Ben Venice II: The Season of the Scorpion 7



Major Quill sat on a metal folding chair, his wrists chained to it behind his back. The room was a perfect cube, with only one door behind him that he could not see. All was white and flooded with light from above, the sound of electrical buzzing filled the air. He could only see that glow, even when he closed his eyes.

After an indeterminable amount of time, the door finally opened, then slammed shut. Louise’s boots click click clicked across the floor. She grabbed his hair, pulled back his head, and jabbed a syringe into the side of his neck, pushed the solution into him. He winced in pain. He tried to speak but could not. Click click click, the door slammed shut again.


On the other side, Louise joined Ben and Bud.


“I suppose one of us should pay lip service and object to what we’re doing, here.” Ben said. The other two laughed.


“Too far gone from the moment you signed on, Sarge.” Bud replied.


“Just a moment of levity, pal. How long before he starts spilling?” said Ben.


Louise crossed her arms. “Not long. I suppose Bud has briefed you on the Order Of The Scorpion?”


Ben nodded. “He has.”


“Do you believe any of it?” Louise said, cocking an eyebrow.


Bud inhaled deep, then blew out. “ I’m not sure of much ever since my first ride in the submarine car, but if Bud is full of shit, I never want to know.”


“Can’t say I didn’t question it at first. Buzz was definitely on the level, even if he came back all wrong. His cover seemed to have swallowed him up. But I saw some freaky shit myself, Sarge. The Order is no joke.” Bud stated, rubbing his hands.

“I don’t know that Buzz even knew what reality was anymore. It was very difficult seeing him like that. His goose was cooked,” Louise looked sideways as she said the words, “we’re lucky we didn’t lose Bud, too.”


Bud looked down, recalling rough times. “It was touch and go for awhile. That Sheeba is some serious shit. I had to sweat it out hard on the backswing, but short the occasional itch on the back of my brain, I’ve got my shit straight. Buzz wasn’t so lucky.”


Ben slapped his comrade on the back and said “I know if anyone can hack it, it’s you. Now, we ready to crack this egg open?”

Louise tightened her gloves. “I’ve been ready to do this the last ten goddamn years.”