Arsha’s sleep after the trial’s first day wasn’t peaceful. She was haunted by something, but she couldn’t place what. She was a little groggy as she shuffled to Barmek’s in her night gown. “Welcome to Barmek’s Bar and Grill!” called Mr. Barmek. “Let me get you a seat, Captain!”
“Thanks,” muttered Arsha.
“You look like you could use some Under-realm coffee,” observed Mr. Barmek.
“Whatever breakfast dish will wake me up fast and keep me alert for the day,” mumbled Arsha, “I want it.”
“I know just the dish and beverage,” declared Mr. Barmek. “I’ll be bringing it to you shortly.” He then turned to the kitchen. “The Captain at table 3 wants Galdredan sausage, a slice of Galthar Elf toast with Drelda Fae honey, and a hot cup of Haldebor coffee with Rooka sugar!”
“The up-and-at-‘em special for Arsha on table 3, coming up!” replied Jaltor. The dish’s preparation took roughly 10 minutes before Jaltor set it on the counter to be picked up. “Order up! Single up-and-at-‘em special for the Captain on 3!” Mr. Barmek then brought the dish over and Arsha paid for it. Mr. Barmek decided that Arsha wasn’t going to be receptive to talk at the moment, so he just let her eat her meal in peace. As she ate, her communicator went off. She blearily accepted the call.
“Yes?” she mumbled.
“Captain Royana, you have a pair of men wishing to come aboard,” replied Shalvey’s voice. “They’re asking you by name.”
“Permission granted,” muttered Arsha. “Send them to Barmek’s.”
“Aye, Ma’am,” confirmed Shalvey. The call ended and Arsha returned to her breakfast. She slowly ate her food and drank her coffee, grogginess slowing her down by quite some measure. As she continued with her meal, Mr. Barmek greeted a Minotaur and Human. They spoke with him, then Mr. Barmek grinned.
“Captain!” he called. Arsha looked up from her food, then her expression changed to surprise as she clapped eyes on the Human and Minotaur. “I believe you know these gentlemen?” quizzed Mr. Barmek as he grinned. Arsha rubbed her eyes, then looked harder at the two.
“Hello, Foxy,” greeted the Minotaur.
“GORFANTH! FORESNA!” cheered Arsha, her mood now a happier one. She got up and pulled the two into a group hug. “Ones, it’s been too long! What are you two doing here?”
“Oh, just wanted to deliver good news,” replied Foresna. “Guess who got their requests to live on the Endeavor and High Sky approved?”
“You mean…you boys…?!” gasped Arsha happily.
“Are living with you now!” finished Gorfanth. “Malnar and Falnii are living with Lardeth on the High Sky now. Once Lardeth’s done with his tour of duty, they’ll be requesting to live with us and we’ll all be under one roof!” Arsha squealed in happiness.
“You have no idea how much hearing that lifts my spirits!” she cheered. “Did you guys already eat?”
“We did,” replied Foresna. “We wanted to catch you before you plan for today’s trial proceedings.”
“Well, I’m in a better mind to refine our plan now,” affirmed Arsha. “I’ll have to give you a tour of the ship once this is over!” They continued talking as Arsha ate. Once she finished, she led them to her quarters where they would be living together. She ducked into the bathroom to change into her outfit, ready for the day ahead. She left the bathroom and was embraced by her boys once again. They stayed close for a good while before she broke it off. “I need to go,” she sighed. “Endea needs me. I’ll have you two meet her after today’s proceedings.”
“That would be great!” replied Gorfanth. “See you later!” She kissed them goodbye before leaving the room. As she walked down the hall, she met Endea.
“Kalo’s waiting in the Conference Room,” she reported.
“Then let’s make haste,” declared Arsha.
The Amphitheater was packed again and ready for the next day of arguments. Kalo and Thentra took their places and waited for Uluntan. He then came in. “All rise for the Honorable Judge Uluntan!” called the Bailiff. Everyone rose.
“Be seated,” directed Uluntan. Everyone sat down and Uluntan banged his gavel. “Court will now reconvene for the trial of Mechanica rights. As a reminder, 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 the proceedings?”
“I am ready,” confirmed Kalo.
“As am I,” answered Thentra in his usual manner.
“Then let’s begin today’s proceedings,” declared Uluntan. “Stenographer, please remind everyone what I directed both sides to do.”
“Both Mrs. Avonamei and Mr. Yaltar,” read back the Stenographer, “were instructed to argue around the potential for violence between Mechanicas and organics.”
“Thank you,” bid Uluntan. “The defense shall give their opening arguments.” Kalo stood up and began.
“As with any single one of us,” she explained, “the potential to fight IS there in Mechanicas. I repeat, as with any single one of us. Life, in some fashion, runs into conflict and must resolve said conflict by either words or actions. We all try to use words, as do Mechanicas, but sometimes words fail us prematurely. To deny Mechanicas their equal rights on that ground would only prove we are slaves to hypocrisy. I argue that ensuring Mechanica rights will keep the violence between new and old species at a low.”
“Very good, Mrs. Avonamei,” bid Uluntan. “Mr. Yaltar, your arguments?” As Kalo sat back down, Thentra stood up.
“I will concede that violence is inherent in all manner of life,” he began, “but we’ve had the time to temper the need to settle disputes with violence. Mechanicas, on the other hand, are not so disciplined. I argue that, like parents, we must restrict their rights until they are ready.” Some of the parents in the crowd then talked amongst themselves, discussing Thentra’s words, until they heard the gavel.
“Quiet, please,” directed Uluntan. “Mr. Yaltar, have you a witness?”
“I do, Your Honor,” replied Thentra. “I call Transhell to the stand.”
