Chapter 8: Corrupt Act
The boss stared at Tucker from behind the glass, safe within the dark confines. Tucker remained as quiet and persistent as ever in his fight to defy all open options given to him. "Your escape attempt was not smart Captain Tucker. If you blame me for that electric collar around your neck, then you only have your own actions to blame."
Tucker stayed quiet. The boss sat back and shook his head. You really love testing my patience every time we do these sessions don't you? He then heard some volume rise from Tucker's side. "What makes you think I will ever trust a jackass who hides in shadows?"
The boss crossed his hands together, he could not argue against the statement. He turned to look around at his two colleagues and nodded towards them. "Captain Tucker, give me a few minutes, I will be right with you."
Whatever, Tucker thought as he gripped the arms of his restraint wheel chair. Few minutes later, Tucker grew tired of waiting. Just let me go back already, he pondered. He was quickly shaken out of his boredom however when the door opening sound Tucker suddenly came from behind. "Finally decided to call it quits today huh?"
Tucker's ears perked up at hearing the boss's voice. It sounded close, Tucker tried to twist his neck and see what was behind him. In the darkness, he could not make out the object which accompanied a long winded squeaking noise. It was only when the entrant entered the spotlight Tucker could see the object.
It was a wheel chair, on the wheel chair sat a scarred man with several burns on his body. It seemed as though his body suffered extensive damage, especially his limbs. For his arms, there were two prosthetic limbs. For his legs, well they didn't exist from the thigh down.
A cripple in a wheel chair.
The man turned to look at his captive. There were major burns on his face as well, but not as serious that they required constant medical support. His dark brown hair however was short and patchy at best with several bald spots. "Hello Captain Tucker."
"Um…hey, who are you?"
"My name is Equal. I am the one who has been talking to you all this time through the microphone."
Okay, I did not expect this, Tucker pondered constantly studying the man up and down. How could this guy even run such a big rebel group in this condition?
"So does this put you more at ease Captain?" Equal asked as he slowly rolled in front of Tucker. He got no answer out of the aqua soldier. "You no doubt have several questions for me I presume, one of which will undoubtedly be 'why are you doing this?' Would you like to know?"
This caught Tucker's attention, and the sudden interest did not go unnoticed by Equal. He gently nodded his head in understanding. "Maybe understanding our reasons will better help give you a perspective of our side. It may finally persuade you."
Tucker remained silent at Equal's words, and simply waited with growing impatience for the reasons. Equal did not waste any more time as he looked at his prosthetic limbs. "You already know who we fight. We fight the UNSC, but why is it we fight them? I said before that they are corrupt and we are doing our best to root out that corruption. To do this, we have to destroy the organization itself for who knows how deep and thick that corruption is."
Tucker's head fell in annoyance. More of this bullshit again, he wondered and this action did not go unnoticed by Equal. Motioning his prosthetic arm, he caught Tucker's attention again. "Understand Captain Tucker that I was originally a part of the UNSC during the Great War. I served faithfully only to return to a place where I was quickly rejected. I then sought a peaceful life for myself elsewhere in this galaxy, away from Earth which was a constant reminder of my past. But even after I found that peaceful life on the planet this station is close to, that was soon snuffed away from me by force. The UNSC forced me into this position of hatred and intense rage towards them."
Several years ago…
Equal had gotten settled into the set routine of this planet. In the morning, wake up and take care of the appropriate pleasantries. Then it would be off to either working in the mineral deposits, agriculture or construction. Those were the main sectors of the planet on which it thrived on. The UNSC set up shop on this planet with the intention of using it as a resource mine. Not only did it create work but also a stable economy for various job sectors.
Things were going fine, the planet and its people, and everyone else were prospering. But the events that transpired that one particular day brought everything he believed in about the UNSC into a questionable light. On that faithful morning, a sudden notice was dispatched to all the residents of the planet. UNSC operations were to cease in a matter of five months. From that point on, clean up would begin as well as relocation of those the UNSC choose to keep employed. Those who were laid off, they always had the option to take one of few transports back to Earth until a new opportunity arose.
Thankfully for Equal, the UNSC was keen on keeping him. His technical skills compounded by the skills he picked up in his time in the military helped make him a valuable asset. He was happy, after all the hardships he had to endure during the war and after it, he was glad to be under a safety net. But that safety net did not seem as secure as he had thought. For on that same day several UNSC ships descended across the planet.
What's going on? He pondered exiting the miner and wiping his forehead. The ships headed towards the residential areas. Amongst several questions, there was some concern being raised in their tones. "Are they here for transport?"
"They sure as hell wouldn't send a fleet for that," another miner commented. That miner was right. Generally it would only be one ship per the major residential sectors. Did they decide to fast track the decommissioning? Equal wondered as he took a drink of his water. Suddenly, they all heard a shriek!
"What the fuck was that?" one of the miners asked in panic. The others told him to calm down as several went to check on the commotion. Equal stared in the direction of the scream alongside the others. The miners were out of view and had been so for a while now. Just as everyone was almost convinced that things were fine and were about to go back to work, they heard several more screams! Equal abandoned his post and ran towards his home out of worry. What the hell is going on?!
