Here's a nice little preview to "Land of the Unfree". This event takes place in Chapter 6, shortly after the end of the "speedy" version of the first 5 chapters, the original story called "Freedom Force" (see description for link).

Enjoy!

"Ivy, this is Russ. Take care of 'im for me, all right? He's pretty beat up."

Ivy flung her long brown ponytail back and approached the two young men. She nodded curtly. "Great job on your mission, Dennis," she said. "And you got us a new recruit."

"You're the only medic our sector's got, so it's your job to fix 'im up," Dennis said.

Ivy sighed. "All right. I'll take him off your hands. He does look like he's been through a lot." She sniffed. "Could do with a shower, too. And a good, thorough scrubbing once he's fixed up."

Russ knew he must have looked terrible; he apparently also smelled terrible. "Come on, Russ," said Ivy. "I'll patch up those cuts." Dennis nudged Russ in Ivy's direction. The girl took him by the arm and led him into her tent. She made him sit down on a cot covered in a white sheet. Looking around, Russ saw that the tiny tent was filled with a large supply of bandages, painkillers, and other crude medications.

There were two cots; there was the one he was sitting on and then apparently Ivy's bed. Some belongings and a green bag sat next to the other cot. Russ blinked, his vision still hazy. He grunted and slipped out of his army-green jacket, finding he felt very hot.

Ivy noticed his groan and turned to him. "Do you need something to drink?" she asked. Russ nodded. His lips felt dry and hot, and he felt altogether feverish. Ivy poured him a glass of water and gave it to him. He gladly guzzled it down. It wasn't ice-cold, but it was a relief to his parched mouth.

Ivy had wet a clean cloth and sat down next to Russ. "Look over here," she ordered. Russ turned his head to look at her. Ivy flinched. "Ooo. That is a nasty cut," she said, gently dabbing at the teen's forehead with the cloth. Russ didn't know what cut she was talking about; he didn't feel anything there. But when the white cloth came back stained red, Russ knew he had to have a cut on his head.

"Jeez, don't you know how to talk?" asked Ivy. "You haven't spoken a word since you got here."

"Tired," Russ muttered with a slight smile.

"You can rest once I've fixed these cuts," said Ivy. "But now that I see you can talk, I've got a few questions." She washed out the bloodied cloth and started to clean the cut on his hand. "Where are you from?"

Russ smiled crookedly. "You wouldn't believe me if I told you," he said.

"I might not, but tell me anyway," said Ivy.

Russ shrugged. "I come from the United States of America."

"Don't be silly, there is no United States of America," Ivy corrected, wrapping Russ' hand in some bandaging. "It's only the Union of America. Everyone knows that."

"There is, just not in this world," Russ said.

"Are you saying you're from another planet?" The girl scoffed laughingly, shaking her head in disbelief. "You sound like Miles Gering with that sort of talk."

"Not, not another planet; another reality," Russ told her. "My reflection in a mirror pulled me into this reality. I've been on the run for the past two days. And then..." He rubbed the back of his neck, a place where that man's club had come down hard, "I got arrested, interrogated, and tortured for being a spy."

"You sound surprised; you can't be from America," said Ivy. She wrapped a bandage around her patient's forehead. "And you're still talking like Miles. Sounds just like one of his stories."

"It's weird, but it's true," said Russ. "I really am from a parallel America. But as not to confuse everyone..." He smiled. "We can just call my country 'California'."

"Where'd you get that name from?" Ivy inquired. She was now examining the bruises and cuts on his legs.

"One of the names of the states in my America," Russ answered. He looked sad, drooping. "I miss home already."

"Are you from that state in your 'reality'?" asked Ivy, still sounding dubiously amused. She started to clean a cut on Russ' leg.

"No," said Russ. "I live in the midwest. California is the far west."

"You should tell me more later," said Ivy. "I don't believe you but it all sounds very interesting."

Russ snorted, resting his cheek in his palm. "Thanks a lot," he said, trying to mask his disappointment. "I'll convince you later."

Ivy finished wrapping a bandage around the cut on Russ' leg. Then she stood up and dusted her hands together. "All right; you're all fixed up," she said. "Are you hungry? I could bring you something."

Russ shook his head. "No thanks. I'm just tired. I've got no appetite," he declined, shutting his eyes.

"Since you're my patient you have to stay here," said Ivy. "After tomorrow you'll have a rank and an official place to sleep." She patted him on the shoulder with a tight smile. "Welcome to Sector 9." She briskly walked out of the tent.

Russ sighed and shifted into a lying-down position. He stared up at the grey cloth ceiling for a few seconds before closing his eyes and wishing he was at home again. He was asleep within a minute, his consciousness dragged away into a peaceful, dreamless sleep.

,.~*~.,

That's it for this preview. :D Hope you enjoyed~ I also hope you're a future reader of "Land of the Unfree" when I get it out!