Friday, June 20, 2014

The Games - Part 1

Fiction Friday! If Eve-O fiction is not your thing try, erm........this 'short video'.

This piece originally started out as an attempt to write a 500-word piece for Seismic Stans fiction competition. That didn't work out so well. However I thought the idea might have legs...


The Games

Samar woke with a splitting headache. He lay still not risking to move. He'd been out the night before, a bar and then he ended up in a Gallente club. He been drinking and... A woman! He'd met this smoking hot Matari woman who almost pounced on him. She had come onto him strong and... He couldn't remember. He opened his eyes, he was laying on the floor in an unfamiliar room. He sat up and saw nobody was there. The room looked like something from an old starship or station. However it hadn't been used in decades by the look of it. He rose unsteadily to his feet, using a rusted conduit as support.

"Don't say I blew it with that hot chick because I drank too much" he muttered to himself.

As he approached the door he noticed a small datapad on the floor. He picked it up and noted there were two countdown timers running. The first had only three minutes left, the second one was static at two hours. A flashing icon indicated there was message waiting. Samar pressed the icon and read.

Dear Contestant, welcome to The Games. The rules are very simple. You are confined to your room until the first timer completes. That gives you and everyone else time to wake up. At that point your door will unlock and you are free to wander around the orbital tower. The second countdown will start at this point. When that reaches zero the tower self-destructs. There is a single two-man escape pod hidden somewhere in the tower. The winner or winners, there can be two, will be who doesn't die. Good luck!

Samar look at the message in horror. What sick game was this? A whispered voice made him jump.

"Hello?"

He turned to the direction the voice came from and saw a ventilation grill.

"Is someone there?" the female voice whispered.

Samar approached the grill he could see a dimly lit room the other side. A woman was crouched down. She was Caldari and wearing a short dress and heels. She looked like she had just been plucked from some high-class cocktail party.

"Who are you?" Samar whispered.

"I am Zhilan. Is this for real? I mean what the datapad says." the woman asked.

"I don't know, but for now we need to act like it is. How did you get here?"

"I was..... well, I was meeting a couple of people. I got handed a drink. Next thing I remember is... well I awoke here!" she replied.

"Was one of the people you met a Matari woman?"

"Yes. Dark complexion, long black hair. In her 30's I'd guess but very attractive."

Samar assumed it was the same woman who had captured him. She had been busy.

He jumped as a loud click indicated the door had unlocked. He stashed the datapad in his pocket and crashed out of the door into the dimly lit corridor. He looked both ways and froze when he saw another man looking back at him. The two men stared at each other for a few seconds before the stranger started sprinting at Samar howling in rage. The words on the datapad repeated in Samar’s head. One pod, only two winners. As the sprinting man neared, Samar grabbed a section of rusty pipe that was leaning against the wall and set it against the charging man. The charging man couldn't stop in time and crashed into Samar, the pipe skewering him through the chest. His momentum carried him until he was nose to nose with Samar, a look of horror was etched on the man's face. Samar dropped the pipe and the attacker collapsed to the ground gasping. A noise behind him made Samar spin around, the woman in the room next door has entered the corridor and looked in horror at the man on the floor.

"He decided to try and make less competition for that escape pod. I, on the other hand, think we need to work together. Up for an alliance?"

Zhilan just nodded still staring at the corpse.

-o0o-

Excited chatter spread through the assembled party as they watched on the big screen the Amarrian man being skewered by the pipe. On the wall one of the twelve portraits faded to a deep red.

The room was dimly lit. It was difficult to make out who the guests were, which was the point. Some sat in darkened booths, others stood in the shadows. A few were obviously not as bothered about their privacy and mingled in the centre of the room as waiters with trays of champagne flutes walked past.

A Matari woman in an elegant cocktail dress crossed the room to a smiling Caldari man.

“Congratulations Ambassador, you made a good choice. It appears your contestant will do well. You know, I recruited that one myself.”

“Thank you Madame Xarna. It looks like I could be celebrating tonight! I thought the odds on him of 5:1 looked good.”

The two turned back to the wall of screens as a smartly dressed waiter passed with a tray full of drinks. The larger main screen still tracked Samar as he walked down the corridor hand-in-hand with Zhilan, the surrounding screens showing his remaining competitors.

-o0o-

"Is that the first time you have killed someone?" Zhilan asked quietly as they walked briskly down the corridor.

Samar just kept going, his eyes scanning for threats.

