Black Raptor on Ptolemy

"To truly surrender is to give yourself over to your destiny.  Only when you have given everything up will you be ready to see the opportunities that present themselves, to go towards different end-lines.  Your destiny may be in the dirt or it may be in the stars.  Surrender is just another means of generating opportunities."
--Devian Listen, "Prisoner of War"

My hands were bound behind my back and a hood was placed over my head.   They did a quick but very thorough pat-down and then I was jabbed in the back and told to walk. 

"At least take the body."  I said, probably more pleading than I'd wanted.  I knew the size of their atmospheric interceptors and I was pretty sure there wasn't enough room for the three of us, let alone an extra body.

"Shut up."  One of the soldiers said and cuffed me across the back of the head.  "You go quietly and comfortably.  Make it difficult, the trip won't be comfortable.  Do not ask questions.  Do not speak unless spoken to.  Any action you are not directed to take will be interpreted as an act of aggression."   He remained silent for a long pause.  Then, "Do you understand."

Everyone knew the Coya didn't take prisoners.  I was pretty certain I was being taken somewhere to be shot, then probably left for dead in the open where the Tucson scavengers would rip me apart before sunset.  Given the alternative, prudence won out.  "Yeah."  I said.

We walked for maybe half an hour.  We descended the hill, towards the township.  Though I couldn't see, I could still smell the stale chalk of ash.  Then we turned to the east.  Rather than go through the township, I'm guessing we circled it and continued for some time.  The gentle smell of lavendar nearly made me choke.  I understood, finally, why Keri-Anne wore the scent.  It reminded her of home.

Abruptly, I was stopped and one of the guards took the hood from my head.   I  stood in front of a stripped down raptor-class interceptor.  Like their Vacc Suits, it was painted a matte black with no logos, reliefs or identifying markings of any type. 

The Raptor was standard fare for Concord Marines.  It had a low, streamlined body over powerful Superthrusters.  Sitting in it's cockpit was like being folded into wet dough.   At it's top burst, could sustain a litte over three and a half G-forces in the vacuum of space.  Raptors were often the fighters used on interstellar cargo ships hauling big money valuables. 

Decommissioned Raptors were in great demand.  But this one didn't look lke it had been downed and repaired.  For one thing, the ablative shielding on the sensor array had barely any scoring, and no weld-points that would indicate repair or replacement.

"Hey!"  I said, trying to keep myself looking harmless.  "That's a raptor, isn't it? It looks brand new!  How'd you--"

I felt a sharp crack at the base of my skull, and I found myself face-down on the ground.

"Ash! don't." one of them called out,  "Just bind him up and throw him in the Med-tube.  We'll beat the living crap out of--"

Then the world went dark.

The End

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