STORY: Justice Ch. 9

Sep. 18th, 2017 09:10 pm
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“The Government’s next witness is unable to travel here, but is in a court room in her home region,” stated the lemur representing the Government’s case against Enhray. She tapped a button on her flat panel. A three-dimensional hologram materialized in the witness circle showing a good rendition of Aouphril. Aldin was fascinated with the technology as he looked on. The image of Aouphril looked about. She looked off slightly to one side and stifled a yawn.

“This appears to be working at my end, but the flat panel in this room is to one side. So, when asked a question, I’ll be looking to one side. I’ll do my best to remember to look at the camera when answering questions, Counsel,” Aouphril stated. “My apologies if I look sleepy. It is the middle of the night in my time zone.”

The lemur nodded. She then started. “Please state who you are, where you are from, and your occupation.”

“I am Aouphril, mate of Orlan. I live in the Northeast Hills Region. I am a student in my final year at Nadowahoc College.”

“How long have you known the victim, Ms. Aouphril.”

“Since his arrival in our world approximately three months ago. I was the first citizen he encountered.”

“According to the records you spent time in quarantine with him.”

“That is correct, Counsel. Orlan and I both spent time in quarantine with Aldin. So did the doctor who tended to his broken arm and two orderlies who came into contact with him that first evening at the clinic.”

“While in quarantine, you watched the proceedings of Parliament?”

“Yes. Aldin was preparing to be questioned by Parliament. So, we watched the proceedings in preparation.”

“What did he say to you about that upcoming meeting?”

“Seeing some of the factions in the chamber, he feared he would be attacked. He warned me when it happened to be brave and do what I felt was necessary. I didn’t believe it would come to that, but it did.”

“There is video documentation of the resulting encounter,” the lemur stated. “However, I want to know what was going through your mind when the accused charged down on the floor.”

Aouphril lashed her tail back and forth. The tip blinked in and out of existence as it lashed out past the hologram sensors. “When Representative Enhray charged down on the floor and called Aldin a ‘Tree Rodent’, I was highly insulted. I was raised to give proper respect to other species. If I had used a similar term for another species in the hearing of my mother, she’d have twerked my ear so hard it would be sore for a week.”

“How did the victim react?”

“He didn’t react, which surprised me, for I knew he knew what the two words by themselves were. Then he said it back to Representative Enhray as part of his name. Enhray snarled calling Aldin a ‘talking lunch’ and leapt at him. Aldin rolled backwards, kicked-upwards with his hind paws and Enhray crashed into the Chancellor’s podium. It happened so quickly that the fight was over as soon as it had begun. I was too shocked to react at that moment.”

“But you did react afterward, correct?”

“Yes. Aldin surrendered the visitor’s circle and was escorted out of the chamber. I immediately stepped into it recalling Aldin’s instructions to do what I felt needed to be done after the fight. Not if there was a fight in his words, but after the fight.”

“And what did you say to Parliament?”

“I called shame on them for their failure to stop Enhray. I told them how we’d now be at war with Aldin’s people if he had been an official representative sent by them to us.”

“Thank you. No further questions, your Honor.”

Judge Perraul looked to the ferret. “Your witness.”

The ferret did not pace in front of the hologram as he had done with face-to-face witnesses. “Ms. Aouphril, you’ve known the victim since his arrival on Earth, correct?”


“And you assisted him in preparing to face Parliament?”

“Yes. I now know more about Parliamentary procedures then I’ll ever need to know unless my name comes up in the Lottery.”

“And he was one of the witnesses to your marriage to your mate…” the ferret glanced at his flatpanel a moment, “Orlan?”


“And the victim has continued to live with you and your mate since that time until the present?”


The ferret turned to the jury. “Please take note that this witness is very close to the victim and as such, her testimony may be influenced by that closeness.”

Aouphril’s fur bristled. The ferret raised his free hand briefly. “My apologies, Ms. Aouphril. I do not mean to insult you. But it is a fact you have been very close to the victim since his arrival and the jury needs to know that.” The ferret brushed a finger upward on the flat panel, looking for something a moment and then nodded. “While in quarantine, what exactly did the victim say to you in regards to a potential fight in the Parliament chamber?”

