meat (solo)

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meat (solo)

Post by John Dark on 9/17/2012, 9:33 pm

Dread wrote:John had no idea how long he remained ‘out’; he remembered coming to a few times, but someone was always by his side ready to put him back under in just such an event. He once caught a brief glimpse of the interior of a helicopter and knew that was exactly what it was because of the loud thrum of its rotaries. He recollected later lying helpless in a stretcher with the hot sun beating down on him as people surrounded him on all sides. Some of them stared at him intently while two others carried him across a beach. His position had made glancing at the sand beneath him impossible, but he clearly heard the nearby surf.

The next thing he saw was a painfully blinding light above him. A man wearing a blue uniform, a white apron, a semitransparent shower cap, and a white medical mask leaned over him. John recalled a hellish pain along his abdomen, but he could not scream. The familiar comfort of darkness soon swept away that scene as well along with the pain. Before he completely passed out, however, he realized someone was trying to fix him on an operating table! At least the darkness, being the absolute glutton that it was, also consumed his building terror.

When he next woke, he initially believed that he was still asleep because blackness surrounded him. The temperature in the air around him informed him otherwise; if he could feel then it was probably safe to assume that he was awake. His present surroundings proved to be more than just warm; they were hot, uncomfortably hot! What was producing such heat and why was there no light? John nearly panicked as he sat up, but the fact he had regained control over his body helped him maintain his nerves. He still ached and he could feel where his skin had been stitched; it felt equally sore and itches in various patches.

He tried to stand, but his head stuck something solid and metal above him. He swore loudly and rubbed the affected area of his head; his hand came away from his scalp dry. At least he was not bleeding. “Will you cut that out?” Someone, a man, demanded from above.

“Who’s there?” John asked; he carefully stood up and turned around to face the speaker; it did him little good given his current circumstances.

“Someone who’s trying to sleep,” Was his answer.

John rubbed his head, “I am really confused right now,” He admitted. “Where am I?” He asked.

The speaker groaned then replied with an exceedingly agitated tone. “You’re new home.”

“I don’t have a home,” John told him, but he received no reply. “Whatever, I’ll find out for myself.” He muttered as he turned away from the grumpy stranger.

He walked forward and held his hands out in front of him to keep from bumping into anything. He took only two steps when his arms encountered solid metal bars! John grimaced then charged a basic ki blast to destroy the obstruction. Something beeped incessantly then electricity passed through his body from his neck down. John fell forward; his head banged noisily against the bars.

“You really are clueless, aren’t you?” The mystery man asked.

John slumped to his knees and gasped. “What the hell just happened?” He asked as he felt around his neck where the charge had been delivered.

His hand touched something solid then he heard a second issuance of beeping. It was followed by a second shock that effectively immobilized him. “Are you just plain stupid?” The stranger asked.

John decided it was best to keep his hands away from his neck for some time until he figured out how to remove whatever it was that was hurting him. He stood up when his legs no longer felt like micro-waved rubber and moved toward the stranger. “What is going on here?” He demanded. “Tell me.”

“Are you serious? Isn’t it obvious? Do you really need me to spell it out for you?” The stranger responded.

“Start spelling,” John growled.

“J-A-I-L, you are in jail, the big house, the clink, prison, a penet…a peneten…you know what I mean.” The stranger said.

“No,” John breathed, sounding absolutely shocked.

“Yep and there’s no worse place on Earth than where you’re at now and that’s saying something for prison.” The stranger said.

“Explain,” John hissed; he had dozens of questions for which he had no answers. What had happened after his fight? Why had he been imprisoned if that is what really happened?

“Introductions first,” The stranger said. “I’m Koombur.”

“Name’s John,” John revealed; he was tempted to remark upon the strangeness of the man’s name, but instead he said, “Now explain everything.”

“Sorry, no. Wake up call is at five hundred sharp and I need my beauty sleep. You’ll get your answers soon enough. There’s always orientation for meat like you.” He replied; John surmised “meat” was the local term for new guy.

“Can’t sleep,” John said, but Koombur had already begun to feign snoring; he tried meditating, but his cellmate continued with his performance. “You can stop now; I won’t bother you anymore.”

“Just checking; goodnight, meat,” Koombur said.

John tried to relax, but how could he given his present circumstances? Even though Koombur had stopped pretending to snore, many others actually began to snore within nearby cells. John gave up on trying meditating after only minutes had passed since he initiated his second attempt at it. He then tried establishing telepathic communication with someone who might be able to help him. He reluctantly thought of “Coach” and tried messaging him, but he could not connect. Something about the device around his neck interfered with all his abilities, not just his offensive ones.

He experimented one more time that night. He called upon his aura, but the device electrocuted him again before he even managed to power up. He fell limp on the floor and shook for a moment then lied still. He eventually recovered; however, even after he had, he still felt as weak as he had been during his fight in South City. That seemed like ages ago and he had come a very long way since that particular brush with death. The device that had been forced on him sometime during his blackout period somehow managed to repress him in every aspect that would have otherwise proven useful in his given crisis.
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Re: meat (solo)

Post by John Dark on 9/18/2012, 12:27 pm

Dread wrote:John waited for the wakeup call that Koombur had mentioned earlier; patience was something he had acquired out of necessity. He sat in the dark, cross-legged, and retained that position for the ensuing hours. He kept his eyes open as though he could somehow penetrate the blackness that had become his world yet again. His thoughts drifted easily toward the edge of panic; he had only the assurance of a stranger that the darkness would end and that the morning would deliver answers to his questions such as why he had been imprisoned. He quickly shepherded his mind away from the dangerous abyss that would have easily shattered his psyche; in doing so, he maintained his calm.

