Ch. 2 – Blood red

An entire year. Roxy has been in prison for an entire year. 365 days of torture, eco, and blood. So much blood. Roxy still recalled her first experimentation. A week after arriving, Roxy and Jak were talking about why they were in the prison. Both were there just to be test subjects. Suddenly, three guards, possibly the same ones who took Jak away, came into her cell. On gestured his gun at her, "She's the one." He said. The other two walked up to her and grabbed her arms.

"Roxy! Don't let them hurt you!" Jak shouted, "Fight back!

Roxy took one last look at him before being dragged out of the cell. The prison looked much larger than it was from her cell. While looking around, Roxy finally locked her eyes on what she had been fearing since she got here. The torture chair, of which prisoners were placed upon and tampered with. Adrenalin filled Roxy with terror, terror strong enough to force her to struggle. The guard that led them saw this and turned around. "You're only making it worse for you miss-"

He was suddenly interrupted as Roxy kneed him in his chin, knocking him backwards. She then slipped her left arm out and punched the other guard in his visor. The last one tried to hold onto her, but she used her heel to round-house kick him to the ground. Her heel hurt, but she passed it on as she picked up one of their guns and ran off. She ran passed her cell and came up to Jak's, receiving a shocked expression on his face. "Roxy?!" he asked.

"Don't worry, I'm here to get you out!" she replied. She drew the gun back, and slammed the hilt on his cell's lock. She repeated this process, trying to release her friend.

But he was anything but relieved. "No! Roxy! You have to get out of here before-"

If the universe was watching the two, it wasn't on their side at all. A strong blast knocked Roxy to the ground, gaining a strained shout from her. As she tried to get up, a strong hand gripped her throat, making it nearly impossible for her to breathe. Her eyes slivered opened to see a bulky man with half his face only metal and a somewhat entertained look on his face.

"Well, well, well. It would seem this one was able to escape her guards." He taunted.

Just then, Roxy saw Erol stroll up beside the man, "Didn't I tell you she was interesting."

Roxy started to see spots in her vision and she swore she could taste blood. Her raspy breath was barely audible now, and her skin was turning pale.

Jak growled, "Praxis let her go! She's suffocating!"

Erol glared at the prisoner, "You do not tell what the baron has to do you freak!" He spat.

"Erol is correct prisoner… However," both men turned to the Baron as he stared at Roxy's now slightly blue face, "It would be a shame for such a pretty face to lose its life so soon." He suddenly dropped the girl roughly on the ground.

Roxy rolled onto her hands and knees as she gasped for breath. She coughed as blood trickled up her throat, the red liquid dripping on the cold ground. She shivered at the near-death experience. Just when she started to feel at ease, she felt something graze her shoulder. She flinched at first, but then peeked to see it was only Jak, his arm stretching out to her from in between the bars. She slowly and painfully crawled to his cell then laid down in front of him. He gently stroked his hand against her back, effectively calming her down.

"Aw, would you look at that?" Jak looked up and scowled at Erol. "It seems the cell-neighbors have grown to know each other."

Jak simply glared at him before turning back to his friend. He could hear her whimpering in pain as she tried to catch her breath.

"Perhaps the Dark Warrior program would be too much for her." The Baron noted.

Erol chuckled darkly, "Well, she could always try the blood warrior program."

Jak shot his attention upwards. Blood warrior? He never heard of that before.

The Baron Chuckled, "That's just what we'll do."

Erol bent down and looked at Jak eye-to-eye, "Excuse me eco-freak, but I'm afraid your little neighbor is coming with us." He taunted. Erol grabbed Roxy by her right wrist, making her eyes snap open. She tried to resist his strength, but he was too powerful. She reached out for Jak, his hand still trying to grab her as though he could save her. But their hands just missed each other and Roxy was taken away.

Erol forced her on her feet and didn't let go of her wrists until they got to the dreaded chair. The head of the guards pressed her down as the Baron activated the restraints. Once Roxy was secure, Erol stepped back and smirked as she tried to break the metal. The Baron walked up to him, "Is everything set?"

"Yes my lord." Erol nodded, setting some type of laser aiming at Roxy's chest. "We just need to supply the eco."

"Then what are you waiting for?!" The Baron scolded.

Roxy watched as Erol moved around her, changing direction now and then. He was inserting containers of a red substance into a machine nearby. When it was full, he shut the machine and placed his hand on a lever. He turned to her with a sickly smirk, "Experiment 1." He pulled the lever.

