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Do Unto Others... -Part 1: Dying Hope
Posted: Sat Sep 11, 2004 8:59 pm
There wasn't even light, only semi-gloom illuminated by several cheap glow rods scattered around the deck. And that rumbling. That loud, vibrating rumbling that never stopped.
Deep within the bowels of the old freighter, appropriately named the Black Heart, an untold number of slaves waited their fate in relative silence. Imperial Stormtroopers were stationed throughout the deck, discouraging everything, especially resistance or conversation.
They had all been told by the commander of the vessel that they were being shipped off to a better home, where they would be safer and more prosperous. But even the most idealistic and naive amongst them didn't believe the lie. Most of these people had come from perfectly peaceful homes. Peaceful, that is, until Stormtroopers had come looting and slaving. Now the only thing they had to look forward to was slave labor at best, and death camps at worst. The terrible rumors of the Imperial death camps were more then enough to plant the seeds of fear in the already strained hearts of the prisoners. Several of the elder prisoners had died already, for no other reason then pure heart break.
One had only to look around the deck of the prisoners to realize the Empire had no gentle intentions with them. Of the hundreds that had been crammed into the small space, only a handful of them were human. The rest were "aliens", beneath the Imperials' notice and their master race philosophy.
Back in the corner furthest from the main door, huddled up into the smallest shape possible sat a half-human male named Tayne Reshin. At sixteen, he was more a boy then a man, but his muscles were well developed as was his body from years of hard labor on the farm of his father. That work had seemed hard at the time, but he had the feeling it would be a vacation compared to what was coming up for him. The scare stories his older brother had told him of the Imperials were still ringing in his head...
But they were more then scare stories. His father, mother, two sisters, one brother, and countless farm hands, all dead or enslaved. At the mere thought of his family, memories came flooding back.
His father already dead for trying to attack the Stormtrooper that had touched his mother... All the women were being herded off into the other room, six Stormtroopers in their dispassionate white armor watched over Tayne, his brother and the other men, ready and willing to fire if even one of them made a move.
Tayne's brother, Dren, unable to hold back, leapt at the guards, falling to the ground before he could even fully wrap his hands around the guard's neck. Tayne had time only to let out a scream before stun shots ripped through the group, dropping them all to the ground, unconscious...
He could only imagine what had become of his sisters, though it was a pretty safe bet that they were either laying in farmhouse dead, or on separate slave ships somewhere. He guessed it was probably the former since they had not been loaded on to the same Imperial landing craft as he had when they had departed the planet, and it was hardly economical for the Imperials to make separate shipments just to break up families.
A silent sigh escaped his lips as he rubbed the nubs on the top of his head, inherited from his Zabrak mother. Tayne wished he could say he wasn't scared, that he could look straight at the situation bravely, but the fact was he couldn't do either. It was simply too much. Everything he had ever known and loved had gone up in flames or down under blaster shots. There was nothing but an eternity of agony left for him and the thought brought a quake to his bones.
The deck beneath him jolted, lurching him against the person or thing that he was sitting next to, who, rather unsympathetically, shoved him away. The rumble of the aged freighter’s drives changed pitched. They had left hyperspace and arrived at whatever destination they were heading for. Within hours, he would be settling into some camp where he would probably spend the rest of his life. A shiver overtook him, a chill that would not leave him. He shifted, trying to cover himself better with the tattered remnants of his clothes while not crowding the people sitting next to him even though they were packed in so tightly it was nearly impossible to keep from touching someone else.
This is the background story for an upcoming criminal organization on the MBTL. If you're interested in join, email me. Xalsin@hotmail.com
I should also add this thread may contain scenes of violence, swearing, and who knows what else. Be forewarned.
Posted: Sun Sep 12, 2004 8:34 am
With a final jolt the freighter settled down in its landing position. There was a general stirring in the cargo bay where the prisoner/slaves were kept. They weren’t really sure what was going on, but it was obvious that something was happening.
A squeak of feedback silenced the murmuring that had been rippling through the crowd as the Stormtrooper commander spoke through a microphone. “Alright, listen up. The main cargo doors will be opening in a moment. When they do, you are all to move down into the field. From there, you are to form into six single file lines behind each of the tables set there.” He clicked off the microphone, murmuring an order to one of his soldiers, who began lowering the lowering the cargo bay ramp.
Tayne stood up, steadying himself against the cold wall, which was slick from the condensation. Beside him was a huge Trandoshan that wasn’t looking overly happy. Of course, they never really looked happy, so that wasn’t saying much.
A sliver of white light appeared along the far wall like a slice of the moon peeking through black clouds. The bay doors opened more and more, until bright sunlight blinded all of those who had been sitting for days, if not weeks in the darkness. The ramp extended down on to green grass, which looked positively heavenly after all the time sitting on the hard, metal deck.
There was no order or structure to their exit from the ship. Every one was in such a hurry to get out of the cargo hold that many fell to the ground, trampled in the rush. Tayne managed to stay on his feet, carried by the weight of the crowd. The guards didn’t seem to care much, they just dragged those that had fallen out of the ship, laying them on the grass.
At first, the sight of the outside looked so inviting. They were in a fenced, grassy enclosure, and beyond the fences were green, blue and red trees. The sun was shining brightly on the whole scene, without even a cloud in the pristine blue sky. The air was so fresh and clean, it almost brought a smile to Tayne’s face, but before he had reached that point, he looked down from the sky at what was directly in front of him.
Like a cancerous growth against the green jungle, was a huge grey installation looming over them. The wall tops were filled with grim faced guards in black uniforms, weapons trained on the crowds. On the corners of the installations were E-web nests, capable of cutting down thousands in seconds. Along the outside perimeter of the huge duracrete walls, AT-STs tromped, making it apparent that escape was not an option. From the very top pinnacle of the central building, a flag with a dark blue Imperial crest fluttered ominously in the wind.
Directly in front of the main entrance of the facility were six tables, each with a group of men and a translator droid behind them. Slowly the crowd was getting organized into lines behind the tables. Tayne, without any conscious decision, found himself part of one of the slow moving lines. There was a numbness over his mind that had been persisting since that day the Imperials had come to his home. It blocked his ability to think, it threatened to take his sanity, yet at the same time, it refused to allow him to believe this was real.
