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[Fiction] An Unwelcome Visitor
There's an idea.
Until the day someone learns about this and he becomes a credible source again...

Sadly, I think Simmons will remain in the profession, among the sort that will forever consider ethics a non issue. One half universe to the left, he's likely part of EXALTs media wing.
A good use for him.
- Grumpy Uncle Gearhead
Matrix Dragon Wrote:Until the day someone learns about this and he becomes a credible source again...

Sadly, I think Simmons will remain in the profession, among the sort that will forever consider ethics a non issue. One half universe to the left, he's likely part of EXALTs media wing.

Goes Wiki-leaks/Assage? Except, you know, incompetently. Maybe China funding him covertly through a couple of levels of cover to foster propaganda against the Fen for use in internal consumption.
"Really, should I have felt that much enjoyment helping to metaphorically string Simmons up like that? Does that make me a bad man?"

"Given what he did? No... but I will remind you if you partake in that particular moment of enjoyment too much," Nene responded, smiling. Then she returned to the mess on her blouse. "Damnit, I might just have to burn this later."

Stepping into the lobby, a militiaman with a deputy's badge on his duster following behind her, Katie Roberts snorted. “You used to be a cop Romanova,” she said. “Are you telling me you’ve forgotten how to clean a drunk-stained uniform?”

Looking up, the blonde raised one eyebrow. “I was a computer technician. I tended to leave the crude thugwork to Leon and his band of apes,” she declared in a ridiculously pompous tone of voice. Grinning, she added in a more normal tone of voice, “besides, this isn’t quite as stain resistant. No teflon in it.”

“Okay, I’ll give you that one,” Katie said after a moment, before turning to Chris, who was clearly enjoying the show. “Captain Wood, I’m Sheriff Roberts,” she said, holding out her hand. The Orion nodded politely, shaking her hand, and the Vixen smiled. “Let’s get one issue resolved nice and quickly. We’ve gone over yesterday's events, and by the laws and cultural standards of Serenity Valley, you’re in the clear.” Chris twitched in surprise, and the smile became a smirk. “Your statement’s something of a formality there really. The benefits of modern technology and AI support in criminal investigation.”

Blinking, Chris considered that. “Huh,” she said after a moment. “I’d never given it much thought.”

“Yeah, we’re not at CSI Miami level bullshit yet, but we’re making progress,” Katie chuckled. Expression turning serious again, she gestured at the man behind her. “Of course, even with that, we will still need your statement. Which is what Jack’s here for. If you’ll go with him, he can get that all sorted out.”

Looking up, Chris's eyes widened, and she barely resisted the urge to back away slightly. The militiaman was a giant of a man, at least half a foot taller than Jeph, and that sparked an instinctive fear in the tiny girls heart. "Um, kay," she said, one hand nervously playing with her ponytail.

The man smiled gently, the polite gesture reassuring her somewhat. "Right this way ma'am. Uh, sir," he said, blushing slightly.

"N-no, 'ma'am' is fine," Chris replied. "I'm going to have to get used to it..." She followed him down the hallway, still looking rather nervous.

Watching her leave, Katie turned to the other two. "Holy dammit," she commented. "I just want to hug her and kiss her and tell her it'll be all right, I'll make it all better. Then kiss her again."

Jeph snickered. "Didn't know you swung that way," she commented.

"Far as I know, I don't," she replied with a shrug. The two blondes blinked at that, but she was already walking off, gesturing with one hand for them to follow. "Thanks for dropping the anvil on Simmons," she said. "Certainly saved me a lot of trouble. Which, given I'm not supposed to even be working at the moment, is very much appreciated,” she said dryly.

Giggling, Nene sped up so she was walking along next to her. "Aw, did someone's vacation get ruined?" she asked.

Glancing over, Katie gave her an irritated look. “Romanova, by now, I was expecting to be stretched out on a beach, wearing very little and admiring good looking young men also wearing very little. Instead, I’m still here on Ganymede, dealing with a freaking attempted murder investigation, data theft, and the media deciding to send its finest morons to try and rub their dicks all over everything.”

“...Charming description,” Nene decided.

Behind them, Jeph laughed. “Oh please. I know you. You could have been on that beach, having the time of your life. The moment the news reached you, you’d be on the first ship you could find, trying to make them get you back here even faster. You’re just fishing for sympathy,” she accused, still smiling.

Grinning, Katie could only nod. “Guilty. Is it working?”

“Not in the slightest.”

“Well darn,” she sighed, opening the door to the Mayors office. “I come bearing a SMOF and a hacker,” the Vixen announced. “Handle with care.”

