A new and exciting short story by me Cecil Thax, this was an entry I wrote for a ‘A bad science fiction writing jam’, I’m breaking it down into several parts so your mind isn’t overwhelmed by words and Sci Fi cliches.
Previously on ‘Rage Slave’ Jack Steel decided after witnessing the destruction of the Moon and waking from countless days in soma sleep he would kill himself by ejecting out into the void of space, but when he blew off the hatch to space, in rushed cool fresh air!
Part three – Unlicensed
Jack dragged himself from his now crippled ship, pulling out the needle that was still in his neck, he felt a light mist on his face. The ship has exercised his muscles so there was no risk of atrophy. He got to his feet and tried to adjust his eyes to the dim light, from the little he could see it was clear he was on Mars. Reaching into his back pocket and pulling out a half smoked cigar, he lit it and inhaled deeply. The fresh air made him feel sick. He scowled and went back into his ship to get the power core to the Zargon-9 ships engine and a few things he’d brought with him. Putting his rifle over his left shoulder, his sword over his right and his back pack over his the middle bit he made his way to the lit up city in the distance.
It was dawn, the few wisps of cloud were tinged with incandescent red as the sun rose slowly over the mountains. The grass was damp and soft under Jack’s feet, the cool morning breeze washed over his skin, blowing away any last remnants of the deep tormented sleep he’d endured. He was stone cold sober! Making his way through the tall grass, out of the field he’d landed in he saw in the distance some vehicles floating through the air towards him. He threw himself to the floor and covered himself in as much of the vegetation as he could, if they saw his body heat they’d take him in. You don’t get to walk on Mars without permits, if they find you and you’re not with permit then it’s 10 cycles in the securest prison in the solar system, secure because you’re fired in a tiny pod at Phobos which is surrounded by a protection net, you get in but you can never get out. Life on Phobos is hard; the failed terraforming means there is only moss and mould growing on rocks. The stories go that the longest a prisoner has ever survived is 38 months, this was mostly due to him eating other prisoners! No one really knows what happens on Phobos and those that do don’t talk about it, the things that happen there are born from nightmares, mutated creatures, what once were people now living monsters born from a cycle of horrific violence, rape and destruction. If there is a hell in the universe, chances are it’s a nice summer vacation compared to Phobos!
Jack lay in the dirt and grass for 20 minutes, he only put his head up once to take a look. Two figures were loading his ship onto a truck and taking it away. They would begin the search for its pilot any time now, he had to get away. When they had loaded his ship and were leaving Jack sprung to his feet and ran to a house he could see in the distance, it looked like a lone farm, he knew this would be the first place they came looking for him, but it was his only choice.
It took him 3 hours to get to the house, because there were drones flying over each field of the farm. Jack had the foresight to bring a heat shielded blanket. Every time a drone got close he had to drop to the ground and get under it. His progress was slow, he was getting angrier and angrier. He wanted nothing more than to shoot them all out of the sky but that would pinpoint his location in seconds. His only chance was that they thought his ship had been flown here on auto pilot but as he’d removed the power source when he got out this was highly unlikely.
By mid-morning, a time of day Jack hadn’t been conscious in for years, he had made it into a small empty barn. The harsh morning sun burnt his eyes, his head screamed with pain, 142 days in soma sleep takes its toll on the body, Jack was in for many days of migraines and sleepless nights, but what was worse was the cold relentless sobriety. Jack needed a drink, his memories were far too close to his consciousness, things he’d not thought about for years were just on the surface, his deeds haunting his waking mind. He just needed a drink to make them all sink back into the mist.
Jack went into the barn, like everything on mars, it was pristine, there was no dust, no dirt, just clean fresh wood plank walls, a gleaming anti gravity tractor, a few hand tools which didn’t look like they had ever been used and bags of seeds. Jack checked for droids, there were none. He slumped against a bag of grain, his head was throbbing, he could hardly see, he had not felt this level of agony for years. He felt like someone had injected his blood with glass, every heartbeat made every inch of his head, shoulders, knees and toes scream in pain. He vomited on his shoes. Jack knew he couldn’t stay here long, he could tolerate the pain so long as he kept moving. Jack looked through cracks in the walls of the barn, he could see the farm house, there were no sign of any occupants. He went to the door of the barn and waited for the drones to move away before he made his dash to the house. They flew to a new sector of the farm, Jack drew his sword, the drones would easily detect any gun fire so if he had to kill someone in the house using a sword was the safer option. He began to run to the house.
He had not got 3 meters out of the barn when a gruff old male voice shouted “Now where you going son?” Jack spun round to see an old man sat on a hover pod just above the barn door; he had a rifle aimed right at Jacks head. Jacks brain went through a thousand thoughts, looking for an escape route, a way out. “Looks to me like you’re in a spot of bother son, best you get in the house” said the old man. Jack slowly turned round and walked towards the door of the house.
Jack entered the house, the door opened into a large room, there were chairs and seats everywhere, the smell of burnt circuitry filled the air, on each available seat was a droid, but not the human style with realistic flesh, these droids were stripped down to their basic components, wires and pistons jutted out, circuitry was visible, they all slowly turned to look at Jack. Jack felt the barrel of the rifle press against the back of his head “Go on, get in there boy” said the old man. Jack had no option but to walk into the centre of the room. He slowly moved onto a large rug in the middle of all the chairs, none of the droids moved but they all followed him with their cold robotic eyes. “Now, it looks to me like we got ourselves an “unlicey”, he aint gonna get far without a license is he boys?” announced the old man to the robots. The droids didn’t and couldn’t respond, having long since had their audio circuits removed. Jack was getting tired of being pushed around by this old coot, nobody pushed Jack around and lived long to talk about it.
Jack slowly turned round to face the old man, sick with sobriety, exhausted by the soma sleep, Jack’s patience had run out. In the blink of an eye Jack drew his sword, he lifted it to strike down the old man. Jacks chest burst in a cloud of blood and bones. The old man had fired his rifle at point blank. Jack looked down, there was a hole where his right lung used to be, Jack slumped down in a bloody crumpled mass. The droids quickly got off their chairs and went about cleaning the blood and body parts, they dragged Jack into the pantry and hung him up by his feet to drain. The police drones came to see why the gun shot had been fired, the old man told them he was just putting down some livestock, the drones left and the old man then went back into his house and began preparations for his feast; human flesh was a rare treat!
To be continued….next week!