“That he expected there would be a fight.”

“Regardless of what he did?”


“Did he make any indication that he might start said fight?”

Aouphril hesitated a moment and then answered softly, “yes.”

“A little louder please.”

“Yes. Aldin said he believed the only way to get the faction of Parliament that believed he was just a wild cousin who was taught a few tricks to see he was more than that would be if there was a fight. He believed one of them would attack him, but if necessary, he’d start a fight to prove his point.”

“Per your testimony to Government Counsel, the victim knew what the terms ‘Tree’ and ‘Rodent’ where. Yet, he didn’t seem to react to them as every other squirrel in the chamber did when they were said in combination.”

“That is correct.”

“Yet he did understand the term. Per his own testimony here and in the video documentation,” the ferret tapped an icon on his flat panel and Aldin appeared on screen:

“I was fully aware he was trying to insult me with the term ‘tree ro-dent’ or as we say in English, ‘tree rat’. I knew he wood leap for me if I tossed the insult back at him in the way I did, playing in-no-sent and assuming the insult was part of his name.”

“Members of the jury, the victim started the fight per his own testimony and that of Ms. Aouphril. He wanted the accused to attack him.” He turned back to the holograph of Aouphril. “Thank you, Ms. Aouphril. I have no further questions.

I will follow this advice

Sep. 18th, 2017 12:19 pm
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[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
According to my brother, one should not bounce a chainsaw off one's knee as it is very hard on denim.
moxie_man: (Default)
[personal profile] moxie_man
Jose with winds around 85mph (136kmph) is looking less like a hurricane and more like a nor'easter on satellite photos this morning. The current forecast models still keep it off shore, but threatening Cape Cod before wobbling eastward and then south, possible doing another loop before fizzling out. Southern New England could still see a couple of inches (5cm) of rain out of it starting tomorrow into Wednesday. Less rain up here in the Maine Wilderness.

Folks on the East coast need to keep an eye on Maria. It'll slam through the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico this Wed. as a major hurricane, possibly with winds as strong as 140mph (225kmph), 'cause they need a second major hurricane to hit them this month. After that, long range has Maria taking a similar tour as Jose, without the loop-de-loop and stay just off the Eastern Seaboard and threaten Cape Cod next Tues/Wed. As the forecast models have a difficult time with tropical systems, that means Maria could strike anywhere along the east cost from sometime this coming weekend through early next week.

Reminder: both my degrees were in general meteorology. Tropical was not my specialty and I usually only pay attention to the tropics if something major happens or if there is a storm of potential local interest to Maine. Our hurricane shield (MA's Cape Cod) usually protects us pretty well from the brunt of storms.

Jose, go home, your drunk!

Sep. 17th, 2017 04:57 pm
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[personal profile] moxie_man
Jose has completed it's loop-da-loop in the Atlantic, restrengthened to a Cat 1 hurricane despite some serious wind shear aloft, and may threaten Cape Code Monday night into Tuesday per one model and actually hit Long Island/Southern New England Monday night and make second landfall in Eastern Maine according to another model.

The first model goes out longer and shows Jose making ANOTHER loop and then brushing along Nova Scotia's southern coast early the following week (around the 25th or so). Said model also has Maria slamming into NC at about the same time.

All we can do is wait and see what happens.

Gaming and Other Activities

Sep. 17th, 2017 10:01 pm
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[personal profile] tcpip
Have had a fairly busy week in my favourite pastime. Every day this week I've been working on finishing Papers & Paychecks as well as RPG Review 35-36, now a double issue of Antipodean gaming material. To have both out by the end of the month would be ideal, and I think that is certainly going to happen at current rates of work. Much of RPG Review has been helped by [personal profile] reverancepavane whose epic writing for RPGaDay has been nothing less than extraordinary. In actual play on Wednesday finished the classic introductory Stormbringer scenario The Tower of Yrkath Florn which includes nothing less than a Melnibonéan wheel (my calculations put the value at around $3m AUD). As I've wryly remarked this may very well be our Stormbringer; a theme which I don't think the game does well is the idea of tragedy from power. It was also a heavy Eclipse Phase weekend, with a game on Friday night which curiously was chasing down a antagonist whom the players in my Sunday game are close to encountering for the first time. Whilst a good scenario, once again I could not help but chuckle at the author's rather light idea of what a seedy "sex and drugs and gangs" red-light district would consist of - especially in a transhumanist environment.

