Omaca Chapter 1

by Paul Bentham

The tray of food she was given to by the service officer was discarded. Omaca distrusted the source of the food, supplied by the transport container. The last shipment from LARC colony to colony would have been months. The thin layer of grease that laid on top of the savoury baked dish, hardly inspired confidence either.

‘‘Just stay strong for Mischon’’ Her inner conscience echoed in her head.

Omaca was an adult female, who was on board the freight container, en route to Duriant, where she would serve her custodial sentence. Caught and processed by the illustrious Bounty Hunter Xiaon G12.Omaca had been sentenced for trafficking drugs, she was a survivor, sold drugs to struggle through; her adult life had been hard.

She withdrew the Okra bark, she had from within her person, and chewed on that, it would suffice till dawn.

The cycle on the Cyber Monitored Sanitary System CMSS was less than delicate, especially in areas that needed a sensitive touch, custodial cruelty still existed she thought, as she clambered out of the basin, and into the changing rooms, which were a mixture of silver steel and rusted iron ore. It was too cold, she heard the other inmates call out.

‘‘Can’t they fix this starblasted junk pile?’’ It was the same thing every single day, they knew it would not be fixed. Perhaps ironically, the prominent protest kept them sane.

Breakfast in the canteen was a smorgasbord of oatmeal and liquid protein whey. The patrol officers that surveyed the area, had kept an eye on her, whilst another inmate approached her.

‘‘Food’s kinda gross, huh?’’ The orange reptilian creature quizzed her in English.

‘‘I’ve had worse!’’Omaca replied barely acknowledging her counterpart.

‘‘Really, where?’’

‘‘I can’t remember, ’’Omaca replied, walking away. There was no desire for her to make an alliance of any kind, neither to aid her protection or for social reasons, she merely wanted to do her time and be on her way.

The warden urged an appointment between himself and Omaca, and ordered one of his minions to come and collect her. The orange reptilian Duriant had an obtuse shape and was of seasoned age. The warden poised at her profile, and observed her furry coat, her long tail, taking on board a hole in her left ear lobe, where a piercing would have been.

‘‘How are you adapting to your stay so far? Are you comfortable?’’

Omaca wasn’t sure whether or not, he was toying with her, being sarcastic, but there was no point in antagonising the man as they sat in his clinical office. Sterile religious pictures decorated the walls, hoping to promote a sense of decency amongst the renowned convicts.

‘‘Everything is fine.’’

‘‘I do firmly believe that all inmates need some stimulation, a goal, a chance to develop a new skill, to aid their rehabilitation. You do want to better yourself don’t you?’’

‘’Yes of course.’’

‘‘Excellent, well I will assign you to the History Museum, you will be working with Mrs Swinton, she is the Museum Curator. Her recent protégé, has moved on, nevertheless, Miss Swinton will show you the ropes.”

The Meeting was abruptly adjourned as the warden buried his head into a mountain of paperwork, as if he was reacting to a timed mechanism, two of the guards that brought her to the warden’s office, lifted her up and carried her back to her cell. She wasn’t ecstatic about working in the Museum, but it would beat working in the laundry room.

The vessel was a thirty metre long cruiser which was long and obtuse in shape. Satellites and cannons scanned its parameters, and it constantly rotated between moons, whilst on route to its destination, to avoid hi -jacking and escape. The company didn’t allow for people to visit the inmates, therefore communications were established via web linkage, and holographic terrestrial feeds.

She sat in her cell, almost in a ball like composition, as the bright light, shone and a spectrum of colours enveloped a small wraith type figure, with grey hair, glasses and a purple dress, of which the material had been connected by random pieces of thread. The holocron was at first fuzzy but became clearer as the light faded.

‘‘Omaca my dear, how are you?’’

‘‘Ma, I was hoping it was you, I’m holding up good. I’ve still got those Dackna bars you gave me.’’ She had to lie, she didn’t want to worry her mother, she was doing enough looking after her daughter Mishon, her mother needn’t have the stress of worrying about her also.