The pain that coursed through Roxy was like nothing she had ever felt before. The laser sent off a red glow before shooting bolts of searing red energy into her body. Roxy couldn't help but give off a pained scream. It felt like red hot fire was running through her blood streams as daggers and lightning struck her skin. Her back arched off the chair, but the restraints held her arms and legs down. She didn't know how long this went on for, but if felt like an eternity. Is this what Jak went through? How could anyone be so crazed as to force someone to do this? Questions like these flashed through her mind as she tried to take her mind off the pain. But it never went away. It just continued.

"Red eco injection complete." A voice beeped from the machine. The pain finally stopped and Roxy laid on the chair motionless, "Bio readings nominal and unchanged."

The Baron stared at the girl. "Hmf, just like the other one." He turned to Erol, "Make sure this one is taken care of. She may be just what we require."

Erol nodded, "As you wish sir." He chuckled as two guards uncuffed Roxy from the table and draped each of her arms over their shoulders. She groaned in pain as the guards dragged her back to her cell. She heard the door open and the guards chuckled as they tossed her in, amused at how the pain kept its cold grip on her. They slammed the bars shut and left.

Roxy held back her tears, trying to be brave, trying to hold herself together. That was the worst situation she had ever been in. Of all the witches, all the wizards, all the monsters she had faced, they had never hurt her that much… ever.

"Roxy!" She looked up to see Jak at the window. She tried to get up, but she was introduced into more pain. "Roxy! Are you okay?!"

She looked up at him and began to crawl to her bed. Once she reached it, she spoke, "Y-Yeah. I-I-I think so." She struggled to get up but managed to get on the bed and laid down.

Jak looked down at her, "What did they do to you?"

She laid still, trying to make the pain go away, "They… they put me in that chair… Then they did something to me… Something about… Red eco…" she moaned in pain.

Jak scowled, "Those Bastards! You shouldn't have come back for me. You should've gotten out of here!"

Roxy looked up at him, "I… I couldn't just leave you. You're my only friend here. I would've been lost and alone if you weren't there to help me."

Jak's eyes widened, but then he turned his head away, "Well, thanks for thinking of me. Now get some rest. You'll need it." Roxy did what she was told, and for an entire year that was all she went through. Barely any sleep, barely enough to eat, and far too much torture.

Though there were a coupled twists and turns in that year. Once, the two had to go into completely different sections of the prison due to a gas leak in their area. They found they were in more pain apart than they ever were next door. Once they returned to their original cells, they found a lot has changed. Such as Roxy's right eye had gained a reddish glow to it with three scared scratches around it. She explained Erol "accidently" made the laser point to her head, causing the eco to enter directly into her face. She also had a much harsher attitude to her, one Jak almost didn't recognize. She was always so pure and caring, now she was sarcastic and vengeful. Then again, he was much softer than Roxy remembered. He simply said he was worried about her and he missed her company. She thought he had gone crazy, but she had to admit, it was easier to keep her sanity with at least one friend around.

Currently, Roxy was gaining another treatment of red eco. Over the year, her screams of pain had turned into strained growls and shouts. "Red eco injection complete. Bio readings nominal and unchanged." The machine repeated. Those words have been spoken every time Roxy was tested on.

The Baron growled, "Why hasn't she changed yet?!" he turned to Erol.

"Perhaps she has become immune to the eco." Erol suggested.

"This girl has become a waste of my time!" Baron shouted, "Put her back in her cell and bring the other one here! If neither shows any change, you'll finish them off tonight."

"Yes sir." Erol nodded. The restraints released Roxy's limbs and Erol's guards dragged her to her cell. They threw her in and walked away, just as they always did every day.

Roxy heard them as they dragged Jak out for his turn. She sighed, it was so lonely without someone to talk to. She tried to stand up, but was too tired. Instead, she crawled to the corner and curled up, her hands hugging her knees. As time went by, Roxy began to get tired, and soon found herself passing out. Nothing but darkness and silence.

/

Jak laid on the table as Erol and the Baron argued. He had just gotten another eco injection right after they were done with Roxy. It was painful, but by now, he was used to it. The baron was angry that there were no changes about Jak, but unknown to them, Jak has changed slightly in secret, such as his strength and attitude.

"Move forward with the final plan!" Praxis shouted. Final plan? Were they talking about Roxy? "And finish off this… thing tonight."

"As you wish." Erol mused as the Baron walked away. He turned to the prisoner, grabbed his collar and hissed, "I'll be back later."

