Taylor finds herself drawn into the interrogation of a particular stubborn prisoner.
|Ch 7: The Second Encounter
“Commander Mordred, how is Taylor holding up after that nasty confrontation with Colonel Lafei the other day?”
Mordred watched as his Master swirled his drink as he asked the question. His Master was never still, always doing some actvity, from little things such as drumming his fingers to contstantly moving his cane around. Taylor also had the same tendency, but tended to control it to much smaller gestures that Lord Auburn did. The way he understood it, it was a way to that some people dealt with boredom or anxiety.
“You saw the incident.”
“Yes, I did. Don’t worry; I had a chat with Colonel Lafei. Can’t have infighting among my top ranks, can I?”
“No sir. Taylor is fine, although it seems as though the incident has made her unwilling to talk as she once did to me. Now when I ask her questions, she avoids answering most of the time.”
“I can see how that would happen. Speaking of not answering, we are not getting anywhere with that Rebel.”
“He has stopped talking to me entirely.”
“And the other methods haven’t done much beside producing a lot of screaming. Yes, this one has been proved more difficult to crack than past Rebels we’ve captured.” He put his glass down. “You know Mordred, when I called Colonel Lafei in to discuss the incident that happened in the gym, we also talked about the prisoner. She came up with an interesting idea. Why not put the Rebel and Taylor in the same room together?”
“No, of course not. Maybe for a couple of hours while we monitor. He might be willing to tell her something that he won’t tell us.”
“He knows he is being watched. He will not talk to her either and she will know she is being used.”
“I think the suggestion has some merit to it. We might have to do it a few times to get any results, but I’m willing to wait.”
“Whatever you think best, Master.”
Mordred could already see how the situation was going to turn out, and the outcome was not the most wanted scenario. But he supposed it could go differently. It would be up to Taylor and the Rebel.
The next morning, Taylor woke up, took a shower, and ate breakfast like she usually did. Mordred didn’t say anything, catching her attention. While over the week she had learned he wasn’t the most talkative person, he still usually said something, even if it was just asking if she slept well. Something must have been up.
“What’s going on?” she asked after she finished her breakfast.
Yes, something was up. While his repsonses weren’t exactly detailed, they usually weren’t cyrptic. But knowing she really had no choice, Taylor got up and followed him.
“How’d you sleep?”
He pressed the button on the elevator.
“My recharge was satisifactory. Why do you ask?”
“You haven’t said much this morning, so I’d thought I get a conversation going.”
“Do you have something against silence?”
She paused. The question was innocus in nature, but in the hands of someone like Auburn (who may or may not have been currently watching them), it could prove devestating if he ever decided she could use a bit of mental torture.
“Do you have something against a little conversation?”
The elevator dinged as they came to a stop. As per usual, Mordred let Taylor out first before leading her somewhere. They entered a room with a gigantic window on one side of the wall and Colonel Lafei looking into it. Mordred managed to snag Taylor’s arm before she could take off in the other direction. Fortunately, the Sergeant was also there, so it made her feel a bit better.
“Colonel Lafei, Sergeant,” Mordred greeted in his usual stiff manner.
“Commander, you’re late,” the head of intelligence remarked.
“Actually, they’re three seconds early,” the Sergeant stated, reciving a glare. He turned his attention to Mordred. “Good morning, Commander. Is everything going well?”
“It is satisifactroy. Are we ready to begin?”
Taylor didn’t have to wonder long about what was going on when she saw somebody sitting in the room at the table. Lafei came up to her.
“The instructions are really simple so even you should have no trouble following them.”
“If you’re giving someone instructions, starting with an insult is probably no the best way to do it.”
She expected a slap like the one from their first meeting, but it never came, probably because of Mordred’s prescence.
“All you have to do is talk to him. That’s it.”
“Really, because I smell something fishy going on…”
“We will be watching and he will be restrained the whole time,” Mordred assured her, releasing her arm, seeing the signs of nervousness that he had noted when they first met, “You will be safe.”
“I know what you all are trying to do, and I can already tell you that it’s probably not going to…”
The Colonel rolled her eyes while the Sergeant opened the door, allowing the Colonel to shove Taylor in before she could finish her sentence.
