Just a small short story I wrote a little while ago. Hope you like it.
League Intelligence Officer Davis sighed, running a hand through his sun-bleached hair. "Have you tried everything?" he asked the interrogator.
The man nodded.
"Terrific." Davis groaned. "And I thought this day couldn't get worse." He muttered under his breath.
"What was that sir?" The interrogator asked.
"Nothing." Davis said. He noticed dark circles under the interrogator's eyes. The poor guy must have been at it for hours.
"You did your best son. Go get some rest."
"Yes sir." The interrogator said. Even though he didn't show it, Davis could tell the man was
relieved to have take a break.
Once Davis was alone, he reached under his Centauran inkwood desk and pulled out a chrome-plated flask. "Of all the days to give up drinking…"
Ever since the League of Planets was founded over 200 years ago, the so called "Union of Man" had been the biggest thorn in it's collective side. While their propaganda described them as a group of freedom fighters trying to "liberate humanity from its alien oppressors", anyone with a functioning brain knew otherwise. They were really nothing more than a gaggle of xenophobic nutjobs that saw every non-human sapient (the ancient term "alien" was considered impolite) as either a dictator or a monster.
Not that that made them any less dangerous. Over the past two centuries, the Union had launched countless hit-and-run attacks on nonhuman-staffed outposts and colonies. They'd launch everything from high-speed kamikaze ships to stolen cruisers. They were, to use an old Terran idiom, a real pain in the ass.
The League had been trying to disband the Union since the day it'd been founded. It hadn't been easy; the Union had no real established bases or headquarters. Instead, they established temporary outposts in the Kuiper Belt of their target system, strike, then flee before League ships could respond. There was no definable command structure; anyone could be assigned any rank depending on the circumstances.
Capturing a Union member was almost impossible. Each member had some kind of self-destruct capsule implanted in their stomachs. Upon capture, it would rupture, releasing a potent neurotoxin that killed in seconds. There was no known antidote.
That's why this prisoner was so important. For some reason, his capsule had failed to go off. He was the first Union prisoner ever taken. Even better, He appeared to be some kind of bigshot in the Union "ranks". His brain was probably a mother lode of priceless information.
The problem was, he wasn't talking.
Davis took a quick gulp from the flask, He could feel the Terran whiskey (vintage 2237, a good year) flow through his bloodstream, soothing his badly frayed nerves. He felt calm for the first time in over eight hours.
"I thought you gave up drinking."
Davis started, spilling some of the amber liquid on his uniform.
"Blast it Claire, do you have to startle me like that?"
A holo of a young, red-headed woman materialized on his desk. "Don't look at me. You're the one who won't take his anti-stress medication."
"We've been over this before Claire..."
"I know I know." The hologram drolled, rolling her marble-sized eyes. "Your mind's a blade and those drugs dull it."
Davis groaned. Claire had started out as a simple secretary program. She was supposed to take care of the gruntwork he had no time for: defragging his files, answering his calls, telling the cleanerbots to dust his desk; that kind of stuff. But ever since a Kivan technician had run that diagnostic on her last month, she'd started acting less like a secretary and more like his ex-wife.
Davis suspected that the techie had something to do with it. His race had a thing for screwing with perfectly good software.
"Do you have anything useful to tell me, or are you just here to annoy me?"
"Both. Admiral Gane wants a report on the prisoner."
"Well what are you waiting for? Put him on!"
"Not with that attitude I'm not!" Claire sniffed, crossing her arms against her fairy-sized chest. "You could at least say 'please'."
Davis slapped a hand against his face. Why me? Whywhywhy me?
Claire tapped her fingernail-sized foot. "I'm waaaaaiting."
"Fine," Davis said with a groan. "Please put Admiral Gane on."
The hologram smiled. "See, that wasn't' so hard. I'll put him on right now. Audio only."
Claire yawned. "And if you don't mind, I'm gonna go take some down time. A working girl needs her sleep."
