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Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Sci-fi · #2277288
I used to be a smuggler, a pirate, a thief, etc. Now I just tell my stories about them.

Against the Protectors No More


     My name is Gallanta Bavan. And I am a smuggler, a pirate, a thief, etc. If it is against the law, I have probably done it in the last seven hundred and ninety-seven years. At least I used to be like that. But I’m not doing that anymore.

     I haven’t been doing that in almost three years now. Has it really been that long since I lost my ability to change? It doesn’t seem that long to me. But it has been. Don’t get me wrong. I like being a good Kallim now. But it’s not as much fun as being a bad one, though.

     Of course, I haven’t always been bad. That only started after being stupid enough to leave Kallim. True, it used to be so dull living there. Especially, since we are all living forever now. A lot of Kallims have left. I am one of them who have done it.

     We haven’t always been able to live forever. It only happened after we almost destroyed our home planet. That changed everyone on Kallim. Not only can’t we die, but we can change our appearance. This ability has come in very handy with what I used to have to do to survive.

     Our ever-ending life started almost a thousand years ago when our experts tried to increase our aging a little since we only live then until we are fifty. They never wanted us to live forever. But that is what happened. Only that isn’t all that has changed for us.

     We can now change our appearance whenever we want to do it. At first, it used to be a fun way to get around staying the same age forever. But even that soon become boring after a couple of hundred years. That’s when I decided to leave Kallim too.

     Soon after I left Kallim, I learned how hard it will be to survive in Space. Especially, when it comes to staying alive. Just because I can’t die doesn’t mean that I can’t wish I could do it. The only way to survive is to take what you need. That’s what I have been ever since then.

     Up until almost three years ago, that’s what I have been doing. That’s when I lost my ability to change into anyone. Another attempt by our experts to reverse our living forever. It changed me. But not in the way they think that it has.

##

     “The supplies we are transporting have been hidden on our spacecraft.” I can barely hear his voice coming into my right ear.

     I look around to see how close anyone is to where I’m at. There are a lot of people in this part of this space station. But none close to me. I step out of the darkness between two businesses and tap my right ear once. “Get my craft ready to leave. I will be there in about ten minutes.”

     After I tap my right ear twice, I step into the main walkway on this level. I start walking. Constantly, I look all around me as I head for a business at the far end of this walkway. While heading there, I look at myself through some business glass. I suddenly stop. My appearance has changed back to my true self. That has never happened to me before now.

     I close my eyes as tight as I can get them. Then I crinkle my face as though I’m trying to tighten them more. When I open them again, I look at myself in the glass. I am still myself. Something must be wrong with my ability to appear as anyone.

     Trying to change again, I get the same results. I shrug and start walking again. Don’t have time to figure out what is wrong right now, I think. I’ll have to do it after I pick up my payment for this transport.

     Just as I am about to get to my destination, I suddenly stop. My payment contact is talking to four Protectors. While they are talking, he points at me. The four Protectors turn toward me. I slowly look around. Only to see three more foursomes heading toward me. Within a minute, they have her completely surrounded.

     “Hello Gallanta,” says one of the Protectors. “So good to see you again.”

     I don’t know what his name is, but I have seen him before. Some of the others I recognize too. They have been showing up where I am at quite a few times lately. “Hello, can I help you with something?”

     “Yes, you can. You can surrender without a fight,” says the same Protector.

##

     I don’t know what the law enforcement is called on this space station or the planet of Vogsion that it’s orbiting. But from where I’m from they are called Protectors. Whoever they are, they have me. I still don’t know why I can’t use my new appearance ability. All I do know is that without it is the reason why they have found me.

     Now I’m heading for detention. Once I get there, they will start questioning me about what I have done lately. And I have done a lot. I have taken a lot of things that aren’t mine. Using this space station to hold it until I could get it all out of here. Almost done it too.

     If not for getting my payment for some things I have transported in the past, I’d be gone by now. I’m not all that surprised he pointed me out. He does owe me a whole lot of credits. But I still don’t understand how he recognized me. My face isn’t the same as it is now. And my age used to be in my early twenties back then.

     Maybe I will find out what is going on with me now that we are at detention. I am placed roughly into a large chair opposite three Protectors. The one who has been doing all the talking so far is in the middle. And the others are on both sides of him. I’m about to find out who they are.

