If the series is so very good, why am I writing this post instead of reading? Because I have only four stories left to read and I have no idea what I'll do once I've finished them. *sniffles* So sad, so sad.
Okay, I lied. As soon as I'm done I'm going to re-read the first story again. Sometime yesterday I went back to it and reread the first couple paragraphs to see why it had hooked me so strongly, and I almost couldn't stop reading. I had new stories ahead of me still, but the first story as hooking me in again!
Hmmmm, you know what? I'll make this easy for all of you. I'm going to put the first section of chapter one behind a LJ cut. Click below, read it, and then
The interrogation room was brightly lit and relentlessly white, and had a disinfectant smell that Toreth no longer even noticed. The guards had already delivered the prisoner by the time he arrived; the man sat at the small square table, on a plain metal chair screwed securely to the floor.
"Good afternoon." Toreth liked the little irony, although it wasn't often appreciated.
The prisoner looked up from his contemplation of the tabletop. He looked very much as he had at their brief meeting earlier, which was to say sullen, angry, and frightened. Toreth stood, impassive, letting his height and the breadth of his shoulders kick off the process of intimidation.
Toreth's investigators had reported that the prisoner had put up a good front during his arrest that morning, but to Toreth's practised eye he now looked not far from panic. The incidental tour of I&I's facilities that prisoners enjoyed during processing tended to do that. Like most of the idealist traitors who passed through Toreth's hands, the prisoner had apparently never imagined capture. Idiots, in Toreth's opinion, although it only made them easier to deal with.
This one was an interrogation virgin--never even been arrested before.
It didn't take long before the prisoner looked away again. Toreth brushed a few errant afternoon-coffeetime crumbs from his black uniform and sat down across the table from him.
A little way away stood a more substantial chair fitted with restraints, and beside it a gurney surrounded by an impressive array of medical equipment. Shelves held racks of bottles and vials, and the narrow bench below them had an equally precise layout of instruments.
However, for now they both sat at the table, a spurious equality that did nothing to disguise the dynamics of the relationship between them. That was how Toreth preferred to start things out, although he had a minority opinion on that score. He felt a chance for the prisoner to view the paraphernalia of interrogation neatly laid out was always salutary. Toreth liked to make it clear that a progression to unpleasantness was quite optional at this stage. Many prisoners couldn't bring themselves to make the denials that would send them that short distance across the room to the other chair.
Toreth laid a hand screen on the table between them. "My name is Toreth. Senior Para-investigator Val Toreth, in fact, although I don't particularly care what you call me. I've heard it all before anyway."
He noted a flinch as the prisoner quickly understood the implication. Good. It was always easier to work with someone who possessed an imagination.
"Now, we already have a quantity of information about your crime." Toreth paged through the documents on the screen, for effect rather than because he needed to read them. "You passed on restricted information from the Department of External Security regarding operations to detain wanted resisters attempting to leave Administration territory. We have dates, files, when and how much you were paid. Your partner was most informative, although I'm afraid we will still need to hear everything he told us over again from you."
"Go to hell."
Unimaginative, and paper-thin bravado.
"As it is, there is more than enough information here to see you tried and convicted. And, I may add, executed. However, the Administration prefers things to be tidy. All I wish you to do is confirm what we have already learned. If you cooperate, execution will become re-education."
Not, Toreth had always thought, much of an improvement. However, it got a reaction, a tilt of the head as the prisoner considered the proposal.
"I can give you a guarantee of that in writing. I can have it authorised and in the hands of your Department of Justice representative within the hour. Well?"
The prisoner shook his head, and Toreth knew it was because he didn't trust his own voice.
"Ah, well. A pity." As usual, he meant it. A quick and easy capitulation with no damage to the prisoner always looked good.
As Toreth stood up, he made a small bet with himself.
"In that case--" He gestured towards the chair with the restraints.
And because Toreth was very good at his job, he, as usual, won his bet. The prisoner looked towards the chair, and then towards the door, where the two guards stood mutely watching. Then he crumpled in the chair, the remains of his facade of composure dropping away before Toreth's eyes.
"What...where do you want me to start?"
Copyright foo: The above (longish) quote of course was not written by me nor does it belong to me. manna wrote it, owns it, and should be thanked muchly for it. :) I think I got all the special characters ("--" and the like) switched to plain text versions, but if you see any errors they're totally my fault.
The stories have action, adventure, and hot hot hot sex (mmmm), but more important than all that: they have these characters who are just so fascinating. During the few times I'm not reading, I can't stop thinking about them. Putting pieces together. Figuring out motives. Looking through layers. Such complex characters! Such human characters!
And just wait, there's more! It's not sold in any store! (Sorry.) The stories were written with so much care and detail! I've never said this of other fics, but: I love the titles. I love how many layers the titles have. (How the heck can a title have layers?!) Titles which seem straight forward often aren't. (Often enough that I suspect my "often aren't" should be "never are". I bet it was me missing a hidden meaning in the few titles which seemed only straight forward, not that they weren't really there. "Pancakes" comes to mind.)
So you people who haven't tried it yet! Stop waiting! It's easy to click a LJ cut, so just give it a chance! You'll love it, and you'll thank me for it. :) And for everyone who is currently reading, make sure to drop manna a note and ler her know. She's really very very nice, and she put so much work into this. :)
Eee, now it's time to read more! Eee!