DISCLAIMER: None what so ever. This is an original work. So all of it is mine, mine, mine!
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is a Science-Fiction story, but before you assume (since I write Star Trek Voyager fiction mostly) no, this story is not Star Trek based. In fact, it's based on no movie/series or the likes. The only thing this is based on is my imagination. Did others have the same idea before me, I don't know. All I can say is that I wrote this while not even thinking of other established entities like Star Trek, or Star Wars, or Babylon 5, or name your favorite show. And last but not least: My undying gratitude goes to Jo for betaing this work of fiction. Since Word is so nice to put red lines under misspelled words, her work is made extra hard because my spelling mistakes are not literally mistakes as such, but more words used in the wrong place (saw Vs. was) and other pesky things like punctuation. So, a double dose of thanks goes to her for her very appreciated work.
SETTING: Centuries in the future. But I tried to keep sci-tech 'realistic.' Meaning, yes, they have faster than light flight, yes they have laser weapons, no they don't beam down to a planet, no they don't have holographic people running around.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
CHALLENGE: Written for Epic Proportions 2009.

The Danmun Alliance
By H.W.


Chapter 3

It was two days before Jane was finally allowed to continue on her mission. She didn't understand it. First they ordered her close to the no-man's-land, and then all she was allowed to do was sit around. But what bugged her the most was that she got no reason for the delay. Even Namfos couldn't, or was not allowed to, tell her why the mission was being delayed.

Jane had used the two days to tour the base. Not only the parts one normally was shown while getting a tour, but also the parts that were never shown but that kept a base running. Like storage, or the refit department. Jane knew that it was in places like that that one could get the real feel of a base. From what Jane had seen and heard, Namfos had a base to be proud of, and the base had a commander they were proud of. Besides the normal complaining there was nobody with an ill word towards Namfos and her orders were always immediately carried out.

"Good news," Namfos finally said at the end of the second day. "You're leaving tomorrow morning. Your mission parameters haven't changed and it's basically up to you how you want to fulfill your mission."

"Great, I was starting to think that I had fallen prey to the Union bureaucrats," Jane joked.

Namfos laughed before becoming serious again. "You be careful, you hear?"

"Of course, you know me," Jane smiled.

Namfos equaled the smile. "I sure do, that's why I said it."

"Don't worry. Mark my words, I'll be back," Jane said seriously.

Before Namfos could say anything Jane turned around and walked out of the office.

"Hey, I'm a general, remember?" Namfos shouted after her. "I'm supposed to dismiss you!"

Then she added with a whisper, "Don't get yourself killed you stubborn stupid ass bitch. I don't want to write a 'with regret I must inform you' message about you, not you."

Jane leaned to the left with all her might as if that would help the Fighter turn faster while she was pulling on the control-stick, 'Damn, damn, damn,' Jane thought. 'First I don't see a Fighter until I'm fifteen light-years into their territory, and suddenly they send in thirty of them at once. They knew that we were going to send in a single Fighter. They knew it, they were expecting it, they were waiting for it.'

She made another sharp turn and came in on a perfect angle to target the fourth enemy Fighter. Suddenly Jane could feel the clear impact of enemy fire passing through the shielding and hitting the Fighter itself. As normal, the friendly female computer voice started giving out information.

{Information. You have just sustained superficial damage to the spinal structure of your Fighter. Conclusion, no immediate danger. Advice, prevent further damage to the spinal structure.}

'Duh, no really?' Jane thought and didn't bother with listening to the rest of the information. As soon as she heard the female voice starting to speak, Jane already knew that the damage was not really bad.

She made a fast dive combined with half a turn and she had a clear shot on the fifth and sixth enemy Fighter.

Jane personally thought that it was a good idea that they used a friendly female voice for the unimportant but most common messages. Over time one learned to dismiss the voice when one was doing something important, like trying to stay alive.

Suddenly Jane put her thrusters in the brake setting. Most of the enemy Fighters hadn't expected this and shot past her. She hit enemy Fighter number seven, eight, and nine directly where the power lines from the weapons and the engines crossed each other. Unlike the others who were simply drifting in space waiting to be rescued, these pilots would not live to tell their tale.

A pilot only had to start worrying when he or she heard the male computer voice. That was the one used for the rarely, hopefully never, heard but very important messages. Things one better take notice of, if one wanted to keep living.

