They let me wear a suit. Or made me wear a suit, depending on your interpretation. I’d have preferred something to show off my legs, but that’s generally frowned upon for someone with balls. There are times I regret not being a woman anymore. It may be expensive as hell to keep up with fashion, but the clothes look fabulous. Much better than the fact that men’s formal wear is essentially the same thing we get buried in, aside from guys named Scott, who make Catholic schoolgirl skirts look horrible.
Mrs. Pretorius, the unfortunate person assigned to try and get me off in the least fun way, insisted I look presentable. She brought a suit and even a personal grooming kit. I don’t need a straight razor to cut someone else while shaving, so it was a gutsy move. I don’t know who she had to piss off to end up as a literal devil’s advocate to get stuck with me, but I decided to play nice this once. Plus, she gave me a somewhat convincing argument, in private. To do that, she insisted on actually talking to me on my level, which meant dropping to the floor.
“Please do not sabotage this. You have been an uncooperative twat the rest of this time, but please let me do my job. Do not make your jokes in there,” she pleaded with me.
Puzzled, I asked, “What does it matter? If they bothered to have me brought in over all this after what I’ve done for everyone, then I’m not going to be found Not Guilty. Hell, it’s precisely for what I’ve done before. If, of all the impossible things, I actually did decide to reform, they wouldn’t let me. So I will make jokes. What am I missing out on?”
She crossed her arms. “You could go free.”
The resulting laughter was mostly fake, because that kind of talk annoyed me by this point, even as she added, “They do not want you to be free.” The part that shut me up, though, was when she said, “They wanted me to sabotage your defense.”
She took a step back as I quieted down on a dime. “They?”
Pretorious nodded and looked me straight in the eye. “They refused to inform me of their official allegiances, but I believe the first group was American. The second, I do not know. The North Koreans were clumsy and obvious when they asked me, without an adequate bribe. People want me to fail so that you are at their mercy.”
“I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to be telling me all this. That said, thanks for letting me know people want to screw me over. By the way, I hear that fire can burn stuff. I am curious, though, why you even want to defend me from all that.” I cocked my head to the side.
“Justice must be for everyone, otherwise it is not justice,” she said, sounding all the more wise from her accent.
I held my hands over my heart, “Ooh, now my own attorney thinks I’m guilty.”
She nodded. “Yes. Guilty of saving the world. If you had not done the things you did, we would not be here to charge you. My husband and my son would not be here. It saddens me you wish to ignore this. Why save the world when you hate it so?”
What’s with people shutting me up lately? Dammit, I’m detaching from all this bullshit, or trying to. I have in it in mind to treat the world as my plaything, but people keep fucking talking. And I keep listening now. I’ve changed. Never would have paid it this much mind in the past. Maybe that means I-
Argh, enough of that epiphany. I don’t have to tell y’all everything. I don’t have to tell y’all anything! Especially on this damn precipice! And how can I take myself seriously using words like precipice?
It sat me down in contemplation, which Pretorious probably thought rude except that she knocked me on my ass with words. Easy for her to say, she wasn’t the one who blinked his eyes and would have sworn I saw dirty, huddled masses of cyborgs all around me. But then I bounced back up and happily declared, “To save myself. Everything else is, of course, secondary.”
Her eyebrow rose skeptically. “Maybe that is it, and maybe you enjoy lying.”
I raised my right hand up, palm out, in what I think might be the Boy Scout salute. “On my honor as a Scout.” I’ve never been a scout.
Still, I cleaned myself up respectably, having been thrust into so much more uncertainty after I just made up my mind to do horrible things. The absolute worst time to grow a damn conscience is when you’re on trial, folks! Well, maybe not when you are, but definitely when I am.
As for my hearing, I actually paid attention enough to find out it had to do with various objections and all that. Kinda like the part in Law and Order where someone pleads “Not Guilty, Your Honor,” and then the prosecutors ask that the defendant not be allowed out on bail. Every fucking episode with a case in it, even that one where Rocky’s brother-in-law is a rapist out on parole.
I’d been boning up on the legal process some so I could put maximum effort into theatricality and deception, which are powerful tools. I didn’t yet have a rare blue flower with the ability to make people see their worst fears, but I still have a few things in reserve that can cure constipation in a jiffy.
In the end, that didn’t matter. Not one fucking bit. They led me in, all nice and fancy to where the men in the powdered wigs were sitting around, but something happened just before I got in there. People had been passing by, with plenty of security and supers and all that. I just barely noticed an odd moment of what looked like privacy in the hallway ahead of me when something stung me from behind. I turned, slapping the bitch out of a miscellaneous man in black. I felt something fall off the back of my neck, which briefly confused me, but I figured I’d worry more about the member of Earth’s immigration office.
