Lily heard sobbing. Right beside her. Close by. Her eyes were too heavy, she couldn’t open them to see who it was that cried. She felt… surprisingly light. Floaty. Like she was submerged in water. Neutrally buoyant. The second thing she noticed was pain. From her belly. It was hard to breathe. Oh yeah… she got shot… *twice.* She tried to intake more air than she could with a sudden gasp. Her eyes tore open as a whimper escaped her. Pain! Pain!! PAIN!!! How did two holes in one’s body feel that painful!?!
Tears streamed from her eyes but went nowhere. Stuck to her eyes until she flailed them off to float in the space she was in. Why couldn't she move? Her hands were struggling to reach her chest but were stopped instantly. Cuffed… she was shackled to the bed. Dread began to sink in, fear of the unknown. Her breathing was starting to pick up its pace despite the pain. Lily's throat was dry like the desert, feeling like sharp spikes on a rocky outcrop. Her mind didn't make sense of the situation. Why was she cuffed to a bed? Why didn't she feel any weight in her body? Why did her tears fly around as if the air had the same buoyancy? Why? Why? Why?!
"Stop crying! Please… I can't look at you like this…" A voice called out to her. Was it familiar to Lily? Why did it… remind her of a certain…
"B-Brook?" Lily's hoarse voice sounded out in disbelief. Where- When did she-. Lily forgot all about the pain as the sudden realization sank in that she had completely forgotten about her friends. Her memory was shot, she couldn't recall if she saw Brook in the last few weeks or not. Her eyes tried to adjust but the tears in her eyes clouded everything in sight.
"Hey Lily…" The young girl floating beside her said. Her eyes were completely red from crying. Was she sad? Sad about what? Lily couldn’t place a finger on it as she simply groaned away the pain.
“B-Brook… W-what? W-where are we?” She asked, trying her best to keep it together while feeling the spikes, the needles, every time she took a breath.
“Shhhh you’re safe now. Don’t worry. We’re on board the ‘Wendigo’s Shadow’ hiding somewhere in the asteroid field.” Brook reassured Lily, trying to calm her friend down.
“S-safe?! T-that’s not… w-what am I doing h-” Lily’s words got stuck in her throat. The last moments of her memory flooded back to her as she recalled meeting the captain. “... What the fuck…” Lily whispered out words of disbelief.
“L-Lily, I-I’m sorry… I tried telling them to uncuff you. B-but Keeys said that he s-saw you with one of them… t-that you w-were t-their p-p-'' ‘Pet?!’ Brook couldn’t finish the sentence, her words failing her as she held Lily’s hand as tight as she could. Lily simply stared back at her in disbelief. “H-He issued a gag order on everyone and instructed to k-keep you locked up like this until he k-knew what to do with you…”
“B-Brook… W-what are you talking about? A-are you saying that I was domesticated?! I wasn’t!! She’s my friend! T-The Compact is helping Brypso flourish in a better way!” Lily protested, feeling her anxiety starting to flood her mind. She was in the void of space surrounded by her former co-workers… or rather… What were they now? Lily couldn’t tell. She didn’t know that rebel insurgents emerged after the wake of war.
“L-Lily, please… s-snap out of it. They are messing with your mind!” Brook insisted, having just as many tears in her eyes as Lily. “I thought I’d never see you again… I-I… never mind… L-Look we’re with the rebel fleet Wendigo now. We plan to liberate Brypso 3 37 from the Affini.” She smiled, giving her inspirational words and promises of freedom.
“W-wha?!” Lily just couldn’t believe it. The words that were coming out of her friend’s mouth. “Brook… Are you insane?!” She yelled in her hoarse voice that barely made an audible difference. “Were you not present when the rail gun cannons didn’t fire?! Did you not see how our biggest, our best and our strongest ships seemed like paper mache in their wake?! Did you miss how our entire iron curtain fell in an instant?! And you plan to do what now?! Fight back with what? Law enforcement officers and a few beaten up ships?!” Lily kept going, her panic starting to control her words. “And what then!? What if you liberate Brypso?! What’s next!? You plan to liberate core worlds then!? Good fucking luck! There’s probably a bigger Affini presence there than on Brypso! And what if you drive the Affini from our territory?! Are you going to go back to your shitty lives!? Barely make ends meet while you go hungry to a shitty bed with no heating to keep you warm!” Lily’s tears began to flood her eyes now clearly distressed out of her mind. “They fixed my problems. Problems that the Terran government could never possibly imagine doing so. They gave me a new home, new clothes and plenty of food. I hadn’t had a single panic attack since beginning my new prescriptions and now… a-and now-!”
“And now you’re the scum of the stars.” A deep voice broke her line of thought. Lily couldn’t see the figure properly as her eyes were covered in tears but she knew the voice. Her pleading eyes to Brook quickly turned to those of pure fury. “I should have shot you where you stood back on Brypso.” “Captain!” Brook stepped up in protest to what the man just uttered. “Shut up you bitch!” He snarled back, pushing Brook aside to take a step into the small room, his magnetic boots clicking against the metallic surface. “I should have left you for dead but no. Now I see you’re their shitty little sympathiser. You know things. And I’m going to get every. Last. Bit. Of information. Out of you. Before publicly executing you. To make sure that your shitty little houseplant sees it all. Clear and well.”
Lily felt rage. It was an undying primal anger she hadn’t felt before. Was this how she felt when there were no xenodrugs in her system to keep her down? “OH SURE!” She yelled back through the pain of her lungs. Through the pain of her throat. “Clearly! I learned the Affini alphabet and their language in this little time to know what they were conversing about! Clearly I’ll know what the generals and Affini higher ups are planning! Because you know what?! The Human Domestication Treaty isn’t all that I KNOW and all that I should care about! BECAUSE THAT’S THE ONLY THING THEY WANT!” She yelled before going into a coughing fit from the strain and pain.
