Letting the dreams leave

Reading Reports

Jak opened up the blue folder and read through the form filled out by Dr. Falton during his first physical. There wasn't anything particularly interesting, but he made note of certain details as he did want to know what effects the injection of Eco had on his body. The immediate next page had the same form as Dr. Falton's, except a number of details were different; the patient's name for instance, which was simply listed as "unknown", as well as a note that the air intake was higher than is usual. He also found it interesting that someone else entirely - Erol, usually - signed off with a final comment at the bottom. In this case, that these were the readings taken after an injection of green Eco.

He read through the remaining copies of the physicals taken by the medical students, including the form filled out by Gan Gravis. He noticed that the patient's name was usually written as "unknown", "patient", "unnamed patient", or in one case, "anonymous". The various forms were written in a way that revealed the students' concern for his well-being, as they did not hesitate to point out when breathing rate, heart rate or blood pressure were higher or lower than normal. Reading these notes also reminded Jak that the students carried out a step that Dr. Falton never did: they had pressed the stethoscope on a number of points on his chest, almost in sequence.


"Take a deep breath, hold it." Jak followed Dr. Gravis' instructions. "Then let it out. Good. Just breathe normally now." The young doctor listened for a few more moments, before taking the end of his stethoscope and moving it from the bottom of Jak's left rib to his right, repeating the same instructions as before. The medical cell door was sealed shut, some relaxing music was playing on some speakers placed near the door (today's music was a selection of melodies played on a flute), Jak himself was restrained in the same position as always when Dr. Gravis spent time with him: upper bed raised to have him sitting up, wrists fastened at his sides, straps holding down his waist and legs. At the moment, his prison shirt was raised up, exposing his abdomen.

After finishing his chest-listening routine, the young doctor made some notes. Jak watched him, waiting for the indication that he had finished. "Why do you do that?"

Dr. Gravis looked up in surprise. "Uh, you mean making notes?"

"I mean when you listen to my ribs. The others in your class did that too, when you all examined me. But Dr. Falton never did that."

The doctor had been nodding once he understood Jak's question. "You were talking to him when you first saw him though, didn't you?" The teenager nodded. "If a patient's talking normally, that's usually a sign that nothing's wrong with their lungs or their breathing." He rolled down the prisoner's shirt. "When I first saw you, you were gagged, so I had to listen to you breathe, make sure nothing was wrong. And as for now, well, you sound a bit croaky so I just wanted to make sure."

The restrained patient frowned. "This is my normal voice." Although, inwardly, he was fully aware he sounded a bit deeper than he used to.

Dr. Gravis grinned. "I didn't know that. I wouldn't be a good doctor if I assumed."


Jak read further. He was surprised to find various reports written by doctors ordered to visit him in his cell. He recalled that during the days of the initial intravenous sessions, he sometimes woke up in his cell convinced he had missed a day. He was now looking at records that proved he had. After some of his sessions, it seemed he had become so sick that while he was able to eat his dinner (or in later cases, after he was force-fed) he then went to bed and developed a fever, as well as other symptoms, meaning he never woke up the next day. The accounts of this stated that some medicine was injected into him, then he was left to sleep off the illness. The doctor who had visited his cell would come again in the evening and judge whether the medicine had worked (it always did) and make it clear that Jak would need the next day free of sessions to fully recover. Dr. Falton had written just one of these accounts.

He then read through the series of reports that detailed the treatment of his arm, after his first escape attempt. Those he read through quickly as he still remembered the key details. He had expected the next set of reports to be about the repair of his damaged skin and muscle, after being punished for his second escape attempt. Instead, he found himself reading through a set of reports detailing treatment he had no memory of. The former prisoner didn't remember much about the gas chamber, just that he was strapped down onto the bed, the 'lid' closing around him, then Dark Eco vapours would be pumped in. He remembered the foul smell and the coughing fits the gas induced. According to the report, he had inhaled too much of the gas, meaning his trachea had been badly damaged. The treatment was oxygen therapy, carried out via tubes through his nose feeding oxygen directly into his lungs, while the tube inserted in his mouth sprayed the inside of his throat with a specialised medicine. The reports specified he was not placed in one of the medical bay's cells during this time, as his condition was critical, but being a highly dangerous prisoner convinced the doctor to keep him unconscious.

