Maker of Makers: Part 04.
Colonel Degrelle hastened through a narrow, sparsely lit corridor in the depths of Van Effen Industries' corporate fortress on Adlerhorst. Every now and then he passed by sheet metal signs on the walls:
"RESTRICTED AREA! CorpIntel clearance required!" Trespassing equalled death.
Degrelle stopped abruptly in front of a thick metal door and received a hostile welcome from an automatic security system:
"Move on. Access to chamber F-242 is restricted. An electro-field will be activated in 30 seconds."
"Please wait," asked the security system, while a laser sensor scanned Degrelle's retina. "You may enter."
The pneumatic door opened and Degrelle faced a sterile, claustrophobic interrogation chamber, as well as doctor Graaf, a CorpIntel man and Renard.
Doctor Graaf was a prominent member of the RepPsych top brass. She wore a white coat with chrome insignia and a distinctly military cut, but she had no military manners whatsoever. Her wild, curly, red hair was put up slovenly with an elastic hair-ribbon and the long coat was unbuttoned all the way. Degrelle and Graaf looked at each other in mutual distrust.
The CorpIntel man was a weasel-like man with straight-back hair, mirror shades and smooth leather gloves. His hands were resting on complex machineries of pain. Degrelle did not know his name and he did not care.
Renard, finally, was strapped to a black dentist's chair from hell, commonly known as an "interrogation construct". He was naked except for a pair of boxer shorts with the corporate logotype, bathed in sweat and covered with black electrodes. Renard looked at Degrelle in puzzlement, his eyes all hazy.
Degrelle ignored the replicant and turned to the CorpIntel agent.
"So? What's the deal with the skin job?"
"Scopolamine and mescaline cocktail," the CorpIntel man explained. "Some voltage tickling too."
"Controlled neural overload. The subject is in a state resembling a nervous breakdown."
Degrelle turned to Graaf and raised his eyebrows in a silent question.
"He will endure an interrogation," she said. "A complete nervous collapse is not imminent."
Renard suddenly spoke up, addressing Degrelle. He had to force every single word:
"So...I'm a...'skin job'...now?" He suddenly laughed nervously. "I...used to be...a 'hero'...sir."
Degrelle's eyes narrowed down to two metal slits. Slowly, most deliberately, he approached Renard.
"I've heard about you, Renard. You're special. I don't like that. You're not supposed to be special."
"I'm...I'm not sure...I follow...sir."
"Well, I'm not sure I care, Renard." Degrelle rubbed his chin slowly. "You see, we found an interesting comlink transmission in the battle log. Audio!"
Renard's voice echoed in the chamber with a slightly metallic distortion:
"We'll be dead anyway if we don't do as I say." Pause. "Listen, Biomek has spoken to me. We'll die"
"Now," said colonel Degrelle, "it's obvious that you have been in contact with the enemy. A spy must have warned you so you could save your own neck. There are only three questions that have to be answered: Who is 'Biomek'? How did you get in contact with him? What information does he have?"
Renard was silent for a moment. Then he suddenly laughed hysterically.
"Speak and speak now," threatened Degrelle, "or we'll pain-treat you."
A nervous smile played on the replicant's lips for a moment, but he remained silent.
"So be it then," Degrelle said almost cheerfully and nodded to the CorpIntel man. "Neural distortion, three seconds!"
Renard's face shivered, all his muscles cramped - a cry of mortal fear. The torture ended as suddenly as it had begun. Renard gasped for breath.
"D-Don't! You'll ki-kill me!"
"Then, who is Biomek?"
"Biomek is God?"
Degrelle was silent for a moment.
"So if I understand you right, you're saying that God would be speaking to you?" He laughed malignantly. "You have no god, you lousy skin job. We're your makers. We're your gods."
"No... little man. You're only...Biomek's tools. You're only...a link. Biomek...created you so you...could create...us. We're the goal...of the creation."
The interrogation chamber became completely silent.
"In other places...other worlds...we...our kind...rule. The link has become...obsolete. So...will you."