The pain made everything a blur. Alirio could tell he was being dragged somewhere, then hefted onto something, but it was all a vague, broad strokes sort of awareness. All the details eluded him, as even with the implant off, his entire body was still howling with the lingering pain. He could hear somebody whispering over him.
“…knows what it’s about?…the other one…no chance….I’ll sign the order. The Johns won’t question it…”
Alirio couldn’t be sure, but he thought it might be two voices. He blacked out, somewhat aware that he was in a bed, but not in the slave quarters.
When he came to, he was in a room filled with tones of beige. Everything from the walls, the floor, even the sheets of his bed were some variation of a sandy color. A small drone, smaller than Alirio’s head, hovered near the door.
“Good Morning,” it chirped, “Please do not move, as you may injure yourself further.”
Alirio didn’t move. He dared not defy the drone now.
Moments later a human entered the through the door behind the drone. Not a slave, this one dressed in one of the collaborator uniforms.
“Hello, Alirio,” the man said, more chipper than the drone, “My name if John Doe, but you may call me John if you’d like.”
Alirio still didn’t move, just watched the man as he pulled a chair from the far wall over to Alirio’s bed. He was short, with milky pale skin and brown hair, and the back of his neck was covered in small bits of metal poking through his skin. Some flat, some indented into his neck, and a few that stuck out like needles themselves. Alirio had seen this on some of the other collaborators. Most of whom looked just like John Doe. The pale man set a small case down on the bedside table, opening it to reveal several needle tipped devices.
The terror must have reached Alirio’s face, because John Doe smiled at him. “Don’t worry, I’ll just be probing your implant a bit. You will feel a negligible amount of pain.”
John removed one needled device, pulling at the end to reveal a meter’s length of slim cable that somehow had been concealed within the pencil sized implement. He then rolled up his sleeve, revealing more of the metal sticking up through his arm. He held the end of the cable up to one of the little bits of metal on his skin, and there was a click as they came together. He took the other end, holding it exactly like a pencil, and with his free hand pulled the collar of Alirio’s shirt down just a bit.
Alirio cringed as he saw the needle coming closer to his flesh.
“Excessive movement could damage the probe, or yourself,” John Doe said, still smiling, “Please try to be still.”
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