“First Rusty, now our magic users!” I grumbled on the last day of the trial.
“I thought Elkrandek was supposed to be better than that!” griped Richard.
“This is the last day of the trial,” replied Edgeworth. “We need to press on.”
“The trial’s about to begin,” called the Bailiff.
“Here we go,” I muttered. We entered the courtroom to hear the chatter of the audience.
“All rise for the Honorable Judge Legowltor!” called the Bailiff as Legowltor entered the courtroom.
“Please, be seated,” he directed. As we sat, he banged the gavel. “Court will now reconvene for the trial of the Experimental Portal Operator. This WILL be the last day as we need answers NOW.”
“The Prosecution is ready, Your Honor,” declared Edgeworth.
“The Defense is ready, Your Honor,” answered Elkrandek.
“The Prosecution will give their opening statement,” directed Legowltor.
“We all remember what caused a stir yesterday,” began Edgeworth. “The Defense claimed that magic had influenced the Defendant over time. The Prosecution is more than willing to disprove that theory.”
“Defense, your rebuttal?” requested Legowltor.
“Your Honor, we have examined the Defendant,” answered Elkrandek. “It looks like there was a crack in his power source’s shielding. Even if the Prosecution can prove that the F.N.S’ magic users were as responsible as they claim, that still doesn’t prove that magic didn’t affect my client!”
“Objection!” called Edgeworth. “Your Honor, there IS a way to disprove the Defense’s theory.”
“Oh, this I gotta hear,” grumbled Elkrandek.
“We’ve examined all of Vorton and tested every member for stray magic,” continued Edgeworth. “One of the officers during the examination mentioned the crack in X-PO’s power source shielding, confusing Ms. Saunders and a Mr. Lukas Ackermann as they were being examined.” Elkrandek arched an eyebrow. “After obtaining a warrant from the police, the two gave us the Defendant’s examination records. They were verified, so we can easily confirm this is true. The most recent record was a few minutes after Ms. Saunders’ team returned from retrieving the Source of Pestilence. The Prosecution can assure this court that the Defendant had no crack in his shielding during that examination! Therefore, there is no possible way that magic has affected the Defendant!”
“Objection!” called Elkrandek. “Your Honor, my client has told me otherwise and gave me a copy of those records!”
“Then they must be forged by your client to cover his tracks!” argued Edgeworth.
“The copy my client has given me was verified by the police, just like the Prosecution’s copy!” countered Elkrandek. “It was deemed correct!” That caused a stir, us witnesses added to the chatter.
“ORDER! ORDER IN THE COURT!” bellowed Legowltor as he banged his gavel. “How can both copies be correct?!”
“Your Honor, the Prosecution requests that both copies be examined!” called Edgeworth.
“The Defense has no objections to that! I want to find out myself! I hope the records are given maximum scrutiny!” agreed Elkrandek.
“If I recollect,” mused Legowltor, “that will take some time.”
“Plenty of time for us to hear the last Witnesses and the Defendant,” replied Edgeworth.
“Very well,” affirmed Legowltor. “Bailiff, give both records to the investigators at once! Maximum scrutiny!”
“At once, Your Honor!” replied the Bailiff as he hurried off with both records.
“Now, while that’s going on,” rumbled Legowltor, “we shall hear from the last Witnesses.”
“We shall start with the first ally the F.N.S has made,” began Edgeworth. Hongo took the stand. “State your name and occupation for the Court Record.”
“Takeshi Hongo,” introduced Hongo. “I am a hero that fights against Shocker as the first Kamen Rider.”
“Would you please tell the Court what your relationship with the Defendant was like?” asked Edgeworth.
“It began much like Gandalf and Batman’s,” testified Hongo. “The F.N.S appeared as one of my friends was kidnapped by Vortech. Although, in my case, it was through his agent at the time; Adachi Hiro, a former member of Shocker, now head of the multiversal terrorist organization, Shocker Rift. I was chosen to aid the F.N.S in their fight against Vortech, but I was never told about how dangerous Vortech was. When it finally came to light what X-PO was trying to do, well, we all saw what happened on the first day. I will admit, I allowed my pride to get in the way during the start of the Vortech Wars.”
