The Trouble with Time

Throughout most of his adult life Lance Thomas had travelled through time. Time was his anchor in a way, his purpose in life. The hardships and things that he experienced had hurt him but he always had his oath, the job he was doing, the greater good, his purpose. Lance Thomas held onto the purpose tooth and nail and it had gotten him through so many things.

He didn’t know how long it had been, years? He looked at his face in the mirror of his tiny cell and he was aging, so how many years had it been? He felt old too. He looked at the wall he’d kept track on for a long time, marking down the years with little hash marks. He’d stopped, a while back. In that tiny cell, deserted. He was sure someone would have come for him by now, perhaps they through he was dead… He closed his eyes, as he did often, and felt that Drem was still alive, but he couldn’t feel much more than that, he felt out of sync with her.

Then the guards came, how many could come this time. The oxygen in the room got low, and he knew he would not be able to manipulate energies enough to keep breathing… Once he had frozen over the vents that pulled the oxygen out, and was sure they’d turn it back on. They didn’t, they just waited for him to pass out suffocating himself and then got him. In the first few years they had tried many methods of getting him out of that cell. He had escaped a dozen or so times from it only to find a closed loop of a facility, they must beam in and out. It was all stone, lead, concrete… He’d unleashed the holy hell that is his full and unbridled rage and anger one day and blasted the guards, the cell door, the walls, he blasted the wall and ceiling and climbed out by tooth and nail in the aftermath.

All he found there was an endless sunless sky. So much so that for a long time, he thought that he was on a holodeck of some kind, a simulation. He was sure he wasn’t now, not that he knew where he was. The early days were gone and now they just suffocated him with endless patience until his body gave out. He could last for a long time, the reactor in his cybernetics could produce a decent amount of oxygen directly into his blood but eventually the body would submit to the endless void of black. All the needed was patience and they had that.

He’d raged and screamed and killed more of them than he could possibly count. Still, more came. The day after he’d blown everything to hell, he’d hidden on the planet surface for a long time trying to construct the necessary things to build … something, a transmitter? A way to defend himself? A way to find out where he was? A way to get food so he could live and think, but eventually, he passed out. There was no food, no water. He’d stayed out as long as he could, living on what precious little he could find (which was not ever enough) until he passed out one day and found himself back in his cell.

He counted the hash marks of years as he’d counted… It had been at least 10 years now, according to that, and more because he’d stopped counting somewhere after that. The oxygen ran out and he gave up, letting them take him. It was easier that way, he would stay groggy for less time if he did it this way. Though if he was honest with himself he was getting close to not even thinking about it anymore. Had they won? Had someone broken the great Lance Thomas.

They strapped him in, he didn’t fight them, and the torture started again. The pain hit and… They didn’t even ask any questions, they never did, no one ever asked him anything, they just hurt him. Searing pain was part of his life, until he passed out again. Then… Wake up… Pain… Pass out… Wake up… Pain… Pass out… Over and over again. They’d keep him there all day doing that, when night would fall they’d take him back to his cell and give him just enough water to keep him alive and just enough food for the same.

He used to work out on the bed in the room, turned on it’s end. They took the bed years ago and now he slept on the concrete floor. It was a ritual now, spread his bedding out on the floor, lay down, stay awake as long as you can, listening, listening for a hint of something… Something… Something… What was he listening for again? The change of the guards, he knew when it would happen. The shifts that brought him food, he knew that too. There was nothing he could hear that he didn’t know. The guards were rotated on a standard derivative of a Klingon rotation model that was meant to kept the prisoner guessing.

He realized that night, after he ate the food and drank the water that… He would die here and he’d never know why. He – again – reached into that little pocket of his mind that belonged to his beloved wife and he focused and tried to reach her, tried to tell her that… She should move on, that she should give up and move on, if she hadn’t already.

He would die here.

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