Friday, July 11, 2014

The Games - Part 4

Fiction Friday! Escape pod here!

This is the final instalment of a piece that started out as an attempt to do a fiction piece in 500 words and ended up as a four-parter!

The Games - Part 4

Xarna walked through the medical bay of the strategic cruiser. A large viewport looked out on a large Gallente space station orbiting a nearby moon. Her target for tonight. She checked her watch, there was still plenty of time.

Six of the twelve beds on the med-bay were occupied by unconscious men and women hooked up to drips.

"Doctor, all OK?" she asked the man in a lab coat checking on one of the patients.

The Caldari man turned around. He was in his late 40's and balding heavily. Whilst modern medicine could cure baldness relatively easily he liked the way it made him look. He had been a doctor at a major hospital on New Caldari specialising in induced coma medicine. During a 26 hour shift, thanks to the corporate bosses trying to maximise profits, he'd made a mistake. Simply inputting one too many zeros into an automated drug dispensing unit had given a young boy a dose of sedatives ten times what he intended. The brain damage the boy had suffered had been irreversible and the parents had demanded justice. He'd been hung out to dry as expected and received a 18 month prison sentence for negligence. The corporation had pulled some strings with the judge realising that they had some responsibility minimising the sentence a bit. However that was the extent of their pity. The doctor still lost everything and left the State Prison after serving his time with nothing other than a few personal effects in a small bag. As he wandered out of the prison gates, a Matari woman had been there leaning against an expensive hover-car. She said she wanted to offer him a job. Now a year later, he was earning more money than he could dream of. Guilt wasn't an issue to him, he saw it as serving justice. The massive irony never dawned on him that he himself would have been a candidate for the games given his past. Money blinds men.

"Yes Madame. The contestants are sleeping soundly. I understand the remaining six will be delivered tonight?"

Xarna nodded as she paced around the beds looking at the new contestants. "We'll have the remainder tonight, I myself will be collecting one from this station and the other teams will be arriving in shuttles through the course of the night. You and your medical team should prepare to have them moved to the new tower at 1800 hours tomorrow."

"Of course Madame."


A few hours later Xarna poured the small vial of crystals into the flute of sparkling wine. It fizzed for a second and then settled as the crystals dissolved. She looked around the expensive hotel suite ensuring everything looked as it should. One of her bodyguards was sat leaning back on the sofa looking casual in a black suit with white shirt with the top button open. He had has arms spread out over the back of the sofa and looked relaxed. She had selected him for this assignment as he was the best looking of her staff. They did look like they could be a married couple, which was the intention. She even thought about playing the scenario through. In most games there was at least one contestant like the one that would be arriving shortly. One that needed to be seduced, either through flesh or by money. The one tonight was money again, the second games in a row featuring a high-class courtesan. Xarna thought how easy it would be to play the night through, have some fun, then give then drink to her after she'd had her fun. No, she thought, too risky, too much money at stake.

The doorbell chimed and Xarna looked at her bodyguard. He nodded to indicate he was ready. Xarna crossed the room and opened the door. The future contestant greeted her like a long lost friend and Xarna showed her inside. Within a minute they were sat on the sofa's together drinking the sparkling wine.

Xarna appraised the victim as she sat opposite her and chatted to her bodyguard who was posing as her husband. She was Gallente, late-20's. The high-class ones tended to be slightly older. Xarna recalled the details from the file. This escort had apparently been booked by a CEO of a large corporation at some point in the past year. When he'd got a bit too rough on her and started using a belt, she had fought back and pushed a panic button hidden in her jewellery. The beating he took from her driver who had been waiting downstairs had been difficult to explain to his wife. The problems he'd suffered in the bedroom after the assault had been even more difficult. He just couldn't shake the memories of the girl and her driver standing over his naked bruised body laughing at him. This further fuelled his rage. Now they were just waiting for her to finish the drink and for the drugs to kick in order to make her a contestant in the next games. The CEO would have his vengeance. Of course the side-effect was that and Xarna would make a lot of money both from the fees from the CEO and the betting by her collection of the rich and the bored.

Xarna wondered what odds the statistics team would give her. She looked in good shape but that didn't really matter in the end in the games. Those willing to kill without a second thought tended to do the best. The other types that tended to do well were those who could ally themselves with the first type. She looked the girl up and down. She was extremely attractive and the contestants were put in the tower in what they were wearing when they captured them. She was therefore at a distinct advantage. Expensive high heels, slender legs with a hint of lace stocking top showing, a tight fitting little white lace dress hugging a fit body and showed more than a hint of cleavage. The hair and make up were done to perfection. Then again at 500 credits an hour, one should expect this standard. Yes, she would certainly be in with a chance of allying with one of the stronger alpha-males, providing one of the perverts didn't get to her first and slowly tear her to pieces, and in the games there were always some of those.

