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12 December 2012 @ 06:16 am
FIC: The Windmines of Bora Bora - 5/11  
Author: Osiris Brackhaus
Story Title: The Windmines of Bora Bora
Part: 4/11
Rating: R
Configuration: /
Warnings: slavery, despair, previous rape and torture mentioned, off-screen rape, frequent and graphic violence
Word Count: 3.000/36.000
Setting: 'Phoenix Empire' verse, see Phoenix Empire Timeline & Index
Characters: Ivan, Smelly
Summary: Fed up with life on Bora Bora, Ivan developes a daring plan to escape...
Feedback: Yes, please!



“So what do you say, Smelly?” Ivan asked, softly enough only his companion could overhear. “You come with me or not? Last chance.”

But Smelly only shook his head, sliding back a little further along the rock he was hiding behind.

“Are you sure? Might be the last chance for you to get off this rock.”

Again, Smelly shook his head, looking kind of sad.

“Well then,” Ivan sighed, “Good luck to you, too.”

It felt oddly unsatisfying to Ivan to leave Smelly behind. Not that that they had talked enough to become friends in the three weeks that had passed since they arrived here on Bora Bora. But Ivan had become attached to that filthy wreck of a human, who always seemed to be around and kept insisting on helping him.

Madrigal had finally learned not to make too much of a fuss concerning the new slave and left him in relative peace. After all, he was a sensible man and didn’t want to sent more of his minions into their demise. Ivan knew that it was only a matter of time until that madman would try something new. But he had no intention of waiting until someone else made the next move.

Somehow, taking Smelly with him on his escape should have been Ivan’s way of saying thank you.

And now that retarded fool just didn’t want to come with him.

But Ivan couldn’t wait for Smelly to understand that nothing could go wrong. He was sure he had figured out a way that would get him off this blasted moon, but it had to be now. No one could say how long the good weather here would last, and then probably the guards would have changed their schedules again.

Casting a final look over his shoulder, Ivan nodded to Smelly as a last goodbye. Then he turned to the task ahead, looking at the craggy landscape ahead of him and the little landing field at the horizon.

Ivan remembered well that there had been a windcatcher visible from the landing field, and it hadn’t been too hard to make sure he was on the crew predominantly cleaning that windcatcher in particular.

It would be hard to get to a waiting shuttle from where Ivan was standing, but not impossible. Especially on a half-night with hardly any wind and the next storm at least eight hours away. Once near the shuttle, there would be a hundred ways to sneak inside and hide until they landed back on Yaiciz. He wasn’t too sure how to get out and where to go once back planetside, but Ivan knew that anything was better then staying here.

Cautiously climbing down the slope in front of him, Ivan hoped that he had overheard the guards properly. The landing field was surrounded by rough terrain that would take too many human guards to keep an eye on properly. So it was guarded by an array of automated turrets, who gunned down any unauthorized intruder. Authorized, in this case, was anyone who carried the right transponder chip under his skin or remained in about sixty feet of someone who did.

Usually, that would have been a pretty surefire way to keep any slaves away. But by sheer luck, Ivan had overheard that one of the guards had gotten a new chip, and that the scar was still itching like hell. As the guard had pointedly been scratching his collarbone, it wasn’t too much of a guess where the chip would be located.
Also, Ivan had heard in the same conversation that the guard would be on ‘perimeter duty’ tonight, which meant he would be touring the lookouts and pathways around the landing field.

When the handlers led them down the tunnel that serviced the windcatcher near the landing field, Ivan knew he would have to make a run for tonight or never.

It was a crazy lucky coincidence already, and there was a realistic chance that he would make it. All he needed was to catch the guard unaware at one of the outer service doors or surveillance platforms near the main gate, overwhelm him, pry the chip out of him and then sneak towards the shuttle.

This shouldn’t be too hard.