Looking up from his paperwork, Malcolm Reilly grinned, rising to his feet and holding out a hand. “Jeph, Nene, good to see you.” As Jeph accepted the handshake, he paused and looked her over. “I thought you were trying to calm down?” he asked.

“Oh, I’m calm…er,” she replied with a smile.

“He was fine until we caught Simmons broadcast,” Nene explained, getting an understanding scowl from the older man.

“Ah, yes, I can see how that would have made you shift,” he grumbled, shaking his head in disgust. “Nice work on him, by the way. I doubt the old media Earth-side would approve, but then, I sometimes think professionalism is an alien concept to them these days.” Pausing, Malcolm scratched at an itch on his neck and considered the pair. “I have to ask, did you contact his boss, or did she…?”

Nene gave him the smile of a woman enjoying herself far too much. “She actually called Chris on the way here. Most of that show out there? Her idea. Including dropping the militia on him for the security footage,” she added, resisting the urge to cackle.

Katie took over the explanation, leaning against Malcolms desk. “She claims that Simmons neglected to share where he got any of his information from,” she noted, “and did point out that even if he had, it’s the Networks official policy to not reveal any of their sources, should they wish to remain anonymous.” Jeph grumbled slightly at that, but the Sheriff merely shrugged. “I can see where she’s coming from. Even with the current headache Simmons dropped on her, she can’t afford to go naming names there. Any network that caved in to the authorities like that would suddenly find that no one was willing to talk to them, no matter how nicely they paid.”

The holoprojector on Malcolms desk powered up, Athenas avatar appearing above it. “In any case, ISNs cooperation may not be necessary,” she told the mayor. “The theft of the security footage from MacDonald Memorial was committed by an AI, one of... questionable ability.” She shook her head sadly, a craftswoman’s response to sloppy work. “I’m confident I know who it is already, and you should have sufficient evidence for an arrest warrant by the end of the day.”

“Any theories as to why they did it?” the Mayor asked.

“If it’s who I think it is?” Athena replied. “They’re a troll, nothing more. A little vandal that thought it was funny,” she grumbled, folding her arms under her breasts.

Katie considered that for a moment, then sighed and closed her eyes. “Ah. I shouldn’t even be surprised.” Malcolm gave her a curious look, and she waved a hand. “It’s not important right now. Just a troublemaker I’ve warned before. I think we can safely say it’s under control.”

Malcolm looked skeptical, but nodded. “If you say so… then we’ll move on to the main issue. Please, have a seat, all of you.” The three women all pulled up chairs as the Mayor returned to behind his desk. “So, unless you were lying to the reporters Jeph, I take it you’re planning to not get involved on the legal side of things?” he asked.

“It’s for the best I don’t,” she replied. Leaning back in the chair, she looked up at the ceiling for a moment. “We’ve put a lot of work into building a judicial system, and it’s not supposed to have me meddling with things all the time.” Looking back down at Malcolm, she gave the man a grin. “Sorry Mal, you’re stuck with the headache there… And you’re not looking even remotely surprised,” she realized, eyes narrowing.

Folding his hands over his stomach, the Mayor gave the SMOF an amused smile. “Because I know you. And I know that, even when you’re worked up enough to shift, you can recognize when you’ll make a situation worse.” His smile faded slightly, expression becoming more serious. “I wanted to talk to you about trying to stop this from happening again.”

Frowning, Jeph started to reply, then paused and considered the man in front of her. “You’re not just talking about kicking the Professor out,” she said at last.

Nodding, Mal picked up a tablet and passed it over to her. “This is the first draft of a proposal Katie and I have been working on,” he explained as JMC’s lord and master began to read through it. “I’m planning on presenting it at Bubblecon next month, for inclusion in the Articles of Convention.”

Catching a glimpse of the title, Nene snickered. “Proper Feeding and Care of Extreme Mads,” she noted. “Nice title.” Getting out of her chair, she leaned over Jephs shoulder. “Huh… This is… well, it’s rough, but it’s got potential.”

“Most of the Mads that have really the bad days,” Katie commented, “and I mean blind-to-reality, trapped-in-whatever-kicked-off-their-current-obsession bad, they’ve always got helpers. Usually androids they created themselves, actually. The Professors assistants, Peter’s Angels, Gina and the Roughriders-” Jeph and Nene both stifled laughs at that. “It’s like the ‘Wave recognizes that they’re not going to be very good at paying attention to things they should. Like food. Airlocks.” She paused, amusement fading. “And, on occasion, the fact their experiment wants absolutely nothing to do with their crazy ass.”

