Planet Redeem: Class A Prison World
The prison world of Redeem was a cold and isolated planet, where few survived their full sentences. No inmate had ever escaped from the ice world; a statistic the Warden took personal pride and satisfaction in.
If you were unfortunate enough to be sent to Redeem, then it was considered a life in captivity. But most prisoners knew, to last five years without the place killing you or breaking you was rare.
The Warden looked down to the snow covered court yard, where a ship had just unloaded the latest batch of prisoners and a smile cracked his wrinkled face.
He disliked the cold but would always welcome the wretches of earth to their new home. In ten years he would retire back to Earth with a pension that would set him up for life. While here though, he would enjoy his virtual kingship on Redeem and punish those who were sent to him.
The sound of snow crunching behind him broke the Warden out of his reverie. Turning was not necessary. He knew who had joined him; he had been expecting his Captain of the guards, Hugo Wellin.
‘How long before we bring them in Warden?’
He did not ask this question out of concern for the men that shivered in a line beneath them. He just needed to know when to begin the induction of the fresh inmate’s new lives.
‘Another ten minutes should do it Hugo. It looks like a wilful bunch.’
‘They will break the same as they all do Sir.’
The warden had no doubt to the truth of those words. It was his policy to leave them in the cold long enough for them to realise that escape was useless.
Even if you did get away from the actual prison which was mainly underground. You still had to survive in temperatures which were as low as minus forty degrees Celsius.
Getting off the planet was all but impossible, as there were only two ships within an earth year to drop off prisoners and six supply ships that both landed over five miles away and then transported the prisoners or supplies to the facility.
‘When you have broken them Hugo, I will meet them one at a time for our usual acquainting.’
Now it was the captain who smiled his usual wicked grin. The inmates, who looked like they were about to kill over, would be ready soon. Then the real pain would begin.
Caleb looked up at the two men with utter defiance, but could not stop shivering from the extreme cold of the place. He hoped his shaking arms were not confused for fear or weakness, but looking down the row of ten men told him that he was not the only one suffering from the cold. He knew why he was here and the injustice of it was enough to keep his chin up, so he could stare back at his captors with all the contempt he could muster.
He was guilty of no crime except for who his father was.
The memory of the assassin’s knife gliding across his mother and fathers throat was still fresh in his mind. The question as to why this had happened must have had something to do with his father, who led the bodyguard for Earths President.
The assassin, who had taken their lives, wore a black mask and granted Caleb the boon of giving his father some last words.
‘Endure this, my son.’ He had said before his life was taken so quickly it almost seemed unreal.
Caleb had just turned seventeen, a week before his parent’s murder. But for all his youth and immaturity he did not cry one tear.
When it had happened he was so shocked that all he could do was stare dumbly at his parent’s corpses.
But then a rage and an overwhelming thirst for vengeance had consumed him, as the assassin signalled for two more masked men to take him away. The blood that was pumping from his father throat flowed like a red stream to pool around his feet. It had been over so fast; it was hard to take in. Before the masked man left, he said in a raspy voice.
‘If you are thinking why you are alive, while your mother and father were not as fortunate. Then know that your survival is more of a punishment than a reward.’
Caleb noticed for the first time that the masked man’s eyes were a brilliant blue and he would remember them, if he survived long enough.
‘If I was you, I would kill me now. If you let me live, then I will take more time killing you than you did my mother and father.’ He had screamed at the masked man and had tried breaking free of his bounded hands and feet with little success.
The masked man just laughed and whispered into his ear.
‘I will not kill you, because I told you’re illustrious father that you would suffer. Oh, I give my word you will suffer. Unfortunately, there will not be an opportunity for us to meet again. Where you are going there is no return.’
‘Why have you done this?’
Caleb asked hoping to at least gain some meaning, from the madness.
The masked man seemed to consider this for a second and then replied.
‘Because he found out something, he should not have. Now you have a pleasant journey and I mean this when I say good luck to you, for you will need it.’
He continued to laugh; the gravelly sound that had haunted Caleb’s dreams, on the six month journey to the prison world Redeem.
Next to Caleb in the snow covered court yard, one of the new inmates dropped to his knees, which shook him back to the present.
This seemed to be the signal for the main prison doors to open. The guards that had been standing behind them in environmental suits began to herd them into the warmth, of what was to become their new home.
