False Targets

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: War and Military  |  House: Booksie Classic
Agent Tanner and Carson are left with the mission to take out any information of "the Enemy" by torturing two people closest to "The Enemy". Tanner, the one acting out the interrogation, and Carson, the note taker of the ordeals, will intensify in their contrasting views as the torture goes on. It deals with the overarching question. "Is it ethical to torture people in the name of national security?"

Submitted: June 10, 2014

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Submitted: June 10, 2014

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False Targets

Agent Tanner punches the Arabian man sitting in the chair, who has his hands tied to the back of the chair.

“Just because I’m his brother, doesn’t mean I am involved. That’s all I can say,” he says.

“Because you’re his brother, that makes you one of the people closest to him. Don’t lie to us. You’re only going to be making this more painful for yourself. How do we know if you’re just hiding the facts to protect your brother? Now tell us the truth,” Tanner says.

Agent Carson stands with his back against the wall. He takes notes on any information that will be given out. However, he continues to feel a sense of uneasiness crawling under his skin.

“I told you I don’t know anything!” the brother pleads.

With that, Tanner grabs a hold of a wrench and slams it against the brother’s arm, dislocating his shoulder. The brother lets out a loud yelp. The next moment he begins to have trouble breathing. Carson takes a look down at his notepad, only to look away from the pain being caused to the victim.

“Was that really necessary?” Carson finally speaks out.

Tanner looks at him.

“Anything in order to get this enemy associate to talk,” he says.

“We don’t even know if he even is an associate. Plus, you dislocated the poor guy’s shoulder,” Carson says trying to be reasonable with Tanner.

“Don’t tell me how to run my job, just keep on taking notes. The doctor will fix him up once we’re done,” Tanner says.

Carson nods, but he still feels bothered by what’s going on.

“Anyway,” Tanner goes back to speaking to the brother, “Tell us what you know.”

“I... don’t.. I don’t know. I’m being honest. Please, I beg you,” the brother has trouble speaking.

“I see,” Tanner says.

Tanner goes away from the brother only to grab a large bucket filled with water. Carson looks.

“Tanner?” Carson says.

“Shut up,” Tanner says holding the large bucket of water.

“No. No.. please don’t,” the brother says.

Tanner kicks the brother in the chest, knocking the chair over. Some of the victim’s hand bones break as they make impact with the ground. Tanner puts a cloth on the victim’s face. He then starts pouring the water over the victim’s face. The victim is begging Tanner to stop although his screams are muffled by the pouring water. This goes on for seconds until the large bucket is finally empty.

The brother is trying to breathe. Carson lets out a sigh of relief. However, Tanner isn’t done yet. Tanner quickly picks up the chair that the brother is tied to, sits him up, and starts punching him senselessly on the face.

The blood pours out of the brother’s nose. Tears flow out of his blackened eyes. A face made different before the torture began.

“Tell us something!” Tanner yells.

“I just want to go home. Please, let me go home!” the brother begs.

Tanner is about to launch another series of punches, but Carson stops him by grabbing his hand.

“That’s enough. He doesn’t know anything,” Carson says letting go of Tanner’s hand.

Tanner looks at Carson dead in his eyes.

“Alright, fine. We’re done here,” Tanner says.

Carson unties the hands of the brother, which have broken fingers. The right wrist is also broken. The brother collapses on the ground after trying to stand up.

“Get up you idiot,” Tanner says.

Carson gives Tanner a dirty look as he helps pick up the brother from the ground. Carson leads him to the door, where he is taken away by others, and people come in to clean the mess made by tanner.

“Carson, my boy, come on, you can’t possibly be mad about that entire situation. It’s for the good of national security,” Tanner says.

“Did we get information?” Carson asks.

Tanner rolls his eyes.

“Listen to me, did we get any information on the enemy?” Carson asks again.

“No, we didn’t. Quit asking,” Tanner says.

“Then what does that say about the entire ordeal?” Carson says.

“Carson, can you please just shut up already?” Tanner asks.

“No, Tanner. You know exactly what I’m trying to do, so just spit it already,” Carson asserts.

“The torture was a failure. There, happy now?” Tanner says.

“Poor guy can’t even walk on his feet now. He’s got a dislocated shoulder. He even might have brain damage from all that senseless beating to his face. He’s probably traumatized from this experience and for what gain? What did we gain out of it? Absolutely nothing. Look at this notepad, nothing was written down, this entire thing was useless. The torture was useless,” Carson says.

Tanner stays quiet, takes out a cigarette, and starts smoking. Carson grabs the cigarette from Tanner’s mouth and throws it on the ground.

