by Neil Penswick
The major looked at the body, It had been found floating In a pit on the outskirts of the Nicaean capital. Dirt farmers had seen the bundle of rags and pulled it out of the watery grave. It had been floating face-up, but was no longer recognisably human. Major Carlson estimated that It had been there for over forty-eight hours.
It was the body of a young teenage boy. The head had been caved in and teeth were missing. Efforts had been made to disguise the identity of the child; the body has been burnt, almost beyond recognitlon, by a staser.
How the boy survived so far was a miracle.
The medics were treating the injuries, to try and keep the boy alive until they reached the hospital. One of the medics shook his head. There was no chance.
"Can I talk to him?" Carlson asked. The medic shrugged.
Carlson knelt down and looked at the boy's arm; he could see needle marks. Carlson had seen a number of these bodies dumped out in the desert. Victims of the drug gangs. Some were hostages held for money; others: warnings to relatives to pay up or face the consequences.
The drug addicts were immoral. Once hooked into their nightmare world they would carry out any act, in order to obtain their fix. One of common crimes was "rootin", the senseless and arbitrary attacks on people walking along the street, with clubs, knives and stasers, for a few dollars. Burglaries, committed whilst high on drugs, often led to bizarre and violent behaviour.
This was the first time the Police had found the victim still alive.
"What is your name?" the major asked. He could hear the slight inhalation of breath and a groaning sound, apparently from deep inside the child. He leant over the mouth, pressing his ear towards the burnt lips. "What is your name?"
He could hear a whispery sound. The boy was struggling to talk. "I am..."
"Yes, I can hear you. You are all right now. You are safe..."
The boy started to chuckle. And then a deep distinctive gasp. "I am... Legion."
The major felt the last breath. The boy was dead.
The day was stretching on. Carlson had said that he would try and be home on time but he knew his wife wouldn't understand. She worried about him. He sat at his desk kniking at the photographs of the dead body. He used the vidphone and told her that he would be late. She was irritated, as usual.
He picked up the pathologist's report. In the previous ninety-six hours the boy had taken, or been injected with, a cocktail of hallucinogenic drugs. The body also contained small trace elements of an unidentified drug. There were needle marks all over his body. He had been a user.
But Carlson was nowhere closer to finding out the identity of the boy. There were a few missing person reports. A nineteen year-old student, from the college. But no younger teenage boys.
Carlson wouldn't spend too long on the investigation. After a month, if they hadn't progressed any further, the body would be given a simple burial and the file closed. There was too much crime, and too little resources, to warrant the case remaining open. He had become used to the senseless cruelty and evil. Even if the victim had been a child...
The burnt carcasses hung from the street lighting. There were two bodies
tied together. They had been doused in an inflammable chemical and then
set alight. Both were well known drug dealers. The Justice Police had arrested
them four times before. Each time, they only carried rotweed. Now they
had obviously irritated someone.
He had informed his commander, General Kopyion, about his current workload.
There had been eleven rapes, and seven murders, in the last three months.
This was actually an improvement on the previous quarter. But what played
on his mind were the last words of the teenage boy. "I am Legion". He thought
that this might be one of the drug gangs which saw parts of Riotsville
as its own territory. But there was no record of any such gang.
Carlson had interviewed the stepfather. He talked about divine retribution and about Judgement Day. He said things would be different, soon...
Source: Doctor Who Magazine #197