Centralus

The Chronicles of Salazar 0: Prologue

From the mind of Vector Salazar.

**
87 days I’ve been on this ship. 87 days since I compromised my values to save my life. A choice I’ve regretted from the moment I sealed the deal with Rastar. Just seeing his face I knew something was off, but I put it aside, my hide was at stake. After all, my life was more important than all of theirs combined, I had to make sure I survived, for the cause. Well I was a fool. I should’ve known that flushing my integrity down the drain, if only once, would come back to fuck with my life tenfolds. Now I’m just a sad slave, wasting away like those morons with no morals, a sacrifice in vain. Never ask a slaver for help.

**
Still don’t know where we are, don’t know where they’re going to unload us. But those are worries of another time. Fuckers got me in a cage. I sacrificed my pride so they could take my freedom!? Someone’s gonna pay. I swear someone’s gonna die. Rastar, when I’m finished watching you bleed, I’ll chop off your head and shit down your fucking throat you double-crossing bastard! But before I can take it all back and savor my vengeance, I need a way outside those bars. Fucking guards don’t give us a moment. Fucking metal cell doesn’t give us any chance.

**
Situation is desperate. No escape in sight. No opportunities. I’m stuck with a bunch of useless blokes that are going to hold me back. I got Mr. StuffMyFace over there, hounding over every bit of the slimey grey paste they pass around for food here. One’s totally clueless, I bet he doesn’t even know we’re in space. And let’s not forget Grandpa and his throat-choking stories of war. The only useful guy, a huge ripped man, is in another cell further away. Can’t rely on any of them. They’re just gonna stand there and take it, as their lives switch hands. If I am to survive this, I got to put things in motion. Someone has to take charge, and who better than me? I’m a leader of men goddamn it! Injustice will not be tolerated! If the current situation is not in our favor, we have to change it.

**
Never got a chance to finish my escape plans. Situation changed. We’re falling. Some kind of failure, who cares. Lights are fading, chaos everywhere. A sign: this is the time. This is our opportunity. A time for freedom and bloody justice! I hope those guys with me in the cell will have the guts to though it out. Can’t make it on my own. Still, I’ve never led men who didn’t want to be led, men without a cause. But they better learn to like it, for the sake of their lives. Rastar, I’m coming to get back my hat, over your dead body!

**

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1 Crash

Première entrée par Le Gros Leon

Je croupissais dans ma cellule du Triglote II depuis plus de 6 mois avec mes amis Vector Salazar, Vsevolod Kamenski et le vieux Jaspar. Jaspar était désagréable comme toujours et se plaignait de ses maux de dos et de ses démences séniles.

Au milieu de la journée, de la turbulence s’est fait sentir sur le vaisseau. Nous nous sommes énervés dans la cellule. Padouk s’est mis à faire du grabuge et demandait des explications à l’équipage. Un garde nous a menacés. Padouk l’a envoyé chier comme toujours. Sacré gaillard. L’équipage s’est énervé, le pilote a perdu le contrôle.

Black out

Nous nous sommes réveillés sonnés, les uns sur les autres. Vector Salazar était écrasé au plafond de la cellule. Padouk était incoscient. L’équipage criait. Un garde est venu inspecter la pièce où nous étions. Il a découvert une cellule (celle des putes) endommagée et a fait sortir les deux gonzesses. J’ai crié pour qu’elles s’échappent. Les salopes n’ont rien fait.

Le capitaine nous a questionnés pour connaître nos professions. Le vieux Japar était toujours aussi désagréable avec le capitaine. ‘’ Je suis un tireur d’élite’’ qu’il criait haut et fort. Pauvre vieux. Moi j’ai tout fait pour qu’on me choisisse pour les travaux sur le vaisseau. Je sais que je suis le plus costaud du groupe (et le plus beau).

Ils ont interrogé tous les autres prisonniers sauf Padouk. La nuit a passé.

Rastar et ses gardes équipés pour une sortie ’’hostile’’ sont venus chercher 6 des autres esclaves.

Environ une heure après, Zarukk et ses gardes sont venus nous chercher. Bande d’imbéciles.

