• Nobles of Null is a forum based roleplay site where sci-fi and magic collide. Here, Earth remains fractured and divided despite humanity reaching out to the stars. Worse still, the trans-human slaves of one major power have escaped, only to establish their own Empire, seething with resentment at abuses of the past. Even the discovery of aliens, though medieval in development, has failed to rally these squabbling children of Earth together with its far darker implications. Worse still, is the discovery of the impossible - magic. Practiced by the alien locals, nearly depleted and therefore rare, its reality warping abilities remains abstract and distant to the general populace. All the while, unseen in the darkness of space, forces from without threaten to press in. For those with eyes opened by insight, it is clear that an era is about to end, and that a new age will dawn.

Chapter 4: Stalin Rain

Caleb made his way to the interrogation room, looking in from the outside through the two way glass. He was readying himself for going in to speak to the man, and was hoping he would cooperate, he never liked beating information out of people. No finesse, and it often gave incorrect information. They would say whatever you wanna hear to have the pain stop regardless of the truth of it.

Caleb went into the room once they brought the man back in, and took a seat across the table from him. He looked at the man's new cast. "Saw what happened in there, was pretty brutal. I'd really prefer if this interrogation didn't go like that, wouldn't you? So we can play this nice, and easy. How did your people breach the Soyuz defenses?"
 

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As soon as the interrogation began, the two way glass automatically shifted, the light warping, then disappearing altogether as what it was made of rearranged, turning the window into a one way view. Mr. Aubert glanced at the window as the view of the Lancers and the Task Force on the other side disappeared from view. His leg was in a cast, a morphine drip buried within so he couldn't manipulate it, pull the needle out and whatnot. The scientist looked away from Caleb in deep thought, carefully considering his options.

"You need a translator." Mr. Aubert finally remarked, making note of Caleb's English, barely understandable to him without assistance, dodging the question altogether. "You're an American, working with these Commonwealthers who are in turn working with the Soyuz. Why?" He tilted his head and asked, a genuine curiosity coming through his mix of French and Arabic dialects, chugged through and turned back into English for Caleb.
 

Poe

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Renee watched interrogation occur, writing down a few notes before affording Eberhard a short nod and following behind Caleb. She gave the man a quick look as they walked, but other than that, she remained in silence, formulating a small plan of attack in her head. This was difficult - she had only normally been involved in the finding of suspects and criminals when she worked with counter terrorism - any interrogations that she had taken part in were either high profile cases, or ad-hoc on the scene ones.

As they entered, Renee gauged her options, watching Caleb sit down. As Aubert spoke, Renee straightened slightly, disconnecting her translator for a second as she spoke. "Les femmes aiment les cicatrices. Nous te pouvons donner plus d'eux," Renee spoke in her Alsatian accent, but as clearly as possible to make sure that this Aubert man understood. She plugged her translator back in, and then took a seat, crossing her legs and steepling her hands on her knee. "We are here to ask you the questions, Aubert. Stop..." she paused, as if she wasn't sure what to say next, and then slowly continued with "stop taking the piss."
 

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The man drew a deep breath, intimidated by Renee's threat, to some degree. His eyes darted around in thought again, then breathed out and turned his attention to Renee instead. He ignored her demand as well, instead commenting, "You, you are a perfect, full-blooded Frenchwoman, the real article, not like us space-borne." Looking her up and down, he put his cuffed hands up to his chin, his leg bobbing up and down nervously. "Judging by your perfect accent, you were raised completely on earth, dirt itself, the same dirt that our great forefathers treaded on, who worked tirelessly to preserve our ideals and seek our salvation. Why tarnish their work and cooperate with the Soyuz, who not only have failed to progress, but fell backwards into more archaic methods?"
 
Caleb was annoyed at the man's attempt to dodge their questions. This bit of annoyance seeping through into his voice.

"I know you can understand me just fine, but the reason I work for them is because I was in a bad situation, and they let me get back on the right track."

Caleb didn't respond while Renee asked questions, instead, staying uncharacteristically silent. He watched the man's facial expressions, looking for ticks, and tells for what he was lying about or trying to hide. Caleb was good at lying, and fortunately, having lied so much, and dealing with those that often do, he was good at telling when others did so. Caleb's posture was relaxed, but his gaze was intense.

