Strapped up in the dark, voices came from different angles. Depth perception lost, he couldn't tell where they were. Another fist slammed into his chest. Unable to tense beforehand, he was defenceless. Just as the pain raced through his neurons, another fist made contact. Some of the hits felt like bats. Bodyblow after bodyblow, softening him. Tenderising the meat before interrogation. It had been like this for several days. An occasional splash of water across his lips to keep him alive.
"Are you ready to co-operate now, Anchor?"
The taste of iron filled his mouth as the cloth was removed. He spat blood as far out as he could, only to hear it splatter on the floor.
"You do realise that insubordination will not go unpunished?"
He'd been to the Punishment Hall before. Her voice was familiar. They'd forgotten to use the scrambler this time. Must have rushed things in their excitement at the recapture.
He remembered her soft handshake when he first met her.
"Bex Cartwright, I'll be your caseworker."
A friendly face, if a little tight lipped. He'd figured it went with the job, maintaining professional distance. Not hiding venom, like a cobra in the shadows.
"The other voices... pre-recorded... but you're really here."
"Anchor, what difference does that make? You are bound and blindfold, powerless."
"I think you may have misread the gravity of the situation..."
A speck of dust dropped onto the blindfold.
"You shouldn't have come here alone, Miss Cartwright. Not this early. Observation deck doesn't open for another twenty minutes."
He didn't bother waiting for her spiel. The boring stuff about her bodyguards, how everyone at the facility was armed, how escape was impossible. He'd done his research. Pre-recorded messages with variable volume and depth field playback. Machines used for silent attack, hence the lack of footsteps alerting him to direction of attack.
"I can touch the floor. You didn't strap me up high enough. Cutting corners again? Funding dry up?"
No response. She was doing pretty well so far. Until the ceiling fell. As his hands dropped to his sides, he rushed toward her, removing his blindfold.
"Guess they forgot to tell you I'm fast for a fat boy eh?"
He held her at his side as his fist tore a hole in the wall.
"Call off the tranquilliser snipers. Do it now or I'll snap your neck. I know you're a telepath, Miss Cartwright. You seem to forget, I know the best. Where the hell do you think I got all my information? How did I know they sent you in for interrogations to prevent corruption of the pre-recorded messages? I got my head repaired when I got out last time"
"Where are you taking me?"
"For interrogation. If you behave, I'll kill you quietly."