I fell in love. In my profession, love becomes unplanned. One night stands are the norm and usually results in the someone dying. This was my first time meeting her and love at first sight only ever sounded nice in those frisky holos. My crew would riot if they ever find out.
“Tiana Bree, for your crimes against the crown, you are sentenced to death.”
The cold hard hammer of justice rings through the grand halls. Silver columns with gold inlay run the expanse, leading up to a raised platform where she now stands. The ornate platform towers over me, as if designed for royalty. I stand under her radiance, mouth slacked in awe of the majesty she carries.
“Thanks, your highness. Do you mind if I ask you a question?”
“If it is about the sentencing or this trial, go ahead and ask your question.”
“You’re really cute. You wanna catch a bite to eat before I die?”
Her face turns a lovely scarlet offsetting the heaviness and tension of the room. The guards immediately turn their shock lances. The volts course through my body, seizing and releasing my muscle. The nerves light up all pain receptors as if I had caught fire. I fall over in a lump, looking up at the figure behind the bench. Her hand is raised and I find myself laughing through the pain. The lances crackle, inches from my flesh.
“Very well. Let us, ‘catch a bite’ as you put it.”
She disappears behind the bench. I am hoisted to my feet where my knees feel like they want to buckle at any moment. She comes before me about a foot shorter in height. I crack a smile as she looks up into my eyes. They narrow immediately.
“You may address me as Lady Amber.”
“Lady. Amber,” she stresses, “I have a title. So unless you prefer ‘Your Honor’, I would prefer you use my name and title.”
“Lady Amber it is, your highness.”
“Good enough. Now where is it you would like to have your last meal?”
“Really shoving my death sentence in my face aren’t you?”
“It is my duty.”
“And that was rhetorical. Let’s go to Dazed. It’s a cozy joint. With dancers.”
“Dazed? Sounds seedy.”
“Maybe for someone of your stature, your highness. But to someone like me, it feels like home.”
We make our way down the main elevators to lower decks with her two guards in tow. The lower we get the dingier and grimier things become. To get to the higher decks you need special key cards and only the wealthy or extremely clever have access.
The doors open revealing the platform where the Dazed bar is. Amber and her entourage are met with fear from the dwellers along with scornful looks from the destitute. When they eye me, I wink in response.
The bouncer at the door eyes us all up as we approach. He enters a code into a keypad on his wrist and the door immediately opens. We move through, bombarded by music and heavy bass sending my teeth vibrating. I’m sure Amber feels it too. The door shuts behind us as we walk through small clusters of people inside. In the main hall, dancers are behind cages and the music becomes an assault on the ears.
We sit at one of the tables but the two guards stand in front keeping watch. I turn on the holopad producing a holographic interface for both Amber and I to order food and drink. I order a strong drink and and try to see what Amber orders. To my surprise she orders the same drink but chooses soy noodles for food.
I bob my head to the music while Amber attempts to speak to me. She tries shouting over the music but to no avail. I gesture to her that I cannot hear her. She attempts to speak even louder and I hit the privacy bubble on the holopad surrounding us in a glowing blue sphere.
“-can you stand being in a place like this!”
“Woah, easy there,” I tease.
She blinks in surprise.
“Why didn’t you do that sooner? This music is so loud. Why couldn’t we go to a place with soft classical or something? Not this electronic mishmash of malfunctioning machines.“
“This is the music of the people. I feel like I should show you your subjects.”
“They’re not my subjects. I am not royalty.”
“No? But you do make decisions affecting people right?”
“Based on years of tradition and what is best for the greater good.”
A server comes to the table. The guards frisk her and make sure Amber’s food is safe to eat before moving the plates to the table themselves. The server is put off, scoffing at Amber before turning to leave.
“And what does it matter when everyone who is normal hates you?”
“Everyone down here has a distaste for those above. I’ve never understood the higher ups myself. Only that they have the best things and vast amounts of money. And that’s why I chose to steal from them.”
“Yes, I know your background. I know you’re a smuggler and a pirate.”
“Yes, all good qualities I can assure you,” I quip.
“Yes, actually. You have qualities I need.”
I look at her dumbfounded. I turn to her guards who are not privy to the conversation we are having and bring my eyes back to Amber. Her eyes look serious. As serious as she looked when sentencing me. She seems determined yet cocky.
“So you want to hire me before killing me? And people call me sadistic.”
“You typically don’t hurt your clients unless they betray you.”
“And you won’t?”
“I’ve already sentenced you. If anything, this will prolong your death.”
I look hard into her eyes, seeing that she is definitely serious. I grin, unable to hide my attraction to her.
“You are an amazingly beautiful woman. You will definitely be the death of me.”
Amber purses her lips, cheeks flushing lightly, “I will be.”
“Okay, so what’s the plan Lady Amber?”
She smirks in a most dangerous way, “I want you to kidnap me.”