“Do you remember what happened next?” asked Yerran.
He considered his answer. “I just remember anger and pain…then I passed out. I woke up in one of the cells in the doctors’ area. I was so tired, but I noticed I couldn’t move. They’d strapped me down onto the bed and I wasn’t wearing my prison uniform anymore, I was wearing some hospital gown instead and a sort of dressing gown over the top. The blanket was really soft too. The door to the cell was closed and I tried calling for Dr. Falton. It was some other doctor that came in; he was younger than Dr. Falton, he never said his name and never called me mine. He never called me anything actually. He was also gruff, kinda like Torn. He checked me over and told me what all the wires attached to me were for. I can't remember everything he said about my arm, I just remember understanding that the tubes were sucking out all the bad stuff and I needed to keep the bandages on. There were also tubes in my other hand, 1 was for putting this special water into me, the other to replace the toilet. He also injected me with this drug, saying that my injury meant I got an infection, which gave me a fever. So I needed this drug every so often to fight it. It also meant I was tired from this fever I had. I always felt way too hot. But whenever any doctor took the blanket away so they could wipe me clean, or change my clothes, I shivered like crazy. I felt like a really small, sick boy again. My dreams were usually of Sandover Village, too."
... "Are there any records you can get?" asked Pern.
"Records?" asked Jak in surprise.
"Yes, medical records. It's difficult writing all these notes about your experiences when you don't even know what happened to you, not fully. And all doctors have to write exact information on how they treated their patients. We can even find out the name of the doctor you talked about just now."
The city's ruler could only frown in confusion. "Why would you need to know any of that stuff?"
"We do not," clarified Yerran, "not really." She gave her granddaughter a stern look, silencing the girl before she could say anything further. "Those who visit us regarding a traumatic experience in a hospital, for example, often like to bring their medical records to their sessions, that way they can study the report of their treatment and have an objective record of what had happened to them. It usually helps them focus their memories and allows them to evaluate the necessity, or otherwise, of the actions and decisions taken for them. For us practitioners, it provides us some context for the visitors' experiences." Her sharp eyes softened in understanding as she gave Jak a reassuring smile. "It is not something you have to do. It is your choice whether you want to access those records and share them with us."
He shrugged. "They're probably all lost considering the baron's palace got destroyed during the Metal Head attacks. And other parts of the city got pretty damaged."
Pern vigorously shook her head. "Not true. I learned from other sessions I'm sitting in that Baron Praxis was a stickler for archiving information. Almost everything written down during his regime has been stored somewhere. So if you collect your medical records, you can collect your record of incarceration too."
Jak stared at her aghast. Collecting a record of his time in the prison, containing all the details of the suffering he had undergone, was the last thing he wanted to do.
"You told me earlier that Dr. Falton wanted to see you," contributed Keira. "Maybe you can ask him about what's in these records?"
He nodded in consideration. "Sure, I can do that." His voice betrayed his real intention of forgetting the possibility. "Anyway, what else. I remember all my usual bandages had been taken off. My feet and...hand were bare. This hand," he held up the one he had used to absorb the red Eco, "was wrapped in thick bandage like the rest of my arm. Every single time the bandage was cut off and replaced, I could see my arm shrink and all the cuts and bruises disappear. I was able to eat food for the first time in that medical bay - I think that's its real name. Yeah, medical bay. So there was that one doctor that never called me anything, Dr. Falton would look me over sometimes and he'd be the only one who took off the straps holding me to the bed, there was also that other doctor, really fat and never talked. One time he made the bed move so I could sit up under the strap, then he gave me hot chocolate."
had stopped taking notes, giving
him a very stony
frown. Yerran watched
him, patiently. He didn't need
to look next
to him to know that Keira
watched him anxiously,
forcing herself to
remain still so she could
maintain her agreed role
of silent listener.
remained in place, recognising
a cold, creeping dread
over him. He swallowed a
lump in his throat. He
suddenly stood up and
marched to a nearby
folding his arms while
he stared through it.
“When they figured I was strong enough they injected Dark Eco again, they stopped the force-feeding at least. That didn’t last too long though, they then put me in some gas chamber. Just, left me there for hours every time, making me lie there breathing Dark Eco vapor.” He sighed. “The way they preferred to pump the Dark Eco into me was through this…taser…thing. The Dark Eco carried in the electricity and I'd just get shocked.” He clutched his arms tightly and proceeded to speak in a lower voice. “Then there was the torture. Sometimes the screen in my cell would turn on during the night, I had to listen to Baron Praxis spout his bullshit. After my second escape attempt I was always zapped by guards’ tasers before being taken out of the cell. Then there was the sensory deprivation. Then…there was my punishment for trying to escape that second time.”
