Posted By: SeverianofUrth<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 12 April 2005, 2:22 PM
Seven Days: Recollections
I've never told you about Apotrops, Ben. The asteroid prison camp-cum-mining facility was, as cliche'd as this might sound, hell on earth. When our movement fell flat on Narkos, most of the political prisoners were sent there, to labor on til' our sentence was completed.
The sound of the other's voice surprised him. Talking was not permitted while manning the picks- and the guards, who strode through the ranks of the prisoners with shock-prods and hellwhips in hand, enforced that rule with animal brutality.
Dave did not reply. His back still burned and festered with the last taste of the hellwhip. The nerve-frying weapon, although it could not kill, inflicted excruciating agony to the victim- and left a searing wound that hurt for days onward.
"Oy, Dave. Know you're there."
The stranger, whom Dave did not know, started to prod his back. Dave knew he could not keep silent much longer: should a guard notice the other poking and prodding him, he would automatically assume that the two were engaged in some secret communication that involved brazenly poking the other in public. Then the beatings would began; Dave had seen and experienced enough of them to know the pain, and to fear it. The shock-prod to the genitalia, the hellwhip to the back, and steel-toed boots applied liberally to his other body parts would not only make him scream, but it would also make him grovel. Dave didn't think he could endure the humiliating trials that came after the beatings- the groveling, the boot-licking, the-
"Shut up," Dave whispered without turning.
"Got your attention, didn't I?" said the other. He whispered, also, but not as quite as Dave.
"Shut up, idiot. You'll get us killed."
The other giggled. Dave clenched up in fear, when he heard that.
"I've no fear of the whips, Dave. No fear at all."
Dave decided to try ignoring the other, once again.
"But you do, oh-yes-you-do. I'll start crying and laughing, Dave, if you don't answer me- the guards will beat me up too, but you'll be screaming the most."
Dave wished for the feel of his M6B pistol in his hands again, the compact piece of steel curved and conformed to fit his grip. Dave wished that he had the pistol in his hands, fully-loaded, and that the other was kneeling before him, hands tied, and that he could simply level the pistol, aim, and pull the trigger- hear the sweet crack of gunfire, smell the blood, feel splattering bits of skull shower over him-
"Got it, Dave?"
"Yeah." He whispered back.
"Good. Come to the left corner of the mess hall. Quad the greeting: Kaishakunin."
Dave had no intention of doing that. "Sure."
The other giggled, once again. "Better keep your promise, Dave- I'll be watchin' ya."
Dave did not reply.
He looked at his hands again- small, and pale- and stared at his reflection in the mirror. He looked horrible. His skin looked like a corpse's, and his wide, staring eyes- gaunt and hollow- scared him.
Dave heard the thwack of a shock-prod smacking flesh, and smelled the stench of burnt flesh, sweet as fried bacon.
"Get going, shitheads!" The guard yelled.
Dave hurriedly splattered water over his face, wiped his hands once or twice in the streaming water, turned the faucet off, and marched outside, fearing always the sting of the prod. He wasn't hit, this time.
After washing, the prisoners were herded over to the mess hall, and waited in milling lines for the food. One by one, the prisoners received the bowl of nutrition soup- tastelss and milky- and a cup of foul rum, which had been spiked with Prohypnol, to discourage any rebellious thoughts from forming.
Dave welcomed the oblivion of the drugged rum. He lifted up the small, paper cup, intent on spilling it down his throat, when someone- a stranger he did not know- smacked on the back as they passed by, making him miss. The rum showered instead all over his face. Cursing, he turned.
Dave realized that he had sat with his back to the left corner of the mess hall. A small, inconspicuous group of prisoners sat spread a little way apart from each other, grimly spooning down the soup. Their cups appeared to be empty; then Dave realized that they simply poured it down the drains, right below the tables.
The group did not talk amongst themselves. They simply tapped on the tables with their spoons.
What the hell. His night ruined by the absence of the cup of rum, Dave took his bowl and went to left corner of the room, heart starting to beat faster and faster. If the guards saw him, and thought something was amiss...
No one stopped him. No calls went up, to stop him. The sting of a hellwhip did not grace his back. He sat down, next to a large, heavy man whose muscles had slowly turned to loose flaps, and started tapping away.
First, the code. Dave tapped out, at first slowly but with each letter gaining confidence, Kaishakunin.
Lone Wolf and Cub, the man next to him replied. Welcome.
What's going on?
The movement. Listen.
