Chapter 1 - The First Day
It was a dreary, cloudy day as Richard "Vanguard" McGregor, formerly known as Agent Nebraska when Project Freelancer was still active, was being escorted to prison for a crime he was framed for. A man has been trying to ensure every other living Freelancer was either killed, or imprisoned to ensure they cannot interfere with the plans of Charon Industries. During this time, Richard was down on Earth, spending some leisurely time for himself before his ship back to Chorus. But during this time, an unknown assailant who was dressed and looked just like him, murdered a person in broad daylight. Richard was mistakenly identified as the killer and was convicted quickly due to Ireland's strict jury system having been put into place following the civil war taking place between the Irish and the British. Having been identified in past records as being one of the rebels who fought in the rebellion, it didn't take long for Nebraska to be sentenced.
Richard has been taken to a maximum security facility known only as "HMP Irongate", an island prison built after the ancient, famous prison Alcatraz, but with modernized security systems. This facility was built in 2528 on an island just off the coast of Britain and has had various different security upgrades over its thirty year history. As they were escorting Richard within the prison, his steady gaze went to work, taking visual notes of every part of the facility. From what he could see, within every cell there is a security camera built in that keeps security detail over the entire cell. At every checkpoint within the prison, there are detectors designed to detect a wide variety of things outside of what the prison normally provides like wood and metal, for instance. The guards are all equipped with stun rods meant to break up any altercations between inmates, which Richard saw being put to use against two rowdy inmates to incapacitate them.
It was in Cell Block B2 where Richard was set into, where he begins to make note of his room. He notices a desk with a few basic necessities; Toothbrush, toothpaste, the usual. As he finishes taking note of his stock, the alarm blares, signifying morning rollcall. As the door on his cell begins to open up, Richard makes his way to the main section of the prison where three guards stand at attention. Richard notices there are thirteen other inmates, which puts the count up to fourteen. Richard stands at attention to ensure he can hear the roll call.
"Alright, you worthless wastes of oxygen, time for roll call. The two lucky winners to have their cells shaken down are... George and Frederick. In other news, we have a new prisoner today. This delinquent is Richard McGregor, former captain of the Irish Resistance. So you might not be making too many friends out here, as there are a lot of prisoners in here who gunned down criminals like you. But for the sake of security, we have no choice but to treat you the same as the other prisoners, so count yourself lucky. Were it up to me, I'd see to it every guard turned the other way when you'd receive your daily beatings." The guard that spoke up, from what Richard could see from his nametag, was Officer Jones. As the two police officers finished up their shakedown, Frederick was hit with a stun rod and rendered unconscious. The officers begin to drag him into solitary confinement.
"You've just now seen what we do to prisoners who think they're clever enough to hide illicit gained objects in their room. Anyone dumb enough to try and hide contraband in their cell will be sentenced to three days in solitary confinement and their illegal "goods" confiscated. For each time this persists after you are released from solitary confinement, another three days are added to your confinement, meaning if you had three days on your last visit, that will now be six. And before we end our roll call, if so much as one person does not make it to roll call, the facility will be put into lockdown until the missing prisoners are found. Everyone will have their cells investigate and those caught missing roll call will spend a month in solitary confinement. Dismissed!" Officer Roark speaks out. As the bell rings, it was time for breakfast. Richard and the inmates make their way to the mess hall where each of them grab a tray. As Richard grabs his tray, an inmate, named Michael, slaps it out of his hands and walks to his table. Because it wasn't seen as a sign of confrontation due to the lack of physical violence, the guards do nothing about it. Shaking his head, Richard looks behind and notices there are no more trays of food. Taking a slow, deep breath, Richard walks over to an empty table, keeping a close eye on the inmates and guards, taking note of their personality cues and putting his overly active brain to work.
"George seems to keep to himself, but also keeps a watchful eye on Officer Roark. This could potentially mean some kind of conflict between the two. But then again, when is there never conflict between guards and inmates? He also displays feelings of paranoia. Body language indicates he was a soldier. Mental cues indicate he may have been discharged due to mental instability. Michael, the one who slapped the food away from me, appears to be part of a gang. His facial patterns indicate gang experience, as does his body language. Judging by his aggressiveness, it's possible he is ranked high in this gang, either through respect or intimidation. Officer Roark is divorced, wearing the wedding band on his right finger. Personality cues indicate the divorce was recent, no older than three months." Richard thinks to himself. Praised by Project Freelancer for his impeccable skills in deduction and observation, he was always relied on to take notes on important targets. As the bell rang, it was time for work. Walking into the employment office, Richard looks towards the employment board, noting he was assigned janitor work.
