skonen_blades: (dark)
I’m a guard at a prison where my identical twin is being held.

It’s embarrassing.

Management wants to send me away because of the obvious conflict of interest but I don’t want to go. I grew up here. I don’t want to move to a different city or get a new job at my age.

Also, I’d never help my twin escape this place. I feel betrayed by him. Hard work got me to where I am today.

Shortcuts, stupidity, and getting caught got him where he is.

Yet he’s got my genes. It’s unsettling. What does that say about me?

He doesn’t say much to me. No insults or overt aggression. My twin just looks at me, not sadly but worryingly content. Like he rolled the dice and lost but at least he rolled the dice. His fellow prisoners are his tribe, his kind. I am the trespasser here, the visitor.

I like me. I like my life, my marriage, my children, my house. I like the path of moderation I’ve taken. I like my safe friendships, my frugal shopping habits, my polite laugh. I like them a lot. I take vacations every two years with Linda and we enjoy the time away but look forward to coming back.

Lately, I’ve been reminding myself how much I like my life. Every day. It worries me how much I tell this to myself.

And my twin says nothing. Just keeps looking at me with a knowing grin and a shake of his head like I’m the one that screwed up. Like a father’s knowing glance at a child’s obvious mistake. No admonition or rancor, just a look. A look of love but tinged with a bit of pity.

I am the man in uniform. I am the man with the gun. I am the man with the government on my side. I am the man with the life that spells out victory in terms of society.

But my twin’s look makes me feel like he’s free and somehow, even though I’m free to leave this place, I’m the one in prison.




tags
skonen_blades: (dark)
No one misses prisoners with life sentences. That was the key. Mars was turned into a prison planet.

NASA had set up fledgling terraformed domes on Mars and teleportation technology was a reality. After a life sentence was passed on a criminal for a crime, they were teleported to Mars.

There, they were put to work as slave labour. It was astounding what humans could do once they set their minds to it.

Leroy Jenkins was being escorted to the teleportation chamber by two burly guards. He’d been found guilty of killing three families in upstate New York. His sentence was life imprisonment on Mars. He was walked in chains into the capsule that would scramble his atoms and rearrange them on Mars.

“I’ll find a way back here, bitches.” He said to the guards as they finished strapping him into the sender.

The guards smiled politely and left the room. A scientist came in to operate the machine.

“You got a wife and kids, egghead? I’ll kill them. Just you see. I’ll make friends up there. We’ll hijack a ship and come back. You’re a dead man.” He snarled.

The scientist smiled. “You think so Leory? You know, I’ve never told anyone this but I worked on the terraforming domes up there. That’s why I’m happy to throw the switch.”

Leroy tilted his head like a dog to listen to the scientist’s words. There was something not quite right about his attitude.

“They said that it would take centuries to make viable settlements on Mars. Centuries. That’s how long it will take. The process could be automated but it would take decades before a human could breathe unaided. You know what?”

Leroy stared coldly at the scientist.

“They were right.” He said, staring at Leroy. His smile was gone now. “We do have teleportation technology. What we lied about was the terraforming. We’re beaming you prisoners to mars but there’s nothing there. We’re thinning the herd.”

He threw the switch and Leroy screamed. The tang of ozone hung in the air and Leroy’s molecules zipped through space to the receiving station on Mars. A receiving station set outside of the domes on the naked surface.

The one thing Mars needed most for the next century was fertilizer.




tags
skonen_blades: (Default)
It was the physical changes that were the hardest to get used to.

I’m not just talking about the year of physiotherapy. I’m talking about the grey hairs. I’m talking about the soft skin. That and the gradual finding out that life has passed you by. People looked at you and nodded but that close trust was gone. The connection was severed. Parties, deaths, deals, power struggles, marriages, births. They’d all gone on while you slept. You showed up years later with canes and an older body.

There were no prison visits. There were no gyms. It was a snap of the fingers and they took years away. Parole for good behaviour didn’t exist. For guys that had been sentenced to really hard time, it was a slow execution.

You get caught, you go under. That had become the answer to the prison crisis. People were put on trial, sentenced, and given a shot. They were slotted into a sleep chamber in a penal hotel somewhere to carry out their sentence in a dreamless sleep. Sleeping uglies with no prince. The liberals loved the humane aspect of it all, the conservatives loved the cruelty of it all, and the general populace had a nice, happy image of cons sleeping like babies. Everyone wins.

