The Maldin Chronicles
Explore the world of the X-Terra Federation located in a galaxy distant from Earth.
One a nobleman, Reis Kith has rejected his title in favor of serving his community as an Investigator. After a string of murders where all the victims are slaves, Reis has taken lead on the case. The mysterious murders are putting the people in the Capitol City of Ruish on edge, and the Queen has tasked Reis with the unthinkable: team up with a human thief.
Carter Maldin, a human from an ex-Earth colony named Terra, has been languishing in a permanent house arrest for a year and a half. His crime? He broke into the Royal Palace on Xenias. His skill in technology and his quick wit are unparalleled, which makes him the perfect partner to help solve the crime. He’s offered a complete pardon in exchange for his help, and Carter jumps at the chance for freedom.
The catch? He has to pretend to be a slave.
Can Carter and Reis reconcile their differences and indulge in their mutual attraction all while solving the case? How many more victims will the murderer rack up before they are caught? Find out in In His Service, Book 1 of The Maldin Chronicles.
- 2 To Be Read lists
Publisher: Independently Published
Heat Level: 5
Romantic Content: 5
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Bisexual, Gay, Pansexual, Transgender
Protagonist 1 Age: 18-25
Protagonist 2 Age: 26-35
Tropes: Age Difference, Alpha Character, Antihero, Badass Hero, Big Character / Little Character, Criminals & Outlaws, Cultural Differences, Enemies to Lovers, Everyone is Queer, Fake Relationship, Famous / Royalty in Disguise, Healing Power of Sex, Opposites Attract, Second Chances, Smartass Twinks, True Love
Word Count: 81300
Setting: Space, Planet of Xenias
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Continuous / Same Characters
“Anun, who would have the most to gain in this death?” Reis looked to his Brother, Anun, while two guards carefully wrapped the body in a blue fabric sheet, traditional to their kind. Though it was a Human slave that was slain, the distraught Master crying off in the corner of the garden was a Xenin like them. It was the fifth slave murdered since the start of this quarter to be murdered, and Reis was growing impatient at the rising number of victims with no suspects in sight.
“Certainly not the Owner. If anything, a dead slave depreciates the value of an estate and killing violates practically all our laws.” Anun was a Law Keeper for the X-Terra Federation, though living on their home planet of Xenias. They hadn’t called upon them for the previous murders, but since Anun was the Broker for this slave with the Owner, the inconsolable male had called Anun. “I do not think a Xenin Owner would commit this crime.”READ MORE
Reis arched a hairless brow, a habit he picked up from the Humans and Lorians. “Brother, don’t tell me you are being xenophobic in the middle of this investigation.”
Anun raised their hands, uncurling all eight digits in surrender. “I am merely stating that we Xenins follow the slave laws much better than some counterparts. Just this week I had to stop two Kleethians who thought they could beat their rented slaves.”
“Well, I hope their sentencing is just.” Slavery apparently meant different things across their galaxy. For the X-Terra Federation, all planets abided by the Slavery Accords which were first developed between the planet Noon and their planet Xenias. Slavery was voluntary, as it was a legal form of employment, and the laws and policies governing the rights and structures of slavery were numerous. Beating a slave outside of contract was punishable, and a slave could file a complaint and demand an investigation by a Broker and third party. Despite the population expanding as more and more species mixed onto Xenias, things had been quite stable. While some crime did occur on federated planets, though murder was rarest thing on Xenias, especially here in the capitol. The murder of a slave was just unthinkable.
“Mmm…” Anun made a sad noise and frowned as the last wrapping encased the slave’s body before being carried off by three guards. Reis’ stomach also didn’t sit well watching it. “Do you require assistance with the Master?”
“No. May you follow the body to the Medical Temple, please? I want to ensure a quick and thorough inspection. I am sure your name can spin some cogs, as it were.” While Reis was a nobleman himself, he had rejected the title and opted to live as a common Xenin under an assumed name. He knew the Kith name, which showed distant relation to the Queen, would hurry things along.