The room was bare besides the table, two chairs, and the man cuffed to the table. As she suspected, the window was a two way. Apparently that centuries old technology proved itself to be of value.
“Did you tell her?” Colonel Lafei asked as they watched her approach the table.
“No, I did not. She would have not reacted well to that fact and put this already voital operation in jepordy.”
Once Taylor got close enough to see the man, she realized why Mordred had acted odd. Despite not having a uniform or helmet on, she recognized the chin of the Rebel she had bitten during the whole graduation incident. And she could tell by the way he looked at her, that he recognized her too. He laughed.
“I wondered what happened to you. I never suspected that you’d be that cyborg’s pet! This is just too hiralious!”
If he hadn’t been cuffed to the table, he would’ve fallen over. Taylor had never felt the urge to punch someone before then, but this guy was already grating on her nerves. She decided the best revenge.
“I was half way unconscious when he picked me up. I heard that you were conscious when they got you.”
That was a lie, she hadn’t even known a Rebel had been caught, but judging by his reaction, she knew her guess had been head on. His glare wasn’t as scary as Lafei’s though.
The Sergeant chuckled.
“That shot in the dark certainly did some damage.”
“Maybe her luck will hold out and we’ll get something worthwhile out of this,” Lafei commented.
Mordred simply watched, feeling no need to offer commentary.
“If they think I’m going to say something to you that I wouldn’t say to them, they’re dead wrong.”
“I agree there.” Taylor pulled the chair back and sat in it. “I’d rather not be here either. Where’d you hear about Mordred getting someone from?”
“The day after we met, in fact. Like I said, I never imagined it would be you, but I don’t think I mind so much anymore.”
She knew what he was getting at, but she wasn’t taking that bait. No matter what happened, she refused to acknowledge that there were only two options, neither of which she particularly liked.
“What do you want me to call you?”
He cocked a brow.
“What do you mean?”
“I can’t call you Rebel all the time. Sounds too much like a dog’s name.”
He sighed, shifting in his seat some.
“I don’t supposed it will hurt. Call me Moran.”
“Okay, then call me Lockheed if you wish.”
“We already know that,” Mordred heard Lafei grumble, “Something useful would be nice.”
Taylor and Moran stared at each other for a while. As Mordred had suspected, nothing was getting done. Moran refused to fall for a trick like that and Taylor refused to be used in such a manner.
“We should end this now.”
“Let’s wait a few minutes, Commander,” the Colonel said, “She might surprise us.”
Taylor wanted to ask him a question that had been on her mind, but not with people eavsdropping in. Chances were, it would never get answered.
“How is it?”
She blinked at the sound of Moran’s voice breaking the silence.
“How is what?”
“Living with that robot.”
“For starters, he’s a cyborg. For another, why do you care?”
“I don’t really, but I’m just trying to guess how long it’ll be before you become one of Auburn’s little cogs in his grand machine.”
“I think she’s done,” the Sergeant commented as Taylor simply stood up and walked to the door.
“Hey, where are you going, Lockheed?” Moran jeered, “Can’t take the truth?”
“I know hot air when I hear it. This conversation isn’t going anywhere.”
“All right, let her out.”
The Sergeant pressed the button, allowing Taylor to step out of the interrogation room.
“Did you enjoy the show, Colonel Lafei?” she nearly spat, temper near boiling due to Moran’s last comment. She trembled with anger, ready to pop at any moment.
“It was interesting, but utterly useless. I find it kind of ironic that not even the Rebels like you.”
Mordred reacted quickly, restraining her before she could jump on the intelligence officer.
“If you no longer need us, Colonel, we will take our leave.”
The Sergeant helped him drag her out of the room. Taylor thought she saw a grin come upon the usually neutral Colonel’s face before the door shut.
“Let me at her!” she exclaimed, flailing uselessly against them, “I’ll punch that smug grin off her face!”
“The Colonel can hold her own against even me. You would not last a minute against her, Taylor. I know Dr. Preston enjoys your company, but I believe he would not like it so much if you were in the infirmary with several broken bones.”
