Inmate number BS41-7216099, Tybalt Thorn. Convicted 899.M41. Former captain of the Corsican 12th, convicted for dereliction of duty, disobeying orders and assault on a superior officer.
Sentence: Life imprisonment to Bale Secundus.
After the Magistrates speech in the courtyard the chain gang had been broken up into smaller groups. A custodian escorted Tybalt and his gang down a series of dirty, poorly lit corridors before arriving at a pair of iron doors. The faded paint read, Sector West 16, Block 5. Beyond the door the muffled noises of a hundred shouting voices reverberated through the iron exterior. A custodian with a bionic right arm carrying a power maul appeared. His face was particularly gnarled and a grizzly scar covered his throat. He walked up and down the line looking at each convict in turn.
'Convicts, welcome to Block Five. We have one rule here. No fighting. I am Custodian Agrippa and I will have your respect. No exceptions.'
As he said that a member of the chain gang near the front spat on the custodians boots. Without hesitation Agrippa smashed his power maul round the convicts face. The man spun on the spot, his neck broken, then in a crumpled heap he fell to the floor. Agrippa continued to pace the line.
'I will have your respect. Take this turd away.' He ordered a pair of guards to unhook and drag the corpse out. Tybalt watched as they did it with the least respect.
With a clank and a grown the iron doors swung open. Instantly Tybalt was hit with the force of the hot, foul smelling air as it assaulted his senses. The shouting and yelling intensified. Herded into the atrium of block five the gang was unchained. It felt good to have the shackles off their wrists and ankles. Tybalts skin was bruised and sore from where they were too tight. A bundle containing sheets and other items was shoved into his arms before being escorted into the block proper.
Cheering and taunts came from all sides and few sporadic items rained down from the higher levels. As he walked through the main hall, rows of cells lined the walls. Everywhere there were groups of men huddled together. Men from all sorts of backgrounds, hive gangers many of them. The inmates were playing and toying with the new bloods seeing who would break. Hundreds of faces all different sized him up.
The group stopped outside a cell, number 22. Tybalts name and number was read out before he was shoved inside. The custodian moved the line of new inmates on.
Suddenly Tybalt felt very alone. The cell was small and cramped. A bunk bed sat on one side of the wall, a dirty basin and toilet on the other. A single ceiling light bathed the room in a warm, dull brown luminance.
A figure lay on the top bunk; it stirred and sat up looking at Tybalt indifferently. The man was lean but his tattooed arms were well defined. He got down from the bunk and squared up with Tybalt.
'This is my cell. It may be where you live, but itís my cell. Keep yourself to yourself and maybe weíll get along.'
The manís face was cold and expressionless. A star tattoo decorated his left temple and a thin scar ran from the right corner of his mouth to the middle of his check. He was young and couldnít have been older than twenty, Tybalt thought. Without replying He moved around the young hive ganger and placed his bundle on the bottom bunk. The young punk watched as he did so, muttered a phrase in guttural slang, which Tybalt assumed was an insult, before leaving the cell.
Sector West Sixteen, Block Five houses two hundred and eighty convicts. Condemned souls, lost in the eyes of the Emperor. In a place full of outcasts and criminals it should come as no surprise that those from similar backgrounds will bond together. Those from the same world, with the same beliefs, or simply for mutual protection will form gangs. These bonds, when broken down and examined come down to two things, power and trust.
The first, power. Having an advantage over the other prisoners is important to maintain a sense of order. This can be measured in a number of ways; gang size, influence, control and distribution of contraband. To hold power amongst the inmates of a prison is more dangerous to the custodians than anyone else. The ability to orchestrate a massed riot at the drop of a word is enough for the guards to turn a blind eye on certain dealings.
The second, trust. If you share a bond with someone no matter how great or small, you have a little bit of their trust and vice versa. Knowing someone is watching your back to the continuous dangers of prison life eases some of the stress. But sometimes the reality is you can never really trust a person completely. Survival is the unwritten rule of The Secundus, a man will do what he has to in order to survive.
He wasnít afraid to leave his cell. He just didnít have the need to. Tybalt knew that if he didnít leave soon someone would notice and take this as a sign of weakness. When he did decide to leave he knew it was all about body language. The others would read his manner in an instant. His very survival might come down to the next few minutes.
