The Bastille Sphere: a penal colony being developed by Harmony Inc. Entry is one way only, with no way out. It's supposed to be for habitual reoffenders and the worst violent offenders.
River knew there was a chance that he and his brother would fall behind on the loan they took out to cover their mother's medical bills and funeral. He never expected Harmony to call in the debt under the Debtor's Prison Act. He certainly wouldn't have believed that they'd send him to Bastille to become a gladiator's prize.
Leyland knew just how corrupt Harmony was. Eager to populate their colony, they used the system to grab anyone they thought wouldn't be missed. If they qualified for gladiator training, it was a bonus, as the broadcast games added to the revenue the colony brought in.
The prize: A fight to the death with the winner gaining his parole. He couldn't leave Bastille, but would gain a modicrum of freedom, including his own home behind the walls of the Compound outside of the prison grounds, and be gifted with a mate. It was a win/win as far he was concerened. Leyland would either be freed by death at last, or he'd win and gain as normal a life as Bastille offered.
If only it was that easy.
- 2 To Be Read lists
Heat Level: 3
Romantic Content: 5
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 18-25
Protagonist 2 Age: 26-35
Tropes: Alpha Character, Arranged Pairing, Criminals & Outlaws
Word Count: 57183
Setting: penal colony planet
Languages Available: English
"The spaceport is on the other side, the view is blocked by the trees," Devon informed me."You'll get a chance to see it later."
At least one of us was confident that I'd get whatever the job was Mr. Wilcox had called me to come to see about. A man wearing an earpiece stood inside the door. I noticed he was armed, as well, though much more discreetly than the gate guards. He greeted Devon before addressing me. "Mr. Wilcox says to bring you to Conference Room A." Without waiting for a response, he turned on his heel and began walking away. I had no choice but to hurry after him. When we reached the elevator, I realized my brother and Devon had been right behind us. That pleased me, I wouldn't be alone with the not so friendly guy for a few moments longer.READ MORE
At least, not until one of us got off to go our separate way. That didn't happen, though. Only Devon's buddy punched in a floor, and we all rode there in silence. When the elevator stopped, and we all got off, Mr. No Name led me down the hall. I followed him, my brother behind me, with Devon trailing behind. I felt my anxiety rising again, this being so out of the ordinary. Then we were outside the door to Conference Room A, and we were ushered inside. My mouth went dry as I spotted Mr. Wilcox sitting at the large table, along with several other important-looking people who looked at me appraisingly. Just what was this job, exactly?
"I can see you're curious as to who all of us here are and wondering why you're here."
"Well, I did wonder about everyone, but I do know I'm here because you offered me a job," I replied.
Mr. No Name with the earpiece locked the door with an audible click and moved to stand before it.
"A job?" a brunette woman about thirty or so asked Mr. Wilcox. "Is that what you told him?"
"It is a job opportunity, of sorts," he defended himself.
Yep, something was very, very wrong. I looked at my brother, hoping he had answers.
"I'm sorry, River," he said."If only you hadn't lost your job."
Devon moved lightning-fast from behind me. My face slammed against the top of the table before me as my arms were pulled roughly behind my back.
"Don't hurt him! You promised not to hurt him!"
"And we won't. He won't have to fight. After he settles in, he'll be assigned to the library," Mr. Wilcox told him.
"What's going on?" I screamed.
"River," my brother said miserably as I was pulled back up, my arms now securely fastened behind me. "They've called in our marker. Harmony bought our debt. I agreed to indenture my legal services to them in exchange for a reduction in interest and a longer payment period. That was contingent on them being satisfied that we were both in gainful employment and able to have our wages garnished."
"I didn't agree to that!" I cried.
"It's all legal, it was in the new terms sent to us the day they bought our debt. "
"But he offered me a job. I'll take it, whatever it is."
"See?" Mr. Wilcox said to the rest of the seated people. "We've got him on a recording, giving his full agreement."
My brother broke down then. "Please, don't send him. Even if you don't make him fight, those men..." he sobbed.
My blood turned to ice. Send me? To the Sphere? No, they couldn't mean that! "I didn't do anything!" I screamed.
"Under the Debt Recovery Act of 2032, we have the right to indenture you to our employment until your debt is paid as well as to choose debtor's prison," the woman said, standing up and walking around the table to stand by my other side. "Lucky boy, you get both."COLLAPSE