“What do you care? You don’t care about anything but Auburn’s orders!”
“I will not deny that fact.”
Taylor stopped struggling once they got to the elevator. There really was no point to it anymore and her anger had decreased. Mordred let go and so did the Sergeant.
“What was the point of all of that?” she asked, “Did you really think he would talk to me?”
“It was not my idea,” Mordred admitted, “It was Colonel Lafei’s and Lord Auburn’s.”
She turned to the Sergeant.
“And what were you doing there? Taking notes?”
He looked over to her for a second before looking away.
“And what are you to Mordred, his secretary or something? I mean, he’s always asking you for the agenda and…”
“Taylor, stop asking the Sergeant questions,” the cyborg ordered.
“Why? Is his job classified information?”
“It’s all right, Commander. She’s just curious.”
While most of the members of the Force had been indifferent to her, Taylor found that the Sergeant seemed to be actually friendly to her. Not as friendly as Dr. Preston, but still friendly enough for her to not want to punch, even if he did approve of Auburn’s policies. He treated her like a human being, instead of some accessory that happened to belong to Mordred.
“Still, she should not be annoying you.”
“She isn’t. A little curiousity never hurt anyone.”
Mordred glanced at his belt to see his private com blinking.
“Take her back to my quarters. I have something to take care of.”
“Yes sir! Come on, Taylor.”
She sighed, but let the Sergeant push her out the elevator when they arrived at their floor.
“See you later, Mordred. Don’t let your Boss Man keep you too long.”
He didn’t even try to correct her. It never worked on Dr. Preston, so it would probably not work on her.
This time, Auburn was waiting for him at the door instead of looking out of the window as usual.
“That was an interesting meeting, don’t you think, Commander Mordred?”
“I suppose so Master.”
“I think a couple more meetings ought to do it.”
“Master, what is the point of all this? When Taylor went in the room with the Rebel, we did not get any useful information. I do not understand.”
Auburn let out a loud sigh and shook his head.
“Mordred, Mordred, Mordred…”
Mordred never liked it when his Master said his name three times in that exasperated tone. That always meant the words that could somehow cut to his metallic power core were soon to follow.
“I’m afraid that you simply would not understand the reasoning, since has to do with emotions, which you yourself admit to not having.”
His Master was correct, yet he could’ve sworn he actually felt… something whenever his Master mentioned that fact.
“Whatever you say, Master. Your command will be followed whatever it is.”
“Very good, Commander. I want Taylor to meet that Rebel again, and this time, no restraints.”
“Are you sure Master? He might hurt her…”
“I’ll have the good doctor standing by just in case.”
“Yes, Master. When should it be done?”
“This evening, after that Rebel’s had dinner. He won’t expect to see her again today and she him.” He bowed before beginning to leave. “Oh, and Commander, you’ll be watching with the Colonel and myself in the other room, not the one outside the interrogation.”
As he walked out, the cyborg could’ve sworn that his stomach felt a bit strange. Since a quick diagnostic check revealed that nothing was wrong, he shook his head and went on.
Ch 8: Just a Fun Game
“Sergeant, don’t you find it odd that we haven’t seen Mordred all day?”
The Sergeant, who had nearly nodded off to sleep, jerked up.
“It just means that Lord Auburn has a lot of things to discuss with him. You hungry, kid?”
Taylor sighed and nodded. The Sergeant, stood up, stretching his arms up and causing a small pop in his back.
“I’ll just step out and see if I can find anyone.” He walked to the door. “Now don’t go anywhere,” he stated in a teasing tone.
“Where could I go? There are your guys crawling everywhere.”
He chuckled before stepping out. She thought about just taking a peek outside and seeing how far she could make it on foot without being caught, but that would only serve to make the Sergeant and Mordred to keep an eye even closer on her. The last thing she needed was someone hovering right outside the bathroom. As she glanced up at the ceiling, thinking about various things when the door opened.