Jak frowned at this remark. Whoever this doctor was, he had clearly believed whatever he had been told, rather than risk finding out for himself. Who is this guy anyway? The signature belonged to K. Parver. I know that name. Where have I heard it? He continued reading, finding photos taken of him during the treatment. He was almost completely covered by a blanket, while his exposed shoulders revealed the prison uniform that had not been removed; his arms had been placed on top of the blanket, along with the restraining straps. The bandages he typically wears around his hands and wrists had been removed so that a few tubes and/or wires could be attached to the backs of the hands. As described in writing, there were also tubes inserted into his nose and mouth. There were also a series of shots taken showing the inside of his throat. When looking for the reason for these shots, Jak found the written detail that the tube in his mouth was sometimes removed so a small camera could be sent down for inspection. The initial shots showed the damage while the succeeding shots showed the trachea's improved condition. He had to silently admit he found this all fascinating.

The final comment written regarding this treatment was by Gan Gravis, who had noted Jak's bandaged hands and feet, so he had confirmed that he had re-bandaged the sleeping patient's hands when his treatment had been deemed complete. Jak smiled at the comment in gratitude, noting that he was the only other doctor, apart from Lev Falton, that referred to him by name in these reports. The next report was a written assessment by Dr. Parver of a blood sample he had taken from Jak during this treatment. He had stated this was done "under orders" and was both concerned and confused by the presence of Dark Eco in the blood. Jak turned the page and finally found the reports he had seen years ago, the ones written after his second escape attempt. He didn't dwell on these for too long and moved on to the reports written during his following two-week stay in the medical bay. Either Falton or Gravis wrote these notes, which were very vague and simply stated that Jak was improving, able to eat again, wounds were healing and he was able to move. Dr. Gravis had begun his initial report by stating that Dr. Parver had desired Jak remain sedated, but had compromised that he could keep the patient restrained instead.

Jak remembered Gan explaining this to him, rather awkwardly, when he had first introduced himself. The former prisoner then began wondering if Dr. Parver was the one who had never given his name, the fat doctor, or another staff member he had never met. He pushed those thoughts aside as he noticed the few detailed reports, one of a physical examination and the other the examination of his teeth, both carried out by Dr. Gravis. He was surprised by the concern shown by Dr. Falton in another short report, in which he had detailed the changes in Jak's personality between the occasions the two had seen each other; reading these comments reminded Jak how much his time in the prison had changed him. It was also a reminder of the mourning he had gone through at the time; he had been fully aware that never again would he have been able to use green, blue, red or yellow Eco. Whatever, I have Light Eco powers now. And I can use the other Eco types with my gun. He then found another report done of a physical examination, written by Dr. Gravis, but this time "under orders". This confused him: when had this happened?

Suddenly, it was all too clear.


Jak lay on his front, restrained on the bed in his private cell in the medical bay. He was calmly dozing and had allowed his mind to wander. Noises outside startled him. There were some angry voices involved in some sort of tense debate. One he recognised was Dr. Falton. He tensed at the other one he recognised: Baron Praxis.

The cell door burst open and a small troop of Krimzon Guards marched in. Before he knew it, he had been ripped off the bed, stripped of his uniform and pinned against the wall. In nothing but his underwear - and his recently acquired headscarf - he found 4 guards pinning a limb each in a vice-like grip, a further 3 guards stood near the door. With a grunt, he desperately tried to pull himself free.

