“Are you kidding me? Another twenty-seven fucking Tel?”
“Civilians or military?”
“A mix, sir.”
“Why do the soldiers keep doing this to me? Do they not realise how much paperwork is generated by literally every prisoner of war?”
“A burden of bureaucracy, sir.”
“Arrange their transfer to one of the holding stations on-planet. I don't care which one.”
“Get them out of my hair as soon as possible. One of the facilities will be pleased to have them.”
“Yes, sir. They always need more bodies, sir.”
Those Tel soldiers unlucky enough to be captured in battle, or Tel citizens caught up in military disputes, may find themselves lost in the Elysian punitive system and eventually shipped out to Redemption Reform Facility.
Theoretically, such Tel prisoners serve as prisoners of war or civilian hostages. Rather than serving sentences, they are held in the punitive system until such a time as their return is able to be negotiated by their government or relatives. The large numbers of captured Tel, and stalemates in discussions on exchanging prisoners of war, mean that their chance of freedom is abysmal. Continuing hostilities divert the government's attention elsewhere. The attempts of Tel relatives to obtain information on prisoners of war are frequently futile. Release deals can break down after years of wrangling over terms. And some Tel military officials are too important to be relinquished, but have too much potential utility to be executed.
Once incarcerated, it is easy to identify many Tel: a significant negative attribute in this era. Tel names are unmistakable, and the deactivation shield on their voting implants (if they chose to have the implants) renders them bulky and uniform. This recognition also allows the Tel to join their own; they seek comfort in their own language and customs, and seek safety in numbers.
Conversely, this allows those Elysians wishing to vent anger, or who have suffered in the war, to find easy targets. Many Elysians, including prison officers, see the prisoners of war as nothing short of enemies in their midst.
The mutual understanding that it is safer to stick by other Tel leads to the formation of prisoner of war gangs in colonies throughout Elysian airspace. This faction has no specific attitudes or motives on which it is founded, other than as a small haven of Tel culture in a hostile environment. It is important to note, however, that not all Tel are in this faction. Some Tel stand apart out of choice; some are simply not prisoners of war, but perhaps naturalised or born Elysian citizens; some are members of other gangs.
“You. Hey, you! Quick. Here. Don't look so terrified; look at my arm, see? If you keep with that expression you'll mark yourself as a target, friend. A weak Tel is a sorry Tel around here. This way. Just cos you arrived with them doesn't mean you have to stick with them. They'll turn on you soon enough, once the gangs get to them. You want to be with us, trust me. I'll show you the places to avoid, the dark places the guards don't go, let them gangs beat each other up there. Let me introduce you to the others. And before you open your mouth, even to us, remember to speak Elysian…”
Passengers of boarded ships, troublesome inhabitants of invaded planets, and auxiliary military support comprise the civilians, whilst the former soldiers run the gamut of ranks from newly-recruited gunners to experienced pilots and decorated officers.
The prisoners of war have varied skillsets which reflect their pre-capture lives. Some from the military backgrounds have cybernetic enhancements facilitating their use in manual labour. This is employed advantageously: there are no mules, PortaBots™, or other beasts of burden on-planet. Engineers and mechanics may be recognised and deployed according to their skills. The diverse remainder of prior off-planet careers—be it teaching, manufacturing, nursing, catering or accounting—are dismissed as irrelevant. These inmates are distributed amongst workgroups with greater or lesser degrees of thought and dispassion.
“General Zhar Ro Zhist Vrak recalled to battlefront over planet DenVrur, sources indicate…“
“The Du Zrasnet, battleship of General Vrak, callous Massacrer of Kaley, spotted in new system last week…“
“Dreaded Du Zrasnet DESTROYED by our heroes in longest battle yet!!!”
”…General Zhar Ro Zhist Vrak Tri Dlur believed to be amongst enemy soldiers captured last week in war's lengthiest battle”.