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Chapter 39: Interrogation

The object of Kim's thoughts was otherwise preoccupied.  As in tied to a chair and facing a large man who enjoyed his work far too much.

Shane spat out a mouthful of blood, and repeated his mantra.  "It was a job.  El Presidente hired me."  The answer earned him another punch to the solar plexus, followed by a right cross to the cheek.  He felt the skin open, and more blood ran down his face.  "I can't tell you anything more," he said.  "I can't."

"You are good, asesino," said the interrogator.  He looked away, then swung the back of his fist with enough force that the force of the blow sent Shane and the chair he was tied to sideways, crashing to the floor.  Dazed, he barely noticed being pulled back upright.  "Dígame, señor, and it can all be over."

Shane's head hung low and he laughed.  How many times in his life had he heard similar promises?  That time in Lebanon when he was a junior agent, in the trailer with Freddie Jericho, in Tajikistan in '94.  The list went on and on.  The promise was always the same; only the language changed.  He tried to clear some more blood from his mouth.  "I guess you don't like Victor's orders?"

"No, we don't," said another voice, this one coming from behind the chair.  Shane raised his head and laughed again.

"Señor Presidente, to what do I owe this honor?"

"It has been too long, Señor Donovan."  The man stomped past Shane, obviously agitated.

"So just a pleasure visit?"  Shane used Vasquez's arrival as a distraction.  The more he made the man talk, the longer he could prolong the rest of the beating.  "Normally, I'm a much better host, but I'm a little short on champagne and caviar at the moment."

"Very funny," Vasquez said.  "I think I underestimated you.  When you were caught, I thought you a fool for walking into such a trap."

"And now?"

"Now, I think I understand more."  Vasquez punched his left palm with his right fist.  "A great number of my business associates have been apprehended by the authorities.  Quite a large operation from what I understand."

"I see."  Shane tried to keep his expression impassive. He did not want to betray the emotions that stirred within him.  Hank and DaJohn had not died in vain, and the report seemed to make Shane's own situation more bearable.

Vasquez turned red and motioned to the interrogator.  Shane barely saw the punch before it struck the side of his eye and his head whipped to the side.  The room blurred.   Vasquez grabbed Shane's throat and forced his head all the way back.  "How did you learn about Operación Norteño?  Who was working with you?  Who took the information out of the palace?"

Shane could barely answer, the hold on his throat was so tight.  "Even if I knew, I wouldn't tell you."  Vasquez squeezed tighter, then let go.  Shane's head fell forward as he tried to get air through his bruised windpipe.  He waited for the pain to subside, then looked up at the Presidente.  "You're finished, mate.  Without the cartels sending their drugs and guns through Costa Blanca, your days are numbered."  He laughed.  "I wonder which of us will be in front of that firing squad first?  Or do you think the rebels will take it easy--"  His words were cut off by another punch.

"I'm not going anywhere," Vasquez barked.  "I still have important friends."

Right, Shane thought.  Friends like Victor Kiriakis.  For a moment, Shane considered telling Vasquez that Victor knew he had sent the Operación Norteño plans to the ISA, but he stopped himself.  That would sign his immediate death warrant.  "I don't think so, Vasquez.  You're even more dependent on Kiriakis now, and he wants me alive for the time being."

Vasquez turned even redder, if that was at all possible, but his movements smacked of indecision.  What Shane had said was true, and Vasquez hated to admit it.  "For the time being, Señor.  That can change."  He turned to the chief interrogator.  "Do what you want.  Just make sure he is still alive when you are done."  With a snarl, he stormed out of the room, leaving Shane to the mercy of the interrogators.