Jesson leaned over the cool metal table so his eyes met the eyes of Mason Flores. "I''m going to ask again," he said making sure his breath, heavy with the smell of old coffee, filled the wrinkly gray bearded face in front of him.
The eyes, so pale blue they looked gray, just turned up on the sides. Jesson pulled back to take in the whole face. Mason blinked as he adjusted to the new distance of his interrogator, then returned to the up turned smile. Those eyes matched the nearly flawless smile. A face that would have looked fatherly and kind but was ruined, turned dark by the pale skin mottled with pink splotches and blue veins.
"Where is Doogan?" Jesson asked.
"Man, I've told you Doogan is dead. I didn't do it. You could ask Deely but after torturing him you just let him die."
There was something knowing in the way this creep spoke. Jesson believed fully that Flores was telling the truth, but only part of it. He wanted Jessen to figure it out.
"You know I'm telling the truth. At least as much truth as these gray walls tell of safety” Mason's smile widened. "Take some time I can leave when I want. For now it suites me to remain. I like the way you struggle to see what’s in front of you the whole time."
"Your boy, Deely, he said the same thing. He told me to his dying breath that we didn't have a hold on him."
Mason Flores just laughed.
"Fine, stay here I'll be back."
"You lost him?" The deep voice of Tanner Tate sounded as the door clicked.
"Lost? I never had him." Jesson said.
“That good?" asked Tate.
They began to wonder down a hall colored a lighter gray than the room Jessen had just left. Their shoes beating out a rhythm. A tip tap, tip tap. It sounded to Jessen like a heartbeat.
"No, maybe, but not now. He knows something and wants us to put it together. ourselves."
"Why are you letting him play with you?"
"I'm not, he's omitting something but never lieing."
"He's not? I believe I heard him say we killed Doogan."
"We must have. Doogan's devices bordered on magic. How do we know he didn't teleport with a fly or something."
"Funny Jessen, We don't need sci-fi. We just need plain sci. Doogan's sci."
"I'm working on it. Did you know anything about Deely?"
"D-block, executed for killing three officers."
"Who knew about that?"
"You, me, Prescot, and the three dead men."
"And apparently Flores."
"How did you get that?"
"He knew that Deely was tortured."
Tate stopped. He looked at Jessen his eyes cold. "We don't torture."
"Yes." Jessen knew not to fight it. He knew that many of those interrogated saw it as torture. He didn't like that his boss thought there was a difference.
Tate turned back the way they came and waved for Jessen to follow. At a door like many others they crossed into a white room. Red lines ran along the walls about two feet from the top and two feet from the bottom.
"Do you know anything about Doogan's work?"
"He invented the Vibe Phone."
"Well." Tate paused shook his head. "Anything else, like his primary theory?" Jessen shook his head, "Nevermind. Over the last ten years, he became convinced in the human soul."
Jessen just looked at Tate, a smile ready for the brain to understand the joke.
"Ah, I see." Tate continued. "Doogan began to do some creepy stuff with the human condition. The weapons he made were beyond fantastic."
Jessen didn't see how a weapon could be fantastic.
"He created a death ray. An actual true to Sci death ray. It caused death, in humans. …and cats."
"Sir, I'm not sure what this has to do with Flores or Deely?"
"Doogan's death ray, in layman's terms removed the soul from the body."
"I'm sorry sir but this sounds more like science fiction. Unless."
They raced back to the room. The mottled man looked big eyed and nearly started laughing. "I see you're starting to get it."
"Doogan, where is your tech?" Tate was insistant.
"Ha!" The man was almost crying he was so enjoying himself. "You're only have there."
"You're not doogan." Jessen said. "You're not Mason Flores either, are you."
"Ding Ding. Tate, this one needs a promotion."
"Who then damn it."
"When you jump, the body can reject you. Like a transplant. It's slower, painful."
"Who are you!" Tate demanded.
"Mason, who were you?"
The man just looked at him, a sadness melting into his face.
"Deely." Jessen whispered. "You were kicked out."
"You can still feel your body. You know what is happening to it."
"Do you know where Doogan is?" Tate asked, still angry.
The man looked through Tate.
"He was telling the truth. We killed him."
"He could just jump out. isn't that it?"
"No, A body needs a soul. Loves it craves it. Doogan's machine was able to convince the body that it had two souls. The conscious one, you, can then jump out. ride another body. The body only needs one."
The man looked at his interrogators. "One soul. it won't let go. My body wasn't in the machine. I was the test pilot. I could almost leave my own body. I was getting sick. energies and explanations I won't go into. He was my mentor but he was becoming a mad scientist. The mob wanted this tech. Doogan was going to sell it to them. I couldn't let that happen.
I’d jumped so many times I knew how even toss out an old soul. I still needed a machine. The prototype still worked. I left my body and found my way to the transaction. I wrecked the truck it was shipping in. Most people are so distracted from their bodies they don’t know when something’s not right. It’s easy to take over.
Doogan found out and removed my body from the machine. I felt it. I felt the body dying.
I tried to get back but he jumped into it. His body was gone too. He'd removed it from the machine. An empty, living body, it needs a soul.
Mason was robbing a convenience store, I was loosing it, drifting. I needed a body. I took his and got caught. That’s when I felt my body and the pain. You people suck.
“Do you expect me to believe this shit?” Tate said.
“When your body stopped so did Doogan?”
Mason/Deely shook his head. “Thanks for confirming. This guy is nearly dead and I need to go.” He turned to face tate. “Tate, I was just a kid trapped in a world that wouldn’t let him leave. Some of the things you did, the ones I could understand, To hell with you.” He yawned and collapsed
Tate yawned. “Damn I hate that yawn effect. Come Jessen”
Jessen jolted, looked at the body and turned to follow. “He’s dead.”
“Probably. Let’s get out of here. We still have a body to find.”
Jessen nodded, after all that they still needed to find Doogan’s body. “I’m sure it’ll keep until after lunch.”
Tate just looked at Jessen, “You get’n callous Jessen?”
Talking quietly but loud enough for Tate to hear, “I’d prefer not to answer.”