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Vomit covered her shirt, but that didn’t stop her from taking another shot before the unsanctioned lift off.

The pod was crowded with other refugees who were hoping to make it out of earth without having to sell an organ or cram into the transport cubbyholes with the other hapless indentured servants.

Why should the elites be the only ones to breathe fresh air? After all, it was their fathers’ fathers that destroyed this place.

The other refugees were mostly families, tired parents with young children littered across the floor. Bae wished they would be quiet. And buckle up. The shuttle could take off at any moment with no notice at all, or at least that was Bae’s assumption based on how little their “guides” were communicating with them.

The pod had seats bolted to the floor with a few dressers nailed to the walls. The dressers had drawers with faulty locks that were filled with alcohol nips. The poor man’s anxiety meds. Wouldn’t the bottles slam into them during take off? Just to be safe, Bae drank every bottle she could find.

But it had been hours.

Hours of drinking.

Hours of children wailing.

Hours without a bathroom and a bloated bladder and a stomach in knots.

Dan reached over and grabbed Bae’s hand. His warm touch reassuring her. It was all she needed to finally let her eyelids flutter until they finally shut.

A series of jolts made their way into Bae’s dreams. Half awake, she knew this was it. Finally, she was experiencing the dreaded liftoff of a discount shuttle, hidden in the middle of town, that would need to break speed regulations in order to escape the arms of justice, the dreaded ME, Migrant Erasers.

“No, we’re not taking off. Look out the windows at the trees going by, they’re moving us somewhere,” Dan said as he shook Bae fully awake.

That was odd. Jess thought the pod was already secured into the shuttle and positioned on a launch pad cleverly hidden in the stadium dome.

That was the reason they booked the flight. Emptied out their savings. This was the ‘reputable’ illegal domain crossing.

“Apparently not,” Dan said, as if again reading Bae’s mind. “These guys aren’t what we thought. Looks like they are driving us to the slums. Probably have the shuttle hidden in some tent city. A goddamn explosive tin can. Fucking tweakers. Shipping us off in some experimental flying shitbox they built while sitting in their mom’s basement reading the Rebel’s Cookbook.”

“But it’s too late to go back now?” Bae squeezed Dan’s hand while she asked the question.

“It’s too late to go back now.” Dan repeated as a statement.

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