Day 053: Your Sentence Has Been Served
Summary: Following a violent incident between a Guard, a Skaikru Delinquent and a Trikru-turned Delinquent, the Lieutenant overseeing the report tracks down a supposed amnesiac to decree the ruling.
Date: 4/8/2016
Related: Occurs directly after Apprentice. Follows Inevitable Assault, Show Me What You Can Do, Morgan's Incident Report and Kai's Incident Report.

21st of July, 2149 (53 Days After Landing) — The Row, Camp Jaha

Like a cat in a corner, Cassandra was calculating an escape route. She could hear her heart pounding in her ears, above the cacophonous din of wild thoughts; each one screaming survive, survive, survive; and some, above the scream were whispering, thrive; others softly crooning to fight, while their instinctual counterpoints tugged to take flight. Her stare was hard and jagged, like volcanic glass, and her fists clenched to stones at her sides.

For all her physical readiness, Cassandra knew this was not a fight to be fought with the coiled muscles around her bones. The eighteen year-old was a thin, frail thing, but this did not make her weak. Her strength was in her mind, in her razor-sharp tongue, in eyes perceptive enough to read between the lines; in unhindered pragmatism that could see what must be done, beyond what others wished could be done in a nonexistent utopia. Most importantly, she could see that this was a fight that could not be won, but rather was one to run from. The proud might call this cowardice.

Cassandra intended to outlive the proud.

"Ms. Bonheur," her opponent called out in the distance, her prowling silhouette carved with a false halo against the crisp morning sun. "I'm glad to see I could find you. You have been rather… elusive, shall we say."

Cass decided to take that as a compliment, but not enough to be thrown off-guard. Her mentor, Gideon kom Skaikru, sat several feet behind her, hearing every word. In a sense this gave Cassandra two opponents, for not only was she on call to save her skin, but also to impress a woman who, despite believing in her, had every reason not to. It was only a matter of time before Giddy learned of her reputation, in an effort by others to poison the new Earth Skills teacher against her.

Lieutenant Sharon Wexler cut an imposing figure, not through raw musculature, like many other members of the Guard, but through poise and grace. She was tall, proud in posture, with the keen eye of someone quick on both the draw and uptake. At her side was a sheathed pistol and shock-baton, and slung across her back was a loaded rifle. Even if Cassandra could outrun the hard-nosed, long-legged veteran, dodging past an electric fence, she was certain she could not dodge a bullet, and did not want another taste of a charged shock-lash to the spine.

"Not elusive, just occupied," said Cassandra, head turned slightly to one side, her shoulder walling off her body-language in an impassive stance. She was watching Gideon from the corner of an eye, but her other was fixed dauntlessly on Sharon's sea-green gaze. Behind a curtain of long, dark hair, the hunched delinquent was calculating every inch of her uniformed foe's expression, following ever twitch of the woman's brow and fingertips. Half the battle is knowing thy enemy. "Helping those a gal like me can actually help. I'm sorry, but like I said: I don't remember anything that happened."

Sharon held up a placating palm. "Relax," she said, her loping, patient stride carrying her closer to the ragtag pair. Cassandra could feel her options closing in with every step. "I've been informed of your… head condition." Doubt raised the guard's brow upon mention of the sob-story the delinquent had spun for the Med-Techs; lingering amnesia and disorientation, supposedly, had prevented her from cooperating with procedure, as a consequence of the cranial injury she'd sustained over a month ago. "We have made do without your help. I'm not here to ask for your testimony."

Then what was she here for? What had Breen told his cohorts? Asher's idiot report could only have made things worse, turning a matter that had already been handled into one that now bore repercussions for brazen insubordination. She was confident that Morgan would not have helped her, and now all that remained was for her Niron's test of authority on her behalf to end in imprisonment. The world isn't a fairy-tale. Cassie knew how justice works.

"I see," said Cass, holding the whirlwind of her mind carefully in check. Her tone and expression were patient, chin tucked to her collarbone in a sedate show of submission. If she was to be arrested, she wasn't going to give any onlookers, least of all her First, the satisfaction of proof she deserved it. "Then what can I do for you, Lieutenant?"

"A word will do," Sharon Wexler replied, going on to speak a dozen. "Would you like to accompany me somewhere private?" The Lieutenant sent a pointed glance towards Gideon kom Skaikru and Delano, the Grounder's ash-white horse.

No, I would not, thought Cass. "Here is fine," the delinquent replied, worn boots splayed shoulder-width apart as she made a gesture of her hand to stand her ground.

"Very well." Wexler, a serious woman, did not smile; yet by the sound of her voice, one might swear there was almost a hint of amusement in her stoic speech. "I am to read you the charges following a citizen report of the incident between yourself, Sergeant Nathaniel Breen, and ex-Cadet Kai Adams… otherwise known as 'Kai Come Tree-Crew'." She would easily accept the strange, amorphous nomenclature down here on Earth, against the best efforts of Morgan Blackwood.

This should be good, thought Cass. Beyond her blank expression, she offered no other response but to wait for the guardswoman to continue.

"Sergeant Breen," the Lieutenant decreed, in a resonant voice for both the Grounder-clad delinquent and her Skaikru-adoptive mentor to hear, "has been charged with unlawful discharge of a weapon and sentenced to three days in the brig, to be served immediately after the current conflict with the Mountain Men is completed." But that was not the end of it. "You, Cassandra Bonheur, have been charged with attempted assault."

Figured, thought Cass. The only surprise for her was that Breen was being punished at all; as far as she was concerned, and as she had told Ash Kholmin herself upon learning he'd filed a report, she had the shock-lashing coming. She had in fact committed a crime, or tried to, and wished they could have left the matter there. She parted her lips to reply, but the Lieutenant cut her off.

"You are sentenced to two lashes of the shock-baton, received retroactively. That is all."

It took her a moment to catch on to what the Lieutenant was saying. She glanced over her shoulder to her First, then back to the Lieutenant, raising a brow. "Retroactively?" she asked.

"Operative with respect to past occurrence," the sharp, uniformed Guard defined, holding the delinquent's gaze even as she glanced away. "Having already taken effect."

Cass stared back, furrowing her brow in patronised annoyance. "I know what it means," she stubbornly insisted. "I'm asking you what it means going forward."

With a forced effort to remain professional and still not to smile, Sharon answered, "Your sentence has been served. That will be all."

The two women remained in silent fixation at point-blank range, across two sides of the law. The disbelief in Cassie's face was plain, but even as her expressive, arched brows rose anew, she could feel her heartbeat start to slow. It became increasingly clear that the fight she wanted no part of would in fact not take place at all.

"Right," said Cass. "Thank you, Sharon —"

"Lieutenant Wexler," Sharon was quick to correct, and finally offered the delinquent a small twitch of her lips. "Make sure you stop by the infirmary later, if you can. We could use some more of the plants you've been collecting."

"Sure," said Cass. Wexler nodded, and after a moment to be sure no further comment was coming, turned away to head back into the compound, the stately march of a veteran Guard instinctive in her stride. Cassandra stared on in silence, and when the Lieutenant was gone from view, finally let out a breath she felt she had been holding in since she was first sent to the Skybox.

I owe Ash an apology, she realised, forming the first crack in a long, long stance of refusing to ever be apologetic. It was unlikely she would ever tell him this, but what she was telling herself was worse. Daring to believe in people was hard, but she could not remember when the last time someone other than Cass had stood up for Cass — and been right.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License