On the night that Trent is forced to abandon the life with his brother aboard the ISS, Trey looks back over their life together for clues as to why Trent might have to go. The truth transforms his destiny to be part of something bigger, and protect the person who will change everything.
The Prequel Chronicles
Trey & TrentPart One: International Space Station, 2098
Trent opened his eyes. He transition from sleep to wide away within a heartbeat. But he remained still. The room was dark and his unseeing eyes stared up at the ceiling, which he knew to be no more than two feet above his face.
He hadnt truly been asleep. It had been a long, restless night. A night of attempting to lie as still as possible, but being unable to resist glances at the clock. It had been one of the longest nights of his life.
But it wasnt over yet.
He listened intently to the sounds around him. To the casual observer, there was nothing but silence. But Trent listened harder. There was the dull, ever-constant hum of the ISS all around him. You could get so used to it that youd forget it was there. But he could hear it as clearly as anything. For the last time.
Then there was the gentle breathing of his brother beneath him. Trent couldnt see a thing, and he didnt even try to look, but he could tell from the slow, rhythmic breaths that Trey was fast asleep.
Hed been training his body for a month to wake up like this. No alarm. No physical intervention. Just his natural sleep cycle abruptly ending at exactly the right time.
Slowly, with every muscle in his body tensed in anticipation, he sat up and let the springs beneath him adjust without squeaking. Then he slid his legs and let them drop over the edge of the bunk bed. The metal frame was cold against his bare skin, but he barely noticed, such was the level of his concentration.
The next part was the hardest. The bed frame creaked slightly as Trent pushed his weight onto the bar and very, very gently lowered himself to the floor. His bare toes touched the linoleum and with all the grace of a ballerinas footsteps, he tiptoed across the room to their small bathroom.
He couldnt help the automatic light coming on, but hed practiced it so many times now so that he could slip in and avoid the sensor until he was inside and the door was shut.
Trent stared at himself in the mirror for a few moments. Hed had his hair cut yesterday and the tight black curls were cropped very close to his head. His eyes were alert; round and focused. He was clean shaven and his dark skin glinted in the light above the mirror.
He dressed robotically after a brief wash. The final touch was his shoes. He opted for discreet, black trainers over the clunky magnet boots. It was a requirement to wear the ugly, magnetized footwear for work. But Trent wasnt going to work. Hed never work again. Not at the Space Port, at least.
The trainers smothered his footsteps as he stepped back into the main room. The light from the bathroom spilled out for a few seconds as he slipped through the door. He closed it shut behind him and stood perfectly still.
He could no longer hear Treys rhythmic breathing. Before his brain could register the slight sense of panic, and before his heart began racing, the light in the room came on. Trey stood before the front door. His arms were folded tightly across his chest and his face wore an expression of severe disapproval.
Trey Trent gasped softly. You startled me.
Sorry about that Trey replied insincerely. Did you honestly think I hadnt noticed you getting up at 3am every night for the past month?
Trent looked around for a reason. I needed the toilet.
Trey couldnt help but smile. Youre fully dressed. Shoes and all!
Trent shifted from foot-to-foot guiltily. My feet get chilly
They both snorted with laughter.
Trent, Im your twin. You should know nothing gets past me. Where are you going?
How did you know I was going anywhere tonight? Trent quizzed. Why have you never gotten up before?
I saw you put a change of clothes in the bathroom before you got into bed Trey answered. I told you, nothing gets past me.
Trents shoulders drooped and his posture slumped a little. Part of him a tiny part had hoped that his twin would wake up and stop him. But a bigger part had wished against it. It would be easier easier to go and never come back if Trey had just stayed asleep. It had never been part of the plan for Trey to have any awareness about Trents intentions. In fact, the plan revolved around Trey not knowing.
Trent looked up; unaware that hed been lost in thought. Well what?
Where are you going?! Trey demanded. He was a little more exasperated now. There was a hint of desperation in his voice, and his face was etched with concern.
No Trey interrupted, shaking his head adamantly. You dont get to dismiss me like you always do. Not this time. Where are you going at 3am?! Why have you got a bag packed underneath my bed?