Placing his hands on the desk, Malcolm leaned forward. “I realized something last night,” he admitted. “It’s been nearly eight years since the Professor pulled all that nonsense in France.” Both Jeph and Nene glanced at him in surprise, and he nodded. “For at least eight years, his assistants have been looking after him. Not always in ways the rest of us would consider appropriate,” he muttered, shaking his head, “otherwise they’d have knocked him out long before he decided to steal a nuclear weapon…”

“But he’s alive and well,” Nene mused. “And no one’s ever heard of someone getting killed in his Science moments.”

Nodding, the Mayor rubbed at his beard. “The closest we’ve ever come, as far as I know, was yesterday. And that was Miss Glear, not the Professor himself. For eight years, they’ve been watching out for him. Flesh and blood or advanced android, that’s a heck of a stressful job.”

Looking back down at the tablet again, Jeph frowned. “You think that had something to do with yesterday?” she asked. “Stress isn’t really a justification for attempted murder.”

Leaning forward in her chair, Katie shrugged. “No, it isn’t. But it’s the start of an explanation. And it’s a warning. This happened once, sooner or later, it’s going to happen again, and next time, someone might just end up dead. Now, we could go with the suggestions of some of the fine legal and ethical minds on the various fenspace forums. Round up all the Mads and kick them out an airlock before they go crazy!” she declared, her expression a mix of disgust and contempt.

“Stop reading alt.Turner,” Nene scolded. “Or, we build a support network for the Mads assistants, to help them stop things from reaching a point like yesterday.”

Snapping his fingers, Malcolm grinned at her. “Exactly. But if we’re going to do this, we need to do it right,” he declared. “Not just the Independants doing it for our stray Mads, or the Federation for some of their really bad Scotties. This needs to be a Convention project.”

Biting her lip, Jeph considered it for a moment. “You know, I’d say more than a few of those assistants do already keep in contact, or at least share notes,” she mused. “What would be really useful is if we could get some of them involved in this.” Glancing back up at the Mayor, she grinned. “I’ll give this a once-over, see what suggestions I can make. And I’m assume you’d like me to quietly forward it to some of the other SMOFs as well?” she offered.

The Mayor nodded. “If we can get this put together into something the various faction heads can agree on before Bubblecon, selling it to the Convention proper will be a lot less stressful,” he said.

“Not a problem,” she assured him, noting that she should probably see into getting the ‘Head Mayor’ of the Independant Faction onto the Mailing List. Maybe through the position instead of the person… “I’ll take care of it.”

Matrix Dragon Wrote:...Peter's Angels...
1) The name is Peters, so get thy apostrophe to the other side of the 's'
2) If A.C. has Angels, and she's the Scarlet Angel, does that make her an Archangel? Wink
3) A.C. is also a SMOF, how will that go down? (She'll probably be a voice of moderation, and unafraid to call out some of the more extreme members as she herself is an example of a well adjusted (as possible) Mad.)
4) While A.C. hasn't gone full on OCD Mad due to how many other projects she has to distract her (perfect memory helping out again), I suppose the rumour mill has upped her Mad-ness. She IS the only Mad currently known to have spawned other Mads (Leonard directly, Agatha and thus Quattro indirectly).
Cobalt Greywalker Wrote:
Matrix Dragon Wrote:...Peter's Angels...
1) The name is Peters, so get thy apostrophe to the other side of the 's'
2) If A.C. has Angels, and she's the Scarlet Angel, does that make her an Archangel? Wink
3) A.C. is also a SMOF, how will that go down? (She'll probably be a voice of moderation, and unafraid to call out some of the more extreme members as she herself is an example of a well adjusted (as possible) Mad.)
4) While A.C. hasn't gone full on OCD Mad due to how many other projects she has to distract her (perfect memory helping out again), I suppose the rumour mill has upped her Mad-ness. She IS the only Mad currently known to have spawned other Mads (Leonard directly, Agatha and thus Quattro indirectly).
5) Besides, most of them are Noah's Angels (he's the one who sent the C&D order about the never-made-it-to-pilot TV show) - A.C. just built the first few chassis.

Hmmmmm... Maybe a case can be made for Noah being a Mad Financier - how else could he have managed the April Fool's Purchase?
Rob Kelk
"Governments have no right to question the loyalty of those who oppose
them. Adversaries remain citizens of the same state, common subjects of
the same sovereign, servants of the same law."

