Prisoner Games: Colony 923
by Verve (verve294 at hotmail.com)
Once again Slate woke from a darkness that surrounded everything she
knew and parted slowly. This time there was no sun to sting her eyes. A soft
light surrounded her instead. The filmy look of semi-consciousness allowed
her little of the scene around her, but she didn't need her eyes to
discover everything. Beneath her she could feel the solidness of a mattress
(as thin as it was) with sheets that smelled of damp stones, warm air and
river moss. It was pleasant enough to bring a grin to her face. The room
itself was slightly chilled, but something made her sense that she was not
alone. With a loud groan she tried to sit up and look around.
"No. Sit back, you've had a tough time. You can't be moving around
at all, Doc says you'll reopen that wound of yours if you thrash." Two
strong hands grabbed her shoulders and pushed her firmly, but carefully,
back down. She recognized him immediately.
"Lieutenant?" she moaned with pain, the sharp sting in her side
covering the question in her voice.
"Sorry, you've got the wrong guy." Erika saw him sit back in his
chair that she made out next to her bed. "I'm not any sort of Lieutenant.
Never will be; never wish to be."
Facially, he was identical to the man who had visited in her
makeshift lab that day not so long ago. They were identical in build and
stature, though this man may have been slightly more trim. His shoulders
were broad, and he held them proudly; as a military man would. However, as
she had just heard, he seemed adverse to the military way of life. What had
made him so noble then?
Besides his countenance, he wore a short, off-white, short tunic that
had no sleeves and was tied at the waist with a thin leather belt. She
noticed that his pants were tight brown leather as well, and the sharp pain
in her head stopped her from looking too long. No military man would be
caught dead or alive in his getup.
"No, you're not him, are you? Couldn't be him. You must be his
alternate form." She babbled and chuckled to herself as everything put
itself into a logical order in her pain-ridden head. "Too many variables.
Yes, it's all perfectly clear now."
"Maybe to you," he said with an eyebrow raised in apprehension, "I'm
sorry, ma'am, but I've got a few questions to ask you before I call for the
Doc. You may sound like the former Queen Mother herself, but you get no
special precedence from me."
"The doctor?" She wrinkled her brow. "Why, Mr. Non-Lieutenant, am I
in so much pain?"
He answered her bluntly, almost brushing aside any importance in his
answer. "You were shot; in your side, by a Squillachi laser." He leaned
forward putting his elbows on his knees. "Why were the Squillachi after
"Classified." Erika murmured, upset by the sudden increase in
dialog. Nothing could be told until she had all of her wits about her. No
one would believe her story if she were already half delirious with pain.
Additionally, there was no way of knowing the full impact of the
information she held in her head regarding time travel.
"Classified?" his voice was edged with annoyance. Dwayne hardly
appreciated people who were secretive, especially women. He liked to put
all of his cards on the table. "And I suppose you can't tell me why you
were dropped here alone? That's highly unusual."
"That, I would tell you if I could." She sighed with exasperation
and closed her eyes. "But I cannot," Erika added sadly.
Dwayne heard this and something in him jumped. He hated having to be
so rough and forward with her, but his questions needed answers. But
couldn't he wean them out of her over time just as easily? After all; she
was ill, and exhausted. The last thing she needed was an interrogation.
"Now, I'm feeling rather tired, Mr. Hunter, and I...."
"Call me Dwayne." His interruption made her stop for a moment and
open her eyes, startled. He was smiling at her warmly. "I haven't really
been much of a welcoming committee so far, with all of these questions. I
know you're tired, and I've probably annoyed you to no end. Please, allow
me to apologize."
"Yes, an apology is in order," she said as sharply as she could
manage, though she didn't know why.
His smile faded slightly. "I didn't even ask your name."
She wasn't exactly excited to give it to him. "Dr. Erika Slate. And
you, if I recall correctly, are Dwayne 'Blue Eagle' Hunter."
"And you do believe we've met," he said flatly. In an instant her
eyes were open again. "Why did you say that before you fainted?"
"I did not faint. I passed out." Her tone was indignant. She looked
down to a mottled cloth at her side wrapped with some sort of gauze. "Most
likely from loss of blood."
"Faint, pass out," Hunter responded with a 'no care' tone. "Why did
you say we've met before? I've never seen you in my life."
Erika lay back into her sheets and shifted until she was comfortable
again. Smiling lightly with her eyes closed, she said, "Classified."
"So that's the way it's going to be." He stood up over her, in a
posture she thought he meant to be intimidating. If that was his purpose,
he hardly served it.
"No, that's not the way it's going to be." Erika shifted as much as
she could in her stiff bed in an effort to make it comfortable. "I will
answer whatever questions you ask of me, though some of them may not have
the answer you like." Her eyes met his squarely as she told him flatly what
she meant. She read him as the sort of man that liked to have all of the
cards on the table, and he was going to get every last spade she had to
"Okay, then, let's find out just what you can tell me."
He heard her groan, but softly enough that most wouldn't have
noticed the protest. "A question for a question, L-...Mr. Hunter." Erika
eyed him warily. "There are a few things I'd like to know myself."
"Fair enough." He sat back down and immediately spit out his
question. "What type of doctor are you?"
"Excuse me?" She was caught off guard.