Dès que les hommes de Zarukk ont ouverts la cellule de Padouk, il a foncé comme un taureau sur nos ravisseurs. Malheureusement pour lui, ils l’ont maîtrisé avec leurs armes. Je me suis lancé sur le capitaine et j’ai réussi à le désarmer. Vector Salazar et le vieux jaspar ont menacé les gardes avec leurs propres armes. En s’échangeant le fusil de Zarukk nous avons donné une sacrée raclée à cette bande de flancs mous.

Zarukk s’est enfui dans le corridor pour chercher de l’aide. Vector Salazar l’a menacé avec son propre pistolet et le capitaine s’est rendu comme un trouillard.

Fin de l’entrée

_Léon__

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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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2 Liberté

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Le journal du gros Léon (partie 2)

Après notre exploit contre les gardes du vaisseau, j’étais bien fier de mon coup. J’avais réussi à survivre à plusieurs balles de fusil. Je savais qu’en mangeant toujours plus je deviendrais vraiment quelqu’un. Quelqu’un d’exceptionnel qui peut résister à n’importe quelle épreuve physique.

JE SUIS FORT. JE SUIS LE PLUS GROS LÉON DU VAISSEAU.

Je le savais. Tout le monde le saura à présent. Mais j’ai quand même mon code d’honneur. Je savais que Padouk avait son lot de mérite dans l’opération. J’ai décidé de prendre soin de ses blessures. Je me suis dit qu’il fera un bon allié sur cette nouvelle planète.

Franchement il ne m’a pas beaucoup remercié. Je lui est sauvé la vie et j’ai dépensé des bandages précieux sur ses blessures. Pfff

J’ai soigné aussi Salazar parcequ’il a un fusil. Mieux vaut être de son côté, puis on était rendu bon copains depuis qu’on a été enfermé dans cette putain de cellule. C’est un bon bougre. Je ne savais pas qu’il aurait le cran de se battre contre les gardes. Ouais, on est un sacré bande. Je ne peux pas dire que l’autre, Kamenski, soit vraiment très utile jusqu’à présent, on verra bien.

Après chacun est allé de son côté. Moi j’ai foncé vers notre priorité à tous : les provisions. Est-ce que je suis le seul à voir qu’il faut un chef cuisinier sur un vaisseau. Ça prend quelqu’un pour nourrir l’équipage. Sinon personne ne peut survivre, sinon tout est fichu. Eh bien! J’ai pris les choses en main et j’ai nourri TOUT LE MONDE. C’était le plus beau moment de ma vie depuis presqu’un an. Voir tous les amis manger ensemble. Et padouk et Paul qui sont revenus juste pour honorer mon repas. j’étais vraiment comblé.

Comme si j’avais mon ange gardien là-haut qui veillait sur moi, Salazar m,a donné du saucisson en échange de bagatelles. Vraiment je suis bien sur Centralus. J’avais envie de le crier haut et fort.

CENTRALUS MERCI DE NOUS AVOIR BOUSILLÉ LE VAISSEAU. MERCI.

En menaçant un peu le pilote, j’ai récupéré ses provisions de luxe. Avec ça je vais pouvoir organiser les cuisines!!!!

Je rêve de faire un petit restaurant, ici, dans notre vaisseau. Je rêve que le vaisseau ne reparte jamais. Et si on rencontrait tout plein de gens, ici sur Centralus qui avaient besoin de manger et de s’abreuver. Tout ce qu’il me faudrait c’est une vraie réserve d’alcool.

ALCOOOOOOOOOOL. Ça fait tellement longtemps que tu es partie. Mon bébé, mon amie. Si seulement on avait de la boisson. Il va falloir mettre la main sur des fruits ou des céréales pour faire un alcool maison. Ce sera ma priorité.

En attendant, on se prépare à recevoir ce salaud de Rastard. Enculé. Je vais le bousiller avec mon nouveau pique. PAff dans la gueule. heheh et après ce sera mon heure.

L’heure de la gloire, de la richesse.

et le roi de la cantine ce sera moi

moi et nul autre.

J’oubliais. Aujourd’hui j’ai suivi Salazar dans la forêt. On a découvert un cadavre sanglant, il s’agissait sûrement d’un des esclaves emprissoné avec nous. Je pense que la planète est habitée par des gros lions. d’ailleurs Kamenski en a tiré un dans le vaisseau. J,ai pas trop bien compris comment il s’est rendu là. En tous cas. Ca ne me fait pas peur. Je suis le grand,

Le Gros Léon.