By the time he reached the table, four hours by his closest estimate, his thirst was endless, his hunger was ravenous, and he was so tired he could hardly think how to answer the questions the bored men behind the table asked.
“Tayne Reshin.” He couldn’t even think clearly enough to come up with a fake name.
They took his weight and height measurements, then stabbed his arm with a auto-syringe which extracted one ounce of blood from him.
“Cell 14-281.” The man behind the desk handed an identification dogtag to him, swirling the syringe needle around in a bloody, rather unsanitary looking cup of sanitizer. “Follow the rope to the next station. Next.”
Tayne shuffled silently through the gate, noting that the walls had to be a good five meters thick. The ground, too, was paved, suggesting that the Imperials had been very thorough in designing a place that could not be escaped from.
A red rope cord ran from the table he had just been at to through a hallway and into a poorly lit room, guards watching along the whole length of the travel to make sure that no one deviated from the intended course. “Take off your clothes.” One of the guards, standing next to a small steel hatch marked “INCINERATOR” demanded. Tayne hesitated, until the guard started reaching for the nightstick at his waist.
As soon as his clothes were in the guard’s hands, they were thrown into the incinerator. The last vestiges of his old life went with it, down the chute and into the fire. For a second he stood stupidly, staring at the incinerator door, until the guard spoke.
“Hey, get moving, we’ve got a schedule to keep.”
Without a word, Tayne went on. The next stop was a shower room, where he drank greedily from the ice cold water that poured down from the spout. He had barely finished washing when the water shut off, and he and the other occupants were forced onwards, shivering from the cold.
As they exited, they were given prison uniforms, according to the height and weight written on their dog tags and led off to their appropriate cell blocks.
“Cell Block 14” the red letters stenciled on the side of the drab gray walls proclaimed as the door slid open revealing row after row of cells. At each cell, the head of the little entourage would call out the name of the prisoner it was assigned to.
“Reshin, Tayne.” The man finally called. The number emblazoned over the door was 281.
Tayne stood in front of his cell and the group moved on, leaving him alone to look around his surroundings. They were surprisingly clean. In fact, everything seemed to be in pristine condition. It occurred to him that this facility was very new, in fact, it seemed that they were the first occupants of this place, whatever and wherever it was.
“Roll in!” A voice called out. Nobody was really certain what exactly that meant at first, but eventually they all got the idea that it meant they were supposed to enter their cells.
“Lock down!” The doors slid shut, slamming with the finality of a gunshot.
Without even thinking, Tayne dressed in the uniform he had been given and sat down on the thin plastic mattress which was attached to the bed frame, which, in turn, was bolted to the wall and floor.
Nothing but three walls, a solid door with a barred window, a bed and a sink. This was going to be it for the rest of his life. Or was it? Was escape a possibility? They certainly weren’t going to let him ago, but was it really worth the hope to consider the possibility of escape?
He sighed, laying back on the bed, dead tired. For the moment, he didn’t even care to consider that problem. Despite the fact that it was only noon or so local time, he was tired from the long journey he had been forced to endure.
Posted: Sat Sep 18, 2004 7:26 pm
"Alright, worms, listen up and listen up good." The prison warden's voice rang out like a bell over the assembly of congregated prisoners that had been gathered in the mess hall. In the first sentence of his "welcome" speech, he had already managed to destroy any last feelings of benevolence on the part of the Empire's actions.
It was the following morning, and Tayne stood towards the back of the crowd, hardly able to see the grey haired, grey uniformed warden over the heads of the others. A knot was beginning to form in his stomach, both from the questionably edible breakfast they had been given and from the words he knew he was about to hear.
"Let's get some rules out of the way quickly, as I don't have all day to discuss these matters with you." The warden continued in his precise, militaristic manner. "You are not to make any trouble in my facilities. Any creature caught inciting trouble of any kind will be punished. You are not to do any task except the one that you were assigned to. Any creature caught doing this will be punished. You are to do the task you are taught without fail every day. If you attempt to sabotage or leave any task half done, you will be punished. You are not to attempt to leave the areas you are assigned to. If you are caught trying to do so, you will be punished."
The human stopped a moment, looking around the crowd from the small stage at the end of the mess hall with obvious distaste. "Those are the things you are not supposed to do. If you do the work assigned to you better then the quota assigned to you, you will be rewarded. If you inform the guards of anyone attempting to break any of the rules, you will be rewarded. Those are the things you should do. There are other rules, but you will learn them as you go. Return to your cells and prepare for lock down. You will be assigned your tasks afterwards and given further instructions."
Tayne glanced around the crowd as a murmur went up. Most everyone was still quiet though, perhaps still suffering from the shock of a first night spent in a cage. Slowly the crowds began to disperse, the inmates returning to their cells.
"Reshin, Tayne." The prison officer in charge of cell block 14 read the name off of the clipboard as he stopped in front of the cell. Tayne just stared back with empty eyes, not really feeling like responding in anyway.
"Motor pool." He handed Tayne a blue tag as he read off the destination for Tayne. "Follow the hallway down to the end, take a left. If you're not there in one minute, the guards go looking for you, and you won't like it when they find you." The young man glanced furtively at the older officer, then started off down the hallway in the direction he had been indicated.
At the end of the hall, there was a large door on the left side with a small reader on the side. A slit in the side of it accepted the blue tag he had been given and the door swung open with a dull hum. Inside was a garage with several vehicles scattered about it ranging from swoops and speeders to shuttles and transports. Along the far wall was workbenches, grav lifts, and giantic organizers filled with thousands of spare parts.
A group of people had congregated near one of the workbenches; Tayne walked over to them, joining the jumpsuited prisoners who were standing before the motor pool supervisor. The Imperial eyed Tayne for a moment, then marked something down on his datapad.
"Alright, maggots, looks like we're all here. I suppose it's too much to hope that any of you have any sort of mechanical experience?"
No one spoke, so either he was right or any such person didn't really want to stand out in the crowd.
"Figures." The man grunted, sounding less then happy. "Here's the deal: I know that none of you are going to know what you're doing for a while, but I expect you to learn fast. Don't think I'll let you use your ignorance as an excuse for long. Until you're up to par, there's a deployment of repair droids here as well as diagnostic equipment . I'll give you a crash course on how to use them..."
