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Shadows and Chains (Jordan)

Satiri Khai

Member
Writer
[SIZE=10pt]On a little travelled star lane on the fringes of the known galaxy there is a place that few visits and fewer still choose to. The place of which I speak is on a desolate world of barren rock spotted with resilient flora that looks as if it would blow away like ash if one were to speak above a whisper, and is filled with people whose sole desire is to be anywhere else. This lonely place is called prison facility 27195.446-12, and houses some of the worst criminals and unluckiest fools the galaxy has to offer. [/SIZE]

[SIZE=10pt]The prison, despite its nature, provides the galaxy with large quantities of minerals and salts, and it does it on the backs of the unfortunate errant beings that find themselves on the wrong side of the law. [/SIZE]

[SIZE=10pt]There are no fences and the cold grey buildings are after the fashion of an empire long since removed but far from forgotten. The prison is run on a cold unforgiving fusion of technological advancement and rudimentary methods to keep the miserable souls of the prison in check, while providing the guards the comforts that are common to their station. [/SIZE]

[SIZE=10pt]It is here that we find a man that through misfortune had come to reside has a slave to the law in the prison. Was he perhaps bound unjustly? No, for he was guilty of committing a crime, and though it was a crime nearly any man might commit in the same circumstances, it was no less criminal. So the law that protects the one can condemn the other just as quickly. The Man of whom we here refer was nearing his middle years, and with many years of laboring and straining in chains he was quite thick with muscle. His hands were large and his fingers thick like sausages and attached to these hands were arms that were encased in an equally meaty manner. He had broad shoulders and a wide back that tapered to the narrow waist of a man accustomed to missing meals more often than catching them. He was hairy as one may guess of a prisoner with a thick brown beard but nearly shaved head. The hair of his head was shaved as all the prisoners heads were. He was not a tall man and yet his form was impressive. He rarely spoke except to answer a question and was more often looking at the floor than at the sky. His melancholy manner and tragic history however was all summed up in his hard sad eyes. The fierce look that was projected from those two orbs were like windows into the depths of his person. In his past he had killed another man’s animal to feed his starving siblings. He was poor and hungry but never had he taken a thing that was not gained by the sweat from his brow until there was no work and the wailing of hungry brothers and sisters pushed him to his limit. Instead of being treated with mercy he was sent to prison and his family left to fend for themselves. Twice he tried to escape and return to his duties of providing for his dead parents children and twice he was caught and returned to the prison. The anger, the pain, the misery, and the sorrow were all expressed in the one glance into this man’s eyes. [/SIZE]

[SIZE=10pt]He sat, as usual when the day’s work was through, upon a pallet of wood with rags for sheets, slightly newer rags for clothing, and gazed at the ceiling that was now bathed in shadow. He sighed as men with no hope are often driven to do when they are confronted with silence and darkness, but not with sleep. His thoughts were still after these fifteen years turned to the family that he had lost and been torn from. He had longed to save them, and instead condemned them instead. What could he hope for now? He had no reason to live, no reason to care or love. The only flicker of light in his dark trouble mind was that one day he may go and find the siblings still alive. [/SIZE]
 

Satiri Khai

Member
Writer
[SIZE=10pt]“One more year,” the man rasped to himself with a voice that was seldom used, “One more year to end my sentence.” [/SIZE]

[SIZE=10pt]It was true, he had served his terms and now had only a year left to survive. He knew he would go straight home but how he didn’t know, and what he would find excited in him as much dread as it did hope. Would they know it was him if they saw him? Would they care to know him after so long an absence? Would they even be alive? So many questions of this kind tormented his mind that he almost longed for the brutal work of the mines as a means of clearing his thoughts. [/SIZE]

[SIZE=10pt]The sun, as it always seems to do, returned to its post more quickly than the man would have liked, and the cell door crashed open. [/SIZE]

[SIZE=10pt]“Prisoner 24601, report to the quarry for today’s assignment.” said the guard.[/SIZE]

[SIZE=10pt]“Will I not eat again today?” The prisoner asked in a low sullen voice.[/SIZE]

[SIZE=10pt]“Sorry Jordan,” The guard said in an equally low voice, “We all have our orders.” [/SIZE]

[SIZE=10pt]Jordan rose slowly and moved toward the door where the guard attached a heavy chain to the prisoner’s wrist and to the durasteel collar around his neck then lead him to the quarry. Once there Jordan was chained to a grey wall and given a large long handled hammer and shown a pile of large stones. [/SIZE]

[SIZE=10pt]“Make me some gravel.” said the quarry sergeant with a chuckle. [/SIZE]

[SIZE=10pt]Jordan said nothing and merely set about doing as he was told. The huge hammer was raised and dropped upon one stone after another. All the while his heavy heart sank lower and lower into its bitter despair.[/SIZE]
 

