Government Confines

Chapter II:

Angels from Heaven

Jerry woke, his mind reeling. He blinked, shook his head once and blinked again. It was too dark to see anything properly for the moment. Besides that, Jerry was sure that he would not recognize his surroundings even he had not been so dazzled. That bothered him, not to know where he was. The only thing that bothered him more than that was the biting cold and the difficulty he was having trying to respire.

Okay, the last thing I remember is going home, eating some dinner and having a heck of a time explaining why I had just got out of detention… Something refused to add up. How had he got here—where was here anyway? Then I goofed off for a while and my computer froze… Could it have been something with his computer? Woo… He took as deep a breath as possible. Bright light from the screen, then I woke up here.

"Are you all right," someone asked. Up until now, Jerry had not realized that he was not alone wherever he was. The knowledge came to him with the understanding that whatever was blocking the sun was also the source of the voice, which, in all truth was rather terrifying to Jerry. The thought of a voice so deep, from such a huge piece of… machinery?

The owner of the voice was indeed very large, made of metal (at least it appeared to be metal), and had the appearance of—of all things—a dragon! It looked like a war machine. The large cannons jutting out of its back were clearly weaponry, and the hulk's claws looked like they could pinch him in two. Of course, yellow eyes are always a bad sign. Whatever it was, it did not look friendly. In fact, it looked downright menacing. Therefore, supposed Jerry, he was entitled to be not only nervous, but in panic under the circumstances.

"Are you all right," it asked again. Curse it! The child is afraid of me! That was the last thing that the creature wanted. Knowing what Jerry was, and knowing that this posed as a major breakthrough for the resistance, he was very sure that the human was his partner. "I will not hurt you," he said, taking a step forward as delicately as possible.

Jerry pinched himself and hoped that this was just a dream. Oh God—oh God! I'm gonna die! I just know that thing is gonna squash me like a bug! He pinched himself again, still praying that it would not hurt. It, unfortunately, almost drew blood since he pinched himself so hard. He started scooting backwards, his breathing becoming deeper and much harsher. The monster followed him, a step at a time, shaking the ground with each footfall, until a dead-end stopped Jerry as he tried to scream when his back touched the wall.

"I am not going to harm you, human," it told him. "I am here to ask for your help. There is no need to be afraid of me, despite any prior circumstances." The Digimon knew that what he said had no effect on the human's mindset. However, words were forming on the human's lips, who struggled to make them heard.

"What are you?" The words barely came out. The Machinedramon heard them, however quiet they were. He could only imagine the difficulty that the human was having understanding that he was even alive. He had never met a human before, but supposed that his appearance did lend itself to some degree of anthropomorphism. The human had projected his ideas of good and evil onto Mech, and judged by appearance.

The Digimon rumbled his own sort of sigh and might have rolled his eyes had he had actual eyes. Communication was important. But initiating it had become frustrating, waiting for the human to stop panicking. "I am a digital monster, a Machinedramon. You may call me Mech," he replied at length. "What is your name, human?"

Jerry, by now, had come out of his panic, but he was still fearful of the Digimon. He was beginning to realize how cold his surroundings were, and how thin the air was. He must have ended up somewhere high. But there were few settlements at that altitude on Earth. Moreover, where did "Mech" come from? Nothing was making sense.

Jerry licked his cold lips and tried to speak again. "'Mech?' As in mechanical?" The Machinedramon nodded. So the creature was a living machine? In spite his initial reaction to it, apparently Mech was benign. "Where am I?" If not on Earth…

"You are in District Eighteen of the Digital World, human. Now, please, tell me your name. There are people around who would do you harm and I do not want that to happen."

"Jerry Young," the boy replied, his voice a mere whisper. His fears faded, replaced by awe and amazement. This monster was truly a living being. And it wanted his help, too. What could a thing so possibly huge want from such a small and relatively simple mammal?

When he asked as much, Mech snorted with a jet of steam out of his draconic muzzle. "That explanation would take far too long for the time we have now. For now, we must find you a place to hide. If anyone else saw your arrival, I am afraid the authorities will be upon us soon."

Jerry nodded, "I suppose that's a good idea." By now, he had fully realized how cold he was—almost to the point of freezing. He had found his voice, though it was still weak in the thin atmosphere. The mechanical Digimon beckoned him to follow. He still hesitated. A nagging in the back of his mind told him something was amiss, that Mech was not willing to tell him the whole truth. Jerry might have chalked it up to them just meeting, except for the fact that the Digimon had mentioned the "authorities." Could he be a criminal of some sort, a fugitive?