Cautiously, Ivan slid down the slope he had been standing on, taking great care not to stir up too much dust that might catch the attention of any guard who might be watching his direction accidentally. Moving on the surface of Bora Bora was a constant gamble – either you walked on top of the rocks, then you constantly risked being cut off and staring down into some canyon, with the additional risk of slipping and breaking your neck. Or you decided to go along the bottom of the ravines, risking to be cut off just as much, only with the added chance of stepping into a pool of orange dust that swallowed you like water and was just about as breathable.

Much more difficult, but in the end the only real option, was to try and find a middle ground, along the slopes and slanting sides of the rocks, clinging to the smooth surfaces and ridges that the storms had worked into the stones.
He couldn’t see much further ahead, Ivan realized, grimacing. But at least that also made sure none of the guards on the landing field would spot him by chance.

So he worked his way in silence, one rock after the other, one slanted orange surface at a time.

Ivan knew the next storm was still eight hours ahead of him, but the half-night wouldn’t last much longer. As long as Yaiciz’ day side was looming above him in the sky, it would be bright and pleasantly cool. But as soon as the last reflected light and warmth from their mother planet would be gone, the temperatures on Bora Bora would drop dramatically. Ivan had managed to get himself a second tunic, but still he’d very much prefer to be inside the shuttle once proper night fell.

Yaiciz was already dark for the most part when he reached his destination – the tall cliffs to the north of the windcatcher he had been supposed to clean, where the main gate was located and the landing field began.

Carefully, Ivan picked a rock to scan the cliff’s face and the area around the landing field. He could already make out the first of the automated turrets, a slender tower of twelve, maybe fifteen feet, a thick cluster of tech at its top serving as solar collector, shield generator and blaster gun simultaneously.

For a moment, Ivan calculated his chances of passing the turret without having a chip. He’d probably be able to sneak up to the turret in the shade of some rocks, but as soon as he was out on the landing field, he’s have little to no chances evading the shots. And even if he’d manage to get to the shuttle he could already make out on the landing field, once he had triggered the alarm, they wouldn’t leave until they had dragged his dead body out into the desert again.

His only chance to get off this blasted ball of orange dirt was to find that guard, get his chip and sneak into the shuttle. With a little bit of luck, the shuttle would have already left Bora Bora before they noticed the guard missing.

Ivan had just turned back to the cliff where he hoped to surprise the guard on one of the lookouts as a sound from the landing field caught his attention. Two guards were patrolling along the rim of the cleared area, their guns leisurely on their backs. If Ivan wasn’t completely mistaken, the taller one of them was the guard he had been waiting for.

Ivan cursed under his breath.

He had been so sure that he would be early enough to catch the guard while he was still alone and checking the various maintenance entries. Going against two guards would be suicide, armed and armored as they were.

Grinding his teeth, Ivan calculated his options. If he went back, he might be lucky and the guards at the windcatcher hadn’t yet noticed he had left at all. That would be dispiriting, but harmless. On the other hand, if his absence had been noticed, they might just decide that he was more trouble than he was worth and lock him out, which was just a convenient way of killing him.

But Ivan just couldn’t stand the thought of being locked up again with all the other slaves for the rest of his life. He had to make a run for it, and it had to be now, so there was only one option left.

As swiftly as the wild rocks allowed, Ivan climbed down, searching for one of the treacherous, perfectly even puddles of quick dust. It didn’t take him long to locate one. The stuff was fluffy and light as flour, orange like everything else around and stuck to something as moist as a human like paint. Stepping into the puddle until he was in knee-deep, it took Ivan only seconds until he was completely covered in dust. He grimaced at the grit between his teeth, but at least the last weeks had trained him not to be bothered by the dust in his eyes too much.

As soon as he was sufficiently sure he hadn’t overlooked parts of himself, he climbed up the nearest slope and towards the landing field. As far he had been able to see from his last look-out, the guards were on a way where he would easily be able to intercept them.

Not that he was really thinking about attacking them. But there was a safe zone around the guards of about sixty feet. That wasn’t much, but it was something. And the guards were obviously feeling safe here, and didn’t really expect any trouble.

Looking around the last orange rock, he could see the two of them approaching his position, their guns still on their backs, both chatting animatedly. If he managed to sneak past the automated turrets in their back, he might be able to reach the shuttle without anyone noticing him.

