I made my way to where I had discovered that Rabduval was hiding. The house was silent and the door locked. He did not answer my knocks. Compliance to the Code ensured that I must do this procedural task.
But in my heart I knew it was a waste of time, I knew him better than that. After knocking a second time I made my way around to the back of the house.
Quietly. Sneakily. Avoiding the cameras.
Crouching so that he could not see my form pass by the windows. I made it to the back door in time to see him attempt to sneak out.
He seemed surprised to see me and scared also. He looked around, prepared for flight, but thought better of it and merely waited for me.
"Hail good fellow" I said mildly.
"What do you want?" he asked.
"You know what I have come for" I countered.
He looked downwards, avoiding my gaze. He seemed to shrink a little, but looked up and said, "I have no idea what you want".
I merely stared at him. I held his gaze until he looked away again. I stepped forward and held him by his shoulder. He flinched away when I touched him. I stayed still and simply waited. He whimpered but would not look up. In every part of my being I knew that he had the answer or the clue that I needed.
Everything pointed to him holding the key to the the next step that I needed. I was on the point of a breakthrough but I did not know how to move forward. He was not going to tell me unless he thought that I already knew sufficient.
The Code prevented me from using force. I had the tools that I needed. I could crack him in 30 seconds. I could break him. I wanted to. It would leave him relatively unharmed but if the Council found out that I had broken their Code they would do worse to me.
So I considered. He whimpered.
If I could just find the right words, ask the right question, he would collapse. But what were the correct words? What was the key? A mistake now and I would have nothing, he would clam up. Was I ready to break with the code?
"I have been to old Persia" I said, "I know".
I could feel him tense. I was close. I waited.
I kept waiting. Hoping to break him down with silence. I could almost sense his thoughts.
But then he slowly relaxed, he straightened up slightly. "You know nothing then" he said. He straightened more, squared his shoulders, looked at me. I could see it in his eyes, the growing confidence. I had used the wrong words, he knew that I did not know.
I was lost. I would never know. Could I break the Code? Would I break the Code?
He looked in my eyes and he knew that I could not. He smiled. He straightened to full height and casually brushed my hand from his shoulder. "You little shit" he said, "go to hell."
I stood there. I felt light headed as the extent of the disaster engulfed me. This was it, the end. I had been tested and failed. Defeated. The future looked bleak. No, it was worse than that, there was no future for me.
I barely noticed the sound, a muted crack. Instinct kicked in however. Subliminally I registered a silenced gun. A gun? A weapon out of history, gunpowder had not been used in kinetic energy weapons for years. All such weapons had been banned and supposedly destroyed, except those held in museums. Never the less still a lethal weapon. My advanced combat training kicked in, the same training that helped me identify the weapon, and I dived for the dirt. Subconsciously I tracked back to the source. I knew that it was behind me, above, and over my right shoulder. Where did they get the bullets from? A gun could only come from a museum.
I looked up at Rabduval. He was still smiling. As I watched a red splotch formed on is chest, it spread. His knees began to buckle. He slowly sank to the ground. I could now see a fleck of red on his lips. Blood. Copious amounts.
Regardless of the risk I crawled to him.
He looked at me. He knew he was dying. "They have found" me he said, his voice low and already sounding weak.
"It's not too late", I implored, "tell me now".
He sighed and shuddered. I leant closer, conscious of the feel of a gun lined up against my back, somewhere. He said something and I rolled rapidly to my right, back under cover.
The bullet passed through where I had been only microseconds before. It hit Rabduval in the throat. He was gone.
Where I lay I was shielded from the shooter by a low wall. I started to crawl away.
Rabduval's last words had been "it's Monday".
The Bludger was not on drugs.