A War of Galactic Proportions! This is chapter 1, but don't forget to read the prologue!
David slouched into the small plastic chair, a flash of pain coursing throughout his body as he realized the seat didn't have a proper support for his back. The entirety of his chest and right shoulder were bandaged in ragged cloth torn from a military-issued t-shirt, but the makeshift wrappings did no more than drench themselves in the blood from his bleeding wounds, which refused to clot.
The interrogator, a short man wearing an orange vest marked with rectangular patterns and a grey pair of sweatpants, smashed his fist down onto the metal table between them. David shook, causing the steel handcuffs around his wrists to dig deeper into his flesh. "Surely you know something about the Marauders we don't--you're our first prisoner from their ranks! Our first chance to see how they operate behind closed doors!" he shouted, sounding as if he were stating something rather than demanding answers from the Maraider.
"Even if I did, why should I tell you anything?" David replied weakly. This angered the man even more, causing him to stomp away into the corner of the room to collect his thoughts. He stood there, his hand wrapped around his chin in deep contemplation.
After a moment, the man stepped back to the table. He seemed calmer as he attempted to once again pull answers from his prisoner. "How about we make a deal?" he proposed. "If you tell me anything that might help us out in some way or another, even something as meager as the last time the big 'head honcho' went to the bathroom, we'll lessen your prison sentence. Sound good?"
David taunted him by pretending he was considering it, looking up at the ventilation shaft in the right corner of the room, then turning back to his interrogator and spitting in his face. The man flinched.
James stepped into the small search station that stood outside of the interrogation room. A few weeks prior, a rat infestation (many animals were rescued from Earth, unfortunately including...rodents.) had gotten so bad that the entire facility had been torched. While it had disposed of the mice, it also meant that the high-tech machinery that was needed to scan those who wished to enter the interrogation chamber had been destroyed. This meant that some S.A.S.A infantry who'd rather be out changing the tide of the war now had to manually search each person with an out- dated hand-held device.
The B-Series SAM was reassured of the "volunteers'" reluctance to perform this duty as he stepped up to the large wooden crate that now acted as a desk for filling out the necessary papers required to begin the search. The young woman standing on the other side looked up from her especially well-manicured nails and tutted.
"So, you're the big hunk of metal we need to check out today, huh?" she smiled seductively. "Here I was hoping it'd be a nice strong human subject..." James retracted his eye 'orbs' to clean them, a sign he liked to think of as rolling his eyes. Sometimes it was annoying not being able to do menial things like that.
The woman went back to her previous expression. "The strong, silent type, I presume? That's no fun." She reached into a little box that sat at her feet and produced a wrench. "You ready to begin, then?"
"I don't even..." the man began, at a complete loss for words. He rubbed the wad of saliva from his face and flung it onto the ground. He then slammed his hand onto the table and pulled himself closer to David, until their eyes met on the same level. "Look, kid," he spoke softly. "Give me one reason why I shouldn't order you to be executed by firing squad right this minute."
David rolled his eyes slowly and grinned. "Because that's illegal, that's why."
Once again the interrogator removed himself from the situation, angrily sliding ajar the normally automatic doors leading into the room with his own hands, leaving the electronic passage temporarily frozen half-way open. Eventually, an A-Series robot (the original, service module S.A.M) entered the chamber and began to use its built-in tools to repair the door's auto-slide mechanisms.
The young man sitting in the chair at the center of the room paid close attention to the machine, but found himself constantly blinking as he attempted to stay conscious. To ease his mind, he began conversation with it.
"Hello," he started weakly. "What is your name?"
There was silence for a few moments, forcing David to attempt speech once more. "Hello?" he asked again. Finally, the machine responded in a monotone, mechanical voice. "This unit does not have a name. It is only known as Model A-7356."
The small machine rotated slightly towards David, revealed its full identity as a rumba-like device painted to appear like a caution sign. A nearly incomprehensible message on its upper body stated, "UNIT A-7356, ENGINEERING MODULE", followed by binary that probably repeated the same thing.
A thought suddenly hit David, but it felt somewhat...difficult to phrase. "Why did the other robot, the err..." He paused to think, "...dark colored one--why did HE have a human name?" He supposed it wasn't exactly racism if the machine only wore the artificial skin, and even then, just stating the color wasn't a huge deal.
A-7356 pinged angrily as a loose screw flew into its camera. It beeped a moment later to clarify that it had still processed David's question. "This unit believes you speak of James?" It emphasized 'James' in a seeming different, even more mechanical tone. The man nodded in agreement, remembering the soldier that James had spoken to with David in tow--Hawk, or something like that?
"This unit explains. That unit, the B-Series Model, proved himself on the battlefield on enough occasions to be rewarded with the opportunity of choosing a human name." The machine explained. David blinked back a surge of pain as it shot through his chest. "It was a....reward?" he queried, trying to adjust his position on the folding chair, but only causing himself more pain as his chained hands pulled him back down.
David allowed himself to smile slightly. "Do you know how it works for Maraiders? Our reward..." he paused dramatically. "...the ability to live. Do you know the significance of Maraiders, compared to other Marauders?" The robot swiveled its camera slightly, but David didn't mind, since he was really just replaying this information out loud for himself. So he could remember how useless he was, how insignificant his part in this war--nay, life, truly was.
"They gather as many low ranked, pitiful foot soldiers as they can, and then do you know what they do?"
The robot continued to perform maintenance, but David continued nonetheless on his monologue. "They shove us all out at once--thousands of us, telling us that we're the most essential, crucial pawns in this fight. But our real purpose?" he paused once again, this time to shrug off a fit of pain in his chest.
"We're cannon fodder. That's it."
