She nearly died back on Arambria and had almost been sold as an object in an intergalactic auction. These warriors said they wanted to have her as their equal, and all she had to do was give herself to them and allow them to take care of her. No one knew what the future held, least of all her, but she had to start somewhere. What she did know was that her fate without them was grim and undetermined.
If these three warriors vowed to offer her the peace and safety she desperately wanted, why would she refuse it? They could be lying, trying to keep her calm until they got to their home, but she didn’t think they were dishonorable. They were warriors, and if she knew anything about a warrior species, it was that they were held by their word.
The seat she was in was a gravity-controlled one that had no straps or belts to hold her down but instead used the pressure in the cabin to keep her stationed. It was like this heavy weight keeping her down, not comfortable, but not painful either. The window before her showed her every small detail in crystal clarity. The monstrous mountains came into view, the color like the tar pit on her home planet.
But there was this glossiness to them, one that reminded her of one of the rare Obliqua gems that were mined from the great Mindora caves. Dozens of lakes could be seen from her vantage point, but they were not the green or blue watery ones she had seen before, but ones made of bubbling, boiling, steaming lava.
The ship wove in and out of the tight confines of the mountains, and she had no clue how they maneuvered the large contraption so seamlessly.
Even though the room was overheated and there was metal and temperature resistant glass that kept the elements out, Minka swore she could feel the heat of the planet right outside the ship. The craft landed onto a smooth strip of rock that was clearly used as a landing pad, and then suddenly the engines were cut off and the silence descended upon her.
She could hear the faint sounds of the ship settling, of the engines cooling, and of her heart beating wildly. This was it, her new home, one that was like hell itself, although she told herself that her life hadn’t been anything perfect to begin with.
Even if she thought about escaping once she got here, the scenery told her she wouldn’t survive one day on her own. But truth be told, she didn’t really want to leave or escape.
What was out there for her? Even if this planet wasn’t death waiting to happen to her, she wasn’t safe anywhere. Minka had to struggle just to live in a world that had necessities for her survival. She even had men and women who’d been there to help. Well, they had been… until she was in the throes of being eaten, and then she had been forgotten.
A part of her hated them for doing that to her, but another part knew they were just thinking about their own need to live as well. But then there’d been Jobe, the strong and fearless man who she had given herself to on more than one occasion, and although she hadn’t loved him, she respected him for everything he stood for.
But he was gone, he was in her past, and she needed to focus on what her life was going to be like now.
The doors to the observation room she had been put in for their arrival opened, and she glanced behind her. At the same time, the gravity hold on her lifted, and she stood from her seat. The outfit she wore was a shift type dress, universal for men and women when they bathed, but she didn’t care if it was shapeless. It covered her, kept her modesty intact, and she was thankful to have something clean on.
“Are you ready?” Brawn asked.
She nodded, unsure if she was, but she had no other options. Thorque held out his hand for her, and she took a step toward him, and then another. Before she knew what was happening, Thorque had her hand in his, and the four of them were walking out of the spacecraft and into the sanitation pod. As the mist surrounded them and they were cleansed of any foreign particles that could contaminate this world, Minka closed her eyes and breathed out.
Once they were properly sanitized, the door opened, and the heat instantly engulfed her. She followed them out, Thorque still holding onto her hand as they walked out onto the black rocky ledge.
She took in the sight before her, and although she had seen it from the observation deck, seeing it like this, without metal and glass separating her from this planet, was surreal. They walked so close to the edge of a cliff that this tingling started in her belly, and her knees grew weak. Instinctively, she held onto Thorque’s hand tighter, and she noticed he glanced over at her.