I didn’t sleep that night- how could I, when so many lives were going to be destroyed in such a horrific manner?
Instead, I spent the night reading Samyaza’s guide over and over, trying to make it all make sense. I was sure that some of this terminology must have been already known by the top brass, because he offered no explanation for some of the most difficult parts to understand.
Yuliette eventually ‘forced’ me to help her warm her bed, but all that changed was that I now read by a much dimmer light while she slept with her head on my chest.
Whenever weariness began to make my eyelids heavy, I once again felt Samyaza’s cold hand resting on my shoulder, jerking me awake.
Finally, morning came- such as it was on this planet- and Yuliette finished her preparations.
“Now, to yours?” She asked.
I shook my head. “I didn’t bring any keepsakes with me. We can go.”
Military housing didn’t allow soldiers- or, in my case, military stenographers- to buy any of our own stuff, except for food. I didn’t have any furniture, entertainment units, or anything else that was actually mine to go and get. I had no reason to go back.
“Have you finished your formal resignation?” Yuliette asked.
“Well- sort of. They made it clear this job is over. If they fail to reassign me, that’s their own problem.”
Yuliette tsk’d at me. “What if they do reassign you, and you’re all the way back on Earth? They could call you a deserter. You should really do a proper resignation.”
I thought about it for a moment, but decided against it. I may need access to my high level of clearance before this whole thing was over.
I grunted in a noncommittal fashion at Yuliette, which was well understood as my way of saying ‘I don’t want to talk about it anymore’.
I had Yuliette book the flight back to Earth but paid for it myself since she had only had random blips of employment during this whole debacle.
We stored Yuliette’s vehicle, which was capable of travel through both air and land, in a commercial garage meant for long-term storage. We then took an airtaxi towards the spaceport.
The weather was behaving in a pretty typical fashion- it was constantly drizzling, overcast, somewhat gloomy. It didn’t help that the rain was slightly acidic- not enough to kill a human like me, but enough to cause painful acid burns on the first layer of our skin. That was why I always had to wear the annoying EEE, but Yuliette did not.
As we reached the spaceport, I thought about how I was going to do this. I wanted Yuliette safe, but I needed to stay here. I should’ve just brought it up earlier. I really did need to work on my communication skills.
Before I could begin to solve it, other complications arose.
As soon as we stepped inside, two security personnel began shadowing our footsteps. The spaceport was huge, and after three different turns, they were still on us. Couldn’t have been a coincidence.
Yuliette noticed nearly as quickly as I did, which was impressive for someone who wasn’t trained.
“I’m going to veer off into the washroom. You keep heading for the gate. If they follow you, I’ll come up from behind them. If they follow me, I’ll deal with it.”
Yuliette nodded, though she didn’t seem particularly happy. Made sense- Yuliette was the type to turn in two assignments and ask her teacher which one they liked better, always striving to be the best she could be for her ‘superiors’. Going up against authority wasn’t her thing at all.
That just reaffirmed my choice to send her away. This was going to get hairy.
I veered off- and, unfortunately, the two men shadowing us split up. Worst case scenario. I stepped into the washroom and angled myself behind the door- a child’s tactic, but it would probably work. The security following us looked to be simple airport guards- not military or secret operatives.
The man stepped inside, and I thought I would end our confrontation before it even began.
I did not succeed.
I tried putting him immediately into a chokehold- nothing lethal, just to put him to sleep long enough for me to get Yuliette out of this spaceport, and to find another way off-planet.
Unfortunately, this security guard was unusually wary. As soon as my hands reached around his neck, he ducked, pulled on my arms, and tossed me against the far wall.
“What the hell?!” Shouted a man using one of the stalls.
“Sorry bud. Fight going on, here.” I said, groaning as I stood.
“You tripped one of our sensors. We gotta bring you in.” The security guard said. He had a mess of dark hair on his head and an unkempt, thin beard over his jawline.
“Damn facial recognition.” I hadn’t thought we’d be on any kind of a list- did the top brass realize that I’d taken Samyaza’s book? Or had they somehow heard my talk with Yuliette?
“Come on then,” I said, putting my hands up.
My opponent was large. Taller than me by a good six inches, longer reach- but I doubted he was stronger. My best bet was to take this to the floor.
I feigned shooting a few quick jabs, then swept his legs. He was top-heavy, so it was perfectly effective. He hit the ground, and I quickly followed. From there, I disoriented him with a few blows to the head, and finally got the chokehold I was looking for.
I placed the guard inside a stall, told the other person in there that it was safe to come out, and sprinted after Yuliette.
She and I had, not long into our relationship, put tracking devices on one another. These were dangerous days, after all, and as a diplomat, she was a prime target for kidnappings.
She was nearing the departure zone, where space-faring ships would leave with their cargo.
My heart was pounding in my ears, but after the fastest mile I had ever ran, I saw her.
I saw as she was being loaded up into a Coalition Passenger Ship, with her wrists manacled.
“No!” I bellowed, running through the enameled glass corridors, trying to get to her-
Until a man with dark hair, cruel eyes, and a familiar voice stepped into my path.
“Stenographer Williams.” Samyaza said.
“Samyaza. Pardon me, I’m not on duty.”
“Don’t play coy. You have my book.”
“I merely followed orders, my lord.” Amandine said from somewhere behind Samyaza.
“Mmm, indeed. Yet we have a mess to clean up.”
“Where are you taking her?”
“She doesn’t seem to know anything about my book, so she is going to Earth, exactly where you wanted her. If you come with me, quietly, and right now, I will leave her in your brother’s care. If you resist, she will be brought to a prison.”
I lost sight of Yuliette. She hadn’t seen me following her. I hesitated a moment…
“Yes.” Samyaza agreed. “Now, we’ve involved the normal people for too long, Williams. Let’s go have a chat.”