“Of course, Brother.” Anun leaned forward to give an affection brushing of their nose against Reis’, and Reis returned one in kind. As Anun left with a flourish of fabric from his violet robes, Reis turned his attention back to the items strewn about. An ornate comb made of turium, a precious metal on the planet, a traditional beaded necklace that was broken with the chord and beads scattered, and a shawl. The shawl was long and silken, with delicate metal sewn in. It was a very expensive item indeed, which laid on the ground where the body once was, as if providing a ghostly outline. That rules out theft. No thief would leave such an item behind. He had already scanned the body with his Mekip, which was a small computational device that scanned data for consolidation and transfer. It was a handy tool for anyone, not just an Investigator like himself. He set out to scanning the items next.
He waved the instrument slowly across the area again, paying special attention to the items on the ground while he went over the facts in his head. The slave had been found with their neck snapped, which was different from the previous killings. In fact, all the slaves were killed in unique and different ways. Nothing connected them to each other except that they occurred on the same starday, they were all Human slaves, and four of the slaves belonged to high ranking figures in Xenin society. The first was a slave of a Palace Guard in their private home outside the Palace grounds. Reis had a sneaking suspicion that if it was one killer, it had been a practice murder for the killer to see if they could commit the crime.
He glanced over to where the Master was crying on a bench at the far end of the garden while a different slave rubbed his shoulders and had their own bouts of tears. A guard was standing by them, not to detain them but simply there to prevent them from touching the scene. Reis didn’t relish the small interrogation he would have to do, but it was a necessary part of his job. He straightened the medal pinned to his uniform shirt as he headed toward them.
Reis nodded to the guard to dismiss him, then turned to face the Master. He was a portly Xenin who was shorter than their average height and had lavender skin. Their face had swirling silver lined tattoos around their chin, which trembled as they looked up at Reis from their seated position. Before he introduced himself, Reis surreptitiously turned on his Mekip to start recording the conversation.
“Hello, Chancellor. I do not believe we have been properly introduced before, but I am Reis Won. I will be investigating this crime. Please accept my condolences for this unnecessary death.”
“Chancellor Yunin.” A sniffle escaped him, “Tee Yunin. I am happy to open my home to any friend of Anun Kith. He spoke highly of your abilities.” Even in the upsetting events, the Chancellor tried to cling to decorum and manners despite the hiccups between his words. Not many knew that Reis was in fact Anun’s Brother, which helped keep Reis’ anonymity. As if suddenly remembering there was another person with them, Yunin turned to the slave and took his hand, “This is Harry.”
Harry was a red headed young man with sad brown eyes and pale cheeks streaked with tears. His coloring reminded him of his Brother’s slave, Liam. Could they be related? The slave doesn’t have a translator chip in their neck, and Reis assumed they must be fluent in Xe, their language, in order to not need it.
“Hello, Harry. My condolences to you, as well. Were you and your slave-brother close?” Reis pretended to be asking a casual question, but the necessary evil in his line of work was to occasionally deceive and sneak questions here and there.
“W-we were just getting to k-know each other…” The boy spoke with a stutter, but Reis figured it wasn’t just due to the emotional circumstance. Surely, the stress doesn’t help the speech impediment any. “L-Lucas was, was new.”
Lucas… “Thank you, Harry. I understand this is all very hard, and I don’t want to take too much of your time. May I ask how new, Chancellor Yunin?”
“I finalized the purchase through Anun last week, and Lucas joined our home officially three stardays ago. He had visited two weeks prior during the assessment period.” Yunin took a handkerchief offered by Harry, dabbing at his black eyes with a loud sniff.
“I do apologize for having to ask this, but do you have any enemies that would want to harm you or your property, Chancellor Yunin?” Dealing with politicians and Royalty normally meant polite exchanges and dancing around topics, which is what he was taught early in his upbringing. It was better to handle high society with a polite, gentle touch.
“Goddess no.” Yunin shook his head adamantly. “I hardly go tit for tat with anyone on the Council. Chancellors Bebo and Huy disagree with several of my policies, but Huy wouldn’t step foot in my home since I have Human slaves. Bebo is quite old, and I do not believe he would be able to climb a set of stairs without assistance, let alone scale my walls.”