Trents heart broke a little. He could see it happen to Trey too. His brothers anguish was burning in his eyes. He struggled to hold his lips still and his chin was trembling slightly.
Im sorry was all that Trent could manage.
Trey shook his head and a tear escaped. He batted it away and cleared his throat. Not good enough he said angrily. Not nearly good enough.
Trent heaved a big breath. He could feel himself tearing in two. He wanted to tell Trey everything, with all his heart. But hed stuck it out this long all these years hed known this day would have to come. Through everything theyd been through, Trent had kept his silence. How could he let himself fall at the final hurdle? The biggest hurdle of all.
You have to trust me on this.
Trey shook his head before Trent had even finished the sentence. Youre going to have to try harder than that.
Trent gritted his teeth. When have I ever given you reason not to trust me? He knew that Trey had no response to this. Hed only ever been honest with his brother. Always. Except for this.
Just give me a reason to trust you now Trey said strictly. Tell me reassure me and Ill step aside.
Trent thought long and hard. He thought back over their 18 years of life together and all the moments theyd shared: the hard times, and the times tougher beyond those.
Khartoum he said finally. Khartoum, Wadi Halfa and Lake Nubia.
Treys eyes widened as the words fell from Trents lips. In an instant he was transported back there. Without so much as a conscious effort to do so, he found himself in the shoes of his ten-year-old selfPart Two: Khartoum, Sudan 2090
The driver of the battered old bus stomped his foot down on the accelerator. Black fumes chugged into the stiff, hot air behind them and mingled with the dust kicked up by the wheels. As the rickety vehicle crossed the tricky terrain they were thrown from side-to-side and bounced up and down.
Around them, the bleak and desolate sandy city declined into long-forgotten suburbs, before disappearing into the haze behind them to become nothing but a bump on the horizon.
Im thirsty, mother. Trey was only ten, but he understood the importance of preserving their precious stock of water for the twelve hour journey that lay ahead of them. Hed been thirsty for a long time, and hed left it as long as possible before asking.
Here Samuel their American companion leant forward from the seat behind them and offered his own water. Trey accepted it gratefully and took a delicate sip before passing it back.
Trey then snuggled closer to his mother, with Trent on the other side doing the same. To say they were crammed onto the bus was an understatement. Trey and Trent were fortunate enough to be sharing a two-seat space with their mother, but Samuel was occupying the same amount of space with two full-grown adults behind them. The heat was unbearable, and not made any better by the setting sun.
Despite the sheer volume of people, the bus was filled by silence. They were refugees, escaping across the country in hope of a better quality of life in the Cairo Sphere. No one wanted to so much as speak, should they jeopardise their journey.
With every vehicle that passed them by, there was an audible intake of breath. Tension saturated the air. Any of them might be filled with militia soldiers, ready to attack the bus of refugees to take what they could. Lately, the militia men sought only safe passage to Cairo for themselves, which they hoped to achieve by hiding amongst families who were too scared to reveal their true identity.
At some point, Trey and Trent had managed to fall asleep. When they awoke, it was because the momentum of the bus was stopping. A survival instinct flared up, and they were awake instantly. Outside the bus was total darkness. Only the light of the stars, and a small slither of moon, cast any light over the vast, expansive desert plain around them.
The driver was stopping to give his passengers a rest break. They filed slowly out of the bus and scattered out across the desert to do their business in relative privacy.
Go quickly, now their mother ushered them into the darkness, looking around her all the while.
Wait Samuel whispered urgently, and pulled the boys towards him. He wrapped their black shawls tighter around them. If anyone sees your sun suits, they will rob you for them he warned, hiding the special, UV protective garments he had stolen from his school for them. They are very precious. Be very careful.
Both of the boys nodded before dashing into the darkness.
Thank you their mother placed a weary hand on Samuels arm and smiled weakly. Her tough, black skin was cracked with dryness, and there were deep, cavernous wrinkles around her eyes. She had her hair cut short shorter than Samuels in effort to defy the stifling heat. Beneath the rags of clothes that were heaped upon her, she was dangerously thin and frail. She oft