[livejournal.com profile] elanya's drabble request

Apr. 20th, 2006 11:37 pm
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I wrote all my drabbles today at work, as well as half an installment of Conflation because I didn't really feel like going through the metric assload of leases on my desk and looking for discrepancies. I still ended up doing that, but at least I got nearly 5,000 words written, too. :)

So here's the drabble requested by [livejournal.com profile] elanya. She asked for Technocracy, so Technocracy is what she gets.

"Let's try this again," the woman said softly.

She straightened from where she'd been leaning on the table and stood very straight, arms folded serenely across her chest. She wore a perfectly-tailored grey suit, and well-polished ankle-high boots. She wasn't beautiful, the prisoner thought distractedly, but she was striking: she had the kind of face that wasn't easily forgotten, even discounting the faint scar on one cheek. He certainly hadn't forgotten her, not in the many months since he'd last seen her, though her appearance had changed somewhat in the interval.

She walked around the table to stand behind the chair to which he was tied, and he swallowed hard, trying not to show how afraid he was, and failing miserably. She placed one hand gently on his shoulder, and he flinched.

"There's no reason to be afraid," she raised her free hand to push back the long black braid that had fallen over one shoulder. "I know that you've been conditioned to think of us as the 'bad guys,' but that's a gross misconception. We can help you."

The prisoner spat weakly. "That's what I think of your help."

She shook her head in mute disapproval. "I'm going to let that slide, since ignorance can be an excuse now and then. You have no idea what kind of harm you and your friends have caused. Now we have to clean up your mess. Do you know how hard it is to wipe out all traces of an Extraplanar Incursion?"

He didn't reply, but nor did she expect him to. "Since we have to clean up after you," she continued quietly, "we're going to have to enlist your help. I need those coordinates."

"For the last time, I'm not telling you anything! You ought to know I won't cooperate. You know me better than that."

She pulled his chair around so that he was facing her, forced to look up at her. "I do know you. Maybe more than you know yourself. You're a smart guy. You know that there are two ways of doing this: the easy way, or the hard way. The easy way is that you tell me everything you know, and let me help you by helping me. The hard way is that I reach into your mind and take out what I need, and I can't guarantee that you'll be left intact. You know the risks. This isn't a drill, and this isn't a police procedure show on television, when the detainee can wriggle his way out of trouble just by not being cooperative. There is no 'good cop, bad cop' here: there's just me."

"What did they do to you? You would never have done this before. It's against everything you stood for!" he glared past her at the one-way mirrored glass on the wall, hoping whoever was behind there would see how hopeless this was, that he'd never give in, not even to her.

She sighed, as though he was a personal disappointment to her. "Have it your way." She took out a small metallic device the size and shape of a button, and affixed it to his temple. It looked very sophisticated, but in reality it was just a focus for her, something she could use to channel energy, though she would never admit it to anyone.

For a moment it seemed nothing would happen, and then a searing white light filled his head. There wasn't pain so much as the feeling that his mind was being crushed in a vice, all his thoughts, all his feelings obliterated by a force so strong that he was sure he wouldn't even know where to begin in order to resist it. He shrieked, twisting in his seat but held in place by the restraints. For a few moments he felt as though he would never stop screaming ever again. Then, the feeling stopped, and he slumped in his chair, perspiration beading on his forehead.

"Will you talk to me now?" the woman reached out a hand and, in a surprisingly gentle move, smoothed his hair back from his forehead. "I promise never to do that again if you help me. Will you do that for me?"

The prisoner nodded, his breath coming in low sobs. "Yes."

She smiled, then, and removed the device, and he felt inexplicably glad to see her expression soften, glad that he'd made her happy. He liked her, he decided. He always had liked her, and he liked her now, even if she'd changed. She'd helped him before, and she wanted to help him now, he was sure of it. She would make the pain go away.

"Good, that's very good," she said, and reached over to switch on a recording device. "This is Agent Blythe Trueman conducting the interview of the Reality Deviant known as Riemann Klein. The time is 0315 hours." She smiled at him again.

"Let's begin."
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