“So you’re the one.” The guard’s practically smirking in her direction. I can hear it from here, and I can’t even see his face. “What’s with the tray?”

“Oh,” the human says, and then I hear the sound of something unwrapping. “Where I’m from, it’s custom to bring baked goods as a way of saying thank you. Back home, we call these ‘cookies.’ I made them for you both. Here, please.” Her voice is achingly sweet and uncertain, shy and sugary all at once. “I thought you might enjoy them.”

“Very kind of you,” one of the peace officers says. “Might I say that…are you sure you want to do this?”

“I’m not left with very many choices,” she admits in that breathless, timid voice. “Unless one of you…?”

Both laugh, and I can tell her presence is feeding their egos. I’ve never heard such boisterous laughter from our captors, and the praxiian and I exchange a look.

“My mate would keffing kill me if I even entertained the thought,” one says. “Azi’s mate, too.”

The other just chuckles.

“Then this is how it has to be,” the human female says. At least, I assume she’s human. I can’t see her face, but there aren’t many that speak that weird tongue on this end of the galaxy unless they’re freed slaves or slave owners. And since she’s female—and on Risda III, which has been established as a sanctuary for a group of freed human slaves—I’m betting she really is human.

One of the peace officers comes around the corner and approaches our cell. “Hands on the bar,” he tells us. “We’ve got visitors.”

The praxiian hisses. The lizard-man groans. I’m silent, though I hate the keffing bar just as much as anyone else. I slowly get to my feet and move to the back of the cell. I put my hands on the back wall, on the magnetized bar that hums a few feet overhead, just within my grasp. The restraint cuffs on my hands lock onto the magnetism and I’m stuck there, hands over my head, as the others line up next to me. Hate this. Makes me feel like a piece of meat-stock myself. Like I’m not a person anymore, just another animal being processed. First it was the war. Then it was prison. Now this backwater jail cell. It’s all the same and it makes me grit my teeth.

“I’m not sure that’s necessary, Captain,” the human says in the same breathless voice. “They look so uncomfortable.”

“Sweet of you, but I assure you, human, that it’s necessary. These are hardened criminals and it’s safer all around.” He talks around a mouthful. “You sure you want to do this?”

“Yes, I’m sure.”

I hear steps as the creature enters our cell, and I try to glance over my shoulder to see what she looks like.

“Eyes forward,” one of the jailers snaps at me.

My tail flicks in irritation, but I do as he commands. I show him my scarred, ugly mug and grin, because I know it makes things worse. “If you don’t want us looking, don’t you think blindfolds would be better? Or maybe sacks over our heads?” I offer. “I’m starting to think the meat-stock gets treated with more respect around here.”

“The meat-stock hasn’t broken the law and you have,” the guard snaps, then takes another noisy bite. “Go on, human, uh, female.”

“Miss Evans is fine. Or Piper.” She gives the most charming, raspy chuckle that I swear I feel in my ball sack. I know it’s been a while since I’ve tasted a bit of cunt, but kef me. Suddenly all the stories I’ve heard about human females roar through my mind. That they’re relentless in bed. That their bodies are the hottest clasp a male’s ever felt. That they’ll do anything and everything. My cock stiffens in my trou.

Well, that’s going to be damned embarrassing if anyone notices. Maybe she won’t look past my keffed-up face to notice the hard-on.

I hear the female step forward, and there’s a swish of long skirts, the material rustling. She’s practically close enough for one of my tail flicks to touch her, and I’m tempted, but I also know I’ll probably get hit with a shock-stick if I try. Might be worth it, though. Haven’t even been close to a female since before prison…

“Um, I’m not really sure how to proceed,” she says. “Do I just…”

“You’re the one making the calls here,” one of the guards says, amused. “You do what you like. They’re prisoners. Their lives don’t mean a keffing lot.”

“Oh.” She sounds confused.

My mouth curls into a hard smile. “Depends on which side of the bar you’re on,” I call out to him.

“Shut your yap,” the guard calls back. “The human’s got some inspecting to do.”

“Well, in that case,” I say boldly and spread my thighs wide, as if inviting her to inspect all of me. I’d love to see her weird little human face scrunch up with revulsion at that. At least my cock’s still got a lot to offer a female.

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