Sunday, December 16, 2012

When Death Comes Knocking...

An undertaker, in full uniform, walks into Purgatory Hall, one of many rooms in the space station.

"All rise for the execution of Sam 'DrDoom' Nero," echoes off the bulkheads, reverberating into the ear drums of the select two hundred men and women allowed to experience an undertaking of a former captain, mercenary, and brother.

Everyone stands in unison and faces the soon-to-be purged man.

"We are gathered here today to take witness to the purgatory execution of Sam 'DrDoom' Nero. If any of the victims, their families, or witnesses have anything to perform, please step on to the stage and do so now.

A couple in the fourth row, first and second columns rise and walk down the stairs to the stage. Before the man can step on, the undertaker blocks him from ascending and says, "Mr. Nero may have harmed you, but he cannot die. Do not be greedy in death as others have come to extract their revenge and perhaps even feel better about their loses. Understand?"

The man and woman nod in unison.

The director steps aside and the couple ascend the stage. Two floors later they are at the top and facing the man, with whom they owe everything. They walk towards him and just watch his eyes, waiting for a signal, anything to let them know he wants to be free. Sam lifts his head and smiles at them, but has nothing in his eyes. Only happiness that they have shown up to his execution.

"Captain..." starts the woman.

"No Catherine, I order both of you to do nothing," his voice still that of their commander.

"But sir, there is only a couple mercenary guards, and they're from..." implores the man.

"No. Ali, I know you are capable of the feat, but no show is required." Doom looks at both of them, taking it all in. "I understand your loyalty and I would love nothing more to join you again in space, but my sentence is just. I have lived for longer than many men in position have a right to. Do you understand that you will move on with the corporation? My XO... sorry, Captain Dario is more than capable. Follow him as you have done for me and you will all become rich and powerful beyond what we thought possible. And that is an order - got it?" His eyes bore into both of his lieutenants, making them bow their heads in ascent.

Catherine and Ali stand at attention and salute in unison, "Yes, sir!"

"Good, now go cause havoc in my name!" Sam booms with authority and joy.

Both of the lieutenants turn and walk back down the stage and take their seats in the audience.

The undertaker takes to the first level of the stage, "Who is next?"

A woman in the very top row rises and walks down the stairs and stands before him.

"Same rules apply, understand?" says the director.


"Please, perform your at your pace."

"Thank you," and with that the woman rises to the top of the stage and stands before the man she once held as an idol of great things. But now, just looks at him in disbelief at how far he has fallen.

"Eureka..." starts DrDoom.

"No. How could you? How could you hurt so many and take so much? Father and mother would be ashamed of you. And now this purgatory execution, on show for all to see..." A tear starts to fall from her eye, but before it rolls down her check, she wipes it quickly. "And I cry for you! I guess I still have love for a despicable brother..."

"Eureka, I am sorry for you to see me like this, I just wanted the best for us, our family, and the corporation," he pleads like so many times before. His sister turns and walks away, but stops and turns back. "I was going to perform our family funeral ritual, like we did with our parents, but you don't deserve it." She spits in his face and storms away to her seat. And like so many times before, it is all for naut.

More people rise and fall to see the man they've come to love, hate, or just satisfy the curiosity of someone, for the first time, proceeding into purgatory. Friends, fellow mercenaries, pilots, lovers and haters, and all those in between among the two hundred person crowd perform their rituals, conversations, exotic theater, and punishments.

Finally, one more ascends the stage as blood is being washed away from the stage. An old man, cane in hand, hobbles forth to the infamous Dr. Doom, stops in front of him, looks up into eyes that have seen so much the past few hours and says, "You were supposed to take over for me. How can you now locked up in box, in a vault, for this... public." The old man sneers at last word, almost puking it out, as if he had bitten into something most awful.

Lifting his head and announcing to Purgatory Hall, "Old man, you will never know why I turned myself in. You will die forgotten, withered, and alone. Leave me be, to bounce around in a box." Sam lets his head drop to his chest in exasperation. Thank the Lord these performances are nearly done, he thinks, they might kill me before I can be executed.

The old man takes his cane and swings it into Sam's ribs. "So be it, nephew." Sam's uncle returns to his seat, his eyes red, tearful with sorrow. My stupid nephew, what are you thinking? The man has regretted so much in his long life, but to watch his nephew die... this regret will never be buried.

The undertaker steps onto the second level. "I think everyone has had their turn in performing, yes?" He eyes the crowd, some making contact and nodding their head, others motionless as statues. "Very well, the purgatory execution will commence."

A long 'gong' rebounds through the hall, stopping whispering, chit-chatting, and messaging. Everyone looks forward to the stage. Like many a theater production, the lights dim except for one particular light in the center. Sam Nero a.k.a. DrDoom is the star of this show, unfortunately. A hooded figure appears to the right. Whispers among the crowd rekindle, but a look from the dark man drowns the small spark in cold, icy water. All the witnesses have never seen such a thing before. Death and destruction, yes, but never a purgatory execution.

Another figure appears from the opposite side of the stage, pushing a large block of wood. Three feet in length, another three tall, and one foot wide, it stops in front of Sam. The second figure returns to his shadows, but returns in less than ten seconds pushing another object of the same size as the wood. However, this time the block is made of metal with another square, metal box on top. Smaller and with glass for windows on all sides, the box has tubes running back and forth to the metal block. Strange liquid is coursing through the tubes, giving off an almost purple hew. The figure sets the box beside the wooden block on the stage ground and opens the top. He steps back to his shadows and does not reappear again.

The hooded figure hefts an old, almost ancient looking ax on his left shoulder, and walks to DrDoom. He stops before the dead man and leans into his ear...

"Any last words?" he says with a toneless voice.

"None, let's get this over with," replies Sam, equally toneless.

The hooded figure nods, and pulls back his hood, revealing the undertaker. He raises his right hand to the shadows and gives an 'ok' sign.

The poles start to slowly loosen their energy wrapped chains as the director brings his man forward, down to his knees, and finally his head where it's guided onto the wooden block. No one has spoken a word since the hooded man silenced them, and as they should - an execution is one of silence, something missing in this 'immortal' world where all deaths are shameless and horrid in their greed of noise.

The undertaker lifts his ax high, above his head with two hands and for a second everything stops. The gleam of the blade under the single light on stage, people with open mouths, gaping at the scene in front of them,  others horrified and looking away, and yet even others grinning like lunatics with blood lust in their eyes. This is the moment people are waiting for- where your skin turns to goose bumps, your breath is held, your adrenaline starts pumping and nothing moves except for the slight rising of your body to take it all in.

The blade falls.


Note to Readers:

Hello, and thank you for reading my first story. This is fan fiction for the upcoming game Dust 514, which you can find here: Sign up for the beta - it's a pretty cool game. Do keep in mind it is in beta and from what I hear from other people, CCP updates their games over time and likes to publish as soon as they get something done - not always bug free. ;)

My "editor" said that he has no idea what the hell is going on. A little introduction, as well as some other bits will be added to the next story. Also, I may continue it, I may not- it depends on the time I have available. As for future writing, I would like to continue in Dust 514, but sometimes they may take place outside of it. Lastly, there are no days that I will always publish on - real life is precedence.


Luke Kruse