"No, it wasn't." he replied at last, not looking at her.

"Were you in the armed forces then?" she asked, he voice becoming unsteady.

Samar paused, wondering how to answer. He decided there was no point lying.

"In another life I wasn't a very nice person. I was an angry young man. I did a lot of things I am not proud of. I did my time, paid for my crimes and started a new life. I am a starship mechanic now. I left a life of crime behind over a decade ago."

He felt the grip on his hand loosen as if she was about to let go. She then tightened it again.

They rounded a corner and Samar found what he was looking for. A sign on a door stated it was a server room. He opened the door, pulled Zhilan inside and closed the door. He released her hand and went over to the console. He started tapping away on the keyboard.

"What are you doing?"

"I'm trying to find out where we are and if I can get a signal to call for help. According to this we are on an old Matari orbital control tower. Looks like its been abandoned for a good few years. Comms are down, cannot access any of the dishes. I assume who ever put us here disabled them or cut the hard-lines. Same with internal sensors. Damn. No clue to where that damn pod is."


Samar tried a few more times before he gave up. He took Zhilan hand and opened the door a crack. When he was sure the corridor was still clear he led her out and continued.

"Looking at the deck numbers I think we're on the upper part of the tower. I'm guessing they put some of us up here and some in the bottom deck. The pod is probably in the middle. I'm only guessing though." he whispered as they walked.

After a few more metres Zhilan pointed to a door. "Look!"

A blinking datapad was attached to the door. A new shining silver deadbolt had been affixed to the door recently. Samar read the message on the datapad.

"Dear Contestant. This is a bonus room! The escape pod is not in here. What there is in here is something dangerous and also something very helpful. It is entirely your choice whether to enter this room. We promise the item in here is helpful but nothing here is for free. Good luck."

Samar stood and thought. He'd got lucky with that first guy, he doubted the others would be so stupid. If he could get an advantage it would certainly help. His hand hovered over the bolt securing the door and paused.

"Stand back." he told Zhilan.

Slowly he slid the bolt back and swung the door inwards. The room was dark. At the back of the room was a pedestal illuminated with a bright spotlight. On the top was a box. Samar glanced around but the room was too dark. He saw an old wrench laying near the door and picked it up. Slowly he entered the room. All he could hear was the rhythmic dripping of a leaking pipe and the thud of his own heartbeat in his ears. Slowly he moved through the room, holding the wrench ready. He progressed slowly towards the pedestal. By pure luck he was looking down as his leg crossed an almost invisible laser beam. He saw the bright green dot on his leg a second before there was a click. He stepped back just in time as a red laser swept in front of him. A crash of metal-on-metal resounded through the room. Samar looked in horror at the wrench that he had been holding in front of him. It had been sliced by the laser, a glowing end of molten metal on the handle was all he held now. A few inches more and he'd have lost his arm, or a foot. A few more inches and his body would have been sliced in two. He carefully stepped over the laser and retrieved the box. As he lifted the box the rooms lights came on. Even through the laser appeared to have been deactivated he took no chances when crossing that point and carefully stepped over the location. He rejoined Zhilan and opened the box. A piece of paper lay on top of a number of items.

"This is a level 1 reward. Higher levels give higher rewards but also the rooms contain deadlier threats. Good luck, you are on your way to resolving your past wrongs!".

Samar tossed the paper and removed the items. There was a bottle of water, some energy bars and a small flick knife. He opened the knife up and looked at the three inch blade.

"Well I suppose its better than nothing." he muttered and retracted the blade before sticking it in his pocket. He took a sip from the water bottle and passed it along with an energy bar to Zhilan.

"Lets keep moving."

-o0o-

"I'd like to buy in again. Half a million on the woman who is with the man who killed my first choice" the man said. Xarna simply nodded and tapped a few commands into her datapad. She handed the pad to the man and he pressed his thumb onto the sensor to confirm the translation.

"It is always a disappointment when your player goes out of the game so early your Eminence. I hope she does better."

The Cardinal nodded at Xarna and went quiet. She took this as a sign to move away. She glanced up at the monitors. With a few commands on her datapad she swapped the main screen so it focused on two of the other contestants. This was about to get interesting for her guests.

-o0o-

Samar and Zhilan heard the scream ahead. Whilst they picked up the pace they didn't run just in case they barrelled head-first into trouble. Samar glanced around the corner of the corridor holding Zhilan back. He saw two people struggling on the floor ahead. One man and one woman. He retrieved the knife and turned the corner. It was clear the man was trying to assault the woman.

