Sunday, 21 March 2010


Janek felt scared. From the window of the little bus snaking across the cracked concrete he could see the rocket. It hissed with a thousand stresses and strains from the gases that it expelled, coolant for its chemical engines. He had known this would be how he would be leaving this world, too newly colonised for an elevator and too far from Centre for other, more advanced forms of lift, but faced with the reality of it in front of him a near panic seems to over take him. The shape and physicality of it intimidates him. Even the landing, falling from orbit in little more than a heat-shielded tin can, was less terrifying than the prospect of sitting on top of several tonnes of explosives ready to detonate and propel him into orbit.

The other two men sat in the carriage with him seemed calm. One, a fat business man from the system's fourth planet, was obviously used to travelling this way. The other, Oorta, his attaché and bodyguard, betrays no sense of fear having had all common sense of danger carefully edited out by training and genetic manipulation.

At least the mission has been successful. The planet's contract treaty with the UN had been about about to expire and there had been talk about secession, all too common in the past twenty years. Janek disliked secession. It was always too bloody and it never succeeded, but time and again planets thought they could get away with it. At least this time invasion and cultural shift was not going to be required. Assuming he survived the take-off.

He did not hear the shot. The first he knew was the sticky, wet splash across his face. He turned in annoyance and only then realised it was Oorta's blue blood that had spurted from the gaping wound in his shoulder. Oorta looked annoyed, reaching out with his undamaged arm to pull Janek down, away from the window, across his lap.

An insurrection. Part of Janek's brain is almost relieved.

No comments: