by Jason Gibbs
There was banging on the door.
“Jeremiah Donjean, we know you’re there…”
Except he hadn’t come home. I went to the door and it was slammed open, catching me and sending me to the floor. I landed and looked up at the armoured man as he literally walked over me. His boots hurt.
“CLEAR!” he shouted seconds later, before returning to me.
“I’m Thaddeus, Thaddeus Donjean…” I stammered. I was a little stunned.
“Where is Jeremiah Donjean?”
“I don’t know, he didn’t come home last night…. argh that hurts!” I squealed the last bit. The ape had picked me up and thrown me over his shoulder. Powered armour made me weigh nothing to him, but his spiky armour hurt, almost as much as the rough treatment. I’d read somewhere that they were considering adding some kind of sea urchin spine, but weren’t sure how much poison to allow…
“You have the right to remain silent…” said a pleasant woman’s voice. He’d clicked a button to let me hear the recording. He couldn’t even be bothered to say it himself.
The hard man stared at me.
“I don’t believe you. I think you’re trying to shelter him.”
“I promise you…”
“It’s too late.”
He stood up, and as he left he slapped his palm against the wall.
The pleasant woman’s voice said, “You are being charged with Conspiracy against the Will of the People. Your trial will be held at the convenience of the Submarine State. A lawyer will be appointed…”
My lawyer was a grey man in a grey suit. He’d asked me nothing. I mean, nothing at all, as we waited in the ante room. He just stared at the wall, occasionally looking up at the red light above the door marked ‘Courtroom’.
The light turned green, and the grey man got up, and walked to the door. He opened it and walked into the courtroom. I followed him, it didn’t seem that I had a choice. The room was exactly like on TV.
The grey man waved at me as I looked around. There was a mixture of irritation and fear on his face. I headed over. As I sat down another man appeared at the desk next to ours. The prosecutor. He didn’t look at me.
The Jury filed in. And, after a loud, “All stand!” from the loudspeakers, the judge entered.
He sat down without looking at me. We all sat. The judge reached forward and pressed a button.
“This court is in session. The defendant has been accused of Crimes against the State. How does he plead,” said the pleasant woman’s voice.
My lawyer leaned forward and pressed a button in front of him. I noticed he had three.
“Not guilty,” said the pleasant voice.
The judge hit another button.
“Prosecution please proceed,” that same voice said.
The prosecutor looked at the dozens of buttons in front of him and pressed one.
“The defendant was interrogated by an Agent…” said the not-so-pleasant-now voice. It didn’t mention my name. Or indeed anything else.
I was going to ask my lawyer why he only had three buttons to the prosecutor’s many, when I noticed that the members of the Jury had a button in front of them. Just one.
“You have been sentenced to permanent marine exile,” said that voice, scraping my nerves with her pleasantness.
“Last words?” said the armoured man as he was about to close the inner airlock.
“I want to…”
“Not the worst I’ve heard, but pointless,” he cut in somewhat savagely, and he slammed the door.