"The colony here needs specialists badly. We're an entirely
self-reliant community, where every member makes some sort of impact on our
survival. You said you were a doctor -- what type?" Dwayne's speech was
passionate if blunt. Something in his eyes told her that he was serious,
and she choose to be straightforward in her answer.
"Doctor of sciences, with an emphasis on robotics and education in
biology and engineering, as well as several other interests." Though she
tried to convey a certain sense of pride, her listener looked rather
"Not a medical doc, huh? Too bad, could have used one. Not much we
can do with a robot junkie, though an engineer is useful."
"My turn," she said suddenly, interrupting his thoughts. "You said
that this is a self-reliant community; tell me more."
"About the community?" She nodded. "Well, this is a penal colony,
the entire planet is."
"I am aware of that." Erika sighed. Back on Earth everyone was aware
of the existence of the colonies where the Squillachi dumped the rebels and
the misfits, people who rebelled against them. The planets themselves tended
to be lower class, and hardly livable. "However, it's remarkable that any of
you are able to survive."
"We, I mean the original drops like myself, got lucky." Dwayne
chuckled to himself with the glint of some memory in his eye. Erica could
only imagine what they had been through.
The sun had never felt so new to Dwayne. Then again, it could have
been a new sun entirely, and that could have accounted for that feeling. No
one had any idea where they were.
"We're not in Kansas anymore," the gray stubby man on his left
mumbled. Dwayne smiled wryly without looking in his direction. It had been
about two hours since they had been dropped and the situation wasn't
looking as desperate as it had been. The field that spread out in front of
him was scattered with the small group of prisoners that had been dropped
along with himself. He was one of the first to awake, with an aching head
and a bruise over his right brow. He assumed that he received it from the
heavy handling of the transport crewmen.
The new world that he had awakened in was gloriously breathtaking,
and had he been a poet he would have put words to it. However, it was the
bodies in the field that took his attention fully. He counted, loosely, a
hundred or so. Scanning them he shook his head, knowing that they all had
been sent here to die. Every man had his own talents -- "specialties", as it
were, that made him dangerous to the Squillachi cause. Resentment stirred
in his heart, tensing every muscle in his back to the point of pain. What
man could tolerate the death of innocents, brilliant rebels though they
were? A massive form walked up next to him and stood over looking the scene
with as much wonder in his eyes as Dwayne had.
"O wonder, how many goodly creatures there are here." His deep,
carrying voice caught Dwayne off guard. He couldn't help but like the man,
looking at the sarcastic sparkle in his eyes. "O brave new world, that
hath such people in it." For a moment he keep a strange gaze on those in
front of him and then looked down at Dwayne with a wide smile.
"I know," Dwayne laughed. "It's just a little unexpected in a place
"On the contrary, I think it's rather appropriate given the
situation." The man held out his hand through his beaming smile. "Garth
Childs. Closet literature buff, and electronics specialist. You name it, I
"And that's why you're here." Dwayne smiled and shook his hand.
"Name's Blue Eagle; call me Dwayne. Convoy pilot by day, underground
dissident by night."
"Dwayne? Strange nickname for an Navajo." The man couldn't seem to
stop grinning, but now there was an amused spark in his eyes.
"Navajo," Hunter repeated. "That obvious, huh?"
"You sound like that's a bad thing. No, it's not. I just know some
things about many things. The name is a hint, and the way you carry
yourself is a second. Though you don't entirely look the part." The man
pointed to his own face signifying Dwayne's Caucasian skin. Hunter stood up
and brushed himself off.
"No, I don't. That's because I was adopted." Apathetic to the
current conversation, he looked around with purpose in his face. "We need
some order here, before our brave new world takes on a anarchist charm."
No sooner could he say the words than a booming voice sounded behind
him. Turning his head around he saw a man standing on a large crate-like
object, supervising the distribution of whatever goods were in them. He was
stocky, but taller than he seemed at first glance. His hair was short and
gray, in a crisp military cut, and from the way his body stood at constant
command anyone could tell what he had done previously. Even his face was
chiseled and sharp, like the deep resonant voice that carried itself easily
over many meters.
"Fernando, one for each, you understand? I don't want anyone here
thinking they deserve more than anyone else." The man turned for the person
he was talking to, a small dark man in who seemed to be happily distributing
ration packs, and addressed the line that was quickly forming. "We're in
this together, everyone! I'll be damned if we can't survive this, but we've
got to work together."
Dwayne helped Garth to his feet and together the two jogged over to
where the loud man was standing. Hunter caught his eye as they approached.
"Can I help you, gentlemen?" The man seemed to appraise them in a
single glance and then moved his gaze back to the situation at hand.
"I was about to ask you the same thing." Dwayne stood at a strict
warrior's stance as he addressed the man before him and introduced himself
and his acquaintance.
"Sergeant Hank Thorton, United European Army." He trust out a thumb
over his shoulder where a ragtag group was huddled purposefully. "And you
two men just won yourselves a spot on recon."
Erica turned on by tight pants? Dwayne the Navajo? Garth the
Shakespearean? General Thorton isn't a general? Garth with a last name?
Thorton with a first name? And what's this recon mission all about?
Stay tuned for the next installment of Prisoner Games: Colony 293!
(Insert dramatic *dun dun dahhh* here)
TO BE CONTINUED
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