The Blackhawk set down on a strip of tarmac away from commercial runways. Betty Director dismissed the small crew, promising them she would take a commercial flight home.
“Are you sure it's safe to leave you with her?” the pilot asked, jerking his head towards the woman recently released from prison in Canada.
“To be honest, no. But I think there is a real chance she wants to go straight. She's either corrupted someone I have hopes for, or regained her own soul. This is the Christmas season. I know which one I'm hoping for.”
“We're happy to stay if you think you'll need us.”
“No, she helped us last spring. I'm going to give her the benefit of the doubt.”
“Your funeral -- but I really hope not.”
The two women walked to the main terminal. As Avis processed paperwork for her rental car Betty Director called the Kemals, and a motel.
“Their kids are all home, so there was no room for you at the inn. We've got rooms at the Holiday Inn.”
“Rooms, as in separate rooms? You trust me that much?”
“I don't trust you at all. I don't want you jumping me tonight.”
“You're so not my type.”
“Yeah, you seem to have a thing for redheads. But remember, I'd rather you not call her until we know exactly what's happening with you.”
The two stopped at a department store, where Dr. Director purchased toiletries and a nightshirt, then drove to the Kemals for dinner. Before eating the head of Global Justice excused herself to try and contact a judge she knew in Middleton. Shego, who was in the living room chatting with the translator and his family, noticed how long Betty Director was absent, and wondered if she was having trouble finding a judge.
As Betty Director drove back to the motel Shego asked, “What took you so long on the phone?”
“I think you're in pretty good shape -- at least if you're sincere. I found a judge I know and discussed your case. Turns out she's heard about you. We talked for a while. She promised to contact the DA's office--”
“You have to do this legal, Shego. They have to be there tomorrow for the hearing.”
“They're going to raise a stink.”
“Probably. But they have to have the opportunity to file their information--”
“An indictment is brought by a grand jury. In your case they've got enough evidence that they don't need a grand jury. The lawyer from the DA's office will provide a list of crimes they plan to charge you with. Given how quickly this is coming together they won't have everything, but it will give you some idea of what you're facing.”
The two women met in the bar for a couple drinks after checking in to their rooms. Shego, restless in anticipation, would have stayed up all night making small talk, but Betty Director ordered her to bed around midnight. Too nervous to sleep, Shego vacantly stared at television programs until exhaustion closed her eyes at three in the morning.
Steven Crandall was at the courthouse early on Christmas Eve. He still took Drakken's mental evaluation as a personal insult and was determined nothing would interfere with the conviction of the blue man's accomplice. His office had a thick file on the woman, but had never even tried to get it organized for trial purposes since there had seemed little chance she would face state charges.
He noted with surprise that the criminal wasn't even handcuffed as she arrived at the courthouse with a woman wearing an eye patch. There was no time to introduce himself before they were all ushered into Judge Armstrong's court room.
Steve nodded to the court clerk before the judge spoke, “Mr. Crandall, thank you for coming in on such short notice.”
“No problem, Your Honor. But my office would like more time to file a proper information. I'm not sure what the rush is.”
“In addition to your charges she's hoping this will also be a bail hearing.”
“You've got to be kidding?”
“I don't kid, at least not in my capacity as judge. Oh, because her brothers' need their identities protected you will need to file charges under her alias, Shego, rather than her real name. Your office will be in serious trouble if you violate that order, understood?”
“Yes, Your Honor. At the moment we don't even have her real name.”
“I'm just letting you know ahead of time. Do you have any questions before you start?”
“Just why in the world bail would even be considered for someone with her list of crimes?”
“Could I try and answer that?” the woman with the eye patch requested.
“Go ahead, Betty,” the judge told her.
“On a practical level,” Dr. Director told the man from the DA's office, “your state isn't equipped to hold her. You don't have the facilities it would require. She surrendered herself voluntarily because she wants to face the charges against her. And while I suspect she probably is guilty of every crime you will list in a minute she has also done work for governments, including those of the United States and Mexico--” Shego started and stared at Betty Director, she had imagined her work in Mexico was not known. “-- and last spring put herself in harm's way to help Global Justice stop an attack by a terrorist group.”
“I'm supposed to believe that?”
“Oh, I don't believe I've made introductions,” Judge Armstrong apologized. “Steven Crandall, meet Betty Director -- head of Global Justice, and an old friend. Betty, this is Steve Crandall. You may not believe it after his last comment, but he is one of the brighter lights in the DA's office.”
