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The Lone Warrior

Chapter Text

The wasteland is a vast and empty space capable of nothing but taking what little life there is left. The world is empty. Those who survive are beyond saving. Those who survive are corrupted and cruel. It’s a life where death is inevitable. It’s an escape. Only those desperate and crazy enough to
Live have the ability to survive.

Choking engines echo to a stop, the evasive manoeuvres and high speeds to get here took its toll on the overheated Interceptor, now parked on a sandbank as smoke flows from the hood. Its contents are spilled on the dirt floor; dirty rags and an empty flask. The last of the remaining water used in an attempt to cool the engine following a desperate test of endurance that previously ensued. Its driver stands alone, scanning over the empty land ahead. There is nowhere to go and nowhere to hide. He is nothing but a drifter, a ghost in the wind without a cause. He is fierce, he is feral, he is broken. He is Max Rockatansky. In this land resources are few and far between, you take what you can get your hands on. A passing lizard serves as a long needed meal but cannot be enjoyed. You don’t waste time here, especially not with your haunting thoughts.

Revving engines snap Max’s gaze from the horizon, the whispers in his mind halting as the alarm bells sound off. With mastered practice he races into action, quickly throwing his belongings into the car he jumps into the drivers seat. Here you do not hang around. You run. Turning the keys, he forces the struggling engine to life and races down onto the salt plains. He knows it is hopeless but he must try, try to survive, try to escape. Max looks to the rear view mirror, barley registering his own disheveled reflection in the broken glass, his attention focuses on the hunting party that have caught up to him. They appear from his dust like a mirage. Their demon white faces reflect back, laughing and jeering as they close in to surround him. War Boys. Max has crossed them numerous times after hearing rumours of a nearby water source but he had always managed to give them the slip. Max growls to himself, he thought he had managed to loose them days ago in the canyons; he had taken great care in covering his tracks, evidently not enough. His stop on the hills had closed the gap between them.

The interceptor is running on fumes, its guzzolene long finished. Max can feel himself beginning to panic but manages to push it aside; he looks out the side windows to see the dangerous bloodthirsty grins staring back. Revving engines and shouting is all he can hear. Their spears are at the ready as their rigged vehicles crush into Max’s car. He’s a hare surrounded by wolves. They all know there is no escape, but Max continues to push the accelerator. A large truck pulls alongside him on the left, Max notices a lancer positioning himself in its rear compartment and taking aim with spear. His scarred grinning face focused on his victim. Max attempts to pull away but almost collides with another vehicle to his right. He only has time to register the movement of a spear being thrown through the air before the back end of the interceptor bursts into flames. Max is trapped like a ragdoll as his car is thrown to its side and death rolls across the sands, stopping upside down in a cloud of dust.

Dazed and in shock, Max scrambles to escape from the crushing and wrangled metal that was once his car as the smell of smoke fills his nose. Feeling the warm sand under his hands he pulls himself out the window and away from the wreckage. The ringing in his ears fade to hear only the engines of his pursuers as they surround him. Their shouts and cheers only push Max to keep going but his attempts are short lived as a heavy boot pins down his body. A cocking gun stops him in his tracks. He considers fighting but his injured limbs fail to work, his head still spinning with dizziness and fatigue, he slumps into the dirt going limp. He’s lost this fight and it will cost him. He closes his eyes with the need to rest taking over. The voices around him fade into each other, mocking his efforts. A rough hand twists to grab a clump of his long and matted hair, forcing his head upwards in an awkward painful angle. The sun burns into Max’s eyes, as he tastes the familiar coppery tinge of his own blood mixed with dirt, trickling into his mouth. He can feel the cold metal at the back of his skull. The scarred war boy - the lancer - standing above him is the first to speak words that Max’s pounding brain somewhat understands.
“End of the road, ya bloody bastard”, the boys continue to laugh while some flip over Max’s car, claiming their prize. Max is pulled to his feet but collapses into the War Boys arms. His shattered knee shoots pain through his body; the brace is broken from the crash but they force him to stand. He groans in agony, struggling in the iron grasp.
“You better be worth the guzzolene”.

The hunting party stops only to refill and rehydrate before setting off, returning to the Citadel. What’s left of Max’s car is towed from one of the trucks meanwhile Max himself is dragged from a chain on its bumper. He staggers and trips with every step on a leg that barely works. All Max can see is silhouettes ahead of him through the dust of their wheels; fumes and dehydration choke his breathing. He fights against the chains as the War Boys continue to tease him for his pointless struggles against a half tonne truck. Max growls as they encourage him to use his energy. The party occasionally stops, giving the War Boys piss brakes and topping up. Max is silently thankful; he is ignored though treated like a beast being taken to slaughter. His aching bones are beaten and bruised by the journey so far, but he powers through. Layers of dried blood stains his face alongside dirt and sweat. It’s was a three-day journey west. On the third day, Max realises his legs are numb, he can't remember when he lost feeling but he is surprised they are still carrying him even at a staggering pace behind the trucks. A War Boy on a motorcycle cheers drawing Max's fading attention. His eyes follow the direction of the shouts, but he feels fear flow strike him with what he sees, a cold shiver runs down his back as he catches the first sight of what will be his prison. Three rock towers emerge on the wasteland standing powerful and mocking him. As the approach some war boys dismount the vehicles, they celebrated heir return move to where Max is hitched, removing the chain from the car and begin to pull him along by hand. Max resists, putting what little fight he has left into a final attempt of freeing himself. He growls as he attempts to plant his numb feet, pulling his weight back from the crowds in a battle of strengths against the war boys but its a useless effort as he loses in his current weakened state. As they enter the main complex, Max is in horror. The wretched reaching out to him bring back his nightmares, the whispers, the eyes of those he could not save burning into him from the crowd. The guards move in to assist the war boys, dragging Max onto the platform. His nightmares; the girl, the fallen comrades all pull on his chain. Finally, his legs give way.

