Deleted Scene : The Coffin
Takes place after Floreina comes back from the station with her stolen boosters. I deleted this because Floreina’s goals in this section were not directly relevant to her long-term goals and didn’t move any directly relevant plot points.
“Charmann,” she said, standing behind Mahran’s brother as he cleaned the corrosion from a capacitor fuel cell.
“I need you to come with me.”
He stood up and she handed him a pair of wrist restraints. “Put these on.”
Charmann took a long look at the cuffs before finally taking them.
“Don’t worry. Just trust me.”
The slave put the restraints on, securing his hands behind his back, his lip curled back in fear.
Floreina guided him down the hall, away from his work station. “Don’t worry; I have someone taking over your job for you.”
“Where are we going?”
“To the disciplinary center,” she replied.
“No! What have I done?”
“Nothing,” she assured him. “You haven’t done a thing.”
She ignored him as he asked more worried questions. They arrived at the disciplinary center within a few minutes.
“What can I do for you, Commander?” asked the attendant at the entrance.
“I need to terminate this slave,” she replied.
Charmann yelped suddenly and backed away, and Floreina had to snatch a hold on the back of his shirt. She pulled it tight to hold him in place.
Two more attendants came from an adjoining room to help. “Take him into a chamber,” ordered the first attendant behind the front desk. “Get him strapped down.”
“But don’t do anything to him,” Floreina reminded them. “I want to do this myself.”
Charmann pulled away from Floreina’s grip, but the two guards dashed forward to grab him by the arms and pull him back.
“No, please no!” he screamed. “I haven’t done anything! Please!” His feet kicked frantically, and fell out from under him, and the two guards dragged him into an adjoining room.
“And what are the reasons for the termination?” asked the first attendant.
“Personal,” Floreina replied.
He cocked his head. “You, Commander? I don’t think I’ve ever even seen you down here before… much less for a termination…”
“Yeah.” She shrugged.
“You have already transferred the purchase price for the slave, since this is for personal reasons?”
She nodded. “Yes, of course.”
“Mind if I ask what he did?”
“Yeah; it’s just between us. He knows what he did.”
He shrugged and motioned toward the door.
By the time she arrived in the adjoining room the guards had left Charmann to himself, strapped down to the chair in the center of the room.
The door shut with a metallic echo resounding through the nearly empty room. Charmann twisted toward her, pulling at his restraints, his face reddened, lips tightened back to reveal his teeth. “What did I do?” he squeaked.
She turned toward the injection device on the counter, putting her back to the one way window along the far wall, and replaced the cartridge in the syringe with her own, popping the old one into her pocket.
“Please, Ma’am,” he pleaded. “I don’t understand what’s going on… what did I do?” He babbled on, rapidly, his arms twitching as he pulled against the cuffs, and the skin upon his face stretched, seeming to pull away from his muscles.
“Just shut up,” Floreina ordered, turning around to face the slave, holding the automatic syringe at shoulder’s height, as if on display for him.
“No, no no,” he shook his head frantically, his neck straining against the choke strap that kept his head against the back of the seat.
Floreina walked forward slowly, carefully placing her feet before her, as if performing for the other crew members who were likely watching such an occurrence as this.
Charmann just whimpered slowly as he looked up into Floreina’s eyes, glancing back and forth to the syringe.
“This will be quick,” she said. “I’m sorry it had to be like this.”
But Floreina paused. She knew she needed to put on a little bit of an act for anyone who might watch the tapes, but it wasn’t necessary to put on a full show. She just needed to get in and out and do the job without revealing her real reasons for being here.
Instead, she found herself pausing to look into Charmann’s eyes, and take in the moment. She put her hand to his forehead and wiped the hair from his eyes, and found herself sitting on his knee, not knowing exactly why.
“I didn’t do anything,” he whimpered.
“Shhh,” she put an arm around his shoulders and brought the syringe up. He cringed away, but the neck strap held him securely in place.
The syringe snapped and echoed, and Charmann jolted as she pulled the trigger to force the injection into the slave’s neck.
He cried out and his eyes rolled up to look at her and she stared back, feeling his trembling against her forehead. He whimpered, his eyes fluttered, and he grimaced.
A moment later he was under; in a light hibernative state. She watched his face for several more moments, then turned away and headed to a communication panel near the door.