Reis had to admit that the walls of the outdoor garden were high, made with his planet’s natural stone that was cream colored and flecked with veins of turium. It was expertly cut and provided an imposing barrier that surrounded the blue grass and red wallow tree filled oasis in the back of the house. The only entry points to get into the garden were the wall, or the archway entrance from the house. The door could be quickly dismissed, since there was a guard stationed at the front and he would see anyone coming from the front of the house. The wall, which could be scaled, did not have any indication of tools used to do that. This meant that a would-be killer went through a completely guarded house undetected.
“I must admit, I am not familiar with policies on slaves. Did your contract guarantee the money be returned to you upon a death, untimely that it was?” It was a lie, as he understood many things about slave law since his Brother was a Law Keeper and a Broker, but he wanted to see if Yunin would be truthful or tell him something that wasn’t standard in the typical contract.
“Of course not. The sum was to go to his family, the Pliers, should he terminate the contract or…or…” Yunin’s face scrunched up in sadness and he bent over, dry heaving into sobs. While Reis thought this was quite an emotional display, he didn’t suspect it as disingenuous. The Chancellor could just be a very emotive male, which wasn’t unusual for their kind, but most of the politicians he grew up around often appeared cold to Reis. This, however, made him question that assessment.
“I’m sorry, M-Mr. Won, may I p-please take my Master inside? He-he’s very upset. We all are.” Harry frowned deeply, clutching some of the fabric of Yunin’s orange robe.
“Certainly. Chancellor Yunin, if you and Harry may please come by to the Securities Office tomorrow morning, we can continue our conversation then.” Normally Reis would have refused, but what his Human compatriots called “his gut” told him that it wasn’t likely they were suspects. He had already interviewed all the guards on duty before going to the body, and everything checked out for their alibis.
There were only three guards on duty hired by the Chancellor, and all had said the same thing: Harry was servicing Chancellor Yunin in the master bath in their normal nightly routine, and Lucas had gone to the garden to enjoy some alone time under the stars as both moons were full. Typically, there was never a guard in the garden, because the walls provided all the security they needed. How wrong they had been…
Reis made sure that one of the Securities Office guards collected all the pieces of evidence, right down to every bead, and then started on his way home. By the time he got to the street, the com on his wrist went off. He glanced down at it and pressed on the screen, where a small hologram hovered above it. It was one of his co-Investigators, a Grod named Turk. He was a hulk of a male, so much so that his horns were cut off by the allowable frame of the hologram.
“Hey, Boss.” Turk had a lot of influence from Humans, especially their speech. He was fluent in several languages, and Terran English was one of them. “You’re going to have to hit the quadbike hard. The Queen is calling for you.” Turk couldn’t hide the snicker behind his news.
“The Queen?” He shook the wrist of his communicator, briefly disrupting the hologram to see if it was a bad connection, “Am I hearing you correctly, Turk?”
“Hey, don’t shake it so much! I’ll get motion sickness.” Turk made a show of gagging and shaking his head before continuing, “Yes, Her Majesty has heard about the case and requests an audience with the lead Investigator. That’s you, Boss.”
Reis took a deep breath, rubbing the spot on his forehead between his eyes. He hadn’t seen his technical-Cousin in many quarters, which felt like a millennia really. “Okay, if an Envoy contacts you again tell them I am on my way.”
“Smooth sailing, Boss.” Turk saluted and signed off, but Reis wasn’t quite so sure that Turk was using that idiom correctly. I hope something goes smooth tonight, that’s for sure.
It wasn’t that Reis hated Royalty or being a noble himself. He just didn’t have the patience like his Brother or Father had for the pomp and circumstance. The dancing around the truth behind the veil of politeness and the way others climbed the social ladder – all of it frustrated him. It was why he had become an Investigator for the Securities Office rather than a politician, government official, or any of the other careers that many noblemen like him would do.
As the furthest relatives to the Queen, the Kiths could slide into any aspect of upper society they wished. His Father strongly discouraged him from going into the Military, since the thought of having his only other child potentially die on some reactor explosion on a ship – or worse – terrified him. So, Reis chose the most rigorous career outside of the military, which was to work in the Securities Office. He investigated crimes, managed procedures for criminals, and trained guards for various details which even included the Palace. Though right now, he’d have given anything to be a eunuch Priest in the Medical Temple if it meant avoiding this meeting altogether.
