Warlands of Song

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Chapter Seventeen: Saige

Saige sat on the carpet, knees drawn up into her chest as she watched the equivalent of a game show play out on the wall. Lined up in two groups facing each other were six Siren and six Namai. The sole purpose of the show seemed like some sort of sick voyeur show. The host would hold up a card for the Siren, letting the audience see. But the Namai individuals could not see. Then the Siren’s job was to walk up to the Namai individual and whisper in their ear, commanding them to do whatever the card had said. The Namai individuals then had to fight the command for as long as possible. But they always gave in, eventually. And they were always humiliated.

“What kind of sick, twisted joke is this,” she mumbled.

But as it continued, she realized that it wasn’t a joke at all. This was actually entertainment to some people. To whom, she didn’t want to know. Maybe it was Siren television. There was no way Namai could watch as a pastime.

She tapped the smooth stone behind her ear, and the holographic screen on the wall flicked to another channel. This one was an action show, but she was quick to switch again when the first shot showed a Siren man being killed by a Namai man.

“What the heck is wrong with these people?”

She shut off the screen. There was no way she would allow the programs to influence her opinion of the world she’d barely had an opportunity to explore. Nor would she absorb the obvious racism which existed. She was half of both, so how could she choose one side over the other? There was no way the two sides were even accurate. She had to learn the stereotypes and the assumptions, just like she’d done on earth.

Her thoughts strayed to Glen again. What was he doing? He’d probably gone home to be with his daughter. He better have, all the effort she put into distancing herself from him. She surrendered herself only so he could go home, forget about her and live his life with his family. She hoped he’d paid tribute to Robert in some way at least.

Had it really been a week? After she turned herself in, they’d placed her in a “quarantine room” for a couple of days before a group of six soldiers had brought her to the room she was in now. They seemed content to leave her as she was. It was the eighth day since she’d surrendered, and she’d yet to speak to another person. Her meals were delivered three times a day by masked, silent men, and she had everything she needed in the space. But how long would they keep her secluded?

*_*_*_*_*

The wall slid open just as she’d decided to go back to sleep. There was little else to do. A man dressed in white strode in, irises flickering with some sort of electronic contact lenses. Her eyesight had improved to the point that she could see the microscopic wires in the lenses if she focused. Amazing.

He paused to observe her for a moment before continuing the walk to her bed, where he sat on the edge. She leaned back, but he didn’t touch her. He smiled at her.

“Feeling sore anywhere?” he asked.

She didn’t move, and he reached in his pocket. But he paused when she began to back away. His eyes softened and he removed his hand. It was empty. “I’m not here to hurt you. My job is only to keep you healthy.”

He withdrew a small metal object from his pocket. Long, and curved at the end like a soup ladle. “Can you tell me your name?”

She told him, eyes on the object he held.

“Saige, my name is Doctor Trev. I need to do a quick examination. It won’t take more than two minutes, and won’t hurt at all. Can you open your robe for me?”

“No. Why am I here? If they’re going to kill me, why make sure I’m healthy first?”

Dr. Trev drew back this time. “Why do you think they want to kill you, child?”

“They killed my friend to get to me! They almost killed me first—I almost died on earth! They want me dead, so why are they playing games? And who are you people, anyway?” Saige lashed out, but the doctor stood with ease, gave her space. “You won’t lay a finger on me until I know what’s going on,” she said lowly. She’d surrendered, but she wouldn’t play nice. Now that Glen was no longer involved, she had nothing left to lose.

Dr. Trev appeared stunned. He returned the device to his pocket and nodded. “Have you at least eaten? You’re terribly thin. I’d hate to think you’re malnourished. I will return tomorrow. Please rest... I don’t know what you’ve gone through, but I can assure you that the last thing anyone wants is for you to be killed. You’re safe here.”

Then she was left alone. She loosened up from her stiff position in the corner and started pacing. From one wall to the other, back and forth across the room. For days she’d been complacent. There’d been no one to stir up her emotions, and she’d binged on alien television, music, and video games. But this was the beginning of a new process. They were beginning to organize and attack. She needed her own plan.

Glen was no longer there. He just wasn’t. He wouldn’t be ever again. She had to make her own way no matter how she went about it. So what did she want? She didn’t want to escape. She wanted answers. She wanted justice. And she wanted to make sure she’d never be bothered again, for the rest of her life. One day she’d find her family and start her own family and her past would be a horrible memory.

They wanted to send fake doctors to keep her “healthy?” She would cooperate with them. She’d turn into their poster child—or poster freak—and strike them where it hurt when they least expected it.

“Game on.”

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