On the Run: Episode 12

Drred enters her courtroom with a practiced air of ~~ gravity ~~. She takes the application of justice to lawbreakers very seriously.

Moose has been reciting his lawyer's instructions under his breath ever since he got up this morning. He supposes he's as ready for this trial as he'll ever be.

Drred: All rise!

Moose looks around as he stumbles to his feet. Where's his lawyer?

Katsura stands from her seat on the witness bench.

Drred settles behind her podium and gestures for the others to be seated.

Katsura sits again.

Moose sits, still looking around. He can't do this without his lawyer!

Drred checks out the paperwork handed her by the clerk. She speaks in heavily accented but grammatical Genlan.

Drred: The court will now address the matter of the People vs. er, "Moose". Is that correct? Like the large herbivore?

Moose: That's my name, ma'am. But we'll have to wait; my lawyer isn't here yet.

Drred: Your lawyer? He's submitted his brief. It's right here and I've read it.

Moose: But I need him here.

Drred: Why? He's done his job. Now it's up to you and me, and the witnesses.

Drred: Speaking of which, Hajene, you are...?

Moose: But...

Katsura: Katsura Farris ambrov Sat'htine, Hajene Drred.

Drred checks her paperwork.

Drred: Ah, yes. It was your Donor who was attacked?

Katsura: Yes, Hajene.

Katsura has dropped her show field in courtesy, since she outrates the judge.

Drred: He does not appear to be here now. Where is he?

Moose relaxes a little. If neither his lawyer nor the main witness is here, obviously the trial can't start yet.

Katsura: There was an emergency at the central Sime Center, and another channel urgently required his assistance. He will come here as soon as possible. We regret this and intend no discourtesy to the court.

Drred: I understand that you were present when the attack occurred?

Katsura: I zlinned the attack starting and augmented to arrive at the scene. The attacker had tried to trap me in a privy by jamming the door latch and I had to break the door down to escape and protect Sosu Nick.

Katsura: I arrived as Sosu Nick was attempting to prevent the attacker from poisoning him with a rag soaked in chloroform.

Drred duly notes the channel's still-apparent distress.

Moose bristles. He wasn't poisoning the man, just trying to take him down as neatly as possible.

Drred looks at Moose.

Drred: You disagree with this account?

Moose: I wasn't trying to poison him. just knock him out so there wouldn't be a fight.

Drred: And why were you trying to knock out a Donor?

Moose: I'm a bounty hunter, ma'am. When a criminal escapes justice, sometimes the police or the victim's family post a reward. I earn a living by collecting the reward money.

Moose takes a deep breath before continuing, trying to remember all of his instructions.

Moose: I didn't know that Had-jean Nick was a Company Man, I only knew he was wanted back home. I tried to capture him with as little injury as possible. So Sue me, your Honor.

Moose says all of this with perfect ~~ earnestness ~~ .

Moose: Once the trial actually starts, I'm going to ask the court for mercy.

Moose tries to remember what else he was supposed to say. Oh, yes, killed-not-murdered. But that can wait until he's actually asked to reveal his employer's name.

Drred: Householding Sat'htine may indeed sue you in civil court for interfering with one of their members. This, however, is a criminal trial. Why should this court show you any mercy?

Moose: I was only doing my job, ma'am. I didn't know the man I was after was dating a celebrity; I only knew him as the man who was wanted back in New Washington Territory.

Drred: Dating a celebrity?

Moose: Isn't that why this whole thing is such a big deal? The man I was trying to take home has gotten himself in here as Company Man to this young lady?

Drred glares down at Moose.

Drred: As a matter of fact, the Nivet government frowns on any attempt to abduct its citizens. You have no official standing as an officer of the law in New Washington Territory, correct?

Moose: That's right, but at least half of my work is for rewards posted directly by the police.

Drred: And was the reward for Sosu Nick ambrov Sat'htine posted by the police?

Moose: No, ma'am. This was a private posting. And that's not the name he was using in New Washington, either.

Drred: Somehow, I suspected that your kidnapping had no official sanction. There are, after all, official ways to deal with extradition of criminals.

Moose: He's definitely wanted in Underwood County, ma'am. For inciting a riot, and some complicated form of trespass.

Drred: Both of which are minor offenses, correct? So minor, in fact, that the Underwood County police haven't bothered to pursue the matter?