He had little to no way of keeping track of the passage of time; he could have counted the seconds off in his head, but there was no purpose in such an exercise. When he first woke in his cell, he had no idea what the time had been then. Even if the lights came on at five hours past midnight, John could not even begin to guess when that event would exactly occur. Refraining from panicking grew increasingly difficult the longer he waited for any sort of development in his situation. Any normal man in John’s position would have, in all likelihood, given up any grasp on their sanity. John, however, continued exercising patience and self control.

His wait came to an inevitable end, but he reaped little benefit from his patience and mental endurance. Consecutive hard clicks resounded from outside his cell. They echoed from various distances, informing John of some amount of empty space outside his cell. The buzz of white noise filled his ear; dim light filtered into his cell. The light gradually grew more luminous as people continued sleeping. John stared out through his bars and took in all the details afforded to him by the new light. He had thought the morning would have supplied him with hope through relieving him of his blindness; instead, it magnified the despair that had grown within him ever so slowly during the past few hours of his existence.

At maximum brightness, the lights outside his cell cast bright greenish-white light and bounced glaringly off the smoothed red stone floor ahead. John saw a cell across from his less than fifteen feet away. He turned his head to the left and then to the right and saw that he had been deposited in a long and narrow corridor of cells. He immediately recognized the strategy behind the arrangement. It boxed prisoners in a narrow line, which would allow outnumbered guards to manage them all effectively.

The lights were arranged against the cell walls just above the bars. The ceiling above the lights was nothing more than two layers of thick bars similar to those that kept prisoners locked within their cells. The bars crisscrossed one another so that the gaps between them measured only a few square inches each.

The glare of the light outside his cell made it impossible for his eyes to penetrate the darkness above the bars, but he could not shake the feeling that he was being watched. Were there snipers positioned above the cells ready to fire upon prisoners like fish in a barrel? The thought terrified John because if his captors had the technology to render his power inaccessible to him then he could only assume they had weapons capable of tearing through even his superhuman body.

He stepped back and slumped to the ground out of some combat instinct to make himself as small of a target as possible. He stared, in absolute misery, at himself and saw that someone had dressed him in a bright orange uniform. There was a ten-digit number stitched into his shirt over the left side of his chest, 1009630366. The number was the final component in bringing him to the soul-crushing realization that he had been imprisoned in a place where everything, including his name, had been taken from him.

He buried his head into his hands; his eyes appeared wide and filled with horror through the space between his fingers. “What happened?” He mumbled. “What happened? What happened? What happened?” He repeated several times over; it was clear he had reached his breaking point.

A screeching mechanical wail interrupted John’s mumblings and his hands shifted immediately from his face to cover his ears. The action did nothing to keep the sound from piercing his skull and delivering unto him a new sensual torment. The siren blared for minutes, but it may as well have been hours for prisoners like John who had no way to track its duration. It continued strong even as other inmates stirred within their cells and exited their bunks. Koombur dropped down from his mattress; John felt the vibration of his feet smacking against the grainy floor.

John looked at his cellmate, seeing him for the first time. The siren ceased as though to provide an accompanying dramatic silence to the shock that John experienced when he saw who or, more accurately, what shared his cell. Koombur was a giant among men; he had to stoop within the cell so as not to bang his head against the ceiling. He had an impressive muscular bulk that made him look like the perfect spokesman for exercise equipment and protein diets. His bronzed body shimmered wherever skin was exposed. His physique was not what had surprised John, however.

Koombur had a full head of thick black hair arranged in elevated spikes; there was not a tangle or split end to be seen. A brown-furred tail extended from his backside, which quickly curled over his waist so that it resembled a belt, but the movement had not been fast enough to hide the truth from John. “What’s the matter, meat?” Koombur asked him. “Haven’t you ever seen a saiyan warrior before?” His statement immediately confirmed what John had already realized; Koombur fit “Coach’s” description of the genocidal race of mention perfectly.

The sound of feedback of an intercom resounded throughout the prison corridor, ending any talk between John and Koombur. “Inmates, stand away from your cell doors.” A no-nonsense masculine voice said.

Where is that voice coming from? John asked himself.

“That’s us,” Koombur said as he suddenly laid a hand on John and dragged him to his feet.

“Don’t touch me!” John snarled as he shrugged the saiyan off.

“Inmates, your cells will open shortly. Remain where you are and await further instructions.” A loud and elongated warning buzz rang after the announcement.

The doors to the cells all slid open at once, but no one dared move and it was not hard to figure out why. Any sign of resistance, John learned, resulted in a nasty electrical shock that terminated said sign of resistance. No one spoke, not even Koombur. John wisely decided to hold his tongue for a little while longer as well. He figured that it was best to wait and see what happened next; in his experience, answers came easier through a show of compliance.
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Re: meat (solo)

Post by John Dark on 9/18/2012, 2:47 pm

Dread wrote:John heard boot steps from the far end of the corridor; he stepped forward to catch a better look of those approaching. He came close to the doorway of his cell, but that was as far as he went before the device around his neck beeped. Not again. John thought. The next thing he realized was that he was lying on the ground, trembling from the most recent shock he had suffered since his arrival. Koombur snickered from behind him; John glanced at him and saw him shaking his head with an amused grin. “What just happened?” John asked. “I wasn’t going any farther than I did last night. Why the shock this time?”

“You’ll find out how things work around here as soon as it’s your turn to meet with the warden. He handles all the orientations, see? He likes to meet with the new guys personally and discuss their ‘futures’ here.” Koombur informed him; the sarcastic manner in which he stressed the word “futures” was not lost to John.

John stood up and tried digesting the new information, but it was difficult given everything else he had to consider about his predicament. He heard voices not too distant from where he stood, but far enough that he could not make out what was being said. Prisoners began leaving their cells. “It’ll be our turn soon enough, so you should just sit tight. You’ll learn soon enough that there’s no reason to rush things around here. It’s not like we’re going anywhere anytime soon.” Koombur told John.

