Ich poste diese Szene hier mal als Beispiel, wie ich eine wirklich existenzielle Erfahrung (hier eine Gefangenenschaft) in einer Geschichte beschreiben wuerde nachdem das Thema aufgekommen ist. Das Ganze ist aus einem laengeren SF-Buch. Wer mag kann gerne kommentieren, aber ich frag' jetzt nicht speziell danach.
Das Setting: Samantha 'Sam' Ree ist Teil einer interstellaren Soeldnereinheit ('The Wolfpack') und wird fuer eine in Undercover-Op angeheuert. Das Unternehmen geht schief, und sie wird gefangen genommen - sie weiss nichts ueber den Rest des Teams oder wer sie gefangen genommen hat.
(Der 'Treaty of Asgard' der manchmal erwaehnt wird ist so was wie unsere Genfer Konvention - ein Vertrag der u.a. die Rechte von Soeldnern und den Umgang mit Kriegsgefangenen regelt).
Ich finde die Szene sehr hart (es kommt psychische und physische Gewalt vor) und ich selber hab' beim Schreiben am Ende aufgehoert weil ich wirklich nicht mehr selbst in die Szene reinkonnte. Daher unter spoiler.
Ach ja, das ganze ist auf English (sorry - ich schreibe und denke mehr Englisch als Deutsch - ich bin seltsam - ich hoffe das geht trotzdem klar).
The cell was small, perhaps two by two meters across, somewhat higher than that, no way to reach the ceiling, not even if she stretched or jumped. All surfaces were the same featureless white plastic, damping all sounds. There were faint cracks, indicating where the access door was. A set of slits close to the floor where fresh air came in. Another set of slits high up where the stale air went out. And that was all.
Samantha had woken here alone, finding herself dressed in some white tunic made of a coarse fabric. A single piece, no underwear or anything else. It had taken her no more than a few minutes to find out all there was to find out about the cell.
Her fist thought had been that it had all been a mistake, that she'd somehow got mixed up in a police action, that it would all be cleared up soon. But she was smart enough to know better. This was no holding cell to keep people till they could be presented to a judge. This was sensory deprivation, designed to break down the mental barriers of whoever found himself in here. It was preparation for interrogation. Which really only left the question --- by whom? Had Biogen somehow gotten wind of the planned op? Or had they crossed someone else's path?
She wasn't panicking, not yet. The Treaty of Asgard made it legitimate to detain her for a while, even to interrogate her. She had the right to remain silent, they had the right to make it unpleasant --- up to a point. So it might just be that... And if it was more? She refused to finish the thought. She didn't want to go there. Not yet... Besides, the rest of the team would be looking for her right now.
Them in fact --- Ralf had also been taken, that much was certain. But the others might come for them, so she just needed to hang in. Right now it was just unpleasant. An absence of any sensory cue, trying to get her off-balance. Well, she was a space pilot, she had spent days crammed in a shuttle cockpit with nothing to do --- if there was one thing she had learned to do, it was to wait.
She needed to pee. Badly. It wasn't a thing Sam had thought of initially when finding herself here, but there was no toilet of any kind. Just the floor. All designed to humiliate her. Only, realizing what the game was didn't make it any better. The thought of just picking one corner and then having to stand in her own urine, or worse, lay down once she wanted to sleep was revolting. But her body was demanding attention.
Grimly she held out, made herself endure minute after minute. They would want to interrogate her after all, that was the whole point. So they must come for her eventually, and then she could do it outside of the cell. It'd be just a small victory, but a victory still. It had grown to the point of being painful, with her legs crossed, trying to think of anything else but the pressure, running water... Just another minute --- she could do another minute!
Shame and humiliation, hot and fiercely burning. Samantha tried to think of something else but the fluid that had started to soak her tunic, imagine the clean air of Seward over the smell of her own urine, but her mind kept coming back.
