Oooo, I recognise these people!
‘Do you miss it, Rico?’ Grint had asked, kindly. ‘Your hand?’ He stepped slowly around the shaking figure in the chair, blood dripping slowly from the stump where his hand had been hours before. ‘Can you feel those phantom fingers twitching in pain? Do you remember that blade against your skin?’ He chuckled. ‘Sorry if I seem callous, Rico, but we had to have an example. Besides, you fared rather better than your compatriots. Though that does remind me…’ He pushed a button on his desk. ‘Carol, please push recruitment. I want candidates from Major General Stanley and Captain Corcoran by 1800.’ Wood panels in the wall drew back to reveal a large screen, harsh light blazing through the dim basement. ‘Tell me, Rico, what do you think of your colleagues now? Seeing as they botched my operation, I botched their execution.’
Rico just emitted a soft groan. He’d passed out four times. He wasn’t strong enough any more to form words. Grint was right though.
He could still feel the fingers on his left hand, twisting, flexing, clawing as the serrated blade had eaten easily through the skin. That’s when he’d passed out the first time. The blood had trickled between his fingers, spurting from the wound and pooling on the floor below and he’d screamed. Oh how he’d screamed.
‘As I told you before you left, I do not take failure lightly. What were the parameters?’
Nothing but a scream.
‘No, Rico, that’s not it. I told you to come back with Erica Weiss or at least that damned Abbott. I didn’t even stipulate that they had to be alive.’ Grint pinched Rico’s lips shut, stifling the screams to a whimper. He motioned with his other hand to the hulk holding the saw. The hulk stopped, wordlessly. Unsurprisingly, as Grint had his tongue cut out.
‘See, Rico. You have promise. You have in your heart the makings of a true believer.’ Grint smiled down at the sobbing figure below him in a parental fashion. ‘I can make you into better than you are. You already showed that when you brought me back the fools who ruined my mission and attempted to bring me Mr Elgar. Not either of the two I sent you to get,’ Grint sighed, a very deliberate action that flowed through his entire body. ‘But it’s a start. A solid effort. A passing grade, some might say.’
Rico wondered, hovering around the edges of the pain, where this was going. Grint was known for his grandiose speeches. That and his thirst for blood.
‘Unfortunately, Rico, you did fail me. And so, I find the need to make an example of you. Hulk, continue.’ The massive man began to saw again, Rico’s screams fighting their way around Grint’s elegant fingers. ‘Will you serve, Rico? The New Order is coming. I have a space at my left hand. Will you serve?’
‘Well, Rico. I think you’ve had some time to ponder now.’ Grint strode through the room, stopping before the broken figure in the chair. Rico, flexing those missing fingers, watching the tendons in his arm for motion and getting nothing, stared at the stump. The Hulk had put a bandage over the wound, nubs of bone barely visible protrusions through the thick white material.
Slender fingers gripped Rico’s chin, hard, dragging his eyes to meet Grint’s. ‘I need an answer, my friend. Will you serve? Serve me, be faithful and true and you will see the honours I can bestow. I can see the seeds of power growing behind your eyes. True power.’ Grint was putting on his propaganda voice. Rico had seen it before, but never experienced it first hand. He felt the words washing over him, distracting him from the pain of his stump. ‘I can give you a hand like none you’ve ever seen. A new left hand, for my new left hand.’ Grint smiled.
‘How do you fancy finding hunting down that bitch and bringing her back to me?’
The Idiot in Tin Foil