Friends in War and Peace
Ghent, his sister Kath, and his friend Trivan were down by the Sullivans when the alarms start going off. There had been drills before, but everyone had known then. Word spread quickly in a colony as small as Gropius was, so when the alarms starting going off, and no one knew anything about a drill, panic had ensued. There was always the threat of being attacked, as far out as the colony was from the center of the galaxy and the fact that all of the colonists were human. With the current species wars raging, it wasn't safe to be far from one's home planet, but Gropius had never been attacked before. The farming colony had so far been too small and complacent to draw any attention to themselves.
That all changed in one afternoon. By the time the sun set, there was nothing left salvaging. All of the survivors were rounded up, and herded by severe looking Dhotaci. The Dhotaci was one of the four major species in the known galaxy, and the primary one bent on destroying the Human species. It was a war that had started long before the Gropius colony had even been drafted, but only in last hundred years had it grown in intensity to the point were there was all out war between many of the involved planets. The Centran and the Kloja, the other two major species, had managed to declare neutrality in the war so far, leaving the territorial Dhotaci and the parasitic Humans to settle their own affairs.
Ghent was thinking about any of that at the moment however. He wasn't thinking beyond keeping himself and his sister alive. One of the explosions had torn apart the wall beside the two of them and their friend, sending debris everywhere. Kath's leg was bleeding porously, and she could walk on it with out his help, but even then their pace was still too slow for the impatient Dhotaci.
Ghent felt another blow on his left shoulder, and staggered forward. It nearly brought bother him and sister down, but he managed to keep his feet under him. It wasn't like they could go much faster in the line they were in, but Ghent suspected that that didn't matter to the Dhotaci. Kath made a quiet whimpering noise, and he glanced over at her. They were both cover in the gray dust that filled the air. Kath's long blond hair was falling out of her braid and sticking to her face from her sweat. Her face was contorted in pain, and she had her usual warm golden eyes squeezed tightly shut. She needed help. Ghent could see that. He had tried to bind the wound as best as he could, but there just hadn't been enough time to do much more than tie his jacket around her leg and hope he got it tight enough to slow the blood flow. He hadn't been able to find Trivan…
The Dhotaci weren't wasting any time in rounding up their prisoners and loading them onto freighters. Ghent wasn't stupid. He could figure out pretty quickly that the only reason the Dhotaci could have for keeping them alive was the slave trade. And that meant that finding and medical help for Kath was out of the question. At the moment, however, Ghent would have settled just for the chance to sit her down and to try to treat it himself.
Ghent recognized some of the others being herded onto the large ships, but he didn't see their parents anywhere. Mother would have been in the kitchen when the strike began. Today was supposed to be the day of that big neighborhood lunch, and Mother had been planning her dish for days in advanced. Father had said that one of the Runners engines was making noises again. So he would have been out in the warehouse, tinkering with it. Even if they were still alive, Ghent didn't know how he would find them.
As they came up to the ramp a Dhotaci stepped up on either side of them and snapped thin silver collars around each of their necks before shoving them roughly forward.