Nodding, Richard makes his way towards the janitor's closet, keeping his head down to avoid conflict with the other inmates. Nearing his way to the janitor closet, an inmate walks up to him, named Neil. Unlike some of the others, Richard didn't see any personality cues indicating aggression. His body language seemed like he didn't belong in prison, leading Richard to assume he was wrongly convicted of a crime, just as he was. Letting a slow nod, Neil walks away and Richard walks into the janitor's closet. Grabbing a mop and bucket, Richard begins trailing over the prison, mopping down any messes he sees. Michael decides he is going to make this more difficult and begins making more messes intentionally for Richard to clean up. Letting out a glare, Richard cleans up the messes, not wanting to start any confrontations. He could easily take on just about all of the inmates in this prison, but wants to keep his head low and out of trouble if he wishes to plan his escape. Finishing up his quota, Richard hangs up the mop and bucket back into the janitor's closet and listens to the bell ring, indicating mid-day roll call. Making his way to the main area alongside the other inmates, officers Geoff, Mickie and Rory are standing before them.
"Alright, maggots. It's time for the mid-day roll call. The prisoners in line for shake up are... Michael and Neil! Better hope you're not carrying anything you shouldn't, or you won't like it." Officer Geoff speaks out. As a few minutes pass, the guards finish their inspection, noting no contraband in their cells. As the bell rings once more, it was now the afternoon free period. Deciding to put this time to good use, Richard heads to the library computers, hacking into the database to send a message to Epsilon, known by the name Church, a message indicating that he was imprisoned wrongfully and that his return to Chorus might be delayed. Finishing up the message and sending it, Richard reverts the computer back to a previous state before the hack, covering his tracks. Once finished, Richard makes his way towards the rec room and begins his exercising in the rec room. There were two others exercising as well, which Richard took an opportunity to eavesdrop on during his workout.
"Did you hear about the little fight thing they're setting up?" One of the inmates, named Benedict, asks.
"Yeah, apparently they're holding it next week. I haven't heard too many details, but apparently the guards issue these as a form of inmate "stress relief", to let out their anger on others however they see fit. Sounds like it might be interesting." The other inmate replies, named Rogers. Nodding slightly, Richard continues his exercising through the evening exercise period. It was here, Richard decided he'd do more observation on the other inmates. To start, he begins eyeing Frederick.
"Frederick appears to be a German immigrant, having immigrated here illegally, judging by his unfamiliarity with some of the things the guards say. He has the physical cues of what seems to be a metal worker. Scars on his hands from lacerations and burns are apparent of this. Personality and facial cues indicate slight schizophrenia, perhaps alongside Tourette's, judging by the random twitches of the facial muscles. He often mumbles to himself, as if he was speaking to someone else, which could be the possible indicator of schizophrenia. Onto officer Rory. Physical cues indicate background in Judo. The way he carries himself is with the same stance and walk of someone who regularly trains in Judo. Personality cues indicate a positive outlook, but also bearing a short fuse. There's also the slight hint of sleep deprivation, judging by the constant blinking and movement of his eyes. Frank appears to display the physical attributes of a former bodybuilder. His frame bears the "Christmas tree" build, thin hips with wide shoulders. Movement cues indicate significant tearing of the calf muscles in his left leg, which may have attributed to his forced retirement." Richard once again thinks to himself Before he could finish his observations, the bell rang for dinner. Making his way to the mess hall, he grabs his tray first and makes his way to the table he sat at earlier and went to his meal, trying to make up for the breakfast he lost out on.
Richard caught onto the glares of Michael, who has shown the most aggressiveness toward him out of the others, which he takes as a sign of Michael's hatred of the Irish rebellion. Looking back down at his meal, Richard continues eating. "Reminds me of an undercooked MRE. But, being prison food, there's not much you could complain about." Richard thinks to himself on the meal he eats. After an hours passes, the bell rings for shower time. Making his way to the shower, Richard undresses himself, bearing a top built physique, a vast difference from how he looked the day he joined Project Freelancer. Many scars adorn his body from the years of battles he was in, ranging from old bullet wounds to lacerations, most of which he had gotten during the civil war not too long before he was recruited into Project Freelancer. Choosing to wash in private, Richard still keeps an eye on the other inmates to make sure no one does anything shifty, though he did not find Michael anywhere, which made him suspicious. The water was indescribably cold, but it was something Richard would become used to quite quickly, comparing it to the times he was out in Sidewinder during scouting missions. After another hour passes, the bell rings for the final roll call of the day. Making his way to the main area with the rest of the inmates, officers Phillip, Benson and Robert stand before them.
"Alright, just like before, it's time for the shake down. Tonight's candidates for cell check-up are... Frederick and Richard. Guards, you know what to do." Nodding, officers Benson and Robert make their way to the cells. After a few minutes of checking, officer Benson strikes Richard down with a stun rod, having found contraband in his desk. Kneeling down in pain, Richard noted he didn't put any contraband in his desk, until remembering not seeing Michael in the showers. As he is slowly pulled up and sent into solitary confinement, Richard lets off one last glare at Michael before being sent in. As with any SHU, or Solitary Holding Unit, the room was small, having just enough room for a bed. Taking a slow breath, Richard lays down on the bed and closes his eyes, knowing he won't be out for the next few days.