There was a third Hummer in the caravan on the return trip to the capitol. The additional Hummer held the driver, three guards, and two prisoners. We were a pretty serious group on that return trip.
I am sure the two prisoners knew what was in store for them. The questions were few and obvious. The answers were likely to be both difficult to get, and difficult to accept, when they finally came. At that moment only the two of them knew where Williams went after that restaurant. Even they might not know where he was at that precise moment, but they knew where the trail began.
Back in the city the two men disappeared into the military headquarters. Not the one housing the generals, the ones housing the military barracks and the military prison.
Since the two of them were military, there would be no question of their rights being violated. They would be violated of necessity and custom. Torture is not an oddity in some parts of the world. Institutionalized torture might be. but only because it is not in favor as the worldwide norm these days.
Simon was headed back to gather intelligence in El Riola while I was cooling my heels in the waiting room of some Judge. The judge had to sign off on the torture. The structure of government wanted to be sure it wasn’t being done just for fun. Well also not because the victim was screwing some officer’s wife above his rank, or some such personal reason. If they could do it to these men without oversight today, then tomorrow they could be doing it to a sitting judge without oversight.
When we left the Judge’s chambers, Olivia carried the warrant authorizing the torture. It seemed like an awful lot of crap just to slap an extension cord on his balls, but then it wasn’t my call.
Olivia carried a warrant for only one of them. The arresting officer had decided which one would most like be the one to crack. He could be wrong and they might have to go back for the other one, but I doubted it seriously. For one thing soldier one knew there was nothing to prevent him being tortured to death, since there was a second one available for continued interrogation.
I entered the darkened observation room which was attached to the interrogation room. The prisoner was led into the chamber. Everything about that chamber where he found himself was designed to be functional and terrifying.
The chair was metal and welded in place. Before the prisoner was strapped to the chair a probe was inserted into his anus. The probe was attached to a piece of flexible white electrical wire. I was more than a little surprised that he didn’t start talking right away. The prisoner was of course naked and wilted as well..
“The probe in his anus is the positive electrode. The chair of course is the ground.” The military officer in charge had just confirmed what I had expected. I nodded my understanding and my lack of emotion.
“Trouper Estes, we are going to make this as painless as possible. You, Trouper Estes and you alone are responsible for the amount of pain which your must endure. In order to avoid all pain, you must simply answer all of the questions quickly and completely. Do you understand?” He paused a few seconds. When the trouper did not answer immediately the officer in charge hit the large red push button switch.
Estes screamed. “I will take that for a yes you now understand how this exercise works. So let’s get started.” With that he paused to consult with the file in front of him. “Did you abduct the American from the restaurant of his Hotel five days ago?”
The officer waited a couple of seconds, then hit the juice again. After only a second he killed the power. He waited a full minute before repeating the question. When the trouper didn’t answer again, he hit the power switch yet again. The whole thing got repeated half a dozen times before the man finally broke. There was never any question whether he would or not. The question was only how much he would endure first. It was almost always the same, I knew that as well as the interrogator.
“That didn’t take too long,” the officer said to me smiling.
“I expect your perception of time would depend on whether you had that thing up your ass or not,” I said shortly. I did not care for cold blooded torture. I understood its necessity and I was willing and able to use it, but I didn’t approve. I also understood the necessity of a bank and I used them as well but I didn’t like them either.
Interrogator: “Did you kidnap the American?”
Interrogator“Do you know where he is at this time?” Interrogator.
Soldier: “No, not exactly,”
Interrogator: “When did you last see the American?”
Soldier: “That same day. We left him with a comrade.”
Interrogator: “Where did you leave him?”
Soldier: “At the comrade’s apartment in the Pink House.”
“That’s the name of a lower class apartment complex on the edge of town.” The interrogator explained, probably for my benefit.
Interrogator: “I want the apartment number.”
Interrogator: “And the name of the comrade?”
Soldier: “Juan is all I know.”
My logic circuit did a quick assessment. Williams did not stay there long. In an apartment you can’t do any serious questioning. It creates far too much interest from your neighbors. So they would have killed him or moved him somewhere else to determine his value. relative to a beating heart.
“So are you going to allow me to go on this raid?” I asked.
“Most likely it will be just an empty apartment by now. If there was anyone there two hours ago, they are gone now I would think.” he said to me.
“Then there is no reason I can’t go take a look for myself. You know I’m just doing my job, which at the moment is to keep you sucking on Lady Liberty’s tit.” I said rather rudely.
“I don’t think I like your attitude,” he said in mild annoyance.
“That’s okay, I don’t care for being excluded from the investigation. I would rather see it for myself, rather than have you spoon feed it to me. Something about truth, justice and all that other BS.” I said.