The designers of the cell had really known their job and done precision work. The floor was precisely level. There was no corner which she could pick to pee and then go somewhere else to sit or lie down. No, it was all too carefully designed for that. No choice for the inmate but to soil herself. No options left. Again carefully calculated to demonstrate to the prisoner just how helpless she really was.
Who were these people? Could this really be Biogen corporate security? What kind of security exactly did they think they needed?
The tunic was uncomfortably wet and getting cold. The temperature in the cell was just another thing --- not cold enough to be really dangerous, just cold enough to make it unpleasant. Just a hint that things could get much, much worse from here...
She was worried, there was no denying it. How long had she been in here? A few hours perhaps. Time enough for the Commander to realize that something was wrong. Perhaps even time enough to start an investigation. No reason to expect they could have found her yet. Not yet. She needed to be patient --- it'd take a while for the marines to ask the right question, to find the right people, to reconstruct what had happened, to get here.
But would they be able to?
The thought came unbidden and refused to leave. What if they were hidden away too well here --- wherever that here was? What if they simply could not be found?
She had been taken captive, not killed. She clung to the thought. It must mean something. They didn't simply want her out of the way, they wanted something else. Information perhaps. A few days holding out, and it wouldn't matter, the Wolfpack op would be over by then. Then she could simply tell them everything they wanted to know. And they'd have to let her go once they were convinced it didn't matter any more. Just a few days holding out --- that was all she needed to do.
Just a few days ago she'd have said that of course she could do it. But after just these few hours in this damn cell, she was less sure. She was breaking down, not quickly but surely and gradually, she could feel the urge to scream creep in, slip through the cracks in her defences. They'd probe and probe, till they'd find her weekness...
She bit her lip, hard, till she could taste blood. She would not give in to this. Not now, not ever. This was just a long and boring spaceflight, like being in a Valkyrie cockpit for a few days. Except for the piss she was sitting in...
Blinking against the unchanged brightness. At first Samantha didn't know where she was. There were vague memories of a hexagonal corridor, with ice crystals dancing in unseen air currents... The sense of a presence right behind her, right behind the reality she could see with her eyes. The old nightmare again...
She gasped for air. Her heart was beating wildly, then missing a beat, starting to flutter. She forced herself to take one deep breath after the other, and eventually it found the proper rhythm again. Damn --- she hadn't had these episodes so badly for years. She must have nodded off, despite everything. If you were tired enough, eventually there was a point where the body just shut down. Even for a few moments.
There was pain in her neck. Sleeping while leaning against the prison wall surely wasn't comfortable, but it was much preferable over sleeping in piss. For a moment she wondered whether she would still mind after a week in here. No --- that way was just madness. She must not think along these lines, must not, must not, must not!
Then she stared. Something was different. There was a bowl of something --- a porridge-like substance, food probably. Just a white plastic bowl filled with brownish stuff, hardly smelling of anything. And a mug filled with water next to it.
Suddenly she felt starving. She hadn't eaten for a day or more! She had already stretched out her hand, but then she hesitated. It might be just another part of the torture, giving her hope, then dashing it. Or it might be drugged. No --- that didn't make any sense, if they wanted to poison her or drug her, they could just add it to the air she was breathing. Much simpler.
With a sigh, she reached, then started to spoon the stuff into her mouth with two fingers. Didn't taste like much, but the texture was okay, and it filled her stomach. And the water actually was water, clear and cold.
When she was done, she pushed the dishes away, tried to find a comfortable position and tried to think again. So --- they didn't want her to starve. Giving her food and water meant they wanted her to preserve some strength, keep her healthy. They were required to do that in the treaty of Asgard, so that was good. Probably the idea was just to leave her in here for a few more hours to soften her up, then to interrogate her. Nothing more...
She wasn't sure she believed this, but she just had to. She had to believe this was all there was to it to stay sane.
The light never changed. Nor did the temperature. Strangely enough, that was the most maddening to Samantha. This complete lack of absence of any indication for the passing of time.
