If you could travel to outer space would you and what would you hope to get out of the experience?
As a child, Todd had often stared up at the stars with Jack, idly wondering about interstellar travel and alien civilizations. Together, they dreamed of flying beyond the sun, to visiting these hypothetical far off worlds. They wanted to be explorers and arbiters and represent the human race in space. Their dreams had never had the aliens coming to Erath.
Todd certainly never imagined his first trip into Earth’s orbit would land him on an invader’s cruiser. Fae’s shuttle had been all but destroyed in his approach, but there was no helping that. Veralis’s cannons were powerful.
Still, he had succeeded in his objective to be captured. He tested his restraints as he was escorted through the ship. His wounds from the explosions on his ship hadn’t recovered enough to break them under his own strength. Oh well. He had other strengths he could play well.
There had been chatter about the Empress wanting him. “Is this how you treat your honored guests?” he loudly asked his guards in the High Mosari dialect used by the royal family and their advisors.
A hand cracked across his jaw. “Keep those regal words off your filthy tongue.” The voice was feminine. She switched from the High Imperial to heavily accented English. “You are a prisoner, not a guest. And a criminal. That the Empress has interest in you is the only reason you have not been gutted already.” She eyed his stomach as though she could see his entrails already pouring out of him, lamenting that she was being denied the pleasure of disemboweling him.
“He only needs to be alive,” her masculine-sounding partner said. “The Empress was silent on the matter of his condition otherwise.”
The woman shook her head. “The Empress may not care directly, but there is another whose opinion matters. Upsetting them would be tantamount to upsetting the Empress.”
“That one has no authority over us,” he snarled.
“Nevertheless, this one’s punishment will come.”
“I’m really starting to feel the love here,” Todd muttered and was rewarded for his snark with a tightening of his restraints. His wounds ached, but it was nothing compared to the ache in his heart.
Did Jack really have that much influence over Veralis? Could he really convince her not to kill Todd? How much had four years changed Jack? Todd had allowed himself to be captured, hoping to find his brother, but what lay at the end of this hallway? Who would really be waiting for him?
His escort fell silent and he was left with his thoughts. His head was swimming with the possibilities of seeing Jack alive, floating in the low gravity as he was tugged along the barrel-shaped hallway. Would Jack even recognize him? Four years had hardened Todd even as he had fought against it. He had killed many people.
Jack was Ral’s knight. Did that mean he had killed for her? Todd did not want to imagine his brother as a killer, but then he was sure Jack felt the same about him. Maybe Jack was wondering how this reunion would go too. Maybe he was wondering if he would even recognize Todd after all these years.
Doubt began to settle in Todd’s stomach. He had left Jack to the invaders for all these years. He should have been looking for Jack. He should have been there with Jack. He should never have let Jack be taken in the first place. What if Jack didn’t recognize him? What if Jack hated him? What if they had brainwashed him?
The doors opened with a shush. Todd was thrown to the ground unceremoniously and bounced back into the air where he hovered before settling back to the cool metal floor. The circular room was bright with light from strips along the edge of wall and ceiling. A woman with silver hair cut straight at chin level sat straight-backed in a gilded throne, familiar violet eyes glowering at him with unfamiliar stoniness. Veralis was unmistakably Fae’s sister, but his eyes were drawn to the man standing behind her.
Notes: Hurray! Todd and Jack are finally reunited! Or are they? What does fate have in store for them? I don’t know, I’m just telling it as I see it. Also—and stop me if you’ve heard this one before—I didn’t get started on this one til much later than I like to. I’m giving myself a pass because it’s my birthday and I’m 30 now and old. My mind is already slipping. … That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Have a great night! See you tomorrow!
PS-Like these prompts? Like the short stories I write based on these prompts? Want to show your support? Give the blog a follow! Leave a comment! Buy me a coffee! I put a lot of time and effort into these posts and your support means the world to me! Ok, now go out there and write!