"You will behave, Jak!" Baron Praxis arrogantly strode into the cell, the anxious Dr. Falton following behind. Praxis marched right up to Jak, holding up a special taser close to the youngster's chest. With its activation, a jolt of red Eco-powered electricity fired up the taser-spikes. Jak shrunk away in panic. The dictator in front of him grinned smugly. "So you are able to learn." He lowered his deactivated taser and used his free hand to inspect the exposed body. Shaking in anger, Jak clamped his jawline firmly shut and looked away as Praxis' hand roamed all over the body surface, much like how a sculptor admired the statue he created. "Good..." crooned the baron. "The doctors in my city do excellent work." He looked up. "Nothing to say, Jak?"

The teenager's response was to spit in Praxis' face. In a flash of anger, the baron punched him across the jaw, slamming the side of his head against the wall behind him. Jak groaned as he felt the pain spike and settle; he was certain he saw one of the unmasked guards smirk at him.

"So," announced Baron Praxis as - recomposed - he turned away and began pacing up and down the cell. "Which one of you will tell me who broke the boxing stand?"

The baron paused before turning around to continue his pacing. He gave the anxious Dr. Falton a very hard look as he paced by. Jak looked directly at the doctor, meeting his eyes.

"I did," admitted the teenager, convinced he had fallen into some kind of trap. The smug look he received from Praxis confirmed his worry.

"Letting the dangerous prisoners under your care roam free again?" Praxis marched right up to the nervous doctor present. "You are constantly close to the breaking point here, doctor. The only reason I've let you continue your absurd practices is simply that no one's ever escaped under your watch. Hm, Jak looks fine. Must be if he could break the boxing stand like that. What do you recommend? Is he ready to continue the experiment?"

Dr. Falton's eyes involuntarily widened. "You admit it, baron? You admit to having Jak be injected with Dark Eco?"

Baron Praxis shrugged. "Why not? He's the first to produce any sort of result; you must have found the Dark Eco in his blood? Or did he tell you?" A panicked look was shared between doctor and prisoner. After some coaxing and questioning, Jak had indeed told Dr. Falton what procedures had been carried out on him.

"His body is still recovering from the trauma, I must insist he not undergo any more procedures until further notice."

The baron looked at the present doctor blankly. "Alright. You know best." His tone of voice betrayed his belief of the exact opposite. He faced the four Krimzon Guards holding Jak. "You know where to take him."

Immediately, Jak was pulled away from the wall and carried face down out of the medical bay. He never bothered resisting or struggling out of the hold: the position he was in was far too awkward, not to mention embarrassing. After an unknown time, he found himself in the same examination lab and in the same position as during the initial weeks of his incarceration. Exactly as when the medical students had carried out their physical examinations on him, he was once again strapped down to the bed in nothing but his underwear (along with a head scarf that kept his long hair away from his face), with his gag also fastened to the bed he lay on. Some of the Krimzon Guards smirked at him, making him uncomfortable. They quickly left and Baron Praxis, followed by Erol and Dr. Gravis, entered.

Nervously, Dr. Gravis carried out a physical examination under the strict orders and gazes of his superiors. It progressed as normal, until the young doctor had to step away in order to retrieve the equipment necessary for taking a blood sample. At that moment, Baron Praxis stepped up to the bed and stared down at the helpless Jak. The teenager balled his fists in hatred.

"I do believe Jak has certain assets he no longer has any use for." The restrained teenager was alarmed to feel his underwear being pulled down, exposing his crotch.

"You could be right, Baron Praxis," chimed in Erol's voice. "Whatever creature DW104 could become, he should certainly not be given the opportunity to breed." Jak's breathing and heart rate increased uncontrollably.

"Dr. Gravis?" inquired the baron, "would you know the best technique for removing these?" He grabbed Jak's exposed testicles.

Said baron jumped back as Jak lurched against the restraints, screaming in rage and wrestling his way out of the bed. He did not care that the struggle against his restraints was futile, he continued to scream and spasm in rage. Panic set in as he realised his gagged mouth prevented needed oxygen from filling his lungs, his clear nose was not enough. This panic increased his rage and frustration at his situation - at being trapped.


