Categories > Original > Fantasy > Tradewinds 03 - "Shipwrecked"


by shadesmaclean 0 reviews

the difference

Category: Fantasy - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Fantasy - Published: 2008-10-08 - Updated: 2008-10-09 - 566 words - Complete

Max and Justin spent the entire morning at the pond while Justin told his story. The sun was edging past noon as Justin told of aiming “away from” any place he knew (none of them being anyplace he wanted to go) and sailing off into the coming dawn. Of the awe and helpless fear of traversing endless leagues of ocean, as if all the other realms he had heard of were all just a cruel joke. Of getting caught in a storm and being certain that he was done for this time… until he caught sight of land.

“…You know I can’t go back,” Justin told him, and the solemnity of his own voice startled even himself. He could tell from the look on Max’s face that he had clearly been moved by his tale. Little knowing how well Max understood that last.

Only a matter of weeks ago, this would have been the sort of thing he’d have a good laugh about. After all, a smoking pair of boots was the sort of image the mercenaries and soldiers would have found morbidly amusing. Perhaps it was also seeing the shock in Max’s eyes, and he knew that, although something ugly may have happened in his past, Max had obviously never had to kill anyone to survive. Trevor was a first; he had injured others in his escapades, but to his knowledge no one else had ever died by his hand, and he was also taken aback now that he had time to think about it.

“Everybody betrays everybody…” Max murmured. As Layosha endured with no outside allies, the idea of leaders abusing their own people was a very alien concept to him.

“I did what I had to,” Justin told him, “so don’t call me a criminal. I was an outlaw. There’s a difference.”

“I’m not. It’s just… strange to me…”

A long, awkward pause.

Betrayed. Framed. Now a scapegoat for the biggest disaster in TSA history… To face execution. To be hanged like a dog, while Trevor’s father and his cronies went on killing and torturing and extorting, the royal exceptions to their own rules. It drove home to him once again that, in the Triangle State, words like taxes or robbery, assault or discipline, execution or murder, were defined not in terms of what was done, but by who they were done to.

“Something’s gotta give…” Justin muttered.

“I hope it does,” Max replied, seeing his friend’s clenched fists. “If only somebody would stand up to them…”

He tried to picture Trevor beating up on Justin, but what came to mind was watching Ron’s beating, his rage against Slash, and he wondered if he hadn’t had himself in mind. Of course, as Justin had pointed out, many had stood up to the Authority; Justin was one of the few who lived to tell about it. In a pinch, the TSA was known to even break its own standard policy and hire Cyexian pirates, but even so, not even Justin was sure he could imagine the lengths they would go in the coming weeks and months after the Pullman Mine uprising.

“Say Max, let’s talk about something else for a while, okay?”

And so Max spent the next couple hours telling Justin more about his early days in Paradise.
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