I had no reason to trust her. I most certainly had no reason to trust the law-men. And yet I trusted her.
"Are you sure?" Lowanda asked me.
"Yes," I said.
She reached out and helped me up.
"Let's go," she said.
I followed her to the building where I had spent the night. As we went in she asked one of the guards at the door to see if someone called Raynor had returned yet, and to have Merran and this Raynor come to the interrogation room. We went inside. Through a series of torch-lit corridors we finally reached a steel door, bolted on the outside. Behind the small barred opening at eye-level there was only darkness. Lowanda slid the bolts and opened the door, straining against its weight.
She went in and lit a number of torches that were in armatures fixed to the walls. I followed her. At one end of the room a stone bench was built against the wall. On it was a pile of empty sheets of papers and some pens. In the middle of the room was a heavy steel chair. The padded backrest was placed so that the occupant would be lying back rather than sitting. Padded leather straps with buckles were attached to the headrest, armrests and legrests. Heavy bolts fixed the chair to the floor.
I forced myself to stay calm.
"A necessary precaution," Lowanda said. "When people come here they remember very little about the war. We're reawakening these memories. In the past we've seen very… violent reactions."
Merran and an elderly grey-haired woman entered the room.
"Raynor," Lowanda said. "I was hoping you would be back."
The older woman scowled. "I got back about an hour ago. I've got news, and you're not going to like it."
Lowanda sighed. "Right. We'll talk about it after we've finished here."
She turned to me. "Over the past months we've had to learn more about interrogation than we ever needed or wanted to. One area where we are making considerable progress is keeping our informers safe. We've developed techniques to minimise the impact of the recovered information, and nowadays the restraints are more of a precaution than a necessity. Raynor here has helped us to develop many of these techniques, and you couldn't be in better hands."
Raynor took over. "First I'm going to give you something to help you relax and induce a light trance. Once you're in the chair I'll use verbal instructions to deepen the trance and bring up the information that we need from you. I'll guide you so that you'll be able to remember without becoming emotionally involved. When we're finished I'm going to help you return to the here and now, while leaving the memories in the past. In all probability you're not going to remember a thing when we're done. Still, we'll be monitoring you for a while to make sure that no memories are leaking out and that you're not suffering any ill after-effects. Any questions?"
I shook my head.
She turned to Merran. "Please lock the door, and open it only when I tell you to." He went outside. The door closed and I could hear the bolts slide into place. I thought I could see him look at me through the bars.
Raynor then took out a small vial, twisted off the top and handed it to me. "Please drink this."
I did, and handed her the empty vial.
"Now, remove your boots and sit down in the chair."
I complied. Raynor and Lowanda buckled the straps around my head, wrists and ankles.
"Are you comfortable?"
My mouth was dry. "I… I guess so."
Raynor chuckled. "You're doing fine. Just take some deep breaths and give yourself a couple of minutes to get used to it."
Lowanda sat down on the bench and picked up the paper and one of the pens. No outside noise penetrated the room, and I found myself listening to the sound of my own breathing.
"That's good," Raynor said. "Relax. Let go."
Once again I wondered why I trusted these people.
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