A Sensible Use of Human Life
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Fresh from the Waiting Room, Craggs had been allocated a temporary office with which to set up. Her new husband database administrator in tow. A site supervisor peers in.

"You know that SQL query is going to take, like hours to run."

"Fine. Let it run."

A knock on the glass.

"Not like I can open the door. Come in."

"PoI-7701-

"Ah! my favorite site supervisor and wedding observer, to what do I owe pleasure of this visit?"

An eye roll.

Seeing as you're going to be free for a few hours… we have an MTF candidate, and you do happen to be-"

"Free? Maybe. Depends what I'm teaching."

"Interrogation techniques."

"Are you sure you want me for this? Last time I taught interrogations, they put me in solitary for a month."

"We have been informed that your have special.. expertise… in this area. Please exercise cau-"

"You have absolutely nothing to worry about!"

Her tone of voice and gleeful expression did not inspire confidence.


"This is Tomàs Rey. He's most of his way to being an MTF agent."

"Good to meet you."

"I'm Dr. Craggs. I'm pretty sure my reputation precedes me."

"Yes. It does."

"Excellent. I can assure you that everything said about me factually true."

"Everything?"

"Everything."


"So, give me the background."

"Dr. James Harris, he's part of some CI spy ring. We need him to name names."

"Defector or spy?"

"Why does that matter?"

"No reason. Payback time in either case. How expendable?"

"I'm told you're the interrogator of last resort."

"I see."


The unlucky soul sat motionless on the table, unawares of the unpleasantness soon to be visited on him. Or just about anything else.

"What exactly are we looking for, ma'am?"

"Well, José-"

"Tomàs."

"-looking for any signs of biological tampering. Drug use, any signs of coercion. Strip him."

Clothes unceremoniously removed revealed nothing of interest. Bloodshot eyes. No response.

"Had he been worked over before this?"

"Not as far as I am aware."

"Looks clean to me. I need two bottles of gin, whatever passes for a general purpose MG around, and let's call it… ten belts of ammunition. I also need Range C blocked off for the next three hours."

"Just what are you-"

"Shhh. I've been doing this for literally decades. Everyone has spilled the beans - mafia, spec ops, everyone."

"That's a damned impressive record."

"Well, the ones that didn't die, anyway."


"The range is set. What exactly is going on here?"

A shout down the range.

"So, here's the deal, buddy. Carlos-"

"It's Tomàs, ma'am."

"- Diego or I over here is going to shout questions. Give good answers, that's all that's going to happen. If not -"

A burst of fire. Inches wide of the target. Animalian screams.

A whisper: "Is this really necessa-"

"Also, I have a drinking problem. One that is exacerbated by subjects not answering promptly or correctly. Are we clear?"

No response from downrange. Another burst. A little closer. More screams.

"Tough guy, I suppose."

"I think there's something else at play. Tom Collins?"

"I have a policy of not drinking on the job. Especially not with fully automatic weapons."

"I'll give your supervisor a good report."

"I'm not certain that would be a good thing."

"Spoilsport."


Range C Video Logs - 12/20/41

PoI-7701: Alright, first one. Easy. Who did you flip here?

Silence. A burst of gunfire.

PoI-7701: Fine. More liquor for me.

Tomàs Rey: You barely gave him time to respond.

PoI-7701: You ask the questions if you think you can do it better.

Tomàs Rey: Give us the names of your contacts.

A longer silence. A burst of gunfire.

PoI-7701: I told you.

1

PoI-7701: I ever, uh, ever tell you the way we used to do it at CI?

Tomàs Rey: I'm not sure I want to know.

PoI-7701: Heh. It's not too much different from this. Only thing different, we'd put like, 10 guys down range. And we wouldn't say which one's being interrogated.

Tomàs Rey: Lovely.

PoI-7701: Fuck you. It was way more efficient than this will ever be. One at a time? We're spending too much on ammunition as is. Horrible return on investment.

Tomàs Rey: Tough nut to crack.

PoI-7701: He's a nut alright.

Tomàs Rey: What do you mean?

PoI-7701: There's something else at play.

Tomàs Rey: What do you mean?

PoI-7701: Shhh. Don't ruin my fun.

PoI-7701: Fuckin' guns jammed.

audible clicking

Tomàs Rey: You… you put the belt in backwards.

PoI-7701: Oh.

PoI-7701: Where are the fillings?

Tomàs Rey: What?

PoI-7701: Monty Python? C'mon.

Tomàs Rey: I never really liked them, to be honest.

PoI-7701: Ugh. That's just uncultured.

PoI-7701: Oof.

Tomàs Rey: You hit him. I'm surprised it took this long.

PoI-7701: I'm only four drinks in.

Tomàs Rey: And not a word out of him.

PoI-7701: It's just a graze. Keep going.

PoI-7701: Okay, now I hit him. He's going to bleed out now.

Tomàs Rey: Craggs 0, Interogatee 1.

PoI-7701: Laugh while you can. And get him to the infirmary.


"I'm not sure I got the point of this exercise. You got drunk. The prisoner's critically injured. No valuable information was gathered. Not even a word out of the guy."

"Who's the expert here? The whole thing was a farce from the start. Poor guy had been dosed with enough Class-C amnestics to forget how to tie his own shoes."

"What."

"You're missing the broader point of the exercise."

"So this was an exercise in futility."

"Roll back about half an hour, to about the point of when we met the prisoner."

"I don't see how tha-"

"What is your honest opinion of me? Three words or less."

"Batshit insane?"

"Exactly. Imagine you're the prisoner. That is exactly the last kind of person you want in charge of your safety. Even a sadist would be worse. At least they seem to have some sense of grasp on reality and some investment in keeping you alive. Crazy neuroscientists with liquor and machine guns? That's worst case scenario. They - I - don't give a half a damn about whatever information he may or may not have had."

"But we did care about the information."

"Maybe you cared, but I didn't. And that's the key. Some people use torture, others use 'enhanced interrogation', others use sensory deprivation. The key point of all of them is that the prisoner has a very real notion that their life is not only in danger, but basically of no value to their captors."

"But what about people that are willing to die to protect their information?"

"People like that don't exist. Everyone things they'll fair well under torture - but with stuff like this, they break. Eventually, they break. Maybe it's the stress, maybe it's the pain. Sometimes it's even the absurdity."

"But the prisoner will just give nonsense. That's like, interrogation 101."

"Oh, I know. This was primarily just for shits and giggles. There wasn't any information to be gathered, even if we wanted to gather it."

"So there was no point to any of this."

"Of course there was! I got valuable data about the effects of terror on over-amnesticized subjects. And got to get a lot of those torture-y tendencies out of my system."

"Query's done."

"Excellent! Results?"

"One. Carl Staffsky."

"Ugh. This is going to be a pain."

"Why?"

"Staffsky couldn't have an original thought if I put a Mike interface in his head and thought it for him. Guy's just a stooge for someone else."

"Who is he?"

"Who do you think. Second time I've been gunned for at a Foundation site - he's the one who keeps coming after me. Or least, he's a proxy for them."

"Going to put him downrange, too?"

"We shall see."


An 11th hour entry for Round 3 of the Original Character Tournament.

psulpsul's entry: [http://www.scp-wiki.net/green-recruit]. Read his. It's much better.

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