Sitting on his bunk he took in a few deep breaths. His cell mate hadnít come back since leaving nearly half an hour ago. Occasionally someone would walk by the cell and throw in few taunts and insults. He couldnít wait any longer. He had to make a move. Scope this place out like a reconnaissance mission.
He walked tall and confident, as if he were on parade. Head up and eyes focused. He took several steps out of the cell. Eyes from different parts of the block met his own and he didnít flinch from holding there attention. He was alert, scouting for threats. But there werenít any.
At least so he thought.
Out of nowhere it seemed, a group of four large men surrounded him. One grabbed him in a well placed choke hold. Another drew a small blade and held it against his stomach. Everything happened so fast. Tybalt knew he didnít have long to react. Then the one holding with the blade spoke.
'I recognise your type. Youíre Imperial guard, an officer too. Donít be thinking your better than us. Around here everyoneís the same.'
Tybalt, forced to look at the manís face, didnít take in any features except the twin headed snake tattoo on either side of his neck.
He had to act.
In one fluid movement Tybalt kneed the bladed man in the groin. He went down hard. Then with a backwards jerk he reverse head butted the man holding him. Tybalt heard the distinct crack of a broken nose.
Released, he was rushed by the other two. Knocking the first aside with a parry movement he focused on the last man. The brute was clumsy and not skilled in martial combat techniques. Tybalt grabbed the manís right arm and with a powerful flat handed palm thrust from his left hand, smashed it into the mans elbow. The force broke the bruteís arm backwards, forearm flopped disturbingly the wrong way and he went down screaming in agony.
By now the cheering and the commotion had attracted attention from the Custodian guard tower that stood in the centre of the prison block. Custodians in full riot gear, armed with power mauls and shields rushed towards the scene.
The deflected third man, stood hesitantly. He surveyed the damage Tybalt had done to his comrades. He didnít wish to end up the same but he didnít flee. Instead a pair of custodians crushed into him taking him down. Tybalt too was subdued and held against the cell block wall. A buzzing alarm sounded, followed by orders from the Custodian Tower. It was the signal for a lock down.
The riot-geared custodians took control of the situation. They dispersed the on looking crowd, who peacefully but unhappily returned to their cells. The two badly injured men were taken to the infirmary.
Tybalt was thrown into his cell as the bared doors were slammed behind him. His cell mate, the young hive punk, stood at the other end, arms folded. He didnít say anything until Tybalt looked at him. For a moment there was a pause. It felt uneasy. But then the ganger broke the silence.
'I saw what you did. Youíve got some moves on you. You smashed those guys up pretty good.'
'I had to do something, theyíd have killed me.' Said Tybalt bluntly.
'You did what you had to. I respect that.' The ganger held out his hand. Tybalt took it in a firm grip and shook it.
'Names Kolt. Just Kolt.'
There was a genuine respect in the gangers eyes and in his hand shake, Tybalt could feel it.
'Those guys you tore up are the Hydraís. Bastards, all of em. Guess you saw the snake tattooís on the leaders neck? Heís known as Venom.'
'Thatís an interesting name.'
'Yeah, a lot of the hive gangers go by aliases. Youíd better watch your back. You disrespected him, and made his guys look weak. Theyíll probably kill someone just to look tough again.'
'As I said, I did what I had too. Iíll take him on again if need be.'
Kolt chuckled then lifted himself up onto his bunk.
'Iím sure you can, I donít doubt that for a second. Just remember; someoneís always out to get you.'
With that Kolt lay down.
Tybalt thought about what he had said before sitting himself down on his own bed. He hadnít even noticed his hands were shaking. The adrenaline was still rushing through his body. Heíd only been in the prison an hour and already heíd injured two inmates and humiliated a third.
Itís going to be a long life he thought.
Inmate number BS41-1914266, Julius Koltanis, AKA Kolt. Convicted 895.M41. Member of the Death Spiders gang from the capitol hive slums on Carpathia. Convicted for nine counts of murder in gang related activities.
Sentence: Life imprisonment to Bale Secundus.