Chapter 7: Damien
I spit in to the metal sink, watching the liquid that is more blood than saliva sludge its way down the drain. I flex my jaw around, feeling a sharp pain every time it shifts. I reach into the back of my mouth, gripping the source between two fingers. I wiggle them back and forth and yank outwards with a quick motion.
I lift the tooth between my fingers to eye level, examining it. I drop it into the sink as I spit more blood down the drain.
I look at my hands. My knuckles are black and blue where Hall decided to use a thin metal rod. I flex my hand. The pain causes it tremble as I close a fist. I clench my jaw as I relax it, the pain slowly subsiding.
Upon further inspection I see that one finger is slightly crooked. I sigh at what I’m about to do. I take hold of the finger, take a few quick breathes, and jerk it in an estimated direction. I grunt as I hear it pop back into place. I exhale as I feel a portion of the pain subside.
I move eyes up to my arms, which are blotched with bruises from the various strikes from fists and objects. My eyes trail further still to my chest, revealing not just bruises, but deep cuts from which Peter had his fun with that wonderful scalpel.
I use a finger to trace across the stitches rendered in order to make sure I didn’t lose too much blood. The fact that they used stitches is a testament to the suffering Rin’Gal wishes to see me put through. They could very easily use one of the numerous medical advancements to heal the cuts without much scarring.
But Rin’Gal would much rather me endure the pain of the needle after the knife. It comes with the added effect of scar tissue, so that I can remember what happened here.
I finally look in the mirror to see what has become of my face. My right eye is no longer swelled shut, but still very much bruised from Peter’s assault on it. The man hits like he has cinderblocks attached to his arms and it shows. Both of my lips are split near the left corner. I have a laceration on my left cheek as well, caused by the sheer force of his blows. Peter’s scalpel decided my right cheek was an opportune place to explore. A horizonal cut from just underneath my eye carves a path that nearly reaches my ear.
I spit one more collection of blood-laced saliva into the sink as I turn the water on, washing the small pool at the bottom of the sink the rest of the way down the drain. I close my eyes and listen to the sound of the water, holding back the urge to let tears fall.
I ball up the emotion and place it in the corner of my mind, covering it with a blanket of anger.
Where the fuck was Ethan when I needed him?
I grip the sink tighter as the wave of anger comes and goes. I open my eyes as I hear the door to my cell open.
“Time to go play with the rest of the trash,” The raspy voice of the Sekrid guard says to me.
I turn around and limp through the doorway without resistance.
After our initial sessions, Rin’Gal decided to ship me to a prison camp not far from his operating station. Guess he thought that it was a nice little cherry on top of everything else he was doing. As I step out in to the open yard, I stop as I feel the hot scorch of the planet’s star.
The Sekrid gives me a shove with his rifle, pushing me the rest of the way out. The shove doesn’t hurt so much as the residual pain from the numerous cuts placed on my back.
One might think it’s a courtesy that they allow all of us to have some fresh air. Make no mistake though, it is only to promote more suffering. This planet is hot. Hotter than anything I’ve ever felt before.
Most of the yard has a smooth concrete floor, which essentially turns it into a gigantic frying pan. And being that they don’t allow us shoes, you end up with burned and blistered feet if you don’t find some way to give yourself some makeshift protective layer.
I pull a pair of socks I made for myself out of cloth from one of my shirts and slip them around my feet before stepping off the dirt and on to the floor in front of me. I quickly travel the length of it until I find a mostly unoccupied bench and sit down, pulling my feet up and crossing them.
Before long, a man sits next to me. He looks at me in what is seemingly disbelief.
“I swear to god you come out here looking worse every time,” He points out.
“I’ll make sure to tell them go easy on me next time,” I reply sarcastically.
“I think I have an idea for how to get out of here,”
I roll my eyes “Not this again,”
“I mean it this time Damien,”
“Why should I even take that into consideration, Tyler? Every idea you’ve come up with so far has failed before it even began,”
“This time it’s different,”
I look at him unenthusiastically “Yeah? How so?”
“I found one that sympathizes with us,”
“I’m serious, Damien,”
I stare at Tyler, an inquisitive eyebrow raised.
“Alright, I’ll bite. Tell me,”
“Well get this, it’s also a female,”
“Now you’re just messin’ with me,”
“I’m not. She said she knows how we can get out…and that she knows your brother,”
“What? No way. Ethan doesn’t know any Sekrid. Let alone Sekrid women. He’d tell me about that,”
Tyler shrugs “I’m just saying what she told me,”
I give a thoughtful nod “Alright. What’s the plan?” I ask.
“Blake scum!” A Sekrid guard calls to me.
I look at him with a glare.
“I’ll let her tell you,” Tyler says with a smirk.