Chapter Text

Max’s fallen and unconscious form is hauled onto the elevating platform to be raised along with the rest of the party. It stops at a level half way up, dropping off Max and his captors. The vehicles and Max’s car continue to rise to the upper levels. Max stirs, catching short glimpses of the dark bending tunnels through his heavy eyes. His pain and awareness slowly return; he’s being dragged, rough hands hold him up, he can feel every part of his body aching and bruised, stiffness is already beginning to form in his suffering joints. The stench of blood and sweat mixed with guzzolene fills the air as they enter a room filled with cages and sick war boys. The scarred lancer holding Max’s right arm speaks up.
“Hey Organic, got a special delivery for ya!” Max grunts as they come to a stop. Through his hazed vision he sees an aproned man approaching. He’s different; this man is full life, not pale or covered in lumps like the war boys but Max can still feel his gut twisting at his smirking face. He does not like this man.

“Caught ‘em fresh this morning, he’s a fighter.”
“Full life huh? Been hoping for one of these lately since the stocks ran low, nice job Slit”.
“Gave us a real good run for our money too. Took the party ten days to catch up, but we got ‘em. Not good enough, eh?” Slit ruffles Max’s hair causing another low growl.
“Oh yeah?” Max despises the intrigued tone in the Organic’s voice. “looks like you boys left ‘em a little worse for wear. You find ‘em this way?” He moves close to Max’s face to get a good look.
“Nah, he got ‘emself that way when we was chasing ‘em.” Slit shift his weight, Max groans in pain as his leg twinges. The Organic notices, bending down to examine the bloodied leg wrapped in old mangled exhaust pipes and leather.
“What am I supposed to do when you boys keep brining ‘em in this sorry state…What’s with the get-up?” he nods to Max’s leg.
“I dunno, some kind of brace or somethin’, it broke”.
The Organic sniffs, “No shit…It’ll take me a while to patch this one up to anything worth using, gotta run some tests.” he sighs rubbing what’s left of his hair. “First things first, get ‘em cleaned up, the wasteland look ain’t doing it for me. I gotta go the now, heard the boss was hollering for me, I’ll deal with ‘em when I get back” The Organic gives Max one last glance over before leaving the room.

The boy’s nod to their orders, moving in unison as they drag Max to a damp rear section of the tunnels and throw him in a heap on the cold floor. Max drifts in and out of consciousness at the feeling of water hitting his now somehow naked body. He thinks to himself, he must be dreaming, this isn’t happening. The water lands in his face, Max recognises its taste and coolness, longing for more as the war boys take it away as fast as it arrived. He hears the last few drops disappear into a drain below before the darkness takes over his mind.
‘What you doing Max?” The whispers echo.
“Where you going?”
“You comfy Max?”
“Why didn’t you save us Max?” In his nightmares he is running, fear in his eyes. The hands reach out to grab him.
“You Promised Max.’
“MAX!”
“MAX!” He skids to a stop; it’s a dead end. He turns, a truck strikes.

Max wakes up. Time has passed but he’s not sure how long he was out. He is lying on the floor, looking around to find himself alone in the same windowless stone room. Though, he regains some relief at seeing his clothes returned to their usual place. He attempts to stand but falls, his leg lacking its usual support since the brace broke; he notes that it has been removed. He tries again, managing this time to sit up and pull his knees to his chest. A door, which he never noticed was there, opens in front of him. The man who Max has learned is named ‘Organic’ steps through, flanked by two war boys and a war pup. Max feels his muscles tense, his eyes focused on the man approaching. Max looks him up and down, he is taller than he is but no where near as fit. Max could take him but not in his current state. The leather apron and medical tools covering the Organic get his attention. A doctor? Though, judging by the number of tumours eating their way into the war boys behind him he assumes the man is neither professional nor capable of major surgery. Max frowns as the Organic presents two metal bowls and pushes them towards him. He hesitates to look down, one is empty but the other filled with water. Max instinctively licks at his dry lips. He is furious with himself, he hasn’t seen water in days and the Organic knows it. Using it against him. To bribe him. No one gives anything for free. What’s the catch? Max forces his eyes from the bowl to glare at the man now crouching in front of him.

“Well go on then. We both know you need it.”
Max’s anger grows but the temptation is stronger. The Organic doesn’t need to do much nudge him, he can’t resist the urge. He grabs the bowl and downs it in a single long gulp. Water spills over his chin with some going on the floor. He can't hide his desperation, eyes close with longing. The cool liquid feels like silk in his dried hoarse throat, it the cleanest he’s had in years. Max can’t help but whimper as the flow stops and the bowl is empty. He opens his narrowed eyes to meet the Organic’s smirk.
“Good…there’ll be more where that came from if you do as your told without any hiccups.” Max glares. There’s always a catch.
“Alright…now, just to fill ‘er up then we can get this show on a road” He motions to the empty bowl beside Max, whose eyes remain fixed on him, a growl building in his chest.

The Organic sighs, after a short wait, he lowers his tone.
“There’s more than one way we can do this, boy. Trust me, you wont like the others. I advise you do yourself a favour.” Max’s eyes dart between the men. The war boys fold their arms with a smirk at his growing humiliation. Hatred builds within him as he picks up the small bowl and again struggles to his feet. This time he manages, he refuses to let them see him weak. Max turns away to do the deed. Sure, he’ll play along. That is, until he can find a way out of this hellhole. Once finished he sets the bowl partially filled with his own piss back down on the floor. The Organic is standing again and motions to the war pup who steps forward to retrieve it. Oh, how Max wishes he could punch that smug look of the mans face.
“Was that so hard? Lets get going shall we?” He turns to exit and the war boys step forward. Max instinctively backs up but its stopped by the wall. They grab the chains attached to his feet and pull them sharply causing his legs to give way again. The air is forced from his lungs as he hits the stone floor. Then they’re upon him, their rough hands grasp at his neck quicker than he can react. Forcing him down further, they tighten the chains before dragging him by his arms out of the small room back into the main chamber, following the Organic. One places a cloth over Max’s face, it's sweet scent sends him into a frenzy, he kicks his legs, cursing and choking under the rag at the pale men laugh at his struggles. The chloroform makes it harder to breath. Max feels his throat compress and his eyes grow heavy. Within seconds his world once again falls into the damned darkness.

