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The Sky Chariot

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User avatar HorizonFarer
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Subject: The Sky Chariot

Post Posted: 18 Nov 2022, 03:09

The Sky Chariot

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Pay up, you miserable snitch, or I’ll make ya taste what a goddamn cold steel rod feels like in yer guts.

She was staring at her visciously, rage and hate filling her eyes. I didn’t end up in this forsaken ship after all I’ve been through only for this smug bitch to pretend she can cheat her way over me. A poker game, the only entertainment which was frugally allowed to convicts being transported on the Vortex Rikers, had as usual ignited unrest between them in this motley group of violent criminals.

If this wasn’t such a controlled, high-security prison transport starship, she wouldn’t have to content herself with issuing a threat to this scumbag. Oh, no. Accustomed as she was to direct action as needed in her long years as member of the criminal syndicates which spanned the main planets in the Union’s Trading Grid, she would have already at least knived her way into this bitch’s guts without so much as a word being said aloud.

Of course, security wasn’t as strict as the stories about the Rikers would otherwise tell. Almost every criminal operating throughout the Grid and beyond knew these stories. Yes, there were at least a hundred different prison ship vessels travelling the vast expanses throughout the Trading Grid, but none had the reputation the Rikers had: one of the most violent, as it was said only the most dangerous convicts were transported on it. Violent on behalf of how liberally guards were accustomed to violently quench any riotous act. In fact, the corporation managing the Rikers had no obligation for prisoner integrity at arrival. Tens were known to arrive dead, by hands of vicious guards who allowed not an inch of chance to these vicious dogs, as they called any and all prisoners, to make the Rikers end up as many prison transport ships ended now and then: a seized-by-prisoners rogue ship being taken out of route, all crew killed, and disappearing into one of the many rims where the Federacy had no jurisdiction, probably to end up in one of many starship dismantling yards, its rogue crew disbanded into the ever-growing satellite groups of criminality which prowled the outer rims of the Federacy.

However, something was amiss in regard to all those stories about this ship. Somehow, guards had lessened of lately their grip on prisoners throughout the last weeks of the trip. Already they had allowed violent fights to sprout and last between convicts in three occasions: cracked ribs and skulls, fractured femurs and arms, were the results among the rapidly rising toll of wounded. But no cuts or slashes: they really had no means of getting their hands on anything sharp or pointy, even less fabricate it.

The Rikers’s authorities did though punish some of them immediately, without any consideration as to a further trial once at destination; troublesome, and not practical, surely was their cynical justification. Just a day ago that guy, James Cavannaugh, was inceremoniously listed to be electrocuted within 24 hours as a result of cracking an inmate’s skull, killing him.

However, this latest punishment had barely quenched the convicts’ raging mood. Most of them had, in reality, nothing to lose. They were accustomed to violence and putting their lives on a thin line, as most had lived long years in its midst. And now, being convicted of whatever crimes they had on their back, they were finally being sent to one of the many famed penitentiary centers off among the moons orbiting the outer planets, where they would be employed in the hardships of manual labor only for the sake of punishment. Or maybe, sent off to those brutal contests that was said were being implemented somewhere out of the Federacy’s reach, where powerful oligarchs were said to revel in viewing violent combat to the death between combat-gifted prisoners and pay handsomely for it, as a sort of tribute to the long gone era of the Roman Colisseums of the remote past of humanity’s history on Earth, its origin planet told about in legends.


Yeah, you wish you could actually put a finger on me, you shitty half-faced freak! was the response given to her. Rage, pure rage ensued. If there was something she hated the most, it was being insulted on behalf of the bionic steel plate mask and cybernetic eye which covered the left half of her face, almost completely torn off during the chaotic fallout resulting from a commando-style syndicate operation gone wrong years ago. She was proud of it, and wouldn’t allow this damn bitch to make fun of it.


A brutal fistfight ensued, and all convicts gathered round hollering and cheering. They knew they had a few minutes before the guards would rush in and quenched their battle with those damn electric prods. Oh how they fucked you up, those damn prods. But in their minds, the adrenaline rush of these short moments of freedom as they felt it when allowed to unleash their violent rage, was worth in their minds any resulting prodding.


Stop this fucking mess right now you damn dogs!!!!!!! The intercom cracked loudly at their ears. It was Ash, the guard chief, cursing at them. Seconds later, the cell block door opened and in poured 10 guards, swiftly pinning down all convicts, not sparing any amount of electrical shocks to subdue them. Even then, they had a hard time subduing some of them, those that somehow had grown hardened to the prodding and managed to land a few brutal blows on some of the guards. Cheers went wild again, even as subdued in pain as they were by the electrical shocks. Then the guards started brutally beating the ones cheering.

Fuck you, Ash! I wasn’t doing anything, just staring from my cell at this bunch of brutes fighting! The fuck is wrong with you!!!!! It was Gina, encroached in fetal position and clenching her teeth from the pain of the electrical prod shock running through her entire lower body and concentrating on her belly. Shut your mouth if you don’t want another prodding! shouted Ash at her, and with a kick sent her rolling inside her cell. We already told you, if one initiates a fight, all of you will be punished, so you reap what you sow!!!


The guards pushed all prisoners inside their cells and swiftly the energy containment fields were reactivated.



Then, it happened.


