Chapter 7 Part II
Brogan head throbbed with pain. She slowly came to consciousness, her entire skull pounding. It took her a little while to notice the world around her, though she kept her eyes closed. She was on a hard floor. Stone. Her entire body ached. She tongue touched her swollen lip. Her mouth was dry. Her hands were above her head. And there was piece of cold metal wrapped around both wrists.
She tugged carefully of her arms. She heard the chains and her wrists stopped after barely an inch of movement. Her eyes fluttered open. The world was blurry and her head pounded, so it took her a few minutes before she could focus.
She was in a stone room, small enough to be a closet. It was dark. She tugged on her wrists. Chained to the wall. She shifted her legs. Both ankles were also chained. Her boots were gone. She managed to get up and scoot closer to her hands at least the chains on her legs had some give so she could put her hands on her head to check for the wound she knew was the cause of her pounding headache.
Something screeched open. A sliver of light entered the room. Brogan looked up and saw a pair of piercing, cold blue eyes stare down at her. Then the panel slammed close with a sharp, tearing clang. It made her migraine twice as bad.
The quite voice had an oddly familiar ring, but when the figure knelt to come face-to-face with Brogan, it clearly wasn't someone she had met. A young man, possibly only in his early twenties, stared curiously at her, his long platinum hair hanging around his face as he waited for her response.
Brogan stared back for a long moment, trying to push through her pounding head.
"Good morning," she rasped in response. "Where am I?"
She tried to figure out what about him was familiar, but the painful haze in her head prevented much analysis.
Giving a satisfied nod, he stood and moved to one side of the small space. He lit a small lamp, filling the room with light.
"You're in Atlasur," he explained. "For interrogation."
The flame he'd lit the lamp with lingered a little, and seemed to be burning from his fingertip before it flickered out. He set the lamp on the ground before sitting down cross-legged on the floor in front of her.
"I am Zeta."
Brogan shifted her position so she sat (as comfortably as she could with her limbs chained) across from him.
"I'm Brogan. What will they or you be interrogating me about?"
Zeta shrugged his shoulders, giving her an almost childlike smile.
"I don't know yet. I heard them say you were once an Enlightened, so I imagine it has something to do with your skills."
He diverted his attention from her to trace his finger along the floor.
"They must be exceptional for them to go to such trouble to learn about them."
Brogan became quiet again. Then she said, "Where's DeeDee? Where's my robot?"
Again, Zeta shrugged.
"I don't know. Robots hold little interest for me."
He looked back up at her.
"Humans, however, are much more worthy of study."
"Then you're with the wrong crowd. The Enlightened think they already know all there is to know about humans. They care only for machines."
Brogan took a deep breath.
"They're going to want me to tell them how I made DeeDee." She shook her head. "I won't."
Zeta's eyes crinkled as he gave a small chuckle.
"Ah, therein lies one of the classic flaws with humanity: interest in anything but themselves. It seems to be a relatively prevalent trait."
He took a deep breath and cracked his fingers.
"Amazing how, as a species, they are able to create things better than themselves, but not create improvements to their own beings."
The laughter and the cracking fingers straightened her spine and sent cold poniards into it, but Brogan looked at him.
"I have a great interest in myself. I have also created improvements to my own being on several occasions."
She arched an eyebrow.
"They'll probably kill me whether I tell them or not, so why give up what is mine and mine alone so they can use it to hurt what also belongs to me and still kill me? I'd rather give them nothing, since I'm going to die anyway. How is that showing no interest in myself?"
"You misunderstand me, Brogan," Zeta said, shaking his head. "For all the things humans seek, it is strange that one of them is not perfection. Individuals may, perhaps, seek it on their own, but as a race... no, I suppose they are too flawed to see that there is significant room for improvement."
Seeming to get lost in his own thoughts, the young man added, "Perhaps a focus in selective breeding would prove fruitful..."
This was even worse than what they had been teaching back when she first joined the guild. What the hell had they done to this man? Or... a chill stole through her. There was always the possibility that he sought them out because he already thought this way.
She took a deep breath to calm herself.
"It wouldn't be fruitful unless you were careful about it. People have tried selective breeding before, but inevitably vanity destroys them. For they will only breed with those like them and eventually the gene pool withers creating disease, stupidity, and retardation. Humans are not physically built for perfection. Every time we strive to achieve an illusion of perfection, we end up only destroying ourselves. So we try to make the external perfect. But every person is different, every idea of perfection varies to the individual. There is no true perfection. It's an ideal and like all who follow ideals strictly they become hypocrites and destroy the ideal they so strive for."
