SEPTEMBER 12, 2410
ETTI IV CRIMINAL DETENTION AND INTERROGATION CENTER 14
Geoff Depew tapped his fingers on the table in front of him. Despite the opera mauve jumpsuit he wore, and without all the gear usually stowed about his person, he seemed unconcerned.
The mission was simple: head to the Corporate Sector, pick up the data core from a hastily-abandoned Big Fire base on Etti IV, and get back. Of course, there were a few issues.
"Uh oh." Geoff said, glancing upwards as a flash of light crossed his face. "This is not good."
"What’s wrong?" Lensman Samuel Guthrie – codename Cannonball – replied, keeping his eyes forwards.
"I think I just got made. I didn’t think they had these scanners running here yet, but I forgot that the Espos live for oppressing rights."
"Do you think we’ll make it to the spaceport?"
"We came commercial. There’s no way we can get offplanet. But that’s okay." He shifted the bag slung over one shoulder, and in a quick motion slid it onto Sam’s. "You can get offplanet. I’ll distract them."
"That’s not how we do things! Besides, Logan'll never let me hear the end of it if I let you get nabbed." There was a twang in the other man’s voice now, and he sounded offended at Geoff’s plan.
"If I let myself get caught, the data will get offplanet, you’ll be safe, and… well, they don’t usually use phasers." Geoff gave a half-hearted smile. "Which means I can call for help later, or break out of jail, or something. You better go – I hear sirens. And be careful with that bag – my guns are in there!"
The Chief had given him a number to call in case of trouble, and the Espos did let him have his phone call.
He’d done the research he could about the people he was calling – not a lot, really, as coach class on the liners he was on was lucky to give drinks, much less have data access. But the firm of Nelson, Murdock and Walters was highly regarded, and the IPO had an account with them, so he called, was told someone would be out as quickly as possible, and waited.
Waiting in an Espo holding facility was not fun. They took everything away from him, including the vambrace he’d developed (minicomputer, recorder and miraculon injector), his grapple, his shoes, the garrote in his underwear waistband – everything. Their search was, he thought with a certain amount of remembered discomfort, very thorough.
Add in the fact that he was fresh meat, and it was no surprise he’d been jumped. That got him two days in solitary, but breaking arms and noses got him respect, and no one had bothered him for the next three days.
Now he was here, waiting for one of the giants of the New Avalon legal profession, who was famous for her defenses, the woman who advised the legal team that got Bruce Banner acquitted. (Apparently there was some kind of conflict that disallowed her from actually being part of the legal team, but he hadn’t found out what that was.)
So when the door opened, and a woman entered, he was surprised to see she was five foot two, with mousy brown hair in a bun, brown eyes behind glasses, and carrying a briefcase as if it was a bit heavy for her.
"Hello, Mr. Depew. I’m your attorney, Jennifer Walters."
He raised his hands a bit, to show that they were shackled to the table. "I’m sorry I can’t shake hands." He paused, appraising her. While she might have been blown away in a strong wind, her stance and expression showed confidence. "I’m sorry, I expected you’d be taller."
She shrugged, smiling slightly. "My reputation exceeds me."
They both laughed at the joke, and she sat down. "So. You’re under arrest for…" she opened her briefcase and pulled out a thick folder. "Corporate theft, assault on corporate personnel, assault on a corporation…" She trailed off, flipping pages. "...Is this actually a crime?" Another few pages. "When did you have time to sleep? What do they mean here by ‘theft of corporate water services’?"
"The team I was with... one of them had to use the restroom, and washed his hands."
"Yes," she said, "this is the Corporate Sector. So. Seven hundred and thirty-two charges. All related to a single smash-and-grab." She nodded, then pulled out of the briefcase a square box, and tabbed the grey key on top. Lights went red on the corners, flickered twice, then went solid. "Now that the bugs are jammed, what happened?"
Geoff shrugged. "I don’t know how much you’re cleared for."
She recited a number at him. He blinked, and recited one back, and they did it twice more.
"Huh. That much. Okay. I used to work for Big Fire. Before I was moved up into one-man operations, I was used as muscle – in a usual run, the street samurai role, but for BF, all internal. We got into a Renraku building, lifted the data, got out, but on the way out they got pictures of our faces, and Renraku filed the charges." He shrugged again. "And that’s the situation."
The door slammed open, and two Espos entered, guns drawn. A third, an officer, stomped in afterwards and blew the jammer apart with a blaster.
"That device is in violation of Security Police code 912.03. A prisoner of the Security Police has no privacy nor expectation of same."
Jennifer Walters narrowed her eyes. "Corporate Sector Charter 224.8.4. A lawyer’s communications with a client are confidential."
The Espo officer sneered. "You’re no lawyer, shyster. Not in the Corporate Sector."
Walters stood up, coming up to the Espo’s shoulder. "I passed the Corporate Sector Bar four years ago, renewed last year, and my credentials are current. Now, you’ve got a choice – get out of here and turn off your bugs, or I will have your badge, your balls, and your left sock to hang from my rear view mirror!"