Jane opened the turbo back up to full throttle, and she now passed the enemy Fighters who were slowing down and starting to turn back to her last position. It took the enemy Fighters a moment to figure out what she was doing and by that time Jane was putting more and more distance between her and them.

{Warning,} The male computer voice could be heard. Jane knew what was coming, she knew the limitations of a Fighter only too well. {You are using ten times as much energy as there is being produced. You are to land ASAP to give the energy plasma time to recharge. At present usage level you have four minutes remaining before systems will start being deactivated.}

'It won't even be that long," Jane thought. She wasn't done making fancy moves yet. First Jane made it look as if she was beating it back to Union space at top speed.

{Three minutes remaining.}

When Jane was sure that all the Fighters had joined in her pursuit she did one of the things that set her apart from other pilots, and what was absolute murder for each Fighter that was not specially prepared for it; Jane's Fighter was prepared. She put the left engine into overdrive for a split second, and the right engine for a split second in reverse. The end result was that Jane almost turned on the spot. Knowing she would need all the energy she could get for her weapons, Jane shut her engines off and waited for the enemy Fighters to catch up.

The enemy pilots saw too late what Jane was up to and before they could get out of the way, they were treated to a fire barrage from Jane's laser cannons. Four enemy Fighters exploded, nine others started drifting aimlessly in space.

Then lights started flashing all around Jane and a warning siren started to wail. And above it all there was that damn irritating male computer voice. {Alert, all energy reserves exhausted. All systems will be deactivated.}

Jane saw the lights go out one by one and thought, 'At least they didn't take me down. I won this round.'

Then she saw the small control light go off that reminded pilots of the fact that they were carrying 'heavy weapons'. Since most pilots were used to only using the Fighter's laser cannon the Union had taken to actually incorporating a small warning light to remind of the heavy weapons so that pilots wouldn't try to land a Fighter carrying those weapons in a normal way.

'Oh crap, I totally forgot I had those damn things. Lasers, that's my thing.' She quickly reached forward and hit the control light which was also the self-destruct switch for the heavy weapons. It would first jettison the heavy weapons and then explode them once they were far enough away from the Fighter to do so safely. At least that was what would have happened if the weapon's self-destruct system had still been functioning and not already switched off by the main computer to preserve energy.

She hit the button a couple of times but nothing happened. 'I'm such a fucking moron.'

{Alert, all energy reserves exhausted. All systems will be de... act... i... va....} Then it was quiet in the cockpit and Jane knew what that meant. Every system had been shut down, and the last vital system was next, climate control.

'Ah well, at least the heavy weapons will be destroyed when they blow up my fighter. I took out twenty-two of them before they got me... and even then it's only because of the limitations of my Fighter and not because of my own limitation,' Jane thought while she noticed that breathing was becoming more and more difficult. 'Not bad. At least I'm not going alone.'

She took a last look at the Fighters and debris floating in space. 'Damn I'm good.'

She heard the hiss of the sleeping gas being released. It was an attempt by the Union to give its pilots a Humane death; letting them pass out before they had to suffocate to death in the vast emptiness of space.

Jane took a last deep breath, and then everything went black.

The first thing Jane saw was a weak yellowish bundle of light that was shining onto a gray wall.

'I should be dead,' Jane thought. 'But somehow I don't think that heaven, nor hell, is into low voltage lighting. Where the hell am I?'

As answer to her own question, Jane started to realize that the only place where she could be, was where the enemy had put her. This realization made her sit up quickly. Out of the corner of her eye she saw something jumping away. In reaction her hand went to her side where her hand laser normally was; of course it wasn't there now. By the time she realized that, she also realized that the thing she had seen jumping away was a Human.

It was a young woman who Jane guessed to be about twenty years old, at the most. Scared like a wild animal, the woman was now cowering in a corner while trying to hide behind her own arms and legs.

Jane stood up and moved closer to the woman. "Who are you, and where are we?" She asked in a commanding voice that she could use very affectively if needed. But Jane didn't get the reaction she expected.

The woman cowered into an even tighter ball. When Jane put out her hand in an offer to help the woman up, the woman gave such a frightened scream that Jane dropped her hand and took a step back. She needed a moment to think so she decided to sit back down and take in the room she and the mysterious woman were in.

