The Labour Planet - A Working Title - Part Eight - 1162 words
The Labour Planet – A Working Title - Part Eight - 1162 words
Jamie decided to stay hiding in the small recess; not sure of what to do next. Whittaker and Georgia had not been able to follow him through the main exit and so he became separated from them. Was this a deliberate action by his captors, he wondered, in order to set a trap? The boy was unsure what to do; he was brave enough when the others were about but out here on his own it was a very different story. He forced himself to think.
Should he try to get back into the containment area or stick to Whittaker’s plan and investigate the layout of the ship? But that idea didn’t appeal. He felt too afraid to venture from his hideout in case he ran into one of the guards.
There was the sound of another explosion and the ship lurched violently, but then the lights flashed on again momentarily before reverting to the dim lights of the backup system. Jamie was glad the lights were not on long because although he knew he couldn't be seen it was only a small recess, and he felt vulnerable when the area was well lit.
He stayed where he was for several minutes trying to figure out what to do when he heard footsteps and peered out to see the guard whose ammunition belt he had picked up walking towards him. He kept very still but continued to peer out to see whether the guard was going to enter the Containment area.
But then the boy’s eyes widened, his mouth went slack, and his heart began to race at what he was witnessing. The guard was taking off the leather face protector that all the guards wore. Everybody assumed their captors looked just the same as they, the people from earth. But, now, with his face protector off Jamie could see he was nothing like them. The top part of his face and head were the same, but the bottom half was completely different. Different in so far as his mouth did not sit horizontally on his face, but rather, it was a small vertical hole and his chin had lots of smaller holes that seemed to Jamie like they were breathing holes. The boy almost gave his position away as he took a sharp intake of breath at the shock of this latest discovery.
As he continued to peer out from his recess, another guard approached, and Jamie could clearly hear their conversation.
‘Guardsman Templar, the young earthlings, are very disturbed, and they are frightened by the explosions, and the way the ship is rolling about, and I’m not sure what I can do to reassure them. Nothing I say seems to make any difference.’
‘Guardsman Cadet, of course, nothing you say will calm them. You are a guard, so they are just as fearful of you as they are of the explosions. To gain their confidence, you know what you must do.’
‘What? What must I do?’
‘Oh, what is the point of you being given special powers if you don’t know when you should use them?’
‘Oh, you think I should…now?’
Then, adding to Jamie’s amazement the Guardsman Cadet took off his protective headgear and his metallic looking tunic and pressed a button embedded in his arm, and he immediately took on the shape of a female from Earth.
‘That’s better, go back and calm them. They will accept you now that you have taken on the familiar look of one of their own.’
‘Thank you Guardsman Templar, I‘m sorry I forgot to use my XYY button. ’
With that, the Guardsman Cadet went in one direction, and the Guardsman Templar went in the direction from whence, he came, but he passed so close to where Jamie lay crouching that the boy thought, he had guessed, he was there.
Jamie needed to think about what he had just witnessed. He had read about them in books but never, for one moment, believed they existed, but he had just seen the proof.
It was the protective headgear that disguised the fact that they looked nothing like the people from his own planet. The vertical mouth and the breathing holes in the chin showed how they were different but, it was seeing this gender change that marked them out as being completely different. Jamie had thought it was the stuff of science fiction, but no, it wasn’t. The transformation he had just witnessed first hand was, unbelievably, the actions of a…Shape Shifter! A person who could change into anything he/she wanted as appropriate to a given situation. Although he was frightened to be outside the holding area, he couldn’t help feeling excited at the prospect of telling Whittaker and Georgia what he had discovered just by staying in this little recess. He had been witness to the absolute proof that this evacuation was not the work of their government.
Knowing he had something definite to report encouraged Jamie and helped him to find the courage to leave his recess and go and investigate the layout of the ship as Whittaker had wanted the three of them to do. He didn’t much fancy the idea of leaving his little hideaway, but he knew he must if he was to glean any other information that might prove useful.
He reluctantly stepped out and kept his hand in contact with the corridor wall as he slowly made his way forward. Suddenly he heard the sound of several people running towards him. He looked round in desperation for another place to hide, but there was nowhere. Then there was another loud explosion and the ship lurched violently again but this time it knocked out the backup system, so Jamie found himself in complete darkness. The people coming towards him were stopped in their tracks too, it seemed, because now he could hear them muttering about how it was time the Guardsman Templars had got the situation under control.
‘The Templars have special privileges and special treatment in exchange for keeping us protected but, if this is their idea of protection, they are not worth our respect, and they should not be allowed to enter Infinity.’
‘Don’t let any Templar hear you say that, or you won’t get to enter Infinity.’
‘If they don’t do something soon I think it highly likely I won't get my chance to enter.’
By now Jamie knew the group was very close and with nowhere to go he pressed himself tight against the wall and prayed that in the darkness they would pass without realizing he was there. He took in a great lungful of air and vowed he would not exhale until they had gone past.
‘What was that?’ One of them said.
‘What was what?’
‘I’m not sure but something…’
Jamie clung to the wall as if his very life depended on it.
Was he about to be discovered?