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Exo-Force: The Interrogation

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“Alright, let us begin.”

A bright lamp was turned on, lighting up a small interrogation room. Behind the table, cuffed to the chair, was a man. He didn’t have any outstanding features: Japanese, as anyone else in the Golden City, dark hair, simple, albeit dirty overalls.

The man squinted at the light, barely able to discern two figures behind the lamp.
“Alright. Tanaka, was it?” spoke one of them. A middle-aged man, judging by the voice, tired but calm.

“Y-yes,” the man in the chair blinked again, trying to get his eyesight adjusted to see better. He tugged on the handcuffs. “What is the meaning of this?” Tanaka demanded. “I am a citizen of the Golden City, like anyone else!”

The other figure scoffed.
“Anyone else, huh” they muttered. “Like hell.”

The man in the chair shuddered slightly. That other person seemed to be higher and broader in chest than their partner. And their voice was much younger. A teenager? And was that a glimpse of spiky hair he caught?

“Forgive my associate,” the first of the figures sighed. “Let me introduce myself. My name is Kurosawa, I am the chief of security of the Golden City. And this here is Takeshi. He is an Exo-pilot.”

Tanaka’s attention was immediately snapped to the second man behind the lamp. Who did not know the Exo-Force team, a group of gifted teens led by sensei Keiken to protect the people of Sentai against the robot uprising? But why would an Exo-pilot be present at a security interrogation?

“M-my pleasure,” the man mumbled, looking away as he’s felt Takeshi’s eyes drilling him.

“Cut the crap,” the pilot barked and slammed the desktop. “Are you a robot spy?”

“What?” Tanaka blinked. “A spy? Me? Are you out of your mind???”

“That’s what a robot spy would say!” Takeshi pressed, leaning forward to the point that the evaluee could almost discern his bright green locks, as well as armored pauldrons.

“Takeshi,” Kurosawa said. “Behave yourself.”

The Exo-pilot scoffed again, returning to the darkness beyond the cone of light.

“You must understand our caution,” the chief continued. “After the attack on the Sentai Fortress, we’ve suffered a lot of civilian casualties,” as he said that, Takeshi shifted pose, crossing his arms. “People went missing.”

The man in the chair looked at him again, a sparkle of understanding in his eyes.

The attack on the Sentai Fortress was led by the leader of the robots, Meca One, himself, in a giant spider-like mech. The Exo-Force meant to keep it busy while the civilians evacuated the fortress, but something went wrong…

“That was… very unfortunate,” Tanaka muttered, lacking better words. “But, what does it have to do with me? I have no relatives or friends who went missing that day.”

“That’s the thing, mister Tanaka,” Kurosawa sighed, putting something on the table and sliding it to their subject. “According to this file, you were MIA.” the chief insinuated.

Before Tanaka was a data pad. To his horror, it displayed a picture of him, along with some personal data, and a big “Missing” note at the bottom.

A cold went up Tanaka’s spine as he began to realize the situation he’s in.

“So tell me, mister Tanaka,” Kurosawa bent forward, putting his hand over the data pad. “Do you remember how you got to the Golden City?”

“I, uh,” the interrogatee looked down at chief’s hand. “During the attack I got separated from the caravan, then… then I rejoined them when everything calmed down, and we made it to the Gold City safely. Why?”

“That’s a bit vague, don’t you agree, mister Tanaka?” Kurosawa put his hands together.

“Vague? That’s bullshit, is what it is,” Takeshi lost his posture and slammed his fist on the table, making Tanaka stagger back. “Do you wanna know why, mister Tanaka?” he paused, staring right at the man.

“I, I’ve no idea,” the subject muttered, squeezing under the pilot’s furious glare.

“Cuz I was the one who found your body!”

The man in the chair stared back in terror.

“But that can’t be!” he protested, his voice laced with panic. “Here I am, am I not??? I am alive, and this… this interrogation is a load of crap! I will file a complaint! I will tell your sensei that you spend your off-time bullying honest citizen with the chief of security! That oughta teach you a lesson, you upstart!” as he kept shouting, his voice became less panicked and more angry. “The Council will hear of that! You understand? You are making a big mis~”

Tanaka’s head blew up as his voice started to lose any note of humanity, turning mechanical and finally cutting. Kurosawa was quick on his feet, struggling to wrestle Takeshi for his blaster.

In the meantime, Tanaka’s body went limp, mechanical fluids leaking from the gash that was left from the shot, the circuitry sparkling inside.

“That was absolutely unnecessary, Takeshi,” the chief of security slammed the blaster down onto the table. “I’ve let sensei Keiken convince me to take you with me on the condition that you shall behave, and this is how you repay me???”

The ceiling lights flickered on.
“I was right, wasn’t I?” Takeshi argued, crossing his arms again. He wore a red jumpsuit with additional armor plating on his chest, elbows and knees. His hair was emerald green. “Sometimes you gotta trust your gut feelings, chief!”

“This is not how we do things in the precinct!” Kurosawa took a deep breath and looked at one of the walls with the mirrored glass window built into it. “Lieutenant, please make sure Takeshi-kun is behind the glass for the rest of the interrogation. Also, someone’s gotta clean that mess!” he pointed at an android body cuffed to the chair.

He sat back down as his fellow security officers were taking care of the hot-headed Exo-pilot and the mess he left behind.

When all was done, he walked out and to the neighboring monitor room.

“Alright,” he said, holding the datapad, “bring in the next one.”

Kurosawa looked at the detainee’s profile. It was a young man, probably about Takeshi’s age. He had long, silver hair and piercing blue eyes. The file name red “Rinkashi Tedome.”

Tedome? the chief thought in bewilderment. Where did I hear that name before?

He tore his eyes off the screen and peered into the room. The silver-haired kid in a worn out trenchcoat was already sat at the table, blindfolded, his face grim and determined.

“Here we go again,” the chief spoke out.”

The interrogation room went dark as Kurosawa closed the door...