Just as the saiyan predicted, a man clad from the neck down in a black uniform stepped in front of his and Koombur’s cell. He appeared middle-aged with short black hair tinged with gray. He glared at both of the prisoners in front of him; his ice-colored eyes revealed no fear in the presence of an enormous saiyan. He held a flat black device in his hand that issued a soft glow onto his gloves. He glanced down at what must have been the device’s screen then he returned his hateful gaze to Koombur who just grinned back smugly.

“You,” The man said as pointed to Koombur. “Proceed directly to the mess hall; I don’t need to remind you what happens if you try to take a detour.”

“Given the choice between prison hospitality, hot boiling lava, and being electrocuted, I might have to think on it,” Koombur sarcastically remarked.

“Get moving,” The man growled.

Koombur issued a mock salute, which proved less than effective given his stooped position. “Yes, sir! Right away, sir!” He sharply said then moved forward, leaning down to clear the gap between the cell and the hallway. “Be seeing you, meat.” He said to John as he waved without turning around.

“Alright, meat; it says here you’ve got a date with the warden.” The man said as he pointed to his device. “Stay here and someone will be around to collect you…eventually.” He spoke as though he was addressing a sack of dripping garbage; he then turned away from John and moved onto the next cell over.

Having nothing else to do, John took a seat on his mattress, which felt almost paper-thin atop the thick and irremovable sheet of metal welded onto the bunk. There were no pillows and John quickly guessed why; it was to prevent inmates from suffocating one another in their sleep. A hole through which only something as large as a tennis ball could fit through had been bored into the floor near the wall. The brown stains that ringed the hole clearly defined its purpose. It was the toilet. How is anyone supposed to aim for such a small target? John immediately thought.

He waited even after the last of the other prisoners had left their cells. Dozens of them walked past his cell, soome of which met his gaze when he stared long enough. Humans were presently among the minority, but there was no discernable majority among species either. John thought he spotted a kanassan and another saiyan as well as a young version of Kami. The variety of life forms in the prison made John feel as though he had been taken from Earth and dropped off at some distant alien world.

Is that where I am? He asked himself. Somewhere lightyears from Earth? He slumped forward and held his face in his hands again as he shook visibly with fear. It was bad enough that he had been imprisoned in an unknown location. The possibility that he was imprisoned somewhere in the recesses of space with no hope of ever returning to Earth was too much for him to handle.

John derailed his current train of thought with a new topic. He asked himself where everyone else was heading, but he had already guessed they were all going to the mess hall for breakfast. His stomach growled at the thought of food, but he doubted the meals he began imagining was anything close to what was actually served at the facility within which he found himself.

He had sampled his share of weird food from his hunting, skinning, and cookout experiences within various wildernesses. He had eaten squirrels, snakes, lizards, raccoons, tarantulas, scorpions, pigeons, and geese among other meat-fillled critters that walked, crawled, swam, or flew. He was confident that he could stomach whatever was served to him.

“What am I thinking?” John suddenly asked himself aloud. “Why am I getting used to the idea of staying here? I need to figure out why I’m here and try to convince whoever this warden is to let me go.” He heard someone laugh nearby; he looked toward the source and saw the uniformed man from earlier standing in front of his cell.

“You got your chance to say what you want to the warden, but don’t kid yourself into thinking he’ll let you off the hook just like that,” He said, punctuating his statement with a snap of his fingers. “Know this; nothing you say or do is ever getting you out. Not after what you did.” He told John who was immediately taken aback by his comments.

“What are you talking about?” John demanded. “I haven’t done anything wrong!”

“Save that crap for the warden; the fact you’re still alive is a mercy as far as I’m concerned.” He told him then ordered, “Now, stand up and make your way slowly toward me.”

John considered arguing with him, but he knew of nothing he could gain from trying to negotiate with the guard. He sulkily stood and took cautious steps forward; he also held up his hands in order to show he meant no harm. “See the nice gentleman at the end of the hallway?” The guard condescendingly asked as he pointed to the far end of the corridor.

John saw him and nodded his confirmation. “Walk toward him and remember that I’m only two steps behind you. Any funny business and…ZAP! Get it?” John no longer bothered speaking to the guard because nothing he said would be heard; he simply nodded once and followed instructions.


Last edited by John Dark on 9/21/2012, 2:22 pm; edited 4 times in total
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Re: meat (solo)

Post by John Dark on 9/18/2012, 4:46 pm

Dread wrote:John’s bare feet slapped audibly almost in time with his own heart beat as he walked more than half the length of the corridor. He tried remembering a time in his life when he had felt so vulnerable, helpless, and threatened. No such memory surfaced as he drew ever closer to the guard at the end of the hall. He wondered if it was because he was too scared to remember or because his fear had reached a new zenith.

He was being herded toward an unwelcome fate and he failed to delude himself into believing that his conference with the warden, whoever he was, would end well. He had to tell the man something; he had to know why had had been brought to such a horrible location. He could think of no one else who could help him, especially after his failed and desperate attempt to make contact with his teacher.

“That’s far enough!” The guard behind him snapped when John had come within fifteen feet of the other man in uniform. A gate, some inches higher than John’s height, was positioned just behind the second guard. It had been locked shut, which said something for the confidence and fearlessness of both guards. “Stand there and wait,” The guard from behind ordered.

The second guard held out a thin black rectangle that resembled a smart phone; it was the same device John saw the guard, who stood behind him, use before. The second guard was younger than the first by several years; he had full brown hair and eyes that matched. He pressed a finger to the illuminated screen, causing the gate to click loudly. “Proceed,” He said, but that one word had been directed more to the guard behind John than to him, the prisoner.

The older guard walked ahead of John and pushed the gate open, “Follow,” He simply ordered; John obeyed without comment.

