Freezone - Episode 1
Updated: Jul 20
The car’s gravity manipulator gently landed it in a clearing in the middle of a Martian forest. Four men, dressed in forest camouflage, exited the car and stood under the cloudless sky. ‘Remember non-lethal force only,’ the leader said firmly, ‘the job is capture alive.’ The other men grunted their agreement as they prepared their equipment, including some tranquilizer guns. ‘The Harris estate is that way,’ their leader said pointing towards a line of trees in the distance which hid a small stream. The three men moved out quickly and quietly.
A great crystal chandelier floated and spun slowly spreading its light throughout the inside of the beautiful white gazebo. The miniature gravity manipulator hidden inside of it allowed it to hang in midair and simultaneously show off the wealth of its owners. Smaller lights floated all around the island, which was surrounded by a small, tree-lined stream. The floating lights illuminated the hundred or so teenagers enjoying themselves beneath the Martian stars. Tables and chairs had been set out on the well manicured grass around the gazebo. Large tents, containing the food and drink, had been erected at either end of the island. A popular local band played, adding their music to the atmosphere of the night’s festivities.
‘I’m gonna do it,’ Vance Harris said running his hand through his blonde hair and exchanging glances with a pretty, red-haired girl standing on the other side of the dance floor.
Vance’s friend, Grayson Walker, looked at him, his dark eyebrows raised. ‘This is not a good idea,’ he said shaking his head, ‘what about Tiana?’
‘Tiana’s not here. Plus, look at her,’ replied Vance. He motioned to the redhead who was obviously making eyes at him.
‘Well, that settles it then,’ Grayson said sarcastically. ‘She’s hot and you want to make-out with her before your girlfriend shows up.’
‘That’s about right,’ Vance said turning his brown eyes toward Grayson and smiling.
‘There’s more important things than just what you…’ Grayson’s voice trailed off as he realized Vance was already making his way around the gazebo to where the girl was standing. He watched as they walked towards the other end of the island together.
Grayson decided to take a walk down to the food tent. The Harris family never spared any expense on their son. That meant they had the best caterers in the whole colony for Vance’s graduation party. But as he walked, he caught a glimpse of a dark skinned girl in a red dress walking across the stone bridge to the island where the party was being held. His blue eyes grew large as he realized who it was.
Grayson quickly looked away, hoping she hadn’t seen him. He quickly pulled out a metal square just big enough to fit in the palm of his hand. He pressed his thumb against it and it folded out into a screen about twice its original size. Grayson frantically typed a message to Vance as he changed course back towards the gazebo where the band was playing. He tried to go as fast as he could without looking like he was hurrying. ‘Grayson!’ the girl called, ‘Grayson Walker!’
Grayson stopped in his tracks and turned to face her. She smiled at him, her white teeth making a striking contrast with her dark skin. ‘Congratulations, Walker!’ she said and hugged him, ‘We made it!’
Grayson smiled and nodded, relieved that’s what she wanted to say to him.
‘Congratulations to you too, Tiana,’ he said. Grayson noticed that her brown eyes were searching around, probably for Vance. ‘You need to try the food!’ he said, trying to distract her from the search. ‘You know the Harrises, only the best for their Vance!’
‘Ok,’ Tiana said as Grayson gently guided her towards the food tent, the opposite direction from where Vance had gone. ‘Have you—’
‘Did you get into the University of Terfoxia?’ Grayson interrupted her. She gave him a suspicious look but it only lasted a second.
‘Yeah! I can’t wait to start!’ she replied as they walked into the food tent, ‘What about…’ She started to ask but then remembered who she was talking to, ‘I mean…I’m sorry, Grayson.’
‘It’s fine,’ he said forcing a smile, ‘I knew when I got baptized that I wouldn’t be allowed to go to university.’
‘I’ll never understand why you did that,’ she said as Grayson grabbed a burger from the table, ‘I mean you gave up everything just to get dunked under some water.’
‘Well, it’s about what God has done for me—’ Grayson started to explain.
‘I know,’ Tiana interrupted him, ‘Some old book told you that Jesus freed you from sin and now you have to give up your whole life because that same book says you should get dunked under water.’ Grayson started to talk again but Tiana stopped him, ‘Sorry, Grayson, I’m sure we’ll talk about that later. But right now, have you—’
‘This sauce is amazing!’ Grayson interrupted her again as he lifted a bottle from the table and squeezed its contents onto his burger. ‘Have you ever tried it?’
Tiana was a smart girl. ‘What is going on?’ she asked.
At that moment music started playing from Grayson’s pocket where he had put the small metal square which was his phone. He pulled it out and saw Vance’s picture appear on the outside of it. ‘Sorry, I’ve got to take this,’ he said.
Grayson walked away from Tiana and said into the phone, ‘She’s here, man! I’m trying to distract her but it’s not working.’
‘No, it’s not,’ Tiana said from behind Grayson. ‘I’ve got legs too, you know.’
Grayson’s face turned bright red as he turned to face her. She grabbed his wrist and looked at the holo-screen of Vance with the redheaded girl beside him. ‘Hi, Tiana!’ Vance said through the electronic medium.
Tears welled up in Tiana’s dark brown eyes. She didn’t say anything. She let go of Grayson’s wrist and walked away. ‘I think you should come here,’ Grayson said to Vance and then hung up the phone.
Grayson followed Tiana behind the food tent away from everyone else, where she was sitting on a large stone next to the stream and crying. He sat down beside her and watched as a small bird bathed in the gurgling stream. As he did, he saw something moving in the forest on the other side of the stream, but he couldn’t figure out what it was. ‘I can’t believe what I was thinking,’ she said, ‘I’d heard all the stories about Vance Harris.’
Grayson put his arm around her to comfort her. He didn’t really know what to say. Vance was his friend, but she was right she should’ve known better. He just sat there in silence as she cried. The bird in the stream flew up in the air along with its flock that had been roosting in the branches on the other side of the stream.
Soon Vance came up from behind them. He saw Grayson with his arm around Tiana and thought he knew what was going on. ‘So, you think you can swoop in and take Tiana do you, Grayson?’ he shouted angrily.
Grayson quickly stood up and turned to Vance with his hands in front of him, palms facing Vance. ‘No, man. I wouldn’t do that. She was crying so I put my arm around her, that’s all,’ he explained, ‘I wasn’t trying anything, seriously.’
Tiana was not as calm and collected as Grayson. ‘Vance Harris you are a selfish pig!’ she screamed. But as she did so the look of anger on her face changed suddenly to confusion. Within minutes she collapsed onto the ground unconscious.
Vance stood frozen in shock staring at Tiana’s unconscious body laying crumpled on the ground. Grayson noticed a small tranquilizer dart on the ground next to him as if it had just missed him. He turned towards the stream.
As if out of nowhere four men rushed across the small stream. They were dressed in forest camouflage and their faces were painted with it as well. ‘You idiot! You missed him!’ one of them said angrily. ‘Now he’s seen us!’
Before either Vance or Grayson could yell for help the men had gagged them and then injected them with something. The boys felt their bodies go limp and the men lift them up by their limbs. Before too long everything went dark.