Chapter Text

Max’s irritation grows; being constantly unconscious makes him feel weak. When his senses come to, he instantly panics. His fight or flight instinct kicks in when he finds himself stretched across a metal table. His arms and legs pinned in place by tightening chains being held by war boys. He’s surrounded and they are too close for comfort. He struggles against them, the chains cut into the painful skin. The end of a metal pole catches him off guard with single hard blow to the back of his head. Max cries out in pain, his vision going blurry as he feels a trickle of warm liquid run down his neck.
“Oi! Ace, what did I say ‘bout doin’ that?” Max’s blood runs cold as he hears the familiar voice behind him. “Ain’t no use to us if you keep spillin’ the goods!”
Next thing he see’s is the Organic’s face filling his hazed vision, his disgusting breath hitting his senses. His fingers snap in Max’s face. Forcing him to blink instinctively becoming more aware.
“Hey. Wakey-wakey sleepin’ beauty. You speakin’ yet? Got a name?”
“We ain’t heard him do any talking yet, Mechanic.” The head war boy named Ace speaks up.
Max frowns, Mechanic? His eyes regain their focus, scanning the Organic over once again. Whatever, he could be called ‘Dr Dipstick’ for all he cared.

“Hmm, that so?” The Organic takes hold of Max’s jaw, forcing his head up and pulls Max’s eyelid open wide. He notes how they are lethargic but they also alert. Next, his hand slides to Max’s mouth, pushing his dirty fingers into the corners to pry it open and check the inside. Max clamps his jaw but the Organic’s done this many times. Digging his nails into the soft gums at the back of Max’s mouth. A war boy’s hands move in to hold the jaw open whilst the Mechanic checks inside using a small mirror from his belt. All Max can do is hiss in anger at the violation.
“Well he’s capable of talkin’. Good teeth” he nods and the war boy releases Max’s face. He continues to scan over Max’s body, moving out of his peripheral vision. “No lumps, no bumps”.
Max tests his bonds and glances around the room shifting uncomfortably, from what he can see it reminds him of a dentist, but with a workshop twist. Suddenly Max finds his entire body tensing, he tries to jump up but the war boys keep him trapped on the cold table. Feeling the Organics filthy hands slipping into his trousers, invading his body and prodding around his schlanger. His muscles continue to stiffen as a low growl escapes his mouth. The boys hold him down tighter.
“Easy...behave yourself” The Organic Mechanic warns. “Genital’s intact…” He returns to Max’s head, meeting the scowling eyes with an amused chuckle.

Max watches the Mechanic warily as he reaches into his lower belt and pulls out a small knife, raising it to his exposed neck. Max’s eyes widen. He thrashes his head at the sight of the blade in a desperate bid to evade it.
“RIGHT! That’s enough, stop yer’ wrigglin!” A second warning. “Hold em’ down good and tight now boys”. The increase of strength holding him to the table causes Max to only panic further. The Mechanic holds Max’s jaw still, moving quickly to make a small cut in side of Max’s neck. Max shakes with anger and anxiety as red beads fall from the small wound. The Mechanic dabs his thumb in the blood but he doesn’t move away fast enough. He underestimates Max’s reflexes as he releases his jaw. The animalistic survival instincts kick in, fighting for what he fears to be his life in a blind panic. Using the only weapon he has he makes contact with the closest threat. His teeth sink deep into the Mechanic’s exposed forearm.

The Mechanic’s own pained growl echoes over Max’s through the room. The war boys stare for a moment wondering at first what where the noise was coming from until they notice. Max takes the chance to bite down harder, Blood and oil filling his mouth as the Mechanic attempts to wrestle his arm away.
“ARGH! YOU FILTHY BUGGER!
It happens within seconds, a rush of movement is the only warning Max receives before Ace’s hard punch lands in his face. His loosened grip allows the Mechanic to escape. Max doesn’t stay down for long this time, his Adrenaline pushes him through his ringing ears as he snarls like a mad dog. Teeth lined with the Mechanics blood. The boys pin him down, digging their elbows and boots into his back. The Mechanic steps back clutching his now bleeding wrist with a dirty cloth from his belt.
“Bloody bastard’s madder than a cut snake! Fuckin’ feral!...This’ll cool ‘em down”. The Mechanic pulls a prepared needle from his satchel and forces it into Max’s arm. Max continues to struggle under the war boys weight as one pulls his head backwards and places a tight gag in his mouth. “You playin’ games with me boy? Gimme’ that.” He motions to the war boy who hands him the metal pole from earlier. He flips its sharpened end to face Max, whose eyes widen upon hearing the familiar buzzing of electricity emitting from it. In an instant, Max regrets his previous action as the angered Mechanic forces the large taser into Max’s ribs. NOW, Max’s muscles tense. They stiffen involuntarily under the pulsing electricity in his side as it runs through every nerve in his body. He feels as if he has been set of fire. NOW, he screams.

