Flux had only been in the cell for about an hour,
not counting the encounter with the *lovely* Agent Clark, and she was bored
out of her wits. Currently, she was sitting on the sheet that was to serve
as her bed and braiding three pieces of straw together as she thought out
loud to herself.
"So if all agents are sentient programs, then
they shouldn't be able to be outside the Matrix. But Agent Clark is definitely
an agent. Either I'm inside the Matrix, I'm in something like the Construct,
Agent Clark was a hologram or a projection, or there are actual real people
that are doing the agents' jobs in the real world." She shrugged and looked
back down at her braid. Behind her, the door hummed. Silvertooth stepped
through, followed by two burly men with police clubs and guns tucked into
their belts. Flux looked over her shoulder at them and then turned back
to her braid.
"Goody, the goon troop," she commented under
Silvertooth grinned. "Snow Queen has asked
me to prep you for her. If you will follow me."
"And if I won't?"
Silvertooth jerked his head towards the girl
and the two men moved up to flank her. "Then you will regret it."
"I seriously doubt that."
He jerked his head again. The man to Flux's
left moved forward and grabbed the shoulder of her shirt, hauling her to
"Do you mind?"
He poked the end of his club into her side.
"You'll do as he says."
"Oh no I won't."
"Yes you will." He ground the club against
her ribs. She jerked away and backed up. The man who had been standing
on her right followed her, and when she stopped, grabbed her arm, yanking
her back to stand in front of Silvertooth. The other man took her other
arm and held her still. Silvertooth showed his canines and reached out
to touch her face.
"After Snow Queen is done with you, I know
who we'll give you too. He'll rip you apart before you can touch him."
Flux pulled her head back, trying to keep him from touching her. His hands
were clammy and cold, what her eighth-grade English teacher had called
'fish hands', and they felt disgusting. Silvertooth turned and stepped
back through the wall. The two guard-men, which Flux had now mentally named
Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb followed him, pulling her along.
Going through the wall was an interesting
feeling. It felt like you were passing through very thick velvety smoke
or being brushed with a feather duster.... or something. Flux was more
interested in keeping her eyes open and trying to figure out what was going
to happen to her than being poetic about a wall, no matter how impressive
the technology in the wall was.
She was being led down a hallway like the
ones on the Death Star, (she grinned again at the reference to Star Wars,)
metal walls and floor and grid-ed ceiling with nasty fluorescent lights.
The hallway was just straight metal, but every seven or eight feet there
was a small red or green light near the ceiling with a number. Flux was
puzzled until an agent stepped out of the wall under a green light and
a scream escaped the room. The agent didn't look back, but nodded to Silvertooth
and went back the way they had come. Further down the hall there was a
cluster of lights in all different colors. Silvertooth went through the
wall first and then yanked Flux through. She noticed that this wall felt
different than the last one... more like one of those pin-image things
being drug over her skin. Then Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb came through,
still behind her, holding on to each of her arms.
This wing of the building, the 'holding facility'
had glass, or at least, see-through something lining the hall, and a display
stand in front of each window like a zoo reader-board, telling you
what each animal was, where it came from and all that... stuff. Flux stretched
to see what was on the readerboards....
It was statistics.
Pain tolerance level, level of heat withstood,
depth of cold tolerance.
Silvertooth had paused in front of one of
readerboards and was looking into the window.
"Bring her over."
The Tweedles pushed her over to stand next
to him. He pointed down into the cell. It was a two stories. The person
stayed on the bottom story, and was viewed from above by the people on
the walkway. Flux looked down. There was someone in the cell- he wasn't
looking up, but just looking at the back of his head Flux was scared......
It looked like Mouse.
As if he could read her mind, Silvertooth
gave a malicious chuckle. He pushed a button on the display-board. Electricity
licked out from a socket on the wall of the cell, jolting the occupant.
He looked up, angry, directly at Silvertooth, Flux and the Tweedles. Flux's
knees almost gave out in relief. It wasn't Mouse... too old, and now that
she looked closer, too muscular... but it had still scared the shit out
of her. Silvertooth saw her sag in relief.
"Mael." he explained, giving her a name. "He's
our record holder right now." He gestured to the statistics on the
reader-board. "Also the most hostile and violent one of you we've
picked up." There was a clang from the window. Flux jerked. Mael was standing
there with an aluminum disc, and there was another lying on the ground
in front of him. As she watched, he screamed something she couldn't understand
and then hurled the one he was holding at the window like a Frisbee. It
hit directly in front of Flux, and she started. Silvertooth grinned from
ear to ear like a Cheshire cat.
"He's going to be your cell partner. He doesn't
like having to share, I'll warn you now. The faster you tell us what we
want to know, the faster you'll get to move in on your own again. Be stubborn,
and you stay with him."
