Wolf Den Military Base
Time : 2081-04-11
Age : 1643453-BDC
Gooseman, Shane – 14 y.a.d.
Training Block C
knife slid with terrifying ease through the skin of the foreign
belly. He had positioned the cut exactly: deep enough to cause a
gaping wound and draw some blood but without opening the
abdominal cavity. His antagonist's yellow eyes were clenched
he ordered it.
When the alien
didn't look down at its almost humanlike body he grasped its neck
and forced it to see. The creature's eyes widened and it
whimpered when it saw the wound in its flesh. He held the blade
with the violet blood on it for the alien in plain sight, let it
flash in the brilliant white light of the interrogation room's
halogen lamps, and narrowed his eyes in a pretended gesture of
pure pleasure while he ran his finger through the foreign blood
on the blade, sniffed at the violet liquid and smelled bile on
remember the position of your HQ by now?" he asked in a
soft, vibrating voice. "Or may I enjoy this game a little
don't like this, Owen." Walsh said, looking down into the
hall at the body strapped into the mental sim unit, almost
completely hidden by the mass of sensors attached to the skin,
while the screen embedded in Negata's console showed what the
tested trooper saw at the moment. "I was assigned to a
project of genetically optimized soldiers, not improved Gestapo
completely with you." Negata sighed. "But as long as
the senator doesn't change his mind we can't do anything about
the education in 'Information Procurement'." He looked at
the readings and drew air through his teeth. "The simulation
is finished. The alien intruder had broken." After a look at
the clock he shook his head. "Twenty-eight minutes. More
than an hour faster than any of the others. 1643453 is by far the
best in this course." Walsh's twitch at that slipped his
He watched on the
monitor how the sim continued with putting the trooper to rest.
After the participant was asleep the machine automatically
injected an adapted sleep drug into his veins. At Negata's sign,
a couple of guards took the motionless body off the stretcher and
brought him back into the dormitory. The trooper would never know
that it had been nothing but a sim. Negata sighed. That was part
of the test. ...and he didn't like it.
Max greeted him shortly. "I called you over because there's
something going on with the boy you'd better know
"Is he all
"Yes, at the
moment he is." Sawyer calmed his friend hastily and offered
him the second chair. "But that won't last much longer if we
can't pull him off the IP-Sims."
frowned. "I witnessed the sims and he didn't have any
problems." He sighed and took a seat. "It's not easy to
know that he has become that unscrupulous – to torture
without even a prick of conscience."
be so sure about that, Joe. Since PTS the boy has learned pretty
well to hide his suffering."
do you mean?" The commander looked up warily.
you have to search very thoroughly to find a hint of what's
really going on in him." The gentech called a file onto his
display. "Look here..." He pointed at a column. "That's
the amount of food he got each day."
scanned across the data. "Always the same
boy's careful. But he doesn't know that we also monitor the
amount of food on the dishes when they are disintegrated. Look at
the differences in the amount he got each day." He pointed
at some days, where the difference between the two values were
much smaller. "Those are the days after he went through
IP-Sims, aren't they?"
looked at the dates. "Yes, exactly." He skimmed over
the values and looked up. "He doesn't eat."
lowered his head and said faintly. "I think he can't, Joe. I
think your boy's pretty aware that what he's ordered to do is
wrong but that he can't risk acting against direct orders if he
wants to stay valid." He met his friend's eyes. "At the
moment, his body is coping with the three foodless days a week,
but you know yourself how close everything's calculated in
Joseph still scanned
through Shane's data. "He's already losing weight." He
said in a hoarse whisper. "And I didn't notice it." He
clenched his fist and looked at the wallchrono. "Past 23:00.
No one's around any longer. Time to correct something!" He
got up and turned briskly for the door.
are you planning?" Max asked behind him.
I did the last time: to tell the truth!"
Dormitory A - Segment 53
was awake and in fighting position on his feet the moment the
forcefield collapsed and light flooded into the sleeping cubicle
he'd been allocated to for this night.
recognized the ordering voice immediately. The commander? Now?
From the silence outside he could tell that it was far from
So whatever it was, it was indoors. He hadn't been ordered to
take his boots.
Training Block C
know what this is?" The commander pointed at a stretcher
with lots of cables and sensors attached to it.
studied it a moment. "A mental simulator. It creates a fake
reality in the mind of the person who uses it."
