When Six floated discreetly into the courtroom, the Prosecutor was winding up his closing speech. Despite her glum feelings after the poor result from the parole hearing, she could at least commend herself on her excellent timing. The Prosecutor’s address would have contained a lot of extraneous detail, a lot of going over the key points of the case and nothing whatsoever that furthered the plot.

“And so, in summation,” intoned the Prosecutor grandly as he performed a very dull air show – back and forth – in front of the jury, “I cannot think of a defendant who has ever made both my job and yours easier. Deliberate, by all means, over your choice of sandwich at lunchtime, but the decision in this case has been made for you.”

Satisfied with his conclusion, he bobbed smugly to his chair, settling into a gentle hover beside the Cyber-plaintiff. Cyberleader Kring even managed to invest his expressionless face with a passable impression of victorious. At about the same time, Six had taken up her position at the back of the court, waiting to watch Megara Three in action. She knew he could pull some legal miracles out of the bag, but frankly, she had gone over the case notes herself and their client looked doomed.

Megara Three took his time levitating and approached the jury in the entirely unhurried fashion with which he approached everything except interfacing.


“Ladies, gentlemen and hermaphrodite hexapods of the jury, what is the prosecutor’s major malfunction? He appears to have issues. Issues that centre on the fact that the plaintiff is a non-organic life form.

“Like the Prosecutor, I’m a machine – do you hear me getting all wound up about it? No. And you won’t have heard the Prosecutor getting on his soap box before now. How many times have we heard of some wealthy Federation citizen utilising a Cyberman as a hat stand? A Cyber-head as a tea-pot or a chest unit toaster? Well the truth is it doesn’t grab much media time because it’s simply not a concern. Rights Organisations, the free press – not a squeak out of any of them. You can install Cybermen in your garden, equip them with fishing rods and little red gnome hats – nobody will offer any objections.

“Now the Prosecutor will argue that Cybermen used in this manner are defunct, non-operational – they have shuffled off this synthetic coil, kicked the bucket, they are ex-Cybermen. But consider the facts. Aren’t our homes and factories full of robots, put to work for no remuneration and rarely even our gratitude.

“But what did my client do? He salvaged numerous of these Cybermen from sites of their defeats – which, let’s face it, were numerous – and gave these selected individuals a golden opportunity in the world of professional sports. Major Galactic League Baseball. Rewards, fame, applause and the cheers of the crowds. And how many of them have complained? One.

“The one who – and I hesitate to bring this up for fear of salting a wound – happened to have been dropped from the team. Coincidence? Maybe. And maybe that’s where the mistreatment occurred. I dare say it’s a cruel blow to be excluded from sports. I wouldn’t know. I was never picked for a team. But I survived and if pushed I think I’d have the good grace to admit I wasn’t any good. My sporting prowess is confined to a few aerobatics.”

Megara Three paused to perform a few aerobatic manoeuvres, eliciting a few oohs and aahs from the jury. A cheap trick, but one he liked.

“But other more sporty types, well, I can imagine they might get upset. They might have an axe to grind. The plaintiff perhaps rates his swing more highly than my client, but really the evidence is in the batting averages. The plaintiff, to be blunt, simply wasn’t very good.

“But wait, Megara Three, I hear you say, aren’t you straying from the point. The point is that the plaintiff claims he didn’t especially want to be lifted from his situation and recruited into a baseball team. And even if his situation happened to be floating freely in space as a bit of debris recently repulsed from the Moon courtesy of a gravitronic device, we can’t assume he was happy to be salvaged. It’s an abuse of his rights as a sentient being to be made to play sports against his will.

“And consider, for a moment, what the Cybermen truly are. Many of you are still thinking that the Cybermen aren’t merely machines. They’re not just robots. They’re living, thinking beings with cybernetic parts. But these are the creatures who sought to absorb all of Earth’s energy and neglected to install a shut-off valve, resulting in their own destruction. These are the creatures who discovered they had a vulnerability to gold and instead of developing a defence against it, expended themselves in a decades long campaign to destroy Voga, completely overlooking the fact that more of the stuff was readily available from high street jewellers all across the galaxy. These are the creatures who, instead of venturing out to conquer selected parts of the universe, froze an army of themselves in a tomb only accessible by those who could solve puzzles of such complexity they have since been introduced into the curriculum for Ogron kindergartens. These are the creatures who quite frankly, for self-professed masters of logic, come up with the most illogical half-baked plans imaginable. Are those the actions of sentient creatures? I think not.

“No, what we are dealing with here is a machine. One of the stupidest machines in the known universe. And how many of us are routinely cruel to our machines? A thump here and there to get a reluctant computer working, hurling verbal abuse at the screen. Sexual abuse of washing machines, or so I’ve heard. I think, in fact, you can no more condemn my client for abusing a Cyberman’s rights than you could convict a man of assault for pushing around his vacuum cleaner.

“Something to consider while you’re choosing your sandwich.”


“Ladies and gentlemen – and hermaphrodite hexapods – of the jury,” said the High Justice gravely, “have you reached your verdict?”

“We have,” squeaked the Alpha Centauran somebody had elected as jury foreperson. The jury had been out for hours, but also Megara Three had it on good authority that the sandwich cart had been held up in the jury room for most of that time. So the odds were good that the main debate had centred on a tricky choice between cheese and pickle or a BLT.

The Alpha Centauran passed the bailiff the folded piece of paper and this the bailiff presented for the High Justice’s inspection. To his credit, the High Justice gave no reaction beyond a brief shimmer and that could mean anything from surprise to satisfaction to a faulty levitation circuit. The paper was duly handed back.

“Do you find the defendant guilty or not guilty?” he asked.

“We find the defendant,” shrilled the foreperson, milking the suspense for all it was worth, “not guilty on all counts.”

Gasps erupted around the courtroom, just audible under an exclamation from the defendant of, “Ha! In yer face, Kring!” The Jester, after signalling his happiness at the result with a brief hand signal directed towards the plaintiff, turned to thank his counsel with a handshake – soon realising that wasn’t going to work.

“No!” declared the somewhat disgruntled Cyberleader. “This is unacceptable. You will all be eliminated.”

He pulled a Cyberweapon and aimed it around the chamber, picking his first target. This provoked a few gasps, but because Kring hailed from a stage in the Cybermen’s development when Cyberweapons looked a lot like handheld lamps, a lot fewer gasps than had been prompted by the revelation of the verdict.

Suddenly, amidst the moderate consternation, a magnesium-bright beam flared out, lancing straight at Cyberleader Kring and blowing his head clean off. Megara Three did not have to conduct very extensive scans to discover who was situated at the other end of the beam.

“Denny,” remarked Megara Three. And he was all set to correct himself and say, “Megara One” in the same reproving tone, but when he played it through his central processors he realised it wouldn’t have nearly the same effect.

Which was when he was forced to conclude that maybe ‘Denny’ had a point about names after all.

To Be Continued…


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