Guardians, Episode 4: Prisoner

[Scene 1] [Prison Visitation Booths]

[Narrator:]    Listen… I’ve never looked good in orange. I look good in red, black, purple and emerald green. That’s about it. And whoever said that Orange was the new black? Well… That person lied. [beat] It had been 3 weeks. 3 weeks spent mainly in isolation, looking at the bars holding me in my cell, counting the blocks of concrete that went around my whole room. I counted 428 cinder blocks around my room. I had nothing to write on for the two weeks, nothing to really do but sit and try to sleep. Of course, I plotted 200 different escape routes, 109 of which involved using my powers. Only 50 of them were feasible for getting out undetected, without a trace, except for the obvious part, where they can see that it’s only me that’s missing. [beat] Every single day, Dean came to see me. I would look at him through the glass, wishing for nothing but the freedom to reach out my hand and touch him. He came in to see me the day before my trial officially began in earnest.

[Dean:]    Are you nervous?

[Jordan:]    No, not really. I mean, I’ve got Willa Savage on the case, best defense attorney in the state. She’s seriously going to clown ADA Pelli. Like, I almost feel bad for whoever gets put on the stand.

[Dean:]    (chuckle) Yeah, she is the best. [beat] God, J, I miss you. We all do. The judge denying your bail is such bullshit.

[Jordan:]    I love you all, and I miss you all too. It won’t be long now. And I agree that it was bullshit. I pose literally no flight risk. This is ridiculous. But whatever. By the way, any word from your parents?

[Dean:]    Nothing yet. I’m a little worried.

[Jordan:]    Then why don’t you just go out to that place we found? I’m almost certain they went out to find your dad, and that’s the first place you should check for clues.

[Dean:]    I told you, I’m not going without you.

[Jordan:]    Dean… I appreciate that, but babe…

[Dean:]    Jordan, I’m not leaving.

[Jordan:]    [beat] God, I love you. Okay. So, anything on the radar?

[Dean:]    Yeah, they still aren’t sure what’s happening with the bank robberies, but good call on checking the high end gaming joints. Heard from Red that the gang is going undercover tonight.

[Jordan:]    I hope that they stay safe. Those places can be… well, I’ve never liked them, for what that’s worth. Has… you know who come in?

[Dean:]    He gets in tonight. He’ll be ready.

[Jordan:]    Good… Good. Also, how are the girls from the party?

[Dean:]    They aren’t in custody. They are safe. They are being housed at one of the domestic violence safe houses that the RW collective paid for. No charges have been filed against them.

[Jordan:]    Good. Well, to be honest, how could they? There is not a single jury that could convict “beyond a reasonable doubt” that those girls did anything magical that would result in death. Magic sorta is the antithesis of “reasonable doubt” because nothing about magic is reasonable. Rational maybe, but the legal system isn’t really built to figure out ‘Magical Crimes’.

[Guard:]    Times Up.

[Dean:]    Shit. Well, I love you J. We’ll see you tomorrow.

[Jordan:]    Love you, Dean. Tell… Tell them all I miss them, and I’ll see them tomorrow.

[Scene 2] [Il Cacciagioco (The Hunting Game)]

[Narrator:]    Hours later, the team that wasn’t behind bars were in an alley 2 blocks away from Il Cacciagioco, an upscale gambling establishment. Scarlett was applying the last bit of ruby red lipstick to her lips, before leaning over to slide the garter belt that concealed a tiny bag, with a couple combat spells in it. She wore a carmine mermaid gown with a lace illusion neckline. It hugged her curves in just the right places. Johanna had just secured the tooth cap and the microscopic earpiece carefully hidden by her hair. She wore a silver gem on her forehead and under both eyes. She was wearing a light blue sheath dress with dark silver lace sleeves and matching detailing at the bust. The dress was floor length, had an open back and a slit up the side of the skirt that went up past the knee. Keiran was wearing a very classic black suit with green pinstripes and a matching gambler hat. Dean was sitting there, checking all of the devices in the van. This was in fact an official investigation, so the unmarked van had been loaned to them. Johanna turned around to look at Scarlett.

[Johanna:]    [wolf-whistle] Babe, you’re a total knockout.

[Scarlett:]    Thank you, darling. You’re quite the fetching lass yourself. We should dress up more often.