The escort finished her drink. Xarna discretely glanced at her watch, it would take effect soon, they just needed another minute. The escort stood and walked over to Xarna and her faux-husband, holding out a hand for each of them. She was obviously keen to get started. Not wanting to alert the escort to anything amiss Xarna and her bodyguard took the offered hands and rose to their feet. The escort leant in and kissed the bodyguard first. To her surprise, Xarna felt a small pang of jealousy. The girl finished the kiss and moved to Xarna, she wrapped her hand around the back of her neck and pulled her close before dropping the hand to her waist. Xarna didn't resist as the escort kissed her lightly at first but then deeply and passionately. She worried for a second if she might have a problem with the drugged wine the escort had just drunk as she tasted the remnants of the sweet drink on the other woman's invading tongue.

The sound of her bodyguard falling to the floor made her break away in shock. She looked down and saw him laying unconscious on the floor. She looked back at the escort who didn't seem phased that one of her clients had just collapsed, in fact she was smiling dangerously. Xarna knew at this point something was very wrong. She tried to make a grab for her bag which contained a small hybrid pistol but her arm only covered half the distance before it went limp and useless. She fell to her knees as her legs gave way. She looked up at the smiling woman in fear before collapsing face down, the room spinning before fading to black.


Xarna woke in her own quarters. She bolted upright as she recalled what had happened. She looked around and everything seemed to be in order. She was back on the Proteus but still wearing the same clothes from the night before. What had happened in the meantime? She stood up and felt woozy. It hadn't been a dream, that escort had clearly drugged her but how? Was it a robbery? Why didn't the drugs in the wine knock the escort out first? Did they eventually? Did her people find all three unconscious and bring them back here and put her to bed? Was that bitch in the medical bay now or in the brig?

She froze as she saw a strange datapad by the door, just had she had placed them in the starting rooms of her contestants in the past. She gingerly picked it up. There was a message.

Welcome to a very special edition of the games. This is all about lessons. Lessons like you should really check whether your 'winners' are actually dead. Lessons like making sure the datapad in the bonus room removes its active connection to the servers after its downloading the files and not just assuming it has been destroyed. Lessons like its a bad idea to have all the command codes for your ship stored on your own datapad, and of course, lessons like not kissing escorts who have taken a broad-spectrum anti-sedative and who are wearing a very special lipstick. Above all, it is a lesson that two wrongs do not make a right. Lets test if a three wrongs do shall we?

Xarna realised what had happened. The winners of the last games hadn't been killed in the explosion. They'd have escaped. They'd also had the datapad from the bonus room with the acid trap. That was special as it had been connected to the servers on the Proteus so that it could update the contestant files depending which contestants made it in to that room. The firewall didn't need to be strong as none of the contestants had any skills in that area. However, if they got it into the hands of a hacker with proper skills they could get into the contestant lists easily. Thats how they had got her. The contestant she had gone to kidnap last night had been on those lists. They'd got to her first. It was a set-up, she knew everything and they had prepared her for it.

Xarna looked further down the message. It contained extracts from the ships logs. The life-support and propulsion systems had been shut down several hours ago and the crew had been forced to abandoned ship. The life support had then been turned back on once the ship was empty. The logs stated one escape pod remained, however its exact location had been removed. Furthermore a ship had docked with the Proteus before leaving again. She wondered why she was being told these things.

She jumped as the door hissed opened and the datapad screen cleared to show a two hour countdown. She wandered into the corridor in shock. What were they going to do to her? She finally pieced all the elements together as she turned a corner in the corridor and saw what was in front of her. It was the Amarrian Ambassador. He was sat on top of the CEO who had hired them to place the escort from last night into the next games. The Ambassador was repeatable stabbing the CEO in the chest with a jagged piece of metal. The lifeless body of the CEO and the large pool of blood told Xarna the CEO was already very dead but the Ambassador just kept stabbing. He suddenly stopped and slowly turned his head towards Xarna, his robes covered in splattered blood.

At that moment Xarna knew. She was in their version of the Games. Only this time it was on her ship and her fellow contestants were both the sponsors and those who gambled on death as entertainment.

"Ah Madame! You look amazing!" he said calmly.

Xarna realised she was still wearing the outfit from last night. The outfit designed to seduce.

"Shall we have some fun?" he asked casually as he rose from the bloodied corpse and walked towards her. The jagged shard of twisted metal in his hand dripped blood leaving a spotted trail as he approached.


Samar disconnected the viewscreen showing the security camera footage of the Ambassador approaching Xarna. The cockpit screen went back to its view of deep space. A planet moved across their view as he aligned the shuttle to the distant stargate.