“Are you even paying attention at all?” Carson asks.

“I couldn’t care less,” Tanner says taking out another cigarette.

A person comes into the room informing Tanner and Carson there’s one more suspect to interrogate. The next suspect is an American citizen, and wife of the enemy they are looking for.

“American citizen?” Carson wonders.

“This ought to be fun,” Tanner mutters.

They wait for a moment, and a young woman is being dragged into the room by guards. She’s kicking, and she is trying to scream, but her mouth is covered by duct tape. The guards tie her to the chair, take the duct tape off her mouth, and then leave the room.

Carson notices how young the woman is. She is probably in her early twenties. She continues screaming for a moment until she finally gets tired from doing it. Carson tells Tanner that he’ll talk to her first for a short moment. Tanner tells him to make it quick.

“Hey,” Carson starts.

The woman looks at him. Her makeup was coming off because of the tears that covered her face on her way in here.  

“Hi...” she lets out in a weak voice.

“Any information that you know about your husband, please tell us. Trust me, it will be a lot less painful to you on your part. The process will be quick. However, that is my best and only advice for you in order so that you can go through this. I know you don’t want to be here, so let’s get this over with,” Carson finishes.

“Okay,” she says nodding her head.

Carson passes by Tanner.

“Go easy on her,” Carson says.

“Of course I will,” Tanner says giving him a wink.

Carson goes back to stand against the wall. He takes out his notepad and a pen ready to write anything down.

“Alright,” Tanner claps his hands together, “let’s get this thing started.”

Tanner goes up to her and sits in front of her.

“What do you know about your husband? Like where exactly is he?” Tanner asks.

“I really don’t know. The last time I had seen him was a month ago. Some kind of business trip. He never really tells me anything about where he will be. All I know is that he always woke up, left the house, and came back by night. I’m being honest here,” she says.

“Do you know where this business trip is?” Tanner asks.

“I don’t know,” she says.

“That’s not the answer I’m looking for,” Tanner says standing up.

Carson looks more alarmed now.

“I honestly don’t know,” she says.

Tanner slaps her across the face. She lets out a gasp.

“Tell me where!” Tanner yells.

“I heard that the flight was heading towards some place in the Middle East. That’s all I know!” She yells.

Fear is beginning to overwhelm her. Tanner goes back to sit in front of her.

“You have such a beautiful face. I wonder how an enemy like that can date a cute American citizen like you,” Tanner says.

“Tanner,” Carson says.

Tanner ignores Carson’s call. Carson himself begins to get more nervous about the situation.

“It would be a shame if you lost that pretty face, right?” Tanner asks.

The woman starts shaking in her chair.

“Tanner!” Carson yells.

Tanner continues to ignore Carson’s calls.

“I didn’t even want to marry him in the first place. I was forced to marry him by my parents. I have nothing to do with what she does, that’s all,” she says.

Tanner slaps her again, only much harder.

“You know that you know more than that, so give us the information we need,” Tanner says.

“You’re crazy. I don’t know anything else,” she pleads.

Tanner walks over to her. The strap on her shirt grabs his attention. He reaches for it and pulls it off the side, which makes her shirt go down a little. He pulls the other strap to the side, which makes her shirt fall to her waist. Fear flows through every inch of her body.

“Tanner!” Carson calls out once more.

Tanner is in his own world now. A world where he thinks he is the only one in control.

“I’ve already told you everything I know, what more do you want?” she begs.

“You know more information. Give it to us,” Tanner says.

“That’s enough Tanner,” Carson calls out.

Tanner cannot listen anymore. All he’s focused on is the prize that sits before him.

“You know, my mama always told me never to hit girls, but with this kind of job, I have every right to do so,” he says putting on brass knuckles.

“Please don’t do this,” she begs.

“Already made up my mind. Now give us the information,” he says.

“I already told you, I don-” she is interrupted when Tanner punches directly to her nose and breaking it.

Blood starts to flow out of her nose profusely. He sends two punches into her abdominal area. Blood starts to flow out of her mouth. The sound of her ribcage breaking can be heard. He sends two more punches to her face, breaking and dislocating her jaw, and pieces of her teeth fall out. He sends a couple more to her face. Her eyes are blackened.

Blood still came running out of her mouth, her eyes, and her nose. Tears streamed heavily out of her eyes, mixing in with the crimson liquid which poured out of her once beautiful face. She can’t even speak anymore. Her face rolls over to Carson’s. Carson feels that he has betrayed her.

“Tanner, that’s enough!” Carson yells, “You’ve already done too much, what more can you do? It’s over with!”

