The day of the Trial’s outcome had arrived. Everyone had gathered in the Amphitheater to witness the decision of Uluntan. He approached his seat. “All rise for the Honorable Judge Uluntan!” called the bailiff. Everyone rose on cue.
“Be seated,” directed Uluntan. As everyone sat down, he banged his gavel. “The day has come for the court’s decision. Stenographer, give us a day-by-day summary of the trial.”
“Day One,” began the Stenographer, “the opening arguments identified the general two sides of the Mechanica rights debate. The witnesses on that day gave their views on whether or not Mechanicas would circumvent the need for workers to maintain Mechanicas. The proceedings of that day ended when the topic of violence between Mechanicas and organics was brought up. Court had adjourned until the next day. Day Two: both sides had prepared their arguments for the topic of violence between Mechanicas and organics. The proceedings centered around an altercation between the Endeavor and a member of her crew. One of the witnesses declared that the Divine Ones would not pay attention to these proceedings while the other one explained that the debate had reached even them. Court had adjourned until yesterday. Day Three: the opening arguments on both sides centered on whether or not the Divine Ones would adopt Mechanicas as their children. We were graced with the presence of two Divine Ones, one on each side of the argument. The day’s proceedings ended with closing arguments and Court was adjourned with the announcement that we would all hear the decision today.”
“Thank you,” bid Uluntan. He looked at both Kalo and Thentra. “You two are clearly students of Mrs. Kosnar. You have both given excellent points and used your points well to explain the arguments. If it were possible, I would listen to you two debate for eternity as I know you two will keep things civil. However, we are not people with that kind of time. The debate must be settled. Ladies and gentlemen gathered here, I have thought long and hard about this matter. I must admit, advising all governments in the Realms is quite the daunting task. Normally, I would be uncertain to take this trial. However, I would be derelict in my duty if I didn’t preside over this. After hearing both sides, while points were well made, I cannot, in good conscience, permit any life-form to suffer the yolk of inequality. Therefore…I advise all governments to ensure that Mechanica rights are protected! The court urges the immediate passing of Mechanica rights!” He banged his gavel in a move of finality. Kalo and her group cheered in victory! Transhell, on the other hand, was NOT a happy camper. He just stood there, anger contorting his face into an unnatural shape.
Transhell spent most of the victory celebration in his quarters, trying to meditate, the operative word being ‘trying’. He was still angry, his body shaking in an effort to keep himself from flying into a self-destructive rage. His door chimed. “Go away!” he snarled. The person at the door, Elmar, didn’t listen.
“You’re not doing the crew any favors by sitting alone,” remarked Elmar.
“I’m not in the mood for Wood Elf wisdom!” growled Transhell.
“What about plain old Elf wisdom?” quizzed Elmar. “How about we just discuss what’s wrong as Elves? Not Wood Elf and Stone Elf, just Elves.”
“…What’s wrong?!” hissed Transhell. “What’s wrong?! I’ll tell you what’s wrong; the sham trial and the ridiculous decision of the judge!”
“I hardly see it as a sham trial,” replied Elmar.
“Granting kettles like this ship rights?!” snapped Transhell. “That’s not a sham trial?!”
“She is as much a living person as you and me,” answered Elmar.
“That thing shouldn’t have to be alive!” argued Transhell. “I’m sorry, but Altrek had the right idea in arguing against all this!”
“Yet she and her fellows placed their faith in the decision made today,” recalled Elmar.
“Then their faith was misplaced!” roared Transhell. “I was confident that we’d have no more conflicts! The ship being alive only destroyed that dream!”
“We must consider the Realms’ greater good,” countered Elmar.
“I’ve done that my entire life!” shouted Transhell. “What about MY greater good?! Why should I sacrifice anything just for the general good anymore if my sacrifices are being spat on?!”
“I fail to see how your sacrifices were spat on,” remarked Elmar.
“I joined Realmfleet to PRESERVE our current era, not change it!” answered Transhell. “You know what change leads to?! War, that’s what! My dad was broken after the War of the Depths! You know, the war that ended the previous Age of Unity?!”
“Staying the same leads to stagnation,” countered Elmar, “and is a greater impetus to war than change. Chaos and change are neither good or bad, they just ARE. Realmfleet knows this, your father knows this, we ALL know this. It’s how we deal with chaos and change that determines whether it’s good or bad.” Transhell stood silent for a moment, just one moment.
“…YOU DON’T KNOW THE FIRST THING ABOUT GOOD OR BAD!” roared Transhell. “YOU DON’T KNOW THE FIRST THING ABOUT ME! I HATE THE SHIP! I HATE THE COURT’S DECISION! I HATE EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE THAT SAYS I NEED TO ACCEPT ALL THIS! PUBLISH THAT IN YOUR SCIENCE JOURNAL!” He grabbed his supply of duty uniforms, shoved past Elmar, and stormed to Barmek’s.
