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Debris [Part 46]
No lesson today, I've got something on. Don't bother asking.read Arnd's morning message to Mark. He knew better than to tread on her toes by asking.
It's okay. you do what you need to do. See you tomorrow.he replied.
After his morning routine, he messaged Jan'u.
Hey. I've got nothing on today, do you just want to hang out?It took a moment for Jan'u to reply.
I'm sorry, I have a lesson to attend. I'll be happy to stop by later.Mark shrugged and went to lay his pad down, when it buzzed again. Slightly annoyed, he read the message he received.
I'll message you then.
Hey Tiny, I'm bringing up your crutches soon, buzz me in when I get there.Mark chuckled, and went to take his shower.
Suspension pistons hissed slightly as Mark tested out his new crutches. The armrests were comfortable, and even after prolonged use without his feet touching the ground, he heard no creaking and found to his delight that nothing had bent. Whether maneuverability was limited by its design or by his own lingering reservations with trusting x'erren metals, Mark was unsure, but he couldn't complain. "Thanks, Uns'la, these are great." he said to the engineer overseeing the tests. He sniggered. "They had better be, I designed the damn things."
Uns'la puffed out her chest and beamed. <"Damn right, they're great. It's hard to make something that doesn't kick ass when you have access to the resources we have here."> When Rilk'r told her that Mark wanted a pair of crutches, it took her a moment to register that Mark could even take damage, let alone enough to need mobility aids. When she saw the order, though, she jumped at the chance to work with the resources available. <"So, you a happy customer?">
Mark sat himself down. "Yeah, I'd say so."
Uns'la gave her handiwork a longing look. <"Well then, I'll be off. If somethin' breaks, shoot me a message. I won't be able to come 'round immediately, though; your pod's being moved to an off-world facility for the sake of this entire city's safe- Did you know that damn thing was radioactive when you got in it?!"> she said with incredulity.
Mark's eyes widened in shock. "Wait, is it leaking?"
Uns'la's jaw dropped. <"You fucking knew?!">
"Is. It. Leaking?!" Mark frantically reached for his crutches and began to stand himself up.
<"N-no. We checked it this morning and it might as well be inert.">
Mark took a moment to register Uns'la's words, then relaxed. "Oh, thank God. If it was leaking, then that would mean the G-Dampeners have begun failing. Before long, you wouldn't be able to get the thing off-world, and shit would get bad quick." He took a large sigh of relief.
Uns'la stared at Mark in disbelief. <"You are fucking crazy."> She shook her head. <"Can I get you to test some of my stuff?">
Mark gawked at the alien for a moment, then burst into barking laughter that Uns'la soon joined. "I - snrk - I think I've spent enough time as a test dummy for quite a while, but I might just take you up on it one day."
<"I'll hold you to that."> Uns'la's hissing laughter slowly petered out. <"So, how's the equipment holding up? The old man kept banging on about it all.">
"Yeah," Mark hefted a dumbbell and clapped his hand to his bicep. "they're pretty good."
Uns'la stared for a moment, taking in the way his arm bulged as he lifted the weight, and thought hard about the power it held, the power all of him held. She blinked. <"Yeah, well, I gotta get going. I'll let the team know about that Dampener thing. Seeya around, Tiny.">
Uns'la started. <"Where the fuck did you hear that?">
Mark recoiled slightly. "I overheard Jan'u at the cafeteria."
Uns'la scoffed. <"Fine, you can call me that, but only because you could beat me up if I didn't let you."> she snarked.
The pair shared another chuckle, and Uns'la left. Mark sat back and sighed; for everything he had dealt with and continued to deal with, it still felt nice to share barbs with coworkers. He grabbed his crutches, and went to make breakfast before F'ejen arrived.
<"Please take a seat."> said Mapal, gesturing to the table in her office.
<"So,"> Mapal continued. <"How have you been?"> She readied her notepad.