The supervisor, a man named Bretten Noric, proceeded to walk them through a series of exercises on how to use the droids and equipment they had been given. This activity took most of the day, though they had a few hours to try out what they had learned.
For Tayne, it was a thoroughly stressful job. He had worked a bit on farm equipment, but that machinary was far more simplistic then a starship. If it hadn't been for the datapads they had all been given which were linked to a mechanical encyclopedia, he was certain he never would have figured out how to do anything. Fortunately, this electronic manual covered every component of every ship in the database, including troubleshooting, installation, and repairing instructions.
By the end of the first day, about the only thing he had learned was how to use the datapad they had given him. They let him take it back to his cell, though, and with little else to do, he poured over the information about the small speeder bike he had been given to fix. Every component, every possible problem of every component. It was an overwhelming amount of information, But Tayne found that he didn't much mind throwing himself into these project, as it kept him from thinking about things that he'd rather not think about.
For the first week or so, he kept strictly to himself, mainly just observing others carefully and trying to figure the best way of staying out of trouble. Many other groups formed rather quickly. People sectioned themselves off by race, but since Tayne was a half breed, he didn't really fit in with any group. It was easy to see that the Imperials encouraged such a racial division, undoubtedly to prevent any sort of concerted effort taken against them.
In the middle of the second week, however, fate ordained a different destiny for him.
This project was a ground speeder this time. The rear power coupling refused to draw power from the main line, and instead drew power always from the smaller auxillary line. This threatened to overheat the thin conduit for the auxillary line as well limiting the over all power output of the speeder.
Tayne had run through every possible problem the trouble shooting guide had given him, but nothing had made a difference. The thing stubbornly refused to use the main line. Crammed under the speeder on a rolling dolly, Tayne was hurriedly in the middle of trying to remove the entire primary line, thinking that perhaps it was a problem with the conduit itself, when he felt someone kick his feet. The spanner fell from his hands, clattering in a nearly impossible to reach position underneath the dolly.
"Dammit." He cursed quietly, then again much more loudly as he twisted to grab the tool, involuntarily smacking his head against the undercarriage of the speeder.
Rolling the dolly out from under the speeder with a rage boiling inside him, he jumped to his feet, to find himself eye-to-chin, with Murro, a tempermental Gotal that had hounded Tayne on several occasions with no good reason. Tayne did his best to ignore the Gotal, but it was difficult since they both worked in a confined area together.
"What do you want?" Tayne growled, rubbing his forehead and staring at the other inmate, the ire evident in his eyes.
"I want the coil refeeder. You have it. Give it to me." Murro spoke with the self-superior attitude he always nursed, as if the fact that Tayne didn't have horns like him made Tayne less then worthy.
"I'm not done with it. Come back in two hours." Tayne turned as if to go back to work, but the Gotal stopped him.
"You will not deny me. I need to finish my project today."
For a split second, the two just stared at each other. Tayne knew in that moment that the Gotal would actually fight him for the tool, so it was up to Tayne to back down or stand up to the man.
Everything inside of him begged to give in, to submit and avoid the conflict, but he knew that would be a mistake. Not only would that encourage more bullying from Murro, it would be a statement to everyone that Tayne wouldn't stand up for himself.
"Come back in two hours. I am not done with it." The choice made itself.
Murro grabbed Tayne by the jumpsuit. In that moment Tayne became accutely aware of just how much bigger Murro was then he.
"No." Tayne struggled to maintain a calm demeanor, but it wasn't easy. Murro pushed him back against the speeder with crushing force, then threw him to the ground.
Posted: Sun Sep 26, 2004 8:52 pm
----Murlon, Darloth System----
Orv was a sprawling city with roots that went almost a half a kilometer underground. The Vydekis, the natives of Murlon, were a burrowing people, and as such, a good portion of their buildings were underground. The upper levels were really just designed to cater to the off-world traffic that the Vydekis entertained. And since the surface of the plant was mostly infertile dirt and rock, there really wasn't much to see on the surface anyways.
"You jest, ya? You bring girl to fight?" The Vydeki coordinator looked from the human standing in front of his desk to the slave girl on his offhand. She was short, young, bedraggled, and hardly what the stocky Vydeki would have considered an acceptable applicant for a pit fighting slave.
"Look, she's a lot faster then she looks... And she handles a vibroblade like no one I've seen." He held up his hand, revealing several prosthetic fingers to make his point, though the Vydeki didn't look overly convinced. Humans generally weren't even acceptable pit slaves, as they seldom showed unusual aptitude towards fighting, and a small and obviously young female human...
The Vydeki pit coordinator, Oromi, scratched his furred head with his digging claws. It was obvious to him that this human slaver was desperate for money. Or maybe just desperate to get rid of the girl, who was glaring with an intense anger at Oromi. Either way, the Vydeki knew he could use that to his advantage.
"Suppose she could clean up round pit, or similar." The Vydeki said finally, showing only enough interest to bring the slaver to the bargaining table.
"Yea, yea, she could clean up for you. Only five hundred credits." The slaver said eagerly, making Oromi even more apprehensive of taking the girl.
"Make it fifty credits, and it will be deal." Oromi declared with a tone of finality, making the slaver's jaw drop. He had obviously never dealt with a Vydeki at the bargaining table.
"Fifty?! That's absurd, she's worth more then fifty... How about two hundred?"
Oromi inwardly smiled. That the slaver was willing to take such a hefty price cut only showed that he was weak, a weakness that he felt no remorse in exploiting ruthlessly.
"One hundred, no more. I could buy a cleaning droid for hundred. Why pay for slave, if droid cheaper?"
The slaver sighed. "Fine, a hundred it is. But I want cash."
Oromi smiled, showing his sharp, rodent-like incisors. "Of course." He didn't even have to open his safe. He just took a credit chip out of his personal pouch and handed it to the slaver.
"May business bring you here again." Oromi gave the slaver the old Vydeki farewell, meaning every word of it. There was nothing a Vydeki liked better then a easily-bullied merchant.
Once the slaver had departed, Oromi turned his keen eyes towards the girl, who was still standing stock still, glaring vehemently at him. Oromi had never seen such anger in someone's eyes, certainly not in someone so young.
