Lockdown - 09 by Alexander Shaw

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SUMMARY: Thanks to Andrew Lilly who actually commented on the first part of the story, hope you enjoy the rest!!

Chapter 9 – The Spear of Truth

--/Day 2 22:48/--
--/Spear of Truth Deck 16 Access Corridor/--

Lieutenant Horus Grissom, battlesuit callsign ‘Dreadnaught' strode down the corridor. He reached up to rub at some angry scar tissue on his face. He'd heard said about him in the barracks that his many scars resembled his personality, always angry and red. He smiled at the memory, one of the few times he could actually remember smiling. He'd been onboard the Spear of Truth for six weeks now, since it had last docked at the Homeworld. It was a City-ship, a fine example of Nethrek craftsmanship, it had a proud history and a proud contingent of Legionaries. Grissom had been invited to inspect them by the Ship's Captain, a stern man named Phareon.

At the moment, it was another twelve hours to Neutral 3, where he was due to take charge of the Embassy Honour Guard. He wasn't sure how he felt about the assignment, it was a privilege to receive a promotion, any promotion. He would no longer be 2nd Lieutenant, on Neutral 3 he'd be Command Lieutenant, something he'd been working towards for years. But to guard an Embassy? There was little chance for honour or battle at that post. He pushed the thoughts from his mind, turning left to the door of the Deck 16 Gymnasium, he need to exercise.

--/+1 minute 12 seconds/--
--/Spear of Truth Deck 16 Gymnasium/--

Torn didn't like this job. There were more than eight hundred soldiers on board this ship and most of them used the four gyms daily. That meant that on average each gym had two hundred sweat-soaked towels strewn across them. And it was Torn's job to ensure that they all got picked up, carried to the washroom and washed. Of course, the Nethrek believed in strength even in the lowliest, so he didn't get a cart or trolley. So he did it in stages of fifty. Fifty sweaty, filthy, stinking towels bunched in his arms. Day in, day out, he did this job.

He had forty eight piled up so far, a large odorous heap near the gym door. He moved over to the final set of bench frames by the furthest set of lockers. There were three more towels here and, with weary resignation, he scooped them up and headed back to the door. The locker room was deserted apart from him and the offending towels.

Torn had a rank in the Nethrek military, despite the fact that he hadn't sought military service for himself. His rank was ‘Employed', and it said so on his drab olive green uniform. That was the lowest rank in the Nethrek military. It meant that he had no viable skills and no combat experience. All he was really good for in the eyes of Military Command was cleaning towels.

But then, he'd never wanted to be a warrior. He'd never aspired to be a Legionary, striding the galaxy and bringing war and death. Why would anyone want to do that? That's the reason he had been bullied at academy, taunted and beaten in the dark corners of whatever classroom the other Nethrek kids could find. And his trainers? They just let it happen. Nethrek had to be strong.

The doors to the locker room swished open behind Torn and he, lost in his memories, spun around in surprise.

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