Moose: But important to the people who posted the reward, ma'am. They put up a lot of money for him.

Drred: But they are private citizens, correct?

Moose nods.

Moose: It's often that way, ma'am. The victim, or the victim's family, cares more about a particular fugitive than the police do.

Moose remembers that's the part the damn lawyer said he should push on.

Moose: I'd have thought that trying to start a riot would be a big deal anywhere, though. Even here.

Drred: Which makes me rather suspicious that the case for that offense is thin, or the actual police would have pursued the matter, rather than leaving it for a private citizen seeking vengeance.

Moose: I wouldn't know about that, ma'am. I catch them, I don't try them.

Drred looks at Kat.

Drred: You have a comment, Hajene?

Katsura: Not yet, Hajene. There are a few comments I'd like to make about sentencing, should you decide that Tuib Moose is guilty.

Drred nods.

Drred: Tuib Moose, I have no indication that any New Washington police force is actively seeking to prosecute Sosu Nick for any crime. At least, there are no records of any request from a legitimate authority to extradite him. Is that correct?

Moose: I wouldn't know, ma'am. But if you're checking the records, the name you should look under is Nicholas Debree.

Drred: The point is, you have presented no evidence that you are working as the agent of any official authority. Which means you were attempting a privately sponsored, illegal kidnapping of a Nivet citizen. Is that correct?

Moose: There's nothing in what I was given to suggest he was a Nivet citizen at the time, ma'am. Like I said, I was trying to take him home.

Moose has wandered miles from the script his lawyer gave him. It's a good thing, he figures, that this isn't the real trial yet.

Drred: So that this private citizen who posted the award could get revenge for these crimes that the police felt were not worth pursuing?

Moose: I wouldn't know about that part, ma'am.

Drred: It seems that you don't know quite a bit about some important aspects of what you were doing, doesn't it?

Moose has always made a point of not knowing too much about his employers' business. Especially when they're not the police.

Moose: I stay alive better that way, ma'am. People who know too much have a way of showing up killed.

Moose remembers, not murdered. Killed.

Drred looks up ~~ alertly ~~.

Katsura can't keep a ~~ startled ~~ reaction out of her nager at the English word.

Drred: You are working on behalf of the Distect?

Moose: The what? ~~ puzzlement ~~

Drred thinks that this suddenly makes sense -- of course the Distect would be interested in the Rogue Donor.

Drred: Simes who don't care if they kill?

Moose thinks this through.

Moose: Well, the guy who hired me was a Gen.

Drred: One who apparently didn't feel comfortable allowing the police to pursue the matter. And this riot...

Drred knows that Distect rallies tend to be rather violent.

Drred: This puts a completely different face on the matter. Who was your employer, Tuib Moose? The one who offered you this reward to abduct a high-ranking Companion?

Moose: I really can't afford to say, ma'am. Not if I want to stay alive.

Drred: So this employer is threatening you?

Moose is getting really ~~ frightened ~~ now. It seems like he's gotten tangled in something much bigger than he realized.

Moose: It was never said out loud, ma'am. But then, those things never are.

Katsura is getting ~~ confused ~~. This doesn't match what Nick told her about the situation.

Katsura: Hajene Drred...

Drred: Yes, Hajene Farris?

Katsura: Sosu Nick described to me the situation in which he was involved which has resulted in Tuib Moose's employer's interest in abducting him. If I were to relate it to you, it would be hearsay, however, so I hope he will arrive here soon.

Drred: You know, then, who has employed Tuib Moose?

Katsura: I don't know specifically, but from Sosu Nick's description I think it may be a representative of a mining company for which he once worked.

Drred considers this.

Drred: Is this true, Tuib Moose?

Moose considers his wording carefully.

Moose: I wouldn't be in a position to deny it, ma'am.

Moose is silently ~~ begging ~~ the judge to please, please not ask the next question.

Drred: This is quite serious. It goes far beyond the specifics of this case. Consider carefully before you answer, Tuib Moose. Cooperation might gain you a more lenient sentence.

Moose: Ma'am, I...

Drred: Yes?

Moose thinks again of what he was considering while sitting in his jail cell. It may be time to retire. And change his name to Squirrel.

Moose: ~~ sudden decision ~~ Yes, ma'am. He approached me on behalf of the mines. I beg your mercy, please.

Moose struggles to think of the phrase he wants.