"Perhaps you fight good?" Oromi inquired, trying as always to wrap his tongue around Basic but not quite managing. The girl said nothing.
"Good with vibroblade perhaps?"
"Give me one and find out for yourself." She challenged him, her dark eyes shining in the semi-gloom of the pit coordinators underground office. Even the unkempt black hair that fell across her face could not curtain away the anger of her eyes.
"Hee! You have spirit of fighter. Perhaps you fight tonight. You win, you keep fighting, eat good, be strong. You lose, you clean up pit, make things neat."
She didn't respond, so Oromi stood up, standing only an inch or two taller then her, but weighing a good twenty kilos more. Walking over to a cabinet, he opened it up, pulling out a shock collar. As he stepped towards her with it, however, she stepped away.
"What's name, girl?"
"I don't know." She lied transparently, not trying to be deceptive, but just trying to be difficult.
"I put collar on you. You resist, I beat you, see?" Oromi held the shock collar up, his other hand straying to the collapsible baton his belt.
"Better start beating then, because there's no way in hell I'm going to let you put that thing around my neck." She lifted her head defiantly, quite prepared to take a beating rather then give in.
Oromi emitted a whistle that passed for a sigh, and pulled out his baton.
Kendra laid in the darkness of her cell, aching from head to toe. A groan escaped her lips as she rolled over, trying to ease the pain.
Couldn't you just submit once, just once, and avoid one beating? Would it really be so hard? She tried to reason with herself, but she knew it was useless.
She simply could not give in, it was not in her capacity to surrender. It was unusual for a girl who had been born into slavery and had known nothing other then slavery. It seemed like she should have eventually given up, given in and learned to submit to whoever (or whatever) claimed to be her master, but she simply couldn't. Physical pain seemed nothing compared with admitting defeat.
With great stiffness and pain, she managed to straighten out of the fetal position that her body had convulsed into, and began the long process of stretching out her muscles and easing the pain the ways she had learned from long experience.
Her newest master, Oromi had said something about having her fight in a pitfight, and Kendra already knew she was going to win that fight. If for no other reason then that Oromi thought she couldn't do it, she'd win that fight. Hopefully they'd give her a knife or something. It would be worth it just to hold a knife again.
Her last master had made the mistake of putting her in a kitchen, where she had used the cutlery to take down three guards before they had caught her. She was surprised they hadn't just killed her, but it turned out her master was desperate for money, so selling her seemed more advantageous.
Ripping another piece off of her tattered shirt, she tied her long hair back, not really caring that the shirt she was ripping apart was the only one she had. Tying her hair back was more important then her modesty at this point, as it would help her that much more in combat.
She had finished stretching and managed to clean herself up a bit with the water that flowed continuously in a small basin when a guard came for her. "Come now. You fight now." The Vydeki said opening the cell. "No troubles now, or I whip you."
"Yea, yea." Kendra flicked her hand at the guard, as if dismissing him. She did not, however, make any trouble for him. No point in getting whipped right before going out to battle.
She tried to keep track of the twists and turns that the guard took her through, but Vydeki tunnels are very hard for outsiders to navigate, and soon she found herself lost. The guard, however, guided her unerringly into the sandy pit.
There were crowds all around, an amazing amount of people of all races, come to watch two slaves in forced combat.
"Greetings, sentients, and welcome to our first fight of the night." The announcers voice boomed over the speakers. "For your amusement and entertainment, our first fight will start out small. On the pointhand we have a young slave girl, Tundra, whom we are told is a blade master." The people didn't care too much who was getting injured, so they cheered at this. Kendra, or Tundra, as she had introduced herself to Oromi, just looked over her opponent, anger still boiling deep within her.
"And on the killhand we have a familiar face: Jekka, back again after taking a rather grievous injury. This will be a good fight for him to warm up on... Or it would have been, but we've given them both blades, just to see if this girl really does have any skill... So Jekka'd better not be too careless! Let the fight begin!"
The human man standing across from Kendra, Jekka, just smirked, showing no obvious qualms about hurting a girl that he was at least five years senior to. For that matter, the crowd didn't seem to have any qualms either. Judging by the reaction of them, it was obvious that they expected this to be a quick fight, a warm up to the real action of the night.
Kendra had other plans however.
The man was smirking, undoubtedly as confident as the crowd. She didn't wait for him to change his mind. Rushing in as fast as she could, Kendra unleashed an absolute flurry of strikes, forcing Jekka to beat a rather undignified retreat to give himself time to set up an adequate defense.
The crowd cheered, still not caring who's blood spilled.
"C'mon, Jekka, fight like man!" She swiped viciously, snarling equally viciously as she did so. Fear appeared in Jekka's eyes, as it soon became apparent to him that this girl was indeed his better.
He blocked high, she struck low, he blocked low, she struck high. Every counter attack he made hit nothing but air or metal. Taking a slashing swipe at her, Jekka mounted a desperate offense. Kendra blocked easily, kicking him savagely in the shins as the opportunity presented himself.
Finally, she slashing him brutally across the forehead, causing blood to spurt, wildly. He fell into the sand screaming. Kendra stepped over him, ready to drive her blade into his chest when her stun collar activated, jolting along her spine with electricity. She fell to the ground next to him, writhing in pain.
Distantly through the pain, she heard the voice of the announcer: "Unbelievable! I've never seen a fight like that! Tundra is victor and Jekka is down!"
She felt hands on her as two people began dragging her out of the pit and back towards her cell, her muscles still twitching spasmodically from the shock collar's effects.
Posted: Mon Sep 27, 2004 1:23 pm
Khabr'Od'eik, better known as Brodie, stood silent and watched on through a secret hole as Kendra skillfully and swiftly bested Jekka. The ebony skinned Iktotchi was perhaps a year her junior, and was also a slave here under Oromi. He was a very apt fighter, and that was how he came to be a part of this place, much like Kendra. His former master, however, failed to realize that the only reason his associates ended up down was because they were about to kill Brodie.
Orphaned as a todler, Brodie was raised by a small group of eccentric missionaries of a long lost religious order known as the Shanshue. The Shanshue teachings preach pacifism at almost all costs, except to the cost of loss of life. So, in essence, they could be labled as an order devoted to preserving the life of the worthy at all costs. That being so, when Oromi placed Brodie in the pit, no lives being in danger, he was summarily beaten to the ground practicing his beliefs.