<"I've been seeing Ma- my associate, more frequently, if that's what you're wondering.">
Mapal betrayed nothing. <"That's good. What have you two been up to, may I ask?">
Arnd closed her eyes and began to recall the past fortnight. <"It began with an apology...">
She relayed her scant encounters with Mark unrelated to work. The apology, the television repair, and all the brief hellos and how are yous and will-you-please-finish-your-damn-meals they shared in the corridors and cafeteria. It was a short list, but an important list, and a list that Arnd felt relieved to express to another.
<"... He ran some cold water for my fingertips."> Arnd hesitated. <"That was nice of him. And that's it, until we had a row with our boss yesterday.">
Mapal raised an eyebrow. <"What about?">
<"Employee benefits."> Arnd replied hastily. <'Nailed it!'>
Mapal smiled as she took notes. While the more distressing scenarios that she theorized to be the case were certainly not outside the realms of consideration, any sign that their likelihood was lesser was a relief of the highest order. <"It's good to hear that you're, if not necessarily getting along with your associate, at least growing to tolerate him more. Changing how we view someone can be a hard thing, especially given our propensity to associate people and events regardless of their level of correlation. Even if you don't think that the step you've taken is a big one, you have to recognize it as what it is: a step, improvement. And that's something that should be celebrated.">
Arnd sighed. <"I know, but it still feels like I'm stuck in place. Talking to him and existing around him are getting easier, but its less that I find it easier to be around him, and more like it's easier to tolerate being around him, you know?"> Arnd could only imagine what someone listening in on this conversation would think of her, she could hardly understand what she meant by her words, let alone how well they interpreted her feelings.
<"Arnd, I would like you to answer some questions, if that's alright."> said Mapal.
<"Okay."> Arnd replied.
<"Fantastic. Now, could you describe your associate as a person?">
<"... Might I ask why?">
<"Given that your current issue lies with your relationship with your associate, I feel it would help paint a better picture and make it easier for both of us to solve this issue."> Her suspicions that there lay a deeper-seated issue were best kept to herself for the moment; probing the mind of her clients to find the root causes of their hangups was delicate work.
<"... Okay. My associate is..."> Fitting descriptors bombarded her thoughts. <'An alien; friendly; different; dangerous; Mark.'> <"... a dork. He's a pleasant, friendly dork who likes schlocky fantasy movies and building robots in his spare time. He has trouble trusting others but he'd put himself on the line for their sake. He annoys the shit outta me, but I can't bring myself to hate him, even after all he's pulled me into. He likes folk stories and mythology and prefers music to singing. He's a fast learner and he can be one of the clumsiest people I know. I've never met anyone like him, and I don't think I ever will again because I can't imagine anyone else being like him. He's just this weird, goofy endearing guy."> As memories of the human floated in and out of thought, a few brief but important memories came to light. <".. And he's sad.
<"He's a widow. For how long, I don't know, but he's still hurting."> The sight of him curled up in a cell muttering to himself is something Arnd hadn't soon forgotten. In the moment, she believed it was just fright that made him ball up, but that photograph in his pod and the recent revelation surrounding it shone some light on the topic. Arnd knew that Mark loved Anne dearly, and looking back, seeing him like that hurt. <"And that's him, so far as I can tell. This weird, friendly, sad person that keeps attracting trouble wherever he goes."> Arnd concluded.
Mapal tapped her notepad, her brow creasing in thought. <"Does this sadness of his come through often? If so, then your general discomfort around him may be the result of a sort of emotional contagion.">
<"No. Not often at all. And when it does, it's usually like a sort of light in his eyes dims, and then he's back to his usual self just as fast, like it never happened at all. He doesn't project it, he just, exists with it."> Arnd debated whether or not to relay her more intimate encounters with Mark's grief, but that same pang kept her from speaking of it.
