Vindictive Hand of Vengeance

Summary: Gwen's life takes a turn for the worse as she is framed for murder and taken to the Null Void. 16 years later she escapes, and will exact her revenge, but at what cost?

Darkness

Her eyes were set and she stared at the small wall, only a flickering light of a busted bulb to show her the lonely place that was her cell. She turned it off, she was used to the darkness and her eyes weren't accustomed to light anymore.

It had been sixteen years but she'd spent time in a remote branch of Incarcecon, one where no one knew she was a prisoner there. Her name was not registered or on record. She knew she was innocent, but she'd heard that it had been reported that Gwen Tennyson had died while incarcerated, but she'd been moved from the facility where she was officially registered and transferred, but it was all an elaborate scheme to keep her miserable for the rest of her life.

She'd been framed for murder of the local Magister and they said there was even forensic evidence that it was her, her family had all come to her defense but she'd been taken to the Null Void anyway. Ben had done everything he could to try to prove her innocence but nothing could help her. The evidence was too strong. Kevin feverishly investigated every lead he could but they couldn't prove it either, even though they had all been together on the night the Magister died.

Her life had become a living Hell; she'd been beaten and kicked, flogged and tortured. The Incarcecon she had visited with her cousin was one of the "public facilities", and even though they had many high level and dangerous criminals, they were regularly policed by the Plumbers. Her location was less than scrupulous and the warden was corrupt.

Instead of droid guards, he employed any prisoners who could get him criminal connections. She'd been forced to work in the mines as well, even in her terrible condition.

But that wasn't the worst of it; the "guards" were permitted to do anything they wanted to the prisoners shy of murdering them.

It wasn't long before one of them came after her. She'd fought them off as best she could, but they'd eventually overpowered her and…

She shut her eyes tightly. The nightmares, she had to put them out of her mind. The trauma of it all was agonizing. Not only had her life been snatched away from her, her dignity and innocence had been violated and stolen too.

She'd lost 16 years, trying to piece together the puzzle that was her misfortunes and calamities that had become her life.

Her eyes had long since adjusted to the lack of sunlight. But she'd dream about it, and everything she'd lost. But mostly, her dreams were about Kevin, and being with him again, feeling the warmth of his embrace, seeing him smile, hearing his laugh, but every day she would wake and harsh reality would slap her in the face.

She stared down at the sleeping figure in her arms. 15 year old Evan. Her son, conceived in this terrible place, he was born and raised in this darkness. They didn't have blankets, the guards didn't care, up on the higher floors, you were well treated, even went to the rec room to work out or play board games. That was the side that everyone saw, but on the lower floors, you barely got food and never had a blanket. They had to stay close to keep warm. It broke her heart to raise him here, she'd keep him hidden, even carving out a hiding place for him if anyone came in, and his existence had never been found out because they just slipped her food through the door slat and left, she'd managed to share it with him, and they'd lived their miserable lives together for as long as she could think.

The only light he'd known as the harsh glare of bright lights or the pathetic flickering of the small bulb in her cell. He'd never saw the real sunshine, never had pizza, cheeseburgers, birthday cake, candy, chips, junk food, vegetables, all the things children and teens ate.

Never had sleepovers, played videogames, football, basketball or baseball. Never went to the movies or school, everything he'd learned about Earth he'd learned from her. He might have been 15 years old age wise, but he was emotionally young and fragile.

His innocence was gone as well, he'd seen what the guards did to his mother, even though he was safely hidden from them in a space she had dug out with her own hands where he could hide when the guards came into her cell and raped her. There were only two, she'd managed to kill one, the other one had wisely stayed away, gloating that she would never be able to find him, he'd vanished soon after. He was also the man who had "fathered" Evan.

She'd deal with him soon enough. If she could find him.

A few days later, they only gave her food, she had no more "visits" from anyone and that was when she'd put her plan into overdrive. She'd been digging her way out, slowly, because of a restraining collar, she was cut off from her Manna powers, but she still tried her best to escape. She'd been able to calculate the size of the prison and knew she was half way to her goal, but she was desperate, she didn't want to spend 16 more years digging.

Gwen sighed, he was a smart boy, she'd educated him using everything she could remember and he'd learned well, but the Null Void was no place for a child, especially since she kept him hidden from the guards.

He could read, write, articulate and communicate well. If you had found him on the street, you would have thought he was a regular high school student.

But they were both fragile, and she was nearly broken. But only one thing drove her, vengeance, she'd figured out who had put her in this horrible place and they were going to pay. To have everything she'd held dear and taken for granted taken from her was enough to drive her mad, but she'd held onto the hope that she'd see her family again, and Kevin, her sweet Kevin, he was the one other thing besides her son that kept her going.

