“Korianne Genner of Terra, please report to the chute.”
Kori froze. “Was that what I thought it was?”
She looked over at the nearest posting board, and next to her name the word, Now was emblazoned.
Nikada grinned. “Go on. You might get out of here after all.”
Kori quickly hugged her friend and said, “Keep those claws in, Nikada.”
“Keep your spirits up, Korianne. Now, go before they send someone for you.”
That never ended well, so Kori headed for the chute, scanning her prison id, stepping into the column and holding her breath as she was sucked upward toward the judicial processing centre.
She was escorted under guard to the administration office and she stood silently as she was checked in.
When she stood in front of the magistrate, it was very basic, “The Shiloss will drop all charges but you cannot set foot on their world again. Your possessions on their world have been destroyed and you are free to go.”
Kori whispered, “Go where? That was my last job and I don’t have a new assignment. Is there somewhere I can get on a com system and try and find a place that will take me?”
The magistrate nodded. “You will be allowed in the public area of Janial until you can get a ride to your next job.”
Kori sighed in relief. “Thank you, Magistrate.”
“Quarters will be arranged. Follow the guards with you. They will take you to your new sleeping quarters.”
Kori nodded and followed the guards to a small section of the station where visitors were housed. She used the com to contact the archivist dispatch, but they needed to work on an assignment for her. It would take a while now that she had a record, even if the charges had been dropped.
Her life had been turned upside down because she walked through a puddle on a world where the dominant life form resembled walking, talking goldfish.
Kori checked her account balances and rubbed her forehead. She had enough money to get herself to another world, but she had to find out where she could get work. Days like this, she wished she had never left Earth.
Home had been boring, but it never made her wonder if she was one bad decision away from being homeless, helpless and a target for slavers. There was nothing like the feeling of being hunted for your genes.
Kori sighed and tried to keep herself occupied for a few days. Waiting for a new assignment was never easy, and she had never been in this situation before.
* * * *
Kori sat up and stared at her door when it chimed. She opened it, and the grinning visage of Nikada was beaming at her.
“I got off.” Nikada hugged her.
“I can see that. My case was dismissed.”
“They told me. This is my brother, Norod. Norod, this is Kori.” Nikada hauled her out and into the hall, shoving her toward the much larger male Wyencar.
Hands caught her arms and held her an inch from him. “It seems that you have made a friend in my sister, Kori.”
“Apparently.” She smiled and looked up and up until she could see the flat feline features in the leopard-printed skin.
Norod’s eyes were amber in the dark, natural outlines that were part of his skin.
Her heart thudded in her chest and her skin tingled where he was gripping her arms.
He seemed to realise that he was holding onto her without reason. He slowly released her and she stepped back.