He and his escort stepped onto a slab of concrete no more than a few square feet in size; they were surrounded on all sides, except one, by gleaming silver walls. There was no ceiling; just as it was in the corridor, bars crisscrossed one another above. The gate shut and locked behind them; John received the impression of being trapped in a cage with a dangerous animal willing and capable of tearing him apart. He shuddered. “This way,” His escort said; John turned to face him and saw that a door had slid open to his left.

They stepped into what looked like a small cage; when John looked either up or down, he saw lights lining what must have been an elevator shaft. The door slid shut behind them and the guard took a position beside John. The heat was worse inside the cage than back in his cell; the metal he stood upon stung his bare feet. If they were standing in an elevator, John saw no control panel, but he watched as the guard held out his black device and lightly touched a finger to the screen. He tapped it a second time and the elevator then began its ascent.

John kept his personal discovery to himself. He realized that the devices the guards held were universal controls to some, if not many or all, of the prison’s operations. He could not hope to escape via elevator unless he had one in his possession.

Were they also responsible for his electrical shocks? He doubted it because the device he wore responded automatically to certain circumstances such as him trying to power up, him tampering with or so much as touching the device, or him not following directions. The guards were not always around to monitor him such as during the night; at least he assumed most or all of them were away at night. If that was the case then their controls could not have activated the device around his neck while the other inmates slept.

The guards’ devices seemed to operate as master keys and if they were keys, could they at least disarm and remove the device on his neck? John thought it possible and because he had no intention of remaining locked away, he decided to at least try exploring the possibility.

He moved quickly so as to slam his body into the guard, but he received an electrical shock for the attempt. He collapsed helplessly; his fingers landed inches shy of the guard’s boots and the guard, himself, chuckled. “I will never get tired of seeing that,” He commented. “Let me guess, you thought you could get your hands on this?” He asked as he waved his device in front of John’s face.

“You may as well keep dreaming. Your suppressor registered your violent intent against me and down you went.” He punctuated the revelation with another laugh. "Get up," He commanded coldly and even helped John up by jerking him up onto his feet; John swayed until his back crashed against one side of the elevator to the guard's continued delight. "Don't rock the boat now; it's a long way down!" He joked in a failed attempt to instill more fear into his charge.

The elevator slowed to a stop, indicating it had finally reached its destination. A door slid open ahead of them just like before. The guard grabbed John roughly by the shoulder and shoved him forward. He stumbled onto a concrete slab, scraping his heated feet against it. The door slid shut behind him, leaving him alone. The guard had not joined him. He was surrounded on all sides by gleaming silver walls and he had less of an idea of where he was than when he first woke in his cell if that was even possible.

A door whooshed upward in front of him, revealing a most unexpected sight. “Come in, prisoner 1009630366.” John had forgotten that those were the same digits sewn onto his prison shirt, but he stepped forward anyway because there was no one else in sight to accept the invitation. “We have much to discuss.” He recognized the voice from the morning intercom announcements, but it sounded unnervingly inviting in person.

He stepped into a large carpeted room that would have appeared normal in a wealthy man’s home as his study. Shelves lined the wall to either side and those were filled with books. John glanced briefly at the titles; there was a definite diversity in material. Either the books served as decoration or the warden enjoyed reading anything from encyclopedias to young adult fiction to graphic novels to biographies and everything in between.

The room was well-furnished and not just for office visits. There was a couch and recliner near the entrance with an elaborately carved coffee table between them. It resembled a turtle with an entire island on its back. Who would dare risk staining such beauty with coffee or chipping it with mugs?

Toward the end of the room was an enormous wood desk behind which a man sat; John presumed he was the warden he heard about. He received a poor view of the man because of the window behind him and what glowed blindingly behind it. “Is that lava?” He asked with clear astonishment.

“Yes, but it cannot get in,” The warden answered. “This window is a good way to inform newcomers of where they stand.”

“Where is that?” John asked.

“Mt. Brig, an active volcano within which the most secure prison on Earth was constructed by no simple means.” The warden stated calmly. “It is where you will be staying for a very long time.”
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Re: meat (solo)

Post by John Dark on 9/18/2012, 7:27 pm

Dread wrote:“What are you talking about?” John demanded as he stepped deeper into the warden’s office. “Why have I been brought here? Why am I being treated like a prisoner? I don't belong here!”

“Do not feign ignorance in my presence!” The warden bellowed angrily. “Almost three days ago, my peers sensed two major power levels engaged in battle. Officers were sent to the area to investigate the disturbance and were given orders to report whether or not interference was required. They arrived too late. Yours was one of the power levels detected in that disaster and you were the only living thing found for hundreds of miles in any direction from where you were recovered.”

“Three days ago?” John repeated. “I’ve been out for more than two days?”

“You do not deny your involvement.” That clearly was not a question from the warden.

“Wait; did you say hundreds of miles?” John asked. “I knew she destroyed the forest, but it wasn’t that big. Just how large of an explosion did she make?”

The warden opened a drawer in his desk then retrieved a thin file from it. He tossed it onto his desk. “See for yourself the damage your battle wrought on this world.”

John approached slowly until he stood less than an arm’s length from the desk. He kept his eyes on the manila folder and flipped it open with one trembling and reluctant hand. It contained a detailed and printed report, but John skipped that. His eyes landed immediately on photographs of the devastations his opponent had caused. “That used to be a truck stop,” The warden commented as he pointed to one of the photos. “Those vehicles you see in these pictures here were once occupied. The people inside, adults and children AND infants, died horribly.”

John backed away in absolute horror. “No,” He gasped. “I did all I could to stop her. I should have killed her when I had the chance. This wasn’t supposed to happen!” He fell down onto his knees and sobbed uncontrollably. He eyed his hands for some time. “What good is this power of mine if all it does is destroys everything I care about?” He cried.

“Enough with the performance!” The warden shouted. “Did you honestly think you could gain my sympathy through such trickery? I have witnessed such antics before and I have no tolerance for people like you. It is time to get down to business as they say.”

