Disclaimer: The Equalizer and all its characters are property of Universal and are used here without permission. No copyright infringement is intended.

Target #3

Consciousness came back slowly; it was as though he was swimming up from a great depth. In the distance he could just make out a light and instinctively, he headed for it.

There had been other times when he had swum up towards the light that night. And those times had ended in suffering and feelings of violation. The first time, there had been hands holding him down as they stripped off his clothes. They had hit him when he struggled against the rough examination.

Later, those same hands had rolled him onto his stomach and held him face down while someone shoved something up his ass. He had passed out only to wake up some time later with fierce cramps that made him pull his knees up to his chest and cry out in pain as he fouled himself. Eventually the cramps had faded, leaving him shaking and covered in crap.

They had left him there lying in his own shit for what seemed like hours, but in his confused condition it might only have been a few minutes, before a powerful jet of water had hit him, knocking him off the table to land heavily on the floor. Helpless, he slumped on the cold, white tiles half drowned by water pouring all around him. Once he was clean, they picked him up put him back on the stainless steel dissection table, fastening Velcro straps around his wrists, ankles and chest. Nothing was said before they left him alone, naked and shivering.

Wide-awake now, he tried to move, ignoring the stabbing pains from his chest. Shit! He hurt like hell. What was going on? He had seen Biggs and Lucas go down hard before he was hit. At that moment he hadn't expected to get up again.

So why was he still alive? And what did they want from him? And who were 'they'?

He was naked and wet and the room was cold. He hoped whoever had put him here didn't leave him too long. The thought occurred to him that whatever the bastards had in mind for him might be much worse than being cold. With his chest muscles throbbing, he tried once again to free his hands, but he couldn't, the Velcro held him tightly and he slumped back onto the table.

His mind became a little clearer now and he thought about what had happened. Very few people in the Company had known about the job his team had gone out on tonight. There was no doubt in Mickey's mind that they had been set up. The guys in the security uniforms had been playing possum and the team had walked into the trap like a bunch of fucking amateurs.

Were the rest of the team dead? Or were they strapped to tables just like him?

He strained his neck to look more closely at his chest. There were strange shaped bruises there.

Jesus! They hit me with chemical bullets!

He had heard about them through the grapevine and seen them being tested once.

Was this some sort of Company training? Were they testing him?

Either way, he would survive. And then he would make the sadistic son of a bitch who was responsible regret that he had ever been born.

Trying to keep his mind off how cold he was, he looked around the large room. It was exactly like every autopsy room he had ever seen. The walls and floor were covered in the same white tiles. The shelves and glass fronted cupboards were empty. One look at the solid metal door told him that even if he could escape the restraints that tied him to the table, with no lock picks or tools of any kind there was no way he was going to get it open. He shivered harder; the cold was getting to him. Realizing that he was beginning to feel sleepy; Mickey began to worry that he was heading for hypothermia.

He couldn't put up much resistance when two men, dressed in guard uniforms, came into the room, released the straps and lifted him to his feet. Another guard and a group of men in suits came into the room then, and while two of the guards held him, the third fastened chains around his wrists and ankles. It was then that Mickey saw the rings attached to the ceiling and the floor.

He struggled as the guards attached his chains to the rings, forcing him into a standing position with his arms stretched out and his feet wide apart. The men in suits had watched dispassionately as he was bound. Now one of them came closer.

Older than Mickey, with light colored hair and a beard, the guy was smartly dressed. Mickey met his eyes for a moment and saw that they were deep blue and empty of any feeling. When he spoke his voice was deep, mellifluous and hypnotic.

"Ah, Mr. Kostmayer. I'm glad to see you are still with us. I am sorry for what we had to do earlier, but my project has very specific requirements."

Mickey kept his mouth shut. The guy looked like the type who would tell him exactly what was going on because he needed an audience. That was fine by Mickey, he was happy for the guy to talk for as long as he wanted. It gave him longer to think of a way out of this mess.

Shit, who was he kidding? There was no way he was going to get out of this until these people were good and ready.

"My name is Allenwaite and I'm sorry you are not feeling in a talkative mood." He smiled. "No matter, I know everything I need to know about you. I have studied you and your friend, Robert McCall. I know all about your time in Leavenworth and what happened in Bucharest in 1982."

Mickey kept his face neutral but he was shaken; to have that much information Allenwaite had to have contacts in the Company. That meant there had to be a traitor at a very high level.

I swear, I am going to kill the mother who set me up when I get out of this.

The largest of the guards walked over to Mickey and without saying a word he punched him in the stomach. Mickey doubled over as far as the chains would allow and retched painfully. Breathing deeply to catch his breath, he forced himself to stand up straight.

Allenwaite spoke again, "My friends and I will be back in an hour to see you again. I am so looking forward to completing my experiments on you," he said with a self-satisfied smile. "I have waited many years for this opportunity."

For a second, Mickey was overwhelmed with fear.

What experiments? Jesus, were they going to cut him up while he was still alive?

The guards waited until the door had shut behind the men in suits before they began to work him over. Mickey didn't understand why they were beating the crap out of him if they were going to do experiments on him.

They were experts. They knew how to inflict the maximum amount of pain but keep him conscious, stopping to let him revive whenever they saw that he was going to pass out.

His body was a knot of screaming agony. The only part that didn't hurt was his hands and that was because they had gone numb. When his legs gave out, the chains holding him upright had tightened on his wrists, cutting off the circulation. One of the guards came over and yanked on his hair, pulling his head up. Mickey could barely see anymore. Both of his eyes were swollen almost shut and his jaw felt like it was broken.

The man released his hair and Mickey's head fell forward. Through his blurred vision, he could see smears of blood on the floor.

There was darkness at the edge of his vision now and Mickey knew that he wouldn't be able to keep conscious for much longer. The pain was so bad he couldn't even think. Slowly, he let himself slide into the welcoming abyss.

Suddenly a jet of water hit him again, forcing him back to awareness. Unable to protect himself, Mickey gasped for breath when the hose was finally turned off. Through swollen eyelids, he could just about make out the sadistic smirk on the face of the guard as he came over and unhooked the chains. Mickey collapsed, face down onto the hard floor, unable to move. He was only vaguely aware of more men coming into the room. Some of them might have been wearing white coats, his vision was too distorted for him to tell any more.

He heard Allenwaite's voice from a great distance, "I think we can go on to stage two now, prepare him."

They lifted him back onto the table and Mickey wanted to ask what stage two was but he couldn't find the energy to speak. He almost blacked out again when they shoved a catheter up into his cold-shriveled cock. Then there was a sensation of cold on his arm and the sharp prick of a needle that joined with all the other aching, throbbing hurts inflicted on his battered body.

But by now, Mickey really didn't care anymore...