‘‘Ma are you still wearing that old thing?’’

‘‘Well there hasn’t been much work going round these past months it’s been tough....Mischon misses you so much, you know she came first in her class in a spelling competition. Omaca’s eyes filled with joy, a mother’s pride was everlasting, but there was almost an element of sorrow, for she missed her child also.

‘‘I wish I could see her, they don’t allow holo-visits for young ones, due to the Neuro implants” Physiologial implants that allowed for the transfer of biological matter to be represented via satellite.

‘‘You have a Museum on board, don’t you?’’Omaca’s mother spoke almost whispering.

‘‘Yes, in fact, I actually will start working in one.’’

‘‘When you have timed look up Planet Aqueos 1915, you will find it interesting,’’

Had the old woman lost her mind, she knew she could be scatty, and sometimes change the subject, but how could she do that when her granddaughter was concerned. But before she could question her Mother on it, the terrestrial feed was interrupted and her Mother disappeared. It wasn’t uncommon for the Satellite feed to be disrupted, quite often it happened, to be precise. Factors included jammed frequencies caused by passing ships, and freak weather storms. Yet it made her feel so disgruntled as she missed her Mother and there was always so much to say, to hear, to ask.

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Omaca Chapter 2

by Paul Bentham

The Museum itself was a huge white assembly hall which could have been a reformed church. The space was empty apart from a few arc windows, by the ceiling. There were several picture frames with headings across the wall, which were alphabetical order according to their title. There was as a matter of propriety, a display of early Stone Age man, all of the Museum information came in digital format. In the far corner of the room, an older human woman stood, tall and slim with red curly hair, behind the desk.

Omaca approached the woman, who gently smiled at her as she got closer.

‘‘Omaca I presume, I am Anne, nice to meet you, I am the Curator of this Museum if you follow me, I will show how it works’’

‘‘Where are the H’d displays?’’Hd screens used to catetorgrize information in the future.

‘‘I will show, curious you aren’t you?’’

‘‘A little,’’ Omaca stated her tail waggling slightly.

‘‘All of the sections are alphabetically placed’’ She walked to the heading which read the letter a, stood still and firmly spoke into the voice panel.

‘‘Agriculture’’ Anne exclaimed, and a visual holographic display of crop fields in a farm, in summer possibly somewhere Europe in the 21st century of what used to be Earth surrounded them. The word menu appeared.

‘‘CHOOSE a title,’’ Anne encouraged with a sentiment of glee.

‘‘Jet fighter planes 1914.’’

‘‘Touch the headline, don’t worry, it won’t bite!’’

Curiously she waggled her tail, and used it to scroll the headline.

A Near –jerk reaction caused her had to duck, she bucked slightly and her tail caught her balance as an American bomber swooped over her head, and swarmed the room, Anne chuckled a tad, but not in a malicious way, as if she half expected the behaviour. The holographic image circled the vicinity, and the sound was tremendous as the engine roared, and a tablet appeared with a translet of information. Omaca held the tab in shock and excitement.

‘’We work in shifts, mornings and afternoons as the Museum is not very busy. You will be responsible for all of the resources when I’m not here. You will need to make sure there is no theft of these items. The other inmates are not allowed to take any of the translets out of this room. The room must be kept clean there is a rota and cleaning schedule, but we will go through all of these things as we cross them. But most of all I appreciate you coming to help...’’

Omaca knew not how to take the Anne’s behaviour. Was she genuine? Well, either way she had no choice, she would work in the Museum. It did occupy her time.