Brodie's deep violet eyes watched as Kendra went for the death blow and her collar, identical to the one he wore, sent a charge into her nervous system and she was unceremoniously dragged away. Pushing off the wall he grabbed the mop next to him and hurriedly went back to work cleaning the corridor as the gaurds dragged her past him back towards the cells.
A few minutes later he made his way down the corridor and started to mop up the floor near her cell.
"You fight good." He spoke, his gramar and sentence structure leaving much to be desired. For some reason or another, unknown to him, he was born witha slight mental handicap, nothing life threatening, he just operated at a slgithly lower level than others his age did... "Where from?"
Posted: Mon Sep 27, 2004 3:25 pm
Kendra groaned slightly, looking up from where she had propped herself against the wall, trying to overcome the powerful shock she had received from the collar.
The first thought that came to her at the sound of the voice was that it was Oromi; the Vydekis could seldom speak Basic very fluently. Before she even looked closely at the silhouetted figure, she knew it was much too tall to be a Vydeki.
Her eyes focused, trying to make sense of what she was looking at. The only light source was behind the being, making it look like a black… demon. There was no other word Kendra could come up with to describe it. Two horn like growths wrapped from each side of its head around in front. It stood tall and strong, and even in the absence of light, Kendra could almost sense the power behind the bulky frame.
In its huge hands was gripped a pole that looked tiny by comparison. It took several moments of staring for Kendra to realize it was a mop. If it hadn’t been for the mop, and the actual voice itself, powerful yet surprisingly tranquil, Kendra probably would have been terrified by this visitation. Not that she ever would have admitted to being scared, or would have acted scared even if she was, but she probably would have been all the same.
“Who are you? What do you want?” She demanded, determined not to be the first one to give answers. She rose to her feet defiantly, but did maintain a cautious distance between her and the demon, despite the presence of steel bars between them.
Posted: Mon Sep 27, 2004 4:18 pm
Brodie frowned, and tilted his dual horned head to the side as he regaurded the girl in front of him.
"Khabr'Od'eik" He spoke. "I find most beings have trouble saying, so Brodie will do." He then held up the mop so she could see it better. "Brodie cleans this place. Want nothing."
Posted: Mon Sep 27, 2004 4:34 pm
Kendra gave a slight smirk that quickly faded. It was very rare that someone approached her and wanted "nothing".
"Good, because that's what you're going to get." She did, however, relax a little, taking the time to to striaghten her shirt, which had been ripped so many times it hardly even made it to her upper abdomin, in attempt to preserve what little was left of her modesty.
"Are you a slave too?"
Post # 1000, Yipee
Posted: Mon Sep 27, 2004 4:38 pm
"I am." he answered, stepping slightly closer now that she seemed to be a little more apt to talking with him, and lazily mopping at the floor around him. "You new, where from?"
Posted: Mon Sep 27, 2004 4:49 pm
There was a pause before Kendra said anything. She was not a trusting person, certainly not of someone who came to her and started asking questions. In the past, the girl had been fooled and exploited by people pretending to be friendly towards her, and it was not an experience she cared to relive. In fact, she couldn't think of any reason why she should talk to this Brodie.
But, on the other hand, she couldn't think of any reason why she shouldn't. There wasn't a whole lot he could do to her at this juncture. And after the heat of the battle she had just fought, the rage that usually boiled in her heart had found an outlet and was mostly depleted.
She gave a little sigh. "Well, for the past several months, I was living on a space station called the Vespine, but I assume you mean where I came from originally. And I don't know the answer to that question. I've been a slave since birth."
Kendra took a step forward, looking closer at Brodie. "Why are you still here?" Her question drew a quizzical look from the man, so she clarified. "I mean, you look strong, certainly stronger then the guards, why do you let them push you around and make you mop floors?"
Posted: Mon Sep 27, 2004 4:53 pm
Brodie gave her a curious look. "Its Brodies job." He said simply, to which she made a face, so he continued. "Brodie supposed to be fighter. But Brodie won't fight, so Brodie cleans." He spoke, shrugging. "Its what Brodie does, Oromi says so."
Posted: Mon Sep 27, 2004 5:04 pm
"Yea, I suppose." Kendra was not surprised by the answer. She had heard it all before. When it was all boiled away, slaves were either obediant, or rebellious, and that's all there was to it.
A silence descended for a second, the only sound was Brodie's mop squishing against the floor.
"Kendra." The word came so suddenly, it surprised her. Brodie looked confused. "You asked my name... It's Kendra." She explained, feeling oddly embarassed.
"How long have you been here?" The human girl asked, trying to cover up her embarassment.
Posted: Mon Sep 27, 2004 6:02 pm
Brodie shrugged a bit. "Not so sure. Few years." He told her. "I no know where I'm from neither." he told her after a moment, with a sad smile. "We same."
Posted: Mon Sep 27, 2004 6:28 pm
"Yea... I guess." Her voice was a little guarded, still uncertain of Brodie's motives. He seemed honest, almost... Innocent, even, though that was a near impossibility for anyone who's lived as a slave. It was this honesty, this innocence that made her feel almost threatened. Never in her life had Kendra had someone be honest towards her, nor try to establish kinship with her, the way Brodie was doing. She wasn't really sure what to make of it.
Subconsciously, she took another step closer to him, only standing just out of arm's reach now. "Why did you come down here, Brodie? I mean, there must be hundreds of slaves that come in and out of here, so why did you come down here to me? It's not because the floors are dirty.." She looked down at the floor, which was surprisingly dry considering he was "mopping".
Posted: Mon Sep 27, 2004 6:47 pm
Brodie tilted his head to the side again in slight confusion. "Just frien- I uh... Brodie gets lonely... Fighters no talk to Brodie. So I talk to new frie- new people... make friends..." The Iktotchi stumbled his way through a response to a question that he thought wasn't even an issue...
Posted: Mon Sep 27, 2004 6:58 pm
Taking the last step up to the bars dividing them, Kendra wrapped her small hands around the steel poles, looking up at Brodie.