Entering the residential areas, he saw flames eating up several homes and many residents being pushed around by the UNSC soldiers. What the fuck? Equal ran into the streets to see several of the soldiers drunk. He saw a group of drunken soldiers loitering around and eying various women in the colony.
"Hey, what's going on here, why is the UNSC here at the residential quarters?!" Equal demanded only to be pushed out of the way by the soldiers. They all began to chase a few women who in fear ran away. They are out of their god damned minds.
Equal roamed the streets to see what had been once a calm, peaceful and orderly place now turned into complete chaos. Upon hearing the scream of another woman, he went to investigate and found a shocking sight. Several UNSC soldiers who were drunk out of their minds held booze bottles up towards a young girl. "Come on baby, just a couple of shots of this and we can all have a good time together."
"Yeah, I got a good time for you in my pants here," one of the soldiers suggested with several of them laughing hysterically at the remark. Equal quickly jumped in between the girl and the soldiers. "What the hell do you think you are doing trying to victimize a young girl like this? You are all soldiers for crying out loud!"
"Hey buddy, you want some to? I swing both ways if you get my meaning."
They all continued to laugh in madness as their world grew dizzier by the seconds. Equal took the bottles away from them and threw them away. They all looked unhappy and grew in rage. "You bastard, why did you do that?!"
One of the soldiers gripped Equal by his shoulder but quickly found himself on the losing end. Equal twisted under the soldier's hand and with it he twisted the soldier's arm. Kicking the soldier on the knee he caused that soldier to fall to the ground and with one final kick to the head, the soldier was down for good. The other soldiers jumped for Equal all at the same time. Jumping out of the way, he took the girl's hand and began to outrun the group of drunkards.
Entering a narrow and complex set of back alleys, the two escapees managed to lose their attackers with ease. Equal looked back to the girl who couldn't have been older than twenty five. "You alright?"
"Yes, thank you!"
Equal looked all around for the perfect moment of escape. He tugged the girl at her arms just as she finished catching her breath. "Stick close to me."
The two quickly escaped their alley undetected. On the main street, several houses were pillaged and gunshots were going off. The girl right behind Equal was terrified, and she could not control her body's shaking. Equal looked back in short intervals at the girl, and with a look of reassurance he lead on. "You will be fine."
They exited onto another street on which Equal saw his apartment being raided. Good thing I didn't store anything valuable in there. He quickly hid at the sound of a few Warthogs coming towards them. The two jeeps drove in random patterns, barely managing to keep on road. On the second Warthog, from what Equal could deduce was the fleet captain, an aged man with his uniform in a mess and stinking of booze. What is the meaning of this?
Just then the Warthogs steered off the road and loudly crashed into the buildings. Equal peeked outside to find many soldiers lying on the ground. The captain with a broken arm walked into view kicking a stray wheel. "God damn machines!"
A few of the soldiers stood up wobbly and nearly losing their balance. The captain leaned on a few for support only to fall down alongside them in their stupor. "Fucking hell you maggots can't do anything right!"
Few more stood up and began walking in random directions. Equal felt the girl's hand shaking even more aggressively now. He looked back once at her and took a tight hold by her arms. "Listen to me, we will be fine. Trust me."
Quickly she froze in her spot as her mouth slowly dropped open. At least she has stopped shaking, but what is she pointing at? He wondered following her finger. Before he could even make sense, he was knocked off guard by a strong punch to the nose. What the hell?! Equal's vision was blurred from the forceful contact. He quickly found his body being restrained, and soon his vision cleared to see several of the drunken soldiers holding him down.
Several others surrounded the girl into a corner. Many of them made suggestive motions towards her as they began to violently grip at her clothes and tear them away. Equal reached out struggling against the grip that held him down. "Stop!"
They tore away her bra and pushed her hard against the building wall. Many of them undid their zippers and against her cries they forced her on the ground with her back against them. "Stop!"
"Not another word out of you!" his restrainer shouted hitting Equal hard on the back of the head. He began to black out, and all he could hear were her helpless cries quickly turning to despair as they forcibly had their way with her…
"Bring that one over here now."
Equal slowly came to as he found himself being dragged along. He was soon met face to face with the fleet captain. "You fought in the war didn't you?"
Equal remained quiet and he looked to his right and saw a truck full of bodies. His eyes opened wide in shock. "What have you people been doing?!"
"I ask the questions around here!"
"What happened to the girl with me?!"
The captain grew agitated and raised a hand against Equal. "I ask the questions!"
In anger Equal spat on the captain's face. The soldiers looked at one another in fear, while they were impressed with Equal's courage to stand up against their captain, they were afraid of what may happen to them due to this minor incident. The captain wiped his face clean and delivered several visceral blows to Equal's face and stomach. "You fucking miner! I'm in-charge of this planet, and that means I own you!"
The captain motioned for one of his soldiers to come forward. That soldier carried a chainsaw in his hands. "Show him what he gets for messing with me."
"Y- Yes sir."