It was a relatively spacey square room of, Jane guessed, a little more than ten by ten meters. There were three weak lights that reflected off gray walls and bathed the room in an ugly gray/yellowish light. Under each light there was a small heap of plants. Since Jane was lying on one of those heaps when she woke up, she assumed that they were meant as sleeping places. This assumption was confirmed by the fact that the strange woman had crawled to one of the other heaps. Other than that the room was remarkably clean. There was just one door and no windows. And what the hole in the floor in one corner was for didn't really need much guesswork.

When Jane saw that the woman was looking at her, she asked again where they were. But the only answer was the woman cowering again.

Before falling asleep, Jane suspected that she had been sitting listening to the absolute silence in the room for eight hours. It was so quiet in the room that it was damn irritating. The only sounds were the sounds that Jane and the strange woman made. There was no hum from air ducts, no sound on the other side of the door, nothing. Not even insects. Only heavy depressing silence. Humorless, Jane realized that this meant that whoever designed this... cell... had done a good job of it.

'I must have been here now for two days,' Jane thought when she woke up again. 'And the light is still on, so I guess that they don't shut that off.'

Jane looked around the room again for what must have been the thousandth time. She looked at the other woman who finally had calmed down enough that she didn't run into a corner every time Jane made a movement. The woman actually didn't look too bad, especially for a prisoner. Jane had estimated that the woman was about twenty years old. She was wearing the worn clothing of a Union soldier and didn't look too clean, as one could expect from a prisoner. Jane suspected that she herself didn't look too hot at that moment either.

But the fact that the woman was wearing dirty and worn clothing certainly didn't take away from the beauty the woman clearly possessed. Jane had a feeling that longer hair would look better on the woman, but the short one centimeter haircut certainly didn't look wrong on the redhead either. The hair color was a bit on the dark side of red, but definitely still red instead of brunette. Jane couldn't help but wonder if the darkness would wash out with the grime to leave more of a fire red color.

'I must get her to talk,' Jane thought. 'Right now she's the only source of information I have. Maybe I can,'

Jane was interrupted in her thoughts by a soft sound that sounded far away. But because it was the first sound in days, to Jane it seemed extremely loud.

From the reaction of the woman she had also heard the sound and also knew what it meant. She started to produce a noise that reminded Jane of the squealing of a scared mouse. Suddenly the woman ran to the corner of the room that was the furthest away from the door and cowered down there, once again trying to hide behind her own arms and legs.

'Fear,' Jane thought. 'Pure, unmistakable, fear. If I ever saw a definition for the word, I'm looking at it right now.' Jane saw that the woman was biting her fingers and shaking all over her body. Her scared eyes were focused on the door and she was ignoring Jane totally. 'I wonder what's she's afraid of.'

As soon as Jane had asked herself that question, she got her answer. There was a soft humming sound, followed by a scraping click and a few seconds later the door swung open, giving Jane her first close up look of a Turtle.

It was a green/brown form, shaped in contours very similar to a Human. But the similarities stopped there. It only had contours. No ears, no eyes, no hair, nothing. The only thing one could see were small overlapping plates that looked like metal covered by a thin oily film.

The Turtle threw a package on the floor and moved backwards out of the room. Jane started to move, but she was too late. By she time the reached the door it was already closed.

She turned around and saw how the woman's eyes kept darting back and forth between the package and Jane. Jane guessed that the woman really wanted to get her hands on the package, but that Jane was standing too close for her liking.

Jane bent down and tore open the package, figuring that it was probably a safe thing to do. After going through the trouble of capturing her alive, they probably wouldn't bother with blowing her to bits with a booby-trapped package.

She looked at the contents for a moment. It was clearly food; that much she could guess. But what exactly... from the looks she would say fruits. But she had learned years ago to not go on looks with food. She had eaten some things on some planets that looked like something someone had thrown up and it had tasted wonderful. And she had once eaten something that looked like a cross between Earth's apples and oranges, and it had tasted like dirt with the after taste of energy plasma.

She sniffed one of the... fruits and took a bite, figuring that if they had drugged it then she might as well get it over with. There were other ways to drug a person, and most were a lot less friendly than eating something.

Much to her surprise, the food tasted absolutely delicious. She took one of the same... fruits and held it out in the direction of the mystery woman who immediately shied away.

"Shhh, easy," Jane soothed. "Come on, you need to eat. I won't hurt you; I promise."