"Mom," Evan said quietly. "I had a dream about sunshine, and what it will be like when we go home."

"I dream about it too son, soon, we'll get out of here. We'll break out and go home, back to your Uncle Ben and Aunt Julie."

Gwen smiled, she didn't even know if Julie and Ben had gotten married, news wasn't something she heard often and only guessed.

"Grandpa Frank and Grandpa Lilli will be glad to see us, and your Great Grandpa Max will be thrilled to know that he's a great grandfather, they'll welcome us home and will be happy."

"Once we get out of here, everything will be fine," Gwen reassured him.

"I read that book again, I wonder if we'll be able to find anymore," Evan said, books were his escape to the outside world. Since they didn't allow prisoners to have many things to keep them occupied, they had decided books were the only "safe" form of entertainment as they could not be taken apart and rebuilt into something they could use to escape with.

Gwen had managed to get a hold of some books, ranging from the latest books on Earth to the old classics. The one joy she had was teaching him how to read. He always asked what it was that was being described, as he had not seen Earth or anything on Earth except in magazines if they were lucky enough to get them. He could identify things that he'd seen in pictures.

He could name and describe everything about the latest cars without ever having sat in one. He could remember things he'd read about celebrities and movies he'd never seen. Then again, most normal people could do that, but he'd never seen anything in the pictures before. He loved the magazines about nature and the outdoors, because he could imagine himself being in those places.

He wanted to go outside, see the sky, the sun, the stars, go to the beach, build sandcastles and ride a bicycle. All the things he'd dreamed about. But he had to get out of here to do that, so he helped his mother dig.

This facility wasn't metal like the one she'd been to, it was made from the planet's surface and they could tunnel under it. It was a problem to tunnel under the side they wanted to come out of, and she couldn't quite calculate how far it was.

They managed to hit a wall and pushed it open, revealing another cellmate who was surprised to see them.

"Who are you?" Gwen asked; the elderly Anodite was staring at her with haggard eyes.

"Call me Faria. I was put in this place as a career criminal, I robbed so many places you wouldn't believe it."

"I believe it or you wouldn't be here," she smiled.

"Tell me your name," he said smiling.

"My name is Gwen, this is my son Evan."

"You are…Gwen Tennyson," he said in awe. "They said you were dead."

"I'm not, obviously."

"Yes, I can see that, your poor boy probably grew up in this place."

Evan nodded.

"I am sorry; no child should ever have to live here."

He turned to Gwen. "I sensed you; you're one of us Energy Beings. I am glad that I was able to find another Anodite, its lonely here."

"You would make a fine criminal, as backhanded as it sounds, you're so nice you could con and swindle anyone you wanted. You've got a charming way with people and that's a strength that could be useful to people like us."

"What do you mean by that?" Gwen asked.

"It's quite obvious, you've never done anything to deserve being thrown in here, and you're cousin's a hero. I heard until the warden announced that you were dead, he and that boy Kevin were doing whatever they could to prove your innocence and they repeatedly tried to get the verdict overturned."

"You've been put in here 'cause someone wanted you here, have you found out who it is?" he asked. "You're a little naïve but you're very smart and clever. You could have a criminal career that could outshine anyone in here, and you would get away with it too."

"I have a pretty good idea of who it is," she told him. She knew exactly who had put her in this place, but she would keep that information to herself. No one need know about it, there were possibly people who knew and it would not be good if her enemy learned that Gwen knew about what they had done to her.

"You just want me to join your gang or whatever? Why show such interest in me?"

"You're a good person and you deserve a good life, besides, you're very savvy and you could help me. I have a fortune scattered all over the galaxy and unfortunately when it comes to Earth wealth I have little, but with a persuasive girl like you, I could get enough money to help you start over, I'm already wealthy on several different planets so I have no need of their currencies, but I don't have good Earth connections and you might help me with that, in exchange I'll help you get back on your feet if you just help me bust out of this place."

"You have a deal, I'm going to find all the people who were behind this and I'm going to make them pay, I'm also going to expose this place for what it is, and everyone here is going to get what they deserve."

"What good would that do?" he asked.

"Imagine if the warden got thrown into his own prison," Gwen said darkly.

"You're not as nice as I was led to believe from what I've heard about you."

"Sixteen years in this hellhole doesn't exactly churn out nice people when they go out. If you help me get out of here, will you help me bring down the Warden, if we can get the Plumbers to investigate this, I assure you we'll never have to worry about him again, especially since my Grandfather is very influential when it comes to the Plumbers."

"There's not a criminal in the galaxy who hasn't heard about the Tennysons. We'll be partners, once this is all over, we can go back to our lives," Faria smiled. With all the wealth he had, he could give up a criminal life and go back to normal. And if Gwen was business savvy, she could double and triple his wealth with no effort.

