The room in which Tatter awoke was brightly lit and devoid of sound save for the gentle tapping of busy fingers on the keys of a computer pad and the gentle hum of a portable generator. The walls were barren, composed of aged, yet finely burnished metal. Numerous pieces of medical equipment lined a desk to the left and to the right, several crates of varying sizes were stacked one upon the other. Two figures were half-visible from the open-faced diagnostic pod upon which she lay, a man, at the desk, typing, and a woman, staring observantly at the occupant of the medical calyx. Tatter tried to move but found her body secured at the throat, chest, arms, legs and ankles by tight flexile straps. Significant motion was impossible.
“What do you want with me?” Tatter asked the moment her voice returned.
The woman, cruel-faced with a long, gray streak in her short-clipped hair, bent over the pod.
“I thought you gave it a sedative?”
“I did. A potent one.” The man replied with surprise. “It must be due the… peculiarity of her neuronal system. Soriya told me she was unique, but she failed to impress upon me the extent of that uniqueness. No matter. Its all the same for the procedure.”
“I trust you’re not becoming distracted.”
The man sighed with exasperation.
“I’m prepping the sample now. It will be ready for injection soon.”
“What are you doing to me?” Tatter queried emphatically.
The source of the male voice, a balding, clean shaven man wearing a light suit, stepped into view. He had a broad shrunken face and walked with a marked limp and leaned a little towards her, his mouth formed a gentle smile but his eyes were cold.
“Running some tests. You’ll be able to go home very soon.”
The man looked up toward the anxious, gray-haired woman with severity.
“Isn’t that right, Moreno?”
The woman forced a brittle smile.
Tatter stared at the woman a long moment and attempted to withdraw as the gray-streaked creature leaned down toward her.
Before the woman could respond another voice intruded upon the scene. One low, gruff, male and unfamiliar to Tatter.
“Route is secure.” the man declared matter-of-factly, strolling into the room, hands swaying loosely at his sides, hard, dark eyes roving over the medical equipment hastily arrayed about the spacious, antiseptic chamber. The newcomer was short, stocky and clean-shaven with a bandaged arm. Tatter recognized him as one of Vangr’s men.
“Good.” Grazen declared. “And the Director?”
“Holding on to her. Least until we’re clear of the city. Bartering chip, n’case we get boxed in.”
Grazen nodded approvingly and gingerly hefted a small tube of liquid from a thawing chamber and swirled it in the light. The bandaged man waited for the Grazen to respond and, finally exasperated, took a step forward and spoke emphatically.
“He’s expecting you to keep your end of the bargain.”
Moreno turned to the bandaged man challengingly.
“His daughter will be released. As promised. Though, we should let her rot given your utter incompe-.”
The bandaged man did not even turn toward the woman as he spoke, “Wasn’t talking to you.”
Rage starkly colored the woman’s face, her jaw clenching, brow quivering, fingers flexing. For a brief moment Tatter thought the woman would rush the man and tear at him with her bare hands.
“Tell him I will make the call shortly.” Grazen declared flatly, his attention fixed upon the large console before him.
The bandaged man nodded briskly.
“Do you not understand the gravity of what we are doing here? Moreno inquired, whirling to the bandaged man with sudden agitation, “Take a moment to consider the coming change. One you helped to foster.”
“That’s none of my concern.”
The bandaged man turned slowly and left off. Moreno watched the man depart and spoke softly.
“Ignorant, greedy fool.”
Grazen ignored the woman and deftly manipulated the pod’s control-panel and shortly a mechanical arm descended upon its occupant, producing a long syringe and sinking it deep into the prisoner’s exposed arm.
“That’s good. We are never more aware of what is important to us than when we are in pain.”