"You can avoid the questions, but Morphine will only do so much when the pain starts, the adrenaline will push it through your system and it won't matter. How did your people manage to get the bomb through the Soyuz Defenses? This will be the last time I ask nicely."
 

Ray of Meep

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Mr. Aubert's eyes widened at Caleb, partially surprised by his brief but personal answer. "Interesting," He remarked, ignoring Caleb's threats.

He then sighed and shook his head, a resignation, "I'm sorry, I can admit that we are responsible, that we be held accountable for all the pain and suffering that we brought upon the civilian population, but I can't disclose our methods. If all was predicted, the GDW will be in turmoil with the Soyuz at this point, making the Soyuz an enemy of the greater state, and therefore you---" His eyes flashed at Renee especially with disappointment and disdain, "--- traitors for cooperating with our enemy. The revelation of our methods will allow the Soyuz to fortify its defenses against the GDW, and I cannot allow that."
 

Poe

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Renee had... done something. The deep breath indicated that he was taken aback by her comment - but was it the nature of it, or the fact that she spoke in French? It was clearly the latter, in Renee's mind, as Aubert began to speak once more. She tilted her head slightly in order to look at Caleb out of the corner of her eye, before Aubert's leg jigging drew her attention. Was he scared of them, or someone else? This was... something interesting indeed.

She remained silent as Caleb spoke again, mind working hard to find some common thread between what he was talking about. There was a lot of nationalism here, but for a place that didn't actually exist - this nation of forefathers never had existed. There had always been something wrong, a group of people who weren't happy. It was not romantic, but to Aubert... it seemed to be just that. The 'greater state'.

"There was an old battle in England, nearly a millenium ago," Renee began, tilting her head further to the side as if thinking of an old memory. "It was to... to place a new King on the throne. The existing King, a shrewd, greedy man, faced his challenger in battle. His challenger was a patriotic man, an exiled hero who returned to save his homeland - a little like you, in fact. Their forces were equal, and easy victory seemed impossible for either of them." Renee paused, as if for dramatic effect. "The King's advisor had promised that he would bring his 30,000 men to the battlefield. And that he did, like the good advisor he was. How the King's heart must have soared when he saw his advisor arrive to support him! Victory was his, surely!"

A grim smile spread across her face. "But, the advisor betrayed him, and sent his men to join the forces of the usurper. The King was killed, beheaded. And the victor of the battle became the new King to a nation that adored him for saving them from the former tyrant who reined. Bravo, curtain close." Renee leaned forwards. "The hero may have paralells to you, but this is not your story. You are not a King, nor a usurper. You are a lone wolf with a pack of ghosts - an 'organisation' that does not exist. You have no 'advisor' to rescue you. No one will betray their closest associates to save you. This organisation that you love, that you feel kinship in... they are not coming to help you. They...." Renee jabbed her index finger into the table, "are the ones who are traitors. What 'army' leaves their men behind?"

She paused, taking a deep breath and running a hand across her face, as if she was sad. Yet another manipulation on behalf of Copperhead. "Do you not want to touch the fields of France one day with your own hands?" she said, her voice breaking from emotion. Fake emotion, but not that this would have been obvious to Aubert - or even Caleb.
 

Ray of Meep

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Mr. Aubert's pupils dilated, his leg bobbing up and down fast and hard enough to create light, rhythmic thonks onto the underside of the table. He drew another deep breath, his eyes darting back and forward, expected at this point, as he embroiled himself in thought.

"You're trying to manipulate me, attempting to break down my will as all servants of tyrants in the past have done to revolutionaries." He shook his head vigorously, stating out loud with a small panic in his voice. "Well you will not. I am a learned man, I have studied history, our past, present, and future. You will not overcome me so easily!" His voice steadily grew louder, more emphatic, "You can break my bones, turn my body to ash. The Commonwealth may detest what I've done now, do everything in its power to erase memories of my existence. However, decades from now, when the state has become a kinder, more just society, they will look at our work and deem it a necessary evil! This is the price I'm willing to pay for a better tomorrow! What about you?!" The scientist attempted to stand up, pushing down on the table, hampered by his broken leg and the pain that burned through his body.

He slumped down quickly, sniffling, a wave of exhaustion crashing through him, his head somberly facing the table. The man hicced between audible breaths.

"I... I have been to France. Paris, specifically." Mr. Aubert reminisced. "I was there to adjust to planetary gravity. I didn't get to set foot on the countryside, but I did get to see the Eiffel Tower from the arcology. Everything is so huge on planets. You're really lucky to have experienced it all from birth."
 