Fin de l’entrée.——

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The Chronicles of Salazar 2: Liberté

Usually I would not tolerate a man beating senselessly on another. But today, I felt vindicated as Fat Leon smashed his massive fists in Zarukk‘s face. I watched at arm’s length, disgusted at this coward of such weak character. A dog on another’s leash. It almost felt like the pounding was justified: the red spot on his face belonged there. It marked his domination by a new master. I needed to make sure it was me.

I held my rage and put an end to the violence. We needed to curb our desire to exact vengeance, on him at least. Out of everyone on this ship, he was the one we needed if we were to get away from this planet. The only guy who knew how this piece of old tech worked. I wanted him on my side. I told him: “I promise that if you cooperate and tell us what we need, no one will do you harm.” I meant it. But Leon couldn’t help himself, the belligerent fool. He stopped tending to the wounded, got back in the cell and hit Zarukk in defiance, breaking the bond I was working so hard to create. It’s like he was doing it on purpose to spite me, the little fucker. I was going to have to make sure he got the memo about the leadership change.

Still, Zarukk was in a talkative mood. Of all places, we had crashed on Centralus, he divulged. The dead planet. Once, it was the overpopulated administrative center of the galaxy, a needy entity that depended on a dozen planets’ produce to survive. A regime that fell when the hand that fed it was severed. Now, the city-planet was left to decay, a footnote in history, its legacy reduced to a scary bedtime story. Rumor had it that the place was haunted, some kind of space magnet of death that engulfed ships like cupcakes. A superstitious belief that marked a regression to the medieval ages! Zarukk’s eyes betrayed his feelings about this. I knew the look: he was beyond scared, terrified. Poor naïve guy. There were no monsters. Man always personnifies and amplifies his fears of things unknown. But I knew better.

As I pressed the interrogation further, we heard sounds coming from the cargo bay. The backdoor was open. An anxious thought ran through my mind. The men were not ready for a fight. I had not achieved cohesion yet. I felt relief when we heard the hollers from the slaves that had escaped during our unbarring. Not a threat. But this event reminded me of the most pressing matter: Rastar‘s imminent return with his men and their guns. We were out of the cage, but between us and emancipation stood a war that would not see us alive if we weren’t ready. We needed control of this ship, who enters and who leaves. We needed to arm ourselves and mount a defense. Was I the only one who realised that fact?

My labor was slowly giving fruit. The answers were trickling in. We still didn’t know Rastar’s time of return, but he was only out for a perimeter scan. They could be on us in a couple of hours, we had to organize fast. As for the long term plan, Zarukk believed that the damage to the ship was significant. We were going to be stuck here for a while. Nothing I didn’t expect. Not that I liked it. I wished I was back on my home planet, hidden underground with my trusted men, outlawed even, I didn’t care anymore, as long as I was fighting for what I believed in and making the world a better place for it. Here, my reach was limited. We were fighting for courtesies. But it had to be done. I obtained the controls to the ship’s basic systems from Zarukk, allowing Kamenski to commandeer the control room and seal all the external doors. A wall between us and the enemy. I could finally breathe.

**

My respite would not be a long one. As I finished up here with Zarukk, Padouk barged in the conversation with a list of demands, as if he was owed something. He had been tended to by Fat Leon and had manifestly regained his petulance, seemingly unaffected by the recent altercation that fell him into unconciousness. The man had been prancing around the ship like a victor, believing he was the hero of the day. Truth is, he had done nothing but run like a fool and get shot. Twice. Me and my cellmates had gained the freedom of us all. We had brought him back on his feet. Yet somehow he was taking all the credit, and the sheepish slaves answered to him. He was tasking them left and right, shouting orders that were followed. What did he have that I did not? Aside from his bulging muscles, I saw no defining feature that proclaimed him a leader. “Get in line”, I thought to myself. Muscle is to be tempered by brains.

Padouk was shouting now, insistant as ever. He wanted to take charge of the prisoner, he wanted to get off this planet now! Couldn’t wait for his turn. He was seriously getting on my nerves. I was done here with Zarukk, I could’ve left. But the man knew not respect. There was no way I would let that pass. As we vented our frustrations at each other, I caught myself wishing the beast had stayed down. Freedom had transformed our past inspiration into a relentless problem of moronic proportions. The qualities that endeared him to us during our captivity; his crass defiance of authority, his persistant displays of power, his unstoppable rage; they were not adapted to the life of interdependance we had before us. He knew nothing of living in society. One step outside bars, and all that was left was an inexorable nuisance. Something had to be done.

