It was dark. That was all Tarlo knew about his location as he opened his eyes slumped on a cold, hard floor. That was all he needed. He remembered the raid, remembered it going wrong. So, dark meant only one thing. It meant Night Troopers with thermal implants, reflexes hardened by years of training and a disposition that encouraged shoot first, ask later tactics.

These were the type of experienced troops he could never expect to escape. Hell this entire situation was pretty inescapable. Curse his rotten luck! These troops would be well funded, well fed and well trained. Tarlo was empty-handed (heck, he'd even had his clothes taken from him while he was out), hungry and tired. Funny that, he must have been out for at least an hour and he had woken up feeling exhausted. He guessed being unconscious and being asleep isn’t the same thing after all.

Nervously Tarlo tried to move his arm aware that he was probably being watched. Any suspicious action might cause them to take a better look at it. Yes! A little piece of luck after all. His arm could move and function properly, it looked like that penny pinching arms merchant in Skyhalt City had come through for him in the end. The augmented fake skin on his arm that he'd been so dubious about buying had actually kept them from detecting his arm. Now he wasn't exactly 'empty-handed' anymore. A sly smirk crept across his face. Well only in the literal sense of the phrase and everyone knew that wasn’t everything.

Suddenly Tarlo noticed something that his senses had been telling him since he woke up. There was someone or something to his left. The knowledge carried to him by all those extra senses that seem to wake up in the dark places of the world. He could ‘feel’ the person there, hear the sound of his breathing and even catch the faintest whiff of human smell on the air. Well human was good wasn’t it? It hinted at skin open to the air. Not locked up in Trooper Power Armour that only smelt of fabricated materials like latex, steel and rubber.

Surprisingly the first sound to break the silence did not come from the left of Tarlo where the other prisoner (well, presumed prisoner) lay, sat or stood. Instead a hesitant high pitched voice broke over the darkness from the right of him. “H-hello? Is there anyone there?” it asked, “Please, I’m scared.”

“Silence fool, dost though wish to invite our doom?” another voice, this time from behind. From the way he spoke it was obvious to Tarlo that he was of Orrothlean descent. Only the southern tribes spoke like that there. That region held the few farming colonies those warlike people had and as such had bred a strange mix of warrior and farmer who had somehow adopted an archaic speech pattern.

“What doom? What’s going on?” queried the first whom Tarlo had subconsciously labelled ‘Young Lad’.

“We’ve obviously been captured boy, do you really want us to be pun...” the reply was broken off as suddenly as the conversation had started and was swiftly followed by two heavy thumps. After this the darkness swallowed any hope of comforting speech or noise of any kind. Like a dark weight bent on calmly and consistently crushing their spirits.

The End

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