Warnings Quite graphic, though I don't go into detail describing it.

Pleasantly Depressed

Chapter 12 - Of Closets and Propaganda

By Skandranon

Damn, my arms hurt.

...Of course they hurt, with that angle. What are they doing behind my back? Wait...this does NOT feel like a bed...more like concrete...aw Hyne, don't tell me I've been captured.

I hate being captured. Okay, wake up Irvine, do you hear any baddies?

.........No, no baddies. Air's not moving, so no AC vents. Got handcuffs on, and damn do they hurt. Keep your breathing steady. Don't want anyone watching to know you're up'n about.

I think my legs are tied. Ooh, okay, headache, that explains the captured part. I don't think there's any lighting in here...might chance a peek...

Irvine opened his eyes a slit, then a bit wider. The only light in the cell streamed in from under the door, which looked to be heavy lead. Otherwise, everything was concrete. Just a tiny little closet with empty shelves and a spider in the corner.

They rope tied my legs...did a pretty impressive job too, must have experience. Good thing Selphie's not here, she'd want pointers. No gag, so either they thought I'd stay out longer, or there's no one to hear...well of course there's no one to hear.

There weren't any cameras in the closet, hidden or otherwise, so he stretched against the bonds. They held, but allowed a bit of motion. If he bent his legs and arched his back, he could...almost...touch his feet...

Wonder what they did with Squall? Maybe he didn't get caught...'s gonna be burnin' embarrassing if he has to rescue me. But...they had a cursed ballista launcher, of all things. They hit the jeep, I know it...should've left the grenades home...

An image of Squall, broken and bloody in a ditch somewhere, flashed through his head. No, I pushed him out of the way. Captured or free, he's alive. He struggled a bit harder.

If I can just reach the sole of my boot...Argh, this aches...

His fingers touched rubber, and he scraped at it until his fingernails dug into the seam. The rubber plug in the heel peeled off, and a little shake of his foot dropped the hidden pocketknife.

Well, they can't be that good if they didn't take my shoes. Just might stand a chance.

It took a great deal of shifting about until the knife was in his hands, but after that it was a cinch to...

...

...Okay, now what...

...Maybe if I could reach my legs...urk...no, can't reach...well maybe I could hold it in my mouth...but still can't reach...

He flopped around and made "grk"ing noises for a while, just for the sheer hell of it.

Think, Kinneas. All I've got to work with is this little knife. All the knife has is two blades. Doesn't even have a charred toothpick. Knew I should've gone for one with all the little doodads...I mean, there's gotta be a use for a corkscrew in a situation like this.

Hope Squall's having more luck than I am. I took most of the blast, right? So maybe he wasn't concussed...maybe he's alright, and storming the bunker like a one-man army at this very moment. Yeah, first he'll take out the ballista with a sneak attack...then he'll drop the door guards, if there are any...then he'll just take out anything in his way. Torture the leader to find out where I am; break down the door with a spell blast...

The door stayed right where it was. Just to mock him.

Least he's better off than I am, wherever he is. Maybe he holed up somewhere and called for reinforcements. Bleeding a little, 'cause you don't get out of a ballista strike uninjured, but no major or hindering wounds. Stay put, Squall. I'll be fine, for day or two it takes backup to arrive. Don't do anything crazy like trying to save me on your own.

Aw Hyne, that's just what he'd do, isn't it?

Maybe he's dead. Fatal injury from the blast, or killed by the whoever-they-are... maybe he's badly wounded...or dying...gotta get out of this burning linen closet...urgh, face it Kinneas, you're stuck.

He played with the knife for an hour.

...Big blade...small blade...big blade...small blade...one blade...two blades...one blade...

...Wait a sec...

He shuffled back until he was pressing against a leg of the shelf, and slid out both of the blades, in opposite directions. Wiggling a bit more to get in the right position...

...He jammed the small blade into the wood as hard as he could manage. It stayed put under gentle test flicks.

Now to roll over...get my ankles up near the knife...

He had to replace the knife four times before the ropes sawed loose, but they did. His legs were free.

Yes! Now I just gotta figure out a way to get out of the handcuffs...

He yanked out the knife and wobbled to his feet, scanning the cramped room for...

Oh you gotta be kidding me.

There on the top shelf, just about head height, lay a paperclip.

Didn't think I could get to it, all the way up there? Sounds like a challenge.

He tucked his knee under a shelf and pulled. The whole thing tilted, and the paperclip slipped to the floor.

He flopped around and made "grk"ing noise. He eventually got the handcuffs off.

And Irvine Kinneas outsmarts the baddies. Now...

