The story is a work of fiction and has no basis in reality.
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"Peter! Peter! Peter wake up!"
Peter rolled over and looked at the door to his cell. He could see Josh through the small window of the door. Josh looked terrible, dark rings under his eyes, his hair a mess. Peter jumped up and ran to the door.
"Josh? What's wrong? Why are you here?"
"Peter, they are going to hold a hearing about you in two hours. I have been up all night trying to find a way to get you released, but I can't. Peter, I'm scared." Josh said as he started crying.
"Josh, it's ok. They can't have any evidence against me. It is his word against mine."
"But Peter! They have tapes showing you threaten the Professor. Peter, if you are convicted, they will send you to Develar. Do you know what Develar is?"
"No Josh, I don't know what Develar is."
"It is a prison planet Peter. Anyone sent there never comes back. What are we going to do Peter?"
"I don't know Josh. I don't know."
Peter walked back to his bunk and sat with his head in his hands. "What am I going to do? Why did I have to go crazy like that?" He thought. A few minutes later he heard the door opening and Josh came running in practically tackling Peter.
"Oh god Peter. I couldn't stand not being with you another minute so I bribed the guard to let me in." Josh said as he covered Peter with kisses.
"Thank you my love. I am glad you are here. I need you now." Peter cried.
The two boys sat with their arms wrapped around each other until the guard announced that it was time for Peter to go to his hearing. Josh grudgingly let him go. His eyes looking at Peter with terror. Tears streaming down his face.
"This hearing will come to order." A man sitting at the center of seven other people announced, bringing quiet to the room.
"The proceedings today are to hear the charges against Mr. Peter Buchard. Those charges are the violation of Sections 23241.1 and 25432.5 of the Federated Charter. How do you plead Mr. Buchard?"
"Not guilty sir." Peter responded.
"Very well. We will proceed to hear evidence against Mr. Buchard. Mr. Tillman, you may proceed."
A rather large man stood up and directed his attention to the hearing board sitting at the table.
"Sir, the following are copies of the security tapes from Professor Dengheim's office. They will clearly show that Mr. Buchard verbally and physically threatened Professor Dengheim."
All of the vidcomps in the room lit up with a scene showing Peter grab the Professor around the throat and threaten him. There was nothing proceeding the time leading up to the attack. Peter stood there flabbergasted.
"As you can see ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Buchard is guilty as charged. There can be no defense against the charges." With that he sat down.
"Mr. Buchard, what do you say in your defense?" The man asked.
"Sir, it seems that they have left out the events that led up to my attack. The event that caused me to act the way I did."
"Mr. Buchard, did Professor Dengheim physically attack you or threaten your life?"
"No sir he did not but he......."
"There are no But's in this room Mr. Buchard. If you did not threaten the Professor then you are guilty as charged. Any objections?" He directed his question at the rest of the hearing board. There were no objections.
"Mr. Buchard, it is my duty to sentence you to a life sentence on the penal world of Develar. Guards take the prisoner away."
"WHAT THE FUCK!!! WHO DO YOU PEOPLE THINK YOU ARE? WHAT KIND OF TRIAL IS THIS ANYWAY. IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE SEEN THE LAST OF ME YOU ARE VERY WRONG. I WILL SEE TO IT THAT ALL OF YOU ARE........"
A security guard had walked up behind Peter, placing a stun device on the back of his neck. Peter collapsed on the spot.
Peter could hear a rumbling noise. "Strange, he thought to himself. It sounds like I am on a ship." He opened his eyes and looked around. The small room he was in was bare except for the bunk he lay in. It was definitely a ship, but what ship? He got out of the bunk and walked to the door trying to open it. It was locked. He banged on the door and yelled but no one came. Then it hit him. He was on his way to Develar. He had been sentenced to life.
Peter paced the room until he was exhausted. He slept until someone rapped on the door loudly. "Wake up prisoner, it's time to eat." The voice said as a small opening appeared at the bottom of the door and a tray of food was slid in. Peter stood and walked to the tray. It looked like puke. Some kind of slop that wasn't fit for pigs. He tasted it and it was edible, barely.
"Ok, what am I going to do?" He thought to himself. "I'm locked in here headed for a penal world. I don't have anyone that is going to help me. Oh, Josh! I am going to miss you. We had only begun to know each other. I hope you find someone else. I hope you are happy again one day."
Peter finished eating and lay down again. Thoughts of Josh running through his mind kept waking him up, he had this feeling that he would see Josh again but he didn't know when or how. "If only this feeling were true." He thought to himself.
The next several time periods went the same. Peter ate, slept and paced. He was totally bored. Finally he decided to make something out of his idleness. He started working out. He practiced the Martial Arts Kata's that his Aunt had taught him. He pushed his body doing push ups, sit ups and stretching until he could do the full splits. After several weeks, he noticed that he was starting to build muscles. His body was responding to his efforts. He was turning into a man.
Finally after almost 6 months of travel, the door to his cell opened. Two security guards with Federation security patches on their uniforms ordered him to step forward. They placed a restraint collar around his neck and escorted him to the shuttle bay. A class 3 shuttle with large Federation symbols blazoned on the sides waited with an open ramp. The guards placed him in line with several other prisoners.