A secondary officer came rushing back into the room. “Juan Vardis,” he said handing the interrogator a print out.
“Well, I’m just the interrogator. You will have to ask the Officer in Charge.” he suggested.
“Well then point me to him,” I suggested.
“Hold on he will be here any moment.” I waited and the officer from the morning’s raid came into the room. “Captain this is Ms. Stone. She wants to go see the apartment where your prisoner dropped the American. I know you are leading the strike force again. How about it? Can she tag along.”
“What do you think happened with Williams?” The captain asked me.
“I would just be guessing,” I said. He stated at me waiting for me to go on. “Tell me were the two soldiers turn coats or are they all working for you?”
“They are not working for us,” the interrogator replied before the Captain had a chance. The captain didn’t look happy about it either.
“Then My guess is Williams had access to the weapons, so he gave into temptation. Send a few extra ones and hand them over to the rebels. That is usually the temptation to which they surrender.” I suggested.
“So you don’t think your government is supplying weapons to both sides?” he asked.
“We might be that stupid, but I surely hope not. It would be like me dating brothers. I could get laid without any problem, but one day it would go all to shit, even I know that.” I said it seriously.
“Then sure come on along and let’s see who this Juan Vardis really is,” the captain suggested.
“Good, I’m ready whenever you are,” I informed him.
We went to the apartment before Jerrod returned from his mission for me. Without my backup, I was at the mercy of the Bolivian Army. I didn’t think too highly of them, but I had no real reason to see them in a poor light.
Olivia didn’t tag along on that particular trip. I found that not to be a good sign. It was something different from the last time, but there was no real reason given for there to be a difference. If the army planned for me to have an accident, they might not want anyone from the embassy to be involved. For some reason I began to have a really bad feeling.
The raid was a really good chance for me to get killed by the rebels. It would go a way toward cleaning up the Williams thing. Especially since it looked as though they could put that off on the Shining Path. Two dead operatives might make the USA decide to back the government and just cut their losses with the other guys.
Then again it would be nice to get with the rebels and find Williams alive. Taking him home would be a good thing. Turning him over to the Bolivian Government was a no, no for sure. So there were risks involved in this little venture.
I managed to get inside with the party who breached the door of the apartment. I was almost positive Williams would not be in the apartment. Of course he wasn’t. I didn’t go through the door first. I didn’t mind since I was forced to go in without a firearm. Even so I saw what the first people in saw. The place was a mess, but it was empty.
“I don’t suppose you have a can of Luminol?” I asked the captain.
“No, but I will have in about ten minutes,” he said getting on his cell phone.
While we waited, I followed around behind the investigators. Nobody came up with anything interesting until the crime scene techs and the luminol showed up, When they sprayed the carpet, there were blood stains. That wasn’t proof that Williams was dead, but it didn’t look good.
My cell phone worked even in the middle of a foreign country. I was impressed with the farm’s capabilities. “Hello,” I answered simply.
“Maxine can you talk?” Simon Jerrod asked.
“If I don’t have to say too much,” I replied.
“Got ya, I found out that these guys aren’t all that political. They don’t want a new government, just to make this one better,” he said.
“So why the need for the hardware?” I asked.
“They are fighting someone other than the government,” he informed me. “At least I think so.”
“Oh really tell me more,” I demanded.
“How do you feel about Christians?” Simon asked.
“I feel like they have the same right to be wrong as the Muslims and Jews do,” I replied.
“Well there are some really old cultist down here. They are anti religious. All religions are equally evil in their eyes. They don’t just not believe, they also don’t want you to believe. It isn’t just don’t you believe it, but it is also don’t teach it, or hold any services, or we will kill you.” Jerrod informed me.
“That is crazy,” I admitted.
“There is a method to it. The idea is to make the people with a little education believe that religion is the source of all their misery. It isn’t just that religion doesn’t help you, but that it actually beats you down. Religion not money is the root of all evil.”
“I’m trying to understand. Is that the official government stand as well as the cultist?” I asked.
“It seems to be at the moment, so the government is trying to suppress religious practices. In their war with all religion, the shining path is the easiest to attack, or so they say.”
“So Jerrod is the Path nuts? or is there truth to it?” I asked.
“What would you say, if I told you there was a little bit of truth on both sides of the argument. I mean you have priest learning to shoot AKs, and the government planning military attacks on churches.”
“And our man?” I asked.
“The priest said, ‘find Juan and you will find Senior Williams.’”
“Then we obviously need to find Juan Vardis,” I suggested.
“Yes, and Maxine Williams wasn’t just doing it for the money. He at least is a believer I don’t know about his boss.”