What makes you think I want to be your friend? The words came automatically and instantiously to her mind. If it had been any other person in any other situation, she would have spoken them without hesitation, driving off yet another potential friend.
But, for reasons she herself did not understand, those malicious words never left her mouth. They were so reactionary it was surprising they didn't just come out of their own accord, but something deeper then her fear of any sort of comraderie had acted.
How has it been since you had anyone to talk to at all? How long has it been since someone showed interest in you as a person instead of a possesion? A voice in the back of her mind asked, then answere, too long.
"Okay." It was the only thing she could think to say, though it seemed an inadequate response. Color rose to her cheeks, though she hoped it was dim enough that he couldn't really tell.
Hell, you don't even know what friends talk about, you don't even know what a friend is.
"So... How come you don't fight? You certainly look big enough." She strove to keep her voice steady as she spoke, though a tone of nervousness was still obvious.
Posted: Mon Sep 27, 2004 7:30 pm
Brodie grabbed hold of one of the bars in front of him and leaned on it. "It's a big story." he said simply. "Brodie was taught that fighting was bad, unless you fight for life." He spoke, not expecting her to understand, no one else ever had.
Posted: Mon Sep 27, 2004 7:37 pm
Kendra digested that answer for a moment. "That seems a bit limiting, if you wouldn't even fight to protect yourself from harm." She spoke thoughtfully, then quickly added, "but I guess we all have our own set of rules." Being critical of his moral code didn't seem like a wise way to start a friendship.
Posted: Mon Sep 27, 2004 7:40 pm
"This we do." Brodie replied with a freindly smile. "You fight good, Where learn?"
Posted: Mon Sep 27, 2004 8:45 pm
Kendra a half shrug, a trace of a smile playing on her lips. "I guess you could say that the master I had when I was ten started my training. I was so rebellious and uncontrollable then I can't even imagine what made him think it was a good idea to give me a knife, but he did. I returned the favor by trying to kill him a couple of times. But he never seemed to care, he just kept training me more. By the time I was twelve and was sold to another master, I was decent. My real advantage came from the fact that no one ever expects much of me. By the time they realize there's more to me then they know, it's too late."
Posted: Tue Sep 28, 2004 1:34 pm
"Shrouds of lies make lives prosper." Brodie spoke. "Brodie has yet to fully learn the ways of this life."
Posted: Tue Sep 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Kendra shifted with an uncomfortable shrug. "Yea... I guess it's not for everyone." She had been surprised by his statement, which showed a deeper degree of intelligence then she had given him credit for.
"I'm surprised you've managed to survive this long seeing that you.. I mean.. It seems like you don't like to hurt people..." The teenage girl stumbled over her words, realizing quite quickly that it was alot harder to communicate with someone on a positive note then on a negative one.
She did not wait for a response to her statement, however, before asking as nonchalantly as possible, "So, how often do you mop down here?" Kendra pushed back one of her loose bangs, trying not to act at all interested. That was one thing she had learned over her life: the quickest way to lose something was to express interest in it.
Posted: Tue Sep 28, 2004 5:17 pm
Brodie shrugged slightly. "Depends on day. Sometimes once, twice, or none." He spoke. "Mostly once." he added after a moment.
Posted: Tue Sep 28, 2004 5:26 pm
Kendra gave a little nod. "Just curious." She said abruptly, even though he hadn't asked.
From down the tunnel, the sound of approaching feet and Oromi's voice was heard as he moved closer in their direction. Subconsciously, Kendra backed away from the bars, looking at Brodie. If he wasn't supposed to be down here, then it would be quite obvious in the next couple of seconds. Deep in her gut, Kendra felt the omni-present rage, which had subsided talking to Brodie, begin to boil again as her new master drew closer.
She continued to watch Brodie, just to see how he would react to this occurance.
Posted: Tue Sep 28, 2004 5:37 pm
Brodie simply dipped the mop into the bucket a few feet to his left, and went back to mopping at the floor, he gave Kendra a curious, if not confused look and a smile that he hoped was soothing, before glancing back at the floor and waiting for Oromi to come. He wasn't sure what was going on, but most likely the man wanted to speak wtih Kendra about the fight today... or the rules of this place... or something...
Posted: Tue Sep 28, 2004 6:07 pm
Two Vydekis rounded one of the twists in the tunnel, coming into Kendra's field of vision. It was Oromi and another Vydeki she didn't recognize, but seemed to be a guard.
"Brodie!" Oromi exclaimed in surprise, most likely in response to stepping barefooted on the newly wet floor then actually seeing the slave. "Hee! I make your clean floor dirty again." He turned his attention towards Kendra, who was glaring at him from the other side of the bars.
"Hee! Fought good tonight, Tundra. Crowd were surprised, many bet against you, many lost. That makes me credits. You fight again tomorrow. More you win, more you get nice things, food, clothes. But no more vibroblade! Jekka going to be in bacta tank for three days, medic say. Next time, you use stun stick. Dead slaves, crippled slaves don't make me credits."
Kendra offered no reply, she just continued to stare at Oromi with undisguised animosity.
"You come with us now, get bath. Make you pretty so men like you, eh?"
For a moment, Kendra was torn. On one hand, it had been far to long since she had been offered an oppertunity to bathe properly, and the offer was tempting. On the other hand, she couldn't just let them win. Not without a fight.
"Sure." She gave them a little smile, just waiting for the old fashioned cell door to be opened. The guard beside Oromi opened the door, and Kendra sprang forward, ready to claw his eyes out.
Unfortunately for her, the guard was obviously expecting just such an action. With one deft motion, he lifted his stun club and smacked her soundly against the side of the head. She crumpled to the ground with a groan, trying to get her feet under her, but was far too dizzy for the task.
"Foolish girl. Don't do things like that, or we take away nice things, food, clothes. Bring her." Oromi reproved her mildly, then gestured to the guard who wrapped one arm around her slender waist and began dragging her out of the cell, as she wiggled slightly in a vain attempt to make things more difficult for her captor.
Posted: Tue Sep 28, 2004 8:48 pm
Brodie watched on in partially forced silence as Oromi and the guard dragged her away. He frowned, a saddened look on his face. She'd need to learn not to do things like that in the future. It just isn't good for the body or mind... He then continued about cleaning the floor before moving on to his next duties.
