Here's the start of, Call Me Trouble.
“Please rise while the Magistrate reads the charges against you.” A bailiff with a black eye and fat lip pulled Trouble to her feet, not giving her a choice. She stumbled against the iron shackles on her ankles, unable to catch herself with her wrists cuffed to the iron girdle at her waist. The bailiff yanked on her arm, keeping her upright, preventing her from landing on her face, but damn near dislocating her shoulder in the process.
“Aristasha Trouble Devoe, you have been accused of multiple crimes against the citizens of Pegasus Port and this government.”
She lifted her chin and pinned the judge with a look of contempt through a shock of her dark hair. It seemed she’d waited forever for her court date. To say it been excruciating was an understatement. The staff had sleazed into her cell at least a hundred times with all kinds of offers. Trading sex for an escape, where she’d probably be nabbed outside the jail, hadn’t been on her agenda—so she’d passed on their offers as only she could. A knee to the groin, a couple of fat lips later, and they had her in a security girdle to control her violent outbursts, as they’d called them. Little did they know, they hadn’t seen violence yet?
They took the additional precaution of chaining her to a bench for the duration of her stay. She wrinkled her nose. They’d been thoughtful enough to leave a clay pot under the bench for her to relieve herself, which she’d used to baptize the bailiff who’d gotten a little too familiar when he’d come to collect her for her hearing. He hadn’t had time to change and smelled like he’d crawled from the sewers. Fitting.
“Why the formality? We gotten so cozy the last few weeks. Please, call me Trouble,” she said.
“Silence.” The judged slammed his gavel down. “The prisoner will hold her tongue until asked to do otherwise.”
Trouble smiled. “It’s a bit slippery, but I could certainly give it a…” Hundreds of volts slammed into her, from the center of the iron girdle where tiny needles stuck into her mid section. She dropped to her knees on the stone floor, the pain stealing her wind and any further words she wished to utter. She sucked in a breath and lifted her face to her accusers. She’d be damned if she gave them the satisfaction of defeating her so she smiled, beaming as though she’d received a gift.
“Sergeant Devoe, you have been accused of abandoning your military post, grand theft of a star-cruiser, armed robbery, the unlawful release of indentured servants, theft of a valuable animal, and assaulting your commanding officer with a…” The judge narrowed his eyes and squinted at the holo-screen on his desk. He lifted his gaze and motioned the court officer over. The man stepped up and the judge pointed at the screen.
The bailiff looked up and smirked. “Poodle, your honor.”
The officer nodded. “Small, fluffy, canine from Earth. Supposed to be hypoallergenic…”
The judge cleared his throat. “And assault with a poodle.”
The courtroom burst into laughter.
“Order.” The judge slammed his gavel against his desk several times until the room went silent. “How plead you to these charges?”
It seemed the only thing they couldn’t charge her with was not being resourceful. Trouble fought the smile, pulling at the corners of her mouth. So she’d ripped the nasty little ankle bitter from the old bitch’s arms and threw her in the captain’s face. Pookie, apparently didn’t like men, and took a chunk from the captain’s face when he caught her. The poodle had survived the encounter without injury, but Captain Terrance Walters… Trouble glanced in his direction.
He glared, promising retribution with one look. A jagged injury, recently fused shut, covered his left cheek. Yeah, he had a reason to be angry, and she wouldn’t fault him that. He’d only been doing his duty and certainly hadn’t deserved what she’d done, but the simple fact of it all, was that she hadn’t wanted to go back and he seemed to think otherwise. The distraction had helped her to get away. Besides, she’d done him a favor. The scar would look dashing on his otherwise plain countenance. Women would love it.
Of course she wasn’t completely without heart. Not wanting the poodle to catch the brunt of the Captain’s fury, she’d grabbed the little dog and ran, adding theft of the poodle to the long list of charges. If it hadn’t been for the bio-tag inside the little dog, they’d never caught her. If only she’d known it was a show dog.
“What say you? We don’t have all day, Sergeant.”
“Guilty.” They’d captured her entire crime spree in full digital glory. No she wasn’t some kind of hero, nor did she have a legitimate reason for what she did. Truth was, she’d gone AWOL and had ducked into the brothel to hide. No use in denying what they had evidence to prove without a doubt. Yes she’d abandoned her military post. Yes she’d thrown the poodle and stolen it. Yes she’d taken the ship without authorization and given a few unfortunate women a ride off the planet. Yes, she’d robbed that bank. She needed the funds to fuel the ship. At least she hadn’t killed anyone.
Freeing the prostitutes had been a spontaneous decision, that she’d been certain would make it more difficult to track her flight from the cat-house. Multiple woman running in every direction—what wasn’t to love? Nothing honorable about what she did—she just didn’t want to fight in the war anymore.
“You do realize the penalty for desertion?”
Desertion? She’d forgotten it wasn’t called absent without leave, in times of war. Shit. This couldn’t be good. Desertion was the ultimate military no-no. She’d just wanted out, hadn’t thought that they’d take it that far when she’d chosen to run.
“The military court sees fit to release you into custody of the Company X.”
X-ray? X as in exterminate, X-ray, a suicide company? Her mouth dropped open. They had to be kidding? Nothing she’d done warranted death. “Your honor, I’d like to change my plea.”
“Too late Ms. Devoe. You are hereby stripped of all rank and military designation. May the gods have mercy on your soul.”