The two men left, leaving Jak restrained on the chair. Jak laid alone, thinking of how his life was almost over. The baron took everything from him. His purity, his friends, his joy. Jak sighed and tried to get his mind off the topic of death. What about Roxy? Would they do the same thing for her? Would they kill her as well? Jak felt his spine shiver at the thought, she was too kind to be killed. She was strong, caring, and the only friend he had in the prison. She was the reason why he kept going, he didn't want to leave her to suffer alone.

Just then, he heard something land on the ground to his left. "Ding! Ding! Third floor. Body chains, roach food, torture devises." That voice. Could it be? Jak felt something land on his chest, making his wounds swell in pain. "Hey buddy. You seen any heroes around here? Whoa! What'd they do to you?" Jak felt the thing on him move slightly, "Jak, it's me, Daxter!"

Jak opened his eyes and sure enough, his fuzzy orange friend was looking at him. He looked worried, but Jak's head just fell back on the chair.

"That's a fine hello!" Daxter huffed. "I've been crawling around in this place, risking my tail!" Daxter stomped on Jak's stomach, causing more pain to arise, "Literally, to save you. I've been looking for you for two years!" The ottsel grabbed onto Jak's shirt dollar, "Say something. Just this once!"

Unknown to his friend, Jak had been talking for about a year, but for the first time around his friend, Jak shot his eyes open, his pupils shrunk and he growled, "I'm gonna kill Praxis!"

"Shh!" Daxter placed a paw on Jak's mouth, "Right now we gotta get you outta here."

As Daxter tried to figure a way to help the prisoner, Jak felt something arise in him. An anger that was stored for years, power beyond measure. Jak growled and pushed against his restraints. The metal flung off, Daxter jumping off before turning to see a pasty skinned monster with white hair and long black horns and claws.

"Or, uh, you could do it." Daxter shrunk. The creature got up from the chair and looked at the ottsel, "Jak? Easy now. It's your old pal Daxter! Remember?"

"RAH!" the creature jolted his claws forward, but- "Daxter?" Jak's voice rang. The hair, claws and horns receded, leaving the original blonde haired man standing, his head spinning.

"What. The heck. Was that?" Daxter shouted, "Sheesh! Remind me not to piss you off! Come on big, tall and gruesome. We're out of here." Daxter led the guy away from the chair and hopped on his shoulder, "I, uh, brought you some new threads. Put them on."

Jak did what his friend suggested and soon found himself escaping hell itself. He was nearly out of the section of the prison, when a memory hit him.

Roxy was taken away, undoubtedly to be tortured with eco. Jak sighed and paced his cell. He prayed that she'd be okay. Eco was one thing that shouldn't be tampered with, and that girl was different than all the other cold hearted prisoners, Suddenly, he heard someone run up to his cell bars. He turned to see his purple haired friend right outside his cell. He gasped, "Roxy?!"

"Don't worry, I'm here to get you out!" she replied. The girl drew a large gun back, and slammed the hilt on his cell's lock, repeating the motion many times.

But Jak was anything but relieved. Erol, or even the Baron himself could come by any second and catch her. "No! Roxy! You have to get out of here before-" he shouted. But he could only watch as a laser hit her and she fell to the ground.

"Jak?!" Jak shook his head when he heard his friend speak, "Come on! Let's get outta here!"

But Jak didn't move. At least until he turned around and ran back into the prison.

"Jak!" Daxter cried, "What are you doin'? We need to leave!"

"There's someone I gotta get to first!" Jak replied. He passed and fought many guards until he got to a familiar cell. He charged a gun he had picked up from a guard and blasted the lock, shattering it to pieces. Jak flung the cell door open and ran to the corner. There, his friend was sleeping, possibly unconscious. But they had to leave. Now! Jak set the gun down and placed a hand on the girl's shoulder, gently shaking her awake. "Roxy! Roxy get up! We have to go! Now!"

/

Darkness. Something Roxy found surprisingly welcoming during her time in hell. Nothing to harm her, or her friend. Normally, she would wake up to another eco treatment, or more rarely, feeding time. Roxy was simply resting when something started to shake her. But it, like the darkness, was surprisingly comforting. It wasn't forced, yet wasn't weak either. She forced her eyes open as a voice echoed in her head. "Roxy! Roxy get up! We have to go! Now!" Roxy's eyes finally showed a figure before her. Blonde hair, green roots, blue eyes, navy tunic, and something orange and fuzzy on its shoulder. As her vision cleared, she realized the figure was her friend, "Jak?" she mumbled.

He smiled, "It's okay Roxy. We're getting' out of here!" he smirked. He gently brushed his arms under her and picked her up. He ran out and before Roxy could stop smiling, they were finally out of the prison. Out of hell… and into the battlefield.