The cries at night from her fellow inmates were unbearable, half of them having cravings for the drug k13. Rehabilitation only worked to a certain extent, as the drug was overpowering and still consumed their neural system. Others were mentally unstable and had more panic attacks during the night that would allow for a reasonable night’s sleep. All of these elements didn’t bother her as much as not seeing her daughter Mischon. She was incarcerated for selling the drug k13 just to survive and provide for her daughter jobs were scarce on her home planet. She had missed her deeply in the three months that she had been incarcerated. Omaca needed to get out, and be reunited with her daughter, but how could she? Omaca was rightfully convicted, the evidence against her was insurmountable, she could hardly appeal, and there was no way off of the transport.

The shifts in the Museum kept her busy and distracted her slightly from missing her daughter. Omaca took the opportunity to download data on Earth’s history, to aid with Mischon’s school assignments, as given info by her mother.

Night time dawned, and unable to sleep, she stole through to the library. She had mirrored the security code of her cell, inputted by the guards. She had plenty of practice getting the sequence right and had perfected the ordination. She clambered through the walls of the prison avoiding the motion detectors that surveyed the area, swinging and jumping from platform to platform, the only place of solitude would be the library.

She slowly entered and half expected to see Anne waiting for her, but was presented with a large steel door to the entrance of the library, with a small glass panel which revealed the library’s view. The room was empty, dark and hollow as it was never used. The alphabetical headlines, still adorned the walls.

She punched in the security codes and the large steel Chamber opened.

‘‘Welcome user 3679’’The digital operating system bellowed.

She progressed her approach, rubbing her eyes as she did so.

She approached the alphabetic sections on the walls, and studied the letter L, flicking through the headlines, and tilte landscapes, she hit on the caption, and was immediately filled with mountains, lakes, rivers and deserts. These images only amplified her curiousity, N for nature, and birds decked the room, with sharks and an effervescent ocean. Neither satisfied her curiosity, her soul beckoned her to look up the book her Mother suggested.

‘‘Aqeous 1915,’’ Omaca exclaimed.

A bright light enveloped the whole room, and the images of the ocean, and a blue humpback whale disappeared, and within moments her whole body was decorated by a digital fuzz, a square box appeared, with an Image of a meadow, her body now completely covered with the terrestrial feed, slowly submerged with the scene in the box, and she disappeared.
The sunshine beamed its strong rays against the meadow, and she reappeared, completely intact, and unharmed. Large fields with summer flowers, filled her view.

How was this possible? Was she dreaming? Had she in fact uncovered a portal in between worlds? Was this a real world and if so, where was she?

At the end of the meadow there was a forest, and beyond it was a huge mountain.
She walked towards the forest, with a flying beast hovering ahead, but as the forest got closer the terrestrial feed re-animated itself, and transported her back to the Museum.
Once back in the room, she found that all of the captions and headings were closed down. She attempted to re-open the menu bar, to reinstate the captions but they were shutdown. Someone, somewhere had closed in on things and interrupted her, but who? Would Anne have external access to the building? Or was it someone like the Warden? She spent hours trying to input different codes to override the system but in the end gave up and returned back to her cell.

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Omaca Chapter 3

by Paul Bentham

In comparison To Omaca, Nicron had a more upbeat tone than her daughter. The older monkey was literally brimming with glee, it was almost as her mother knew about the would-be portal. Nicron continued to smile and her tail wiggled in the most joyous and particular fashion.

‘‘You’ve read the book, haven’t you?’’ Nicron asked inquisitively, the terrestrial feed buzzed slightly with interference. Perhaps someone was listening in, Omaca had to be careful.

‘’Yes I did,’’ Omaca said quietly, as to not attract attention.

‘’Planet Aqueous was quite interesting, wasn’t it?’’

That confirmed it for Omaca, that Nicron had full knowledge of the portal, that somehow she knew when and where it would occur, but how could she know, the portals were not easy to decipher.

‘’It’s a special place, it’s actually one of Mischon’s favourite, she constantly looks it up on her HD, before she goes to bed, she finds it and it helps her go to sleep!’’The older monkey wasn’t stupid, she was hinting once again, after many years of living with her mother, she could tell by the dilation in her eyes, that she wanted her to know something,
The light darkened and the terrestrial feed was disrupted and a loud voice boomed over the tannoy.