Briefly, Geoff wondered if he’d have to take apart the table and fight with a four-by-four square of thermaplast shackled to his hands, but the officer relented.
"Fine, shyster. But you’ll have to trust me that we did it." He sneered and walked out of the room, followed by the two guards.
"Whew," Jennifer said, sitting and fanning herself. "I got a bit hot under the collar there." She smiled. "My family's always had anger issues."
SEPTEMBER 13, 2410
ETTI IV CRIMINAL PROCESSING CENTER
"All rise. The Honorable T. Coraghassian MacTavish presiding."
Everyone stood in the time-honored tradition, as the judge – a florid man with a deeply self-involved air – entered and took his seat, advising everyone they now could sit down.
The bailiff – a droid – beeped, and said, "Docket number 1222315. Corporate Sector Authority versus Geoffrey Depew." Holograms appeared around the judge, who glanced, nodded, and said, "I have the prosecution and defense cases here. Movement for trial by jury rejected, movement for change of venue rejected, movement for my recusal based on my position as a vice president of Renraku rejected. All right. Guilty, penalty is death of personality, next case."
Jennifer Walters’ jaw dropped. "Your Honor, I-"
"Your objection is overruled, your appeals are rejected, one more outburst like that and I’ll have you removed from the courtroom, take him away and wipe him."
"Well," Geoff muttered, "I didn’t expect actual justice here." He stood up as the four Espos approached to take him away.
"Geoff, you’re supposed to be a tactical genius," Jennifer said. "What are the chances for escape?"
"This is the part," he said glumly, "where the hollow laughter begins."
"That’s what I thought." She sighed, pulled the stick out of her hair to undo her bun, and took off her glasses. "That's why they sent me. It's enough to make a girl feel like her legal skills are proportionately undervalued."
/* "The Lonely Man"
The Incredible Hulk */
Her face suddenly formed a rictus of rage, a terrible anger, and between blinks her eyes changed color to a startlingly clear emerald green. It took mere moments for the color to suffuse her skin and hair. And then she grew, expanding out of the black skirted suit she wore, and the shoes, revealing a white one-piece bathing-suit sort of thing underneath.
The court watched in horror as she changed.
Ms. Walters said, in a much deeper voice, "Your Honor, I'm afraid that this is going to end up declared a mistrial." Then she looked down, and muttered, "Dammit! I thought this was my other suit. That's going on expenses."
With that, she grabbed Geoff and the table, ripped the manacles free of the table, and threw the table at the Espo squad. With a wide grin, she said, "As your attorney, I advise you to keep your knees loose." And then she threw Geoff at the doors.
Geoff closed his eyes and prayed that the doors weren’t locked and that he really, really needed to get himself a new travel agent, until he felt first a hand on his shoulder, then a familiar shiver, and a sudden sense of slowing down with it. As he hit the floor and rolled (knees loose as instructed), he opened his eyes to recognize a familiar face.
"Mrs. Griffin, a pleasure."
Kitty Griffin grinned, and aimed him. "That way, round the corner, and you’ll know where to go!" A look that way showed two unconscious Espos, and the ten security cameras blown apart, probably by those shuriken-bombs she'd come to enjoy.
He ran, she followed, and Geoff said, "What about my lawyer?"
There was a sudden crashing noise behind them, along with some blaster fire, yells, and a cry of pain.
As they turned the corner, thunderous footsteps and alerts behind them, they found a dead-end corridor with a soda machine. This wore a Pepsi logo, in the neo-Soviet Brutalist blocky designs popular in the Corporate Sector, with the words "NO CHOICE FOR A NEW GENERATION" emblazoned across the blue and red stylized monoliths. Geoff grinned, and his hopes were made manifest as the Pepsi machine swung open.
"All aboard," Don Griffin sang out, and then got out of the way as they entered the TARDIS, Jennifer skidding to a halt and barely avoiding hitting the opposite wall. The door closed behind them.
"And we’re away." Don turned to look at Geoff, then gave him a thumbs up and a sardonic, "Stylin'."
"Espos and fashion have never been friends," Geoff riposted, then looked at his legal counsel, who’d grabbed her briefcase on the way out.
"So," she said with a grin, "is this the kind of taller you expected me to be?" She posed, laughing.
Geoff took a moment to think and then said, deadpan, "I invoke my right against self-incrimination. What's in the briefcase?"
She opened the briefcase, and pulled out bundles. "Chief sent me with lunches for everyone."
"Truly," Geoff said, "Working for the International Police has great responsibility and great perks."
"One Phone Call" - a Future Imperfect Mini-Story by Geoff Depew with Benjamin D. Hutchins
Special to the Eyrie Productions Discussion Forum
© 2011 Eyrie Productions, Unlimited
Geoff Depew - Darth Mephron
Haberdasher to Androids, Dark Lord of Sith Tech Support.
"And Remember! Google is your Friend!!"