She lifted her hand again, offering the fruit once more.

Hesitantly, looking more at her than at the food, the woman came closer. Suddenly she grabbed the fruit out of Jane's hand and quickly moved back again.

Jane ate the fruit she had tasted and by the time she had finished it, the mystery woman had finished hers as well. She picked up one of the items she hadn't tried yet and looked at the woman.

"Any good?" she asked, wanting to get the woman to talk.

Hesitantly the woman nodded.

"You want it?" Jane asked.

Again there was a small nod.

Jane held out the item and as the woman took it with a little more confidence now, Jane thought shamefully, 'like training a dog to do tricks.'

The sharing of food slowly proceeded until finally the mystery woman was sitting beside Jane as they finished off the rest of the food.

Once the only thing left was the oily paper the food had came in, Jane said softly, not wanting to scare the woman away again, "In situations like this, food is normally safe to eat. Though it might not taste as good as this. Look at it this way; if they want to drug you, they can just as easy simply grab you and pour something down your throat. I much rather just eat and get it over with."

"T... they do... do... don't get you w... w... with the food," The woman stuttered in nothing more than a soft whisper. "They, they w... want you healthy. That way you, you, hold longer during their t... t... to... torture."

"I'm glad to see that you can actually talk." Jane held her voice as friendly as possible. "So let me ask again. Who are you, and do you know where we are?"

Before answering, the woman first moved a little away from Jane, creating a little more distance between them.

"Allen, Private Allen," the woman said, managing to do it without a stutter.

"And you are from...?" Jane asked.

"I'm nor... normally stationed on the Dalenian Homeworld. I'm a Freighter pilot. B... during one of our flights close to the no-man's-land t... t... the Turtles suddenly attacked our Freighter. Next thing I knew I wa... wa.... was waking up here. That happened a little less than four months a... ago."

"Allen, Allen what? What's you last name?"

"I don't have one. I g... grew up in an orphanage. I don't know my last n... name, how old I am, wh... wh... who my family is, nothing. Well, on file I have the last name of NA, for None Available, but in reality I don't ha... ha... have one."

Jane noticed that the woman... Allen... was becoming a little more confident as she spoke. The stutter was disappearing more and more. But that didn't mean that she also believed every word. "The Dalenians always give their kids last names; it's the law."

Though Jane didn't say the word 'lying,' she made it clear that she didn't believe Allen.

"I'm not lying, if that's w... what you're trying to imply," Allen said, looking hurt. "I said I was stationed there, n... not that I was b... born there. I was born on the fourth colonial planet of the D... D... Dalenians and t... tests have shown that I'm Human. I don't know if you know the p...planet, but let me assure you, a last name is the last thing they worry about there. W... when I was found at the door of the orphanage they took me in and never even bothered trying to find my parents. They, they figured that since my parents put me in front of their door, my parents knew where to find me if they wanted me b... back. They never came back for me."

"Yeah, I know the planet," Jane said in an understanding tone. "It's a place where the rule of the strongest is law. There's no central government; only gangs and warlords. There are only two reasons why the planet is still a colony of the Dalenians. First because nobody can speak in the name of all and demand independence, and second because the Union is still the biggest 'gang' on the block. Everyone knows that the Union would occupy the planet if they were provoked enough. And nobody wants the Union breathing down their neck."

"Yeah," Allen agreed bitterly. "But on the other hand, the Union also doesn't go in there by itself and create order. No, t... there are no important resources on the planet, just agriculture. Why should they bother helping the people there?"

Before Jane could react, Allen answered the second question Jane had asked.

"Your predecessor told me that we must be on the Turtles home planet. He, he said that he had a personal position device with him that the Turtles only discovered when he, he was already on this planet. The device had told him that he was at the very same spot where the Union expected the Turtle Homeworld to be."

"My predecessor?" Jane asked, not knowing what Allen meant.

"Yes. The person who shared this cell with me before you. Lieutenant Coby. He..." This time the pause was a lot longer than a stutter or searching for words, "was a nice guy, but he ended up... committing suicide."

"Suicide? How?"

"He attacked one of the guards who came to feed us. That, that, was suicide."

They were both quiet after that comment. Jane's mind drifted back to the food she had just eaten. She had to admit that all of the food had actually been very good and she wished that there had been some left. Who knew how long she had been out and how long it had been since the last time she had eaten. And that thought made her realize something else.

