Write a Review

The Blades of Rana

All Rights Reserved ©

Chapter 2

I Remembered hearing why I was selected for the training camp. It wasn’t because I had special genes, nor was I the crème of the crop of some ivy league school. I was pulled out of D block back from Astrolith, a jail/secret training facility somewhere on the asteroid belt because of the schemes I was able to cook up in the simulation center. Moreover, I think they found life without parole ridiculous for a peddler. However, I wish they gave me more of a choice. Even though the blades were special elites, I don’t think I would have said yes.

“Welcome back, Toad. Did you have fun with me in Imaginary?” The nurse asked in a tighter gown. She looked like a wrapped-up, hilly stick with enough curves to dilate any warrior’s eyes.

“Nothing fun happened. We only cleared the level. You were good with a gun and stingy with words.”

“Aw, well that sucks.” She looked conflicted at first, but then leaned down and gave me a quick hug. It felt like spring time in winter, or like heaven in hell. I looked up at her all red.

“So, do you have a name, Doll?”

She crossed her arms, and I just realized I forgot the number one rule. You could never ask for an employee’s name. They were afraid we’d find their whereabouts and visit them.

“You know I can’t tell you that, Toad. Are your trying to get me fired?”

I knew it. I sighed, and she sighed. It’s weird talking to a girl when you’re a killing machine.

“I’m sure you can tell I forgot, honey. Care to at least tell me my test results?”

She nodded and clicked on the screen. It appeared as a yellow box complementing the sallow space. It kind of matched her amber dress. Regardless, she popped up my vitals with a swipe of her finger.

“Hmm, your leg should be back to normal in ten minutes, and the rest of your body is fully recovered.”

I nodded and tried to get up, but I forgot I was buckled in. I pleaded at her with my eyes.

“Yeah, just don’t chase after me once I unbuckle the harness. I’m worse than that devil in Imaginary, I promise.” As she was saying that, it dawned on me that you could watch the sessions in Imaginary. Simultaneously, the general walked in the door. I wiggled my legs trying to stand up, but I couldn’t. So, we just saluted at each other, me first, and he seemed pleased.

“I saw your scans when you arrived, Toad. A perfect blade that never dulls. Wouldn’t you say, Samantha.”

I couldn’t believe he said her name out loud. The nurse looked pissed from the name drop and planted her arms on her hips like spears. I wasn’t expecting it.

“He’s not supposed to know my name, Sir. Is there a reason you told him?” She angrily did her job and pushed me over towards him in my shinny wheel chair. He looked even more in charge from under his grizzled chin.

“He’s not a bad kid, Samantha, and I heard he hasn’t said a girl’s name out loud in three years.” He pouted and pushed me back over towards the nurse. He was going for pity points. I stopped rolling right by her feet and uttered it.

“Samantha was it? It’s so beautiful sweetheart.”

“Ugh, well, he’s supposed to go with you, general. We shouldn’t be playing fetch with Toad.”

She has no idea that wasn’t my real name, and I couldn’t tell her anything else. The general caught on as he looked down at me. He knew I wanted to tell her, but if I did he’d probably throw me back in the hammock. My real name is Artemis D. Mordalith from Powano City on Runa’s coast! I muttered it at the general and he pretended not to see it. He knew about my past, so he always treated me well.

This all happened because of my dad. I’m not blaming him. All I wanted was to grow up and work with him exploring the asteroids. He was a sifter, and not a bad one at that. But because of a fire storm in space, his entire crew was wiped out busting the left-over family’s incomes. To accommodate we all turned into a bunch of crooks, or beggars. And when I found out about it, I choose to peddle so my mom wouldn’t have to. The general found out and it changed the way he treated me.

“He’s about to be able to stand, Samantha. How about you promise to take him out if he wins the race?”

“When’s the race general?” I started standing. Wait he’s hooking me up. I’m so surprised I almost fall.

“Shush, kid. Let her answer I’ll tell you on the way.”

“You would let me date a blade, sir?” She said.

“Yup, Samantha. I can’t let the boy suffer on here all the time.” He said.

“Well I guess I agree, Toad. If you win, I’ll let you take me to dinner.” She rubbed her hand through my erect black hair and unstrapped the ropes around my legs. Fortunately, they were only meant to keep me from falling. I got excited.

“You mean it, General? I get to take Samantha out if I win.”

“Why would I lie to you, Toad. Now get up and walk over here. Let me see how you’re doing.”

“Alright sir.” I said.

My legs felt like two steel girders, but I dragged them over toward the general. He patted me on the back.

“You better win, kid.” He smiled.

He probably placed a bet on me winning. And now I had a bet. He was stacking the odds in his favor, and I was excited as a guy could be to help him out. I couldn’t wait to hear about this race. I eventually regained a normal gait as we approached the glistening windows. They shined with unobstructed sunlight. We were on a pretty Ranan Cruiser near home.

“We’re already here General?” I look down on Rana out the window. It’s one of the sixty manmade planets floating around the blinding sun.

“Yes, we’ll be landing in a few minutes, Toad. Just remember to win the bet once we land. It will be starting immediately after Congress is held.”

He probably wagered a hefty bet.

The deck was full of suave looking pilots and dressed up flight attendants. There were some lavish colorful murals behind us. The ship started diving down into the hemisphere as I watched Rana start to accept us. A few of the flight attendants were shivering while looking at me. I used to get much better reaction before this all happened.

“Do I have to brief him, sir?” Mavis asked the General. He walked in towering over everyone else as his oversized feet quietly brought him right to my face.

“Yes, dress him up while you’re at it Capitan. It would be bad if a Toad showed up at congress.”

