Centralus

The Chronicles of Salazar 1: Crash

The sound of coughing wakes me up. Ahhh my head. Goddamn it hurts. Cellmates tell me I got smashed on the ceiling when the ship crashed. I’m surprised the old man didn’t get broken in two. Definitely feels like it.

I lift myself up from the cold iron floor. Smells awful. Feces and urine smear the walls and bars. I guess the chamber pot couldn’t hang on anything during the crash. Shit aside, I need to focus on the main goal now: escape. I take the time to adjust to the flickering lights in the darkness, ready to fight to the bitter end and drag my cellmates with me if needs be. If this is our one chance, we better fucking seize it. I’ll show them how real men lead!

After a look around, I can see that we’re all fine, way too fine for my taste. Even the fucking cell is fine. My hands feel no twisted metal or broken lock, it’s fucking pristine. Slavers seem healthy enough too, I can hear them shouting at each others like dogs on a hunt. This doesn’t sound good, I can tell you. Instead of being in a flying ship, locked away in a metal cell watched by guards, we’re now in a crashed ship, locked away in a metal cell watched by guards. Back to the same shit. Sad fucking life. This was supposed to be the time, remember? “Freedom and bloody justice!” Guess not.

The only thing we can do now is wait. The window of opportunity has come and gone. I tried to make the best of it, put Grand’pa to use, told him to play sick so we could get an out, but the situation only got worse. Guards have their eyes on us now. Yeah they better watch it, ‘cause we are coming for them, with a slight delay. At some point they’ll slip up, make a mistake, and we’ll be there to take advantage.

**
Slaver quarters. I’m standing face to face with Rastar and his pilot, Zarukk. Rastar’s looking at us like we’re merchandise, from head to toe. I want to grab his fucking throat and squeeze ‘till his eyes pop. My failure to escape this situation has only made me angry. But it’s just not the right time. Too many slavers, too many guns. Still, there’s no way I’m going to let this go smoothly. Assholes dragged me there like a dog, along with my cellmates. They’ve been bringing other prisonners in throughout the day. Time to find out why.

Rastar opens with questions about our lives before he destroyed them, about our jobs, about lost tech. So this is his game plan, then? Ask his slaves for help? I’m relieved. The man must be desperate. Or just a fucking idiot I’d be happy to purge from the universe. I watch my cellmates suck it up to him in a degrading game of one-upmanship, thinking they’ll get ahead. “Mr. YourManlyness, I’m the bestest slave! I’ll accept anything!” said one. “No, please, I’m more elite, just pick me for the slave work!” said the others. Don’t know if I want to be mates anymore.

Just shows you how low man will go when it comes down to survival. I did that once, felt like puking my soul. Never again. When comes my turn, I tell him how it is. Fucker will get a knife in his throat before I lift a finger to help him. I spit on his face to show him he’s only as good as the floor I walk on. Then the guards drag me back to the cell.

**
Next day. The slavers seem to be making an exit. Rastar and a bunch of his men are gearing up with heavy armor and weaponry, obviously going to take a look at the area surrounding the crash. Me? I’d like to know the shithole I’m stuck in.

Later. I can’t believe Zarukk‘s opening our cells without forcing us to wear manacles. I mean, I made the math: half the men gone, more than half the weaponry by my estimations, perfect time for escape. But I didn’t expect them to open the door for us, I thought we’d have to make sacrifices to create a chance for ourselves. So when Rastar left, I made sure to motivate my cellmates. Everything depended on them working with me. I didn’t let them off easy, I said: “Do you want to live in this cell until they strip every ounce of individuality you have? Look at how he makes you beg to help him. Come on! Stand up, or see yourself be reduced to a shell!” Or something to that effect. I hoped it resonated with them, because any second now could be the time to stand up.

We ventured out of the cell, disguised as gentle slaves, biding our time, waiting for the appropriate moment to strike. There were 3 guards armed with stunguns, one of them outside the room. Only Zarukk carried a pistol. Our first target. Then, for a reason beyond my ability to comprehend, Zarukk ordered his men to proceed and open Padouk’s cell. The 250 pound gorilla. He lunged at them with the fury of an enraged beast. Thank god for idiots.

We rushed in as the sound of thunder resonated in the room. The guards were ready. The beast was stunned, the beast was felled. Our advantage seemed lost, but we were already in motion, unmasked for our seditious selves. Well, all but Vsevolod, who was puking his guts on the floor from the shock, poor sheltered baby. It was too late to back up now, we were all in.

**
Mere seconds later, I was running down the hallway towards the control room, chasing Zarukk. I held a firm grip on his gun. His time was counted. I was the master now.

We made it out pretty well in this fight, I thought as I ran. Ganging up on Zarukk was the right move. Gave us the gun thanks to Fat Guy Leon, who disarmed him of all things. I don’t know how he does it, but behind that fatty exterior lies a hard shell that will not give way. I mean, you have to respect a man that can take a stungun shot or two and stay up. It allowed me to hold the pistol to Zarukk’s head and make him understand I had every reason to shoot him right then and there unless he helped us out. I was out for blood. I got the men into dropping their stunguns, but somehow we got distracted and Zarukk weaseled out, running away like a coward. He has nowhere to go.

With the press of a button, the door to the control room slid open. Zarukk was going to send a message to the away team led by Rastar, but too late. I didn’t have to say a word, he lifted his hands in the air, knowing he had no chance. As I pointed the gun to his head, the guards were being locked up in our old cells. I loved the role reversal. Revenge. He was going to be at the other end of it.
**

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