Jak frowned in thought. He recalled that the gag had been removed soon after so that an oxygen mask could be placed over his mouth; this was done so he could take deep breaths and calm down. Dr. Gravis had restored his dignity in that moment. He turned the page in that folder to find himself looking at the final report. A doctor he didn't know had been sent to his cell to treat a "self-inflicted injury to the prisoner's right hand". Jak smirked; he knew exactly what he had done to cause that. The report concluded that there had been no damage to the bones or muscles in the hand, so a bandage had been applied to help the gashes heal. Jak had been kept asleep the entire time and left in the cell.

He closed the folder and placed it back onto the coffee table, sighing as he did so. He checked the time. The former prisoner then felt he needed a drink. He stood up and made his way to the kitchen, inwardly debating whether he should make himself some tea, pour out some juice, or treat himself to a beer. I'm stalling. Once he got himself a glass, he decided that water would be the best bet and ran the tap. I don't have to read it. The glass full, he drank the refreshing water. I was just an experiment to them, I won't like anything I read in that thing. He stared at the now half-full glass, unsure of what to do or what he wanted. They'll ask me questions. I have to read everything so I'll know what they ask. He slowly finished his glass and, resolutely, marched back to the sofa.

Jak took a breath and fought the urge to clamp his hands around his knees. Said hands gingerly lifted the red folder; he opened it before he had the chance to decide against doing so. He stared at the first page, which contained the photo of his younger self and had PRISONER NUMBER DW104 stamped at the top. There wasn't anything interesting to read so he turned the page. The first report was by Erol.

'It is my honour and privilege to record that I have been chosen by Baron Praxis to direct the Dark Warrior Program for test subject 104. In order to test his Eco-channelling abilities, I had arranged for this year's set of final year medical students to examine him after injecting him with Eco. He absorbed the material with little difficulty and the effects on his body are interesting. Overall, the signs for success this time around seem encouraging but I remain tentative this early in the program.'

Jak swallowed and kept his jaw locked. He reminded himself that Erol would continue to call him "test subject" in the remaining records. He and the scientists did often talk around him as if he were not there, after all. Erol finished his initial report by detailing what procedure would be carried out on "the test subject", describing the equipment and stating how much liquid Dark Eco would be injected into him. The next series of reports were all written by various lab technicians, the names of which he did not recognise; each report was written for that day's session and simply detailed the procedure carried out, how much Dark Eco was injected and any noticeable side effects. There were usually very minute side effects and Jak's tendency to vomit after the injection was always noted. Jak himself wasted little time with these reports as they were pretty much the same. Until Erol's next sets of reports, which described Jak's hunger strike and Praxis' order to have him force-fed.

Jak skipped the next block of reports written by lab technicians and found Erol's next one, which detailed his first escape attempt. 'Once the test subject attempted to utilise red Eco, his personality completely changed. It caused him grievous harm and encouraged him to demonstrate great anger. Such behaviour has not been seen in this subject until today. I am unsure whether this is an effect of the Dark Eco or not, as I am aware that the material typically encouraged the display of unsavoury characteristics in a person.' The remainder of his report confirmed that Jak had been sent to the medical bay and concluded with his decision to hold a review with his staff. The very next report was a summary of this review. 'The staff in attendance confirmed that the severity of the vomiting had lessened in the days before the test subject attempted escape. Considering the physical harm caused by his attempt to utilise red Eco, it is apparent that his body has been properly conditioned to only accept Dark Eco.' Later in the report, he wrote: 'Technician Harlem suggested that a possible reason for the intravenous Dark Eco injections providing no or few physical reactions could be that, in liquid form, the concentration and viscosity is too high, meaning the substance remains in the blood and is not disseminated throughout the other tissues and organs. The ultimate result is that the majority of the material simply passes through the body, with little of it being used.' The report concluded with the agreement that a gas chamber be constructed, as Erol had observed Jak attempting to use red Eco in its vaporous form. The intravenous injections would continue until it was complete, just to clarify whether the substance really did pass through Jak's system before being absorbed. In the present, an irritated Jak wondered why they had never bothered asking him how he channelled the Eco.

