Origins Part II: Pride
The next morning during breakfast Vivian decided to make a short announcement.
“As some of you know there is a local event happening in Brighton, the annual trans pride, in a few weeks’ time. We’re happy to release any who wish to attend but ask that you do this in groups for your own safety, and that you inform myself or Thomas well in advance,” she explained. Thomas was the housemaster, together they were both the pastoral carers of the boarder students staying in House 3.
“Oh, I completely forgot it was almost that time!” Lissa said, looking excited. “It’s a great day out, we should definitely go,” she said to Kellen. She paused for a moment, looking at me. “I think you’d really enjoy it too Julie.”
“What on earth is it?” I asked. I knew vaguely what pride was, it was a huge gay rights march thing. I’d never been to one, mostly because I’ve never really spoken to people about being bisexual. Heppenheim was the only person who knew about it.
“It a pride march for transgender people,” Lissa explained. “People who are born with the wrong bodies,” she added. I blinked, having never heard of it.
“Sure, sounds like a good excuse to go into town. Maybe meet some cute guys,” Kellen shrugged.
“Exactly!” Lissa replied. Thomas then hurried us to finish eating and get ready for school. Classes went by quickly. The only one I gave real focus to were English, because I needed it, and science. As with most classes I was sat next to Kellen and we got paired up. Today we were watching the teacher dissect a lung. Something that most of the students were repulsed by. Neither myself or Kellen were phased. Then our classroom door opened.
“What is it?” Ms Wilson asked, looking mildly annoyed. The TA pulled her aside and they spoke in hushed whispers. I saw Ms Wilsons face go white. She then turned to the class and told us there was an emergency assembly and for all of us to immediately go to the great hall. I exchanged a look with Kellen but she was as clueless as me.
We walked out of the building and I was surprised to see the school security staff were out in force. I’d never seen so many of them, and they were armed. That was unheard of in the UK. Something serious must have happened. All the seating was taken so Kellen and I settled on some of the steps. Lissa found us and with one look at some first years we had seats.
“What’s going on?” Kellen asked. Lissa silently held up her mobile. Her facebook feed was filled with panic and some blurry footage of what looked like a large ship in space. It looked like something out of a sci-fi movie but it was real. The academy headmistress, a severe old woman stood before us, looking visibly shaken.
“I’m about to share with you a broadcast that was sent through to all of the world just thirty-two minutes ago. I ask that we not panic.” I could feeling the growing apprehension as someone an scratchy tape began playing to the hall.
“All humans, we are the Tzari empire. We are here to annex Earth into our territory to end the division and strife we have observed on your own planet. As well as a start to peace on your world we will bring advancements in technology. This and full citizenship with be available to all who cooperate with us. However, should you choose to resist us we have the capability to go to war; although this an outcome we would like to avoid.”
Everything was frozen for a moment as the tape was cut off. The air felt thick as everyone tried to comprehend what we had just heard. Then like a rubber band pulled too tight, everything snapped into action. Voices rose around me, panicked questions, there was even loud crying and blank screams of fear. I immediately felt the memories of the white place rise and shook them away. I felt someone grip my hand and looked up to see Kellen watching me. She was surprisingly calm, although I could see she was shaking.
“Please can you all calmly return to the houses,” the headmistress shouted over the rising wall of sound. Some people quietened to listen, others raised their own voices, demanding to speak to relatives.
“Those of you who are day students please go to the houses with your friends until we establish with your parents what action to take. Classes and extracurricular activities for today are suspended and we will let you know as and when the situation changes,” the headmistress finished. The security staff appeared to guide us in groups back to the houses. Joy appeared as we walked and clung to Lissa, sometimes I forgot about how they were close childhood friends in the day-to-day school gossip. Rain began to fall as we reached House 3, like a bad omen. I made sure Kellen was okay with Joy and Lissa and then went up to our room. I grabbed my mobile and called the emergency contact. Ace picked up on the first ring.
“I’m guessing you saw the news,” he murmured.
“Yes, the school are confining us to our boarding houses for now with increased security forces,” I explained.
“Good, we pay them enough to provide adequate protection,” he muttered. There was a male voice in the background and Ace covered the phone so all I heard was a muffled response. “The public don’t know but the government has been reaching out to all organisations – they want us to assist them.”
“Are we going to?” I asked.
“To be decided,” he replied. “Just stay where you are and look out for Kellen. Is anyone had any idea where she was now would be the time to strike, there’s enough chaos they could do it.” I remember the security staff walking around with guns.
“Will do, stay safe wherever you are,” I said.
“That’s cute but you really needn’t worry about me kid.” With that he hung up. I pulled on a thick hoodie that would cover me well enough and grabbed one of my suitcases, using a small penknife and cut into the underlying. In a few short clicks I had put together a gun which I put into my waistband. It was as I was doing this that Kellen walked in. I turned to face her afterwards and I could see she was still scared.
“Are things that bad?” she asked.
“Just a precaution. The advice is to stay here for now,” I explained. She nodded and sat on her bed, a shaking hand pushing hair behind her ears.
“Wanna rehearse lines?” she suggested with a nervous laugh.
“Sure,” I replied, anything to help get her mind off the incoming Tzari’s.