The holo vanished in a swirl of pixels. The desk's speaker crackled to life. "Davis, report on prisoner?"
It was times like this that Davis wished the Admiral was human. He didn't have anything against nonhumans. Hell, he was married to one. The problem was that the Admiral's race had a taboo against showing their faces onscreen. Davis preferred seeing someone's face when he talked. It let him know if he'd screwed up somehow.
"Admiral, the prisoner has refused to cooperate with us."
"Surprised not. Have all techniques been tried?"
"Admiral" Davis said, "We've tried every interrogation technique the League allows."
"Hypno-inducers have been tried?"
"Yes. They only made the guy dizzy."
"He just laughed at them."
"The 'Asking Nicely Method'?"
"Sir, if I may speak candidly, that technique has to be the stupidest idea ever."
The Admiral let out his race's equivalent of a sigh.
"No more be said. If change situation, report immediately. Gane out."
Once the Admiral signed out, Davis leaned back in his memory-gel chair. He rubbed his eyes. They'd tried everything; 124 League-approved interrogation techniques and the prisoner was still as silent as one of the Spican Monoliths.
It was times like this that he wished the League allowed harsher interrogation techniques. Wishful thinking; the League was strongly opposed to causing unnecessary suffering to sapient life forms.
A load of waste if you ask me. Davis grumbled. Most terrorist leaders were cowards. A light beating or two could probably get the guy to talk in a few minutes. With proper medical attention, any damage would be repaired within minutes. Besides, it would hardly be "unnecessary suffering". The information they could extract from him could save thousands of lives.
As if the Assembly would care. They'd say 'noooo, it might cause lasting psychological damage. Nooooo, it might scare him too much."
Something clicked in Davis' mind. His eyes (at least the one that hadn't been replaced) brightened; all this time he'd been approaching this from the wrong angle!
Davis punched the secretary icon on his desk. Claire's avatar popped into existence. Her secretary's uniform had been replaced by a nightgown and her red hair was rolled up into curlers.
"Claire, get me Admiral Gane, ASAP!"
The holo yawned. "Can't a girl get some downtime around here? I was just having a really good dream."
"Claire, I may have a way to get the Union prisoner to talk. I need the Admiral on the line NOW!"
"Alright, alright." Claire said, rubbing her virtual eye. "Now please let me get some sleep."
The speaker gave off its familiar crackle. " GaneAdmiral here."
"Admiral, I might have found a way to get the prisoner to talk, but I'm going to need your help."
Davis stepped into the soundproof Interrogation room. He made sure to put on his "in charge" face: smug grin, hands clasped behind his back, and a confident step. It let the prisoner know who was in charge. Normally he'd have an interrogator ask the questions, but this was something that required the personal touch.
The prisoner's expression hadn't changed. His scarred face, patched here and there with synthskin, was as sullen and defiant as ever. Though he didn't show it, Davis was glad the man was restrained. If he'd been loose, Davis would probably be dead in seconds.
Davis pulled up a gel chair, making sure to sit at least five point two five feet away from the prisoner. He folded his hands on his lap. "So, have you come to your senses yet?"
A glob of spittle splattered on Davis' uniform.
"I see" Davis said, wiping the glob off with a handkerchief. "Well I guess that we have no choice but to send you to an internment camp."
The prisoner's eyes brightened. Davis knew that look. The man was thinking of the possibilities an internment camp offered. With a little work, he could probably recruit members to the cause; maybe even escape.
"Before you go, there's something I'd like to show you." Time to crush his dreams Davis thought with a smirk. He clapped his hands twice. Two orderlies pushed a large storage tube into the room.
Davis slowly stood up and walked over to the polarized tube. The prisoner raised an eyebrow in confusion.
"You know, this station is more than just a military base. "Davis said. "We're also a major outpost for the League's Expeditionary Teams."
