This is something a little different, you can maybe almost even safely read it at work. (Yes indeed, that means no obvious smut.)
Debrief Transcript (Trance Aided), Agent 12, RE: events of 10th July 2015
I approach the door to my hotel room and something’s off, something’s wrong, but I’m not sure what. I examine the hallway, the light fixtures, the doorjamb – and there it is, the thing that tipped me off. I always scatter salt under the door, it catches in the ridges of the jamb and is nearly impossible to clean up completely. Opening the door changes the pattern, and I am dead certain that someone has been in my room, and is probably still there. I wasn’t having any fun at this convention anyhow, it’s time to blow.
I find my partner, Agent 5, milling about with the real writers in line for the hotel-catered lunch. I catch his eye and give him a thumbs up, which is our prearranged signal for “we’re blown, rendezvous later” and head for my personal escape route. Through the maze of rooms allotted to the Romance Writers of America Conference, (we’ve built our covers as two moderately successful authors over several years, 5 even writes his own material), down the freight elevator, out through the kitchens. It’s just outside the lift that they catch me, clubbing me on the back of the head. I go down hard, my body just quits on me, and I think ‘at least I warned…’
“Fitzroy, is it? Nice alias.” are the first words I hear when I come to. Damn. They’ve nabbed 5 as well. I can’t see him, but I can hear someone needling him, doing obvious pre-interrogation patter, and I know it’s only a matter of time before it’s my turn. Time to see what I have to work with. There’s not much. I’m tied to one of those rolling office chairs, wrists to the arm rests, legs to the pedestal, you know the drill. I’m in what looks like a room within the Con hotel, double beds, over-size flatscreen, mini-fridge, those ridiculous lamps that attach to the wall next to the beds, you know, the ones you can never find the switch for? There’s something weird about these lamps though. They’re putting out perfectly round halos of light, halos that seem to spin around the room on a line of light, entering my vision from the right and exiting on the left. It’s almost impossible not to try and track them as they move, and it’s when I try to turn my head to follow them that I realize my head is being held in place somehow. It’s a variation on the old ‘shine a light in their eyes’ trick, but I am confident that I can withstand it.
It’s almost a relief though when one of my captors comes in to view, blocking the lights. Because of the glare, I can’t get more than just a sense of him – tall, powerful, probably over-confident because he’s looming over me and I’m tied to a chair. When he starts to speak, his voice is mild, almost gentle, and barely audible.
“You’re going to have to speak up if you want this to work,” I taunt, and he slaps me. Really puts his shoulder behind it, and it’s when my head bounces off the back of Agent 5’s that I realize that we are tied back to back. Someone is talking to him as well, but he has the sense to learn from my mistake and keeps quiet.
“You don’t get to speak,” says the tall man. “You get to sit there and listen while my friend milks Agent 5 for everything he knows.”
“Really? Are you going to hit me every time I make a noise then?” I ask. He answers me with a feint towards a backhand, but stops before he does anything but barely contact my skin.
“No, Agent 12, I think in your case we’ll have to try something different.” He fusses with something outside of my range of vision, when he turns he’s got a hypodermic in his hand. ‘Great’ I think. ‘Drugs. I can deal with drugs.’ I don’t struggle when he injects me, which seems to surprise him, but that’s because he doesn’t know about the new anti-interrogation techniques that the Agency has perfected. I’m proof against any chemical he wants to use to try and make me talk.
I can feel it though. In training I practiced this, how to ride the wave of relaxation and lethargy that trickles over me. Of course, once the drug became part of the scenario my plan of attack changes. It’s no longer ‘escape as soon as possible’, it’s going to be quite some time before my reactions and reflexes will be back up to par. Now it’s ‘withstand their interrogation’. The tall man starts to talk again, I have to really concentrate to hear him.
“You are going to be quiet Agent 12, as quiet as Agent 5 is talkative, until we find out what we need to know.”
“I’m really not, you know.” I answer. You can’t tell from my voice that the drug is affecting me. Maybe my breathing has slowed down a little bit, but not enough to betray me. The tall man laughs at me. Laughs in my face.
“You’re not what? Not going to be quiet?” He steps to the side and the lights are back in my eyes again. I notice that they take exactly the same amount of time to revolve around me as it takes to take one breath. In and they are on my right, out and they are on my right.
“No,’ I say. “I’m not really a quiet sort of person.” And if I’m talking then 5 can be silent. The tall man’s friend is still muttering behind me. I can’t quite make it out, but I think 5 is getting the same speech that I am. Don’t talk, listen while your partner talks. I feel the drug slowing me down, making my body feel like it’s in slow motion. The tall man’s friend is talking about how easy it is be silent and rest, about how hard it is to speak when your muscles are so heavy and tired from the drug, how easy it would be to just rest and let me do all the talking.
