Friday, July 7, 2017

22: The Union knows

In the middle of the Legion camp, stood a cut stone mausoleum.  Inside, on shelves built into the walls were piles of sand and of rags and bones and flesh becoming sand.  In the center, upon a folding metal chair sat a tiny woman, completely eclipsed in Major Nakba’s shadow.  Major Nakba was asking the little woman, “You understand the predicament you find yourself in, don’t you?”

“One understands one is a prisoner.”

“One understands correctly,” he said, “But do you understand that this is as civilized as the interview process will ever be?”  She said nothing in response so he continued, “From here we move to more primitive forms of coercion.  Then we start doing permanent damage.  I have men under my command who enjoy such work.”

“One is familiar with cruelty.  One had hoped Legionnaires more honorable.”

“With those who live peaceably under its wings, it is very honorable.  With those however who do it and its people harm, you will find it is most unforgiving.”

“One wishes no harm upon the Legion.” 

“Yet you break its laws?  You enter a controlled sector without authorization.  You engage in unsanctioned commerce and slave trading.  You make contact with enemies of the state.  You expose the entire coastal region to dangerous pathogens.  You have done nothing but harm since you left the Westvale, Ch’Loi.  Yes, the Union knows who you are  The Union knows what you’ve done.  And now you are refusing to cooperate with its agents.  What more are you hiding?”

“One wishes no harm upon the Legion.”

“Please forgive my skepticism.”

“One does.”

“Do not mock me, my patience is the only thing between you and your fragile little body being thrown to the wolves.”

“One has broken laws.  One is aware of this and freely admits it.  There are penalties, protocols, forms, this is straight forward.  Yet one is not being prosecuted by a court.  One is being questioned by soldiers.  Threatened with violence.  One perceives one’s motives are in question.  One can only reassure one’s captors that one means no damage to the Legion.”

“You can tell me what you were really doing out here all this time and let me decide if you are a threat to the Union or not.”

She had never really looked up.  She kept her focus on the stones of the floor the entire time.  It made it difficult to know whether she was thinking or resisting.  He gave her time to find out.

At last she said, “One came to retrieve something it had lost.”

Cryptic but a start.  Major Nakba decided to play along.  “And did it?”

“No.  One failed.  One lost much more instead.”

No comments:

Post a Comment