Dave could have snorted. The movement was dead. It died with the last battle on Calibani, when the ONI poured down the shitstorm on them. And Lone wolf and Cub? The operation had failed quite spectacularly. He himself had commanded it.
Dave then remembered the meaning of the word Kaishakunin. Executioner. His former profession, in the movement. This chilled him. He had many enemies, even among the brotherhood, and now, in the prisons, they all had nothing to lose. Sentence in Apotrops was a death sentence.
He wondered if he should just get moving.
But Dave stayed. He didn't know why, but he stayed. And listened as the conspirators- as this group of motley men and women seemed to be- tapped away, plotting.
Victory is near, comrades.
The person who tapped that out- Dave recognized him. He was the former Consul of Calibani.
Aye, aye Someone tapped out.
Dave then noticed something he hadn't before: all the prisoners inside the mess hall, maybe a thousand strong, were clattering and dropping and tapping their spoons against the table. He felt like smiling.
This prison cannot hold us. The agony of our sentence cannot stop us. We fight for freedom.
Aye, aye! Again, the same answer, but from a different person. Dave looked around again- the general chaos of clattering spoons pretty much drowned out the conspiring taps here on this table.
The tyranny of the UNSC- their slow descent towards the pits of corruption, decay, and ultimately, the death of the human republic- must be stopped. The Consul tapped out.
But present goals first, comrade! We gotta get the hell outta here! Someone else tapped. How are we gonna do all that if we're stuck in this hell-hole?
The Consul answered: Thank you, Brian. Yes, I am aware of that. Even now, our agents among the guards-
The guards? What the fuck! Where are our agents when Rigs got beaten to death? Huh?
Or when Han got a shock-prod up his ass?
Calm down, comrades! They cannot act, yet. Only at the moment of our uprising can they act, opening the cells and handing out the weapons. The Consul looked frustrated. Dave realized, then, that he must have repeated this same conversation many, many times, until he reached out to all the prisoners here.
So wait, I ask you. And take those you trust, those you knew in the movement back on Calibani and Prospero VI, and tell them of this. We wait, for now. We wait, and bear the pain. But when the moment comes, we act, brothers and sisters. We will rise once again.
It was over, then. Dave found himself clattering his spoon enthusiastically on the table, also- then realization swept cold over him, like a pitcher of icy water.
No way in hell that the guards hadn't noticed this. Cameras, vid recordings, whatever- the guards must have seen these gatherings. And did nothing. Perhaps one of the agents among the guards was blinding the rest to these tableside meetings, but Dave doubted that. In fact, he doubted that there would actually be agents among the guards in the first place.
The Consul's gatherings were a trap, to attract and lure out those still not broken. It became so logically clear- these were things he himself had done time and time again, to take out the spies in the movement.
And with that came a memory, unbidden, uncalled for, but rising from deep within his mind.
Snow sweeps over Calibani, outside the habitats. The bio-domes, buried in snow, glimmer white in the pale light of the sun.
Two men outside in cold suits. One standing, the other kneeling. Tempests blow against them, rippling fabrics keeping out the cold from their bodies but not their heart.
One screams. And screams, for his daughter, for his mother, for his husband, for his country- calls the other a traitor, a killer, murderer, and a thousand other things that the other has heard before.
The other asks him if that is all.
He says no.
The other pulls the trigger. A tiny little bloodstorm erupts from the kneeling man's head. The scent of blood lingers for a quick second, and then blows away with the winds.
The supper-period was then over, as the guards began to lash out with the prods and kicked out with their boots, yelling and screaming for the prisoners to get moving. Dave docilely stood, his bowl in hand, and began to walk along with the crowd.
The cells. Sterile white walls, a thin, hard bed, a old-fashioned calendar hanging on the walls, and Lini.
She sat on the bed, her skinny, bony body angling sharp against the harsh white glare of the LED lamps. Dave walked to her, unsure. He didn't love her.
She smelled like sweat and blood and burns and cigarettes, and Dave knew, as Lini got up and hugged him hard, against her skinny body that had once been sleek and graceful, that she had suffered more on this day alone then he had during the whole course of the imprisonment.
Bodies interlocked, they moved to the thin, hard bed, and held each other as they slept, one seeking love, the other seeking comfort.
Author's Note:Seven Days was a disaster in making.
That's all I'm going to say. I'll be concentrating on Invasion of the NOOBS now- so until I am done with that, and improve my writing skills, Seven Days won't be updated/continued. Sorry- but although I like the plot, my skills just weren't up to it, yet.