Jak went silent again, lost in his memories. For the first time in a long time, he allowed his mind to relive those events, not pushing the memories away like he usually did, like during all those times he had tried to live normally, convinced these thoughts would leave him alone one day. Now, even though he was taking part in these sessions, actively seeking treatment, he began to doubt they ever would.
"Jak?" prompted Yerran kindly, breaking the cold silence. "Could you describe the escape attempt?"
He stood still, much like a statue.
lay on his bed, pretending to be asleep. He paid as little attention to
the broadcasting propaganda as possible; in an effort to feel relaxed,
his mind dwelt on memories of staring up at the sky as a boy, either
during the day or night, alone or with a friend. Not for the first time
he wondered what Daxter was up to while he was stuck in this prison. He
hoped Daxter would be one of the first people he would see once - if -
his plan worked and he escaped. The first part of that plan was to fool
the guards into thinking he was asleep. On a previous occasion, he had
taken a nap after lunch and after being shaken awake, he had noticed in
his after-sleep daze that the guards were a lot more lax when he slept.
A few times after that, he had pretended to be asleep when they came in
and noticed the same thing. When he was awake, the 2 guards outside and
1 of the guards inside would hold up their tasers, pointing them at him,
while the other handcuffed him securely. When he slept, or pretended to
sleep, a guard would handcuff him while he lay on the bed and the other
3 guards abandoned their caution and chatted to each idly.
The door opened. Jak forced himself not to grin when the guards commented to each other that he was asleep 'again', moving on to the agreement that they were always more relieved when he was asleep, as it made him easier to handle. He waited until he could feel a hand on his arm, then he suddenly swung his other hand, colliding with the guards' face, or mask. Jak kicked the nearest standing guard in the knee, flattened his palm against the guard's neck and stole his taser. He viciously stabbed the activated taser into the other 2 guards, making sure he avoided their stabs. He sprinted out of the cell and turned left, deciding to descend as many sets of stairs as possible.
The klaxon sounded off rather quickly, the flashing amber light flooding the corridors and walkways. Some guards charged at him and he viciously performed a spin-kick attack, failing to realise that one of them had been hit so hard the guard had left cracks in the wall he had slammed against. In his attempts to run along the corridors and find an escape, he took care of every Krimzon Guard he came across with a strong attack, making use of the larger muscles he had formed for himself. He kicked them, sometimes kicking one into the other, he clotheslined them, he slammed them against the floor, a well, a walkway barrier. He sprinted thunderously to the bottom of another flight of stairs and saw a group of guards heading right for him; this time, a number carried guns with them.
The Krimzon Guards tried to surround him, using their numbers to overpower the fleeing prisoner. For his part, Jak fought against them rather well, kicking them, punching them, using all the momentum he had. But as they got closer, the space he had to move in became smaller. He felt one of them try to grip an arm against his neck. Jak kicked the arm of another guard, forcing the charged taser to drop, then elbowed the guard gripping him. As that guard stumbled, Jak pulled the gun from the guard's holster and began firing on the floor, forcing the other guards to retreat. This change did not last long; some guards charged their tasers while others used their guns to fire at the gun being held in Jak's arm.
prisoner rolled to the side quickly and found himself with his back
against the wall. A guard charged at him with a powered taser,
threatening to stab it into him. In a panic, Jak fired several rounds
into the guard, the shots blasting holes in the guard's head, neck,
chest and shoulder. All activity stopped in stunned silence. Jak could
only watch as the shot guard's eyes emptied, as blood flooded out of the
inflicted wounds, as the body crumpled onto the ground.
was the first time he had taken a life.
He forced himself to aim the gun again at the other oncoming guards, but the weapon was knocked out of his hand and he suddenly couldn't move, feeling the high voltage ripping through his body as he struggled to breathe.
"I don't think that is the first time you killed," interjected Pern. "What about Gol and Maia?"
"He didn't kill them," countered Keira. "He definitely never tried to. He had to defeat their machine and they fell into the Dark Eco Silo. We honestly couldn't figure out what could kill them or if they were killed, they would either have died from the long fall or from the Dark Eco exposure."