The war boys laugh venomously at his jerking body as the Mechanic keeps the taser held against Max for a further agonising minute. Every second that ticks by feels like an eternity in hell. Then it stops. Max’s wild eyes fill with pain and fear.
“You asked for it, sunshine” The Mechanic falls back leaving to Max in a heaving wreck. A purple burning bruise quickly forming on his ribcage. The Mechanic grabs Max tight by his neck, holding the taser dangerously close to his face.
“I make the rules. Tried bein’ nice, even fixed the leg for ya’…you make a move like that again and I’ll stick this little bastard somewhere the sun don’t shine. You’ll be screamin’ all the way to Valhalla. Got it!?” Max bars his teeth but no longer fights. The Mechanic’s face is cruel as he continues where he left off. He forces his thumb into the bleeding cut on Max’s neck then raises it to his mouth, tasting it. Max watches him with horror and confusion as the smirk returns.
“BINGO! O-NEG boys! This one’s a universal. A fine catch indeed!...Lucky bugger. Fit as a fiddle too.” The Mechanic stands moving again out of Max’s view. “Finish cleanin’ ‘em up. Just got one last thing to do.” Max’s strains his ears, listening to the Mechanic sifting through cupboards at the side of the room. He dares only to move his eyes; glancing to the focused faces of the war boys holding him down. His lip curls into a snarl when Ace smirks in front of him and pulls the chains tighter.

Max tries to struggle against them but his limbs are past their point of strength. He can his body relaxing as the drugs that the Mechanic pumped into his bloodstream beginning to take effect. Two war boys move closer to his head, both pulling at his overgrown hair as he hears the familiar sound of scissors overhead. Large clumps fall. Had it really gotten THAT long? He couldn’t remember the last time he cut it, maybe years? He flex’s each numbing muscle, testing the movement and the strength of the war boys grip. For the first time since being in this room he notices that the pain in his knee is gone. Max can feel the new brace wrapped around it, the finer suspension much more fluid than his previous support. He fights back a thought of guilt. The Mechanic wasn’t lying. What? No. He frowns in irritation! Why was he feeling thankful towards the man causing his pain? His head is clouded; he shakes away the thought. Speaking of the devil, he is startled by the Mechanics return. He remains out of Max’s view dragging a stool across the floor to take a seat by his side. Max’s eyes narrow as a wooden box opens. His shirt is pulled up. He turns his attention to the child who has somehow crept underneath him, making a game out of collecting his fallen hair. A drilling sound echoes. Max freezes, eyes going wide his attention instantly snapping back to the Mechanic. With a few tests of the machines power settings, the Mechanic lowers the needle to Max’s exposed back. A war boy leans between his shoulder blades to keep him down. He flinches, the feeling of the Mechanic’s surprisingly soft hands are much more disturbing than the needles sting. The Mechanic grunts, expecting more of a fight from the feral. He hums to himself as he tattoos instructions onto his new blood bag:

 

‘No Name.
No Lumps No Bumps Full Life Clear
Two good eyes No Busted Limbs
Piss OK Genitals Intact
Multiple Scars Heals fast
O-NEGATIVE HI-OCTANE
UNIVERSAL DONOR
Lone Road Warrior Rundown
on the Powder lakes V8
No Guzzolene No Supplies

ISOLATE PSYCHOTIC
Keep Muzzled…’

Chapter Text

Max lies still, attempting to ignore the mocking looks from Ace and the stinging to his back as he continues to watch the child below him. His hair and beard has been cut back, his head feeling lighter as the war boys tidy any remaining strands. The buzzing stops as the Mechanic raises his goggles to inspect his handiwork. Using a rag to wipe away the sweat and blood covering Max’s back he reveals the new black tattooed words underneath. Positive that the drugs have taken affect and that Max will not move, he nods to the war boy holding his shoulders down. The boy steps away carefully, ready to return back to his position if he is needed. Max frowns, noticing the weight shift from his stinging back. Straining his ears he listens to the war boy as he moves to the back of the room. The sizzling of metal grabs his attention; growing louder as it approaches. Whatever it is, it does not sound good. It sounds hot. Painfully hot. Max’s eyes widen with fear, his instincts kicking in as his brain clicks together the pieces of unseen information. To them he is a thing. He may be rare but he is property. Nothing more than livestock. They’re going to brand him.

It all happens quickly. Max thrashes, catching his captors off guard. Fuelled by adrenaline he battles through the pain and drugs, using all the power he can manage to twist his body. He bucks hard with his back legs, striking the approaching war boy in the chest. He crashes backwards, falling into the boy holding attempting to restrain Max’s legs and sending them both to the ground. With all attention turning to what just happened in the back. Max pulls his arms towards his chest in sudden movement causing the chains to slip through Ace’s grip. Regaining free use of his limbs, he forces an elbow into the Mechanic’s ribs to push him away from his back. Max jumps upwards, landing a punch on the final war boy in his now clear path; he bolts out of the room. The Mechanic cowers away in the chaos. Max’s feet hit the ground faster as he charges through the stone hallways, blood finding its way back into his feet as he ignores the numbing effect of the drugs. As far as he is concerned, this is the only chance he will get. The thundering jeers of the War Boys giving chase behind him forces him to run faster. Skidding as he almost crashes into a wall, he takes a sharp turn right heading through another corridor. He dares turn around as he reaches the room at the end.

A workshop, he quickly recognises his mangled Interceptor being customised. The rooms filled with confused war boys and black thumbs. Hesitating, he glimpses back the way he came. His pursuers are hot on his heels. Forward is his only hope, although he has no idea of where he is going. Max takes flight again, jumping over the hood of his own car and darting through another corridor, narrowly missing the grasp of his pursuers as they launch themselves towards him. They easily scale the car and continue chasing. Max is at full sprint when he hits a junction. Left or right? Right! Soon he finds himself in waist high water. The resistance forces him to slow down, desperately trying to reach the other side. War boys cut him off ahead. The others cut him off from behind. He’s trapped. His eyes dart in panic, finding pipes beside him. He looks up, sunlight. Freedom. Max climbs onto the pipes, scaling the wall using the dangling chains. A war boy manages to grab hold of his foot but he kicks him off and sends him into the water. Freedom is so close he can almost touch it, he can see the green plants, feel the sun hitting his face. Max continues to climb until he reaches the ceiling. He grabs hold on the bars preventing him from success and hangs just out of the war boy’s reach. Now what? He stares upward, startled by the eyes of the young girl who meets him.