“Can I get a cardboard coffin in here, please?”
______ ______ ______
Floreina sat on the bed of yet another hotel room, under her real name for once. She flipped a knife around in her hand as she looked down upon Charmann’s coffin sitting at her feet, thinking back to the little act she had put on for his termination, wondering exactly what had caused her to overplay so much and get so close to the slave, as though she had a perversion for his sense of fear and helplessness.
She slowly sliced open the coffin, careful not to push the knife too deep through the cardboard and risk cutting the human inside. It took several minutes to slice a full cut around the length of the box to fold the top back.
Another injection to his neck would bring him back from his deep sleep. She administered the shot, then sat back on the bed to watch him awaken, pulling her laser pistol from the holster on her thigh and resting it in her lap, just in case Charmann was not himself when he awoke.
Several minutes passed and Charmann began to stir. He slowly forced his eyes open, blinking rapidly, then sat up with a sudden start.
“Ahoy,” Floreina greeted, placing a hand on her sidearm. “I can assume that you are confused… you’re in a hotel room on the station. The termination was merely a ruse so that my superiors would not track you coming off the ship.”
Charmann simply stared back, eyes widening.
“I apologize for having to scare you like that. It was necessary to get you off the ship.”
“I don’t understand…” he croaked.
“I am releasing you to the general populace, and revoking your slave status. I have purchased you and will be releasing you from your obligations to your masters within a couple of hours, assuming you can behave properly until then.”
His face seemed to change color and his eyes somehow brightened. He nodded quickly in response.
“There are some rules, of course, for your release, and we will be taking the next couple hours to make sure you understand most of the vital issues surrounding the release of a slave.”
He nodded again, his lips rising to a subtle but nervous smile. “May I ask why this is happening?”
“Your brother loves you,” she replied.
She nodded. “We had a deal, and I agreed to pay for your release as well as a lifetime supply of vitoc upon his completion of the tasks, and he completed his tasks nearly flawlessly.”
Charmann barely moved, still sitting up in his cardboard coffin, his tongue resting upon his bottom lip.
“I am going to set you up with a friend of mine, who will be providing your Vitoc supply for you, and who will introduce you to a counselor who deals with released and escaped slaves such as yourself…” she paused to look at Charmann. “Are you okay?”
He nodded. “Yes, Ma’am; I’m good… stunned.”
“You will be allowed to contact your family back on the ship, although only through the counselor that we are going to set you up with, and all your communications will be routed through me to check. There will be a number of things that you will not be allowed to discuss with your family and friends, and all your communications will be checked by the computer system and by me, and if anything comes through on the unauthorized communications list, then we still have a heart detonator that I can trigger. I copied your frequency into my own implant.” She tapped her head.
“What sort of unauthorized communications?” he asked.
“Information about the war between the Minmatar and Amarrians; information about the anti slavery movement; things of that sort. You’ll find that certain things are not quite as we said they were out here. The counselor will give you a comprehensive list.” Floreina paused a long moment, not seeing any rush to get through the lecture. The ‘counselor’ she had hired was quite experienced in making sure released slaves stayed somewhat loyal to their former masters and to the Amarrian Empire.
“Other rules, of course, apply as well, like never conversing with anti slavery groups, nor the police nor any group that attempts to enforce anti slavery laws. You must understand that most of those groups will exploit you any way they can to get to us. You must understand that busting slave owners is big business, and the people who do it are interested in profit, not in helping your people. They don’t care if all the slaves die in the process, nor do they care if you are taken care of afterwards. Some may even claim that they can block the signal to your heart explosives…”
“But you know your place in this universe don’t you?” she asked. “You’ve just been given a wonderful and dangerous gift. You’ve lost many—though not all—of your responsibilities to your masters, but you have gained a much greater responsibility to all the trillions of people of New Eden. In many ways that can be a much greater burden, and why we shelter the Minmatar from it. You must remain true to the Lord, and do what is right under His constant eye.”
He nodded again at her pause. “Yes, Ma’am… thank you.”
“Okay,” she slapped her hands down on the bed and stood up. Reaching a hand out to the man in the box, she said, “Let’s get you cleaned up so you don’t look like you just spent half a day in a coffin and go hit the shuttle.”