That was where the picture started to form in my head. I do have to give some credit for the basis of my idea of a tattoo as a way of showing position and rank in this scenario. The root of my idea came from a series called The League by Sherrilyn Kenyon. While, at least in my head, the scene and background on the tattoos are different, the basis for it came from that series. So, please enjoy!
He rubbed his left bicep again. It reminded him of the tattoo there, and on his chest. He didn’t need to see them to describe them in perfect detail. The one on his arm reminded him of ancient Norse knot-work art his mother had from Old Earth. It was an intricate black and red band of knots. A thin line of blue ran through it.
“These are our people. They were warriors known for their strength and feared in battle,” she used to say.
The one on his chest was more complex. A band of the same knots ran across his left side. A pair of sai, his weapon of choice, were done in real silver. He remembered how much that hurt to get them, but he’d been so proud to get them back then that he didn’t care. In between the crossed sai was the Universal symbol for death. It reminded him of a skull. The skull wore a fresh thin blue halo.
He resisted the temptation to itch it. He wasn’t nearly as excited to get the halo done as he was when he got the original tattoo. In fact, he was just plain tired. Fifty missions. That was all he needed to complete. He would be a free man they told him. In his youthful ignorance, he never asked how many actually completed those fifty missions. He learned later that none had yet to make it that far. About half the time he worked alone. Sometimes he got to work with a partner. If he was lucky, he got to work in a team of three.
He gave in and gently rubbed the healing ink. It was ironic. The symbol of what he had become was over his heart but his heart wasn’t in it anymore.