His personal pod glided silently out of the cerulean blue sky, touching down on the open balcony 40 floors up. The doors to the apartment and the pod opened silently and simultaneously. He crossed the room, his sinuous body clad in a tight silver suit which enhanced his enviable physical structure. He bent to pick up a shiny metal disc from the low table and stepped into his transport. In moments they were rising high into the atmosphere, heading towards the mountains far to the south of the country.
He leaned back and shut his eyes, probably the only time today as he knew the next few hours were busy and fraught with danger. To him, it felt like only moments later as the pod hissed and stopped on the roof of an old tower. An eccentricity of his, he liked the old buildings built hundreds of years ago by the remnants of a race from Earth. The buildings stood proud despite their antiquity of the people only a few remained and they were all slaves.
The pod doors opened and as he stood up, three dark-clad men stepped out of the shadows, hands casually holding their weapons at their sides. He nodded to them; the doors opened onto a spiral of metal steps. He moved with the sinuous stealth of a predatory panther while his awkward bodyguards clattered after him. On reaching his office floor, the doors hissed opened. Two bodyguards peeled off and stood aside as he stepped into the room behind the other guard. They glanced about the room. There was no sign of any enemy presence. Lord Oloof headed for his desk. Moments later, another door opened and his latest office assistant entered carrying a pile of tablets and signal pads. He looked her over and smiled to himself. His plotting and planning had paid off. After their mutual greetings, he signalled for her to sit. They settled to work. Neither noticed the passage of time until the bodyguard made a discrete cough.
Oloof looked up, startled, then turned to his assistant. “My apologies, I have kept you beyond the curfew. I will transport you to your quarters.” He stood and gestured for her to follow him. The three guards looked at each other with knowing smiles as they took up positions. Two climbed the steps and made sure all was well on the roof while the third remained beside the office door until he heard the pod lift off. Their dark-coloured pod followed at a discrete distance. On reaching Oloof’s apartment, they docked first. One guard checked. At the all-clear signal, Oloof and his assistant stepped out of his pod. A few moments later, two exited the apartment, and the guard pod shot off towards the holding quarters.
It had been a clever piece of legerdemain as Oloof and his assistant were still in the apartment, but prying eyes would not know. She looked surprised and shocked then angry. She rounded on him, “I might be a recently captured slave, but I will never submit to becoming a sex slave to you or anyone else. I would rather kill myself.”
He laughed as he pushed her to the back of the room. “My dear, I’ve no intention of making you a sex slave. I have more ambitious plans for you. But I do want you to stay away from the front windows. There are dangerous people out there. You will stay in these rooms at the back for a couple of days, then things will change and I guarantee you will be pleased and amazed.”
His daily schedule did not alter. Any watching eyes would see nothing new or exciting. On the third day when he returned from work, he motioned her to follow him. They left via the servant's entrance and rode to the sub-ground floor on the service platform. Once there, he gave her a key. “Take this 31 key and open the 31 locker. Inside you will find a parcel change into the garments there and then cover your hair with the grey wig and put on the long servant’s coat. Then return here to me.”
She opened the parcel and gasped. There were her dress and the gold ornaments she had worn when she had been captured. She changed quickly and placed the rust-coloured suit, her slave uniform, into the bag together with the id badge, so nothing remained to identify her. The grey wig and servants’s coat covered her completely. Once again she looked like a nobody. She stepped out of the room and he was still waiting. He looked her over. “Good, now go to the entrance, a black pod will come down. Board it and when you reach the tower, you will meet the three guards again who will take you into the anteroom of my office. Wait there for the next step in our plan.”
It mesmerised her. She did not understand what the plan was, but if it involved her not being a slave, she was happy.
At the tower, the guards took her down to the anteroom level. She handed them the parcel of slave uniform and the coat and wig. She sat down to wait for the next development. Meanwhile, two of the guards, after stuffing the slave uniform into a metallic capsule, took the black pod far out into the desert area. They did as Lord Oloof had instructed them and buried it deep. Lord Oloof had said it was like a time capsule and must be buried so deep they would not find it in their lifetimes or any others at least for three to four generations or more.
“Burying a time capsule is a very important thing to do for the people who come after us. I wonder how long it will be? What if it is never found?”
The other grunted as he shovelled the dark soil. “One day in a future we can't even imagine I’m sure they will find it. What I do wonder though is what is in this parcel and why is it so important.”
At the tower, the chief bodyguard notified his boss all was ready and had gone to plan.
“Good man. Now take the lady to the pod waiting for her. Tell her to act surprised when it lands at the tower again.”
If it surprised her, she did not show it, just climbed into the pod which whisked her away. When it returned, several other pods were hovering around waiting to land their passengers.
Lord Oloof stood at the doors. As her pod landed and she alighted, he bowed low. “Welcome, Princess Azia. It is a pleasure to meet you. Please do come in.”
She was regal now with her gold bangles and torc of office around her neck, but how come he was acting as if he did not know her? Confused, she continued the play-acting and thrust her hand out to be kissed. As he bent low, he whispered. “That is great keep it up. I promise I’ll explain as soon as I can.”
Soon the other pods disgorged their passengers. Some she recognised, they were her people! More she did not but these newcomers all bowed low as befitted a princess while her own people sidled up with eyebrows raised questioningly. She imperceptibly shook her head. They were seasoned courtiers and formed around her like a mini court. It seemed there were interminable lines of people lining up bowing and moving off.
When it seemed nothing could surprise her anymore, Lord Oloof clapped his hands. “Friends and well-wishers. As you know, I have been negotiating with our neighbours all over the galaxies and today I have the very best news. Princess Azia is to become my wife.”
There was a silence, a stunned silence, then clapping and congratulations. Lord Oloof came and took her by the hand and whispered. “I’m sorry I sprang that on you, but I hope you will go along with the change of plans. The Tetrarch is on his way and I want this to be a done deal. If he knows he made a Princess a slave things could get very nasty for all of us. My men have buried all the things which could link you to the slave. ”
She smiled and regally passed among the crowd, but always keeping an eye out on her new fiance. By the time the Tetrarch arrived, many of the guests had left. There had been time for a hurried conversation and she had agreed to marry him, provided they released all her people to return home. He readily agreed.
Once again they all lined up as the doors opened and the Tetrarch entered. Lord Oloof said, “Welcome my Lord, what a pleasure to have you visit my humble little office and reception rooms.”
The tired-looking old man humped. “So you are about to marry a princess, why haven’t I met her before?”
“Ah, she is shy and only agreed to this reception provided there weren’t too many people. May I introduce you to the lady who has agreed to become my wife, Princess Azia?”
Many hours later, they left the tower and returned to his apartment. “Now you see why I said I did not want you for my sex slave but for something greater!”