“I'm, uh, sorry, Your Honor, Ms. Director,” the prosecutor stammered.
“No problem, Mr. Crandall. Now, if you could please present the crimes your office is hoping to prosecute Shego for, we can move forward.”
Given how little notice he had been given Steve Crandall had prepared an impressive list. Most of the time was taken with burglary charges for which he claimed his office had extensive evidence. The burglary charges were sufficient for a charge of grand larceny. He mentioned a string of escapes from jail. He made references to three robberies and several assaults, but made no claims for a similar level of evidence.
The judge looked at Shego, “That's quite a list young lady.”
“I didn't do a couple of those--”
“You don't need to plead at the moment. Those are the crimes which the DA's office intends to prosecute you for, or at least their preliminary list. You will have a formal arraignment later.” She turned to the prosecutor, “How long do you think it will take you to prepare formal arraignment and to organize your case for prosecution?”
“It will take at least a couple months to get the list of charges properly in order. I imagine it could take a year before we're ready for trial, that's quite a list.”
“That's fine,” the judge told him. “I notice that most of the crimes were against property. Given that fact, and the fact she turned herself in I am inclined to allow bail.”
“May I be on record opposing that decision?”
“You may, Mr. Crandall. What is the basis for your objection?”
“The number of her crimes argues against bail being allowed. Also, this was a preliminary list of charges -- she should remain in jail at least until my office has a better grasp of our complete case. And, finally, she has an established history of jail breaks which demonstrates she is a flight risk.”
Betty Director looked like she wanted to say something, but the judge raised a hand to silence her. “Mr. Crandall, Dr. Director said the state is not equipped to hold this woman. Do you think she was right?”
“That's right,” he admitted grudgingly.
“Well then, if she turned herself in and we aren't equipped to hold her I note your objection, but I will allow bail. Do you want to stick around for the final paperwork or go home to your family and finish the paperwork after Christmas?”
“I'll finish the filing after Christmas,” he noted glumly.
After the prosecutor and court clerk left Betty Director took out her cell phone, “I need to call the Possible family,” she told Alice. “Can I take you and Shego out for lunch?”
Over lunch Shego asked the question that had been on her mind since the prior evening, “Betty said you'd heard about me”
“Oh, yes, from the Legals.”
“You know the Legals?”
Both Betty and Alice laughed at the question.
“When I started law school, around forty years ago, there were only six women in the class. All of us were treated poorly, and three of us were lesbian and had it even rougher. We three started meeting and studying together at a bar called JD's -- it's been gone for years. By the end of the first year two of the other women and two men had joined us. That was the start of the Legal Lesbians. We still hold picnics in the spring and fall for all past and current Legals; it's our own support network.
“Some of the current Legals told me about a cute couple who met at the coffee house. I found it terribly curious after the two of you were IDed.”
A thought struck the pale woman and she glanced back and forth between the two other women, “So, you two know each other… Does that mean…”
Betty Director reddened slightly. “No, it doesn't,” Alice assured her. “Betty once took a class with me. After she became head of Global Justice she has had me there a few times to lead seminars on legal issues. She is not now, nor has she ever been, a member of the Legal Lesbians.”
The trio lingered over coffee and dessert, then Betty Director noticed the time, “I've got to get out of here. I found a flight at two that will take me back to my family. I have to run. Will you be okay, Shego?”
“I should be. I'll be with the family of one of Kim's friends until the Possibles call.”
Betty stood up, and addressed Alice, “Will you be able to lead another session for Global Justice this summer?”
“I hope so.”
The woman with the eye patch turned to Shego, “I hope…” she shook her head and continued, “Good luck, Shego.”
The remaining women watched as the head of Global Justice hailed a cab and headed towards the airport.
“Do you have any plans for your defense?” Alice asked.
“Not really,” Shego admitted.
“I'm a senior partner in the best firm in town--”
“I thought you were a judge?”
“Yes, I am. And I usually teach one or two classes a semester at Middleton Law. I'm not in the courtroom as a lawyer as much as I used to be. But we've got some very fine lawyers in my office, and you're going to need a very fine lawyer.” She pulled a card from her purse, and a pen. She wrote a phone number on the back of the card. “That's my home phone. Call me as soon as you can after Christmas. The DA's office will be working on the case against you. You have to start your defense.”
As they left the restaurant Alice asked, “Need a lift?”
“If you could, that would be great. Kim has a friend named Monique. I'm going to her house. I can give you the address.”