Tears of Surrender
Chapter 1

In case you missed them: Memories of Surrender (Book 1) Chapter 1

Longings of Surrender (Book 2) Chapter 1

 

 

Three Years before Books 1 and 2

 

"Parin, promise me you'll never, ever, go to Midros."

"I promise, Mommy."

"Gentlemen, the Midrosian government would like to thank you for coming." The bureaucrat looked around the table at the six men, pointedly ignoring the one woman sitting directly in front of him. "Though your trip here takes a fraction of the time it used to take, thanks to our paeolate-" He beamed at them as though he'd mined the mineral and painted it on the side of the ship himself, "-we know that it's taking valuable time away from your business."

The head of the R&D team of Unitronics nodded, acknowledging the formalities.

"Let me get right to the point. You say your company can manufacture retrieval tags, for marking property in the event it is stolen, and that these tags will allow the items to be traced up to a light year away. That is a remarkable improvement in distance on anything currently available. Our government would like to know if these tags can be inserted into a human, allowing us to locate her as far away?"

Jerome, the team leader, looked confused. "Well," he finally said, "they're waterproof, so we would assume so. But we haven't done any testing on living beings."

"We would be willing to provide subjects for whatever testing you need. But the other question is - you claim these tags also disable the device until it is recovered. Again, does this apply to people it might be inserted into?"

The entire team stared at him for a moment. Finally Leo responded. "What exactly are you thinking of?"

The official cleared his throat. "Gentlemen, I'll be plain. The Midrosian Treaty of 2274 says that even if a woman escapes from Midros, no other planet will recognize her as free. We want to insert these chips into all our slaves, to be able to locate and retrieve runaways throughout the galaxy. And ideally, we'd like to be able to disable them in some way so that they can't escape our retrieval teams."

There was silence. Finally Parin Denos, the lone woman in the group, broke the silence. "You've got to be kidding."

He ignored her. "This offer could be an extremely lucrative contract with Midros. Your company stands to make an enormous amount of money. Other companies have found that their business interests can align with ours, even when there's a difference in philosophies."

"Difference in philosophies?" Parin had heard enough. "You invite us to come here to listen to a business proposal, and it turns out you want us to help you hunt runaway slaves across the galaxy?" Tom laid a hand on her arm but she shrugged him off and looked around the room. "You guys wouldn't seriously consider taking this contract, would you?" She pinned Jerome with her gaze. He was the team leader. It would be his decision. She was only the accountant, not even one of the development team.

"Gentlemen, having a woman in here complicates negotiations. Perhaps if she left, it would make the decision easier." The Midrosian official was almost sneering.

This time it was Jerome who laid his hand on Parin's arm, as she fought back the rising anger that threatened to burst into flame. "It wouldn't matter if she was here or not. The answer is no. We will never participate in furthering this type of system. I'm sorry you spent so much time and money to bring us here. We'll be leaving now, and leaving Midros on the next available ship." He stood up.

"This will bring a lot of money to a company."

"But not ours. Good bye."

The tension was thick in the room as the official walked out.

"Holy fuck!" said Tom. "He really thought our company would help him with this?"

"Lots of other firms do business with Midros. The money is too good, so they overlook the moral issues. I'm sorry, guys. They told me they wanted to discuss using the tags to retrieve stolen property. I never in my wildest dreams imagined it would be women. I guess I'll go see when the next ship leaves that's going our way."

The door to the room opened, and they turned, expecting to see the government employee again. Instead it was a group of soldiers. The one in front zeroed in on Parin. She froze.

"Parin, daughter of Lisil, both owned by Jacksan?"

"Who are you?"

"Is that your identity?"

"Those were my parents' names, but I don't understand what you mean."

The soldiers pushed her colleagues away and moved to encircle her. "Parin, slave of Jacksan, you are under arrest for being an escaped slave."

"What the hell are you talking about?" Her voice was rising in panic. Someone pulled her arms behind her. Cold, rigid metal encircled her wrists. She tugged reflexively, but there was no give.

"Routine screening of all visitors to Midros revealed your identity. You and your mother escaped Midros twenty-four years ago with the help of your owner, but you are legally regarded a slave of Midros no matter where you've been living." They started to push her towards the door when at least two of her colleagues blocked them. The soldiers pulled their blasters and aimed at the would-be rescuers. The men moved back, their hands up.

"Wait! Stop! Where are you taking me?"

"We're taking you to a processing center. First, they'll determine how much you are worth, and then they'll put you up to be sold at auction."

Parin's knees buckled and she went down.

~ ~ ~

There was a vehicle, and a ride on the floor. Somewhere along the line she lost her shoes. She was hauled up the stairs of some big white building, and hustled down another corridor. She protested every step of the way and was completely ignored. At length, they arrived at a desk. A sour-faced man looked up.

"That her?"

"Yeah," said one of the soldiers.

The man behind the desk handed over a pair of scissors, and before Parin realized what was happening, they'd pulled her skirt down and off. The scissors made short work of her blouse and it was soon on the floor in shreds. Her underwear joined the scraps. All the remains of her clothes were tossed into a pile in the corner. Her protests went unheeded. When they were done, the soldier slapped her face and told her to shut up. She stood stunned at the blow while he replaced the narrow handcuffs with wide metal bands around her wrists and her ankles. With a tap to something strapped to his arm, the ones on her wrists snapped together behind her back.

"I want to see the Primian ambassador!" she pleaded. "He'll clear this all up!"

"Which cell, Sir?"

The official snorted. "She's escaped. Take her to the barn." The guards started to drag her away. "Hang on. I need her collar."

Every woman, slave or guest, was required to wear a collar on Midros. Women who visited were issued plain black leather collars for their stay, and were required to wear them at all times in public. One soldier unlatched the buckle on the well-worn collar she'd been issued upon her arrival yesterday, and tossed it back onto the desk. They resumed their trek, heading through a series of doors and down a set of stairs, before emerging into the sunshine behind the building. They half-carried-half-dragged her to a large dilapidated structure. Inside was row after row of mesh cages, lit by a line of grimy windows. It was sweltering in the heat of the day. A guard opened one, shoving Parin through. She stumbled, falling to the hard floor. Her ankle cuffs snapped together without warning. The door rattled shut.

She looked up to see that a man in civilian clothes had joined the guards.

"I'm the Minister of the Slavery Oversight Board. I don't usually concern myself with runaways, but you're a unique case. Your father, Jacksan Delis, purchased your mother, Lisil, in 2322. You were born a little over a year later. When you were two, your father somehow managed to smuggle your mother and you off the planet. He changed his name to Denos, and lived with your mother and you, pretending to be a legal, free family." His face wrinkled up at the word 'free'. "But your mother and you were never free. Now that you're back on Midros, you'll reenter life as a slave."

He peered down at her while her mind tried to cope with what he was saying.

"As a slave, you have no rights, no property, no freedom, not even clothing, besides what your new Master decides to give you. Your last name has been removed from all records we can influence. From now on, your preferences, your likes and dislikes, are irrelevant. Your comfort is irrelevant. You have no right to say 'no', or stop what is happening. You will breed if he desires you to breed. He may sell you any time he desires, for any reason. He is only expected to meet your basic physical needs so that you remain healthy, and to refrain from permanent, intentional, physical injury."

She screwed her eyes up tight as though she could block out the words if she couldn't see him. It didn't work.

"Tomorrow you'll be auctioned to the highest bidder." He turned and walked out, leaving behind nothing but silence.

 

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