When a criminal’s time was done, they were woken up. The light on the front of their chamber changed from red to green with a little ‘ding’ sound, just like a toaster oven telling the cook that the pizza inside was done.

Muscles do a little shrinkage if you don’t move them for a few years, even with the electrical stimulus in the coffins. It’s really painful to get those muscles working again. It takes a long time.

But like I said, that wasn’t the hard part. I’d been under for twenty years. I went in when I was twenty-six. I’m forty-six now. When I went in, I had the body of an athlete. My memories were full of sex, murder, fights, and running from the cops in a body that did it easily. Those memories end, in my mind, about six weeks ago.

I don’t recognize the cars or the fashions. I walk so slow.

I looked up my old gang friends. All dead except for three of them. Those three took pity on me and gave me some cash but I could tell from the look in their eyes that they’d never let me back into the syndicate.

I looked up my old girlfriends. Couldn’t find any of them. Names changed because they got married or they’d died as well. None of us led a good life out here. We all wanted to die young and most of us got our wish granted.

I feel like a ghost. Time to make some new friends. I didn’t have the faintest idea where to begin.

I could feel the need to commit a crime and go back to sleep twisting around inside my head like a hot wire.

I felt too weak to deal with this new life.



tags
skonen_blades: (gasface)
I had a notion of war orphans being owned by the state and experimented on to become super heroes but that maybe a few of them became WAY more powerful than the scientists had predicted. So now they're in dark prisons with crazy security FAR under the Earth waiting to escape. But it occured to me as a poem. See what you think.

-

Mom played the harp, Dad played the gun.
He was a soldier, I was their son.
Mom left for Heaven. Dad left for hell.
He fought in the war, and he fought well.

Now I’m an orphan, one amongst few
Kept from the world, stuck here with you
The orphans of war, kept by the state
Kept from the papers, behind a gate.

They work on us here. They give us names.
My name is Cobalt. Your name is Flames.
We, too, are soldiers, I read your mind
I’m in the next room, hoping to find

A way out of here. A door. A hole.
A crack they forgot. I am a mole.
You burn the planet. I’ll kill the brain.
Together we’ll be. We’ll rule the rain.

Monarchs of new Earth. One king and queen.
Eaters of planets. Reigning obscene.
For now, though we wait. Here in the dark.
I am the petrol. You are the spark.



tags
skonen_blades: (cocky)
Beaten to death with a floorboard. It’s a guy thing. I wouldn’t even say that it was spur-of-the-moment. I wouldn’t even recognize the term. The charges were spun out of wool, the jury was deaf and mean, and three consecutive life sentences later, they still don’t know why I’m not dead.

I made a deal that turns these cell bars into a xylophone for tin cups. The grandson of the judge that sentenced me sits on the bench now, following in his grandfather’s footsteps. Black hair, eager-eyed and ready to practice some law. He should have made shoes for horses. He has the arms of a blacksmith and no head for law.

He has this idea that right and wrong had a place in the courtroom. He was going to be ground down over a lifetime.

My room mate was a barrel of muscle, barely contained by the orange jumpsuit that we all wore. He was thick where I was thin. I knew that if he took a mind to make me more than just a friend, I wouldn’t be able to stop him. However, he never talked and he never laid a hand on me. It was five weeks into his sentence and I still didn’t even know his name. I liked it. It was like a game.

We learn to do without clocks in here.

The thing about deals with demons that need sacrifices is that they usually screw you over, genie-style. Here I am, immortal, and I’m in jail. To keep being immortal, I need to sacrifice a soul to the Dark Minion every six years. Coincidentally, I am also up for parole every six years. I know that this has been arranged by forces beyond my control and that there are smug smiles in Hell.

One day before my scheduled parole hearing. I need to say the prayers, recite the words, sharpen a toothbrush, walk into the courtyard, and kill someone. The actually killing doesn’t need to be complicated, it’s the words beforehand and the trance that are important.

If I don’t do it, I will age centuries over the course of a couple of days and turn into dust. To survive, I need to totally screw any chance of parole.

Hilarious, right? Yeah, I think so, too.

I’ve read everything in this library. I’m starting to think of this prison as my house. The guards keep coming and going as do the judges. By keeping my head down, no one has noticed me. I think that it might have something to do with the incantation as well. If anyone noticed that I wasn’t dead and it had been over a century, they’d probably do experiments on me and treat me like a savior. Hell will keep me from being noticed.