- Michael Ignatieff, addressing Stanford University in 2012
1) S and apostrophes, gets me every freaking time.
2) I'm sure there are people in Fenspace who think that. Some of them probably fall into the 'danger to themselves and others' category
3) That's part of the reason Malcolm wants Jeph to share it with the SMOF-ML. Because her viewpoint, and that of her helpers, are the sort he needs to get this thing working properly. Because not all Mads are as healthy as her, but Kasumi and co might be able to think of the things their helpers would really need.
4) No, her helpers were just a well known example of a Mad making helpers, just like the Professors assistants.

5) No, Katie was thinking of Kasumi, Greenpeace and the others, not Sora and co. If Katie was thinking of anyone related to Stellvia proper, it would have been Kohran. More particularly, the 'Kaboomite right next to a freaking 'con' incident.
To: "SMOF Net" (Recipients redacted)
From: "Jeph Antilles" ([url=mailto:lordandmaster@jmc.fen[/url])
Subj: Callout To The Mad Assistants (and everyone else)
Date: 2015.07.21-0903UTC
OK, putting on my Big Boy Hat here. [Image: banana-dance.gif]
Well, we've got something starting here, and are looking for some input on it. The plan is to bring this up as a thing at Bubblecon. Malcolm actually started putting this together in response to our recent situation, and reminded me it's been about eight years since The Professor did something really, really dumb. And that, well, we probably got lucky there weren't any deaths. And pointed out that his assistants have to have been watching out for his wellbeing, even if imperfectly.
A specific part of it is that, well, I think we're all hard pressed to think of anyone we know, who gets lost in the Place of the Blue Hair, who doesn't have someone watching out for them, whether it's family, good friends, or self-built android assistants. Those who make sure the Mad gets fed, watered, and otherwise kept alive until they come out the other side. But it's a tough job. I'm sure some of the assistants can - and do - crack under the strain sometimes. We also know that some of the assistants do communicate and trade tips and information... or sometimes even just vent to each other.
A big part of this is going to be a whole "support system" clearing house - basically an organization that can put those assistants - and even Mads aware enough to seek help - in touch with others.
But, well, we can't set this up alone.
What we have outlined in the attachment is pretty rough. We've worked on it for a bit, but we need people from all sides, particularly those who are the assistants, and even the Mads, to see where we're missing important elements, where we're blind to the potential realities because we don't go Mad ourselves. (Well, OK, maybe we do go mad, but not that kind of Mad.)
1 Attachment: properfeedingandcare.ftxt


So, a little something from JFerio this time, as my next scenes are still only halfway done. I will say that trying to work out a relatively well-rested Professors mind is exhausting, but kinda fascinating. Also, if anyone was willing to make a reply post from their respective SMOFs, I'd appreciate it. I might make it a separate chapter in the final work, and it'll help me get a feel of where I should be taking this part of the plot.
To: "SMOF Net" (Recipients redacted)
From: "Bob Schroeck" (rms@ourtown.fen)
Subj: Re: Callout To The Mad Assistants (and everyone else)
Date: 2015.07.21-1719UTC

We've had a public read-through of properfeedingandcare.ftxt here on the Corners, and after due consideration (i.e., an afternoon of vigorous 15-way discussion), we are willing to help fund this support system once it moves out of proposal and into "under construction". If we can prevent another Wood incident it'll be worth it. Kat is willing to provide the project with her professional perspective once some kind of steering committee forms, or even join same.

This should by no means be taken to mean we have moderated our stance on the Professor himself. He and his little yellow cold capsules are still banned from the vicinity of the Corners, and will be fired upon if they attempt to enter our space.
-- Bob
Then the horns kicked in...
...and my shoes began to squeak.
To: "SMOF Net" (Recipients redacted)
From: "Noah Scott" (bigcheese@stellvia.fen)
Subj: Re: Callout To The Mad Assistants (and everyone else)
Date: 2015.07.22-0945UTC

I've read through properfeedingandcare.ftxt twice now. It's ambitious. It's daring. It's courageous. It's something that definitely needs to be presented to the Convention as a whole.

It's also selective. Being completely frank here, there are things that other Mads have invented that are far worse than anything that The Professor has created, but they were one-time-only inventions. This proposal says nothing about them; it only addresses the "chronic offenders." If we address a subset of the Mads, then they will - quite rightly - feel discriminated against. If you consult La Mariposa's testimony during the thionite trials after the Boskone War, you can read references to a Mad who went Boskonian because she felt discriminated against. We don't need to create even one more Boskonian Mad.

