Forge Netting 34: Small Talk

‘So, who sent you?’

‘I don’t have names so this whole torture deal which you are hoping to use is not going to work.’

‘OK, well, let me be the judge of that.’

The Engineer had not done this for a long time – he had not needed to; had not felt the urge to. Here, in this world of isolation for himself that he had created none raised a hand against him, and he was allowed to analyse and plan and engineer things as he saw fit. To have someone infiltrate this place and come at him was a sacrilege that he could not warrant.

She showed no sign of discomfort at being stripped naked; none of the usual humiliation. She took the punch to the gut well, barely any noise escaped her. He was impressed. He clamped on the leg irons and using a strength that one might not guess at given his stature, he hoisted her up onto the meathook hanging from the chain on the ceiling.

Crocodile clips to the nipples with wires running to an old car battery was an old and trusted method but it bore no fruit.

‘I would like to give you some information. It will not help you discover the name of my handler, but it may prevent you wasting your time.’

‘But, my dear, if I am wasting my time with you that will be the end of you.’

‘I would rather be dead than have you torture me.’

‘OK, so give me this information.’

‘I am not your usual agent – none of us tasked with these sleeper missions are; we are vat-grown clones and we are programmed from birth, through our growth acceleration cycles, to respond to the voice patterns of a person that we never meet.’

The Engineer believed her. He unholstered his pistol and shot her through the head. He had to admit that he was impressed with whoever had gotten this creature not only through his front door but close enough to actually have some kind of chance of doing him some damage.

This thing that had been created to carry out this task, what did that remind him of? That kind of planning; that kind of manipulation, and at this point in time with Ensign walking around … the only person it could be was the one who had set Ensign rolling along. This meatsicle shared her handler with Ensign. Did they have any data on that? Not as far as he could recall, but then he could be mistaken.

He heard the ringing of a telephone. A telephone? He walked over to her pile of clothes and reached into her pocket. He accepted the call.

‘Well played.’

‘Thank you. Your name, please?’

‘No one gets that.’

‘Oh, a shy one.’

‘No, not shy, just necessarily cautious.’

‘Afraid then?’

‘Far from it.’

‘Come back to regain control of your asset?’

‘Ah, so you have joined some dots together?’

‘You’re happy to admit that then? Not worried it will lead back to you?’

‘I have remained invisible for longer than you have been alive and I don’t expect someone, even an intellect of your calibre, to be able to follow this particular breadcrumb trail.’

‘OK, so I don’t have time to waste with chit-chat. Why did you call me? What are you hoping to achieve with this pointless small-talk? You tried to kill me and your assassin failed. Move another pawn in, bring a bigger player to the table, or forfeit the game, but don’t expect me to sit here and waste me time talking nice.’

‘You are dead. I was just doing you the courtesy of letting you know.’

‘Oh, for fuck’s sake, this is fucking pathetic. Go away and die old man. This world doesn’t need you and your circus games.’

‘We shall see.’