"I learned a lot in the military, a brotherhood that went beyond the call to battle, and the heroic deeds we hoped to achieve. We hoped to change the galaxy for the better. We quickly realized that the people who were above us, who said we would achieve great things, cared little for us or our wellbeing. We needed to help each other through difficult times, stuck behind enemy lines, no retreat, no surrender. The difference is that if we pushed forward, we would find our exfil, and beyond that, we had each other. You are alone here. No allies, no retreat, no extraction, but you can still have hope. You help us, and we can help you. Instead you can choose to ignore our demands, but I grow tired of your foolish games."

Caleb gets up out of his chair, he turns to the mirror, gesturing to the cameras on the walls. He intended this to be quick and bloody. He learned some awful things when he was stuck in small towns surrounded by enemy soldiers, things that kept him up at night. Things that he would use now if Aubert refused to cooperate.

"You don't work for the GDW, you work for a group that doesn't care about you, nor that cares about the GDW or her interests. You work for terrorists, preying on the fear of civilians."
 

Poe

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Renee was getting somewhere, and that was visible. It didn't matter that Aubert understood the manipulation, his tone was losing its determination and was now more full of fear. Renee began to wonder how admissible anything he said would be during his trial, if he was under the effects of morphine as well as having been brutally interrogated. Well, that wasn't her concern specifically, and she would leave the in depth thinking to people much more senior than her.

She didn't react to his outburst, other than to cast a semi-worried look towards his broken leg. After a small while, when his hiccups had calmed, Renee spoke again.

"We are both working for the same thing, Mr Aubert. We just seem to have different ways of going about it. I can assure you that me and my colleague want nothing but the creation of a beautiful and flourishing future society. But this is not the way to go about it. The people that you killed today... murder does not serve as a good foundation for a new republic. You're a smart man, and you must understand that."

At his next sentence, Renee smiled, and it did seem genuine this time. "It's our most beautiful landmark for a reason, Mr Aubert," she said, a reminiscent look on her face that mirrored the one of the terrorist sat opposite her.

She was about to speak again when Caleb spoke up, and Renee closed her mouth and adjusted her position in the chair slightly. The good cop bad cop routine was... most likely accidental, and Renee couldn't help but think that Caleb's comment on Aubert's 'foolish games' was hinting at yet another round of violent interrogation. She wanted to move again, feeling her leg burn in anticipation, but instead clenched her jaw. The Frenchwoman worried that any violence would set Aubert back again. She tried to catch Caleb's gaze with a warning look, hoping that he was trying to intimidate Aubert and did not, in fact, have any plans to hurt him.
 

Ray of Meep

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Mr. Aubert looked down with difficulty spelled all over his face, hesitating further. "Oh stars, what have I done..." He rubbed his eyes with both hands, his voice of sorrow and regret, brought about by Renee's feigned sympathy and Caleb's reality brought down upon him.

Finally, he looked back up pleadingly. "I will speak under one condition: that I and any of my surviving colleagues be treated as Commonwealth citizens, tried in Commonwealth courts, not Soyuz."

Eberhard glanced away from the monitor, standing up to stare at Billhook at eye level sternly. His arms were relaxed, but they were awfully close to his firearm. Billhook was no different, looking at Eberhard coldly. After a tense few seconds, Billhook shrugged and huffed, "Fine."

"Mr. Aubert, your request has been received and accepted." Eberhard's voice came through the interrogation room speakers.

The scientist sighed, "Thank you." He muttered quietly, then finally started to answer Caleb's question: "In summary, Kitezh has its own men and women up and down the chain of command willing to look the other way as we did our work. A security guard that looked the other way as we installed the charges. Orbital traffic officers who signed off our supplies as non-hazardous research equipment. Retired engineers who gave us models to the buildings, so we could run explosives simulations. I wish I knew the specific details, because it was truly masterful operation of infiltration, but I was just overseeing the quality of the explosives. The Soyuz will have to comb through its entire leadership. There weren't many, but they were everywhere." He paused, "Omnigrow was left behind because we only operated at the tactical level. The other two corporations hiding in Yasny space will know more. I did not lie about the planet."
 

