The Torturer Factor

In terms of espionage, of intelligence gathering and secrecy, the Regime should be a non factor.  It combines a disdain for secrecy with an attitude which does not engender loyalty among the rank and file.  In any given operation the Regime will be lucky to have even one genuine patriot.

Despite this, however, the Regime manages to pull off the occasional surprise for its adversaries.  It also displays a surprising amount of knowledge about its opponent’s plans.  These successes can be chalked up to the way that the Regime utilizes the Ultra known as Torturer.

Torturer’s human name and birthplace are unknown, but she has been a prisoner of the Regime since its birth.  She is one of the few Ultras to survive the brutal purge of the Regime’s ranks which occurred during the Third Defiance.  Most theorists believe that this was because the entity which destroyed much of the Regime relied upon Ultra Speed, and lacked the ability to draw near to Torturer in order to release her from her predicament.

In any case, testimony paints a grim picture of Torturer’s circumstances.  An Ultra cursed to create a field around herself which causes in other beings unendurable agony, as well as the more usual Ultra Toughness.  She is imprisoned in some Regime facility, locked alone in a dark cell.

Unable to take her own life, and lacking Ultra strength in order to escape, Torturer has passed the decades in isolation and darkness.  This is not to say, however, that she has been entirely alone.

When the Regime wishes to break a prisoner they use devices to force them into close proximity to Torturer’s cell.  The anguish which results is reported to be beyond any imaginable endurance.  Humans brought within a hundred yards experience a totality of suffering which can quite literally not be described.  There is simply nothing in the world to compare it to.  It can only be estimated by observing the effects.

No survivor of Torturer’s proximity has ever knowingly performed an action which might result in their return to her vicinity.  No one forced into close proximity has survived.  The ancients believed that people had the ability to “will” themselves to die.  Widows in inconsolable grief, twins separated by cruel circumstance or repentant sinners, the old medical texts are rife with descriptions of such adult “failure to thrive” cases.

Nowadays the general explanation is that after a certain point the world is so miserable, so unendurable and insupportable that the soul detaches from its life of its own free will.  Those forced into close quarters with Torturer, without exception, expire of this phenomenon.

The Regime gave this prisoner the name Torturer because of the manner in which they put her power to work.  In combination with Answerer, an Ultra with an ability which allows her to identify lies, the Regime can extract nearly any information that an operative might possess.  They move the victim into the agony range, but keep them shy of the death range.  The victim invariably spills their guts, saying anything to make the pain stop.  With Answerer ensuring that they are unable to deceive their captors, the truth soon emerges.  In this way, the Regime has come a long way towards evening the information war.

Adversaries have access to Regime plots (and have, on occasion, influenced the formation of same), owing to sympathizers and/or surveillance.  The Regime, however, has access to anything that anyone it capture knows.  Those enemies who underestimate this factor have seen their plans end in direct battles with Prevailer.

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