Evolution: Broken

"You will tell me what I want to know..."

Daniel barely heard Raphael's words as he stared at the sinister looking device Chalo had just uncovered. When the man touched the ends of the filthy jumper cables together they sparked with an angry snapping sound. Daniel instinctively jolted, unable to hid his fear. Chalo came to stand behind him and made the cables snarl once more.

"Are you frightened?" Raphael asked calmly.

"Terrified." Daniel admitted freely.

"Then tell me, what is this thing?"

"This is what makes me so afraid...I've already told you. It's an artifact, I'm an Archeologist."

"Your answer is not good enough."

"Look, I don't know what you exspe..."

Daniel screamed as Chalo brushed the metal clips against his shoulder. The initial contact had been like an ice cold knife plunging into both flesh and bone. From there it crescendoed into a searing burn as the damaged nerves finally got a chance to cry out their warning. Adrenaline poured into his system, which only served to heighten his senses.

The powerful current fooled Daniel's muscles into thinking that the brain had asked them to contract. A wave of panic spread across him as his rebelling muscles pulled so tightly that he couldn't breath. Raphael waited for Daniel to regain control of himself before signaling Chalo to repeat the experience.

"Wait!" Daniel cried.

"Tell me then and we will stop, give you and your friend water, something to eat."

"I can't give you anything better than the truth!"

Daniel was trembling violently as tears slipped down his dirty face. He stared at Raphael pleadingly. For a moment his tormentor seemed to consider showing mercy. However the moment was fleeting.

This time the pain originated from his lower back and clawed its way up his chest where it forced his heart to falter in its rhythm. Daniel cried out sharply and arched his back as far as the bindings at his wrists would allow. Driven by a primal desire to escape he fought mindlessly against the restraints.

Raphael waited for Daniel to realize that he couldn't win against the simple plastic ties. He watched pitilessly, taking a sip from the metal cup of water. By the time Daniel stopped struggling his breathing had been reduced to deep shuddering. He looked up just to see Raphael nod once more to his partner. Daniel pulled away as best he could as Chalo slowly brought the clip towards his stomach.

"It's a box!" Daniel snarled in frustrated rage.

Raphael held up his hand and Chalo backed away.

"Say that again."

"A box, it's a goddamn box!"

"A box?"

"Yes! Look at it!" Daniel spat. "What more could it possibly be? It's just a hunk of metal!"

"What is it worth?"

"Nothing!"

"Then why did you come all this way to get it?"

"I wish I hadn't."

"Now that I do believe." Raphael chuckled.

When Daniel saw how thoroughly the man was enjoying this he closed his eyes in a desperate attempt to wake from this nightmare. When the white hot fangs of the electrical snake bit into his stomach he refused to cry out again. He ground his teeth together and growled animalisticly against the pain.

When it was over he went back to concentrating on taking deep, controlled breaths. He tried briefly to slip into the in-between world where Oma had done her best to shield him from the agony of radiation poisoning.

Daniel had almost reached a point of calm when an icy splash of water in his face brought him back to the present. He instinctively looked up at Raphael before he could stop himself. He had expected to see him gloating over him. Instead the man was suddenly studying him intently

"What is your rank?" Raphael asked.

"W...what?" Daniel asked confused.

"Your rank." He repeated in a polite tone. "What level are you in the military?"

"I'm...I'm not in the military." Daniel stuttered. "I...I don't have a rank."

Raphael pushed himself away from the table he'd been leaning again. He tangled his hand into Daniel's wet hair and jerked his head back forcefully. Daniel didn't struggle, afraid of escalating the man's violence further. He swallowed convulsively as blood ran down his throat.

"You wish me to believe that you have not received military training?" Raphael snarled. "A 'scientist' would have broken by now."

"I am broken..." Daniel whimpered.

"Then tell me your rank."

"I don't have one." Daniel insisted.

"Then tell me what this thing is."

"It's an artifa..."

Daniel wailed as Raphael snatched the cables away from Chalo and pressed them hard against his chest. Even after Raphael pulled away he screamed out again, stopping only because he had run out of breath. Raphael stared down at him with a look of murderous fury. Daniel weld his eyes shut and tried to turn away as Raphael held the buzzing clips dangerously close to his face.

"I will blind you." Raphael snarled.

"No...please stop..." Daniel panted weakly. "Please..."

"You are ready to tell me the truth?"

Daniel nodded and swallowed hard against his sandpaper dry throat. He steadied himself with a few deep breaths. Raphael handed the cables back to Chalo and waited patiently as his captive gathered up his strength to speak. Once Daniel had reined in his laboured breath he looked up at Raphael in defeat.

When Daniel's voice failed him he motioned slightly for Raphael to come closer so he could whisper. Fearlessly Raphael leaned in close and listened intently to Daniel's hushed words.

When Daniel was finished Raphael pulled back and started at him in shock. After a moment Raphael's face broke into a bright smile and he began to laugh. Daniel forced a smile as well, but he was too weary to even chuckle.

Raphael's mirth degraded into a frustrated rage in the blink of an eye. He lashed out and back handed Daniel brutally. Daniel didn't even bother to turn his face back towards his tormentor. Blood dripped unchecked from his lip as he waited for Raphael to continue until he was finally pushed past the limit of endurance.

Drawing out his knife Raphael cut the plastic ties that had been gnawing into Daniel's wrists. He grabbed a hold of Daniel's once white shirt and hauled him to his feet. Before Daniel could even attempt to find his balance Raphael jerked him forward and brought his knee up hard into his stomach.

Once released Daniel dropped to his hands and knees, dry heaving forcefully enough to cause bile to sting the back of his throat. He drew a shuddering breath only to use it to cry out sharply as Raphael kicked him in the ribs.

Raphael sunk his clawed fingers into Daniel's shoulder and tried to force him to sit up. Close to blacking out Daniel simply fell back to the dirt floor. He stared up at the corrugated tin roof trying to will himself into passing out. He tried once again to slow his breathing, but the shallow, quick breaths were spasmodic and could not be controlled.

Disgusted Raphael silently ordered two of his men to drag Daniel away. Once in their custody Daniel tried to stand, however his knees kept buckling under his weight. Raphael watched them leave with his jaw clenched in anger. His second in command came up to him cautiously.

"W...what did he say it was?"

"A paperweight."