You never really expect to wake up in a government prison with no charges to your name. But yet here I am stuck in a stasis tube awaiting trial for a crime I didn’t commit. Intergalactic irony can be a bitch, I remember the days when the world was still split. The Eastern Block, the Western Block, god I miss the old world sometimes. The government had unified with only a few countries not following suit. Most of them were Middle Eastern. The riots in the Middle East were quite bad, especially in Syria, Egypt and most of Libya.
It wasn’t all bad though, the horror of executions and public riots were occasionally masked by breakthroughs. These ranged from medical to technology, all of them made the world better. Shame that one man, him being Eugene Masters. He took control with his three brothers about twenty years ago. After they took control, they proceeded to go into space. Only into Sol for the time being but eventually past that as well. The space programme was always a hot topic of discussion. I remember when I was with my family and my dad would go nuts for it.
Now here we all are in a massive united government that controls three quarters of the world. What a world we live in, 2042 and everything goes wrong. I realised that more when I woke up from stasis. Woken up might not be the right term though. It was more like being pulled out with after drinking twenty shots of vodkas, not to mention an ass kicking. Two guards stood either side of my pod; they lifted me down and carried me. My arms were restrained under the arms of both security guards. I guess my trial was now at hand, I had no idea of why I was being charged. They dragged me across the floor with the stasis recovery still looming over me.
I couldn’t really see anything with the foggy vision. When it finally cleared up a little, I saw the court rooms of countless trials. The court house was made of wooden walls with white marble floors. The dark brown of the wood reflected in the marble. It passed me by as I stared down to the floor. The doors opened to a resounding thunder of people. Everyone in the stands was watching and cheering at the new regimes justice. The guards ignored the crowd and continued on their march to my end. I lifted my head up and focused on the judge. She sat high in her chair. It was located on the far end, directly in front of the door.
They took me into the prisoner stand and sat me down. I wasn’t even handcuffed or anything, they were that confident of their security. In the time that passed after, the judge waited for the crowd to calm. When they did, things seemed to go quiet. In the end, the judge moved forward and pulled up the list. She spoke strongly of the regimes laws. My apparent crimes would seem insignificant compared to the power of their laws.
“All citizens should remember that their crimes will be punished by the administration. I am that administration in this court room and you Derek Mason will face your punishment.”
She meant me through and through, I stared up at her with no fear. I had seen this constantly on TV, people being charged with treason and then dying. It’s a ridiculous law system, nothing I could do about it now. I sat back in the chair and followed her procedure to the letter. I cared not for the security personnel either side of my chair.
“Mr Mason, you have been seen with the rebels that would oppose the peace of our government. Do you deny these charges?”
I thought for a second and realised that this wasn’t any normal trial for the people. She actually wanted to know if I had been exposed to these people. The resistance never really showed themselves in place where the government controlled.
“Yes your honour I deny those charges. I haven’t spoken to or seen any resistance members. Nor would I talk to them.”
“Really? And why is that Mr Mason?”
“Why do you think? All they do is make things worse than normal. I mean things aren’t perfect now but then again, what is perfect?”
She leant back in her chair with a brazened smile on her face. What I said didn’t please her but at least I showed some of my own opinion. The old world was dead and the rebels needed to understand that fact.
“So you would have the old world return Mr Mason? People believing in mystical beings and following dying religions.”
I had thought about what things would be like in times like that. Nothing would change in the end but at least everything seemed better. More hopeful, my sociology teacher always said that to me. I never believed that things would get better and they didn’t.
“No... The old world is dead as dead can be your honour. Nothing you or I can do would change that and the rebels don’t understand.”
“How would you make them understand?”
“Why would you ask? The government wouldn’t care about the opinions of someone like me.”
“Oh but we would Derek. The people sitting behind you witnessing this trial have heard your views.”
I twisted my head around seeing every last one of them staring directly at me. They may not have welcomed my views. I rose up out of my chair slowly with the guards not even moving a muscle. I walked forward to the edge of my circular stall and stood still.
“Yes they have heard my views. But yet here they are enjoying countless trials of people who have no future. No future that you and so many others decide and take away from them. So what if I have different views. Will it ever matter now?”
I felt like I was pleading with her for freedom but I wasn’t. If they were going to take me down, then all I had left was to make them understand my view. Or at least hear it for the sake of me saying it.
“I suppose not... Mr Mason, I do not sentence you or find you guilty of any crimes henceforth. The resistance will as you say... understand soon enough. You will be set free immediately and sent back to your town.”
The end of her sentence acted like a signal for everyone else to react. The crowd dissipated from the room and then the guards took my arms again. They led me away down between the stands and out of the room. When I think back on what I said in that hall. I often think that it wasn’t such a good idea. Inspiring people through speech can also be a weapon. The hall was made of marble all around with the only wood being the stalls.
