A few heartbeats later, the table in the centre of the room was no longer unoccupied. The young German was strapped tightly to the unforgiving surface. His eyes were blown wide with fear and he struggled with the futile strength that comes from desperation. Around him, the team were checking wires and sterilizing hands in the metal sink in the corner, overlooked at first glance as it blended into the grey walls. When everyone was set, Clara gathered them together.
"This is one we cannot communicate with. He will not be able to tell us anything, and even if he had, he would not be willing to. He is a hard one."
The older man, with his scraggly beard and grey eyes, butted in.
"Why is he here then? What can we do? Surely this is a waste of our time?" His voice held that gravelly tone of middle-age.
An exasperated sigh escaped Clara. "I was just about to explain, Anthony."
Anthony was, like Jasper, a valuable asset to the team, with his logical mind and ability to work under pressure. However, like Jasper, he was also a difficult man to work with. When the group was first created, Anthony had a few choice words to say about taking orders from a woman. He had fought in the First World War, and had the scars - literal and metaphorical - to prove it. He argued with almost anything the team did, just to undermine Clara's authority. He was better now than he had been, but was still the one to jump in to criticize anyone else.
"I have decided that now is as good a time as any to take the Experiment for a test run."
Each person reacted differently to her statement. George let out a little gasp and gulped loudly in the silence. Jasper allowed a faint smile to invade his features. Anthony looked sceptical, and Jane's hard, grey eyes lit up with something akin to excitement. Jane was an odd woman. Losing her parents when she was very young had created emotions and thoughts that a five year old should not have. Now, as a grown woman, she had trouble suppressing her feelings, and had a tendency to cut herself off from society. Clara had taken her in as a young woman, afraid and alone, but with technological knowledge beyond her years. Her and Anthony just click somehow. He got her to relax and open up; she made him smile and even laugh. The dynamics of this relationship were too confusing and tenuous for Clara to become involved in, so she just left them to it.
"We have been working on this for months, and now, finally, it is ready. I had Jasper come down yesterday evening to check everything over." She gestured to the captive German. "He is of a higher rank than the others. He may still be useful."
As though he could feel the five pairs of eyes staring holes in his body, the man turned to look at them. George gave another little gasp, and turned away. He could not bear to look at those blank, lifeless eyes. Even Clara was surprised. Gone was the defiant stare replaced by...
His eyes were grey and cold, dead. Clara would have expected defeat, and pain, even sadness, but not this.
This empty stare.
It was like looking into the eyes of a skull - nothing was there. She felt a flash of sympathy towards the man, before she banished all compassion to the back of her mind. There was no room for compassion in warfare.