The warden stood from his seat and walked around his desk. John remained on his knees and did not bother looking up, but the warden would not be ignored. He grabbed John’s chin with a powerful hand and forced him to look up so that their eyes met. “My name is Elijah Heat, but you may call me Warden Heat. I am the only thing in your world that is keeping you alive and I ask only for your obedience in return.”

Elijah Heat was a well-dressed and broad-shouldered individual. He stood more than a head taller than John by comparison. He had stark white hair, tan skin, and glaring red eyes. “You might as well know right now that I am not human,” He revealed. “I am an android; there is no need for me to hide it. I do not eat and I do not sleep. I do not even need recharging. I am always watching and I am always listening. I have eyes and ears everywhere. Everything in this prison is under my careful watch and constant control including your suppressor.” He released John’s chin and demonstrated his power over him.

Electricity coursed through his body until he collapsed onto his side and wriggled uselessly. “The guards stationed here deliver my instructions to prisoners like yourself. If you follow these instructions, your suffering for your crimes will be minimal. Any disobedience or reluctance on your part will result in additional suffering, but you seem to have already decided to learn that the hard way.” He said.

“You wake up at five-hundred sharp.” Warden Heat professionally continued. “Breakfast is served at five-thirty and ends at six-thirty. You will then be assigned a duty here at Mt. Brig; a guard will inform you of your assignment each day and will direct you to where you need to be to carry out your task. You will be redirected to the mess hall at thirteen-hundred. Lunch is served from thirteen-thirty to fourteen-thirty. At fourteen-thirty, all inmates are allowed ninety minutes in the recreation hall. At sixteen-hundred, you all return to your cells until twenty-hundred at which time you will wait to be directed to the mess hall for dinner. Dinner is served at twenty-thirty and ends at twenty-one-thirty. At twenty-one-thirty, inmates will be directed to the showers where you will receive and carry out instructions. You will return to your cell by no later than twenty-two-hundred or you will suffer consequences. Lights go out at twenty-three-hundred.” He spoke quickly then added, “I will announce these things daily. Unless you have any questions, you are dismissed.”

John automatically stood up and turned toward the exit; he did not need telling twice. The fight that had raged within him all his life had suddenly left him. His spirit felt irreparably broken. His involvement in things bigger than himself and his attempts at making things better for everyone had ended in disaster. People had died and it was his fault. He truly believed there was no place more fitting for the likes of him than where he had been delivered. He was in a prison submerged in fire. Was there a better metaphor on Earth for hell?

The door closed behind him and another one opened up in front of him. The same middle-aged guard from earlier waited for him on the elevator. “It’s a shame you missed breakfast,” He said sarcastically as John solemnly joined him. “Don’t feel too bad; you already have an assignment. We didn’t leave you out.”

“Why doesn't he just kill us?” John asked in all seriousness. “We’re all here for doing unforgiveable things; none of us deserve to live. Why does he let us? This prison...it's a complete waste of resources on people who don’t deserve it.”

The guard looked at him, wide-eyed; it was obvious he had never heard a prisoner talk like that. “Frontline is funny that way I guess,” He remarked, “Not, ‘ha-ha’ funny, mind you.” He said as the elevator began descending.

“What’s Frontline?” John asked; it was the first time he had ever heard of it.

“Not many people know of it, but Frontline is a small organization dedicated to protecting the planet and its inhabitants. Warden Heat is one of our strongest members, which only increases the impossibility of any prisoner ever escaping this place.” He answered proudly; John noticed he used the word "our", which meant either he was a member of Frontline or he was a liar.

“What’s the prison for?” John asked.

“The idea behind Frontline is to protect life and not end it. Mt. Brig is used to contain living threats to life on Earth that cannot be contained by regular prisons.” He answered.

They’re doing what I tried doing. John thought. They're tryng to protect life without killing people who threaten it, but are they actually succeeding?

“This is your stop.” The guard said just as the elevator began slowing. “You have laundry duty today.”
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Re: meat (solo)

Post by John Dark on 9/19/2012, 2:40 pm

Dread wrote:John exited the elevator as soon as a door slid open ahead of him. He stepped onto the concrete floor beyond where familiar silver-walled surroundings greeted him. The door behind him closed just before another one to his left opened up. A mechanical and continuous rumble issued from beyond the threshold. John needed to only look inside to identify the source of the noise and his discovery brought him no surprise. Industrial washing machines and clothes dryers lined a wall to his right. All of the machines hummed loudly and many of them visibly trembled from the force of their own operation. He solemnly passed through the doorway, which sealed shut as soon as he had cleared it.

The room was divided into two sections; the first section was a narrow space wide enough only to accommodate the machines, a long table, and a few prisoners. The area beyond the first section was a space filled with large carts, which all appeared to contain heaps of prison uniforms, towels, and bed sheets. There were already three other prisoners inside the room by the time John had arrived and none of them were human. They were all busily folding clean and dry items when he had entered; they all stared at him for a time then went back to work.

“What are you staring at?” An alien, who resembled a younger and fitter version of Kami, demanded.

John looked away without saying a word, but the green man decided to drag him into a conversation all the same. “I guess you’re the meat Koombur spoke about. I can’t see why they stuck you in his cell,” He commented. “You don’t look dangerous enough to be placed with the likes of him.” John eyed him questioningly, but said nothing. “Confused? It figures meat like you wouldn’t know they pair up all the most dangerous criminals together. It’s supposed to make it easier to keep an eye on us. Not that they need to since Heat’s got eyes everywhere.”

“Everyone at Mt. Brig is dangerous, but like me, you’re considered one of the most dangerous inmates around. Meat usually get tossed and kicked around like they’re nothing by the other inmates, but you’re different.” He continued talking as John started folding sheets. “You’re with Koombur and nobody’s going to touch you except him.” He snickered unpleasantly.

