Aria nodded slightly after peering at Malu’s message, knowing there would be no alternatives to the Champions conducting the interrogation. They accompanied the platoon back to the compound where the leader took his leave of them after dropping the captured assailant into the chair in the center of the bleak interrogation room.
“Oh boy...this takes me back.” Aria snorted quietly, popping her knuckles as they waited for the man to come back around.
“So does that make me the bad guy?” the Champion chuckled in amusement. “Well, I suppose I AM more used to being scary than you are.”
She tried not to be surprised when Yerbol pulled off the attacker's helmet....he certainly was younger than Aria had been expecting.
“Come on, kid...You're not making this easy on yourself.” as Yerbol spoke, attempting to pull some information out of the boy by scaring him, Aria paced deliberately slowly around the chair, her eyes never leaving his. A soft smirk graced Aria's features at the surge of fear that dominated the young man’s mind when he heard the word “Inquisitor”.
“That's right...so, you can answer our questions and tell us what we want to know, OR I can take it from you. Forcefully. And it WILL hurt.”
Regrettably, their informant remained stubbornly tight-lipped and refused to give the two Champions any solid answers to their questions other than mentioning “The Faceless” which was….SOMETHING to go on at least.
“The Faceless? Is that what they call themselves?” Still nothing. Aria joined her partner as he sighed.
“...he's not talking, you know what that means…”
“I was hoping we wouldn't have to, but I suppose he hasn't left us much choice has he?” Aria responded, nodding slightly. “Alright, kid. Last chance...you can tell us what we want to know.” she extended her Force presence towards the young boy’s, seized hold of it just long enough to give him an idea of the discomfort it would bring him, then let him go again. “Or I WILL do what I have to, to take it from you against your will.” if he had doubted before that they were capable of orchestrating the threat, she hoped it would be dispelled now and the boy would tell them what they wanted to know. “The Faceless. WHO are they, and WHERE can we find them?”
The young man’s chin wobbled, bottom jaw tensed as he hissed out the words:
“The Faceless take care of their own. They do not bend to the Qyaari, who waste their time pandering to the weak Alliance Chancellors, they do not feel the Force like we do, they are not fit to lead this galaxy.”
“Oh, and I suppose YOU, or more accurately Soto, are? Is mass genocide a good public image for a government figure?”
“Better than forgiving them and acting like it never happened!”
Rolling her eyes, Aria leaned forward to brace her hands against the arms of the chair, the Champion’s eyes locked with his.
“Alright, kid. No more playing games. The more you fight me, the more this will hurt.”
“You'll never get anything out of me!”
She had to give him some credit for attempting to resist her control, but he was still young and his abilities basic and unsharpened. With his hands still cuffed firmly, the boy could do little to break the eye contact between them other than wriggle feebly in place and attempt to shut his eyes, though Aria was easily able to tap into her former Inquisitor training and break through the weak mental barriers he attempted to use to block out his memories.
Dark, lights flickering faintly overhead. Buildings that looked deceptively ramshackled, with boards over the windows. A network of drainage pipes nearby, that wound through the underground tunnels throughout the planet...out of which emerged a familiar, round-faced blonde Jedi Master.
“Jean. It's been a long time.” a man, reasonable height and a clean shaven appearance, approaches Soto and embraces her.
“...I had wondered who would bother to free me.” there is recognition between them, that brings the beginnings of a smile to Soto’s face. “It's good to see you, Ma-”
But before Soto could utter his name, a surge of anger gave their informant new strength to break the mental vice Aria had locked his mind into, the Champion staggering backwards with a painful huff as the boy’s forehead rammed painfully into her nose.
Her voice muffled through her hand which now clutches her (possibly broken, given the sickening “crack” it had made on impact) nose, she growls.
“The man. That's your leader? What's his name?”
The boy’s teeth flash in a smug grin.
“You mean you don't know? Well that's a shame, isn't it, Inquisitor?” his chin lifts in apparent defiance, but there is an unsteady wobble to his voice that betrays the lie. “You don't scare me. I'll die before I betray them.”
“PSH!” Aria snorted, turning to Yerbol. “They’re somewhere in the Undercity, that's for sure. A district near the pipe network...the old Hydrosupply station.” a spike of alarm from their informant confirms the Champion’s theory. “I only saw his face briefly, but that doesn't matter.” turning back to the informant in the chair, Aria scoffed again.
“You're very lucky we aren't on Korriban anymore, or I'd tell the jailer to stop feeding you. Know how else we used to deal with troublesome interrogations there? Those who resisted the Inquisitors got shocked.” for good measure, she sent off a small spark that made him squeal like a frightened Bantha when it hit his nose. “Over and over...higher voltage every time you don't give an answer...and if you still don't cooperate? They let the beasts have you.”
Another jolt of fear. Good. Little whelp should be afraid.
“B-Beasts?” he squeaked, clearly not too keen on the prospect.
Flashing her signature sharp-toothed grin, Aria patted him on the cheek.
“Oh yes, and that...I can tell you I'd get away with. Our two are just back at the Tower, we could send for them...it would be unfortunate for you if they happened to be too hungry not to tear you to pieces if I gave the word.”
Sweat beaded on the boy’s forehead as Aria touched Yerbol’s arm and gestured to the door.
“But let's give you a little chance to change your mind shall we? We'll be back in a few hours and if you tell us what we need to know you may just have to deal with the jailer instead of hungry Tuk'ata.”
She tried to ignore the look her partner gave her as the steel door slammed shut behind them.
“WHAT? He wasn't going to talk any other way, was he? He doesn't have to know the dogs aren't here.” she pointed out, cracking her nose back into place with an uncomfortable wince. “I saw the guy’s face briefly but I didn't recognise him...maybe he was a Jedi before.” she shrugged, placing her hands on her hips. “Either way, I think we should call Malu and let her know what we've found. Maybe she can help us figure out who he is.” another sigh as she glanced over her shoulder. “I'd like to get more information, rather than going in blind. This is Soto we're dealing with here, and any accomplices she's gathered up. She knows how to manipulate the law to her favourite. I think we should ask Sho to come with us again, a bit of extra help wouldn't hurt..."