Jack Engel, a person with omnicient qualities, is taken into custody by the British government, and questioned by Marcus Beaton, to try and work out the source of his stupendous knowledge. Marcus tries persuation tactics, threats, even torture - Jack does not crumble.
The two get drawn into a conversation about the nature of mankind, ending when Beaton finally works out how Engel is so powerful.
Engel pushed against the tight chair straps. They wrapped their way around him like constricting snakes. No matter how much he struggled, he couldn't free himself.
The room was his prison. It was lit only by a bare bulb, casting strange shadows. He faced the door - a heavy green door; peeling paint, heavy handle. It dominated the room. Were he not bound by the chains, escape would have been all too easy.
He didn't like that door. It had a very small window, but he couldn't see through it properly. But he could hear the people walking past. He knew they were looking in at him. But the door was locked, and they couldn't enter, so he was safe.
Engel squirmed. He heard scuffling noises behind him. Without looking he knew there were rats. He hated rats, but tried not to appear scared.
All too soon, the door opened, and a tall man stepped in. This was his captor. Like Engel, he wore all black, apart from a light grey scarf, loosely wrapped around his neck. Engel wore a hat; this man didn't.
The stranger walked over. Soon he was close enough to read the badge on his lapel - Marcus Beaton.
He stood in front of Engel, saying nothing for a few minutes.
Engel said nothing, remained completely calm. This technique was supposed to make him feel apprehensive. Eventually the man would speak. Until then, nothing needed to be said.
Engel was right. Eventually the man spoke. Engel was nearly always right.
'You are Jack Engel.'
'My name is Marcus Beaton.'
'I know.' Engel shifted in his seat, as much as the straps would allow.
'You are hear to be questioned. You will not leave until we are satisfied you are telling us the truth.'
'Yes, that's right. You know an awful lot, don't you?'
Beaton stood still for a little while, then left the room. He returned with a chair. He sat opposite Engel.
More silence. Then, Beaton shot out -
'How long is Brazil's coastline?'
'Over 7,491 kilometers.'
'What is a subconjuntival haemorrhage?'
'A bleeding under the membrane beneath the eyelids.'
'In the 67th competitive English football, who was the winner of the third division north?'
'When was Tyra Banks born?'
Engel thought. 'Never heard of her.'
'What? How could you not have heard of Tyra Banks?'
He shrugged. 'Sorry, don't know.'
'She was on America's Next Top Model. She's got her own talk show. You know her. She was involved in the -'
'Only joking. December the fourth, 1973.'
Frustrated, Beaton brought his fist down on the chair. Engel allowed himself a small grin.
'Was all that correct?' he asked.
Beaton stood up again, rubbing his fist.
'I've got no bloody clue. And that's why you're so confusing to us, Mr Engel. How can you recall all that information so quickly? You shouldn't know any of these things anyway.'
'I didn't. I took a lucky guess.'
'Bollocks! You know! And you know why you're here, don't you? We want to know how you know what you know.'
Beaton clicked his fingers. Engel looked up at him from under the brim of his hat. He looked condecendingly up at thsi man, this joke of a man. What a loser. They'd never get the truth out of him.
'You're a very stubborn man.'
'And your point is?'
'I don't want to have to hurt you, Mr Engel. If we can get the truth out of you, nobody has to come to harm. Perhaps you could even benefit from this little discussion.'
Engel knew otheriwise, but let him talk.
'We could move you into a lovely new house, have your tax paid for you. You'll never pay tax or insurance again. If you're truthful and compliant with our demands, you could live in comfort until the day you die.'
Engel remained silent.
'We can support your family too. If there's anything you want, we can get it for you.'
Engel remained silent.
'Speak.' Beaton said.
'I have no family. I have no need for material possesions or luxuries. I am the most knowledgable man in the world, and you think I need your help to get what I want?'
Beaton kicked the chair.
Engle managed not to flinch. He was confident he could predict Beaton's behavior from now on. He was a predictable, and none too bright, so he should be easy to override.
Beaton left the room. When he returned, he carried a rope.
'Tell me, Mr Engel, do you feel pain? Or have you gathered the knowledge to beat that, too?'
Engel, if he was honest, wasn't above pain, although years of meditation had taught him to block out soem external stimuli. He decided not to tell his captor. He tilted back his hat, facing the man, and with a cocky smirk on his face, said,
'Wouldn't you like to know?'