The revelation that John’s actions had already earned him severe notoriety at Mt. Brig only increased the weight of his guilt. The green stranger seemed pleased by his own status, however. “I don’t know why any of that matters,” John said.

“Excuse me?” The green man asked.

“As long as our suppressors are turned on, it doesn’t matter how strong or dangerous we were on the outside.” John said.

“The runts are wise to remember their place because things change,” The green man said with a glint in his eye.

“Are you hinting at a prison break?” John asked.

The green man chuckled then said, “You’ve got a lot to learn, meat.”

“My name is John,” John revealed.

“I’m Conch.” The green man announced. “It’s always good to get introductions out of the way before we talk.”

“Talk?” John repeated. “Talk about what?”

“Regular stuff like where you’re from and the things you liked about living before Mt. Brig.” Conch said. “It helps pass the time in here because that’s all we got in this place.”

“Oh,” John remarked, but resumed his silence after emitting that one syllable.

“I guess it’s up to me to break the ice.” Conch muttered. “Prisoners like to talk of home and I am no exception, so I guess that's as good of a topic as any. In case you haven’t already figured it out, I am not from Earth. I am a namekian and I come from the planet Namek.” He revealed.

“Namek has little to offer other than water, some vegetation, and endless warm days. It is much warmer on my world than it is on Earth because it has three stars instead of just one. It is, for the most part, undisturbed. My people live peacefully; they have basic homes, grow medicinal herbs to treat our sick, and record our history. They teach the young and tell stories, many of which are many times older than the elders themselves.” Conch said.

“It sounds tranquil,” John commented.

“It is,” Conch confirmed forlornly.

“Why did you leave?” John asked. “Why did you come to Earth?”

“That’s not something I like talking about. I told you already that I am talking about home,” Conch snapped. “I was a trained warrior on my planet and I was the pride of my village because there were few who could best me in single combat. We never fought to the death because my people abhor the taking of life. I had many friends and the children of our village always begged me to teach them how to be strong like me.” John wondered if he was simply boasting of things that had never happened, but he did not voice his opinion.

“You probably don’t believe me,” Conch said as though he had read John’s mind. “It’s okay, you don’t have to take my word for it, but I’m sticking to my story. I had a great life, but even if I could go back in time and make things different, I probably wouldn’t.” The confession unnerved John.

“Would you repeat what you did that brought you here?” John asked in all seriousness.

“I don’t care about your world or your people, John,” Conch told him. “I am not like other namekians.”

“How so?” John wondered.

“A true warrior has the power to change things and to end things, but the warriors of my planet become complacent and waste their talents and skills on pointless sport. It is forbidden for a namekian warrior to use his powers for much else. I have the kind of power to make things happen for me and to get things I want. It’s mine to use, right? I’m the only one with the right to choose how it is used and I chose to use it for myself. If people get hurt because of it then it’s their fault for getting in my way or for being too weak to save themselves.” Conch explained.

John believed he had heard enough from the namekian. If he ever had any doubts about the policies and operations of Mt. Brig, they left him as soon as he heard Conch’s view on power. John had been tempted to use his power selfishly and equally tempted to allow others suffer in his wake. He had resisted such temptations, but even that had not been enough to save him.

“I’ll be honest with you John,” Conch continued speaking. “Your people are incredibly weak and fragile; I have learned just how easily a roomful of your kind can perish. It’s a miracle that you humans have lasted this long. It’s almost as if all the people of Earth are just begging to be destroyed.”

John dropped the sheet he had picked up to fold then grabbed onto the front of Conch’s shirt and slammed his back against a washing machine. He instinctively held a hand out in front of Conch’s face and, to the surprise of everyone in the room, a black ki blast formed in front of his palm. “How are you doing this?” Conch fearfully asked. “Your suppressor must be malfunctioning.”

John released Conch then allowed the black orb between his hand and the namekian’s petrified face to vanish. He then twisted Conch around so that he faced the glass door of the machine. “Look at yourself!” He demanded. “You are no different from those you hurt. You experience fear just like the rest of us! Your power makes you responsible for life. NOT SUPERIOR TO IT!” He banged Conch’s head against the washer then released him.

“Why didn’t you kill me?” Conch asked after he slumped to the floor.

“Because it is not my place to take life; I do not delude myself into thinking I am more than a man.” John answered before he returned to his laundry duty.

How did I summon my energy without the shock? He wondered; he knew he would have to guard himself because he could only assume others would try exploiting him once word got out about what he could do. He did not even know if he could repeat the performance.
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Re: meat (solo)

Post by John Dark on 9/19/2012, 6:57 pm

Dread wrote:Conch and the other two prisoners working alongside John had engaged in conversation, but John tuned them out and kept to himself. He had nothing to say to the likes of them and it pained him to know he was one of them. I am no better than these people. He thought for the umpteenth time.

Hours passed when, all at once, the machines in the room simultaneously stopped. The exit opened up and revealed a pair of guards on the other side. Conch and the two other prisoners shoved John aside as they made their way toward the exit. John decided to follow them and remembered that Warden Heat had mentioned something about lunch being served after prison duties.

One guard escorted prisoners one at a time onto the elevator while the second remained behind to ensure the limitation of one passenger per trip. Conch went first and was followed, some minutes later, by one of the other prisoners. John was the last among his group to board the elevator and both guards joined him. The guards chatted to one another about their families and homes. John surmised that home was as popular of a subject among the prison’s staff as it was among its prisoners.

The elevator stopped and a door opened in front of John; the doorway led directly into a white-lit cafeteria the size of a basketball court. John stepped forward onto the tiled floor ahead and saw that prisoners had already formed a massive line at the opposite end of the mess hall. John walked in between a row of metal tables and saw that stools had been bolted securely to their undersides. He understood at once that Mt. Brig reduced the number of makeshift weapons available to prisoners as much as possible.

