~~Jump to Part 6~~
[This series will be called "The Rise of a Company" from now on. The other title just seemed too long. Enjoy! And don't forget to rate and comment, comment, comment!]
~Part 7: Imprisonment
I opened my eyes slowly, head ringing. Jeromee always was pretty strong
I thought wearily. I was now lying in the middle of a prison cell roughly 15x15 feet. A small toilet sat in the back left corner. A tiny cot lined the right wall. The entire room was white except for a light blue, see-through screen—a force-resistant door similar to bulletproof glass. I stood up and made my way towards the cot. There was nothing else to do here except wait. I sat down on the cot and stared out of the door. There was a white wall directly across from my room that had a bright light attached to it, constantly shining into my room. It’s unlikely that my cell is the only one in this corridor
I thought. There must be other cells next to mine.
As I sat on the cot, I noticed my clothes were gone. Everything had been stripped from me except for my undergarments. I also noticed Karrin was not with me. They must be keeping her in another cell, possibly in one right next to mine.
I decided to find out. I banged on the wall behind me and started shouting her name. After a few seconds, I paused in hopes of a response. I heard a muffled reply come from the left wall, but it was too indistinct for me to tell if it was Karrin. They must have sound proof walls too.
I laid back on my cot and stared up at the ceiling; it too was immaculately white and undistinguished from the other walls. I tried to close my eyes, but the light shining into my room was too bright for sleep. They must do this to annoy the prisoners.
Hours fell away as I remained on my cot. Time dragged on, and all I could do was endure it. Occasionally a guard would pass by my room but they never looked my way. It was if I had ceased to exist. More time passed by, and it soon felt as if two earth days had evaporated before I finally had human contact. A surly looking guard carrying a tray with two plates of food stopped at the other side of my door and peered in. He flashed his identification card in front of a scanner on the wall and a small hole opened in the bottom of my door, just large enough for one plate of food to be slid through.
“Where is she? Where’s Karrin?” I demanded as he gave me my food. He never said a word, and closed the small opening in my door by again flashing his card in front of the sensory pad. I watched him walk off before rushing to the food. I was starving and quickly ate everything on the tray. Two pieces of bread, some sort of meaty paste I spread over my bread, a bowl of rice, and two cups of water was all I was given. I was nowhere near full, but my hunger had been placated a little.
This pattern was repeated for the next week and a half. I kept time by how often I was fed—once every two days. My body was losing its strength, and I was seriously sleep deprived from the light that constantly peered into my room. The guard who routinely delivered my food still refused to answer my queries about Karrin. I assumed the extra plate of food he always carried when delivering my food was for Karrin, but I began to care less about her as the days dragged on. I finally stopped asking about her after the fourth time the guard appeared; I was beginning to despair. I wasn’t even sure why they were still keeping me alive.
At the end of this week and a half, Lieutenant le’Fleu accompanied the guard who normally delivered my meal. He opened my door fully and stepped inside my cell. I would have lunged at him earlier on in my captivity, but I was too weak now to pose much of a threat. The guard placed my food in the center of the room and then left, sealing the door behind him so that le’Fleu and I were alone. I took the plate over to my cot and began scarfing down my food. I had nothing to say to Marki and ignored him. He stood silently and watched me eat. After I was finished he addressed me with the same demeaning attitude he used when first we met.
“How is the food?” he joked. “Surely you must be getting tired off these stale refreshments. I have a much better selection of food available, for a price. It’s simple—give me access to the defense codes of either the EIC or the MMO and I will give you the reward you deserve.” So that’s his game
I thought. Starve me, deprive me of sleep, and then get information.
“No,” I casually replied. He knocked twice on the door and the guard opened it. Le’Fleu left without another word and closed the door behind him. If he wants a war of attrition, so be it. He’ll get nothing from me except my life.
I was not a supporter or affiliate of the mining companies, but neither was I sympathetic towards pirates. I wanted the corporations dealt with but not through warfare at the hands of traitors and thieves like pirates. I assumed Karrin was undergoing the same torture. I just hoped she was as strong as I was.
Three more days passed. The guard either forgot he was supposed to feed me, or le’Fleu had ordered him to withhold my food until I was ready to talk. The despair that had crept up on me earlier was now turning to rage. I hated Marki. I hated these guards who passed by my cell. I hated everything around me. Rage became my sustenance from day to day. I lived off of anger and let it consume me. Time stopped mattering to me anymore. I only wanted to kill le’Fleu and get out of this hell.
Le’Fleu entered my cell again on the fourth day since our last encounter. I was lying on my cot, hating the man who now stood before me, but too weak to kill him.
“Damn… you…” I weakly muttered. My throat was parched and my words came out as guttural moans.
“Still resisting are we? Come now, I thought you were smarter than this.” He knocked twice on the door and a guard entered with substantially more food than I had been given during my days here. My eyes opened wide and my stomach voiced its desire for food. I rolled off the cot weakly and crawled to the food that the guard had placed on the floor. I ate on the ground like an animal, with no shame, only a desire to quell my hunger. I knew Marki was loving every moment of my weakness, but I didn’t care. Damn him
I thought in between bites. I had little pride left, but plenty of loathing for Marki.
“It pains me to see you like this,” he began. “It is obvious you are a strong man, and I hate driving you to such a lowly state. But you do it to yourself. You have the means to escape your imprisonment; just give me what I want and you can live freely again. Karrin was much more compliant, and has been free to roam the facility as she chooses. She says she won’t leave without you and desperately wants to see you again.” I stopped eating when he mentioned Karrin’s name. I hadn’t thought about her in days.
“She gave me the information I wanted and now enjoys the full hospitality we have to offer at our facility. Just give me the defense codes so we can confirm them with what Karrin gave us, and you can both go free. It’s obvious you hate the mining corporations, and I would hate to kill a fellow pilot who is against the atrocities of the MMO and EIC. Help us destroy them and bring about a better galaxy for pilots everywhere. Just give me the codes.”
A slight hint of irritation crept into his voice as he finished his last sentence. It was clear he desperately wanted the codes to the defense systems. He’s lying. He just wants the codes so he can gain even more power, not peace.
I finished the rest of my food before answering him.
“I’ll comply,” I weakly muttered.