The guards marched me back to the cellblock quickly. The cheers of the crowd in the hall had changed more towards a calm but fearful tone. They had heard what I said and the ones I saw again, actually listened to me. I heard their radios go off on both their torso vests. I couldn’t hear what was being said but they stopped me suddenly. Both of them had one hand my shoulders.
“Something wrong guys?”
They said nothing but the one doing the listening looked up at me. He had a blank and incontrovertible look on his face. Something had definitely gone wrong in their little world. I stood there watching people move around us faster and more abruptly. I began to worry past the joking side of the situation. The guards started moving me again but this time in the other direction. We were heading towards the front entrance. Everyone seemed to be running that way. I watched as we journeyed through the numerous halls and corridors. The security stations were full of people trying to evacuate the building. The guards pushed me through all of them showing their badges. Priority clearance they shouted to the crowd, nice to move quickly but not at the expense of people’s lives.
“Hey guys stop here; I have to check out this prisoner before you leave.”
The guards reluctantly let go of my arms. Another one moved from the left pushing through the crowd. She grabbed me and pushed me into a checkpoint scanner. I had been separated from the rest of the crowd. The woman stood there watching over me. I saw one of the others appear to do the scan itself. The sheer number of guards around unnerved me. The machine did its job and sent out rays of light coming from projectors. They were located in front and behind me. The rays of blue stopped and the female guard pulled me away. The other two who were originally guarding me went ahead clearing the crowd.
The crowd started getting rowdy, pushing and shoving their way out. The guard kept hold on me tightly pushing anyone out of the way with her free hand. I didn’t know what was happening. There were no shots or explosive sounds, just people running for their lives. We passed through the large arch of checkpoints into a square shaped hall. Sunlight beamed through the roof of glass and steel beams. The glass panels extended down to the floor connected by the beams. The main entrance was in front of me with everyone heading towards it.
More guards sprung into action trying to control the aggravated people. The closer I got to the door, the more obscure things became. The guards stopped trying to contain people when someone blurted down a megaphone outside.
“This is the Independence Front, we want the safe release of all prisoners wrongly accused of crimes. We will use lethal force on security personnel if this is refused.”
I turned the guard holding me; she didn’t look afraid but more astounded. She started to pull me back into the building. The crowd continued to try to make it through the door. In the ensuing chaos, gunshots were heard outside. It sounded like the security weren’t going to cooperate with their demands. The guard struggled to keep hold of me with everyone pushing past. Not being handcuffed gave me the advantage over her. I stopped thinking and started acting slightly. I clenched my left hand and suddenly threw it up into her side. She let go with the hit and fell to the floor.
I jumped onto her and grabbed the weapon in the holster. Pulling free she tried to grab me; I knocked the hand away and ran. The crowd was headed in every direction possible. The security was scattered trying to grab anyone they could get. I dodged those in my way continuously shoving people to the floor in my escape. I wasn’t a violent man by nature. I didn’t even want any part of this resistance or government. I just wanted my life to be full and without all this crap going on.
I saw a door leading back into the facility or courthouse as they called it. It was never a courthouse but it was a prison and even experimentation. They were rumours from the people I encountered during my time here. Running for the door, one of the security personnel saw me. All I heard were crazy screams behind me. When I looked back, I saw two more coming with him. A few people stood in my way but I quickly moved from it. I ran into the door bursting it open violently. I quickly spun back and locked it down tightly. The guards smacked at it with their feet but couldn’t open it.
Using the door to full effect, I put the security lock on. These were fitted to all high security buildings to prevent any hacking attempts. I immediately ran down the corridor to my left. It was the only choice I had given that was the only way. I could still hear the gunfire and crowds of people shouting in complete disorder. I had heard of these attacks before on the news. I even watched one when I was at work. They dragged the Independence fighters out of the besieged building and then had them on trail the next day. Some show of mercy when they were executed for their crimes. They just strung them up and shot them point blank range. I didn’t like it but they did to themselves for trying to fight an unwinnable situation.
I wasn’t even sure where I was going or where I’d end up. I just moved wherever was best or seemed best for me. I came to a junction with corridors leading both left and right of me. I started to go down the left corridor but the voices deterred me. I took cover back in same the corridor I had just travelled. They were getting closer to me; they weren’t the security guards though. These people sounded like prisoners with their speech and content of conversation. I stood still hugging the wall and listening.
“Hey did you hear that Independence guy talking on the loudspeaker?”
“Yeah I heard him, fuck joining those poor buggers. They’ll be dead soon enough if the government has their way.”
“Wouldn’t that be a shame?”
“Nah not really, these idiots have the balls to challenge them but not the stomach to fight it out. Like I said poor buggers. Now let’s you and me find a way out before those military guys start piling into the town.”
I looked around the corner and heard them trying the door at the end. The banging stopped and they moved away down another corridor. I took a deep breath and went down the right passage. It led to a left turning that continued towards a double door. I slowly approached the door and opened it cautiously. I looked around and I had found myself once again in the courthouse section. It didn’t look the same with some damage spread about. I saw a few bodies in the hallway when I stepped through. They weren’t security personnel but most likely resistance fighters. They were clothed in black riot armour on the chest with pads of the same ilk on the shins and forearms. The clothes underneath the armour were a dark red with some kind of pictograph on the left shoulder. I studied it to see which group these guys belonged to in the resistance.
