The knocking on the door got louder. The Dealer inside cowered, he knew the things he sold were strictly contraband.
He’d seen the two soldiers accompanying- who? Plain clothes enforcers, perhaps? He did not know, and he did not want to find out.
Maybe if he pretended he wasn’t there…
It was a stupid idea, and he knew it. But these were uncertain times, more uncertain than usual, and his mind was not functioning properly.
The knocker stood back. She was young, fifteen, maybe? She had a scary look in her eyes, a glowing sliver vacancy. She was elsewhere. The silvery-grey circle on her cheek marked her as a Savant.
One of the solders took his gun from his holster, turned the gage and then shot at the metal lock.
A purple-white blast of energy, and the door was melted off.
They found him in his pathetic hiding place behind the plastic sheet curtains, and twisted his arm behind his back.
The girl didn’t bother with formalities. She didn’t tell him that he was under arrest, she didn’t tell him his punishment. She asked only to be told where it was.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about Miss, where is what?” he asked, pleaded, protested again and again but the Savant vacancy in her eyes had an edge to it. It was the same edge that those few brave enough to look would see in the eyes of The General. It was ruthlessness.
She nodded to the soldier holding his arm. The Dealer found his arm being pulled tighter and higher in a direction it shouldn’t go, and whimpered.
“Tell me, where is it?”
“Ma’am, I don’t…” he gasped, shrieked, “Ma’am, I don’t-” a crack. He screamed. The soldier let his arm go limp, and picked up the other one.
Helena looked on, without pity. She had experienced the pain of death for her town and her General. The pain of a broken arm was nothing in comparison.
“Ma’am, it’s in the shelter. Underground, Ma’am, you’ll find it there.”
The Savant studied him. She could feel him dimly; his feelings were that strong. He was scared, but he was finally telling the truth.
“Good. Let him go.”
“We should arrest him,” the soldier said, dropping him to the floor. “He shouldn’t have… that Stuff.”
“Do as you wish,” Helena said, signalling the pale-faced Doctor she had taken with her to follow.
She knew these sorts of houses, the shelter would be accessible by a trapdoor in the kitchen floor. She didn’t need the dealer any more.
“Was that strictly necessary?” the Doctor asked. It had been a long time since he had witnessed such open torture.
“It saved time. He would not have told us otherwise,” Helena replied shortly.
“But torture…” the Doctor began. Helena spun round to glare at him.
“You’re a Doctor and you’re older than the General. I don’t see any scars on you, so don’t preach to me about torture. I know about Doctors like you. An arm’s an easy thing to fix, Doctor, and I did it for my town. Who did you torture for?”
“I’m different now,” the Doctor said, because he couldn’t deny her accusation.
“But what you have done is what you did. You can’t change that. I’m saving lives. Don’t question my methods.”
Helena pivoted back round, and the Doctor, three times her age, meekly followed her.
A couple more Calistalikes, which makes me happy.