“MAX? Max? Is that you? Where were you?” Max stares in disbelief. The pause gives the war boys the advantage they needed as one runs across the wall and jumps to grab hold of Max’s dangling legs. Max’s grip slips as he is pulled down and crashes into the water below. He is submerged, the girls face meets his eyes again as whispers fill his ears.
“Help us.”
“Where were you?”
“Help us Max”
“Where were you Max?”
Max opens his mouth to shout his answer, the air escaping his mouth. Rough hands grab at him at the same time as he jumps out of the water. He thrashes in the war boy’s hands, causing them to slip and loose their hold on him. Adrenaline continues to push Max forward, fear and anger from the past taunt him as he finds a clearing and darts out of the water. Still shackled his hands, he grabs the neck of the only war boy who blocks his path. Choking him briefly, he throws the boy into the others in the water. They fall like bowling pins, giving Max a few precious seconds to continue his escape. But they don’t stay down for long.

Max keeps running, panting as he pushes his way through doors and flies through empty corridors. Must Escape. Keep Running. The hallucinations in his path test his strength. Ahead, sunlight leaks through a doors frame. Must not stop.
“Stop running, Max!”
“STOP RUNNING!”
“You let us die”
“YOU LET US DIE!” Keep running.
YOU PROMISED TO HELP US!”
Max reaches the door, shoving it open with all the force he has left. STOP. Max slams his brakes, staring down the nose of death itself in the form of a one hundred foot drop. His head spins from the sudden vertigo. He had forgotten that he was in a tower. No way down. Max looks up. Is that green up there? Wires with cranes are hanging overhead. As one passes close by, Max glances back. The war boys are only feet away. He takes three steps. Then he runs, faster than he has ran before…and jumps.

He reaches forward; his chained hands perfectly catching the hook of a passing crane. It was a madman’s leap of faith. The moment of success fades quickly. Max swings back, the hands of the war boys reaching out to grab him. One catches his leg as the crane swings away again; the boy is dragged over the edge as the others cheer.
“WITNESS!” Max stares in horror as the body falls to the ground with a grin. He kicks his legs attempting to regain some control of the cranes swing. Hooked poles reach out to him as the war boys laugh.
“GET ‘EM! GET ‘EM!” They catch onto on of the wires, pulling Max back into their grasp. Yet again, his freedom is stolen. Max fights back hard, kicking and thrashing his legs in a deadly tug of war over his own body, but the war boys outnumber him. They pull him closer and closer, eventually holding him by his waist while some unhitch the chain from the crane. Max has one final look out to the freedom he once knew as the war boys pull him back into the darkness. One covers his face with rubber, robbing him of his sight and air whilst others restrain his arms and legs. The doors are closed. The war boys laugh, cheering and shouting their success in his ears.
“Stupid blood bag!”
“Thought you could get away, huh?”
“Too fast for you, filthy smeg!”
“Bloody feral just threw Buzz off the edge!”
“MEDIOCRE!”
“You’ll be shredded for that one”
The familiar rough hands dig into Max’s already tortured skin, dragging him back through the corridors, back to hell.

Chapter Text

“Batshit crazy, this one…” Max’s body tenses, the very sound of the cruel Organic Mechanic’s voice sends his blood running cold. He struggles against the many hands preventing him from making another escaping. The scents of sweat, blood and guzzoline flood his senses as he’s realises he is back to where he started
“We got ‘em Organic!”
“Just in time too. Daft beast was tryin’ to jump off the East Tower.”
“Your juice ain’t keepin’ em’ down Organic, gonna need something stronger.” Some war boy’s shift their grip as Max finds his knees disappearing from under him with barley enough time to brace the pain of hitting the cold metal table. Heavy boots pin him down, digging into their spiked heels his spine. The rubber sheet cover his face is lifted. Thrashing and growling with anger, Max’s eyes take a moment to adjust to the lighting. Once again he is trapped. Once again his vision is filled by Dr Dipstick’s smug grin.
“Enjoy your little jont? What did I say about pulling stunts?” Max glares, fury building in his heaving chest as he unsuccessfully makes a launch for the Organic Mechanic’s throat. The Organic doesn’t budge, he grunts with amusement knowing his feral blood bag is restricted.
“Get that muzzle on ‘em.” A pair of painted white hands grabs hold of Max’s forehead, forcing it backwards as another holds his jaw shut. Now he growls, like a rabid dog foaming through his teeth. Every muscles shaking with rage in another struggle, but it’s quickly subsided by a punch landing in his injured ribs. The pain stuns the fire within him. The older war boy, who he knows as Ace, steps forward to fit a cold metal contraption over his head which covers his face. Max is not claustrophobic but the sudden inability to move his neck without a piercing pain makes the vomit rise in his throat. He can tell the muzzle is one of the Organic’s own inventions; with a spiked fork fixed in front of his mouth and a pronged plate covering his nose, designed to prevent any chance Max has of dishing out another bite. Once secure, Ace locks the muzzle tight with a padlock and hands the single key over to the patiently waiting Organic Mechanic. Max flinches at the taser that has now appeared in his other hand.