Tanner grabs her out of the chair and places her on the ground. She makes little to no movements. It is like she has given up. Tanner reaches for her pants and begins to pull them off.

“Tanner! This isn’t torture anymore. This is beyond what we are supposed to be doing! This is sadism!” Carson is yelling at the top of his lungs.

Tanner stops. He looks towards Carson. A blank dead expression that Carson would never forget.

“Torture is sadism,” Tanner claims in the most inhumane manner and laughing.

Carson stands back, unable to do anything. He can try to stop Tanner, but fear also overwhelms him. Tanner continues to pull off her pants. The woman is looking at Carson the entire time. Guilt flows through every inch of Carson’s body. Weakness enveloping his body back and forth. Carson drops his notepad and drops down to his knees as Tanner rapes the young woman.

Tanner zips up his pants. The woman is taken away by the guards. Carson couldn’t get himself to go and help her up. He feels like a hollow shell.  Tanner feels a sort of accomplishment.

“Hey Carson, what’s wrong?” Tanner asks.

“Do you think this is a fucking game?” Carson says.

“What are you talking about?” Tanner asks.

“You know exactly what I’m talking about. What the hell happened? Why did you do that to her? Why did you go against every single value of being an American? The last guy wasn’t even an American citizen, and the treatment wasn’t even half as bad as what you did to her! You nearly killed the poor girl!” Carson asserts.

“Calm down Carson. I know what I was doing. It’s all in the name of security,” Tanner says.

“Do you recall this? When you said that torture is sadism?” Carson asks.

“Well, it’s pretty true you know. The one doing the torture can actually find enjoyment out of it in any way he sees fit as long as information is received. I’m pretty sure we did,” Tanner claims.

“Look at the fucking notepad, Tanner. All we know is that the enemy is in the Middle East, that’s it!” Carson asserts.

“It’s something,” Tanner says.

Something snaps inside of Carson. Carson quickly grabs Tanner and slams him up against the wall. Something he wanted to do before.

“Listen here you sadistic piece of shit,” Carson starts, “this is worthless information. The torture was useless. The things you did were even more useless. This entire interrogation process was bullshit.”

“Let me down Carson. Let us talk this through,” Tanner says.

Carson lets Tanner down.

“There’s no time for talking,” Carson begins walking out the door.

Carson is greeted by people telling him that he and Tanner will be considered heroes. Even with the small amount of information, it’s better than nothing. Carson, however, doesn’t feel like a hero.

“You basically saved a thousand lives now,” Tanner shouts from behind.

“We could have gotten more information in another way,” Carson says.

“Come on, don’t beat yourself up,” Tanner says getting closer.

“They picked the wrong people. Two people close to the enemy that rarely knew a thing about him. This entire process just shows how American values are put aside,” Carson says.

A sound of a pistol going off can be heard. Carson is shocked. He begins running, and Tanner follows him from behind.

Carson stops dead in his tracks. He sees a man hold a pistol to the young woman’s head. He can see her begging him to let her go. A moment too late for him to do anything, the man pulls the trigger. The young woman falls to her side.

“Why?” Carson wonders in dismay.

“We let the other guy go back to Saudi Arabia. She’s an American citizen. We can’t let her going out and telling everyone what we did to her. They’ll erase everything about her life. It’ll be like she never even existed,” Tanner says.

A person comes up to the two of them.

“I have word that the military has captured two associates on the enemy’s side. We believe interrogating them will prove much more useful than the last two,” he says.

“Prove more useful?” Carson says.

“Yes sir,” the person says.

Carson looks at Tanner.

“So what? Were these just like false targets?” Carson says.

“Carson, you have to understand we have to take extreme measures in order to get the information. We couldn’t have just captured his associates right away,” Tanner says.

“You’re dead to me, all of you. Even me,” Carson says walking away.

Carson leaves the building. Tanner tries following, but he realizes he can’t stop him. Carson ends up quitting his job. Extreme measures meant nothing to Carson anymore. There are always alternatives. Alternatives of people who actually do deserve it. Alternatives to getting the answer out. The small information gained from the torture and the thousands of lives being saved cannot convince him out of removing the guilt that wells up inside of him. Torture, as he remembers from Tanner, is, indeed, sadism. Those words will forever be etched into his mind. The face of a young woman he felt he betrayed shall remain in his nightmares.

To him now, all the American government seems to do is show the country that they stay true to American values, but keep it hidden to the people of what’s really going on. He knows the government is good at covering stuff up. He knows that they’ll arrest him for treason if he ever let out any information. Carson no longer knows what it means to be ethical from that day forward. At last, for him, Torture is sadism.


© Copyright 2020 jlorenzana15. All rights reserved.

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