Tired of the bickering, I shut him up, stating the undeniably obvious: we had to know the status of the ship and the resources at our disposal before we did anything else. “We’re going to the control room, with or without you”, I told him. I knew this was what he wanted all along, but I had to show him who was boss. This quarrel had been about control. Break or be broken. I had the last word: to do what he wanted meant to follow my lead. The trap was set. An invisible bond, thin and fragile, but when reinforced… Slowly, Padouk would fall into my net. He followed us to the control room. His will was not his own.

**

Our analysis of the data from the control room’s screens didn’t tell us much more than what we assumed. Turned out our pilot here didn’t even know half of what he was doing. Just pushing buttons as taught and ordered. It looked to me like Zarukk built his life on this type of relationship. A whole existence subservient, dominated. I felt sorry for the sad bastard. “I guess there must be men like him so they could be lead by men like me”, I thought with an inch of guilt. Why did I feel shame to take what was rightfully mine? Zarukk was useless. All he could be sure of was that the main internal systems seemed fine. The hull had suffered the most, he assured. I could’ve guessed that from the bumpy landing.

Disinterested, I set out to explore the ship with the crew. To my despair, everyone split, hurrying to the section they thought had the better loot. There was no stopping them. It was a free-for-all. Finders keepers. “So be it”, I thought, resigned. For a second, I stood there, spectator to the plunder. Leon was already rummaging through the cargo for some tasty food as per his habit, finding only bag upon bag of nutritive powder, barrels of water and the occasional bandage. Kamenski had stayed in the control room with the gadgets, wishing to examine Zarukk’s home-made-never-gonna-work robot further. Meanwhile, the ex-slaves had been wiping the slavers’ quarters clean. They were hoarding all the weapons, I thought, bitter, as they came out of the room with a conqueror’s smile etched on their faces. There was only one compartment left: Rastar’s room. I was surprised no one went there first. Its contents were mine.

The room didn’t hide a lot, much to my disappointment. My belongings were nowhere to be found. No cigar. Instead, I was left with a smoked sausage, a fine suit and a locked safe. The meat, despite being a rare luxury around here, was nothing I cared for. My interests were all turned towards the suit. I gazed at its hefty fabric, its strong cut and silver buttons. It was just lying here, like it was waiting for me. I hastily discarded my old rags and wielded the suit’s authoritary power. If I was to lead these men, I would look good doing it! Satisfied of my newfound dignity, my curiosity went to the contents of the strongbox. Unfortunately, I would not be able to uncover them until later. The lack of appropriate tools and my basic lockpicking skills were not working in my favor. I had only started experimenting with the locking mechanism when Leon made a bursting appearance. His insatiable appetite had led him to my sausage. “Give it to me!” he cried out. He had the tact of a baboon in rut.

This was a delicate situation, I tought. I could gain an ally, or end up loosing a valuable bargaining chip for nothing. I maneuvered strategically. “Half the sausage in exchange for your help in fortifying our defenses”, I offered. I did not want to appear overly generous. Give a little, and he would come back for more, I reasoned. Give it all, and I would never be able to bargain on an even footage with him again. He would expect me to part with my belongings out of the goodness of my heart. I needed to set a precedent. Establish a working relationship. His help seemed acquired, but than buffon still demanded the full sausage for the service. To sweeten the deal, I promised him the rest in return for later services. He would have none of it now. He left me for the sausage of another.

Eventually, he would come around, I anticipated. I resumed my probing of the safe, but was soon interrupted by Padouk. This guy again. I had no patience. Would no one leave me in peace? Condescending as usual, he shouted something akin to: “While you waste time on petty things, we men are making an exit to see the damage the ship sustained!” I had no will to quarrel again. He was somewhat right, my attention was all directed towards this magic box that held any number of wondrous possibilities. I imagined it filled with my box of cigars, my hat, and some strong alcohol. Yet my conscience told me I had to do my share in this time of crisis. I cast my reverie aside. Even Leon was getting ready. I reluctantly set out to do the same. Moments later, I was filling my lungs with fresh air from the jungle-like surroundings. I centered myself. Only then did I realise I had been guilted into following.

