There was a slight chill in the temperature of the room. It caused an already stressed, frightened Sarah Jane to shiver. Everything had happened so fast she could not fully grasp the impact of the situation. A torrent of emotions rushed through her mind. Were they going to kill her? Would they hunt down the remnants of the group? Since arriving at the re-education centre, Sarah Jane had been locked up inside of a small room. She was interrogated and verbally abused by her captors. The environmentalist breathed deeply, sweated as Janet Paynter hovered over her. Toombs and a broad-shouldered NAP three-striper named Gardiner stood on opposite sides of her. Officer Stanford stood guard by the door.
“Sarah Jane Pearce. Born and raised in Vancouver. Went to the University of British Columbia. Moved to Kamloops last year to attend law school. Parents are Michael and Rachel Pearce. You have one sister, Hannah.” It was as if Paynter knew Sarah Jane’s entire life story. “Active in the environmental movement. Arrested two years ago during a rally against a pipeline project near Prince George. We know everything about you rebel scum. There is nothing that you can hide from us. Now, are you going to tell us exactly what we want to know? Regardless of your defiance, we will extract the information out of you. We can either do this the easy way or the hard way.”
Sarah Jane felt the pressure closing in all around her. It appeared as though she might be tortured. She made a pledge to herself not to say anything that would give her friends away.
“There’s a little rule around here. Nobody fucks with Captain Paynter. When I instruct a detainee to do something, they better damn well comply or else there will be serious consequences.”
“I’d be interested in learning how a prissy city gal such as yourself ended up in the company of Jake Scribner,” Toombs said. Like Paynter, he was also receiving the silent treatment from Sarah Jane. Infuriated, Toombs locked eyes with the young woman. “You’d better start answering questions or else it’s going to get really nasty in here. Tell us where you acquired those weapons.”
Sarah Jane refused to answer.
“So you want to play that game,” Paynter said in her gruff, almost manly voice. “We’ll be more than happy to accommodate you. Sergeant Gardiner, do what you do best.”
A man of few words, Gardiner, ripped to shreds with an intimidating shaved head and glaring eyes, roughly picked Sarah Jane up from her chair and dragged her down a corridor into a janitorial room. Paynter and Toombs followed. Stanford watched, a slight look of displeasure in his eyes. Gardiner forced a struggling Sarah Jane’s face inches from a sink filled with water.
“Tell us where you acquired your weapons!” Gardiner screamed.
Gardiner submerged Sarah Jane’s head into the water. Overwhelmed by a drowning sensation, she struggled to breathe, thrashing violently. After about half a minute, Gardiner removed Sarah Jane’s head from the water. She gasped frenziedly for air.
“Are you ready to talk to us now?”
Sarah Jane remained tight-lipped.
“You leave me little choice,” Gardiner said before dunking her head back into the sink.
Toombs and Paynter observed as Sarah Jane thrashed. Water flew everywhere.
“Major, what do we do in the event that she outright refuses to talk?” Paynter asked.
“This one isn’t all that tough,” Toombs replied. “She’ll give the game away.”
Gardiner pulled Sarah Jane’s head from the sink.
“If you insist on your insolence, I will have no choice but to…”
“Wait!” Sarah Jane shouted.
“You wish to talk?” Paynter asked.
Sarah Jane nodded.
“Stanford!” Paynter barked. “Get her a towel.”
“Yes ma’am,” Stanford replied as he opened up a cabinet and took out a large towel. He handed it to Sarah Jane, who dried off her soaked face and hair as best she could.
“Alright,” Toombs said. “Where did you acquire those weapons to commit atrocities against the federal government?”
Sarah Jane felt as though she was committing a major breach of trust by divulging the truth about the ambush months ago that resulted in the deaths of two British soldiers. She feared that by telling them the truth, it could lead to her being executed.
“Back, I think it was in May, we were somewhere out in the woods practicing maneuvers. A supply truck stopped on the highway. Two British soldiers got out and walked into the woods.”
Toombs listened. He knew exactly what she was talking about.
“I had never experienced anything like this before in my life,” Sarah Jane continued. “All I can say is it was a kill or be killed situation.”
“If I recall, there were several items of weaponry stolen from that vehicle,” Toombs stated. “Assault rifles, a machinegun, LAW rockets, lots of ammunition…but you had more gear, including C4. Now, you better tell us who supplied you with plastic explosives or else the pain and suffering that you’ll be forced to endure will be ten times worse than anything you’ve experienced so far.”
Sarah Jane swallowed hard. She was in the midst of a tricky situation.
“Honestly, I will tell you everything that I know. I’ve never met this individual, but somebody named Shamus gave Jake, Neil and Calvin some supplies. His last name is either O’Reilly or O’Reagan. I’ve been told he’s an old Irish Republican Army fighter.”
“Where does he live?” Paynter asked.
“To the best of my knowledge, somewhere off of Highway 97.” Sarah hoped and prayed that her answers would be sufficient enough.
“I know your group has some kind of hidden lair up in the mountains,” Toombs said. “Tell us exactly where it is.”
“To be honest, there isn’t just one. There are several. I don’t know this area very well so I can’t tell you exact locations.”
“You’re still playing games Ms. Pierce. Perhaps some time locked up will help you to remember.” Toombs turned to Paynter. “Captain, she’s all yours from here.”
“Major, this traitorous little piece of shit deserves nothing more than to be placed in front of a firing squad. She’s only liable to cause trouble in here,” Paynter stated.
“Off the record, I couldn’t agree more with you,” Toombs said. “But as you’re well aware, we are required to follow policy and procedure. Keeping her alive will be much more beneficial to us in the long run.”