Once again, the next few reports were written by lab technicians describing the relevant session of Dark Eco injections. The difference between this series of reports and the previous was that the later sessions included an initial dialysis, in order to have Jak's urine sample for study. Seamlessly, the reports transitioned to describing the inhalation treatment via the gas chamber, explaining what ratio of Dark Eco to oxygen was used. The observation was also made of two key reactions: that "the test subject" was always coughing within minutes of inhalation and his muscle mass tended to increase by the end of the session. Never knew that one. After about four reports of the inhalation procedure, Erol wrote another; this time comparing the results of the two different procedures. 'The analysis of the daily urine samples proved Harlem's hypothesis to be correct: providing the Dark Eco to the test subject in liquid form results in it simply passing through the system. This is a profound discovery, considering the previous test subjects always succumbed to serious symptoms through this treatment. If possible, an investigation needs to be done of subject 104's physiology, to discover how the physiology of an Eco channeller differs from that of a normal person's.' Another week's worth of reports followed, noting the increase in Dark Eco volume that Jak was inhaling. Then Erol submitted another report:

'A serious attack was carried out by the Metal Heads yesterday. My men were able to defeat them, but only narrowly. The public are unaware, however, maintaining the numbers of Krimzon Guards is proving to be a challenge. I agreed with Baron Praxis that the investigation of the test subject's physiology cannot be prioritised, we require firm results as soon as is possible. I explained the current procedure being used and the baron demanded we greatly increase the amount of Dark Eco used. This will have to be closely monitored. While this procedure has resulted in the test subject requiring no rest days, his coughing is a concern.'

Nice to know he cared!
thought Jak sarcastically. He flicked through the next set of reports, not seeing anything remarkable, before finding Erol's next set of comments. 'This current procedure is proving promising. The test subject has responded to the increase in Dark Eco and continues his high attendance. However, he is now coughing at all hours of the day, even night. Those that patrol the cells confirmed they could hear him coughing, so I spent some time checking the footage from the hidden camera-'

Jak slammed the folder against his lap in alarm. He carefully re-read the sentence to make sure it was not a delusion. '-placed in his cell.' In alarm, he went through everything he used to do in that cell. He knew the food hatch could have easily been used as a spy-hole, but it had always been locked from the outside. Out of all the private activities carried out, there was one he hoped no one had noticed. 'It is possible that this is a choice guided by his adolescence, but I feel it should not be ruled out as a sign. The frequency of both his daily exercises and masturbation performances have increased.' With an angry scream, he stood up and launched the folder across the room.

Said folder slapped against the wall opposite and flopped to the floor. Jak felt his anger instantly deflate. He only felt defeated. What's the use? He's dead already. Not like anyone else saw it. His sadness was replaced by awkwardness. I hope no one else saw it. As he picked up the thrown yet undamaged folder, he contemplated ripping out the report entirely, perhaps blocking that sentence. He eventually decided to leave it alone, as Yerran and Pern had not asked him anything too personal so he believed he could trust them to be discreet. He was also doubly thankful he had never said Keira's name while in the prison. Turning back to the particular report, he noticed the archivist's note at the very bottom: 'THE MOB THAT INVADED THESE OFFICES AFTER PRAXIS' OVERTHROW AND MURDER DELETED ALL THE VIDEO FILES THEY COULD FIND. THE VIDEO FILES REFERRED TO IN THIS REPORT CANNOT BE LOCATED. SHOULD THIS REPORT BE CLAIMED BY THE FORMER PRISONER OR THEIR KIN, THEY WILL BE CONTACTED AS SOON AS THESE FILES ARE DISCOVERED.' Jak made a mental note to reward these archivists in some way, while also praying the videos concerning him were forever lost.

