Register Register

Author Topic: A World of Hurt (BT CYOA)  (Read 2339 times)

Ato

  • Recruit
  • *
  • Posts: 8
A World of Hurt (BT CYOA)
« on: 30 June 2019, 20:05:59 »
I have taken some liberties with the CYOA format, to make it a bit more interesting in my opinion, as well as doing away with pretty much all of the actual SI elements.  The main character featured is completely original, but has no fore knowledge of Battletech events.
Also as a warning this will start quite dark, and will probably stay there. Some terrible and traumatic things will be heavily implied, but I won't actually explicitly show them.

Please enjoy and comment.



= A World of Hurt =


Chapter 1: Here and Now

1.1

I pulled at the wall for what seemed like the thousandth time ‘today’.

For what was likely more than the thousandth time, the rust-streaked ring lodged into the grimy concrete wall stubbornly refused my mumbled pleading, and mockingly refused to move.

Defeated, I let my arms drop.

Clank.

The chain that connected my wrists to the wall hit the floor with a cruel sound, and for perhaps the thousandth time a sharp shudder of despair wracked my shoulders as I choked back a sob.

No.

No time for crying now. I’m here. Closing my eyes and wishing it weren't so won’t make it go away.



It is difficult to imagine wanting something so much that it hurts. Hard to know what it feels like that unless you can achieve the impossible, that you will probably die.
 I had wanted things all my life. There had been the usual selfish wants of a child of course. Sweets to eat, more time to play, more attention from my mother. But as I had grown older, and become more aware of the world, there had been an endless procession of new ones. I had wanted not to live in a cramped two room ‘apartment’ cube. I had wanted to breathe air that wasn’t recycled a thousand times, and always smelled stale with the sweat of others. I had wanted to go to a technical school and be properly qualified. I had wanted a raise for the back breaking work I did to keep a slowly deteriorating habitat, and the few thousand people that live in it, from dying a horrible death.

 I had wanted to see the stars…

Now all those things seemed just as petty as the child asking her mother why she couldn’t live in a beautiful castle, like the princess in the one battered plasti-book they owned.

Now though. Now I knew. I knew with absolute certainty that unless that ****** ring came out of that wall I was going to die in this stinking shit-ridden cell. I knew that I wanted that more than anything I had ever wanted anything in my life.

I wanted it more that the burning pain in my arms, more than raw bleeding cuts where the rough shackles had bitten into my wrists. More than the lying voice in my head telling me how tired I felt, how it would be okay to lay my head down on the dirt encrusted floor and sleep. Just for a little bit.

No.

I wanted to live.


I took a deep breath a stared down my implacable foe, and pulled again. Hard.

Nothing.

Clank.


My shoulders shook with an involuntary shiver. The undershirt they had left me with, after taking all my meagre possessions, did nothing against the damp cold of the cell. Sodden as it was now with my sweat, blood and tears, it was probably doing worse than nothing. Not that I could take it off.

Or would want to.

I began to feel a numb prickle in my ankles, likely from having sat too long in the same position. I shifted to stretch them out, and winced as my bare legs came in contact with the icy floor. This cell had been my only experience of this place, apart from a short glimpse of a hangar and then a set of dingy corridors, through which I had been unceremoniously dragged upon arrival. It was rectangular, and reasonably big, perhaps intended to hold far more than one person, a theory supported by the row of additional rings crudely driven into the concrete wall.

I was the only one here though, whoever else they had kept prisoner were long gone. Their smell remained though. The whole room was pervaded by a stench of old waste, that was accompanied by the strong musk of mold. In the gloom I could make out dark stains stretching across the walls and floor. Whether they were the fluids left by previous occupants, or deadly colonies of fungus that were even now invading my lungs, I tried not to think about.

Though a traitorous part of my mind told me that I would probably find out sooner or later.

****** that.

I braced my feet against the wall and pulled hard on the chain again, grimacing at the pain.

Nothing.

Clank.


A coppery-metallic taste suddenly filled my mouth, and after a moment I realised that I had bitten the inside of my lip whilst straining. The sharp pain cut through the fogginess of my exhaustion like being burned. Earlier I might have cursed, screamed in frustration, and beat my shackles against the ring. Let out my blinding rage at the unfairness of all this, at my own stupidity. Earlier I had.
Now I just let the warm blood pool around my tongue for a moment, savouring a sensation other than cold limbs, aching arms, and an empty stomach. Then feeling disgusted with myself, I spat it out onto the floor. Adding one more stain to the collection.

Get it the ****** together.

My lips curled into a sneer at my own weakness, and I curled my fingers into the iron links of the chain, ready to pull again.

A scream echoed into the cell through the gaps worn around the steel door.

And then there was that.

It had started some time after I had got here.

A few days? A few weeks?

I couldn’t remember. It wasn’t really important.

As far as I knew the screamer was the only other prisoner being held here. They had opened the door to my cell when he first arrived, and showed me to him. From my position, curled up whimpering in a corner, I hadn’t really been able to make out much, just the form of a man being held limply between two others.

“There she is.” One of them had said.

I didn't know why. Maybe just to show him what torments awaited. Perhaps that should have given me a sense of solidarity, made me feel a bond forged from our shared suffering. It didn’t. The screaming seemed to go on without end, day and night. Not that I really knew the difference any more.

I just wanted the noisy ****** to shut up.

Trying to ignore it I braced again and pulled. I pulled so hard it felt like my arms were about to pop out of their sockets.

Pain is better than death.

I pulled harder.

I thought I felt a bit of give. Elation flooded into me, this was it! I shifted my weight, relaxing the chain, and then pulled again.

Nothing.

Clank.

Desperate I yanked on the chain repeatedly, certain that I had felt something. Wanting to believe. Something in my wrist popped and I yelped in pain. Instinctively I tried to cradle the injured limb close to my chest, but that only succeeded in jerking the chain and sending another lance of searing fire up my arm.

******, ******, ******, ******.

I slumped forward sobbing and wheezing.


I shouldn’t be here.

If I just stayed at home. If I had just stayed in that shithole dome, and worked myself into an early grave. If I had just shut up, and not run my mouth. If I had just done as I’d been told. If I had just given up on my dreams. If I had just never sent that message. If I had just…

Exhaustion overtook me, I laid down on the floor, long past caring about the filth and let my eyes slowly close. Sleep came quickly, my traitorous body was too drained to resist.


The dream was the same again. The same one I had after crying myself to sleep in the dropship. The same one I had in variations almost every night since, during my captivity in this terrible place. I dreamt I had escaped and run through the corridors to freedom, in the moment totally convinced in the illusion, only to awake each time to the cold certainty of reality. The hunger and cold gifted me dreams that seemed so vivid and real, whilst making my waking moments clouded with just enough delirium to make it hard to tell the difference.
If it that wasn’t enough, my subconscious seemed to delight in torturing me with ever more new and wonderful scenarios, each one feeling like it had to be the one that was real. I dreamt that I hijacked a VTOL and flew far away, feeling the rushing wind over my skin. I dreamt I was curled up in bed, back safe in my mother’s apartment as she stroked my hair and sang soothing songs. I dreamt that a dashing house noble killed the pirates in battle, and carried my from my cell, back to a life of luxury on the planet that he owned. I dreamt that I was laying waste to this complex from the cockpit of a great battlemech, all shining armour and roaring guns.
I dreamt that my father came to rescue me with a whole dropship full of mercenaries. Those dreams at least I could immediately tell weren't true. My father was the one screaming upstairs.

And ****** if that wasn’t my fault too.


I suppose I should feel guilty about that. Maybe earlier I had. But it was hard to feel responsible for a man that had abandoned you to poverty soon after birth. The time he spent with my mother just one more of his ‘adventures’. Tales he could tell to the rest of his rich inner sphere friends when he returned from the latest expedition into the periphery. Leaving his child with only a faded pict to know her father by, and a lifetime of toil to look forward to.

Just like the silly princess book when I was little, I’d had dreams of running away from the hab, finding him out in the periphery and joining him on the ‘newest’ adventure. Stupid dreams.

For a stupid girl.

 I hadn’t recognized him in the doorway, but then I hadn’t ever seen him before, not in reality. Despite that, I knew it had been him. After all that was their plan wasn’t it?
See the gullible bastard daughter all on her own in the big bad periphery, full of hopes and dreams. Hear the loud mouthed tales of how her father was some inner sphere big shot that she was going to find. Snatch her off the spaceport streets, then ransom her back to the wealthy inner merchant-lord. A fat payout, easy money.
I had laughed the first time Graf told me, it had been just after they pulled me off Illyria, when he swaggered into the compartment. I had been locked inside, alone, since the dropship launched, until he swung the hatch open that cruel, scarred, smirk he always wore twisting on his lips. Why  did he bother? ****** knows, he smelled half drunk, but then he always does, maybe he just likes ****** with people. Watching them squirm as he taunts them with their own foolishness.

Psycho ******.

 As if the father who had never even met me would care enough to spend a single bill on my ransom? I still didn’t have enough sense to keep my mouth shut then, I told him as much, and laughed. Graf just sneered and backhanded me, saying I was a “dumb bitch.”

Dumb enough.

The universe however was nothing if not cruel in its sense of irony, and It seems like my father cared a lot more than I thought. Enough that he had come to try and rescue me, or at least attempted to deal with the pirates in person. The ****** fool. He threw away all that Innie high life for a girl he doesn’t even know. Just because she sent him a message twenty years later?
 My fault.
Now they had him, they were torturing him, and when they got whatever they wanted out of his ruined body, they were going to ransom whatever was left. And me?

They would kill me.

When they were done.



I dreamt that the ****** ring came out of the wall.
« Last Edit: 26 July 2019, 16:53:38 by Ato »

Ato

  • Recruit
  • *
  • Posts: 8
Re: A World of Hurt (BT CYOA)
« Reply #1 on: 30 June 2019, 20:07:13 »
Chapter 1: Here and Now

1.2

I woke up to find that my cheek had become stuck to the floor. Either from the cold, or by the adhesive properties of whatever foul mixture was coating the concrete in a slick layer. Achingly I pulled myself upright with the chain, breaking whatever was keeping the contact and leaving my face feeling raw. I didn’t really want to think about it.

The cell was still dark. There was no window, and the only light was that which filtered in from the corridor around the door, and from a few small air vents, missing their covers, near the ceiling. I don’t know how long I slept, I never do. There was no way to keep track of the passage of time, or even to know how long I had been a prisoner. Half heard conversations from some of the pirates walking past in the corridor, about inane things like when they had eaten or last had a ‘shift’ let me know that it was at least passing. I hadn’t gone mad after a single night in this room.

I think.

That and Graf’s occasional visits, when he came to mock me with his sneering words and sometimes with his fists, if he felt I wasn’t being a gracious enough audience for his paricular brand of drunken rambling. His inebriated state made me think he was doing it whenever he was bored, or off duty, but it happened infrequently and randomly enough that I hadn’t seen a pattern to it. Or at least not one that I could work out.

My stomach groaned and spasmed, a bit sharper than usual. I probably hadn’t eaten in a while. The pirates did feed me, apparently I was just about valuable enough for that. When they remembered. I looked around in the gloom.
This room didn’t seem like it had been built a prison cell. There was no lock on the door, and the rings to which the chains were attached had been driven into the wall haphazardly at best. All at different heights and angles, a job done quickly by someone who didn’t really care. The space reminded me strongly of the storage rooms back in my old habitat on Leximon, a utilitarian concrete box to stash crates and parts in. On the ceiling was an old strip light fixture, long since smashed to uselessness, and higher up I could make out a series of holes where perhaps racks of shelving had been mounted. All things the Pirates had stripped out and looted when they had take whatever complex this was over from the original inhabitants. Or maybe they were the original inhabitants, turned to depravity when things went sour.

A reflective glint caught my eye, and I saw what I had been looking for, a shiny plastic box sitting in a shaft of light nearer the centre of the room, creeping in through a door crack. My stomach groaned again and with a sigh I rolled over and tried to stretch out my foot to catch it. It was an absurd picture, my hands shackled together and pulled towards the wall, whilst my body stretched out and weakly flopped across the cold floor, my toes trying catch a corner of the flimsy packaging. After what seemed like minutes of agonising straining, I finally managed to bat it round into range, and hooked it closer to me. After another few bouts of contorted scrabbling I managed to maneuver it into easy reach of my bound hands and picked it up.

A box of emergency rations. Whoever had been given the job of making sure I ate obviously hadn’t been much bothered, and had just tossed into the room and closed the door. Not much caring whether I could actually reach the meal or not. Or maybe it had been Graf, and he had done it on purpose.

Bastard.

The crinkly plastic packaging had once perhaps been a uniform white, but in the light of the darkened room and from age it now was a splotchy grey-yellow. The faded sword and sunburst logo on the front proclaimed it as being property of the Armed Forces of the Federated Suns. How it had got here, on the other side of the sphere, I neither knew nor cared.
I didn’t even consider looking to see what the marked expiration date said, and immediately started trying to tear it open with my teeth. It had been designed with an easy tear-open strip, but with my hands encumbered as they were, experience had told me that this was the best approach.
A minute or two later, and having spat out several mouthfuls of deteriorating plastic, I managed to create a wide enough opening so that when it was wedged between my legs I could delve my hands inside and retrieve the blessed contents. It was only a compressed nutrient block, paired with an electrolyte drinks sachet, but I wolfed them down as quickly as I could, faster than I had ever eaten any of the bland meals at home. It tasted truly awful.