"I need answers first," the human declared, looking Mech in the eye. "I won't go anywhere until I know what exactly is going on. Where am I? How did I get here? And how do I get home?"

Mech growled, feeling frustration again. Surely, fate had played a trick on him, to give him a partner that was so obstinate. "You are in the Digital World. Your other questions will have to wait for answers. For now, you must come with me."

The finality of Mech's command took Jerry aback. The Digimon did not seem like the type who was used to having his orders questioned. Jerry had the feeling that arguing did not bode well for him. The Digimon might very well leave him, or turn him over to whatever authority might be after him.

That left Jerry with a choice. Did he go with the Digimon, letting his curiosity win over caution, putting his fate into someone else's hands? Or did he trust his initial instincts and go it alone? For as many qualms as he felt, he had to trust Mech. I don't have a choice. There was nowhere for him to run, and even if there were, he would still be stuck helpless in an alien world.

"Alright," he decided. Within another moment, a strange light overtook where the two were standing. It flooded the alley and spilled onto the main avenue where busy creatures somehow did not take notice. When it had subsided, Mech stood alone.

Michael woke in a cold sweat. He felt something, a residual effect from a passing nightmare, of which he could not remember. The boy had the vague sensation of excitement, yet total fear for a dear friend whom he had not known for a long time. Combined with the darkness—even his nightlight seemed dim—the feeling left him nervous and breathing heavily.

"Mom," he called. "Mamma?" No answer came to him from down the hall, though there was a low murmur and a terrible smell starting to ventilate through the door-crack. There was also a faint light, as if someone had turned the knob on the hallway's switch down to the low setting.

Michael crept out of his bed, trying to stay as quiet as he knew how. As he neared the door, the mumbling became clearer and more recognizable and then passed into the realm of clear speech. It sounded like there were two of them. One was his mother's clear alto; he perceived that almost instantly. The other was unfamiliar, though. It sounded angry, as if it wanted something that it could not have.

The boy lay down on the floor, his eyes peeking very carefully under the crack. There, in the hall, was his mother, tears streaming and a large bruise starting to form on her right eye. Michael almost screamed when he saw her condition, only barely holding his voice in check. It was clear that this was something with which he should not get involved.

A second person also stood in the hall, an inch or two taller than his mother; he looked dirty and disheveled. "Where is he," the strange voice said in a subdued version of rage. "He's mine, now where is he!"

"You're not getting him," his mother retorted. Michael had to wonder who this strange man was, and why he had become violent with his mother. So many questions wondered in and out of the child's head that it began to swim. "I won custody of him fair and square."

A hand grabbed the female's arm and twisted while the man slapped her left cheek. She held her head up and glared hard at the man. "You're drunk, and if you don't leave now I'll call the police."

"The police?" the man laughed. "If I had a nickel for every time I've heard that before I could buy Michael back!" The boy jumped, slightly, but a small squeak came out of his mouth. It was not loud, but with the hushed voices, someone would certainly have heard the exclamation. Michael saw the man's feet coming towards his door and backed away.

"I have a restraining order against you," his mother said sternly. "Now get out. You can't have him." The man laughed again and there was a short pause in his footsteps. It was short lived, however, as he heard his mother shout again. "You brought a gun! What kind of a—"

BANG, Michael finally broke his silence with a startled shout.

"I won't leave until I get my son," Michael's father said, just as a light thud sounded in the hall. Light suddenly filled the room as the door opened and the man stepped through. The boy screamed as he saw his mother dying on the floor. "Be a good boy and get up."

Michael did so, reluctantly, as his father waved the firearm around. He kept his eyes on his mother's body, just barely breathing and watching in fear for him. Blood had started to pool around her, as Michael walked past. They were out of the bedroom door now and near the stairs.

He still watched his mother as he began to climb down them. It looked as though she was trying to say something—something urgent. It was gurgled and difficult for Michael to understand. "Michael!" she screamed at last, "run!" Her last words were choked and then cut off abruptly as a second bullet entered her skull. After that, she lay lifeless on the floor.

"Move," his drunken father told him as he pocketed the weapon. The boy followed his father's orders, too terrified now to do anything else. There was no need to wonder what had happened. The only thing that the boy needed to do now was to try to escape the man.

