Plans (Chapter 3)
Four days is a long time to be kidnapped, but a short time to learn about the culture and customs of a new planet. I’ve spent much of the time I’m not required to be in class crying silently into the thin pillow in my room. I’ve spent time thinking about how much I hate Pinns and I’ve spent time just numb. Sometimes everything just feels off, like I woke up in the wrong parallel universe and everything is just wrong.
Everything about the situation is just confusing.
The most helpful thing so far has been the group therapy classes that started at the end of the first day. It was there that I finally began to speak with some of the other women.
I am ashamed that I have not made a better attempt to escape. Escape how? I am on a space ship. My only attempt has been to wander around the halls, peeking into the rooms. I saw little except empty classrooms and the large cafeteria. There is a large black door that only the Pinns appear to have access to down a hallway near the cafeteria, but I was too afraid to get close. Even if I could find a way out, how would I find a way back to earth? Am I going to fly a space ship? A shuttle pod? I shake my head. I have to fight with what I know and I know nothing.
Ava leans over her lunch tray and looks at me. “Ivy, you okay?” She is the willowy blond in my classes. Shy and sweet, she seems overwhelmed and anxious about the whole process. She is pale beyond reason with only a few freckles to give her any color. Her thin eyebrows and meager eyelashes are so white that they blended into her pale skin.
“Is anyone in this shitty situation okay?” Becky answers in retort, waving her hands around at the room. She is dark-haired and defiant, stronger than the rest of us. Not physically, physically she is a skinny and petite woman, but mentally. She has an edge to her. Honestly, she scares me a little bit.
“Yeah, sorry, my head is just elsewhere” I reply. I shake it in an attempt to refocus on their conversation.
The cafeteria is a surprisingly quiet place. We all sit in our groups assigned to us on the first day. Ava, Becky, and about ten other women sit with me at a long off-white rectangular cafeteria table. We are the 300s as indicated by our numbers on our wrist bands. As far as I can tell the numbers seem to represent linguistic or cultural groups.
Throughout the cafeteria, women talk quietly among themselves under harsh bright lights. A few bored-looking Pinn guards watch over everything. It smells of overcooked eggs and cleaner.
“Did you feel anything?” Becky whispers looking at me.
“Um... sorry. What?” I must have drifted again. It’s hard to concentrate when there is so much to think about or maybe it’s the stress.
“Drugs. The fuckers must have drugged us. Didn’t you have the needle marks on the first day?”
I frown. Of course I did, two dots of crusted-over blood on the inside of my arm. I nod to both to confirm that I had them and that I want her to continue.
“It had to be something to keep us calm,” Becky says looking down the table at the women closely listening. Everyone at the table is listening now. Some nodding with Becky, some just looking scared.
“Maybe they just took blood samples?” replies a tan black-haired woman named Emma further down the table.
Becky narrows her eyes at her “Didn’t you feel the-”
Becky suddenly jerks her head up to look behind me. The rest of the women follow her eyes. I turn hastily around to see what they are watching.
Approaching is a determined-looking woman. Striding up to our table, she grabs an empty chair a bit further down the table. She is tall with stylish short brown hair and lean-built like a yoga instructor. She glances around the room at the guards and then she glances around the table. We observe her in turn.
She leans in and whispers firmly “I am Sarah from the 500s.”
A few women nod welcoming her, but we remain quiet. In the four days we have been on this sterile grey ship, none of the women from the other groups has done more than nod or mutter hi as we pass them in the hallways. I had tried once while in line for the food in the cafeteria, commenting on how the pasta sauce we had been forced to eat for the past two days needed more salt. A poor attempt at small talk, I know, but surely most people would accept it as the opening to make conversation that it was. The woman had just grunted with a nod and continued piling spaghetti on her lunch tray.
Sarah briefly hesitates: “Tomorrow we’ll try to escape. We want you to join us” She has a clipped accent that I can’t quite place.
I take a deep breath to calm my nerves but I feel my eyes widen. I both want to hear this and am afraid too at the same time. Maybe this is my chance.
“Our plan is to overpower them. There are more of us than them. We attack after lunch tomorrow.” I admire her confidence, her surety. I could use some of that in this situation.
“That is not much of a plan,” Becky says narrowing her dark brown eyes at Sarah. Oh God, it isn’t. The plan is to get us all killed.
“If you have a better one I want to hear it. We arrive in 4 days”
Becky stares at Sarah for a little bit. She then lets out a short huff. “Fine. I’m in”
“Anyone else?” Sarah questions
“I don’t think it’ll work” Ava quietly squeaks. Her light pink lips set in a deep frown.
Sarah turns to face her fully and Ava shrinks under her strong gaze. “Doesn’t matter. We succeed or die. I’m not going to be raped”
With that everyone is quiet. She has a point, she really does, and I long to simply do something, anything about this situation rather than waiting and abiding for the perfect moment to escape that will never come.
Sarah gazes around the table again. “Who’s in?”
I nod along with most of the table. This is the closest thing to an opportunity to escape yet. I may be overly cautious when it comes to most things, but I knew I would regret it if I don’t try to escape. I hate regrets.
Sarah nods. “Good. We do it tomorrow after lunch” she reaches over and grabs a knife off of the closest lunch tray and raises in the air “Bring whatever you can conceal as a weapon, otherwise use the butter knives”