“Wow Sergeant, that was…” As she raised her head, she could see two burly figures enter. “Now who would you be? Never seen you two around before, not that I can tell many of you Force guys apart seeing as how the uniforms are unisex and all wear those helmets…”
She found herself being swept up by the forearms and literally carried between the two people out of the room. The grip would be easy enough to break out of, but there would be nowhere for her to go and she didn’t want to see what would happen when they caught back up to her. These Force members had a different air than the others, a very professional, serious one compared to the semi-formal, camradic ones the Force members she was used to. Perhaps they were part of some elite or special ops group. Taylor couldn’t recall any that she knew of, but she had never been that interested in militay ins or outs, Force or otherwise.
They carried her to an all too familiar room. Suddenly, it made sense, Mordred’s odd absence, the two gorillas currently escorting her, everything. She briefly wondered if Mordred didn’t show up because of some sort of guilt (which he would deny) or because Auburn told him not to tell her and given his tendency to be truthful, felt like he couldn’t face her and not tell her. A combination of those two facts seemed like a more likely reason.
The door to the cell opened and she was tossed in rather uncerimoniously. Moran glanced at her, looking as surprised as she had felt a few moments ago.
“I didn’t expect to be seeing you again this soon, Lockheed,” he remarked.
“That makes two of us, Moran,” she grumbled as she got up, dusting herself off, “But I figure surprises are business as usual here.”
Taylor couldn’t help but see the plate half-full of food by Moran. Apparently, he didn’t trust the Force enough to eat the whole thing. She wouldn’t either, but she had figured a long time ago that there was no reason for them to drug her. Her stomach gurgled, reminding her that she hadn’t yet had dinner. Moran chuckled as she slid into the chair.
“What’s the matter? Was puppy bad so Master didn’t give her dinner?”
She narrowed her eyes before sliding the plate over to her and ripping off the part of the sandwich he had bitten.
“First of all, that is very demeaning to dogs. Secondly, we should both know well enough that this is either Auburn’s of Lafei’s idea, so there’s no need for you to take your frustration out on me. Besides, it’s not like I’m not getting any perks. I’m not ashamed of eating someone’s leftovers.”
Taylor took a bite out of the sandwich, letting him digest her words. He probably expected her to explode at him, but she didn’t feel like it at the moment. After all, she had a feeling he was only insulting her so much because it didn’t affect Mordred and the other interrogators probably didn’t take anything from him. Moran snorted.
“As far as I’m concerned, you can have that sandwich. It’s probably drugged anyways.”
“Then this should be a short meeting. I do have a question for you though.”
He raised an eyebrow as she took another bite.
“You’re quite chatty. I’m surprised Commander Mordred puts up with that.”
“You’ve met the guy. He’s nigh immoveable, emotionally. If the insults you’ve thrown at him just bounce off him, then my talkitivness probably does too.” She took a bit of time to finish the sandwich, wishing that she had something to drink. “Anyways, as for my question. Are you hostile to me because of your situation or is it because of what happened at the graduation?”
“Does it really matter?” he grumbled.
“It’s better than just sitting here.”
“I suppose so.” He leaned back in his chair, as far as the cuffs would allow. “Would it satisfy your curiousity if I told you that it’s a bit of both? After all, you were handling us pretty well until the one with me got you with that sedative, or at least half of it. That kind of hurts the ego to get beaten down like that by someone who you’re supposed to be taking hostage.”
“Especially if your commanding officer has to bail you out?”
Auburn chuckled at the look on Moran’s face when Taylor asked the question. Mordred remained his stoic self, and Lafei’s finger twitched over the button that would release the Rebel’s cuffs.
“We should’ve done this first off. Taylor has gotten more of a response out of him than anything we’ve done.”
“Commander,” Lafei turned on Mordred, “In the report you submited, you never said anything about her encountering a Rebel officer.”
“You’ve seen the footage, Colonel,” Auburn remarked, shifting his cane a bit, “She was half drugged and the Rebel officer was disguised as a soldier. There’s nothing that she could tell about him. Now let’s see what the Rebel’s answer will be.”
Moran seemed a bit stumped.
“It’s a bit fuzzy, but I do remember someone in a Force uniform tackling Mordred and managing to keep him down after he gave you to order to flee with your unconscious friend. That and he knocked me over when I objected to being called girl.” She pushed the plate out of the way so she could lean on her elbow. “So if you’re worried about me seeing what he looked like, don’t be. I mean, I assume he was your commanding officer by the way he ordered you around. I understand about the ego bit, but still, I think there’s a bit more. Did you get chewed out for failing or something?”
