artisticabandon: futuristic cityscape (atlantis)
[personal profile] artisticabandon
Title: Fracture Points
Recipient: [livejournal.com profile] stella_pegasi
Word Count: 6,050/? (2,945 this part)
Rating: PG13 for this part, probably PG15 overall
Warnings: Somewhat graphic torturewhump, and allusions to such.
Summary: A debriefing is a debriefing until its an interrogation. Or, the story about how to break and still stay whole.
Author Notes: I was asked for slice of life, team, Cam, and lots of whump. I hope this suffices. Full prompt(s) will be posted with final chapter, because, well, spoilers. Also a bit more rushed than I usually like, because well, deadlines. And a totally chaotic RL.



FRACTURE POINTS
Part 2


###

BEFORE
Actually, does it classify as being taken hostage when it's kind of with your consent? I say 'kind of', because there was really no other option. There was only me, the "Big Costar," and Rodney. The Costar dude was...way too much a civilian, Rodney had been injured, and then there was me, the only one of us with any kind of...official training to get through this kind of situation. Not that training amounts for everything in this kind of thing.

But it helps.

It helps.

So. I woke up (or should I say that I was awakened) in the rebel's hideout, courtesy of the removal of the bag over my head and a rather unfriendly cuff to the head.

Judging by the effort it took me to focus on anything and the throbbing of my head, it was immediately clear that I was starting off with a concussion of some level. I didn't have much faith that I'd be able to keep it at the level it was, given that these people seemed to have an attraction for hitting my head.

I think, at that stage, I was up to two head hits. (In these kind of situations, I like to count hits.) (If nothing else, it keeps me occupied.)

With the vision problems, I couldn't see everything. Not at first. I could only see what was directly in front of me, and that took more effort than I cared to admit. What I saw was a person-shaped blur. I could just see well enough to pick out information like brown hair, overall build, colors, limbs, not enough to pick out details like eye color, mouth shape, that sort of thing. Really disconcerting when, as a pilot, I'm used to my vision being somewhat better than average.

The rest of the room was more a big fuzzy blur than anything. Add to that the usual symptoms -- pain (which I've already mentioned), halos around lights, light sensitivity, dizziness, and so on -- and I could tell that we were in for a real interesting time. (As if being tied to the chair wasn't enough of a clue.) (My hands and feet were tied together, and then I was tied to the chair at chest, thigh, and shin level.)

So, no. When I first woke up, I had no real idea who was in the room. I mean, for all I knew, I could have been looking at the maid.

It was only when the guy in front of me started speaking that I realized my life was about to go from In Trouble, down to Deeply Screwed. (There are, of course, far more levels of FUBAR-ed-ness you can get to.) (For the record, I think this mission found quite a few of them all by itself.)

"Let me introduce ourselves," he said with a lot of pretentiousness, gesturing grandly. "I am A'tar, the leader of the Ahm'lin. We were a peaceful people, in times past, but now we oppose the Lao."

I squinted. Is he really puffing out his chest, or am I hallucinating that? "Do you mean oppose as in differing-views, or oppose as in fight-against?" I made sure I slurred the words a little, playing up the concussion thing. Generally speaking, in a hostage situation it was always a good idea to work on the injured angle, at least at the beginning. Either you'd get sympathy and they'd stop hitting you, or it wouldn't work and you'd try for the 'miraculous recovery'.

And I could feel the confusion from here. "Uh...is there a difference?"

Right. Well, maybe not in his brain. Was it too late to give these people a crash course in diplomacy? Probably. "From where I'm sitting, not really," I admitted with a sigh. "Why am I here, anyway?"

"You mean no one's told you?" he asked me, sounding incredulous, and deflating just a little.

"No."

"We saw you consorting with them Lao's," he snarled, getting up to pace in front of me. (And, wow, but wasn't that a sudden change of mood.)

Now, normally, I just love it when the 'bad guys' confess to their bad deeds in front of you. If I was a cop, I'd be dancing right now. But I'm not, so...not so much, and that mood swing was disconcertingly sudden. Still, it was confirmation that the negotiations had been compromised from the beginning. I coughed, cleared my throat, and went for a little tried-and-true bad-guy-baiting. "Actually, I don't think consorting is the right---"

"Shut up!" he whirled and yelled at me, right in the face, and followed up with a slap to my cheek. Hard. (Yeah. So much for the whole peaceful schtick.) (Also, the injured angle was so not going to work, which I'd pretty much guessed anyway.)

He turned away from me again and promptly started pontificating about how bad the 'Lao' were. He was a like a broken record with one track. What's worse, he was just getting warmed up and I literally had the front-row seat.

###

ELSEWHERE
"What do you think? Crazy?"

"Yep."

###

BEFORE
To be perfectly honest, right then I didn't care about all that drivel he was shouting at me. "You hurt one of my team," I interrupted him, my voice undercutting his. It was something I thought he should know. Like, it was something I'd inscribe on his tombstone after dancing on his ashes. I was just doing him the courtesy of informing him about my future plans, that sort of thing.

