Ursa Non Gratis

Part XII.

Rico - The Censure

I watched the screens as Duck took the stand. Things hadn't gone well at all. Unable to plant cameras in the courtroom itself, I had to rely on the official feeds from Quebec's security detail. It wasn't as clear as I would have liked, but it would have to do. Besides, up until now, I was more concerned about what was happening to her in private than in public, and the camera's in the holding cell were coming in crystal clear. I nodded to myself, secure in the fact that I had all my bases covered.

That was before they called in their 'censure technician.' Her name was Andrea Sullivan. She was beautiful, something my research hadn't mentioned. But I also knew she was one of the best in her field of magical interrogation. When she entered the room, I knew things had gotten much worse for our fine feathered friend. Sullivan's nick-name was the Bull-dog. A name she earned because once she had the scent of something, she wouldn't let go until she found out what she had.

This was not good since anything she learned from the censure had to be reported to the court. And as we all knew, Duck had lots of secrets.

I scanned the holding cell while they prepped Duck for the proceedings. Kenny was standing beside me when the Doctor entered the courtroom and gasped.

"What?" I asked distractedly.

Pulled from my musings, Kenny met my gaze and simply pointed to the screen. I turned in time to see the Doctor back away from her with a needle in his hand. Zooming in on the bottle I understood. Duck had resisted Sullivan's first attempt at questioning, and the Doctor had been instructed to 'loosen' Duck up a little.

It was Sepherax, nasty stuff. One in 500 is allergic to it, two doses would render most people defenseless, which is just as well, since three doses could lead to permanent damage. Any more than that, and you can kiss your 'subject' good-bye. Kenny held his breath. He knew better than most of us how strong willed Duck could be when it came to running magic on her.

Without meaning to, we both looked over at Rabbit, who was watching from the conference room.

"Shit," Kenny stated as Rabbit started rocking.

I just nodded and went back to my screens. Duck was my prime concern now. I couldn't do anything for her right now, but I could make sure that nothing happened to her after the interview. I forced myself to concentrate on what I could do.

That lasted until Duck screamed. I wheeled around as her scream was echoed by Rabbit in the next room. Kenny put a hand on my shoulder and nodded. Davy and Geoff were with Rabbit now, trying to give him what comfort they could, but we all knew he blamed himself.

I wanted to tell him it's not his fault, that it's the Archer's Fist. But right then, I had to watch the Duck. My eyes blurred seeing two people I care about in pain was too much, but I had to be ready. I forced myself to watch, my attention split between the court cameras and my own in the holding cell. As I concentrated, Kenny's fingers dug into my shoulders until I couldn't ignore it.

I focused my attention on the court scene as the Doctor pulled the needle from Duck's arm.

"Was that?" I asked Kenny worriedly, hoping that I had miscounted.

Kenny merely shook his head and held up three fingers. I looked up at the ceiling and let my breath out slowly. Then the screaming started in earnest. I took a quick look over at the conference room as Davy and Geoff held Rabbit between them. He had started ranting.

Rabbit's scary enough when he's sane, but when he gets like that, let's just say its very unnerving. And this time the screaming didn't stop. I looked back as Gran TwoBears took over, shooing everyone away and holding Duck as she screamed, again and again.

Gran managed to calm her down somewhat, but now she was rocking back and forth.

"Her mind is stuck in the moment," Kenny explained mechanically. I looked at him worriedly, until I saw the tears in his eyes. "Until the drugs wear off," he told me as our eyes met. I nodded.

Strains of 'the intsy wintsy spider' filled the room as I looked from Kenny to Rabbit, then back to the screens, where I saw Duck rocking back and forth singing mindlessly. Rabbit wasn't too far behind her in the conference room.

I switched to the cell camera's and left the system to record the court's feeds. I'd review those after I was sure Duck was safe, but right now she was far from safe, and far from sane. Gran was allowed into the cell with Duck. The Bailiffs had enough sense to leave Gran to do her work.

I watched as Gran pulled Duck up so that she was resting in the woman's arms.

She held Duck closely as she gently rocked her back and forth.

Duck groaned as she tried to roll over, then whimpered.

"Easy child," Gran urged still holding her gently.

"Gran?" Duck groaned as she tried to put a name to the voice.

"I'm here child," She answered.

I think it was that moment that we realized how much Duck had suffered at the Archer's Fist hands. Any second guessing when it came to Davy's declaration of war died that day. Seeing Duck reliving that pain, and Rabbit, seeing Rabbit now just brought it all together. Up until that moment, I thought of the death penalty as a waste.

I was pulled from my revery as Duck started crying again.

Gran rocked gently as she began singing, willing strength and healing to fill Duck, help her fight the drugs that kept her from controlling her memories. Finally Duck's breathing returned to normal.

"All will be well," Gran promised as she held Duck close. "Just Breathe."

Duck nodded as if she was afraid to say more.

I prayed she was right.

Copyright 1998 - M.T. Decker

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