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stargate, DanielJackson

Week 1, Title: Power

Posted on 2016.11.23 at 21:52
Tags: ,
Ridian awakens drowsily, lazily beckoning the clock to him. Nothing happens. He rubs a fist against his eyes, but the dream remains. The clock doesn’t move. He gestures towards the room in general, just to draw something- anything- to him. Still nothing. Confusion slides sharp-spiked into panic. He’s not in his room. His powers aren’t working and he doesn’t know where he is. There’s a weight around his neck. His chest clenches and his stomach drops. No. This can’t be happening. No. No. No. His hands grip fiercely at the metal band around his throat. He’s been collared.

He clamps a hand over his mouth to keep from screaming. He clamps a hand over his ears to stop the world from dribbling out. Nothing comes at his call. Nothing is here. Nothing is real.

He sits there for a while. He needs to try to escape. It’s an eventual realisation, a thought taking far longer to occur than it should. He can’t remember a time when he couldn’t use his powers. His captors clearly think this means he’s helpless without them. He’s not even tied down.

The door is locked. He can’t use his telekinesis to open it, but the knowledge remains; motions sliding tumblers into place. He just needs a little stick. He fumbles for too many moments, fingers not as dextrous as his powers are and nerves rendering them clammy.

This is stupid. What most would do is accept their fate; caught, bound, powerless. He’s going to get himself killed. For nothing. How is he going to fight if he doesn’t have his powers? He’s useless. But he can’t stop. He can’t ever stop. He needs it. He needs the drive; the thrill; the exhilaration of fighting back. He needs the joy of standing up to their oppressors and of fighting for the powered people who can’t fight for themselves. He can do this. He is not only his powers. He is strong. He has to do this.

The door opens. He slides along the corridor.

The guards grin when they see him. They’re glad for the chance to take him down now that he can’t fling them aside. His fists and feet fly in a frenzy of desperation and having nothing to lose. Pain scorches his knuckles and stomach and jaw. He runs.

*

He may rely on his powers too much but he’s been a fugitive long enough to know how to hide. He ducks down alleys, doubles back, runs into corners. He steadily forges a head start. He knows he needs a plan. Without his powers he won’t be able to evade his captors for long.

The answer lurches wild and bitter in his mind. The Sanctuary. Ridian has always held a mixture of disdain and grudging respect for the place. A place where any powered person may seek refuge. Run by Colt; a man only in it for himself; happy to take advantage of the desperate wretches landing at his door. But it’s also somewhere anyone can leave anytime and this leaves it one step above the camps in Ridian’s estimation.

He can’t risk transport which can be stopped. So he plans his path and runs.

*

His body yawns and stretches and whimpers. He needs to slow. He knows he can’t. He can feel their gazes on the back of his neck. He forces his pace. Lungs throbbing, legs singing with pain. He needs to stop. He can’t. Keep going, keep going. His body calls out to its surroundings and receives no response. He might collapse. He doesn’t. Keep moving.

The gates appear, like a mirage of heavy ornate blackness, he sobs. Pauses. Bangs on them.

A baby-faced man stumbles towards him, concern etched into the lines on his face. The gates open.
“Are you okay? Come in. Come in. I’m Colt.”

Ridian walks inside and collapses onto his knees. There’s a cool sensation in his bones; it’s relief.

His mind warns of ever-present danger. He’s not falling for Colt’s act. But he’s tired. So tired.

*

He’s still on his knees when they come to the gates. Demanding entry, demanding their prisoner.   

Colt’s face holds no trace of its previous incarnation; now hard and unyielding.

“No one in this place is your concern,” Colt says, voice quietening as he continues.

The agents boisterous, snarling orders quell to nervousness under the weight of Colt’s dark steady murmurings.

Ridian is reluctantly impressed.

*

“As long as your rent is paid in full and on time you can do whatever the fuck you want,” Colt says, nonchalant, “You miss a payment, you get kicked out. I don’t give a fuck what or who is waiting for you out there.”

Ridian nods. He’s beginning to wonder whether the man has a genuine split personality.

The rent is extortionate of course. But this is only until he can find something better; i.e. get the collar off.

*

He works as a waiter at the compounds bar. He stays there most of the day and night. Falls too exhausted onto his pillow for too few hours. The shower spurts a weak stream. The lights flicker. There’s only 0.02 dollars left on the meter.

He sits at the bar after closing, drinking the patrons’ sludge-silt dregs and eating cold leftovers.

Colt says, “You’ll make more if you dance for them.”

He imagines them groping at him. These non-powered people: the most powerful of them all, crowing on how they’ve brought him low. He replies with the only thing that’s important, “I make enough to pay rent.”

*

Every moment of night he can keep his eyes open, he works at the collar. He researches and learns and endlessly runs his fingers over its grooves. But the answers are all the same. The removal will mean his death.

He sits at the bar, cigarette between his lips. Watches the smoke swirl through the air.

He contemplates leaving, can’t take this hollow complacency; this air of defeat.

“Why do you stay?” he asks.

Someone says, “It’s safe here.”

