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The Bull and the Genie[]

Chapter 15 - Book II - The Ninety-five Theses[]

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Consequences II[]


Legal Offices of Kim Reynard, City of Samantha - Taurus, Taurian Concordat


"Hello, my little Chickadees!" Kim Reynard said. Known as "the Fox" (no relation to the demon of New Avalon), he was the most senior and arguably best public defender in the Concordat. "How are the death threats coming?"

"We've already exceeded the Millar Child Abuse case threshold." His assistant said. "And the fact that the Protector has promised us both security and relocation funds should we get him off, fills my heart with not-so-great glee."

"Don't be upset, Tara. What's becoming the most hated people in the Concordat next to winning an impossible case." He glanced at his staff. "Bad news, we may not get help from the Liao's. Most of their attorneys are refusing to participate in this farce. Smart bet is that they're a bit more afraid that helping him out would annoy the new Chancellor, and failing would annoy the old Chancellor's allies. Good news, we've got a couple of law professors from the college who studied Capellan law, and they can advise us."

Everyone nodded at that. The laws applied were Taurian, but the orders had come down—if possible, the case was to be conducted in accordance with both sets of laws to avoid accusations of "victors justice".

"So, since not all of you have had a case like this, what are the big issues? Mac?"

"Does he demand to handle his own defense?"

"Got it in one. WE can't force him to listen to us, and something tells me, a guy who used to have the title "Celestial Wisdom" isn't good on listening. If he does that, we have to stand by to advise, but we can also run interference with Judge Richards."

"Maybe us it as an insanity…" Tara shook her head. "No. The nature of the evidence shows he was sane when he gave the orders. At most we could get a delay."

"Not insanity, but diminished capacity?" Mac asked. "You said it yourself, the title is "Celestial Wisdom". Get him up and examined by some shrinks, we can argue a long-running case of losing the ability to consider the consequences of his actions."

"What does that get us?" Reynard asked.

"Life in prison rather than death," Mac replied. "I mean, forgive me, Sir I know this is loser talk, but even if say, they throw out the murder charges from the dropship sabotage, which I can't see any way of doing, all the other crimes would keep him in for several lifetimes."

"We could argue sovereign immunity," Tara said. "And if we do, I want to take the protector up on that offer of "moving anywhere but here." When Edward sends orders that gets people killed, nobody throws him in prison."

"It's not illegal because a ruler does it?" Reynard asked. "Downsides?"

"It was a war crime," Mac replied. "Edward has never given an order that would result in civilian casualties like this, and if he did, his officers would be bound to disobey. All the prosecution has to do is bring up the death toll in Sian compared to Samantha."

"There's no declaration of war or even hostilities," another defender mentioned. "And of course the murder of the petty officer on his orders. Murder with special circumstances."

"Could we get him to plead guilty, express remorse and throw himself on the mercy—never mind. I'm hearing his response as I'm saying it…"

"But…" Tara paused. "If we want to go for the bugnuts crazy argument, hit him with that question on the stand. If he melts down…"

"Risky." Reynard said

"What if he refuses to acknowledge the court?" Mac asked. "Just sits there?"

"We use that as a sign of mental detachment, a fundamental inability to confront reality." Reynard paused. "Ladies and Gentlemen, some of you are new, so before I divide you all up into groups, I want to remind you of something. We all dream of defending the innocent man, railroaded by a corrupt system. That happens once or twice in our careers. More often than not, we defend the guilty, or we defend monstrous people, or just scum, because they happen to be innocent this time. But the only way we have a chance of protecting that rare innocent man is to never let the system get away with: they're guilty so who cares if we do it right? Even if we take away what he did to us, this man has more blood on his hands than any murderer you'll ever defend. But we still do our best. Our absolute best, within the law. Now let's get started. We've got a long night ahead of us."


Meanwhile in Oberon Confederation[]


Taurian Operation Base - Oberon VI, Oberon Confederation


"I had thought that with the conclusion of the events in the Confederation, our worries were over," General Mary Cheng said. The people on the other side of the desk said nothing.

"So, you got into a bragging match with some locals."

"Well, they said their steam-powered crap took more skilled than our hovers and—"

"And you said any Taurian could drive anything, whereupon you decided to show them, by ah, borrowing one of their steamer trucks."

There were no words in response.

"Then, you lost control of the steamer."

"I, uh… kinda…"

"Ramming it through Jessica's Body Art, fortunately closed, Michael's Diner, also closed and then into a slaughter house for some pigs. And that was when the boiler exploded, frying two hundred pigs. I have a receipt here for them. King Grimm delivered it himself."

Laughing his ass off. Mary decided not to bring that up.

"Well of course when we got you back to base, the medical check well, what was the diagnosis? Right. 'Could process your blood for an ICE engine.'"

"We… sort of were celebrating."

"Don't worry," Mary said. "Now, we can either do this officially…"

"No, Ma'am!"

"Good, good. The King has said that so long as the damage is repaired, he's okay. I've already paid for the pigs and other damage and you…" Mary smiled. "You can help out in another way." She gestured, and two troopers put tools down. Picks, sledgehammers, and other goods."

"Ma'am?"

"Since this started because you decided to trash talk some local technology, I figured you can now see how it works. You'll assist in the rebuilding of the damaged structures, using manual tools, under the direction of local architects."

"But…that'll… take a while…" the second trooper wilted under Mary's gaze.

"No, it won't!" Mary said, and now she had a smile on her face. "Because your platoon was there, evidently cheering you on, I figure they also want to participate in this alliance-building exercise. They'll be right next to you, and I'm certain they'll be grateful for the chance at some good exercise. Dismissed."

The two scuttled out. Mary sighed. The pirates had been laying low, and now troops were getting bored. Gotta figure out something to do. Then she looked at the news report, already old when it got to them, showing the Chancellor being marched out of his palace.

At least it wasn't you overthrowing a government, this time. Once was enough for her.


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