“Do you know what this is?”
It dangled from his fingers much the way she dangled from the suspension frame. The difference was it was on display while she was being restrained. It was a simple silver collar. A flexible band of metal with a clip at the back.
“Yes.” An admission of fact. That was all she was going to give him.
“Our ancestors were so clever, weren’t they?” He looked closely at the object in his hand, admiring the workmanship and the lost technology. “Clip this around someone’s neck and they’re yours.” He sighed with satisfaction. “Yours to own and control. How will your father’s followers feel when their last pitiful champion is my abject slave?”
She lifted her head again to look him in the eye. “I bet you like to play dress-ups with dollies, don’t you Facilitator?”
“I was going to say,” he smiled nastily at her, “that killing your brother was so much more fun than humiliating you but you’ve still got spark left, haven’t you? He was just plain stubborn.” The Facilitator moved so that he could whisper in her ear, “Just remember that once this is around your neck I can make you do anything I want. Not just submit to anything I desire but do anything I want. Tell me all your little group’s secrets. Raid your bases. Kill your friends. Kill those innocent citizens you claim to want to protect.” He laughed. “I can make you into the most feared operative we have.”
“Excuse me sir.” That was the uniformed and armoured sergeant who headed the security detail guarding her and protecting the Facilitator. “You did ask me to remind you when it was ten minutes before your meeting.”
“Thank you. Yes,” he turned his attention back to the prisoner, “it’s time for me to stop gloating and get down to business.” He clipped the collar around her throat. “The Sector Command Council is going to enjoy this. I shall have to think of some humiliating little trick you can perform for them.” He turned back to the sergeant. “Lower her. Even on her own two feet, she’s no more dangerous than a mounted trophy now.”
“Yes sir.” The sergeant saluted and she was duly lowered. She stood barefoot in the midst of her enemies, clad only in a blue prisoner’s jumpsuit and the silver collar.
“You will follow me,” the Facilitator told her, “with your eyes downcast and your hands clasped before you. You will do whatever I tell you to do during your presentation to the Council. When I take my seat at the conference table, you will sit at my feet. Now come!”
She followed him obediently into the conference room, past the guards and all the other protections. She stood there while he chatted with his colleagues for a few moments before the Council members took their seats. She didn’t change her expression when the Facilitator put his hand under her chin to lift her face so the rest of the Council could see clearly who she was. She stood where he’d left her while he finished his presentation to the rest of the Council.
“You’ve got her under control, Facilitator,” General Schnard barked, rising to his feet. “What’s she doing?”
By the time the Facilitator had turned to look at her it was too late for any of them. The control circuit in the collar had finished its activation. The ancestral technology was indeed amazing but the Facilitator hadn’t been able to tell the difference between a slave collar and a weapons system. When she walked out of the Sector Headquarters there was no-one left alive inside.
She’d pushed and the regime had begun its fall.