"If I want revenge, I'll need money, and you can help me with that, and besides, we both want to get out of here. But I'll handle the business side of things; with your reputation people might not believe that you want to become legitimate."

"You were Kevin Levin's girlfriend weren't you?" he asked.

"I was, still am," she said.

"So you know about all his connections," Faria asked. "Levin's got a notorious reputation and if you use that to your advantage, I assure you, people will help you."

"Oh, I will," she said. She'd been planning for years, cooking up a scheme so elaborate that no one would ever see her coming. But to do it she needed money, and an escape plan, neither of which were making any headway.

"I'll help you dig, after all, we want to get out, we'll do as much as we can before lights out. They never bother us, because we're the people they think will never get out."

"Good."

So they began digging and working and Evan learned more, Gwen had taught him everything she knew but Faria knew many things about interplanetary exchanges, currency, trading, smuggling, the black market. Gwen learned as well, she wanted everything she could use to her advantage, knowledge was power, and she intended to use everything to exact her revenge.

A few months later, she asked Faria. "Compared to Kevin, how much do you think I know?"

"Knowing you and how you soak up info like a sponge you'll surpass him in sheer knowledge that's for sure. But can you actually pull off a successful con job?"

"We'll have to see once I get out won't we?" she smiled.

"You scare me, you know that?" he asked.

"Why's that?"

"You could become the galaxy's greatest criminal mastermind if you tried hard enough."

"I don't think I can shoot for aspirations that high."

"You might not, but you'll be awfully close."

Suddenly the wall collapsed. There was shouting, noise and fighting.

"Quick, quick! I have a plan, the disposal container is this way, let's gets in it and hide!" Faria gestured. "They dump the dead bodies in here after breakouts 'cause somebody always dies, then they shoot them off to another planet where the bodies are taken out and identified so they can notify the next of kin."

"How will they not find us? How do you know about this?"

"It's how I've gotten out every time, they still haven't figured it out and that's why they put me down here."

All three of them got in and lay as still as possible. After a long time they felt people being thrown on top of them and watched as the lid was shut. They waited forever and heard people loading them onto a ship.

Once they arrived at the facility, Gwen heard Faria somehow managing to open the lid. He helped them out and they shut and relocked the lid.

"Grab a uniform," Gwen whispered. "Look busy, if they think we work here, they won't notice us; we can say we're new if they ask about us."

"What about the restraining collar?"

"I'll get it off," she reassured them, she found some clothes and put them on, hiding her hair in a ponytail to keep the length hidden. Faria found some tools and helped her remove the collar, she hid it away, she was going to need it as evidence later.

She told Evan to hide in the men's restroom in a stall and lock it and to flush the toilet every once in awhile. Since he knew about lavatories because she'd sneak him out of her cell he knew how they worked.

They pretended to work the rest of the day, mimicking what they saw the other workers doing as they all clocked out, they snuck out the back doors and climbed over the fence. They walked until they found a homeless shelter for aliens, apparently some of Earth's hospitable ways were influencing other systems and they were beginning to help others in similar fashion.

"Aren't you happy Gwen?" Faria asked. "You haven't smiled or laughed once since you got out."

"I will not laugh until I have money, I won't cry until I'm bankrupt," she said. "Nothing will make me happy, not until they all get what they deserve."

"Still thinking about the money, don't worry, once we charter a ship, I'll help you get all the money you could ever dream of."

"I can dream of quite a bit," she said wryly.

"Oh, not this, it's my life's work, money I've set aside from all my jobs, and believe me, I've got a decent amount of Earth money, you should be able use it to help us."

"How much money?"

"A hundred and twenty," he said.

"A hundred and twenty dollars?" she asked. "That's not a lot."

"What I meant to say is that I have a hundred and twenty million American dollars. It's not a lot compared to the amounts I have in other currencies but it's decent."

"Why would you give that to me?"

"We both want payback don't we?"

"Yes, but that's a lot of money."

"If you can pull off the elaborate payback scheme you told me you had, it'll be worth every red cent and you can keep the money."

"I will, I will, and if I play my cards right, I'll pay you back tenfold your investment."

"You can get a billion dollars, if you can do that, I'll be surprised."

"I have connections, I'll use them."

"Mom, look up," Evan said. "Those are stars, aren't they?"

"Yeah, Evan, they are," she replied, hugging him.

"I always knew that the outside was beautiful," he sighed.

"It is, son. It is, and now we're free of that place. We won't ever go back there."

Not as prisoners anyway.

She was free, but her thirst for vengeance was hardly sated, she was just getting started and everything would go just as she'd planned it for sixteen years.