“Your witness,” directed Edgeworth to Elkrandek.
“Takeshi-san,” began Elkrandek, “you said that you have allowed your pride to get in the way during the start of the Vortech Wars.”
“I did,” confirmed Hongo. “Much like Megumi, I didn’t tell my allies why my friend was important to me. You see, he’s the second Kamen Rider, altered by Shocker in the same manner as me.”
“And X-PO did not display any signs of chronic manipulation?” asked Edgeworth.
“Objection!” Elkrandek shouted.
“Now what?!” groaned Edgeworth.
“Your Honor, it is clear to me,” answered Elkrandek, “that the Prosecution is trying to lead the Witness!”
“Objection sustained,” replied Legowltor. “Mr. Edgeworth, this IS Elkrandek’s cross-examination period.”
“Very well,” sighed Edgeworth.
“Takeshi-san, when you were picked up by X-PO to fight against Vortech,” inquired Elkrandek, “were you aware that X-PO was trying to save the multiverse?”
“We all were,” replied Hongo, “but I saw no evidence that he was a manipulator!”
“If you saw no evidence, then why this shameless attack on my client’s good name?!” demanded Elkrandek.
“Hardly shameless if there’s been evidence that he’s been manipulating us these past few days!” shouted Hongo.
“Perhaps in your eyes, but not in the eyes of…!” replied Elkrandek.
“Objection!” called Edgeworth. “Your Honor, the Defense is trying to provoke an emotional reaction from the Witness! It is an attempt to influence an intelligent, broad-minded, and most intellectual jury!”
“Objection sustained,” replied Legowltor. “Mr. Elkrandek, provoking emotional reactions is not a welcome action in these proceedings.”
“I apologize,” answered Elkrandek. “No further questions, Your Honor.” Hongo sat back down with us.
“Your Honor, I would like to call a woman that has more than enough reason to base a verdict on the Defendant,” declared Edgeworth. That was Wyldstyle’s cue. She took the Stand. “Your name and occupation for the Court Record,” he directed.
“Wyldstyle,” she introduced. “Master Builder and teacher at the new Master Builder Academy.”
“A Master Builder?” asked Legowltor. “It is said you can create anything out of anything.”
“Would the Court mind a demonstration?” offered Wyldstyle.
“By all means,” replied Legowltor. Wyldstyle then used the Witness Stand, the gavel, and the Prosecutor and Defense’s respective benches to make a mini-gun like the Heavy’s! “Okay, that is quite the demonstration,” mused Legowltor. “Now, one simple request.”
“Yes, Your Honor?” asked Wyldstyle.
“Give me my gavel back!” hissed Legowltor. “In fact, put all of the materials back!” Wyldstyle did so and grinned nervously. “All right, perhaps we can continue,” muttered Legowltor.
“Ms. Wyldstyle,” requested Edgeworth, “kindly tell us your relationship with the Defendant.” Testimony time.
“To be honest,” answered Wyldstyle, “there’s not much to tell. I never really trusted him. The way he held a snarky attitude over us, it kind of put me off of interacting with him. I thought, as the years went by, that was just his way of showing friendship. After what I’ve heard before today, though, I can’t say as I see him in a positive light. Why would he hide anything from us?”
“A valid question,” replied Edgeworth, “one that will be answered today. Elkrandek, your Witness.”
“Ms. Wyldstyle, you asked why my client would hide anything from you,” recalled Elkrandek. “Tell me, aren’t you also guilty of hiding something? Your real name, Lucy, perhaps?”
“Objection!” called Edgeworth. “What the Witness prefers to call herself has no bearing on these proceedings!”
“Objection sustained,” answered Legowltor. “She is known throughout the multiverse as Wyldstyle, so she will be addressed as such here.”
“Thanks, Mr. Court!” cheered Wyldstyle. She instantly winced when she realized what she said.
“…Kindly address this Court as ‘Your Honor’!” hissed Legowltor.
“Yes, Your Honor!” gulped Wyldstyle.
“…No further questions,” muttered Elkrandek.
“That leaves only one last witness,” declared Edgeworth. Richard and Wyldstyle swapped places. “Your name and occupation for the Court Record, please,” directed Edgeworth.