“Let me do all the talking” I say to 5. I think he says it to me at the same time. The lights are on my right and I breathe in. “Don’t speak” I say to 5. The tall man grabs me by the hair, a good strong grip, and wrenches my head around. “Don’t speak” he says to me. I can barely feel the pain from the hair pull. The drug they gave me has made everything slow and heavy and I feel like I am buried under a mile of cotton. Nothing he does will hurt me. I am safe from pain in this cocoon. It’s just like we were taught at the Agency. Use their tools against them.
They are circling us, the tall man and his partner, talking at the same time, sometimes alternating with each other, but always talking in that quiet voice that I can barely hear. It is so frustrating not to be able to hear clearly.
“You really have to concentrate to hear clearly” says the tall man. For a second, I forget that I need to talk to keep 5 from talking, but I remember just in time. “I really have to concentrate to hear clearly” I say to the tall man. The lights are on my right and I breathe in. The tall man’s accomplice tells 5 “You must speak so that your partner won’t talk.” Oh no! Before 5 can answer I say “I must speak so that my partner won’t talk.” I really have to concentrate to hear clearly, the voices are so indistinct, hard to pin down where they are coming from or what they are saying. I notice that the lights are slowing down. I breathe in and they are to my right, I breathe out and they are to my right. I can’t forget to keep talking, I must speak so that my partner won’t talk.
“I must speak so that my partner won’t talk” I say to the tall man as he and his accomplice continue to circle me. They circle me like the lights circle me. I breathe in and they are on my right, I breathe out and they are on my right.
“I think he’s just about ready” says the tall man, referring to 5. His partner looks at me and says “She is too, let’s turn them.” My body is so heavy it’s like it’s become part of the chair. The world spins on me and I can’t stop it, it keeps going and going and I’ve forgotten something that I’m supposed to do, something important. I finally realize that I can’t be spinning, because the lights are still circling me, and now I am facing Agent 5. He looks confused and dazed, like he’s forgotten something. We’ve both forgotten something.
“Did you forget already?” teases the tall man. “You have to speak so your partner won’t talk.”
“Did you forget already?” taunts the tall man’s accomplice. “You have to speak so your partner won’t talk.”
I am staring at 5 and he is staring at me. We are locked eye to eye, I can see the reflection of the lights there as they go around and around. They are getting even slower. The lights are on my right and I breathe in. The lights are on my right and I breathe out. I notice that 5 is breathing at the same time that I do. I watch the lights reflected in his eyes. The lights are on his left and he breathes in. The lights are on his left and he breathes out.
“Agent 12, I have some questions for you” says the tall man. His accomplice tells 5 “You must speak so your partner won’t talk.”
“I must speak so my partner won’t talk.” I say before 5 can answer.
“Agent 5, I have some questions for you” says the tall man’s accomplice. The tall man tells me “You must speak so your partner won’t talk.”
“I must speak so my partner won’t talk.” 5 says before I can answer.
“I must speak so my partner won’t talk.” We say together.
“I must speak so my partner won’t talk.” We breathe together.
“I must speak so my partner won’t talk.” We chant together.
My body is a weight pulling me down. The lights circle me and I can’t stop staring at them. Across from me, 5 slumps in his chair, but I can tell that he is staring at the lights too. It’s hard to think. I have to speak so my partner won’t talk, but I don’t know what to say.
“You don’t have to think” says the tall man.
“You don’t have to think” says his accomplice.
“I must speak so my partner won’t talk.” we explain to them.
“You don’t have to think.” they say. “All you have to do is respond.”
“I must speak so my partner won’t talk.” we plead.
“We will think for you.” they say.
“You can speak without thinking.” says the tall man.
“You can speak without thinking, so your partner won’t talk.” says his accomplice.
“I can speak without thinking, so my partner won’t talk.” We say.
“Our words are your words.” They say.
“Your words are my words.”
“You can speaking without thinking, our words are your words.”
“I can speak without thinking, your words are my words.”
We speak together. We breathe together. The lights circle us. They are on my right and we breathe in. They are on my left and we breathe in. We speak, so the other won’t talk. We can speak without thinking.
“Well, that was certainly interesting.” said the Deputy Director. He flipped a switch and turned off the monitor. “I guess you were right about hypnosis being the wrong way to go with interrogation resistance.” He stretched to his full height, joints popping as he did so. “If it was that easy for us to break them, think of the damage our enemies could do. They could have all our secrets in an afternoon. I’m glad you came to me with this. I’ll make sure that your higher ups in Research know how instrumental you were in this discovery.”
“It was very interesting the way they reacted, wasn’t it?” asked the research tech. “Of course I have worked very hard in the process of teaching them how to withstand interrogation to prepare them for the moment when they are completely open and can be programmed to do anything I need.” She smiled at the Deputy Director. “By the way,“ she said, grabbing a bottled water from the mini-fridge, “It’s time to relax for me, relax right there where you are standing, perfectly comfortable and perfectly content to listen to my words.” She popped the water open and drained it. “This is thirsty work! Now let’s you and I plan the best way for me to continue to infiltrate your organization.