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Edition 7: Unbound by Dan Hankner

flag USTrapped on a strange planet by a cruel race of aliens, all Raleigh wants is to go home. He needs a plan, and an opportunity. Can he escape the confines of this prison and return to space, where he belongs? SY

Raleigh North wasn’t special, he was just a man, and men wanted to go home.

Six moons burned red against the night sky, illuminating the dust-swept fields. Savage gusts ripped across the hard-pan and over the bunkers where their captors huddled in fear of the brooding windstorm. Raleigh stood above ground, watching, waiting. He raised a hand to the galaxy, the rusty chains around his wrists lightly clinking like a perverse wind chime.

“It was my wish to travel those stars.”

Next to him, Cancer rubbed his wrist where his own chain dug. That’s what Raleigh called the old man; Cancer. His skin was the color of tar, and he had no face to go with his no-name; a blank mask of weathered wrinkles and forgotten dreams, if ever a man such as he could dream.

“Wish?” asked Cancer, in a voice both soft and sad. He held out his hands, as if they were something distributed. Even in the red glow, Raleigh could make out the scars curving down Cancer’s arms. Next to him, the idiot-boy showcased his own marks; slashes etched into his back. Of all the prisoners, these were the only two who spoke to him, or spoke at all. The rest were no more than husks.

Raleigh coughed into his fraying T-shirt. “We need to commandeer a frigate.”

“Frigate,” repeated Cancer with unusual clarity, until a cloud passed over his eyes, and whatever he had dredged up fell back into the pit of his mind.

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