On Friday finally managed to write up my review of The Residents concert from March last year. On Saturday attended Software Freedom Day and the LUV AGM, where I have found myself on the committee for yet another year. Afterwards went to [ profile] usekh's memorial birthday at the Back Bar. Kudos are due to [personal profile] damien_wise for doing most of the organising of the event. Today visited St Michael's to hear Rev. Ric Holland's impressive service on forgiveness, also taking the opportunity to introduce Shupu, to the location. I hadn't been for several months and was never a regular attendee, so I was quite surprised to discover a few people remembered me. The Rev. offered to catch up for coffee some time and I certainly intend to take up that invitation. Afterwards made my way to university, and stumbled upon the a protest against racism and fascism which I attended; the media of course, concentrated on a very minor disruption, ignoring the important message that the Rohingyan refugee speaking was presenting at the same time.

STORY: Justice Ch. 7

Sep. 16th, 2017 05:51 pm
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“Court is now in session. All rise for the honorable Justice Stepin Perraul.”

A black bear in black robes entered the court room and sat behind the judge’s bench. Even sitting, he towered over all present. After he sat, everyone else sat. He looked at the dossier on his flat panel and then looked up. “Bring in the perpetrator.”

Enhray was escorted in by two security guards. The bear looked down at the pine marten.

“You’ve submitted a request to change your plea to ‘Not Guilty’ and receive a trial by jury. Your request is denied. Once a perpetrator confesses guilt he cannot uncon…”

The bear stopped in mid-sentence as the doors to the viewing gallery opened and closed. He watched a small gray squirrel find a seat. The squirrel noticed the bear looking at him.

“My apologies, your Honor, for my lateness. I hope that is the correct term. Like Mr. On-ray’s original trial date, I did not receive proper notification about this hearing.”

Judge Perraul closed his eyes a moment, took deep slow breath that was almost a sigh, and then reopened them.

“Then you will be happy to know, Em-bass-ah-der, that I was in the process of denying the perpetrator’s request for a retrial.”

Aldin briefly drooped his tail. “Forgive me, your Honor, I have not had time to read-up on the proper procedure. However, if you deny his request, I will file whatever forms are necessary for a retrial as is my right as the victim.”

There were hushed mumblings among the few in the courtroom as again, Judge Perraul closed his eyes and this time sighed. He looked up again. “Em-bass-ah-der, please approach the bench.” He glanced at the ferret sitting next to Enhray and a lemur off to one side. “The perpetrator’s and government’s counsels will do likewise.”

Aldin made his way down to the bench and stood next to the ferret and lemur. Both of them towered over Aldin. The judge towered far above all three of them. “You may come up here. This sidebar conversation is off the record for now.” All three climbed up. Aldin had all he could do to suppress his wild cousin instincts telling him to flee from such a large predator. The judge was larger than any bear he had ever seen back home. The bear quietly spoke so only the three of them could hear him. “Em-bass-ah-der, the perpetrator has already confessed his guilt. He cannot request a new trial.”

“My client plea bargained, your honor, while still recovering from a head injury,” the ferret interjected.

Judge Perraul glared at the ferret. “You’ll only address me when addressed. You and the government counsel are only up here to hear what I say to the victim.” He turned back to Aldin. “This is not your Terra or whatever you call your home. Our laws are different here.”

Aldin nodded. “Yes, I understand that, your Honor. I have also briefly read through your laws/rules regarding trials. If the victim is not satisfied with the sentence, the victim can request a new trial. If you will not grant the perpetrator his request to a new trial, then I will file for one on his behalf. I am not satisfied with the sentence. It is too harsh. Parliament charged him with fighting on the floor, not attempted murder.”

All three stared at him. The ferret tried hard not to grin.