She looked at him.
"Perfection can't be reached."
Zeta sighed and nodded.
"It is a sad truth for humanity. Though I am certain there are some facets of perfection that are universal, such as what is considered perfect health. That alone would be worth striving for, but alas, it seems humans are too superficial to focus on even that small facet."
For a moment, it seemed like he had actually agreed with her.
"All humans wish for perfect health, but only a few strive for it and achieve it. But there are some that do. And health can be relative. It depends on the external as much as the internal," Brogan said.
"Perfect health is the ability to be impervious to disease, at its most basic. Then..."
Zeta trailed off, shaking his head.
"It isn't worth me explaining, is it? After all, you're only human, and no matter what I say, your inherent flaws will always prevent you from fully comprehending the possibilities. I'm sorry."
"Thank you. But have you ever considered that a human who is aware of his or her flaws and strives to correct them or knows how to counter them is a person who tries to be the best they can be? Or that a person who is at peace with their inherent flaws because flaws too can vary from person to person is close, if not already perfect? Just because you see something as a flaw, does not mean that it viewed as a flaw to them or to others. Caring about oneself and about others can be seen as a flaw to those who only care about themselves or to those who only care about others. But to that person who cares about his or herself as well as others they see those who only care about either or is flawed."
Brogan leaned back against the wall.
"Flaws, like perfection, are mostly relative. True, like you said, there are universal truths to both, but one of those universal truths is that perfection and flaws are relative to the individual. For example to the Enlightened it is a flaw to seek knowledge not akin to their own. But to others the very title of 'Enlightened' is a flaw because to claim to be enlightened is to claim you have nothing else to learn. It's vain and vanity in extremity is a universal flaw to assume that you know everything. One of the beautiful things about humanity is our capacity to eternally learn and grow. Maybe that's why there can be no true 'perfection' in humans. Because to have the ability to strive to become perfect, despite one's flaws, is where true perfection lies. To believe yourself already perfect and therefore incapable of learning more automatically makes you imperfect. The moment one reaches 'perfection,' one is now imperfect. Therefore perfection truly lies in the struggle to become perfect, not in the achievement of it."
Zeta raised an eyebrow as he looked at her.
"Did I give you the impression that I believe myself perfect?"
Brogan actually smiled.
"Well, I got the impression that you are striving for it or at the very least fascinated by the concept. The fact that we are having this conversation convinces me that there is much still you wish to learn and understand."
He nodded eagerly, rocking a little as he again laughed.
"My persistent questioning often irritates the others, yes," he explained, still smiling. "Although I am not certain I myself will be able to achieve complete perfection, I would like to believe I may learn to create others that are as near to it as possible."
Zeta stretched his arms, his laughter fading to a small chuckle.
"Now I see why you used to belong to their guild; you are a very intelligent human."
"Thank you," Brogan said with a nod. "I don't find your questioning irritating," she said. Not compared to Que's anyway, she thought. "I did used to be part of this guild, yes. But when I realized they did their best to stifle any opinion or beliefs different from theirs because they already believed themselves, for lack of a better word, perfect I decided to leave. Unfortunately, one doesn't leave the Enlightened alive. But I did
despite their expectations."
"Any organization that decides to remove the right of the individual to decide his or her own fate, including those who are part of it, was not an organization I wanted to be a part of."
She didn't mention his reference to create others near to perfect. If he was a member of the Enlightened it could mean a multitude of things.
"They do have a funny sort of conceit to them, don't they?" Zeta agreed, nodding as she spoke. "I must say, for as intelligent as they all are, some of the things they believe in are outright ridiculous."
"Exactly my thoughts. And since they expected me to buy into the outright ridiculous, I decided it was best for me to leave."
"I evaded them for ten years," she said, then smiled. "And I've designed things they could only dream of."
"If you believe some of their ideas are ridiculous too, why do you stay?"
Zeta shrugged, readjusting to sit on his bottom with his knees pulled up.
"It's a mutually beneficial relationship. They tolerate my curiosity and answer my questions, even assisting in any experiments I want to perform, and I aid them when it suits me. Most of the time, we agree, and when we do not, I leave them to solve their own problems. I will not tell them my creator, for example."
