Beneath The Darkness (SciFi Fiction : Part Two of Two)
It would be an excruciating twenty minutes before the inmates found out the result of Cooper’s risky gambit. The door to the cell block swung open and through it, to gleeful whoops and cheers, came Cooper. Blood all over him, blade still in hand, Rez breathed a sigh of relief.
“Cooper! Cooper! Cooper! Cooper!” the room exploded, the rowdy crowd of men giddy with excitement. Never had their freedom felt so within reach.
“You were right Rez!” Cooper voice boomed, “removing his head? A little ambitious!”
Laughter and cheering ensued. It was unlike Rez to celebrate any kind of violence but he found himself swept up in the moment. Celebrating their captor’s demise with rabid enthusiasm. Their revolution had begun.
The process of freeing their fellow conspirators was even more fraught with argument then Rez had worried. Caught up in the delirious excitement, Cooper was insisting that all the prisoners be freed. Something him and Rez had explicitly agreed against. Sure, most of the inhabitants of these cells were innocent. But some, by their own admission no less, were dangerous and violent. Rez had heard the stories from their own mouths. Cooper now argued they were victims of circumstance. He went from cell to cell releasing everyone, whipping them up into a frenzied excitement.
Unable to have a private conversation with his friend, Rez played along. It disturbed him that the plan was now somewhat murky. In the short time he had got to know him, he’d learnt that Cooper was sometimes a victim of his own wild emotions, and this circumstance had triggered a quite chaotic reaction. Disunity, he decided, would make the situation more turbulent still. He had to play along, hope the adrenaline driving his friend’s actions would subside before they had to storm the launch pad and get off planet. The fact that their carefully crafted scheme had gone off track before its planned beginning did not fill him with confidence.
Standing uncomfortably in the crazed crowd, Rez watched blood-soaked Cooper position himself at the front. There was still a wildness in his eyes, but he appeared to at least have caught a breath.
“OK, some of you weren’t in on our little adventure, for that I apologize. But now it’s the time is here, there is no more need for cowardice,” Cooper waved his blade in the air, “no need for fear! Freedom stands right in front of us!”
The soon-to-be ex-convicts jumped and cheered.
“Where are the guards?” a concerned looking, less enthusiastic man, standing at the back called out.
“Fear not my friend. Although we are leaving a little early, a bought guard is a bought guard. They won’t be bothering us,” Cooper explained confidently.
He gestured to the door and the men poured out the room, past the deserted guard posts, and into the corridor outside. Rez was pleased to see Cooper stay behind the group, they needed to update the plan. His friend walked over and put his arm around his shoulders.
“Follow me Rez, I found a little something in the warden’s office. Slight change of plan.”
Rez, although unimpressed with the last-minute alterations, was relieved to get some time alone with his friend. The two sneaked into the warden’s office, and there in the middle of the floor was a pool of blood, but no warden. Instead a trail of blood led to the corner of the room. The two looked at each other, surprised, and immediately darted off to see where the warden had fled.
Under the desk in the corner of the office they found a hatch, the smears of blood clearly showed the warden’s method of escape.
“With this much blood loss, he won’t get far,” Rez remarked.
“He dies, that was the plan,” Cooper gripped his arm, “I’m finishing it, you don't have to..."
“Who knows what’s in his secret hideaway. You’re not going in there alone,” Rez interrupted, and started to climb through the hatch. “Besides, I bet he hides his Almakrian brandy down here. Something for the journey.”
The two laughed as Rez slipped through, the hatch slamming behind him.
Rez stumbled to his knees as he landed on the uneven floor of the cavern beneath. Pulling himself up, he walked cautiously forward, unable to see much. The only source of light was scruffy, old oil lamp hanging on the wall. It was a larger space than he’d assumed, not just a little hole for the warden to scurry into. There was an open door across the other side from hatch. The warden must have fled there, "was probably a route to the surface", he thought to himself.
Cooper landed with an inelegant thud behind him, but before Rez had time to greet him an all too familiar voice echoed from the shadows.
"Do you know what powers these mines?”
“Enough bullshit warden. Come out, face us,” Rez snapped back.
He turned to Cooper who was, uncharacteristically, hanging back.
The warden walked out of the darkness, he looked straight past Rez and grinned at Cooper.
“My, my, that is rather a lot of blood I appear to have lost,” he turned around full circle, arms in the air, displaying no signs of injury, or blood stains. His gaze wandered back to Rez, “I asked you a question inmate.”
As the warden stepped forward, Rez shuffled backwards slightly, looking over his shoulder at Cooper. His friend just stood there, an expression on his face that Rez could not quite read.
“Hope”, the warden sneered at Rez, then chuckled to himself, “electricity helps for sure.”
Rez shoved Copper, trying to get is attention, but his friend simply walked off and stood at the warden’s side. Now standing to attention, blank expression on his face.
“Fear will only get you so far, you see,” he continued, looking down momentarily as if in deep thought. “Suffering? Suffering motivates only so much. But hope? Well, hope is an invaluable resource for my operation.”
Rez stomach churned, as he looked around in a panic he noticed five armed guards were standing just through the open door on the other side of the room.
“Overkill I know,” the warden smirked casually, “but if there were no audience then the value of this charade would be.....”
He tailed off and turned to face Cooper.
“Your time is served, you are free to join your family in the outer colonies. Your parent’s wealth will be released by the end of the week. Your service to the nation is valued more than you will ever know. Move forward my friend. The territories of our great sovereign stand stronger with you amongst us. "
Rez screamed at the top of his lungs and ran at the warden, only to be met with a fist to the face from his old friend Cooper.
“Traitor!” he spat out the blood from his mouth, climbed to his feet and charged both Cooper and the warden this time.
The guard who stood at the front of the group stepped quickly forward and, without hesitation, fired two precise shots into Rez’s back. As Rez sunk to his knees, blood dripping from the side of his mouth, the warden tilted his head slightly, and leant over to whisper in his ear.
“No. A loyal soldier. Just as you are in your own way.” He shoved Rez to the ground. “The news of your escape will bring much a much-needed new positive energy to our facility. Just as the motivational notion of freedom has recently. I thank you too for your service.”
Rez opened his mouth to rage back, but found nothing came out.
“Guard Birchen! Step forward!” the warden barked at the guard who had just fired his weapon.
Rez watched the well-rehearsed routine as he slowly drifted away. The hope that had motivated him, drove his fellow inmates, and, without his knowledge the guards, was now no longer a part of him. He watched his old friend Cooper hand over his outfit to the next undercover guard.
The clock was resetting, the regime cyclical. His planned escape, their well plotted rebellion, just part of the apparatus which he had though he was fighting. He had fuelled the fire he rallied against. There was no escape, never was. No escape. No freedom. No hope.
Thanks for reading! Longest thing I've posted so far, hope you enjoyed it.
Should have something new up soon.