“The perpetrator or his family hasn’t threatened you in any way have they?” Judge Perraul asked.

“No, your Honor. In fact, I gave the perpetrator a chance to rip me apart in his jail cell two days ago. He had me by the scruff of my neck, but he did no harm to me. He simply removed me from his cell. I would guess you can find a report on it in there.” Aldin pointed to the judge’s flat panel with his tail. “You will also find there is no way for him or his family to bribe me. Parliament has yet to decide if I am allowed to work or not, so I have no account in your world banking system. No account, no way to get paid. All I have is the embassy ‘charge account’, but I’ve already tried to receive payments for speaking engagements through that with no success.

“As I said, I will file for a retrial as I object to the length of the sentence. He should have served a maximum of two months per Parliament rules. I understand the rules are different here. It would be much easier back at Nahmakanta. Back home, all I would need to do is request the charges be dropped and that would be the end of it.”

All three stared at him.

“Please repeat that,” Judge Perraul requested.

“Among my people if the victim requests the charges be reduced or dropped against the perpetrator, they are dropped or reduced accordingly. Of course we do not jail those found guilty as we are at war and cannot spare any paws to watch someone in prison as our numbers are small. I do understand the prison thing as humans use it back home. Among my people, the punishment meets the crime. A fight like ours would have resulted in several klicks to several hundred klicks of community service. Attempted murder would mean banishment from the colony. I could go on, your Honor. However, I will do whatever it takes to get Enhray’s attempted murder charge dropped. If simply requesting to do so does not work here, so be it. If that means I need to submit a request for a new trial, then that is what I will do.”

Now the ferret was smiling.

Once again, Judge Perraul closed his eyes a moment in thought. “Please go back to your seats, I need to do some research.” He stood up.

“Due to who the victim is, I need to do some research in my chamber. Court will reconvene in one klick.”

“All rise!” a security guard cried out as Judge Perraul departed through a door behind the bench.

Immediately, the lemur went over to Aldin. “Have you lost your mind, Em-bass-ah-der? He tried to kill you and you’re trying to have him released?”

“Counsel, as I explained to Mr. On-ray in his jail cell, I started that fight intentionally. It would not have mattered who it was that charged down on the floor to challenge me, I would have picked a fight with them to prove the point I am not just some wild cousin who was trained to speak a few words. Any sentence longer than he has already served is unjust and I will do whatever it takes to get him released.”

“You are crazy!” the lemur threw up her paws and stormed back to her table knowing she was going to have a difficult trial ahead if the judge granted his request.

The ferret then approached him. “I must look out for my client’s interests, Em-bass-ah-der. Is what you said up there and to my client genuine?”


The ferret’s grin was extra wide.


A klick later, the door to the far chamber opened again.

“All rise!” a security guard called out. All did so as Judge Perraul reentered the chamber and sat down. Everyone else did likewise.

“I did some research and found that long before we were a united world, when the various regions were independent countries, most sent official representatives, what we call ‘Foreign Representative’ or as among the Embassahder’s people ‘Embassahder’, to those countries they had friendly ties with. If that foreign representative became victim of a crime, they had the right to have the perpetrator extradited to their home country to face trial under their laws rather than in the country the crime originated in.

“Technically, at the time the crime was committed, Al-den Bush-E-tail of Terra was not yet appointed, Embassahder of the Terran Nah-mah-kant-ah Free Squirrels. However, I will ignore that as he was appointed to that position soon after. Per our sidebar conversation, the Embassahder has made a request that the accused perpetrator be tried under the rules of his home country. Unfortunately, there is no way to extradite the accused perpetrator to Terra as we do not know where it is nor have any way of making contact with Terra at this time. Our laws do not allow a charge of this magnitude to simply be dropped as the Embassahder has indicated would be allowed in his country if the victim requests it. As a compromise, I shall allow the accused to withdraw his guilty plea and go to trial. That trial shall commence in one week. Counsels, prepare your arguments accordingly. The accused perpetrator is, hereby, transferred from the region prison to house arrest until said trial.” He then looked directly at Aldin. “There is to be no further contact between the victim and the accused until the trial. If contact is made between the two, this compromise is void, the guilty plea will be reinstated, and the perpetrator will return to prison to continue serving his five-year sentence.” Judge Perraul picked-up the gavel on his bench and hammered it once.