Her head tilted to the side. There was an alchemist in Sylvora.
"I don't know much about the subject, but..." her brow furrowed. "Are you a homunculus?"
A thin smile spread across Zeta's lips.
"Yes," he confirmed, as if it had always been obvious. "One of only two in existence, both made by the same creator. The Enlightened's best alchemist is loathed to know who created me, but there is nothing gained by my simply telling. He'd learn more to experiment for himself, and perhaps then create an even better homunculus."
That... was a terrifying thought. What was he doing in her cell? Why had he come here?
"I don't know much about alchemy, but I know enough to know what's fiction and what isn't. I know that alchemists have made smaller homunculi kind of like the simple bots currently in existence but nothing of your level. You look human to someone who doesn't know alchemy. And if there are only two in existence, then your creator truly is a genius."
She looked at him.
"Does the other homunculus also... help the Enlightened, like you do?"
Zeta shook his head, some of his hair falling into his face.
"To my knowledge, no," he told her, brushing the errant strands aside. "I was only created about five months ago; I've never met my sister creation, but there were apparently some problems with her that my creator strove to avoid in creating me. Probably the reason for the gender change. He told me I'm much healthier than my sibling, for one, and have a better mastery over my physical being."
"Actually, I was supposed to find her and bring her back so she could be taken apart before she caused too much damage."
Brogan looked at him in amazement. Five months? Dear god, no wonder he had such a skewed view of the human race. He still had so much to learn. Zeta was physically healthier, probably physically stronger and male. So that made the other homunculus female and weaker. But...
"Taken apart? Do damage? If she's weaker than you how could she do damage?"
"Only physically weaker," he explained, sighing a little. "She has poor stamina, and isn't very strong. She was designed, however, to be an exceptionally fast learner, something that my creator put less effort into when he made me. Her mind works more like a computing machine than a human brain, and her problem solving skills go far beyond human genius."
Brogan's eyes widened.
"Wow. That's incredible."
She shook her head.
"I suppose the problems your creator had was that she became too smart for him."
"And that she has now escaped and is running rampant throughout the world, causing who knows what sort of havoc. Thus the necessity of my creation."
Zeta rose to his feet.
"I may not be able to out-think her, but I can certainly out-muscle her. Frankly, I do not believe she will be the problem my creator believes she will be. If she was going to cause damage, she would have done so by now. I believe that since she was designed to not just learn, but want to learn, then that's all she'll be interested in."
Brogan nodded. She looked up at him. What would happen now?
"I believe you're right. Did your creator tell you why she left so suddenly? Or was it just this desire to learn?"
Zeta nodded, a smirk coming to his face as he scoffed.
"She discovered one of humanity's flaws: dishonesty."
Brogan arched an eyebrow.
"From your creator?"
He nodded again.
"I don't know what it was about though. He wouldn't tell me."
"Hm. Well, can't say I blame her, and I can see why he would want you to bring her back to take her apart. Whatever he was dishonest about, he doesn't want her discovering the truth."
Brogan cracked her neck.
"But why the Enlightened? Why join them? What do they provide you that you could not get elsewhere?"
Zeta looked towards the doorway for a moment.
"They do not judge me for what I am."
Brogan looked at the doorway too. Her voice was quiet.
"Yes, they do. They judge everyone. I'm sorry I couldn't have met you sooner. Perhaps I would've been able to show you real humans who do not judge."
Brogan stood up too. It was a little difficult with the chains, but she did nevertheless.
The door opened.
A man in a red mask with a deep red wine suit stood at the door. Brogan didn't recognize him. He wasn't either the alchemist or the man who had recognized her in Sylvora. He scowled.
"Zeta. I sent you to get Miss Romero and bring her upstairs. What the bloody hell is taking so long?"
Brogan rolled her eyes. And Zeta willingly worked for these people. She hoped he used them as much as they used him.
The homunculus gave the man a nonchalant shrug, stepping to one side.
"You made no indication there was any haste involved, so I thought I would chat. She is quite polite and sociable, you should know, and agrees completely that most of you are foolish morons."
Zeta gave him that childlike smile.
"Which is likely why it took you so long to find her in the first place."
Brogan chuckled. Why the hell was Zeta working for them?
However, the man at the door didn't take kindly to Brogan's laughter. His fist flew and clocked her in the face, sending her to the floor and splitting her lip anew. His gray gaze became ice as they bored into Zeta.