[Dean:]    [playfully] Awww, should I take a prom photo for Jordan?

[Johanna:]    [sarcastically] Hardy har har, very funny. Okay, so you know how to use the tech right?

[Dean:]    Of course.

[Keiran:]    It makes me really nervous. What if they have a metal detector?

[Scarlett:]    [laughs] Are ye serious, Key, love? Even I know that this kind of establishment wouldn’t have metal detectors.

[Johanna:]    Just remember that you’re a high roller tonight. You’re there to gamble and we’re your good luck charms.

[Keiran:]    [1920’s mobster voice] Yeah, see? Got me a couple of lucky dames, see?

[Johanna:]    Dial it down, Capone. Also, call me a dame again and you’ll lose a limb.

[Dean:]    You need to stay close to one another. Now, Scarlett, you’re the only one who can use your powers while people are looking right? Your eyes won’t glow?

[Scarlett:]    No, the telepathy won’t make my eyes glow, so I’ll be scanning the crowd for anyone with powers or anyone planning a robbery.

[Johanna:]    And I’ll relay the info if I have to.
[Keiran:]    And after you find them?

[Dean:]    We will scope them out. See if we can ID them. If anything goes down, disengage and get back here as soon as possible. Ready?

[Johanna:]    Copy that.

[Scarlett:]    I’m ready.

[Keiran:]    Alright, ladies, let’s party.

[Narrator:]    Keiran, Scarlett and Johanna left the van. Dean settled himself into the seat Johanna would typically be occupying. For a second, he felt a tingle in the back of his head, as though someone had places an ice cube on the back of his neck. He had a strange feeling about this. [pause] The trio made it past the gate and entered the gambling den. From the exterior of the place, you could never have guessed what flashy opulence covered every square inch of the place. Everything was gleaming, and yet still there was a smokey haze to it.

[Johanna:]    [under her breath] We’re in. I’m activating the gem-camera now.

[Dean:]    [over the earpiece] Roger that, it’s coming in clearly. Hmmm… interesting. Head over to the blackjack table, the one one in the far right. Something about the brunette standing behind the blonde guy at that table is giving me pause.

[Scarlett:]    [under her breath] What about her seems off?

[Dean:]    Those golden armbands she’s wearing look familiar. They look… ancient.

[Narrator:]    Keiran led the girls on his arm over to the table. The brunette looked up at them as they approached. She wore a dress that looked a lot like Johanna’s but hers was black like the night. Her lips were painted deep violet, which matched her nails and her smokey eye makeup. Her dulce-de-leche skin was flawless and smooth. Her hand rested on the Blonde man’s shoulder. She smirked mischievously, revealing perfect teeth and a deadly confidence. Scarlett tried to read her mind, but found it was blank. Keiran sat down next to the blonde man, but the girls hovered just behind him. Scarlett kept looking at the woman in black, but Johanna continued to scan the crowd.

[Keiran:]    [1920’s gangster voice] Dealer, deal me in.

[Dealer:]    Certainly, sir.

[Alan:]    I see you’ve got 2 good look charms tonight. And they both look lovely tonight.

[Keiran:]    [accent continues] You should see the dame I didn’t bring. Your good luck charm looks mighty swell.

[Alan:]    [chuckles] Don’t she ever? She’s extra wonderful. [to Liza] Say, doll, would you mind getting me a refill, and one for my friend here too?

[Keiran:]    No liquor for me. I’m watching my figure.

[Liza:]    [scoff] doesn’t seem to be working for you, does it?

[Alan:]    Liza, don’t be rude. [chuckle] Bring us two Roy Rogers.

[Liza:]    Of course.

[Narrator:]    Liza walks away. For a second, Scarlett doesn’t follow, but then she does.

[Keiran:]    Your girl’s got a bit of a bite, there.

[Alan:]    Sorry about that. She has a hard time playing with others.

[Keiran:]    Say fella, you got a name?

[Alan:]    Alan Grace. You?

[Keiran:]    Keiran. Keiran… Cross.

[Alan:]    Much obliged.

[Keiran:]    Likewise.

[Dealer:]    Place your bets, gentlemen?

[Keiran:]    Of course… [deals] 14? Hit me.

[Alan:]    Hit. [card] hmmm. Damn. Rotten luck.

[Narrator:]    Liza sits at the bar, and Scarlett sits next to her.