Zhilan turned to him from the co-pilots seat. "Aren't you going to watch what happens. I know it hardly makes us any better than them, but what if she escapes and comes after us?"

"She won't escape." was his simple reply."Its over."

Zhilan didn't know why he was so sure of that but she let it be. She went back to her datapad and looked at the identity profile she was learning. Her own face stared back at her from the portrait but the rest of the details were all alien to her. Name, date of birth, employment history, parents, only her Caldari origins were still the same. Everything else was faked. A new identity paid for by the money they had taken from Xarna's many hidden accounts. The hacker friend of Samars who they had given the collection of datapads to had done a very good job. Accessing the games future contestant lists, taking control of that bitches bank accounts and also emptying them. After all that, taking control of the cruiser and forcing the crew to abandon ship was easy.

She watched Samar engage the autopilot and he slumped back in the pilots seat. She placed the datapad down and unfastened her safety belt. She climbed into his lap and took his face in her hands.

"So its all over?" she asked.

He nodded. "Yes, its all over."

She smiled and leant in, kissing him deeply.

"This thing flies itself right?" she purred as she broke the kiss, lent back and unfastened the buttons of her shirt.


Xarna skidded around the bend in the corridor and crashed into the wall. Blood dripped from the stump where her left hand used to be. The crude bandage she'd wrapped around her arm was not stemming the flow of blood. She saw the escape pod ahead. She willed herself onwards even though she was staggering. Over the last two hours she'd been hurt, and hurt bad. As she moved down the wall she left a streak of blood.

Those bastards that she had laughed with, drank with and socialised with over the course of a dozen games over six months had reverted to animals to try and save their own skins. She'd managed to kill the last one who had attacked her, but only after she'd taken her hand. The others that she'd had encounters with, she didn't know if they were alive or dead.

However, now she could see the pod she now knew she was going to escape. She started to feel elated. At the escape pod door she slammed the emergency open button and the hatch hissed as it swung outwards. She ducked down and quickly entered the 4 man-pod and hit the jettison button without waiting. To hell with anyone else left on that ship. The escape pod hatch slammed closed and the pod jettisoned smoothly away from the Proteus strategic cruiser. There had been no bonus rooms, she thought of some of the horrors they could have unleashed. She was thankful they hadn't discovered her supply room where she kept the various objects and lifeforms for use in the bonus rooms.

"Well done Samar. Very well done you bastard." she screamed in rage tilting her head back "Now I am going to hunt you down, you and that whore! You will be forced to watch her suffer slow, unimaginable agony before I kill finally her, and then you'll suffer the same!".

Having calmed down some she saw a large emergency medical kit on one of the seats. She knew she needed to heal the many wounds she had received in getting to the pod. The missing hand was the most critical but she had burns, cuts, stab wounds and bruises from various other Clients and guests she had run into. She flung open the medical kit and jumped back as a dozen armoured insects scurried out of the otherwise empty case. She jumped up onto a seat pulling her knees up to her chest as the insects ran for cover in the harsh light. She knew the creatures, they had found her bonus room 'zoo'. Suddenly the internal lights in the pod cut out and there was a faint hiss from the speakers in the blackness. Suddenly the soft, soothing voice of the famous naturist from the popular show 'Animals of New Eden' sounded around the cabin. The clip she had selected to play in a bonus room.

"The Botane Scorpion is perhaps one of the most feared animals in New Eden. Whilst as not ferocious as the Irnin V Giant Jungle Tiger or as hungry as the Osoggur VI Raptor, it is still terrifying. The Botane Scorpion is highly aggressive and will pro-actively attack anything it considers a threat, no matter what its size. Whilst many of its cousins in the scorpion family chose to hide and only attack to eat or in self-defence, the Botane Scorpion hunts whatever is near in the dark. The poison in its stinger evolved to kill the pray on Botane VI which didn't include humans. The effect of the venom on the human body is unexpected and truly horrific. It attacks the entire central nervous system triggering a specific reaction within certain proteins in the nerves. In simple terms, the victim of a sting feels like they have been thrown into a large roaring fire. Whilst not fatal in itself, the issue is with the longevity of this venom. In the human body it lasts far longer than it should, reacting with these proteins keeps the venom energised and spreading. The human body simply cannot cope with those levels of excruciating pain for an extended period. Those with weak hearts are usually dead within an hour. Those who are fit better have access to the anti-venom, as after 36 hours even the strongest bodies simply give up."

The internal speaker system silenced as suddenly as it had started. All that Xarna could hear in the pitch black was here panicked breathing and the tic-tic-tic of the scorpions on the steel deck plates as they slowly advanced towards her in the dark.

The end.


  1. I look forward to Friday every week to see what you have written. Great conclusion to a great story.

  2. Awesome story, keep up the good work!!