Not quite complete though... The mug and the bowl had disappeared for a while, then re-appeared. The floor had been rinsed once --- so she wasn't going to drown in her own excrements. She had never seen anything --- it must all have been done while she had dozed off for a moment. How did they manage without even waking her, when she jerked wide awake on her own whenever she nodded off for a minute? She didn't know --- but they might just use stun gas...
They weren't coming... She was too well hidden in this place --- the Wolfpack didn't stand a chance to find her, that was the reality of her situation. There was only quiet desperation left in her. She must have been here for days now, and yet, no change. None at all. Just she was getting filthier day by day. Her guards never bothered to rinse her. Though the thought that they might touch her while she was lying her unconscious was just as hard to bear.
All that was left was to find ways to pass the time. Which was hard without anything to do. For a while, she had imagined the bridge of the Dingo in her mind, tried to recall every detail, every irrelevant function she could call up on the avionics interfaces. Then she had moved to Ralf, tried to re-live every memory she had with him. There were quite a few by now... And such a coincidence that he had the same name as the first man who had ever kissed her --- surely this was a sign that they were meant for each other.
"You could do a lot better than Ralf McArthur", Chantal had said. Why had she said it? Usually the Commander was pretty outspoken, not prone to cryptic pronouncements. Did she know something about Ralf Sam herself didn't? But then why hadn't she said so? Or did she suspect that he was just playing with her, not really interested? But Chantal hadn't seen that look in his eyes when he lay beneath her, that wonder when he arched back and shot his load into her, that tenderness afterwards.
Chantal had never really had anyone in her life --- except her close friends in the crew. But as far as Sam knew, no real relationship, no family --- she was married to the ship. So how could she possibly understand how it could be?
Except there was this nagging voice that had told her numerous times that she had usually been better off trusting Chantal's judgement.
Still they hadn't come for an interrogation. If they weren't interested --- why had they bothered to bring Samantha here at all? What was the point of this? Why hadn't they just shot her?
Everything was unchanged --- a constant threat that things were unpleasant, but they could get far more so in a heartbeat. Except they didn't.
Sometimes, drifting between waking and sleeping, she was hearing voices. The monotonous voice of her orbital mechanics teacher, droning on about solutions to Lambert's problem, transfer orbits. More than once she had actually looked up and tried to look for anyone else in the cell, so real did it feel. But there never was anyone. Never would...
Reality outside the cell was fading. She found it harder and harder to recall that once she had felt joy, once she had been free to move, once she had been free of filth. Now everything was cramped intestines, being afraid.
She couldn't go on, not a moment longer --- but the place didn't care. Knowing she couldn't go on didn't change a damn thing. No difference. She couldn't get up and walk away after all... Not that it mattered so much.
She hadn't broken down and cried, or started screaming at the uncaring walls. Not yet. But the reason wasn't that she had an iron core of will-power that made her not to. No --- it was far simpler. She was afraid. Afraid that they were not actually waiting for her breakdown, afraid that she could scream her lungs out in here, and still nothing would change.
It was the only thing she had left to do, and she didn't know what to do once she had done it.
The voice was harsh and devoid of any emotion. At first, Samantha thought it was just another thing that was happening in her mind, like the other voices that she had begun to hear. But this was too solid, too real. She looked up.
There was the outline of an opening in what had before been a seamless wall. And a bulky figure in it. She blinked to clear her vision, at first she couldn't make sense of what she was seeing, but then she realized that she was looking at a biohazard suit, pristine white surface with thick mirrored mask covering the face.
A small part of her realized that she should probably be terrified, that there was no innocent explanation why someone would enter her cell in biohazard equipment, but all she could really feel was relief. Relief that the waiting was finally over, that something was happening, something that broke the monotony --- no matter how terrifying it might be.