[Scarlett:]    Men can be such pigs, can’t they?

[Liza:]    More bravado than they deserve to have. [pause] I’m Liza.

[Scarlett:]    Scarlett.

[Liza:]    Pleasure to meet you. [pause] can I give you a little tip Scarlett?

[Scarlett:]    Um… certainly?

[Liza:]    When their mind is blank, that means they know you’re poking around, and they don’t exactly want you poking around in there.

[Scarlett:]    Excuse me?

[Liza:]    [through the mind] stop trying to read my mind. Oh, and tell Dean to he should get in here. It’s about to get… difficult.

[Scarlett:]    [gasp] How did you…?

[Liza:]    Hey, Dean-o, you might want to come in here. You’ve got 30 seconds. They will need your muscle. [the sound of heels walking away]

[Dean:]    What the hell… I’m on my way in.

[Narrator:]    Scarlett looked bewildered. She watched as Liza walked back to the table. As soon as Liza set the drink down… [crash]

[Derrick:]    Everyone on the ground! This is a robbery.

[Narrator:]    The crowd screamed and hit the deck, including Scarlett and Jo. 4 figures wearing green hooded cloaks entered the gambling den. The tallest figure held a bo staff, and the one next to him held a handgun. The other two held bags.

[Derrick:]    My name is Quake, these are my associates, Dune, Golem and Vine. Listen here, you rich fucks. If you comply, you will stay alive. We want cash, cards and jewelry. Give it to us, and you live. If you don’t, you won’t survive this.

[Devin:]    Come on, do as the man says now, load up the bags, don’t be shy…

[Narrator:]    Scarlett grabbed a spell bag from her pack. She pulled out 3 red butterflies.

[Scarlett:]    Eitil.

[Narrator:]    The birds took flight, managing to stay unseen from the 4 thieves. Johanna saw this, and nodded. She covered her face, to obscur the glow from her eyes. The police were notified. Scarlett dropped a small purse of red and yellow stars into the thieves’ bag.

[Alan:]    Gentlemen, if you wouldn’t mind, I’m in the middle of a game, and I’d appreciate it if you could stand down.

[Keiran:]    [loud whisper] Dude, what the hell are you doing?

[Derrick:]    How about no? Did you hear me? Do you see Dune’s gun?

[Alan:]    Oh, I see you’re little toy there. It’s adorable, truly.

[Duncan:]    Oh? My gun is adorable to you? It’s more than what you’re packing.

[Alan:]    Boy, I’m from the south. Mine is way bigger than yours, and I’m far more skilled with it.

[Donnie:]    Listen to my brother, punk, or he’ll shoot.

[Alan:]    Try it, boy, please, I dare you.

[Duncan:]    Well, since you asked so nicely. [gunshot]

[Narrator:]    Keiran closed his eyes, expecting to hear the sound of a bullet connecting with a body. [gunshot][clink, clink][Duncan cries out, drops gun] Keiran opened his eyes, and saw Liza in front of Alan. Her bracelet had deflected the two bullets, one had shot into the gun barrel, knocking it out of his hand.

[Liza:]    Not today, boys.

[Duncan:]    Vine, restrain them!

[Devin:]    What?! How?! Quake?

[Derrick:]    Honestly, Vine? You know how. Here, let me give you an advantage.

[Narrator:]    The tall one, called Quake, hit the ground with the bo staff, and the entire room shook, destabilizing Liza and Alan. Thick green vines grew out of the ground and wrapped around Liza, but Alan dodged behind the table. Liza struggled against the constricting vines, not noticing the paper butterfly landing on the base of the vine, and one fluttering in the face of the one they had called Vine.

[Scarlett:]    Tine Scoail.

[Narrator:]    Fire erupted where the birds landed. The vines went up in smoke and Liza broke free, making a mad dash for the 4 men.

[Derrick:]    Not so fast, girly. I suggest you take a SEAT.

[Narrator:]    Quake stomped, causing Liza to fumble forward into a roll, before kneeling a few feet before Quake himself.

[Derrick:]    Golem, bring forth your minions.

[Donnie:]    You got it brother. Rise, my golems.

