Amira woke with all the fuzzy-headed, gut-churning nausea that indicated an extended period of cryosleep. She forced herself to take deep calming breaths; she’d woken from enough cryosleep trips to know that her jumbled thoughts were normal, as was her vague unease with the process. She always suffered from emotional upheaval when waking up. So, she let herself cry without shame as the pod slowly opened.
What wasn’t normal was the woman standing over the pod. She wasn’t wearing a technician uniform; in fact, she looked far more like the “Inbetweens” – those who survived in the margins of the station system. They were the poor, forgotten, and those the powers that be deemed undesirable.
And that was enough to trigger Amira’s memories. The fight with Terrance, the argument about the terraforming project – and the hiss of the dermal injection and then, blackness.
“Oh for fuck’s sake,” she muttered. “He had me kidnapped?”
The words came out slurred and mumbled, but the woman standing over her tilted her head.
“Not kidnapped. He sold you.”
Amira blinked and started to sit up, wondering why her sleepsuit wasn’t sealed shut. When she met the other woman’s eyes and the word “sold” penetrated her foggy thoughts, she decided not to ask. Everyone on a station heard the stories of the bands of Enthrallers, those who kidnapped and sold, usually women and children, as thralls – forced laborers and worse for newly terraformed worlds.