Keeping low to the ground, Ivan sneaked up closer to where he expected the two guards to pass. He wasn’t too sure, but it looked as if their safe zone would almost reach a rock he could be hiding behind, and the remaining boulders from there to the actual landing field would probably give him enough cover in his current state so an accidental observer wouldn’t spot him immediately.

With a mad dash, he rushed towards the last rock tall enough to hide him completely from the turrets’ sensors. Panting, he leaned against the smooth surface, listening intently.

A soft breeze was coming up. Nothing unusual, and actually very welcome in this moment. It would mask most of the sound he would make passing behind the guards, and that had been his greatest concern. The guards’ voices became louder, and Ivan waited as calmly as possible for them to pass his position.

They were talking about a recent change in the guild’s promotion plan, arguing if it was better to get earlier raises as it was now or if the former health care plan had been better. Ivan almost laughed at the absurdity of it all. Yes, those were the very guards who would leave him out in a storm to die if he didn’t work hard enough, and yet their troubles were the same as everybody else’s. Survival, safety, security, comfort, self-realization. Only that the were already much higher up the ladder than he was. Right now, Ivan would be grateful to survive the next five minutes.

It seemed to him like a small eternity, but finally the guards’ voices seemed to come from his left side. Daring a swift glance around the rock he was hiding behind, Ivan made sure they were at least a few meters behind his position, then he rushed out from behind his cover and onto the landing field.

It was a difficult thing to run and at the same time not making any identifiable noises, but Ivan couldn’t really spare a thought on that right now. He tried to keep an eye on the guards who were walking away from him, still chatting loudly, another eye on the turret that loomed over him and a third one on the path before him. Unfortunately, that was one eye more than he had.

Suddenly, when he was already a hundred feet away from the guards and the turret, a small pebble slipped under his foot and Ivan slammed onto the concrete of the landing field, face first.

Despite the pain in his knee, Ivan managed to remain absolutely still.

“Have you heard that?” he heard one of the guards say.

“What?”

“That noise.”

For a moment, both guards remained silent, and Ivan prayed to whatever Gods may listen that they might just mistake him for another piece of rock lying around on the landing field like so many others.
But unfortunately, the breeze was picking up and decided right then to start playing with the hem of his tunic.

“Over there!” one of the guards remarked. “Can’t you see? That’s no rock!”

Don’t shoot, Ivan thought furiously. If they stunned him from a distance, his escape was over. But if they came closer to investigate, he still had a chance. As soon as he managed to disarm one of them, he might even make it.

“Damn. You think the turrets got another one? I’ve never seen one of them come so far.”

The first guard laughed coarsely. “Maybe it’s just some junk. Doesn’t look charred enough to be a corpse, you know?”

Go away. Just. Go. Away. Ivan’s thoughts turned into a silent prayer. Please just ignore me.

“Whatever it was,” the second guard commented dryly. “Next storm’s gonna take it anyway. Now come on, I don’t want to stand out here all day.”

“Yeah, probably you’re right.”

Go home. Go to your acclimatized guardsroom and forget me. Ivan’s thoughts became an imploring mantra. Just go home.

“Oh what the hell.” The first guard suddenly said and Ivan could hear him turn around on the gravel-strewn concrete of the landing field. “Just one look.”

“What the fuck for?” the other guard asked, more annoyed than anything else. “You really think it’s a pretty corpse you pervert can fondle? Out here?”

The guard approached Ivan’s position with swift steps, not leaving the slave any time for an elaborate plan. Running would be suicidal, Ivan knew that, so he did the only thing he could think of.

All of a sudden, he jumped back up to his feet and sprinted towards the approaching guard. The man was only a few meters away, and completely taken aback at Ivan’s sudden resurrection. He didn’t even think of drawing the stunner rifle from his back, but instead tried to block Ivan’s bodyslam by going into a standard defensive position.

Luckily, this was exactly what Ivan had planned for. Ducking into the low stance of Ga’Un at the very last moment, Ivan slipped through underneath the guard’s defenses and slammed him to the ground with enough force to drive the wind out of him.

