Death in the Underdocks - Week of Aug 16, 2021
Updated: Aug 24, 2021
DRAFT SCENE from a work in progress: The kidnapped child.
Okar only half-understood the talking noise made by his captors. He spoke the Vrellish dialect of Bartrop Station well enough for a six-year-old highborn more physically than verbally ahead of stationer children his own age. His fem-kin had never expected his life to depend on understanding the Gelack of UnderDocks commoners, even if they’d had the expertise to teach it to him: which they hadn’t.
He stared at the agitated people talking outside his cage. There were 3 of them. He called them bad-face, mean-one and fat man. He’d discerned that mean-one and fat-man were lovers -- probably mekan’stan -- in the business of managing the hanger together. Bad-face worked for them.
Fat man said, “Deb’s dead?”
The mean-one gave a gasp. Deb, the one who’d betrayed his fem-kin when she stole him from his station, was her sibling.
“Yeah. Very dead. Sorry M’am,” he nodded at the mean-one.
“What happened!” blurted mean-one.
“Looks like she lost a fight with a control rod,” said the pocked-marked man Okar called bad-face. “I only got a quick look. Happened 8 blocks away. In a service district catering to off-worlders. Locals called in those nosey new errants of Prince Monitum’s before I could check her over properly.”
“A control rod?” Fat-man repeated. “Did the errants kill her?”
“Errant. Just the one showed. And he was packing a sword like a good Sevolite. So I dunno. Maybe. There was a bounder named Taff working with the Sev. Taff used to be in business for himself around here before the Justice Ministry recruited him. But I don’t think they’d let him pack a rod. I didn’t see one.”
The mean-one got a grip on her shock and sat down at a battered metal table with a few chairs around it and a scattering of plates and mugs from breakfast.
“Deb must have been trying to connect with the buyer,” she said, sadly. “She was trying to finish it and get him off our hands. Oh, May the Gods Ignore Us! Was it so much to ask for just one windfall!” She ended with a sob and put her face into her hands.
Okar wasn’t interested in the mean-one crying. Stationers cried sometimes, but when they did it didn’t make them meaner. The more she cried or railed, the meaner the mean-one became, though.
He was distracted, instead, by the leftovers on the table, scanning them for anything edible.
Okar had been given breakfast. But only the protein roll was edible. Some of the other things they gave him hadn’t agreed with him, so he wouldn’t eat them. It was one of the things the mean-one yelled at him about. For wasting.
In addition to – at least – some food, two or three times daily, he also had the basics required for hygiene and sleeping. He’d concluded his captors wanted to keep him alive. That was good.
He even had an old spin-cage from a decommissioned rel-ship to exercise in. Climbing around in it when he was restless kept him calm when he wanted to act out with violence. It wasn’t time yet.
His prison itself was some kind of equipment locker. This meant they had to open it to tend to his chem-toilet and feed him. He was waiting for the first time they got careless. He was grieving. He was angry. He was frightened. Getting out and free was just the most important.
This scene is part of a work in progress set in the Okal Rel Universe. See contact page for how to connect.