I listen to my cellmate snore.




tags
skonen_blades: (borg)
The best way to put them in limbo without alerting them is to put them in an airport.

If we intercept an agent and need to take him offline to dig through his secrets, we’ll put his conscious mind into The Airport. The Airport is a virtual reality structure as large as the continent of Europe. The hallways are long, the escalators are quiet, and it’s populated with constructs of stewards and passengers all rushing along to their destination.

The agent is given a boarding pass with a flight number that is posted on the direction boards. Through busses, terminals, elevators, hallways, check-in desks, security points, delays, re-scheduling, and loops, it’s possible to keep an agent’s mind walking with no suspicion for up to three days.

Something happens to a human mind in an airport. Time becomes meaningless. Connections to other people take on an abstract feel. Everyone feels like they are in the country of In Transit. They are uprooted from home and have become a traveling message, a shipment of themselves on their way to somewhere. They are on their way back or their way there but they are not 'here'.

It’s easy to keep their minds a little foggy about the details. It’s natural.

No alarms go off in their home country's head offices as long as they’re kept conscious. The Airport does the trick. We can go in and perform counter-espionage on their subconscious mind and memories while they blithely look for the proper gate for their flight.

Their mind wanders. They amuse themselves.

It’s only after a few days of delays that they start to suspect. That and trying to have anything resembling a deep conversation with fellow travelers. After they realize that the people in the fake world are about as deep as a puddle, the suspicion starts in and the illusion is generally discovered within a few hours.

It becomes as unstable as a dream at that point and we better be finished our work by then.

We can have them wake up with a hangover in a hotel room and be none the wiser.




tags
skonen_blades: (didyoujust)
It was China that finally did it.

So little was known about explosive decompression of the human body in space. There had been assumptions and guesses but nothing had happened yet in terms of accidents to give the scientists any bodies to study.

China’s space program was also curious.

It also happened to have ten criminals that it had condemned to death and were in good enough physical condition to qualify as astronauts.

They were strapped into their roller coaster chairs and kept in the cargo bay of the shuttle. Funny how the government didn’t balk at the idea of how much ten bodies would cost them in terms of fuel but they felt it was okay to skimp on anesthetic.

China’s government wasn’t doing it completely independently. They had been caught early on in the planning. After some top-secret political wrangling, the other two major governments of Earth had given China the silent go-ahead with the proviso that they share their data. They’d condemn the action if it ever came to light but other than that, they wouldn’t interfere. The information would be valuable and no one except China had the balls to do something like this.

And since there were no civilians up in space at the moment, eyewitnesses would be scarce.

The chairs were fitted with restraints bolted to the floor of the cargo bay. At no point would the prisoners be released. They’d simple be exposed to the vacuum of space for ten minutes and then the cargo bay would close and the shuttle would head back down to Earth.

Simple. Easy. Effective.

Like all horrible plans.

First of all, two of the criminals were adept at escaping locks. Second of all, space agencies weren’t as good at designing criminal restraints as prisons were. Third of all, the plan was to do the mission in radio silence. And fourth, the shuttles these days were mostly automated except for landing.

Weng Pen got out first when the G’s stopped. Pei Sheng followed suit. They freed the others.

One of the crew needed to do a final check on the how many prisoners had survived lift off before the decompression. If only he’d checked the video feeds coming from the bay.

That open door was all the prisoners needed.

The prisoners surged forth, overwhelmimg the crew. They killed them or rendered them unconscious. The prisoners strapped the five crew members into the chairs.

The criminals gathered into the cockpit and watched the red numbers count down with smiles on their faces.

The doors opened. Ten minutes passed. The doors closed. The ship turned slowly on its pre-programmed course back to China.

The dead bodies of the crew were the first images that ground control saw when the ship was back within accepted broadcast range parameters.

The other thing they saw was the laughing faces of the prisoners in the cockpit as manual control was restored to them for the landing.

One hard right later, the entire shuttle port and ninety government officials were ionized gas in the crater of the shuttle’s impact.

That was six years ago.

The rest of the governments of Earth are still waiting for an accident to provide them with what happens upon an explosive decompression.




tags
skonen_blades: (nyeeehaha)
Twelve broken payphones. That’s all of them.

Frustrating calls with soon-to-be-ex wives, questioning children, lawyers losing interest in appeals, and girlfriends giving bad news. The wall is streaked with black scuffmarks from the plastic handsets. The phones are screwed to the wall in a scarred, silent monolithic bank.