And of course he didn't get it. "---the Lao..." In any other situation, the double-take would be comical. "I'm sorry...What?"

"His name's Rodney," I informed him, keeping my voice to a low growl. "One of your men stuck a knife in his side." I spared him the gory details.

He glared at me, probably as much for the interruption as for the accusation. "We are peaceful rebels," he repeated. "If someone gets hurt, it's not my intention."

Let me point out that by then, I already had a few bruises from their rough handling, so I wasn't all that inclined to believe him. It was pretty clear that I was dealing with people for whom gentleness and sanctity of life was a foreign concept -- especially for people they considered inferior or at their mercy. Considering that at the moment I pretty much fit that bill in their eyes, it didn't bode well for my future good health.

(As a side point, I've found in general that people have two reactions to the Wraith: they treat all life as sacred and do all they can to treasure every moment; or they think life is going to end soon anyway so it doesn't matter what they do. In hindsight, we were incredibly lucky that the first people we met in Pegasus were of the former persuasion. Also, it was pretty clear that these...Ahm'lin were thinking along the latter lines.)

I (carefully) rolled my eyes. "Lemme guess. If someone gets hurt, it's all the Lao'tian's fault."

"That's right." He smiled at me, as if he was pleased with my deduction. "How'd you know?"

"Just a guess," I replied lazily. Really, though, it wasn't a guess, but more fitting him to a profile. And I didn't much like the picture I was getting. (Crazy as a nut fanatic that also happened to be the leader of a cult that had taken me hostage. Yay.)

"Then you must know how serious our cause is," he told me earnestly, his eyes alight with the power of his own fervor. Either that, or they were lit by the strength of his craziness. My money was on the crazy, because seriously? This guy was utter nuts. Problem was that he'd dragged people along with him, and I was the collateral damage. (Because in my experience, crazies either imploded on themselves or exploded and took everyone out with them, and one thing this guy wasn't doing was imploding.)

"How about we pretend I'm new here and I have no idea?" I suggested, not really expecting it to work. But then, in this kind of situation, you try all sorts of things, because what have you got to lose?

Surprisingly enough, it worked.

He told me. Well, his version of it, anyway, so take that for what it's worth. (I did say he was crazy, didn't I?)

I'll save you his...drivel and tell you the gist of what he said.

Basically the Lao have been ruling over the planet for as long as they knew, according to their oral history, (which stretched back at least at least five generations, near as I could figure, but I wasn't much for asking questions). It was fairly peaceful, as far as things go. It was the usual thing of a civilization struggling to survive with a Wraith culling here and there. They were lucky, I think. They'd only had two in all their history.

Which...was actually sort of the problem. The last culling was only ten years ago, by our time. So, reasonably close to Sateda's extinction-level event, but not quite on that level, though the aftermath might as well have been. The culling wiped out most of the ruling caste, so La'Tia appointed himself the leader, or the Big Costar I think he called it. And like most self-appointed rulers, he's more despot and tyrant than benevolent.

Enter the Ahm'lin, or should I say A'tar. He decided to oppose the Lao and formed what amounts to the opposition, but it's really more like a sub-standard guerrilla force that has grandiose ideas of being something more. Bombs, protests, militia, spies, that sort of thing. All designed to return things to go back to what they were like before the culling (no doubt with him at the head of the government, but that's neither here nor there).

The fact that we then came along to negotiate with the Lao'tian, without considering the Ahm'lin, was the height of insult to them. The fact that I, as the leader, stepped back and let another take other, mimicking their own internal strife, well...that just added insult to injury.

So.

Reading between the lines and with the benefit of hindsight, I know now that the scorch marks on the Lao'tian's buildings were not actually Wraith in origin but were more likely from fending off the Ahm'lin's attacks. And the reason why the negotiations were handled so quickly and with so little fanfare was because they wanted to get us out of there before the Ahm'lin noticed them. Which ultimately failed, but through no fault of their own. They weren't to know that the Ahm'lin already had a spy in their, uh, 'tent of meeting', I think I called it.

So the fact that we got Teyla to negotiate, as per our own SOP, was just the icing on an already explosive cake.

###

AFTER
"So, it really was Teyla?"

"Teyla," he nodded. "At least, that was his excuse, anyway. I think it would've happened regardless. He was crazy as all hell."

###

BEFORE
"So," he told me, "now you know how vital our cause is."

Our cause? In no way, shape, or form did I believe him. I believed he was nuts, but that was about it. "Yeah, I guess," I replied, as non-committal as I could make it.

He smiled at me, or at least I think he did, all shark teeth smile. "Then you must tell me everything you know about the Lao's plan to destroy us!"

"Destroy you?" I queried, as confused a look as I could paste on my face. Because really, this was the first I'd heard about this or anything that remotely sounded like this.

"Yes! They plan to destroy us because they know what a threat we are to them!"

"Oh. Well then no. I don't know anything about that." Which was so true. I didn't. We'd come to their stupid planet to help them with a harvest, not to solve a civil war or take sides, no matter what it may have looked like to the people.