"I'll tell you something," Flux offered, still looking
"Which would be?" Silvertooth prompted.
"You're an asshole." She looked up at him,
then spat into his face.
He growled deep in his throat, and gestured
to the Tweedles. They pulled her away from Silvertooth and towards the
opposite end of the hall. Tweedle Dee gave her a smack upside the head
as they went through the door that made her teeth rattle. She held her
tongue, realizing it would just get her in more trouble, and let them man-handle
her through the wobbling wall-door and down more hallways.
As they got farther away from where they had
begun, the halls got narrower and narrower until they were forced to walk
single-file, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb bringing up the front and rear
with Flux sandwiched helplessly in between. Abruptly, the hallway widened
out just enough for three people to stand abreast. The Tweedles too their
death grips on Flux's arms again, and yanked her through one more wall.
This one definitely did not feel good to go through. It was like someone
was dragging a hairbrush of sharpened nails down your body. As she opened
her eyes on the other side there was a bright flash and the pressure on
her arms disappeared.
Standing in front of her again was Silvertooth.
Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb were nowhere to be seen. Flux glanced from
side to side.
"Where did they go... how did you do that?"
As an answer, Silvertooth reached forward
and slapped her across the face.
"You've asked enough questions. Snow Queen
is going to have my throat as it is. You're late." Before Flux could
react, he clamped a set of binders over her forearms. They were made out
of some metal-plastic alloy that stretched from three inched under the
elbow to the wrist and were connected by chain links in four places. And
they were heavy. The whole set up was connected so that your arms were
held almost naturally in front of you, but keeping you from moving them
more than eight inches apart.
"And just what did you think I was going to
do if you didn't put these on me?" Flux asked sarcastically. "Burn the
Silvertooth took a small thin black box off of the back of his belt
and pushed a single button.
Electricity shot through the binders, licking
around the girl's forearms. She yelled, more surprised than hurt, and tried
to yank her arms out of the cuffs. Every time she jerked, a new tongue
of electricity reached out and wrapped around her arm. After a minute of
watching her struggle, Silvertooth released the button.
"Now, if you will follow me." He waved the
remote control in front of her nose. Glaring at him, she grudgingly followed
him through another painful door into a small room. The light was so bright
it hurt her eyes, and she squinted until she could see clearly. Someone
was standing in front of her.... someone female... tall... thin.. built
like Miss America 2000.... The person stepped out of the light and came
"Silver..." she purred "you're late."
"I... I'm sorry. She was... uncooperative."
"I hope you took care of it."
*SLUT* Flux cried mentally, and clamped her
lips together to keep from blurting it out. The woman noticed her and walked
around Silvertooth to get closer. With a wave of her hand she dismissed
the Tweedles-they melted into the background until Flux couldn't even pick
them out anymore. The woman put one hand on her shoulder, right where the
bundle of nerves connected to the bone and pushed Flux down until she was
kneeling on the ground in front of her.
"I assume you are Flux?"
One side of her body had gone totally numb,
but she managed to nod.
"Good. I am Snow Queen, as you may have guessed
already. I trust you got my message?"
Flux barely nodded this time, the rest of
her slowly going numb too. All she could feel clearly were the burned places
on her arms. Snow Queen motioned to Silvertooth, who moved out of Flux's
vision. There were soft metallic clicking noises behind her, and then she
felt the pressure ease on her shoulder, only to be replaced by ice cold
hands holding her head on both sides, keeping it still. Snow Queen moved
around behind her and pushed her head forward, exposing her neck. There
was a scraping sound and then something cold and hard and heavy against
the skin on Flux's neck. With a series of small clicks, whatever it was
was jammed into the sockets implanted in her flesh. As the last one went
in, the rest of the connectors seemed to expand under her skin, sending
muscles spasms all up and down her spine.
"Do you know what that is?" Snow Queen purred
to her. All the muscles in the girl's back twitched once. "It's a transformer.
We're going to use your power to power the Dome." Silvertooth handed Snow
Queen something. There was a clicking noise and then Flux felt a cold metal
object go around her neck, right under her jaw. The collar had two spikes
sticking up from it that speared the wearer in the soft spot behind the
ears. Silvertooth clipped a chain on the loop at the front of the collar
and pulled Flux to her feet.
"Put her in the chair." Snow Queen ordered.
Silvertooth led the girl over to stand in front of a chair much the same
design as the ones on the Nebuchadnezzar that they used when they were
plugged into the Matrix. But this chair was a lot newer, a lot cleaner,
and it was solid metal. Silvertooth yanked on the chain until Flux sat
down, then grabbed her legs and chained them down at the ankles to the
chair. He then took the cuffs off of her arms and put her wrists through
straps on either arm of the chair to keep them down.