She got up, on shaky legs which seemed no longer used to supporting her weight. Then a sudden dash of cold hit her --- the guard was spraying her legs with a foamy fluid. The strong smell of disinfectant filled her nostrils as filth was washed away from her.
Walking through bare corridors made from the same white plastic as the cell, shivering, following the suited figure, Samantha felt like in a daze. There were controls on the walls now and then, other cells probably. It all had the feeling of being underground, but then again, on this planet it was hard to tell. Her thoughs were accelerating, it was as if her mind was running faster, re-claiming neural pathways it had discarded over the last weeks. Suddenly there was so much to occupy her attention. A bloody stain at one of the walls, with a half-hearted attempt made to wipe it away. Wet footprints on the concrete floor. A faint airstream coming from further up the corridor.
Unceremoniously she was shoved into a larger space and pushed into a simple plastic chair. Something like an operating table was before her, with cables, hoses and other equipment dangling from the ceiling. Two other chairs next to it, both occupied by bulky figures, also wearing biohazard suits. Mirrored masks staring at her expressionless. For a long moment, there was silence, and all she could hear was the sound of her own breathing. She blinked against the strong light. What was that place? With the suits and the equipment, it seemed more like a field hospital of sorts...
"Let me explain your situation to you.", someone suddenly said, she couldn't make out who the speaker was, the masks hid everything. The voice was different from that of her guard though --- more pleasant, yet with menace in it.
"Your little operation has failed miserably. We have taken it apart before it could create any real harm, most of your team are dead, the rest we have in custody. There is nobody out there who will go looking for you --- as far as the rest of the world is concerned, you have been killed in a shootout trying to penetrate a secure facility. We also have no exaggerated further need of you. You are not interesting to us --- but we would like to get a few things cleared up. So you can co-operate, and we will let you go --- or you can refuse us, and you won't ever get out of here. Your choice."
She bit her lip. All dead? It couldn't be... He was lying, he must be lying. And yet... they had been so professional when they had come, well prepared. If the Wolfpack could consider striking at another ship in orbit, so could others. They were not invulnerable...
"I...", she started, breaking off. Her voice was too hoarse to carry. She cleared her throat, then whisphered: "I'll cooperate if I can." It felt like betrayal, but what could she really tell them they didn't already know? And how could anyone expect her to go back into the cell...
"I see we understand each other.", the pleasant voice continued. "Let's start easy --- who are you?"
Was that a test? They must know who she was! "I'm Lieutenant Samantha Ree, Senior Flight System Officer of the Dingo, operated by the Wolfpack mercenary unit, properly licensed under the terms of the Treaty of Asgard. I am a citizen of Hazenard, Free Worlds Association." --- "Very good." A small pause. "We know you've been to Balka recently --- is that correct." --- "Yes." --- "Meeting an informer?" --- "Yes." She was getting uncomfortable --- they really did know a lot.
"Why did you ask the informer about the Akurei mission? What do you know about the Akurei mission?" The question was asked in the same pleasant tone, but it made her blood freeze. There wasn't any hint that there was more to the question, but she was suddenly absolutely sure that this was really the whole point of the interrogation.
Years back, Catherine Chen telling her about the Cthulhu fragment, the derelict alien ship on a frozen moon in the Akurei system. And then warning her sternly not to ask questions. You will run headlong into something, and these people will kill you without thinking twice. You mean nothing to them. There won't be anyone to get you out of trouble, you'll be dead. People who spend trillions of credits to get something won't hesitate a second to eliminate you if you get caught asking the wrong sort of questions on the wrong places.
They needed to find out whether someone else knew, and if so who it was --- that was the only reason she was still alive. Once they knew, she'd be dead. Treaty of Asgard be damned. Tying up loose ends, that was what this was all about.
With her mouth suddenly dry, she began: "I know nothing really, I was just curious." Damn, that was lame... But with a sinking feeling, she realized it probably didn't matter --- if they monitored her vitals, they knew already everything they needed to know.