[Narrator:]    Golem put his hand on the ground. Around him sprouted a clay figure about 7 feet tall, that ran towards Liza. They looked as though either Quake were going to swing the staff down to hit Liza or create an earthquake big enough to bring her down, or the weird clay figure would rip her to pieces. An arrow flew threw the air and pierced Quake in the hand. 1 more arrow flew, shattering the clay golem’s head right off. It came from a black bow that was being held by Alan. Keiran stared wide eyed at Alan.

[Alan:]    Not today, buddy. Leave my girl alone.

[Keiran:]    What the actual fu-... where did you get the bow?

[Alan:]    Keiran, honestly, it ain’t the time or the place. Ain’t you got some magic for us now?

[Keiran:]    How did you…?

[Alan:]    KEIRAN!

[Keiran:]    Okay, okay, um… let’s see. Ah… Domi al avel. Rèv la pa gen anyen jiskaske mwen reveye ou. (Fall Asleep. Dream of nothing until I wake you.)

[Narrator:]    Keiran’s eyes glowed. The 4 boys all dropped to the ground, snoring pleasantly. At that moment, Dean came rushing in the front door.

[Dean:]    Freeze! Poli-... oh. Oh, right. Okay. Um… well, don’t just stand there, guys, bring them to the van.

[Rhys:]    Not so fast…

[Scarlett:]    Oh god, not again…

[Narrator:]    Time froze to a halt around her. Rhys the collector appeared. He approached Scarlett where she was on the ground.

[Rhys:]    Well, Scarlett, it’s lovely to see you again.

[Scarlett:]    HOW are you even alive? I watched you die YEARS ago.

[Rhys:]    I have my secrets, darling. All will be revealed soon. If you don’t mind, I have to collect my prize.

[Scarlett:]    [Struggles] UGH. why can’t I move?! Where did you get these powers?

[Rhys:]    Oh this? This is called potentikinesis. I can extract specific strains of magical power from people whose gifts have been activated. I guess dying counts as a traumatic event. I’ve had this for years and so I collect abilities. Most of them I don’t take into myself… too risky. But this little time manipulation bit? That was a special gift from a… well, from a dear friend. Now if you’ll excuse me…

[Scarlett:]    You can’t, Rhys! You almost killed those girls!

[Rhys:]    But they are alive and awake, aren’t they? You can do healing magic, can’t you? I never take enough power to kill them… No no, out of you and me, only one of us will wind up being a killer, and it isn’t me.

[Scarlett:]    What are you talking about?

[Rhys:]    My oh my, you are pretty clueless for a fortune teller, aren’t you, lass? In any case, I have a buyer for these powers. He will be so pleased…

[Narrator:]    Rhys casually walked up to the boys. He touched their foreheads and their powers flowed from the spot he touched to 4 small vials. It took mere moments, and as soon as Rhys was satisfied, he winked at Scarlett vanished. When time restarted, Dean was running to pick up the boys.

[Dean:]    We need to get these boys out of here, before the … well, before my bosses get here. Let’s move!

[Liza:]    Here, let me h-

[Dean:]    Oh, no, you stay right here. We need to talk about why you know who I am.

[Liza:]    Oh, I think not, Dean. You’ll get all that information tomorrow. For now, we need to get them out here.

[Alan:]    All will be revealed tomorrow, bud. We will see you again very soon. Here, I’ll carry this Golem guy. Dean, you get Dune and Quake. Liza, you can carry Vine out.

[Liza:]    Roger that. Oh and Dean? We’ll see you tomorrow. Get ready.

[Narrator:]    Alan and Liza dashed outside towards the van. By the time, Dean and the rest of the team caught up with them, the two mystery fighters were gone.

[Keiran:]    Who the hell were they?

[Dean:]    I don’t know.

[Scarlett:]    Keiran, we need to get these boys somewhere where we can heal them. But we can’t put them in custody.

[Keiran:]    I know I healed Ember, but that took so much work, I couldn’t possibly do it tonight. We’ll… we’ll have to bring them to the estate. They will be fine until after the trial tomorrow.

[Johanna:]    Maybe we can get Fayth’s assistance in healing them tomorrow night. Can the guardians compel her to assist?

[Dean:]    She’s testifying against Jordan tomorrow, and she despises RedWing. Why would she help us?

[Johanna:]    Because if she truly cares about the people of her city, she wouldn’t want children to be lying in a coma. Leave it to me, I’ll try to convince her, woman to woman. And if reasoning doesn’t work, maybe I can threaten to leak her emails or something. We will get it done.