"Keep her in chains, grab her, and follow me," he said through gritted teeth. "Now."
Though Zeta seemed unaffected by the man's gaze, he nevertheless nodded.
"Alright, Mr. Glasgow. If you really insist. Need I remind you that it is perhaps a poor idea to damage her mouth when you're attempting to get her to speak?"
He moved to the wall and grabbed hold of the chain holding her wrist, giving it a swift tug and snapping it from its rivets. He did the same with the chains attached to her ankles, gathering all three in hand as he looked at her.
"Right this way, please," Zeta said, offering her his free hand to help her stand.
Brogan looked at him for a moment, her expression unreadable. She took his hand, and despite the fact that it was shaking, she gave it a firm determined gripped. She got up, using him as leverage.
Mr. Glasgow rolled his eyes and turned around.
"Come on. And don't dawdle."
He walked away.
As Zeta began to lead the way out of the cell, Brogan said, her voice soft, "Thank you, Zeta. I just want you to know that I'm not afraid of you. I'm only afraid of what they'll make you do to me. But it won't change my opinion of you. I'm only telling you this because I don't want you to confuse my fear for fear of what you are. I don't fear you or your strength."
"Now!" came Glasgow's echo from down the hall.
If Brogan's words had any effect on Zeta, he made no reaction to them, just as he had with the Enlightened's glare. He followed the man in red with Brogan close behind, being sure to keep his pace with hers so that he was only leading her, not pulling her along.
Brogan didn't say anything else. She just hoped she made enough of an impression on Zeta to perhaps help begin to question the Enlightened. As she had once done.
They went up the stairs and into a narrow hallway. Mr. Glasgow paused at a door and opened it. The room was empty except for two chairs and two men. Brogan recognized them as the men from Sylvora. The alchemist, still dressed in his golden tones sat in one chair. The other chair was isolated, but it had places to hook chains on the floor beside it. The man with the blue mask stood beside the alchemist. Mr. Glasgow joined them.
"Zeta. Put Miss Romero in the chair and secure her. Be sure to help her step over her arms so they are behind her back rather than in front of her," Mr. Glasgow said.
The homunculus did as instructed and guided Brogan to the seat, fastening the chains to the floor before moving to stand between her and the golden man.
"So you know," Zeta said, looking at the three of them. "She has already told me that she won't say anything, and will die with her knowledge before telling you. It's very logical and a bit difficult to argue."
"Like I care?" said the golden man. "She's not my toy."
His golden eyes flickered to the two men beside him. The smile that crossed his face was cold.
"She created something they couldn't. They're the ones who want the knowledge."
Then his attention turned to Brogan.
"Though I must say anyone who can create life from something inanimate is to be admired. Isn't that so, Zeta?"
Mr. Glasgow smirked.
"But we don't want her dead. We want her broken. Hopeless."
His eyes pierced into Zeta.
"Just beat her within an inch of her life, but like you said, we need her mouth so she can talk."
Zeta scoffed and rolled his eyes.
"It never ceases to amaze me how all three of you can be so determined to do something one way that you all fail to see the fruitlessness of your efforts. Don't you think it's foolish to waste time with something that has a high probability of failure rather than..."
"Enough," the man in blue said. "Mr. Glasgow did not ask for your opinion. Mr. Horace did. But your words have nothing to do with what he was asking. Probability is not an option."
He stepped toward Zeta.
"She built a robot that can think and react. Robots respond to commands. Direct ones. They do not improvise, they do not think. They are programmed."
He looked at Brogan. His eyes were a dark blue.
"But Miss Romero has developed a robot that can make calculations and deductions. It can speak and respond when spoken to with a limitless vocabulary."
He looked back at Zeta.
"She built a robot that can learn. It's even more useful than you are. At least one doesn't have to know an archaic mismatch of science and arcana to take a robot apart."
He motioned to the door.
"There's a robot with a design that can easily help us finally crush the rest of this country. One that we can build en mass without waiting for Mr. Horace to figure out how the hell you were created. I would've taken the damn thing apart by now, but it sealed itself with a metal that in order to cut through it would damage all the circuitry inside. I don't need her design. All I want is the program code to get the robot to come alive again so I can take it apart and see how she did it."
Mr. Glasgow put a hand on other man's shoulder.
