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Author Topic: YC 118 New Eden Capsuleer's writing contest entry - Who are we  (Read 4908 times)

NightCrawler 85

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YC 118 New Eden Capsuleer's writing contest entry - Who are we
« on: October 09, 2016, 03:24:11 AM »

Who are we.

My name is Keena.
Nothing else about me is relevant. Not my last name, my interests, hobbies, or even my favorite book. Those things belong to a different time, a different life, one I will never have again.
I was told to sit down in this small room and write whatever I felt like. I guess its supposed to be "therapeutic" or something like that. Help us deal with what they did to us, a vague attempt at preventing us from loosing our minds and harming our selves or others. Not because they care about our health of course, or the health of our fellow inmates. But we are still free labor and from a business perspective it would be foolish to not at least attempt to preserve us for as long as possible.

I'm a masked prisoner.
I work and live in one of those plants that normal people dont, and can't, know about. If the general public knew what was going on they would cause an uproar. Not because they care. It's just political correctness. Sort of like how people will oppose of slavery and fight for human rights or preach about peace. Makes them feel good about them selves, like they are doing something "kind" and "unselfish".

I used to be one of those people once. I don't know how long ago, time moves.. differently here. I was young, and pretty stupid like most young girls are. And I loved dancing, something else most girls have in common.
One evening I went to my favorite night club and I ended up dancing with this... not really that attractive guy. But he bought me drinks, loads of them. And like most stupid young girls I got drunk, which was followed by more dancing, a quick cab ride to a very anonymous hotel. Now that I think about it there might have been some very uncharming puking involved there as well. But as I said, he wasent really that attractive so I guess he dident care. I don't remember the rest of the night, but what happened between us in that cheap hotel room is not really important anyway. However, the next morning is.
The sun wasent even up yet when armed soldiers kicked in the door. There was a lot of shouting, I remember that I screamed, and a very bright light. And then we were dragged away.
I never saw my "not really that attractive but generous companion" again.

I spent what felt like days in a small cell. Sometimes they would take me to another room and ask me questions, sometimes they taunted me, saying things that made me cry. Other times they would beat me. Never enough to  severely hurt me, but enough so that I understood the seriousness and knew they were willing to go a lot further if I dident corporate. The only problem was that I had no idea what they thought I had done, or what they wanted. I was terrified.

When a group of them came into my cell I knew something had changed. They told me that my "companion" had told them everything. That I had been doing something they called "datamining" whatever that is and I had been traced back to the hotel room. There was no need for a trial, I was sentenced guilty right then and there. While they would never believe it, I still think that the guy just told them I had done whatever it was to get out of trouble him self. I cant say for certain that I wouldent have done the same if our roles were reversed.

I was taken away, I don't know to where, but every inmate is Gallente like me, and the only men I ever see are the guards. Some of the prisoners are as young as 12 years old, some in their 50s, some might be even older. I guess permanently living under ground with no natural lights affects your skin or something. I adjusted quickly, something that surprised me. Maybe its just because of the routines. You get up at the same time,once the bell rings go to get your picture taken and then go to work at the same little work station, sewing buttons and fixing zippers, then you go back to your bunk and eat your food and sleep before you repeat it all day after day, week after week.
Nothing ever changes.

Of course I had noticed the masked prisoners. Now that I am one of them I feel ashamed over how I acted. At first I asked questions about them, feeling a mix of disgust and a morbid interest in what was actually under that thick layer of plaster that covered every inch of their face, except a thin strip for the mouth and eyes allowing them to see and eat. The latter with some difficulties I might add.
Every time I brought the subject up to the "normal" inmates I got hushed and quick scared glances were sent towards the guards followed by them turning the back on me pretending I hadent talked to them. I never considered going and asking one of the masked prisoners directly. To be honest they sort of terrified me, and I was convinced they were wearing the masks to hide some kind of exotic disease and if I got to close I would get infected. Eventually I ceased asking questions. Guess I just stopped caring.
Around the same time came acceptance, and the knowledge to not waste time on hoping that the mistake that lead to me being here would be discovered. I wonder if my companion still thinks about me, and if he feels remorse.

At the time I dident think twice about the pictures they would take of us. I figured it was just some kind of security, a way to make sure we were all there and still alive. In hindsight I feel a bit silly about this.
In the normal world you would hear about "face transplants". There had been some incident involving a.. I think it was a singer? Well anyway, the procedure hadent worked as planned and there was a lot of fuss about it, but that dident discourage people from being interested in it. In fact i think it more encouraged it and made more people try it for them selves. Well, the ones that could afford it that is. Ritch people like holders, royalty and of course, capsuleers.
The concept was easy enough to understand. If you have enough ISK at hand you could go and say "I want to change my face" and the company in charge would either somehow "alter" your own face giving you the features you had requested, or you could choose the face of an actual human being and your faces would simply be swapped. You would look like them, they would look like you. Not hard to understand and the possibilities are endless.
But, how can a company promise you that you can get practically any face you like and give that promise with nothing but a few hundred or maybe thousand people who are willing to have their face swapped out? They cant!
And thats where we come in. The prisoners hidden away deep underground on random planets scattered across the universe. No one knows we exist, and no one can defend us or our "rights". We lost those as soon as we got convicted. Thousands of people from all ages and bloodlines and races, everyone with their own unique face.Suddenly we are not just a cheap work force.