So he asked me again.

I said no. Again.

We went back and forth a few times, and he got increasingly...upset. Yeah. That's the word I'll use for it. Upset. He didn't like my answers, so we moved on to the aggressive negotiation stage.

###

AFTER
"Aggressive negotiations?"

"Yeah. He started hitting me before and after every question."

###

BEFORE
And actually, I think it was about that point that I got hit on the head (number three) again...or maybe I hit something dodging him...

Whatever. I don't know. The memory gets a little fuzzy about that point.

I think I was unconscious for a while. I still don't know how long for. (That's got the docs all up in a tizz, by the way. Not the unconscious bit, but the fact that I don't know for how long.) (Well, I'd know how long if I hadn't been tied up and unable to see my watch...)

All I know is that I woke up to shouting. His shouting, not mine.

I did say stuff back, for the record. I don't remember what it was anymore, but I have the feeling it wasn't very coherent. Or very nice, judging by the look on his face. I don't think it met with his approval, in any case.

He just snarled and threw me back in the chair. (Which hurt, by the way.) (So, I'm pretty sure he hit me while I was 'out', either to wake me up or just because that's the kind of guy he was.)

"Take him down below," he said and walked away. It was the last I saw him.

So, there you have it. Their leader didn't actually do the damage. He had his...underlings for that. Plausible deniability at its finest.

That's also when I found out it wasn't just him and me in the room. There were also two heavies at the door. Well, they were at the door. They left their post when the leader left the room, and walked towards me enough to enter my field of view. I knew from the two new blurs and the footsteps that these were big men. Heavy. Strong. They were the ones who untied me and took me down by carrying me over a shoulder, still bound hand and foot.

'Down below' turned out to be their cells. (Peaceful rebels, my foot. Peaceful people don't have cells.) Actually, it was more an interrogation room than a cell. Single light, hooks for tying up people to, and one chair. (Three guesses for who got tied to the chair, and the first two don't count.) The rebel's version of an interrogation room was also small, dark, and from what I could see of it, rather dingy. To be honest, I didn't much care for it. But then, I'm pretty sure that as a prisoner, my opinion didn't much matter. Beggars can't be choosers, right? Well, same went for prisoners too. Decor, restraints, fellow prisoners, whatever.

Actually, as a side point, the best restraint systems I've ever encountered are all in Pegasus. I guess when people focus on restraining the strength of a Wraith and then apply it to a human, well, the results speak for themselves. I certainly couldn't move. (Because believe me, I tried.) I remember looking at the chair and immediately thinking Rodney would be in heaven. (Second thought: They better not have killed him.) The chair's restraints worked on some kind of pulley and weight system. The more I struggled, the more I moved, the tighter things got. So I quickly learned not to move, no matter what.

Which meant that things got very interesting very quickly. (Have you ever tried not to even flinch during a torture session?)

I knew I was definitely In Trouble when the two heavies that were with me skipped the whole introduction ritual thing and instead got right down to business. The interrogation business. They kept on asking if I knew anything about the Lao'tian's plan to destroy them, which of course I didn't. I'd probably only been on their stupid planet twelve freaking hours.

So when bruises didn't work, they moved rather rapidly onto more...more permanent damage. And by that, I mean the breaking bones part.

I'd just like to say here that having your arm broken for you hurts like hell. It's not so much the pain of the break, as it is knowing it's coming and being unable to stop it because you dare not move. I think that was the worst part, the whole mental aspect.

But that was the point, wasn't it? They wanted to break me.

###

AFTER
Cam looked up from his note pad where he'd diligently been taking notes in his chicken-scratch scrawl. "I thought you couldn't move."

"I couldn't."

"So how did they do it?"

"Just because I couldn't move didn't mean they couldn't, well, move me for me." He shrugged. "They held my arm out and applied the appropriate force."

"Right," Cam coughed, his face blanching. Sometimes, his imagination was far too active. "So...did they succeed with..." -- God, there had to be a more delicate way to ask this -- "uh, breaking you?"

Sheppard just smiled. It was a tired smile, the smile of a man that knew what was coming and was going to say it anyway. Better that than relieving it every night if he stopped now. "Not with the arm. But then, it just gets better from there."

###

END PART 2

Date: 2014-02-03 09:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nesabj.livejournal.com
Oh. So good. I love your Sheppard's voice. More please.

SGA Newsletter - February 3, 2014

Date: 2014-02-04 01:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] livejournal.livejournal.com
User [livejournal.com profile] neevebrody referenced to your post from SGA Newsletter - February 3, 2014 (http://sga-newsletter.livejournal.com/756358.html) saying: [...] : Fracture Points 2/? [...]

Date: 2014-02-10 04:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] susnn.livejournal.com
And after outlining comes writing? I also like your Sheppard voice; I can almost see the way Sheppard allows the chair to support him rather than sitting on it. This is such a visual story despite most of it coming from the ~ahem~ interrogations.

~So, does LJ have an alert function? I do not want to miss the next part. :-)

WriterGeek

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