“And here we go,” muttered Kalo. Transhell then rose from his seat and took the stand.
“Please state your name and occupation for the Court Record,” directed Thentra.
“Lieutenant Transhell Ulndrar,” introduced Transhell. “Crew member of the Endeavor, registry CRS-2784, Dauntless…”
“Thank you, we all know what type of vessel the Endeavor is,” interjected Thentra. “Lieutenant Ulndrar, it’s come to my attention that you’re the first person to ever get into a fist-fight with their ship.”
“That’s not something I’d brag about, but yes,” muttered Transhell.
“Please, tell the court what happened between you two,” directed Thentra.
“I was working on a bit of maintenance for the ship when I heard a yelp,” began Transhell. “Endea complained that I was being too rough on her. We argued and then she punched me square in the jaw. How did I get out of it? The Captain put me on waste extraction for the remainder of the day! I was the one wronged and Endea got off scot free!”
“So, you feel as if there was preference involved here,” surmised Thentra.
“Yes!” confirmed Transhell. “The Captain should have, at least, given us both the same punishment! All Endea did was sort Marshii’s medical stuff! I was the one called a racist and she was the one who attacked me!”
“Mrs. Avonamei, your witness,” declared Thentra. Kalo then began her cross-examination.
“Lieutenant Ulndrar,” she pressed, “you said you were the one wronged.”
“I did,” replied Transhell.
“So, how can you explain the racially charged comments of ‘tin can’, ‘garbage scow’, and ‘floating scrap heap’?” inquired Kalo. Transhell gulped as Thentra raised his eyebrow.
“Your Honor, the witness never told me he said any of those things,” explained Thentra.
“Then the question is thus: did you actually say them?” asked Uluntan. “Remember, you’re under oath.” Transhell tried to come up with carefully constructed words, but they failed him.
“It’s true,” he sighed. “I said them in the heat of the argument.”
“The fact is, you still said them,” interjected Kalo. “The heat of the moment doesn’t matter.”
“Objection!” called Thentra. “Your Honor, the heat of the moment wouldn’t have happened if Endea tried a different approach!”
“Objection!” countered Kalo. “Endea DID try the civilized approach and her attempts were met with scorn!”
“I would say I’d need to hear that from her!” declared Thentra.
“She’d be happy to tell you, I can assure you,” replied Kalo.
“Then call her in,” directed Uluntan.
“I call Endea to the stand!” announced Kalo. Transhell sat back down as Endea took the stand. “The Court would like your name and occupation for their Record,” directed Kalo.
“Endea, the living extension of the Dauntless-class skyship, Endeavor,” introduced Endea.
“Endea, could you tell the court what happened during the argument that sparked the fight?” asked Kalo.
“I was telling Transhell to take it easy on the welding torch when he was repairing a bit of paneling,” explained Endea. “He scoffed, saying he wasn’t even touching me with it and I reminded him that I could still feel pain from the ship. He laughed in my face, saying that I didn’t have nerves, thus I was faking it. I told him I could feel just like him, but he dismissed me by saying that there was nothing wrong with his welding. That was when tempers flared and I demanded he treat me better than that. That was when he hurled the aforementioned slurs and I started punching him. A crowd had gathered, then Arsha broke the fight up and ripped into us, sending us off to our respective punishments and snapping at the crowd for doing nothing to stop the fight.”
“Wait, wait, wait, she got angry with the crowd?!” interjected Transhell.
“Zip it!” hissed Thentra.
“No, I won’t!” argued Transhell. “By the Ones, this whole thing is ridiculous! Endea’s warped Arsha’s mind! I’ll bet the Divine Ones won’t accept this!”
“I don’t know, Lady Sentriam and Lord Benthe ARE advocating for adopting Mechanicas as theirs, just as they did with the Chimeras,” replied Endea. That sparked chatter amongst the crowd. Uluntan banged the gavel.
“Order in the court!” he boomed. “Endea, is this true?! You spoke with Lady Sentriam and Lord Benthe?!”
“Both the Captain and I did after the circumstances of my…er…birth, as it were,” replied Endea. “They were both concerned that some of the Breath of Life was still at large and expressed gratitude that we brought it to their attention. They said they would fight to have their peers adopt Mechanicas as their own.”
“Absurd!” scoffed Transhell. “No way will they do so!”
“That remains to be seen,” answered Kalo. “Endea, I’m a little annoyed that you and Arsha didn’t mention this to me.”
“And I must say, the concept of you talking to the Divine Ones,” remarked Thentra, “came out of nowhere. I urge that the court lets both sides gather evidence for tomorrow.”
“I agree,” called Kalo. “This may be necessary testimony to influence one side or the other.”
“Then, tomorrow,” declared Uluntan, “will be the last day of these proceedings. If they wish, the Divine Ones may testify. Court is adjourned for today.” He banged the gavel and everyone left the amphitheater.
“And you didn’t mention you actually spoke with them?!” hissed Kalo as she met with Endea and Arsha in the Conference Room.
“We didn’t think that it really mattered so much,” explained Arsha.
“Are you kidding?!” argued Kalo. “Take it from a Sea Witch, the voice of the Divine Ones carries more weight than you think, especially if they are actively fighting for a new species to be recognized as equals!”
“I doubt they’re going to testify,” muttered Endea.
“I wouldn’t be so quick to make that statement,” boomed Benthe’s voice. He then came into the room. Instead of his misty torso form, he was a full-bodied Elf in pink.
“Lord Benthe!” yelped Arsha as she knelt.
“Rise, please,” directed Benthe. “I have taken a corporeal form to assist you tomorrow. I have news that you need to hear.”
“Then let’s discuss what you’re going to say tomorrow, Lord Benthe,” declared Kalo.