Michael's understanding of the events unfolding around him was rudimentary at best. But understanding was not required. He knew this man had killed his mother, and that he was likely to kill Michael as well. His mother's words resounded in the boy's head.

Michael ran. He bounded down the stairs in twos and threes and fumbled with the locks on the front door. His father's drunken steps made him fumble and trip down the stairs, hitting the first of two landings with a heavy thud. By the time he had recovered, Michael was already out the door.

His home was soon behind him and the night dark and chilly. Michael heard his father running after him, cursing and shouting. BANG! A shot echoed off the houses outside. Lights within those homes flashed on and curtains opened to reveal puzzled neighbors' faces turn to horrified expressions.

The child had not noticed any of that, however, and only concentrated on trying to get away from the man chasing him. He was running hard, and was tiring fast. His feet hurt, one shuffling in front of the other as fast as they could carry him. Michael turned right, down a side street before he realized that it was a dead end.

As he came to the end of the road, he stopped and turned. His father was behind him still and coming up quickly, panting and running out of profanities to scream. "You gave me a lot of trouble, Michael," he said, and then backhanded him. "That was not a respectful thing to do." Click. The man cocked the pistol and took aim.

"Leave him alone," a voice shouted from behind them. Michael's father turned to see two men in uniform, side arms trained on him. "Drop your weapon and put your hands on your head," the voice said again, firm and resolute.

"No," Michael's father said, equally firm. He dusted himself off and inspected his weapon again, taking it from Michael's direction. "I won't." He put the gun again to Michael's head and started to squeeze the trigger. A shot fired, Michael squealed in fright and watched the lifeless form of his father fall to the ground.

The child sat alone on a bench within a police station. He had spent the last half-hour recalling the events that had just taken place to one of the numerous uniformed men working that night. He had been having some unwillingness to tell them anything, not knowing them and distrusting everyone at that point. One of the other officers around him suggested that they give Michael a break and try to contact any other relatives that he might have had.

One of them, a woman, had given him a mug of cocoa to warm up with and told him to get some rest. Currently he was sipping that cocoa, quietly and wondering what was going to happen to him now. That was when something caught his eye. One of the various computers in the vicinity was flashing very strangely. He watched it for a while, curiosity building and interest mounting. It was a welcome distraction to him and he quietly slipped off the bench and snuck up to it.

Briefly, he wondered if it was such a good idea to be this close to the machine and then clicked the mouse without any more thought. The mug containing the cocoa hit the floor and shattered as Michael vanished. His world twisted and turned and his head swam. When he was able to see clearly again, Michael found he was outside in the night again.

"Youch!" A heavy something just landed on an unfortunate Garurumon's tail. Of all the happenings, or the places that that something could have landed, it just had to be his tail. Still, he inspected what had interrupted his goings on. Much to his surprise, it was—what was it? Human possibly? Whatever the strange biped was, it sprawled along the grass, resting uncomfortably on his appendage. It was small, frail and a pasty white like the Garurumon had never seen before.

Michael, who had suddenly found himself face first on a bed of dry grass, looked up at the sound of the Digimon's startled yelp. What he saw mesmerized him. He had always wanted a dog, but his mother had consistently told him that he was not ready for the responsibility of pet ownership—not that he quite knew what that meant. Just that it meant "no" was enough for him.

Now, as he gazed over the large lupine figure, he could not help but forget that. Cream-colored fur covered its entire body, zebra-striped with bands of dark blue, ending with a long, stringy tail that twitched under Michael's body.

"Uh hmm…" it grunted, painfully, "would you mind getting off my tail?" The biped obliged, carefully picking himself up. The Digimon noticed that it did not seem to matter to that he spoke. Actually, it was as if the boy was preoccupied with something—him, for some reason.

"I'm Garth," the wolf said, doing his best not to agitate him. "I'm a Digimon, if you're curious, a Garurumon. What's your name?" There was no reply, which elicited a nudge from Garth. The human was stiff, and a bit cold. "Are you alright?"

"Momma said I'm not allowed to talk to strangers," Michael finally said, blinking. It just now occurred to him now that animals cannot talk. He backed away at the realization, but could not help but keep his eyes locked on the Digimon.

Who is "momma" Garth wondered. His master? He had worked in the fields all his life and had never met a slave that called his master "Momma." It sounded more like a term of endearment than a title. The creature must have been human, then. This meant, quite surprisingly to Garth, that he was the human's partner.