"So what is this, preparation for the dentist
from hell?" Flux almost bit her tongue off as she heard herself say it.
By way of answer, Silvertooth reached over and swiftly snapped the upper
bone in the pinkie finger of her left hand.
"You will stay quiet unless asked a question."
Snow Queen leaned over her.
"Like hell I will!"
Silvertooth snapped the middle bone in the
"You will stay quiet if we have to cut your
tongue off bit by bit." Snow Queen's eyes flashed a dangerous shade of
blue. Flux subsided somewhat, her finger throbbing. Silvertooth shoved
her head back down onto the chair's headrest and jammed a connector into
the socket on the back of her head.
It felt like someone had just shot her in
the back of the head, and she gasped.
Her head was on fire. She jerked frantically,
trying to get the connector out. She couldn't get her hands up to her head
to pull it out because of the straps across her wrists. She jerked harder
at all of the things holding her down. There was a cracking noise from
one around her wrist and she pulled harder, assuming that it was giving
way. Instead, the wrist straps tightened, holding her arms down against
the chair and almost cutting off circulation. She felt her hands get colder
and the twice-broken finger throbbed more ferociously. Silvertooth was
standing at the foot of the chair, and Flux kicked at him. The straps did
the same thing around her ankles, tightening until her feet started to
"You do know that if you happen to cut off
circulation entirely we won't be able to help you. And the straps will
just keep tightening up every time you struggle." He smirked. "I'm sorry.
Did we forget to tell you that?"
"Asshole!" Flux spat. From behind, Snow
Queen grabbed her forehead with one smooth, ice-cold hand and slammed her
head back against the headrest of the chair. With one smooth movement,
she lifted two wires twined with two tubes from off the cart next to her
and inserted the bare ends into a small box, The box clicked once, twice
and then beeped. Snow Queen drew the wire contraption out and held it up
so Flux could see them. Each separate strand now had a needle on it. The
wires were small needles, like an average hypodermic or a sewing needle,
but the needles on the tubes were huge, and hollow, like the needles they
used to draw blood. Flux stiffened.
*Where are they going to PUT those? Oh dammit,
I hate needles, dammit dammit dammit!*
Snow Queen handed the other ends of the wires
and the tubes to Silvertooth, who twisted the ends of the wires into a
small box and then fitted the tubes into holes on the side of another small
box, securing them tightly.
Pushing Flux's head back into the headrest
even harder, in one smooth move Snow Queen jabbed one of the wire-needles
into the side of Flux's neck.
Quickly, the other wire was jammed in to the
other side of her neck, and the shorter tube-connected needle was stuck
into an artery close by. Bright red blood started to flow down the tube.
Letting go of the girl's head, Snow Queen shoved the other tube-connected
needle into a vein on the back of her hand. Stepping back, she seemed to
admire her work, and then turned to the small boxes. As she flipped the
switch on the tube-connected box, it whirred quietly, cycling the blood
through it and back into the girl's body through her hand. Silvertooth
took a plastic package from behind the machine and stabbed it onto a hollow
prong-like device on the top of the machine, letting the liquid seep
extremely slowly into the machine. Flux felt her hand go tingly...
then it was crawling up her arm and through her shoulder.... She tried
to lift her hand to pull the tubes out. It wouldn't move. Her head
jerked from side to side in a vain attempt to dislodge the wires in her
neck. There was a hissing from the box they were connected to and
then an electric shock jolted through the girl's body.
Snow Queen was in her face, giving her a vampiric
smile. She tugged on one of the wires hooked into Flux's neck and then
cupped the girl's face in her ice cold hands. AS she touched her, the tingly
feeling moved over the girl's head. Flux tried to complain, or at least
spit out a witty comment, but all that came out was a garbled choking sound.
Her tongue was like fuzzy lead, and her mouth was dry. All she could move
was her eyes, and she started to panic, breathing faster. Snow Queen rubbed
her thumbs along the girl's cheekbones.
"Wouldn't you like to know why we're doing
this?" she purred.
The look in Flux's eyes was somewhere in between horror and fury.
Snow Queen smiled. "I'm sure you would. That's why we're not going to tell
you. Oh , don't worry. The paralyasis isn't permanent... not yet, at least.
It's only to help encourage you to talk faster. I'll tell you this much.
The electricity is stimulating all your muscles in turn, and we've deadened
all of your nerves. When we take the deadening agent out, you'll
be sore like you've never been sore before. And it will start to wear out
after a while. Just to make things easier. Your adrenaline is powering
Flux closed her eyes.
"I knew you'd be happy to hear it." Snow Queen
laughed. "So now, we're going to up the stakes a little." She reached behind
Flux and a keypad beeped as she typed something in with an evil smile.
Flux opened her mouth in a silent scream.
The room spun into a whirlpool of color, sucking her down into it's black