He fidgeted while he stood waiting in the Queen’s, receiving room, which was made of the same stone as Chancellor Yunin’s house was but was whiter and had more streaks and veins of turium in its raw form. It was pristine, accented by the rich blues and purples that covered the cushions and long curtains of decorative fabric that hung from the high ceilings and window frames. When the large metal doors finally parted with an audible whoosh of metal on metal, he turned and immediately bowed at the waist, his right arm drawn across his chest.
“Please, Cousin, you are family and we shall not stand on formality tonight.” He straightened, seeing that she was dressed in her night clothes, which were white robes that were nearly see through and contrasted against her pale, flawless lavender skin. Her arms and legs were decorated in a traditional tattoo for Queens, which were deep purple bands of varying thickness from her ankles to calf, and wrist to forearm. She clearly had been in a hurry to interrupt her own evening to call him. Like the most recent victim, Lucas, she had a long shawl draped across her slender shoulders that trailed down to the ground. The metal design woven in was very much like the one Lucas owned…Too much like it.
“Of course, Your Majesty.” he nodded, relaxing his posture though he remained standing since she did as well. “You summoned me in regards to the murder at Chancellor Yunin’s home. May I ask why?”
“When my Minister informed me that you are the lead Investigator for the murders, I knew that I could trust you. This recent murder has shaken me,” She avoided looking directly at him, instead staring off to the side and towards the window overlooking her own elaborate garden. “Lucas is…was…the brother of my slave Sofia. The Human family Plier are one of the first Human families on Xenias since their species started exploring our galaxy. They have been friends of my immediate family since my Mother’s reign, and it is as if they murdered family.”
Ah, that explains it. Lucas hadn’t received such a shawl from Yunin, but most likely paid from the Queen’s own coffers. Either Sofia or the Queen herself bought it and gifted to Lucas. “Please, extend my apologies to your dear Sofia, Your Majesty.”
“I shall.” There was a hint of something, like a deep sadness before a sharp inhale as she steadied her face into a neutral expression once more, “Dear Sofia is my favorite, and this death has brought my attention to the other four who have also mysteriously been killed in similar circumstances.” She pivoted her body to face him. “Why has this not been solved?”
“I apologize, but these deaths are a unique situation that hasn’t been heard of. I do not exactly know when the last time a slave was murdered, but it has not been in any of our great-great ancestors times.” He would have to guess it had been many a millennia, perhaps. “It has also stumped many of our other Investigators, Your Majesty.”
“Yes, my Minister also informed me that the locations where the bodies were found were, for a lack of a better word, impenetrable. A point of entry has not been determined in any of the cases, or if there was an obvious one, it was deemed impossible for someone to have entered the premises through there unnoticed by a guard. Yet, here we have five dead slaves.”
“That is correct, Your Majesty.” He sighed, feeling resigned at the fact that he was worried that Lucas wasn’t going to be the last of the dead slaves.
“Reis, would you agree that it is imperative to solve these cases?”
“Absolutely, Your Majesty.” He was surprised at her question. He stood up straighter, putting his hands behind him at the small of his back in a martial manner, “I take pride in my work and wish to uphold the laws of our planet, and that of the Federation.”
“Would you also agree that you should seek out any means necessary to solve these cases?” She adjusted her robes casually, though there was a nervous fidget to her demeanor. His eyes narrowed suspiciously, unsure of where her line of questioning was going.
“Again, Your Majesty, absolutely.”
“Do you remember the incident that happened six quarters ago, when that thief that broke into the Palace?” She turned her head to look straight into his eyes, her dark teal colored eyes piercing into his own, and he had to fight the urge to look away.
His stomach plummeted, eyes going wide as he dropped all formality to refer to the Queen by her given name, “Trina…”
“That thief could break into a highly guarded Palace, enter directly to my vaults, and attempted to steal some antique Earth-Terran computers. They invaded what we once considered the impenetrable.”
