Olen came to as he was being dragged up a flight of stairs by two
men, one either side of him under his shoulders with his feet
scraping along the floor. They reached the top of the stairs and
made their way down a short corridor before coming to a heavy
steel door. One of the men kicked it open and they both threw
Olen to the middle of the room.
The room was dark, musky and had no windows for any natural light.
A single light dangled from the ceiling and the only furniture was
a wooden desk, speckled with dried blood and two chairs facing each
other across it. The door slammed shut behind him. One of the men
picked Olen up and slammed him down on one of the chairs, Olen was
too exhausted to resist as the ambush he was caught up in earlier
took a heavy toll on him. That, and the subsequent beating he
endured when captured. His hands now tied behind him, he was gifted
with a left and right hook to the ribs by the captor who sat him
down. The other guard sat patiently opposite him.
"Never thought I'd get ordered to beat up Commander Lind, but hey,
best enjoy the work you get given eh?" the guard sank a few more
blows into Olen's ribs, noticing the wincing on his face.
Olen coughed up a few bits of blood and looked up. The guard
stopped hitting him to pace around the room, excited but slightly
nervous at the same time. Olen used this opportunity to get his
bearings of the room. It was clearly a torture and interrogation
room. Various grotesque looking implements lined the walls, dried
blood was everywhere in a manner of different ways. Some were
pools, others were drip marks, streaks of blood lined the walls
showing how they were formed from someone being slashed.
"Bet you never thought you'd end up in a place like this when you
were sipping your coffee this morning did you Commander?"
Olen looked towards the young guard. A stocky young lad, strong but
quite inexperienced at this role. Merely just used to soften him up
"Oh I don't know. I've woke up with some rather dirty women in some
rather dirty dwellings in my time. Tell me, whats your wife's name?
It may jog my memory" Olen quipped upon noticing the guards wedding
The guard flew into a rage and charged at Olen but the older man,
despite being beaten, exhausted and his hands bound jumped up and
got under the guard's outstretched arm. Using the momentum of the
guard and the leverage of his body Olen sent the younger man
hurtling over his back and into the corner.
"Ok enough" the man sitting opposite finally spoke. He was calm,
but had a slight laugh at the misfortune of the other guard. He
almost seemed to admire Commander Lind's defiant nature, but he was
here to extract information. He stood up calmly from his chair and
ordered the guard, who was now picking himself up and dusting
himself off in an angry fashion, out of the room.
"It seems our prisoner is still a little lively. That's something
we'll have to remedy." He approached Olen with a calm step and
produced a small baton. Olen stepped back. "Well, you seem to know
who I am. But I don't believe I caught your name." The guard thrust
the baton into the side of Olen's neck and hundreds of volts surged
into him, dropping him to the floor in a spasm. "I am Corporal
Ashford, Commander. And this would be a lot less painful if you
would stop resisting." Olen was in agony, all his muscles had
tensed under the barrage of electrical current including the
muscles surrounding his now broken ribs. "Ughh...well....nice to
meet you Corporal Ashford....I'd shake your hand, but it seems I'll
just.... have to give you a smile since I'm bound." Ashford shook
his head in an empathetic way and delivered another surge of
electricity to the Commander. Olen lost consciousness.
The country had been at war for years. A rebel General by the name
of General Gunderson had attempted to stage a coup to overthrow the
unpopular government but it had failed. However Gunderson had a
large sympathetic following in the military and many joined his
cause and fought in the rebellion. General Gunderson had evaded
capture for years but was largely believed to be still in the
country, constantly moving. The government was growing impatient
and needed Gunderson caught and now the rebels had ambushed and
captured their most senior Commander, Commander Olen Lind.
Olen woke to find himself still lying in the same place he was when
he was being electrocuted. The door was being opened and the guard
he embarrassed earlier was wheeling something into the room. It
looked like a music system, large speakers flanked either side of a
central interface. Olen acted like he didn't know what it was. But
he did, and he knew what came next would not be pleasant, but he
couldn't resist winding the guard up anyway.
"Oh music! You guys are the nicest persecutors I've ever met! Do
you have any Beethoven?" The guard stopped setting the apparatus up
to give Olen a scornful stare. "After I set this thing away I'm
going to go for lunch and I won't hurry back" With that the guard
turned the device on. Waves of sound blasted Olen as he lay on the
floor. His eardrums instantly felt like they were being ripped from
his head and waves of nausea rushed over him.
