Swamped Chapter 42 Page 10

There’s two standard approaches when you’ve got multiple prisoners and they’re uncooperative. They’re kind of opposites.

The first option is that you just separate them, and try to convince one of them that the other is telling you everything. This works best when the prisoners don’t trust each other – they’re willing to believe the worst about their compatriot, and usually fall for it. If they have a high level of trust, though, they’ll just get angry. Of course, angering your prisoners can be useful at times, as it tends to make them more careless. But the main risk of this approach is, if they actually were thinking about cooperating, this is a sure way to signal to them that you can’t be trusted.

The other option is to get them to think they’re alone, but have someone listening in. There’s all sorts of info that they might let slip if they think they’re safe. Of course, since at least one of these two speaks a language you don’t know anything about, you might not pick up anything.

You glance at Rudolph. He almost casually tugs at his ear as you do. Seems he favors the latter approach, despite the language barrier.

Well. As long as they don’t escape, it’s worth a shot, you suppose.

“Do either of you need water?” you ask. “We could give you a little privacy to take a drink if you need it. Wouldn’t want you to suffer needlessly.”

They glance at each other.

“We are fine,” says the man. “We should not need water for a few hours.”

Hmm. Maybe you’re reading too much into his tone of voice, but… it almost sounds like he added that last bit as an afterthought. As though he suddenly realized he shouldn’t suggest he expected to be gone before then.

But that’s odd. They shouldn’t know about the ransom note asking for their freedom… unless, that is, they expect their boss to do that sort of thing for them. If that’s the case, they’ll probably be really reluctant to rat out whoever it is. That kind of loyalty to your subordinates tends to be returned in kind.

Well. That all might just be a wild guess. For the moment, you should think about your next move.

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You do have that magic item that makes time seem like it’s moving slowly.

Could make them question their superiors loyalty.