<"I see."> said Mapal. She then began to study her notes, considering her options in silence. <"Well, Arnd, given what you've told me, I feel that our best course of action is to turn the clock back a bit. Could you please tell me about the inciting incident that resulted in your current view on the man?">
Arnd swallowed hard. Jan'u's sage advice floated through her mind, and despite her unwavering trust in the man, she still felt apprehension. Still, she had to consider the option; her trust would mean very little if she couldn't trust a war veteran's advice about therapy. She took a deep breath. <"I had just made Captain at X'rtan Freight. It took me decades, but I did it. I was assigned to the ship Star Chaser, bound to Men-te with supplies for the relief effort. We were one jump away from Men-te when... When we were attacked. A pirate gang torched their way into our engine room while we were still on cooldown, and they killed most of our security like it was nothing. The rest of us holed up in the prison hold and the common room, and made our stands there. They came around the corners, I dealt with the one behind Jan'u and I was sho- wait, no."> Arnd's scar felt like it was burning. She put a few fingers up to her nose and stroked it. It helped. <"No. They opened the doors to the hold with a keycard they took off a guard, and threatened us to release our cargo or have us killed. I declined. They came around the corner and...">
Mapal waited patiently, and still nothing.
She laid her notepad down. <"Arnd. You don't have to tell me anything if you don't want t-">
<"Mark charged in and took them down! It's Mark! He charged ahead of us and killed the pirate leader! Then he took down each of them one by one without hurting them and we put them in the prison hold; when we got back home, I was arrested for obstruction of justice and brought to this facility to work on integrating Mark into society in order to reduce my sentence; I cut myself across the chest to fool a guard in an attempt to repay a life debt to him that I didn't really have because I saved him from the void;"> She unbuttoned her shirt to prove her point, showing the doctor the gauze wrapped around the still-healing wound. Mapal suppressed her instinct to recoil in empathic pain. <"We had a cloak-using stalker that was probably connected to Ta'X'rtana News that really freaked me out for a while; an old xenophobic fart threw s'orr fillets at us in public because he's a hateful dick; and right now, I'm dealing with a government that's stockpiled a bunch of replicated skin and blood to treat Mark's injuries, which he can get, believe it or not; and despite the fact that he's rightfully pissed off at these guys for pulling that shit, he's renewing his contract with them after he gains citizenship, but he's doing it in a way that Jan'u and I are shipped off to prison to serve the rest of our sentences, and I'm worried about him."> Arnd panted and shook, stopping short of having tears well in her eyes. Not from sadness, but from the kind of relief that she never thought was possible.
Mapal sighed. <"Arnd, I had an inkling that your associate was Mark for a while; you don't just get a client who's associated with an alien and assume that said alien isn't causing a few issues."> she took in a breath. <"But I must ask: aren't you upset about him saying he's wanting to send you to prison?">
Arnd waved her question off. <"Oh, he knows I'd rather spend some time in orbit than in this facility any longer than I need to.">
<"... I see. Well, choosing to worry about Mark after everything is really admirable, Arnd."> Mapal straightened herself and looked at her notes. <"Okay, could you please go into some detail about each major event involving you two, and we'll see if we can zero in on what affects you most about each event?">
Arnd breathed, and nodded. <"Okay. I'll just, go by most recent."> Mapal nodded encouragingly and readied her pen. <"Alright, the prison thing...">
And on she spoke: Yesterday's debacle; the fillet incident; the invisible reporter; the death scare; and the arrest, all were talked of at length. Mapal listened intently, checking her notes and making additions where needed, and she noticed a pattern emerge, one that she expected to see.
