Oh think twice...
With and audible grunt of exertion, he drops himself down in to the chair and leans back, it creaks under the strain.
His uniform is so tight it could be a second skin, yet so dishevelled it looks like its been fired at him from an autocannon. Not exactly the Extra Judicial Service's brightest or best. Useless sack of skev.
Nestled next to his skewed EJS chest insignia are a cluster of medal ribbons, all 'Thanks for coming' types: Ceremonial Service Order, Meritorious Efficiency Award, Holistic Vision and Values Citation. Holistic vision and values? Frack me, I wouldn't have scraped him off my boot! I wouldn't have had to, he'd have been vaporised in seconds most places I've been. Farctalus, Tatsujin, Gallonigher. Ha, that little spat at Sepan 8! But that was all a long time ago in a galaxy....well you know.
Anyway, what does it matter, I'm here now. Stuck here on this damn station, talking to a man of such densely concentrated mediocrity that he could form antimatter. I picture the fat fracker losing his balance and tipping over backward, soaking his scruffy uniform in scalding hot Fujin tea as he scrabbles to resist the inevitability of gravity. I smirk at the thought. He notices.
"Something amuse you 264?" He snarls. Immediately agitated and rocking forward so that one elbow now leans on the small desk between us, his furious eyes daring me to speak.
We've being doing this dance for Grud-knows how long, every day it's the same:
Clunk, bang, door unlocks lights come on. Four sad little figures in tattered orange jumpsuits silently form up in to a row outside the cells, guards with stun-sticks drawn. "Prisoners! Move in to the building now!"
Deja vu all over again.
We shuffle forward heads bowed, the other three continuing to the mess hall, while I'm shepherded in to the 'Detailed Enquiries' office. Sit down at the desk and wait, sometimes for minutes sometimes for hours, waiting for skev-bag to arrive. He saunters through the door, '0.22LY->' mug in one hand, data-pad in the other.
"Tell me again about this 'dimension jump' technology"? He'll ask sardonically. I'll sigh, and reply with something sarcastic.
Lately I've taken to responding to every question, with a nonsense phrase learned in my youth. It's a juvenile act of defiance, but it helps keep me going, and it seems to annoy the skev out of him.
I'm much braver now, well, now that the torture's long since stopped. When I was first 'invited' to Mercy's Hammer things were different, very different...
I set the self-destruct and climbed out. As the timer counted down, I peeled off my patches and threw them in to the small cockpit. In a few moments the escape pod would be nothing but molten slag. All I had on me was my survival pack, a pocket full of death sticks and an inexplicably empty DL-44. Not good.
At least my bucket and box were still working, that'd give me something to suck on until I reached the atmosphere of the settlement a couple of clicks away.
Following a hot day holed up out in the boonies, I waited for darkness and sneaked in to in a two-bit nothing of an outpost called Baker's Prospect. Security was nothing to holo home about, even less so around the mostly abandoned commercial district on the outskirts of town. After a bit of a reccy, I plotted up in a derelict old gambling house, once called The Asellus HoOpy.
The settlement was solely populated by humans; miners, spacers, traders. The usual transients.
Immediately I set about getting to know who was who, and what was what. I hit the bars, asked a few question, served up a few sticks. Classic recon stuff. Turns out, I was no one, and that was that. My blood stripes didn't warrant so much as a second glance and my casual references to the Kilrath System were met with a confusion that I initially mistook for calculated indifference. Whenever I asked about other species, I was looked at like I'd been bashing Hupyrian beetle. Wherever we'd jumped to, we were a long way from home...
"I said.. Does. Something. Amuse you... Prisoner"?
My attention snapped back in to the room. We hadn't even got to the day's 'questioning' yet, and he was already pissed at me. I'd noticed over the last few weeks he was getting easier and easier to wind up. I think he was beginning to realise that they didn't care, or had forgotten about him. Just like they'd lost interest in me, why else would they have this spughead interrogating me. Well, our first catch of the day, as they say. Slowly and deliberately I sing: "Bah-weep-Graaaaagnah-wheep ni ni bong"
His face flushes red with rage and his jaw clenches.
"Say that shit again, I dare you. I double dare you"
Ha ha, I've got him! An unconcealable smile breaks out across my face. "Bah-weep-Granaaaaaaaarrrgh"!!