Work understands me :D

Sep. 16th, 2017 12:53 pm
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[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Came in for a morning shift, found this:

Read more... )

(no subject)

Sep. 16th, 2017 12:01 pm
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[personal profile] kutsuwamushi
This story is just...

So a (white) security guard at a college campus:
  • Brought his own gun to work because he decided that he should be armed
  • Accidentally shot himself with this gun
  • Made up a black male shooter to explain it

It's a small story, in the scheme of things - but doesn't it just encapsulate so many things that are wrong with the U.S. Also, I hope people point at laugh at his pathetic ass for years to come.

because I care

Sep. 16th, 2017 09:01 am
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Project Lucifer: Will Cassini Turn Saturn into a Second Sun?

This is from a few years ago. I wonder what the people who thought it was plausible are doing now? Aside from presumably supporting Trump.

"I Knew These People..."

Sep. 16th, 2017 06:31 pm
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[personal profile] waitingman
Goodbye Harry Dean...

Character actor... scene stealer in so many films - Alien, The Avengers, Christine... but he'll always be Travis for me

It's Not Rocket Science...

Sep. 16th, 2017 08:53 am
waitingman: (World Cow)
[personal profile] waitingman
A little something to make you feel better, the next time things go wrong at work...

Now go out there & fuck things up, safe in the knowledge that it's highly unlikely you'll ever make a mistake that costs as much as even one of these mishaps...

STORY: Justice Ch. 6

Sep. 15th, 2017 02:02 pm
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[personal profile] moxie_man


“So, On-ray,” Aldin looked at him from where he dangled in the pine marten’s grasp, “last time we met, you tried to attack this ‘Talking meal,’ which did not turn out all that well, did it? You got five years in prison thanks to me. Here’s your chance for revenge if you prefer to stay in prison. And if you’re quick enough you might even gulp me down in four or five mouthfuls before they can do anything about it. At least then you’d have committed the crime for which you’re trying to serve the time. Of course, if you choose revenge, then you will not go home to your family anytime soon. Are you interested in freedom or staying here in prison?”


Enhray held Aldin there a moment in thought. Just one quick slash with his free hand just like the suicidal tree rat suggested. It was SO tempting. He then shook the thought from his head recalling how his last encounter with this small tree rat ended. And last time the tree rat had one arm in a cast. That wasn’t the case now. Enhray cussed again and then replied, “I’m not that stupid.” He turned to the guards. “I’ll bring the Em-bass-ah-der to you. Don’t fire. You might hit him!”

He carried the squirrel to the cell door. He dangled him near the lock until the light turned green. He opened it enough to set Aldin down and then locked himself back in the cell and held his hands in the air again. He mumbled another cuss word under his breath, which like the others, Aldin couldn’t quite catch. The guards rushed forward with their weapons drawn and put the Aldin behind them. Immediately, the indicator lights on their weapons turned green. No one noticed the wet paw prints Aldin left on the floor.

“Please do not shoot him,” Aldin calmly requested. “As you can see, no harm came to me.”

After some hesitation, the guards slowly lowered their weapons.

“Crazy tree rat,” Enhray mumbled. “Not happy seeing me in prison, you’re trying to get me killed!”

“Maybe I am crazy, but you are now talking more than just ‘go away’.” Aldin waved his arms at the guards. “Please put your weapons away. They are not needed. Now that I have gotten his attention, may I have some privacy with the prisoner so we can continue our conversation?”

All of security but the raccoon slowly filed back out after glancing at the coon, who nodded. Once alone, the coon thrashed his tail back and forth as he glared at Aldin, pointing a finger close to his chest. “I’m only allowing you to stay because you are the Embassahder. But I don’t care what your title is. Even if you were suddenly made Chancellor. If you pull a stunt like that a second time you’ll find your tail out that door,” he pointed at the door behind him, “so fast the rest of you will have a hard time keeping up with it!”

Aldin nodded. “I understand, officer.”