The prison can afford new payphones every six months.

The men just can’t control themselves. You can tell how well the inmates are doing or how close to overflow the population is by the number of broken phones.

All twelve were working once in 1993. That was a record. It was a great summer. The weather was an unbroken but mild stretch of sunny days. The men played cards, chatted softly, and the guards had no reason to act like guards. That was a great summer.

We got as high as eight working phones for a whole week in 98. Ironically, that was during a week of heavy rain. Everyone was so despondent from the unrelenting darkness and damp that phone calls seemed unimportant.

Right now, there are no phones working and we won’t get a new one for at least twenty days. The inmates are crowded three to a cell. There are only two beds in each room. There has been a casualty at ‘lights out’ twice in the last three days. It’s not pretty.

No phone calls means that we might be looking at a riot.

I can see the phones from my desk. I named them after every attendee of the Last Supper. It changes up, depending. Jesus is always the first one to be repaired and Judas is always the twelfth phone to break.

They’re looking at me now. Cables dangling at different lengths with exposed, colourful wires poking out blind from the silver cords. Every handset is missing. They scream silently with frustration. The prison has been turned up to eleven and there is no way for the inmates to call outside.

Out of hearing, out of mind. The prison has become their world now and it’s July and no one has any room. The prison is an oven. These are all men who are here because of their poor impulse control and anger issues.

The guards don’t wear their cel phones while they do their rounds right now and they have their pepper spray uncapped and good to go.

We’re all very tense. We’re all very silent.

Twelve broken payphones.



tags
skonen_blades: (blurg)
There are those that believe that life is an island.

A land-locked existence in which birth is the only way to enter and death is the only way to leave. Perhaps a bad place, perhaps a paradise, but definitely a closed system while we’re here.

I disagree entirely. I think that life is a prison break from that place. Life is swimming away from that island to an unknowable shore. It’s an endurance test that lasts exactly one liftime.

And there are sharks.



tags
skonen_blades: (cocky)
All the world’s a stage.

We broke into the theater and spent the night trying on costumes in the darkness while the actors slept.
We were villains spun from failed expectations and crushed hopes. We were heroes with dark secrets. We were conferring emperors. We were slaves on the run. We were all kinds of lovers.
Kabuki grease paint ran off our kissed faces in rivers of mixing colour.
Only by hiding were we free.

They found us like that. Naked, embarrassed, smiling at their shock and outrage, tangled and sprawled on a pile of simple identities. We’d performed without an audience. We weren’t allowed to be there. They surrounded us and sent for the authorities.

We were a giggling flesh spider, too lost in the joy of abandon to care about the upcoming punishment.

Trespassing in a playhouse was a serious offence.

I think about that night often. It occurs to me here as I count the bars. My eyes have adjusted to the darkness. The only costumes I have now are in my imagination.

It’s a question we’re all faced with at one point or another. Is one night worth a lifetime?

I still don’t know the answer.



tags
skonen_blades: (hluuurg)
The tension during visiting time is intense. The eye-sex that happens in prison visiting rooms is like none other on Earth. The rooms are awash with pheromones. It’s a foggy stink that attacks the sex centers of the mind.

When a person inside prison receives visitors, they can’t touch. No physical contact is allowed.

This is tough on people that are in love and visiting each other.

In London, back before the turn of the century, each touch was worth a demerit. Guards made tick marks on pieces of paper to denote the number of touches. Twelve marks were worth an extra year inside the jail.

There were jokes based around inmate’s sentences. “If you keep visiting me, I’m never getting outta here.” was a famous line of the time.

Guards came up with a code. X’s for kisses, O’s for hugs. If a kiss or a hug went over ten seconds, another mark was added.

Mail between inmates and their partners on the outside became signed with X’s and O’s in a sarcastic thumbing of the nose to the guards. "This is how many kisses and hugs I'm giving you. This is how much time you're worth." those crosses and circles said.

It’s where we get those symbols.



tags
skonen_blades: (heymac)
Her name was Burgundy Copyright.

Witchdoctor Doom was in the room with her. He lifted her summer dress up past her trembling thighs. The more control she tried to exert on her body, the less control she had. She had capitalist thoughts. It was dirty light that struggled to get into the room. Greasy, orange curtains filtered it cigarette-yellow before it splashed on the red shag carpet.

Too hot. Too hot. Burgundy felt like a bug.

