Lot 743 a rare gem worth the money for any collector
Cordelia was vaguely aware the voice was talking about her as she stood there in the skimpiest dress she’d ever worn in her life. She’d done everything she could to avoid being taken there but in the end it hadn’t mattered. There was something about her being some rare gem or breed or product or item...anything other than a human. Something she didn’t agree with or even understand. Something which had really only made her life considerably harder. Now she was here, being sold as property to the highest bidder. She’d have much rather been working back in the mines, just barely scraping by. She could do without the high life and the luxury if she had her freedom. It was gone now. She was no longer human. She would belong to whoever wanted her and that was that.
Blue eyes. Red hair. A genetic combination almost one of a kind. One in a million. Young. Guaranteed fertile and able to bare children. 24 years of age. In her prime. Let’s start the bidding at 100 thousand.
She blinked a few times, there was no one in this room with her. She was by herself, having been shoved in there moments earlier. After the government had figured out she was fertile, something she’d been praying wouldn’t come to pass, she was shipped off to a programming center. A place that was supposed to teach women like her how special they were. The other girls, they dreamed of going to these places. Were fed stories about how wonderful they were. That only the best of the best girls got to attend these “schools” to increase their status in life. She knew better. Though nothing was ever directly stated it was pretty obvious that it wasn’t a good alternative to hard labor. At least not in her mind. Thoughts which were confirmed once she got there entirely against her will.
500 thousand do I hear six?
Everything had been a bunch of propaganda from day one. How they were supposed to behave for their new husbands once they were assigned a home. How lucky they should feel when they were chosen. How they should feel proud that men wanted to spend that kind of money on them. The higher the bid the more important it made you. Then you were bound to do your job, be his mate, and have his children. It was the absolute purpose of a fertile woman. There was nothing more, nothing less. She knew so much of this was bullshit. Probably because she’d been rejected at a young age for the very traits they were searching for now. The genetically different. Healthy, beautiful, but trendy.
The elite upper class, borderline royalty compared to everyone else. They were the 1%. The world had changed drastically from what it was. She’d been lucky enough to be one to learn to read and write before it was decided red hair was not attractive. She was sent to a mining town. Told to forget about her future. She had no clue what happened to her mother, barely even wanted to think about her father. She’d seen both sides and she’d decided it was better to earn an honest living than pump out babies and be seen as nothing more than a breeder. She’d seen how they’d been. How they coveted looks over substance. How one year a big crooked nose was in vogue and the next they were supposed to be small and narrow. Now it was red hair and blue eyes but in a month...week...or year (who knew) it could be blond hair and green eyes. There was no way of knowing and this time...they may kill her instead of releasing her back to the mining town.
The bidding amount started to climb higher. She could see the ticker on the wall. Beads of sweat breaking out over her skin with the bright lights shining down on her. Her eyes shifting from camera to camera hovering in the air and circling her body. Scanning her to give prospective bidders a three dimensional holographic model to study. Though she had considered resisting, running, screaming, completely ruining this process she knew better. She did not want to go back to a programming center. As bad as this was, those places had to be worse. She’d learned very quickly to just pretend to agree. Be complacent. Let them think she was obedient. It was either that or risk losing not only her sanity but her self. Her sense of identity. If she lost that she would never be able to escape when the chance presented itself and she always needed to have that hope.
She’d been asked if she desired something to help her relax before the bidding started. That it could be stressful and it would not be good for her heart if she got worked up. Whatever the hell that meant. She’d accepted. Her mouth was dry and she was swaying on her feet a bit. She felt almost as if this was a dream. Sedated and unable to speak. The digital display kept climbing into the millions. Tens of millions. It hit one hundred million then held. Kept holding. She blinked a few times. This couldn’t be possible. She was not worth that much, no one in their right mind would pay that amount for her and even if they would...how did they have so much to throw away on something like this? This was no ordinary bidder this man...whoever he was...would be at the top. The upper crust of the already spoiled elite. She was screwed. There was a loud buzzer, then the sound of a bell. Under the digital price display a name shimmered into place, followed by a hologram of the winner.
She nearly vomited when she found this out and stumbled back. Feeling like she’d collapse as her legs got weak and her vision got blurry. This was quickly rectified by a handler coming in behind her and grabbing her by the arm. She was pulled towards the opposite door. Unable to even speak. She could hardly breathe. Though she didn’t know many actual facts about the Ellington’s she definitely knew rumors. She knew enough to know that they were powerful. A family with control of most everything. Their names were even on a lot of the meals and supplies that she had purchased from day to day. They were leaders in the government; they were even like Gods to some of the dumber people who believed in the propaganda of the supreme overlord and his advisers. How in the holy hell was she going to an Ellington?
The panic kicked in, giving her a bit of an adrenaline rush and she attempted to jerk away, weakly. She was warned to mind her manners and she realized she was going to have to calm down. She had no choice and if this man wanted her he was going to get her. Hell, he’d get her dead body if she didn’t step into line. They didn’t care. Since she was no longer a human, just cattle, they only had to get her body to him. They didn’t have to do anything else and they especially didn’t have to be nice about it. She was quickly shoved into a metal crate. Something so small she could only fit on her hands and knees. She curled up, as best she could, thankful that she was tiny and barely over five feet tall. Being malnourished the majority of her life did not make her a force to be reckoned with by a long shot.