**

Blood. Blood was spattered everywhere on the grass. I felt my own rush through my veins. This was just supposed to be a routine exit from the ship, I thought concerned. Me and Leon were going to dump the dead guard’s body down a ravine in the vicinity of the ship. Couldn’t let it fester where we slept. We had just finished examining the hull, which, as expected, was breached in multiple spots and would require considerable materials to repair. A damned waste of time. As we dropped our load, I saw the signs of a struggle nearby. Flattened grass, twisted leaves, droplets of blood, those were my clues. I followed the tracks with Leon. Much to our dismay, the trail of blood was getting stronger. Someone had suffered a grievous wound. He could not be very far.

We shortly came to a clearing, where the trail morphed into a pool of blood. Among it were bits and pieces of unrecongisable flesh and guts, scattered, as if thrown with violence. The struggle had not been long, I thought. A ravenous animal had chosen this place to feast on its prey, dragging the body on the way. I observed on high alert, gun in hand, but the danger was long gone, the beast satiated. I crouched to get a better view of the remains, making sure not to soil my suit. Immersed in the blood were rags I recognised all too well. Only this morning I had worn ones just like them. Our man came from the ship, I concluded, a fellow slave that escaped and never looked back. Something had tasted his freedom in his stead.

I examined the grisly scene further, wondering what kind of creature would delect in such gore. There were prints in the blood, distinctively canine, but I had never seen ones with such a size. Giant man-eating wolves. What next had this planet in store for us? I looked at the tracks. The creature had not eaten the whole meal right there, I deduced, noticing that the blood spotted path continued in the forest. It had kept a chunck of the prize for another day.

Finally, adventure! The thrill of the hunt was punching in my chest. I urged Leon on. I felt propulsed forward, my curiosity enhanced tenfolds by the danger the venture held. I was most in my element standing at the edge, risking everything. I felt alive, away from all the squabbles of this morning. Leon not so much. “You know this trail leads to the creature’s lair?”, he noted. The man was hiding his cowardness behind reason. I called him on it. “If the blood makes you squeel like a woman, feel free to get back to the ship”. I was taunting him. He wasn’t really going to back down to a man half his weight, I believed. He muttered something about being cautious, but I didn’t hear all of it. I was back on track, a man of action, a vanguard, the man in front.

**

The sun descended below the tree line. Soon, it would be nightfall. Had it really been that long? I heard howling in the forest, freezing the air. My trailing was going nowhere. It was time I got back to the ship. As I turned around, I realised that Leon had already left. On my own. I had better hurry if I didn’t want to end up as dinner. As I strode back to safety, I heard multiple gunshots coming from far away, muted. A group of armed men was having a go at it. Had Rastar and his men been hunted out by a pack of those creatures and met their end? Better not. “Nobody kills Rastar but me”, I thought. I have too many things left undone with this man to have him die just before I got my hands on him. But what else could it be? I could think of one other thing. There were other armed men on this wretched planet.

Back on the ship, there wasn’t much to do. I took the chance to work on the safe some more. I requisitioned the help of Kamenski and his tools. Before long, the container was cracked open, its fruits ready for the picking. I passed my hand inside. There were two stimpacks, bullets for a gun Rastar took with him, and a thick roll of money. I gave the bullets to Kamenski as thanks for his help. A bit low, but the guy had a piqued interest in technology. He might’ve found value there where I didn’t. The money, I planned, was going to be useful in motivating the men in the beginning. Until they realised, like me, that it was worthless on this planet. Currency fell apart without the economy and infrastructure to support it. In times of survival, goods are king.

My man Leon knew this all too well. If a safe was cracked, he had to have part of the spoils. He was standing in what I felt comfortable to call my room. Rastar was not coming back tonight. I pondered for a while how I could play Leon’s greed in my favor. I found myself with no heart for manipulation at this time. I extend my hand with a stimpack towards him. A leap of faith. He could have it, I reasoned. If I wanted to advance my ideas here, I needed support, I needed to trust someone. “When danger approaches, can I count on you by my side?”, I inquired. His answer would have to stand the test of time.

**

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WIP. MIGHT GET BETTER
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Later that night, as each man of the crew appropriated a place to sleep, I proposed that we instore a turn of duty. Danger was afoot, I argued. We needed to be aware of it. But the crew didn’t care at all. Even Padouk ignored the call. I was baffled. Did they not want to survive through the night? Did they not care about their very own hides? I guessed they would not know the necessity of this until the walls were breached and damage was done. Me and my cellmates split the duty amgonst ourselves.