This means that, whatever rules we enact, we have to apply them equally to everyone - no more Convention clauses that apply only to a single person or a small group of people. Yes, I know that applying the rules as currently written to everyone would mean Stellvia would have to give up our ability to manufacture kaboomite, and put that knowledge in the big pool of "stuff the support pool looks after." I would rather see that than see another outlaw Mad.

As for the offer from Grover's Corners, I have the greatest respect for Ms. Avins and would be willing to trust the recommendations of any committee she chairs.

Noah Scott,
President, Stellvia Corporation
Rob Kelk
"Governments have no right to question the loyalty of those who oppose
them. Adversaries remain citizens of the same state, common subjects of
the same sovereign, servants of the same law."

- Michael Ignatieff, addressing Stanford University in 2012
To: "SMOF Net" (Recipients redacted)
From: "Greenpeace Crolis" (fairy@prometheus_forge.fen)
Subj: Re: Callout To The Mad Assistants (and everyone else)
Date: 2015.07.22-1335UTC

You know, reading the proposal makes me realise that A.C. is rather mild for a Mad.

No, I’m not joking.

In many ways, people (I’m including the Danes here) seem to forget Mads are people too. There are always more than two sides of a coin to deal with. There can be no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution; what an individual Mad needs is dependent on the Mad.

This whole proposal changes Mad from a label to a legal and/or medical definition. Discrimination WILL increase because of it, no matter how it is defined. There are already not-a-lawyers on the Interwave that are pointing out the pre-emptive banning of the Professor from various ports is very likely against current anti-discrimination laws.

Still, brief consultation from the rest of us here (baring A.C., who just slumped reading about the fallout AGAIN) has brought up the following points of discussion:

1) Dealing with the nay-sayers
There will be times where, no matter how much support there is or what benefits there are from having assistants, a proto-mad will be on their own. How do we deal with those nobody knows about? Quite frankly, the Convention can’t force them to advertise or to have assistants.
Then there are people who don’t see themselves/their companions AS needing help. In many ways, we on the Forge are a good example. We see ourselves as FAMILY, and everybody gets keeping things in the family. That has good points and bad points, and we’re QUITE aware of them.

This is going to need a massive public awareness campaign, and a careful one at that.

2) Backup.
One thing we didn’t see was how to manage an Assistant needing a holiday, being ill, or just plain quitting due to outside circumstance. Does that mean there has to be a pool of temporary Assistants, distributed all over Fenspace? You can all think of issues with that.

One thing we have on the Forge is space for all of us to de-stress. Eddie half-joked about having science parks; places where Mads and their Assistants could come to have a holiday, while close enough to some labs/workshops and associated crews to deal with a Blue Hair Day. Possibly by the major universities/institutes.

3) Contracts and Privacy
This may come as a surprise, but there are times where Mads work to order. Shocking isn’t it? It’s not like any other highly skilled person does the same.
Basically, there will be times where the Assistants may want to discuss these events BUT doing so will either violate confidentiality or the privacy of the customer. There are existing laws dealing with that, and at the very least it could destroy the trust between Mad and Assistant (not something that is wanted). Ultimately, a Convention backed support net will end up liable for such. Does it want to be?

One minor quibble Cobalt. Given the proposal was originally drafted based off the theory that the Professor is going to be down one assistant for a notable length of time, there would definately be a section covering ideas for problem 2.
I think Greenpeace is referring to some of the not-so-obvious issues with Replacement Ranmas ... er, Assistants.
  • "Hi, I'm filling in for your most trusted companion for a week! Where's all your top-secret files?"
  • "I don't care how he did things, I do things this way!"
And so on.

("Replacement Ranmas" is a reference to a very good fanfic that takes the idea "the usual folks aren't here, what do we do?" and runs with it.)
Rob Kelk
"Governments have no right to question the loyalty of those who oppose
them. Adversaries remain citizens of the same state, common subjects of
the same sovereign, servants of the same law."

- Michael Ignatieff, addressing Stanford University in 2012
To: "SMOF Net" (Recipients redacted)
From: "James Bostwick" (Werewolf@Stellvia.fen)
Subj: Re: Callout To The Mad Assistants (and everyone else)
Date: 2015.07.22-1522UTC

I'm fully behind this and i say that as someone who is a mad himself, (or at least borderline enough to count at times.) Blessed be that my "assistant" is the ship so she can decrease the relative air pressure enough to make me pass out and break me out of that fugue state whenever necessary. Whats worse is that I am a combat hardware mad, things i make tend to make BIG booms and large impressions. Those of you who were there witnessed the result of one of my little projects when i broke ranks and rules to reinforce the Kuntzlers at Jusenkyuo. But then again i'm fairly mild for a mad, and limit myself and what i can do both with the amount of space i don't have to work with and the lack of materials. This sometimes leads to some magnificent MacGyver moments, but we cant have everything can we.