The captain simply stood there - or rather half floated in a way as he was still glued to the metallic surface - with a menacing grin on his face. “Funny you should say that William. It’s hilarious to think we managed to kidnap a scum like you.” He said, pulling out his glock. “A scum so close to the Affini General. This couldn’t be a more perfect opportunity.” Lily couldn’t see it clearly but she just knew… she just knew the captain had a massive grin on his face, with one specific intent in mind.
“She’s just a friend. Nothing more. I couldn’t care less about what her position in the Compact is.” She almost whispered through her what felt like torn vocal cords.
“Pffh hah… Hahaha… HAHAHAHAHAHA!! This is great! She didn’t even tell your little shit ass who she was!! Hahahaha I can’t believe this!” Former Captain Keeys bellowed, pressing the gun to Lily’s head. “I’m going to enjoy putting a bullet through your skull. Two fold actually. One to piss her off and two just because I really fucking hate your shit ass kind. You’re nothing but a waste. A guy pretending to be something he’s not. And I’ll be glad to put you out of your fucking misery.”
The last few words fired up both Lily and Brook as they both tried to yell at him in absolute protest. However before Lily could do anything the butt of the gun struck her forehead instantly rendering her unconscious.
Lily felt throbbing pain again. She wasn’t quite there as she slipped in and out of consciousness. She could register being transported. People around her, holding her restrained. She felt the lightness of microgravity but absolutely *FELT* the gravity of the pain. Her head was throbbing. Her chest was screaming at her as her lungs were flooded by blood. The two bullet holes were a constant reminder how she was shot down like a dog on the street. Her body moved in futile resistance but the men quickly subdued her again by punching her in the face.
Gravity was somehow restored. Her legs felt heavy to one side as they hit the floor in the sudden centrifugal force of the rotational ring of Wendigo’s Shadow. She was being transported into the simulated gravity.. A groan escaped her as the weight of her blood pressed heavier on the wounds. Sweat was building up on Lily’s body while her face lost all of it’s colour.
She was dragged into a room where a new set of cuffs were already waiting for her. Right on the cold steel. She tried to move her hands one last time but that quickly proved to be a mistake as one of the guards slammed his fist into her right shoulder giving Lily a reason to scream again. Her hands were cuffed to the wall but she couldn’t really do much about it still in the shock of the pain. She tried moving her left arm and it budged as little as it could restrained in the cuff. Then she tried moving her right which made her cry out in pain again. It wasn’t moving. And the pain wasn’t exactly mild either. Was her collar bone broken? How many more bones are they gonna break before they are satisfied?!
Lily took what little shallow breath as she could with her flooded lungs. The microgravity miraculously helped in this case as it pushed the fluids down to let her breathe better. “You guys are dicks…” She coughed up while barely standing on her own two legs.
“Oh really?” The captain said as he approached Lily. “Then you won’t really mind this:” His leg suddenly shot at Lily in a kick hitting her shin at what felt like mach five.
The young Terran screamed as her leg suddenly felt the pain of that magnet clad boot. Tears began to stream down her face. Her eyes darted from person to person realizing they were almost all of them former colleagues of hers. Were they all mad!?!
“Beat him up. Tenderise him for me. I want him alive for interrogation.” Keeys snarled, leaving the prison cell.
Lily was alone with the four other people that dragged her here. Her eyes were full of fear as she screamed. Intangible words shouting behind Keeys wanting to convince him she didn’t know anything. However the door already shut behind him leaving Lily to the mercy of her wardens.
Lily didn’t know how many hits she took that moment. The next thing she remembered was laying on the floor of the same room. Unable to breathe. Unable to feel. Her heart was aching in pain while the rest of her body was just… not there anymore. She couldn’t feel it. It wasn’t responding to her commands despite looking at her fingers. They were *right* there. Blood trickled from her, pooling around the poor Terran as her mind just sort of disconnected itself from reality. Shutting itself out from the world in order to preserve it’s sanity. How was it that Terrans could be so cruel to one another? Why did she deserve this? Why? Why… why...
Someone approached her. It was Brook, but Lily couldn’t care less about her anymore. How could she? Her mind so far away from the picture any response she made to nudges was purely by the body’s instincts. She was just lost… drifting in space. Cold. Empty. Alone. Forgotten.
There was no helping her. She saw Brook cry but the girl didn’t have much time as the rest of the ship's personnel chased her away. She was just left there. For stars know how long. Reality seemed to melt in time. Seconds, hours, minutes… it all felt so irrelevant to Lily. Her brain simply didn’t register what her body saw, heard or felt. Lily just seemed to stop.
Whatever the captain said to her sure didn’t register in her mind. This simply wasn’t interrogation of a working human anymore. Her mind simply denied Lily from registering the pain, the sorrow, the fear. Was this how brains preserved humans from trauma? Lily didn’t like it. She was trapped in her own body thinking nothing. Not even when the captain shot two bullets on each side of her head, rupturing both of her eardrums, did she react.
Her body was thrown back into the cell. Just laying there. Or was she there always? She didn’t know how long she was in it. The ship shook. Did she care? No, not really. It shook again. And again. Lights went off, she was left in the dark. Soon enough emergency power kicked in turning on the red LEDs signalling the ship was running on emergency power. An alarm had gone off but the poor girl couldn’t do much about it. Her mind was still stuck in a lock while the strange chaos continued to unfold around her.
Another rough shake of the ship happened, this time the door to her cell opened. Two guards came rushing in and picking her body up. No pain. No reaction. Just an empty shell of a person.
Where were they taking her?
What did that matter...