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The Voice of a Song Unsung

Posted on Sat Feb 8th, 2020 @ 4:57am by Calderon Jarsdel

Mission: Mission 0: Everybody Has A Story
Location: Penal Colony 0129
Timeline: Sometime in 2389

Colour had begun to convey emotion far better than words and Cal had to wonder if that was down to the lack of access to conversation, or was it a testimony to being locked inside his own imagination for too long. Mindful. Mind full.

A small windowless cell, trapped in shades of black with occasional hours of pale orange light. They allowed him some sense of night and day it seemed, perhaps in an attempt to maintain partial sanity in their prisoner. Perhaps purely to make it easier to watch him. Food. Basic nutrition, no menu and no choices. Choice was always the first thing they stole though, it was only to be expected.

He hadn’t bothered to count the cycles of ‘day’ or ‘night’ allowing them all to proceed as his captors intended. People who should have been on his side, argued his case, protected him. People who should know better, though they likely had no frame of reference from which to cast out the right questions. It had, he decided, been a fuzzy timeframe, a good while before they opened that door to reveal a corridor and an armed escort.

Hands bound before him, a guard on either side, he walked. Was he the same person they had incarcerated in this place? That was the big question. He was quieter, the vocal dispute having been a brief railing at an unhearing set of ears. His own father didn’t trust him, and yet they had no proof, no solid evidence by which to revoke his freedom.

He didn’t ask where they were going. A transport. An interview. A Conversation. He didn’t care right now. Simply being able to walk, to put long strides between him and that tiny room, was enough for the moment. Maintain silence. Keep up. Observe and suppress reaction. Behave.

A rough hand rested upon his elbow, and Cal didn’t resist. Emotionless blue eyes regarded the uniformed guard, gave no reason to invite violence. He played the good boy, the role of compliant acceptance, while in his head two voices vied for attention. One desired a brutal response, a bid for freedom and distance. One cried out for help. Neither rippled out into any waiting ears, neither made an audible sound.

They treated him neither with kindness or hatred, but with indifference to his individuality, or lack of it. He was one among many, a criminal, untrustworthy, a job, a task to be fulfilled. Take the man from A to B and don’t fuck it up. It could so easily have been way worse. If they knew the truth it might have resulted in more of a ‘don’t get blood on your shoes’ kinda situation. Cal smiled at that. An echo of what lay within that quiet mind, a twisted wryness to his expression as he considered potential consequences.

He wasn’t a bad person, he didn’t covet true evil or desire universal destruction. He was but a soul caught up in the maelstrom of survival and eternal curiosity, playing the best hand he could in a card game where the rules were made up en route. And he’d be lying if he said he didn’t at least partially enjoy the journey.

Fresh air flowed across his shaved head and face, encouraged him to close his eyes and savour the air cascading from vents above their heads. A space station, a penal colony, a route from one enclosed space to another, but this current goal of theirs was a transport. He was being moved.

A silent cheer resounded in Cal’s mind without showing up on the visual radar of his facial features. He wouldn’t reveal any reason for them to directly question him, but he could sense their lack of friendly emotion, that ingrained sense of duty pervading each guard. One male, one female, both equally dangerous, surly, gruff and unexciting. Trained and willing to put him down if he gave them a reason.

He did not. Would not. Whether it be a short journey or a longer venture into the stars, Cal would aim for a conscious experience for as long as this was allowed him. He wanted to see whatever miserable corner of the universe they were sending him to, but he didn’t harbour any hope for a friendly break, not now that the trust was gone. That apparently unavoidable outcome was mutual though.

Father to son. A lifetime of openness and (admittedly involuntary) honesty muddied, a faith shaken, flipped upside-down by one erroneous assumption that hadn’t been such. A delicious irony, now he considered it from a neutral viewpoint, now that the man they called Cal no longer cared what family thought.

As he sat, compliant and quiet, in the seat they allocated him and waited for the transport to leave for its new destination, Cal stared out at the infinite blackness. He ran bound hands with cool steady palms across the soft regrowth of his hair and exhaled gently. Onward with his journey into the unknown.

Everything was about to change.


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