A door sealed over the opening of the crate. She now only had a few holes to let in air and light and maybe just barely see out of. She heard voices but they were low, muffled, possibly only not making sense because of the drugs. It was hard to tell. There was the sensation of movement. The crate being lifted. Loaded somewhere else much darker than the first room she’d been brought into. She heard a voice:
SHIP IT OUT
Another door shut. She was in complete darkness at that point. It was freezing. She heard the hum of something, possibly a motor but not that of a typical hover truck or personal car. This was more reminiscent of a train. Not one she’d have been used to taking but a much better built one. Smoother. At least it didn’t reek of vomit and body odor in here. She closed her eyes and took a few deep breaths before letting them out slowly. Reminded herself that she wasn’t going to suffocate in here, she could still feel the air flow, and this was only temporary. If someone paid that much for her it was unlikely they’d willingly let her come to too much harm if they could avoid it. For the most part. At least when it came to this family, maybe. Avery wouldn’t want his new toy damaged. This was it. This was all she got. It was simultaneously the first and last day of her life.
When she had dozed off she didn’t know. How long she’d been out was also a mystery. The only thing that had woken her was the sound of the door opening and light hitting her face. Had she not been in the exact position that she’d ended up in, it may have missed her through that tiny hole. As fate would have it, she wasn’t that lucky. She heard footsteps and the beep of a device that was confirming identity. She was vaguely aware that this train was still moving. It definitely wasn’t stopped but it was possible that it had stopped at some point when she was out. The door to her crate raised up and the second one unlatched and opened.
“Get out,” A voice told her firmly. She knew better than to hesitate so she crawled out of the crate and got to her feet. Her eyes squinted as they tried to adjust to the bright light. She blinked rapidly, her brain slowly registering the fact that the man in front of her was Avery. He was over a foot taller than her, immaculately dressed, and even better looking than his hologram. “I see they didn’t clean you up very well.”
“Was that a question? Were you supposed to respond?” He asked and grabbed her arm roughly. She shook her head.
“No, sir.” She muttered.
“Good. You only need speak when asked a question, and you will limit your answers only to what is necessary. No one here cares what you think.” He said and started to pull her out of there. He brought her through a door into a hallway of a train where she could finally see out of the windows that lined the walls. They were going fast. Far faster than any train she’d ever traveled on. All she could see was green. It was blurry, far too fast to comprehend shapes and specifics but it was green. Lush green. Forest green. Actual plants and wildlife. Not the artificial green of the city lights or the chemical burned sky where she was from. No...the streak of blue above that definitely told her otherwise.
She didn’t have much time to marvel at this before she was brought into a different car. A large one. Something that looked personally designed to live in for long term travel. Private and luxurious. There was a massive spread of food on a far table. She could smell it. Not only had it been recently cooked but it was all real. Not artificial meats and replacement protein powders. This was actual food. Her bone dry mouth started to water, but she didn’t have time for that either. She was brought to another door and Avery placed his hand over the security panel to read his print. It slid open to reveal an amazing bathroom.
“Strip.” He told her.
“Now?” She whispered which only got her a slap across the face.
“Yes sir, sorry...sir.” She said quickly and slipped out of the dress she had been forced to change into for the auction. Panties as well. They hadn’t bothered with a bra but if he wanted her naked this quickly then she could see why.
“You will get cleaned up. You will only take ten minutes. You will come out to my room, right here, to greet me when you are finished. You will not redress. You’ll need...inspection.” He said with an oddly perverted smile that she already didn’t like. Even if she had wanted to fight him it wouldn’t have been possible. He was twice her size. She just nodded and he let go of her arm so she could step into the bathroom. The door shut behind her and she heard a little electronic jingle as it locked. She stepped over to the mirror and looked into it. She really was a mess. They’d definitely done the best they could to make her look presentable for auction but she was still pretty visibly dirty as well.
A moment later, above her reflection, a digital clock displaying ten minutes appeared and started to count down. This hurried her to the shower stall where she started the water. Immediately she noticed that not only was it nice and hot but it was fresh. Clean. It wasn’t the well water she was used to. The stuff that smelled like minerals and sometimes sewage. They told them all that it was safe to shower in but she hadn’t always been so sure. This stuff ran clear and it wasn’t freezing cold or just barely warm. It was hot. Nearly scalding. She had to adjust the temperature to even be able to stand under it and start to clean herself up. Real soap too. Good stuff. Not the harsh bars that they also had to use for cleaning their clothes and just about anything else. Shampoo too. She honestly could have cried. Finally getting to be clean instead of itchy and uncomfortable. To a point where sometimes she could barely stand her own smell.
As she showered, took great care to make sure her waist long hair was as clean and smooth as possible, she watched the clock display on the mirror. The minutes ticking down. Driving her into more and more of a panic as the number got lower and lower. When she shut off the shower at the three minute mark, having rinsed everything off, there was a bright flash of warm light which dried her instantly. Including her hair. Something she wasn’t at all used to or even aware existed as a thing. She stumbled out of the shower in shock. Her stomach growled loudly. She looked at the door. The clock was down to a minute. She took in a deep breath and let it out slowly. It was assumed that once the timer hit zero the door would unlock and slide open again. There didn’t seem to be a way for her to open it before that point. She knew that once it did, she couldn’t hesitate she couldn’t falter. She was already in a bad spot and being stubborn would only make it worse. She needed to make a choice and since she wasn’t yet ready to face her own death she had no choice but to accept her new life. The only thing she could do was hope that it wasn’t going to be nearly as bad as appeared to look. The clock wound down. There was a buzzing sound. The door slid open. She took her first step out...