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Don’t move a muscle. Does he have any muscles anymore? Probably not, more like an infrastructure. The very word feels like a teflon-coated bullet in the chest, sharp, stunning, and most of all, painful.

His chest expands with a slow, cautious breath. It doesn’t hurt in a searing way anymore, more like a deep-seated ache in his sternum.

That’ll be the wires winding their way round your heart, he thinks to himself, and he can’t help the snarl that's escaped his mouth. The Engineer casts a glare at him.

“Didn’t I tell you not to move, you ingrate?” An electrical shock helpfully ‘diverts’ itself to spasm at his cheek, causing him to cry out. A laugh grates at his ears. Thank god they’re now working. Just yesterday had he been given back his hearing... the agony of feeling a copper-tipped drill snagging into his skin, twisting out the flesh above his sideburns, seeing it tear his ears from his head with a sickening precision, but not to hear it? That was the worst torture imaginable, but he was afraid that there was worse yet to come.

The Engineer paces in front of him, waving a soldering iron in front of him like a conductor’s baton. “Here I am, upgrading you to be the world’s newest defense, and you just sit there and scowl at me. Well, it’ll be worth it when the United States wins and we overrun those German rats. Then the entire world will know of Becile Industries! We will crush that softhearted Walters, and then,” he says, breath drawing in with a gleam of ambition in his eye, “we will have the world in the palm of our hands.”

His experiment stares at him soullessly, used to these maniacal rants. The Engineer scoffs and gives it another shock, this time in the chest. This gets him a response.

Sam Luke screams, shuddering against the straps. Immobile, he can only cry out to give voice to his utter agony.

It’s maddening, enough to make one wish for death.

The Engineer gives him a wicked grin, coffee-stained teeth shining against the light trained on the table. “Shh, now. I’ve been working on a quick fix to that awful moaning…”. With that, he rummaged for a little piece of black technology that looked similar to a light switch. He soldered it onto the roof of Sam’s mouth, drawing out muffled shouts and whimpers, and flicked it on.

Suddenly, Sam was absolutely silent. Still he screamed, but no sound was heard, and with a sinking sensation, he knew that The Engineer didn’t simply deign not to listen to him, but had muzzled him like a dog.

He patted Sam’s wasted cheek. “Okay, buddy. We’ll have a new session tomorrow… I can’t wait to try a few more things out, and then you’ll be complete.” The man left, closing the door behind him with a jarring clang. Darkness devoured the room totally, and Sam could only close his eyes.

Breathe out.