[Scarlett:]    Well, that’s good on that. Dean, can you drop me off at my house? I have a trip I need to make.

[Dean:]    You’ve got it, Scarlett. Where to?

[Scarlett:]    I’m not sure yet. I should be back in a few days. I need to find a witch who can explain something to me.

[Johanna:]    Do you want me to go with you?

[Scarlett:]    No, stay here for Jordan. He’s going to need you. Speaking of, Keiran, have you heard from Jeremy and Marilyn?

[Keiran:]    They got in a half hour ago. They weren’t spotted by anyone. They arrived at the Estate and they will be ready for tomorrow.

[Dean:]    I’ll work with Jeremy on the preparation. God-willing this works.

[Johanna:]    It has to. It’s our only hope.

[Scene 3] The Trial

[Narrator:]    I was sitting on the right side of the courtroom, next to Willa Savage, New Ark City’s premier defense attorney. Willa was a 5’10” amazonian, with blonde curly hair that went down just past her shoulders. Willa was wearing nude fishnets, Alexander McQueen pumps in electric blue with skull details, a black pencil skirt & blazer with a white silk blouse and classic rag and bone Dagger scarf. Her makeup was minimal. Her whole appearance gave off the fashionable impression that she was a fearsome tigress defending her cubs. I was pleased they let me wear a red dress shirt and slacks, instead of my prison jumpsuit, but they still had me handcuffed. There were 6 jurors, and Willa told me that she felt confident they could do their jobs without too much bias. I looked behind me. Dean sat there in his officers uniform. He smiled at me, and I felt a little more confident. Next to him sat Johanna and Marilyn. Keiran was with the boys from the night before, which Jared had told me earlier. Jared wasn’t there, he was working, but he had stopped by the jailhouse day before to wish me well and give me a confident hug while the guard wasn’t looking. Out of his two kids, I honestly don’t think he had every thought either of us would be on trial for what amounted to collusion with a killer.

[Bailiff:]    All rise. Honorable Judge Redmayne presiding.

[Judge:]    Thank you, please be seated. Alrighty. We have here today the state vs. Jordan Redfield-Wade. The charges being brought against the defendant are as follows: conspiracy to commit homicide, criminally negligent homicide, incitement of homicide. We will now hear opening arguments from the state and the defense. Assistant District Attorney Rebecca Pelli is representing the state. Counselor, you may begin.

[Rebecca:]    Thank you, your honor. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, 3 weeks ago, 3 members of our community lost their lives. They lost their lives on the property of Jordan Redfield-Wade. They lost their lives because Jordan invited them there to hear a speech. He invited those people to a party, when he knew there would be an altercation that resulted in loss of life. He didn’t warn those victims. He didn’t care about their families and their friends, and the fact that they would have to be buried. He didn’t care about the daughters who was in a coma, who awoke the next day to find their fathers had been murdered. Today, you will hear the testimony from people who were there that night. You will hear from the defendant himself. The defendant is a smart man, so don’t let him fool you into thinking he was ignorant of the circumstances. The testimony you will hear today will prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that he conspired to commit homicide by showing 3 things: 1) that he spoke with RedWing and planned the event, 2) that he knew the party would attract an angry third-party, effectively using them as bait, and 3) that he failed to intervene once the inevitable violence started. I ask that you listen carefully, and keep justice at the front of your man, and decide the kind of world we live in. The kind of world where justice prevails and people are held responsible, or the world where a masked criminal makes demands of politicians and people wind up dead. After hearing the testimony, I will ask you to find the defendant guilty on all charges. Thank you, and God bless. {Audible Groan from Willa}

[Judge:]    Thank you, counselor. Counselor Savage, please make your opening arguments.