How do I get the door open?

Squall doubled over, coughing up blood.

The blond fellow scratched his hair, his nose wrinkling in annoyance. "I don't think he's gonna talk, dude."

The resistance leader turned a page in his book, not bothering to look up. "You call me dude again and you can take his place. Keep going."

On the table next to the leader's collection of right-wing-nutjob-propaganda-books lay a black leather cowboy hat. Some of the book titles were rather funny. Things like The Equality Conspiracy and What Your Government Hasn't Told You. You had to be in a position to appreciate it. Squall wasn't.

He kept coughing, the spasms taking on a mind of their own, refusing to stop. Something inside felt broken and wet, and grated when he moved. Plus, his wrists were killing him.

"Tarry", as he was called, backhanded him a couple more times for good measure. Squall's head jerked from side to side, and something in his jaw popped. "Man, I seriously don't think he's talking. Can I stop now?"

Tarry got bored easily.

"Don't call me 'man'. Keep going."

"I'm going to be washing blood out of my clothes for weeks," Tarry grumbled, and picked up the taser.

The chair Squall was tied to was leather padded and could swivel around. The leather was mildewed and faded from its original crimson, but it was still very comfortable. It had been Tarry's chair before their base's perimeters had been breached by a pair of fellows toting a platoon's worth of weaponry. Tarry had wanted to tie the short brunet to the wooden chair, but Marston said no. Marston always said no. No smoking, no drinking, no women. Being a rebel almost sucked. The rocket launchers were fun, though.

And now he had his very own Ribbed Exeter Stripped. The sweetest little gun you could ever want. 3 round bursts, delayed recoil, top-notch scope, less than 10 pounds, 2,000 rpm, and at 750 mm, the entire thing could fit in a briefcase. It was worth having his knuckles ache from too many punches.

The rest of the group was playing Triad. Junip was winning, as usual. They'd come up with a new way to play tonight; the intruder's deck was set in the middle, and each winner got to keep whatever card was on top. Lanneck was grinning like a moron ever since he drew Krysta.

"Seriously guys, can't somebody else hit him for awhile?"

"No way, Tarry," Sten growled, laying down a Bomb. "We already took our turns."

"Hey Junip, I'll give you the gunblade for your Catoblepas."

"No deal."

"Hey, come on, it's a really cool weapon."

"It's a really good card."

Tarry sighed and jabbed the taser into Squall's shoulder. Squall thrashed in the chair, teeth grinding his bottom lip until it bled. His hands clawed at the armrests cutting furrows in the soft leather. "You guys suck. You better save me some cards, or I'll put some bullet-sized holes in your hides."

"Talk, talk," Lanneck snorted.

"Keep it down," Marston stated. "Some of us are reading."

"Maybe we should try the other guy," Junip murmured, laying down his Red Giant. The rest of the group groaned and dropped their cards.

"We haven't even hit this one in the nuts yet. Tarry, hit him in the nuts."

"No way! I'm not sticking my hand there!"

"With the taser, moron."

"Oh." Zap.

Lanneck chose to give up on the game, and instead fiddled with the sphere he'd won earlier. It glowed from within with a blue tint, the colors shifting ceaselessly. "How do you think you get it back out?"

"You draw it," replied Marston. He followed the script with a finger.

Lanneck shifted it from hand to hand, and rolled it in his palms "How do you do that?"

"Put it down."

Tarry yelped in surprise and leapt back, taser still clutched in his hand. He hadn't expected the guy to still be able to speak. "What, NOW you've got something to say?"

"Put," Squall gasped between convulsions. "It. Down."

The room got quiet, all attention towards their prisoner. Marston put down his book and came to crouch beside Squall, eyes glinting viciously. "We'll do what we like with our trophies."

Squall shook his head, glazed focus flitting wildly. "She's not yours."

"She? Attached, are we?"

"She's not yours."

"Isn't she?"

"She's n-" he choked for a moment, the blood seeping down his throat, "-yours."

Tarry set the taser on the table, suddenly very nervous. "Does he know he's repeating himself?"

Cough, choke. "-ot yours."

Marston smirked. "Congratulations, Tarry, you broke him."

"I didn't do it!"

Sten whapped him over the head. "It's a good thing, idiot."

Waving for them to shut up, Marston turned back to his captive and found himself staring into insanity.

"Put. Her. Down."

 

 

 

Authors Note The "Ribbed Exeter Stripped" is based on a real gun called the Heckler and Koch G11/Advanced Combat Rifle, and the specs are accurate. My thanks to Mike (my own personal Squall) for this info.

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