The Belly of the Beast - Part 1

They all sat in a small room, tucked away deep in the bowls of the ship. Ophelia had made sure that they would not be watched and had tampered with the security cameras so that they only showed a loop of an empty room. Alex, having been freed from his captivity, was sitting quietly in the corner. Tam was standing, leaning against a wall. The room was packed with several other people that had been freed from the brig by Ophelia. Not all supported Tam, that was for sure, but they all did not support Beckett.

It was a waste processing room. Forgotten, automated, and probably unvisited so far in the life of the ship. A crate of spare parts had been placed in the centre, and a schematic of the ship was projected out onto the surface by Ophelia’s audband.

‘Right,’ said Ophelia, finishing with her tinkering on the door lock. She had a bloody bandage around her leg, wounded by a security robot on their breakout from the brig like several others in the room. ‘That’s us completely masked.’

‘Great,’ murmured Tam, despondent.

‘Now,’ said Ophelia, striding to the make-shift table, ‘What do we do next?’

There was quiet in the room, and all eyes turned to Tam. ‘Me?’

‘You are the captain, right?’

‘I was –‘

‘Are you going to let Beckett just take control of the ship?’

‘Maybe he is doing a better job,’ said Tam, failing to find a motivation, ‘How many of you actually want to go to Earth?’

Tam looked around the room, but many of the occupants remained silent. Except for Alex.

‘I think we would all just like to go home,’ said Alex, regaining some composure.
There were a few mumbles of agreement around the room.

‘Then why don’t you all just follow Beckett?’ Tam asked the room, ‘The man that turned the ship around and is heading home?’

‘We don’t think he will get us home,’ said someone in the room quietly, almost like they were ashamed to speak up against Beckett. He had only been in power for a few days, but his grip had always been tight to tighten.

‘Maybe going to Earth will get us home,’ said another, ‘Faster than Light Travel, that’s what they built for the great Exodus, wasn’t it?’

‘That’s what I thought too,’ said Tam, taking a seat some crates nearby, ‘Believe me, I want to get back to home. My city was on the side of a mountain. If you climbed to the peak, you could see nothing but green hills falling and rising to one horizon, and a glittering ocean stretching forever in the other. That sweet-smelling wind that rushes through the glens on a cold early morning, nothing like it.’

Tam was lost in his memories. It hadn’t really occurred to him until now, but home had been the furthest thing from his mind recently. But when he thought of it, he wanted for nothing else than to be back.

The internal communications system erupted into life, startling everyone in the room.

‘Thomas Quinn,’ said Beckett’s sneering voice, ‘I hope you are listening.’

<<Part 1 of 3, the next parts coming later today!>>

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