Interrogator Lorne strode into the dingy room, dataslate in hand. The center of the cramped space was dominated by a sturdy plascrete chair occupied by a slight man dressed in a shabby manufactorum jumpsuit. His wrists and ankles were raw around the manacles the Arbites had restrained him with. As Lorne approached, the man’s head jerked up. He squinted through the stark white light of the lightbulb suspended above his head.
‘Oh thank the Emperor someone finally came for me! Please, this is all a terrib-‘
‘Citizen Karris, you are not to speak unless to answer a direct question.’ Lorne’s stare silenced the man. Her eyes flicked down to Arbites’ report. ‘Local authorities arrested you in the Docks Ward at approximately 0100, charging you with Disturbing the Peace and Battery. Do you recall this event?’
‘What? No!’ Karris shifted as much as he could, his shock genuine. ‘I remember going out for a drink with some friends after the shift- there’s this new place down near the spaceport they wanted to try. Had a few then I went home I swear!’
‘What was the name of this bar?’
‘Ah? Lavinder’s I think?’ The man’s brow furrowed. His cheeks flushed slightly ‘I-. I think I had a few too many. Their amasec is stronger than I’m used to.’
Lorne scribbled a note of the name on her slate before looking back to Karris. ‘Do you remember anything about the bar?’
‘It was… bright? Like I said, I’d had too much to drink. I can’t remember much of anything clearly. I think there were dancers?’
‘Interesting. The Arbites that arrested you noted you were attempting to show passersby something on your slate when they found you. Forcibly. Do you recall this event?’
‘No! Holy throne, I’ve no idea about any of this!’ The worker squirmed in his chair again. Then he went still, his eyes distant and unfocused as his speech slurred. ‘But that reminds me of something. Can I see your slate, madam? I have to show you something.’
‘No, you may not, Citizen.’ Lorne jotted a quick note on her slate. Her hand crept towards her belt as her eyes twitched, augmetics tracking Karris’s smallest movement.
‘But it will only take a tic.’ Karris strained against the shackles, his muscles flexing unnaturally. ‘It’s this great vid someone showed me. Everyone’s seen it. Everyone needs to see it!’
Lorne remained silent as she took a step back from the prisoner. The chair creaked against the bolts anchoring it to the rockcrete floor and the armaplas, strong enough to restrain an enraged Ogryn, flexed and whitened with stress.
Karris’s eyes flared with anger. ‘Give me the slate, Interrogator!’ With a great screech of tortured armaplas the man ripped his right hand free from the restraint, the manacle chain swinging wildly from his wrist. As he stood there was a series of popping sounds as he pulled hard hard with his left hand, dislocating it as it dragged free of its manacle. ‘Give it to me! You need to see it! Everyone’s seen it!’
The chain screamed in protest as the worker dragged it from its moorings and began shuffling with frightening speed towards the Interrogator. ‘You need to see it, Interrogator. It’s the best thing I’ve ever seen. I think it-‘
Lorne lowered her needler, peering at the twitching corpse that had been Ioman Karris. Raising her dataslate again she took a few more cursory notes before stepping back through the door. She nodded to the two grey armored Arbites standing at attention outside before turning to her assistant. ‘This one lasted longer before the virus overtook him. Inform the magos I require the servitors I asked him to procure, we have a possible hotspot.’
… while cutting communications between cities has decreased the overall output of Iotha II by 74%, the spread of the memetic virus has been effectively contained. Interestingly, this virus seems to prefer face-to-face transmission- for reasons unknown electronic transmission seems to significantly degrade its transmissibility. While this does somewhat hamper its ability to spread the extremely aggressive nature of the infected mean it should be handled with utmost caution.
The hum of the shuttle engines suddenly gradually diminished before ceasing altogether. Lorne closed her dataslate and slipped it into its satchel. Rubbing her temples, she slipped a hicaf pill into her mouth. Standing, she made her way to the cockpit of the shuttle. Over the shoulder of her pilot she could see her ship, the Sidus Igni, where it hung amongst the void off to port of Iotha’s harsh blue star.
“Hail, Interrogator.” The pilot nodded his head briefly. “We’ve been delayed about an hour- starcom’s having us wait for a debris storm to pass.”
“Understood, Jeha.” Lorne said. She turned towards the pilot to properly look at him- the replacement augmetic in her left eye had yet to fully integrate itself and it was still difficult to see. “This gives me more time to work on my report. Inform me if anything else happens.”
“Very well, Interrogator.” The pilot replied. He paused for a second, before turning to speak again. “Say, Interrogator. While we were at the spaceport one of the mechanics showed me this vid. It’s great.”
“Everyone’s seen it.”