Two minutes.

Rollins was either inside the control center by now or in solitary, again.

Here I was, walking down one of the long corridors in C2 section. My hands bound in front of me, with a new material used for the cuffs. I had broken too many to count in my stay at Prison ship Vex-10.

1 minute thirty seconds.

The guards were so eager to slip back into a complacency when we were peaceful for even a short time. Me and my crew patiently refrained from violence for a time, but the lust was setting in. Just had to hold out a little bit longer.

I wasn’t sure if the guards shadowing me could sense my heightened anxiety. We neared the mess hall.

1 minute.

The door slid open without a sound. The hall quieted down immediately upon seeing me. Good.

Beings of all sizes and shapes got their meals and ate in peace. They were here for rehabilitation of “ill-doings”. Things outside the norm. Made me sick. The worst non-human offender was in for embezzlement. What a joke.

A few moments went by and the opposite door opened to reveal one of mine.

Gergori. His arms were half as wide as his torso. His head sunk into a web of muscle. With no desire to do anything else, this one grew his muscles wherever he was. All he needed was gravity, despite the powers at be placing him in zero-g chambers for extended periods.

We smirked at each other.

The guards shadowing the two of us exchanged confused glances. We were not supposed to be in the mess hall at the same time.

Too slow.

I turned and spit at the eyes of the Faren guard behind me. Human saliva was acidic to them, found that one out months ago and they still never caught on.

It screamed, falling to the floor. Pathetic.

The prisoners erupted in panic, shoving each other to get to the doors. Clawing, pawing, and jumping over and at each other. A flurry of colors and sizes.

My remaining guard panicked after his partner went down. Even though he was a Barbus, and a large one at that. Enormous torso, rippling with muscle, thick hair. Earth used to have gorillas, it was the closest I could think of.

His rough hairs flung into the air, irritating my eyes. It was a defense mechanism leftover from evolution of their species. Too bad for him I didn’t give a shit.

I lashed towards him with my bound hands and found his skull. My fingers gripped onto his rubbery ears. Just as his giant, meaty hands got to mine I yanked towards me. My forehead met his.

I reeled in pain, but he was unconscious.

As the doors slid closed I knelt down to grab the keycard to my cuffs. They slid off with ease.

The crowd of panicked prisoners began pounding on the doors. The comm system crackled to life.

“Nell, Gregori, you have about fifteen minutes. Have fun,” Rollins said.

Everything was going well. And right on time. The doors were locked, my man was running things from the control center, and there was still time to party.

I turned to see Gregori dropping his cuffs. Where my guards were intact, his were bloodied, with broken limbs. He was more than ready.

“You remember the rules?” I shouted to the man over the prisoners.

“Yeah,” he picked up a screaming Hunarian, “There are none!”

He laughed and tossed the small being towards me; I swatted him away and charged the big man.

Finally.

We collided, and he went for the bear hug like he always did.

His hands interlocked and I knew I had about a second before I would be recovering from a broken back, again.

The fresh bruise on my forehead tingled, but it was now or never. I leaned back and slammed my skull to his nose.

His head flung back from the blow, and I felt his grip lessen for a moment.

Again.

This time he went unconscious for a second, and I slipped out of the vice grip.

Ruthlessness was the name of the game; we only had fifteen minutes to declare a winner. If I won fast enough I might still have time to dish out some pain to some of the fodder.

Gregori recovered quickly, but not fast enough. I delivered a side kick to his ribs. Bones snapped, and he grunted in pain. It was as much I’d ever gotten out of the man. He was conditioned well.

He flew backwards, nearly toppling.

The fodder tried to part for him, but he landed onto a small group of Jerinians. Their skin changed to a bright red, indicating danger. They had a venomous reaction to threats or adrenaline spikes. Gregori wasted no time in grabbing one by one of the lower tentacles, hurling it towards me.

“Not again!” it screamed.

Poisonous black ink cascaded all around me. My vision blurred. It was enough to stun me, and in an instant I felt the man’s fist on my chest.

An eye for an eye. Pain surged, and I knew at least 4 ribs were broken. His mass was enough to send me toppling. As I lay there awaiting the finishing blow, unable to recover, I was nostalgic for the great crusade. Watching Gregori tear through hordes of beings beside me, or how he loaded a nuke single-handedly into a launch tube to annihilate the last of the Mokihans. He was a treasure.

He had won again, and it would be another month before the guards started to relax. Knocking him into the crowd was a mistake.

“Nell!” he lifted my head by my hair, “Guess who wins again?”

Suddenly I tasted the sulfur of venom in my mouth. I spit towards his face, another direct hit in the eyes. Although the strain of breath was enough to make my body shudder.

The big man laughed.

“Don’t make us use force!”

The doors had been opened early; they were getting better at dealing with our antics. I guess about twelve guards were forming a circle around the two of us.

“Aww, man. Welp, party’s over,” the big man shrugged.

He slammed my head to the floor. Everything went black.

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