Posted: Tue Sep 28, 2004 9:04 pm
It didn't take very long before Kendra stopped struggling against the brawny Vydeki.
"I can walk, you know..." She spoke through gritted teeth, no longer struggling but still trying to pry his arm off of her. The guard stopped, pushing her up to her feet.
"Good. I tired of carrying you around. No tricks now." The stun club was brandished threateningly as a promise of punishment.
"Yea, yea." She muttered, refusing to give them the satisfaction of seeing her cowed. The only reason she even minorly cooperated was the prospect of being able to get cleaned up.
It took close to two hours to get cleaned up, including showering, getting her hair, fingernails and toenails trimmed, and getting new garments. As she stood, gazing at herself in the mirror, she could hardly recognize herself. The raven hair on her head, now pulled back in a neat braid was shiney and lively, instead of the dull, dirty shade it had been before. Her naturally tanned skin was a good shade lighter with all the grime washed off of it.
Even her clothing, which was still far from modest, was a vast improvement over the rags she had been wearing before.
All in all, she felt almost human.
The feeling died quickly, however, as the guard came to take her back to her cell.
Not human. Still a slave. She reminded herself, the rage within her begging for an outlet. At least tomorrow would be another fight, another chance to let some of her anger free.
The door of her cell slammed shut behind her. Kendra sat down stoically on her unimpressive cot.
Posted: Tue Sep 28, 2004 9:25 pm
Brodie, having finished his chores for the day, slowly made his way back towards Kendra's cell in hopes that she'd returned. As he arrived he saw that she was indeed back in her cell.
"Better?" he asked as he settled down to the floor outside her cell, sitting cross legged.
Posted: Tue Sep 28, 2004 9:32 pm
Kendra was surprised that Brodie had returned, especially so soon, and even more surprised when he sat down in the hallway, right in front of her cell. Her cell was one of the end ones in this tunnel, so it wasn't really a haevily trafficked area, but it still surprised her that he was allowed (and willing) just to sit there.
Why would he bother? I can't possibly be that good of company...
"I don't know, you tell me." She spoke in reply to his question. "I guess I'm supposed to be pretty now." The scornful voice betrayed her obvious negativity towards herself.
"But it does feel better being clean." She moved off of her cot, sitting down on the floor just in front of the bars.
Posted: Wed Sep 29, 2004 3:16 pm
Brodie nodded. "Take care of self. Makes things better." he told his new companion after a moment of silence.
Posted: Wed Sep 29, 2004 5:16 pm
The girl didn't respond immediately, except to give an absent nod.
"Where did you learn Basic? Did the Vydekis teach you? It isn't very... I mean, it sounds like how they talk. Tell me more about yourself." The words flowed from her mouth without thought. Because of the lifestyle she had lived, she had never been very good at talking to people, other then hurling insults at anyone who tried to get too close to her, but for reasons even she didn't know, Kendra felt a strange desire to talk to Brodie. Maybe it was just that he seemed so gentle and harmless, despite his large size.
Whatever the reason, she was afriad that if neither of them were talking, he would leave, so she filled the air with words just so he would stay.
Posted: Wed Sep 29, 2004 8:11 pm
Brodie tensed up a bit. His past was a touch of a sensitive issue, not only because of it being personal, but also because of how complicated it was. He had a hard time explaining it well to others.
"Brodie learned basic from Brothers. Ones who taught Brodie to be at peace... Brothers who grew Brodie up." He sighed slightly. "Brodie blessed with big muscles, fast reflexes..." He explained, then pointed in the general direction of his head. "Brodie not so blessed in here. Oromi says Brodie simple."
Posted: Thu Sep 30, 2004 4:14 pm
The name Oromi caused Kendra to bristle. "Hey, just because some egotistical slave owner says your stupid, doesn't mean it's true. If you've got fast reflexes, you must have a million thoughts a second running through your brain; just because you can't speak them all well doesn't mean you're simple." The words came forcefully, with a bit more fire then Kendra intended.
Her face softened after she had spoken, and she looked down, adjusting the double sided loin cloth she had been given absently. "I... I didn't mean to snap at you, I just hate to see people abuse others, not only physically but mentally too. As you can tell, I'm not much good at talking with other people either, though I guess that's just because I've never had someone to talk to."
----Imperial Labor Camp, Theshaed----
It all happened so fast, Tayne didn't even know what hit him. One moment, he was face to face with the Gotal, the next he was on the ground.
The ensuing scuffle couldn't even be called a fight. It was more of a beating.
Tayne had never had much of a rough and tumble upbringing, nor had he really learned much about defending himself living a peaceful life on a quiet farm and because of this had little to work with in his defense.
By the time the guards arrived from across the room, Tayne was bleeding profusely from the nose, and felt inside out. In his daze he wasn't even sure if he had managed to inflict any damage on his attacker or not.
The guards didn't stop to ask questions. They were not interested in justice, who started the fight or for what reason. Both Murro and Tayne were soundly beaten then dragged to their feet and hauled off.
The solitary confinement cells were probably the scariest things Tayne had ever seen. They were an eight by eight airtight box with no light of any sort.
It was like being in a coffin. No fresh air, no light, nothing but an endless silence broken only by his own breathing and restless shifting. Only his thoughts to keep him company, and his thoughts were as dark as the cell itself.
All they would have to do to kill me in this box was turn off the vent the oxygenates the air. I would get sleepy and eventually die without even knowing what was happening to me...
That thought alone was enough to make it extremely difficult to go to sleep. Of course, in total sensory depravation, sleep and consciousness share a very blurry border.
It was hard to judge just how long he was left in there, though it felt like years. Eventually, however, the door slid smoothly open, letting in a piercing stream of light. Tayne scrambled to cover his face at this sudden intrusion into his darkness.
"Alright, Tayne, come on." The guard growled, beckoning with his club. Tayne carefully found his feet, and followed the guard back to his cell, feeling more haggard then he ever had.
The labor camp was a learning experience for Tayne, much like a school, only with a very steep grading curve. He had hoped that the conflict with Murro would blow over quickly, but he learned otherwise. Murro turned out to be the top dog of the Gotals in the camp, who had quickly organized themselves into a formidable little gang. Apparently Murro wasn't much for having people stand up to him, because he showed no intention of letting the vendetta pass, and that meant that all the Gotals felt that way.
