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Lois and Cl... Kal-El 6/?
Jun 1st, 2010 at 2:17am
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Day 3 Evening
Clark had finally fallen into a fitful sleep, propped against Lois’s chest. Her legs and buttocks were nearly numb from the cold, but she tried not to move. The times she had tried to get more comfortable he had cried out in pain, even though she knew he was trying not to. He was hot to the touch, almost burning, despite the damp coldness of the cell.

“Why are they doing this?” she murmured mostly to herself. There was no answer from Clark. She couldn’t tell what time it was. She’d missed lunch and the emptiness in her belly indicated it might be time for dinner, but she couldn’t really tell.

The cell door opened and a man in military fatigues walked in. She felt Clark tense beneath her arm and his breathing became ragged with fear.

“Miss Lane, if you will come with me?” the man said.

“He needs medical attention,” Lois told him, trying to keep the fear out of her voice. “He’s burning up with fever.”

“It will go easier if you cooperate,” the man said.

“Why should I, since you’re going to kill us both anyway?”

“It might make it a little easier on you,” he said. There was something cold and reptilian about him.

“And what about him?”

“He had his chance to cooperate,” he told her. He nodded to someone in the hallway beyond.

A second man in fatigues strode in and grabbed her arm, dragging her to her feet. Clark gasped as the movement forced him upright. He made it to his feet, trying to push Moe away from her. The man backhanded him across the face, knocking him to the floor. Moe then landed a vicious kick to his side and Lois thought she heard a rib crack. She struggled against the hand holding her arm, but he simply dragged her along, out of the cell.

The door clanged shut behind them, leaving Clark alone. No, no, please God no, not Lois. Please don’t let them hurt Lois.

Larry and Moe dragged a kicking and fuming Lois to another room down the hallway. Inside was a table with a polygraph and two chairs, one with arms. They forced her into the armed chair, securing her arms and ankles to the chair with cable ties. Moe set up the lie detector, securing the strap around her chest, placing the various sensors on her hands and body.

“These aren’t reliable, you know,” she told them through clenched teeth.

“Oh, and you’re an expert on polygraphs, are you?” Larry asked. Lois glared at him.

“We’ll start with the baseline measurements,” he told Moe. Turning to Lois: “Please answer each question with a ‘yes’.”

Lois pulled against the ties holding her to the chair.

“You’ll just hurt yourself,” he warned. “Is your name Lois Lane?”

No answer. Lois glared at him, lips pursed tight.

“Is your name Lois Lane?” Harsher.

“Yes.” No change from the polygraph

“Are you an employee of the Daily Planet?”

“Yes.” No change.

“Are you in love with Clark Kent?”

“Yes.” No change. “I told you these things don’t work,” she said, glaring at the machine.

“On the contrary, it seems to be working just fine. Have you ever been to China?”

“Yes.” The needle went all over the paper.

“Now, let’s just tell the truth, yes or no. If I’m satisfied, you get water and food.”

“And Kal-El? How about water and food for him?” The needle zigged all over the paper once again.

“I’ll think about it.”

Lois’s heart sank. Even though she was the one hooked up to the polygraph, she knew he was lying. He had no intention of giving Clark any help.

The questioning began in earnest. Questions about aliens, Superman, his powers, his weaknesses, an invasion. He bombarded her with questions, rephrasing and repeating, over and over. She lost track of how many times he asked if she knew when Krypton was planning to invade Earth.

She was ready to drop from exhaustion, throat parched, lips dry and beginning to crack.  She had no idea how long they’d been at it.

The interrogator motioned to the other man, who pressed a button beside the polygraph. A few minutes later the door opened and two men, also in military-style fatigues, half-carried half-dragged, a stumbling, shackled, nearly unconscious Clark into the room. He managed to raise his head and look at her, worry in his dark eyes. She tried to give him a reassuring smile and discovered she couldn’t. He looked nearly dead.

“Miss Lane,” the interrogator said. “I’m rather disappointed with you. I thought you understood me. I will have answers, if not from you, then him.”

“But I don’t know anything!” Lois protested. Her voice was shrill, a tone she hated hearing in herself, but exhaustion and terror had robbed her of control.

