OOC: This post brought to you in conjunction with Krayzikk, and introducing a mysterious new character of his
IC (NPC Matoran)
My arms shake just a little as I stir the big pot of soup. The batch should be done in a couple of minutes, ready for the prisoners' evening meal. It may be simple, and the ingredients cheap, but never let it be said that Ta-Koro's jail doesn't feed its inmates well. I always put my best into the food I make, even if it's for criminals and murderers. I take pride in my work, and I enjoy it.
But today is different. Today I can't be cheerful, because I'm scared. I hide it well enough that my colleagues don't notice, but I'm so scared - scared for my family, and scared of what I'm about to do, and scared of the man in my house.
I'd walked home for my lunchtime break. Opened the door to the house, called to Laya and the kids. There was no answer. As I went inside, I wondered why they didn't reply, because they ought to be in at that time of day. They were always there, ready and waiting to come running to the door to greet me. It was odd...
I walked into the main room - and there he was.
"Do not sound the alarm, do not make a sound."
The voice, when it came, was smooth, educated, and in any other circumstance, almost appealing. In this case, however, it seemed to carry the barest hint of malice. The speaker sat comfortably on the couch near the center of the room, arms crossed contemplatively. His eyes behind the Huna were clear and sharp, two bright points of color against the surrounding gray and black. Aside from his voice, the entire home was as quiet as the grave.
"I've been waiting for you; You took much longer arriving home than usual. You stopped by the bakery on the way home, if I've heard correctly." A pause. "You're wondering where your family is, aren't you?"
That feeling...like a stone thudding into my stomach.
"What have you done with them?" I asked, my voice coming small as fear tied its invisible noose around my neck.
The figure paused long enough for that to sink in, before leaning forward in his seat, steepling his fingers. "They're fine. I might even go so far as to say that they're being treated quite well."
"My associates have taken them to ensure your compliance. Assuming you cooperate, they will be returned. Now, I am sure your next question is exactly what we want your compliance for. You see, there's an inmate in maximum security. As it stands, she is a distinct liability. My associates and I, we want to remove this liability."
The figure smiled, almost comfortingly. "It's really quite simple. You follow our instructions, and your family comes back."
As I finish stirring I slip a hand into my belt-pouch, feeling the cold metal of the object brush against my fingers. A lump is tight in my throat.
I pull myself together and fetch a ladle, beginning to dole out the prisoners’ supper into ceramic bowls on trays laid out on a long table. As I reach the last one, I look over my shoulder just in time to see Dokel (the only other cook in this part of the kitchen) go out for his usual cigarette break. Now’s the only chance I’m going to get.
I pull the thing out of my pocket. It’s a syringe of some kind, made of glass and metal. There’s something inside it: a green-black substance that seems to move on its own. Something about it looks...wrong.
The dark-armored Toa reached into a pocket on his person, removing a small item that he set down on the table. It was a small syringe, not at all dissimilar to what one might find in a hospital. It was already filled, with a green-black mixture that seemed almost toxic in its malevolence.
"What you need to do is simple. Take this syringe, and when you prepare the prisoners' evening meal, conceal this in the prisoner's food. Make sure it is done during the evening meal, mind you, and that you conceal it in the right prisoner's meal."
"Why?" I blurted. "What is it? Why do you want me to give it to her?"
I tried to sound defiant and unfazed, but it didn't work. The fear - of losing my family, and of what this man might do to me in turn - was painfully obvious in my voice.
"Why?" The man echoed musingly, quiet for a moment. He didn't seem surprised or bothered by the query in the slightest, if anything, he seemed to enjoy it.
"I don't like loose ends, and neither do my associates."
Even with my heartbeat loud and fast in my ears, I could put two and two together well enough.
"It'll kill her?"
"I prefer to say that it will remove a liability. But phrase it how you will."
I drop the syringe into the bowl, and it disappears into the soup just as Dokel comes back in. I give him a short smile; it’s all I can muster and I doubt it’s very convincing, but he doesn’t seem to notice anything.
We load the trays onto our trolleys (I’m careful to make sure the one with the syringe goes on the bottom of mine) and roll them out into the corridor. With every stop, every delivery through every cell door, the trepidation tightening my chest grows. What am I about to do? What will happen to Laya, to my children, if I don’t?
I close my eyes and breathe deeply as I wheel the trolley along. I’m going to get it right, it’s going to be fine. I’m going to see them again soon. It’ll be fine.
And in what seems like no time at all, I’m in the lower levels, passing the guards and delivering my humble soup to the high-security cells. And then I’m outside her cell.
I try not to look at the Vortixx behind the bars. I just lift the slat at the bottom of the door and slide the tray through, complete with its hidden payload. I return to my trolley quickly and wheel it back, out of high-security, out of the corridors, back to the kitchen, all the time gripping it so tightly my hands start to ache.
I run out of the door, my shift finally over, the deed done, desperate to get home. To see my family safe and well. Soon it would all be ok.
It would all be ok.