It’s not easy being a Resistance spy.
Phasma, the new novel by Delilah S. Dawson, hits stores today and shines some light on the backstory of the fearsome captain. In this exclusive Force Friday II excerpt, a Resistance agent named Vi finds herself captured by a mysterious First Order trooper known as Cardinal. And he wants answers…
Vi was trained to remember every detail when it counts, but even she can’t keep up with the labyrinthine twists and turns of the enormous Star Destroyer’s guts. Long hallways end and intersect, and turbolifts up and down make it impossible for her to recall their route. It’s one thing to see pictures of ships like this one, but it’s another thing to really understand the enormity of their enemy’s resources. As he guides her into another lift, the man in red stands in front of the panel so she can’t see which level they’re headed to.
“Your place or mine?” Vi asks, hoping to goad him into moving aside.
But the man in red is silent. When she slowly begins to take her hands down, he clicks his tongue at her.
“Tsk. Hands on head. You know how this works, scum.”
When the lift doors open, the lighting is dim and flickering, and there’s something dripping, maybe runoff from the vent system. They’re deep in the bowels of the Star Destroyer, then, in an area that’s generally off-limits or beneath notice. And that’s not good for Vi. Even the First Order has rules, and the red trooper is breaking them. If this guy kills her, he won’t even have to do datawork. She’ll just be another load of garbage sliding down toward the incinerator.
Great. The Resistance doesn’t know much about the enemy they’re facing, and the New Republic doesn’t consider them a threat, which means Vi hasn’t been briefed on the protocol these people generally follow. She doesn’t know what to expect. She’s been trained to resist interrogation, but she also doesn’t know what new toys this guy in red might have. A chill trickles down her spine. She might be in over her head.
The blaster doesn’t leave her spine. Her captor gives her directions—turn here, turn there—but doesn’t respond to her taunting. Finally, he presses a long code into a control panel on the wall, and a door slides open far less smoothly than Vi would expect in what’s obviously a new ship.
The room isn’t large, maybe three meters by four, and it clearly has only one use: interrogation. Well, two uses, if you count torture. Three, if you include the inevitable death promised by the fact that she’s not going to give up any intel on the Resistance. The space is dominated by an interrogation chair, and the only other furnishings are a simple table and two rickety metal chairs, a place for the bad guys to sit down with a cup of caf and go over their notes while their victim bleeds out, probably.
After strapping her in, he checks the panel monitoring her vital signs, flicking it with a finger.
“Your heart rate is up,” he notes.
“Yeah, well, I’m strapped into a torture chair, standing on somebody else’s dried blood. Seems like a natural response.”
“You’ve got something to hide.”
His red helmet tips, just a fraction, conceding the point. As she watches him, he moves around the edges of the room, double-checking the cam feeds his droid already shut off, as well as what she’d guess is the comm system. The droid hovers ominously beside his shoulder, and he makes the rounds slowly, as if giving a warning.
This is not official.
This is off the record.
No one else is watching.
There will be no interruptions, no reprieves.
This is not how the First Order does things.
“So this is personal,” Vi notes.
“We shall see. It’s up to you. We can do this the easy way or the hard way.”
Vi wiggles, testing the strength of her bonds. “Letting me go would be really, really easy. Besides, you can search me all you want, but I don’t have anything useful. Let your boys tear my ship apart, deconstruct my droid, unravel my sweater, poke around in my brain all day. Whoever you think I am, you’re wrong. I’m just a harmless passerby.”
He stands before her now, legs spread and arms crossed. His blaster is clipped on his hip, red and gleaming. His red-gloved fingers tap against it, another reminder. It’s just the two of them and his droid. Anything could happen.
“You are Vi Moradi, code name Starling, known Resistance spy. And you have the very intel I need.”
“And you’re the Big Red Button. What happens if I poke you in the chest? Does a light turn on somewhere? Does something explode?”
“You don’t deny it?”
She would shrug if she weren’t manacled and strapped down. “You’re the one running the torture, so you’re the one who gets to decide what’s true and what’s not.”
“You were on Parnassos.”
Vi is too well trained to grin.
“Was I? And what’s so important about Parnassos?”
Her captor considers her. “Nothing. That’s the point. Now tell me what you know about Captain Phasma.”
Phasma is available now.
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