The food sat awkwardly heavy in my belly, but my hunger was sated, for a while at least. Discarding the carelessly into a corner, atop a pile of previous wrappers, I turned my attention back to the real task.

Sore fingers gripped the cold chain and pulled.

Nothing.

Clank.


There is a saying that goes; ‘the first sign of madness is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.” Maybe I was mad. But I at least had a method to it. Given the shoddy way the rings had been installed into the wall, drilled straight in with no real mounting bracket, and from the way I could see and feel spider cracks in the concrete around them, it looked like if enough force were applied they should break free.
Applying enough force was the problem though. I liked to think I was reasonably fit, a lifetime of manual labour even in the confined environment of a hab dome had given me at least that. But even then I would never have had the strength to rip one of these rings straight out of the wall. Maybe one of the ‘roided out meatheads, with muscles the size of melons, who competed in Illyria’s prize fighting circuit could have had a chance. Maybe. A hundred and seventy centimetre, sixty five kilo girl, half starved and kept in a dark box for god knows how long would have no chance.

I braced against the wall. I pulled.

Nothing.

Clank.

The screaming had started again, obviously the old man had not yet given up whatever the pirates thought he was hiding from them. Or maybe he had, and they just liked to torture for fun, who knew. I tuned it out. It wasn’t something I could change, so why worry about it? Focus on here. Focus on now.
I took a moment to catch my breath, the lump in my stomach seemed to have lessened, and I was starting to feel a bit stronger from having eaten, despite the cardboard like quality of the food.

I braced again and pulled firmly, letting the strain tug at all the muscles in my arms.

Nothing.

Clank.

There is another saying. “A mountain can be worn away by a raindrop”, or at least I think it goes something like that. It’s the kind of cryptic bullshit elders tell children when they have a big task to do. The idea that something that seems insurmountable to their young minds, can be tackled by putting their heads down and just working at it. I don't think it really works, it is hard for a child to understand, they simply don’t have the experience to comprehend something that isn't immediate.

I didn’t

That and it always seemed a ridiculous saying to me, since there is hardly any raindrops on Leximon with which to wear down mountains anyway. But the elders keep on saying it. Maybe they were mad. Or maybe they were the raindrops chipping away at that mountain…
I learned, eventually. I might not have ‘mech like strength, but hard graft, sticking my head down, and getting on with the job. That I could do.

Until I decided I wanted something different.

So like the little raindrop that could, I would keep wearing away at this ****** ring until it broke, until I was free. One step at a time. That or I was mad.

Does it ****** matter?

I braced, I pulled.

Nothing.

Clank.

It was better than waiting to die.


Out in the corridor I heard a couple of the pirates moving past. I froze and listened. One sounded like he was stumbling slightly. They chatted to each other in raised slurred voices.

“****** hell mate… I mean ****** hell. How can Axel do that? Sick ******’s unnatural, is what he is.” The speaker sounded like he stopped and slumped against the wall.

“Too right mate, too right.” His companion mumbled. “The whole ****** barrel.”

I heard the telltale splatter sound of someone emptying their stomach against the outside wall. Perhaps whatever horrors were being visited on my father had affected even these two hardened criminals?

“Well you know you owe Uyeda five now” Continued the second speaker.

“****** Uyeda. He won’t ****** remember tomorrow.” Replied the first I heard something metallic being thrown across the corridor and bouncing off a wall.

They began to move off again, and then it sounded like one managed to trip. A lot of scuffling and swearing followed.

“******, your me best mate, mate”

“And your me best mate.”

“Happy new year, mate!”

“Happy ****** new year” They stumbled off further down the corridor.

Or maybe they are having a new year’s party, and had got wasted.

****** ******.

New Year? If it was New year, that would mean it had been nearly two months since they snatched me on Illyria. Given the two weeks of drop ship burn and jump to wherever this was. I had been here for maybe six weeks. Six weeks of being chained and hand cuffed to a ****** wall.

******

Judging that the pirates were now safely out of earshot I braced against the wall again and pulled.

Nothing.

Clank.


I took me a while to realise that the screaming had abruptly stopped. It could have been hours later, or minutes, I had no idea. When I noticed, I stopped straining against the wall and the chain. And listened. Hoping for what? I don’t know, maybe that he would start screaming again, that his torture would continue, just so that I knew he was still alive? Just to give me a little more time.

****** sick.

 
I looked at the ring. Still there. Still hadn’t moved a single mil. Focus on here, focus on now.

I braced against the wall, I pulled.

Nothing.

Clank.


It didn’t take long for Graf to appear. I could tell his familiar heavy footsteps from the other’s, they often came after a session with my father. Likely to torment me once the limits of endurance had been reached with his other plaything. In anticipation of his arrival I shifted around so my back was against the wall, my legs drawn up to my chest, and the chain pooled at my feet.
 He opened the door, and practically danced inside, I could see the in the light flooding in from the corridor outside that the ugly grin was still plastered all over his face.

“Hello girl.” He stepped towards me into the gloom. The contrast in light rendering him only a silhouette before my eyes adjusted.

I averted my gaze and said nothing. He lost interest quicker when I didn’t react. He moved closer to me and crouched down. I could smell his foul breath now. It reeked of cheap spirits, the kind of rotgut that the workers in my hab used to brew in their own hidden stills.

“He’s dead girl.” The words didn't really register, and I said nothing. I would have said nothing even if they had.
He reached forward to lift up my chin, and I flinched away. “Look at me!” He squeezed my face in his meaty hand and forced me to look him in his pale brown eyes.

“I said your father is dead girl. Dead.” I knew it would be better if I did what he wanted and burst into tears, or started whimpering. But I just couldn’t bring myself to. So I stared back at him, angry defiance burning in my throat.

He just laughed and slapped me hard across the cheek. “The old man gave it all up. The whole cache.”

Cache? I didn’t know what he was talking about. He hadn’t said anything about a cache before, none of them had.

“He’s dead girl. And we’ve got everything. You know what that means girl?” I continued my stoney silence.

Graf stood, pulling on the chain as he did to lift me up on to my feet. I yelped pitiably as the shackles cut into my already lacerated wrists.

“It means we don’t need you to keep poor daddy on his best behavior anymore.” He leaned closer until his face was next to my ear, his pungent breath filling my nostrils. “It means that you are mine.”

My eyes widened as he let go of the chain, and his hand went down to his belt buckle. “Now be a good girl and stand up against the wall. I ain’t doing this on the floor like some ****** animal.”

I pulled away from him and tried to back away into the nearby corner. I considered screaming out for help. But who would come? ****** it, I screamed anyway.
****** you father, if only you could have lasted a little longer, If only you could have given me a little more time. If only…

******, ******, ******.

He snarled. “Get back here.” And pulled on the chain yanking me back towards him. A strong arm grabbed me around the waist, and in retaliation I desperately kicked out at his legs, catching him on the shin just as he took a step back to get more leverage on me.
He overbalanced, and stumbled, one arm around me, the other firmly grasped the chain to stop himself reeling backwards. For a moment all his weight, and mine was supported by those steel links.

Crack.

The ring slipped out of the wall.

We fell.

I landed heavily on top of him, the impact and surprise of the fall made him release his grip. Graf lay there wide eyed for a moment. A viscious curse already forming on his lips.

Focus

I acted. I snatched up the chain and rolled off him, dragging a length to under his chin as I did so. Graf tried to struggle to his feet, perhaps still not sure what had just happened. I slipped round him and with my wrists shackled to one end of the chain, and both hands grabbing the other, I planted my feet against his back and pulled.

The pirate’s hands scrambled to his throat at the chain pressed against his flesh. He tried to tear it away. He tried to wrench me around, and throw me off. I pulled.

He was strong. My arms ached, my legs felt like they were on fire, the skin on my wrists screamed in pain. The agony wracked my body and ripped its way out of my throat in a sound half terror-scream, half war-cry.
But what were bones compared to concrete? What was skin next to cold iron?

I pulled.

Graf made a hacking choking sound. His hand clawed at the chain again, and then went limp. I kept pulling. His whole body went limp.

I let go of the chain and let him fall to the floor with a thump. Not wasting a moment, I  launched forward and fumbled with the sheathe on his belt, freeing the combat knife within I maneuvered it so that I could grasp the hilt, with the blade pointing downward.

I looked down at my tormentor, my captor, my abuser. Maybe he was already dead?

****** it. Only one way to be sure.

I drove the knife down into his eye socket and twisted.
« Last Edit: 21 July 2019, 17:49:46 by Ato »

Ato

  • Recruit
  • *
  • Posts: 8
Re: A World of Hurt (BT CYOA)
« Reply #2 on: 30 June 2019, 20:08:02 »
Chapter 1: Here and Now
-1.3

I sat there legs astride the man I had just killed, with my hands wrapped around the hilt of a blade buried deep into his face. I don’t know for how long, at the time it seemed like I was staring at that dead ******’s face for hours. Every piece of me ached, part of me wanted nothing more than to roll onto the floor and sleep. To rest. To never have to get up or move again

No.

Focus on now.


I had to think. I had to keep acting, to keep going. If I stayed still I would die.

What came next? The chain was freed from the wall, Graf was dead. My hands were still shackled together.

I needed a key.

I eased off of the body, letting my fingers gently release their deathgrip around the knife. After having been pressed up against a warm the body the cold floor stung my knees and feet. It was better that touching… that. But I had to.
Suppressing a sudden shiver I used my bound hands to feel around his belt. Hoping agsint all plausability that he would have been dumb enough to have the keys on him. It was difficult to see in the still darkened cell, so I had to go by touch, feeling against his grimy shirt and the rough leather of his belt. There was nothing on the left side, so I tried the right. Sore fingers reaching round, trying to find any loops. Nothing. Nothing in the trouser pockets either.

“You okay in there Graf?” A voice called from out in the hallway, and I froze.

******

If they came in I would be ******. I had to do something. Anything.

I let out a terrified scream, I didn’t have to fake it. My lungs pushed the air out through my throat until it felt like my throat would bleed. It left me panting in pain.

”******, you’re a hard bastard. Her pa’s hardly cold and you’re already on her.”  They said with a hint of wry amusement.

I felt the anger well up with each sharp intake of breath. With a fury I snatched at the hilt of the knife, and wrenched it out of Graf’s slack, ruined, face. Then grunting with the effort of each blow, I began to drive it down again and again into his chest and neck. The blade produced a loud wet slapping sound each time. Each thrust accompanied by a strangled scream, hot with anger and pain.

The voice laughed. “Leave something for the rest of us you horny ******.”
 
Oh ****** you.

I heard the footsteps moving away, and fade out of hearing. I kept stabbing. Dark blood welled up from each wound and turned Graf’s oil stained red. Hot tears stung my cheeks and I realised I had been crying. Thick choking sobs that wracked my whole body. Slowly, carefully, I wiped the blade as clean as I could on what little was left of the shirt, and set it on the floor.

Keep going.

Stop and you die.


Sniffing away the mucus and tears that dripped from my nose, I reached over to pat down Graf’s jacket, and was rewarded by the jangle of something metallic. Trembling I opened a worn pocket, and awkwardly fished out a set of rusty looking keys all bound on the same loop.

Yes.

Now I just had to find a way of getting them into the lock on the shackles. There was no way I could stretch my fingers around to fit them into the lock. Probably been designed that way. After a bit of trial and error I settled on holding the keys one at a time in mouth and twisting. The first three refused to even budge. My teeth slipped on the third, and the metal of the key dug into my gums, drawing blood. I hissed in pain, and then bit down again to pull it out. The fourth one slipped in and with a loud ‘click’ the heavy binders that I had worn for over a month and half fell onto Graf’s unmoving chest.

****** yes.


The skin now uncovered burned with pain, and even in the semi-darkness I could see it was rubbed raw, a horrific mass of scabs and sores. I didn’t care. It was like suddenly being able to fly. I felt a hundred kilos lighter. I stood and stepped away from the wall, just because I could, reveling in that tiny piece of freedom.

Keep going.

I needed to leave the cell. The door was unlocked, slightly ajar even, getting out would be as simple as standing up and walking. One foot in front of the other, and I would be beyond the room that had been my whole world for weeks. That was the problem.
I had no ****** idea what was out there. This could be a giant underground bunker filled with a thousand pirate scum, it could be a two story prefab in a field with a couple of the ****** watching the door.

I needed to find out. Mentally I started making a list of what I would need to get out of this. It had always been a habit of mine when faced with a big job in the hab. Identify the problem, find the right tools, start in the right place.
The problem was that I was in an unknown place surrounded by murderous ******. I needed to know how to get out. I would need transportation. I would need tools, and gear to survive outside… if there was an outside. I neded to know what ****** planet I was on. That meant staying, just for a little longer. But not in here.
I would need to go out there. Which mean first I needed clothes. Wandering about in only a stained undershirt and pants was sure to get me noticed as out of place by even this load of morons. Unfortunately the only ready supply was what Graf’s corpse was currently wearing.

