Valkyrie

A Play-by-Nova roleplay game.

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The Dim Light of Freedom

Posted on 25 Apr 2019 @ 12:31am by Tabitha
Edited on on 25 Apr 2019 @ 8:17am

Mission: I Don't Care, I'm Still Free

Tabitha awoke in a panic. Her vision was blackened and lacking clues to her whereabouts, but at least it wasn’t the dull orange light of the Reaver ship. They had liked to see what they were doing to her.

It was a dream. Just a dream.

As she looked around, her hair catching and tugging painfully on... something she managed to get her bearings. The murkiness of the crawl space was punctuated by lines of yellow light from a nearby grate. It was enough to remind her that she was on the Valkyrie, that she was okay, that she was still free. With a sigh of primal relief she turned on her makeshift bed and warmed herself by the hot water pipes.

Just a dream.

She had them every night. Or rather, she had them every time she slept, which was whenever was convenient, often during the day. The time as shown by a clock or watch was somewhat irrelevant in the black, just an arbitrary number to inform people of when the daily routine would start and end. Tabitha ignored it entirely like a lot of things that most people seemed to be concerned about, and made her own rules. Folks were about in the ‘daytime’. It made it very difficult to get anything done when she couldn’t turn her back on anyone.

If I turn my back they might attack me.

It was an unconscious thought, never put into words in her mind but constantly there, driving or influencing every decision she made. And so, with such strict parameters in place, ‘night time’, or the time when most of the crew were asleep or resting was the time that Tabitha popped out from whichever hideout she had been camped in and did her chores. Fresh bread was made, the galley was cleaned, the washing up done, all with little to no human interaction. The crew were fine really, Tabitha still wasn’t hugely comfortable with Luke, because of his size and gender, Ella because of her temper and Qi simply because she hadn’t had the opportunity to get to know the pilot as yet. At least Qi was normal sized, even if she did seem somewhat dangerous. But the guests, they were something else.

Why did Luke have to bring them on board? Just when she was getting used to being around people without running to hide. Why didn’t he see how difficult it was for her? Why didn’t he care?

He’s not your father. He’s not Pa.

Tabitha was an employee now. She had never been an employee before. A daughter, yes. A sister also. A cook, a cleaner, a seamstress. A captive, a victim, a sex slave... but not an Employee. She’d have to be responsible for her own shit now, with Xiuling’s help perhaps.

Tabitha missed the comfort of her bed. she didn’t miss the connotations though. Even on the odd occasion she did sleep in the room she shared with Xiuling, her bed was unconventional, normally an assortment of pillows and blankets in a pile on the floor that she waded into. She had had more than enough of beds for a while, even if she wasn’t tied to one anymore.

Tabatha closed her eyes in the gloom and The final images of her dream flashed in front of her eyes. It was always that one captor, the one who had cut her, who beat on her, who would rape her, hurt her, lie with her no matter her state or circumstance. He who hit her so hard she spit her own teeth on to the bed next to her, the little pools of blood that went with them something for her eyes to focus on as he violated her once again. Tabitha reached out and felt out the combat knife which she had placed next to her before going to sleep. The sound of the blade leaving it’s sheath was itself like a knife slicing through the calm of the hums and gurgles that were the soundtrack to the unseen places of the firefly in which she dwelt. It was his. His knife. She knew he always wore it, in exactly the same place that she did in fact, pushed through the two rear belt loops of his trousers. He’d lain with her so many times she had known exactly how she would escape. Security and routine had made him sloppy. The sex bitch wouldn’t fight back, it was inconceivable! Where would she go anyway? Five months she waited, until the two key events of any day, an attack and a rape happened simultaneously. He couldn’t even stop himself, even when they were docking with another ship. It killed him in the end. No. She killed him in the end. The blade was drawn from behind him and in a flash his Kidneys were open to the air. Surprise was her friend and the knife opened any soft areas she could find until her attacker bled out on top of her. The blade glinted in the dull light, it was just as sharp and lethal now as it was then.

Tabitha shivered as she thought of it and, the knife sheathed again, pulled a blanket over her bare feet. She shuffled up closer to the hot water pipe and stared at the vent for a while. She was scoping things out. Any activity from the would be heard and she could judge whether or not to come out and move about the sh... footsteps fell somewhere near and a shadow went past the vent, interrupting the the rectangles of light projected onto the floor inside. She sighed. She’d stay a while longer.

Tabitha reached out with a hand again and found the package wrapped in a clean towel she had set by the knife before she slept. It was carefully unwrapped and the teen took a moment to hold the contents close to her nose and smell the bread roll she had made for herself. There would be two loaves waiting for the crew in the galley the next day, one would cater to the crew’s needs for a meal or two for sauce or gravy mop-up duty, but with the guests about she would have to make extra. Tabitha’s bread varied with the quality of ingredients but her proving, kneading and baking were always bang on. Soft inside with a good rise was a given and she always put a small bowl of water in the bottom of the oven to give it a lovely crusty edge. She’d also had the idea of making a small roll for herself with each bake so she didn’t have to emerge at meal times and that would prove to be essential now the ‘new cargo’ were aboard. She could probably scrounge some of what had been cooked up at some point, but not eating was also acceptable, she was already eating way more than the Reavers had ever given her anyway.

A piece was ripped from the roll and Tabitha watched the vent again as she munched, trying not to bite her bottom lip. It was more of a hazard now she was missing a few teeth, fortunately all on the bottom which was a lot less obvious than if they had been at the top.

Maybe I should try adding some herbs or sun-dried Tomatoes to this.

Tabitha wondered if she could get Sun-dried tomatoes anywhere about. It was the kind of luxury item that didn’t figure much out at the edge of Civilisation. Worth a shot though. Mental notes were made as she chewed. It was as much to make her meals more interesting if she was likely to be people-dodging a lot.

Her breakfast over and some water drunk from a metal flask Tabitha moved quietly nearer to the vent and, as the crawl space became less restricted she could sit. She dragged her bag toward her from its position by the vent cover, the large canvas bag that Xiuling got her, the butterfly embroidered on the front now gaining some colour in its wings. Two shirts were unfolded from the bag, both far too big for her, they were more Luke’s size. In fact one was Luke’s, but should he realise it was missing it was probably not for the reason he or anyone else might assume. The second shirt was also his size, made using the first as a template. It was a thank you, a little gift as the girl had nothing else much to give, and she was so grateful for she and her only friend being lifted away from Xiuling’s past and into the black on the back of Luke’s kindness. The work was positioned in the light as best as was possible and Tabitha released the threaded needle from her little cushion and set to work on a cuff. She could concentrate for hours on a single task, especially after the Reaver ship. She had been bored out of her mind for five months, her only stimulation when one of the crew came to call. Now she had bread making, cooking, sewing, reading and even moving a few cargo crates around.

Another person moved by the vent quashing her light for a moment. Tabitha stopped her work and looked out through the thin slats to the segment of corridor beyond. It wasn’t much, living in crawl spaces, spending most of her time in areas of the ship most had never been, but it was infinitely better than the Reaver ship and for that she was very grateful.

Hmm, who shall I make a shirt for next?



Tabitha
#Venting

 

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