SURPRISES

Scene 12  1560 4D

Inkurisar, not moving, called out, “Who are you? Wolves are hunting here.”

“First you tell us who you are and why you’re here.” Another male voice, higher, strained.

“We’re traveling to the next village,” Inkurisar said. “We’ve just come over the High Pass. We’re hungry and cold, and we have a pregnant woman with us.”

Derizan heard the wolves, their belling far off in the trees. A pine cone fell on his shoulder, bounced away. The first male voice called, “We won’t shoot. We came down from the pass yesterday. Militias were chasing us. Please don’t attack us, and we’ll put away our weapons.”

After an exchange of suspicions and confirmations, two shadowed men appeared from behind large trees at the party’s left. In the dimness Derizan could see their bloodstained, tattered, and ripped City militia uniforms. One wore an Arcus Coll badge, and the other one the mark of Darko Hell Coll. Both carried rifle-sized beam weapons.

Inkurisar, waving to Derizan and the others to stay back, approached them. Derizan, not wanting to remain where he was, joined the three. “I’m responsible for most of these people’s safety,” he said as he came forward. “This man beside me is our guide and we rely on him. My name is Derizan Alumaras Uni Junusium,”

Inkurisar introduced himself, adding, “And now, you two? Who are you? I see Arcus and Hejji badges, and a lot of wear and tear. Talk to us.”

The man with the Arcus badge spoke. “I’m Arcus, and my name is Guinban Garvea Yaviures. I… we were in Sobi Zone in the City with my wife and family. This is Piotras. He’s Hejji.”

The other, his voice still tight and high, spoke quickly. “We ran away when a bomb killed the rest of the militia unit we were in. Our families don’t know where we are, but we can’t go back. We’ll be stuck in prison, probably one of the Signo mines. Our food ran out after we got here, and we don’t know what’s ahead of us.” He bowed his head.

“You kept your beam weapons,” Inkurisar growled. “You’ll die for that alone if they catch you. And if you’re with us, it falls on us too.”

“Check him,” Nakiran called to him. He grabbed Guinban’s right arm and bared it to the elbow, as the man pulled his beam gun away.

“Where’s your knifescript? You’re not Arcus. Come on, we’re not enemies.” Every Arcus child received at puberty a personal inscription carved into the right forearm.

Guinban backed away, leveling his weapon at them. Inkurisar raised his hands. “Easy, now. Just be straight with us.”

Derizan stepped forward, facing Guinban. “Look at us. We just got away from the same people who are after you. They’re chasing all of us. No need for fighting – no one will win this.”

At that moment, hot-headed Selech called out, “You know, Piotras, you look awfully light-skinned, even for a Darko boy. Any paler, and I’d say you were andro.” Andros, the short-lived, vat-grown servants of humans, were treated poorly and with suspicion in the City.

Now both beam weapons were pointed at the party. Piotras spat, “You’re not leaving us a choice, then, are you?” He aimed directly at Selech. “We got this far, and we’ll go on without you.”

Silence. Derizan said softly, “Just tell us who you are, and we’ll take you in. I don’t care if you’re Hejji or andro, we’ll take you with us …” and he raised a hand ‘No’, first to his father Alumaras and then to Inkurisar as both started to protest his words.

Guinban and Piotras exchanged looks. Guinban nodded. Then he said, “All right. I’m Darko Hejj myself. My wife was Arcus Coll – that’s why I had her badge. I was guarding the column back there, and I took off. Now you, Pioti. Tell them.”

Piotras, his head bowed again, said, “You’re right, whoever you are with the good eyes. I’m andro. I killed a militia man in the City when he was beating me. There’s a big price on my head.” He nodded toward Guinban. “He gave me his coll badge.”

A pause. Inkurisar shook his head. Then Nakiran said matter-of-factly, “You bring guns and andro power, we bring numbers and food. Come on, Inku. Let’s deal and go. We need to get to Fornonck before the wolves get their appetites after us and before Tellina gives birth right here.”

Inkurisar shook his head, looked down, and finally nodded. “All right.”

Derizan said to Guinban and Piotras, “Walk with me up front.” Into the darkness, down the sloping starlit trail, moving steadily towards a dim lamp in the distance, they all went.

 

Next scene.

Last Updated Friday, June 21 2024 @ 02:38 pm  13 Hits   
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