Except then the security piled on, appearing out of nowhere. Some very strong people grabbed my arms. I’d have fought, but I suddenly felt ok not doing that. Just really mellow. You know, like maybe they had a point and I should just chill. Wouldn’t want to fuck things up for myself, even if I didn’t like the smile on the face of Zed’s personal ball scrubber. I let myself be led away, though I did turn to keep an eye on the guy. He bent down and grabbed a small, seemingly empty syringe off the floor. But that was cool. It was aaaaaaall cool by then.
Looking back, Pretorious didn’t seem that surprised to see me sitting around all mellow, though she did have a little trouble at one point when I groped her. She brushed my hand away, at which point mellow-me grabbed a pen and almost stabbed her. She snatched it out of my hand the same time she stood up to address the judges. I remember getting real sad at that. It was a good pen, and it looked pointy.
Despite Pretorious waving it around in her hand, I took a moment to shoot the pen finger guns and say “Lookin’ sharp.” That momentarily stopped the proceedings. Due to line of sight, I’d inadvertently flirted with the judge from China. I don’t think it’s a bad thing. From the footage off my eye and brain memory, he seemed interested. I might have this trial in the bag already.
Yeah, weird thing about it, at least that tiny part of me wasn’t doped up on happy juice, or whatever they stuck me with. Though, given that it’s not the entire brain, there isn’t a lot I could have done anyway. At least my lawyer didn’t take advantage of my drugged state to sneak in a Guilty plea. Truth be told, I’m not sure how much I’d have paid attention to their court proceedings even if I wasn’t high enough to hang out on Pluto. Also, a bit of a tip if anyone ever visits Pluto: it’s a dog-eat-dog world. Not bad for such a trip; I certainly didn’t planet, and neither is Pluto.
Your groans of pain fill me with joy, and a tiny bit of wood.
Ah, but I am sorry I didn’t get to play my trump card. Sometimes, it seems I drag y’all along, dear readers, drawing things out. Whatever happened to numerous people dying in gruesome ways?
Then again, I do believe the Electric Eye bodies had a few moments when my mind wandered through the initial hearing. The one in Beijing needed one hell of a tune-up and upgrade. I might come to reget some of the additional autonomy, but my attitude at the time was like “Woah, you know what’d be cool? Not only can this thing do martial arts in a robe, but, like, what if it used folds of the robe as a weapon?” It’s got these little weighted sashes, too. These guys with matching Chinese lion masks found out the hard way that it will fuck a brother up. I assume they’re brothers, but I really have nothing to go off there. Still, we got one of them.
So, for being drugged up and pleading Not Guilty against my will, it turned into a productive day. I even had a nice lunch with my attorney in a semi-private room. I didn’t see anybody, but I’m also not stupid. There had to be some sorts of bugs all over the place. I know my corn had an ear.
Maybe it’s because of time passing, or getting food in me, or maybe I’d ask it anyway, but I did stop to ask Pretorious if she knew someone drugged me.
She politely patted at her lips with her napkin. “A friend of yours believes psychiatric treatment would do you a world of good. Without a better understanding of your various issues, the best I could arrange for was a sedative. What are you doing with your food?”
“Trying to identify it. Is this blood or some sort of gelatin? You know who I’d like to fight? A guy who can make gelatin. Just shoot it out of his hands. He’d be cool. You know, I have the power to make pudding. It’s usually chocolate, but you wouldn’t want to eat it.” I tried something experimentally. “Can’t I get something fried? With gravy? Like maybe some fried veal and gravy? With grits and stuff?”
She smiled. “It sounds like you enjoy putting harmful substances into your body. Perhaps we should continue this treatment until you are acquitted, yes?”
At this point, sobered up, I’m impressed. Also suspicious, but that just comes with it. I came down after being escorted back to my cell. Of all the times Venus had to team-up with a being of pure evil, it had to be a lawyer. And they’re conspiring to sedate me.
I’ve got a doomsday clock.
When will it ring?
I’ve yet to decide
if I’ll do good
Ah, but lame attempts at poetry aside, it’s so very tempting to take these actions as something to make my decision for me. But perhaps that would be a cop-out. I still have my ace in the hole. Will I tear it out of someone’s hide, or give in to peer pressure, tone it down, and try to be…ew…good?
It’s making me antsy thinking about it, but then I’m the one who lets them keep me in a hole like some mindless subterranean insect. But unlike the endless struggle between order and chaos, good and evil, Venus and Psycho Gecko, paper or plastic, this decision is one I must make, lest the world bend me over and impose its own…ideas…upon me.
No matter what, I am going to kill my lawyer at some point, too.