*

It is safe here. This wretched place. He’s never liked safe: safe means giving up; giving in; accepting the status quo and the meagre scraps given. But the safety is a thing to be admired. All other sanctuaries he’s heard of have either collapsed from having their so-called ‘protected’ people dragged out into the streets or had trumped up charges landed against them. And if neither of those worked sometimes they just burned the places down. It’s probably Colt’s brand of sleaze-ball ethics that’s kept this place running. Giving the ordinaries what they want in the form of dances and money.

Work and sleep and work and sleep and he’s tired. But worse, he’s bored. He needs the fight. He tries the ploys of the desperate. There are tales. Old immensely powerful people gaining the ability to use their powers despite collars. It’s a fantasy. There’s no evidence at all. He tries anyway.

He bangs at the uselessly sputtering shower. Moves across the busy bar floor. Pours and serves and drinks disgusting leftovers, all the while grasping. Day after day, pushing further and further. The search dogs every dream and every waking hour.

Endlessly reaching and finding nothing.

*

It’s impossible. But he can’t do nothing.

He spends his rent money on cheap cigarettes and good whiskey.

There are agents prowling outside. They want him. He’s more aware of them suddenly. There’s a knot in his stomach and darkness in his fists.

He strolls into Colt’s bedroom and throws a few twenties at him. It’s all he has left.

Colt smirks.

An anger awakens in Ridian and he stalks towards the bed; plants on a wide shark-grin and lies down, invading Colt’s space.

Colt laughs. “I know you’re not planning on paying your rent through trade.”

Ridian doesn’t move his body or his smile. “As if you ever would.”

“Finally figured me out then?” Colt asks.

“I haven’t spent much time thinking about it.”

“Hmm. It’s not impossible you know.”

Ridian narrows his eyes. “You going to sell me some fairytale? I get it; this place is what it needs to be to survive. That’s not a good enough excuse.”

Colt’s eyes are dark, sombre, but there’s a quirk of a smile on his lips. “True. But it’s better than nothing. There are a lot of reasons for people to leave. There’s really only one reason to stay: hope.”

Ridian barks harshly.

“It’s not a fairytale. I know for a fact that it’s possible to use powers despite being bound as you are.” Colt waves his hand and the air around his bare nape shimmers. In the next moment Ridian sees it: the dark slip of metal around Colt’s neck- a collar.

Comments:


kick_galvanic, zagzagael, skull_theatre
bleodswean at 2016-11-24 02:07 (UTC) (Link)
So glad to see you back in the futuristic, sci-fi saddle, m'dear! You put a lot of work into this and it shows. Claustrophobic and yet your protagonist still holds onto hope! Nice to see a fiction response to this difficult prompt. Perfect fill!
darkdreams1222
dreamsofspike at 2016-11-24 05:49 (UTC) (Link)
This is gorgeous, I am highly intrigued :) Tell me you'll be continuing this story, please! :)
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2016-11-24 18:27 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, so happy you found it gorgeous and intriguing :).

A continuation is a definite possibility, will have to wait and see what next weeks prompt is :).
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2016-11-24 18:26 (UTC) (Link)
Yay, so glad you like it, thank you :).

And I'm muchly enjoying being back in the sci-fi saddle :).

morettaallstar
morettaallstar at 2016-11-25 13:16 (UTC) (Link)
Oooooh, this is a whole new world and I am loving it!
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2016-11-25 17:46 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you liked this world I created :)
A Karmic Sandbox
karmasoup at 2016-11-26 04:50 (UTC) (Link)
Quite compelling.... Dig it... also wouldn't mind more of this.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2016-11-26 12:20 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you liked. There's definitely a possibility of more.
mamas_minion
mamas_minion at 2016-11-26 05:19 (UTC) (Link)
Wonderful, I am big fan of sci-fi and greatly enjoyed this especially the twist at the end.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2016-11-26 12:21 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you liked the twist I hoped it would work
l0retta at 2016-11-26 14:46 (UTC) (Link)
i really love the atmosphere in this!
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2016-11-27 07:37 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you liked the atmosphere.
rayaso
rayaso at 2016-11-26 16:17 (UTC) (Link)
I also hope there will be more. I love the concept of the collar, as well as Colt's "sanctuary." This was very well written.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2016-11-27 07:37 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you liked those concepts
Kelly
kajel at 2016-11-28 15:57 (UTC) (Link)
Oh, the end got me. Great job!
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2016-11-28 16:41 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you :)
garnigal
garnigal at 2016-11-29 16:31 (UTC) (Link)
This is deeply engrossing. Leaves me wanting more.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2016-11-29 16:47 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad it left you wanting more :)
Jen
my_name_is_jenn at 2016-11-29 21:59 (UTC) (Link)
I really want to read more about this world. :)
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2016-11-30 17:34 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad it made you want to read more :)
dmousey
dmousey at 2016-11-29 22:05 (UTC) (Link)
::Stands up and applauds:: Yes!!! I sincerely hope we will see more of this world. Loved every word of this- from first sentence to the last.

Thanks for sharing! Hugs and peace~~~D
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2016-11-30 17:36 (UTC) (Link)
Wow, a standing applause, thank you so much, so glad you liked it so much :D.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors
halfshellvenus at 2016-11-29 23:56 (UTC) (Link)
Ooh, really interesting-- and it has the solid feeling of detail without being overly long!
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2016-11-30 17:37 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you found it interesting :)
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