I stand up and meet the Sekrid guard, understanding what Tyler was saying to me. The guard leads me back inside to a small room devoid of cameras. Inside stands the proof of what Tyler was speaking of. The guard closes the door behind us.
A Sekrid woman in a military uniform has to be one of the strangest sights I’ve ever seen. Few if any at all women serve in the military. Not many people even believe that Sekrid women exist and think that Sekrid are just a product of cloning. To see one here is…strange to say the least.
Though I have heard they exist, I’ve never seen a Sekrid woman up close before. I have to say she’d not hard to look at. A stark contrast to the male Sekrid. One can’t help but feel a little intimidated when you stare into her red eyes. A feel almost like there’s a restrained fury behind them.
Strange…I can take on a Sekrid soldier who’s superior to me in every way without batting an eye. But standing opposite her makes me feel like I should think twice.
“Damien Blake, correct?” She asks.
I give her a nod “How do you know my brother?”
“A conversation for another time. All I will say is that I owe your brother a debt. This is how I will repay it,” She answers, dismissing my question.
“I’m not talking about anything until you explain to me exactly how you know him. Because here’s the thing lady, he never mentioned you,”
“For good reason. You would not understand,”
“Try me,” She exhales heavily in frustration.
“This is not the most pressing matter. And we do not have much time to speak,”
“Fine. He said you could be difficult,”
“Your brother and I were on the same prison colony,”
“What that Trivadorian hell hole? That’s how he got out of there?”
“We helped each other. That is all,”
I narrow my eyes and stare at her with skepticism “Right…well…tell me this plan of yours,”
“It is not a plan so much as an action I will take that you will capitalize on,”
“I’m listening,” I say folding my arms, leaning up against the wall, ignoring the pain that shoots through my back.
“Tomorrow. After it is dark. Your cell and several others will be opened,”
“Why not just mine?”
“To make it appear that it was a simple escape plan between multiple prisoners,”
“Makes sense,” I say, feeling a little embarrassed that I didn’t realize the obvious.
“What those others will not know…is that there will be a cache of gear just outside of camp,” She explains as she pulls a folded paper from her uniform and hands it to me.
I take it from her and open it to reveal a map.
“You must follow that path exactly in order to get out of the building safely. Do not deviate what so ever,”
“And if I do?”
“Then you will end up right back where you were. I will ensure that the soldiers there are not when you are passing through,”
I stash the map in my jumpsuit, pushing myself off the wall to stand up straight.
“What did my brother do for you that you would risk yourself like this?”
She folds her arms over her chest “It does not matter. Not for you. If Ethan wishes to tell you, he shall when you see each other again,”
I sigh, aggravated that I’m not getting the answers I want.
I point a thumb behind me “Is that guard out there a loose end?” I ask.
“Contrary to what you humans think, not every Sekrid is a warmonger,”
I narrow my eyes at her again, unsure of how to take her statement.
“It is time for you to return to your cell. Be ready tomorrow,”
Peter wipes the sweat from his face and neck with a towel as our latest session comes to a close. Sweat drops from my brow on to the floor as I lean forward, breathing heavily.
“Did you notice? I went easy on you today,”
I look up at Peter through the bangs of my hair “Yeah…thanks for that doc,”
Peter grabs a chair and takes his usual seat in front of me. He grabs me by the jaw and lifts my head so that he can see.
“Looks like I managed to keep those stitches intact. Jaw seems fine. Your eyes aren’t swollen shut this time,” Peter examines.
He pushes me back so that I’m sitting up in the chair. He presses at various points on my torso, causing moments of extreme pain.
“Looks like we fractured a rib or two this time,”
“I guess that’s why it hurts more than usual when I breathe,”
A smile forms at the corner of Peter’s mouth before he stands from the chair and begins to pack his things back into suit case.
“I have to say, you’re a fascinating subject, Damien,”
“I’m just a kid that can take a punch doc,”
He chuckles, taking his suit case in his hand and approaching the door.
“Bravado all you want, Damien. Your indifference to these beatings just shows me how broken of a man I’ve made you,” He says with a smile.
My expression becomes hard and I glare at Peter.
“Though it looks like there is still some of you left in there,” He concludes as he opens the door and leaves.
Moments later, the guards come and take me to my cell. I begin to pace as the hours pass, waiting for the course of events the Sekrid woman described to pass.
In such a quiet fashion that I could barely notice, I hear the slight click of the door unlocking. My head snaps toward the sound. I step forward, hesitating a moment before walking to the door and opening it.
I peek outside, seeing that hallway is clear. I quickly pull the map from my jumpsuit. The Sekrid chick wasn’t lying when she said the hallways would be clear for me. There isn’t a Sekrid in sight, which is fortunate for me, given the fact that I’m limping like a cripple.
The narrow hallway opens up to a small vehicle bay. I look left and right, ensuring there are no Sekrid in sight. My heart pounds as my eyes lock on to the catalyst of my freedom.