“Pity,” the man said coldly. “Because you might want to rethink that. But do it quickly, because, quite frankly, in a few minutes, I may not be able to hear you.”

She watched in horror as they dragged Clark to the center of the room. The two men holding him removed the shackles from his wrists, replacing them with another set. The new ones had a three-foot bar welded to them, with a ring set midpoint on the bar. Lois had seen, without really comprehending, a pulley and cable assembly attached to the ceiling of the interrogation room. To her dismay, she now realized what it was intended for.

The men hooked the cable to the center ring of the shackles and hoisted Clark to his feet, suspending him by his wrists so his toes barely touched the floor. Lois had thought he was pale before, but now his skin was deathly white. He didn’t even have the strength to lift his head. His lips moved and she struggled to make out the words. Lois, tell them anything, save yourself, please.

“I don’t know anything,” she repeated. “I can’t tell what I don’t know.”

Clark closed his eyes as a shudder ran through his body. Lois saw muscles bunch as he clenched his teeth against what he knew was coming. One of the men walked behind him and tore the cotton shirt up the middle, exposing Clark’s bare back. Lois couldn’t see his back from where she was sitting, but she already knew he was hurt from his reaction when she tried to help him earlier.

The leader went over to a tall cabinet set against the wall near the door and opened it. Lois couldn’t see what was inside but watched in growing dismay as the man pulled out what looked like a short whip with a heavy handle.

He showed it to her. The handle had several small buttons on it. “This, Miss Lane, is a neuronic whip. It directly accesses the pain neural pathways, and when one pathway is overwhelmed, it finds another. Quite a clever device actually, even before I made my own special modifications.” He looked dispassionately at her. “Are you sure you won’t reconsider telling me what I want to know?”

She turned her head so she wouldn’t have to see his eyes. “Krypton is a dead planet with only one survivor, so unless you think we’re going to be invaded by ghosts, I can’t help you and neither can he. You can’t prove a negative. And somehow I don’t think you’d stop, even if I did tell you what you wanted to hear.”

“You’re probably right,” he said. He moved behind Clark, reaching out with his free hand to caress the line of Clark’s jaw, his unprotected throat. Clark shuddered again, trying to pull away, even though it was impossible. “Such a pretty boy. Are you sure you don’t want to tell what I want to know? Because if you don’t, I’ll start looking for answers to other questions. I think you know what I mean,” a silkily menacing voice murmured just loud enough for Lois to hear.

“Go to hell,” Clark managed to choke out. His tormentor stepped back, raised the whip and brought it down hard against his naked back.

The search was going slow, Foster fumed, slower than he and Straker wanted. The teams had gone through nearly half the list, finding locked fall-out shelters, storage basements, cellars housing vagrants who scurried away from the uniformed members of the search teams.

“We’re running out of time, aren’t we?” Perry White asked, coming into the conference room where the three senior SHADO officers sat, waiting. Foster nodded, noting the deepening worry in the eyes of his commanding officer.

“Jason Trask was a fanatic. So is Russell Myerson and the men with him,” Straker said, cupping a mug of coffee in his hands. “It’s a fanaticism that borders on the religious. They are so fixated on this unknown and unknowable enemy that they can’t see anything else. They refuse to see anything else.”

“Cold war mentality?” Perry asked.

Straker nodded. “But instead of communists, they see aliens from outer space. The problem is, just like the communists, most of these so-called ‘aliens’ are peaceable, home loving people who want nothing more than a safe place to live, a decent place to work, a good place to raise their children. They are as much a threat to Earth as, say, the Vietnamese are.”

“Do you really think Superman’s already dead?” Perry asked.

Straker sighed. “Mister White, my people have access to technology that goes well beyond cutting edge. We can’t locate the only Kryptonian bio-signature on this planet. Either he is dead, or he is being held someplace designed to keep us from finding him. If Myerson took him in order to find out what gave him his extraordinary abilities, then he is dead and was killed in the most...” Straker paused, looking for the word he wanted. “...sadistic, agonizing, method possible. If they were after information, he has a minute chance of still being alive, but probably not for long.”

“And Clark?” Perry asked.

“You already know the answer to that, I think,” Straker said quietly.

If you only have one solution to a problem - you're not trying.
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