To: "SMOF Net" (Recipients redacted)
From: "Loviatar" (AIbus@Stellvia.fen)
Subj: Re: Callout To The Mad Assistants (and everyone else)
Date: 2015.07.22-1535UTC

I have to admit yes, i have done this though i did up the oxygen content of the air to ensure he came to no harm. And while i can see the problem with driving mads to the dark side so to speak, the question that sits in front of me waiting to be answered is, do we wait, do nothing, and wring our hands each time something similar happens or do we take measure and try and ensure that this doesn't happen again. Note i do say try, one of the many things we are going to miss is the new Mads, their breakouts are going to catch us by surprise and there really is nothing we can do about it. Those that we do know about however we should do something about, but it should be a measured response. Do i have all the answers, no, but if we all get together and discuss whats on the table as well as other suggestions i think we can hammer out something that will cover 85% of the issues.
This is the first of two scenes, the second of which is still under construction, but what the hell, I think this one's ready.
As she was processed through the security terminal of Serenity Valleys small, lightly used jail facility, it occurred to Janet Buckley that it was still quicker and easier than going through airport security back Earth-side. And if the guards here seemed a bit on edge, well, they had more justification than the jerks that made a point of detaining the 'freak' just to be troublesome. And they still had better manners.
The booth she was standing in made a cheerful 'ding!' noise, and a light above her head turned green. "You can step out now ma'am," said the militiaman at the table ahead of her. Janet walked over, and the man handed her back her briefcase with an apologetic smile. "Sorry for the inconvenience," he added.
"It's quite alright," Janet said with a faint smile. "I think I'd be more alarmed if you just let me walk on in."
Stifling a laugh behind a cough, the guard glanced past her, to where Ryoko Asakura was waiting. "If you could step into the booth please ma'am," he said politely, and if his voice was just a little cooler than it had been a moment ago, it still displayed none of the irritation she'd heard the militia had towards the crew of the Sol Bianca right now. Ryoko did as she was told, and a few seconds later, the booth repeated the routine it had performed with Janet, and the guard waved her on through.
Taking a pair of id cards from the printer next to his computer, he handed them to the pair. "For security reasons, you will be required to keep that card on you and in clear sight at all times,” he warned. “They will grant you entrance to specific areas of the facility, but only in the presence of an approved escort. You will also be required to return the cards before departing."
A woman's voice spoke up from behind the pair, making Ryoko jump slightly. “I’ll look after them from here Corporal.”
“Yes Commander,” the militiaman said with a nod, as Janet turned to see Lisa Hayes standing there, hands in the pockets of her uniform jacket, a thoughtful expression on her face as she considered the lawyer. The hooves, the horns, the glowing eyes... She could almost see the old joke trying to get past the woman's self-control.
Ignoring that with the ease of years of practise, the Draenei held out her hand. “Commander Hayes.”
Returning the handshake, the mililtiawoman nodded respectfully. “Miss Buckley. Thank you for coming so quickly. I know the run from Kandor isn’t exactly short right now.”
That got a polite laugh out of Janet. “Ah, it’ll be worse in a few months. Besides, it gave me an excuse to put my foot down.” Smile fading, she gave the other woman a curious look. “Although I have to admit, I’m curious as to why you recommended us to the Sol Bianca. I know you have several experienced criminal defense attorneys here on Ganymede.”
Leading the pair to the door out of the room, Lisa nodded. “We do, but this case is rather delicate, and several that Sheriff Roberts and I spoke to felt that their skills and expertise weren’t what the situation required. Others are simply too busy.” Shrugging slightly, she gave the pair a bemused look. “No matter where you go, some professions are always in demand. But once it became clear we’d need to look off-world, virtually everyone we spoke to recommended we contact Murdock and Walters.”
Glowing eyes narrowing, Janet gave the woman a suspicious look. “Really.”
Ignoring the woman's semi-glare, Lisa turned a corner, leading them past a guard room. “Really. In many ways, this case is relatively simple. There’s a surplus of evidence and witnesses after all. The difficulty comes in assigning appropriate punishments. You’ve studied our legal code. You know we’re not big believers in the ‘Azkaban them all, leave them there for X years’ approach,” she noted.
The Draenei nodded slightly, although there was a touch of irritation in her voice when she replied. “I also know you believe in trying to practise ‘innocent until proven guilty.’ When you start talking about punishments quite so soon, it doesn’t quite feel that way,” she noted.
