On the edge of the
, the MSV Iron Jack is en route to the world of
with a large shipment of
"I'm surprised you're still awake captain," says Ace as he reaches for one of the cups.
"You know me, I'm never able to sleep until the job is done," replies Rojas handing over a cup.
"A lot of people aboard this ship could use that same quality," says Ace with a grin.
"Easy, there. Not all of us like to operate while being hopped on enough caffeine to give a horse a heart attack," says a voice coming from an unseen voice. Rojas and Ace turn around to see Commander Jackson, the second-in-command of the Iron Jack.
"You should give it a try Jack. Gets rid of a bunch of fatigue," says Rojas.
"Yeah, and replaces it with more fatigue later. I'm better off running on natural energy," replies Jack.
"Huh, suit yourself," shrugs Rojas as he turns back around to peer out of the window.
"Anyway, how long do we have until we get to Elysium," asks Jack.
"Not long actually, maybe another twenty minutes," replies Ace.
"Cool, I'll be in the mess if you need me," says Jack who makes his exit.
Just five minutes later, a something happens to the ship. The ship's power is completely shutdown with no obvious reason as to why. Initially it is believed to be a malfunction in the ship's core but as boarding crafts descend on the defenseless ship, it's obvious that it's a deliberate attack. Within minutes, a horde of batarian slavers board the ship, capture the Element Zero, and make off with fresh slaves.
These slavers are no ordinary rogue marauders, they were hired by the batarian government to capture slaves for
, an industrial world that just entered a completely new age in it's wealthy history. The number of Element Zero mines and manufacturing factories on the planet had nearly doubled and the batarians needed a source of cheap labor; slaves being the obvious choice. The crew of the Iron Jack was just one of many vessels that had reached a similar fate. The crew of the Iron Jack would find themselves in Hatre, a fairly notable port city. There they would be slaves forced to toil away until death.
Chapter I: Six Months After Capture Edit
A few members of the MSV Iron Jack crew were in the mines on the outskirts of Hatre by this time. Only a few remained here as much of the original crew had died, either from exhaustion or batarian slave masters. Among the survivors was Jack, Captain Rojas, and Ace but none of them knew if they would be able to last much longer. New slaves had arrived almost everyday for the past two weeks, meaning that the slavers had stepped up their operation. As they worked in the mines, stress began to build-up into anger.
"I can't believe this. Months have gone by and no one has managed to find us," growled Rojas as he dug his way into an Element Zero well.
"I've been thinking the same way for so long. We're going to die here," said Ace as he pumped Element Zero into barrels.
"No, no we can't just work ourselves to death for these bastards," said Rojas.
"We aren't working ourselves to death, they're working us to death," Ace corrected.
"Well, I can't do this anymore," said Rojas. He threw down his drill which quickly caught the attention of nearby slaves and a guard. Everyone remembered, the last slave to throw down his tools ended up with no limbs at the bottom of a ditch.
"Hey, you! Get you ass back to work before I break you in half," shouted a guard.
"No," replied Rojas. The batarian guard hit Rojas in the ribs with the butt of his shotgun, forcing the exhausted captain to the ground. The batarian continued to beat Rojas for a bit then aimed his shotgun at the captain's head.
"Now get the fuck up and work you lazy bastard," exclaimed the batarian.
"No," replied the battered Rojas. The batarian pumped his shotgun but before he could fire the weapon at pointblank range into Rojas' skull, a figure tackled the batarian to the ground and struggled with him for a quick second before picking up a nearby stone and smashing it over the batarian's skull. It was Jack who came to the rescue of the old captain but then, they were really in trouble. A siren sounded, the tell-tale noise that more guards were on the way. Jack picked up the dead guard's
and tossed it to Rojas. He armed himself with the guard's
. "let's get the hell out of here," said Jack. In what seemed like an instantaneous decision, the other slaves in the mine armed themselves with tools and stones with plans to fight their way out aswell.
It wasn't long until batarian guards began pouring into the mine. These guards were armed with both assault rifles and Gas Launchers to suppress the uprising. The slaves charged the incoming batarians for whom they've accumulated an immense degree of hatred toward. This hatred was expressed as complete and utter brutality as slaves bludgeoned, eviscerated, and otherwise crippled guards. These angered slaves put up a devastating offensive against the guards, though many were gunned down quickly. In order to suppress the spreading riot, the guards would have to call in gunships which began to mow down slaves. As this slaughter commenced, many slaves managed to escape the incoming reinforcements and disappear while most were killed and a fraction were spared and captured only for the purpose of being publicly executed and made an example of.
Among the captured was Jack, though Rojas and Ace managed to make it out alive. Jack was corralled into a Holding Transport along with around two dozen others. Jack, himself, was singled out as the instigator of the riot and would be the first to be executed in a relatively slow and painful method in comparison to what was planned for the others. The Holding Transport began it's trek from the outskirts of Hatre to Ujon, the capital of Camala. It took the transport nearly eleven hours to cross the scorching desert between Hatre and Ujon. With the temperature being so high and the captured having no water, it wasn't a surprise that many died during the ride. Jack was one of the only ones to survive long enough to make it to Ujon. It became noticeably cooler as the transport approached the city as the many factories around Ujon spewed out enough smoke and ash to block out the scorching sun.
As the transport passed through the gloomy city streets, Jack could see the anguish and fear in the eyes of the on-looking citizens. These were the lower-class of batarian society, left with scraps while the wealthy thrived on their misery. They were almost just as miserable as the slaves the batarians had been capturing, and they seemed to show a bit of sadness in seeing the piles of dead humans in the Holding Transport's cage. Jack had to figure out a way to escape but he didn't know how at that moment. Eventually, the transport came to a stop outside of a large building; the place meant to hold the prisoners until their execution. Two batarians exited the transport and forced the prisoners to line up in single-file to be moved from the vehicle to the inside of the building. As one of the batarians opened up the latch on the cage while the other lit up a cigarette, Jack realized that was his chance.
He bolted from the cage, knocking one batarian to the ground and being almost out of sight before the other could get his weapon ready to fire. Jack managed to disappear into a back alley and apparently, a few other prisoners took the opportunity to escape aswell. At that point, Ujon went into high alert. The streets quickly filled with D23 Klixen and D35 Nathak carrying armed batarian enforcers. As Jack sneaks through dark alleys and back streets, he's overcome by a very primal feeling -- one that he hasn't felt since his days as a
. He had to find a way out of the city, but he had no idea of how to or what he could do once he left; after all, the city was completely surrounded by miles and miles of desert wastelands. Just then an idea came to him; he'd have to use the city's sewer system to escape. Luckily, batarian architecture seemed to be extremely similar to that of humans in many aspects so Jack found the nearest manhole and dropped in.