Courage and Retribution - the Kidnapped Prequels
On the outskirts of the ever-present Alliance’s watchful eye, William Reynolds leads a good life as preacher and mayor for a small town. He pays little attention to the iron fist that runs the galaxy, and ignores rumors of a paranoid government using violence to keep its citizens in line.
The conflict between the Alliance and its people comes uncomfortably close as a family fleeing oppression seeks refuge in William’s basement. He agrees to help them, but the Alliance is on their heels, and reaching out to the people in need proves to be more dangerous than he could ever have anticipated. Once events are set in motion, there is no going back.
Three short stories set in the Kidnapped universe.
William lived in a world of uneasy dreams. His people were screaming, dying, being burned alive, and he needed to pull free from whatever held him so he could rescue them, but invisible forces kept him back. The dreams faded into merciful darkness.
When he finally returned to reality, he had problems focusing his eyes. The ceiling looked a lot like a beautiful woman, and she rotated above him. He squeezed his eyes shut again, but had time to see a mass of blonde hair and a cute nose.
The fragments of memories and dreams came together. He was a prisoner of the Alliance, and his people, everyone he knew were dead. It was his fault. He didn't understand how, he had been so careful, but he still led the enemy right home. He wanted to return to the darkness, hopefully forever, but the woman wouldn't let him. She held a cool hand against his forehead.
"I think he has a concussion."
A cynical male voice answered, "It happens."
William opened his eyes again and struggled to sit up, even though the room revolved around him. Everything bathed in a light so bright it shot bolts of pain through his skull, but when he squinted and shaded his eyes with his hand, he could make out four bare metal walls and a metal ceiling. The cell didn't even have a visible door. "Where am I? Who are you?"
The man stepped closer and crouched next to him. "You're a guest here at Casa del Travis. If we're lucky, he'll forget about us, or kill us before we reach Central."
The woman said, "You should probably lie down. You're still bleeding. I'm Isabela, and he's Aaren. I think there are more people in other cells. I can hear them through the walls."
Aaren chuckled. "Of course there're more prisoners here. This is a prisoner ship, and it's what they do. So, what'd you do that's so bad they let you live?"