Arnd cast her mind back. <"I saw most of it through the cameras - most of our guards were killed before I could do anything to help. They blew open the doors with grenades, and sent another to finish off the guards in one corridor; they picked off the sentries in the other. Of the entire security force, only two survived; you've met Jan'u."> Mapal nodded. <"After the third grenade hit, I grabbed the guns I could and ordered the crew to hole up in the prison hold. I had to think of what to do, and the only real option we had came to mind.">
Arnd nodded. <"I went to his cell, and I just saw him curled up in the corner. A guard that I had locked up for attempted mutiny told us that he was a demon and that if I freed him he would kill us all. I figured he was railing against Mark the entire time he was locked up."> Arnd chuckled. <"After locking him in a lonely prison hold, after having no idea what was happening as the alarms blared and the ship was being rocked by explosions, after being yelled at nonstop for the crime of being alien... Even after putting up with all of that, he still got up and saved my-our, lives."> Arnd slumped back in her chair, staring at the floor. <"And I'm thankful for that..."> Her face scrunched up in a grimace of self-loathing. <"But I still just can't look past it all, and he's not even at fault for any of it! Whenever I look at him, I don't think about his love for mythology or his upbeat attitude or his good cooking, I think about all the conflict his alienness causes... And I feel guilty for that."> Putting it into words, she understood exactly what that pang was.
Mapal took one last look at her notes. <"Arnd, do you mind if I tell you what I think about how you view Mark?">
<"Is it that I'm terrible for lumping all of this on him?">
<"No. Not at all."> the therapist replied encouragingly. <"How our minds associate people and events is a fickle thing. No, I have a feeling that you project all the related misfortune upon Mark because you've not quite gotten over something. Going over your thoughts on almost everything tells me the same thing: you're upset at the situations themselves, not Mark."> Arnd nodded hesitantly. <"So, there has to be something else that you cannot help but associate with Mark. Could you please tell me what you were thinking during the attack?"> she asked with a subtle clinical hint.
<"W-well, I was afraid for our fucking lives, obviously."> Arnd blinked at the thought she would have to spell out something so obvious. <"I was afraid that my poor leadership was going to get us all killed, I was afraid that this innocent creature was going to be taken for no good reason..."> Arnd faltered, withdrawing slightly. <"When they came around the corner, I-I was afraid I was going to be shot by pirates again, and..."> Arnd snapped her jaw shut and began massaging her scar.
Mapal watched as Arnd relived something terrible. She laid her notepad down. <"Mark wasn't there.">
Arnd paused, and looked up at Mapal. Here eyes were wide with past horrors. <"What?">
Straightfaced, Mapal repeated. <"Whatever event you're remembering, Mark wasn't there.">
Arnd stared at the therapist. The shuddering she experienced due to the terror she relived slowly became the trembling of the truly wrathful. Her fangs were slowly bared, her face morphing into a mask of unspeakable rage. She quickly stood from her chair and bellowed. <"DO YOU THINK I'M A FUCKING IDIOT?! OF COURSE MARK WASN'T THERE WHEN I WAS SHOT IN THE FUCKING FACE, YOU BRAKK-SWILLING-!"> She paused for breath, and that pause was all that was necessary. <"... Mark wasn't there..."> she said quietly. Her rage evaporated in that moment of quiet and clarity, leaving a void to be filled with tears she never wanted to shed. She collapsed into her chair, shuddering with repressed sobs as the pain and fear for her life she felt on that day long past washed over her again. Mapal got out of her chair and extended a hand to Arnd. Arnd took it and pulled her into a hug. Mapal embraced her without hesitation.
Relief and realization permeated the air, slowly enveloping Arnd with every trauma-filled breath she took. Arnd's quaking stopped for only moments at a time, and Mapal uttered not a word of discomfort or annoyance. And there the two women remained for what felt like the entire afternoon, until finally, Arnd let go. Mapal stood up and looked down to the woman, her expression a mixture of fear, sorrow, and abject peace.
<"I'm sorry for yelling at you."> said Arnd at length.
<"You have nothing to apologize for, Arnd."> replied Mapal, returning to her chair only after confirming that Arnd didn't want another hug. She refrained from picking up her notepad, now was the time for compassion, not to be clinical. <"Do you want to end it here for today?">
Arnd sniffed, shaking her head. <"No, please.">
Mapal nodded. <"So, do you think we've made a bit of a breakthrough?">
Arnd straightened herself, wiping her eyes. <"Yeah. Just a bit.">
<"In that case, would you like to go into detail for me?"> asked the therapist, picking up her notepad.