Satiri Khai

Member
Writer
[SIZE=medium]The dull crack of the Hammer against the stones was an almost pleasant sound when compared to the sound of his own thoughts in his ears. The hammer lifted and fell upon the large stones and made them smaller, and bit by bit the job grew closer to completion. As his body grew tired and the pile of stones grew smaller the bitterness and worry subsided and gave way to the hope for sleep and maybe something to eat. [/SIZE]

[SIZE=medium]After several hours another inmate came by with water and Jordan drank it gratefully. It is funny how good something taste when it is longed for, and how tasteless something can be when it is unappreciated. It was only water, and not very clean water at that, but to the thirsty, hungry convict it was the elixir of life. [/SIZE]

[SIZE=medium]It wasn’t much longer that the whistle blew and the inmates were gathered together and ushered off to their cells. Each prisoner had his own 5 X 9 room with a small cot, and to here it was they all returned. Jordan sat on his cot and lean his back against the duracrete wall. An hour passed and a small plate of food was slid beneath the door. To a free and fed person it would have been an insult to be given the plate of bread and strip of tough meat, but Jordan fell upon it like a nexu on a gizka. The thing that proved true for the water proved double for the food, and the man ate eagerly. The meager meal was not fresh and not good by any standards, but “Hunger is the best sauce” for no poor man eats without joy. Jordan slid the plate back into the hall, curled up on his cot and waited for blessed sleep to find him. Jordan did not have a long wait before fatigue closed his eyes and he drifted away. Where does one go when sleep takes them? Some go to far off lands others to fanciful utopias, but Jordan merely went home, for where else would the hopeless soul go, if not to where hope was last felt. [/SIZE]
 

Satiri Khai

Member
Writer
[SIZE=medium]The cold feel of the hard cot at his back and the dull ache of loneliness were all he had after the day’s work was finished. He had been slowly nursing a desire to get free and see his family again, but he always feared the worst. His eyes were closed as he thought of his starving brother and sister. Their faces dirty and red from cold and their little hands stuffed in the frayed pockets of their clothing. For many in the galaxy the constant wars were big business, but for others, like Jordan and his family, war spelt famine, sickness, and death, often in that order. [/SIZE]

[SIZE=medium]Jordan rolled onto his side and pulled his coarse blanket over his shoulders. The tears that he fought back when he thought of his family had not escaped for a long time but today their strength was greater than his and the raced from his clenched eyes. [/SIZE]

[SIZE=medium]If someone had been near they may have heard the bitter sobs of a broken man, but there was no one near and there was no one to hear him. The only constants in his tattered world were the shadows and chains. [/SIZE]
 

Satiri Khai

Member
Writer
So his life continued, by day he would enjoy laboring numbness and by night he would lament. He of course had grown to hate the authorities who had dealt with him so harshly but that was to be expected.
Some gaurds treated him well but as with anything there were those who didn't. He was a criminal to them. What did his reasons or circumstances matter? The law was broken and it wanted it's remuneration.

Jordan knew he had deserved punishment but he also knew his family deserved to live.
 

Satiri Khai

Member
Writer
As the sun rose one day after his long years of labor, he was met at the door of his cell by the guard. His time had come his days were finally done. He left with what he had when he had come, a torn shirt, ragged pants, and bare feet.

Within minutes he was processed, given a criminal’s identity chip and loaded onto the first mining transport off planet. The grey durasteel deck plates were icy on his bare feet and the temperature controlled cargo bay where he had been given a small space until they could reach the first space station out of the system was frigid, but it didn’t matter, he was free, or so he thought.

He stood and looked through the small porthole of the airlock and watched as the Prison world drifted away.

“Hey back to your corner Convict!” cried one of the ship’s crewmen. “We don’t need your kind stealing from us while we’re doing honest work.”

“I’m a freeman now and I deserve to be treated like one.” Jordan responded weakly. He didn’t want trouble, and he couldn’t afford to become provoked not when he was son close to making his way home.
“You’re nothing but a criminal and that is all you’ll ever be!” The young worker shouted.

“I just wanted to look out the window.” Jordan responded. His sad eyes searched to deck at his feet, he didn’t want anything but to go home. Was that too much to ask? Would he have to endure this kind of treatment for the rest of his life?

“Get back to your place!” The cruel worker screamed as he took a step forward and tensed as if ready to strike.

In truth Jacques could have killed the man with his bare hands and without losing much time, but that was not the kind of man Jordan wanted to be. He had never wanted death for another person and all he wanted now was to be unnoticed. He hung his head and walked back to the small corner against the hull where he had been stationed and sat on the coarse green blanket he had been given. For his labors it was the law that he be paid a slaves wages, and so his tattered clothes his green blanket and 1000 credits were all he had, but he was free. He owed nothing to the galaxy and he would keep it that way as long as he could….
 
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