The device was an anti-riot weapon. Designed to be used in short
bursts against protesters as a way of breaking up crowds using non
lethal force, however today the machine was being used constantly
to break the will of a single man. As Olen writhed on the floor he
wondered when they were ever going to ask any questions.
An unknown time later Corporal Ashford and the guard walked into
the room. Ashford sat back in the chair he used earlier, the guard
switched off the machine and walked over to Olen, kicking him in
the shins before lifting him up and unceremoniously throwing him
down into the opposite chair. Olen, looking almost broken, winced
and yelped as his battered frame tried in vain to find comfort on
"Morning chaps! It is morning isn't it? or is it afternoon? I can't
tell anymore" Olen laughed, drawing a sigh from Ashford and an
angry look from the guard, who's machine had not broken the
Commander as planned. "Ok Commander Lind. Question time. We want to
know where your units are deploying. We want to know tactical and
strategic intentions of the troops you command."
Olen lifted his head to stare at the Corporal who seemed
intimidated but hid it well. Not so long ago they all fought under
the same flag, until the revolution and the rebel movement. "And I
want to talk to your commanding officer. Not a mere corporal and
his ape". The guard lept forward and kicked Olen in the chest,
sending him backwards off the chair. "Enough Hatch! Control your
emotions! Can't you tell when you're being played?! Pick the
Commander up!" Hatch walked over, further embarrassed by the
Commander, gripped his shirt and yanked him and the chair back up
in one move. "Thank you Hatch" Olen remarked sarcastically.
"As you wish Commander. You shall meet my CO" Ashford motioned
Hatch to the door and they both left, closing the door behind them.
Olen wondered how much more of this he would need to go through,
how many more escalations he needed to engineer, hoping something
higher than a Sergeant walked in. A few minutes past and the door
opened. A proud man walked in, closed the door behind him and sat
down in the seat Ashford occupied. He took off his hat and leaned
forward into the light.
"You've been quite the nuisance since you've arrived! I've been
watch...." Olen's ears went silent. He could still see the man
talking but all sound had been temporarily cut off. A quick flash
of light danced across Olen's view and a split second later his
minds eye was alive with activity.
Olen could still see the man in front of him, talking away with
very animated hand movements. But his view was now a hive of
activity from an internal Head Up Display or HUD. The last known
pictures of General Gunderson were flashing to the right of his
vision. Grid points were matching the man's movements. Focusing on
his shoulders, elbows, head and knees. The processor embedded in
the Commanders chest, which was also starting to get warm, began to
scan and check against database knowledge of the General's height,
weight and build. Voice recognition software began to show the
pitch of the General's voice to the left of his view.
"Are you even listening to me Commander? You seem distracted, I
thought you wanted to see the man in charge?" The man asked with
an arrogant tone. "Not really, I just wanted to see the face of a
traitor before you let the ape back in" The man looked at Olen,
startled by the sudden shift in attitude. He leaned in forward
and Olen did the same, closing the gap between the two faces of
the men. Unwittingly the man had just given Olen's embedded
sensors a clear field of view to complete a retinal scan. All
systems returned a positive ID. The man sat in front of Olen was
the elusive General Gunderson.
Olen sat back in his seat and allowed his head to drop. "Command,
this is Commander Lind. Requesting line check" Olen was speaking in
his mind to an uplink to HQ from the processor surgically implanted
behind his sternum. "Commander Lind this is HQ. The line is clear,
you are clear to report" A female's voice resounded in his head.
The General had had enough of the Commander's behaviour and thought
he had lost his senses from torture. No more information could be
gleaned from him. "I'll let the ape back in then shall I?" and
Gunderson headed out of the room.
"I have a positive ID and location on General Gunderson. He is in a
complex at my location" The heat in his chest increased as Olen
willed the GPS system to begin broadcasting. "Confirmed Commander
Lind. Extraction and Snatch teams are en-route." the woman replied
in a very militaristic tone. "ETA 3 minutes, patching you through
to the Team Leader of the evacuation operation now" A slight pause
followed "...Good luck Commander".
"Commander Lind this is Sergeant Bradshaw. I have a good signal on
your position. Two extraction squads are going to land on the roof
of the building you are in and two further squads will assault from
the ground floor. Three snatch squads will go after the General.
What is your status at this time?" It was clear from the
communication being transmitted to his mind that the Sergeant was
airborne. Not from the noise of any aircraft as they would be
latest generation stealth aircraft, almost silent. It was the
change in the quality of the transmission that he noticed compared
"Broken ribs. My left eye is almost closed over from swelling. I'm
bound to a chair. I'm not combat capable." Olen was updating the
inbound crews when Hatch walked in to the room alone. "Well well.