Even though it was a hilarious joke, I didn’t laugh. However, Mavis and Captain ‘Asshole’ laughed in unison. If I could of, I would have puked on captain’s bald head. Unfortunately, Mavis dragged me and started explaining the game plan to me while some intern tried to dig up a sports suit for me to wear.

“Just win the race, Capitan? Isn’t there more to it than that?”

“Look Toad. If you don’t win you can always go dig up ores on some asteroid, like your dad did. Congress is hoping to hook you up and change the image of Blades. What other choice do you have?”

I shrugged it off, and he came up to me shaking me like I’m a broken machine. “Cheer up, kid. I promise I’m taking care of your mom. I just saw her the other day.”

It wasn’t funny.

“You’re so kind to me Mavis. I hope you gave her some money when you visited.”

He looked at me seriously and pat me on the back in his favorite spot. “Relax, kid. I promised I’d take care of your family no matter what. I’m a soldier. If I don’t dis another man occasionally, I get soft.”

“But how’d you like what I did to Big Bellied James?” I was genuinely curious to hear his opinion. He instructed me through the first weeks of pain at training camp. The only comfort I had was his horse voice.

“It was a good scheme, but if he hit you again you would have been dead, Toad. You were too daring. That blade almost chopped you into a thousand pieces.”

I nodded, and he started ranting about the basics of military maneuvers. Luckily, I now had an opportunity to think about something else for a minute. Samantha popped up in my head. If she took care of me, how nice that would be. I snapped out of it as the ship bounced onto the runway. I caught Mavis as he nearly sailed off towards the ceiling from the inertia.

The intern clambered out of the closet and handed me a suit. She didn’t have to shake the entire time she was in the room, but it seemed like I chilled her bones like a frigid storm.

“Hey darling. I’m not a killer like the other blades. All I did was sell things to feed my family.”

She turned back and nodded at me before tripping on her way out. He black dress nearly ripped by the doorway.

“I don’t think she’s scared because you’re a crook. She’s scared because you could grab her and take her away before she could scream for help.”

“Do I look like the type?” I said. He dragged me off the ship without answering me. Congress was already in session a few floors below us, so he pulled me along like a dog as a few prissy dames fixed my hair with some miracle spray.

We went through the chrome doorway into a platinum room, and the General pulled me over to the cage. Luckily, this guard was nice enough to push my head down before he shoved me. Capitan glared at the man, and he laughed.

“You’ve spent too much time with this blade” He glowered at Mavis like he was a piece of space debris. I just sat down in my chair and kept my lips sealed.

“We finally have two blades together. How pleasant for you’ll to almost arrive on time.” A grey suit said.

“We’re here aren’t we.” The General smiled.

“Yes, I can see your pet showed up on time. I heard he also took out James. We’ll make sure to reward your team.”

“Well, it wasn’t really much. The new technology made it all possible. Right, Toad?”

The audience gasped when they heard I had a name. They looked like surprised children, and they nearly all covered their mouths.

“We don’t use anything but numbers for Blades. You know the rule General!” The red on the man’s face boiled darker and his cheek bones poked out with the steam from his hot breath.

“Relax, folks.” Mavis held up his arms. “We never use his real name, and he actually is a pretty good kid. He just tried to save his family.”

“Then how did he get sent to Astrolith prison? Did he decide to rob an entire nation?” A red tie seemed to laugh at the sheer ridiculousness of it all. I held my hand up hoping to answer the question. Mavis pushed me to the wall.

“No one asked your opinion 117. Do you want to lose the rights to your name!” He pilloried me like a professional two face. I planted my ass on the cold ground as the guard laughed and gave a thumbs-up to Mavis.

“You’re not so bad after all.” The security guard acknowledged him as the Cardinal Secretary in the middle of the panel pointed at me.

“Let him tell his story. Just realize you’re under oath, Toad. If you so much as utter an untruthful word we will ship you back to Astrolith by sunset.” She said.

Mavis then winked at me provoking the ire of the guard. I almost laughed at his antics before the memory of my past started flashing back into my awareness. It was as if I arrived back in time with the collector tossing me around like a foot soldier in the war for mob of the year.

It was four years ago when I still had wet tears running down my face and I had no where to go. The collector showed up as I tended tables. He was known in my restaurant as the scarlet fox, and we talked about him after hours. Apparently, he made something called the magi, and he needed people to sell it. I happened to remember every word of his order that night, and since I forgot my notepad I just shook my head confidently and scarfed it into my head. He left his card on the table because he liked smart ‘stars’ – the guides of the magi.

“…I got busted selling to a politician, and to shut me up they threw me to the Astrolith.”

“Can you name this politican?” She asked

“Yeah, Manuel Castle. He’s dead now. I’m guessing the collector killed him to shut him up.”

They all seem appalled. Like they didn’t just send me to kill a bunch of people. I scarfed down my disgust from their duplicity.

“You’ll be allowed to be called, Toad. We will do everything we can to fix your record, son.” She stood out like a rock in a prairie. The rest were clearly disgusted, and scared; or disgusted, and angry. I heard chains rattling as the other blade walks into the room. I guess it’s time to perform.

“You’ll both be racing today. Is alright with you, Toad and 19?” We nodded, and the journalists buzzed around us as bulbs flashed taking our photos. Nineteen had already been through what I’d been through, and more. He grinned at me as the officers pushed us off to the starting line. The lieutenant took out his phone and punched in a series of numbers. I dropped down to my knees, inhibiting the painful shakes, along with my new ‘friend’. He smiled over at me with foam coming from his mouth.

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.