From the looks of the mark which were two lines going diagonally to the left with a wolf image as the background. I searched the man for anything that would be useful but instead I found his life. I pulled out his wallet, upon opening it I found a picture. I imaged it to be his family with him in the middle, his wife on his left and then a small girl between them. I felt guilty looking at this man’s now dead history. I gently placed the photo back into the wallet and then the wallet into his vest pocket.
I did take one thing and that was the radio headset. Now I could listen in on what was happening outside and in the building. I walked past the courtroom where the judge let me live. I saw some more casualties inside but these were civilians. More security personnel and fighters were here, the civilians had been caught in the crossfire. I left the edge of the door and moved back down the hall. I was heading back to the main entrance where I escaped. It probably wasn’t a good idea but I had nowhere else to go. I made my way back with not much enthusiasm. I was getting no chatter on the resistance radio channel and that worried me. I turned the corner seeing the security checkpoint. No one was there and the checkpoint itself looked like it had seen some serious fighting.
Taking a sheepish pace near it, I saw no one in the hall. There weren’t all bodies either, none that I could see anyway. I kind of hoped that the prisoners wouldn’t head this way. The fact that there was no one to see me, I ran for the entrance leading outdoors. Heading through the checkpoint, I got pushed to the ground. Slightly a little I rolled over to see one of the convicts and his friend on the left. I laid there not thinking to fight back when the one who tripped me ran up. He grabbed me pulling me up to my feet and holding me there. His friend came beside me and studied the grey jumpsuit I had on.
“Well, well, looks like we have another prisoner Fred.”
“What do you want to do with him then Greg?”
“Nothing man, just leave him. We can get going and leave the military goons for him.”
“You serious? Well if you’re sure, he’s wiring one of the resistant headsets.”
“So what? He probably took that to keep tabs on the assholes. Now let’s go please... I don’t want to be here when they show up.”
The named Greg moved past me and started walking for the door. His friend Fred let go of me and started walking behind me. He gave one last comment to the back of my head.
“Today’s your lucky day small fry. You better run for it.”
I turned around slowly seeing him run after his friend out the door entrance. As they disappeared down the stairs out of sight, I saw lights switch on everywhere. They surrounded the hall; the glass beamed and reflected the light everywhere. I heard the harsh and doom toned voices, which were either security or military soldiers. I moved back into the checkpoint listening to their threats over the loudspeaker.
“The two of you will get on the ground now and surrender any weapons in your possession!”
I heard Fred speak up against them, he seemed the less stable of the two.
“What the hell man?! We’re not with those resistant freaks!”
“Get down on the ground NOW!”
I ran up to the entrance keeping as low as possible. When I reached the entrance, I got on my knees watching Fred shoot his mouth off again.
“I’m serious! We’re not god damn rebels!”
I saw Greg jump up and grab Fred. He pulled him down to the floor in response to the soldier’s threats. Fred didn’t take kindly to that and fought back still shouting his innocence to everyone within earshot.
“We’re not fucking rebels! Just let us go and we won’t bug you anymore!”
“Dude shut the hell up and get down here with me! They’ll shoot you if you don’t!”
“Screw that Greg! You want to go back to that hell hole jail!”
“Not particularly but we don’t have a choice here man! They’ve got guns and other shit pointed at us! Just do what they say!”
Fred was testing the patience of the soldiers. Their orders became much more aggressive and powerful.
“Get the fuck down now or we will paste your ass to the stairs!”
Fred didn’t listen and started spouting off abuse to them. He was in a panicked state with no sense of the situation before him. The military had finally lost their patience and I saw their guns rise. I jumped behind the steel strut with shouts from the soldiers.
“Fuck this shit, open fire, open fire!”
I heard the gunshots; it made my eyes close suddenly. I held my breath and released when the gunshots ceased. I opened my eyes and peeked around the corner. A group of soldiers crowded around Fred and Greg. The main entrance was covered on every angle. In the evident event, I’d die escaping, I moved backwards into the facility. I felt a hand grabbed my shoulder suddenly. I grabbed it turning around to face a woman. I tried to speak but she stopped me raising a finger to my mouth. She pulled me away from the door and rushed back into the facility.
We navigated through the same corridors I went through twice already. She took me down a different route, with a set of stairs leading onto the street. She let go of my suit and grabbed my hand firmly. I step foot into the now brisk night. The chill didn’t bother me but who this woman was and why she helped me, did. She put me into her car waiting on the street and got in herself. So to sum up my day so far. I’d been arrested by the police for something I didn’t do and then got let loose by the judge, survived an attack by the rebels and now I’m in a car with one no doubt. What a fantastic way to end a day...