Sin City (Klendathu)
a Roughnecks fanfic by Kai

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story does not share quite the same "universe" as the other T'Phetti fanfic on this site. However, it is a solid example of Roughnecks fanfic which utilizes prominent Skinnie characters. Browse and enjoy!


They say that the most primal parts of our psyche remain awake in cryogenics. Everything else shuts down and our subconscious takes over and we take on a dream like state. I think that's perhaps why I'm still awake, why I haven't slept for three weeks. Two more hours before we reach Klendathu, that's what it was called during the Human and Bug war. They say the bugs are gone, that we killed them all, but I think it's a ploy to ease the not so sub-conscience of Earth and where they send their criminals. Tasker, across from me, is on this one way trip for blisting a family in their sleep, because he didn't like the way their faces looked while he was robbing them. Eddie Smith, more commonly known as Bull Dog, big black man that took eight guards to get him in the ship, let alone cryogenics. I wonder why he's here, but the one that I'm uncertain of is the psy on my nine, I don't think that he's asleep either. He can probably hear what I'm thinking right now, but that's not my main concern. They call him "Rat Man". He was a soldier during operation Pest Control with Razak's Roughnecks, that's all his file said about him. I wonder how long he'll last on the planet with secrets. He must be able to read my thoughts, he seemed upset by the notion.

The bit in my mouth gives the inside of my lips canker sores, and the needle in my arm that drips nutrients and water into me aches. I like the pain, it's the only company I get here. My mind drifts over to the Rat though, he's pale, unusually pale and I assert that he's an outcast even amongst outcasts. He's got his own problems, but I imagine down on the planet, it's going to be every man for himself, and the more to a team, the better off we are. I think if anyone survives it'll be the Rat. Enough about creepy psys though, there'll be plenty to do once on the surface, there are over 80 prisoners on board. I remember seeing the exoskeleton of an arachnid at a museum. I think the Rat's almost fifty or so, he'd have to be if he fought in OPC. If anyone knows how those things work he will. The more I think about it, my survival depends upon his. I spent quite a bit of time studying the arachnids and their fighting techniques to better my own, and so I know their biology, how to kill them, how they survived all of those planets, how they could take a hit and keep going. Everyone else on this ship will squabble amongst themselves until all of us are dead. We get old Marine powersuits to support us on the planet and a bunker. They say they've already dropped over 200 criminals and that we'll be in good company. My money's on the likely situation that not a single one is alive.

 {What did you do?}

 *Did I think that? It wasn't me though, it was someone else's voice.*

 {Yeah, the Rat's voice.}

 *So, you are awake?*

{Aren't you?}

*I thought only animals stayed awake in cryogenics. What did you do to get here?*

{I asked you first.}

*The correct question is what didn't I do, but that's beside the point.*

{Exactly. However, you feel as I do, the bugs aren't dead.}

*A cockroach doesn't die so easily, that's why I'm still alive. Earth fought for years against the bugs, why would they so suddenly be extinct only months after the Queen was taken out?*

{You believe there's another Queen who somehow survived?}

*You don't?*

{I was watched like a hawk because I said I knew this wasn't over, that the bugs are just waiting until we've got our backs turned. You're right though, your survival depends upon mine, that is if survival is an option.}

*I've read everyone's file here, I know all 80 inmates and all of their records, you were the only one who had an incomplete file. Why is your alias "Rat Man", and why the secrecy? I know you were with the Roughnecks.*

{So I heard.}

*A man of few words. I'm the only one awake right now to keep you company though, I imagine the dreams of killers isn't exactly neutral territory.*

{Not in the least, but you're wrong, there's one other person awake.}

*Oh really? Who is he?*

{He says his name's Talfish, or at least that's what us humans call him.}

*The T'Phettian? I didn't know they were transported on human ships, and found it odd that he would be here. Why isn't he on his own planet, getting whatever punishment from his own people? I guess human cryogenics wouldn't work on an alien.*

{He says he's been corrupted by the Terran, that his people won't take him back and so he is here.}

*What are the chances that he'd be on this ship? This won't be good when worst comes to worst, most of the men on this ship will throw him to the dogs.*

{You among them?}

*Let him without guilt cast the first stone, what's it to you Rat? Would you? A psy knows the hearts of all but his own. When push comes to shove, what're you going to do? I know you've been used to working with neat organized men being ex-military, but these men only do things if they're getting something in return, and half of 'em will kill you for the hell of it. You're not a leader though, you're independent.*

{So are you.}

*What makes you think that? Maybe I'm the following type.*

{Because out of all of the occupants on board, you're the only one that withholds internal thought. You talk to me, and you think to yourself a bit, but in words, you have no visual thinking.}

*Visual thinking? Like dreams?*


*Mental imagery, childhood memories, things like that?*


*I think that's the only thing that got shut down in cryogenics, the reverse happened to everyone else, except for the tall alien and yourself.*

{What's your name?}

*Radek, why Rat?*

{No, what's your full name.}

*Upturned curiosity? What's it to you, so you can tell them which criminal you killed down there on Big K when the lights went out? That is if survival is an option.*

{If I need to call on you, I'll know your name.}

(A smile crosses my lips.) *So you want to know my full name huh? Leif Anwar Radek at your service.*

{The Cop Killer?}

*Something like that.*

{Why did you kill those cops?}

*This Talfish, what's his real T'Phettian name?*

{Don't want to talk huh? He says T'Olis. I thought you read all of the files.}

*I did, the file says Talfish. I think it would be a good idea to be on his good side, I've seen these T'Phettians fight, animals they are. I also think we'll need him as well to survive.*

{I hate to be a downpour on your hopes, but you do realize most likely we'll die within the first day of being down there.}

*Oh, I don't doubt that in the least, but I have this human trait to try and keep alive, to survive, if I didn't I would have been dead a long time ago. However, I told you why I'm here, what are you doing here?*

{The correct question is what didn't I do, but that's beside the point.}

*You think you're funny do you?*

{Let's just say it was a misunderstanding.}

*Someone misunderstood that you were telling a joke and so they sent you here?*

{Now you think you're funny.}

The ship rattled back and forth, we were entering the atmosphere. Being one of the only three people awake, and realizing what was going on you think I would have been scared, I will admit my adreniline started to pump, but I felt calmn, like I was content on meeting my maker.

{You are unusually calmn Radek, I suppose you don't truly understand the threat.}

*I've never been up close and personal with the bugs, but I've never been afraid to die, why start now? I imagine for you though this is like being a tight rope walker and being terrified of heights. Don't say I blame you Rat.*

{Would you stop calling me that, just because it's my nickname doesn't mean I like it.}

*All right, I'll call you by your real name if you remember not to mention my full name, let's just say I didn't do well with a few prisoners in the prison, and they've got some friends here.*

{What do you want me to call you?}

*Mike, Mike Porter, a perfectly unknown name, the less who know who I really am the better off.*

{Well Mike Porter, nice to meet you.}

*You as well Carl Jenkins.*

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