I walk towards the door hastily. As I press the button on the door panel and take my first step, I feel sudden halting of my body as someone grips my jumpsuit and yanks me backwards.
I stumble back and fall to on my backside on the floor, sliding a short distance.
Peter holds his arms out “What? You didn’t think it was going to be that easy, did you?” He asks, rhetorically.
I grunt as I pick myself up into a standing position.
“Let’s just make this simple, Damien. Just come back with me to your cell. No harm, no foul. I might even tell them you came and alerted me about the others escaping. Get you a day off from me,” He says smugly.
I feel the adrenaline start moving through me, taking the edge off of the weakness my body feels. I square myself with Peter.
He scoffs at me “Are you serious? I didn’t even do half of the damage you have now the first time. You didn’t beat me then. What makes you think you will now?”
“I’ll admit, I didn’t take you seriously before, doc. But it isn’t going to go the same way this time. I’m not leaving unless it’s through that door. Because quite frankly, I’m sick of your shit,”
Peter steps back towards the door. He presses a button that locks and produces a plasma field in front of the door. He then walks towards me with purpose as I ready myself.
Once he gets close enough, I throw a very painful, slow punch towards him. He easily blocks and places a hand around my throat, lifting me into the air, beginning to choke me.
My legs swing in the air as my mind starts to panic. Peter’s hand squeezes tighter around my throat, accelerating the inevitable unconsciousness that will follow. I focus my mind as best I can as the blackness starts to creep over my sight.
In a last desperate act, I lift a foot and kick Peter in the face as hard as I’m able, sending more waves of pain through me. The force is enough to make him drop me as he stumbles backwards. Seeing the one chance I have, I run forward and drive a shoulder in to Peter’s back, causing him to uncontrollably stumble towards the plasma field. He reactively puts out his arms as he makes contact with the field.
What happens next is a gristly sight.
The plasma field, unbeknownst to me, was a hot plasma field as opposed to a cold plasma field. Think of cold plasma as a forcefield that absorbed and reflects things. Hot plasma on the other hand, is much more volatile in that it vaporizes whatever comes in contact with it.
Peter lets out a blood curdling scream as his arms burn away. I watch the flesh on his hands melt away, down to tendons and ligaments, and finally to bone. All three break down to their base atoms.
Peter’s momentum doesn’t stop him there. He continues forward as his arms vaporize away, up his forearms, to his elbows. I take hold of him as it reaches the upper portion of his biceps and toss him to the ground.
He writhes around on the floor. His chest also made light contact with the field, causing his shirt to burn away and his chest to have the upper layers of skin atomized. I see that Peter’s now limbless shoulders have been cauterized, preventing him from bleeding to death.
I can’t help but stare at him squirming on the floor with pity. I choose to say nothing as I turn off the plasma field and finally exit. A wave of relief washing over me.
The relief fades however, as the alarm finally sounds. I run into the jungle of the planet, following the map until I find the cache the Sekrid woman was speaking about.
I very nearly trip over it as I approach, brush covering it. I toss the tree branches away from it quickly and wipe the dirt off the top cover. I open the half-buried crate to find that there’s a change of clothes, a pair of boots, some food rations, a side arm, a knife, and a rifle with three mags.
I quickly change out my attire, strap on the holster and tactical vest, and load both firearms. I look back towards the facility as I hear Sekrid forces beginning to encroach on my position.
In a bid to protect the Sekrid woman from scrutiny, I replace the dirt and branches over the cache. I move further into the jungle as the Sekrid descend upon the area. It’s only a matter of time before the Sekrid soldiers catch up to me due to my injuries.
I find myself hiding behind a large tree, knife in hand as a Sekrid soldier approaches. The darkness cloaks me as he steps passed my position, giving me the opportunity to strike.
I reach up, wrapping a forearm around his neck, and pulling him backwards over my knee before burying my blade through the bridge of his nose in a quick strike. I toss him aside as his body goes limp.
The night carries on as I escape and evade the Sekrid forces. By morning, I’m drenched in sweat, but safe from my captors.
I lean forward, placing my hands on my knees, breathing heavily in exhaustion. I feel the pressure of a hand on my shoulder. I snap upright and latch on to the source, pinning him against a tree, my knife up to his throat.
“Whoa, Whoa! It’s me Damien, it’s me,” Tyler says, eyes wide with fear.
I relax and drop him.
“I guess all that is from our mutual friend?” He asks, motioning a hand up and down.
I nod my head.
“Wish she would’ve done that for the rest of us. Played hell getting out of there with no gear,”
“Anyone else make it?” I inquire.
Tyler shakes his head “Not that I know of,” He answers.
I nod again as I turn and start walking away.
“Hey, where you going?”
“To find a god damn ship,”