“That’s none of your business, Lockheed.”
“Fine, you don’t have to tell me.”
He eyed her.
“Are you threatening me, Lockheed?”
“No, that was not a passive-aggressive answer, Moran. Let’s change gears here. I’ve asked you a bunch of questions, so I’ll give you the opportunity to ask me some?”
“Why?” the Rebel sighed.
“I don’t know how long they’re going to keep me locked in here with you and there’s not much else to do in order to pass the time.”
“You’re right about that.”
“See, there’s something that we agree on. I beat we can also agree that Auburn’s nothing but a slimy, contemptable cock roach. No that’s too high of an honor for him given a cock roach’s durablity.”
“Release him now, Colonel, before that Rebel actually decides that he doesn’t hate her,” Auburn ordered.
“With pleasure, sir.”
Mordred thought about stopping her for a brief second before pushing the traitourous thought aside. After all, he had seen her take on two Rebels single-handedly. Still, that did not satisify his logic circuits, which pointed out that they had merely trying to take her hostage the first time. So the cyborg did the usual thing whenever he had a conflict with his logic circuits and something Auburn did, ignored the logic circuits.
Taylor picked up the click sound before Moran even registered it and felt very tempted to swear, despite that she had never sworn before. Part of her was surprised, and part of her was not. In fact, the only one that seemed remotely surprised was Moran, who lifted his hands up, rubbing his wrists.
“You know this is a test, Moran,” she stated, scooting the chair back a bit, cursing inwardly over the fact that it was a heavy metal chair that she wouldn’t be able to wield against him.
“If it is, I’ll make them regret it.”
He grabbed the chair he had been sitting in and dragged it past her.
“They don’t nail them down?”
“The interrogators like it when they fall over with you in it.”
Moran grunted as he heaved the chair onto his back.
“Um, Moran, I think the glass is stronger than…”
He tossed the chair at the glass. As she had predict, it didn’t break. Instead the glass disenergrated it, turning it into a steaming hot pile of ash.
“Oh, laser glass. But I don’t see…”
A shrill alarm went off and foam started coming from the sprinklers in the ceiling. The door sprang open. She looked at Moran in disbelief.
“Seriously? You’re going to take that bait? There’s no way that Auburn would hook it up to where the cell door opens if the fire alarm goes up. If anything, he’d probably set it up to lock.”
He ignored her point, snatching the plate and smashing it against the table it shattered and he picked up the biggest jagged piece before flipping the table so that the top faced the door.
“You might want to get behind it if you don’t want to get blasted,” he suggested as the door to the outer portion of the interrogation room opened.
Taylor ducked behind the table as she heard a pair of boots came into the outer portion. Sure enough, the laser blasts started flying.
“If I die, then my ghost will haunt you!” she exclaimed at him as he also kneeled behind the table.
“I don’t think your ghost would be very scary,” he remarked, shifted the piece of plate in his, “Although, it would be an incredibly annoying ghost. But it won’t come to that.”
Moran quickly took a peek above the table and threw the shard. Something gurgled for a couple of seconds. She had a feeling she knew what it was and felt her stomach turn. The Rebel hopped over the table.
“Not the weapon I was hoping for, but it’s better than nothing.”
He came back with a big gun strapped to his back.
“All right Lockheed, let’s go.”
She looked up at him in disbelief.
“I’m not going anywhere with you. Like I said before, it’s a trap and I’m not walking into it.” Moran whipped the big gun off and pointed it at her. “Really?”
“Raise your hands, face front, and don’t say a word.”
Taylor nearly rolled her eyes as she did so and he cuffed her hands. He nudged her in the shoulder with his newly obtained weapon.
“I’m going, I’m going!” she shoot back, disregarding the order about not talking. “Why are you kidnapping me anyways?”
“Didn’t I tell you to shut up?”
“No, you said not say a word, so I’m saying several.”
Moran grumbled something before smacking her with the butt of his weapon.
