Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2320741-Hell-in-Space
Rated: 18+ · Fiction · Horror/Scary · #2320741
Rekshi was fighting an interspecies war when he uncovers the truth.
"Soldier! Get to your post," the ship's commander, Farix ordered. "The Veritate Empire cannot fall to these rebels, man your plasma launcher now!"

Farix was an ass, all the enlisted fighters were in agreement. No one under his command told him that. I certainly didn't think informing him of this was worth ending up in stasis for the return to our home world.

I sat down and my station swiveled into position. The artificial targeting assistant chimed in my ear. "System time 254-1000. Enemy craft detected stellar winds minimal," it said. "Rekshi, do you wish to fire?"

"Aim to disable only," I said. "Do not destroy target vessel. Fire."

The launcher built up energy. Within moments super heated plasma hurtled through the space. The ship's radiation shield saved it from being immolated but its running lights flared briefly before the vessel sputtered and began floating on what inertia remained after acceleration ceased.

"Target neutralized," I announced over ship wide communications. "Begin docking when ready."

I winced at the overly assertive pat on my back. "Well done, soldier," Farix said. "Keep this up and you'll be promoted. Now we can put those rebellious Lesser Verits in the central unit when we arrive in the capital."

I'd heard stories about central unit. It was supposed to be a reservation for our sister species, the Lesser Verits. In truth, the area was a squalid slum with a planetary government office at its heart. Greater Verits weren't allowed to go there unless they had permission. Something about "maintaining purity" of the lineages.

Personally I had to wonder how bad conditions were in central unit to warrant rebellion. Maybe I should think of getting assigned there. Just to gain some understanding.

I saluted Captain Farix. "Permission to retire to barracks, sir?"

He returned my salute, "granted, soldier. Report back here at system hour 264-0200 for your next shift."

I dropped by the canteen on my way to my quarters. There was some commotion at the cross-corridors a couple of guards were trying to herd some rebels into the containment cell. "You can't send us back to that hell hole!" The rebel said.

"It's where lesser scum like you belong," the guard retorted. "You suck up the empire's resources, we don't even make you work. Then you have the nerve to hijack starships in an attempt to escape? From what? Rebels like you shouldn't even be allowed to live."

The guard used an energy prod on the prisoner forcing the man into the cell. A young Lesser Verit ran up to the man and hugged him murmuring to him in their own language.

I tried to forget the scene but by the time I took a seat at the canteen's counter, I still heard the youngster's pained voice in my mind.

"What can I get you?" The drink master asked.

"Something strong, preferably with a kick that'll make my brain forget the day."

A glass containing a layered dark blue and green concoction was slid in front of me. I barely had time to savor the bittersweet notes before they were engulfed by the spicy burning sensation.

After paying my tab, I went to my room and collapsed into an intoxicated stupor.

My next shift and the rest of the trip back to Veritate aren't worth mentioning. It was the meeting that I had in the capital that changed everything.

There was a trill on my dormitory room's intercom. "Attention, Second Crewman Rekshi. You have a notification from the Imperial Court."

I sighed, it looked like I wouldn't get to enjoy leave uninterrupted. "Read notification," I said.

"Second Crewman Rekshi, the Emperor sends his greetings and thanks you for your service. He demands that you report to the Imperial Court at your soonest convenience to discuss reassignment. That is all."

I got up and got dressed in my best uniform. Then made my way to the capital's rapid transit system.

Once there, I sat in a seat and waited to be called. Not long after my arrival a well dressed attendant called for me to enter an audience chamber. "Minister Xiyu will arive momentatrily," they said.

As the minister entered, I bowed myself to the ground as a sign of respect. "Minister Xiyu," I said. "The Emperor's servant awaits your word."

"Second Crewman Rekshi, well met," Xiyu said. "We commend you for your role in re capturing the Lesser Verit who hijacked a Quick Runner class starship. We are also greatful you kept it intact. They have been put into central unit for processing."

Xiyu continued, "because of this, we have seen fit to assign you as a guard in our most secret facility in central unit. Do you accept?"

I silently rejoiced. Not only would I no longer have to deal with that pretentious Captain Farix, I'd finally learn the truth about central unit. For the fates to have shone so brightly upon me was incredible.

Remaining in the same position of submission I answered the minister. "The Emperor's servant humbly accepts his new duties."

Minister Xiyu raised me to a standing position. "We extend our congratulations," he said. "You shall proceed to the Division of Verit Management tomorrow at sky lightening."

As agreed, I arrived at the designated location just as our star began to illuminate our sky. The place wasn't very complicated. An energy barrier surrounded a large open area with a large vaporizing engine standing at the far end. Smoke already climbed out the tall stack at the top of the engine.

There were several lines of Lesser Verets standing around looking fearfully at the massive piece of equipment. Surely they didn't dread work that much?

I passed my credentials to the Greater Veret who was the foreman. "Guard Rekshi reporting for duty at the Division of Veret Management," I said.

The foreman grunted and handed back my documents. "Your job is to keep the cues orderly and moving forward," they said. "Use this if you have to. Stand over there." They indicated a spot to the side of the massive throng.

They handed me an energy prod. I really hoped I wouldn't have to use it. I'd been prodded with one during training and honestly I'd rather have a laser bore through my skull than be struck with such a weapon.

"Open the vaporizer doors," the foreman ordered.

Not long after the lines began moving a cacophony of screams and yelps filled the air. Charred flesh reached my nostrils. I looked towards the vaporizer engine in horror.

Lesser Verits were being forced inside by guards waving energy prods. This was beyond sick. All Verits were sentient. I couldn't imagine a more terrible fate. I had to stop this at any cost.

Running as fast as I could, I clubbed one guard on the head, disabling him. One of the Lesser Verits saw what I was doing. They shouted to each other and like a flock of startled birds, they scattered in different directions.

It was chaotic. Thankfully I could locate my fellow Greater Verits by their different patterned facial plumage. I struggled with the other guards and foreman but was able to neutralize them before the alarm was raised.

I discharged my energy prod into the air. The resulting arc of electricity got the panicked Lesser Verits' attention. They all turned to stare at me.

Finally a woman got brave. "You, you're the same as them," she said. "What are you playing at? You're trying to trick us!"

I pushed the button to shut down the vaporizer. "I hope thats enough of a good faith action for you," I said to the crowd. "I'm going to get you all out of here. We'll take a ship."

"And go where?" Asked the skeptical woman.

"Anywhere but this hellish place," I said.

Word Count:1295
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