Poe

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There was the hint of a smile on Renee's face that was quickly disguised as sympathy as her and Caleb managed to break through the man's mental defences. She nodded as he spoke, crossing her arms and listening intently. Her mind wandered towards Eberhard's acceptance of Aubert's demand with a little confusion - it seemed odd that Billhook would accept such a demand, given the nature of the crime committed, but then again, information was information, and a trial was a trial. Billhook most likely did not care about the sentencing, but would indeed care about whatever information that Aubert could supply.

"We have no reason to not believe you, Mr Aubert, you have been most forthcoming," she spoke, her tone unclear as to whether it was a genuine expression of thanks or a sarcastic remark on Aubert's initial stalling tactics. "I'll make sure to make a note that you have cooperated, and that could well afford you a lesser sentence in the courts." She couldn't make any promises, but it was a well known fact that cooperation did tend to lead to leniency in sentencing.

"You say that you do not know the specifics, but surely you know some. Any names, aliases, even the appearances or specific roles of the people that enabled you and your colleagues?" Renee paused, and then started to speak again. "Anything could help, Mr Aubert. You are aiding the Commonwealth here, please remember that."
 

Ray of Meep

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Mr. Aubert pondered, then replied directly, "One person comes to mind. Jovian Science's local director, Selene Rosica. She was in charge of all of Jovian Science's operations in the Yasny system, the mastermind behind... our, operations in Chekhovsk. Her and others are heading for the system's SLE. Mmm... The Wayward Giant, I think that was her spacecraft's name was."
 

Poe

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Renee nodded, mentally making a note of the name. She knew that she wouldn't need to write anything down, as the meeting was recorded and there was almost certainly someone taking notes in the room behind the mirror. She shifted her position slightly as Aubert finished talking, resting an arm on the table as she sat angled side-ways. "Thank you, Mr Aubert."

She looked towards Caleb out of her periphery, but the slight tilt gave her gaze away. It was almost as if she was asking if he wanted to say anything - after all, they still had to figure out how it had happened. Even though Aubert said he didn't have the specifics, he had just named a person, so it was not improbable to think that he may either be holding out on some information or that his memory could be jogged.
 
Caleb leaned back in his chair upon hearing Aubert confess these things, and he notices Renee's look. He decides to push for something more.

"Well, since you are being so forthcoming, did you know Selene personally? These details seemed ot come to mind easily, anything else will help."
 

Ray of Meep

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"No," Mr. Aubert shook his head. "Given that she's from a different company, I don't know her enough. All I know is she had the intelligence, the drive, and the leadership to see this operation through. Although..."

"... She got along well with a man, ex-military he claims. I never met him in person, never seen him, but some of my colleagues you killed did meet him on Skoros. They were there to train in small arms fire, explosives management, and infiltration techniques. They claimed he was wearing a suit of armor, not unlike yours, and he was very charismatic, friendly. Dr. Rosica had everything planned out, but the man gave whoever met him a lot of hope."

"Maybe he's why she's gunning for the SLE..." Mr. Aubert muttered to himself. Having recovered somewhat from the mental attacks inflicted upon him, he started speaking more logically and coherently. His previous panicked demeanor turned calmer, more calculated.
 

Poe

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That piqued Renee's interest, which was obvious by the way that her position shifted. "That is a serious accusation, Mr Aubert. It's not that I don't believe you, I just have to clarify for our recordings - are you implying that this man was a GDW soldier?" Renee's tone was kindly, true to her words about not disbelieving Aubert. Well, she was sceptical, but at this point, anything could happen and Renee would believe it.
 

Ray of Meep

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"Maybe, I never met him." Mr. Aubert shrugged. "Based on what I heard the man spoke perfect Italian, German, French, and Arabic. He knew how to make my colleagues feel like they were at home, and that's a tall order, as you've probably experienced during your time on Kitezh." He eyed the surveillance camera, searching for the Soyuz goons watching him, then looked back at Renee. "Maybe he was a GDW soldier or officer. Maybe someone else."
 

DUCATISLO

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žana after some time in her med bed she slowly starts getting up fixing herself a bit before standing up and stretching a bit being still carefull for her injuries. she then proceeded to slither outside her room and look for her teammates. after a while she did found them outside the interrogation room which she quietly greeted them and stood next to them since they looked like they were listening to the interrogation happening inside.
 

Acewing13

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Bee smiled and nodded to Zana, saying, "Good to see you up, Sleeping Beauty," before looking into the interrogation room. "Think we'll have enough info to go after the SOB soon."
 
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