Foreseeable Future: Chapter One
A fist pounded on the front door of the bungalow, startling Mar.
“Mar Jeps, you know who this is,” said the man with the scars on his hands. “I’m here with a platoon of Global Guards. I’ve been ordered to give you the courtesy of a twelve-count to come out, then we’ll batter your door down.”
Mar gulped an entire glass of Malrap from the half-full bottle she recovered out of the kitchen trash, then leaned back in the cushions of the couch she’d purchased with Rajer. They’d spent many days entwined here, watching a vid, talking about their day or silent.
“We know you’re in there, Mar,” the man said. She hated how he said her name, singing it out as opposed to the terse way he said the other words. “We tracked you here. Make this easy and surrender peacefully.”
Peacefully, Mar thought. That’s a joke.
Just a short time ago, in the Arena filled with 200,000 Kodans, a woman had taken aim at her son with a gun. Then Rajer appeared out of nowhere, tackling the woman and tumbling off the ramp out of sight. In a state of shock, Mar wandered away from the Arena with the agitated crowd. The people on the Plaza were chanting, “When All Else Fails…When All Else Fails…When All Else Fails,” some climbing surveillance-cam poles and toppling them. As she headed down an avenue in the Old Quarter, troop carriers pulled up behind her, blocking off the Old Quarter from the Plaza. Global Guards poured out of the carriers wearing riot gear, and Mar hurried to the rail-car station.
At home, behind the new front door installed while she was at the Arena, she discovered an envelope. She cracked open the seal, removing a large stack of paper. She read the first two paragraphs of the cover page, then felt something stuck at the bottom of the envelope and turned it open-end down. A memory wafer slid into her hand.
Now, she sat on the couch and inserted the memory wafer into her viewer. On the vid start-up screen, Yor’s smiling face stared out at her. She leaned forward and pressed play and sank back into the cushions. “Hello, Mother,” Yor said. “By this time, the Breeze Celebration events have unfolded. If everything went as planned, then Mado and myself lifted off in the WAEF and are hiding in an undisclosed location. As we’ve discussed, in the envelope are the legal documents making you CEO and majority shareholder in trust of Prevor Industries. Mado’s people should have swapped out the old bungalow front door for a newer, more secure model and reinforced the walls around the door. Global Guards will be descending on the bungalow soon. The door should keep them out for awhile. I’m assuming you and Rajer have packed your bags.” Then Yor turned and was listening to someone offscreen. She assumed it was Mado. Yor continued, “Oh yes, turn the bungalow Active Glass to opaque so they can’t see inside, then get your bags and stand in the kitchen. A cruiser from Prevor Industries will be coming for you two and you don’t want to be in the living room when they arrive. Don’t forget to take the envelope and its contents with you, including this wafer. Be safe. I love you.” The vid reset to Yor’s smiling face. Mar felt herself about to cry but fought back the tears. She removed the wafer from the viewer and put it in her pocket.
“All right, Mar. So be it,” the man said. “One…”
Mar hurried to the bedroom and grabbed her overnight bag. Reflexively, she reached for Rajer’s bag, too, then simply stared at it.
A sense of loss washed over her. She fought back tears again.
Mar had to believe Rajer was alive.
Mar hurried to the living room, stuffed the documents back in the envelope and into the outer compartment of her bag.
She picked up her bag and the viewer and ran into the kitchen.
Outside, the bungalow was surrounded by Global Guards.
The man stood at the front door; two Global Guards waited behind him, holding the cylindrical metallic pillar of a battering ram between them.
A few of the Global Guards noticed her in the kitchen window and alerted the man, who peered at her with disgust. Mar realized she’d forgotten to turn the Active Glass opaque.
“We see you there, Mar,” the man said, pointing at her. “You’re only delaying the inevitable.”
She dropped the bag and placed the viewer on the counter, then ran to the bungalow control panel and adjusted the Active Glass to opaque.
As she returned to the kitchen, she felt a twinge in her head and her legs became wobbly.
She wondered if she should grab fotos or keepsakes from the living room. After today, she’d never return here again. She thought about how this place had been her family’s home for so many years. There were so many memories here.
She attempted a step forward, but her legs didn’t respond.
“Twelve…” the man said. “Last chance, Mar. You can walk out, or we can drag you out.”
A moment passed, then the battering ram struck the front door. Mar was startled at the impact and her heart raced.
The battering ram smashed against the door over and over until Mar distinctly heard the doorframe cracking. She felt another twinge in her head and sat down on the floor as she became dizzy and her vision began to blur. The battering ram sounded far off in the distance now. She took deep breaths, attempting to remain conscious. The battering continued relentlessly and she felt herself on the verge of passing out when a crash emanated from the living room.
Light streamed in, then a Global Guard was standing over her, wearing full commando gear and a helmet enclosing his entire head, calling out, “Mar Jeps…Mar Jeps…” sounding more machine than human. The Guard bent down so his face was at the same level as hers and flipped up the helmet’s visor. His eyes looked less angry than concerned. “She’s in sonic shock,” the Guard said. He flipped down his visor then lifted her from under her armpits and tossed her over his shoulder as if she weighed nothing.
At least I’ll see Rajer soon, she thought.
She was carried into the living room where a Guard in similar gear stood beside the couch. The battering ram struck again and again, then the front door burst open and fell to the ground. From Mar’s upside-down vantage point, she saw the man with the scars on his hands, flanked by two Global Guards.
“Halt!” the man yelled. “Halt or we’ll fire.”
The Global Guard carrying Mar kicked aside the low table in front of the couch. The other one reached for the bottom of the couch and tipped it over so it lay on its back. Mar was lowered to the ground behind the couch and the Guards stooped down beside her. She was paralyzed. She was confused. Why are these Global Guards fighting among themselves?
“Open fire!” the man with the scars on his hands yelled, then the sound of discharging stun weapons rang out.
The couch shielded them as its foamy white innards exploded into the air, then began floating down like snow as the weapons fire continued unabated. Mar was frightened and she couldn’t move. Beside her, the Global Guard who had raised his visor wasn’t shaken at all. He calmly detached a sonic grenade from his belt and pressed the button on top.
“Cover your ears,” the Global Guard said to Mar. He watched Mar as she attempted to raise her arms. She only managed to raise them a few centimeters before they fell to her sides. The Guard tossed the grenade over the couch and pressed his gloved hands tightly over Mar’s ears.
Mar blacked out, then in a dazed state found herself being lifted up, into the light, toward the roar of engines. She was placed in a seat and a door slid closed. A voice said, “Let’s get out of here.” Her head was beginning to clear as engines powered up. She was in a cruiser, hovering above her neighborhood. There was a hole in the roof of her bungalow, which was surrounded by Global Guards looking up at the cruiser. Maybe half a dozen lay on the ground by the front door. She attempted to lean forward, but couldn’t budge and realized she was strapped in. Then she was pinned to her seat by the acceleration of the cruiser.
TO BE CONTINUED…
From Vol. 2 of the SEEDER Series