Welcome to WipitUp Wednesday and another preview of my work in progress: Chosen by the Judge. This excerpt follows on from last week. Zara is in trouble with the Vendu, the aliens who occupy part of Earth. Brought before the judges, the charges are read out.
“The charges stand unaltered,” declared the recorder. “Zara Webb, you deliberately drank alcohol in excess to ensure your intoxication, knowing it would impede your judgement. This alone is not a crime. The charges relate to your behaviour and misdemeanours subsequent to your intoxication.”
She didn’t quite see it that way. It was meant to be a fun evening with four fellow students. Four young Vendu women who were keen to find out how humans spent their leisure time. Zara considered it part of her role as a cultural exchange operative to show the Vendu how humans both worked hard and enjoyed life.
She’d probably taken it too far when she let them drink the strong vodka on empty stomachs. How was she to know that vomiting in public was an offence? Why the hell was it wrong to dance in the streets?
We were having fun!
Okay, Zara should have known from her briefing sessions prior to departing Earth’s human territory that the Vendu had peculiar attitudes toward how they spent their free time. No dancing. No theatres. No concerts; private music appreciation was their preference. Which was probably why busking in the street outside the New Ayers Rock Technology University wasn’t a good idea, especially not in middle of the night.
Then she’d tried to bribe the policeman with a drink from the bottle in her hand—a big no-no. Puking on his sleeve was considered so disrespectful that one of her friends nearly fainted.
“Resisting arrest,” added the recorder gravely.
Jeez. She wasn’t really resisting. She’d felt dizzy and maybe she pushed against him a few times.
Okay, she cussed a lot.
“Actuating an escape.”
That was harder to explain. She might have been confused and panicked; she’d tried to climb out of the bathroom window in the police station. She’d got stuck. They had to yank her out. Her pants fell down and she’d kept yelling at them, rather rudely.
God, I’ve fucked up.
She didn’t want to get kicked off the exchange program. At least she saved the others the burden of a court case by accepting it was her mistake. The whole evening was a massive screw up. Instead of showing her new girlfriends how to party, she made a fool of herself. Thank goodness nothing had been reported back home.
“Do you accept your culpability? Yes or no?” the judge asked.
His voice shook her out of her regretful thoughts. Time to pull up her big girl pants and admit her fault. On the plus side, the conditions of the exchange program had ruled out any sentence involving an off world penal colony. However, the Vendu had refused to budge on other forms of punishment, like corporal punishment. Surely, he wouldn’t go that far?
She wove her fingers together and squeezed them into a knot.
“Yes, sir.” she said through dry lips.