The mood at Barmek’s was one of celebration! Because she didn’t receive a paycheck yet, Endea was enjoying a free meal. She was talking to Arsha, Gorfanth, and Foresna. “And then the clownfish said,” she wrapped up the joke she was telling, “‘with friends like these, who needs anemones?’” Everyone laughed.
“And Marshii told you that?” asked Foresna.
“Kinda seems out of place for her,” remarked Arsha.
“Speaking of which, where IS Marshii?” asked Gorfanth.
“She’s reconnecting with her family at the Morgonthor Polyp Gardens,” replied Arsha. “She’ll be back tonight.” Just then, Transhell stormed in. “Hey! Transhell! Come join the party!” called Arsha.
“I’m not here to join a party for giving this tub rights that weren’t theirs to begin with!” snarled Transhell.
“Take that kind of talk elsewhere,” directed Arsha. “The rest of us would rather celebrate Mechanica rights being protected.”
“Then celebrate without me!” declared Transhell. “In fact, continue this voyage without me!”
“…What’s THAT supposed to mean?” asked Arsha.
“Captain Royana, your decision to protect the ship’s unwarranted sense of self has led me to believe,” continued Transhell, “that you’re not fit for command. As I don’t have any allies on this ship, a mutiny is out of the question. Therefore, I have only one recourse, since Realmfleet’s not doing anything to give my views any credence.” He then let his duty uniforms drop to the floor. “I’m resigning my commission.”
“…You’re seriously leaving Realmfleet?” scoffed Gorfanth. “Over a new woman gaining the rights that were rightfully due to her?”
“Wake up, bull,” hissed Transhell. Gorfanth’s nostrils flared. Foresna was about to charge at him and defend his spouse, but Gorfanth held him back. “Do you really think this change will be good?” continued Transhell. “Have you really considered all the problems? I have to say, for once, the Divine Ones were wrong to leave it to us. I’m leaving this ship, taking the first shuttle back to the Drelda Forest, and I’m NOT going back to Realmfleet. Go on without me.” He then walked out of the bar.
“Little Elf runt!” growled Foresna. “Just let me at…!”
“Let him run away,” directed Arsha.
“…Captain, I don’t think I understand,” remarked Mr. Barmek.
“Realmfleet is a continually changing force,” explained Arsha. “If he feels that Realmfleet’s wrong, he can leave. To be frank, I feel that we’ll get on better without him. Less chance of Endea hearing that kind of talk, the better. Now, enough about him, we’ve still got a celebration for Endea! This is her day!” The declaration was received well and the party went back to normal.
“So, you really ARE leaving,” muttered Transhell’s sister, Dwenshell, over a communicator. “This is a real setback! I’m EXTREMELY disappointed in you!”
“Yeah, well, I’m sure you’ll get by!” hissed Transhell as he finished packing his bags.
“Look, I’m gonna be frank here!” snarled Dwenshell. “Somehow, don’t ask me how, Dr. Borg’s lost a lot of people as like-minded as you! In the short term, I say good riddance! We can make do without them! We can’t…”
“Even your son?” asked Transhell.
“…Make do without you!” continued Dwenshell. “You would be a valuable asset! You just need to drop this anti-Mechanica nonsense! If any of us had your talents…!”
“Ones help us all,” groaned another voice.
“Scorpo?” asked Dwenshell. “Is that you? Are…are you recording this?!”
“Yeah,” replied the voice.
“Well, cut it out!” snapped Dwenshell. “It’s annoying, you recording everything!”
“Dr. Borg’s made me her eyes and ears!” protested Scorpo. “This could have repercussions for our campaign!”
“Dwenshell, you know I’ve done a lot of things, right?” asked Transhell. “Things that I bitterly…forget it! My point is, if you’re going to grant your ship the same rights as every other now-living tin can, then there’s no difference between you and Realmfleet! The Over-Splitters are right, you’re a threat to the Realms.”
“You know what your problem is?!” snapped Dwenshell. “You’ve got your head stuck so far up your rear; you can’t see the big picture!” Transhell just switched his communicator off and stormed out of his former quarters, making a beeline towards the ship’s exit.
Dwenshell sucked in a breath as she clenched her fists. A man in leather with a mechanical tail and claws on the back of his wrists approached her. He had the Scorpion’s name and registry number on it. It was safe to assume this was Scorpo, the living extension of the Scorpion. “What do we tell Dr. Borg?” asked Scorpo.
“I tell her,” replied Dwenshell, “the recruitment drive was a bust! I don’t need help in lying.”
“It might put you in a more favorable light with her,” remarked Scorpo.
“The truth is less painful,” dismissed Dwenshell. “Just open a channel to her.” Scorpo rolled his eyes.
“…Channel open,” he reported. Dr. Borg’s face filled the screen.
“How did it go?” she asked.
“Disastrously,” replied Dwenshell. “He’s decided that the Over-Splitters have a better idea. Scorpo recorded the whole conversation.”
“A pity,” mused Dr. Borg. “We could have used him. Oh well, we’ll just have to send the package without him.”
“Are you serious?!” protested Scorpo.
“Of course,” replied Dr. Borg. “The Realms will never know what hit them.”