Ugly bedside lamp. Ugly wood paneling walls. Ugly man in front of her. Still, the drugs wouldn’t let her sweat.

The clanking of the struggling air conditioner banged a tattoo that drowned out the world outside.

Witch’s strong hands kneaded her flesh like a housewife testing produce in a grocery store.

Burgundy was on parole. This was too far. This was too much. She couldn’t leave, though.

In prison, the world outside had seemed like a kind of heaven. Nothing could be as bad as prison, she had thought. All the fighting, the triads, the sides, the long nights. She saw people die right in front of her. Twitching like fish on a bank and spilling surprising amounts of blood. As rough as her life had been before that, she had never seen a person die. She’d seen bodies, but not death.

On the outside and on parole. So what? Being pretty, every guy she met saw an opportunity. She was a failed person. Life was different here. People felt no need to be nice to her or to treat her with respect once they found out she was an ex-con.

Witchdoctor stood up, his ribs poking through his thin skin. Heat came off him. He was high and dry. Deep, fast-heart breathing and barely capable of speech. He shuddered at every touch. So did Burgundy.

The money was on the table. She was violating her conditions by having sex for money while on drugs.

She felt exuberantly indifferent. A born-loser freefall acceptance of fate.

Hard life. Hard landing.



tags
skonen_blades: (notdrunk)
It started, as these things always do, with a kiss.

Advice is useless to the young. That is their curse and their strength. They have no idea that some of the things that they attempt are impossible. That’s why an alarmingly high percentage of them succeed.

Like Jonas Brigand, sitting in a cheap metal chair in a prison cube waiting room, starting at his watch, currently waiting for his girlfriend to get out of prison.

“Times are tough in the colonies” goes the song. Young men and women were subject to the same set of laws as the adults. With the ability to breed came responsibility. It was too harsh a world to even consider doing it otherwise.

Once society had been set up, once the terraforming tents were a memory and the world was green, the new generations would be fat and slow on the world that the hardpack settlers like Jonas Brigand and his girlfriend had made for them.

The scars on his hands stared mutely back at him. He was fourteen. His girl, Jayley Cordsmith, was sixteen. Her body was just as strong and scarred as his.

She was pulling six days for drunk and disorderly. Six days of pay gone. She have to work a month of doubles to get that back. She’d do it, too.

Jonas had the beginnings of a manbeard. His flat nose was the result of beatings from the ones that reared him and a life of never backing down.

Jayley had the short dreads of a hullpatcher and was missing a pinky on her left hand. Jonas thought of her working with her hammer belt in the hot sun. She’d be seventeen in Quadrember but he’d be sixteen two months earlier. For two months, they’d be the same age.

For two months, their drinking, mating, and eating privileges would be equal. They’d both have one ‘drop the charges’ card each to use as they saw fit. They could do anything that didn’t result in a loss of life or the damage of company property.

Jonas usually punched a supervisor. It was a popular choice.

Now Jonas wasn’t sure there would be any more cards or privileges for Jayley at all.

Jayley had decided that she was unhappy with the system and stopped going to work. They’d thrown her in the clink almost immediately.

Strike was a forbidden action. It couldn’t be tolerated. There were always one or two people that started the talk once the project neared completion but that was a decade off. Besides, Jayley loved to work.

The door at the end of the hall clicked and hissed. The hatchratchet spun and the door creaked open.

Jayley ran through. Jonas stood up and caught her in his arms.

She was missing a tooth and she had a black eye but her eyes shimmered with the usual angry light.

“We have to take them down, Jonas. We have to make this place ours.” She said.

They hadn’t even come close to breaking her.

Then she kissed him.









tags
skonen_blades: (notdrunk)
I learned to trade those days I spent in prison for days in my mind. The stories I came up with to avoid feeling incarcerated got me through six years. That’s a lot of days. That’s a lot of stories.

Hardened con turned author. That’s what it says on the dust jackets of my books. I write murder mystery thrillers, mostly. Variations on a theme. I was put in jail for murder.

I had been arrested, found guilty and sentenced for killing a young woman as she walked home from work. I knew the details of the case intimately. Over and over again, the details had been force-fed to the jury in front of me as my court-appointed attorney looked sideways at me and did nothing.

I remember her mother’s tears, her father’s stony stare as he willed himself not to kill me with his bare hands, and the pictures of her body splayed out on the path under the broken streetlight. She was a pretty woman, even in death.