The Organic gives him a few seconds to adjust to his new restraints before raising the taser to his sensitive ribs. Grabbing a fist full of Max’s hair, he forces his neck into an awkward angle to look up at him. The cold metal of the muzzle cuts deep into the back of his neck and face; a whimper slips from his mouth as he tenses up in fear of a second shock over the steadily bruising skin.
“You’re startin’ to loose my patience, boy. Only reason your still alive is because your useful. Now you better shut up and keep still.” Without looking away from Max he addresses the war boys, “Best to grab a few bags”. Max frowns with confusion as two war pups step forward with four large sandbags, attaching one to each of his limbs to weight him down. Any remaining movement is gone, he struggles against them, unable to move even an inch. Now he’s vulnerable. He cant get out of it this time. Max fixes his eyes on the Organic, who holds out a hand to receive the sizzling branding iron from Ace. The heavy boots dig further into his spine, as if the sandbags weren’t enough to keep him down. Eyes widening, Max stares as the flaming screaming skull passes over his head. The Organic gets the iron into position as Max squeezes his eyes shut with fear, bracing for the inevitable. Then with less warning than he had dared hoped for; it hits him.

The screams could undoubtedly be heard throughout the Citadel. Max’s teeth clench so hard around the gag he swears he could feel them begin to grind and shatter. He wishes they did; he wishes for a beating, the knife, the taser, to be shot, anything! It has to be better than this. The top of his spine is on fire; the stench and smoke of his own bubbling skin under the iron as it fills the room. His body is in shock, unable to move, every sense focusing on the searing inescapable pain. The few seconds pass as if they were an eternity in hell. Even after the Organic peals the iron away, the burning sensation scars both Max’s body and his memory. Finally, his body goes limp, his racing heart betraying him as it pounds against his injured rib cage.
“Righto boys, throw ‘em into number 4. No food. No water. Three days.” He bends to Max’s eye level, “See if that changes your tune…we own you. Better get used to it.” Max snarls, as the Organic pats the side of his face then takes a step back. The war boys react quickly to their orders, manhandling Max off the table and towards the overhanging cages in the adjoining room. Every step, every touch under their rough grasp is agony. The fourth cage is lowered; the war boys lengthen the chain holding Max’s feet and hook it the top before unceremoniously stuffing his injured body inside and raising him to the ceiling. There is only just enough room for Max to turn around; he struggles to find his balance in the cramped space as the cage swings back and forth. The motion makes his stomach churn as he desperately attempts to prevent the cold metal bars from making contact with his stinging wounds. Below, the Organic supervises until the job is finished.

“Cheer’s boys.” With Max secured the war boys nod, finally leaving him in peace as the Organic attaches a small sign to the cage before returning to his work.
‘FERAL: DO NOT TOUCH’
Like a wild bird trapped in a cage, Max fights for hours; rattling and hammering the metal bars with hopes of finding a fault in its design. Hope is foolish. It doesn’t take long for him to tire; the days of struggle begins to take its toll. Max feels his adrenaline finally slow as his heartbeat returns to some normality. He investigates his surroundings, warily noticing another man caged beside him, asleep. As night falls, the Organic Mechanic retreats to his own chambers. Saving what little strength he has left, he shifts to sit down attempting to find the least uncomfortable position. Max quiets down and closes his eyes, trying to disassociate himself form the pain of his throbbing limbs and aching muscles; his swollen back and burns sting against the cold metal of the cage; his face rubbed raw and blistering from the muzzle; his body shivering in the cold of the night and now… all the stress was giving him a migraine. He can’t shake off the ringing in his ears as the whispers sneaking their way back into his mind.
“You left us Max”
“Where did you go?”
“What have you done Max?”
“MAX!”
This is going to be a long night.

Chapter Text

He was right. A sleepless night does nothing to help his beaten body. attempts to stretch out his stiff muscles but the cramped narrow cage makes it impossible. As morning arrives so does the heat. Max is sweating, his breathing hindered by the intensified odours within the room as Citadel life continues below him. Revving engines, heavy machinery and the occasional chant of the war boys echo into the chambers. For the first few hours he is left alone with his thoughts, recalling a war boy call him blood bag, he is curious as to what that involves. And assumes that it is also the purpose of the man beside him in a similar situation. The man doesn’t talk, Max only hears the occasional whimper and cries of a broken soul. A whistling tune echoes though the small room and fills Max’s ears. He glances over he see the Organic distributing water and food rations to the other blood bag. Max growls dangerously as the Organic turns to approach his own cage with a teasing smirk. He doesn’t turn, his neck twinges from the previous day. Each tiny movement is agony. The Organic chuckles lightly.
“Mornin’ to you too.” His eyes scan over Max - not seeming overly concerned with his condition despite the clearly visible bruises and starts of an infection– before downing the remaining water rations for himself and returning to his work. Laughing to himself as Max licks at his lips.

Max learns quickly of the way things go around here. The room doubles as both an infirmary and the Organics personal workshop. Numerous war boys enter and exit daily in search of medication for their untreatable conditions. Considering the size of the Citadel, and the relaxed attitude of the Organic who spends most of his time sitting with his feet up and picking his nose, Max figures that it has been a quiet day. As the day goes on, the heat within the Citadel grows. Max tries to ignore the dry itching in his throat, he is used to not eating; plus the lizard from a few days ago was enough to top him up, but having little to drink after his last bowl of water is beginning to show. It took them three days to get to the Citadel and that had taken most of his energy. He had since been here for two days. Max was well used to living with little. Life in the desert had toughened his system. Though he wasn’t sure how much longer he could last running on empty. As evening fell, the Organic dished out a second ration to the other blood bag. Max watches with both curious and disgusted as the rugged man wolfed down the sloppy meal of what he could only guess to be scraps of god knows what. The Organic remains with the same smirk and Max knows its intent. He’s trying to break him, make him beg and promise to obey in return for the food he craves. It reminded Max of the techniques from days gone by to train feral animals. Lure them with food, gain their trust, and then control them. Like hell would he let them win.

