Maria couldn’t be sure how long it had been since the synthetic voice had spoken, but she’d had time to think about what it had said. 16,543 murders? That was… unthinkable. Had there really been that many on the warships Mirideth had destroyed? That many below and within Loriol Ninia’s compound? The people in the Intigrelt blacksite? She had been an assassin, she’d killed before. But to hear that number… it was something else entirely.
Teal text appeared on her HUD
<I’m afraid it’s accurate, Maria. The average crew of an FIC warship is 8,000. I destroyed two. But that’s the thing, I killed them. Not you.>
“I fail to see why it matters, Mirideth,” Maria said. ”I was there, and I doubt very much the FIC is going to differentiate between us much if at all, given that multiple people inhabiting the same body isn’t exactly common.”
<You’d be surprised. Though that situation isn’t exactly like ours. You are right, the law won’t apply that way. It wasn't an attempt at legal defense, darling. It was an attempt to make you feel better.>
“Don’t bother, witch. The last thing I need are empty platitudes from a monster. Why are you using text anyway?”
<I’ve… become less of a fan of my own voice, recently.>
“Ah. Right.” Maria said nothing more, and simply waited.
An unknown amount of time later, the light shut off, and less bright ones lit up the room. It was tiny, all grey-white walls with tile floors and a nondescript white ceiling. In the center of the room, aligned with where Maria was pinned to the wall, was a metal table with one chair on the other side of it. A single door was on the wall opposite Maria, a dark blue in color, seemingly made of metal.
The door opened, and a small woman wearing business attire stepped in. She had pale pink skin, blonde hair that was cut short in a professional style, and blue eyes, over which she wore glasses. She looked rather like Maria herself had before, only with a much more professional business sort of style.
The woman walked over to the table, and placed a folder she’d been carrying upon it. She then sat down, and folded her hands on the table, not speaking, just staring blankly at Maria. This continued for over a minute. Just staring.
Eventually, Maria broke the silence. “So uh… what’s up?”
The woman’s expression never wavered, she simply looked down at the table and opened the folder. “Maria Lucia Carlena. Primitive. Homeworld XJ-18 III. Fugitive, terrorist, murderer.”
“Does that all sound correct to you… miss?” The woman strained the word miss, as if it felt wrong to call Maria that.
“That’s about it, yes. And I am a miss, no need to get confused about it.” Maria inwardly smiled.
“Yes yes, I’m sure you find this all very amusing, but I’m afraid I do not, Ms. Carlena. Do you know where you are?”
“That Quarantine station?” Maria guessed.
“Wrong. You’ve been inactive for just over five days. You are within a FIC Detainment Station in a system I am not at liberty to disclose to you. If you try to escape, you’ll find the station to be full of armed guards, as well as automated defense systems. Even if you were to defeat all of that, you would be unable to leave.” She spoke calmly, but her tone was dripping with hatred toward Maria.
“Not like I can try that anyway. You have me in a gravitic restraint field.”
The woman’s expression stayed blank, disinterested. “Quite. It is understood that your body also harbors the wanted criminal Mirideth Kellian Asazlaiyn, is that correct?”
“Yes. I’m here.” Mirideth’s voice sounded deflated, empty.
“And aren’t you a piece of work, Ms. Asazlaiyn? Murder, grand larceny, illegal body modification, resisting arrest, not to mention evidently illegally conquering a protected primitive territory. Yes, I’m sure you both realize this interrogation is little more than a formality. We know what you’ve done, and have proof that you’ve done it. But, we must follow the letter of the law, otherwise, why have it? I’m sure you understand.”
“I’d prefer you just got it over with.” Maria said.
The woman stood up, and walked around the table, up to Maria’s restrained form. She looked up at her faceplate, and smiled. It was a mirthless, sinister thing. “Yes, you would like that, wouldn’t you? Unfortunately, you don’t get that option, Ms. Carlena.” She reached over and pressed something Maria couldn’t see. Intense, unbearable pain filled Maria’s body, she screamed, Mirideth screamed. Moments later, it stopped.
