Colonel Kilmer entered the room amidst yelling, name-calling, and general anarchy. Four men and two women in bright, neon-yellow prison jumpsuits were restrained around the room. All fought their restraints and shouted except one. The yelling and name-calling only got louder as Kilmer entered the room and became its focus.
Kilmer stopped in the center and tapped a few buttons on his tablet. All six former inmates felt a jolt of electricity. After the screams died down, Kilmer spoke. “Welcome. You are now all employees of the Colonial Federation.”
In unison five of the six former inmates spat. Though most tried to spit on Kilmer, none reached him.
“I thought you might feel that way.” He dialed up the voltage and zapped them all again. “Your restraints have been fitted with a behavior suppression system. When I press this button,” he tapped it again, “you all feel excruciating pain.” He turned to one of the criminals, a burly man a half-foot taller than everyone else and three times as strong. “Yes, even you, Mr. Wisk. You may have dulled your sense of pain through steroids and other modifications, but you’ll be glad to know we’ve found a way around that.”
The former inmates breathed heavily and pulled on their restraints.
“Ok,” Kilmer continued. “Now that you all have a reason to listen to me, lets discuss a few more ground rules. Number one: I don’t have to hit this button–if any of you tries to attack me or any of my soldiers, the restraints are programmed to shock you automatically. Fight through the pain, you think? Well, each time you do it, it’ll get worse. Eventually it’ll kill you, or leave you brain-dead. The techs were a little unclear on the final outcome. Either way, you’ll be useless to me and I’ll jettison you into space.
“Now, each of you was recruited for some special talent you possess. Mr. Wisk here is as dumb as an Ox, but as strong as ten of them.”
A crazy look of pride entered Wisk’s eye. “Twenty!” he interjected.
“Clearly,” Kilmer said. He gestured to the next former inmate, a slender man whose hair was whispy and thin. His skin was mottled with scar tissue. He had no eyebrows. “Mr. Filigree here is a pyromaniac, calls himself ‘Pyrite.’ He’s an explosives expert and generally annoying individual. He also possesses pyrokinesis. Bought, I’m certain, through the most legal means. Those bags on his hands are lined with asbestos. I hope that you don’t want to have kids, for so many reasons.
“Ms. Samantha Gerard will be your commander in the field.” Kilmer indicated a dark-skinned girl in her late teens. Her hair was cut close to the scalp for efficiency. She had a dangly earring in her left ear and a bad attitude. “An expert in logistics and engineering, she’s already performed more bank robberies in her teens than all the rest of you put together.”
To Be Continued…