I had to torture her, you know. How else could I have won her trust? Yes, I also raped her. We don't call it rape, though. Rape is sex with a woman against her will. A captive enemy commander doesn't have a will. All she has is information, and a body that can be used to get it. Or at least for trying. And for boosting the morale of the population, when they get to see a high-ranking enemy executed. With a good-looking enemy like her, they'd expect a spectacular show. I had to make sure that they got it. But that was still a few days away. Right then, I had just taken over her case.
The Navy had taken her. Her ship had been blown South by a heavy storm, unusual for the season, and blown her right into our hands. Or that was the story they told. I didn't buy it. The crew had been all female. Lower ranks, who didn't know anything. They died at the hands of the Navy officers, within a few days. Days of agony, I suppose, but the reports didn't bother to go into details, they were too unimportant. An all female crew. Whatever the Navy said, that wouldn't have been a military patrol, or expedition. And there were no indications that they were priestesses, on a ritual mission to one of their island sanctuaries. No, knowing their customs, this all female crew could only mean one thing: their mission had been diplomatic. They hadn't been blown off their course, they had meant to come to us. They had meant to talk. They hadn't known that there was nothing to talk about. We had already decided upon the war that would destroy them.
I waited a full week before I claimed her. The Princess, they called her, though I don't think they had any proof that she was from the Queen's family. The Queen tried to ransom her, but our leaders just laughed her off. The Navy boasted they'd make her talk, and what she'd tell would be worth more than whatever the Queen could be willing to offer. I waited, because I knew that the Navy interrogators were professional enough not to kill her, and not to spoil her looks for the public execution. I also knew, no matter what they did to her, she wouldn't talk. I could have told them, but they wouldn't have believed me. And afterwards, they might have asked me how I had known.
I didn't want to draw attention to the fact that I had already been around at the time of the old war. I had encountered members of the Queen's Guard then, I had seen them suffer and seen them die. None of them had ever talked. No point in bringing that up now. There were questions I didn't want to be asked. So the thing to do was to wait, and after one week they were so frustrated with her that they were glad I took her off their hands.
Out of the hands of the Navy, and into the hands of the Army's chief intelligence officer of the Northern Sector. No, not directly into my hands. Not yet. First, I gave her into the hands of our interrogation team. They did what they could, but they didn't get any further with her than the Navy guys had. Of course not. After three days, I told them I'd take over. They respected my wish for privacy, a chief intelligence officer doesn't take off his pants in front of subordinates.
On the outside, she still looked whole enough. Inside, the damage was accumulating. Slowly, I added some more. From days long ago, I knew a few ways to hurt her in ways she hadn't been hurt before. I will not go into details, for it is better if such knowledge will die with me. The pain alone would have killed a weaker woman, not to mention the internal fractures, ruptures and the loss of blood. I waited. With her hope for diplomacy thwarted, I knew she'd try to come up with something else. She knew she couldn't last very long anymore, and she knew that I was as high up the hierarchy as she could hope to get at. At last, she talked.
It wasn't easy for her to speak intelligibly in her agony, and I did not interrupt her tortures to make it easier for her. She had to talk, and she talked. The fleet would attack in the Fall, she said.
At that time of the year, the wind blows from the South. We'd never expect their attack at that time, and we'd never expect an attack from the South, not knowing that for three years they had prepared that expedition, three years in which their fleet had sailed far out onto the void of the ocean, turning South far out of sight of our patrol ships, building hidden bases bristling with ships, troops and supplies on the labyrinthian tropical Southern coasts, to catch us unprepared for an assault from that unexpected direction.
It was a good plan. Had she made it up in her days of agony, or had they prepared it in advance, just in case? We'd have to move our troops South, and to all the vulnerable parts of the coast, and we'd have to put all available resources into the Navy -- and, of course, we'd have to cancel the attack across the mountains. I knew it was a lie, of course, because I knew that she had not given in, and she never would. Only vanity might have made me think that I had broken her, but vanity is not among my vices.
I didn't believe it, but, more important, the Navy wouldn't believe it either. They knew better. It didn't matter, though. I hadn't expected her to come up with something useful anyway. But, I had her where I had wanted to have her.
.... There is more of this story ...