Excommunication

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The invading vessels patrolled the skies of Clarion after the initial attack. Ground crews scoured the colony for survivors, spreading like a swarm across the mountains, taking prisoners or killing those who put up a fight. Adel and the others had holed up in a mine among a small group of colonists. It was a few days before they had been captured, and taken up to one of the invading ships.

Adel now found himself onboard one of the attack ships, pinned down by an energy field within a translucent tube, unable to move his limbs. He felt itchy in various spots where wires and tubes had been surgically implanted, most of them into his head. A large clear tube protruded from his abdomen. Red liquid flowed through another tube that penetrated into his chest on the left side. A tangle of metal wires extended from his skull to a panel on the inside of the tube enclosing his body.

He was centered in a large, ornately decorated chamber. Unable to move his head, with his vision obstructed by the entrapping tube, Adel struggled to see what was happening. All around him, other tubes of prisoners were arranged in lines. Robed figures walked up and down the rows, checking panels, tapping on buttons. Intermittently, they would wheel a prisoner tube from the room.

"Adel," a voice coming from a tube behind him -he recognized it as Piotr. "Adel, you there?"

"Yea I'm here."

"I'm scared man. What're they gonna do?"

"I don't know."

"Hey!" another voice from a few rows down -Caydman. "Don't worry guys. Hey Piotr."

"Hey."

"Did you know it's summer back on Earth?"

"Yea?"

Adel and Caydman laughed briefly, before the cold reality of their situation again took hold.

"What's so funny?" Piotr asked.

"I'll tell you later," Caydman answered, hoping he would have the chance.

One of the robed figures walked towards Adel, pushing a wheeled viewscreen. He silently positioned the screen directly before Adel's capsule, and pressed a button. The screen lit up with the face and torso of an elderly man, cloaked in a red and black robe. He looked into Adel's eyes, speaking coldly and directly. "You have been charged with crimes against God. The punishment for these crimes is eternal damnation. Unless you are forgiven for your sins, you will be excommunicated".

Adel stared back for a moment, virtually paralyzed with a flood of emotions, and now suddenly face to face with one of the invaders. Adel didn't think about what to say. "Eat Shit".

The old man on the screen smiled. "I'll see you in hell", he smirked. The screen blinked off, and the robed attendant leaned to Adel's capsule, flipping a large switch. A green liquid began to fill up around him. Adel felt cold spread through his body as the implanted tubes pumped unknown chemicals into his veins. He felt a sudden painful pinching in his skull. And then, as robed men wheeled Adel's tube out of the chamber, the world became dark.

Adel awoke to the pungent smell of sulfur. The capsule was gone. He found himself lying on a stone slab, sweating from the heat. The wires and tubes appeared to have been removed from his body. Adel quickly ran his fingers over the spots where they had been -there were no scars or marks. Flames licked up around the stone slab on which he laid, casting shadows on rock walls. The heat from below grew steadily more painful. As Adel's eyes adjusted to the light, an enormous silhouetted figure came slowly into focus at the end of the stone slab. It leaned over him -a grinning, horned demon that looked straight into his eyes. Brandishing an enormous pitchfork, it growled, "welcome to Hell".


---- Author's Note ----
Let me know your thoughts about this chapter. I'd love to hear your reaction.

Thanks for reading.
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