The Belly of the Beast - Part 2

Overseer Beckett stood before his men. They were sitting on the edges of the beds in the medbay. Around them bustled a frightened collection of doctors and nurses who carried hypodermic spray guns. There were about 8 men or woman waiting to be administrated to. One bed was occupied, a young woman lying down with a blanket brought up to her chin. The doctors had been pulled away from attending her.

‘Is it ready?’ grunted Beckett at one of the doctors.

‘Nearly,’ the doctor replied, and then he saw Beckett’s anger flash across his eyes, ‘I mean, we will be ready in a few seconds, once the guns are loaded.’

‘Very good,’ grumbled Beckett as he stood back.

Of course, he wasn’t going to touch that junk. Stims? Vile poison, Beckett thought. No, better to pump up the lackeys with it instead. It made them fast, strong, and ready for a fight – despite it being highly addictive. All his Anglian boys were on it, and now it was a bartering chip to get others on to his side as well. Although some may have had to be forced into agreeing.

‘Sir!’ said Navarra coming into the room, ‘You requested my presence?’

‘Navarra,’ said Beckett with his cruel smile, ‘So glad you could join us. How is being Senior Tactical Officer?’

‘Good, sir,’ replied Navarra, but he was surveying the room, trying to understand what was happening.

‘Good, good,’ continued Beckett. He began to slowly approach Navarra, one of his robotic hands stretching out to land to firmly grasp Navarra’s shoulder. ‘I was hoping you would join us.’

‘What is going on here?’

‘Stims,’ answered Beckett, ‘Harmless stims.’

‘Harmless?’

‘Look at what my men managed to accomplish in just a few short days,’ said Beckett,

‘They are stronger than anyone else on this ship.’

‘And you control the source of their strength?’ said Navarra, his mind quickly putting the pieces in place.

‘How about you join us?’

Beckett watched Navarra squirm. Not enough to move or betray his feelings, but Beckett could feel the unpleasant thoughts shaking him in his restrained stance. Stims weren’t nice or pretty. They would tear through the body, burning in the veins. But he could see Navarra would say no.

‘Do you want me to make the decision easier for you?’ asked Beckett and he pulled out his pistol and aimed it at the woman lying on the bed. It had been the first time that Navarra looked there, following the pointing muzzle of the gun. Beckett didn’t know if his gamble would pay off, but at any rate, she would be worthless to the crew getting back to London.

‘Tanja?’ exclaimed Navarra in surprise.

‘Overseer?’ came a voice from Beckett’s audband.

‘I’ll let you stew on it,’ said Beckett with a smile, and he brought the audband to his mouth, ‘What is it?’

‘Sir,’ came the stuttering reply, ‘There has been a prisoner outbreak in the brig.’
An anger settled over Beckett.

‘Is he gone?’

‘Yessir,’ came the delayed reply.

Beckett swallowed his anger and placed his gun back in its holster. He glanced at Navarra. He was an asset, to be sure, but one he needed on a leash. Beckett shot his arm out and grabbed Navarra’s jaw. He squeezed not too hard to break anything, but enough to make him uncomfortable. He held him at a height so that his heels were off the ground, to not let him have a chance to regain a footing.

‘You will take those stims, Navarra,’ said Beckett, and he easily tossed him into the arms of two already stimmed-up New Ouroboros supporters. He didn’t wait around to listen to the reply.

Thomas Quinn,’ sneered Beckett into his audband, the voice transmitting everywhere, ‘I hope you are listening. For every hour you spend evading your execution, another will take your place.'

***

The tannoy fizzled out, leaving the group of rebels in silence. He guessed that's what they were now: rebels. Rebels fighting a meglomaniac. Tam knew Beckett was unhinged, but this was another level. Beckett was known to be cruel but not psychotic.

'We are taking back our ship,' decided Tam.

< Prev : The Belly of the Beast - Part 1 Next > : The Belly of the Beast - Part 3