With that understanding, the Garurumon lifted itself off his haunches and stalked closer to Michael. "I'm a friend," he said. "I won't hurt you." He tried to give the boy an encouraging nudge.

Michael shook his head as Garth's cold nose sniffed at him. He had never liked strangers anyway. Now that the previous few hours having cemented that, a look of utter horror passed over his face. He nearly screamed, but caught himself. Somehow, Michael though that being quiet was the better option.

The Digimon saw the look and wondered what he could have gone through to cause such a reaction. "I'm not a stranger anymore. I told you my name is Garth. What's yours?" He laid down on the grass, a few feet from Michael and put his head down on his front paws. "If we know each other's names, we won't be strange anymore."

Michael cocked his head and nodded hesitantly. It made sense, he decided, though still unsure of that was what his mother meant. "I'm Michael…" He put out his hand politely.

Garth lifted his head and blinked curiously at the strange gesture. Nevertheless, he put his right paw out and put it gently over the human's hand, which grabbed one toe weakly and shook it a little before letting go. Perhaps now they were no longer strangers. He put his head back down and sighed.

"Where did you come from," he asked the human. Michael scrunched his face up thinking before he replied that he came from the computer. The reply, unintelligible to Garth, prompted him to ask what a computer was.

"It's a big box with lights that grown-ups sit at and yell at." Garth nodded, still not understanding and recognizing that Michael barely understood the idea himself. "It was at the police station," Michael continued. "I woke up, and someone was yelling… and then he chased me and the police came…"

Michael ran out of steam there, having lost his train of thought to the jumble of memories. Now he sat silent, on the verge of tears. Garth looked him over and again wondered what horrors his new partner had just endured. Momma… He had lost someone.

"Momma told me to run…"

Whoever Momma was, she had been important to Michael—so important that his face registered shock now, tinged with bitter grief. Garth felt compassion for him. He moved toward the boy, sitting next to him now with a paw gently on his shoulder.

"You don't have to run anymore," Garth told him. "You're safe with me. I'll protect you."

"I wanna go home." Michael was tired—tired from running, from all the questions, tired from just sitting and trying to stay awake long enough for someone—anyone—to comfort him. It seemed, for now, that someone had indeed come. He felt an affinity for this furry animal; he could trust Garth.

He put his head on the huge wolf's shoulder and closed his eyes, a few stray tears matting Garth's fur. The Garurumon sighed and maneuvered the boy onto his back, then began carrying him home. Even before he came within sight of his hovel, Michael had fallen fast asleep, secured by Garth's long tail. Poor kid, he thought. He had not even noticed when a soft white light enveloped him briefly and Michael had disappeared.

Alice opened her eyes. The sky was clear, except for a few bands of wispy vapor circling the sun. Why am I outside? She sat up. The last thing she remembered was lying on her bed with her sketchpad and pencil, doodling—something—she could not exactly remember what now. She and her brother had gotten back from the restaurant to find their stinking mother passed out with a bottle of booze on the couch.

She had tucked Brent into bed and then went to wash of the stink of alcohol with which she felt her mother had somehow permeated her. After a long bath, and a towel around her hair, she began sketching on her pad as she did every night. It was her only escape from the madness. Working part time on minimum wage, trying to support her baby brother while waiting for the emancipation papers to go through, was not much of a life. Nevertheless, she doggedly trudged on each day.

She had to be strong—if not for her, than strong for her brother. She sighed and inspected her surroundings. Much to her disappointment, the grounds she sat on revealed nothing as to her whereabouts. Where is this? Also to her disappointment, there was nothing but farmland around as far as her eyes could see.

"Well, this is just great—I finally go to sleep and this is what I dream up… And I'm covered in dirt." Just what were they growing anyway? The stalks rather looked like poppies, which meant it was an opium operation. "And wonderful, more addicts!"

"So you're a human," a feminine voice inquired from behind. There was a sort of growling quality to the voice, too, which caused Alice to turn around. "They call me Casey." Maybe Alice was the addict. This had to have been a hallucination of some sort. It was too real, now that she thought of it, to be just a dream.

What was a dragon doing in the middle of an opium operation? She was a female, at that, who—unawares to both of them—looked like a black duplicate of an ExVeemon. "So, opium-smoking dragon named Casey, am I hallucinating?" Alice asked, smiling sardonically and then standing. Casey shook her head.