 As much as the very idea made my skin crawl, I had to do it.

Needs must.

With groaning effort I heaved the dead man onto his stomach and peeled his jacket off. It had only a few splashes of blood on it, and was made of some cheap, but hard wearing artificial material. The kind you see a lot in the periphery. Opr at least the tiny part I had ever seen. Dark brown in colour with black shoulders, and a variety of patches sewn onto the breast and arms, mostly ****** stuff like skulls, flames, skulls on fire, and a large one of a three headed dog printed acroiss the back along with the number 22. I pulled it on. It smelt of Graf, shit booze, and grease. It was warm, but I still shivered.
Next I pulled off his boots and trousers too.Sturdy looking things, like the rest of his outfit, though looking far too big for me. There was nothing I could do about the boots, they would just have to do for now, but I cinched the trousers tight to my waist with the belt, and then hacked at the trouser legs with the knife to make them shorter. Stuffing the ragged ends into the tops of the boots, where they were less obvious.

The result was probably terrible, and it almost certainly wouldn’t stand up to close scrutiny, but then it wasn’t as if the pirates were accustomed to the height of fashion anyway. Hopefully all the ****** would be too drunk to notice, as long as I didn’t get too close to anyone. And if they got to close to me?
I stuck the knife into it’s sheath on my new belt.

That’s it.

I stood and walked towards the door.

I opened it.

I stepped into the hallway.

I don’t know what I was expecting.  It was the same drab concrete walls stained with damp and dried fluids as my cell. Only now it was better lit. Light which right then was doing it’s best to blind me. I tried to blink away a months worth of adjustment to darkness.

****** stupid.

Should have taken it slower.


When my eyes finally started working again I was relieved to see that the corridor was empty. I was less relieved to notice that my undershirt was covered in Graf’s blood. I brought my hand up to my face, and found that it had splattered there too. With nothing to hand that wouldn’t result in just smearing it further over me I sighed and zipped the front of the jacket up. Who knows, maybe pirates just walked around with bloodstained faces everyday? Probably ****** standard issue.

Where now?

I remembered going down a short flight of stairs on the day they had dragged me kicking and screaming to the cell. So that would be a start. I would go up.

The second level was a corridor that seemed almost identical. One of the many joys of prefabricated colonial architecture. Cheap repeating mass produced components could only be put together in so many configurations. Some areas of the hab on Leximon looked entirely the same, despite being a kilometre distant from each other, for the unwary it would have been very easy to become lost and disoriented, if not for the colour-coded signage and markings that helped maintenance crews find their way to important subsystems.

The paint on the walls was long faded, and half covered in a thick layer of grime, but I could just about make out that this had once been “Storage Block B”. Whatever had been stored here before, the pirates had turned it to a different purpose. Cautiously I peeked inside one the near doors that line the corridor at regular intervals. My room had not been the only one converted to a cell. It seemed like the bastards had made this the [prison for their captives. None were occupied however

Except the last.

I was fairly sure that was where the screaming had come from. I stood at the door, listening for any sound, any sign that there might be someone inside. All I could hear was the hammering of my own heart. I rested my hand on the cool metal surface, ready to push it open and step inside. My other hand curled around the hilty of the knife at my hip. Just in case.

I took a deep breath.

I couldn’t do it.

Coward

I had been ten when my mother had told me who my father had really been. Before then she had evaded the question when as a small child I had asked why the other’s had two parents and I only had one. With an absence of information, the active imagination of a small child had treated the growing mystery as a blank canvas, conjuring tales of heroic mechwarriors, dashing Canopian secret agents and rich spheroid nobles. I had scurried through the corridors of the Hab with my friends, playing make believe games from the fanciful exploits of such men.
 As I grew older the curiosity of my peers had steadily turned to mockery, and I was subjected to less idealized stories whispered around me, and behind my back. Though for all the venom, the theories they came up with where no less imaginative than my own. There was the one about a drunken dropper crewman on shore leave, another tale said he had been a wanted criminal on the run, a few were convinced that my father had been a spice addict. now dead in the gutters of Astrokaczy. One particularly stinging rumour was that he had been a pimp, from whom my mother had fled...

Miranda had told that one only once.

My hand ached for a week after.


As with so many things the truth lay in between the two extremes. Well in truth nearer to one than the other. My father had been a bit of a drunk, he had been a restless wanderer, roaming the stars on a dropship, he had skirted with the law, and he had been a womanizing scoundrel. But besides being those things Terrence Young was… had been the rich president of an inner sphere merchant-shipping company. He had owned his dropship, and a hundred like it as well as Jumpships, vast estates on a dozen worlds, perhaps a small moon too. He had also been a lostech prospector, using his wealth to fund daring expeditions into the periphery, searching for the forgotten relics of a better age, which if found would help humanity stave off it’s long decline.

Twenty years ago he had been a magnetic, and alluring figure to a young archeology student on Illyria. Twenty years ago he had taken her on a tour of the near rim, showing her wonders she had never imagined. Twenty years ago she had fallen in love. And when she got pregnant, Terrence young had abandoned my mother on Leximon and never looked back.

Oh and me. He abandoned me.

I let my hand drop away from the door. I couldn’t let my only real look at my father be of his ruined and tortured corpse. I didn’t want my dreams to be haunted by the blank, staring eyes of a man whose death I had caused. More than that, I honestly didn’t want to let him disappoint me one last time.
I let out a breath I hadn’t realised I had been holding and turned way. ****** him.

Stay focused. Got to keep moving.

The dead can’t help you now.



What looked like a connecting corridor joined with this one, perhaps leading to another block. I walked along it, keeping close to the wall. I needed to know where I was. An office, or maybe a comms room would be ideal, though more likely to be occupied. Even something as simply as a facility map would be useful. Once I had that I could start planning on what I needed to steal to make a get away, and then… and then...

I felt a slight draft. I stopped

Halfway along the corridor was a set of battered looking metal shutters. The corner of one was bent up and away from the rest, through the fist sized gap I could see only an inky blackness, but cold, irregular gusts of air rushed through. I stood very still and listened, trying to hear if anyone was moving in the corridors nearby. Nothing.
Tentatively, trying to make as little noise as possible, I pulled at the bent shutter, making the gap larger, and peered through. At first everything was dark, and then as my eyes adjusted I saw lights. Floodlights illuminated blocky concrete buildings that seemed to arranged around a central courtyard, all encircled by a solid looking wall. I breathed in, savouring the fresh outside air.

In the sky two moons shone brightly, almost drowning out the stars that twinkled above in unfamiliar patterns. Their light bathed a whole valley in an almost milky glow. I could see the rustling tree tops of a forest that carpeted a nearby hillside, and in the distance the barest outlines of towering mountain peaks. A whole living world out there. Air and water. I could escape, I could survive.

No.

I absently brushed the hilt of the knife with my fingers.

I would.

« Last Edit: 21 July 2019, 17:51:39 by Ato »

cawest

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 1600
Re: A World of Hurt (BT CYOA)
« Reply #3 on: 30 June 2019, 21:11:34 »
okay what does CYOA in the title of BT CYOA mean?

Tegyrius

  • Sergeant
  • *
  • Posts: 166
  • They Are Not Our Friends
Re: A World of Hurt (BT CYOA)
« Reply #4 on: 30 June 2019, 21:22:04 »
Choose Your Own Adventure.  It's a self-insert meme that, I believe, started as a campaign or fanfic seed with this:

https://imgur.com/gallery/M41mI

Which was later was expanded into this:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1SK7JCvb3J8ytG18XZtHDsi0KGVmUOtKdy84lQ-zCdtY/edit
Some places remain unknown because no one has gone there.  Others remain unknown because no one has come back.

Esskatze

  • Corporal
  • *
  • Posts: 50
Re: A World of Hurt (BT CYOA)
« Reply #5 on: 07 July 2019, 17:14:15 »
So Ato, will you expand this into a bigger story? I must say that I found it extremely intriguing. It would be a shame if things ended here.

Daryk

  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 16629
  • The Double Deuce II/II-σ
Re: A World of Hurt (BT CYOA)
« Reply #6 on: 07 July 2019, 19:00:34 »
Holy cow, Tegyrius… that original document is insane!  :o

I'd be happy with just the "Universal Inheritance", not to mention the rest of the Regiment it seems to hand you...  :)

I need to make sure Tinyozora sees it... he actually used dice to make most of his decisions in generating an AToW character...

Ato

  • Recruit
  • *
  • Posts: 8
Re: A World of Hurt (BT CYOA)
« Reply #7 on: 07 July 2019, 20:50:56 »
Quote from: Esskatze
So Ato, will you expand this into a bigger story? I must say that I found it extremely intriguing. It would be a shame if things ended here.

Ask and you shall receive!

More seriously I would have liked to post this earlier, but I just got off a 12 day week and forty hours of cumulative overtime. Apologies in advance if some of it seems a little incoherent.
The next, and final part of chapter 1 should come a little quicker, as it's about 80% complete.



Chapter 1: Here and Now
-1.4

I had wandered further on through the corridors of the pirate base, cautiously checking each corner, when I came upon an intersection. It looked like its saw more frequent traffic than most of the areas I had seen before. There was a telltale clear area along the middle of the floor where regular foot traffic appeared to have kept the a path clear of dust though somewhat marred by muddy boot prints. There was also several stacks of crates and boxes nestled up against the walls, several appeared to have been opened.
I crept up to the nearest such pile, and lightly lifted the lid to reveal it half full of the same long expired Fed-Suns ration packs that I had infrequently received during my time in the ‘cell’. It seemed the pirates were too lazy to properly store them. Likely having just dumped them in this hallway after having hauled them out of the dropship, fresh from their latest looting expedition.

Or maybe because all the storage rooms had been turned into torture chambers.

******.


As I replaced the lid, and moved over to the next pile, perhaps hoping to find things useful for my impending escape, my foot caught on something. It made a loud scraping noise, that seemed to echo off of the walls.. A flash of icy panic suddenly gripped me and I froze, before hunching down behind the crate and whipping my head around, straining my ears for any sign of someone coming to investigate. Nothing.

Be more careful.

Eventually I managed to get control of my rapid breathing, and looked down to see what had nearly made me piss myself. It looked like some kind of battered metal plate, that had been leaned in a crack between two of the stacks.Carefully I lifted it up, it was thin and light, covered in a thick layer and with a hole punched into each rounded corner. I wiped some of the dust away, leaving a dirty black smear on my palm. It revealed a geometric pattern of coloured lines that seems to meet at regular right angles before splitting off again. I wiped some more, and revealed a section of upside down writing.
I rotated the plate in my hands, and squinted at the scratched inscription. It read ‘Mai  loor p an’’, my eyes widened, and for perhaps the first time since I had come to this awful place, a smile crept onto my lips. It was a map. The lines were the corridors, the other writing was labels. I wiped the entire thing clean with my sleeve and inspected it closely, examining each of the marked pathways. I stopped at the end of one, though several of the letters were now missing,the text had clearly had once said ‘Administration Block’.

Jackpot

I stood up and walked with the plate into the middle of the corridor, trying to properly orient myself. I found the marking for Storage Block B in the bottom left corner, and traced my finger along the route as I had remembered  taking it. Along the corridor that followed the exterior wall, to this intersection. One path, marked by a green line, ran onward to the Admin offices, and what looked like a side entrance.

Lost in my thoughts I started to walk along the route, still holding the sign as a guide. I was about to step into the middle of the intersection, when I heard a raucous laugh come from around the corner. I quickly stepped back and hugged the wall. Fearful that I was about to be discovered. I held the sign in both hands, ready to use it as an improvised weapon on anyone that came past. I stood there clutching that bit of scrap for what seemed like an eternity. When no savage pirate appeared to drag me back to the cell, I dged towards the corner, and peeked around it.

There was another burst of laughter and the sound of bottles clinking together. Light spilled out of a room at the far end of the corridor that lead off from the junction From the way it flickered I could tell there were people moving around inside. Now listening carefully I heard the faint strains of some kind of music, all clashing synthetic sounds, and alongside it discordant and out of tune words being slurred.

Karaoke

The ****** are karaoke singing.

I looked at the sign in my hands. Mentally aligning it with the corridors. The Cafeteria. The pirates in side were probably still partying.

Idiot.

You need to pay attention.

I put the sign down, and then peek around the corner again, making sure that no one was looking, before padding as quickly and as quietly as I could across to the safety of the wall on the other side. Abandoning any thoughts of further investigating the stacked containers, they were too close, there was too much risk of getting spotted.

Along the wall was a faded green line of paint. It was hard to see, and in some places was missing entirely. Where either part of the wall had fallen away, where some slapdash repairs had been made, or more commonly daubed over by graffiti. Most of it unimaginatively obscene.

This way then.


Now feeling more confident that I had a direction, I began to move with a purpose. Which is of course when I heard footsteps and voices coming from up ahead.

I stopped dead.

Shit.

