Retirement Plan

Summary: When artificial pleasure devices proliferate, what if they can be used in place of torture? A secret policeman muses on how such devices changed the fate of his victims.

The prisoner wanted to go back to enhanced interrogation, just like all the rest did. He started talking after only an hour in the pod, where his every desire came true. I don't blame him. He was only doing what felt natural. One thing's for sure, it's not as messy as the car batteries, power tools, and brutish means we used when I first started this job.

State security's a messy job, but someone has to do it. I was recruited as an informant in a student activist group, and I helped disappear university staff and students that spoke out against the government. Sometimes, I had them taken because they failed me, or they told me something in confidence I knew would please my bosses. I make no apologies, since otherwise, it would be my family and myself that would be lying in a shallow grave or rotting in a forgotten cell.

Besides, it's much cleaner now. The new kids on the job never even had to hurt anyone, much less killed anyone. Gone are the days of mass graves and rendering them into un-persons. Instead, we just use these porno-pods, virtual reality devices that project them any fantasy their subconscious desires, and stimulates their brains better than the real experience does. They're a lot easier to get legally, too, compared to all the acids and oils we used to dissolve bodies in.

Now, it's much neater. We just take them in, put them in the pod for an hour, and they're ready to spill the beans on whatever we ask them. Then, we just feed them through a tube, and we send them back in. They're unable to readjust to a normal life almost all the time, or if they are one of the handful that are, they want to collaborate, so they can save up enough to purchase a pod on their own. We've dealt with dissidents, vagrants, and even our own former staff that way. Who says technology's a bad thing? If anything, I want to join them in retirement. Karma's strange that way.