Arsha had slept a little better now that she had Foresna and Gorfanth living with her. As they shared the bed, Arsha was between her lovers. She stirred and felt her stretching be interrupted. She looked at both sides, then smiled as she stroked the Human and Minotaur. They stirred and moved to face Arsha. “Hello Beautiful,” whispered Foresna.
“Good Morning, Foxy,” rumbled Gorfanth.
“Morning, Farm Boy, Hooves,” returned Arsha. The two men then smooched her cheeks, causing her to giggle a bit. “…Much as I wanna stay like this forever,” sighed Arsha, “there’s still a trial to finish.”
“How did your planning session with Lord Benthe go?” asked Gorfanth as they got out of bed.
“Very well, actually,” replied Arsha as she moved to the closet. “We might have a chance to sway Uluntan.”
“I hope so,” muttered Foresna as he grabbed his towel. “He’s a stubborn one.”
“I hope he decides in favor of Mechanica rights,” wished Gorfanth. “She needs more than one group supporting her.”
“Well, we’ve still got today to convince him,” answered Arsha as she laid out her clothes. “I’m confident he WILL see reason.”
After breakfast, the last day of the trial began. Everyone was pulling out all the stops as they planned their arguments. Everyone gathered in the amphitheater and took their places. Uluntan then came in. “All rise for the honorable Judge Uluntan!” called the bailiff. Everyone stood up.
“Be seated,” directed Uluntan. As everyone sat down, Uluntan banged his gavel. “Court will now reconvene for the trial of Mechanica rights. As this is the last day, there will be no more requests to gather evidence. I will be giving my decision tomorrow morning. As a reminder, defending Mechanica 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.
“Then let’s end this,” directed Uluntan. “Stenographer, please remind everyone what was decided for today’s proceedings.”
“Yesterday,” the Stenographer answered, “the fact that the issue had gained Divine One attention was revealed. It was declared that both sides would prepare on that subject.”
“Thank you,” bid Uluntan. “Let’s get this underway. Defense, your opening arguments, please.” Kalo stood up.
“As I mentioned yesterday,” she began, “I’m a little miffed Arsha and Endea didn’t tell me about their chat with Lady Sentriam and Lord Benthe as we planned for the previous two days of this trial!” She glared at the two to emphasize her point. “However, what’s done is done. Lord Benthe himself assisted in aiding us in our planning. He did mention that the decision to adopt Mechanicas is split amongst the Divine Ones, so they’ve left the decision to us. I urge that the court gives Mechanicas the rights they deserve so they may be considered the Divine Ones’ children.”
“Well said,” bid Uluntan as Kalo sat down. “Mr. Yaltar, your counterarguments?” Thentra rose from his seat.
“I will be the first to say that I will follow the will of the Divine Ones,” he began. “Whatever decision they make, I will heed. I must say, any decision to leave mortal affairs to us is a welcome one, no disrespect meant, you understand. It shows that they are willing to go with our decisions just as we are willing, generally, to go with theirs. The fact that there IS debate on this matter amongst the Divine Ones shows that there are those who believe haste makes waste. As such, I must urge that now is NOT the time to grant Mechanica rights.” He sat down.
“With all the arguments heard,” declared Uluntan, “we must finish this. Mr. Yaltar, you may call your witness.”
“I call Lady Altrek to the stand,” called Thentra. Purple mist then appeared, then formed into a Minotaur lady in purple. with her amulet fastening her shoulder strap. The lady took the stand. “I know this is rather redundant,” began Thentra, “but please state your name and occupation for the Court Record.”
“I am Altrek,” introduced the Minotaur lady, “the Second Divine One of Air.”
“My Lady, it’s been revealed,” recalled Thentra, “that there are those among the Divine Ones who are against adopting Mechanicas.”
“Yes, and I’m one of them,” confirmed Altrek.
“Could you explain why?” asked Thentra.
“When the Fracturing took place,” explained Altrek, “I was under the impression that we would leave the species as they are. We had the Breath sealed away because someone would weaponize it and it looks like Reb had done so. Need I remind everyone about the Galthar Affair?”
“I pray you, no!” called someone in the crowd.
“Your prayers are answered,” joked Altrek. “In any event, with Sentriam and Benthe urging the sealing of that which they created, I see no reason to grant Mechanica rights.”
“Your witness,” Thentra bid Kalo. Kalo stood and approached the stand.
“Lady Altrek,” she began, “you wished for our current number of species to remain the same since the Fracturing, that is what you’ve said?”
“It is,” confirmed Altrek. “I fear that everyone will run out of resources to sustain the newer species, especially Mechanicas and Chimeras.”
“May I ask who agreed with you?” asked Kalo.
“…I fail to see how that’s relevant,” muttered Altrek.
“I just wish to know if there was a definitive ally to your cause,” explained Kalo.
