T Minus Four Days
We file into the courtoom expeditiously.
Me and and Ms Harkonnen, my defense-lawyer takes the table to the right. Juha Hasri, the attorney-general, takes the the table to the left. In front of us is the pulpit, where Judge Nazreen sits. Behind us are additional benches, filled with people listening.
To the right of my table are two raised benches, enclosed by a railing, where the jury sits.
“We will now begin the trial of Rune Fallowfell, accused of manslaughter. How do you plead?” Judge Nazreen’s voice echoes through the courtoom.
“Not guilty”, answers Harkonnen for me. I sneak a peek at her. She is wearing a blouse and a tall skirt, which coupled with her blond hair and blue eyes makes her look professional– everything you’d want in a person that attempts to salvage what remains of your life and reputation.
Nazreen turns her cinnamon eyes to the jury. “The jury will note that the defendant has plead ‘not guilty’.” She motions to the attorney general. “Your opening statement, please”.
Juha takes to the stand, in front of the jury. Sanctimonius little ginger I think to myself. With his red hair, freckles and green eyes, well, he is a girl-favorite. I hate people like that.
“Rune Fallowfell is a criminal; of that you can all be certain. But he isn’t just an ordinary criminal. No, no”, and Juha waves a supercilious finger in the air,” he’s a coldblooded thug-”
“Objection your honor!” “Sustained. Mr Hasri, keep it short.” Ha, they got you there.
“Very well. Rune Fallowfell killed his girlfriend. Not in passion, not over some slight, but by carefully orchestrating a plan. He accquired a gun. He created an alibi and as I will show you through the evidence- he is a man of rare deliberation and cruelty.”
Harkonnen gets up and starts her opening statement.
“Rune Fallowfell killed his girlfriend. No doubt about it. But this was not the premeditated murder the attorney would have you believe. There was no great plan. No deliberation. No, this was an act of passion. Does this mean that he is innocent? Of course not. It just means, that in the eyes of the law, the very law that you are required to uphold, Rune should be judged with a certain compassion.”
Hasri brings in a witness I recognize as Love Saldgren, the owner of Evers.
“Could you state your name for the record?”
Love Saldgren clears his throat. “Love Saldgren”, he says in a clear voice. If I remember correctly, Love used to sing in a choir when he was younger. Love was, is I guess, handsome. Deep into his middle-age he still retains long blond hair which has started to silvered, tanned skin and a set of grey eyes.
“Tell us about your occupation, Mr Saldgren?”
“I am the owner of Evers, have been for… oh, fifteen years now. I open in the morning. Close at night. I bake pastries for the costumers. I have a couple of servers that I hire from Ochre.”
“In your experience as the owner of Evers, you have seen a lot of young couples, correct?”
Harkonnen break in. “Objection your Honor! What is the relevancy of this inquiry?” The judge looks at Hasri.
“I am establishing Mr Saldgren’s credibility as a witness.” “I will allow it”, Judge Nazreen say.
“Please answer the question, Mr Saldgren.”
“Sure I have seen a lot of young couples at Evers. Some of them have even married.” Juha Hasri nods thoughtfully.
“Did you ever see Nalika Hadrilaw and Rune Fallowfell on a date?” “Twice.”
“And what was your impression?”
“It looked to me as if they were happy.”
“It looked to you as if they were happy”, Hasri reiterates. The words hang in the air, my very own-damocles sword.
Then it’s Harkonnen’s turn. She calls in another witness, one I dont recognize, a woman wearing a white coat and stethoscope.
“Would you please state your name for the record?”
“My name is Dahlia Dizin.”
“Mrs Dizin, what is your occupation?”
“I work as a doctor and I double as an extra sometimes when they need an autopsy.”
“You performed the autopsy on Igrina Morichau?”
“How was she killed?”
“She was stabbed to death. Multiple stab-wounds.”
“In your experience, was this personal or the mark of a detached mind?”
This time Hasri protests. Harkonnen turns to the judge with a sardonic smile. “I am just trying to establish the credibility of my witness.” Nazreen sighs. “Go on”, she continues and gestures to Dahlia Dizin to answer the question.
“In my opinion, this was done in a frenzy. Had she been killed by a single incision, then I would have believed otherwise.”
” No further questio-” KCHIIIIING.
Me, Harkonnen, Hasri, Dizin and Judge Nazreen turn to the source of the metallic sound; two girls in the backseats. They’re both wearing suits. Both are wearing fedoras, and they both have friggin katanas.
On some signal I can’t detect they vault over the benches, running towards Judge Nazreen, who takes out a shotgun and guns one down. The second fedora flings something, a shuriken, a metal-star at Nazreen.
She crumples and the entire courtroom erupts in fighting. What the hell?! This wasn’t part of the- Harkonnen takes out a foil, the kind fencers use and aims for my head.
I bat it away and slug her in the face on reflex. The blow takes her unaware, and she falls, unconscious on the floor. Did I just…? From the corner of my eye, I spot Hasri striding towards me, one hand covered in blood, the other carrying a spear.
“Look, what are we doing-” The tip of the spear misses my nose with a scant milimetres and I retreat a single step back.
Hasri lets loose with a barrage of spear-shaped missiles, each one forcing me to walk backwards.
“CUT! CUT! God dammit, cut!”
Isocrates’s demands make the players on the ‘stage’ stop. Hasri grabs the ‘skin’ on his face and remove it, revealing the face of Samuel Marikson.
Isocrates looks at Samuel. “You were doing good up until the samurai-swords. And you changed the names of Rune’s girlfriend twice.” He crouches on the floor, and takes ‘Harkonnen’s’ pulse. He turns baleful eyes at me.
“And now Eiddwen is out cold.”
“She tried to cut me with a foil!”
“A plastic foil!”
“How was I supposed to know that! I didn’t even know about this whole Tarantino sequence…”, I respond meekly.
“Me either”, Isocrates grumble. “Someone get me the smelling salts, this has Eiddwen’s prints all over it, and I want to know what the hell she was thinking…”