My turn. I stood watch in front of the sensor screens, my only eyes into our surroundings. The ship had no windows, no observation hatch or anything of the sort. It was pretty quiet here, except for Zarukk’s snoring – the control room was his permanent home. I made myself comfortable, taking advantage of my time to think things over, in peace. But it was not to be. My screen showed a red dot bleeping slowly towards the cargo door at the rear of the ship. Friend or foe?

I jumped from my chair. It was time for action. For a moment I considered waking up help, but there was no need, I judged. At the pace he was going, the individual was most likely wounded and unable to defend himself. For all other cases, I had my gun at the ready. I rushed to the door, playing the scenario through my head. If the man was wounded, he might’ve had the wolves after him. It was a risk I was willing to take. I was not the kind of person to turn my back on a man in need. He drawed near the door. I prepared myself mentally: open, grab, drag, close. I was efficient, but not fast enough. As I pressed the button to shut the door with all my strength, I felt my grasp on my fellow escapee falter. A powerful impact projected me to the ground as the door closed. The beast was in.

I risked a look in its direction while I regained my steadiness and aimed my weapon. The canine looked like an oversized husky, almost as tall as a man. I was not scared, but waken up in force to the reality of the situation, alert. What were winterish creatures doing in what looked like a tropical forest, I puzzled. Its malicious red eyes glanced at me before homing in on the man at its feet. It sniffed him for an instant, and then, without hesitation, the creature plunged its menacing teeth in his throat, gobbeling up the chunk it ripped off right then and there. I watched horrified at my failure to save a man within my reach. He took his knowledge to his grave.

I quickly rose to my feet and shot my gun in the general direction of the wolf’s head. The was no time for careful aiming. At the very least, the sound must have woken up the crew on the ship, I hoped. I was not fool enough to forget that this beast could rip me in half with one bite. I retreated while I discharged my pistol on it. The damned thing wouldn’t shoot straight! I looked behind my shoulder. The beast was closing in, I could not outrun it. There was nowhere to go.

I turned around, facing the advancing ball of white fur and fangs, defiant but uncertain of what I was doing. Adrenaline was coursing through me. I had nothing to lose. I pointed the gun, squeezing some warning shots as I growled all the air I had in my lungs at the approaching beast. I could only wish this gesture of power and confidence would give it pause until my mates got here. I could hear them shouting in their quarters, hurrying to their weapons. To my astonishment, the creature hesitated, its charge cut short. I stumbled to evade its weakened blows. Somehow, its claws could not touch me.

Backup was coming. I was relieved and apprehensive at the same time. All it took was one bullet, one well aimed shot, and I would become a credible leader in the crew’s eyes. To command the respect of all, a legend, so close from my reach. But there’s no hero without proof. I was determined. I held my ground, finding the beast’s eyes with my own. I carefully took aim. Right between the eyes. It was mine. Bang! The wolf let out a whimper. The bullet had taken a chunk of its visage, leaving a bloodly gaping hole that bared his menacing canines. I had not pulled the trigger.

The struggle was over. There would be no hero tonight, I reflected, peeved. Padouk and Kamenski had stolen my one chance to prove my worth, striking down the beast right before my eyes. It lay on the side now, bloody but alive, rendered unconscious by the numbing grasp of the stungun. I put down my boot on the lavish fur that covered its neck, giving the creature a last long look before I did her in. Meat for all the family. Everyone rejoice! For me, the kill was a nothing but a consolation prize.

I took a breath to cool off from all the commotion, as the crew babbled with emotion. All this to save one man. I sat to his side, holding his gushing wound. So much blood. He was not going to make it. His torso was scarred by multiple of those little burns distinctive of stungun shots. But what had my mind racing were the two holes in his stomach. The flesh around was burned where the bullets had teared in. Someone had shot him.

Had he fallen in the hands of Rastar and his men, I asked myself. Or did he encounter someone else with similar technology to ours? Twice today I was put in front of the possibility of other inhabitants on this planet. If true, we knew they were armed now. Made sense, with the kind of wildlife in these parts. I wanted to put this question to rest, know once and for all. It was essential to our survival. We had to know if we had a band of maurauders nearby that would raid our ship if given a chance. Yet I didn’t really believe that. Where there were men, there was always a way to reach their empathic hearts and reveal their humanity, especially when united against a constant threat. One small gesture was all that was required to turn a foe into an ally. We would be worse off if were alone, left to our own devices in this unnerving forest.