The woman was grinning now. “My name is Ellia Tartalontate. I’m sure you don’t know it. But I know yours, Maria. I’ve thought about you and your little band of terrorists every. Single. Day. Ever since your cowardly attack on Xia IV. You destroyed Loriol Ninia’s compound, not even thinking about the people who lived below. You killed dozens, Maria. You killed my daughter, my husband, my family. You took them away, and you didn’t even know it. Because You.“ She pressed the button again. Pain. “Didn’t.” And pressed something else, the pain intensified. “Care.”
Ellia stepped back, and calmly made her way back to her seat, the pain continued. “I’m authorized to use whatever measures I deem necessary to get a clear confession from you.” She smiled again. “This is only the beginning.”
“I… would have told you… anyway..” Maria said, her voice strained.
“Oh I know. But if I have the tools, I may as well use them, hm?”
The edges of Maria’s vision began to pulse with teal light, pulsing inward to the center. Ellia seemed to lose focus for a moment, staring. Then her glasses polarized completely within half a second.
“Nice try, Ms. Asazlaiyn. We’re aware of your… capabilities. Don’t do that again.”
<Was worth a try> Mirideth said in Maria’s HUD text.
“If you’re quite finished, I have questions. You will answer them truthfully. Understand?”
Maria sighed, then said “Yes.”
“Good! Now, your previous occupation was as an assassin, correct?”
“And you were assassinating operatives of Ms. Asazlaiyn, correct?”
“How many kills did you attain during this career, Ms Carlena?”
“I’m not sure. I didn’t keep count. I just wanted them dead.”
“I see. Interesting.” She wrote something down. “Moving on, you and your… companion, Niarith Venaz Velnazranak, stole an FIC owned Baltrax X-10 starship, after murdering two security officers, correct?”
“We didn’t kill them. Mirideth did.” Maria’s voice was tinged with anger.
“Yes yes, Mirideth killed them. I assume that will be your answer to many questions going forward.”
The questions continued for what seemed like hours. Ellia eventually began turning on the pain device every time she didn’t like an answer. Which was very often. Finally, the torture was over, as ellia said “Well, that concludes our little interaction, Ms. Carlena, Ms Asazlaiyn.” She closed the folder, stood up, and briskly walked out of the room. After which the lights shut off again, leaving Maria with only the green glow of the Restraint Field.
“All in all, not the worst torture I’ve endured. What about you, Maria?” Mirideth seemed to be in oddly good spirits.
“Not worse than anything you did to me, witch. Why are you so happy?”
<Oh, no reason. It’s just that I’ve worked out where exactly the restraint field is being generated, and how to deactivate it. Now listen. I want you to focus your energy generation into your wrists, carefully.>
“How do I d-”
<NOT OUT LOUD YOU BUFFOON!>
Maria thought instead How do I do that?
<Your brain is the body’s CPU. The body responds to it’s commands, even ones an organic brain can’t make to an organic body.>
So I just… Maria concentrated on the power her body was generating, and concentrated on directing that power to her wrists. Her body began to feel strange, fizzling feelings started at her wrists, building in intensity until arcs of electricity began jumping from her body to the devices around her wrists that were generating the field holding her in place. The arc grew brighter, stronger, and the field flickered and died. All at once Maria fell to the floor with a loud clang.
As she hit the floor, Maria activated her Sensory Nullification device, examining the room around her in the dark. An alarm activated, and her SND showed 2 green lights, she was dimly lit. Emergency lighting, she assumed. At the top corner of the ceiling, furthest from the door, was something Maria hadn't been able to see before. A square hatch with open vent lines on it. An air vent. It looked to be just barely large enough for her to fit inside on her belly. She quickly made her way over to it, opened the hatch and climbed inside. She closed the hatch with her tail just as she heard the lights in the room turn on and shouting men enter.
She couldn’t move her arms, they were stuck out in front of her. She could just barely pull herself along, helped by her feet and tail. With extreme difficulty, she settled into a rhythm, moving herself along slowly and carefully. The vent continued in a straight line for quite a while, and Maria took the first turn she came to, wanting to get as far from that room as possible as quickly as possible. Minutes later, she came across another ceiling vent. She looked through and it was an office, bookcases, a desk, everything expected but the person sitting at the desk. Ellia Tartalontate. She was working on a computer, Maria’s folder right next to her, unopened.
The vent opening was just behind where Ellia was sitting. Maria carefully opened it, as quietly as she could, and lowered herself down to the floor behind Ellia. Mirideth, once I’ve got her, do your thing