The two soldiers holding Equal tied him down to the ground. The soldier with the chainsaw started it up and stood by Equal's left leg. Equal could tell something bad was about to happen, something very bad. The soldier raised the chainsaw and quickly swung it downwards as the teeth pierced into Equal's leg. Equal's screams were like music to the captain's ears. He sat down on the ground happily observing the blood spray everywhere and the crackle of the muscles tearing and bones breaking echo all around them. The captain motioned for the soldier to do the other leg as well. Without sympathy, without hesitation the soldier cut off all the arms and legs off of Equal and left a cripple broken man crying in pain.
The captain laughed violently as he stood up. "See that, that's what you get fucker! Now put him out of his misery."
Many of the other soldiers all surrounded Equal with cans of gasoline. They started to pour the dangerous liquid onto Equal's body and left a trail leading back to the captain. As the captain lit up a cigarette, he took one puff of it and dropped it in the gasoline trail. The fire slowly crept at first, but then quickly ran towards Equal making contact. More screams of pain escaped him as the fire quickly engulfed his whole body.
The captain began to laugh violently while taking several shots of his whiskey. "The idiot can't even flail properly."
But before the captain could derive anymore entertainment out of this sight, he was abruptly interrupted by sound of gunfire. "Which one of you assholes fired that?"
The soldiers looked around and shrugged their shoulders. "For fuck's sakes, the one time we loosen up and somebody fucks it up."
The captain however soon found it rather difficult to utter more words and act all high and mighty. The soldiers were all surrounded by several of the colonist holding the UNSC guns. The captain quickly got a grasp on the situation and smirked to himself. "What the fuck is this? Little colonists think they can stop us, fight back and be heroes? Guess what, the real heroes are us, those in the military."
"You are monsters!" one of the colonists shouted. The captain did not take kindly to that slur. He threw down his whisky bottle and ordered for all the soldiers to draw their weapons and open fire. Quickly it became a blood bath, and amongst the screams of the victims and gunfire, Equal was left to ponder his final few moments. However it seemed as though a guardian angel watched over him. Just as he was about to go silent, a colonist doused him in a lot of water. Equal quickly felt his body go limp, his pain receptors overloaded and vital signs hanging on by a thin thread.
For the planet and Equal, things had completely changed. For them, it was a brand new fight now. There was no more escaping the planet, no more trusting the UNSC and no more of simply worrying about a job. It was a matter of survival and justice now. The truth could not be suppressed. They would not let it be so. But it was, no news of this incident broke out and the UNSC no doubt did their best to cover it all up to maintain a good public image.
During the time Equal took to recover out of the danger zone, he learned of the damage done to their planet and the people. From the moment he could once again speak, he swore to fight back the corruption and bring it into the light. From the moment he was given his prosthetic arms, he swore to help rebuild a new order and life for everyone. From the moment he was given a wheel chair, he swore to lead his people forward into a new future.
…Equal stared at his hands again in wonderment. "So much damage, so much crime, corruption, and hate all inflicted onto us and for what reasons? As I learned it later, it was because the planet was being decommissioned and so the soldiers in charge of the planet decided to take several liberties. Their actions caused us misery, but they didn't care about any of that. To them it was all a matter of fun."
Tucker remained speechless at the information laid heavily onto his head. Equal turned around to leave and looked back to Tucker one last time. "Your UNSC is not as innocent as you may have once thought it to be. The world is not black and white Captain."
Suddenly a twisted grin crossed Equal's lips. He leaned in closer taking a hold of Tucker's right hand. "Would you like to feel the pain of losing a limb so that we may better relate?"
Tucker's body tried to jerk back at the threat. this dude is fucking crazy! Equal was amused at the reaction. He released Tucker's hand and motioned for a few station employees to come into the room. "I think it's best if we end our session here for today. Think about everything that I have talked about."
Locus followed close behind Equal, and as they entered the elevator, the two faced one another. Equal looked everywhere but at Locus. "I know what you are thinking Locus, and I don't regret doing what I just did."
"Think carefully Radon," Locus began only to be stopped by a sharp look from both Equal and Justice. Equal shook his head slamming a fist against the wheelchair's arm rest. "You know I have long since abandoned that name. Do not bring it up again. It is nothing but a reminder of the chains I was once tied to by the UNSC, the government and human society."
"Equal," Locus started correcting his name usage. "What you did, showing yourself to Tucker was a risky move. You have shown your face to Tucker now and have exposed your identity. That was never your intention."
"No it wasn't. But I have also come to realize that maybe expecting something from him for nothing would be unfair."
"Locus, we cannot hope to persuade Captain Tucker with mere words. In order to earn his allegiance, we need to establish a sense of trust. I'm sure you will agree that doing so from the shadows is very difficult," Equal explained studying the opening doors. They had arrived at their destination. "I also imagine that perhaps explaining where we come from, the reasons for our cause may better help him see things more…clearly."
"But you do realize the danger you have put yourself into now?" Locus questioned still surprised at the improvised actions Equal took at his own liberty. Equal nodded with a small smile. "I know it all too well. But sometimes we have to take some risks with the hopes of a huge payoff."
Locus stopped to see Justice and Equal enter his office. He looked down at the ground in deep thought and then stared out the windows. But is it worth the risk?