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 Olen thought.
"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
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 the chair.
"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
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 to
"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 towards Olen.
"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 cover."
"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 turned out."
"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.
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