Seems I've been given free reign over your...disposal" Hatch was
rubbing his hand and knuckles together, a grin stretched across his
face. This was much more his area of expertise than the restraint
required for questioning. He stepped forward with conviction
"Breaching!" Bradshaw proclaimed in Olen's mind. Olen had a split
second to take a deep breath and brace as best he could before an
explosion in the wall ripped into the room. Both Olen and Hatch
were blown across to the other side. Gas canisters were rolled
across the floor and a stunned and confused Hatch panicked.
Commander Lind, who was now lying on his side but still bound to
the chair kept his eyes closed and breath held despite the roaring
pain in his ribs. Gun fire erupted as heavily armed men rushed to
secure the room and the corridor outside and just as he thought his
breath would fail a gas mask was slipped over Olen's face. He
opened his eyes to see Hatch clambering around on the floor blind
from gas and then seconds later being dispatched by a heavily armed
team member. He exhaled violently as he was heaved to his feet, his
ribs protesting with bursts of pain at the sudden movement.
"Command this is Bradshaw. I have the package."
"I want a sitrep now from all teams, sound off."
"Team 3. Roof clear, transport is holding above proving sentry
"Team 4 and 5. Meeting resistance at lobby. Area not secure for
evac. Convoy of large transport vehicles seen leaving the south
side of complex. Snatch teams in pursuit.
"Snatch teams 7,8, and 9 confirming we were in pursuit. Convoy has
been stopped. General Gunderson is wounded but we are unable to get
to him at this time."
"Well Commander, the roof it is!" Bradshaw plunged morphine needles
into Olen's thigh and hoisted him over his shoulder without any
time for it to dull his pain. Bouncing up and down on the
Sergeant's shoulder Olen drifted in and out of pain and drug
inflicted unconsciousness. But he was alert enough to ask a
question as he was transferred to the aircraft as it hovered
silently a few feet above the roof.
"Did we get him?" He asked the man who was tending to his wounds
and cutting his shirt off to administer first aid. "Try to relax
Commander, your with us again" the young medic replied whilst still
hurriedly working. "I asked you a question soldier! Did we get
him!" Olen wasn't aware he was gripping the young medic's arm. The
medic stopped what he was doing and looked at Olen as the aircraft
began to climb out of the combat zone. The medic looked away for a
second, held his fingers to his ears and asked for an update for
the Commander. A few seconds past and the medic looked back to Olen
and gave a subtle nod and a smile. Olen fell unconscious again.
Twelve men sat around a rectangle shaped desk. Most seemed
bewildered by the report that was being given to them by the
Minister of Defence. Stares were exchanged around the room, members
shuffled uncomfortably. But all were listening intently.
"Woah, woah, woah, wait a minute! Has the Armed Forces gone
completely mad?! I know General Gunderson was one of your own and
that your pride was at stake but my word! This is insanity!" Mr
Draper was the Minister for Communication and had barely let Mr
Tompkins, the Minister of Defence, conclude his report before he
bellowed in disbelief.
"Mr Draper, we know the risks. The Commander was intentionally left
exposed so that he could be captured. This was our best chance at
locating the General"
"You know the risks but not the consequences Sir!" Draper slammed
his hand down. "And what if Commander Lind had been recorded
whilst they executed him?! What if he'd been killed in the
ambush?! At too many points along this journey it could have gone
completely wrong and the rebellion would have been emboldened!"
"Ok, calm down Draper" Barkley intervened. Barkley was chairing
this meeting and as deputy Prime Minister he had authority over the
other members in the room. "Whilst we acknowledge the great
sacrifice Commander Lind made and the bravery he found to follow
out this mission. It is the view of the PM that we cancel this
project. The public can not know that we willing use our Commanders
as bait in high risk missions" Barkley motioned quiet to Tompkins
as he was about to interrupt "No matter how successful the mission
"And what of Commander Lind?" asked Draper.
Tompkins checked his notes "He is in hospital recovering. The
implants in his frontal lobe and sternum were safely removed and he
will require around another 3 weeks to recover." Tompkins replied.
"He has also applied for a few weeks leave, which I've granted. He
wants to visit the families of the 2 soldiers killed in the initial
ambush and the 3 killed in the extraction personally."
"Ok, Tompkins, have the teams disbanded and returned to regular
units. They'll be given honours but they obviously will be under a
different story to be issued to the press. Draper, see to it that
the press are told that the operation that killed General Gunderson
was done using conventional forces. Meeting dismissed.