After she was deemed calm enough by Marshii, Endea was told to report to the Conference Room. She made her way there and entered to see Arsha and Kalo talking. She cleared her throat, attracting their attention. “Got a more level head?” asked Arsha.
“Aye, Captain,” replied Endea.
“Then come join us,” directed Arsha. Endea sat down. “Kalo, this is Endea, the living extension of the Endeavor. Endea, this is Kalo Avonamei, the defense lawyer arguing for Mechanica rights.”
“So the trial is soon?” asked Endea.
“In two days,” confirmed Kalo. “Right now, the debate is still ongoing. The trial will determine whether or not you get treated better than a few hours ago.”
“We need your testimony,” continued Arsha, “of your work over these three months.”
“Somehow, I think the opponent’s going to use my fight against me,” muttered Endea.
“I think we can come up with defenses for that,” replied Kalo. “Now, let’s start planning.”
The trial was held in the Morgonthor Trench’s Great Amphitheater. While the Endeavor stayed outside, Endea stepped inside and noticed how many people were attending to watch the trial. The prosecutor was a male, yellow-skinned Fairy named Thentra. His wings were oddly still as he observed the crowd with great scrutiny. Because the prosecutor was an air-breather that had a vital piece of biology that would be affected underwater, the main stage of the amphitheater was surrounded by an air bubble. Kalo took her position at the defense’s seat and observed Thentra. Just then, a Siren bailiff glided into the bubble in a water chair as an old Cecaelia man took his place at the judge’s seat. “All rise for the honorable Judge Uluntan!” called the bailiff. Everyone rose.
“Be seated,” directed the judge, Uluntan. Everyone sat down as he banged his gavel. “Court is now in session for the trial of Mechanica rights. Defending said rights is Mrs. Kalodina Avonamei of the Over-realm’s Chromanian Sea Merfolk Kingdom. Arguing against her is Mr. Thentra Yaltar of the Over-realm’s Drelda Forest. Madam, Sir, are you both ready to begin?”
“I am prepared,” replied Kalo.
“As am I,” answered Thentra in a cool manner.
“Then, as per tradition, the defense shall begin,” directed Uluntan. Kalo rose and began her opening arguments.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” she started, “there is precedence for us to welcome a new species with open arms. While our start with them was NOT smooth, we still address the Chimeras as friends and fellow people. Their obtaining of rights was too long and, as many Chimeras have stated, Mechanicas should not need to suffer for those rights. I urge that Mechanicas be given the same rights at a rapid pace.” She then sat down.
“Thank you, Mrs. Avonamei,” bid Uluntan. “Mr. Yaltar, your arguments?” Thentra then stood up.
“Far be it for me to deny anyone their rights,” he began, “but is haste truly the best way to make everyone equal? Unless I’m misremembering history, that’s what ended the First Age of Unity with the War of Stars when we tried to quickly introduce Chimera rights to the Realmfleet Constitution. To date, that was the bloodiest war we’ve ever had and I speak for those of us biological immortals who fought in that war when I say we cannot be hasty. I submit that now is not the time for Mechanica rights.” He then sat down.
“With the opening arguments having been said,” declared Uluntan, “we shall begin.” He banged his gavel. “Mr. Yaltar, you may call the first witness.”
“I call Mrs. Gronsar to the stand,” called Thentra. An Orc woman in a business suit then took the stand. “Madam, if you would state your name and occupation for the Court Record, that would be splendid,” directed Thentra.
“I’m Mrs. Galya Gronsar,” introduced the Orc woman, “manager of Under-rail.”
“Tell me, Mrs. Gronsar,” inquired Thentra, “what do you foresee if your fleet of engines were to come alive?”
“Honestly, a lot of lay-offs,” replied Mrs. Gronsar. “With engines talking and thinking as we do, being able to move or stop under their own power, there would be no need for them to have drivers, or firemen in the case of steam engines.”
“And if the engines were the ones to get paychecks instead of the workers you’ve hired?” asked Thentra.
“They’ll circumvent the need for me to pay for their repairs,” answered Mrs. Gronsar.
“Mrs. Avonamei, your witness,” declared Thentra. He sat down as Kalo approached Mrs. Gronsar.
“Mrs. Gronsar, this may seem like a trifle,” she began, “but how much are your workers making on average? Per year, let’s say.” Mrs. Gronsar looked up as she calculated how much her workers earn in a year.
“Let’s see,” she mused, “engine drivers get roughly 50,000 golds per year, firemen for steam engines get 52,000, repairmen earn 60,000…that’s all I can think of as of now without a calculator and worker table in front of me.”
“And repairs to any of the engines,” pressed Kalo. “How much are they per year?”
“I’d say roughly 700,000 golds per year,” replied Mrs. Gronsar.