“FUCK!” the remaining guard yelled, so startled he didn’t manage to get a grip on his rifle and instead fumbled at his side of a precious moment.

Basically sitting on top of his guardsman, Ivan searched for a way to disable the stunned man for good. The guard was wearing his helmet, but his throat was unprotected. A swift blow to his windpipe would kill the man, slowly but surely, then he would be able to use him as a shield and take down the other guard.

And yet, Ivan hesitated. His arm was already hovering in position, ready to strike, but he couldn’t do it.

This man was an asshole, and he wouldn’t even blink when it came to killing Ivan. But that didn’t give Ivan any right nor any reason to be like that as well.

But before Ivan could think of any better option, the second guard had seized the extra seconds and gotten his stunner shotgun off his back. Instinctively, Ivan let himself drop on his back, holding the guardsman underneath him by his collar, pulling the still-dazed man up into a sitting position like a shield.

The second guard had no qualms whatsoever to shoot his colleague.

The very instance Ivan heard the angry wasp buzz of the stunner charge, he could feel the body of the guard he was holding going rigid as his nerves were basically cut short, much like an EMP would shut down electronic circuitry. Much more annoying than that, though, was the intense feeling of pins and needles in Ivan’s left leg and arm, telling him that he had been at least grazed by the shot.

To most humans, the sensation of being shot with a stunner was excruciatingly painful. Ivan only grimaced. He had been through so much worse than this during his time as a pet.

But all the bitterly earned resilience didn’t help against his muscles being unable to translate the garbled commands his nerves were currently giving. Millimeter by millimeter, Ivan could feel the collar of the guardsman’s outfit slip through his fingers as his left hand grew limp with lack of control, and the only thing he could do was watch and try not to panic.
Frantically, he tried to rebalance himself, but the weight of the unconscious guardsman was too much. Behind the broad frame of the guardsman’s shoulders, Ivan could already see the other guard, aiming his stunner shotgun right at Ivan’s face, walking around them in a wide arc to get a better shot at him.

With a deep sigh, Ivan let go of the guardsman he had been clinging to. He had had a real chance to flee, but he had squandered it, at least this time. His hands in the air, he turned towards the approaching guard, a wicked smile on his dust-covered face.

“Next time, I’ll get twenty meters further.” Ivan yelled towards the guard, silently adding: If I am still alive to be there the next time.

Instead of a retort, the utterly unamused guard just shot him square in the face.

Ivan was out cold before he even hit the ground.


 
 
 
Milady OMlady_om on December 12th, 2012 12:38 pm (UTC)
No! Ugh. Poor Ivan. Can't he catch a break? I kinda don't want to read the next part now, nothing good can happen to Ivan there...
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on December 12th, 2012 01:27 pm (UTC)
Hehe.

Actually, I am very sure the next part is something you definitely want to read, then, for something extremely cool is going to happen. ^^

(The really bad stuff's gonna happen between the chapters...)

Thanks for commenting!
coronasunrise: Sign Postcoronasunrise on December 12th, 2012 02:47 pm (UTC)
The quote "What we have here is a failure to communicate?" keeps running though my head. I can't wait to see what happens next.

Are you posting on a 6 day schedule?

Edited at 2012-12-12 02:48 pm (UTC)
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on December 12th, 2012 06:01 pm (UTC)
It's not so much a failure to communicate as wilful omittance of information. But at the end of the next chapter, things should be much more clearly.

And yes, I have been posting this one a six day schedule, but it's a little more complicated than that. My wife Beryll (rynthan.livejournal.com) and I post something every three days. She has just finished her last story, so from now on, there will be a chapter of the 'Windmines' every three days. For convenience, you could check her journal, she posts a note whenever there's something in my journal to read.

Thanks for reading and commenting, and please do not hesitate to as if you have any questions!
coronasunrise: Sign Postcoronasunrise on December 12th, 2012 06:21 pm (UTC)
Sorry, I didn't mean I was confused by the story. The quote is from a movie called "Cool Hand Luke" a great movie about a prisoner who kept trying and failing to escape from a chain gang.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cool_Hand_Luke

Thanks for the stories.


