The Company (Excerpt), Part 1Mature

This is an excerpt from the novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo 2010. It's completely unedited, and this scene is not from anywhere near the beginning of the novel, but it's one of my favorites. Additionally, it stands on its own fairly well because it comes at the beginning of Part Two and introduces some characters we've never met before (at this point in the story, the only names the reader would be familiar with are Kit and Haller, as Kit is the FMC and Haller is her father).
Anyhow, here it is.

 

Main Detention Center

O6 Penal Colony

Orion Six

 

The prison stank: of grease, of unwashed bodies, of feces and urine. Dmitri’s nose wasn’t a refined one by any stretch of the imagination, but even so, he couldn’t help doing his best to breathe through his mouth as much as possible as the guards marched him down the corridor between cells. In theory, prison conditions were supposed to be fairly good on Terran colonies—the feeds usually compared it to living under house arrest, and holoshots of “prisoners” in spartan-but-clean apartments were commonplace in the media. It was bullshit, but most people didn’t seem to care if they themselves were never exposed to prison conditions, and if you were being exposed to prison conditions…well, chances were your opinion didn’t count for much. Dmitri glanced at one cell to his right as they passed, and the man inside it regarded him with hangdog, watery eyes as he sat hunched on the bunk near the door. Dmitri turned away and grimaced, focusing instead on the heels of the boots of the guard walking in front of him. 

The interrogation room was dimly lit, but every single surface seemed to be made of mirrors; even the table in the center of the room had a glassy sheen to it. Dmitri watched as his infinite reflections were lead in and seated at one side of the table.

“Wait here,” the lead guard said.

“Like I’ve got a choice,” Dmitri said. The guards ignored this comment, and as the lead guard exited the room again, closing the door behind him, the two men who’d been holding Dmitri’s arms released him and sank back into the shadows at each end of the room. 

For lack of something else to do, Dmitri stared at his own reflection in the glassy surface of the table under his cuffed wrists. His dark blonde hair was dirty and unkempt and he had several day’s growth of beard. I’ve looked worse, he thought wryly, and a ghost of a smile flitted across his features.

A moment later, the door to the interrogation room opened, and two colonial marshals entered. One was a stout, broad-shouldered man with reddish-brown hair; his partner was an officer who was more boy than man, barely out of adolescence. His face was still marked with some light acne, and his light-brown hair had that recently-cut look about it. Dmitri grinned wolfishly at the kid, whose eyes widened as he scooted back to stand beside the older man.

“Dmitri Erik Edmunds,” said the first officer, his fingers skimming across the glassy surface of the table, which Dmitri now realized was also a vidscreen. “35 years old, unmarried, no children. Born on Sirius Two, attended university there, majored in astrophysics.”

He paused and glanced up at Dmitri as though expecting some sort of confirmation of these facts. Dmitri didn’t see why this was necessary, or why they expected him to help them in any way, but it was basic info you could get from any retscan; there was no point hiding it, so he shrugged and glanced back down at the table. The officer nodded and continued to scroll through the information on the screen. How much info do they have on me? Dmitri wondered. Straightening up in his chair, he set his cuffed hands neatly on the table in front of him and gave the police officer his best polite, simpering smile.

“I’m sorry officer, but can you tell me what this is all about?”

The younger officer blinked in surprise and confusion, but the veiled derision wasn’t lost on the redheaded man, who raised one eyebrow but did not otherwise comment before returning to his perusal of the information on the screen. There was a long pause as he appeared to shift through some files, his fingertips sliding across the tabletop with practiced ease. A moment later, he tapped the table and flicked his fingers in Dmitri’s direction; the screen under Dmitri’s hands lit up to display a dossier with Haller’s face in one corner.

“What’s this?” he said.

The End

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