“Richard Saunders,” began Richard. “Freshman at After Academy and Anchorman for the Multiversal News Network.”
“Saunders?” asked Legowltor. “Are you related to Emily Saunders?”
“I’m her twin,” replied Richard.
“Ah, twins,” mused Legowltor. “I remember my twin brother very fondly. Thick as thieves, we were. But, then again, that has no relevance to these proceedings.”
“Mr. Saunders,” inquired Edgeworth, “what, exactly, is your role in the F.N.S?”
“I’m third in command at the moment,” answered Richard. “Although, that may change when I marry Megumi.”
“As being part of the Chain of Command, you must have had some interaction with the Defendant,” replied Edgeworth. “Please tell the Court how these interactions went.”
“They usually centered around developing strategies against our enemies,” testified Richard. “We would discuss defenses for Vorton, which DID help us in some measure against Shocker Rift and allowed us all to survive their siege. After the Vortech Wars, though, our contact fizzled out. There wasn’t much for us to talk about since we moved to After Academy.” Elkrandek arched an eyebrow.
“Your Witness,” declared Edgeworth.
“Mr. Saunders,” inquired Elkrandek, “by your last statement, this court can assume that the F.N.S is living on campus at After Academy?”
“This court would be right,” replied Richard.
“Then I think the reason has been made clear,” chuckled Elkrandek. “Your Honor, the Defense postulates that my client was abandoned by the F.N.S! As the Witness had proclaimed, my client’s contact with the F.N.S fizzled out! If he’s so valuable to you, then why did you not bring him with you to After Academy?!”
“Objection!” called Edgeworth. “You Honor, the Defense has forgotten a certain passage from the first day of these proceedings!”
“What passage is that?” asked Legowltor.
“It comes from Batman’s recording,” explained Edgeworth. “Let me remind the Court that it has been verified and declared free of tampering. Alesandro was referring to the Defendant’s reasons for doing what he did. The quote is as follows: ‘You gathered us here with a lie from long ago! You decided to play the long game with us and waited for some grand adventure! We’ve sent you numerous invitations for those things you mentioned. If you REALLY wanted to continue feeling that, then you would have accepted them!’ Those last two sentences are most important! It can easily be presumed that the F.N.S had been trying to reestablish contact with the Defendant for some time before their recent adventure! The Prosecution postulates that the Defendant chose to stay on Vorton and was the culprit behind severing communications!”
“Objection!” called Elkrandek. “Your Honor, we have no proof that the Defendant chose to remain behind! We could just as easily assume that the F.N.S imposed that loneliness onto him!”
“Then there is only one way to settle this,” declared Edgeworth. “We have yet to hear from the Defendant.”
“Agreed!” replied Elkrandek. “His testimony will close this case once and for all!”
“Then the Defendant will take the Stand,” instructed Legowltor. Richard sat down as X-PO hovered to the Stand. “Your name and occupation, please,” directed Legowltor.
“The Experimental Portal Operator,” introduced X-PO, “better known as X-PO. As my full name suggests, I’m the main operator of the Vorton Gateway.”
“Mr. X-PO, did you actually receive the invitations for social interaction with the F.N.S?” asked Edgeworth.
“I did, but I was too busy finding Shocker Rift to respond to them,” replied X-PO.
“Could you explain that?” asked Elkrandek.
“Happily,” answered X-PO. “Near the end of the Vortech Wars, Shocker Rift fled Vortech’s company when he gathered the Foundation Elements. We split up to cover more areas of search, since After Academy offers more in terms of multiversal travel. I am best suited for monitoring the Gateway. As per our arrangement, they would contact me and report to me if they found anything. Unfortunately, as Richard mentioned, our contact had dried up. I’m still trying to fathom why.”
“Isolation can make a person do many odd things,” mused Edgeworth. “Perhaps…”
“Objection!” called Elkrandek. “Your Honor, the Defendant just left a glaring contradiction!”
“…Your own client?” muttered Legowltor.
“My client had told me,” explained Elkrandek, “that the Gateway is the most advanced form of multiversal travel, not even After Academy can boast anything more.”
“He told us that too!” I interjected.
