Ladies and Gentlemen, its been nearly ten months, but at last, I can update Legions of the Empire and finish the prologue, thank God.
I have no excuse other than procrastination.
I would like to thank Sigment Kurosai who help me with this update by doing some excellent proof reading. As usual, comments, critics, words to continue to inflate my large ego (:3), and other things are welcomed. so enjoy, and I'll get better at this "updating thing".
Legions of the Empire: Rising Thunder
Prologue: Investigation (Part Two: Interrogatus)
The long hallway felt more like a descent into hell than a path to the interrogation rooms. It was dimly lit from the few dirty bulbs that hung from the ceiling. The filthy tan walls and simple uneven concrete floor were wet, as if the inside had been flooded and drained. The ceiling was unfinished as bare pipes and conducts weaved their way through the hall.
It was… demoralizing, to say the least. The sight would quicken the heart rate and despair would slowly start to sink its teeth into you. Hope would begin to vanish as you begin to realize that should death come and visit you in this place, no one would ever know.
Marris wasn’t fooled though. The entire thing was one large deception. The entire facility wouldn’t be designed like this. That was just too messy... too annoying. It was just the hallway and the interrogation rooms that generated this drama. The entire point was to have an effect on the prisoners and break them of their will.
The group stopped at what seemed to be a blank wall. but after a series of taps by the colonel, it flew open to reveal a observation room. Marris stepped into the darkened room, followed by the other two. The observation room was intentionally darkened to keep the one way mirror working on the other side. Those already there did a double take when Marris entered, but he paid them little attention as he looked through the glass and into the interrogation room.
The room was pretty bare, much like the path that led them there, save for the stainless steel table in the middle of the room. A interrogator sat on one side of the table comfortably sipping on some coffee while lazily reading through something. On the other side of the table though, two men were finishing beating some poor soul into the ground. The larger of the two black uniformed men pulled the prisoner up from the ground, his body still tied to the chair.
Marris stared at the man for a moment. He looked nothing like the man he'd seen a few weeks ago. His usual well combed hair was a mess and he could see dried blood still clinging to his face. It was remarkable to Marris that they had decided to leave him with his armor on instead of removing it, but he quickly saw why.
What was once the white uniform of the Legionaries, now looked like a smashed can. The armor plates had received so much damage that some sections were warped to the point that it would restrict movement. It was heavily scuffed and dented, and he could make out a few bullet hole marks, even a large crack and some burn marks as well. Some of the sections in between the plates oozed blood, biofoam, and even some of the gelatin under layer that protected the body from impacts.
Put simply, he was still wearing it because they couldn't get it off.
"Has he said anything?" asked the Undead Lord, watching the beating continue.
"Not really, sir," replied one of the techs who had been watching the situation. "He's claiming that he was framed, but when we asked for details, he said that he'll only talk to you."
The Colonel's head snapped around to face the tech when he had said this, and Marris quickly followed suit. He was surprised; off guard. Things like that didn't happen to him often.
"He knew I'd come... interesting," replied Marris. "Colonel, dismiss everyone. I want some time alone with this man."
The Colonel snapped a quick salute and began ordering people out of the room. A tech slipped into the interrogation room and motioned to the seated man. He called to the other two to stop beating the man, and gestured out of the room. Marris waited a full ten minutes after they had left before he moved towards the door that led into the room.
The prisoner's head shot up as soon as the door creaked open. As soon as he saw Marris, relief flooded his face as he slouched back into the chair. Marris gave him a small smile in return as he crossed the room.
"I am so glad to see you, sir.", said the trooper.
"You look like hell, Lieutenant." The Undead Lord set his briefcase on the table and popped it open. "I hear you've had a few interesting weeks."
"Lord Marris, please, you have to believe me. I'm being framed. My team is being framed.", begged the Lieutenant.
"Framed, you say?" Marris dug around in the briefcase and pulled out a few data pads. He clicked the first one on and scanned through it. "I have a full investigation report that says otherwise."
"It's not true."
"So the report is false?"
"No sir, the facts of the report are wrong. We were made to look like we were going against orders."
Marris sighed and adjusted himself in the chair. "I didn't come here to hear you out."
The trooper stared at him for a minute, confused. "What do you mean?"
"Lieutenant, let me make this clear. A ruling has already been made. Your team is being dishonorably discharged for their actions, and you have been sentenced to death." The Lieutenant stared back at him mouth hanging open. Marris waited a few seconds to see if he would say anything before continuing. "Your family is also being held responsible for this, since they raised you. Fines, mostly."
"Then... why did you come?" interrupted the trooper. "Why come all this way unless y-you're..." his face paled as the realization hit.
"...The Executioner.", finished Marris as he sat back and folded his hands. "This is a matter that the Empire wants resolved quickly. A Legionnaire team going AWOL, killing troops, and inciting a planet to rebel? Not the message we want being sent."
He watched the trooper slump back into the chair, head hung low. "But I'm innocent," he stammered, voice thick with emotion. "Lord Marris, please, I'll do anything. I-I have evidence showing that this is a-a conspiracy!"
Marris just shook his head at the trooper's attempts. "I want to believe you, Lieutenant. But I can't overturn this, at least not in a way that lets you walk out of this room alive."
The Undead Lord reached into his briefcase and pulled out a flintlock style pistol. It was a beautiful weapon, one that Marris favored very dearly. The handle and much of the body was made out of the finest oak that money could buy, and was expertly overlaid with bright gold pieces that had been forged in a series of curves to give it a sense of elegance and class. Marris cocked the hammer back and laid it on the table. The Lieutenant stared at the weapon and then back up at the Undead Lord.
"The Emperor and the Hierarch hold your family in high esteem," explained Marris. "They are willing to spare your family from your actions... if you carry out the sentencing."
"They... want me commit suicide...?"
"I believe the technical term is Harakiri, but putting it bluntly, yes. Do it, and your family is free of your stain."
The trooper shook his head. "No, I-I won't, I can't. I d-didn't do anything. This isn't what happened!"
Marris let out a breath and drummed his fingers on the table. He needed to be careful on his next words. More importantly, he needed to know what this trooper knew. "I'll tell you what, Lieutenant, you've impressed me. You're a hell of a soldier and respected by the men you serve around with. I'll give you a chance. I want to hear from you, what happened and what you've found out. If I think it's good enough, I'll see what I can do with the Emperor and the Hierarch."
That got the trooper's attention. "Where do you want me to start?"
Marris picked up the data pad and scrolled through as a familiar grin crept across his face. "Let's see. How about the Siege on New Hope?"
“Salvation comes with a cost. Judge us not by our methods, but by what we seek to accomplish.”
"To punish and enslave..."