Just Enough Power - 15
Lonnigan sat down in the chair and lifted her chin. "This is bullshit, Wig. I just had this thing serviced three days ago. I'm not due for at least a week." The chief technician said nothing as he fitted the restraining strap to her forehead. She knew his name was Sung Bo Kim, but didn't know if he spoke any English. He'd never spoken anything but Korean to the other technicians, or to her when giving her instructions about lifting her head or sitting up or whatever. Still, that didn't mean he wasn't merely pretending not to understand her conversation.
Wig shrugged. "The boss said you had to come down for a battery change. That's good enough for me, ought to be good enough for you."
"You're not the one getting clipped and dripped."
"No, I guess I'm not."
Sung Bo Kim lifted the needle in front of her and said something that meant she was to hold still. Bastard speaks English, she thought, I know he does. They all do. With a quick swipe, he rubbed a spot on her arm with an alcohol swab, then, without waiting for it to dry, slid the long, thick needle deep into her forearm. He nailed the vein perfectly, like an Inuit spearing a fish. In a continuation of the same fluid motion, he started easing in the plunger on the syringe. Her eyes narrowed as she focused on the little pulse in his neck, fluttering gently under the thin skin just behind his left ear. It was a 50 cc syringe, mostly full. It felt like ice cold shards of glass in her arm, burning and throbbing as they moved upwards through her bicep. At her shoulder the pain fanned out across her chest, diminishing in intensity, but changing to a spreading wave across her body. She could almost feel it when the drug hit her heart; a sharp spike in her sternum, then just an ache, like the residual burn of a hard slap across the face.
Her vision blurred and the quivering pulse in Sung Bo Kim's neck was lost to her. He continued pushing the plunger on the syringe until its full contents were in her. With a smooth motion, he withdrew the needled and pulled the waiting strip of medical tape from the back of his hand to secured a fresh cotton ball onto her arm. He stepped away and Lonnigan closed her eyes. She strained against the straps holding her onto the chair. It was impossible to tear them free, of course, but straining against them helped to hide the full-body tremors from the drug. A flush of sweat rose from every part of her body. Despite herself, she was grateful for the box fan that Sung Bo Kim had set to blowing against her face before she'd been fully strapped down. He did his job with efficiency, but he was no sadist.
Through clenched teeth, she said to Wig, "This is not necessary."
"Lonnigan, the day Mr. Kim decides you don't need to wear the psi-suppressor collar anymore is the day you don't have to do this anymore."
"I'm talking about the drug. Tell Mr. Kim I'll wear the fucking collar, but Sung Bo here can do the battery change without the neutralizer injection." The big muscles in her legs were aching, and the tremors were showing more. The room was turning sparkly-dark; it wouldn't be long. "This is b-bullshit, and it's not necessary."
Wig shook his head. "Come on, Lonnigan, what do you want from me? You're a dangerous person. You and I both know that anytime your collar is off, the temptation to do something stupid goes up by like a thousand percent. I like to think that you wouldn't kill me on your way out the door, but that's not something I can count on, is it?"
She slid her eyes sideways to look at him. Would she kill him? Wig had been professional, even collegial since the day she arrived. He was the closest thing she had to a friend in this organization. Would she kill him?
"See?" he continued. "I can see it on your face. It wouldn't be anything personal, and you'd probably try to avoid killing me, but there it is." Wig settled himself in his own chair, shifting the Smith & Wesson from its place across his lap to the side table. He picked up his book and opened it. "Have a nice nap, Lonnigan."
He smiled. In another minute, when she was almost out completely, he said, "Oh, and Lonnigan? When you wake up, you can tell me who that guy was you had lunch with, and what you talked about."
She hardly felt the sharp pounding of her heart as the room swirled into blackness.
===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.
Posted Tuesday, September 06, 2011