I suppose I should tell you now about what I look like. I’m very, very tall and naturally strong. I lost an eye when I was a child playing in the schoolyard and I had horrible acne growing up. To say that I was ugly would be charitable. I’m hideous.

Coupled with my size, a lot of people think I’m terrifying. It sells a lot of books.

I’d been in fights before but I really learned to fight in prison. I was in there for killing a young, attractive woman and cons look down on that. I had six knife wounds. One for each year, I thought to myself, as I did up my tie in the bathroom.

I had a press conference to get to downstairs in one of the hotel’s banquet halls. It was for the release of my latest book, Dancing for Death. It was the story of a serial killer that only targeted ballerinas. I wasn’t crazy about the title but my agent always had a nice way of saying that my audience, while lucrative, wasn’t all about the ‘high art’ and would likely shy away from book titled Swan Song.

I offered to call it Swan Song of Blood but my agent just laughed.

I make good money and I’d survived this long so I wasn’t complaining. The writing came easy.

There was a knock at the door.

Must be the breakfast I ordered, I thought, and went to answer the door.





tags
skonen_blades: (dark)
We caught prisoners and took out one of their lungs. In the resulting space, we packed in a lot of explosives and a tracker.

Before that, we’d beat the prisoners senseless and abuse them so that they were in no shape to register or notice that they’d been operated on.

We weakened part of the fence outside and purposefully told seven of the brand new guards about the faulty security pads near the weakened fence. Then it was just a game of waiting.

They were always so daring. Information was bought off of the new guards and rescue operations were planned.

Late at night, they’d come out of the woods, dressed in black, and silently kill the power to the lights in that sector. They’d come through the weak part of the fence and punch the proper numbers into the faulty keypad.

They’d rescue the prisoners and run back through the fence.

We’d watch the tracker dots on our screens for days until they stopped in one place for more than two days.

Then we’d press the button.

The hidden lung would blow up and take out a whole nest of rebels.

So far, we’ve done it sixteen times. They just never learn.


tags
skonen_blades: (appreciate)
“What’s your cel number?” she asked me.

This is a memory. This is a memory of the night of my downfall. I remember going to the bar with six of my friends. We all had a few bottles of beer before we went. I remember wanting to go home early because I had to work the next day but I was young. So young. I knew I’d be able to do it. And the guys that were with me wouldn’t let me leave without making fun of me.

“What’s your cel number?” she asked me.

She was just over five feet tall, dark skin, big eyes, and broad, swimmer’s shoulders. She was an athletic girl by the looks of it, possibly a gymnast. I was tall, she was short. As Avril Lavigne would say, can I make it any more obvious?

We talked for an hour, danced a few songs, and left the guys back in the club. I drove. I was drunk. We crashed. She died. Her name was Angela.

I went to jail.

That was fourteen years ago. I sustained head injuries in the crash that scrambled my memories. I only remember things by accident now, never on purpose. It’s all stream-of-consciousness with one memory sparking off another by association and almost never in a linear way.

I remember the night I killed her every time I get lost in this prison and have to ask a guard how to get back to my wing.

“What’s your cell number?” they ask me.





tags
skonen_blades: (didyoujust)
The correctional facility did not work for me.

I left the building with the need to make up for lost time.

I waited exactly one day and sixteen hours before I grabbed someone and dragged him into an alley to resume work on cleaning the world like I was destined to do.

I guess the cops didn’t tell me about the remote probation device they’d installed in me.

I had my hand drawn back to start working on this terrified man the way the voices had directed when all of a sudden my body felt like it was on fire. My muscles spasmed and I collapsed to the ground in the dirty alley amongst the needles, newspaper and grease.

I stayed there for half an hour. People went through my pockets and found nothing. They stole my shoes.

I woke up angry.

I punched the dumpster beside me, denting it with my hands. My body erupted in searing pain again as I did this. My muscles spasmed and I collapsed to the ground for a second time.

The probation device was wired to my body’s pulse and respiratory system. It was wired to my brain waves.

I needed to remain calm and positive or I would be shocked into convulsions again.

No problem.

I practiced on cats and stray dogs for three months.

Now I can kill an animal with no change in my heartbeat or breathing. I can do it with nothing but positive thoughts in my head. The creator would be proud.

All the time I’ve been practicing on the animals, the voices have been demanding I resume my job. They don’t understand about the probation device. It’s maddening. It’s been torture knowing that I can’t resume my work until I perfect my innermost emotions.

