The week following up to Hayes's next session passed without incident. Dr. Oakley made much more progress with some of his other patients. It helped him build up the smallest bit of confidence leading to the challenge that was Merrick. But then, his other patients were mundane criminals. Hayes was the first psychic he had even met, let alone needed to try and treat. He wondered if the genetic condition that caused psionics had addled Hayes's mind to some degree. Given what he'd heard of psychics, that seemed the best explanation.
Eventually Thursday came again. Oakley sat at his desk ten minutes early, to organize the notes he had made on Merrick. He recovered his tape recorder and began his notes for the day. "Preparing for session two with Mr. Hayes. The number of pages of notes I've made on this man is easily an order of magnitude higher than those of any other patient I've seen. He is an anomaly, of sorts, something that is only aided by his abilities. It is my hope that the psi-blocking device will have allowed Hayes to consider his own thoughts over the week instead of others's, and perhaps he will be more accommodating."
He put the recorder down again a few moments before the door to his office was opened. As before, the stationed guard shoved Merrick in, and was quick to shut the door. Merrick, though, had apparently seen a few changes. He was ever so slightly less gaunt than before, and the ball and chain had disappeared from his ankle. The manacles and handcuffs were still present.
"It seems the security are taking better care of you. Mr. Hayes," Oakley began, while gesturing for Merrick to take a seat.
"I have been released from solitary confinement," Merrick said, "and I am now allowed three meals daily."
"But you're still bound." This was a point of confusion for Oakley. Normally, prisoners that weren't in solitary were also allowed their freedom of movement.
"Of course. Security and the other inmates are afraid of me. As they should be." Merrick's voice was still cold as ever as he spoke.
"If it's your condition they fear, then do th-" Oakley could not continue, as he had just provoked the first emotion that Merrick had shown. And judging from the narrowing of his eyes and tightening of his jaw, it was not a positive emotion.
"Don't. Ever. Call my abilities a condition again." To anyone else, the look in Merrick's eyes was indicative of simple anger. But Oakley had worked with soldiers before. Those black eyes were filled with the intent to kill.
"I- I apologize, Mer- Mr. Hayes. That was inconsiderate of me." Oakley almost broke the air of professionalism by using Merrick's first name, but he was convinced that such a transgression couldn't possibly go over well.
The killing glare that Merrick had did not remain for long. He soon returned to his 'normal,' nearly blank expression. "Remind me where I had left off in recounting my case."
Oakley was shocked by this development, and wiped his brow a little. "Ah, you and your squad were just returning to base, and you'd sent the HQ plans to the orc terrorists."
"Yes, that was it," Merrick said. "Now let's continue."
The squad disembarked from the helicopter. MacGregor was escorted to the infirmary for psychological diagnosis. Most of the other troops headed back inside to celebrate a job done relatively well (and of course, to talk about how Hayes really needed to cool it,) but Merrick stayed at the ready. He fully expected the orcs to retaliate. After what he'd done to their hostage, it was only a matter of time before they came with guns at the ready.
He waited five minutes. Ten. A half-hour. Two hours. He was beginning to feel disappointed in these Pakistanis. He'd killed their precious refugee, and yet they hadn't even sent one man to find who was responsible? How lethargic of them. Merrick turned back to the base, reaching under his gas mask to remove them.
Then he hear the raid sirens. About time. While he was sure the rest of the SAS were gathering their gear, all Merrick did was turn towards the direction of the orcs he was beginning to sense, and pull his pistol from its holster. His ice pick was already in his other hand.
As he steadily walked toward the nearest intruders, a few other troops in full combat gear joined him. "Hayes, do you know who they are?" was the main question he heard.
Merrick suppressed a snort. Despite how much these people hated him, they still relied on him for any information. It was just funny to him. "Orcs. Pakistani. I think the same ones from Karachi."
"The hell, we gave them their hostage, now they're here for more?" Coutts said.
"Clearly. Keep your guard up." Merrick knew this was a silly suggestion. If this attack went according to plan, nobody in the SAS beside himself would need to even fire a shot. Not that they knew that, of course.
It wasn't long before the SAS team came across the crude helicopters that the Pakistanis were using. No less than five dozen orcs exited the vehicles, immediately with their AK's pointed at the small team of eight. Their leader, who was clearly much bigger than the rest of the orcs, began shouting in Urdu. Orcs liked to talk in languages they thought were difficult to understand.
Unfortunately, Urdu wasn't difficult to decipher, not for Coutts. "He's saying... we're going to pay for killing the young one? Hayes, what the hell did you do?" The accusation was instant. Though not entirely unreasonable.
"Nothing unnecessary. That orc is lying to us."
The leader started to give orders. Merrick didn't need the translation to figure out what was going on. But he was much faster than some Pakistani. In five seconds, the orcs started firing. Right into the psi-shield that Merrick had raised.
Another second later, Merrick's ice pick was embedded in the enemy leader's throat. Merrick, thanks to his abilities, had been able to much faster than any naked eye could detect. In another second, three other orcs had received a bullet between the eyes. Only one of those was from Merrick, though. The rest of the SAS team were starting to catch up.
With the leader dead in an instant, the rest of the battle was not much challenge to the Special Air Service. The shield Merrick put up moved with the team members, keeping them from enemy fire. Merrick moved like mist while in the fray. Nothing could come even close to touching him, even at the range he put himself at.
In fifty-seven seconds, every orc that had attacked the Wales SAS headquarters was dead. Of the sixty that had arrived, forty-one were stabbed or shot by Merrick. Merrick himself stood atop the last of the corpses, stomping on its neck to confirm the kill. He was practically soaked in orc blood. The team, however, did not celebrate their success, like with the prisoner exchange. Instead, Merrick found himself being approached by both Coutts and the unnamed (to him, anyway,) helicopter pilot.
"You're to see Captain Baker. Now," the pilot said, in no uncertain terms. This part of the situation certainly hadn't gone according to plan. Without another word, Merrick reported to the Captain's office. Probably to receive further orders.