Two war boy’s enter the infirmary, one panting heavily with sweat as the other supports him. The Organic gestures for them as they take a seat and they do so below Max’s cage.
“What’s it this time?”
“Night fever again” Max’s eyes narrow recognising the voice, looking out the corner of his eye to the men below him, his eyes fix on the scarred Lancer, named Slit, standing over the sick war boy.
“Ah right, bring ‘em over and we’ll hook ‘em up…not havin’ much luck are ya Nux?” The Organic motions for them to sit under the other blood bag.
Nux chokes a reply. “It’s L-Larry ‘n Barry, t-t-there b-bitin’ again .”
“It always is” Max watches from his own cage, finally learning of his purpose as a ‘blood bag’. He watches in shock as the other prisoner is dropped from his cage upside down causing the blood to rush to his head. The Organic attaches a needle and tube between him to Nux. The bright red blood steadily drips down and flows into Nux’s veins. Max shifts uncomfortably in his cage. His anger builds, as he understands what will happen to him. He can’t let that happen, he wont, there must be a way out of this cage. He turns upwards, ramming his good foot into the bars in desperate frustration.

The noise catches draws the other men’s attention. “Oi! Settle down!” the Organic shouts at Max but he doesn’t take the warning. Nux watches warily at the fury Max has gotten himself into as Slit makes his way over to Max’s cage.
“Hey Nux! This is the one I told ya about! Picked ‘em up on the powder lakes. Not to shabby huh?” Slit grins watching Max’s struggle, he raises his hand to prod at him through the bars. Max instantly jerks around and turns on him, attempting to grab the intuding hand with teeth barred and a growl ripping through his chest. Slit is too fast for his painful movements.
“Watch’it Slit, can’t you read? He’s feral.” Nux warns.
“Oh, he’s feral alright.” The Organic echoes, motioning to his bandage.
“Took chunk outa’ my arm yesterday. Don’t want to be stickin’ your hand in with him, mate. Still gotta break ‘em”. Max cant help but smirk at the Organics confession from yesterdays events. For once both he and Max are on the same page. He is dangerous and it is not wise to provoke him.
“Nah, I’ll sort ‘em out for ya Organic”
“HA! You’re a bit out of your league with that one Slit. Said it yourself…he’s a fighter.”
Slit sniffs at the warning and backs away as Max stares him down. If only looks could kill. He returns to Nux’s side as the Organic begins to remove the needles and tests the boy’s vitals.
“That’ll do you for now Nux, Come back in the mornin’ and I’ll run you again.”
Nux nods as Slit helps him to his feet and leave the infirmary. The Organic returns the other – and now unconscious - blood bag to his cage before returning to his chambers for the night. Max stays awake for a few more hours, struggling to find sleep between the noise, the cold and his pain. He attempts to stretch the cramp out of his shivering muscles and frowns with irritation as his grumbling stomach reminds him of his vulnerability. He battles again with his muzzle, tugging and yanking at its hinges, trying to ease the pressure from his now sensitive raw skin. No, they will not break him.

In the very early hours of morning, Max peels his eyes open as the sun, streaming through a small ventilation hole in the stone ceiling, hits his face. He stares blankly into the light, feeling its warmth and its torture. He wishes to be free of this prison. Though he wonders which hell is the lesser of the two evils. Here there is green, medicine, water and the safety of his cage. In the wastes, there is nothing but salt. A deep rasping sound pulls Max’s attention from his thoughts. He frowns as it echoes low through the infirmary; it doesn’t sound like any machine or noise that he usually hears rumbling through the walls. He twists in his cage to find its source, realising that it is coming from the caged man beside him. Now he recognises it, he knows the sound of desperation. The sound of a dying mans last breath. Max’s eyes widen, despite his own pain he instinctively moves to face the man as if he may be able to save him. He cannot, the cage holds him back. He’s helpless, forced to watch as a heart attack takes over the man’s body. Desperately, Max begins ramming his own cage, making as much noise as he possibly can in a bid to wake the Organic Mechanic. It’s useless, he has learned that the mad doctor must be a heavy sleeper taking into consideration his ability to ignore the Citadels continuous sounds. A familiar voice enters his head with every kick of the metal bars.
“Save us, Max!”
“Hurry, Max. HURRY’
“come on, Max”
“You let us die!’
With every kick the faces fill his vision. The man with the blood red eyes. The girl in the desert. A truck running her down. Max roars in irritation with a final hard kick. Growling as loud as he can with his hoarse throat through gritted teeth, cursing away the whispers in his mind. Refocusing, he pants heavily trying to ignore the tears beginning to flow from his eyes. All is silent, Max realises the man in the cage is lying peaceful, his chest unmoving. He was lucky; death came quickly.

Chapter Text

Max is alone. He never spoke to the man but cant help feeling saddened that the only person who understood his situation had left him. He sits in shock, staring at the man’s stiffening body for hours as the Citadel residents get to work. The morning heat steadily builds, filling the infirmary with the stench of rotten meat and bodily fluids from the mans quickly rotting corpse.
“Well shit.” Max’s eyes drift to the Organic who has finally woken and is now prodding at the corpse with the end of one of the metal tools from his belt. He pulls the rope, making the bottom of the cage open; the man’s stiffened form falls through. Using a dirty rag to cover his nose from the stench, he releases the chain keeping the man suspend, causing him to fall and land in a heap on the ground below. The Organic curls his lip and uses his boot to nudge and poke at the long dead face; Max can tell he is not impressed as he whistles for a small group of his war boy hands, who instantly appear ready for orders unfazed by the scene before them.
“Might as well let the wretched have em’… no use tryin’ to save the blood, been sittin’ to long” the war boys nod before dragging the body from the room and disappearing out of sight. Max watches with a silent happiness for the mans suffering to have ended, going by his age he could only guess how long he had probably been kept for.