It’s time now. I’m ready to do a human.

I leave the front door of the cave of boxes I’ve made in my squat like a trap door spider coming into daylight.

For the second time in my life, I feel like I’ve been released from prison.

I have to make up for lost time.


tags
skonen_blades: (didyoujust)
Paul was being kept in prison on the outer shell of the station. One wall of his tiny cell was just open space. The gravitair field kept the heat, oxygen, pressure and gravity in but all he had to do was push off and he’d float through the intangible field and into the endless speckled black.

No atmosphere obscured the lights. They didn’t twinkle. The stars beamed with the constant intensity of a lover’s gaze. A giant purple watercolour nebula twisted it’s way into the top left corner of what Paul had come to think of as his cel’s ‘viewport’.

There was a large binary system off to the right that Paul had to go right up to the edge to see. There was a pulsar almost dead center that flashed like a strobe light. The variety and intensity of colours was astounding. Reds, blues, oranges, and yellows competed with the white for dominance. The blackness of the void was almost banished.

At times, it looked to Paul like a mind crushing example of eternity. Other times, it flattened in his mind to look like a painting and nothing more.

Every eight hours, a spherical bag of nutrients and a spherical bag of water pushed out from a slot in the wall.

After eating and drinking, Paul flicked the empty bags on a journey through the gravitair field into eternal space. More often that not, he’d push them slowly and have an internal bet on which one would break through the field first on their slow, lazy spin to the black. The longest race took two hours.

Paul was scared.

The station had been attacked nearly seven weeks ago and had stopped spinning. The gravitair field was no longer generating its own energy without the spin. Whatever reactor this station had was running on emergency power.

Paul wasn’t familiar with this station. Maybe he had eighty years. Maybe he had a few more weeks.

All he knew that if that any of his captors had survived the attack, they would have either killed him or transported him to another prison by now. All of his pleas to the camera and to the communication panel on the door had been met with silence. The chances were high that he was here as long as the automated systems took to run down to static.

His options were two. Wait or fly.


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skonen_blades: (dark)
If they weren’t so far away, we might have gotten there in time.

I looked at the curves and sweeps of the painted letters on the page in my hand. The ink was running in places from the melting snow. It was painting a familiar picture. Devolving chaos. No leadership. Lax managers. A request for help.

They didn’t have enough food for the coming winter and the food that they did have wasn’t properly stored.

This used to be a prison. Now it was a charnel house.

People do desperate things when supplies are running out. First they mutiny. After that, they try to solve the problem of supplies. If the problem of supplies can’t be fixed, they turn their attention to the problem of demand.

The problem of demand was solved. They only had food for a quarter of the inmates. Three quarters of the prison’s population was killed.

We’d received the letter three weeks ago. By caravan, it had taken us a week to get here. It was all over now.

The victors had turned on each other. During the fighting, the windows had been smashed, fuel had been used up as weaponry rather than to keep the fires going, and the survivors had frozen to death.

The tundra was no longer kept at bay from the prison. Snow drifts lapped all the way up to the top lips of the walls. It would be a perfect opportunity to escape if there were any inmates left alive or somewhere for them to escape to.

This building was a mausoleum. A failed experiment. A cold abattoir.

The only help we could offer here was to count the dead, turn our horses around and make the long trek home.

I remembered the warm hard pale curves of my Jenny and saw them echoed in the endless white hills around us.

I told the men to saddle up.



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skonen_blades: (haBUUH)
This is the opposite of solitary confinement. It’s called tearing down the firewalls. They’ve removed my filters.

The receivers in our heads are tuned to accept the messages of friends. They are tuned to receive only the transmissions of the channels we’ve subscribed to.

My headcase was cracked after the sentence and my CPTU was virussed.

They brought the noise.

I’m stumbling through the streets with a rage of static in my head. Every trivial conversation is mine to overhear. Every phone call. Every voicemail. Every e-mail. Every h-mail. Every advertisement in the midst of every show on every one of the millions of the 24 hour-a-day channels. There is no rest. There is no pause. I have learned to sleep with this noise.

From every major network down to every teenager’s pirate station. They didn’t install any codebreakers so every encrypted message hisses like static. There are a lot of them. In front of my eyes flicker pictures overlaid on pictures.

I am blind and deaf with data. My own thoughts are only one layer amongst billions.

They will turn it off by remote three months from now.

Or I may turn it off before them. Permanently.



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