.
“I will get you in on the catering shuttle, but then it’s up to you. If I see you on that Medic Centre I will have to arrest you. If you get caught by anyone and give up my name, not only will I deny knowledge and get away with it because my hands are squeaky clean, but I will also kill you. Got it?”
“Yeah, yeah, kill us. When is the shuttle due?” asked Marko as he slid into a tell tale blue catering overall. Tarik was already dressed and chomping at the bit.
“It’s coming now. Take a tray, play the part, and then get that baby far away from Stellar.”
“Thank you for this, Dagan.”
Dagan just shrugged and turned on his heels. Marko watched as his royal blue, Stellar jacket blew out behind him. He looked back over his shoulder and offered Marko a curt nod. The man who put him in The Camp seven years before was now helping him to save the life of his unborn son.
The shuttle docked, and a stout, greying man ushered them on board, counting the food trays before he closed the air lock. As the man sat down, Tarik wrapped a tray around the back of his head, knocking him out cold. Marko took his place in the pilot seat, gripped the comm chip tightly in his palm, and flew the short distance to the looming Medic Centre.
The corridors were brilliant white with the same green lighting associated with all Stellar Medic Centres. Tarik pushed the food supplies in a wheeled trolley, keeping his face down. Marko pretended to be running over the inventory list whilst studying the layout, and most importantly, the exits.
A crying baby drew his attention to the door at the far end of the second corridor. The soft hum of a lullaby soothed the cries to nothing. Both he and Tarik peered through the window, and there sat Zen, huddled in the corner, crying and humming to a mound of blankets tucked against her chest. Marko unlocked the door from the outside and Zen screamed. The bundle started bawling once more.
“Please, not yet. Let me have a little more time,” she cried.
“Zen, it’s us, Marko and Tarik.”
“Marko?” asked Zen, as she scrambled to her feet. “It’s you, you’ve come for us.” Her words poured out amidst a torrent of sobs. “We need to go now. They’re coming for Sienne in ten minutes.” Sienne? She had used the name they had spoken about before he left her on Sandine. “Your Daddy has come to rescue us, Sienne,” she said to the bundle.
Marko edged closer, a fear like nothing he had known gripped at his chest. Zen moved the blanket slightly and the pink, fresh skin of newborn took his breath away. The tiny, blinking eyes, unaware of the peril they faced. “He’s beautiful.”
“He looks just like you, ” cooed Zen. “He’s special, Marko. I know why they want him and the other Human- Sandine babies. They have telepathy. I know it sounds weird, but I’ve felt it. He’s tuned in to me.”
Tarik opened the trolley door. “Then we need to get the hell out of here.”
Marko gingerly took Sienne, surprised by how light the boy felt in his arms. The vulnerable, special creation wrapped a little hand around his pinky. A feeling of familiarity and pure love fluttered in Marko’s mind. His son was telepathic. Marko coughed back tears and waited for Zen to climb into the trolley, and then begrudgingly handed Sienne to her.
A siren sounded throughout the center and a rumble of feet grew louder with every passing second.
“They must know,” Tarik gasped.
“Take them to the shuttle and go. I’ll hold them off. Just remember what I taught you about Stellar speed and you’ll be fine,” said Marko. The colour drained from Tarik’s face. “Tarik, I trust you, Dude.”
Marko crouched to take a final glance into the trolley. Zen was sobbing into Sienne. “Please come with us. Sienne knows, he knows, Marko, and he wants you with us.”
He stroked his son’s cheek for what might be the first and last time. “I will die for you, my boy.”
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All excerpts are the works of K.J.Chapman.
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