"Hey, how do you know that you've been here for about four months? Do you know, or just assume that? I haven't seen anything that could indicate a passing of time."

When Jane started to talk, the first reaction of Allen was to once again pull together under her shield made of arms and legs. She only slowly let them down again and answered. "They go through great lengths to prevent you from getting any impression of the passing of time. They keep the room absolutely quiet, keep the lights on at all time. Sometimes they don't feed you for days, only to then feed you three times in one day. But they made one mistake, and I discovered it."

"Which is?"

"These plants." Allen lifted up one of the plants and while she slowly turned the one foot long plant between her fingers she explained. "They change these also without any rhythm, but they tell a tale by themselves. They are p... probably freshly cut when they throw them in here because the first day they still leak their sap. On the second day t... they stop loosing their sap and are the green plants you see now. The third day the leaves become soft and pliable. The fourth day the plants start letting off a light and sweet smell. On, on the fifth day the leaves start turning light red. They n... n... never leave them in here longer than that. From it you can calculate time pretty well."

When Jane woke up again she felt that the leaves were soft and pliable, just as Allen had said. 'So that means that this must be the third day that I'm here.' Jane looked over to the sleeping woman. 'She doesn't talk much. She only answers when I ask her something, but she doesn't ask me anything in return. She didn't even ask my name. And then when I told her my name just to keep the conversation going she really didn't seem to care one way or another. At least she stopped stuttering. She sounds so confident when she doesn't stutter.'

Jane once again heard the soft sound that meant that soon the door would be opened. Despite the fact that Allen had been sleeping, she too must have heard the sound. Once again she jumped up and ran to the corner as far away from the door as possible; once again throwing up her shield of arms and legs.

Jane had seen fear in all stages before, but she had never seen that a Human being could make itself so small. 'I wonder what she's so afraid of.'

The door opened and this time there were two of those faceless beings. One stayed at the door while the other walked over to Allen. The Turtle took hold of Allen and lifted her up as if she weighed nothing. It put the hysterically screaming woman under its arm and then walked back out again without even looking at Jane. Or maybe it had, who knew where the eyes were on that thing. Allen's screaming was abruptly broken off with the closing of the door.


Jane guessed that four hours had passed at least before she heard the sound again. Moments later the door opened and she saw how one of those Turtles pushed Allen into the room before closing the door again.

Allen stumbled over her feet and she fell to her knees in the middle of the room. She stayed there, kneeling, looking straight in front of herself.

Jane took in Allen's body but could see no outward signs of torture. Allen was still as beautiful as before. But Jane knew that this meant nothing. The time that torture left marks that could be seen had passed centuries ago.

Minutes later Allen started to produce her frightened mouse like squeal again. But this lasted only a few moments, then it changed to clear and unmistakable crying.

Jane wanted to go to Allen and comfort her, but she didn't know if that was the right thing to do. 'Maybe I'll just make it worse.' So she sat down and waited.

Slowly Allen's head turned to Jane, their eyes met. Suddenly Allen threw herself at the sitting Jane, clinging to her for dear life. Jane felt sorry for Allen, so much so that she could almost feel a little of her pain. She took the woman into a strong embrace and tried to give her all the comfort she needed. Jane had tons of questions, but those had to wait. First she had to calm Allen down.

Half an hour later, Allen finally let go of Jane and once again put some distance between them. She dried her tears with a sleeve of her uniform before smiling at Jane weakly before saying with a sniffle, "Thanks, I needed that."

"Can you tell me what happened?" Jane asked softly, her need for answers reasserting itself.

"Not really."

"Not really?" Jane repeated.

"Yes, not really. It seems that the Turtles did their homework. They know that some soldiers are trained in resisting torture. What is it again that they drill into us at the academy? 'Be observant, learn what they do to you. That way you can learn to tolerate it.' Well, the Turtles apparently know that too. You don't know what they do to you. They take you into a room and some time later you come back out again. What happened in that room... you don't know. All you know is that it hurt. More than anything ever hurt in your life, and you remember the hurt. You also know that you never want to be in that room again, never. And every time they take you there it becomes worse. Finally it rules you, commands you, the fear becomes your master. Every minute that passes you thank whoever you believe in that they didn't come for you. And every time they do come for you, you die a little more. More hope is taken out of you."

