“In life … You really sometimes feel like you’re behind the reins of a living, fire-breathing creature that wants to run and dominate!” – Pythonman
They [Becky and Colonel Grant] are in Colonel Grant’s ready room. Becky is mostly healed. Grant is admiring the slotted muzzle that Becky was wearing while being torture/mutilated.
“Ingenious, isn’t it? If I have to immodestly say so myself,” Becky proclaims, her voice bursting with pride, as if she’s either the principal designer or a major contributor, or at the very least had input on its design and use.
“Coveting another’s handiwork, are we?” Grant asks rhetorically.
“You could say that, if you wish. But, I’m not telling.” Becky winks, smiling broadly. “It allows you to do all sorts of interesting things to the wearer—a very small subset of which were done by Jake to me.”
“It was designed specifically with what species in mind?”
“Minbari,” Becky pauses, strategically. “But it’s quite effective when used in conjunction with a number of people and things. Tellingly, it’s an older model.”
“The design is ours or theirs? I’ve seen similar devices that both sides used [during The War] on POWs.”
Becky sidesteps the question of authorship, let along the implicit inquiry of identity and lineage, and in doing so in no way answers it to Grant’s satisfaction. It’s a wise choice on the Vampire’s part. Grant is probing with intent. The question is: whose?
“This one dates back to the last year or so of The War. Maybe, even a little bit before that … Maybe … late-middle.”
“I don’t buy it.”
“That it was initially designed for Minbari and adapted later for use on other species.”
“Please continue. I enjoy a good fable, just like the next woman.”
Stoked, Grant goes fishing. The questions is [again]: in whose interest?
“I think that it was designed by humans for use on humans from the git-go, years maybe decades before The War, and later used on other species with adaptations only in technique not design. I think that it’s an invention of our very own U.S. Military in direct violation of the basic rules of the Geneva conventions and their additional protocols as proscribed by the United Nations.”
“The last time I checked, it was still a free country and as such you’re entitled to your opinion just like everybody else.”
“Back in ’54, subsequent to The Bay of Pigs Invasion fiasco, when I was stationed at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, I saw a device in use on detainees at GTMO that could have been either the progenitor for or progeny of this thing. It was affectionately called the mauler by Allied interrogators. You Vampires have a known penchant for torture, and any Lost that was cleared—had clearance for—party/privy to detainee interviews—who got a gander at that mauler in action—was always left green with envy.”
Becky’s response is another coy smile of hers. She can read Grant’s chop-chop, just fine. She also reads from the GTMO/mauler references that Grant knows Doctor Klebb—Klebb was the only one cleared to use the mauler at GTMO back then. It was Doctor Klebb who invented the mauler.
Tellingly, in spite of Becky’s [superseding] clearance, she was not told during her briefing about Grant by Colonel Potter, that Grant had a GTMO/mauler/Klebb connection—which means that it was need to know, and she’s didn’t need to know.
From Colonel Potter’s brief [of Becky about Grant], Becky knows just how much to tell Colonel Grant. Grant was MI [US military intelligence, the army], back in the day—and still has top secret clearance.
A top secret clearance and need to know mean that, in Grant’s case … Gloves are somewhat off for discussion of “the mauler”, but chatter box on “the famouser” are titty at best. It was the famouser that was used on Becky by Jake—so, with it being titty—calling/acknowledging it by name are completely off the table.
If Colonel Grant had ultra violet clearance, instead of top secret, and had a need to know, then she would have been privy to yet another closely-held truth: the famouser was designed for use on Minbari, captured during clandestine raids by U.S. Special Forces deep into the Minbar Territories, raids [grievous violations of Minbari sovereignty] which precipitated the Earth-Minbari War. So … Becky was telling the truth, after all. And, the Minbari are truthful in their accusation to this day that the United States had engaged in invasionary actions [preemptive military strikes] which started The War.
Major Sinclair knocks politely on the door and then enters at Colonel Grant’s behest. He can barely contain his excitement.
“Sorry for the interruption, mum, but the lab boys found minute DNA onsite. Confirmed by the DoD as belonging to a Sargent Adam Roberts, formerly of the U.S. Army—honorably discharged—a War vet. VA has his address as a fleabag hotel on skid row.”
“Our [Thurman’s and mine] shape-changing ability suppressed by a damping field onsite? Used a pseudonym, employed an effective obscurer to hide his identity, and then carelessly leaves DNA traces behind. It smells a little fishy and way too convenient for my tastes. Just saying …,” Becky offers up, sarcastically.
“Thanks for the observation, Miss Better. Goodness knows what we police would do without the input of Sherlock Holmes types like you,” Colonel Grant fires back—although it’s more bark than bite. After all, the two women have an understanding—hardly a persona non grata relationship. “Would you like to accompany us?”
“In spite of your misgivings?”
“Because of them.”
Now, that response by Becky does raise an eyebrow or two of Major Sinclair and his boss Colonel Grant.