The voices were getting closer. Frantically I searched around, and noticed a door off to the left that was slightly ajar. As swiftly and quietly as I could I opened it further and slipped inside the darkened room on the other side. As I stood there in the dark, the sound of my own breathing seemed as loud as turbine fan. I heard footsteps in the corridor outside and held my breath until my chest hurt. The steps got nearer. There was the sound of someone coughing.

The steps got quieter, moving further away.


I let my mouth open and took a ragged breath. In the room behind me someone else took another.

I spun around, hand scrabbling for the knife at my belt. My eyes had adjusted to the darkness and I now saw that I was in a sort of bunkroom. A series of crude cots were wedged against the walls of the room, along with heavy duty looking chests that probably contained belongings. Two of the beds contained sleeping forms, wrapped in threadbare blankets.

I stood rooted to the spot for a moment, fraught with indecision.

One of the sleepers made a rough snoring noise that shared many similarities with the sound of a chainsaw.

Just briefly I considered slipping the knife from it’s scabbard and driving it into the gently rising and falling chests of my two unsuspecting companions.

Too risky.

I shook my head as if to rid myself of the thought.I needed to escape, not to go on a revenge spree. I carefully felt for the door handle behind me, slipping back out into the corridor as quietly as I had entered.
I managed to follow the green line the rest of the way to the admin block without incident. Well almost. On particularly lurid mural at another junction, caused me to get lost for a moment, and I had to back track. The door at the end of the trail was missing the sign that had once identified it. The rectangular patch of concrete wall where one might have been fixed was recognizable by its lighter colour, and the cracked holes were the mounting screws had been torn out.
Instead a strip of plasti-sheet had been stapled across the door, with the words ‘Keep out’ scrawled across it in marker. It also looked as if it was usually locked, a chain and bulky padlock, that definitely looked like later additions, hung limply from the handle, open.

Huh.

Lucky


I stood for a moment, weighing my options. I could go straight for the exit now, but I had nothing. No supplies, no gear, no knowledge of where I could go, only a knife, and a stinking, bloodstained jacket. There must be something useful inside.
I listened at the door, there was no sound coming from inside. I slipped the knife out of my belt, and held it, ready for anything that I might find inside. Slowly, I pushed on the door, inching it open as quietly as I could. Bit by bit I was met by the sight of an empty room. Well not entirely empty. Despite obviously having been repurposed by the new pirate owners, the room’s new function did not seem entirely distant from the office it had once been. There was a pair of tables covered in knicknacks, and a portable comp terminal. Shelving covered most of the walls, field with random bits of tat, and clothing. The only bare space adorned by a ragged black banner marked with crude drawing of a red eagle. In the far corner was an empty cot, the covers hanging half off.
This seemed like it was the quarters of one of the higher ranking pirates. Maybe even their leader.

I closed the door gently behind me, and walked cautiously over to the nearer table. It was covered in a random assortment of objects that seemed to have been unceremoniously dumped there from a satchel that now lay on the floor beside it. I examined a few; there was a wad of low dog-eared low denomination c-bills, a cheap looking personal comm that seemed to have dead batteries, an empty stim auto-injector, three unfired autogun rounds, and a necklace.

I stopped, and looked at the last item more closely.

It was a simple piece, cheap looking with a thin nylon strap attached to a small metal pendant, worked into a wave like pattern. It wasn’t really the kind of thing I would have imagined a hardened pirate wearing. But I had seen one like it before.

Not here.

It was practically the mirror image of one my mother had always worn, every day for as long as I could remember. A simple thing, something I had seen so often that I had never even thought to ask where she had got it. Just part of the background of my normal life.

I reached out and picked it up, examining it, and running my fingers over the familiar curves. My mother had been the hardest working person I had ever known. It had never occurred to me when I was little, all the effort our parents go to for their children never does. It just seems normal. My mother worked, and worked hard, wasting away her education as a scientist in the stifling hot hydroponics sheds of the Hab. Between her shifts, and my schooling, we had so little time together; as I had grown I grew to resent it. Becoming surly and distant, instead of enjoying the little time she had to give. The routine, and her sacrifices simply becoming part of my normal life. Unnoticed, unappreciated, abandoned at the first opportunity.

Not again.

I stared at the pendant. Next time it would be different. I would escape this ****** place. I would get home to Leximon.I would work in the hab for the rest of my life, and count myself lucky. I rubbed the metal between my fingers, it had begun to warm from contact with my skin.

I would see my mother again.

I winced suddenly in pain, and looked at my index finger. Somehow I must have caught it on one of the edges, a small bead of dark red blood welled up on the tip. I sucked it. There was no cut beneath, only a tiny pinprick.

Click

The pendant unfolded in my hand, revealing the end of a compact storage drive. I stared at it dumbfounded for a moment.

What the…


With burning curiosity overtaking all sense of caution, I walked over to the other table, where the comp terminal sat. I laid my knife down, and inserted the drive into the comp’s data port, before flicking on the power switch. It turned on with a humm, displaying a simple MMM loading graphic before opening a video file.

“Lilya.”

A dead man’s face appeared.

“I’ve tried to think of what I could say to you. After all this time, I can’t help but think that sorry could never be enough.” The image of Terrence Young, my father, sighed “Even so, it is true. I’m sorry. I failed you, I failed your mother. I could have done more, I should have done more for my daughter, my own blood. If things had been different…”

He shook his head, in the grainy image, it looked like there were tears on his cheeks.

“I can’t change what happened. Just know that some of it… it was not all in my control. But now, now I can do better. Receiving your message, made me feel happier than I had in a long time, and it came just at the same time as my life’s work was finally reaching it’s fruition. Now… This timeI know what I can do. It won’t make up for the life you didn’t get to have, but I can at least give you a future.”

He laughed weakly “Or at least that it is what I had planned. The universe is cruel. I think perhaps you know this, as much as I wish it weren’t so. I‘m afraid that I am still learning that lesson. I’ve made a mistake, not my first, but perhaps it may be my last. I don’t have much time, but I have enough to ensure that what I have found is passed on to you.” My father appeared to reach forward work the controls of whatever terminal he was using to make this recording.

“I have spent my whole life searching for something. A cache of technology from the fall of the Star League, a jumpship hidden at the end of the Amaris War, filled with weapons and mechs. The kind of thing that could make a man rich and powerful beyond dreams. It was the reason for all my expeditions, it was why I met your mother. It’s why you are here.” He smiled sadly. “I found it Lilya. I finally found it! I had meant to share it with you, to give you the life you have always deserved, but like so many things, that was not meant to be. Instead I give all that I have to you.”

He looked offscreen, an expression of concern crossed his features. “I’m sorry but it does not seem like I shall ever get to see you. Our mistakes have a way of always finding us in the end. But don’t worry about me, think of the future you will have, of what you will build.
I will make sure a trusted confidant gets this message, and a data drive containing the details of my discovery to you. In the meantime stay safe Lilya. Stay safe, and get to 34-Bailey before anyone else.”

The recording ended and the image snapped off, replaced by a file menu. I stood there, motionless, in shock I think. My father...

A blaring noise suddenly filled the room, and surprised I dropped the hand terminal back onto the desk with a clunk. I was  frozen in action, confused for a moment and unsure of  what was going on. Eventually my brain caught up to the situation.

Alarm.

It was an alarm going off. A ****** alarm.

******.


Panic stabbed through my heart, someone must have discovered Graf. Now the pirates would be waking from their drunken stupors, and would search the base until they found me. I was ******.

Go.

On instinct I started towards the door, before turning back to wrench the drive out of the terminal. It retracted back into the pendant as I did so, and I placed it over my head, tucking the ornament under my shirt to keep it safe.

This place is not safe.

The alarm seemed to crescendo in volume, the tone rising and falling in an incessant repetition. Spurred into desperate motion, I snatched the knife up from the table where I had left it and held it firmly in my hand. I crossed crossing the office in several long strides, and wrenched the door open, ready to start running.

I came face to face with a surprised looking pirate.

We were close enough that I could see the pockmarked skin of his face, and the wirey mass of his moustache. Close enough that he could have reached out and encircled me with his thick arms. His whole frame filled the doorway, there was nowhere to go. No other way to get out of the office. His mouth opened and closed breathlessly.

He took a half step backwards, and then without word collapsed onto the floor. I looked down.

A red stain was spreading from a puncture between his ribs. In my hand was the knife, slick with his blood. The pirate pawed uselessly at his wound, he seemed to be trying to say something. The only thing that came out of his mouth were thick bubbles of blood that popped on his lips and ran down his chin.
I had just killed another person.

Without even thinking about it.

I felt bile begin to rise in my throat, I swallowed hard and fought it back down.

No time for that.

I recognized him. This soon to be corpse. We had met the second day on the dropship, when Graf had hauled me out of the closet in which I had been stashed, into the main cargo bay. It had been to show me off to his boss, to demonstrate how clever he was. This was Tariq. ‘Captain’ of this whole bunch of murderous thugs.

The alarm continued to blare in my ears.

I looked down at the man dying on the floor.

I looked at the corridor beyond.

Run.

I ran.
« Last Edit: 07 July 2019, 20:53:01 by Ato »

Ato

  • Recruit
  • *
  • Posts: 8
Re: A World of Hurt (BT CYOA)
« Reply #8 on: 09 July 2019, 18:21:02 »
Chapter 1: Here and Now
-1.5

After a few seconds of mindless sprinting I found myself learning up against a wall, catching my breath and wondering where the ****** I should go now. My body must have been absolutely flooded with adrenaline, and along with the alarm still hammering i';s wailing, repetitive, tone into my ears I was having trouble thinking straight.
Suppressing a dry heave, i looked up to see my hand leaving a bloody mark across the a faded green line on the wall. The path that would lead me to safety.

The entrance.

Somehow in my panicked exit from Tariq’s room, I had managed to blindly flee in the right direction. It was my only chance. If I remembered the sign correctly, I should be close. I had to get out of here before the pirates could search the whole building and trap me.
I straightened up and jogged onwards.

Almost there.

I practically three myself down a single story flight of stairs, taking the steps three or four at a time.

Almost free.

One junction left to go, and then the exterior access door should be straight ahead.

Keep going.


I turned the corner at a run, my shoulder hit something, and the impact sent me stumbling into the middle of the corridor, I flung my arms out to steady myself, and managed to barely keep my balance and avoid tumbling onto  the floor. The object I had hit spun into the wall, and let out a yelp of surprise.
It was a woman, she looked about my age, perhaps slightly older. Short, greasy, raven black hair framed a pale, narrow face upon which a confused expression was rapidly giving way to one of indignation.

“Hey! What the..”

I whipped the knife up to point at her throat, and whatever words she was about to say died on her lips. She was of medium height, and was wearing some sort of flight suit unzipped to her waist paired with a red tank top and a worn bomber jacket. It was adorned with a faded name tag, of which I could only make out the first letter ‘N’, and several patches; prominent among which was the crude blood red eagle of Tariq’s raiders.

Kill her.

The woman’s eyes widened with a mixture of confusion and shock. I took a rapid step forward, until the tip of my blade was hovering only centimetres from her skin. She backed up pressing herself tightly against the wall and very slowly raised her empty hands. She was unarmed.

I had killed two people already.

What is one more?

I wanted to do it. I wanted to drive the knife forward and make the pirate bitch drop to the floor with her strings cut. I wanted my path to be clear. I didn’t want any more complications. I wanted it all to be simple.

Kill her now, or she will alert the others.

I wanted to. I needed to. I couldn’t. The knife shook slightly in my hand. I could see Tariq’s blood still shining wetly on the metal, a drop gathered on the edge, growing increasing pendulous, before dropping to the floor. The soft ‘pat’ the droplet made was somehow starkly audible against the woman’s own panicked breathing and the still droning alarm.

Kill her or you will die.

“Look, I don’t…” The pirate stumbled over her words and trailed off. She looked directly into my eyes with her own twin orbs of pale blue, pupils wide and pleading. “Please.” She finally managed to choke out, her voice thick with obvious fear.

Do it.

Do it, or you never get out of here.


“Shut up” I hissed, edging slightly further forward. She turned her head to the left while still keeping her eyes locked on my arm, in a vain attempt to get her neck as far away from the glistening point as possible. “Just shut up.” I repeated.

I wanted to scream.

The muscles in my arm tensed. Ready.

A deep rumble shuddered through the walls, sending streams of dust cascading down the walls. The alarm faltered, cutting off mid tone as if the system that controlled it had been suddenly disconnected. I stepped back from the female pirate, but kept the knife pointed at her jugular, ready if she lunged at me. With her back still pressed against the wall she edged away from me, maintaining eye contact.

What?

A loud boom shook the corridor, it was a sound I felt more than heard as it vibrated every part of my body. The lights flickered, and more clouds of dust filled the air. A few small chunks of concrete broke off a nearby wall and crumbled onto the ground. The distance between us opened a little more. I stepped back again.

That was an explosion. Someone was trying to blow up the building.

What the ******?

I had to move.

“Go!” I barked out hoarsely.

****** coward.

The pirate turned and fled down the corridor in the direction I had just come. I kept the knife pointed at her until she disappeared out of sight. I turned and did the same, the beginnings of tears stinging my eyes.

Another set of explosions made me stumble as I ran, and after their sound faded I heard a distinctive crackles echoing along the hallways.