Arnd took a deep, calming breath. <"No, but I'm going to anyway.">
Jan'u, this involves you. Meet me in Mark's room.
Arnd stretched and climbed out of her bunk. She quickly changed into her cadet uniform in the nearby stall and left for breakfast. The food was fine, but the stuff they had at the Academy was better. She then linked up with her other cadets on maintenance, and they went about the ship performing their routine checks. Come lunchtime, and Arnd's break, she decided to simply wander the halls of the ship to help finalize its layout in her head. She breathed in the ship's well-filtered air and felt the subtle sheen of a freshly-cleaned floor on her feet. The minute hums and whirs of a well-functioning vessel greeted her ears, while dutiful employees gave greetings in the halls.
She entered the port-most hall, and stumbled across a guard who too was on break. He was about half a head taller than Arnd, with a well-built physique, a stony yet casual expression on his face, and a chip in his ear. Curiously, he was still outfitted in full sentry gear.
<"Sir."> said Arnd respectfully as she approached.
<"Cadet."> replied Jan'u in kind.
<"Shouldn't you be patrolling?"> asked Arnd appropriately.
<"I'm on break.">
Arnd raised an eyebrow. <"Then shouldn't you rack your gun?">
Jan'u pointed to the chip in his ear. <"I don't really feel safe without one anymore.">
<"Huh."> And the two stewed in the increasingly awkward air, until. <"What's it like being a guard?">
Jan'u stared for a moment, then chuckled. <"Alright, kid. I'm dressed for it, so why don't I just show you? Come on."> He turned and began marching down the corridor. Arnd, seeing that she still had a good portion of her break remaining, followed.
Jan'u showed Arnd exactly what a successful guard patrol looked like: boring. The duo made a lap of the ship, occasionally peeking into side rooms when Jan'u noticed activity, but nothing of note happened, just how Jan'u preferred it.
Arnd agreed. <"At least boring means nobody's getting shot.">
The ship alarm strips lit up in a blazing red as alarms began to blare. <"WE ARE UNDER ATTACK! ALL GUARDS TO DEFENSIVE POSITIONS! WE HAVE TRAITORS! REPEAT, WE HAVE TRAITORS!"> bellowed the captain through the ship's speakers. Sounds of firefights were heard echoing down the corridors.
At the captain's message, Jan'u quickly turned and reflexively slung his rifle around and into his grip, leveling it at Arnd. Arnd herself stood rigid in fear for her safety. After a moment though, Jan'u realized his mistake and lowered his gun. He unholstered his pistol sidearm and handed it to Arnd. <"Stay behind me and watch my back."> he said authoritatively. Arnd nodded silently and took the gun.
Together, the pair crept along corridors, with Jan'u checking each corner with speed and discipline befitting a trained soldier. Sounds of gunfire and screams slowly grew more infrequent as the pair made their way toward the common room.
Arnd heard a faint shuffling behind her and quickly turned. A woman she knew as a technician in the engine room burst around the corner aiming a rifle at Arnd. Arnd took a shot at her, and struck the pirate in her hand, forcing her to drop the front of her rifle and accidentally fire into the floor. This sound alerted Jan'u, who quickly spun around and dealt with the threat with two well-placed rounds to the head.
Before he could turn back around, however, a second pirate rounded the corner behind him and took aim. Arnd acted in an instant, and fired. Before the sound of her own gun reached her ears, she briefly felt a burning, stabbing pain explode through every fiber in her face, and she collapsed to the ground in a heap. Her vision blurred, then went black.
<"Turns out I got the bastard square between the eyes. When I woke up, I was in one of the ship's hospital beds. My vision was blurry, but I could still see what remained of my face after the shot. My entire upper jaw was turned into bloody chunks."> said Arnd with a shudder. <"I vomited and passed out. I didn't wake up again for a week. When I did, I was in a hospital on Blo-en, staring at a tissue replicator strapped to my face; it hurt, but it was much better than what led up to it.">
Mark, Jan'u, F'ejen, and Mee'lo were privy to Arnd's recalling of her past horror. Mark fought every urge to squirm at the mention of Arnd's injury, as he didn't want to disrupt the tissue replicator working on his foot. F'ejen and Mee'lo both nodded approvingly to Arnd's account of the machine in question restoring her face; they both agreed that the device's existence made their jobs a lot easier. Jan'u simply sat beside Arnd and held her hand reassuringly, squeezing ever so slightly tighter when he felt that Arnd was having difficulty continuing; it had the intended effect.