Whatever it was, it was vivid, Alice decided. She broke off a piece of the poppy-like stalk and gave it a sniff. It smelt different then poppies… more like a very fragrant potato.

"No, not really hallucinating," Casey replied, slightly taken aback by the inference that she was the proprietor of their surroundings. Why would a human assume that she smoked opium? Moreover, what was opium to begin with? The field she was working was of grain. "I'm real. You're real, so is this field. And it isn't my field."

At least, Casey was reasonably certain that the girl was human. Her education was somewhat sparse, and not well versed in such mythology as the Human World. Casey spent her days in the fields, slaving away—literally—picking through grains and stalks and filling bags before trudging back to her shack for the night.

"You are a human, right?" she asked, an edge in her voice.

Alice nodded, taking a good look at the monster talking to her. On closer inspection, she found many things out of place. The sun was not quite the right color, the plants in the field seemed too fragrant and more blue than green. And the dragon—Casey—was covered from head to clawed foot in scars.

She put a hand on Casey's claw, tracing one of the scars. "Where did these come from?" she queried, though she had a feeling she already knew. Had she really gone from one desperate situation to another? "Who beat you like this?"

Casey had expected a long list of things from the human when she saw it. Compassion was not on it. No slave ever expected compassion, or sympathy. "My master, of course…" Then anger. The human's face contorted to an expression of unbridled anger.

"Your master?"

Casey nodded, wondering why the human looked so surprised. Slavery was a very profitable business if one had the resources, and perfectly legal—if morally questionable. She knew it was wrong, but what could she do? She had no place to run, no place to hide. What if this human could help her escape?

What slave did not dream of escape—of the mythical revolution that would free them? She looked at her prospective partner and saw a glimmer of hope on the horizon. "For now…" Casey said. She took a breath and saw the human did the same. She wondered if it had the same thought. "There was a legend, passed down for a few generations… about of a group of humans that would free us."

Most Digimon dismissed it as folklore. No one could confirm the legend, if MagnaGreymon had indeed gotten a message across the voids of space and time. She had not been sure humans even existed until now. She looked at the girl, silhouetted in the light from the setting sun, and wondered if the gods had really answered her prayers.

"Angels from heaven…" she murmured.

Alice looked at the Digimon blankly. She was no angel, and certainly not from heaven. But then again, considering the life of a slave, she might have lived in the lap of luxury. It was obvious that the Digimon needed help, and Alice had seen too much evil to let it lie

Even so, what could a lone human do? Sheer determination would only bring her so far. She was no stranger to hard work. Enduring the life she had been dealt would have tested anyone's limits. She could never fight an entire war, though, let alone win it. Even if she could, she had to get home, back to her responsibilities.

Alice began looking frantically around, shaking her head and clenching her fists. "I have to get home," she murmured, barely audible. She pondered shortly what she expected to find as she dug through the strange plants. An exit sign or a door lying open in the grass? She turned to the dragon.

Casey scrunched up her scaly muzzle and shrugged her shoulders. She wondered if all humans behaved so strangely, and then wondered what was so important that this girl had to leave when she had only just arrived. The dragon asked as much.

Alice halted her futile search. "I have to leave. My brother is there, alone, with that woman…" Her voice cracked as she replied, breathless and horrified. "He's defenseless. She'll beat him to death! I have to go!"

The Digimon had no brothers of her own, nor any sisters, nor had she known her parents. The concept of family was only a vague notion. Of course, she had her fellow slaves, and she shared camaraderie with them, which their master brought about by their mutual suffering. The whip and the fields had stung them all.

She nodded, understanding. If she were to leave her fellow slaves behind, somehow winning her freedom, she would most likely feel the same way. A burning guilt tugged at her now. With a human child, she had indeed won her freedom.

And this human had left someone behind as well, to face a terrible fate on his own.

"You protected your brother?"

Alice nodded.

"And you taught him to be strong."

"I tried," Alice replied.

"Then he'll be fine."

The human fell to her knees, sobbing. Brent was her responsibility. She had been vying for custody of him since she was old enough to get a job. Everything she had lived for had been to alleviate their suffering at the hands of their drunken mother. Now, without warning, without even a choice, she had been torn away from that responsibility.