Something was happening. Something bad. I had to get to the hangar. I had to get out.

I reached the exit door. It was rust streaked metal hatch dogged from the inside by a thick sliding bar. There was no lock, but it didn’t move when i tried to slide it out of the way. Undeterred I threw myself at it, pushing at it with all my might. It refused to budge.

No.

No, no, no.


I climbed into the door alcove, pressing my back into the jamb, and pushed my feet against the slide. Screaming with the effort and pain I pushed again.
Slowly, with a tortured screech it moved almost all of the way back, before friction bound it again. I tensed and pushed again, trying to overcome the last bit of resistance. No result.

NO.

With every bit of strength I had left, I braced myself higher into the alcove and lifted my legs up as far as they would go, before hammering down as hard as I could with a kick to the handle.
The bolt slid back and the door swung open, depositing me in a tumbled heap, wheezing in and bruised from the fall, but outside. I was outside.

I struggled to my feet and found myself in the courtyard I had seen from the vent earlier. The sky was lighter now, but still thick with gloom. It looked like dawn might be soon. How far away was difficult to tell, not knowing how long a day was on this ****** planet.

I heard distant shouts, and turned to see several groups of pirates running across the courtyard in the opposite direction towards the wall. They all seemed to be carrying rifles, or other weapons. They hadn’t seen me. Or at least were more preoccupied with whatever the ****** was going on.
Another explosion, much louder now that I was outside, reverberated off of the slab sided walls of the compound. It sounded close. It felt close. A hot gust of air swept over me, and behind one of the buildings, I saw a gout of flame lick upwards, followed by a thick column of black smoke.

Keep going!

I needed to get the ****** out of there. I cast around looking for a new direction to run in. The walls were too high. The main gate was across the open ground of the large courtyard, probably in clear view of a ton of heavily armed pirates and whatever ****** was blowing things up. To my immediate right was a long low slung building that looked like it could be a warehouse, and on the far side I could see several spherical fuel tanks wrapped in pipe work next to a blocky building. I dimly recognized it as the vehicle hangar that I had last seen being dragged backwards away from on the day of my arrival.
If I could get inside, the warehouse should provide enough cover to get to the hangar, and there I could steal a vehicle and get the hell out of here. Where would I go? I had no ****** idea.

Anywhere but here.

Taking several deep breaths, I sprinted across the open ground to the nearby entrance, and practically threw myself through the door. I clattered inside, and narrowly avoided running straight into a huge stack of shelving, laden with heavy looking crates. I tripped and instead smacked into a box that had been left in the space between two stacks.Definitely a warehouse then, probably for storing all the pirate’s ill-gotten gains.

I picked myself up, and began making my way forward, trying to find a way through the maze of racks to the far end. There was no alarm in here, and though there was still the occasional explosion, and a distant rattling popping noise, that might have been gunfire, I quickly realised that I was not alone in here.
Not quick enough to stop before I stepped out into a more open loading area. In clear view of a whole squad of pirates in the process of breaking an assortment of vicious looking guns out of their storage crates. Their muttered conversations stopped short.

I stared at them.

They stared back at me.

It felt like the silent standoff could go on for eternity.

“Who the ****** are you?” One of them growled at me. He was heavily muscled, bare arms covered in tattoos, and a wide brimmed hat perched on a bald head. My eyes flicked around, desperately looking for a way out, or at least something solid to take cover behind.

The large pirate pointed a meaty finger at me. “Stubbs, Munch get her!” The two others nearest  hefted their guns and started towards me.

I spied a large reinforced container to my left, strapped down to a pallet. I dove towards it, Graf’s loose boots skidding on the ground as I pulled myself tight to it’s bulk. I was trapped. ******. I gripped my knife ready to stab the first ****** who came round the container. But ****** if I was going to go down quietly after all this.

Come on you ******.

Come and get it.


I heard a dull thud come from the far end of the room, and a shout of warning from the pirates.

There was a blinding flash.

Through blurred vision, dotted with sparking spots I saw the pirates begin to fall, blossoms of red silently bursting to life from their chests and limbs. Then with a crescendo of ringing in my ears a furious array cracks and flashes echoed across from the far end of the warehouse. At first it simply did not occur to me that the two were connected, and I stood rooted to the spot perplexed. Then soldiers dressed in mottled green-grey uniforms began to spill out from the adjoining corridors, quickly advancing across the space, their weapons sweeping every angle.
A few of the surviving pirates tried to make a fight of it, letting off wild shots as they tried to scramble into cover. Precise bursts of fire cut them down before most had taken more than a few steps
The smart ones stayed on the floor, their hands firmly planted on their heads.

As the soldiers moved further into the warehouse, and I could make out their faces. Grim, but professional expressions. Working methodically in pairs they covered, and searched the pirates, both dead and alive. I could just make out a unit patch, displayed proudly on the shoulder of each. It looked like some kind of fish holding a dagger in it’s fanged jaws.

Oh.

Oh no.


Mercenaries. I was being saved from the pirates by a squad of mercenaries.

For ******’s sake.

I let the knife drop from my hand. It fell to the floor with a distant clatter.

One of the soldiers saw me, standing alone and alerted his companions. The two nearest moved in my direction, weapons still sweeping the corners.

I began to laugh.

I’m dreaming again.

Of course it had been too good to be true. I wasn’t here. The chain hadn’t broken, I hadn’t killed Graf. I hadn’t found the necklace. I hadn’t heard my father’s voice. There was no magical lostech jumpship. No wonderful new life waiting for on the other side of that door. I wasn’t here.

I’m still in the cell.

It was a dream.

A cruel, stupid dream.

Only a stupid girl would have believed it.

******.

****** this.


I sank to my knees, now giggling uncontrollably. One of the mercenaries called out, I didn’t hear what he said. Tears of anger and ran down my cheeks. With wet, stinging eyes I saw him gesture to me.
I didn’t understand. I didn’t care. I was done with this one, I wanted to wake up now. I wanted to see something real, I wanted the chain, I wanted my wall.

A shadow fell across me, and I blinked back enough of the tears to see a merc standing above me rifle in hand. Slowly I looked up at him. Would I see my father’s face?
He was broad faced, with a grizzled jaw and daubed with camouflage paint. Not someone I recognized.

Props to my imagination for that at least.

****** you.


I kept laughing.

****** you Graf.

****** you universe.


The merc's lips drew back into a scowl that radiated utter contempt. “Shut the ****** up, pirate scum!”

Then he drove the butt of his rifle into my face.

Wait.

What?
« Last Edit: 26 July 2019, 16:54:08 by Ato »

Ato

  • Recruit
  • *
  • Posts: 8
Re: A World of Hurt (BT CYOA)
« Reply #9 on: 14 July 2019, 20:51:13 »
Interlude A

-Raider’s Roost, Lindsey III, Anti-Spinward Marches, 1/1/3015

Saana rubbed her eyes for the fifth time in as many minutes. She was tired. No strike that. She had been tired five hours ago after getting off her shift in the maintenance bay. Now she was ****** tired. It wasn’t enough that pretty much everyone else in the ‘Roost’ was busy getting shitfaced, and running through the halls like children on their first sugar high, now that dumb-shit Askar had decided that their bunkroom was the perfect place for an after-after-party along with his two idiot buddies from the dropship crew. Since stumbling back from the cafeteria at 1 AM, the three of them had been sat round the table swigging cups of moonshine swiped from the infantry company’s still, playing cards, and taking the occasional sniff from a blitzer tube.

Now they were singing.

There was only so many horribly mangled choruses of ‘Auld lang syne’ that she could endure. Sanaa stared at the ceiling above her bunk and prayed to a non-existent and uncaring god that her ears would spontaneously stop working.

It didn’t work.

Defeated, she brushed her short, black, hair out of her face, and sat up with a groan. “Askar I swear that if you dont’ shut the ****** up I’m going to frag you next time we go up.”

Her lance-mate and the two dropper goons stopped mid song upon hearing her growled threat. A look of aggrieved indignation formed on Askar Yerbolev’s face, before melting into a mocking grin.

He laughed “Ha! As if you could catch me.” He played a card onto the table, and then took a deep sniff from his blitzer tube. He shook his head sharply as the chemical quickly filtered into his blood wormed it’s way into his brain. “Would be a good dance though, wouldn’t it?”

He elbowed the moron sitting to his right. “Would be a good dance eh Cross? Who do you think would win, one on one, Me or Sanaa?”



****** one’s dumb face scrunched up as if he was considering a complicated dilemma. Sanaa imagined that she could see the little gears slowly clicking inside his brain. Finally he drew another card into his hand and looked up. “Sanaa.” He grunted, and then took a deep slug from his cup.

Askar and ****** two issued outbursts of objection and then burst into an animated argument over the question, complete with hand gestures  and play by play predictions. Shit-for-brains one went back to dimly staring at his cards.

Sanaa was entirely done with this absurdity and as she stood up, threw her pillow at Askar’s face, just as he was using his hands to demonstrate a dogfighting maneuvers, complete with ‘pew pew’ noises as the imaginary weapons fired. The soft missile caught him dead on, and caused him to stumble backwards over a chair laughing. Sanaa sighed and walked past to the door, were her jacket hung on it’s peg. She pulled it on.

“****** you ******.” She said, with an exhausted tone.

“Oh don’t be like that Sanaa.” Askar called after her. ”Come back and play with us. We’ll deal you in Sanaa. Come back Sanaa.” He whined.

Sanaa flipped them off as she stalked down the corridor.

 “Saaaaanaaaaaa.” Their drunken slurring and giggles echoed behind her. She ignored them

Sanaa planned to go to the roof access ladder and see if she could get some peace from all the idiots around her up in the cold night air. She was halfway there when the general alert alarm went off.


-Dropship Glenneagle, Huntington Nadir Point, Free Worlds League 22/4/3014

“I have Colonel Horton for you on line 2 ma’am.”

Paula Giannou awkwardly floated into the executive suite’s state cabin, grabbing onto the nearby handhold to steady herself. Being on a dropship in zero-g made it difficult to perform secretarial duties with the dignity that she had been trained for, but as Madam Keona always said; a good personal assistant was to be endlessly adaptable.

Penelope Young, Vice President of Operations for Young Transstellar Logistics, looked up from the terminal that she was working on, and smiled. “Thank you Paula.” She pressed a button on the console, and the holographic screen in front of her switched to the ubiquitous ComStar logo.
Paula moved to leave the compartment, but before she could do so, her employer gestured for her to sit. Trying to muster as much grace as possible, Paula levered herself down into one of the plush seats that lined the wall, placed there for assistants and junior staffers to be discreetly present at meetings or conference calls. They could also double as acceleration couches for when the dropship was under high thrust. An eventuality that Paula was thankful had yet to occur.
By the time she had maneuvered herself into place the holding logo on Miss Young’s screen had been replaced by the head of an older man with a bald head and a large but neatly groomed beard. He wore a military uniform decorated with a board of ribbons, and a pair of metal tabs on his collar that must indicated his rank. On his shoulder was the image of a Terran Orca holding a knife in it’s jaws.

“Ah, Miss Young.” The man spoke. “A pleasure.”

“Colonel” The woman replied with a polite nod.

“I have good news. Our intelligence sources in the Palatinate have come through. We have information that places the Raiders’ hideout in the Lindsey system with a high degree of certainty.”

“Lindsey… I am unfamiliar with that world.” Miss Young spoke cautiously.

“I would be surprised if you did ma’am.” Replied the Colonel’s image. “Records say that it was an old Free Worlds colony during the Star League. Official support was withdrawn during the late 1st SW consolidation. A few diehards probably stayed on after evacuation, but it’s been cut off from everyone but the occasional tramp freighter ever since. The perfect place for pirates to lay low between raids.”

Penelope Young frowned, lines creasing her delicate features. “If it is such a good place for the degenerates to lurk, why have the regional garrison not swept it earlier?”

The Colonel shrugged, and smiled gently, obviously enjoying the opportunity to expound on his military knowledge to a novice. “A planet is a big place to hide, and Lindsey itself is outside the regular patrol areas. The League doesn’t even recognize the system as its territory any more.” He spread his hands. “Which is probably why the pirates like it there. In any case they’ll have trouble hiding from us, we have a set of planetary coordinates that I strongly believe to be their main base.”

Miss Young swallowed quietly, and her eyes twitched. ”Very good Colonel. When do believe you will be ready to depart?”

Colonel Horton smiled wolfishly. “The Hunter Killers are ready to go now. As soon as the Jumpship is charged we will get to work. Don’t you worry miss, we’ll get your father back, and we’ll make the bastards pay.” Paula frowned at the man’s coarseness, and overly familiar tone. He was a paid contractor, and should be more respectful of his employer. The colonel seemed to realise he has overstepped the mark, and sheepishly added. “Pardon my language, ma’am.”

“It’s quite all right.” Replied Miss Young. “I’m pleased to hear of your readiness Colonel, and I look forward to seeing you burn the viper's nest down.” She said, with an audible streak of venom in her words.

The colonel looked confused for a moment. “You surely can’t mean to accompany us ma’am?”

“And why not?” Asked Miss Young with a stern look, and a perfectly manicured eyebrow raised at the image.