The raccoon stepped back out, except this time, he didn’t secure the outer door.

Aldin made himself comfortable again on the sitting cushion. “Now where were we before that interruption?” He pondered a moment. “Oh, yes, I was asking you why you are in there and not home with your family where you belong.”

Enhray sighed as he paced in the cell. “Obviously you won’t leave me be until I answer your questions. I pled guilty to attempted murder.”

“Now why would you do that?” Aldin briefly held his tail up in a curl. (curiousflick)

“BECAUSE I [PG-13] TRIED TO KILL YOU!” Enhray bellowed as he glared at Aldin through the bars. He threw his hands up in the air. “There, I’ve confessed to you now! Are you happy? Are you here to gloat at me, Em-bass-ah-der Tree Rat?” He added the title in a sarcastic tone.

“No, I am not happy,” Aldin replied calmly. “Nor am I here to gloat at you. If all I was going to do was gloat, I would not have put my life in your paws just now. Instead, I’d have just sat here and taunted you until I got a reaction. However, that’s not my way, On-ray.”

“Uh huh, right. You’d have just let me rip your throat out. If so, you’re crazier than I thought.”

“Now, there, you’re correct. I’d have tried to stop you, but by holding me by the scruff of my neck, I’d have been hard pressed to avoid serious injury. A squirrel’s reflexes are quick, but that’s one position that is difficult to defend from. Our combat training does not cover it ‘cause the enemy we face back home is not large enough to lift us by our scruff.” Aldin flicked his tail back and forth slowly a couple times.

“Anyway, back to our first encounter where you believed you tried to kill me. Did you really try?” He looked down at himself brushing at his fur and felt behind at the scruff of his neck with a hind paw. “You did not do a very good job of it. I came out of it unscathed. And I just gave you another chance. You had me in your grasp at your mercy and you did not even pierce my skin. After talking to your wife, I knew you would not, On-ray. You are not that bad a person the way she told it. Or she is a really good actress, and you just blew your chance at a tree rat snack.” Aldin (gigglechittered) trying to lighten the mood up. Enhray simply stared at him.

“Look, On-ray, maybe all you really did was pick a fight, huh? And then some over-zealous judge or,” he used the English word for the next word, “lawyer, or whatever it is you have in your justice system decided to press bigger charges, because of who you fought with despite Parliament’s charge of fighting-only. That was the only charge they wanted pressed. And for some reason you chose to plead guilty to the larger charge anyway. Sounds like you did not have a lawyer to advise you.”

“I leapt at you with the intention of killing you.”

“And you think I was not expecting that nor prepared for it? Back home some wild cousin predators tend to make that mistake from time to time with my people. They do not tend to make it more than once.” Aldin started tapping away on his small flat panel. “According to Parliamentary Rules,” he held the flat panel where the marten could read the text if he chose and paused a moment and (gigglechittered). “Yes, the very rules I had offered to let you reread just before I tossed your insult back at you and you jumped at me. Anyway, according to those rules, the maximum punishment for fighting on the floor of Parliament is 2 months prison time. It’s been a little over 2 months now. You have more than served an ‘appropriate’ punishment for that crime. So, why not fight the new charge?”

“Is this a trick? I got off easy at five years by pleading guilty. If I go to trial, it could be twenty.”

Aldin tapped his flat panel again read something, put an earbud to his ear and listened to ensure he was reading it right and then tapped something else. “According to this,” he motioned at the text on his flat panel, “provided I am reading and hearing this right as my ability to read Common is not that great yet, but it improves every day. Anyway, as the ‘victim’ of this crime, if the per-pah-tray-ter is found guilty, and I am not satisfied with the punishment, I can request a new trial, with the understanding that the…per-pah-tray-ter may get a reduced sentence or be found not guilty and set free.” He looked up at Enhray. “I suggest you withdraw your guilty plea and request a new trial. Otherwise, I will as I am not satisfied with the sentence you received.”

Enhray bristled. “This has to be a trick. You want to see me serve twenty years don’t you?”

