Chapter 6 - For Peace

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Colony I-0937, aka – The Khan Colony

Fawziya Khan stopped playing Ralph Vaughan Williams' "The Lark Ascending" on her violin the second her bracelet began to vibrate. Icy dread coiled around her stomach, strangling it with fear and making her forget about the joyous melody she'd created seconds before. She hugged her violin to her chest in the vain hope that the buzzing would stop, but it persisted. She could no longer cling to the idea of avoiding action. If she wanted peace, she had to fight for justice.

Because of her family's firm stance as pacifists, the Global Earth Alliance had left them to govern in relative peace and independence. But other colonies hadn't been so lucky. Over the last three years, she'd read the stories of the colonies taken over by the GEA. She'd seen the first-hand video footage of the harsh conditions on the Lunar and Martian colonies. And she feared that if she didn't do something to stop the GEA's expansion into space, her colony would be next.

She dashed out of the music room and down the hallway of her family's opulent estate. Her hijab flapped around her temples, allowing her hair to spill forth along her cheeks, but she couldn't pause to fix it. But when she rounded the corner to descend the staircase, she ran smack into one of her older brothers, Badawi.

He stretched out his arm to keep her from tumbling down the stairs and gave her a teasing grin. "Where are you going in such a hurry?"

"Um..." She struggled to come up with an answer that wouldn't raise any suspicion and reveal her true mission before remembering the violin in her hands. "I'm late for my music lesson."

Badawi's brows drew together in confusion, but Fawziya ran away before she had to tell another lie.

And she had to lie. Her mission required the utmost discretion. For the last two years, she'd worked side by side with Dr. al-Ahmad in developing a revolutionary mobile suit that would discourage the GEA from launching any further attacks. It was a deterrent, not a weapon.

At least, that's what she hoped it would be.

The Quran stressed the importance of peace. Allah did not love aggressors. That was the ideal her family had upheld for centuries, but now she needed to violate their stance. Wherever there was suffering, there was no peace. And Dr. al-Ahmed wouldn't have summoned her unless there was no other option but to fight against the oppressor.

Fawziya paused long enough in front of the mirror to adjust her hijab, tucking her dark curls back underneath it before stepping outside. She couldn't afford to set off any alarms by acting out of her norm. With careful elegant steps, she descended the staircase to the waiting car in the driveway. "Can you please take me to the Senior Center?" she asked the chauffeur.

"Of course, Miss Khan." He gave a curt bow before opening the rear passenger door for her.

Her great-grandfather had come to outer space nearly a century ago and established this colony. Since then, Khan Industries had developed the most efficient solar panels and batteries the Earth-Space system. Almost every device used Khan Industries' energy technology now. But the same technology that afforded her every comfort imaginable also made her home a possible target for the GEA.

As they made their way to the center of the colony that stretched almost twenty-five kilometers in diameter, Fawziya offered another quick prayer to Allah that she was doing the right thing. She waited patiently in the hope she would feel His presence to guide her along her journey. She needed a sign to know she wasn't making a mistake.

But all she received was silence.

The driver hit traffic half a mile away from the Senior Center, so she turned on the television to distract her from her nerves. The image of a space colony similar to hers appeared on the screen, only it bore a gaping hole surrounded by GEA Special Forces ships. Her vision blurred as she stared at it, barely registering the words of the reporter.

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