He shook his head “I am afraid it would not be possible, it is too dangerous. I cannot allow it.”

“I must insist Colonel Horton. It is not just my father that must be retrieved. There is also the matter of proprietary information in his possession. Pursuant to your contract the company is permitted to have observers present to ensure it’s safe retrieval and non-dissemination. I will be that observer.”

The Colonel leaned back and seemed to be searching for a reason to try and prevent his employer’s demand. “Well be that as it may ma’am my jumpship has no extra collar space, and a military dropship is no place for a lady of your station, even if we had the space to berth you.”

Miss Young steepled her fingers and looked intently at Horton. “Well then it is fortunate that my father’s jumpship, the Light Fantastic, has reached this system. The Glenneagle will travel with it, and additionally there will be an extra collar space available, so should you find the means you will be able to transport more salvage.”

Colonel Horton’s eyes narrowed calculatingly, and he was silent for a moment. “Very well ma’am. You will be able to accompany the mission. However I must caution that your Drop ship remain sat the jump point whilst my combat group secures the base.” He paused briefly. “I would not want any harm to come to you, or your personnel.”

“Excellent. Please notify my captain of your departure window.”

The Colonel nodded formally. “ Of course. Good day ma’am.”

The image snapped off. Miss Young sighed heavily, her beauty marred momentarily by an uncertain frown. She put her chin on her hands, and looked down at her desk for a moment. Paula thought she saw the other woman’s shoulders shake slightly. Silently she scorned herself for being lax in her duties, a good assistant should be ever ready to anticipate her employers needs after all.
She pushed herself up, as neatly as possible, from the side seat. “Can I get you anything ma’am?”


-Dropship Doncaster, Lindsey III, Anti-Spinward Marches, 1/1/3015

Turbulence rocked the craft again Captain Ronson Mbili, commander of Echo Company (Infantry), Horton’s Hunter Killers, braced himself against the hanging strap to prevent an embarrassing stumble. In the bay around him the soldiers of his company were strapped into their jump seats, each going through their own pre-drop rituals.
They were little things that were different from one individual to the next. Some might rub a lucky keepsake like a necklace, or a picture of a loved one. Others would mumble prayers to their deity of choice under their breath. A few would obsessively check their gear and webbing over and over again, less to make sure that everything was in order, and more for the calming effect of staying on task. Such things helped focus the mind, helped them leave their concerns and worries behind in this bay, and let enter embrace the controlled savagery and absolute unity of purpose that would be needed when those doors opened.

The rituals were important, but there was one more important than all the others. One only he could do. As Mbili stood, all eyes in the bay were on him. They were his soldiers, they would obey his orders. They would follow him into the fire. And in return they needed to see.
They needed to see him stand before them. Not afraid of what was to come, but certain in what was to be done next, and confident of success.

It was a ritual as old as war between men.

“Echo Company!” He had their attention. “We are moments away. Moments away from landing on unknown dirt. Held by bloodthirsty savages whose very existence is in defiance of civilization. Like every other scum sucking band of pirates across the sphere they have raped and pillaged their way across the stars. Taking what they want at the point of a blade, or the muzzle of a gun.” He paused, and felt the weight of a hundred eyes all fixed on him.
“But not today! Not today! Because today the Hunter Killer’s have come to their shit stained little world. Today Echo company has come for them!”

The bay filled with a hearty cheer, that dropped off when the drop ship rocked as it’s retro thrusters kicked in and slowed its forward momentum in preparation for VTOL mode.

“I know that each and everyone of you will do you duty, not just for me, but for the brother’s and sisters beside you. For those of you with us on your first drop, stick to your training, follow your sergeants. I know you won’t let me down. And I will not let you down!”

The dull thump of the ‘ship mounted weapons firing could now be heard, the crew softening up the landing zone before the infantry deployed.
“Now lets go kill ‘em all!” He roared.

The landing gear touched down onto solid ground with a heavy thunk. With a practiced motion the Captain braced his knees, and remained upright despite the shock.

“KILL EM ALL!” His company roared back as they released their straps and got to their feet.

The doors opened.


-Zletovo City, Lesnovo, Rim Commonality, Free Worlds League, 2/1/3015

 Janus Praznik sipped his Vinjak outside the Cafe Zora, basking in the morning sunshine of Zletovo’s late summer season. A lightweight comp-tablet sat on the table, displaying a regional news feed just downloaded from the local ComStar server. This was a morning routine that he had enjoyed so far on his visit to this world.

Janus did not acknowledge the other man approaching him and sitting in the chair opposite, but he showed no surprise when the other spoke.

“Good morning.”

“Good morning.” He replied nonchalantly, taking another sip of rich vinjak. The local blends were really quite good, far better than most of the dross that made its way out for export. He would have to get some imported when he was back on Atreus.

Athena sends her regards.” The other man spoke, placing a special emphasis on the name.

Janus nodded politely, but did not look up, still engrossed in the news feed. “Please relay my own to her.”

“She wishes to have an update on the situation.” The man pressed further. Janus sighed and tapped the icon to send the terminal to sleep.

“She does? And why now? I have assured here that everything is in hand, have I not?”

The other man looked uncomfortable for a moment. Glancing around suspiciously before answering. “Apollo has been pressing her. There are concerns.”

“Really” Janus arched an eyebrow. “Concerns?

The other exhaled sharply. “Yes dammit. Concerns. Young was supposed to retrieve the archive under our supervision. This…” The other spread his hands for emphasis. “This was not part of the plan.”

Janus sipped from his glass again. “Plans change.”

“More than change. Apollo believes the involvement of outside parties is a complication too far. He fears that there me be contamination. That you will not be able to keep a lid on things.” The man paused. “There has been talk about transferring oversight to Artemis.”

Janus set his glass down gently on the table, and very carefully looked at his companion directly in the eyes.

“You tell Athena and Apollo that they have nothing to fear. An asset has already been deployed to mitigate the ‘complication’. Where they see complications I see opportunity. Young was never going to be a reliable instrument.” Janus smiled, his teeth shining brightly.” I have removed that uncertainty. We expect that with proper precautions there will be no resulting contamination. The end result will be the same.”

The man frowned. “But what of the line?”

Janus shrugged. “Young was never the most promising candidate, and in any case well past his prime. There are others.”

The other man sighed. “Very well I shall relay your reply.” He stood and straightened his jacket. “In His name brother.”

Janus nodded. “In His name brother.” The man walked away as swiftly as he had arrived.

Janus sipped his vinjak again.

Ato

  • Recruit
  • *
  • Posts: 8
Re: A World of Hurt (BT CYOA)
« Reply #10 on: 21 July 2019, 17:40:14 »
Chapter 2: Nowhere to Stand
-2.1

-Dropship Nightheart, En route to Lindsey Nadir Point, Anti-Spinward Marches, 2/1/3015

 “Name?”
The mercenary manning the desk regarded me with a bored look, his pen hovering expectantly a centimetre above a small box on the printed record sheet. From where I sat, my hands uncomfortably ziptied together, on a flimsy folding chair I could just about make out a grid of other boxes and text below it. Probably a standardised form to record information from captured personnel. I could also see it was made of paper.

Paper.

To waste paper on a piece of routine recordkeeping, when a reusable plasti-sheet would have served just as well, was ridiculous. Growing up I had spent many hours in the hab’s rec hall, where I was supposed to be earning my keep cleaning tables, but which I had often used as an excuse to listen in on the conversations of the older workers. My favourites had always been the older guys, a few grizzled relics who had left Leximon and for whatever gods awful reason returned. Between shifts they sat surrounded by younger men and women, each eager to hear the stories of the old-timers travels in the periphery and the sphere, like the fairytale kings holding court.
The tales those elders had spun were probably at least half outright exaggeration or fabrication, full of daring exploits, improbable coincidences,creepy mysteries, and close brushes with the law, all often recombined and recycled from one story to the next. Each retelling featuring the same comfortable points and themes, that even so the youngsters kept coming back to hear. A popular topic had always been the fabled plenty of the inner sphere. Of how there were worlds were clean water fell freely from the sky, where fresh air blew through endless fields of grain, of giant cities in which each person would have a home the size of a whole bunkroom in the hab. The elders told us of how the Innies had all this, and yet were not satisfied, endlessly warring against each other for more. Consumed by greed.

As if anybody in the periphery is really much better...

I stared at the sheet of paper. On Leximon a single page like that could have got you a weeks worth of rations. One of the managers, a tall willowy woman called Irene had owned a single framed watercolour, her most treasured possession. It had been rumoured among the junior techs that the administrator had two real paper books. An unimaginable extravagance.
The stack of filled in forms that sat on the table to the mercenary's right were at least the equal of one. Truly the stories of Innie wastefulness had not been exaggerated.

The laconic desk jockey didn’t seem to be surprised at my lack of response.

I knew I should say something, that being difficult would not help my current situation. That co-operation would be the best way to try and get someone to listen to me. I should just
But my wrists hurt where the ties dug into the already raw flesh. The side of my face, where the trooper who had captured me back planetside had struck me with the butt of his rifle, throbbed with dull pain. I was pretty certain that the skin around my right eye was already swollen into a dark bruise. My knees stung where I had been roughly forced to kneel, face against a wall inside a troop carrier for hours whilst the mercs gathered their prisoners and loot for loading into a dropship. The back of my head ached from when I had tried to explain to a passing trooper that this was all a big mistake, that I wasn’t a pirate. He had only laughed and clipped me with a blow from his gloved hand, barking at me to keep quiet.
Yes, co-operation would have been best. But I just wasn’t in the mood.

Instead I stared sullenly back at the man, and said nothing. His name tape read ‘Sgt. Chao’, middle aged at my guess. Greying hair fringed his temples, and faint lines gathered at the corners of his weathered face. He didn’t look like a combat trooper, instead having many of the same mannerisms as the low level managers I had spent a lifetime with in the hab.
 A jaded bureaucrat marking time until he could collect his release package. This one probably spent all day writing out forms and checking manifests. To him, I was probably nothing more than another piece of cargo that had to be inventoried and put in the correct place.
This contrasted starkly with the guard who loomed sentinel like behind me, and who had earlier hauled me into the room and dumped me unceremoniously on this chair. That one certainly was a soldier, taciturn and tall, with solid muscles bulging beneath his combat uniform. He hadn’t said a single word yet, but merely by looking at the uncompromising set of his jaw, I knew better than to try anything physical to get out of this.

The sergeant sighed. “I am bound to inform you that non-co-operation may be counted against you in future proceedings. If you don’t provide answers to the questions required of you, I will just enter you as Jane Doe and record information as provided by the arresting officer.”The words sounded worn and practiced, as if reciting for m a script that had seen a lot of use. I supposed the pirates were not usually co-operative either.

I was considering my current silent treatment tactic, and was about to speak up when his tired eyes momentarily gained a glint of hard steel, and voice and edge of acid venom. “It doesn't matter to me either way, just one more nameless pirate off to rot in a hole. You’ll have a lot of company.”

I continued to stare silently back at him. Giving my best expression of insolent disdain, honed from a decade of petty teenage rebellion.

His pen moved down towards the page.

For ****** sake.

Stop being a child.


“Lilya Rorke” I mumbled out. I had broken, the defiance drained out of me like a punctured water bag.

The pen stopped. The sergeant raised an eyebrow, seemingly surprised that I ahd chosen to say anything at all.

“Excuse me?” He said in a tone that didn’t sound like he felt being excused for anything.

“My name.” I paused, fighting down the urge to edge in a pithy comeback. “My name is Lilya Rorke.”

The pen scratched the paper for a few moments, leaving a trace of dark blue ink in block capitals.

“There. Was that so hard?” He asked mockingly. “Planet of Birth?”

“...Leximon” I replied. “In the Lothian Leauge.” Adding the second part with a hint of scorn in my voice. As if he would have known where my dustball of a homeworld was.

If the sergeant was phased by flippant tone, he did not show it and went on writing down details on the form.

“Now lets see… you were captured on first of january, thirty-fifteen by G Company, Horton’s Hunter Killers…” More scratching accompanied this as the pen filled in the information on the form.

No.

“Wait I…” I spoke up, leaning forwards suddenly trying to see what he had just written. Wanting to interrupt where this was going. The guard behind me clamped an unyielding hand onto my shoulder, and roughly pulled me back into the chair with a thump, my already abused joints complained at the sudden motion.

Ow, ******.

“Please restrict yourself to responses to the questions. Now... What was your role in the pirate organisation known as ‘Tariq’s Raiders’?”

I breathed in steadily, trying to moderate my reply. “That’s what I was trying to say. I don’t have one. I’m not a pirate!”

The sergeant’s eyebrow arched in palpable disbelief. “Really? And I suppose the fact that you were captured inside a known pirate base, armed, alongside a squad of other pirates was merely a coincidence? Perhaps you were merely lost and happened to be in the wrong place?”

I flailed mentally for a moment, before blurting out. “I was their prisoner, they were going to kill me!”

He did not look convinced.

“A prisoner, unshackled and wearing those pirate colours?” The pen started going back towards the paper. “Nice try. But unlikely.”

