Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Koreshi Chronicles - Chapter VI: What Must Be Done

18 Summer, 1926

“You have to kill him.”

“I don’t have to do anything of the sort.”

Lyta held back a scowl. She’d suspected the Doc would be less than sympathetic to her petition. Still, he’d at least agreed to meet with her. She took a deep breath. “Look, if I’d had thirty more seconds back there before Delacroix grabbed him and drove off, Geddy would already be dead, and we wouldn’t need to have this conversation.”

The Doc steepled his hands over the small pile of papers on his desk. “But you didn’t, and so he is still alive. And in my custody.”

“Even better,” Lyta agreed enthusiastically. “It means you can do it right now.”

The Doc stared at her over his fingertips. “I’m not in the habit of killing prisoners who pose no strategic threat.”

Lyta closed her eyes. She didn’t point out that the Doc had almost had her and her brothers killed within the last week while they’d been his prisoners. She wasn’t sure she was supposed to know about that. Instead, she tried going along with the Doc’s reasoning. “He does pose a threat,” she pointed out in what she hoped was a reasonable manner. “He’s a mass-murderer. He’s going to kill again.”

“From inside my holding cell?”

Lyta wished Lukas were here, but he was in no condition to be negotiating. She’d found the Doc as soon as she was sure Lukas was in proper medical hands. She hadn’t even changed out of her blood-splattered clothes before doing it. Still, she wished Lukas could do the arguing. He was so much better at it than she was. She licked her lips. “Is he always going to be in your holding cell? Can you guarantee that?”

The Doc spoke to her as though he were lecturing a small child. “We’ll interrogate him. In my business, nothing is more valuable than the truth. And I’ve learned that the very best place to hear the truth is from the lips of a madman.”

“Right… And then what?”

The Doc shrugged. “We’ll find a use for him. There are elements in Port Arthur who would negotiate to have him back.”

Lyta stared incredulously. “To do what? Put him back in the diamond mines? He got out from there already! He cut an explosive out of his own neck! And then got away before the patrols found him! You really think a jail’s gonna hold him?”

The Doc gazed at her impassively, clearly unwilling to explain any of his further strategic thinking.

Lyta took a deep breath and tried again. “I’ll do it for you.”

“…Beg your pardon?”

“I’ll do it for you. I’ll kill him. Just show me where his cell is, and I’ll do it.”

The Doc looked appalled. “You’ll do no such thing.”

Lyta raised her hands in conciliation. “I’ll wait until after you’ve done all your interrogations, until you’re done with him. Just… He needs to die.”

The Doc leaned forward, the incredulous look still on his face. “How will you do it? A bullet to the back of the head, or will you look him in the eye? Would you prefer to use your own hands and watch the life drain out of him as your hands squeeze?”

Lyta looked the Doc in the eyes. “I’ll take a gun and put a bullet in his brain. Several bullets. And I’ll wait to make sure that he’s dead.”

The Doc cocked his head slightly and regarded her. Clearly, to him, this was all just a rhetorical exercise. “Geddy detained Lukas and did him no harm. In fact, he stabilized his wounds. He held Lukas no longer than I did earlier this week, and the threat was just as real. Would you like to put a bullet in my brain as well, Lyta?”

Lyta clenched and unclenched her hands. “No. Believe what you want about us, Doctor Chambers, but we do understand professional interest. You were doing your job. You were protecting your interests. I get that. And I happen to think that you’re doing more good in the world than bad. Geddy…” She took a deep breath, and then shook her head. “He’s not doing the world any good alive. He’s best off dead.”

The Doc leaned back and placed a hand reflexively under his chin. “What did he ever do to you that warrants such a personal desire for retribution? This isn’t the first murderer you’ve dealt with. Why is he different?”

Lyta stared at him. How to tell him about the diamond mines, about what she’d seen Geddy do, about what she knew he would do if given the chance? She took a long breath and stared at the floor. “He ordered that I be… violated.” She said it softly, as though just speaking it would make it real. “He would have done it himself, except that he was too busy torturing Baakov. If we’d been there another few hours, he would have, and then he’d have let all his people have me too.” She looked up, trying and failing to keep the fear out of her eyes. “You gonna rape me, Doctor Chambers? You gonna have your men hold me down while you do it, and then let them have your sloppy seconds? ‘Cause that’s what Geddy was going to do. He doesn’t just kill people. He tortures them. He rapes them. He makes them want to die, and then he doesn’t even let them do that.” She thought back on the scars on Christina Katchelli’s wrists. ‘It’s the only way I had out,’ she’d said, ‘and he wouldn’t let me take it.’

The Doc at least had the decency to look chagrined. There was a pause as he regarded his guest. “I understand your motives,” he said, the soul of clinical professionalism, “but Geddy has value to me alive, and none dead. I promise you I will take every precaution to ensure that he stays in custody until he dies, but his death will not be on my watch.”

Lyta looked down. That was it, then. She’d made the best plea she could, and it still hadn’t moved him. She nodded slowly. “All right,” she said at last. “But when he gets out and starts killing again, everyone who dies is on your head. You had your chance to make the world a better place, and you fucked it.”

Without waiting for an answer, she got up and took the three steps to the door, turned the handle, and walked out into the corridor, leaving the Doc behind her.

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