"I don't care how you do it, Zeta. Beat her, break her legs, rape her, cut off her fingers... I don't care. Do whatever the dark crevices of your hollow body desire. You have a goal. Convince Miss Romero to tell us what we want to know. That's your job. So do it."
Zeta stood there for a long moment, stiller than a statue, thinking over everything that the three men had said. He stared off at some point in the distance behind them, as if he didn't even realize the others were still in the room, before snapping his gaze back up at Mr. Glasgow.
"How shall I begin?"
"Break her legs," he said casually. "In case she's holding on to any hope of escape."
The cold eyes slid to Brogan.
She felt ice go up her spine. Oh, hell...
Zeta nodded, not giving the suggestion a second thought, and walked over to Brogan, kneeling by her chair. He placed one hand on the back of her calf, the other on her shin just below her knee, and began to press. It was slow, and up to a point painless, but once the pressure exceeded what the bones were meant to support, in was like her leg was in a rotating vice, trying to bend the limb where it should not.
Brogan had tensed when he'd gotten near, then tried to relax so it wouldn't hurt as much. She closed her eyes, trying to think of a million other things.
But he broke her leg slowly. Pain shot through her, until she was shaking with it. Then it snapped. Brogan screamed. It was short scream, her voice dying abruptly as pain shot through her body. She shivered, chained to the seat, head bowed as tears streamed down her cheeks. She breathed hard, trying to control herself, and bit back sobs.
Glasgow grabbed her chin hard. He lifted her face up. Brogan looked up at him without fear. Instead hate filled her eyes and shot knives into him.
"Ask her," the man in blue said.
"Mr. Ferdinand," said Glasgow. He released Brogan's chin.
"She'd bite her tongue off and bleed to death if she had the strength or courage right now. She's not afraid."
"She's hateful. We won't get much when she's hateful."
He stepped back.
Mr. Ferdinand looked at Zeta.
"Break the other leg."
Mr. Horace chuckled.
"Oh, lord. Watching you two torture anyone is like watching a bad theatre performance."
"Shut up," Glasgow growled at Horace.
Zeta had jumped back when she screamed, clearly startled by her reaction. He looked back at Mr. Horace, as if looking for reassurance that this was the intended result.
Mr. Horace saw Zeta's expression and smirked. A chuckle followed.
"Yes, Zeta. The purpose is to cause her extreme pain. She will scream, she will cry and ideally, by the end," he glanced at Ferdinand and Glasgow before returning his golden gaze to Zeta "she'll be broken."
Zeta turned and looked at Brogan, face completely expressionless. Then, he moved to the other side and placed his hands on her leg again.
Brogan bit back a sob. She took a deep breath. She had known she wasn't getting out of here alive. She knew they were going to torture her. She just had to hold on until they killed her. God, how many hours did she have left?
Oh, DeeDee. If they don't kill me, I hope you do, Brogan thought.
Her shinbone snapped. Brogan screamed, but it was cut short. She slumped, unconscious from the surge of pain.
Mr. Horace laughed.
"Heheheheheh. Looks like you two are going to have to wait until she comes to again. Unless either of you carry smelling salts on your person."
Glasgow cursed. He punched Brogan's unconscious face. She didn't stir. He stormed to the door.
"Zeta make sure you summon us the moment she awakens."
He opened the door and slammed it behind him.
Ferdinand shook his head.
"He's too volatile."
He touched Brogan's face.
"She'll be in great pain when she awakens. It'll be to our advantage."
His dark gaze flitted over to Zeta.
"You will not dally. Call us the moment she is conscious. I want that robot, and the key to that mystery is locked in this brilliant mind."
He tapped her forehead.
"If I have to break it in order to get it, so be it."
He followed after Glasgow.
Horace looked at Zeta.
"So how do you feel? Or can you feel anything?"
"No. Am I supposed to? I know that all humans have six emotions; as far as I can tell, I've only learned two. If there is an emotion for this... I don't think I've learned it yet."
"I should take her back to her cell, shouldn't I?"
"No," Horace said. "Leave her right where she is."
He stood up in one smooth, lithe motion. He grabbed his cane.
"When she wakes her world will not have changed. She is trapped here. She will die here."
"I suppose whatever you are feeling now is not happiness. I would've thought by now you would have started to enjoy giving pain. Oh, well. You still have much to learn, little Zeta."
He took something out of his pocket. It was a small bottle. He winked.
