“Just a heads up, forget anything you know, or think you know. This is Draconis 23 and let me tell you, you don’t know anything. You know. Don’t listen to anyone here. They’re all working an angle and they’ll lie through their teeth! That said, let me welcome you to our little corner of hell.
Yeah, I was like you once, though it feels like another life. Back then I was full of fake bravado convinced that a pardon was just around the next hab-hall. That my time in this nightmare would be short. Like you I put on a mask of fearlessness but don’t worry, this place will smash all of that. It will break you! If the wardens don’t the other colonists will. If somehow you prove too unassailable or iron-willed the true master of this place will crush you. You, like everyone else will be screaming for sweet deliverance before the end comes.
Who is this master you ask? Well let me put it this way, why aren’t there any walls here? Look around you – see all that endless nothing? Where you going to run to? This barren, craggy hell-hole is covered with scant nothing but rocks and dust. Outside of the facilities there isn’t anything. No water, no shelter, no food, nor animals. Just a lot of barren nothing. Sure, you can run off, maybe find some abandoned mine shaft to hold up in. Others have done it and guess how many have come back….
Don’t worry about the dim sky, you wont get used to it. No it’s not dusk nor dawn. it’s just the stars light don’t shine so bright here being as far away as we are. That pulse never ends either. Forever flashing, it’s enough to make a man mad! Hope you get mine work where the beating of the sun is hidden from you.
That painful pulsing dot up there? They call that the Emperors Mercy. The wardens whisper that it’s really why we’re all here. This whole place is a lesson in damnation and salvation. You see we’ve all fallen from the light of the Divine Emperor. All of us selfishly turned from his grace and in doing so we suffer and toil in endless, abject misery from which none of us can escape. That distant light up there shows that the Emperor in his infinite grace still looks down upon us, that redemption IS possible. The only kick is that you can’t do it in life. You gotta die to get it!
That’s the final truth of this place. If somehow you manage to avoid the wrath of the wardens, other convicts, accident, or injury this place will still kill you. That light up there, the Emperors grace, is a class 7B7 Pulsar. While it’s no good at giving off steady light it’s incredible at flooding us with enough high radiation that any long-term prisoner could power a light freighters engine core. If by all miracles you survive everything this place can throw at you, you’ll be dead in eight years.
I’ve been here three and a half years and I have no illusions of my fate.
Did I tell you that I’m a master of the Emperors Tarot? Here let me guess, you’re innocent, right? There’s clearly been a clerical error and the the Warden-Commissar must get you on the next ship out! We have to get you off of this rock before it’s too late!
Haha fool! Let me tell you I WAS INNOCENT and it don’t mean anything!! No one cares! Once you’re here there IS no leaving. Even in death your body will be processed into food for the other inmates. Gross, sure, but a man has to eat! Yeah, they give three half rations a cycle but that is just enough to keep you working. The gnawing in your gut is just another reminder of hell. The exhaustion too.
What did I do to get sentenced to this rock? Well nothing of course! You see, I was born on one of them countless Ad-Mech worlds. The kind of manufactorum planets where non-munitions are fabricated. No not one of them fancy Forge worlds! Anyways, I was a true believer and I did my part.
The machine priests and their strange, soulless servitors were jealous of me though. It’s true! You see I have “the knack”! The machine spirits whisper to me but because I’m not a tech-priest it’s something we’re told is sacrilegious. Fact is, they were telling me truths we aren’t supposed to know. Truths about how the Ad-Mech aren’t doing it correctly. That they’re hiding something. Something big! IF I told you I’m sure you’d have an accident and I’d hate to make your stay here short. I’m not that cruel. I mean, you gotta earn your salvation right?
So what happened to land me here? Well, I was doing a triple shift in the ‘factorum making cogno-proccessor components and the authorities decided to shake down my hab-block. Got whispers of illicit goods and evil deeds. Surprise surprise they found a room full of data slates in my chamber. Each one full of forbidden lore, STC data, sacred design schematics, you name it. The whole works!
Within hours I was locked down in a prison ward, sentenced by vid-caster, and awaiting for my summery execution or worse – psycho-scrambling and an eternity as a servitor. Somehow, someone intervened. Initially I thought I’d been spared, liberated, redeemed even! Little did I know that the fate that awaited me here was worse than any bolt round to the head!
Anyways, that’s my tale. Heretic they call me.
sigh At least I was lucky enough to get work in the shielded motor pools and unloading the docks. Lets me do introductions to new colonists like yourself. Hey, better this introduction than what could happen in a shower stall! Could still happen so watch out!
Got one last piece of advice, get yourself a blade! A shiv, tool, whatever you want to call it. Just get one. The native materials here are extremely dense and sharp. With effort you can work em’ into a weapon that’ll punch through the toughest armour and keep it’s keen edge pretty much forever. If you can’t make em, there are craftsmen – but they charge a lot.
Now, considering all the wisdom I’ve given you, the least you could do is part with two packs of Lho sticks. Don’t you think?
Oh by the way, when I said there was no way off of this rock… that’s not entirely true.
When you have a carton of sticks come talk to me and I’ll show you the fast track to divine forgiveness!