A loud clicking sounded out through the tiny, empty chamber as the metallic arm was removed from its socket, a simple way of showing that the removal of the false limb was performed correctly. After a brief examination of the interior, the woman placed the husk back onto James, returning to her 'desk' for the wrench.
"What is your name?" the S.A.M queried after a few minutes of silence. The woman, who had finally found the wrench in the large mess of scrap, looked at James suspiciously before stepping in closer to begin reattaching his arm. "Miranda, why?" she asked. "Is this not what humans call, 'idle conversation'?" he responded.
Miranda wiped away the over-abundance of sweat on her forehead and continued to turn the tool in a clockwise manner. Eventually she replied, "You aren't wrong, but we humans also mind our privacy...especially ones like me."
Now James' curiosity was also peaked, and he wondered to himself what sorts of secrets were locked away within the S.A.S.A recruit's mind. Nevertheless, he heard yet another distinct click, signifying that the limb had successfully reintegrated itself with the rest of his circuits and built-in equipment. He flexed his wrist gently, as if to assure himself of this knowledge.
Once affirmative, he activated a module in his newly-attached arm and felt warmth cover it as the artificial skin that had been temporarily tucked away within the appendage unraveled itself and slipped into place amply.
Miranda, despite the astonishing speed in which this advanced technological feat occurred, was highly revolted, showing her distaste by distorting her face slightly. "That's so...messed up." she muttered. James paid her no mind, and flexed his wrist again to test the 'snugness' of 'his skin'.
Afterwards, Miranda returned to her spot and James followed her to the wooden crate. The woman rotated in her chair to reveal a small red button marked, "entry", although the letters appeared to be slightly charred, likely from the previously mentioned rodent infestation.
Suddenly, a metal door that James hadn't even noticed during his search, whirred loudly, and a noise similar to the accompanying sound to a flashing siren began to echo throughout the chamber. The door slowly went upwards into the doorframe, where it would sleep until James entered the room. No, as James got closer, he realized now that there wasn't just a single interrogation room--the entire facility beyond the recently-opened door was full of holding cells and rooms for interrogation. It was a shame that only one of each had been used so far this war, as the rest seemed like wasted space.
James turned to Miranda on the way in and nodded his head to signify 'thank you', to which she simply tutted again and returned to her nail manicure once more. The machine continued down the hallway, searching for Room A-6, which he assumed wouldn't be too far down the hall.
Eventually he came across the room, only to see the automatic doors fling open, a small A-Series model S.A.M exiting out of the chamber. James recognized it as an engineering module, and queried to himself why it would have been in there. Nonetheless he ventured into the room, the automatic doors opening for him because of his built-in access chip, which gave him access to most of the rooms in the facility.
David sprung to consciousness, having been asleep for the last few minutes. He realized that he could have just died in his sleep, which sent a shiver down his spine. The man looked up from his seat and spotted the familiar B-Series S.A.M known as James, whom had just entered and jolted David awake. The machine spoke quietly. "Why have you not received medical attention?"
"I've asked myself the same thing. Wasn't that one of our agreements for my surrender?" he grinned meekly. "Not that I had much say in the matter."
Despite the weakness in David's voice, James could tell now that the man had a faint British accent. He wondered if it was more pronounced normally. James snapped himself back to the more important matter. "I'm not here to argue over the Geneva Convention however. I will assure you, though, that after this interrogation session, I will get you to the Medical Ward." David felt a huge weight lift from his shoulders, now reassured that he wasn't going to die sitting in an interrogation room. He hoped, anyway.
"Go on, then. Ask me your questions. I told the man everything I knew already."
James made a humming noise, similar to a sigh. "I checked the vocal recording tape for this room on my way in. The most you did to Mr. Jenkins, our Head Military Interrogator, was spit in his face."
The young man sitting in the chair blushed slightly, disappointed that his bluff hadn't worked. "Alright, so I wasn't that cooperative. But did I have any reason to be, what with my ribs possibly broken and my chest actively bleeding as we speak? At least now I'm assured to see medical attention. Maybe I'll be more polite now..."
The mocking tone in the Marauder's voice irritated James, but he wasn't the kind of 'person' to show his anger physically. Well, unless he was on the battlefield. He pulled up a chair from the corner of the room and sat down at the table with David. "Let me try a different approach from Mr. Jenkins," he began with his most calming voice. "Why do you Maraiders continue to attack using the same tactic over and over? It clearly does not work."
David's grin left his face, taking on a slightly more serious tone, despite the pain still present in his words. "It's mainly the Maraiders who take on such stupid suicide runs, but the Marauders have begun to accompany us on our last few attacks for whatever reason." He cleared his throat. "I have no idea why they'd waste some of their actually decent soldiers."
James shifted in the seat slightly. The lack of self-worth in the young man's tone bothered him. "You've somewhat dodged my main question. Even the Maraiders are normally more organized then this. It's almost as if one of your main coordinators is no longer controlling you..."
The last few words spoken by the S.A.M seemed to cause David some discomfort. This made James slightly curious. He had only been throwing suggestions, but was one of their leaders truly no longer with them? And if so, were they dead, or was something even more mysterious going on?
David closed his eyes for a moment, and James worried that perhaps he was unconscious. However, the man's head stayed center and did not snap back, and a few moments later he opened his eyes again. He seemed to be about to say something when---
"B-1006 'James', please report to the generator room. B-1006 'James', please report to the generator room. That is all."
The intercom went silent, and David eyed James suspiciously as he stood up and began to walk over to the exit. "You aren't an engineering robot...what purpose do you have down there?"
James continued through the door and did not look back, as the newly-repaired sealing mechanism did its thing. Moments after, a medical crew arrived with a stretcher for David, as agreed.