“No, Eh-ray,” Aldin responded calmly, “I want to see you go home to your family, leave this behind you, and get on with your life. I hold no ill will towards you. Live and let live. If your wife had not called me, I would not have known you were still in prison. Someone neglected to notify the ‘victim’ of your court date where you plead guilty.” Aldin again pointed out this was not normal based on the laws he called up on his flat panel. “If I had known about it, I would have tried to stop you from doing so then and maybe you would already be home now.”

“My wife is better off divorcing me and finding a new mate,” Enray added dejectedly. “I lost my job. I can’t support them. Who would hire me after everyone in the world saw that fight?”

“She loves you and is ready to take you back. Why else would she call me and ask for help? I also had a muzzle-to-muzzle talk with your employer just before coming to see you. He is willing to give you a second chance, but you’ll be on probation for 5 months. Yes, I have been a very busy squirrel these past few days.”

The pine marten stared at Aldin in disbelief. “Why would you do this?”

“Look, On-ray, what really happened that day is that you,” he pointed at the pine marten with his tail, “were the victim, not me,” Aldin pointed at himself with his tail. “It was my intention all along to pick a fight with the first representative to storm down on the floor in objection to my being there. And I planned on it with the understanding I would probably spend two months in prison. I figured it was worth it to quickly prove that I am more than just a wild cousin who learned to imitate a few words of Common and,” Aldin shrugged, “it would have given me a couple extra months to polish my Common before addressing Parliament. My accent, at least to me, is not as strong as it was two months back on the floor of Parliament.

“It takes two to fight. You just happened to ‘volunteer’ to be the other fighter. Of as some of our human-Fudd allies would say back home, you were ‘voluntold’.” Aldin trailed off as he looked over Enhray’s shoulder rather than directly at him a moment as his eyes seemed to briefly go out of focus. “You do not know how close you came to dying that day, On-ray. While I was ready to leap or dodge aside from whoever charged me, I had not anticipated someone leaping directly at me. I had all I could do to pull back on the killing blow. My people have been at war longer than I’ve been alive. The combat training I went through was intense. It is more or less ingrained into me. It has to be. The most common attack by the enemy is to leap at us with claws extended. When the enemy leaps at you, it’s kill or be killed. You hesitate, you die. It is fortunate for you I hesitated because you do not look like a devilbunny. In some ways, it is also fortunate that you slammed into the podium and got a concussion. If you had landed in the clear, turned around and leapt at me again, I do not think I could have held back a second time.

“If anyone should be serving time for attempted murder over that fight, is should be me, not you. Parliament chose not to punish me. Instead only you got punished. And,” Aldin shook his head, “you received five years for being made a fool of in front of a watching world audience. Now that right there is not fair and I am sorry it has come to this. That is why I am here to do what I can. I want to set things right. I have already declared your family wards of Nahmakanta so they are covered financially while we fight this. Provided, you would like to go home to them rather than continue to sit here and feel sorry for yourself.”

Enhray stared at Aldin and was silent for a while. Finally, he asked, “If I request a new trial, what exactly would you do?”

Aldin explained what he planned to do step-by-step.

“And if all that fails and I am right back here, possibly for twenty years.”

Aldin sighed. “I doubt you will wind-up back here. However, if you do, I am going to walk into that cell again, but this time I will spend the entire sentence with you or however long it takes until the charges are dropped. You saw how the guards reacted just now. Imagine what they’d do then.”

“You’re truly serious, aren’t you? Creator as my witness, you are beyond crazy.”

“Yes, On-ray, I am serious,” Aldin replied. “Crazy or not, we got started on the wrong paw. I do not expect you to respect me anymore now than that first day on the floor of Parliament. If you still consider me some trained wild cousin who learned a few words in Common so be it. But that does not mean I hold a grudge against you or anyone in the ‘wild cousin’ faction of that Parliament. Nor do I want to see anyone punished for something they did not do. Do we have a deal? Will you withdraw your guilty plea and go to trial?” Aldin held out his forepaw through the bars. Enhray hesitated a moment and then accepted it, shaking it once.

“So be it, Em-bass-ah-der Tree Rat.”

“I would not tolerate that name from anyone else but you, On-ray. However, you may want to be more respectful in court.”


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