Can you imagine for what it is used in this project?"
boy narrowed his eyes, looked suddenly extremely warily at Walsh.
"No, Sir," he said slowly.
sighed. "It's used for the Information Procurement training.
The interrogations of alien intruders are simulations."
saw the boy's eyes widen at that but that was the only reaction
visible. Walsh knew it wasn't enough. It were only words and
Shane didn't trust him enough to stay with words. He made a quick
decision. He was breaking the rules. He could break them some
more. His palm press opened the tiny keyboard embedded in the
wall next to the second door. He entered his ID-code quickly:
7523459992-A663. The door slid back into the wall, revealed
narrow stairs running upwards. "Follow me."
boy stopped at the foot of the stairs, looked at the sign. "Sir,
this is administration area. I'm not allowed to access
"It's my command,
Gooseman. Follow me."
Joseph stopped in
front of the console where he had stood some hours ago, observing
the boy's last sim. "These are the computers that control
the sim unit, Shane." He powered them on. "I'll show
you the surveillance tapes and the recordings of the last sim
Joseph heard the
boy gasp in shock behind him as the first pictures appeared on
the screen, showing Goose how he had been stunned in his sleep,
carried into the hall below and strapped onto the sensor
stretcher. Then a second window appeared on the screen, with a
comp index displayed in the right corner. The change of the
index' color indicated the moment the stunning had worn off. The
mental sim began, showed the boy the interrogation he had
performed earlier this day... Finally, it showed how he was
ordered to sleep in the sim reality and was stunned in the real
world to be carried back into his sleeping cubicle.
shut the console down and turned for the boy. "Do you
believe now, that the interrogations are faked?"
boy stared at him with shock-widened eyes, completely off-balance
for a moment. "How can I–?" he whispered. "This
can be as false as–" He stopped and took a step back,
stood with his back at the wall next to the stairs now. "Is
this real and the IPT wrong... or the other way round?" He
whispered in a choked voice.
I assure–" The commander stretched out his hand and
the boy tried to retreat another step but there was no more room.
Walsh saw how the youth raised his hands in front of his face, as
if to hide... Gods, what have I done? He's totally lost
Suddenly the boy
looked straight at him. "I believe that this is
sure he'd heard right: "Why?"
alien blood on my fingers." He drew a deep breath. "If
it was real I'd smell it for at least two days, maybe longer."
He sniffed again at his hand. "But all that's there is
weapon oil and soap."
Dormitory A - Segment 53
remember:" The commander said in a tight voice, "you've
never been there and you saw nothing of it."
Sir." The forcefield flashed up between them, as the
commander reactivated it, and left Shane in the darkness.
heard Walsh's steps vanish in the distance.
closed his trembling hands around his elbows. He didn't trust
Walsh. But the man had never lied to him – at least, he
never noticed it – and... He still hated 'Information
Procurement', but as long as he doesn't really torture... as long
as it was nothing but a sim... He shrugged. The theoretical
lessons were disgusting. Sure. But there were worse things than
A deep voice in
the next cubicle growled: "Commander's girlfriend.
Ha! I always knew it."
regarding bad things... already rolled into the blanket a cruel
grin appeared on his face as he remembered a detail from some
minutes ago: 7523459992-A663 – This time you'll pay for
image appeared in front of his inner eye: Killbane strapped to an
interrogation chair, his body covered with cuts that didn't bleed
because of the sand he'd strewn over them. He carried a bowl of
crystal sand in his left hand, standing next to the chair, and
smiled down with glistening fangs at the elder trooper and
whispered: What do you do now?... Use your bio defense and the
sand will bring you the A... Don't use them and your blood will
pour outta you together with your life. He let sand grains
trickle down on Killbane's intact eye.
image changed, he saw another one's skin right beneath the blade
gliding across it, cutting off a small stripe of it like
ammunition seals were peeled, leaving a band of red flesh across
the foreign face.
A third image
saw his hands, cramped to claws, wearing multicolored blood like
gloves, and screamed soundlessly. What am I becoming? The
forbidden part inside him cried. What am I going to
interrogations are faked." his memory reminded
Showing him his
blood-covered hands, That doesn't matter, his hidden self
replied, feeling sick. I did it when I didn't know it was
faked. He shivered in the dark. What are they trying to
make of me?