"Is that how you want to play this?", her interrogator asked. "You expect us to believe you made a random connection from Biogen to the Akurei mission because you were curious? Without any good reason? I'm asking you one last time --- why did you really ask about Akurei? What is it you know? Think carefully before you answer --- and do not take us for fools. You are expendable."
She took a deep breath. What... what if she got it all wrong? What if the offer was honest, what if she just threw away her chance to walk out of this alive? No, Cath had been right, she must have been right...
"It just occurred to me, I can't even recall why. Perhaps it was something I had experienced in an interactive a few days ago. It really wasn't that important to me." she answered, forced calm in her voice. It was bullshit, and everyone knew it.
"Put her away.", the interrogator commanded.
Samantha stared at the featureless wall of her cell, without seeing anything, gasping for air. Her hands were shaking wildly and uncontrollably, but that wasn't the worst --- her heart was fluttering like a caged bird, skipping beats, hardly ever finding its proper rhythm, It hadn't been that bad for years, her heart condition had slowly and gradually improved, but now it was all back, a stark fear of dying right here, right now when her heart finally never got back into rhythm.
The panic hadn't kicked in well after they had thrown her back into the cell, but then it had come with a vengeance. And this time, she couldn't even rationalize it away. She was going to die, there was no question of it. The true nature of the Akurei mission had to remain secret, and her captors probably had plenty of resources to make sure it stayed that way. This wasn't some corporate setup she had stumbled into where she could hope for the Wolfpack to come for her --- this was something vastly more organized and dangerous. She could even be off-world by now.
Once they knew all Samantha had to tell, they'd bury her quietly. Her only chance to stay alive was to say nothing... but then they'd break her. With drugs, or isolation, or with plain torture, but some way or the other, they'd do it. And then kill her.
She wondered whether it wouldn't be a blessing if her heart gave out right now, but a small part of her clung to life stubbornly, hoped against any reason that she'd make it out of this hell.
She'd say nothing. Admit nothing, no matter what. Till that final desperate hope was also dead. Till this nightmare would finally end...
"The Akurei mission --- why did you ask your informer?"
Back in the interrogation cell, she didn't know how much time she'd been in the cells --- might be hours, might be days, her sense of time had long evaporated. She felt numb, not quite awake. Perhaps she had been drugged.
There was someone else with her captors this time, hand-cuffed. A few moments she stared at the ragged, dirty face, then she recognized him. "Ralf...", she whisphered hoarsely.
A sudden light in his eyes --- and so much pain. Barely healing scars --- he'd been beaten. And desperation --- it was like a knife of pure pain in her heart as he looked at her. "Sam...", he whisphered in a dead voice. A long moment they both stared at each other. Then he started, quick and urgent, trying to make ever word count: "Sam, please --- whatever it is they're asking, just tell them! Please! They promised to let us go... This can be over --- this can be over. Please, get us out!" A rough hand grabbed him from behind and gagged him.
"The Akurei mission?"
She just stared numbly. She wasn't prepared, not for this. Not for Ralf's pleas. Not to have to take care of him as well. Not for this level of cruelty.
"Once again --- the Akurei mission?"
'I'm saving his life just as well as mine. I need to remain silent. She desperately clung to the thought. She'd been right the first time, the fact that she wasn't dead yet proved it. They'd both be dead. There was no other way.
"I know nothing.", she whisphered.
For a moment there was a deep silence. Then one of the interrogators moved. Something viciously sharp, glittered wickedly for a split second, and then there were red bloodstains on the pristine floor of the cell. And a severed finger.
Ralf's ragged scream, only partially muffled by his gag filled her ears. He twisted and turned in his bonds, but was brutally punched into the face, and then lay sobbing on the ground, clutching his hand which oozed more blood. Samantha wanted to look away, but she couldn't. The image burned right into her soul and she knew that she'd never get rid of it in all her life.