“I escaped, I stole the clothes!” Despite my best effort my voice now rose rapidly in pitch as I spoke. I fought to try and keep myself from screaming. “Please! My father and I had been captured by them. They tortured him and locked me in a cell. I killed one and took his things the night you attacked.”

Sergeant Chao snorted, he sat the pen down on the table. “And what would be this ‘father’s’ name?”

I took a breath. “My father is.. was Terrence Young.” My voice hitched. “They killed him.”

The mercenary rubbed his forehead and exhaled slowly. “Of course he was.” Then without looking back at me, he picked up the pen again and started to quickly fill in the rest of the form.

I tried to peer at what he was writing, but upside down and over a metre away I couldn’t make it out. “So wait. What happens now? Are you going to get these ties off of me?” A flicker of hope rose in my chest.

He ignored me and looked up at the guard. “Take her to general holding, and bring the next one in.”

No.

No wait.


The guard behind me hauled me to my feet and pushed me towards the door. I tried to twist away and shout back to the sergeant. “WAIT! No wait this is a mistake. I was a prisoner!” He ignored me and placed my form on the stack to his right, retrieving a fresh sheet of paper from the stack. “I’M NOT A PIRATE!” I screamed.

Clearly done with my antics. The guard slammed me up against the wall, and held me there, issuing a gruff command for me to shut the ****** up. With my face pressed up against the metal wall I watched helplessly as the door closed.

Well done.

Defeated I let myself by dragged and pushed through the hallways of the dropship, until we reached a large hatch labelled ‘Cargo 3’ in bold letters stencilled on the bulkhead. Two armed mercenary troopers stood either side, eyeing me with piercing glares, hands tightened around the grips of their weapons.

“One more for you Perez.” Said my guard, as he roughly positioned in front of the entryway.

The one named Perez spat on the floor. “One ****** too many. Should have wasted the lot of them dirtside. You hear what they did to the VIP?”

My guard nodded. “Yeah.” He shoved me forward slightly. “This one tried to say she was his daughter.”

Perez laughed. “****** savages. No ****** shame” He turned to his compatriot. “Alright let's open it up.”

The other trooper undogged the hatch and spun the wheel, whilst Perez pulled me forward and turned me around so I was facing away from whatever was on the other side. The hatch opened behind me, and I could hear a murmur of conversation inside die away. The trooper flicked out a combat knife to cut the zipties around my wrists and then shoved backwards into the cargo hold, making me trip over the lip that separated it from the corridor.

I landed roughly in a heap, and yelped in pain.

“Enjoy.” He said with a smirk. And then closed the hatch.


I got up shakily and became acutely aware that a lot of eyes were currently fixed on me. The entire cargo hold was filled with pirates. All around the room they were staring at me With curious expressions. I stared back.
 For a brief moment, that right then seemed to stretch forever,  I stood there uncertain about what was about to happen. Fear clenched in my chest, and I tensed, trying to be ready for an attack that might come from any direction, turning to make sure no one was approaching from my back.
Then slowly a hum of muttering and groaning rumbled back into life around me, the pirates began to turn back to their conversations. Ignoring me.

Great, even they think I’m one of them.

Unwilling to remain in the open, I glanced around and spotted an empty patch of wall, slowly I walked over and eased myself down against it, letting the smooth bulkhead take the weight off of my tired limbs.
I looked around me. At my new cell.

Back to square one.

Could be worse.

At least this time you’re not chained to a wall.


It was a large rectangular space, well lit with recessed panels in the ceiling. Apart from almost available space being occupied by the captured pirates, it was conspicuously empty for being the cargo hold of a dropship underway. The mercenaries had probably cleared out the whole bay to put us in here, and ensure that there is nothing the prisoners could use as a tool for resistance or escape. The only furniture was some rows of heavy duty shelving, for shipping crates, that some of the pirates were sitting on, or using as makeshift beds. The deck was covered in a regular repeating pattern of recessed tie-down points, so that large items of cargo could be secured. Apart from the hatch I had entered by there was only one other visible exit, at the far end was a single massive door that spanned almost the entire width of the bay. That one probably opened out on to hard vacuum right now.

Nope.

I dismissed the thought before it could even form andI took the opportunity to get a better look at them. The were universally a dishevelled, mostly dressed in the same kind of ramshackle attire as me. Crudely patched jackets and rugged synth fibre clothes. A few wore lighter vests and shorts, looking like they might have been snatched still in their beds. Most seemed to be lounging against the walls or shelving, idly chatting to each other, some appeared to be trying to get some sleep, either  lying down on open patches of floor, or propped up against the wall.

They also stank.

To be fair, so do I.


Several caught my eyes as I looked around. A woman who looked younger than me, maybe just a girl, with bright red hair that looked obviously dyed and gelled up into a crest, sat with her legs swinging from a nearby shelf, with all the air of a bored child at school. A couple held each other quietly in the corner, heads resting against each other as they whispered comforting words between themselves. A larger man, with long white hair and a flowing beard as impressive as any elder in the hab, lay snoring loudly splayed out on the floor, a small flask clenched tightly against his chest. It was strange. Seeing them like this, so helpless, so vulnerable, and ordinary looking, they hardly seemed like the monsters that had terrorised me down on the planet at all. They just looked like people.

I noticed one that was staring at me. His eyes focused on mine. A thin wirey man, with shaggy black hair and a light coating of stubble on his jaw. He wore a pair of tight shorts and a sleeveless padded vest. I looked away, hoping he would lose interest.

He started walking towards me.

******.

His shadow, cast by the nearest overhead light fell across the floor to touch my feet. He stopped.

I scrambled to my feet, ready.

“I don’t know you.” Now that he was close I could see that his eyes were wild, pupils widely dilated. “Which I think is strange. Because I know pretty much everyone.”

I stared back at the pirate, trying to keep my face expression les, whilst I shifted my footing ever so slightly.
I hadn’t made it a habit of getting into fights back home, but You didn’t last long amongst the maintenance crews if you couldn’t hold your own in a scrap. Anyone who let people think they were weak, or a push over would be quickly saddled with all the shittiest tasks, no matter what the rotas said. And if you didn’t pitch in when a visiting dropper crew started shit in the bar, and had to be taught a lesson? Then your life would get pretty ****** hard.
 It was a lesson quickly learned or not at all. You stood up for yourself, you stood up for your team. No exceptions.

I could handle myself, and had the scars to prove it.

The pirate stepped closer. “You know what I think?” He raised his voice deliberately, so others nearby could hear. Like a wave across the room, gazes came to rest upon us. “I think your’s a ****** plant.”

I balled my hands into fists. I had to make decisions, stay with my back to the wall, and possibly be trapped. Or move  away, and possibly leave myself open if any of the other;s decided to join in. He took another step closer, rolling his shoulders, obviously psyching himself up for a fight.

I made my decision and circled away from him and the wall. “A rat the mercs have thrown in here with us.” He continued speaking. “A sneaky little rat to come and spy on us. Give us all up to those merc bastards.”

It was a ridiculous argument, but I didn’t feel like he would be receptive to a discussion about the matter. I backed up again.

“And we all know what has to happen to dirty stinkin’ rats! Don’t we.” He was yelling now, and evens some of the sleeping pirates had been roused to see what was going on.

Oh come and get it you ******.

He shifted his foot to take another step forward, just into striking range, and I got ready. Ready to strike the first blow. He might not outmass me by much, but given my condition I didn’t think I would be able to last a protracted brawl.

Come on.

“She’s not a plant, Uyeda.” A clear feminine voice sounded to my right. The pirate stopped and looked, making sure to keep him in my field of view, I looked too.

Several of the pirates had got up and began to form a wide circle around us. At the edge a dark haired woman wearing a flight suit unzipped at her waist and a red tank top stood a few metres away from us. “And how the ****** do you know?” Spat the one apparently called Uyeda.

“She was there at the base, before the attack.” I recognized her, she was the pirate I had threatened with the knife whilst the alarms went off. My mind spun for a second, was she helping me?

“Really?” Another pirate spoke up, stepping out of the circle. This one was taller, and heavily muscled with a tattoo of some kind of horned beast on his chest and arm, wearing the same kind of vest and shorts as ‘Uyeda’. “Because I think Daz is right, I haven’t seen this one before.”

“A spy then.” Uyeda chipped in. “A spy who wrecked our defences and let the cocksuckers in.”

A grumble went around the assembled pirates. They seemed to think it plausible. This was it, I was ******.

“Leave her alone Romero.” The black haired woman stepped forward.into the circle. Taking up a position facing the pair.

“And what’s it to you Saana?” Uyeda turned on her. “Maybe you were in on it. Sold us all out  together?”

“****** off Uyeda. You were all blitzed out of your heads, that how they got us.” He voice was dripping with scorn. ”You’re still ****** high.”

The larger pirate moved around Uyeda, now towering over me. I raised my fists ready to go down swinging.

“I’d like to hear what she has to say.” He purred, his voice laden with menace. “What’s the matter girl? Cat got your tongue.”

“****** you!” I spat out.

“She speaks!” He said turning momentarily to showboat for the crowd. “Lets see if we can get her to speak a little more.”

“Knock it off Romero, you know what will happen.” Another tall dark haired pirate spoke out from the ring.

Romero ignored him. “I think maybe we should…” He stopped short and tilted his head, studying me more closely. Then his lips split into a wide grin, before giving a harsh laugh.

“Ha! I know who she is. No spy this one.” he pointed to my chest. “That’s Graf’s jacket! And this? This is his little plaything. Daddy’s little girl locked up in the cell.” He laughed again.

He fixed me with a predatory gaze. “So what? Did you kill Graf?” He looked into my eyes with a mocking smirk. “I think maybe you did. And then what? Did you think you could put on our colours and join our illustrious band? Well I’m afraid we don’t just take anyone.”

Romero paused for effect. “And you have to be properly initiated first.”

“Don’t” Warned Saana, still standing to one side.

He stepped forwards towards me, well within range. “Come here and give me a…”

I surged low as he reached forward, ducking under his grasp, and delivered a vicious elbow strike to his groin. All the while screaming “****** YOU!” At the top of my lungs.

Romero doubled over gasping for air. I spun to face Uyeda, my arm drawn back to deliver a punch into his face as he slowly realised the fight was on, and brought his guard up. Then he stopped, and backpedaled. Confused I moved to run him down, but then a strong grip caught my arm and twisted it back harshly, causing me to cry out in pain.

What the ******?

I looked around the pirates were silent now, and were all backing away. In the corner of my vision I saw why. A squad of mercenaries had entered the hold, with weapons drawn.

“All of you scum on your knees now!” Shouted one of the female troopers. “Down now or we shoot!”
The pirates did as they were told, though not without shooting defiant glares back at the troopers.
The owner of the hand gripping my wrist was a tall dark skinned man, wearing a set of immaculately clean fatigues and a white beret secured firmly upon his head. A pair of stripes were fixed on his labels, and the nametape on his chest read ‘Mbili’. He kept a firm grip on my wrist whilst surveying the cowed prisoners.

“I will say this only once.” His voice was a rich baritone, with a strong note of command, that sounded like it would tolerate no dissent. “There will be no fighting, or attempts at escape. You will remain here peaceably until you are delivered to the authorities on Lahti. If you do not comply with my orders, then I will flush this whole bay into space.” He finished by pointing with his free hand towards the large loading doors.

He turned his head to at me. First at my wrist, and then at my battered face. His eyes narrowed. “This one has untreated injuries. Take her to the medbay.”

He released me, and then with surprising gentleness pushed me towards one of his troopers, before stalking back out of the hatch. The rest of the mercs began to withdraw, their weapons still trained on the submissive pirates.

As the trooper half carried me out of the cargo hold, I heard the red haired girl speak up with a grin.

“Well I like her.”

Esskatze

  • Corporal
  • *
  • Posts: 50
Re: A World of Hurt (BT CYOA)
« Reply #11 on: 25 July 2019, 07:18:01 »
Repeat after me: "There's no 'E' in 'hangar'!" There never was, there never will be.

Other than that, the story is very well written, can't wait to see where this is going. Good job!

cklammer

  • Master Sergeant
  • *
  • Posts: 200
Re: A World of Hurt (BT CYOA)
« Reply #12 on: 25 July 2019, 17:35:54 »
A hanger is where you put your coat and and a hangar is where you put your plane.

And my other pet peeve is not present in this tale; just that I get to mention it that an ordinance is a municipal law (dogs in public parks and the like) and that ordnance is the military word for (am-)munitions of war - down from the WMD to the single pistol cartridge. AFAIK, ammunition gets to be ordnance once it left the supply chain and gets readied for use - but I stand ready to corrected on this by the real experts and native language English speakers.

Other than that this a very enjoyable tale.

Ato

  • Recruit
  • *
  • Posts: 8
Re: A World of Hurt (BT CYOA)
« Reply #13 on: 28 July 2019, 20:01:57 »
-2.2
-Dropship Nightheart, En route to Lindsey Nadir Point, Anti-Spinward Marches, 3/1/3015

“Okay,  that’s looking a lot better.”

Doctor Becker switched off the small pen light he had been shining in my eye and straightened up. “It looks like your concussion is clearing up, but I would advise staying in bed, and no vigorous activity for a couple of days.”