"I assume that there's no rhythm in that either?" Jane could see that Allen looked calm again. But she could also see that this calm was not real. Allen was clenching her fists, and her arms were shaking slightly.

"None what so ever. They took me to 'the room' four times in a day once, and once they also left me alone for almost a month."

"Well, now that I'm here they'll leave you alone a little more since they now have two to play with. I only wonder when it's my turn."

"When I'm dead," Allen answered Jane's rhetorical question. "They always stick to one person. Coby told me that they left him alone until the man that shared this cell with him wasn't brought back one day. Coby assumed that the torture had been too much for him. Then they started with Coby. Some time later I woke up here and they left me alone until Coby attacked that guard and was killed in front of my eyes. Then they started with me. They'll leave you alone until I'm dead. Only than will you experience what you don't want to experience."

It must have been early on the fifth day when Jane managed to say 'no' with much effort. Things had changed so much in just a few days. Allen had gone from shunning Jane to clinging to her, almost touching her all the time. Seeking comfort and security. As Allen had said, 'it's surprising how much comfort can come from someone simply holding you.'

"Please, Jane. I don't think I'll survive the next torture. I want to die with my mind on pleasure, not pain. Don't tell me you don't want to. I've seen how you look at me."

"It's not a matter of wanting. It's a matter of being able to. Anywhere else, sure, definitely. But not here, not in a prison cell. I'm sorry, I can't explain it any better, please try to understand."

Allen lowered her eyes, and Jane could understand why Allen didn't want to look at her.

"In that case, I'd like to ask you something else. I know I'll die during the next torture, I can feel it. But I don't want to die like that. Please Jane, you end it for me now. Fast and painless."

Normally Jane wouldn't even have considered it. But she had seen the pain Allen had to suffer from. Every time they had brought her back, Jane had clearly seen that it had been worse for Allen as the time before. She took Allen in an embrace and started to caress her as she had done several times already to calm her down when they brought her back. But this time Jane slowly moved her hands to Allen's neck. She already had her hands at the right place to break it when she decided that she couldn't.

"No, I can't do it. Listen to me. You have to hold on for a few days more. In less than a week our fleet will start a frontal assault straight through the no-man's-land. That's a move that the Turtles will never expect. They'll be totally surprised and we'll be able to get rid of them once and for all. Just hold on a few days more."

"Thank you," Allen said and mere seconds later Jane once again heard the sound that meant that the door would soon be opened. She was surprised to see how calm Allen was this time, and she assumed that her words did indeed have the calming effect on Allen that Jane had been hoping for.

The door opened and Allen stood up to walk to the guard standing there.

"Why can't you just leave her alone?" Jane shouted, only to be surprised by Allen answering.

"It's okay, Jane. They won't hurt me. I mean, I'm one of them, I have the information we needed. Believe me; they would never hurt me without my permission."

Jane stood up and looked at Allen with her mouth hanging open in surprise.

Allen treated Jane to one last seductive smile before turning around. She was almost through the door when she noticed something and stopped. She turned to the guard. "You know what? I think she lied to me."

Allen turned around further until she was facing Jane, this time she spoke to her instead of the guard. "You lied to me."

Allen walked back into the room, walking around Jane in a half circle, looking at her with a thoughtful expression on her face.

Jane on her turn could see that Allen hadn't lied. The guard followed Allen, but clearly to protect her from Jane. Jane turned with Allen until her back was in the direction of the door. She realized this, of course, and she wondered if Allen had moved around her deliberately to start a new phase in the game. Jane had a feeling that she would be grabbed from behind any minute now. All her senses told her to turn, but she ignored them. One way or another, things would move on; she was ready for it.

"You just gave me information that would kill thousands of Union pilots if it was true," Allen said. "Your colleagues, your friends. But when you find out that I'm the enemy and that this enemy has your sensitive information, you do nothing. You don't attack me, you don't start screaming, nothing. All you do is stand there and wait for me to leave. Hmm, that's the first time ever we got that reaction. How did you know I wasn't truly a captured Union soldier? And please don't lie. Don't make this... uncomfortable."

"I didn't," Jane said softly. "You were absolutely convincing, you certainly had me fooled."

Then her voice became a little stronger, but there clearly was still a trace of disbelief in it. "You had me all the way, congratulations."