“John! Over here!” Someone shouted, he looked toward the familiar voice and noticed Koombur standing at the front of the line. “Get over here!” He shouted.

Dozens of prisoners of varying shapes, sizes, and colors stared at John, unnerving him with their gazes. He walked forward and expected someone to cut him off, but no one ever did. Conch had been right all along about Koombur’s prison status. When he arrived, he saw that Conch had also made it to the front. He whispered something to Koombur and received a slap on the back for whatever it was he had said. Koombur’s laughter boomed throughout the mess hall.

“Heat’s just got a twisted sense of humor; you know that he controls the suppressors and watches the prisoners around the clock. He probably just wanted to see what John would do to you." Koombur spoke, but Conch did not look at all convinced. "Oh, hey, John! Looks like you and Conch already met. That’ll make things a little easier for us.”

John noticed five others gathered ahead of him, none of whom were taller than Koombur. “He can’t be trusted!” Conch objected. “He’s probably a spy working for the warden.”

A kanassan male stood among them and looked thoughtfully toward John. “B’lem vouches for him,” Koombur said as he pointed a thumb toward the kanassan.

We should continue this conversation telepathically; I have included John in our link. John heard a gruff voice in his head and it surprised him to say the least. Relax, John. I am B’lem; whatever you wish to say, please say it with only your mind. The warden has ears everywhere. He forewarned.

John considered speaking verbally to them regardless of the request. He had nothing but harsh feelings for Conch, and he found himself despising Koombur and B’lem by association. He still had several questions to which he needed answers, however. He eventually decided to play their game for a little while. I thought telepathic communication was impossible- John began, but Conch cut him off.

You humans should learn that nothing is impossible and that includes telepathy.

I already possess psychic abilities. John told everyone included in the link. I tried using mine to contact someone last night, but it did not work. I gave up trying to use telepathy after that because I thought the suppressors blocked me somehow.

Try as they might, Frontline cannot keep prisoners from communicating in this manner inside the prison, but the prison walls prevent any messages from getting out. B’lem revealed.

I was beginning to figure it worked like that. John messaged them.

You’re a resourceful person, John. An unfamiliar voice entered John’s head. “Look over here,” The same cheerful voice called out to him verbally.

John did not need to look far to find himself staring at one of the only other human prisoners he had seen at Mt. Brig. He was much older than John, but still within his prime. He had dusty blond hair and a thin mustache. He was taller than John only by a few inches, but so were many others, placing the man at average height for a human. He was also physically fit, but John had not yet encountered a prisoner who did not possess some amount of bulging muscle here or there.

My name is Paul and I am the leader of this band; it’s great to finally meet you John. He introduced himself. B’lem said you would come and, as always, he was right! You make eight and that means we’ll finally be able to get out of this hell hole.

Leader? Eight? What are you talking about? John asked.

Let’s get some lunch first and sit down so we can have a proper conversation. Paul suggested warmly. In the meantime, you might want to get to know the other members of the team.

“I’m Zinkin,” Someone with a nasally voice said from behind; John turned around and faced a short-statured saiyan whose hair came only up to his forehead. “I might be small, but I assure you that I am just as strong as my pal, Koombur.”

“That might be true if these collars were off,” Koombur joked, but no one laughed and Zinkin only shrugged.

“I am Frigid,” Hissed a pink-fleshed alien.

His body appeared to be covered in certain areas with some kind of organic armor that featured shining violet plates. Gleaming black horns jutted out from the sides of his head and a thick sinewy tail extended from his backside that tapered to a hardened and sharp point. He was even shorter than Zinkin, but John knew that was no factor in determining a person’s power. “You’re not acquainted with many species, are you?” Frigid asked. “My kind are called changelings; we are named as such because we have many forms.”

“My name is Wretch,” A skeletally thin figure spoke with a terrifyingly deep guttural tone.

Wretch was almost as tall as Koombur himself, but was not nearly as large. Glimmering red skin covered his entire body except for his head, which looked like a fleshless bleached skull of some demonic creature. Yellow sunken eyes glowed within a pair of dark sockets. A monstrous muzzle protruded forth and contained many enormous and frighteningly sharp teeth along its front and sides. Two dark slits positioned atop his muzzle appeared to serve as his nose; wisps of smoke issued from them. His arms hung low so that the knuckles of his black talon-like fingers almost dragged across the floor. “In case you were wondering, I am a demon,” Wretch revealed.

“I never would have guessed,” John muttered.
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Re: meat (solo)

Post by John Dark on 9/20/2012, 5:56 pm

Dread wrote:A large rolling metal door rose slowly in front of the assembly with a sort of buzzing hum. It clicked to a stop as soon as it had disappeared almost completely into the wall. The seven people standing ahead of John stepped forward and he followed them. His stomach then chose that moment to growl loudly; he had not eaten anything in days. He could not even remember that last meal he had.

The procession moved quickly, but there was hardly anything ahead of John other than a thigh-high slab of metal the breadth of a large table. There were bare plastic separation trays and equally empty plastic cups stacked atop the slab. John observed Paul and the others in his group grab cups and trays. They all stood still for a few seconds when, as if by magic, food appeared on their trays and liquid occupied their once empty cups. “How did you do that?” John asked aloud.

B’lem answered him telepathically. Kanassan technology was installed in this section of the prison to accommodate the various diets of all prisoners. All you have to do is imagine what you want to eat and, as long as it’s on the warden’s approved list, special particles in this area will become whatever it is that you ordered. It’s best to limit your choices to finger food because there are no eating utensils; Heat considers them too dangerous among prisoners.

John had experienced such technology before on B’lem’s home world. On Mt. Brig, however, that technology was severely limited in order to prevent prisoners from acquiring something that could be used as a weapon. John had to admit that it was a convenient manner in which to cater to every prisoner’s dietary needs. There was no need for the involvement of additional staff just to keep them all fed either.