Yerran looked at Jak, who continued to stand with his back to them. "You were going to tell us about the punishment inflicted on you for this escape attempt?" she prompted.
He made no sound, no movement. "Do I have to?" he asked in a hollow, defeated voice.
"No Jak, you don't. But I did explain to you that I would need to understand what you went through."
Jak slowly awoke. He could feel random stings and burns covering his body. Another drip, another burn shot through him. He tried to move, but that was impossible. He was fastened down onto a bed, in a room he did not recognise. His ankles were locked down by metallic cuffs. A large metallic beam with grips covered his groin area and fastened his wrists on either side. Finally, his mouth was wrenched open by a gag, locking his head onto the bed, similar to the gag used during his force-feeding sessions. He was completely naked and his skin was exposed. He stared upwards at the machine above him. In a carefully selected randomised pattern, four needles moved above him, pausing at pre-programmed intervals. Where these needles stopped, some liquid Eco dripped out, dropping onto his skin and reacting violently. Green fell out of one needle, each of the three others was connected to red, blue and yellow respectively. The needles never hovered over his face.
With his senses more keenly aware, he felt welts, bruises, small cuts and burns covering his body in pin-pricks. The longer he lay there, the more often it occurred that Eco would drip where a wound already existed, causing an even more violent reaction. Jak, exposed, helpless, felt himself tensing, flinching, twitching and jolting from these reactions. As more Eco dripped on him, he felt some of the liquid reach the muscle under his skin, boring a hole deep within. He already had droplets on his chest and grew anxious at the possibility of the liquid Eco reaching his heart. He had no idea how long he was left alone in this room. Jolting, flinching and groaning helplessly, sometimes hearing the hiss on his skin. The machine above him refused to stop, as slow-moving as it was, almost as if it did not realise the teenager lay underneath it.
After what had felt like hours of anxiety and pain, the door finally opened. Jak pushed his eyes to the left, trying to see who had come in. It did not take long for Baron Praxis' face to come in to view. The youngster looked away.
baron sighed. "I knew you'd try to escape again. It was only a matter of
time. You don't like to do as you're told, I accepted that. What I never
expected, was that you would kill someone." He leaned his face very
close to the fastened prisoner's eyes. "Did you really think your
punishment would be as light as the last time? Maybe if you'd only tried
to escape, sure. But you killed one of my men. I make it very clear: in
this city, no one attacks any of my men without consequences. This is
why you're being punished this way." The baron straightened again,
slowly inspecting Jak's exposed body with his eyes. "You have a
wonderful gift, Jak. You can absorb and tolerate a lot more Dark Eco
than anyone else. The only trouble is, you keep trying to stay out of my
control and you still do not let any Dark Powers manifest. I need you,
Jak. The only way you can ever leave here, is to become the warrior I
need, to be as powerful as I need you to be."
Praxis took out a hand-sized, purple-coloured taser. "I don't see any
Dark Eco being fed to you," he pretended to observe non-chalantly. He
suddenly activated the taser and stabbed it into Jak's thigh. Jak
screamed through his gag, unable to resist the spasms flooding his body.
Praxis deactivated the taser, glaring at his suffering prisoner, who
wheezed through his nose while lying helpless to the remaining spasms.
Blood flowed out of a deep gash on his thigh. "If you ever
think of disobeying me! Ever think
of killing a Krimzon Guard! Think of that pain. You will get plenty more
of it." The prisoner suddenly jolted and yelled a muffled shout through
his gag. Blue Eco had dripped onto his gash and had the apparent effect
of converting the blood into acid.
Jak looked up at Praxis with tear-filled, yet angry eyes. The baron's demeanor then changed, from anger to one of cold satisfaction. He activated his small taser again and stabbed it into his right bicep, which already had a smarting burn. Jak screamed again, willing the pain to stop. It kept going. He felt his arm melting (that can't be right) and his vision wavered. His spasms became more violent and through the pain, thought he could smell blood.
"I got told later I was hurt so bad, they had to rush me out of the prison to a hospital."
"How long were you in the hospital?" asked a stunned Pern quietly.
the first time in a while, Jak finally turned around to face them. "I
dunno, I was kept asleep. Nearly 2 weeks, I think?" He found himself
staring at Keira. She looked at him in an aghast expression, severely
shocked and greatly distressed. He felt nothing but regret for making
her feel like this.
Previous<< Home Story Main >>Next
by Ruth Hüneke 2013
© Naughty Dog and Sony