It was late afternoon on the tenth of the month, the first day that everyday civilians traveled from Earth to Papyrus, when Mel finally saw some sign that he and his niece might ever return home. Lying in the woods in the center of a nearly-overgrown and then recently traveled path that the two had found themselves on was a torn up piece of stained cloth. Mel picked it up and sniffed at the red stain to confirm his suspicions.
A large black man shut off the TV. Through the orange jumpsuit a network of tattoos peeked out. Visible on the fingers of his large left hand were four letters from some semi-literate tattoo artist spelling out D-E-T-H. The man let out a frustrated sigh of relief and turned to the group to discuss politics. “He just keep going to all these schools tryna keep up appearances. When y’all think the big man gonna come down here?”
Smith left with a single file folder. On the bus home he looked at the assignment. It looked like one of those 3-D pictures you were supposed to stare at cross-eyed, a jumble of random dots with no clear writing.
As soon as he closed the door into his apartment, Smith checked his phone to see if he had any messages. Manolios had returned the little Nokia with a knowing smile, but it had obviously been upgraded while in his care. There was a tiny camera attached to the back and linked into the phone battery. Smith had heard that the Redshirts were at least a decade ahead of civilian technology, but he’d never expect something as mundane as all this.
The Red and the Rest
Part 1- Crossing
Chapter 1- Applied Application
There was only one cloud in the sky above the bus stop at Ste. Nero where two men and a very pregnant woman stood waiting. One of the men wore a nice brown jacket, the kind that said I don’t need to be taking the bus with you people, but something something global warming. The woman was done up in a nice thick sari that covered her arms and body from the crisp not-quite-fall wind. The last man, however, had only an old short-sleeved dress shirt to protect him from the early September chill. As a breeze ruffled the first man’s long jacket and the woman’s sari, the last man’s tie flew up into his face, wrapping around his long nose and revealing a mustard stain on his shirt. It would have been a miserable sight if one could help from judging the overall appearance of the third man.