"Then why did you lie to me?"

Jane knew that she couldn't, shouldn't, trust the woman standing in front of her. That she shouldn't give her the satisfaction of answering, but something inside of her still made her answer nevertheless. "Two reasons really. I wanted to comfort you, but you didn't know what information was true. Why should I tell you the truth? What good would that do? No, I'd much rather tell you something that keeps you going a little longer. Hope keeps you alive. Second, you told me that you would not survive another torture. I would be crazy if I gave you sensitive information that was worth something if I knew you would be tortured later on."

"You know, we never thought of that?" Allen said with a slightly sheepish smile. "Until now, with the others, this always worked. We won't make that mistake again."

"Now a redundant question from my side. I assume that now I'll be introduced to that torture of yours to see what kind of information I do have?"

Allen smiled at the question. "There is no torture, just as made up as the rest of my story."

"What? My compliments. Every time they brought you back I could almost feel your pain. That's one hell of an acting job you preformed."

"Oh, no. That pain was real. And it hurt a damn lot every time. I'm simply prepared to suffer to bring a convincing acting job."

"So, what's going to happen to me now, some other kind of torture?"

"No torture." A voice behind her said.

Jane stiffened when she heard the voice. It was the voice of a ghost.

"Torture was abandoned here centuries ago," The voice continued.

"Sue." The word was hardly a whisper.

"Twenty years is a long time, isn't it Jane?" The voice said again.

Jane couldn't turn around. She knew that this wasn't real; this had to be another trick.

"Can't we make an exception for her?" The guard asked and Jane couldn't help but wonder how the... thing... could talk without a mouth. "She's bound to have information we can use."

Allen quickly turned her head to the guard when she heard what he was suggesting. There was a heavy dose of disappointment in her voice when she spoke. "You're suggesting a breach of the constitution? You? From certain others I could suspect such a question, but from you?"

Suddenly the tone in Allen's voice changed to carry more authority in its tone than Jane had ever heard before in her entire life as a soldier. "One more remark like that and you'll be demoted to private. You hear me?"

'What an authority,' Jane thought. 'She's used to giving orders and having them followed. She's a lot more than the young woman she played in here. Sue is dead. That voice can't be Sue,' Jane's brain added, still trying to come to grips with hearing the voice of her sister after twenty years.

"You can turn around. I'm not a ghost," The voice said again.

Jane slowly turned around, afraid that looking in the direction of the door would make Sue's voice disappear. Jane looked at the woman standing there and even though the last image in her head was twenty years old, Jane could clearly recognize her sister. "Sue," Jane could only repeat.

Jane noticed that Sue was looking past her and heard her ask, "How are we going to get the information we need now?"

Jane turned around again and saw that Allen was looking at her thoughtfully. 'She changed to a totally different person in mere seconds,' Jane thought. 'You can see that in the way she acts, the way she talks, and you can see it in the confidence she radiates. And yet, I still see the girl in her that I met in a prison. Not good, not good at all.'

"We don't," Allen finally said. "We tried it, even though we knew there was a chance we wouldn't succeed. Now she won't tell us anything under any circumstance whatsoever."

Allen's eyes flashed to the guard for a moment before going back to Jane. "Even if we breached the constitution and tortured her, she would never give us the satisfaction. Even if we were to carve pieces out of her while she's still alive, knowing that she would be pissing us off by not talking would be worth the pain to her."

Then she looked back at Sue. "From what you told me about her training as a child, I think her mental state is such that even a truth serum would have no effect on her. That only leaves a mind-scan, which we aren't allowed to do according to the constitution because it would do irreversible damage to the brain."

"Her training as a child, and the fact that she's a Captain. She had the Union torture resistance training," Sue reminded before asking, "May I talk to her?"

Allen seemed to consider that for a moment before she started to smile. Seeing the smile, Jane got the feeling that Allen was thinking up a plan and already shifting track.

"Yes, you can talk to her. You, me, and Jane here will have a nice little chat. I'm sure that she'll have more than enough questions, and I think she's entitled to some answers. Let's say as a reward for living in a cage for the last several days. But first I want a bath, and I think Jane can use one as well."

Allen kept looking at Jane, but addressed the guard. "You take care of that. You're personally responsible for her not escaping. But other than that, she is to be treated as a guest."

Part 4

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