“Trina, I must implore you, that…that Human is not going to be cooperative in solving a case.” Reis wanted to solve these murders, but what she was flirting with a dangerous idea. That Trial had been something of a headache and legend for the whole Securities Office, as the Human refused to speak to anyone, not even a provided Law Keeper. The only time he spoke was to curse and fight whenever someone tried to manage them during the Trial. To this day, people would refer to other criminals as “not that bad compared to him.”
“That Human has a name, Reis. I did not take you for an ignorant male.” She turned her head away again after chastising him, now not bothering to look at him. He wasn’t prejudiced, but she did have a point; he did have a name. She swept the train of her gowns back and glided over to the window, the pale light of the two moons making her skin cast an ethereal glow. “You will seek this Human, and you both shall go undercover. I have discussed the details with my Minister, and she will go over them with you. You will offer this thief a complete pardon, directly from me, which will release them from their permanent house arrest for their cooperation only if they comply fully to the terms my Minister has drafted. Is this clear?”
He stiffened, knowing that this was a command rather than a question. He inhaled deeply through his nose and let it out with a sigh as he responded.
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
“Please, Reis. I want this murderer caught.” She turned her head slightly, peering at him just through the corner of her eyes, “What is the Human’s name again?”
Reis ground his teeth as his eyes fell closed, dreading to say the name, “His name is Carter Maldin.”
Carter pressed his forehead against the tiny window of his apartment. He could see the white Tlipian guy he labeled as Buttface Two trod along the bluestone streets where throngs of people went up and down. Buttface Two had all four arms loaded up to make deliveries to people. Isn’t it too early in the week to make deliveries? Actually, what day is it? He knew it was morning since the sky was bright yellow and the two suns shone in the sky. He wasn’t quite sure what day it was, since he lost count after the sixth month of his imprisonment. He could hear the batting of something solid against metal, and he knew the culprit.
“Gus, knock it off.”
Gus, his slinky little black cat, was playing with Carter’s ball that he often used for his game of “Toss the Ball in the Air”. It was one of the many games Carter had to create in order to entertain himself between video transmissions, people watching through the window, drawing, cooking, masturbating, using a laser pointer on Gus, and ordering groceries through courier.
For the past six quarters, or year and a half in Earth/Terran time, he’d been locked into a dungeon of his own making; a shoebox of an apartment in the Middle Slum of Ruish, the capitol city of Xenias. Slum was a bit too strong of a word, though it is was the area roughly translated to in English. It was probably more accurate to call it a very populated area of the city with high metal and stone skyscrapers that contained apartments which were packed closely together. Slums implied masses of poor people and bad conditions, which was farthest from the truth in Xenias. Poverty didn’t even exist on Xenias, as everyone – citizen or not – was given a monthly allotment of credits, so no one went without food or shelter. However, the more credits you had, the more land you could own and thus the bigger your house, with the nobility and Royalty having the biggest houses of them all.
Situated in the middle of the city, the Middle Slum was home to numerous species. Xenins, Humans, Grods, Lorians, and a bunch of other species of aliens who all came from planets that were part of the X-Terra Federation lived there. He just happened to be the one sad fuck that had gotten caught during his biggest score of ancient human technology on the one planet where he couldn’t fight back against its inhabitants. So, his existence wasn’t amongst the others anymore. Instead, he could only watch from afar and make stories, give nicknames, and imagine what life was like outside. I haven’t felt the suns on my skin in forever.
His punishment was an indefinite house arrest, as there was no prison on Xenias. Xenins, with their lofty ideals for fair and just treatment, found it only fair to not deport him back to Terra, and instead administer an indefinite house arrest. If he had been sent back to his home planet Terra, he probably would have been given a one-way ticket to the penal colony on the moon or worse, since the things he stole were beyond value in some military circles. Maybe they thought I’d be sent to a firing squad? He supposed he should be thankful, since he still had his life, but it was so lonely. In his isolation, his only contact with the outside were couriers, the internet, or through other communication transmissions.