Davis began to pace back and forth. " Every standard month, we send out a scout ship to explore uncharted territory. Most of the things they find are rather boring; rockball planets, asteroid clouds surrounding dying stars, and the like."
"However," Davis said, " There are times when the scouts find something interesting. Habitable planets. Alien ruins. New civilizations. Stuff that grabs the public's imaginations…."
Davis punched a combination on the tube's control panel.
"And, once in a blue moon, the scouts manage to bring something back" Davis typed an order into the tube's control panel. The jet-black container turned transparent. "Something like this."
The prisoner's skin turned glue-white.
Imagine that a mad scientist gave a wolf opposable thumbs, an enlarged braincase, and a the ability to walk upright; A true werewolf.
Now imagine that, for reasons known only to the voices in his head, the mad scientist gave the hybrid creature a second pair of arms, razor-sharp bone spurs, insect-like eyes, and a pair of ram-like horns growing out of its skull.
That's what was in the tube.
As soon as the tube was fully depolarized, the beast lunged against its smart-plastic prison. It's blood-soaked mouth let out a blood-freezing roar. Four massive fists, each the size of a man's head pounded on the steel-hard wall.
"You like him?" Davis said, placing a hand against the tube. " the survey team found him on a planet about 200 lightyears from here. According to their reports, the place was a Class-A DeathWorld. Everything could kill you; plants, animals, even some of the minerals. "
Davis continued. "This little guy took out an armored scout and two combat mechs in less than a minute. They dosed it with enough Universal Sleepers to kill a man five times over and that barely slowed it down."
The beast raked its bone spurs against the tube, leaving thin scratches in the tough plastic.
"We're thinking of donating him to the Galactic Zoo on AlphaCent. The director thinks he'd be a huge hit with the kids."
A heart monitor attached to the prisoner's uniform beeped as though something were trying to kill it. A medic pressed a relaxant hypo against the prisoner's neck. The heart monitor calmed down, but it was clear that the man was still terrified.
"Unfortunately, we only have one transport available right now, and it's almost fully loaded. You and your friend here," Davis tapped the side of the tube "will have to share a compartment"
"I could convince the League brass to send another transport, but given your uncooperative behavior I don't think that's going to happen."
The prisoner started. A thin crack had appeared in the supposedly unbreakable tube.
"I hope that tube holds. It would be very inconvenient if our friend broke out during transit".
With that, Davis slowly walked out of the interrogation room. If his theory was right, the prisoner should crack right about…
"All right all right I'll talk I'll talk!"
Davis turned around. "Will you cooperate with us now?'
"YesYes I'll tell you everything! Sympathizers, spies, supply depots, whatever! Just get that thing away from me!"
"That's much better." Davis depolarized the tube. He turned to the attendants. "Get this thing back to the main storage bay." He tapped his wrist communicator. "Intel, get an interrogator down here. Our friend has finally come to his senses…"
Davis stretched back in his gel-chair, savoring the moment.
The prisoner had been a treasure trove of information. He'd already spilled the metaphorical beans on a dozen active Union cells. The sympathizers he'd listed had been detained for questioning; incredibly, one of whom had been a member of the League Assembly!
Davis didn't think this wouldn't completely destroy the Union. There were probably still countless cells throughout in League space. But it had definitely hurt them. Hurt them bad.
This had to be worth a little vacation time. Maybe he could take the wife out on a second honeymoon. She'd like that.
A soft beep interrupted Davis's thought. Claire flickered into existence, a bemused expression on her holographic face. "Hey hotshot. Admiral Gane wants to talk with you"
"Alright, put the old dog on."
Claire snapped a photon-based finger. The desk's speaker crackled. "Davis. Fine job on interrogation. Victory contribution: vital."
"Thank you sir, but I can't take all the credit. You put on a very convincing performance.
The Admiral gave his race's equivalent of a chuckle. " Clan-mine known for its acting abilities. Denmother always urged me go into theater…"