Edited at 2012-12-12 06:34 pm (UTC)
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on December 12th, 2012 06:45 pm (UTC)
Cool! Okay, this makes much more sense now, I thought you were referring to the dialogue between Ivan and Smelly in the beginning of the chapter. Sorry, being a non-native speaker, some quotes still pass me by.

But yes, Cool Hand Luke is a very similar setup, though the resolve will be very, very different. After all, Luke didn't have a sinister psychic sister at home and a Smelly in his cell. ^^

And you are very welcome to our stories, I hope you'll enjoy the future installments as well!
hab318princesshab318princess on December 12th, 2012 08:56 pm (UTC)
brave... but glad he still has enough fight in him to try
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on December 13th, 2012 08:57 am (UTC)
Sill brave to the point of self-destruction. One thing I think we can all agree on - if the survives, he'll try again. Or do something even more harebrained and brave. ^^
triptyxtriptyx on December 12th, 2012 09:06 pm (UTC)
Gahhhh how is he going to survive even? Didnt he say that if they might just decide that he was more trouble than he was worth and lock him out, which was just a convenient way of killing him so trying to run away and using a guard as a shield against the stunner ranks high in 'more trouble than he is worth' and prime candidate for 'dead'.... :S :S :S

And I cant but love him for being so stupidly noble and not killing that guard! :)
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on December 13th, 2012 09:01 am (UTC)
Well, Ivan isn't only a nasty troublemaker, he's also a young and healthy worker, so there IS a chance they'll let him live. If he survives their punishment, that is. But he has already survived a lot more than those guards can probably imagine, so there...

It kinda shows that Ivan's one of the good guys, doesn't it? Even if the universe seems hell-bent on prooving him otherwise. Soon enough, he'll have amassed a critical amount of good karma, and then things will become really, really interesting. For him and us. ^^
idolme922: redidolme922 on December 12th, 2012 10:17 pm (UTC)
Ivan is certainly a complex man. Not killing the guard was perhaps noble, but it cost him his shot at getting away. And now he's out cold? At least he isn't dead! Looking forward to this taking a turn for the better for poor Ivan! Great chapter. ☺
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on December 13th, 2012 09:05 am (UTC)
Thank you, dear! Means a lot to me that he comes across as a real and interesting character.

Next chapter will be posted on Saturday, then things finally will gain a more hopeful outlook for Ivan. Neither simpler nor any less dangerous, though, in that regard I think it's going to get worse. But with a hopeful touch. ^^

debbiemethosdeb on December 13th, 2012 01:17 am (UTC)
loved it ,I just smelley knew best and stayed.Ivan had to try at least ,that's why I like him he does not give up.
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on December 13th, 2012 09:08 am (UTC)
We'll learn why Smelly didn't join him on Saturday.

And yes, 'not giving up' is probably Ivan's strongest and most defining superpower. He'll discover more of those during this story, though. ^^

Thanks for commenting!
BerthaBlueberthablue on December 20th, 2012 04:45 am (UTC)
I like that Ivan hesitated to kill the guard :D After all he's been through, he's somehow made it through with his humanity still.

There must be some terribleness waiting for him now! After all, didn't one of the guards hint at them perving on a corpse?! What could they do to a real live person *shudder*
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on December 20th, 2012 08:36 am (UTC)
Pretty much to his own surprise, Ivan is still one of the good guys.

I think this one is going to do not so much to a living victim... but he's got colleagues who will gladly take that task off his hands. Yucky people.

Thanks for commenting!
BerthaBlueberthablue on December 20th, 2012 08:42 am (UTC)
It's strange, but I actually feel less shuddery about the dead people than I do the living... at least they don't have to feel it!
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on December 20th, 2012 08:45 am (UTC)
True.

Unless they're zombies, of course. What a luck we're not on Leichnam (which is notorious for occasional zombie infestations). Is zombophilia even a word?

Edited at 2012-12-20 08:46 am (UTC)