Jago: The Millennium Galaxy Race

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic

Trash. Yep, that’s his name. Trash is a slave from a distant planet called Sola, a dry planet with two suns. One day, he is framed by a mysterious girl who calls herself an intergalactic bounty hunter named Akiko. She tells him the only way to save his life is to help her capture the most notorious villain on Sola. What he doesn't know, is that he's supposed to challenge the greatest fighter on the planet in order to do so.

Chapter 1 (v.4) - Traitor

Submitted: June 25, 2017

Reads: 2439

Comments: 7

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Submitted: June 25, 2017

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Part 1:   Greatest Fighter on the Planet

Chapter 1: Traitor

 

There’s only one rule to live by as a slave: don’t ever cross your master. Death is never swift for a traitor, and I certainly never planned to risk it. The only problem was, someone else risked it for me.

I knew something wasn’t right that morning. More guards than usual stood in the mansion hallways. I was curious, but not curious enough to risk looking curious.

I kept my head down, letting the scraggly ends of my black hair cover my face just enough to avoid eye contact with any passersby and made my way to my master’s bookkeeping office. He was a terrible gambler, my master, and I knew I was going to have to spend the entire day filing through his accounts, notarizing yesterday’s expenditures.

The room was on the second floor and large, though almost entirely bare. I stepped to the panel in the corner and with a few clicks had a cool glass of water. This system didn't run down to the basement, and if the slaves there wanted a drink they had to beg the guards for it. I settled the now half-empty cup on the table and sat, staring out the window at the city below me, the second sun just rising beyond the horizon, illuminating the first few shuttles of the day as they arrived on Sola.

I sighed and tapped the table, where a series of holograms lit up the room. It would definitely take all day to sort through them and catalog the losses. Being one of the only slaves who could read, write, and compute had its benefits, but it was also risky work. No one trusted a slave. If there was even the slightest discrepancy in the books … Well, slaves didn’t get trials. I was about to learn that firsthand.

I was just about to start sorting when the door slid open and three guards came striding inside. I recognized the leader, Yule, as one of my master’s high-ranking guards. The small smile on his face told me nothing good was about to happen.

“Trash, living up to your name I see,” he goaded.

I stood up from the desk, unmoved by his taunt. The name Trash was given to me long ago. I never knew another name, nor had I ever desired to change it.

“You’re to see the master,” he added, nodding to the others. Whatever was happening must’ve been bad because the smile never left his face.

My stomach tightened as they came forward and secured me with wrist restraints, but I tried not to show any hesitation. I’d done nothing wrong, and I figured complying would be the best way to hasten settling any misunderstandings.

No one said a word as we made our way to my master, Urien. We walked deeper and deeper underground where there were no longer bright windows, but walls decorated with holographic pieces of art that flickered in the low-power state of the mansion. None of the lights were on, so the only illumination came from the colors in these images. Their gentle glow didn’t allow me to see very far down the hallway.

It was only when we arrived in the large room crowded with guards did I realize how dire my situation truly was. I was presented not only to Urien, my personal master and master of arena slaves, but also to his master, master of masters, Vaughan.

The guards threw me at Vaughan’s feet. I slowly lifted my eyes but dared not meet his gaze. I clenched my teeth, locking my jaw. But I could feel his eyes probing my face and realized he was gauging every aspect of me, every minute twitch, and I forced myself to relax and look more cooperative.

An orange glow brightened at the tip of the thick smoking root smashed between his plump lips. It was the first time I had ever seen a smoking root, but there was no mistaking the thick-veined bulb. As popular as they were as a topic of discussion, roots and every other type of plant life are extremely rare on Sola.

Vaughan bent over to inspect me closer before removing it to speak.

“So this is the slave causing such an uproar?” his husky voice asked, releasing a white plume straight into my face.

I blinked. The smoke burned my eyes and I tried to ignore the tickle building with every breath in the back of my throat.

Urien came up beside him, appearing even thinner than usual next to his portly master. “Yes, he’s the slave in charge of documenting my financial accounts.”

Vaughan squinted at me, his confusion matching my own. “You leave such matters in the hands of a slave?”

As though he had practiced this conversation beforehand, Urien quickly responded, “There is no other who can match his accounting skills, not even a freeborn.”

Smoke trickled from Vaughan’s mouth as he lingered in thought after taking a puff of his smoking root. All the while, his black beady eyes never left mine. “Such assets are extremely rare here on Sola. Where did you find such a slave?”

“The Night Raiders captured him in the badlands a few years ago.”

I remembered that night. I was alone, like I had been ever since the Professor’s little piece of paradise had been raided and I’d lost my makeshift family. I’d thought I was far enough away from their slave-hunting trails. But hunger will drive you to make stupid choices … dangerous choices.

I swallowed hard, trying to remain calm. So far everything was true about their conversation, but what did it have to do with an ‘uproar?’ And why did they think I caused it?

Vaughan turned to Urien. “A domesticated freeborn? He knows the taste of freedom and yet you let him handle your financial accounts?”

Urien lowered his head. From the corner of my eye, I could see beads of sweat forming on his receding hairline. “He knows the repercussions; I didn’t take him for a fool.”

