The Hunted Chapter 26 snippet (new writing)

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…Kate watched the sand colored globe of Necko growing larger in the view port. Travis’ death had been burnt into memory for the rest of her life. She sighed and clenched a hand into a fist.

God, how Travis should’ve been alive instead of me, Kate thought. There was no reason for him to give his life up like that! What did the sacrifice achieve? It’s almost two years later and Ferini’s bringing me back here to die!

The transparent metal of the viewing port felt cold when she placed her forehead on it. It was times like this, when the sacrifices others had made seemed to have been in vain, that Kate wondered why God-if he or she existed-didn’t just end it? How could one keep on living when they realized that people had died for them to have a future and the future ended up being more of the same?

It really didn’t matter what Ferini thought, she mused. There was a galaxy at risk of total war because of him and he had to be stopped. How that would be accomplished, Kate had no idea, but she’d think of something.

If I don’t, she thought with a sigh, the consequences are more then I want to consider!

The Games Complex came into view and she sighed. High-rise hotels surrounded the facility in a star-shaped pattern. Each building was connected by a skyway to the main building. In the center, with it’ large ring of stands, was the fighting arena. Even from the air, Kate could see the lights shining down on the fighting surface.

Judging from the full stands, she thought, there’s a fight going on right now. Someone is dying while I watch.

Kate crossed her arms and sighed. One would think that in a civilized galaxy, the betting on blood sports wouldn’t happen. However, Necko was proof that not only did the events still exist they thrived. It was no wonder that Games Masters were so affluent.

A soft shudder went through the vessel when it touched down. So, the time had come to fight for her life again. How many times had that happened before? How many times would it have to happen again? If God truly existed, he or she must have been getting great kicks out of what was happening because it didn’t try to stop anything.

The door to the compartment swooshed open and three sets of footfalls entered. Ferini couldn’t resist being able to gloat, Kate mused. It would’ve been much simpler to just have the guards provide the escort, but it wouldn’t get him the glory. No, he was going to be there every step of the way, the conquering hero bringing his defeated foe back.

Or so he thinks, Kate thought with a raised eyebrow.

“We’ve arrived, Katie,” How like him, Kate thought, gloating all the way! “Did you enjoy your final hours?”

“Actually I did,” A smile crossed her face. “And I’m ready for anything you throw at me.”

Ferini stared with raised eyebrows for several seconds. The look on his face was almost enough to make Kate start laughing. He hadn’t expected something like that! What did the man expect her to do? Beg?

“That’s a bit rash even for you, Katie,” She continued to smile while he shook his head. “When you haven’t seen what I’m going to do.”

“Does it matter?” There’s no way in hell I’m backing down to him, Kate thought. “I’m much more capable then before.”

“I have no doubt on that,” Ferini had a weak chuckle. “But we shall see if you can really handle what’s coming.”

“Why don’t you enlighten me?” The guard’s moved to take their places at her side. “Since you like to boast.”

“Ah, ah, ah,” Ferini shook a finger at her. “I’m not going to ruin the surprise I have left for you.”

“You always were an ass, Ferini,”

The guards cleared their throats before he could respond. This isn’t going to be good, Kate mused, and with his dampening field up, I can’t even use my link to call for help. God only knows what the psychotic bastard has planned for me either! If only Jennifer hadn’t gotten herself captured on Rodeo!

No one spoke while they made their way off the ship. Outside, no one awaited her reappearance. That wasn’t much of a surprise, being that Ferini was bringing his catch back under less then honorable circumstances. No, he would wait until they were deep into the complex before letting people see Kate.

At least that’s what I think he’ll do, she mused.

When they stepped inside the complex, Kate felt her jaw drop. In all the years she had spent on Necko, none of them had been on the side the spectators saw. The amount of money spent on the gambler’s luxury was enough to make her sick.

Solid gold chandeliers, she fumed, made off the blood and sacrifice of the children who are here! God how I hate people!

If the gold chandeliers weren’t enough, the floors of the corridors were covered in a thick, pile rug that made Kate’s feet sink into it. There hadn’t been any expense spared on the gamblers and it continued to put her in a worse mood. How could anyone justify spending money there while real people lived and died in the arena? Had mankind degenerated back into the Roman Empire?

It sure as hell seems like it, Kate thought.

It was the paintings on the wall that made Kate want to vomit. Images of warriors and battles fought through the history of mankind lined the walls. Napoleon Bonaparte led the French armies into battle against the English in one. The Normandy D-day landings were in another.

“You like what we did with the place?” Ferini whispered in her ear. “Nothing like a good battle to get the crowd’s blood flowing.”

“Yeah,” God, it would be nice to kill the man now! “The death of innocent kids just makes me want to jump up and down and party.”

“Oh, really?” A chuckle was his response. “I want you to know that kids won’t be your opponents. I’ve got something special planned for you.”

Kate looked at the drug dealers the lined the main courtyard. With Necko not being a member of the Alliance, there was a healthy trade in Black Ice carried out. Black Ice was derived from the adrenaline gland of humans and could only be harvested from living beings. It was also one of the most addictive substances ever known to man.

And just how many people were murdered to create that drugs these people are taking? Kate wondered while they filed past.
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