“So, if one of your engine drivers decided to pay for it,” surmised Kalo, “they would need to put away 14 years of paychecks to pay for the repairs to their engines. But, most of them have families to consider and I’m willing to bet that they would rather put the money to their families instead of their engines.”
“Mrs. Avonamei, forgive me for interrupting,” called Uluntan, “but where is this going?”
“Where this is going,” explained Kalo, “is that, if engines were paid the same as their drivers, they would need to do the same. I have every reason to believe that Mechanicas, much like us, would want to start families and provide for them. They wouldn’t see the logic in hoarding 14 years’ worth of paychecks to pay for one bit of repairs or maintenance.”
“Did any Mechanica say so?” asked Thentra, assured in victory.
“As a matter of fact, yes,” replied Kalo, “but not the Dauntless-class skyship that’s parked outside. No, this is an engine from Mrs. Gronsar’s fleet.”
“I beg your pardon?!” boomed Mrs. Gronsar. “One of MY engines?! I only have two living engines! Who’s testifying against me?!”
“I believe his engine number is 67456,” answered Kalo.
“…Hansar,” hissed Mrs. Gronsar.
“Is this engine here?” asked Uluntan.
“He is, Your Honor,” confirmed Kalo
“Let us see Engine 67456,” rumbled Uluntan. As Mrs. Gronsar left the stand, there was the puffing noise of a steam engine moving slowly. The engine then came in. Much like the engines in Galthar, he had a humanoid upper torso coming out where the funnel would be and he dressed in a repair person’s clothing. He had eight wheels connected by side rods, two side tanks for his water, and a coal bunker behind his cab. Somehow, he was making his own rails so he didn’t ruin the floor of the amphitheater. His driver, a female Leaf Elf, and fireman, a male Minotaur hopped from the footplate. The driver patted the engine’s side.
“Good luck, old boy,” she bid. Mrs. Gronsar was confused as she saw the crew sit with Kalo. Kalo then began.
“Please state your name and occupation for the Court Record,” she directed the engine.
“I’m Hansar, Engine 67456,” introduced the engine. “I’m the station pilot for Under-rail’s headquarters at Realmgate City.”
“Mr. Hansar, tell us,” inquired Kalo, “did you even think about leaving your crew behind?”
“I see no need to,” replied Hansar. “They’re too valuable to me.”
“Too valuable?” muttered Mrs. Gronsar.
“Yes, I can make myself go or stop whenever I wish,” continued Hansar, “but I’m the more reckless of Under-rail’s two living engines. I need other voices to get me to think before I act and my crew does just that. On top of that, my driver, Jalme, can see whether or not I’m functioning properly. When my fireman, Kuljur, was doubting his own importance to me, he asked me if I could reach my bunker. As I can demonstrate,” he twisted his torso and tried to reach back, “no matter how hard I try,” he grunted, “I can’t even reach my cab.” He stopped twisting and returned to giving testimony. “Without him, my fire wouldn’t burn and I can’t refuel it. As you can see, my crew is essential in my life. I see no reason to go anywhere on the rails without them.”
“Which explains another point of mine,” interjected Kalo. “I’ve heard fears of Mechanicas no longer needing organic life to help them. As we’ve all just heard, there’s still a place for us in keeping Mechanicas alive. Since they need us as much as we need them, I must urge the advancement of Mechanica rights!”
“And how would that prevent violence from occurring?” asked Thentra.
“…Pardon?” asked Kalo, caught off-guard.
“They’re similar to us,” continued Thentra, “who’s to say that there won’t be violence between organics and Mechanicas? I believe such a fight happened a while ago.”
“There it is,” muttered Kalo.
“Your Honor, I must urge,” insisted Thentra, “that tomorrow be spent discussing possible race riots between organic and mechanical life if the Mechanicas are granted equal rights right now.”
“Objection!” called Kalo. “Your Honor, I urge that we settle that question today!”
“Objection overruled,” dismissed Uluntan. “Both sides need more time to prepare their arguments of that subject. Court is adjourned for today and will reconvene tomorrow.” He banged his gavel and everyone cleared out.
“He can’t delay this!” hissed Arsha as she, Endea, and Kalo met in the Conference Room. She had long put her hairpiece in its drawer in her Ready Room. “We need Mechanica rights NOW!”
“Unfortunately,” sighed Kalo, “all royal families needed to appease those that said such rights are harmful. This trial SHOULD get people to hear both sides of the argument before lines are drawn for war. And, yes, your parents said the trial was necessary.”
“I don’t believe this! My own parents!” growled Arsha.
“There’s nothing we can do,” insisted Kalo. “We need this trial to play out.” Arsha drew in a breath, then calmed down.
“You’re right, we need to be a little patient,” she sighed.
“All right, he’s definitely going to use my fight two days ago,” declared Endea. “We need to figure out how to counter that.”
“Agreed,” confirmed Kalo. “Let’s get started.” The three then planned their defense.