Moose: Witness protection, ma'am. Witness protection, or I'm dead.

Moose isn't sure if Simes have even heard of such a concept. So many things are different here.

Drred: That will depend on the value of the information you provide.

Moose: Anything, ma'am. I've gone and done it already. Might as well do it properly. ~~ resignation ~~

Drred: Good. Hajene Katsura, you had something you wished to say before I pass sentence? On behalf of your missing Companion?

Moose looks up, ~~ startled ~~ . This is the actual trial? Not some sort of pre-trial discovery?

Katsura: Not on Sosu Nick's behalf, but in relation to my experience in subduing Tuib Moose before he could do substantial physical harm to my Companion.

Drred nods.

Drred: Please speak, then.

Katsura: This Gen appears to be experienced and skilled at injuring both Simes and Gens. He showed no fear or reluctance to cause harm to persons any more than to property. While I was struggling with him, he attempted to grasp my forearms in order to cause me lethal injury. This was entirely out of proportion when I was merely attempting to restrain him.

Moose: Lethal... huh?

Katsura: Tuib Moose is a very dangerous person and I believe it's important that this be made clear to anyone who will have to deal with him during the course of his incarceration.

Drred turns to Moose.

Drred: Is that true? Did you attempt to cause a fatal injury to Hajene Farris?

Moose: I wasn't trying to hurt the lady, Your Honor. Just hold her still. Stop her from hurting me.

Moose is ~~ indignant ~~ at the thought that he would try to kill anyone.

Drred: By grasping her forearms?

Moose: Um, yeah. I guess I did.

Moose tries to remember.

Katsura: I could zlin that his intention was not to restrain but to actively injure.

Moose turns to Kat.

Moose: I wanted to knock you out, Miss, 'cause you're a good fighter. But I never would have tried to kill you. ~~ sincerity ~~

Drred: How were you attempting to... knock Hajene Farris out?

Moose: There's supposed to be a pressure point. Like the one on a guy's neck. Squeeze it just right, and the person passes out. I've never had to do it on a Sime before, I'd only heard about it.

Moose isn't sure what the fuss is about.

Moose: Learned it from an old guy, used to do border patrol back before.

Moose feels both sets of eyes on him.

Moose: And he only taught it to me 'cause I'd already been attacked by a Sime once.

Drred: You had?

Moose: Yeah. Back before I was even of age. Had a headache when I woke up, but the big thing is, I woke up. After that, it seemed hard to get scared of any of the usual things.

Moose doesn't realize he's just described himself as a potential Third Order Donor.

Drred: Hajene Katsura, I will take your caution under advisement.

Katsura nods ~~ acknowledgement ~~.

Drred: That at least explains why you were being recruited by the Distect.

Moose says nothing. He still isn't sure what the Distect is.

Drred: Has either of you anything more to say before I pass judgement?

Katsura: No, Hajene.

Drred looks at Moose.

Moose: Guess I said it all, already, Your Honor.

Drred: Very well.

Moose: ~~ resignation ~~

Drred: Tuib Moose, I find you guilty of assault and attempted kidnapping.

Moose bows his head. He hopes there's a "but" after this.

Drred: In light of the danger you pose to others, you will serve your sentence in a high security facility to be determined later.

Moose winces. He's heard stories about the high security places. but relaxes a little as he realizes that, on this side of the border, he at least won't be sharing a cell with one of his previous captures.

Drred: I am going to recommend that your sentence be considered in light of the value of any information you can provide regarding Distect activities that you can provide.

Moose nods, ~~ hopeful ~~ . He's not sure what use his information will be, but he'll give them everything he's got.

Drred turns to Katsura.

Drred: Is this acceptable to Sat'htine? If I merely have him deported, he would be in danger from his employer -- and may fall into bad company.

Moose lifts his head, ~~ eager ~~ . If he's deported, he can move somewhere else and get a fresh start.

Moose: Ma'am...

Katsura: I defer to your greater experience in these matters, Hajene.

Drred: Very well. Sentence is passed as noted.

Drred bangs her gavel.

Moose slumps into his seat, defeated.

Drred motions for the bailiff to remove Moose.

Moose has never been a violent man, aside from what his work demands. He supposes he'll have to learn to be one now, if he's to survive a Sime jail.

Moose thinks wistfully, as he's led away, of a little bordello he won't be seeing again for a long, long time.

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