Author - mudg3t
Word count - 987
Chapter: 1 of ?
Rating - PG13 for now, rating will change as chapters progress
Summary - With the fate of his friends at stake he is forced to make an impossible decision.
Characters - Looten Plunder, Argos Bleak, Mame Slaughter, Stalker Slaughter, Ma-Ti, Wheeler, Kwame
Warnings (if any) - While there's nothing explicit, or even any language (how did I manage that?!) in this chapter, torture is alluded to. Rating will be upped in subsequent chapters.
Author's note - Written for the Darkfic Challenge. This was originally intended as a one-shot, but I decided it would be better as a multi-chap fic instead. Ma-Ti also plays a starring role; I think there is a lot of potential for Ma-Ti's power to be explored, particularly under this theme. It takes a particular type of character to wield such a power, but he's only human and maybe under certain conditions he might be swayed to use it for darker intents. Also, I kinda of like the idea of the Planeteers getting beating up and dragged through hell :P And Mame Slaughter is a total badass who totally deserves a role in darkfic.
Also, I had some internet outage so um sorry for the late post D: Oh and title is a song by Tool of the same name. Enjoy!
“Just think of the potential,” murmured Mame Slaughter. Her dark eyes flicked to the boy chained to the wall. Looten Plunder followed her gaze, his brow furrowed in consideration. She did make a good point, and perhaps it was time to make the Planet-punk do something useful.
Their prisoner hung limply from his restraints. Oh but he looked so pathetic. Plunder swung his gaze back to the smirking woman. It irked Plunder to concede that Slaughter’s idea was a good one. But it was too good an opportunity to pass up for pettiness and ego.
“Know that it pains me to say it,” Plunder said bitterly, “and even more to be working with you. But I agree, this will make us a fortune. It will also mean the end of those Planet-pains-in-my-ass for once and for all.” He could practically feel the smugness radiating from her. It gave him the momentum to add tersely, “But know this, Slaughter. I expect a cut of the profits from the poaching. You have more to gain from this scheme of yours than I do. I don’t need the brat to expand my Palm Oil Plantation. I’ll get rich with or without you. I just want the Planeteers gone.”
Slaughter pursed her lips. She knew Plunder loathed getting his hands dirty, so unless he threw Bleak in to assist with the persuasion, it would be largely up to Stalker and herself. She cast a narrow, sidelong glance at the primped businessman. At least she knew how to get a job done properly.
“I’ll give you ten percent,” she said, finally.
She narrowed her eyes. “Fifteen. And I want Bleak.”
He considered her offer a moment, unsurprised she would request the help of his mercenary. Bleak would revel in the task, and if he played his cards right he might even be able to get the man to accept it as payment. On the other hand he would lose his bodyguard, and it wasn’t just the Planeteers he had to worry about in this retched, humid country. His mouth twisted in distaste. Those damn animal-loving, tree-hugging hippies were so concerned over a few measly apes and worthless trees they would stop at nothing to delay his plantation works.
“Seventeen percent. Bleak will help when I can spare him, and the extra is compensation for the inconvenience.”
Mame’s lips drew into a thin line as she folded her arms irritably. It was more than she had been willing to part with. The plan still weighed strongly in her favour, though, and even after Plunder’s cut she stood to make a tidy profit. Her lips curved into a smile. A very tidy profit indeed.
She cast the captured Planeteer a sinister smile. “Deal. Where do we start?”
“Let’s start by waking up the little bastard.”
Ma-Ti shivered despite the humidity. His hair and clothes were saturated, clinging coldly against his small frame. The now-empty bucket lay strewn on its side, several feet away, where it had been unceremoniously discarded. Its entire contents had been flung at him, waking the Planeteer with a gasp.
The damp stones of the dungeon pressed against his back. His fingers tingled with pins-and-needles and his shoulders ached, and the heavy iron shackles bit painfully into his wrists. He twisted to peer up at his hands, restrained above his head with thick chains bolted into the hard stone. They had left him with his ring.
Plunder and Slaughter had made their intent clear. It was no oversight that Ma-Ti still had his Heart ring. He was certain Kwame and Wheeler’s rings had been confiscated; he could sense them still, but it was like wading through murky water. They had each been roughly shoved into a cell of their own, separated soon after they had been captured and presented to Looten Plunder and Mame Slaughter.
Gi and Linka were still out in the Sumatran jungle, gathering evidence of Mame’s poaching syndicate. At least he hoped they were. The Heart Planeteer had tried to contact the girls after it was evident he, Wheeler and Kwame had no way to escape, but at the sight of his ring glowing Bleak had been swift to render the boy unconscious.
His head throbbed as testimony to Bleak’s efficiency, and the evil and negativity emanating from the Eco-Villains was tangible. Afraid and exhausted, he gritted his teeth and focused his mind, pushing past the fog as he summoned his power. It took considerable effort and concentration, but he felt a wave of relief as he made contact with Gi and Linka, who were negotiating the arduous trek back to the Geocruiser. His message was brief but clear: ‘Looten Plunder and Mame Slaughter have taken us prisoner. Need help. Be careful!’ He sent a mental image of the ruins they were being held in and tiredly withdrew, sagging against the restraints.
Closing his eyes he shuddered, contemplating Slaughter’s ultimatum. Unease had rapidly spread as she laid out her intent and he suddenly envied Wheeler’s easy ability to summon false bravado. He had refused to partake in their plan, to use his ring to call the elusive native animals to him. It was an inconceivable task to ask of him. One they obviously knew he would decline, for Plunder had then smugly explained what would happen if he didn’t cooperate. He felt sick to his stomach that the fate of his friends lay in his hands.
Ma-Ti let out a sobbing breath, hopelessness settling over him. Already emotionally drained after stumbling across dozens of orangutan carcasses, whole sections of the rainforest cleared and decimated courtesy of Plunder’s illegal operations - and with the knowledge that the Indonesian government was doing little to stop it - their current predicament only added to his despair. He hoped Linka and Gi would find a way to get them free before Plunder and Slaughter came back to hear his answer.