Challenge #01983-E159: The Secret

in fiction •  4 months ago

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A human led crew of ragtag aliens get captured and are being held separately for interrogation.
The issue isn’t getting them to talk.
The issue isn’t even getting them to shut up. In fact, they’ve been perfectly cooperative.

The only issue?
They’re all telling equally terrible, completely contradictory lies. -- Anon Guest

You know the scene. You know the cuts. You've seen it so many times. Multiple people are asked the same question, and the audience is treated to cuts of the answers. This one had to be the most ludicrous of them all. Even something as simple and verifiable as "What is your ship's designation?" was going to earn several different answers.

"Boaty McBoatface." / "The Intrepid." / "Hollowpoint." / "The Scythe." When it was clear to anyone who could read Galstand that it was The Numbat.

They had to know that Ganz had access to their records, but the truth seemed to elude them all the same. He'd read their diaries. He knew who they were, and what they were doing here, for the most part... but he had to get them to trust him with their truths before he went after his secrets. And in this case, it was starting to look like a lost cause.

"Why are you here?" Ganz knew the answer was 'salvage', but got, "To seek out new life and new civilisations!" / "I dunno..." / "We're lost." / "We're saving an apple planet from a giant that wants to eat it."

It was unending. And infuriating. And, frankly, baffling.

"Why do you feel you have to lie to me?" was answered with, "I'm not lying." / "How dare you?" / random song lyrics, off key and off tune / "You mean this isn't opposite day?" followed by wilder and even more ludicrous lies.

And, eventually, it got more expensive to hold them than it was to just... let them go and find out what they were up to by trailing after them and scanning everything. Unfortunately, they apparently navigated the fields of abandoned hardware by pointing at something and saying, "Ooh, shiny! Let's go there!"

The Numbat had larger fuel stores than Ganz, and he reached the red-line before he reached their secret. He had to leave and hope for the best. Sooner or later, their human Captain would make a mistake. All Ganz had to do was out-stubborn a pursuit predator.

Easier said than done.

Meanwhile, on The Numbat...

"It worked," said Grox in complete shock.

Kirk Finkley preened. "Of course it worked," he said. "Deny, Delay, Distract. Nobody expects them all at once."

Thzztt, their insectoid ship's doctor, buzzed, "I am uncertain the untruth strategy was working. I ran out of untruths and began singing."

Kirk thought about this as he settled into the Captain's chair. "Good enough, though. You're still learning about the whole prevarication thing. You did good. And I loved your rendition of Oklahoma."

Thzztt seemed a great deal happier about that news.

Gagne, watching the scanners, stood up to her full four-foot eight and announced, "They have entered the wormhole."

"Excellent. Let's get these supplies to the Tuvathi."

[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / cobalt88]

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