Auburn put his hand to his chin and sighed.
“Predictable, he’s going to the stairs. I thought that this Rebel group would have a few new tricks up their sleeves. However, I’m surprised he took Taylor with him like that. He must have a reason…”
Mordred stared at the screen as Moran dragged Taylor’s stunned form to the stairwell.
“Master, should I give the command now?”
“Patience, Mordred. We have to let him get as close to the exit as possible before giving the command.”
Colonel Lafei snorted.
“You just want your pet back, Commander Mordred.”
“She is not my pet.”
“Oh, what is she then?”
“Commander, Colonel, what have I told you about fighting?” Auburn asked, voice hard.
“I apologize, Lord Auburn,” they both stated at the same time.
Lafei shot a glare at Mordred, but he didn’t notice it with his eyes glued to the screen.
Reality swam back to Taylor in chunks. First, the back of her head ached. Secondly, she noticed that she seemed to be moving, but her legs weren’t doing anything. Finally, she saw stairs and looked up just to see the back of Moran’s head. Her arms were around his neck. She was surprised that the chain to the cuffs wasn’t choking him and then realized he was holding the chain so it wouldn’t do so.
“Really Moran?” she groaned, “That’s the second time you’ve pistol whipped the back of my head. If I have brain damage…”
“I didn’t hit you that hard, Lockheed, just enough to stun you.”
“Why am I coming along?”
She wasn’t sure why she had asked that question. There was no way he was going to answer it while they were still in the Force HQ around the cameras. She had little doubt that Auburn, Mordred, and Lafei were watching right now.
Taylor inwardly sighed when the cyborg came to mind. She should be angry with him for putting her in this situation in the first place, but the feeling was barely there and what anger was there, seemed more focused on Moran and Auburn. If anybody else had done this to her, she would’ve been boiling mad and swearing to never speak to them again.
She breifly worried about developing Stockholm Syndrome, but pushed that away when she realized that she didn’t excuse all of Mordred’s actions. After all, she didn’t understand how a supposedly logical and emotionaless being followed one man’s order to the letter all the time. Surely there were questions that came up once and a while.
Oh well, that would be another topic to discuss with Dr. Preston, if she ever saw him again. Right now, she had to focus on escaping so she wouldn’t end up in whatever trap Auburn had set for Moran.
In most normal circumstances, she would’ve usually just shift her weight down so the chain would catch his neck, but he was already carrying her weight just by holding onto the chain, so it wasn’t likely her shifting it would get him off balance. She looked to where her feet were dangling. They were only a few inches off the ground, coming up mid-shin. That would do.
Taylor drew her foot back before driving the side of it as hard as she could into his shin. If he had been wearing armor, he wouldn’t have even felt it. But since he was wearing underarmor, the pain of her blow was equivalent to being smacked there by a two by four, not mortally painful but just painful enough.
“Are you trying to get us killed?” he asked through gritted teeth, “If I fall down these strairs, you are going to go tumbling with me.”
“You’re obviously trying to get us killed by walking straight into Auburn’s trap! I want no part of your suicidal tendencies.”
He mumured something to himself before turning his head.
“Don’t make me hit you again.”
Obviously, the Rebel wasn’t listening to reason. She decided to wait to make her next move when they wouldn’t have the possiblity of falling down several flight of stairs, if Moran could last that long.
“Give the command, Commander. If he’s not going to do anything interesting, then he might as well be back in his cell.”
Mordred had never acted on an order so quickly as he did in that moment.
“See, what’d I say about this being a trap?”
Soldiers had come in from seemingly nowhere, surrounding them in the narrow stairwell. Due to her close proximity to Moran, she could her his breathing quicken and feel his heart rate pick up. He was about to panic and it wasn’t going to be pretty.
“All right then,” he stated, letting go of the chain and holding his weapon, “I might as well take as many of you with me as I can while I still draw breath.”
He didn’t even get a chance to fire a single shot as Taylor wrapped her legs around his and pulled the chain against his throat, straining her back as far as she could. He fell back, on top of her. Her back landed against the edge of the steps and she was pretty sure she felt her skin tear. As soon as Moran hit the ground, the soldiers were on them.