Act Two

“Cyberleader Kring, could you please explain to the court how you became involved with the defendant.” The Prosecutor hummed sternly and dipped in the direction of the Jester. The case had attracted a great deal of media attention, especially when people discovered Cybermen were involved, and the courtroom was buzzing. Not least because other Megara had joined the humans in the public gallery.

In spite of all the excitement, the Jester’s counsel, Megaras Three and One, hovered casually above their chairs next to their client, taking it all in their figurative stride. Doubly figurative since they weren’t moving and even if they were, striding would in no way be involved.

But the narrative had digressed and a question, or rather more of a request, had been put to the plaintiff currently seated in the witness stand.

Cyberleader Kring began to answer, “When I first encountered – ”

“Objection!” Megara One – or Denny as he was still insisting on being called – levitated quickly up from his chair. “He sounds like a Jew’s Harp. Badly played.”

His Honour, Megaran High Justice – known as HJ to those who wanted to be held in contempt – burned ferociously like a white dwarf gearing up to go supernova. “Megara One, what manner of objection is that?”

Denny performed a mini-bob, his impression of a shrug. “It’s not instrumental.”

High Justice rose to a loftier height and glowered. “You are overruled. And then some. If the witness will please continue – but, ah, speak up for the benefit of the jury.” The Megaran legal system did not require juries, but given the high profile of the case twelve humanoid volunteers had been coralled in for the task, their presence being considered preferable for dramatic purposes. They were almost as shiny as the Megarans, the people of Diplos going for fashions that looked like hand-me-downs from Terran glam rock bands, circa 1970AD. “Some of them may have trouble understanding your, ah, distinctive twang.”

Cyberleader Kring’s expression may have been fixed, with that letterbox mouth of his, but he did a great job of looking miffed. If he’d been blessed with the little tear-drop indentations at his eyes, he might have evoked more sympathy. He notched up the volume in his voice. “When I first encountered the individual known as the Jester, I was floating, disoriented in open space.”

“Objection, Your Honour!” Denny was up again, bouncing up and down like a lottery ball waiting to get picked. “Are we to accept the testimony of a witness who himself admits he was disoriented?”

“Your Honour,” appealed the Prosecutor immediately, “it is our intention to establish that the period of disorientation was purely temporary. Due, in fact, to the actions of another member of the defendant’s race, who thought that casting the plaintiff off into space would be a reasonable way of disposing of them. Also, there is no doubting the clarity of the plaintiff’s recollections. Memories are all stored as data and are a great deal more reliable than the vagaries of an organic brain.”

Murmurs of agreement passed around the Megara in the public gallery. While the humans and other humanoids present voiced quiet protestations.

High Justice was not to be swayed, least of all by humanoids. “Very well. You are overruled, Megara One. Again.”

“Objection! Computerised memories could have been photoshopped.”

“Overruled! On principle! One more outburst from you and I will hold you in contempt and your client will have to seek legal representation elsewhere.”

Denny settled back down, an aura of triumph surrounding him. The Jester frowned, wondering if perhaps the aura might have been misplaced and if he wouldn’t be better off seeking legal counsel elsewhere. He looked to Megara Three. “Er, Alan, how are we doing?”

“Please, don’t call me that. It’ll only encourage Den – Megara One.” Three drew closer to the Jester’s ear and dialled down his vocoder. “Trust me, it’s going splendidly though. This is just how things go. Megara One makes an ass of himself, then I sweep in with a majestic closing statement that saves the day.”

“Well, okay, if you say so.” The Jester dug in his ear, feeling that perhaps some wax had been vibrated loose. “Just one thing. When you cross-examine, could you do me a favour?”

The Jester leaned close and whispered his request.

Megara Three blinked. But consented. “I’ll do my best.” His was not to reason why. Anything to please the client, after all. And the practice still owed him for a damaged Cyberman.


“Any further questions?”

“Just the one, Your Honour,” said Megara Three and he floated nearer the witness stand to face Cyberleader Kring. “My client would like you to say, ‘Into the future, Cybertron.’

“Megara Three!” High Justice took a dim view. “Where are you going with this?”

“It’s a line from a track by a musical combo calling themselves the Black Eyed Peas, Your Honour. My client believes the plaintiff would do a grand job of it.”

“Megara Three! May I remind you this is a court of law, not a karaoke bar.”

“In that case, no further questions, Your Honour.”

“Good.” High Justice made an electronic bubbling noise that was the opposite of bubbly. “Now can we please proceed with the case? I’m still not sure we’ve clearly established what it is the defendant is supposed to have done. Prosecutor?”

“Prosecution calls the Jester to the stand.”

[To Be Continued…]


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