A dream. Sound in the background. Noice. You wake up hearing something in the bowels of this shitty old Helicopters engine bangs every few minutes, smashing down with a noise that reminds you of a heavy handgun delivering pain in the sprawl barrens.
You’re all in the back of the helicopter together with 10 other humans, chained to your seats. The seats are padded with foam cushions; the cushions are filthy, torn and completely worn away in places, a sullen testament to the hundreds of passengers who have gone ahead of you.
Through a porthole, you can see the terrain below. Hundreds of kilometers of desert, scorched a chalky white-blue by the sun, without a single visible road or landmark or even a drop of water. The helicopter flies over dune after dune, rocking occasionally as a particular strong thermal push it.
Eventually, the helicopter descends towards a worn-out facility. You see a handful of rust-colored buildings surrounded by chain-link fences. Some are derelict, looming out of the desert like bleached skeleton, but the rest of the ugly, squat buildings are still in use.
The helicopter lands a short distance outside, and the door grinds open. It is like opening a freezer, as a wall of hot air hammers you. Masked soldiers enter and drag you out. You are march
ed across the landing pad to a shed. One by one, you are chained to a chair in front of a desk…
The clerk’s bony fingers clatter on a dusty keyboard attached to an antiquated and flickering screen. ‘Name?,’ he snaps, ‘birthplace?’ After inputting your personal details, the clerk presses another key and a camera turns towards you, photographing your face, your retinal pattern, and your fingerprints. The camera pauses for a moment, almost as if it is weighing your chances of survival in this prison, then withdraws into the desk. The clerk taps another few keys, then grunts. ‘Your personal possessions will be stored until you are released or transferred from Blackstone Prison. In the event of your death, your possessions will be returned to your next of kin, minus a handling fee. If no next of kin are registered, or if the handling fee cannot be paid, your possessions will become the property of Blackstone Prison and will be disposed of at the pleasure of the warden. Remove your clothes now, or they will be forcibly removed.’
You are then dragged off to another shed, shaved and sprayed with caustic chemicals. Emerging from the stinging showers, you are issued with bright orange prison jumpsuits. You are also issued with 75 credits from your personal accounts, bed linen, 1 roll toilet paper, toothbrush and toothpaste.
As you are led away, you are assaulted with the terrifying shouts, insults and threats of the prison population. Behind a chain fence to your right, scores of men and metas shake the thin barrier between you and them.
“Here, fishy, fishy.”
“New boys, ripe for slaughter!”
“For you have reaped what you have sown!”
“The tall one’s mine!”
“You’ll never leave here alive!”
The guards push you forward and assemble you into a ragged line, your backs to the baying mob.
A shout from one of the guards instantly silences the prisoners, and a portly man approaches you. He walks with a slight waddle and is slightly balding, but the way one of the guard
s reports to him clearly shows respect. When he speaks, it is with a loud, confident voice.
“My name is Warden Grice. You will address me as Warden or Sir. You will address the guards as Guard or Sir. You have been sent to Blackstone for your crimes against The Soux Nation Society. You will be given the chance to atone for those crimes. And you should be grateful for that chance. As you spend your days, months and years here, remember this. You have no rights. None. You do not even have a name any more, just a number. You will not use your name, only your number. The only way you will leave this place and get your name back is by working hard and staying out of trouble. If you can do that then maybe, maybe you will be returned to honest society.”
From somewhere down the line, you hear a whisper. “I’ve seen Trolls thinner than him!”
Warden Grice is on to the man in an instant. “Gorod, attend to that filth!”
One of the guards strides past you down the line, and out of the corner of your eye you see him ram his club into the prisoner’s stomach. Before the man hits the ground, another two guards drag him back to his feet.
“Take him to the Danger Zone,” shouts the Warden. “
The guards pushes you towards the main building, as you realizes that this is just to fucked up to believe.