“No, you’re the only fool here.” Vaughan stuck the smoking root back in his mouth. “His sentence will be set for the sun alignment later today. He’ll be the main attraction to the arena challenge.”

He turned to leave, and Urien threw me an angry glare that I met with a confused stare. What was happening? I didn’t even know what I was being accused of, but somehow I already had a sentence.

“What of the girl?” Urien asked. “She appears to be a foreigner.”

“Detain her for questioning. Close the galactic port until we confirm if she’s alone or not. And Urien …” He stopped to make his words perfectly clear for the entire room to hear. “Get my money back.”

Urien lowered his head. “Yes, I’ll have it before sunset, Master Vaughan.”

With that, Vaughan left the room with a handful of guards on his heels.

I hadn’t even noticed the girl cuffed with similar wrist restraints to mine being detained by a ring of guards to my side. She didn’t look much older than me, maybe in her late teens, wearing an outfit that screamed planetary foreigner. Her shirt—although short-sleeved and frayed-red—was too thick and heat-retaining for the intense heat of the two suns Sola orbited. Her simple black shorts didn’t give much sun protection either. My guess was that she figured a hot planet meant short sleeves and shorts, when in fact covering up and protecting your skin from the suns’ rays will keep you alive longer. If I had seen her wandering Sola, I would have given her three days tops before she died from sun exposure. Because of this, I didn’t give her much thought as Urien snapped at me.

“Trash, I take you into my home, give you food and shelter and this is how you repay me?”

“Master, I didn’t—”

“No! You’re the only one with access to my accounts! Where did you send the money?!”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I finally retorted. “I didn’t steal anything!”

Urien was seething but managed to toss a holodisk at my feet. I picked it up and examined the transactions that had taken place the day before. I checked and double checked with widening eyes as I realized more than half of my master’s accounts had been emptied from an anonymous transfer.

“Your little accomplice here was captured before any more could be taken.”

My eyes flicked to the foreigner then back to Urien.  I doubted the innocent-looking girl had anything to do with the stolen money either. How could she? But that’s what happened when you lived on Sola or, in her case, made an ill-advised visit. Sola was not particularly known for its tourism. The only foreigners who visited Sola were those looking for business … usually the illegal slave-trade business. That was Vaughan’s specialty.

“Master, I didn’t do this!” I insisted.

Yule jumped in. “Master, there’s no one else who could’ve done it. He must’ve convinced this foreign girl to help him. He’s conniving, Master. How else could he have taken a freeborn’s job?”

I sucked in a breath and glared at Yule. Suddenly I had an idea of how I ended up in this mess. Ever since we’d met two years ago, Yule had it out for me. I guessed I should’ve expected that after taking his job. Usually the finance accountant was a freeborn, and he just happened to make the most profit under the master’s payroll, but once my skills became known, what was better than free service? Unfortunately, the master still had faith in Yule, who filled his mind with slanted thoughts against me.

“No one else has access to my accounts except you and me,” Urien said. “Should I bring in the other slaves from your living-quarters for questioning as well?”

My master hadn’t been this riled up since a slave had attempted to flee the mansion with a handful of riches from his treasure room. Although he acted alone, five other slaves in his living quarters were flogged to death in a public execution.

No one in my living quarters had the ability to pull off the heist, and I didn’t want more innocent people to go down with me. I knew I’d been set up, but there was no swaying my master.

I grit my teeth and confessed to the crime I didn’t commit. “I acted alone.”

A small sound of surprise from the girl brought my gaze to her. She was staring at me curiously, and the corners of her lips turned up. Maybe she wasn’t as innocent as I thought.

I ignored her. This probably was all her fault.

“Get him out of my sight!” Urien commanded with a wave of his hand.

I didn’t bother fighting back, not that I could. I may have looked like I could win fights—my height and broad shoulders were apparently suited for street fighting—but I surely never tried. No, my muscle build came from running and climbing. I was the best at cliff races … or at least I used to be.

Minutes later my wrist restraints were removed and I was shoved into a cold, damp underground dungeon cell along with the girl. I turned around just in time to meet Yule’s fist with my gut.

“Oof!” The air rushed out of me, and I stumbled backward.

“A little parting gift.” Yule smiled. “Make sure the Quwallie doesn’t kill you too quickly, okay? I’m spending a small fortune for the perfect view in the arena, after all.”

With a sly smirk and quick raise of his eyebrows, Yule closed the cell with a loud clank. His footsteps echoed back to us as he left the dungeon.

When it was quiet, the weight of my punishment suddenly filled my mind. I paced the dungeon back and forth, furious. Yule had set me up, and there was nothing I could do. Soon I was taking my frustration out on the battered steel door. It had a small barred window towards the top and looked as though it had bared the weight of others’ frustration and panic over the course of many years.

I didn’t hear the girl call out to me until I subconsciously threw her hand off my shoulder. Not only was I surprised at my aggression toward her, but at the fact that she reacted just as quickly by grabbing my wrist and yanking my arm up high behind my back.  It only took her a second to pin me to the cold ground.

Nope, definitely not innocent.

 


© Copyright 2017 Anon Amous. All rights reserved.

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