The ride through space would excite any unexperienced traveler. Butler would admit he use to get that adrenaline rush from seeing the planets go by. But it has been years since he felt that excitement. He was considering settling down on a newly terraformed planet and do general runs instead of doing this.
He needed to stretch his legs and it’s been a few hours since he heard nothing from his passenger. He put the ship on auto pilot and did a quick recognizant scan of the area before he was comfortable enough to leave deck.
He went to the hull were they were holding the cattle and found Shanna sitting in the corner asleep? He wondered why she was not in her room.
He walked over and tapped her shoulder to wake her up. It took her a few moments before she came too and realized that she had fallen asleep in the cargo hold.
“You can go to your quarters. No one will take the cargo.”
She stood up and she stopped exactly at his nose. She was not tall but she takes control of these animals as if she was five men.
“I will go then.”
“Can I ask how you came to be a wrangler? You do not seem the type to be doing such a tedious and back breaking job.”
Shanna looked at him as if she had to think of how to answer.
“What type should a wrangler be? I am good at this so I do it. I will go to the cabin now.”
She walked past him to the exit. He watched her walk away and he had to admit his imagination was getting the better of him. She wore clothing that a man would and yet it suited her.
He wondered if she wore it to hide what lies beneath it or if she just enjoys wearing male clothing. He looked out at the cattle and they were fine. He left the cargo to go to his own cabin. He needed to shower and change himself. It had been a few days since soap touched his skin. It bothered him that he complained about his guest’s appearance.
After cleaning up and putting on a splash of sweet space cologne he went to the command deck. Butler did another recognizant scan and everything looked the same as he left it. He sat at the counsel for an hour before hunger grabbed his stomach. He decided that he would eat with another human being instead of being alone/
“Shanna please come to the bridge.”
The door opened behind him and he heard her enter. “I have not eaten as yet and I really do not feel like eating alone. So would you kindly join me?” He did not hear a sound. Turning around Shanna stood there and silently.
“I will join you. Are we to eat here?”
She did not act like any female that he had ever encountered. It didn’t matter at the moment. He turned around and put the ship back on autopilot.
Butler stood and waited until Shanna exited the bridge. He led her to the small eating area and simulated some food for him to eat. “What would you like?”
She looked at his plate and said,” What you are having.”
He loved a woman with a hearty appetite. He placed the plates down and began to eat. She followed suit and ate in silence. He did not want that he need to hear another person’s voice.
“So were you born on Qunstan?”
“No. I was bought and traded. That is how I got on that planet.”
Butler stopped eating. He did not believe what he just heard.
“You were bought?”
“Yes I was bought by Michael Krum and traded to the Thompson family.”
“Krum is ruthless. Your parents sold you. Why?”
“My creators sold me because it would get them out of debt.”
“Wait. What are you?”
“I am Shanna. I am a cyborg tenth class. I am as close to human as science can get.”
Butler mouth dropped open. He would have never guessed that she was a cyborg.
“Were you supposed to tell me that?”
“I do not know.”
“Do the Thompson’s know your cyborg?”
Shanna looked down at her hands before answering.
Butler was fascinated by her. She really looked real and could fool anyone.
“Well do not fear I will not lay a hand on you.”
“Why would you not? Is it because I am cyborg? I have had relations before.”
Butler knew that there were people who enjoyed the company of artifical but he was never tempted.
“Did you enjoy it?”
She did not speak instead she put more food in her mouth and ate as if she needed more time to think of the right answer.
“I was told that I did not need to enjoy the act. That the other person’s enjoyment was much more important.”
That did not sit with him right. Why create something as close to a human if you stop their evolution?
“Well I think that is a shame. How much longer will you be in service to the Thompson’s?”
“I have one more year before I am free, unless they sell me before my time is up and then I will have to wait another five years.”
Listening to this was curbing his appetite. “Why are you going with this cattle?”
“I was told that they were sold and that I will be meeting a Jonah Shidt.”
Sh—this was not only a cattle transaction. She was being sold and she did not even know it.
“Listen when we land, do not get off the ship. You are being sold again. I know this Shidt he buys women and apparently cyborgs to be put in his brothels.”
Shanna looked at her plate and he seen a tear fall. Did cyborgs have feelings?
“Don’t worry as long as you are on my ship you belong to me and I will let them know this. Once we leave I will take you were ever you want to start a life for yourself?”
She looked up and it was like a thought struck her.
“Do you have an idea where you would like to go?”
“Yes. But it is dangerous and you will have to leave everyone you know behind.”
“Well that’s fine. Everything that belongs to me is on this ship and I am free at the wind on the third moon.”
Shanna smile at him and rose from her seat.
“Where are you going?”
“I will have to prepare for the trip.”
He did not want to scare her but he knew it was not going to be easy getting away from Shidt. He had his hands on almost every planet in the cosmos. Where ever they go it better be past his reach.