     “We have been interested in you for decades,” says Protector Maindim. “And sometimes that hasn’t been easy to do with you changing your appearance every few years. But now that you can’t change it’s not that hard. I’m just happy it was me who stopped you.”

     “What did you just say?” Gallanta asks. “How do you know about my changing ability.

     Maindim leans forward. “We have known about you for centuries. And why you have been getting away with what you have been doing. Also, why you can’t do it anymore.”

     “Your experts were trying to stop your ageless problem,” continues Maindim. “But instead of helping you, they stopped your ability to change. They call it the Kallim Sickness. But we call our best chance to stop you once and for all.”

##

     I’m not surprised that our experts have been trying to find a way to stop our ageless problem. They have tried several over the centuries. But nothing like this. No wonder they haven’t told us about it. At least I don’t think they have done it.

     What I want to know is how I have been exposed to this Kallim Sickness. Is it something that started on Kallim and spread out into the universe? Probably by other Kallims who have left Kallim too. Can’t say that I have encountered any Kallims recently. But I may have done it. After all, all us humans look alike.

     The Protectors who stopped me could have put me on a Detention Planet. But they haven’t done this. Instead, they used my abilities to help them on this space station. I can’t be a Private or Professional Protector because of my past. But I can use what I have done to keep others like me from doing it.

     That’s what I have been doing for almost three years now. And I have helped them with about two hundred others like me so far. I’m about to get another one. This one is a smuggler. And I have been watching him for the last four weeks. That’s why I’ve been thinking about why I have been doing this. I do it every time I’m watching someone for any length of time.

     This smuggler has been very hard to keep my eyes on. He may not know that it’s me watching him. But I think he knows someone is doing it. He’s constantly looking around him as he goes about what he has been doing. And what he’s doing he is almost finished with.

     I can’t name who this smuggler is yet. But he’s about to leave this space station with a lot of weapons heading for some freedom fighters in a war zone. That isn’t all that he’s smuggling there. He also has medical supplies. I can understand why he’s doing it. But the way he’s doing it is why I’m here watching him.

     The smuggler I have been watching is using a passenger pleasure spaceship to get his weapons and medical supplies to this war zone. If I don’t stop him, a lot of innocent people may get hurt or worse. I can’t let that happen. And this is the only way I can think of to stop him.

##

     “He has just finished hiding his weapons and medical supplies,” I say after I turn my head slightly to a small round metal disk on my right shoulder. “You have about an hour before the passengers start coming on this death ship.”

     Almost an hour later, I watch from some darkness in between two large containers when Maindim and about fifteen other Protectors start entering the spaceship where this smuggler is from different directions. A few seconds later I start hearing weapons fire.

     At times like this, I’m happy I’m not a private or a Professional Protector. I don’t like weapons. Never have used them. And I never will. No matter how bad it gets I won’t use one. Can’t see what is happening in there. But I can still hear the weapons fire coming from all over this spaceship. And it sounds like there is a lot of weapons fire coming from over there.

     Just then I hear a very loud explosion. Suddenly, there are a lot more of them from all over this spaceship. It sounded to me like someone fired a weapon at the smuggled weapons. Hopefully, it happened by accident. Those weapons caused the others to begin exploding too. About a minute later it stopped.

     Now all I can do is wait. I have been trying to contact Maindim. Any of the Protectors there. She has been hearing a lot of commotion going on within this spaceship. But no one has responded to her contact. I don’t think anyone could have survived that.

     I raise my drink to the others in this cantina that I have been coming to ever since its entrance slide open for the first time. I have been telling them my stories too. And I have a million of them to tell. But I’m not the only one. There are several others there right now. I’m sure some of them may have a smuggler’s story to tell too.

     “Maindim and eleven other Protectors lived through that fight,” I say to everyone there. “They will all be okay. Unfortunately, all of the smugglers in that fight died.”

     “I remember when that happened,” says one of the other drinkers there as he gets up. He reaches for something on his body. “Used to know several of them.”

     As I get up too, I smile. “If that’s a weapon you are getting, it won’t do you any good. I may not like weapons. But that doesn’t mean I need them to protect myself.”


Word Count = 1,974

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