It wasn’t like he hadn’t tried to escape his homebound prison. The first four months he constantly tampered with his ankle monitor that was embedded in his leg. The Xenin tech was a bit more advanced than the tinkering he did of ancient technology, and the tried-and-true “smash the shit out of it” technique often failed, especially since it hurt. A lot. He could only manage to get out for a second before guards swarmed the building and he was tossed back into his quarters.
Suddenly, there was a loud bang, clank, and mrowl behind him.
“Gus knock it off!” he hissed at his tiny runt of a cat as it scurried underneath the bed with the ball. He dropped to his knees to follow, eager to get the one thing that he planned on using to stave off his mind-numbing existence for today. When the bell to his door chimed, it startled him so much that he banged his head on the underside of his bed. He winced, cursing and scooting out from under the bed while rubbing the sore spot. Again, the bell chimed, one after the other. “I’m coming!”
While he was annoyed at the buzzing, he did have a bit of excitement from the prospect of an unexpected visitor. Did someone want to visit me? Maybe my friends from Terra are finally here to see me. He smiled brightly at the thought and pressed a finger to the pad beside the doors, and the metal parted from the center to reveal…Him!
Filling his doorway with his well over six-foot five-inch frame was the cop who threw him into this jail in the first place. He was there for the whole arrest, trial, and sentencing. Now he was back to haunt him. Xenins, for the most part, looked pretty Human with some notable differences. This Xenin dude had pale robin’s egg blue skin with pink in the iris of his eyes that reminded him of Xenias’ sunsets. His hair was black like all Xenins and was kept in a traditional-ish fashion that he understood some more modern Xenins adopted. The hair on the sides of their head were pulled back and braided to meet behind their head and set in a ponytail with the rest laid flat. It wasn’t as long as most since the glossy tresses just ended at about his shoulders. He was slim, but muscular, and damn could he fill out a unform t-shirt…
Stop it! He clearly was going nuts, if not desperate since he hadn’t had any friendly or intimate contact with anyone since his imprisonment. After such a long time in confinement, anyone probably looked good to him now. He shook his head to clear it and blinked at the cop, fixing his face into a scowl.
“What the fuck are you doing here?” He didn’t bother hiding the venom in his tone.
The cop started advancing, Carter backed up into his own home while the Xenin spoke his native tongue which comprised of clicks, things that sounded like English consonants, and whistles. Carter snorted smugly, pointing to the small chip in his neck.
“I can’t understand a thing you’re saying, asshole. My translator broke, and I can’t seem to go anywhere to fix it.”
The way Mr. Cop’s eyes narrowed spoke volumes, and Carter just kept his chin up while his smirk never faded. Then, quick as a whip, the man stabbed the chip of the translator with a metal piece that Carter knew was a Mekip. He yelped, snatching at the cop’s arm and clawing at it though it did nothing to the man. Warmth flooded his neck that quickly faded as there was an audible click when the cop disengaged the Mekip from the chip. Slowly, the translation trickled into his ears.
“R’Clickth, K’click shhoo—eyou down at the Securities Office, and I am to escort you.”
Carter raised a brow, rubbing his neck lightly, “What did you do to me?”
“You needed an update.” Reis rolled his fuchsia colored eyes, “It came out quarters ago.”
“Well, gee, asshole, you can get pretty much everything by courier except a fucking update to your tech.” Carter stomped off towards his bed, crouching down to look for his cat, and ultimately, his ball. “Gus, give me the fucking ball.”
“You must have not heard me.” Reis stepped closer, his thick black boots clanking against the metal floor of Carter’s apartment. The human up at the Cop from his position on his knees while they spoke, “You are coming with me to the Securities Office. There are important matters to discuss.”
“What’s to talk about? I haven’t tried to run off in forever. Get the fuck over it.” Carter bent his head down once more and made some kissy noises, “Here, Gus, Gus, Gus. Give Daddy the ball.”
“If I promise you a ball at the Securities Office, will you come?” Reis brow had no hair, but the muscles clearly arched upward. Carter shot the cop a glare.
“Do you think I’m a kid? I’m twenty-three, asshole.”
“Oh? Are you sure I could not convince you with something else? Your file mentioned something.”