He flicked through the next set of session reports, finding the one that reported Jak being sent to the medical bay for treatment after he had "lost consciousness during a coughing fit"; flecks of blood had also been found on the bed. Erol wrote a report confirming Jak was being treated and also stated the estimated recovery time, as advised by Dr. Parver. Erol went on to write that as the inhalation procedure had "an unacceptable side effect", the already-built injection machine would have to be utilised. The reason they had avoided using it until this point was that it had only been used on one other test subject, who shortly after the procedure had died from severe burns. Jak felt himself physically freeze. He was unsure what to do with the realisation that he had been very close to death, simply because someone else had considered the situation a calculated risk. He flicked through the reports filled in regarding the sessions with the Eco Injector, finding the report Erol had filled in after his second escape attempt. There was nothing in it Jak didn't know already. What surprised him was that Baron Praxis wrote a report.

'The hatred in Jak's eyes as I glowered at him, I wish I could see that in every warrior I have. I'm certain he will be the first successful subject in the Dark Warrior Program, his anger can then be fostered and encouraged, let loose on those Metal Heads. I remember learning that Dark Eco brings out the worst traits in a person. I should research this a little more. If the only way of producing a true Dark Warrior is to have him angry, truly angry, so be it. I will have him hate me so much he will have no choice but to become the Warrior, to get any chance of merely touching me.'

About a week later, Erol wrote a new report saying that in the meeting between him and Praxis, research carried out had concluded that Dark Eco was more potent when a user exercised a more selfish, instinctive character trait. To this end, "the test subject" would need to be tortured. Jak felt himself grow even colder, icier even, as he read the calculated notes of Erol, explaining which methods of torture he had chosen and what effects they will have. 'The aim is to have the subject feel as little in control as possible. Sensory deprivation, carried out without warning and without a planned length of time, will encourage this confusion.' Other notes talked about other tortures necessary to make Jak feel as if he were trapped with Praxis. The "simplest torture" would be to broadcast propaganda during those moments "the subject would prefer to sleep".

I got angry at Praxis because I chose to be. Jak tried very hard to convince himself of this, but he was growing doubtful. He grew even more doubtful when he read through Erol's account of Jak's physical, and Praxis' gleeful account of how angry he had made the young prisoner by insinuating his imminent emasculation. 'Like any young man, he is protective of his genitalia. It didn't take much to put him in a rage. Increasing his anger will not be difficult. Shocking him before taking him out of his cell should add to it, making my Krimzon Guards feel safer at the same time. That should shut them up.'

The next series of reports did not follow the pattern of the previous sets. There were session reports, describing the use of the Eco Injector and checking Jak for results, but these were no longer regular. He could never predict the amount of reports between them describing observations made of Jak during whatever round of torture they put him through. There were rare occasions when he would be taken from his cell during the night and restrained against a wall in a chamber flooded with light, where he would be kept during the next 6 hours, with no food or water and the only sound being a recording of Praxis' voice. I thought those were dreams. He had always been anaesthetised after such treatment, as recorded in the notes. Then there was the sensory deprivation. Jak read the meticulous details explaining what tubes had been inserted into him, allowing him to remain under water for days. He remembered all too vividly the uncomfortable tubes shoved down his nose, the force-feeding tube in his mouth, the mask that covered his eyes, strangers stripping him naked as if his clothes were a nuisance; he distinctly remembered how weak he always felt after being pulled out of the water tank. It was specified that to make sure the prisoner never climbed out of the tank, the wrists and ankles were secured to flexible rods.

