Beyond sample

Chapter 1 beyond salvation.

Nadine was staring at the stars. “I didn’t know there was so many. It’s unbelievable, seems impossible. Shame you can’t see them from earth. I feel like I am amongst them, I suppose I am in a way, but this wall size window scares me. If it broke? We’d be sucked out into space.”

“Blown out actually.”

“Blown out, sucked out, it hardly matters. We won’t feel the difference, we’ll boil and explode and stuff if it breaks.” Said Nadine.

“It won’t,” put in Arran, “it’s laminated, you know, like our bows. Thin strips glued together, when we can find wood good enough.”

“Glued? But it is so clear and so large. The only bits of glass we had were warped and dull. How do they do it? and look at the table. The surface is as smooth as the glass. It is smoother than ice on a pail.” Said Nadine.

“They must get robots to polish it for days, I don’t know. We are lucky, they have given us a high officials apartment. Spacious and luxurious. Don’t look a gift rabbit in the mouth.”

“Well, I’m bored. There is nothing to do,” complained Nadine.

“The people here keep themselves busy,” replied Arran.

“Doing what, I ask? They spend their time on trivia. We are used to working hard, everything we did kept us fit. I am going to grow fat and lazy.”

“No, you won’t, the food here is balanced to our needs and activity. The server robots have to put in your ID for every meal, so you get the right nutrients.” Pointed out Arran.

“Yeah, what about Vargen then? He has put on eight kilos since we have been here. How do you account for that then?” said Nadine.

“You know Vargen and food. I think he wrangled two ID’s. Vargen is not the brightest of lads, but, when it comes to sniffing out food, he deserves a doctorate. You can take exercise, go jogging up on the park level. That’s what a lot of people do.”

“That’s just aimless running, getting nowhere. You run and run and just get back to where you started.”

“That’s why it’s called an orbital, the clues in the name. And it’s not pointless if it keeps you fit.”

“It’s boring and I get lost. It all looks the same, you don’t know where you are.”

“How can you get lost if you end up back where you started? And there are signs Nad.” Explained Arran.

“Signs, signs, we never found our way around by signs. Landmarks, that’s what we used, not bloody signs and everywhere looks the same.” Exclaimed Nadine.

“I can’t help that. Don’t go out then, stay in bed and get fat and lazy.” Said Arran not too helpfully.

 “I am not happy here, and I miss my friends now I have got over the novelty. Most of our men up here are not happy. Always moaning, and as for Groucha, he doesn’t stop.”

“Well he always has, you won’t change him. I’ll think about getting the men out on a march, even if we get nowhere.” Said Arran sarcastically.

“Even Tarrak is not his normal gay self.” Said Nadine.

Marshal Strighton.

The entrance chimed. A server robot announced Marshal Strighton.

“Let him in.” Said Arran.

Strighton marched in wearing his best navy-blue uniform with brass buttons.

“Good morning, Arran, Nadine”


“You are looking well Marshal, and what’s with all those buttons? You fasten with Velcro.” Said Nadine.

“Tradition, my dear.” Replied Strighton.

“Yes, somewhat dapper this morning, what’s the occasion?” asked Arran.

“The corporations have finally got their act together, stopped their infighting and formed a grand council. Under the present crises, they realise that together we stand, divided we fall, as the saying goes. And they have awarded you the position of Proconsul, answerable only to the council itself err… Sir.”

“Me? Why me?”

“Well, they recognise your abilities as a leader with all that you have done and think you are a very formidable character. You are braver than any of our people, you have no fear.”

“Oh, don’t believe that. A man without fear is insane.”

“Yes well, I have wondered about you. I have viewed some videos on medieval times, tried to put myself in your place and my stomach turns over. How you can go into a battle with sword and shield is beyond me. None of my people could do that. We are all soft.” Said Strighton.

“My dear marshal, we are all a product of our environment, so it stands to reason, don’t you think?”

“Even so, the very thought of being hacked to pieces by a sword makes my blood run cold.”

“It does to everybody, but if you are defending your family and home, you have to get on with it. Yes, while you are waiting for battle to start and you are staring at the enemy, fear goes through you, your bowels may turn to water, your legs feel weak. But when the battle starts, when the shield walls crash together, adrenaline takes over. The fear goes, you have super strength, you are invincible.” Said Arran.

“OK, so it is environment, my people are soft because we had a soft upbringing. That still makes you the bravest of the brave. The council value your leadership. They are having a meeting at fifteen hundred hours and you are to be there.”

“Yes, I’ll go. We have plenty of time, would you like some refreshments Marshal?”

“Just tea please, lemon and ginger would be nice.”

“Shall I bring on some go-go girls for you marshal?

“Err, not now, I don’t think the entertainments appropriate right now.” Replied Strighton looking at Nadine.

“Bloody hell,” cried Nadine, “any excuse to ogle naked girls. It’s disgusting, how can these young girls happily parade themselves around like that?” Demanded Nadine.

“Well, things have changed since the err, Victorian era, I have studied history as I said. Morals are somewhat err, lacking I suppose, and these girls take great pride in their training and beauty. Only about one in ten get accepted you know, and the female form is considered a work of art in itself.” Explained Strighton.

“I’ll go along with that.” Grinned Arran ducking an empty cup.

They were interrupted as a servabot appeared with the tea. Strighton made himself comfortable. “You know, we have all got to evacuate to the earth’s surface. I haven’t any details yet, but there is quite a panic going on.”

“Sounds like that will liven things up around here. I find it so boring here Marshal.” Said Nadine.

“Well, you would think that after what you have lived through. Arran was just saying that we are all a product of our environment, see. Hmm, good tea. You have your bots trained well.”

“Nothing to do with me, all Danfour’s doing.” Replied Arran.

“Oh, another thing, I’m afraid you are going to have to put up with me. They have made me your second in command.”

“That’s fine by me. I need someone that knows how it all works round here. But on one condition.”

“Oh, what’s that?”

“That I get Danfour as my assistant.”

“That’s no problem, he’s at a bit of a loose end anyway, and we don’t quite know what to do with him. How are your people getting on, down at the commune?”

“Oh, they can manage without me, everything is ticking over OK, from what I’ve heard. All back to normal now since your people chased those barbarians back to where they belong. The Baron’s people are back in Cam. Life carries on you know. We were more concerned with my men up here. They are bored to say the least, and they have no purpose in life here. I am worried it will lead to trouble.” Said Arran.

“Don’t worry, we’ll all be shipped down to the surface soon.” Replied Strighton.

“Marshall, why did you never marry?” asked Nadine.

“Oh, you know, life at the top, well nearly the top. It’s a busy life.”

“What, your soft life.”

“Soft, but it is all paperwork, well, IT work, masses of it. I’m afraid that a few of us here are inundated with it. Anyway, that has all been taken out of my hands, now that I am Arrans underling.

“Yes, he has really shot up the ranks in no time, hasn’t he? Does that mean he will be getting a huge pay income?”

“Ha, women……….”

Beyond Salvation
Beyond Salvation

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