The Organic remains in a foul mood, grumbling to himself about ‘stocks’ and ‘reserves’ whilst attending to his sick patients, if anything Max views his sorrows as entertainment. However, when Nux and Slit return later that morning and take a seat in the infirmary, Max’s smug smirk is stripped from his face, replaced by concern. No blood bag, no blood. He knows where this could go even before the Organic takes notice of them.
“Ain’t gonna lie to ya’ Nux… bit tight for stocks this morn’. Usual bag kicked the bucket last night.” Nux looks to him with concern.
“B-but you’ve got one right, Organic?”
“Sorry mate, that was the last A-type.”
“So what do we do now?” Nux pleads as an equally shocked Slit catches sight of Max above them. Max meets his eyes with a growl, seeing the idea form in his head. Just as he’d predicted.
“Just gotta hold tight till we get somethin’ in that matches your type.”
“What about this one? Universal donor right?” Slit suggests. The Organic laughs slightly, glancing up to Max.
“The feral? Na mate, I’ve been keepin’ em’ on low. Ain’t had much nutrition to back up the blood. Don’t think it’d do you much good.”
“Better than nothin’. Shouldn’t be hard to get em’ riled up then the adrenaline should give it a kick.”
“Guess it might”, The Organic sighs, biting his lip in thought as he looks up at Max who is already tensing at the idea crossing his mind. His gaze drifts to Nux’s pleading and worried face, no use in stressing the boy to an early half-life. He gives a swift whistle; two war boys follow his nod to Max’s cage.
“No harm in tryin’.”

The war boys approach Max’s cage. They pull the chain just as they did with the previous old man and the bottom of the cage falls away, but Max was ready and bracing for it. The Organic groans at the stubborn display as Max manages to keep himself wedged inside the cage. One war boy attempts to force him out using the end of an electric taser but he resists. The Organic Mechanic reaches inside the cage to grab hold of his leg and pulls hard, causing Max to loose his grip and finally fall out. His world spins 360 as he thrashes, finding himself dangling by his feet upside down. Max fights against his bonds, swinging himself and kicking his feet in an attempt to loosen the chains holding him in place. The Organic grabs hold of his muzzle forcing him to a stand still.
“Normal for his first bleed, should settle once we get started”.
Max watches with widened eyes as a war pup stands on the bench and helps to restrain him before passing the Organic a familiar needle and tubing. Max continues to fight, trying to shake of the Organic as he feeds the tubing through a conveniently made holster in his muzzle and attaches the needle to the end. He wastes no time in forcing the rusted needle into one of the veins in Max’s neck and attaches the opposite end to Nux. A matching needle now in his arm, the Organic holds up the tubing to allow the treasured red blood to make a steady stream.

It isn’t too painful at first - he knows he has suffered through much worse but Max resists regardless, rage and confused fear pulses through his veins, feeling his own blood betraying him and rushing to his head. He’s helpless and vulnerable, something he has not been in a very long time. His instincts drive him to fight, but the more he does, the faster he looses his strength. Max feels his own body betraying him as gravity forces the blood to his head and pushes it through the tube. His thumping heart rattles against his ribcage, every beat ringing in his ears and vibrating through his strained veins. Quickly growing lightheaded and dizzy, Max struggles to keep his eyes open, his mind is throbbing as he fights the fall soothing retreat into darkness. He must stay awake. Stay alert. Shaking away the feeling, his occasional growl and groan lets the Organic know of his stubbornness. He will not kneel to him and does not want to be owned or used. Every second feels like hours ticking past at a snails pace. Sleep screams for him, but he continue to fight it. The occasional sharp sting from a taser keeps his anger and adrenaline flowing just enough for the Organic to provide Nux with what he calls ‘High Octane’ blood. Other than that they don’t take much notice of him; Slit leaves after an hour and the Organic return from his work only to check on Nux.

“That otta’ do it”. The words sound like a blessing for Max as the Organic finally removes the needles and tubing. Nux thanks him and leaves in a hurry. After studying the boy for hours whilst having nothing better to do than hang, Max figures that he is a blackthumb – going by the amount of dirt and oil on his scarred body – a useful skill out here…but where there is blackthumb’s there is vehicles. Max’s best escape option, if only he could get back to his interceptor. He only gained a small glimpse into what they were doing to her, the thought of it makes what blood he has left boil, then again, its hard to think straight at all. He feels week, the feeling from his limb disappeared long ago and he struggles to keep his swelling eyes open. Though Nux had left, the Organic was in no rush to return him to his cage. Instead, taking the time to examine the subdued feral. He scans over Max like a farmer analysing prized livestock, checking vitals and tending to his seeping wounds. For now Max at least knows he is obviously a rare commodity, being both O-Negative and the last available blood bag - therefore he may receive somewhat better treatment.

After final checks and ensuring that Max is still responsive, the Organic has his assistants return him to his cage and personally supervises him in the following hours. He will not make the same mistake twice; he can’t risk loosing his last blood bag with so many unhealthy war boys in the Citadel. Though exhausted, Max is aware. He still manages a growl as the Organic approaches his cage with a familiar bowl filled with water and a second filled with what Max can only guess to be some kind of potato and left over mash. Max glares at him, untrusting over the bars of his muzzle.
“Told ya’, its easier if you do what your told”. The Organic smirks, leaving Max finally in peace though under his occasionally watchful eye. Max stares at the bowls with anger and refuses them. Despite the smell, he struggles to resist the urge to eat, his stomach groans and his throat is dry and the loss of blood doesn’t help, but he doesn’t care. He will not bend to the Organic’s wishes nor be forced into submission but for now his body is too stressed and tired. Fortunately, sleep comes to him easily now.