Caleb looked back at the man who had collapsed, as the doors that sealed the hostile environment outside begun to close. They left him there to die; maybe he would be the lucky one he thought.
‘What is your name boy?’
Caleb had been taking a beating for the past hour.
‘I have told you my name ten times already.’ Blood was dripping from his busted nose. He could not see his torturer, as both eyes were starting to close with swelling. He had the measure of the man though. Before the beating came, his torturer almost looked excited to begin. He was a tall lean man, with slick dark hair that was perfectly in place.
‘I don’t care about what name your name used to be boy. As I have said before, your new name is 118. So I ask you again, what is your name?’
Captain Wellin had been working on him for longer than he would have liked. The others had all broken within ten minutes of this induction. So his torturer said. But Caleb had shown unusual stubbornness for someone as young as he was.
Another man entered the room. It was the older man who had been staring down at them outside.
‘I am the Warden of this prison.’ The older man said as he crouched down, so his face was level with the Caleb’s.
‘Your past life is now over prisoner 118. Your new life here will be for the rest of your existence and if you play by the rules, that existence can be prolonged. However if you do not behave, what you have experienced thus far, shall seem pleasant.’
Caleb could not think of how his life could get any worse. He was glad of the warmth inside this room, but that was all he was glad of right now. The little stand outside in the snow was clearly designed to deter prisoners from escaping. The Warden confirmed his theory.
‘This planet was selected as a prison world because of its extreme environment. We have walls and barbed wire, but we have no need of them really. If you did ever wish to leave this place, then you would be stranded in unbearable cold with no food and little shelter. Some have tried before, but are now buried under the snow out there.’ He said and pointed in the direction of the court yard.
‘I have committed no crime...’ the Captain delivered a punch to Caleb’s stomach that knocked the wind out of him.
’I don’t care why you are here; we are not always furnished with those details. While you are here however, we will make sure you are punished. For that is what the citizens of Earth expect of us, and I would have to admit that Captain Wellin and I do enjoy our work.
He rose and walked to the door. But before he left he said the same thing that he had said to every one of the inmates that had come to him.
‘Welcome to Redeem young man; you will not enjoy your stay here.’ He smiled again. It was a cruel smile that was colder than the temperature outside. The Warden left the room. The only noise Caleb could hear was the dripping of blood that fell from his busted nose. He had been on the end of worse beatings in training back at the Academy on Earth. This fact did not stop him feeling anguish and misery, at his predicament.
Caleb was a tough kid; he had been raised to be. He was the son of Earth’s most famed warrior Dorn Bruce. Who had instructed him and raised him as a warrior, and one of exceptional skill.
He did not fear death as such. But a life in this place was something he could truly not accept. The unfamiliar feeling of fear was starting to consume him. He wanted this beating to stop, so he could just curl up into a dark hole and wallow in self-pity. But a nagging memory came to mind, as he was contemplating just giving up. ‘Endure this, my son.’ His father had said. This memory was like an elixir, for the fear that was brewing within. He would endure this he decided with sudden fury. One day he would have his revenge on his parent’s murderers. The Warden and the man, who had beaten him for the past hour, had just made it on the list of the men he would have to kill.
But to achieve his aim, he would have to play by their rules until the time was right to reveal his strengths and abilities. All they saw was a young boy with an attitude. What they did not know, was that they had the son of Dorn Bruce. He had been trained by master warriors, including his father, since as long as he could remember. He had been groomed for combat, but for now he would just appear to be a frightened seventeen year old boy.
‘I will ask you again.’ Shouted the man he now knew as Wellin. ‘What is your name?’
He did not resist this time and replied. ‘118 Sir.’
The Captain said nothing for a full thirty seconds, hoping to let the silence terrify this insolent boy further. Then he suddenly said to four guards who stood sentry over him.
‘Take him to his cell.’ He then left by the same way the Warden had gone.
Caleb was lifted to his feet and was virtually dragged along the slick, cold stone floor. He was hurting so bad from the multiple bruises on his body. Master Kam had been one of Caleb’s many instructors at the Academy. He was glad now of the hard treatment from him. Kam had certainly not given Caleb an easy ride, just because of who his father was. The gruelling sparring sessions that left him bruised and bloody, also did something else. They gave him a will of iron.
‘I will endure.’ He said quietly to himself, as he was taken to his new accommodation.