<"It took a week to finish, but as you can see, I made it out of that hospital with a new face."> Arnd chuckled. <"Behn didn't recognize me at first when I came home. She was too young for me to tell her what happened, so I told her that I gave some of my beauty away to those less fortunate."> She giggled halfheartedly at the memory. <"I was put on medical leave to recover and understandably go through some company-paid therapy, but evidently, it didn't entirely stick.">
<"And I felt a bit guilty for not taking that traitor out in time."> chimed in Jan'u. <"So I touched base to see how Arnd was doing, and it all just clicked. We've been inseparable since.">
<"It was you teaching me your quickdraw that sealed it."> added Arnd. The room shared a low, mellow chuckle. She turned to F'ejen. <"So, how much longer until Mark can take a break from getting patched up?">
F'ejen looked back at the device's screen to check its progress. <"About 20 san'los."> he replied plainly.
"So," said Mark after a pause. "I imagine that Behn girl is your-"
<"Daughter, yeah. We don't exactly get along - I'm probably to blame for that - but I still love her." Her voice was ever so slightly cold.
Mark thought of putting a reassuring hand on Arnd's shoulder, but reconsidered. "Huh."
Arnd scrolled through The Conclave, Mark continued sewing spare padding for his headphones, Jan'u took some time to study the wobunil on the window more closely, and the two doctors focused on keeping the tissue replicator running properly; until at last, lunchtime came around. The doctors unstrapped Mark from the machine and left for the cafeteria.
<"Alright, Mark, what are you in the mood for?"> asked Jan'u.
"Hmm... I'm feeling like kurjan steak today. Could you ask the bar if they do take-out?"
<"Not a problem."> He turned and made for the door. He almost paused in his stride when he didn't hear Arnd follow behind him, but he continued on, knowing that Arnd knew what she was doing.
The door shut behind Jan'u, enveloping the room in a quiet air that at once put Mark and Arnd at ease, and on edge. Mark looked out the window and watched the season's first flakes of snow land softly on the elder wobunil. Arnd joined him. She chuckled; before long, the entire mountainside would be snowed over, and the slumbering creature would be none the wiser as she too was buried under the white sheets. She was her own master, and would not allow herself to be bothered by the cold. Arnd empathized with the beast in that moment. <'Mark wasn't there.'>
"What for?" He knew.
Arnd smiled, and patted Mark on the shoulder. <"I do kinda wish you were there, though."> she said softly.
Mark shifted his gaze from the wobunil to Arnd, and found his eyes lingering on her scar. "Yeah. I do too."
<"Thanks."> said Arnd genuinely. <"Are we good?">
"Yeah, I think we're good." Mark replied, holding out a clenched fist.
Arnd was puzzled for a second, then read the moment. She extended her own fist and they bumped. It was definitely human and kinda weird, feeling almost like planting her knuckles onto a spongy, immovable wall. She liked it.
Du'fra looked up into the impassive faces of the founders of the nation carved into the walls of the Central Municipal Tribunal. His state-provided lawyer stood uneasy at his side; he knew that Du'fra's case was indefensible, and just hoped that this crushing loss would not put too great a mark on his career. Du'fra, however, was not focused on the fate he was resigned to, but rather that of Vuk'li. The X'olandi came to his podium, his cheek bandaged and demeanour sober; his lawyer stepped beside him with unshaking confidence. The jury gathered muttered in low voices.
The blast of a horn met the ears of all in the courtroom, and attention was turned to the head desk where the bailiff stood. <"On this day, the 15th Dawn of Se'te, the distinguished and honored Judge Hi'kol presides."> she said, gesturing to the judge's high chair.