He then remembered the sensation of feeling weightless and unfocussed. Alarmed, he noticed that whoever had observed him in the sensory deprivation tank had taken photos of the helpless prisoner. In stunned fascination, Jak stared at the images of himself taken in the UV light. One showed him leaning his body very far to the right, while his neck arched backwards as far as possible. Another showed him attempting to curl up. Jak blinked away the tears he formed in his eyes. They soon became tears of anger as he read the observer's cold comments: 'The prisoner has had 3 nightmares so far. He thrashed around a lot and tried to scream against the tube in his mouth.' They knew! He gripped the folder and gritted his teeth as it fully dawned on him that everyone had been fully aware of his suffering, but did nothing. Angrily, he flicked through the folder, looking for all the notes on his time in the sensory deprivation tank. He noticed that the shortest time he had been kept in there was one day, with the longest being twelve.


Unwillingly, he relived those moments in the utter dark and complete silence. He remembered struggling to escape a vivid nightmare, only to wake up to darkness, silence, his scream strangled by the tube in his throat and the supporting gag in his mouth. With his heart racing, he had grasped for more air but those tubes in his nose were never enough; he had also panicked at the thought they would fall out or dislodge, meaning he would be helpless against the water that would fill his nose. This never happened. He remembered his stomach rumbling and having no idea when the thick fluid would inevitably enter his throat, always filling his stomach too heavily, too fast, remorseless. Hunger. He suddenly questioned whether his scheduled meal times in the cell had ever been ignored. He flicked through the pages again.

'Today I ordered the staff to cancel test subject 104's lunch.' As written by Erol. 'I watched his activities, they were most fascinating. At first the subject had attempted to ignore the problem, distracting himself with exercise. He then relied on self restraint, willing to wait until the next mealtime. Roughly one hour before his supper was delivered, he was shouting obscenities at the door.' He remembered Praxis or Erol in attendance when he was being filled with Eco by the Injector; at certain times, they were the only people in attendance and Erol had been the operator of the machine. They would sometimes suggest his next meal would never be delivered. He also remembered sometimes waking up from a nightmare to find himself restrained on the Injector bed. The machine would then be activated soon after.

He found Erol's report of one particular day. 'First thing this morning, subject 104 was brought out of the sensory deprivation tank. As with the other occasions this has happened, his initial reaction was of delirium and fatigue, after the compulsive shivering.' Jak remembered that as well; every time he had been brought out of the tank, he had felt the warm water being pulled away. He had always felt too weak to resist the staff members who had removed the life support equipment from him; when he had been unmasked, he was always initially blind (despite the light level in the chamber being very low) and when the breathing tubes had been pulled out of him, he had always taken shallow breaths as he had needed to readjust to breathing naturally. 'He had been fed before his removal from the tank, so he was immediately brought to the Eco Injector for today's session. He was brought back to the cell after the session had ended.' Erol then wrote a few notes about the Eco Injection session of that day. 'I have also checked the footage of the hidden camera in order to corroborate what the Krimzon Guards reported, so what I am writing is honestly accurate. Roughly one hour after returning him to his cell, the guards heard a scream and a smash.'


The guards had tossed him half-heartedly against the bed, which he currently leaned against, as he had no energy to rise from his kneeling position. Weakened and shaking, he was desperate to bring his body under control, willing it to halt its spasms. His head lay against the bed, his mouth hanging open and slack. After a while, he realised he was calm; he was breathing normally, the pain was no longer there, the muscles relaxed. He still felt weak. Jak slowly raised his head to check the time on the monitor in his cell. It wasn't a long wait until lunch. In the meantime, he felt desperate to clean his teeth. He shifted his slack hands so that they lay flat against the bed, allowing him to push himself up. Moving his legs to stand from his kneeling position felt like a colossal challenge, but once he was up, he panted and refused to bend his shaky knees. He carefully stepped over to the sink; he proceeded to brush his teeth as if it were an ordinary day. He realised he also needed to shave, to drink from the water flask, comb his hair, take a toilet trip and wrap his bare wrists and feet in new bandages.

