Stowaway | Invasion Survivor Book Three | Chapter Seven
When morning came, people started to awaken. Paige could only guess it was morning since the view from the window showed only blackness. There was no way for them to tell since they were in deep space.
Shortly after everyone was up and beginning to move around, they were informed over the speakers that it was breakfast time, and that stowaways were allowed to roam again through the ship.
“Attention! All stowaways to the Common Room. I repeat, all stowaways to the Common Room,” Captain Zoya’s voice boomed over the speakers.
Paige hated it when they called them stowaways like it was something bad, a derogatory label of some kind. She remembered back at Rosehill School how the rich and poor people were treated differently.
It happened at the army base, too!
The rich children stood in a row to be treated first, and they were the ones who had been allowed on the planes. It wasn’t fair in her opinion, and more importantly, it wasn't moral. A small voice in her head reminded her that a ‘stowaway’ was just the correct word used to refer to people who didn’t pay for their passage. She shook her head, annoyed at the small voice of reason in her head.
Banishing the glum thought, Paige tried to look at things from the brighter side.
She stood, feeling happy she could finally stretch her legs a bit. She wanted to go and look for her mother. She hadn't seen her since before that first meeting with the captain, and that made her worried.
“Good morning,” AJ said to her, smiling. “Sleep well?”
Paige smiled back. Neither one of them needed to sleep anymore. The Black Mass inside their bodies always kept them fully charged and rested, but they still liked to pretend.
Plus, placing her head against AJ's shoulder was a nice bonus.
“Oh, yes. This cargo area is the best I've ever stayed in my life,” she deadpanned, and he chuckled.
“Come on, let's see what will pass for breakfast in this place,” he said, tugging her along.
“I'm sure it's better than the first class anyway.” She moved, and he laughed again. It was such a nice sound that she wished she could make him laugh all the time. “You know, for a second there I was thinking that they’d starve us to death.”
“Never,” AJ faked outrage. “They’re kind people. They even decided not to float us out the hatch!” His tone was semi-serious, causing Paige to start giggling.
“So, let’s go and not lose our chance to grab something to eat,” AJ said with faked excitement.
Even though Paige was still worried what Angela was getting up to, she was curious as well. She decided to go with AJ to the Common Room, and after that, she’d go search for her.
Paige crouched down to the makeshift beds they’d made for Tilley and Peter. “Hey, guys, it's breakfast time.”
She was amazed they had slept through that announcement, but then again, they were children who had gone through a lot and was finally in a somewhat safe place. It was no wonder why they’d passed out so hard.
“Breakfast?” Peter asked in a sleepy voice, but it didn't last long. In a matter of seconds, he was fully awake and walking about. Tilley followed suit but sluggishly.
Paige felt like smiling because she, too, was not a morning person.
They got into the crowd and moved along with them up the stairs. When they reached the Common Room, Paige noticed once more that the ‘Elite 20’ people weren’t there, but Kwan and the other guards were. The seats were filling by those in front of Paige and her small group. She noticed several trays of food, but there was hardly any left.
“This is ridiculous,” she complained looking at her 'rations' as they called it.
It was true that she didn't feel as hungry as usual, but she still had to eat to survive. Above all, Paige rather enjoyed eating. She understood that the food on board was meant for just the people who were originally supposed to be there. No one had planned for extra passengers, so extra food wouldn’t have been put on board.
However, without being allowed into the area while the Elite group was eating, she couldn’t be sure if they had even attempted to ration anything. It looked as though they’d eaten their fill—as they would have had the stowaways not been there—and left them the scraps.
She was grateful to have anything available at all, but the food couldn’t be hoarded by one group and crumbs given to the other. They were all in that situation together, and it bothered her endlessly that the others wouldn’t treat it that way.
Looking at the protein bars and some unidentifiable porridge-like mixture, she lost her appetite. Still, she stashed the bar for Angela and forced herself to eat the porridge thing.
“You were right, best meal of my life,” AJ said after he wolfed down his share.
Tilley ate the bar but left the porridge.
“I liked it,” Peter said honestly, eyeing Tilley's leftovers. She pushed the tray over to him, and he happily continued to eat.
People around them naturally complained, but it was still better than nothing. Pretty soon, all were too busy filling their empty stomachs to riot.
“What’s this supposed to be?” a man’s voice came from behind them. “Breakfast? This isn't breakfast!” Several people chuckled.
“But, he’s right!” a woman interjected. “We’re hungry, yet there’s hardly any food here!”
Kwan looked around the room at everyone, his teeth clenched tightly. The other guards were rubbing the handles of their guns nervously.
“The food on the trays is actually ours! It came from our own portions! And now you’re here complaining! You should be grateful for having anything at all!” one of the guards snapped.