"Smelling salts. Have a little fun with her. Torture her your own way, before calling the big babies. Enjoy yourself a little, Zeta."
Horace headed toward the door.
"But don't enjoy yourself too much," the alchemist said before he too left the room.
Again, Zeta stared for a few minutes before looking down at the bottle in his hand. Walking back to Brogan, he opened the smelling salts and held the bottle beneath her nose, trying to wake her.
It took a minute. Normally, smelling salts worked in seconds, but then it was used on people who had fainted from lightheadedness, not pain. Brogan's eyes fluttered open. Pain rushed through her, and she coughed, jerking her head away. The coughs were half sobs, as she tried to get control of herself. Her body shivered constantly.
Oh, sweet god, her legs were broken. Snapped in half at the shin. Tears streamed down her cheeks as she slowly lifted her head. There was only Zeta in the room. His image was blurry. She lowered her head again, her hair falling around her face. Why couldn't he have let her sleep a few hours more away?
"H-h-hello, again," she said. She barely breathed the words.
Zeta smiled, capping the smelling salts and sitting down cross-legged in front of her.
"Good morning," he said to her, as if there was nothing unusual about the situation.
Brogan's shoulders shook. She tried to control her sobs, her tears. Eventually, she was able to breathe without sobbing. Tears still flowed, and the pain throbbed throughout her entire body, making her wish deep in her heart that she was already dead. Her body continued to shiver uncontrollably. It was slight, but her skin never stopped trembling. She lifted her head to look at him through the blur of tears. They dripped off her face and into her lap. She dared not look down to see her useless, broken legs.
Zeta's child-like smile never wavered.
"May I ask you a question?" he asked. "Sometimes the three of them use terms I'm unfamiliar with, but never bother to explain. They often forget I'm not even a year old."
Brogan wanted to cry. He broke two of her limbs, god knew what else he would do to her at their behest, but he was still... He was less than a year old. He was child in a man's body with super strength. God, she couldn't fight that. Not without time. All she had were words...
"Sure," she croaked. Tears continued.
"They're very mean to-to you. I'll help y-you. What do you," she gasped and bit her lip. Her eyes closed tightly for a moment and then she opened them again.
"Want to know?" she got out in a breath quieter than a whisper.
"Mr. Glasgow had said I should rape you," he began. "What does that mean?"
Brogan froze. Her heart pounded hard against her chest. Eyes wide she stared at him for a long moment, before her broken lips parted to speak. Tell him the truth. Tell him the truth, she chanted in her head.
"It's one of the worst things a human being can do to another," she said, her voice trembling and whisperish. "There is something, called sex or making love, that is one of the most intimate things two people can do together. It joins the bodies, and at a mental level, joins spirits. Rape... is the perversion of that intimate act. It is used to destroy and to humiliate."
Tears began to slide down her cheeks as she searched his face.
"Do you want the details of the act itself?"
Zeta thought about it, closing his eyes as he took in what she said, and then nodded. He was simply too naive to understand the rest on his own.
Brogan stared into his eyes as she flatly explained the sex act. She explained a man's body and a woman's. She explained how the bodies fit. She explained that women and men could also have sex with the same gender. She explained how that kind of sex worked. She explained the pleasure centers. She explained how children were created by the sex act.
Then she explained the difference between that and rape.
"One of the two don't want to have sex. For whatever reason, they don't want to. Forcing another person to have sex, taking their body without their consent, is rape. The person doing the rape only seeks their own pleasure and cares nothing for the other person. That is why it's destructive, foul and a form of humiliation. It strips power away from the other person completely. Their most intimate parts are taken from them by force. It is one the most horrible experiences any person could live through. Like sex can be an experience that can affect deeper than the body to a mental level, so can rape. But what sex creates, rape destroys."
Zeta listened intently to her entire explanation, and once she was finished, smiled brightly.
"Now it makes sense," he said. "I understand why Mr. Glasgow would make such a suggestion, then. He's a very violent person."
He shifted, refolding his legs.
"And what is fear like? Oh, and hate! I've never experienced these emotions before, and sometimes it's difficult to do what they ask when I don't understand the result they want."
Brogan bit her bottom lip and winced. She sniffled.
"Uh, those emotions are hard to explain. Fear... Okay, the best way to do it is to give you an example. C-Close your eyes and imagine the situation. Don't be logical about the situation. You have to imagine that you believe the situation to be true."
