The next time Yovac became conscious, he was waking up in a prison cell on a space station, he could tell by the sensation of gravity drives spinning around the floating heap of metal, unless his head really felt that bad. An LESD officer (space cop) was sitting on the other side of the bars “That guy y’ beat down, ain’t pretty, m’buddy says you left that fella looking rougher than you” the thick haired Goliath informed Yovac “Gotta say mister, ain’t no one I heard ever needed two shots of stun gun either” the lawman grinning widely.
Now in a more aware state Yovac was feeling it, like someone had detonated a warhead inside his skull “Oh c…r…ap, I feel like I just got hit by a slam job at force ten” new aches and pains flaring up mean style as he tried to stand “why do I feel like that slam job hit me a second time for kicks?” The lawman wasn’t grinning anymore but there was a hint of amusement lurking behind his semi glazed eyes “Got a feeling you got a kicking, ain’t going to sugar it, you was one hell of a punching bag by the looks of things” pointing out the obvious “and that’s goin to feel like a force 5, should you go playing the mean drunk, ain’t no rule book ere ex’cep the one I hit you with”.
The lawman gathered himself, solidly getting to his feet “Y’ free to go mister” Yovac’s surprise said it all, “This ain’t no motel, now get” as the heavy cell door swung open with force, Yovac using the metal bars to pull himself up. “Where do I complain about the customer service?” he joked, wincing as even the quietest volume set off a startling pain in his head. After a few more choice words and a strong mug of ‘wake up juice’ Yovac had the strength to only just walk by himself, a few credits in his pocket, what was left of his basic possessions in a sack and a polite warning to never set foot on ‘Omega First’ ever again; strapped to Yovac’s hip was old faithful itself, his energy pistol out of retirement.
Having looked for legit work Yovac had little choice but to start asking in the ‘wrong places’; people in his situation rarely did have the opportunity for honest work , his situation falling slap bang in the middle of devil and damned territory. His reputation in tatters and the rumour spreading of Yovac’s ‘bar fight’ it took the vultures a shockingly small amount of time to pick at the corpse of his former life. The thing that got Yovac the most was the lack of second chances, how people only saw a broken down Spacer instead of an honest merc or decent human being, and how easy it was to become the person they thought he was.
‘If I don’t do this I starve tonight’ was the first justification/excuse, when a sleazy loan shark hired him as a repayment agent, ‘I’ll get a real job and quit as soon as I can’ thinking there would be a chance to redeem himself.
‘The guy I’m beating up owes money; I’m just giving him a reminder’ the logic Yovac used when he ignored the pleas of a local business owner, before burying a fist in his chest as Yovac reminded him of his debt, any sense of hope descending into mindless brutality, nothing close to the times he would stand shoulder to shoulder with comrades to defend noble ideals on far flung battle fields.
‘A broken rib is nothing compared to what the other guy will do’ to justify his actions, when confronting an honest family man, a little pretence that opened the door to even more despicable acts ‘I’m only threatening his girlfriend, I’m not really going to shoot her’.
Down the slippery slope Yovac went until he loathed his own reflection, that thing staring back at him an unpleasant reminder of how Yovac had betrayed everything he once stood for, the cheap frills his money was frittered away on just a way of putting off the inevitable confrontation with his withered sense of morality.
In the end, life had a sense of justice crueller than Yovac’s jaded attitude could imagine, as he had been sent with a second ‘collection agent’ to collect another fool’s debt, only that fool was a single father with a kid to feed. In the guy’s substandard two roomed cabin Yovac’s comrade in capitalism ‘Mr Vile’ as Yovac nicknamed him, had the debtor pinned against the wall, Mr Vile’s repulsive smile gleaming as he got a sadistic thrill from putting his solid hand to the guy’s neck “Where’s the money?… Tell me now…” Mr Vile shouted ferociously, hints of pleasure littering his cruel tone “you owe our boss two thousand credits… Where is it?”
Yovac was hit by a jolt of nauseating guilt, forced to watch Mr Vile yell abuse as he demanded money from his panic stricken victim. Yovac grabbed the nearest container to him, a cheap metal bucket that served as a bin. Yovac felt so overcome with repulsion he threw up with tremendous force “Oh God” he groaned, puking into the bin once more, remains of a half digested breakfast dripping from his lower lip.
Yovac, reeling from the acidic taste of his vomit, caught the attention of Mr Vile; “What’s wrong with you? You look worse than shit”. Mr Vile turned from his entertainment, the sight of Yovac provoking a glare of disgust “Bloody Spacer scum… No stomach”. It hit him again, guilt eating him up as Yovac’s desiccated morality suddenly reared its inconvenient head and in his comrade’s voice heard his own merciless tones bellowing at the man pleading that he had no money; Yovac recognised Mr Vile’s routine as his own.
Just then a little girl, no more than five, emerged from the adjacent room “Daddy? Let him go you bully” she pleaded, Mr Vile’s leer was horrifying as his free hand smacked her, forcing the frail child’s frame back with brutal force, Mr Vile seemingly enjoying it like a true monster in a child’s nightmare. “You want to see your daughter smacked around some more… Where’s the money?”
Time froze, Yovac saw the girl flaying back in slow motion, her frightened look triggering a slideshow of every appalling act he had ever committed, the father’s desperation and panic at being unable to do anything to protect his precious daughter as he was still pinned “Do something useful Spacer, Put your gun to her head, see if that gets a reaction” Mr Vile ordered. “NO” Yovac roared, standing bolt upright “Enough!”
“Enough?” Mr Vile mockingly echoed as he turned back to his prey. Yovac pulled his sidearm, Mr Vile’s arrogance shattered as a bolt of energy ripped through his shoulder, feeling a long lost sense of decency as Mr Vile fell to his knees in screaming pain; the panic stricken father released to tend to his terrified daughter. Saving one broken man, redeeming some gratifying sense of morality, Yovac filled with a sense of righteousness, then the reality that one pitiful act of mercy could never make up for his numerous sins crashed into him like an asteroid, the condemningly empty space where redemption should sit, too much to bear.