Casey moved closer to the human and put her massive clawed hands on her shoulders. Alice fell into her, needing a physical and moral support of someone, anyone. The sat for a while in the stillness of the late afternoon, before a shimmering white enveloped them.

Sometime later, Alice felt herself coming out of a stupor. She moaned quietly to herself. She had a terrible headache, and her feet hurt her. When she opened her eyes, she did not recognize any of her surroundings. The roof over her head was aged, and cracked, letting moonlight in through various holes. A small fire crackled in hearth in the corner, warming the one-roomed hovel.

She sat up, feeling hay under her, and then realized she was completely naked. When she tried to cover herself, looking for a blanket, she then realized she was looking through the eyes of a completely different body. From head to foot, she was covered in the same black scales as the dragon she had met earlier.

Alice tried to scream, but her something held her jaw clamped tight. She tried again to make any sort of noise. But the only thing she managed was to rustle the bed of hay she lay on.

[Shhh… You'll wake the others…] Alice remembered that voice. It was the dragon, Casey, from the field. The last she remembered was weeping into her arms. Then everything went black.

[You kidnapped me!] She tried to move, to run, and found that her body had locked up entirely. [What are you doing? Let me go! What happened to me?] She struggled with all her might, failing to move even an inch.

[You're fine. You're with me, in my body.] Casey let out an involuntary sigh. Alice seized the opportunity and managed to jerk one leg. They both felt it hit something soft, and heard the loud yelp of a large dog. [Now look what you did!? If he finds out you're here, he may tell the master!]

Casey regained a firm control over their movements, ignoring the screaming mental protest of the human inside her. She looked at the Garurumon whom Alice had accidentally kicked.

Garth glared at her and growled softly. Casey had never known the wolf to growl at anyone unless he was protecting something. "I'm sorry, Garth," she said, pausing for a moment to reign in unceasing cacophony in her mind. "I guess my body has a mind of its own…" She paused.

Suddenly Alice had quite struggling.

The Garurumon said something. Casey had not heard it, as she was asking Alice if she were all right. Inwardly, Alice sighed in response. She was fine, now over her momentary panic, though still confused. [What happened?]

[I don't know], came Casey's reply. The room was silent, yet they communicated perfectly through their shared minds. [The last I remember, you were in my arms, and then you in me.]

[We're in the same body?]Though she phrased it as a question, she already knew the truth. Alice's consciousness and, indeed, her entire body, had somehow been transformed and merged with the Digimon. [Guess that means I'm in it for the long haul, huh?]

Casey relaxed her control of their body and immediately felt their hand move to their face. [I think so. I don't know why this happened, Alice. But I'm sure the gods have a reason.]

Alice inspected the three-fingered claw. It bore scars, just like the rest of their body, and she couldn't help but wonder how the Digimon had survived such beatings. [Maybe to help you], Alice replied. She put the claw back to their side and rolled over. She felt strange.

What would happen now, she wondered. [You said there were other humans? How many?] If there were other humans, Alice had to find them. It might be possible to find a way home together. And then there was the matter of her no longer being human. Would the same thing have happened to them? How would they recognize each other?

[I don't know. I thought it was only a legend.] Casey smiled inwardly at her human partner. She hardly remembered how it went. But she was sure that it never mentioned a specific number. It was a forbidden tale, the likes of which people whispered in secret rebellion. She heard it once, when she was young, before she digivolved.

[There is one thing I should tell you, though], the Digimon said, making Alice take pause. Casey had a hard time deciding if it were good or bad news, though. She was used to being bought and sold, moved from place to place. She knew how to hold herself, and present her strong arms and sturdy frame to buyers, and how to tell a good slaveholder from the bad. Good, though, was a relative term in the slave trade.

Alice prodded the dragon to continue.

[The other slaves and I are to be sold tomorrow at auction.] Everyone currently residing in the shack, in fact, were going up to auction. Alice almost panicked again, but managed to calm herself when she noticed Casey's calm.

[Could we escape], the human asked? Casey's reply was doubtful. The officiators would bind the slaves tight until the auction, and then placed them under heavy guard. [And there's no way to incite a revolt?]

[Most slaves have no will of their own.] Their owners broke them, and dashed their hopes. Without a strong spirit, they only followed orders. Not even their survival instincts worked anymore. In that, Casey was blessed. She had a strong spirit, and had fought long and hard to maintain her will. [I should warn you what to expect, though. It's not pretty…]