A Galactic Federation Judicial Station, millions of light years from Earth...
The first thing Voss noticed was that the courtroom was empty, save for the two sentinels, the judge, and himself. The jury stand was barren. The same went for the rows and rows of benches that were usually reserved for the public.
The next thing he noticed was that it was almost deathly quiet. The only sound came from Voss himself, his magnetic restraints giving off a low hum. The judge, a male tullus, stared down at him from his "seat of honor", gazing at the prisoner with four contemptuous eyes. The Judge looked upon Voss as if he were a rodent.
Voss sneered. Inwardly, at least. He had long ago learned not to show weakness to his enemies. But for the Judge, he gave a rancid smile of yellow fangs and chuckled.
"No crowd? No cameras? I'm insulted!" Voss gestured to the empty seats with his restrained hands, his guttural voice wavering with mock indignation. "After all the trouble these Sentinels went through…."
The Judge would have none of it. "Why waste time and money giving you the attention you crave?" His tone was cold yet laced with venom.
"Did my arrival interrupt your beauty sleep, Lord Judge?" Voss feigned concern, still smiling. "You look worse than I do."
"You will be silent." One of the sentinels hissed, striking Voss in the lower back. The prisoner grunted as he fell to one knee, the sharp pain from the blow quickly giving way a dull ache that spread through his skin.
"Stay your hand, sentinel." The Judge lazily ordered. Voss fought back a wince, forcing a smirk back onto his scarred face. "Voss cannot escape judgment now. I hereby call this court session to order."
Voss snorted. "No jury. No audience but for these ever loyal soldiers. What kind of trial is this, oh honorable Judge?"
At that, the Judge gave a smile of his own, a grin with all the friendliness of a corvan dreadwolf. "This is no trial." The tullus admitted, his clicking mandibles indicating he found something humorous. "Your guilt is not in question, pirate. You are here to be judged. Step forward."
The smile dropped from Voss's face. Before he had the chance to protest, one of the sentinels gave him a sharp shove, nearly sending him tumbling to the ground. Voss stumbled forward, coming to a stop on the empty platform before the Judge's podium. He glared up at the quad-eyed bug with hateful eyes.
"For the crime of piracy. For the crime of engaging in illegal warfare with Federation forces. For the crime of attempted genocide. And For the countless other crimes against the peoples of the Galactic Federation. You, Andar Voss, have been judged guilty. I sentence you to stasis confinement, suspended animation. One thousand years… or until you expire. Take him away."
The mask cracked. It was only for a moment and Voss would mentally kick himself for it later, but the unshakeable, composed pirate lord disappeared. The shroud fell away and out came an angry, vengeful creature full of hate and violence. Voss bared his teeth, sharp tusks ready to sink into the Tullus's carapace.
Voss was so close. He could leap up to the Judge's perch if he tried. Even restrained, he was still a threat. He could still remove the smirk from the Judge's face… or perhaps even remove the face entirely.
But then the sentinels were at his side, hulking armored forms descending upon him, dragging him away like he was some wild animal. But still his anger burned, a fire raging in his chest. Voss kicked and screamed and cursed, struggling in vain against his restraints.
"No prison can hold me! I will be free, Lord Judge!" The pirate king snarled, his voice thundering against the high courtroom walls. But the Judge was already descending from his seat of honor, leaving to go about his day. As if Voss didn't even matter. The Judge didn't even spare the pirate so much as a glance. "I will be free! And I will come find you!"
They were to transport the prisoner to a secure prison facility in the Galura system. A massive station in orbit around a desolate moon, far from any habitable world. It was where the Federation sent criminals who were too dangerous to be kept planetside.
But for Lor Kallen, it would have preferable to simply launch the prisoners into a black hole. Too many sentinels were lost trying to bring in the infamous Pirate King. It felt almost like a betrayal to keep such an animal alive - and not just to Kallen's sentinel brethren, but to the countless innocent lives taken during Voss's bloody campaigns against the Federation.