The judge's bell rang. <"This court assembles to address the case of Misters Shek and Neem, facing charges of knowing and willful participation in a Kre'gadol duel."> said Hi'kol in a voice that shook the room. <"To present their cases:">
<"Met'sel, representing Mister Shek."> spoke Vuk'li's lawyer, his voice carrying a tone of superiority.
<"Hak, representing Mister Neem."> spoke likewise Du'fra's lawyer, managing to keep his voice even in the face of inevitable failure.
The bell rang, and the court once again fell silent. <"It is revealed in this master footage, that on the 6th Dawn of Se'te, at 42:09, Misters Shek and Neem engaged in a Kre'gadol duel within a premises owned by a Mister Lu'su."> The bailiff displayed the master footage on the wall below the judge. The clip began just before Du'fra declared Kre'gadol. Everyone was silent all the way until Vuk'li broke Du'fra's arm. The video was removed. <"Defend yourselves."> said the judge, ringing his bell.
Met'sel stepped forward. <"Honored judge. There is no doubt that my client did indeed participate in a Kre'gadol duel. However, the nature of his participation is muddied somewhat. You see, honored judge and jury, my client was inebriated when he accepted Mister Neem's challenge."> At this, he pulled out a data pad and handed it to the bailiff, who projected the video on the wall below the judge; the judge viewed the video on a screen at his seat.
The video begins as Vuk'li arrives at Lu'su's house. He is the first to arrive, and is let in by security. Soon after, the other members of Lu'su's entourage arrive one by one, and the festivities begin. Conversation and drink are shared between men, with the group often breaking out in laughter. Lu'su makes an appearance in the center of the room as a hologram, joining in on the conversation, regaling the party with tales of his younger years. Du'fra arrives, and the video ends.
The data pad was returned to Met'se, and he continued. <"The drink shared by the party was this: Gree Ridge blood wine."> he said loudly, holding up a bottle of the drink in question. <"This liquor has an alcohol content of 50%. According to doctors and alcohol experts, said parties I consulted outlined in my document, the amount of this drink required to successfully inebriate a person of Mister Shek's size is four cups worth. In the video seen previously, we can accurately determine that Mister Shek, allowing a one cup margin of error to account for the inherent inaccuracy of manual pouring of drinks, consumed eight cups worth of liquor. Thus, Mister Shek was well and truly drunk by the time he accepted Mister Neem's challenge."> The jury's volume raised in response to this take on proceedings. <"According to Article 3 of the Joyous Beverages Document: A person whosoever consumes any substance that falls under the legal definition of alcohol or narcotic, and is thereby impaired by their intoxicating effects, is, until such time as sobriety is regained, unable to give consent in a lawful manner."> He looked up from his notes and to the jury. <"Thus, I conclude that my client, by law, could not have possibly consented to this duel, and his participation therefore is entirely against his will.">
The chatter from the jury his a feverish level, almost to the point of shouting, but was quickly silenced by a blast of the bailiff's horn. This was followed by another ring of Hi'kol's bell. <"Now, Mister Hak, your defense.">
Du'fra chose not to listen too hard to his lawyer, there was no point if he was to face a severe punishment in either case. What he was preoccupied with was wondering why Vuk'li didn't push to charge him with anything else: his apparent defamation; his racism; the threats he made in Vuk'li's office; none of it appeared to matter to the man and his lawyer, like it never happened. Hak's lukewarm defense concluded, and he returned to Du'fra's side, his face grave.
Another ringing of the bell echoed in the ears of the assembly. <"Your defenses have been heard, and now the jury will convene to determine your verdicts."> he concluded this with another ring, and he and the jury retreated into a set of rooms behind their seats, all rooms being able to communicate with one another via video chat.
[Continued in comments]
React is Dead. Long live Reactive Rails! Long live StimulusReflex and ViewComponent!
|submitted by geospeck to ruby|