“It’s time to have a little chit-chat,” Traegr announces, motioning to the girl beside me, “Come on up, Celeste.”
The girl with the startling silver eyes just beside me, looks up to meet Traegr’s gaze and she automatically gulps, nervous.
“H-How do you know my name?” she asks in a tone that wavers, though she tries her best to appear steady and calm.
With a smirk, Traegr grabs the seat next to him at the silver table and pulls it forward with one hand and plants it in front of him.
“You amuse me like always, Celeste,” his voice suddenly turns dangerous though, “But don’t play coy with me, even after 1000 years. Now come up here and have a seat,” with her eyes darting around the room, Celeste reluctantly gets to her feet.
“What happened to your face?” she asks, and there is slight concern in her tone, like she actually might care for this scary as all hell alien – even if he did appear human.
Traegr goes quiet when she speaks this and Celeste pauses in her advance to the seat opposite him. Standing, she has long slender legs and a model’s body, but she is a healthy weight. Her light blonde hair lies down to her waist over the white dress she is wearing. They must have taken her when she was at a dinner party perhaps.
There was something about her that nagged at me though.
I felt like I knew her, but I had never met her before in my entire life.
“Sit down,” Traegr orders, ignoring her question about the burn scars that adorned his shoulder, neck and face.
She comes over and gracefully sits down opposite him.
“Traegr,” Hraken speaks up, “I don’t believe any of them remember anything, they are all, clearly different.”
“I see that they are... stranger,” Traegr mutters irritably, like Hraken was out of place to speak, “However we need to find out for sure. They are marked, which suggests either two things. These girls are identical genetically to the women we use to have on Kiyr. They are either our women, or they are imprinted, new, forged from the curse of the stars.”
“We will only know until we do our tests,” Sabir interrupts, gazing over at me as he says this. I just angrily look away towards the holograms of their world. They thought we were from their world? I certainly didn’t recognise it. I saw rolling hills and forests of grass that were too green and trees with flowers the colours of rainbows. The whole world looked like it had been masterfully painted. Everything was startling perfect. It all had a surreal feel to it, like it was from a fantasy world, or a divine paradise...
“Pass me the knife,” Traegr holds out a hand to Hraken who all too gladly passes him a lethal looking dagger from his belt. I instantly tense. The blade is a shade of metallic baby blue, with a slash of silver and a black metal handle.
Celeste stiffens, like she is about to bolt any second.
“Relax, girl,” Traegr speaks surprisingly gently, reassuring her, “I’m not going to hurt you, it’s for me.”
He grabs the dagger and brings it down onto his palm. She instantly relaxes when she realises she isn’t the one going to be cut. He slices a small line across his palm without flinching and holds out his hand towards her.
Every alien in the room goes eerily quiet, with an intense focus.
They had moments they seemed like any other human, but right now, all their concentrated expressions looked completely other worldly. An aura about them seemed to place them in a category above anything ordinary.
Nothing happens as Celeste stares at Traegr’s hand.
“What do you want me to do?” she whispers, confused and eyes wide.
“Heal the wound,” Traegr prompts her, annoyed she doesn’t respond straight away. So, he grabs one of her wrists with his other hand and positions her palm a few inches above his own outstretched, bleeding palm.
Still, nothing happens.
A few silent moments pass when suddenly, beyond fury, Traegr releases her wrist and she snatches her arm back to her chest. His eyes are blazing with raw emotion as he closes his hand, fingers curled in... he heals himself. I watch in shock as the wound heals up on its own as his fingers curl outwards. He then stands up abruptly and faces his men.
“It’s over,” Traegr snaps, “We thought we found them... we didn’t.”
With Traegr’s back momentarily turned from Celeste, she stands up and hurries back to our group, coming down to kneel beside me, giving me a wide eyed, terrified glance.
“At least we’re not dead yet,” she whispers to me.
I nod, and I watch Sabir watching my interaction with Celeste.
“My name is Sapphire,” I whisper back, “Nice to meet you, Celeste –”
“Permission to take the princess swimming, Traegr?” Sabir suddenly asks with his eyes locked on mine.
“Do what you will,” Traegr growls, but he is still pissed off, “I’ll send out a message declaring code 36. But Sabir, do not refer to her as a princess. She is not the girl you remember. They are all strangers.”
I try to think through everything that’s going on, but I am so confused, and I am so thirsty and hungry still. I needed to eat and drink soon or I’d faint from exhaustion.
The men disperse, some leave the room while five come over for the girls and boy, grabbing their arms and leading them out. Traegr does not approach Celeste again, but stays standing with hands on hips, glaring at the holograms on the walls, thinking deeply to himself.
As Sabir approaches me, I stand and remember what I wanted to ask.
“What is code 36?” I question.
“We have rules and regulations on board about the treatment of prisoners,” Sabir explains, “Code 36 means we have free reign and say over what to do with the prisoners, particularly that you are no longer as important as we once considered. Now, we’ll just find other uses for you,” he motions with his eyes for me to start walking to the exit, “Come now. I’m going to do some tests of my own before I decide you really aren’t Princess Sapphire. I won’t believe it until I see you in the water.”
“Swimming?” I ask.
The last thing I wanted to do was swim. I needed energy. Sustenance!
“Exactly, now move,” Sabir drops the octave in his tone, and it becomes ultra-masculine. It was super damn sexy but I was too hungry to think about much except staying alive and doing as I was told.
As Celeste had said to me before, we weren’t dead. Yet.
If the Others had no more uses for us anymore, we probably didn’t have much time left before we become completely disposable.