The long walk onto the military vessel, the Dark Solar, was spent in tense silence, Kallen and his partner, Val Rokkar, leading the prisoner to his stasis pod. They would seal him in and transport him over to the prison station where he would stay for next thousand years. It was odd, especially after his display back in the courtroom. Perhaps it was for the best. If the pirate scum dared to run his mouth…
"Shiny armor," spoke a low, gravelly voice. Kallen clenched his teeth. A quiet prisoner was simply too much to ask, apparently. Voss continued, calm as if he were making small talk with a friend. "Had a suit of my own. A lot like yours. Just not nearly as fancy. It did its job well enough, though. Until your boys took it away from me-"
"Took it back, you mean." Kallen hissed through his teeth, whirling around on the worthless cargo. The pirate remained unmoved but that only made Kallen angrier. "That was sentinel armor they confiscated, pirate scum. An older model, but I still recognized it. You took it from one of the brotherhood. A war trophy."
Kallen spat out the last words in disgust but the prisoner merely shrugged. "It was nice armor. And after our fight, he wasn't going to need-"
The sentinel drove his fist into the animal's face. The blow landed with the most satisfying crack and was followed by a pained groan as Voss stumbled back, falling to his knees. The pirate grunted, spitting out purple blood. Then he looked up to the sentinel towering over him… and grinned.
"You're a novani, aren't you? From Van Novara?" Voss guessed correctly, a trickle of purple spilling out the side of his mouth. He wiped it away casually, eyes never leaving Kallen's. "Your people don't look like soldiers, you know that?"
Kallen advanced on the prisoner again but was stopped by Rokkar. "Easy," The older sentinel warned as he placed a firm hand on Kallen's shoulder.
"Soft face. Flowing hair. Bright eyes." Voss continued, his grin widening to expose his jagged fangs. The friendly tone was gone, replaced with an acidic snarl. He gave a mocking laugh, "Oh, the shame of being captured by you. You're prettier than my daughters!"
Kallen shoved past Rokkar who shouted for him to stand down. But the younger sentinel had the pirate by the neck, lifting him back to his feet. Their faces were less than an inch apart. Voss struggled against his hold, but restrained as he was there was little he could but squirm.
"You're lucky it was I whocaught you." Kallen growled, his grip tightening. "Most sentinels are less merciful than I."
He kept his hold a little longer than necessary, relishing the look of anger in Voss's eyes as he struggled for air. Then he let go, allowing the prisoner to fall into a heap on the cold floor. Voss rasped, Kallen's handprint visible on his neck.
Voss spat out another wad of blood, breathing deeply. "Merciful… indeed."
"Not another word out of you, pirate." Rokkar warned.
The rest of the walk was thankfully spent in silence, the two sentinels quietly leading the prisoner to the lower decks of the Dark Solar. The aptly named pod room was situated right above engineering. They could hear - and feel - the hum of the drive core even through the floor. It was comforting to Kallen, the sound of the warp engine, but to others it brought unrest. Most starship passengers disliked the idea of being so close to the drive core, especially in the rare case of engine overload. Kallen wondered if Voss shared those sentiments.
They came to a stop at Voss's designated pod, a large oval-shaped device that stood taller than any of the three. The side facing them was covered by a blue, semi-transparent plate, curved to match the oval structure. Beyond the plate was the "cradle", a lightly cushioned bed upon which the pod user rested his or her body.
Rokkar was moved towards the nearby holo-terminal and allowed it to scan the glyph marked upon his breastplate. The machine gave a low hum and opened with a soft hiss, the blue plate rising up to allow entrance.
Kallen turned to Voss. "Get in your stasis pod. Or I will assist you."
Voss laughed at the threat and laid himself down upon the cradle. "It's no pod, sentinel. A coffin, more like."
"Yes," Kallen admitted with a smile. "That is the point."
"Not even a death sentence can hold me, dog. My crew is out there," Voss spoke calmly, but his eyes burned with anger. "Out in the stars. Waiting. They're a loyal bunch. They will come for me."
Another low hum sounded and the pod closed shut. Another hiss and the pod sealed. Airtight.
"Thought he'd never shut up." Muttered Rokkar.
Kallen smiled, satisfied. He spared the pirate's frozen form but a single glance before turning away with his partner.
"Goodbye Voss. And good riddance."