“Well congratulations, Patrick, you’re stable. At least for now,” Director Levitt told him from across the table.
“Man, I told you I was stable days ago. I was only outta’ control like twenty minutes. Now does that mean you can take off this crazy getup you got me in? It’s like an iron maiden up in here.” Torturous device cannot compare to the deafening screams of my own tortured soul such is the guilt of what we’ve been a part of, but the ability to move freely might help free me in mind as well as in body.
“Yes well, we figured it would be better safe than dead. But your temperature has remained stable for a sufficient period without Yves exerting his power for us to be fairly confident that you won’t blow us all up to kingdom come. However, given that you could still intentionally incinerate us in a heartbeat, I’m afraid the restraint suit has to stay on.”
“Well, shit,” Patrick said. “Seems a little unfair. I wouldn’t even be here if I didn’t choose not to go around incinerating everyone.” Patrick could appreciate their precautions, but spending his days as the tin man wasn’t exactly ideal. He should be happy Mirkov didn’t kill him with the pain chip. But most of the time he spent internally debating which was worse, the boredom, the pain in his muscles from the lack of movement, or that his nose kept itching and he couldn’t scratch it.
“And we all appreciate that Patrick, but we’d appreciate it more if you would tell us what happened.”
“I already told you, I ain’t snitchin’. I don’t care if they kill me, but I’ve risked my family’s lives enough as it is.”
“What if we can guarantee their safety?” Director Levitt said.
“Like Hell you can,” Patrick said.
“Who are you so afraid of… Grey Snow? Or are you afraid of Black Rain?” Patrick’s blood chilled a little bit at the name and he wondered if they were measuring his temperature right now. Maybe they were just trying to see the fluctuations to determine if he was lying. Though he didn’t have much first-hand knowledge, Patrick was friends with enough juvenile delinquents to know it was best to just stay silent.
“Ok Patrick, you still don’t want to talk about them. That’s fine. How about your friend Jared? Are you willing to talk about him? Because we caught him too you know. And right now he’s looking at the electric chair unless we believe he was coerced.”
Patrick snorted. “Electric chair wouldn’t do nothin.” They captured Jared? Dammit. I thought for sure he’d escaped. Things spiral ever darker. This actually might be worse than when I dated that temptress Jessica, though she had a very different part of my anatomy in such a trap as this.
Levitt nodded. “You’re right, it probably wouldn’t kill him. But there aren’t necessarily legal distinctions for that. We will try, convict, and fry him until he doesn’t have two working brain cells left to regenerate.”
“Sounds like bullshit,” Patrick said, but without too much conviction. If someone told him they could legally lock him into a metal case that only had small eye and air holes he’d have called bull then as well.
“If you’d like to wait and see, we can always do that. And you’re right, Jared might survive it. But how about your friend May? Or is she just your handler? She seems too concerned about you just to be an uncaring Redartican task master. The first thing she asked was whether you survived and she wouldn’t answer a single question until we told her. Not even when we water boarded her.”
“When you *what? *” Patrick asked. They might be having second thoughts about that stability call given the spike in temperature burning through him. Probably a good decision to keep him in the suit though. If he’d been able to, he’d have at least smashed through the desk between him and Levitt.
“May is a foreign enemy combatant, Patrick, which already strips her of most of the rights she’d have as a citizen. Not only that, she is an enemy combatant with abilities, further stripping her of rights per the Human Weapons Act passed last year in response to the massacre that happened at the Destrian border base. Furthermore, her ability, as far as we can tell, is to create clones. Now we believe what we have is a clone, given that her real body, confirmed by both Jared and her own confessions, was found shot to death shortly after the fighting stopped. Can you guess the legal status of clones?”
The real May is dead? “Guessing no bueno?” He wondered if the other man got the Destrian reference.
“You would guess correctly. There is no official legal stance, but our lawyers assure us that we would get away with labeling her as a biological weapon rather than an actual person. As such, she has no legal rights of any kind. In fact, animals are entitled to greater protections under the law than she is. So if the guys upstairs decide to dispose of her tomorrow, there’s nothing I can do. But if you tell me the truth, Patrick, if you can tell me what happened, maybe I could convince them she deserves to be treated fairly under the law. I want to help you, all of you, but if you refuse to talk then things are going to get really nasty for your friends.”
If I rat on Black Rain, they might kill my family. But they could be a target anyways since we failed. This guy is probably lying his ass off about Jared and May, but if he’s not… my parents wouldn’t want me to throw away people’s lives to protect them. That was the whole reason I couldn’t kill Hargrave. So what do I do?
“Fine. You think you can protect my family? Prove to me that they’re safe and I’ll tell you everything I know. But you’re going to need a small army.”