Fiera stayed close to Liliana. It was obvious the other woman was feeling just as uncomfortable as Fiera was. After about an hour, Fiera turned to tell Liliana that she was ready to leave. She was gone. Fiera started swearing as she back tracked along their path. She saw a knot of people and made her way over to see what was going on.
Liliana was trying to pull away from a young man. She was crying and struggling to free her hand. Fiera looked at him. There wasn't a flaw on his handsome face, though he did look a little irritated. Liliana was panicking. Fiera stepped up and grabbed hold of the man's wrist. She squeezed and twisted, forcing him to release Liliana.
“That was a mistake,” the young man said. “What I want I get.”
“She wasn't willing and I'm not going to let you rape my friend,” Fiera said. She gave a little push and released him, sending him back a few steps. “Now why don't you go play with the other genetic wastes that make up this party and leave her alone.”
“She's a Ward of the Planet. She doesn't have the same rights. Now why don't you run along and leave us alone?” He sneered down at Fiera, looming over her and attempting to look as threatening as possible.
Fiera put herself between him and Liliana. “She has the same rights as everyone else,” she said. “We're leaving. Get in our way and get hurt.”
“Do you have any idea who you're talking to?” the young man asked.
“Someone whose parents paid a fortune to perfect him,” Fiera said. “It'd be a pity to mess that up.”
“I am Kuen Nakano.” The young man peered down his elegant nose at her.
“I'm Fiera Rezouac,” Fiera said. “My name probably means as much to you as yours means to me.”
“I haven't heard that before,” Kuen said. “It's not a central world name is it?”
“No it's not,” Fiera said.
“What's a colonial ketch like you doing here?” Kuen asked.
“Attending university,” Fiera said. “You core worlders aren't the only ones with money and a desire to learn.”
“Well, a lesson for you then,” Kuen said. “Free of charge. Crossing me is very dangerous. It can lead to all sorts of problems.”
“Funny, I was going to say the same thing about messing with me,” Fiera said. “And with those who are under my protection.”
Kuen rubbed his wrist. “I won't forget this, or you,” he said.
“Good,” Fiera said. “I'd hate to have to remind you again the next time I see you.” She grabbed Liliana's hand and dragged her away from the gathering crowd.