Charity Sweetling – The Freighter Pilot

Charity Sweetling was rescued from a life of violence and abuse by a freetrader and taken onto the Coalition Protected Children Program for refugee children seeking asylum without their parents.

She was raised by a loving foster family in the rarefied high-tech enclave of Central and even undertook the military service required under the Program, before taking her pilot training into civilian life, flying huge freighters instead of military transports.

“The issue is, due to the Asylum For Children Legislation Amendments, you were granted asylum under Section D. That means unless you are employed in a reserved occupation, your status falls under the remit of the Security of Place and Persons Committee and it is their decision as to whether you should have leave to remain as a citizen of Central or not.”

Charis felt the confusion returning. It made no sense.

“I really do not understand what this is about.”

“Let me put it in plain words, Var Sweetling -”

“Oh please do, plainer the better – this is just sounding bizarre.”

“The Security of Place and Persons Committee has decided the term of your asylum is now over. The original conditions of it being in place – you being an unescorted minor in need of safety – no longer apply and the sole mitigation you held through working in reserved employment, is no longer valid. As a result, Var Sweetling I need to inform you that you are no longer a citizen of Central nor – since you were born outside it – of the Coalition either.”

Facing the chilling prospect of being deported back to the low-tech, barbaric, hell-hole of a planet she had been rescued from as a child, Charis was willing to do anything. She would clutch at any chance she was offered – even if it meant risking her life…



Whatever they were going to ask it would be dirty and dangerous. But they had been careful to push her to this point so it must also be something they needed her for and her in particular, no one else. Maybe there would be some small bit of room for manoeuvre.

“You may as well tell me what you want me to do, I know I don’t have any choice.”

“There is always a choice,” said the woman on the left, her expression sharpening for moment.


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Published by

E.M. Swift-Hook

In the words that Robert Heinlein put into the mouth of Lazarus Long: 'Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards.' Having tried a number of different careers, before settling in the North-East of England with family, three dogs, cats and a small flock of rescued chickens, I now spend a lot of time in private and have very clean hands.

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