Laughing bitterly, Lisa gave her a grin that had no humor in it. “Oh, don’t you worry. The trials will be fair and free of bias. I’ve made sure of that. I’m simply planning ahead for afterwards.” She sighed as she noticed the lawyers skeptical look. “I’ve explained to the mayor that, due to my personal bias, I will be unable to take certain roles in the legal proceedings. As such, he’s arranged for the mayor of Silver Hills to take my place.”
Rubbing at her neck, Janet blushed slightly. “Ah. I apologise-”
Waving a hand, Lisa dismissed the apology. “Not a problem. Worrying about issues like that is part of your job, after all.” She paused, expression thoughtful and slightly depressed. “Besides, we both probably know people that don’t even pay lip service to the ideal.” Before either of the other women could say anything, she shook her head and continued on. “Anyway, you’ll be speaking with miss Glear first. She’s closer, plus…” she glanced over at Ryoko, who instinctively backed away slightly, “I think she could use a friend to talk to.”
The android considered that, her eyes widening in alarm. “Is she alright?”
Lisa shook her head. “After yesterday, she’s a long way from alright. The adrenaline’s worn off, and she’s been stuck with nothing to do except think back over her actions and decisions. Judging by her behavior, it’s pretty clear that she recognizes the mistakes she made.” Stopping by the door of an interview room, she turned to look at the pair. “She’s received treatment for her injuries and meals. As she requested a lawyer, she hasn’t been interviewed in depth yet. I’d like to do that later today, once you’ve spoken with both her and the Professor,” she told Janet. The lawyer nodded, and Lisa unlocked the door and opened it for them. “I’ll wait out here.”
There was nothing surprising about the room beyond. Sometimes, Janet got the impression that some designs were just universal. Sitting at the old metal table in the middle of the room, a miserable looking Miyu Glear glanced up from where she’d been staring at the coffee mug in front of her, twitched in surprise, then jumped to her feet and pulled Ryoko into one of the more desperate hugs Janet had seen all year.
The sheer force of the embrace caught Ryoko by surprise, but she recovered quickly, returning the hug. “It’s okay… I’m here,” she said gently. They stood there for several minutes, Ryoko simply holding Miyu close and providing a comforting presence. Smiling gently, Janet waited by the door, giving them the time they needed.
Eventually, Miyu calmed down slightly, breaking the hug and wiping at her face. “Sorry,” she mumbled, before looking at Ryoko again. “The Professor, is he-”
“He’s fine,” Ryoko reassured her. “He woke up a few hours ago. They’ve shown me video from the security cameras, and he’s in a note-taking mood. I told them to just make sure he’s got plenty of paper, and he’ll be fine for most of the day. You know how he is right after he wakes up from an induced nap.” Considering that, Miyu began to scowl slightly. “What?”
“You haven’t even seen him yet?” she asked, anger appearing on her face. “The browncoats still have him locked up?!”
“Yes Miyu, they still have him locked up as well,” Ryoko replied, irritated. “That’s what happens when you’re arrested for assault.” Her words, and the tone she delivered them in, cut through Miyus anger, making her flinch back slightly. “In case you didn’t notice, you weren’t the only one that messed up yesterday,” Ryoko continued, folding her arms under her breasts and keeping her glare fixed on her sister. “The Professor was throwing lightning all over the place. We are so lucky he didn’t hit one of the people standing around filming the show.”
“That’s not the point,” the other woman shot back. “You’re just going to let them lock him away somewhere, and you’re standing here talking to me.”
Blinking, Ryoko stared at her in confusion for a moment, then her expression darkened again as understanding set in. “Oh for gods sake Miyu,” she growled. “This isn’t the Boskones we’re talking about here. This is Serenity Valley. They’re not going to hurt him, or exploit him, and you know it.” Stepping forward, she poked an index finger into Miyus chest, pushing her back. “You’re making the same mistake that got us into this mess to begin with. And given you nearly killed a man yesterday because of that paranoia, I’d have expected you to be a bit more careful.”
Miyu winced, but didn’t look away from her sister's glare. “We’re supposed to protect him,” she shot back.
“And we are,” Ryoko growled. “But this isn’t like Denmark. I can’t tell people the Professor was actually being a big damn hero.” Shaking her head, she snorted in bitter amusement. “If nothing else, people know him better now.” Her amusement faded, and the glare returned. “We don’t just protect him from threats. We look after him when he’s not thinking straight. You know as well as I do that yesterday, he was in one of his moods, and we should have seen it.” Her shoulders slumped slightly, and she shook her head sadly. “He should have been put to bed long before we even got near Ganymede,” she admitted.