A sudden, vast shudder was felt throughout the entire cell block. The lights flickered, and then a deep, vast, grinding and bending metallic sound was heard coming from afar, passing through the block, and dissipating far away in the opposite direction, all the while the floor, walls, and ceilings deeply and frighteningly shaking.

Lights went out completely. Only the blue hue from the energy containment fields illuminated the cell block, as did the slim white emergency lights on the corridors up to the exit door.

Now WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT???? Multiple prisoners, the most hardy ones, started shouting, demanding an explanation. But it was useless. The guards had immediately ran in a frenzy out through the cell block door, closing it behind them, leaving them in the dimness to holler among themselves.


Gina stirred herself up from the cell ground, leaning her back against the cold wall. The pain in her stomach was still strong, but the sudden, strange fear which this unexpected event had sparked in her was stronger. The prisoners were restless. Suddenly, after an unaccounted stretch of time had passed, maybe 5, maybe 15 minutes, another big, massive shudder was felt, and then the lean ensued. The whole place violently was leaned onto one side, sending all prisoners tumbling inside their cells. Some fainted after hitting hard their head against the walls. As Gina managed to protect her head as she landed on the opposite wall, and scrambling on her legs and hands, the lean continued and suddenly, with a sudden twist, the sensation of speed reached inside Gina’s body as the lean changed direction. The ship’s creaking and bending sound was now all encompassing, almost intollerable. Just before being lifted again and sent flying across her cell to the opposite wall, a thought entered clearly Gina’s mind before blacking out as she hit her head against the hard steel of the bed bunk in her cell: we are fucking going down, we are fucking going down, we are fucking going down.

Everyone knew that during an interstellar or space travel, speed was felt, and rare times at that, only when traversing a planet’s atmosphere. And that was usually only on medium sized shuttles. Bigger ships as this one certainly had the orbital and gravitational management systems in place and a sufficient mass to almost drown out any of those sensations.


This damn ship is fucking going down… as if all the shit things that have happened unjustly to me, weren’t fucking enough.


Then, all lights went out.


.............



Hi everyone! I'm glad to finally start contributing to the edifice of fan fiction works devoted to imagining and expanding Unreal's wonderful story and lore! I share with you this, my first ever work on fan fiction.

I've read, along the past years, almost all of the Unreal fan fiction I've managed to find, in this site and a few others. I must say I have deeply enjoyed almost all of them, but specially two of them earned a special appreciation from me: "The One Who Survives", and "Kran's Fall. Kira's struggle". Props up to their authors! And may the Unreal Universe live long!

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User avatar Hellscrag
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Subject: Re: The Sky Chariot

Post Posted: 18 Nov 2022, 10:29

Interesting start. I got a little confused about who the main character was. By the end of the chapter it’s Gina, but at the beginning it seemed to be someone else (an unnamed person with a cybernetic face).

I do prefer a to follow a protagonist that is at least partly likeable / relatable. Whoever the main character ends up being, I hope you tap into their humanity a little and not just their violent past.

Is this another journey through the Unreal maps, or do you have a different story planned?
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Life is what you make of it.

User avatar HorizonFarer
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Posts: 5
Joined: 22 Apr 2022, 17:18

Subject: Re: The Sky Chariot

Post Posted: 18 Nov 2022, 20:59

Hellscrag wrote:Interesting start. I got a little confused about who the main character was. By the end of the chapter it’s Gina, but at the beginning it seemed to be someone else (an unnamed person with a cybernetic face).

I do prefer a to follow a protagonist that is at least partly likeable / relatable. Whoever the main character ends up being, I hope you tap into their humanity a little and not just their violent past.

Is this another journey through the Unreal maps, or do you have a different story planned?



Thanks for your feeback, Hellscrag!

My intent with this brief piece of work was to take a glimpse into what the general conditions might have been on the Vortex Rikers regarding to the possible tensions in place between the convicts and the guards. The game itself allows us as the protagonist to feel as a redeemed heroe, but there is not much buildup on what was the true nature of the convicts on the Rikers: we just know they were prisoners. I think painting an image on how brutal this convicts were, may help us reimagine what may have been going on in the mind of Gina throughout her ordeal on Na Pali, as well as enable us to appreciate in a more complex light all the encounters with the bodies of her inmates, and in that way, enrich much more that "redeemed heroe" feeling.

The last part of Seven Bullets I feel delves into this by the way it portrays the survivors of the Rikers as brutal and evil criminals; the fanfic "The One Who Survives" delves into this portrayal as well, painting the situation lived by the survivors of the Riker's crash landing as a much more brutal and desperate situation than what the gameplay itself allows us to feel.


I purposely didn't focus on signaling a single character as the protagonist for this work. I rather preferred to balance between these two situations: the ensuing fight between the two first female convicts, and then the things being experienced by Gina. I purposely wanted the story to unravel without a clear protagonist, in order to try to not impose a bias from the start on the reader to emotionally compromise on someone.

I hope the female with the half cybernetic face can be recognized by the reader as Sonya (yeah, I know her skin shows her jaw to be the cybernetic part, not her left or right facial side, took some creative liberty there), and her opponent can be any of the other females, just not Gina.


This is a standalone work. If it would continue on, I think it would take on a very similar direction as "The One Who Survives", in the sense that it would focus on the hardships endured by Gina, and through that, delve into the psychological buildup in her as fulfilling (involuntarily) her role as the Nali's messiah.

There's a lot of elements of the story I would like to see delved into in an existentialist way, so I think my further work would be focused on that aspect.


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