“Well, no, there’s no definitive ally,” replied Altrek. “We decided by secret ballot to let you lot settle this and were under oath to keep our views secret unless asked. I’m confident that the creators of the Breath would agree with me, that your world is not ready for living machines.”
“You’d be surprised, My Lady,” declared Kalo.
“…What’s THAT supposed to mean?!” quizzed Altrek.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, I have spoken with Benthe last night and he has announced his and Sentriam’s support for Mechanica rights,” Kalo called to the crowd. Everyone started chattering about this revelation.
“Order in the court!” called Uluntan as he banged his gavel. “Order in the court! Order! I will have order!” Eventually, the crowd calmed down.
“Forgive me if I’m suspicious of your claim, Kalodina Avonamei,” hissed Altrek, “but I need to hear that from one of them!”
“And hear it from one of them, you shall,” promised Kalo. “I call Lord Benthe to the stand!” Altrek left the stand as Benthe in his Elf disguise took it. “Like your colleague, the Court Record needs your name and occupation.”
“I am Benthe,” introduced Benthe, “the Fourth Divine One of Love.”
“Lord Benthe,” quizzed Kalo, “could you confirm, for your colleague, what you said last night?”
“My pleasure, Mrs. Avonamei,” answered Benthe. “Sentriam and I have discussed what possible advantages could benefit the Realms if Mechanica rights were passed. Granted, we had to acknowledge the possible downsides, but we deemed that the pros outweighed the cons.”
“And you find that we can adapt well with Mechanicas in our lives?” asked Kalo.
“Exponentially well,” replied Benthe.
“Mr. Yaltar, your witness,” directed Kalo. Kalo down as Thentra approached Benthe.
“Lord Benthe, did you consider that the mana needed to fuel many of the Mechanicas would run out eventually?” inquired Thentra.
“It had crossed our minds, yes,” answered Benthe.
“Yet, you still see no problem with this?” continued Thentra.
“Not any problems that can’t be solved,” answered Benthe, “either by Divine One help or the innovation you’re all famous for.”
“I fail to see how innovation can help us,” remarked Thentra.
“Then you haven’t heard of your scientists making a device that can replenish mana crystals?” asked Benthe.
“It’s nothing but a pipe dream,” dismissed Thentra.
“So were skyships and now they’re a common sight across the Realms,” reminded Benthe.
“But skyships took the entirety of the First Age of Unity before they became a reality,” reminded Thentra.
“And, after that, other inventions came easier,” countered Benthe. “Besides, if mana-powered Mechanicas want to protect their fuel source, they would aid in inventing a mana replenishing device. With their aid comes a new era of invention and imagination! I believe that their ideas will make the Realms better than they already are!”
“…No further questions,” declared Thentra.
“Will we be hearing any more testimony today?” asked Uluntan.
“I have no more witnesses,” replied Thentra.
“Neither do I,” announced Kalo.
“Then it is time to hear the closing arguments,” directed Uluntan. “Mrs. Avonamei, you may start.”
“Ladies and gentlemen,” began Kalo, “as we have all heard from both Mechanicas and organics alike, it is clear that we can only secure a better future for the Mechanicas if we work together. We must listen to the Mechanica’s view of things and understand them to make this world a better place. The defense rests.”
“Thank you,” bid Uluntan. “Mr. Yaltar, your closing arguments?”
“Ladies and gentlemen,” began Thentra, “as I’ve said at the start of all this, I wouldn’t dream of obstructing the rights of anyone. However, as I’m sure we all remember, haste only brings problems. While the Chimeras enjoy their rights, there ARE those that will do everything in their power to keep them from doing so. Need I mention the now-closed Vorkath Monastic Hospital and their involvement in Chimera experimentation? We need to be assured that such tragedies won’t happen before we give Mechanicas rights. I urge the court, don’t be hasty.” He then sat back down.
“With the closing arguments said,” declared Uluntan, “Court will adjourn for today until I give my decision tomorrow. Let my words be the final words.” He banged the gavel and dismissed everyone.
“Well, it’s out of our hands now,” sighed Arsha as she, Endea, Gorfanth, Kalo, Foresna, and Benthe met in the Conference Room. “All we can do is wait.”
“Waiting, the fun part,” grumbled Foresna.
“Now, now, waiting is needed for a rational decision,” chided Gorfanth.
“I thought that you only quote from The Differences of Lust and Love when there’s a relationship going wrong,” muttered Foresna.
“That specific quote can be used in a variety of situations,” replied Gorfanth.
“He IS right,” remarked Kalo. “We can’t do much else.”
“I hope I DO get my rights spelled out as much as you all do,” sighed Endea.
“If not, I will still treat you as a fellow person and give you the dignity you deserve,” promised Arsha.
“As will I,” supplied Benthe.
“And me,” continued Kalo.
“Don’t forget me!” called Foresna.
“Or me,” finished Gorfanth. Endea’s eyes misted as she smiled.
“Thank you, all of you!” she bid as she hugged everyone.