I devised a plan to answer my concerns. Tomorrow, we were going to shoot our guns into our sadly desceased comrade. No rest for the dead. It was the only way to compare the bullets from our guns to the ones in his body. See if they crushed the same, felt the same without the casing. We were no forensics team.

**

Everyone had gone back to sleep. Not me. My turn of duty wasn’t over. I was back in the control room, eyes fixed on the monitor. I could not let go. In front of me stood what waited for us tomorrow. Surrounding the ship, the radar showed, were dozens of lurking red dots. They came to the smell of blood. The walls suddenly felt thin. I could not hold my own against one of those creatures, I admitted with regret, now that I was alone. What was I to do against an army of beasts meant on devouring our flesh?

I curled up in my chair, trying not to worry too much about the siege situation we had going. The pack would starve before we did, I calculated. I closed my eyes, finding comfort in the safety our ship offered. We had done well not to leave. I never thought I would say this, but the Triglote II, setting to our prolonged enslavement, had become an unlikely home in a hostile land.

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3 Créatures

Le groupe a décidé de partir en expédition. Mal organisés, moi, Le gros Léon, j’ai dû transporter les provisions et l’eau pour les trois hommes dans une immense chaudière. J’étais chargé comme une mûle.

On a suivi les traces qui menaient aux coups de feu, sûrement ceux de Rastar, pour se rendre compte que nous avions besoin d’un véhicule, ou d’une source de protection (en plus d’une meilleure façon de transporter les provisions). Je parle pour les autres parce que le Gros Léon peut survivre dans le bois pendant des semaines. Mais les autres sont faibles. Et maigres. Très maigre. Trop maigres.

En revenant au vaisseau et est tombé nez-à-nez contre une MEUTE de loups. Les mêmes bêtes que celle qui s’était infiltrée dans le vaisseau. Misère. je voulais courir jusqu’au vaisseau, mais je suis trop gros. Très gros.

On a été forcé de rester cachés dans les bois comme des mauviettes. on a pas fermé les yeux de la nuit. Et vers la fin de la nuit, deux bêtes nous ont attaqué. Kamensky et Salazar se sont fait mordre par les deux animaux enragés. Moi j’ai planté mon pique dans la tête d’un loup et j’ai sauvé tout le monde. Bien sûr, je suis le gros Léon, le plus gros et le plus résistant de tous. je n’ai pas eu une seule égratignure.

C’est normal.

Au petit matin, on a pu rentrer au vaisseau et nous avons constaté que Jeannette était morte, dévorée par les bêtes. Misère, moi qui voulait la baiser.

MISÈRE.

Plus de femmes, plus d’alcool. Il ne nous reste rien. Sauf peut-être des steaks de loup!

fin de l’entrée

Le Gros Léon.

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4 Temps mort

4e entrée – le gros Léon

Temps mort, temps mort pour les lavettes!

Moi j’ai dû soigner les deux autres bozos pendant qu’ils chialaient (surtout Kamenski) comme un enfant. Léon aide moi, je vaiiiiis mourrrriirrrr!

T’AVAIS JUSTE À MANGER D’AVANTAGE KAMENSKI. MANGER POUR DEVENIR FORT. tu ne serais pas dans cet état, si tu m’écoutais d’avantage. regarde-moi: je suis en pleine forme…

Pendant qu’on prenait soins des blessés, Kamenski a réparé son maudit robot. Moi j,ai pris les choses en mains et je lui ai demandé de nous faire un Winibago. L’imbécile n’a pas voulu. À la place il nous a fait un sac à dos de transport pour la nourriture et l’eau. C’était quand même bien.

AH OUI.

LA P-I-N-T-A-D-E!

Moi qui commençait à désespérer, Padouk nous a tous sauvés en apportant une grosse pintade juteuse qu’on a fait cuire sur le feu. C’était , c’était… la meilleure pintade que j’ai jamais mangée. Meilleur que le sexe avec Jeannette, meilleur que tout. MEILLEUR QU’UN GROS HAMBURGER. MEILLEUR QUE LA VIE.

merci Padouk.