Its not all bad here.
As I mentioned earlier I suspect I was sent in here for therapeutic reasons. They want us healthy, both physically and mentally. Again not because they care, but we really do save them a lot of money. The guards occasionally get a bit rough with us. They have these rods they enjoy using a bit too much. It gives you a jolt of electricity, not enough to permanently harm you but enough to leave a mark and certainly enough to make sure you stay alert and in line. The food is.. ok. Bland, boring, but in general you feel like you have eaten, even if you will never feel full when you go to bed. But at least you don't go to bed feeling starved.
Its hard to eat with the mask. You sort of have to squish your food with your fingers and force it into the opening.
At first it really hurt, the mask. Its pain I cant describe, and I hope you will never have to experience it.

You do make friends in places like this. Its your only real comfort, something that helps make you feel human. The interaction with other people I mean. Having "friends" and joking around and laughing is a very normal thing, and I think we are all guilty at taking it for granted. If you end up with a mask you will miss those interactions. If it will be on the top of your list I don't know, but trust me, it will be on there no matter how self sufficient you are and how strong you feel.
In the long run you will realize that having nothing but your own company starts to suck after a while.

When they came to get me I dident think twice about it.
Occasionally your taken away from your work station for a short while to get some shots, take some more pictures, regular health checks and so on. Thus I was not alarmed when the guard tapped my shoulder and nodded towards the door.
Everything here is metal. Shiny, cold, impersonal. I cant see the difference from one hallway to the next, and only the walk to the room where our work stations are located can be memorized. They make it a point to always change the route and move the rooms where they take you for other things such as your medical examination. I guess its to discourage exploring, or attempts at escape. Because of this I blindly followed the guard as usual, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes going left and right, trough several doors, feeling like I was being led in a circle. Eventually we arrived at a door that looked just like any of the other doors, but when opened, which was done by the guard leaning in and getting his eyes scanned, it was a small metal room, maybe big enough for 4 people at most.
One prisoner and her 3 armed guards.

We entered and as soon as the door closed i felt a feeling I hadent felt in, who knows how many years at this point. We were in an elevator, and we were going up.

Can you imagine how it feels to see sunlight after having been trapped underground for years? Or feeling the wind against your skin? Or even the smell of rotting leaves and fresh rain? I fell to my knees and I cried, but they were tears of... Something stronger then joy, more then amazement. The kind of feeling where it feels like your heart is growing so big that it hurts in your chest.
I felt hope. The purest kind of hope that can possibly exist.
I thought they were releasing me. That I would see my family, my friends, my home...

The guard dragged me along the ground until I managed to stamper to my feet and half stumbled half ran after him trying to not fall over again, barely able to see trough my tears while thanking him, thanking whomever had come to get me out of there, thanking everyone for allowing me to leave this place. Sniffling and laughing and crying and half madly shouting is how I was when the guard lead me over to a close by building and threw me in before he followed. I looked around, still with a stupid grin on my face and instantly I felt my self go pale and backed up towards the door so quickly that I stumbled in my already unsteady feet, falling back against the door.
Everything was white, the walls, the floor, the roof, everything. And so were the lab-coats and their facial masks. I started to scream.

I think there are things that are just so traumatic that the brain cant actually deal with it. It chooses to forget whatever event that occurred to spare you. And I'm grateful for that. I just wish I could have forgotten leaving that elevator and how I felt being outside, that... intense sensation of relief.
I think thats the most cruel thing they could ever have done to me in this place... Making me believe again, just to take it away from me, as if they wanted to crush the last bit of hope there was left.
I wish I could hate them for it, but... they took my wish to care away from me in that room. And without being able to care you cant hate, you cant love, you cant fear.. you cant hope. You just... exist.

They do more then ripping off your face and replacing it with the plaster that eventually hardens into the mask that will be your new permanent "face".They also remove your tongue. And why not? You don't need to be able to speak to preform your duties, and its a damn good way to make sure you cant tell people what happened to you. That way, just in case the wrong person gets in (or out) we cant "spill the secret". Most will just look at us, and like I did, assume the mask is covering up some bad birth defect or accident or disease. But as a bonus it also helps maintaining the mystery and fear that surrounds us, the masked prisoners.
I don't know why they want to make sure we cant communicate with the others, why they are encouraging the normal inmates to fear us. I can make an educated guess and say that its to ensure that they wont panic.
But I also like to think that if our fellow inmates knew what could possibly happen to them they might revolt more easily, or at least disfigure them selves enough so that they wouldent be "usable". I bet the upper management wouldent enjoy that very much at all, or, at least not their wallets.

A new bed was set up for me, all the way in the back hidden behind a curtain together with the rest of the masked women.There were only four of them, making me the fifth. I walked over to my bed, sat down and looked down on my hands, worried these women would remember how I had treated them, how I had avoided them in the hallways, the whispered questions I'm sure they had overheard. I wanted to apologize, but I dident know how, and I felt ashamed. Both because of what I had done, and because of how I looked.

One of the women came over and sat down next to me and took my hands in hers. I looked up and I saw tears flowing from her eyes, disappearing under the mask, and while sitting there looking me straight into my eyes she squeezed my hand and at that moment I knew it was safe, they were not going to hurt me.
They had been like me once, and they did not judge me for what I had done, or what I had become.
I started to cry, shaking uncontrollably, and as I did the three other women came over and hugged me tight and we all cried together.
We cried for our losses, for the shattered dreams, the pain and the emptiness we will never be able to leave behind.

We are the masked women.
We are the ones without hope.
We are no one.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2016, 03:41:07 AM by NightCrawler 85 »

Nevvyn sier:
Can you go put a flowery dress on and run through green fields with some daisys in your hair, carrying a small dog, or something?