Short Story Saturday: Alone In a Room with Kyle Malta #amwriting #book #scifi

Kyle Malta is a character I introduced with my Paranormal SciFi Mila’s Shift.  I liked him a lot, and had wanted to add more scenes with him in Mila’s Shift, but it never seemed to fit.  Malta is the Head of Security onboard the USS Orleans, and he earned that position the hard way.  He’s a total badass and an expert at interrogation techniques.


Kyle Malta sighed, his arms pulled behind his back as the man sweated on the other side of the one-way glass. They said torture never worked, and they were right. The military had stopped using torture years ago, but the heart of torture had never been about pain. It was psychological manipulation.

That was Kyle’s specialty.

He nodded, satisfied that his prisoner had been cooking long enough, and walked into the room. With a single, fluid movement, he sat down, keeping his gaze on his subject. He didn’t speak, didn’t move, just waited.

Rule #1: Everyone feared the unknown.

This man didn’t know Kyle. He didn’t know what he could do, what he would do. The military never openly admitted to stopping torture, so many enemies still believed they would be tortured if captured.

Rule #2: Most people hated silence.

And they tried to fill it. When alone, they talked to themselves. When in pairs or groups, they babbled. The military could use some of the information. Everyone was different. Some kept quiet longer than others, but Kyle had found everyone started eventually. His record was four months.

Rule #3: Everyone feared something.

The trick was finding it. That was where keen attention to detail came in. Given enough time, Kyle always found an opponent’s pain point, their fears.

The man across from him thought he had an edge. He sat stiff, lips pinched together, arms across his chest. He thought Kyle had nothing on him. But Kyle never walked into an interrogation room without the leverage to break the person inside.

Kyle continued to watch, not moving, not making a sound. He’d perfected this with a great deal of practice. He could stay silent without moving a muscle for hours. Like a perfect predator, he waited, searching for the little spark of weakness that drew him into the room.


Hours passed, and the interrogation proceeded nicely. Kyle never moved, but his opponent did. He squirmed in his seat, his gaze drifting. Kyle made note of where the man looked, the direction, how frequently, analyzing and interpreting what it meant.

When that little glint of weakness sparked again, Kyle reached into his back pocket, and put a piece of photo paper face down on the table between them. On the paper, it said, “Cooperate and they live.” Kyle returned to his previous position. Same expression, same posture, like nothing had happened.

The man’s gaze snapped to the paper, then back to him. At first, he didn’t move, merely flexing his arms where they crossed in front of him. Kyle resisted smiling, but he had him. They both knew what graced the other side of that page.

Kyle waited, patient, as the other man’s composure deteriorated little by little. Another man might have missed it, but not Kyle. This man was tough. Trained as a soldier, he’d been trained to withstand interrogation and torture.

When a fleeting hopelessness entered the other man’s eyes, Kyle leaned forward, retrieving another paper from his pocket and placing it on the table. This one read, “The codes.”

“Just don’t hurt them,” the man said, his voice cracking as he broke.

[mybooktable series=”the-darkest-day” gridview=”false” header=”show”]

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