Chapter 12, "In Which the Author Reveals How Little She Knows About Courtroom Drama, and Makes Up For That by Saying, 'They're Aliens, So It's Different.'"
Days passed. I contented myself with mundane activities such as attending class, apologizing to Tabitha for being a loser who doesn't actually help anyone with their algebra, and trying to comfort Lou when he forgets he's lost his pets but he knows that he is lonely and he can't remember why. That last one is pretty depressing, actually.
Xlormp said it was okay for Christopher to hang out with me during school again. Even though I could tell he's all eaten up inside and it's really tough for him not to blow up the planet right now, I appreciated the gesture. Everything seemed pretty okay and normal (well, at least as normal as things can be when your boyfriend is a space alien and your best friend's brother is a robot), until Friday after school, when Klaxie high fived me.
"Hey, Frigtacular Face!" he shouted a little too exuberantly. "Your trial's today, you must be super pumped!"
"What?" I confounded, glancing furtively at Xlormp. "It is?"
Xlormp's eyeballs twitched a little. "Um. Maybe."
I slapped him across the face. "That is very important information," I insisted, slime dripping ominously from my fingers.
Xlormp slapped me right back. "It's just that I kind of hoped they'd just decide to let you live without actually having a trial."
I kicked him in his alien shin. "What's that supposed to mean?"
He gave me a slimy Indian burn. "It means what I said."
Klaxie watched our exchange with disgruntled amusement. "Well, I can certainly see why you two belong together." The dark slimed alien grabbed my wrist. "We need to hurry if you're going to make it in time."
I felt a little apprehensive about this whole ordeal, for one thing, because I hadn't had time to mentally prepare, and for another thing, because Xlormp made a concerted effort to pry Klaxie's flipper from my wrist while we moved toward the spaceship. I thought briefly that I was glad Christopher wasn't here to see this. She'd probably beat them both up or something, and I'd never get my trial.
Except now I didn't even know if I wanted a trial. I wanted to be Xlormp's girl-slave, sure, but what if they said no? And I was forced instead to die horribly at the hands of something even more nefarious than the brain-thieving Tallybonkers? Or worse, what if they said yes, and I got turned into an alien adoring girl-slave before we even had a chance to get Lou's band back together? Who would take care of him, and make sure that he didn't accidentally poke his eye out with a fish?
As I felt my body beaming up onto the ship, my head began to hurt from all of the thinking and caring. Shouldn't I only care about Xlormp rubbing his tentacles all over my flesh?
"I can always tell them you are having an Earthling female menstrual cycle," Xlormp whispered to me, reading the apprehension on my face. "That kind of thing really squicks them out."
I rolled my eyes. "Xlormp, they eat llama intestines. And shed and regrow entire limbs."
"Yes, but those things are normal," Xlormp assured me, patting my hand with a loving flipper.
I realized as we said "they" back and forth that I really had no idea who "they" were. I knew they were higher-ups, but higher than what? Up where? Would they like me? Should I have brushed my teeth this morning?
The crappy thing about alien technology is that it's really fast. We arrived at the alien courthouse before I could even begin to wonder if I should have changed my socks.
"Are you ready?" Xlormp asked.
"Not really," I admitted carefully.
"Do you want to throw up?" Klaxie suggested soothingly.
"Because I hear sometimes humans do that when they are nervous."
"I don't need to throw up," I insisted.
"You won't make us uncomfortable," Klaxie prodded.
"You just want to see a human throw up, don't you?"
Klaxie grinned, then realized he was grinning and stopped grinning. "Absolutely not."
I sighed, shaking my head. Aliens.
The room my trial was held in reminded me an awful lot of the Foosball stadium from a year and a half ago, only a lot smaller. And with more of a courtroom theme. I couldn't help but wonder if, for all their claims of wanting to blow up Earth, the Zmeephish-Quians were adapting their lives, in some strange way, to ours.
Before I had another chance to be even more uncharacteristically insightful, the alien judge, clad in a really stupid powdered wig, banged a gavel on his desk. "It's time to decide the fate of the Earth human Friggen' Gorgeous," he announced grandly.
Xlormp gave me an approximate thumbs up, and I smiled wanly back at him from the witness stand.
"Friggen' Gorgeous," the judge continued, "is it true that you know a crapload of stuff about the Zmeephish-Quian plans to blow up the planet Earth?"
I opened my mouth a few times to make sure it still worked. It did. "I know that they want to blow up the planet Earth, and that's about it."
There came an alarmed gasp from the jury.
"I see," the judge stated acknowledgingly. "Is it also true that you have formed an intimate relationship with the alien Xlormp?"
"Yes," I affirmed correctly.
"Is it true that Xlormp's team leader, Mr. Leader, finds your presence among his team offensive?"
"Mr. Leader hates my guts, if that's what you're asking," I grunted snootily.
"Yes, thank you, that is precisely what I'm asking." He scribbled something down on a notepad while the jury whispered to each other in native Zmeephish-Quian. Let me tell you right now, there's something pretty freaking creepy about a bunch of whispered beeps.
"And finally," the judge finalized, "is it true that you're a fan of Ricky Martin?"
"What? No!" I insisted solidly. "Who told you that?"
Another wave of chatter rippled through the jury. I saw Klaxie's head drop into his flipper, clearly ashamed.
The gavel banged again, sending an ominous reverberation through the courtroom. Everyone fell silent. "We shall take a thirty minute recess, after which, the jury shall reveal their final decision." Another bang, and everyone stood up, slithering out of the room. I joined Klaxie and Xlormp outside in the hallway, more than a little nervous.
"Man, this judge is tough," Klaxie groaned, grasping nervously at his lacy pale blue blouse. "That Ricky Martin evidence could really shake the outcome."
"Yeah, how did he even find out about that?" I demanded furiously.
Xlormp shrugged sheepishly. "I might have gone through your secret diary from when you were eight," he admitted.
I groaned. "This really sucks."
The minutes ticked by slowly, the silence in the hallway sinking heavily upon us like a blanket of very quiet steel. I continued to dwell on the various outcomes, and how they might affect me, my friends, my life. What about Christopher? What would she do with herself if I got sentenced to become a girl-slave, or to death? And Hector 2.0? Could his robot brain even understand what happened? Would he still love me with his little binary heart?
So lost in thought was I that the light pressure of a flipper on my knee made me jump.
"It's time," Klaxie whispered, as Xlormp sat silently, alien lips pursed so tightly he looked completely mouthless.
I nodded, rising to my feet. The time had gone so fast, and yet so slowly. I marched wordlessly with the aliens back to the courtroom, prepared yet nervous to learn my verdict.
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