The Lightspeed of Thought

Prompt: Write a story that takes place across ten seconds.

“Where are you taking me?” Esmerelda glared at the smiling man standing above her with his hands deep in the pockets of his gilded red coat. The sight of such outdated Earth fashion in space would have been humorous under normal circumstances, but the cold manacles around Esmerelda’s wrists reminded her that there was nothing amusing about her situation; not for her, anyway. 

Garroway Brink didn’t answer. His smile wasn’t for her, but for the stars blurring past the viewport. If the rumours were true, then this ship could take them anywhere in the galaxy within a matter of seconds. 

Was that all the rest of her life amounted to, a few seconds? But Garroway would have already killed her if that was what he wanted…right? 

Still, she thought with a shudder, recalling all the stories she’d heard about prisoners of the Orionis Pirates, there are fates worse than death. 

What could she do with her last moments? Her comm unit had been taken. Even the tracking chip behind her ear had been found and crushed under Garroway’s boot. To everyone she’d ever known, she’ll simply have vanished. The pirates had left no traces of their presence on Dozone for anyone to follow, even if Esmerelda had been able to warn her family that something was wrong. 

The cold talons of fear sank deep inside of her as she considered that she’d be like a ghost. She’d be alive in a factory somewhere or serving some arrogant aristocrat on one of the wealthier planets, but no one back home would know she was alive. No one would ever find her. 

The ship lurched. Esmerelda stumbled forward onto her face. Some of the crew laughed at her before returning to their stations, but Esmerelda barely heard them because a dark planet filled the viewport. 

A planet that Esmerelda would know anywhere. 

She fought the smile that threatened to stretch across her lips. She couldn’t let the pirates know that they had made a mistake. Because while her official records showed that she’d been born on the rural planet of Inurn, she had really been born here, on the massive metropolis of Utopia Prime. She knew the ins and outs of this planet, its people, its streets, even its black markets, better than she knew the back of her hand. 

Suddenly, the manacles didn’t feel so tight any more. No matter what part of the planet they took her to, no matter who they tried to sell her off to…

She was going to escape. 

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