“But…but he just said that After Academy offers more in terms of multiversal travel!” spluttered Legowltor.
“My point exactly!” replied Elkrandek. “Mr. X-PO, I trust you’re not committing perjury!”
“If I could explain that statement,” answered X-PO hotly, “you’ll find that I did NOT commit perjury!”
“Perhaps you should,” rumbled Legowltor.
“After Academy may have more ways in terms of passage to other universes,” explained X-PO, “but none of those ways are as advanced as the Vorton Gateway. Not even the Virginia can boast the kind of computer the Gateway has. As someone who was, quite literally, bonded to the Gateway for a time, I can easily say that nothing compares to the Gateway.”
“Hold it!” called Elkrandek. “What do you mean by being bonded to the Gateway?”
“After Vortech found me out,” replied X-PO, “I returned, in pieces to Vorton. I still had some control over the pieces, so I managed to attach those pieces to the Gateway seamlessly.”
“Objection!” answered Edgeworth. “Seamlessly? That is NOT what I heard from Megumi! Did the Gateway not collapse the instant the F.N.S and their allies arrived on Vorton?”
“What’s your point with that?” asked X-PO.
“Megumi, kindly explain what you did the instant you arrived,” directed Edgeworth.
“After learning how the prototype Vortex Drivers gave us armor based on certain people,” I explained, “we all got to work in rebuilding the Gateway. However, it was still a bit shaky, and I mean that in the literal sense, because the Keystones were sent to different universes. We got the Shift Keystone first from Elphaba in Oz.”
“I can vouch for that,” replied Elphaba.
“So, in other words, not as stable as you claimed!” answered Elkrandek as he pointed to X-PO.
“Well you can hardly find any other stable means of multiversal travel!” argued X-PO.
“Objection!” replied Elkrandek.
“Now what?!” snarled X-PO.
“Mr. X-PO, were you not the one who suggested to Vortoranii, the Queen of Vorton in its heyday, that giving the plans of the Gateway would make multiversal travel easier?” asked Elkrandek. “Did we not use such a minor Gateway to get here?”
“The point still stands,” countered X-PO, “that Gateway travel is more stable!”
“So why were you not open about things, hm?” quizzed Legowltor.
“Because that’s what cost us Vorton, okay?!” snapped X-PO. Just then, the bailiff entered the Courtroom, glaring daggers at X-PO.
“You lying, cheating, spying, two-faced…!” he snarled at the robot.
“Bailiff, the results, please?” interjected Legowltor.
“I’m afraid Elkrandek was lied to,” sighed the Bailiff. “The crack in X-PO’s shielding only occurred after yesterday’s proceedings.”
“Wh…WHAAAAT?!” squawked Elkrandek.
“Mr. X-PO, you lied to your own lawyer?!” boomed Legowltor. “You made him present forged evidence in my court?! That says a thing or two about your ability to trust other people!”
“No…you need…I mean, I…” X-PO was floundering. “…I…I………”
“…X-PO?” I asked, a little uncomfortable at the silence.
“………rrrrrrrrRRRRRRAAGAAGHAAHGAAHHHH!” X-PO’s roar of anger and subsequent rant still haunts me to this very day. “I trusted Vortoranii to keep Vorton intact and now it’s just three rocks in space with life support! I trusted Vortech to be sensible with the Foundation Elements and he still gathered them! I trusted the F.N.S to keep to the mission and they got distracted by side quests! I trusted Elkrandek to get me out of this mess and he turns on me! This all proves one thing; trust is only going to get you killed in the long run! I was right when I first came online! Everyone and everything is just the means to an end!”
“…The jury will now deliberate on the Defendant’s innocence or guilt,” declared Legowltor. “Unless there are any objections?”
“None, Your Honor,” grumbled Elkrandek, the truth stinging him horribly.
“No objections, Your Honor,” replied Edgeworth. As the 12 Cendeberons floated off to debate their decision, Elkrandek spoke to X-PO.
“You DO have the chance to change your plea,” he advised.
“I did it out of necessity,” X-PO replied obstinately. “The Cendeberons will understand that.”
“I somehow doubt that,” sighed Elkrandek.