Enhanced Interrogation

by Steven Boswell

Enhanced Interrogation

The nurse finished bathing the comatose patient. Brushing his long gray hair and full beard, she smiled sympathetically as she beheld his closed eyes. She gently dressed him as burly security guards hovered around the hospital bed, their fingers on the triggers of their baton-like tasers. Slowly, she reattached the straps that held him down; he continued to snore lightly. She turned to flash a forlorn look at the nearest guard; he jerked his head aggressively. Grabbing her equipment, she quickly scurried off.

The guards finished testing the tautness of the restraints as three men in suits entered. “Leave us,” one growled. The guards bowed slightly and exfiltrated the area.

The tall man frowned. “Not a word out of him yet?”

“Nothing,” replied the thin man. “But we did as you ordered. Now all we can do is wait.”

“He just needs a good old-fashioned beating,” the burly man snarled, advancing on the prisoner.

“No!” trilled the thin man, raising an arm to block him. “It won’t do any good, anyway. He can’t respond until…the process completes.”

The tall man furrowed his brow. “So he’s really…?”

“Yes,” the thin man explained. “His psyche has been shattered into trillions upon uncountable trillions of pieces. We’re monitoring all of them, to see if any are weaker than the others, and might tell us what we want to know.” A reverent smile washed over his face.

“Wasn’t it just supposed to be a few dozen pieces?”

The thin man managed a chuckle. “It’s fascinating. We’d never used that much power before. The few dozen pieces shattered into smaller pieces, which then shattered into smaller pieces, and so on.”

The tall man looked irritated. “Why is that fascinating?”

The thin man met his eyes. “It’s what they shattered into. The larger pieces overlapped and became separate universes. The universes split into galaxies. The galaxies split into stars, the stars sloughed off planets, and the planets shed teeming hordes of flora and fauna. He’s become a God in his own self-contained reality. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

The burly man managed a low whistle. “I’m impressed, doc. Even my beatings can’t do that.”

“So what now?” snapped the tall man. “Just wait for his reality to coalesce?”

The thin man’s eyes twinkled. “It already is. Many of the living beings are meditating, doing good works, and otherwise trying to ascend into higher realities. Countless have already rejoined the whole. They call it ‘becoming one with God’. He’s slowly regaining consciousness.”

“And meanwhile?”

The thin man shrugged. “We monitor the fragments, hoping they’ll inadvertently disclose the information we seek.” He smiled sadly. “But it will take time. And meanwhile, we’re collecting incredible data on the workings of this ‘enhanced interrogation’ technique.”

“I guess we’ll just have to wait and see,” the tall man sighed. “Let’s get going.”

Before they turned out the lights, the patient’s name was briefly visible on the placard. It read “Jehovah Lord”. He continued to snore, utterly unaware of his surroundings.

About the author

Steven Boswell

Steven Boswell has been writing fiction since he was three years old, was a regular participant in his high school’s yearly anthologies, and served as a staff writer for his college’s humor periodical. Although choosing a career in the software field, his heart has never been far from the fiction writing he has enjoyed all his life. Steven is the author of two books, “Playtime’s Consequences” and “The Mystery of the Real Live Dead Person.” Presently, he lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and works very hard to keep airplanes from falling out of the sky. Major literary influences include Philip K. Dick, H.P. Lovecraft, and Harlan Ellison.

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