‘‘Weekly room inspection, commencing in two minutes.’’ Spoke one of the warden’s deputies.
The room inspections were common place, and at times the other inmates had complained that their holo visits had been disrupted by these spontaneous inspections. The Warden made no apologies in stating the fact, that he did not trust the inmates and had to be confident that no Grey Matter material had been passed through the transmissions. Grey Matter, neatly dubbed as materials which originally were pieces of data, but could then be replicated into solid matter such as knives, guns etc.

Her tail recoiled with fear, relishing the idea of being reacquainted with the Warden.
Minutes later, the Warden arrived with several of his henchmen, underpaid and overweight Duriant thugs.

‘‘Search under the bed, in the cupboards, and the sink."

‘‘Omaca.’ ’The male Duriant stated in a way that was neither polite or rude, but it was meant to be a greeting.

‘’Can I do anything to help, Warden Philips?’’Omaca asked sarcastically.

The warden picked up on her tone and didn’t appreciate it. He paced the small cell several times before pausing in front of her.

‘’If you are indeed hiding something, make no mistake, we will find it.’’ The warden stated, glancing at one of the guards.

Omaca slightly nodded, even if he knew about the portal, how could he prove it, there was nothing for her to be worried about, because there was nothing to find, she had not transported anything to the room.

‘‘Anything?’’’The warden asked one of the heavy set guards.

‘‘Nothing sir,” the guard replied.

The warden, with a bitter look upon his face, ushered them out.

‘‘Oh you will find that the Museum is closed for the foreseeable future, as we are experiencing some technical difficulties, you may have experienced them yourself. I’m sure you can find another activity to fill your time, perhaps the laundry room?’’ Philips said, walking out.

That confirmed he was aware of the portal and her plan to escape and was aiming to shut her down. Working in the laundry room was mere punishment for attempting to leave the floating steel can, but how would she find a way to be with Mischon?

Her tail hung her body above the ceiling, it was a sign that she was anxious. Would the portal work again? Was her mother speaking to her in code, was Mischon in fact waiting for her in the mysterious oasis? She had to take the chance, even though she deserved to be there, Mischon didn’t deserve to be a Motherless!

She waited untill the middle of the night when she could be sure the Warden would not be watching her. Omaca had to use her wits, if she tried to use the code on her cell, perhaps the Warden would be alarmed, no, she couldn’t take the risk. She squeezed through a chink in a small corner of the room that she had covered up prior to the inspection. Amongst the darkness, the droid scanners were unable to detect the heat signature made from her.

At the entrance to the room, two droids awaited her. Robust, with beady eyes and large plasma cannons, one of them took out a device as if to signal to the warden, with a spike she accustomed herself to enroute she dispatched them both, before the Warden could be known of her presence. She reached the security door of the library, and used Anna’s codes to access the building, luckily Anne was as scatty as a bag of hazelnuts.

The headlines were covered against drapes and robes but were still there. She punched on the headlines. But Aqueopus was not there, what was she to do? She sat, and then collapsed and cried for hours, she had lost her Mischon, she had begun to lose hope.

Then as she sat on the floor, she gave it one more try. She got up and scanned all the books, but after a whole hour, nothing. A wave of depression hit her, and once more sunk to the floor, in a state of despair.

Then the terrestrial feed came from a small chink in the wall two metres away from where she sat. The small beam scanned the room, and intensified as it did so. Someone, possibly her mother, had opened the portal from the other side. The source of energy began to reach out for her, and origin of the light from the wall revolved the portal, showing the meadow to which she was familiar. The light began once more reaching out for her body, covering every inch of her being. She became deeply excited and within seconds the light disappeared and she vanished.

She arrived back at the meadow with the glorious sun shining, a little monkey had her back turned to her.

She instantly cried out to the creature in hope, ’’Mischon?’’

The little monkey ran over to her with open arms. They were once more together.

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