Brushing his teeth alone seemed to give him enough energy to do all those things, but at an easy pace. He was determined to nap after his lunch. Concentrating, he began applying the last set of bandages on his left wrist. One of Praxis' many propaganda broadcasts began. "Citizens of Haven City!" What little of a good mood Jak had, had completely evaporated in that instant. He reminded himself of all the ways he had sworn he would torture Praxis. As he wrapped his wrist, his dark, angry thoughts wondered if it would be possible to destroy the monitor. The very possibility of destroying it delighted his dark self, to the point of giddiness. "With the Metal Heads soon vanquished, I will usher in the next great golden age of our famed city! Where everyone can be truly happy, living free." He sneered. He was convinced that statement was a terrible joke. He finished his wrapping.

He stood up slowly, jaw set, focussed on Praxis' image on the screen. He stalked the device, creeping towards it, his anger growing all the time, becoming a roar in his mind, growing ever louder and more deafening, stampeding his awareness. Praxis grinned. Jak aimed.


'His hand had smashed straight through the screen and had pulled out some of the wires. The guards that had rushed in were taken aback by his altered appearance.' Jak remembered feeling so triumphantly dominant when the guards had stepped back from him. 'Having checked the footage, I can confirm that his eyes had blackened, with his hair and skin gaining a lighter pallor.' He now knew why the guards had been so afraid. He remembered that they had stunned him with their tasers as he had tried to attack them. The shock was of so much voltage that he had been knocked unconscious, waking up to find bandages covering most of his right hand. He also remembered that the damaged monitor had been completely replaced by a steel sheet, fastened into place. As he had relied on that monitor to tell him the date and time, he had lost the means of keeping track.

'The subject will no longer be aware of the time, providing us the opportunity to increase his levels of delirium.' The next series of reports highlighted what Jak had long suspected: for the final few weeks of his incarceration, he had barely been in his cell. One week observed him being placed in a sensory deprivation tank, then being taken straight to the Eco Injector, before spending a few hours in the brightly lit chamber, then going back to the sensory deprivation tank at the end of the day; for seven days straight this cycle had been repeated. The components of his treatment were randomised; at one point he had been sent back to the gas chamber, just to "test the impact on his mental stress levels". No matter what situation Jak was put in, the observations written always focused on one thing: his emotions. One observation made was that Jak had become used to the pain he had experienced under the Eco Injector, for the volume of his screams had decreased. Another noted observation was that "the test subject" had been prone to crying while in the water tank; in the last few weeks, this had occurred less frequently. Erol wrote about the footage taken of Jak whenever he had slept in his cell: his nightmares had increased in frequency, as well as his temper tantrums. Jak had also become more resistant to his fortnightly shower, partly because the intended purpose of the shower room was also as a torture device (spraying the victim in either ice-cold or burning-hot water), which had finally been implemented on Jak in those final weeks.

He read through these reports, faster and faster, horrified at the record of his own mental degradation. 'Today's session with the Eco Injector had been attended by Baron Praxis. After the treatment, the test subject had been foaming at the mouth.' He was shaking so much he could barely grip the pages to flick them. 'As soon as he was lowered into the tank, his heartbeat shot up.' Part of him was reliving the nightmares that plagued him to this day. 'Even though he had been brought back to his cell earlier than usual, the test subject remained agitated and could never get to sleep.' 'We considered subjecting DW104 to sleep deprivation sessions again, but he seems to have developed a form of insomnia.' 'The insomnia has passed, but there remains the difficulty of the test subject displaying the reaction necessary.' 'There was no transformation, but his tantrum did damage the cell, few physical consequences were found.' 'The increase in the volume of Dark Eco injected has caused the subject to faint at the end of each session.'

He stared at the folder. He had run out of pages. He carefully read through the last report, which was Erol writing his disappointment in the lack of concrete results after nearly two years. He stared again, trying to comprehend why the reports simply stopped.

They hated that I escaped.

Jak sat back against the sofa, exhausted, shocked and mind reeling.

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Written by Ruth Hüneke 2013

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