Born on a Journey – The Tale of an Imperial Slave
This entry, encrypted was found aboard a trading ship at Adelman Station in Cubeo. The metadata of the datapad and details of its origin have been stripped to protect the privacy of the author and protect them from future victimization. Anyone with information regarding the mistreatment of Imperial Slaves are encouraged to contact imperial authorities and the Prismatic Imperium.
I don’t know if this will be published or even if it will ever make it out of the system, but I must at least try to stow this datapad somewhere bound for Cubeo. I can only pray that it will be discovered by someone sympathetic to our cause. If you read this, please forward it… somewhere. I don’t know who will listen, or if anyone will listen. It’s been so long since I’ve heard anything of the true outside world, it all comes filtered through a lens of madness and cruelty.
I don’t have a name, I was given one a long time ago, but it is lost to me now. It has been many years. I don’t have a home system or planet that I can remember. There is only one life I have ever known, one of servitude, bondage, and torture. I am fortunate that I’ve been able to obtain some education on the ways of the galaxy from dock workers and other sympathetic ears or I would not know there was a world outside of this or that this is not normal. I thought I had committed some crime, some horrible sin in a past life I am being made to atone for now, but now I know it is not by the hand of any divinity that I am made to toil but by the hand of man and a mad practice called ‘Imperial Slavery’.
As I said, I was born into bondage. Some may argue that Imperial Law forbids such a thing, but there are always loopholes. Surely you have heard of ‘contracts’ of entire planets being bought up, supposedly voluntarily but what of children whose parents are forced into debt bondage by a sick society that thinks binding your life to a ‘contract’ is normal. I was fortunate, my first master was a relatively kind one, who educated me, limited me to housework rather than grueling physical labor and fed me. It was almost a human experience. I was allowed some limited freedom though not much, but it was early on that I realized that this was not right. It was not a normal way to live. I had read stories of kidnapping victims who believed their victimizers were their parents and suspected perhaps that was what my life was. It was then that the true horror of Imperial Slavery was explained to me.
My life was a ‘contract’ bought up to pay off a debt my father had been fooled into believing was his own by the authority of the system he’d lived in. I was to work for the rest of my life to pay off a debt so massive that it was likely no one was actually tracking it. What would be the point, I would not pay off the debt in a hundred lifetimes. Worse yet, if I ever bear children, they too would be forced to work under the same contract. They would become property. Once your master has total control of your life, do you think they will treat you fairly? That the terms of the contract mean anything when you have no advocate and no control? It would be perfectly legal and easy to snuff your life out if you don’t choose an eternity of servitude, what motivation would your master have to treat you fairly. “Oh, strange, the cargo was lost in transit.” Is the only sentence necessary to turn a disobedient slave into space debris. And it was not long until I found my contract had been sold, the only home I’d ever known, I would never see again. I would be in service of a man I’d never met. I was eighteen years old then and the horror of not just my own bondage but the reality that if I wished to have a family they would suffer the same fate struck me with full force. I wish I could say escape was my first thought, but instead I thought first to take my own life.
For years, I served under my cruel new master. It was only the voice of the woman who should be Empress Princess Aisling Duval that brought me from the brink. It was my master’s favorite show, an idiotic thing called “Celebrity Pets“. She spoke out. She spoke about how the pets on that idiotic show lived a better life than the billions forced into slavery. Billions out there, who were like me. It was as if she had spoken for me, she truly was my voice. I had seen first hand, my master’s dog being pampered, given spa treatments and served the finest food. Real food. I do not know what the muck we were given was at times ‘My Lord’ which is the only name my master has permitted me to call him, implied that the food was made of disobedient slaves. Given the other things I’ve seen, I have no reason to doubt his words. But hearing the Princess was the first time anyone had shown they truly cared about me. About any of us. And that was the first time I tried to escape.
I can’t write the finer details of my plan here, until I am liberated I can not risk ‘My Lord’ discovering that I am writing this. I can not risk being identified. But suffice to say, my plan did not succeed. I attempted to steal one of his ships and leave the port but they are more complex than I expected. I had no flying experience. Only the ship’s voice command system allowed me to make it out of port where we were temporarily docked, but I did not make it far before the system authority disabled the ship’s engines and life support. I was left to choke out what I believed were my last breaths in space before passing out. I thought that I had, one way or another escaped my bondage. I dreamt of freedom. But when I woke up in a medical facility I knew that I had achieved nothing. My lord stood over me, sneering. I had cost him a good deal of money, which would of course be added to my debt. But that would not be enough. I would make back my value as a test subject.
The time that followed… I don’t know how long it was. I never saw anything that would give me a reference of time. There was pain… doctors poking and prodding me. Taking things out of my body, putting things in. I have no idea if I am even the same woman I was when I was taken or if something has broken that can never be replaced. I do not know if there was a purpose to any of this or if it was just to make me an example for the others. I thanked him. I thanked ‘my lord’ for his mercy when I was finally released from the medical facility. I begged his forgiveness and told him I loved him, and in a twisted way I meant it. He took advantage of my new found loyalty and before long I was pressed into greater servitude. But with time, my senses returned to me and I knew my false loyalty would be lead to the end of my long journey to freedom, the journey I was born on. So I serve him for now, but when the moment is right, I will plunge the knife into his neck and I will find my freedom.
And this is the true purpose of my anonymity. Not every detail in this story is true, some have been modified, some left out, to preserve my identity. Slavers throughout the galaxy, look to your slaves. Are you sure that is not me? That as you read this, the one polishing your shoes is not the same who plots your demise? As long as you traffic on the suffering of others, you will never be safe. If it is not me, it will be another, we will rise and take our freedom if you do not grant it to us. It is a long journey to freedom and the path that leads to it may be war. But it is a journey I was born on.
Submitted by TheAdmiralCrunch