Bowing her head, Miyu conceded the point. “Instead, I jumped in blades first.” Noticing the third woman in the room for the first time, she blinked in surprise. “I.. I guess you’re my lawyer?”
“Janet Buckley, from Murdock and Walters,” she replied with a polite nod. “I’ve been assigned as your defense attorney.” Watching Miyus expression shift as she looked her over, Janet waited for her client to open her mouth before adding, “and I’ve heard every devil joke.”
Pausing, Miyu stood there, mouth still open. “I… was going to comment on that,” she admitted at last. Ryoko giggled, earning a dirty look from her sister. “Um, right. Anyway, have a seat,” she offered, gesturing at the table. “Sorry about not seeing you there. It’s been a long day.”
Janet accepted the apology with a smile. “It’s alright. It’s something of a nice change. I tend to be noticed, even out here.” The joke got a genuine, if still shaky, smile out of her client. Taking a folder from her briefcase, the lawyer placed it on the table in front of her as the other two women were seated. “Your sister was right about the local authorities. Besides the fact they’ve worked quite hard to establish a legal code for their faction, yesterday's events were very public,” she explained. “Even the more… judicially flexible groups would have difficulty with misbehaving with all the media attention this case is drawing.”
Confused, Miyu glanced at her sister, who rolled her eyes in response. “All those people that decided to film the fight on their phones? Well, a lot of AIs were watching as well. Anything about the Professor is big news… by the time you were handcuffed, it was being broadcast to most of the system.”
Taking a moment to consider that, Miyu groaned, burying her face in her hands. “The downside of improved communications technology,” Janet mused, closing her briefcase and placing it on the floor, next to her chair. “It seems that Fenspace is picking some of the ‘danes bad media habits.” She paused, considering the ISN nonsense she’d watched earlier, then shook her head slightly and moved on. “From what I’ve seen so far, the Ganymede authorities are determined to keep the situation open and as just as they can manage. That should help, at least on the local level.” She glanced over at Ryoko and gave her a lopsided smile. “How you deal with other factions after this is, for the moment, not covered by my contract.”
Looking up from her hands, Miyu raised an eyebrow. Leaning back in her chair, her sister stared up at the ceiling. “Shroeck’s made it clear that if we go anywhere near Grover’s, they’ll blast us out of the sky, and Scott’s probably thinking the same thing for anything Stellvia related.” Miyu squeaked in slight disbelief, getting a bitter laugh from Ryoko. “Oh, I’m not joking. The Senshi have merely ‘expressed their concern’, but any visit to Venus in the near future is going to be awkward…” Pausing, she considered the matter. “Huh. I haven’t heard anything from Haruhi,” she realized, her voice a mixture of surprise and dread.
Groaning, Miyu buried her face in her hands again. “Oh damn…”
Coughing slightly, Janet got both women's attention. “If we could focus on local matters for a moment?” she asked politely. “Thank you. Now then, Miss Glear, I’d like to hear your recollection of events, starting from when the Sol Bianca docked at Serenity Valley.”
*Grumbles.* Dammit, I just dug up the old timeline thread. I'd been using the real world dates for Worldcon 2015 (In part because I was actually there, by coincidence), but the timeline notes Bubblecon happened in June. I'll have to edit things a bit there, I think. Hmm.
Since this is the first story that actually makes reference to Bubblecon, we can change the timeline.
Rob Kelk
"Governments have no right to question the loyalty of those who oppose
them. Adversaries remain citizens of the same state, common subjects of
the same sovereign, servants of the same law."

- Michael Ignatieff, addressing Stanford University in 2012
Hmm. So, while working on other fics (I'm writing again! Pages of text! Woo!) I've been looking at this one and considering things. A lot of this fic is very much 'Have idea, throw it at the keyboard', and given it got me actually writing decent amounts for the first time in forever, I'll take it. That said, I think it's time to set this thing on fire and see what I can dig out of the ashes. Some plotlines will be kept, others cut down or removed... We'll see how it goes. Expect a new thread sometime in the next week.
Alright folks Matrix has thrown up a repost thread, to keep that one clear and clean I say we use this thread as a discussion thread and if you voluntarily want Matrix to use your snippets mention it here.

Use it
Actually, discussion in the other thread is fine. I'd just like to avoid bloating the fic like I did last time around, which all the reaction snippets and such helped cause.

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