This left Tayne in a very unpleasant position. The Gotals never traveled alone, and if they ever found him, he knew he was in for a beating. The guards were of little help either. The only times they would intercede is if the fight took place during specified work times or if it was in any way disruptive. This gave them a little bit too much time for hunting, as far as Tayne was concerned.
He couldn't fight them all, not all the time, though it didn't take long before he had become a rather proficient brawler. He couldn't run, since there was really no where to run to, so Tayne knew he'd have to find another solution. He would have to outthink his opponents, and on that score, he knew he held the advantage. But the plan that came to mind he could not manage alone, so he knew, even though he had spent the last two weeks isolating himself from any of the other prisoners, it was time to look for allies.
Sitting in the crowded lunch room, Tayne casually let his eyes wander over the crowds, looking for a likely friend. It was a difficult place, because not everyone here was a brutal criminal, like Murro. Many of this people were once just gentle civilians, who would probably be down right feral, if and when they got out of here. Tayne didn't need someone who was gentle, but just someone who wasn't an enemy. It was more difficult to find then he had expected. Most of the people in the labor camp/prison were grouped off by race, and Tayne didn't feel comfortable approaching a group of them, certainly not after his experiences with Murro. Giving a little sigh of annoyance Tayne turned back to his food, trying to look simultaneously unapproachable and inviting.
Posted: Thu Sep 30, 2004 9:14 pm
Brodie graced her with a gentle smile. "I like talking to you. No one talks to Brodie." He said, shrugging slightly. "Brodie thinks they think he's simple, too."
Posted: Fri Oct 01, 2004 11:31 am
Another slave came down the corridors, bearing a tray of food which he slipped through the grate at the base of the door, ignoring both Kendra and Brodie. Kendra, in turn, ignored the slave, continuing with their conversation.
"Who cares what they think." Kendra's voice still had a touch of the fire that seemed to always surround her, but it was much softer then usual, as if Brodie's calm and placid demeanor was contegious. "Tell me more about this Brotherhood you spoke of, the ones who raised you."
Posted: Fri Oct 01, 2004 7:03 pm
"I need your help." Tayne went striaght to the point as he sat down across from the grizzled being he had selected as being the most likely to ally with him.
The being in question, a massive blue skinned thing with spikes protruding out of its back and biceps about as tree trunks, looked over Tayne's battered and bruised face. "No kidding." He replied gruffly and tersely, showing no sign of interest in Tayne.
"I've been watching everyone I can over the past couple of days, and if there's no thing I've noticed about you, it's that no one messes with you." Tayne went on, not really caring how the other sentient was reacting to his speech. "Most would assume that this is because of your size. And, while I will admit you're definitely big enough to make anyone think twice, I think it has more to do with the fact that you're invaluable to most of them. I know you work down in the storage area, and I know you do 'business' with many of the inmates here."
"Good for you." The blue skinned behemoth finished off the last of the food on his tray and began looking around for any other unguarded food nearby. Tayne had already wolfed his down before approaching him, however.
"I'm guessing, however, that you've still got enemies, they're just more discreet..." Tayne was sweating now. His person had seemed like a good prospect to approach, but now he was having doubts.
"Look kid, get the point already." The massive being put one hand on the table gently. The palm of his hand was about the size of Tayne's head.
"Alright... I would like a partnership, you help me, I help you, but, barring that, I'll settle for a striaght up trade."
The other inmate rumbled. "Sounds one sided. What are you going to give me?"
Tayne leaned in, becoming conscious of the others around him. "I work in the motor pool, so I can get you parts from there if you need them for trading. But more importantly, I can get you information. The storage pit's pretty cut off from the rest of the camp. I can keep my ears open and let you know what's going on."
"Is that the best you got?" Uzin, the blue man, swore softly under his breath. "Come back when you have something worthwhile, kid. Get me a powerpack out of a guard's blaster and maybe I'll listen." With that, he stood and left Tayne sitting alone.
Well. That could have gone better.
Posted: Sun Oct 03, 2004 4:41 pm
"I need your help." Tayne pulled a cigerette half way out of the package, offering it to the shifty looking Rodian who, like Tayne, was leaning up against the wall in the wieght room, waiting for his turn to use a wieghtset.
"Po chee we'na." The Rodian responded flatly, stating his disinterest. Tayne had dealt with enough Rodians back on his home world to understand their language fluently. The Rodian did, however, take the cigerette.
"Two packs for easy work."
"Tell me what kind of work." The Rodian responded in his native language, still not looking directly at Tayne. Tayne lit his cigerette and the cigerette of his companion before responding.
"All you have to do is start a brawl, and make sure many people get involved, including several guards. It has to happen in a busy spot, and I have to be there." Tayne told him, taking a drag off of his cigerette.
"Why?" The Rodian asked curiously.
"Deal?" Tayne asked in return, ignoring the question.
The Rodian thought a moment, obviously considering the threat of spending time in the hole versus having two packs of cigerettes.
Eventually the Rodian gave "Fine, we have a deal. I want the packs ahead of time."
Tayne shook his head with a smile. "I'll give you one tomorrow, then one when you've done it."
Again the Rodian considered, then nodded. "Deal. Give me the pack at breakfast, and I will do it at lunch."
"Good." Tayne slapped the Rodian on the shoulder in an almost friendly manner, then walked down to where a wieghtset had opened up.
Now I've just got to figure out where I can get two packs of cigerettes...
Posted: Sun Oct 10, 2004 8:55 pm
"Brodies Brothers call themselves Shanshue. They lived on planet far away. Took in Brodie and taught him their ways. Bad people came and killed brothers, they gave Brodie to slaver, who sold Brodie to Oromi." He said solemly. "What want to know?"
Posted: Tue Oct 12, 2004 4:39 pm
Kendra gave a light shrug. "It sounds like they meant a lot to you. It... I dunno." She gave another shrug in attempt to show the words that wouldn't come. "You just seem so.. different then anyone I've met. I just thought maybe... That the Brothers had had something to do with that."
The words came from her throat sounding almost forced. It took so much effort just to hold a simple conversation. Briefly she wondered it if was always this way, of it eventually one became good at talking with people. Others made it look so effortless.