On a fouillé les débris du vaisseau causé par l’écrasement. Salasar a trouvé une caméra qui nous a pointé une FERME. UNE FERME À PROXIMITÉ.

Et puis après grâce au sac à dos de transport et à ma graisse, on a rejoint la fermette.

JACKPOT. Il y avait plein de belles choses dans la ferme, comme des habits tout neufs.

Même que… dans le sous-sol Salazar a trouvé une entrée secrète vers un repère de bandits. ben je crois.

»Fin de l’entrée

Le Gros Léon.

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5 La ferme

5e Entrée

Salazar a décidé que c’était plus prudent de rester dans l’abris sous terrain pour passer la nuit. Jaspar était bien daccord, à cause de son Lumbago, le lit de la fermette ne lui plaisait pas.

Finalement on s’est installé dans la pièce centrale de l’abris, bien éclairée et protégée par l’immense trappe très lourde.

Pendant la nuit on s’est fait réveiller par Salazar qui criait comme une femme. Il a toujours peur la nuit. Il doit faire des cauchemars ou pisser au lit. toujours est-il qu’on entendait des bruits qui venait de l’ascenseur à côté duquel on dormait. Putain de calass de bouette.

UN IMMENSE ROBOT PUANT EST SORTI DU TROU!!! Il sentait la pourriture. On aurait dit les poubelle de mon appartement en dix fois pire.

et puis comme d’habitude Kamenski a pété les plombs. Il crie toujours. Mais la vraiment il a commencé a paniqué. Moi j’ai vomi un bon coup et j’étais gonflé à bloc pour affronter le robot GÉANT.

je lui ai enfoncé mon pique dans une patte, mais ça lui faisait absolument rien.

Les trois autres bozos vidaient leurs chargeurs dans sa tronche sans aucun effet. Moi j’essayais de le contenir en corps à corps mais il était coriace. Finalement, j,ai essayé de le coincé avec mon bouclier et le robot a foncé sur Salazar (il devait avoir compris qui était le chef) c’est brillant ces petites bêtes là.

Mais Jaspar, grâce à son entraînement d’élite et ses douleurs aux reins, a réussi à lui flanqué une balle au bon endroit. Bing Boom CLAAAUSHH. Le robot s’est effondré.

Kamenski se mordaient les doigts. Je crois qu’il a chié dans ses culottes.
Moi j’étais intuable, les autres voulaient me soigner mais jai dit NON JE SUIS ASSEZ fort.

Le robot, par contre m’a fait une méchante plaie sur l’épaule. Il va falloir guérir la plaie au vaisseau.

Puis j’ai pris mon courage à deux mains et le lendemain j’ai fabriqué une machine super bien faite pour descendre dans l’ascenseur avec les restants du robot. Kamenski avait la trouille, juste à me regarder.

J’ai accroché une corde à ma machine, pour que les autres puisses me hisser hors du trou, mais ils ont commencé à chialer.

N’YYYY VA PAS LÉOOOON. TU VA TE FAIRE MAL.

moi je commence à penser que je suis le seul vrai mâle dans cette gang.

Finalement, j’ai décidé de ne pas y aller parce que le trou était profond en titi. Le robot de Kamenski a pas vu le fond. MAIS J’Y SERAI ALLÉ SI J’AVAIS ÉTÉ SEUL. mais je ne voulais pas laisser Salazar et Jaspar tout seul contre les loups.

On a continué à fouillé le repère des bandits. On a trouvé un super filet et un injecteur.

Puis on est retourné au vaisseau.

Au vaisseau il y avait des gens super gentils qui nous ont fait des prises de sang. Un gros monsieur, ben pas si gros, qui m,a fait une piqûre pour guerir ma maladie de robot. Puis il nous a dit qu’il venait d’une ville où il y avait des femmes et des restaurants!

DES RESTAURANTS, pas d’alcool, et des FEMMES.

wow! wow! WOW!

Salazar a dit qu’on irait demain. Pour fourrer.

Je suis content.

Apparament le gros monsieur et ses hommes ont des ennuis avec les hommes robots. mais je les ai rassuré enleur disant que nous on bousillait les robots fastoche.

En tous cas.

c’est tout et j,ai hâte d’aller à la ville du gros monsieur.

Fin de l’entrée

Le Gros Léon

Fin de l’entrée

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6 Bioingenieurs

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