"Hey, asshole!" Samar called. The man who was struggling to remove his pants looked around. He scampered to his feet.

"This is nothing to do with you. Move on friend." he snarled.

Samar could see the woman crawling away. Most of her clothing was ripped and she had a split lip which dripped a thin trail of blood down her chin. Samar turned his attention to the man. A crude 'R' had been carved into his right cheek in the distant past.

"Sorry, but I rarely take instructions from dick-less men whose only way to be with a woman is to force them."

The stranger started to advance, fists clenched. Samar widened his stance slightly and discretely moved the knife. The man started to jog which then turned into a sprint. Within a few seconds was on Samar. He swung a mighty punch at Samar's head which he easily dodged. The man continued his charge for a few more steps and stopped in the junction of the corridors.

He slowly turned to face Zhilan who looked at the half dressed man in horror. He looked confused, took a step forward towards her, trying to speak and fell face first to the deck plate. The small knife was buried in the back of his neck. Samar came back and rolled the man over after retrieving the knife to check his pockets. Zhilan stood over them.

"What happened to his face?" she asked as Samar searched the corpse.

"He's been in prison. Other inmates did that to him. The only thing a lag hates more than a nonce is a rapist."

After ensuring the man carried nothing of interest they went back to find the woman. She was hugging her knees behind a crate in the corridor.

"STAY AWAY!" she screamed as they approached.

"We aren't going to hurt you." Samar said in a soothing tone.

"Yes you will! You are with her! There are already two of you! No room for a third! You two want the escape pod together! No room for another." she ranted standing. "Yes I've done wrong to you Michael" she screamed in the air "But I don't deserve this! I know its because of you. It can only be you!"

With that she ran at Zhilan and tried to strike her. Samar grabbed her wrist as she swung it.

"Calm down!" he yelled and pushed her back.

She charged again and he pushed harder. She stumbled and fell backwards against the crate. There was a sickening crack has her head twisted. She fell lifelessly to the floor.

Samar grabbed Zhilan hand. "Come on, lets go." he said with a sadness.

-o0o-

The chatter in the room grew again as two more portraits faded to blood red. Xarna smiled and left the room via side door. The short corridor was lined with plush carpets and art on the walls. What you couldn't see was the state of the art sound dampening technology. The occupants of the next room could riot and once a few steps down the corridor you wouldn't hear them. This was imperative as the operation needed to keep the occupants of the next room in the dark about what was happening a few dozen metres away. The next room was quieter than the last but laid out similar. Several people were seated watching the screens. Xarna walked over to one of them.

"Would you like to depart now Mr Gegan or can I offer you some refreshments."

"I think I'll leave and I've told you before, call my Michael." replied the man.

"Are you satisfied with the service? I know it was an unexpected outcome."

The man called Michael hesitated as if in thought.

"To be honest I would have preferred it if that other man had taken my money-grabbing, cheating ex-wife by force and then killed her slowly. However in the end that bitch got what she deserved and I guess thats what I paid for. So thank you."

"As you will recall we cannot guarantee anything. All we can give you is that in The Games there is little chance of survival and a lot of terror."

The man nodded and left the room via another door.

Next Xarna walked over to an older woman. She was sobbing in a chair.

"Mrs Lieel. Can I get you anything?" she asked placing a comforting hand on her shoulder.

"No thank you." sniffled the old lady. "Are you sure that bastard is dead?"

Xarna retrieved a datapad from her pocket and passed it to the old lady.

"See. We have hi-tech bio-scanners so we can monitor all of our contestants. The knife he received in the neck penetrated his spine. He suffered a full-body paralysis. His mind was still functioning, but he couldn't breathe. He slowly suffocated, unable to move."

"Good!" said the old woman. "After what that animal did to my daughter that is the least he deservers. 6 years in jail for what he did? That wasn't justice, this is justice. Best 50,000 I've ever spent."

Xarna stood as the old woman rose.

"Thank you my dear. Thank you for serving proper justice." With that the old lady left via the same door as Michael.

Xarna surveyed the room. There were now three empty seats and nine people left. Nine people who wanted justice, or revenge. It was time to get the Game Maker to speed things up. The old Matari control tower had a lot more dangers carefully installed in it than just the other contestants.

To be continued....

1 comment:

  1. Love it. So glad you decided to expand your story

    ReplyDelete