Part 32: Captured
U-ugh ... Yeah.
Damned pirates! I thought we had secured this habitat.
Like you said, there are half a million people living here. A perfect place for Cosette's goons to hide.
Okay. We won't cause trouble.
Sit down. Are you thirsty? Do you want some water?
Ah, you pussy.
What's the matter captain? Our water not pure enough for you? Haha. A lifetime of drinking water laced with Ongessite fucks you up big time.
Babies are born with one eye. Six fingers. Sometimes, you vomit blood for no apparent reason. Lucky for me, it just made me stop growing. Hmmm. How old do you figure I am, captain?
It's not polite to guess a woman's age.
What are you after, Cosette?
As much as I would love to carve you into nice little pieces and mail you back to your pretty little lover back on the Sunrider, you're worth quite a bit to me alive. And I always was more of a businessman than a killer.
I say something funny, captain?
Your record says otherwise. You've murdered too many civilians to claim you're not a killer. You attack unarmed cargo vessels. You execute their crew. Steal their goods. How are you not a killer?
Foreigners have been stealing our Ongessite far more than I have been pillaging the galaxy! Our infants are born monsters! Our fathers die in the refineries! Our livelihoods are stolen from us! And those responsible call themselves CEOs. Presidents. General Managers.
Stop this, Cosette. We can help you. We can help Ongess.
Oh, we're just supposed to believe that the Alliance is here to help us, right? They just want to give us food and medicine! Oh my, what benevolence! What generosity! I'm going to cry! Help us my ass. They're here for our Ongessite. Nothing more.
And the medical cruiser they just docked? All the food and water they've distributed?
Nothing but tricks! Don't think that the Imperials never attempted to deceive us. They offered us rights which never came! Food which spoiled! Technology which broke! Fresh water which became tainted with the Ongessite they constantly refined over our homes! No! The only truth is that greed runs the galaxy!
I'm not one of them. I come from a neutral world, just like yours. Listen to me. I have the admiral's ear. Just give me your demands, and we can make amends. I seek independence for my world, just as you do. We're in this together.
It's too late for that, captain. Independence, or death. All Alliance ships out of Ongess within 48 hours. That is my only demand.
You know that won't be possible.
Then we'll hit them until they cannot stand it any more. They'll have to burn every habitat in orbit around Ongess before they kill all of us. And with each one of us the Alliance kills, our cause will only become stronger.
You're mad. Leave the children out of this. At least the children.
Let me tell you a secret, captain.
Then when I became a teenager, she made me pretend to be a child, merely because the market for teens was saturated. Supply and demand.
You dont know anything, captain! I killed her like the bitch she was! And I'll kill anyone else who gets in my way! I am Cosette Cosmos! Terror of the stars! Nobody fucks with me! NOBODY!
You're making a mistake!
Ah, enough with him. Take him back to his cell! Soon, captain, we'll find out just how much you're worth to the Alliance.
You're injured. Argh. This was my fault. I'm the one who brought you here. But Ive got a way out.
I found a piece of chipped cement in the cell. It wasn't much, but I have managed to cut through my bindings.
Don't do anything reckless, lieutenant. The Alliance will come for us.
Trust me, captain.
All right. The old sick prisoner routine?
Theres a reason its a classic.
One strangled guard later ...
Our safest bet might be to make a run for it to an escape pod.
*clicking of dozens of guns*
Hmph. Such a pity we have to keep you alive.
But maybe I can cut off a limb or two to pay you back for what you did to my guard. After all, I never promised to return you to the Alliance completely intact! Hold her down!
No! Im the one you want! Cosette!
Captain, stay back!
Heeeheehee ... So tall you don't know what it's like being stuck like this until you've tried it yourself.
ALLIANCE!!! KILL THEM ALL!!
Are you all right!?
Come on sir! We need to get you out of here!
No wait! Hang on!
No! Put the knife -
Don't worry sir! You're safe now! We'll get you out of here!
Let me go, lieutenant!
We've got you! Don't worry, sir!
No goddamnit! NO!!!
This is what the Alliance seek to bring to Ongess! I'll see you in hell, captain!
It was our responsibility to protect you during your inspection. And we have failed.
Tell me this, admiral. How many civilians died during my rescue?
We do not have an exact figure. You've seen it yourself. On Ongess, the line between civilian and combatant is not clear. We did manage to neutralize 32 insurgents however.
Did you count the girl as one of them?
I have no idea what you mean.
I saw your men gun down a girl who couldn't have been more than ten years old. All because she happened to pick up a little knife.
I'm sorry captain. But urban fighting leads to collateral damage.
This is only the beginning. The people of Ongess will treat you as an occupier, not a liberator. You can offer them all the aid you have. You can promise them freedom and democracy. But as long as you mine their Ongessite, you will always be one of their enemies.
Very well captain. You've made your point. We shall conduct an internal investigation. I will not have it said that I allowed one of my men to gun down a little girl.
An internal investigation? That's it?
We've ... got to do more.
There are those in the Alliance who do not agree with what we're doing here. The Progress Party has been running ads accusing me of being a conqueror. Of plundering Ongess for its resources. What's the only difference between the admiral and the Veniczar? One of them's running for office. The Progress Party fears that I seek to end civilian control over the military. And frankly, many voters do as well. If any negative press of what we're doing on Ongess got out ... The Progress Party may win this election. They'll shut down the aid project here on Ongess. Not only that, but we'll lose our only supply of high grade fuel in the war. The consequences would be catastrophic. Both for Ongess and for the war. You must understand, word of this incident must be kept quiet.
You want to cover this up.
No. I'm going with this to the press. The truth must be told.
Alright ... There's too much at stake here. I trust you will handle this situation, Admiral.