"That must be the reason that it took so long to get here." He thought to himself. "We must have made several stops along the way to pick up other prisoners."
Peter carefully studied the others in line. He saw all men. Not one female among the prisoners. This was strange. Was it only the male of the species that committed crimes? No! He knew better than that. He knew from his life on Capistiro that women were just at ruthless as the men were, and he knew that penal worlds were populated with both sexes. So why all men?
The prisoners were pushed and shoved up the shuttle ramp, instructed to sit on benches lining the sides of the craft. Once they were all sitting, a guard activated a restraint field that prevented them from moving more than a few inches in any direction. The shuttle slowly lifted out of the bay and began its descent. Peter could feel the vibration of reentry as the atmosphere grew thicker. The temperature rising inside the shuttle as the friction increased. The shuttle started bucking like a wild animal as an explosion vibrated the vehicle. The sounds of alarms filled the shuttle. He looked over at the guards sitting at the front of the shuttle's cargo bay. They had frightened looks on their faces. The shuttle bucked and rattled more fiercely as their speed increased. Peter could feel the shuttle suddenly drop like a rock. The last thing Peter heard was the screeching of metal.
"Hey kid, wake up. Kid?"
Peter slowly opened his eyes, looking into the face of a stranger.
"Ahhh, you are alive. Good. Anything broken?"
The man started running his hands over Peter's limbs, checking for injuries. Not finding any he stood up and smiled a Peter.
"Well young man, you seem to be in good shape, why don't you try to stand."
Peter slowly sat up, a wave of nausea coursed through his body.
"Slowly now. There you go, take it easy."
The nausea abated and Peter stood, the man holding on to his arm to steady him. As Peter regained control over his body, he looked up at the man that was assisting him. He looked up higher and higher. The man was a giant. He must be over three meters tall.
"Hi there young man, I'm Ribald."
"Uh, I'm Peter."
"Nice to meet you Peter. Now let's get out of here."
The two climbed out of the shuttle. The craft was sitting at an odd angle on the side of a small hill. Peter couldn't see much damage, he wondered what could have caused the crash. Ribald let Peter down the hill to a waiting flutter.
"You have flutters here?" Peter asked.
"Of course we have flutters. We have all the comforts of any world. The Federation just isn't aware of it."
Peter looked at the large man again with increased respect. The man was not only very large but by the way he spoke, Peter could tell he was very intelligent also.
"Maybe this won't be as terrible as I imagined it would be after all." Peter spoke his thought out loud.
"No young man, I think you will find that this isn't a bad place at all."
They traveled for several kilometers, winding along a barely noticeable path between trees and other vegetation. At a bend in the path as small village appeared. Several dozen shabbily constructed buildings were littered among the trees. Ribald guided the flutter to one of the buildings, an entry just large enough for the flutter opened as he approached. The vehicle slowed and entered the darkness.
"End of the line Peter. This is your new home."
Peter climbed out of the flutter and followed Ribald through a doorway at the back of the building. They walked down a stairway and into another room where several of the other prisoners from the shuttle were gathered. At the opposite end of the room was a table with seven men sitting facing the crowd. This reminded Peter of the hearing in Epsilon. Was he to be tried again?
The man at the center of the table pounded his gavel on the table.
"Everyone sit and be quiet." He ordered.
The crowd slowly settled in and turned their attention to the table.
"I would like to welcome all of you to Delevar. You will soon discover that life here will not be anything like you expected it to be. We have been deceiving the Federation. They think that this is a dangerous, underdeveloped world. Unknown to anyone outside of the population here, we have all the technology and comforts of some of the highly developed worlds in the Federation. You will be required to contribute to this world just as you did where you came from. The biggest difference here is that we do not adhere to the ridiculous, unfair laws that the Federation enforces. Don't misunderstand that last statement. We do have laws, but they are few and very simple. Violation of those laws are dealt with severely only after you are found guilty by a jury of your peers. Now gentlemen if you will form lines in front of this table we will process each of you. You will be given billet and work assignments as soon as we verify your identity and abilities."
Peter joined the lines forming as instructed. When his turn came he was required to submit to a ret scan. The man seated at the table looked at Peter with awe. Leaning over to the man next to him, he whispered something that Peter could not hear. All seven of the men at the table stood and walked a distance from the table and started talking, glancing at Peter from time to time. After several minutes the man that had sat at the center of the table motioned for Peter to join him.
"Mr. Buchard, we seem to have a small problem with your identity. Are you willing to submit to a DNA test?"
Peter looked at all of the men standing around him with confusion.
"Sir, I know who I am. I know that the information that you have from my ret scan is correct, so I don't see why I would have a problem with a DNA test. The question that I have is why? Why is it so important?"
"Mr. Buchard, we can't answer that question until after we have verified your identity. Please have patience with us."
What could be going on? Why were these men so concerned with Peter's identity? Was Peter in trouble on this world too?
Copyright S. John Holder 2000
If you have enjoyed reading this story, you will find other stories by me at John's Lovescape
Email your coments to John