She waited until he had done so.
"Imagine that Mr. H-Horace found a way to dismantle you. He created a homunculus just like you and then forced you to watch as he took that homunculus apart. A tightening in your gut, the base of your stomach. Your spine stiffening. Your skin becomes clammy, and it becomes hard to swallow. You are afraid that Mr. Horace will destroy you. That is fear. Fear makes one forget logic unless they're strong enough. It makes you give up hope. It cripples you and makes you unable to function like you would normally function. Hate also deprives you of logic. But hate can come about through different emotion. Hate can be created by fear. It can be created by anger.
"Hate is when your skin burns, your muscles tense, your heart pounds, your breathing becomes shallow, and all you want to do is rip whatever you hate apart. You want to destroy it utterly. Hate and fear are destructive emotions. Hate can bring strength, but it destroys logic. Fear brings weakness, and it destroys logic."
Brogan winced as pain shot through her again.
"In order to keep your logic in the face of these emotions, one has to be mentally strong."
Zeta's brows furrowed, his eyes still closed, but when he relaxed and opened his eyes again, he shook his head.
"I don't understand. I'm sorry."
The homunculus rose to his feet.
"I should tell them you're awake again."
Brogan stiffened. Then she laughed a little, despite the pain.
"Haha. I wish emotions were easy to explain."
She looked up at him.
"You say that, and I become afraid. Then I have to talk myself out of my fear. I wish I could show you, but these are things you will have to learn on your own, Zeta."
"I wish I could express them better so you could understand."
He tilted his head to one side, smiling gently.
"You did your best."
Without another word, he made his way out the door to fetch the three Enlightened again.
Brogan sat there trying not to worry or fear. Her death was inevitable, she told herself. Even if they tortured her, in a few hours ideally she would be dead anyway. She didn't know where they were keeping DeeDee, but hopefully she was close by.
When Zeta returned, Mr. Horace, Mr. Ferdinand and Mr. Glasgow were with him. The first had a small amused smile. The second was as deadpan as usual. The third had a smirk until he saw her. Then the smile faded.
"You didn't do anything while she was unconscious?" Glasgow growled at Zeta.
The homunculus shrugged.
"Saw no reason to. She wouldn't respond, for one. Besides, I couldn't think of anything to do."
Glasgow cursed. He leveled his cold stare at Zeta.
"If we leave you alone with her, dammit, do something to further our cause. Kick her in the rips, beat her senseless, rape her. Do something, you fool."
Horace found his seat again.
"A little deprived, Mr. Glasgow? Why don't you do something if you're so eager."
Glasgow glared at Horace. He took Ferdinand's cane, walked up to Brogan and slammed it into her ribs. Brogan screamed.
"Feel like talking yet?" he snarled at her.
Ferdinand shook his head.
"The moment you tell us what we want to know, Miss Romero, the sooner this will stop."
"Bull shit," she hissed.
Zeta chuckled, clearly finding Mr. Glasgow's frustration amusing.
All the eyes of the Enlightened snapped to Zeta and stared coldly at him until he was finished.
For the next few hours more or less Brogan was so far gone with pain that she barely understood what they were saying half the time Brogan was beaten and questioned.
Mr. Horace was the first to leave, bored. Mr. Ferdinand left next, frustrated that Brogan would not tell him about DeeDee.
Before Mr. Glasgow left, he pulled Zeta aside and said, "Just because we're leaving doesn't mean you stop. Do everything you have to try to get her to tell us what we want to know. Break her. Rape her. Crush her. Make her wish she was dead. And when we come back later, I want to see a broken woman."
Zeta stared at him as he took in the command, and then he slowly nodded.
"I understand. You want me to do the worst thing you could think of to her."
"Yes," Glasgow snarled. "Don't. Disappoint me."
And with that he left.
Brogan, her face bruised, looked up at Zeta. She wanted to beg him not to, but she knew it wouldn't work. She had no say. The Enlightened owned him and until he could figure out for himself that they were not worth it, he would be under their thumb. Tears streamed down her cheeks. Her body felt broken, and there would be worse to come.
Zeta stared after Mr. Glasgow, even when the door had closed. For a moment, he just stood there, like he wasn't going to do anything at all, not even move. Then, however, he turned back around to face Brogan, his crisp blue eyes looking at her with complete innocence.
"I suppose I should remove your clothes."