Carter’s ears perked when he heard a crinkle of a wrapper as the guy stuck his hand in one of the many pockets of his pants. Slowly he revealed the mother-of-all candy bars, a king size Kit Kat. Carter’s eyes went wide and mouth agape. He bolted up onto his feet and reaching for the treat. He hadn’t had one since he was a kid, and less so growing up on Terra. His hopes were dashed when the man raised the bar high above Carter’s head, which was easy to do because all Xenins practically stood about six and a half feet tall. He dangled the treat like an asshole would to a dog who wanted a bone.
I’m no dog. Carter glared up at him, refusing to be intimidated. “What do you want?”
“I told you, you are to accompany me to the Securities Office. We will discuss a possible plan that may or may not end with you being out of house arrest.”
“Out of house arrest? You mean I get to be free?” All the air in his lungs escaped, the shock feeling like a kick in the gut. He completely forgot about the candy, looking around his apartment. I can say goodbye to all this shit, I can touch plants again…fuck, I can go to a bar again!
“There are conditions, and you would have to willingly agree to them and see it through before being pardoned. The Queen is offering the opportunity for a complete pardon.”
“The Queen?” Carter was pulled out of his fantasy of life on the outside, arching a brow up at the Cop, “What does she have to do with all this? I figured there’d still be a lot of hard feelings…”
Reis cleared his throat and tucked the candy into his hand as he lowered it, but still didn’t offer it. “She requires your help on a very urgent matter, and if you should comply, the pardon will be granted immediately upon completion of the task.”
“Well, shoot, tell me what it is.”
“I will not discuss it here, as we need to be in a secure location, which is in the Securities Office. Now.”
Carter looked around – Gus had food and water, so he’d be fine. His ball was probably a lost cause and probably under some kitchen appliance. I guess I can go hear them out, and hopefully by the end of the day I can get the hell out of Dodge.
“Deal, but first.” He held out his hand, making a grabby motion with it. The Cop gave his typical scowl, but he gingerly placed the candy bar into Carter’s hand. He waited until the man’s hand was back at his side before he tore into it gleefully, breaking off a piece and stuffing it into his mouth.
“Oh…oh so good. I haven’t had this kind of chocolate in ages. Fuck…” This is better than sex. How could stacks of crispy wafers encased in chocolate be so close to heaven?
“Alright. Are you ready? Do you require any clothing for outside?”
“Is it cold?” Carter sucked his teeth to gather any chocolate clinging there, wanting to savor every morsel. He wasn’t quite sure if it was the cold season or hot season, since everything in the place was temperature controlled. There was only rain and sunshine as weather conditions on Ruish, but he wasn’t sure if that was for all of Xenias.
“It is a cold morning for the first quarter.” Reis nodded towards the jacket hanging up by the door. “I would suggest that.”
“Huh, so it’s the hot season. Okay.” Carter grabbed his jacket, which had been his father’s flight jacket, with several emblems on the sleeves, one of which was for NASA, and the other the X-Terra Federation. He shrugged it on but didn’t bother to zip it up and instead stuck a hand in one pocket. “We got a problem, pal.”
“What?” Reis went to stand at the door, readying a hand to open it on the panel.
“This guy.” Carter raised his knee, hiking up the leg of his grey canvas pants to show off the bright white metallic ankle monitor stuck into him. “Can your little wand fix this too?”
“No. My badge has a proximity device that communicates with the monitor. If you stay close to me, the alarm won’t sound. If you do run, you’ll get shocked.”
“What?!” Carter jerked back, slamming his foot down. “It’s never shocked me before!”
“With my badge nearby, it will. It will assume you are evading capture and will respond accordingly.” There was a smirk trying to hide itself behind the Cop’s stoic alien features.
“Accordingly, my ass,” Carter grumbled and stuck himself close to the Cop, not wanting to risk it. He watched the guy shiver for a moment, and he tilted his head to give him a glare, “Geeze, I don’t smell, asshole.” He may live as a hermit, but he did shower. Most days.
“Keep in step with me, and it won’t be a problem. We don’t want to be late.”
“Fine, fine. Lead on.”COLLAPSE
Features transmale lead