I glared back at him, unimpressed.

“Was that meant to be a joke.” I asked stonily.

The doctor paused and looked at me blankly. I explained by lifting my arm and letting the cuffs that attached it to the bed rattle gently. Mercifully these were padded which, together with the dressings around my wrists, meant that every movement was no longer agony. Though that may also have been the pain meds...
In any case, having become somewhat of a connoisseur on restraints lately, I rated them as a solid A. Lightweight and comfortable, with an aesthetically pleasing chrome finish.

Would recommend to fellow captives.

Honestly of all  the depressingly large number of places that I had been kept prisoners in over the last few months, (A damp cell, a truck bed, a storage closet, an interrogation room, two different dropship compartments.) I had to say this medbay was also the nicest.

If that isn't a sign of how ****** my life has gotten…

I don’t know what is.


“Oh.” The Doctor looked at me, an expression of earnest embarrassment colouring his face. “Sorry, umm that was out of habit.  I’m not really used to... this.”

I raised an eyebrow.

“Being a doctor?” I asked, letting a hint of concern edge into my voice.

“No!” He flushed brighter and waved his hands placatingly. “I mean treating patients in restraints. It’s not something I have done before.”

Whilst I was on the subject, out of my recent jailers I would also award first place to the young doctor. He had been constantly civil since the two merc troopers had hauled me in here, never shouting at me or hitting me. In addition to treating my numerous injuries, including an infection that in his words, ‘should have by rights had me delirious with fever’ He had even made sure I was provided with basic needs, such as food, water, and of not least and blessed, wonderful drugs.

For the pain of course.

That he was easy on eyes was a bonus. The good doctor was youthful looking, perhaps only a few years older than me. He had a strong, clean shaven jaw, and a pair of warm chocolate coloured eyes, beneath a short head of light brown hair that seemed almost perfectly wavy. His shoulders were broad, but his body lean, I could see firm muscles moving beneath the light blue collared shirt he wore under his white medical coat. After so long seeing nobody but a succession of mangy pirates and hulking mercenary goons, it was like seeing a sculpted piece of art. Now if only he would turn around so I could see that tight...

Priorities Lilya!

Priorities!


I shook my head slightly, trying order my thoughts clearly..

Damn meds messing with my mind.

Doctor Becker must have noticed me spacing out slightly as asked. “Are you okay?” Clear concern showing on his perfect lips.

“Yeah, um...” Quickly I tried to change the subject. “It’s just, I was wondering that you look kind of young to be a doctor.”

“I am… I mean I graduated from the Gideon Medical Institute last year. I did nine months at Harrisburg General on Gibson.” He sighed, slightly. “But this is my first real job. I always wanted to practice frontier medicine, and signing on with the Hunter Killers seemed like the best way to get out here.”

Becker babbled on further about details from his (short) career, as he pottered around the medbay, until he must have noticed my sly grin, and realized I was needling him. The mercenary trooper who had been guarding the door this whole time, suppressed a snigger and rolled her eyes.

“Hmm, you seem awfully young to be a pirate in anycase.” He retorted.

I scowled, my chemically induced good humour dropping away.

“I’m not.” I said firmly.

“Excuse me?” He said with a confused look.

“I am not a pirate. I keep telling everyone, but no one listens.”

The doctor paused mid through organising a nearby shelf full of medical supplies. “I think that may have something to do with being captured in a pirate fortress, with a band of pirates and wearing that jacket covered in pirate symbols and a worryingly large amount of blood.” He retorted snidely.

He gestured towards the corner of the medbay where the aforementioned jacket had last been seen being jumped into a medical waste container yesterday ‘night’, when Doctor Becker had declared it a ‘contamination’ hazard along with the rest of the clothes I had been wearing. Since then I had been wearing a medical gown that had been fished out from one of the many crates that were stacked around the cramped compartment. I had even got a shower out of the deal, albeit cold, and supervised by an armed mercenary who hadn’t taken her eyes off me the entire time. I hadn’t really cared to be fair, I had suffered worse humiliations, and the sensation of being actually clean for the first time in months was more than worth it.

“They weren't mine.” I ground out.

Getting ****** tired of repeating myself.

I had been feeling good, I should have known it wouldn’t last. That no one would believe me.

I let my guard down.

Becker studied me with his big brown eyes for a moment, and then put down the packet of bandages he was holding. “Okay. So if you aren't a pirate, then who are you?”

I was about to clam up and, unwilling to go through the humiliation of being mocked and scorned again. Then I looked at his earnest face, at how he seemed to be actually waiting to hear what I had to say.

What the hell?

Might as well give it one more try.


I took a breath and then launched into the story from the beginning. I told him of how I had left Leximon, of my message to my father, and the one he sent back saying we could meet on Illyria. Then I recounted my shame, of meeting Graf and his cronies in bar, how I had fallen for his lies about being a periphery adventurer, oh how I tried to impress them by talking about my bigshot lostech prospector father. How I had got drunk, and woken up inside a storage cabinet ona  dropship boosting into orbit.
I told him about the cell on Lindsey, about the beatings Graf gave out on a whim, about the ****** wall. I blinked back tears as I told him of my father’s screams. I broke into sobbing when I came to killing Graf and the escape. I let them flow freely, uncaring and forcing myself to the end. I described how I had run through the fort, killed Tariq, (Though I left out the locket and my father’s message.) seen the attack, and been captured.

I sniffed back the mucus in my throat, and tried to ignore the hot tears running down my cheeks. “...and that is how I ended up here.”

An unexpected laugh wracked my shoulders, and left a bitter taste in the back of my throat.

The doctor sucked in a long breath. “That is a very, exceptional story.” He said slowly.

The guard at the door snorted. “You shouldn’t believe a word she says doc. Pirates will say anything to try and wriggle off the hook. I’ve seen ‘em break down in tears before begging anyone who’ll listen that it’s all a big mistake. That they were good little boys and girls who loved their mums. Bullshit all of it. Give her a chance and she’d slit your throat if she thought she could escape.”


I wanted to scream back at her. To say she was wrong. That I wouldn’t harm anyone.

But that’s not true is it?

You did.


I took a breath, and glowered at the guard.

The horrible thing was, I knew she was right.  And if I had to, I would again.

****** you.


I looked at the doctor’s face, his mouth hung slightly open, as if he was shocked or horrified.

He is probably disgusted at you.

At what you’ve done. At who you’ve become.


Maybe I deserved this. I was a killer. I had betrayed my own father. How could I say I wasn’t as guilty as the rest of them. I hunched up on the bed, unwilling to look at anyone, and letting the stinging tears drip from my face in silence.
I heard footsteps as he walked away, almost certainly afraid to even be near the monster that was sitting in the bed.

Who can blame him?

The footsteps came back. A soft cloth dabbed at my face, gently wiping the tears away.

The merc laughed harshly. "You've got to be ****** kidding me."

I froze, almost uncomprehending the first act of human kindness that I had received in… I choked back a sob when I realized I couldn't even remember how long.

Huh?

Becker turned to look at the guard, and a previously unheard steely edge entered his voice. He seemed to stand taller, as the nervous young man dropped away, to be replaced by altogether more commanding figure.

"Has anyone even tried to check her story?" He asked in a demanding tone.

The trooper shrugged. "Hardly worth the trouble." She said scornfully.

The Doctor’s face darkened. “What! And if she is innocent then you would be perfectly willing to let her be sent to some labour camp ? The wounds on her wrists alone lend credibility to the tale, let alone the other injuries!” He took an angry step towards the trooper.

“Hey hey.” She held up her hands placatingly. “It’s not me you have to convince Doc.”

Becker stopped and looked pensive, the anger clearing from his face like the passing of a storm.

He turned back to me, still cuffed to the bed, still crying

Like a child.

He bent down so his head was level with mine and softly lifted my chin up to look into my eyes. “Lilya. I don’t know if what you’ve told me is the truth. But I promise to find out. I’ll got to the officers as soon as I can and tell them about this.”

I looked back at him, through vision blurred by my own weeping. I should have thanked him. I tried to. But the words just wouldn’t come out.He gave me a small, reassuring, smile, and then stood. Sweeping out of the door without another word.

I was left in the medbay with only the guard for company. She snorted rudely.

****** you.


Eventually, exhausted I slept. When I woke up the guard had changed, and the replacement seemed to have been on shift for a while. He was already suppressing yawns. I was jsut glad that the bitch from yesterday wasn’t around to glower at me.
Doctor Becker returned to the Medbay not long after, and greeted me warmly. “Good morning, Lilya. I've brought breakfast."

He placed a tray on the table next to my bed. My eyes widened at the sight. There was bread. I sniffed it. It smelled real.

“It’s not much.” He said apologetically “But it should help get your strength up.”

I had already smeared the accompanying spread onto the toast and was mid way through stuffing it into my mouth. It was warm. And the taste. It truly tasted like the best piece of bread I had ever eaten.
“Mmmfankyu.” I managed to say around my mouthful of heaven.

He smiled and went to go and fiddle with some things on the other side of the compartment whilst I finished off the meal. Not only was there toast, but some strips of dried fruit. Each one burst in my mouth with flavour, and I savoured them, letting the taste mingle with saliva as I sucked on each strip.

When I had finally finished off the last one, the Doctor came back to my bed.

“I went to Captain Mbili last night.” He said gently. “I told him your story.”

I looked up at him, forcing any bubbles of hope back down. Not wanting to be disappointed again.

Becker continued. “He didn’t make any promises.” He saw my face fall, and rushed to finish. “But he said he would look into it.”

It was something.

More than anybody had done for me in a long time.

Except my father.

I fingered the locket that still hang around my neck. Despite my captivity I had manegd to hold on to it. The mercs seemed uninterested about such a tatty piece of jewelry, and hadn;t demanded that I relinquish it. Or maybe they simply hadn’t noticed. Becker’s eyes were drawn by the motion.

“That's an interesting design.” He said. “I’ve seen you touching it several times, was it from someone special?”

I flailed silently for a moment. I hadn’t told anybody about finding the secret drive, or the message it contained, and as much as the young doctor seemed eager to help me, I didn’t feel comfortable revealing the secret my father had entrusted to me.

I won’t betray him again.


“It was my mother’s.” I said quickly, and then added a bit more embellishment to the lie. “She gave it to me when I left the habitat, It’s the only thing I have left.”

The doctor nodded sympathetically, and asked me more about my family, and life back on Leximon. Hoping to convince him further, I opened up, telling him about my dead end job as a tech, the tiny apartment cube i lived in, and as many other details of my inane life in the hab as I could think of. He listened intently to every word I said. I found perplexingly that I was enjoying talking about all these things to an almost complete stranger. So much so that I didn’t even notice the guard changing, and the return of the surly corporal form the previous night.

 Eventually I began to run out of steam, and to try and keep the conversation going, I ventured a question about his family. He seemed almost to talk about it, and he spent a good hour or so telling me about his sisters and his family home on Gibson. As I listened, I found the little details the most astounding. How he casually mentioned having  a separate house all to themselves, one not in a dome but under a bright blue sky, with its own garden. The idea of having long ‘holidays’ in which he and his siblings had apparently done nothing but play and relax. To a girl who had worked almost every day since her eighth birthday it was almost incomprehensible. Wide-eyed, I asked if he was some kind of noble. He laughed and said no.

Eventually he looked at his watch and said he needed to go and attend to some other duties, promising he would return later. As he rose from the end of my bed to leave I caught his arm with my hand, still cuffed to the bed.

“Thank you Doctor Becker.” He cocked his head quizzically. “For listening.” I explained.

He smiled with those perfect teeth.

“Please call me Matthew.” He said.

“Alright. Thank you Matthew.”

He left, and I sat happily.

Happy?

Actually happy. I didn’t know it was possible for me to still feel that.

You aren’t free yet.

Going to start dreaming of being carried to safety by the dashing doctor now?

Of course my subconscious had to start ruining it for me.

You know it doesn’t work like that.

Stupid girl.


And whatever good humour survived that was washed away entirely when I noticed the female guard glaring at me from her post near the door.

I tried to ignore her, but apparently she wasn’t having any of that. Boots stomped closer.

“Don’t think I don’t know what you’re up to. You ****** periphrat.” Her voice dripped with stinging venom. So much so that I flinched away from the sound. “Pouring lies into the poor boy’s head, trying to twist him up.”

I tried to say that she was wrong, but she cut me off as I opened my mouth to speak.

“The doc’s a good kid, a bit sheltered but he has a good heart.” She leaned closer, and let a n edge of menace into her voice. “We won’t let a two bit piece of scum like you take advantage of him you hear? So if you know what is good for you, you’ll be a good little prisoner and keep your lying mouth shut from now on.”

She spat, as if to emphasize her point and then stomped back to her post at the door.

I could only stare back at her. The angry defiance flaring in my chest the only thing that seemed to be stopping the tears from flooding down my face.

Bitch

cklammer

  • Master Sergeant
  • *
  • Posts: 200
Re: A World of Hurt (BT CYOA)
« Reply #14 on: 31 July 2019, 14:53:54 »
You are doing this very well.  8)  :thumbsup: