Author's note: This was written shortly after 'The Angriest Angel' aired. I felt, and still feel, that McQueen went too far in his interrogation, so I thought Elroy-L deserved the opportunity for some 'payback'...

Comments are always welcome at KateM




Kate M

McQueen opened his eyes, blinking away the lingering haze of disorientation left by unconsciousness. When he tried to raise his head, his equilibrium spun in dizzy circles, leaving him nauseated and squeezing his eyes shut against the roil. He lay still, focusing inward instead. The last thing he remembered was--

The shuttle? He remembered going aboard the shuttle. Stowing his duffel. Taking a seat aft. After that it got muddy, and his brow furrowed in concentration as he struggled to assemble the scraps of memory into some kind of sense.

Someone--the pilot?--had announced they were clear to take off from the Saratoga. Why did he remember that so well? Another piece clicked into place, giving him the answer. Because of the voice. It wasn't familiar, yet it was. More, he'd been irritated by the hint of laughter in that voice, made uneasy by it without knowing why.

Then--what? There was nothing more very clear, only a vague, dream-like memory of looking up from the deck, vision fading as a blurred figure bent over him...

"It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood," a silken voice whispered cheerfully beside his ear. "Time to rise and shine, McQueen."

Recognition and awareness were simultaneous, pumping adrenaline through his body. His eyes snapped open, and he jerked his head towards the source of that voice.

Just inches away, the gun-site pupiled eyes of Elroy-L regarded him with mocking amusement. A bit of tongue emerged from the silicates' mouth and stroked its full lower lip.

"Surprise!" the silicate breathed.

McQueen felt his stomach knot into a rock hard ball. Somewhere in the back of his mind, old memories stirred, nosing past the barricade he'd erected to hold them at bay. Instinct took over, and he lurched up--only to be brought up short as restraints bit into his arms.

He sank back on the--what? table? cot? he couldn't be sure- -testing his bonds. Not tight enough to cut off circulation, but neither was there any slack. His gaze never left the silicate.

"How did you get off the Saratoga?" he grated. He knew what was coming, and though it shamed him in his own eyes, if talking to this thing spared him that for even a while longer...he didn't care.

The silicate straightened away from him, the eerie, hypnotic eyes leaving him for the moment. McQueen quickly scanned the room. It was no place he recognized, but he felt certain they were no longer in space. A planet then, or more likely, an asteroid he thought. It had the hollow feel of a prefab shelter on an airless world. The room was spartan even by his standards, the walls and floor bare steel, the only exit a single doorway on the opposite end of what was a short rectangle; sealed crates were stacked along one wall. Aside from whatever he was laying on, it was empty of furnishings.

"*How* did I get off the Saratoga..." Elroy mimicked coyly. "Not *all* humans share your archaic view of silicates, McQueen. In fact, some are quite sympathetic to our cause.."

"Are you saying you had *help* escaping?" McQueen demanded. It sickened him, but he couldn't imagine any other way the silicate *could* have escaped.

Elroy smiled conspiratorially, as though they were sharing the banter of two old friends. "That would be 'telling'," he said with a reproving cluck of his tongue. "Now though, our time together is limited, so I hope you'll forgive me if I dispense with the, shall we say--'formalities'? We *are* playing by your rules, after all.."

"What the hell are you talking about?!"

There was a momentary blankness in the silicate's expression, followed by voices. He was listening to a playback, McQueen realized. The first voice was Elroy's.

"'I have the feeling that you gentlemen are unfamiliar with the Ho Chi Minh City Convention of 2064. Under declarations relating to AI prisoners of war, article 2, paragraph 4 states--'"

"'Nothing that means a damn in this room!'"

The second voice was his own.

"I see you remember our little encounter," Elroy said without apparent rancor. "That's good, that's very good. I wouldn't want to think you didn't know why this was happening to you.."

Remembering that day wasn't the problem. McQueen remembered. Forgetting was the hard part. For no reason he could accept, a lifetime's worth of control had vanished in a heartbeat, replaced by black hatred so consuming it blinded him to anything else. Nothing else had *mattered* but hurting this thing, making it suffer as he himself had suffered--as Wang had suffered. It disavowed any capacity to feel pain, but McQueen knew better; he'd *seen* its fear, its pain, and enjoyed its suffering...

Just as it would enjoy his.

He didn't hear them come in, and only looked up in startled surprise when the two silicates began unfastening his bonds. Both male, both large, they bent to the task without looking at him, their faces devoid of emotion. McQueen had no idea what their original function might have been, but he'd fought this type before; they were impossibly strong, capable of breaking a human's back-- or an In Vitro's--like a twig, and they were harder than hell to kill.

When the restraints fell away, and he was hoisted to his feet, his muscles tensed but he made no effort to escape. They were expecting it, their grip on his arms sufficient to warn him against the attempt, and he knew any resistance now was only a waste of energy. Energy he would *need* to survive what was coming.

"You can prepare him now," Elroy said. With a seductiveness perversely reminiscent of a stripper, the silicate used his teeth to slowly remove one glove.

The announcement was for his benefit, McQueen thought. Silicates needed no spoken words to communicate with their fellows. He'd expected this, only not so soon, and jerked away in involuntary resistance when a heavy hand caught the front of his flightsuit.

Struggling was pointless, but neither could he passively accept what was happening. And..resistance was no less futile than he'd imagined. Their expressions implacable, one restrained him as easily as he might have a child, while the other methodically stripped away flightsuit and boots, t-shirt and shorts.

Cold air shocked his bare skin, but he was only dimly aware of the discomfort. Held up between them, his arms pinned back with near-breaking force, dread tightened his already dry throat when Elroy left off toying with his gloves and approached.

The memory of that other time was still sharp as broken glass. McQueen wasn't sure he could endure that again. Already, he felt a part of him withdrawing inward, and wondered, when it was over, *if* he survived this time, whether his mind would be left to huddle in that darkness forever, or return once more to the light. He thought he knew the answer, and it terrified him worse than death itself.

Elroy stopped before him, demon-eyes coyly shadowed by smoky lashes. McQueen bit back a curse when the silicate drew the back of one graceful forefinger across his cheek.

"So verrrryy brave..." Elroy cooed. "What are you thinking, McQueen? Shall I guess? I imagine you're remembering the last time you were our 'guest'..." There was another of those disconcerting moments when the AI's deceptively innocent face seemed to lose all expression, and McQueen knew he was accessing the collective memory. The amused animation returned to his eyes, and he clucked his tongue admiringly. "Oh, my.." he said. "You *are* resilient, aren't you? Three days. I'm impressed." "Go to hell," McQueen said coldly.

That invoked an amused chuckle. "Hell? We silicates don't believe in 'Hell'. But you do, don't you McQueen? Yes..I'm sure you do.." His skin crawled in revulsion as the silicate delicately traced the course of a fading scar across his chest with a fingertip. "Now..I know you were counting on a few more of these to impress your comrades with your valor, but I'm afraid there simply isn't time to do it right. By now I imagine you've been missed. They may even be searching for you," Elroy noted. "So..I'll have to improvise.."

McQueen's gaze followed uneasily as the silicate moved a few steps away and shucked its frayed leather jacket. The jacket joined its gloves in a neat pile on the floor, but it turned back to face him, eyes locked on his face for reaction, before uncoupling its belt and sliding the zipper down on its pants.

Dumb shock gripped him for a moment, then pure primal rage exploded in his soul. With an inarticulate snarl, McQueen lunged away from the hands holding him, the sheer force wrenching one arm free from his captors. The arm was half numb from being bent back so tightly, but he swung at the other silicate's temple and felt his fist connect before an open-handed blow to the side of his head sent him sprawling.

White hot pain exploded behind his eyes, and his head swam in queasy spirals. When he tried to stand, his legs betrayed him. Half blinded, he saw only moving shadows approaching.

Hands caught beneath his arms, lifting him as effortlessly as he might a child. Slung face down across the table, held there with his cheek pressing into the steel, he felt a presence behind him and then hands stroking sensuously up his back.

"What is it you carbonites tell your women? 'Relax and enjoy it'?" Elroy's punctuating giggle was childlike, and utterly merciless. The silicate bent over him, and he felt it's artificial breath against his ear. "You *will* enjoy this, McQueen," it whispered. "You don't think so, but you will. I guarantee it.."

A booted foot kicked his legs apart, throwing him further off balance, then the iron weight pressing down on his back crushed him against the table, cutting off his breath. Blood pounded in his temples as he strained to fill his lungs, and could not. A warm lethargy was enveloping him, enticing him with the promise of oblivion, but enough consciousness remained that he was fully aware when the silicate grasped his hips and shoved up into his body.

Even through the haze of dimming consciousness, the pain of that invasion wracked his body in a convulsive shudder and tears stung his eyes. His mouth opened in a soundless gasp for breath. Instead of the futile effort breathing had been a moment earlier, though, cold air suddenly filled his tortured lungs.

For long moments, the sheer relief of breathing again dulled the raw fire in his bowels. Vaguely, he was aware that the pressure across his back was gone, that he was no longer being restrained, but the effort to move was more than he could summon; his body felt limp, as weak as the day he was 'born', unable to protest the silicate's violating presence.

There was still pain, but...even that was fading with each deep, slow thrust of the silicate's organ. And, other sensations were intruding on his consciousness. The comforting warmth of the silicate's body pressed against his, shielding him from the cold. The brief, startling touch of lips on his nape, not avoiding but embracing what marked him a 'tank'. Hands caressing his shoulders, his arms, trailing down his sides. One slid around to his groin, and careful fingers encircled his penis.

McQueen's eyes squeezed shut, and he silently mouthed 'no!' as warmth spread through his groin. To stop breathing would have been easier than stanching the mindless response of his body. Jaw clenched in helpless revulsion, he felt himself hardening against the silicate's fingers as they caressed the length of his shaft with practiced skill.

It was as if his body belonged to someone else, and he had no more authority to command its actions... Fingers white where they gripped the edge of the table, he couldn't stop the groan that escaped him, nor ignore the growing heaviness in his loins that made him strain against the silicate's touch and match the other's thrusts.

He heard someone cry out, and realized it was himself a moment before pleasure exploded through his body in shuddering waves.

Awareness came back in degrees of pain. The first was cold. It dulled the myriad aches in his arms and legs, but did nothing to diminish the raw agony in his torn rectum. Slumped on his knees beside the table, nausea churned his stomach when he saw the congealing smears of his own semen that spattered the floor. Though he was beyond fear, he flinched involuntarily when Elroy crouched beside him.

The silicate handed him his clothes. "It's time for you to go, McQueen."

His fingers constricted in the fabric of his flightsuit, and McQueen stared at him in disbelief. "Go..?"

Head cocked at an inquiring angle, the silicate suddenly looked comprehending. He leaned forward, studying McQueen intently. "You want me to kill you now, don't you..? Yes..I think you do. That way, you won't have to live with what happened here.." He clucked his tongue reprovingly. "I'm sorry, McQueen, but I'm afraid you have to live. What fun would there be in putting you out of your misery?"

In a single agile bound, the silicate was on his feet. McQueen groaned as Elroy's companions hoisted him up again, supporting him between them.

"Take him back to his ship, and set its course to ensure he'll be found," he told him. "And just to make sure you don't self- destruct before then..."

Something sharp jabbed into his bicep, and McQueen looked down in time to see the needle withdraw from his arm. A bitter-sweet taste filled his mouth, and the silicate's form began fading.

"Have a pleasant journey home, McQueen," Elroy said. "Think of me often.."

The End

The sequel to this story is Retribution also avaliable at this site.

KateM 1996 .

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