John visualized ice-cold orange juice filling his glass to the brim and watched as the very thing he had imagined appeared in his cup. B’lem suggested he reduce his meal options to finger food. John imagined fresh chocolate chip cookies and four foot-long sandwiches packed with salami, pepperoni, smoked ham, Swiss cheese, pepper-jack cheese, and provolone cheese; he picked spicy mustard and a dash of vinaigrette for his condiments. He finally ordered crunchy potato chips on the side. His tray looked overburdened after his imagination had become reality.

John had not realized that he had stalled, but people behind him started swarming him grumpily. Many of them said some things in their respective native languages at him and none of what they uttered sounded pleasant. John swallowed his orange juice quickly, imagined a refill, and then exited the line. “John! Over here!” He looked to where he heard Paul shouting his name; he and his “band” were sitting by themselves at a bench near the pick-up area.

He walked over to what looked like their exclusive table and sat down across from Conch who glared at John. The namekian had taken only two glasses of water and John eyed him questioningly. “Aren’t you hungry?” He asked.

“This is all I need,” Conch told him.

“You’ll starve,” John said.

“No, I won’t,” Conch persisted. “Namekians only need water to survive.”

“Convenient,” John admitted, but quickly added, “Sad, but convenient.”

Koombur and Zinkin had opted for trays piled high with bleeding meat that looked as though it had hardly been cooked at all. They had already started devouring chunks of flesh as though racing one another to the finish. John’s appetite took an immediate dive. It continued declining when he looked away because he saw crab-like creatures scuttling across Frigid’s tray. He seemed to delight in chasing the helpless creatures with his fingers, dragging their frantic forms from the tray, and popping them into his mouth to crush the life out of them with his teeth; he consumed them, shells and all.

“How did you get something alive?” He asked.

“You can’t be serious,” Frigid spoke back at him. “All food has to come from something alive. What kind of molecules do you think they use in this place? Did you honestly think your food came from nothing at all? They break down all kinds of plants and animals into highly responsive molecules. Kanassan technology simply allows our thoughts to reconfigure those molecules and chemically alter them to suit our desires. I happened to reconfigure shellfish molecules back into living shellfish. You can’t just get something for nothing, silly man.”

John glowered back at him; he severely despised having anyone talk down to him, especially after all the insults he had endured from his teacher. He controlled his temper and managed to ignore Frigid by looking to what the others in their group had called “lunch”. B’lem had already finished eating and nothing remained on his tray or in his glass. John then recoiled in absolute horror when he witnessed Wretch feasting upon a bleeding goat’s head situated atop a mound of thick writhing maggots. Wretch growled at him when he noticed John staring at him.

Paul appeared undisturbed by the eating habits and tastes of his comrades. He ate seasoned fried chicken with relish and had buttered biscuits on the side. His glass contained sizzling dark liquid in which ice cubes floated; John identified it as soda. Paul’s meal served as a small piece of normalcy in his upturned life that helped John relax. He finally managed to start eating one of his sandwiches; his starving belly thanked him for the first swallow and immediately demanded more.

I would like to be the first to welcome our newest member, John, into the High Rollers. Paul messaged everyone at the table.

The High Rollers? John questioned.

I still say we can’t trust him! Conch snapped. He’ll mess everything up with his ideas. You weren’t there to hear him talk about how-

Your concerns are noted, Conch. Paul interjected. We all have our reasons for being here. We are all of different worlds. We were all raised differently and we came to believe in different things. These things, these differences give us no reason to turn on one another, especially when we need one another. Conch grumbled, but made no further argument.

I have already foreseen John’s arrival. My visions have revealed that he will help us. B’lem told Conch, but even the word of a psychic did not help change the way the namekian looked at John.

What are the High Rollers? John asked.

You are such a simpleton. Frigid insulted him. We are the High Rollers, dimwit. You, apparently, are one of us. I honestly don’t see how you can be of any help to us.

You know as well as I do that we need no less than eight people for our plan to succeed. We need four teams of two to make sure the jobs are all done right and without interference. Paul told them all; he sounded incredibly irritated.

Which is all the more reason why we should really find out if he is of any use to us like your precious psychic dog claims. Wretch joined in on their conversation at last. I propose we test him and then vote on whether or not we keep him in our circle.

You know I am right here and can hear everything you guys are talking about, right? Quit talking like I’m not even here. John demanded. Was a little respect too much to ask for from his fellow inmates?

I like the idea of testing the meat. Koombur messaged, ignoring John completely.

Me too. Zinkin simply announced. Sounds fair enough if you ask me.

A test will prove to you that I am right about this one. Let us do it. Conch quickly supplemented his opinion.

Paul grimaced then look to Frigid and mentally asked, What do you think, Frigid? He did not sound like he cared at all for the changeling’s opinion and John actually wondered why.

You know me, Paul. I always enjoy watching a worm squirm. Frigid drove his point across by picking up a helpless crab from his plate by one of its pincers. It free pincer snapped around one of his fingers as its legs wriggled helplessly, but the changeling only smiled as though the shellfish had tickled him.

Fine then. Paul conceded. We will test him at fifteen-hundred, but I propose a wager. He paused for dramatic effect. If John passes, and I know he will, all of you who voted against me have to eat boiled leather for dinner tonight. I’ll whip it up for you while you all take your seats. He grinned at them all.

I don’t eat. Conch complained.

I know about your kind, namekian. Paul told him. You don’t have to eat, but you can still eat for pleasure. That’s why your kind have mouths with teeth and tongues instead of suckers. He put his lips together and started making sucking noises, mocking the namekian; Conch glared back at him, but the others laughed including John who couldn’t help himself.

And if he fails? Frigid asks.

Then I will let you all draw lots on who will kill John. Paul proposed; his High Rollers immediately approved of the idea.
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