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Challenge #01439-C344: I Said No

A scientist when captured by the bad guys instead of working for them and having their work used for evil, refuses to work for them. They won't be the cause of innumerable deaths even if it means they suffer. SeaDragon1012

Dr Sally Hopkins woke in comfort, which was a big difference from attempting to fight off three attackers in the rain. She kept her eyes closed and her breathing even. Taking stock.

Good news - they had her in comfort. If they wanted her dead, they wouldn't have bothered with the chloroform, the taser, or the needle full of sedative.

Disturbing news - someone had changed her clothes while she was out.

Bad news - she remembered seeing one of them throwing her bag into an alley. Nobody knew where she was. Nobody could find her.

Worse news - whoever had her now wanted to keep her.

Slightly improved news - judging by the smell of lavender and the calming music they were playing softly in the background, they wanted her to be happy while she was here.

Sally peeked through her eyelids. Someone had gone to the trouble of making her dream apartment. The layout. The colours. The distinctly non-standard art style. And one entire wall dominated with the merchandise from her favourite band that she had missed out on.

Obvious bribe is obvious. She would ignore this as well as everything else. This space was meant to impress. The heavy-handed attempt of someone to lure her into a state of comfort and complacency.

Not. Bloody. Likely.

"Good morning, Doctor Hopkins," said a calm voice. It gave her twice as many heebie-jeebies twice as much as HAL from 2001.

"Is it?" She gave up on her pretense and slid out of the bed. "What do you want?"

"We want you to work for us," said the voice. Computerised. Creepy.

"And who are you?"

"That is not important, right now. You are the only known expert on Retriculatia Vegnorics. We need you... to help us."

"I've been helping the world just fine where I was. Why do you need to keep me here?" She idly checked the wall of merch. Genuine. All of it. Only one organisation had the resources to secure that stuff. MiniCaroCorp.

The world's most evil corporation. Everything they secured, one way or another, was turned towards the worsening of the status quo.

"I do admit we would like to sway your opinions towards our way..." And if that wasn't a phrase directly from the mouth of MinaCaroCorp CEO Purd Malond... Sally would personally eat all of this merch.

"No." Sally turned her back on the bribe. Folded her arms, and sat on the floor. Million-dollar carpet, of course. Sally pondered unleashing her bladder on it.

"You will work for us, Doctor Hopkins. We have made things here comfortable. We can make things... uncomfortable."

Sally focussed intensely on allowing her bladder to empty. "Bring it. I'm not lifting a finger for you."

Gas took her out, this time.

When next she woke, it was a plain concrete cellar with only a stainless steel toilet for her amenities. Someone had shaved her head. Her clothing had been changed to a minimalistic hospital gown.

I've seen this movie. Not working.

Malond and his cronies had orders to keep her brain and her mobility intact. Therefore, there was psychological torture. She was isolated, exposed to biting cold. Exposed to blistering heat. At random moments, vents would open and allow creatures inside. Insects. Rodents. Invertebrates. Amphibians. Every small thing that humans had ever feared.

Sally meditated through all of it. Even the loud music on an endless loop. Malond needed her alive. And he had to keep her so.

They found her after a year or more. It was difficult to keep track in the dark. Malond was doomed to incarceration for what he had done. And she was bound for a nice hospital with good therapy.

But the forces of evil had not got her secrets.

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