“You climb up to the top bunk if you want to lie down,” you say. “I’m good here.”
Sarah looks at you, her eyes narrowing for a second. Then she cracks a smile and laughs. “You’re funny,” she says. “You know I could make you climb up there if I wanted.”
You say nothing. Sarah can flex if she wants. You don’t have to play along.
“So you’re okay with this,” she says, changing the subject. “Terra locks you up and you don’t care?”
“I care,” you say. “But what can I do?”
“Get angry,” Sarah says. “Stop being complacent and thinking everything is fine. Because it isn’t. Terra isn’t who you think she is. She isn’t nice, except when it gets her what she wants…” she sighed. “Fuck it, no point telling you anything. You’re not going to listen.”
“I’m listening,” you say. “You’re just not saying anything interesting. You’re just whining like usual.”
Sarah stops and stares at you. “Are you trying to get me to beat you?”
“I’m just saying you never say anything useful. You bitch, but there’s no content. What did Terra do to piss you off so much?”
“Well,” Sarah says. “She let them take her DNA and make a Frankenbaby out of it, for starters. I grew up in a training facility. I never met any of my donors. I started doing missions when I was fifteen. I saw things nobody wants to see at any age. And I survived them. Not everybody did. They were my siblings, you know. They were part of her too… and she never came to see us. None of us. Not until I was the only one left. Is that enough to be pissed about?”
“That’s… fucked,” you say. There’s not much else you can say. When you were fifteen you were hanging out with your friends and dreaming of getting into the Academy.
“Yeah. So. One day, she shows up one day at the facility. They say she’s there as a trainer, but everybody notices how much we look alike. So I take a sneaky DNA sample, and I get it tested. It’s a match.” Sarah looks at you with a world of hurt in her eyes. “I went and told her who I was. I wasn’t supposed to. I got in trouble for it later. But I told her. And you know what happened?”
You shake your head.
“Nothing. She just turned around and walked away. That was it. And after that… I got into some trouble. I got put away. And then a year or so ago, she pulls me out and puts me in a unit just like this one. Treats me like a soldier. Nothing more. And the same thing happened to that unit that’s happened to everyone I’ve ever known. So excuse me for bitching. You deserve to know how screwed you are. And how much she really doesn’t care. About you, or about anyone.”
The bitterness in Sarah’s voice feels honest. She’s really hurt, and really angry and with that history you don’t really blame her.
“I’m sorry,” you say, reaching out to touch her hand. “Seriously.”
“Yeah,” she says, pulling away. “I’m just telling you, whatever is going on between you and Terra is going to end badly. When things get hard, she cuts and she runs. And you better get used to being in jail, because until she gets you killed in action, you’re going to spend a lot of time in places like this.”
You really hope there’s more to the story than what Sarah is saying. Maybe more than what Sarah knows. Hopefully.
“I’m going to get some rest,” she says. She stands up, turns around and jumps up to the top bunk. The metal structure creaks under her weight as she settles.
“You’ve never talked to Terra about any of this?”
“She’s never talked to me about it,” Sarah says, her voice muffled by the mattress between you. “You’d think she would, right? Seeing as I’m her flesh and blood. But she doesn’t. Ever.”
You lie back on the bed. It’s not comfortable, and you’re pretty sure you’re not going to get any sleep. You find it difficult to stop thinking about what Sarah has said. It doesn’t make sense to you. If Terra didn’t want anything to do with Sarah, then why would she have her in the unit?
There’s definitely more to this. There has to be. Maybe you can try talking to Terra. Whatever is going on with her and Sarah is affecting all of you.
“You’re planning ways to fix this,” Sarah says from the top bunk. “I can feel it. Don’t bother. Just concentrate on keeping yourself alive, okay? I don’t want anything from Terra anymore. She had her chance.”
You let out a sigh and close your eyes. Everything is so much more complicated than you thought it would be. When you took the opportunity to be on Terra’s unit, you figured it would be exciting and hot. Instead it’s been sort of depressing and frustrating.
“You want to try to escape?”
You open your eyes to see Sarah looking over the edge of the bunk.
“Are you serious?”
“Of course I am. I’ve escaped from way better places than this,” she says. “That’s a tin door on hinges over there. That’s not even locked to me. You want to get out of here, maybe grab a transport?”
“No,” you say. “I don’t think so. It will just cause more trouble.”
“It will just cause more trouble,” she mocks you. “God. You’re so boring.”
BAM! BAM! BAM! A heavy torch lands on the door repeatedly. “QUIET DOWN IN THERE!” The guard yells. “CURFEW WAS TWENTY MINUTES AGO.”
“Oh SHUT UP!” Sarah yells back.
You groan inwardly. Sarah has worked herself up from telling her story and is apparently going to make everything a lot worse for you both.
A second later, the door slams open and you see the burly lady guard from earlier. She shines the torch in your eyes. “Who said that?!”
Before you can answer, Sarah jumps from the top bunk and pushes her way past the woman.
“Sucker!” She laughs as she runs down the hall.
“RED ALERT! WE HAVE AN ESCAPE!” The guard yells into her radio. A second later, every siren in the universe goes off. You lay back down and cover your ears with your hands. You are never going to get any sleep.