[Willa:]    Thank you, your honor. Ladies and gentleman, Well, if everything the government just told you was true, we wouldn’t be having a trial, now would we? Let’s talk about why we are really here today. We’re here not because of crime, but because of ambition. Ambition on the part of Fayth Flaherty, and ambition on the part of ADA Rebecca Pelli. These are two women that know what they want—power—and will do virtually anything to get it, including prosecuting an innocent man. Here’s what you’re going to hear actually happened. Fayth and my client, Jordan, have a long history of conflict. Fayth hates Jordan. She thinks the world has handed him things while she had to work for them. She has spent years pulling herself up by her bootstraps, only to be taunted by people like Jordan, whose money and influence seems to trump her efforts. So when she learns that Jordan is going to challenge her for the mayor’s seat, she is frustrated. She is angry.  She is threatening. SHE is the one that has put in the time. SHE is the interim mayor. SHE studied political science and shook hands and kissed babies and did EVERYTHING RIGHT. The mayor’s seat should be hers, or at least, that’s what she’ll tell you. Now, just imagine what Fayth must have been thinking three weeks ago. Her mayoral bid should’ve been in the bag, but this rich, spoiled, arrogant man announced his intention to run at the last possible minute. He all but told her that he didn’t even CARE if he won or not. Imagine how insulting that must’ve been, to hear someone be so casual about this thing that she had worked for all of this time. It infuriated her. On top of that, Jordan throws a soiree to announce his candidacy. All of the planning and fundraising that Fayth had to do for her announcement, and Jordan could easily just throw an event on the fly. Fayth would never have that kind of access to funds, never. So when the event ended in the tragic deaths of three people, Fayth saw an opportunity. After all, Fayth is not without her supporters. Especially in the prosecutor’s office. Enter Rebecca Pelli. Attorney Pelli understands that a conviction in this case virtually guarantees Fayth a victory in the mayoral race. We can all probably agree that this would be a victory that Fayth would be particularly grateful for, and would likely reward the loyalty Attorney Pelli has shown by bringing this ridiculous prosecution. Why do I say it’s ridiculous? That’s simple. Jordan committed no crimes. He did not kill anyone. He did not incite anyone to kill anyone. He didn’t encourage anyone to kill anyone. Jordan simply threw a party. A party where many prominent people were invited. And, as any well-connected person knows, wealthy people often have secrets and conflicts that the rest of us cannot imagine. Such was the case here, with poor Elizabeth. Jordan had heard rumors that there was bad blood between Elizabeth, her parents, and Mr. Shea, but he didn’t know exactly what that was about when he planned his soiree. Did he suspect there might be fireworks? Sure — that’s just good publicity for launching a campaign. The more drama, the more press. The more press, the more publicity. The more publicity, the more name recognition on election day. Self-promotion is not a crime. Organizing a party is not a crime. Organizing a party where people are killed is a traumatic, terrible experience — one that Jordan does not wish to repeat, and certainly did not wish to create. You’ll hear that while Jordan is, perhaps, the kind of guy who likes to ruffle feathers, that’s a far cry from conspiring to commit homicide. Other than being the person who put the event together, Jordan has NO role in the tragic killings of three people. None. The prosecution will not be able to show you otherwise, because no evidence supporting their claim exists. When you finish listening to the evidence, I will ask you to find my client not guilty. Don’t let politics and ambition influence your vote. Let the truth guide your vote.

[Narrator:]    Willa sat down. And then it came time to call the first witness. And when I realized who it was, I got nervous.

[Rebecca:]    Please introduce yourself to the jury, spelling your first and last name.  

[Kit:]    Kit Mojito Carbone. K-I-T M-O-J-I-T-O C-A-R-B-O-N-E. They/them pronouns.

[Rebecca:]    Thank you. May I call you Kit?

[Kit:]    Yes, of course.

[Rebecca:]    Kit, where do you live?

[Kit:]    Why, I live right here in New Ark City, City of Champions.

[Rebecca:]    That’s great. Are you employed?

[Kit:]    Yes, I am.

[Rebecca:]    How are you employed?

[Kit:]    I’m a blogger, and reporter with their own segment on the local news. Kit’s Korner.

[Rebecca:]    How long have you been doing that?

[Kit:]    10 years.

[Rebecca:]    Is there any particular thing that you focus on in your reporting?

[Kit:]    Yes, I’m assigned to cover politics and government, locally, statewide, and nationally.

[Rebecca:]    Does that include covering elections, like the mayoral race?

[Kit:]    Yes, it does.

[Rebecca:]    Did you report on the mayoral race in New Ark City?

[Kit:]    Yes, multiple times.

[Rebecca:]    As part of your job as a reporter, is it important that you develop relationships so that people will provide you with information?

[Kit:]    Very much so – a huge part of my job involves getting people to trust me, and to trust that I will accurately report what they tell me, assuming the facts check out. If I burn a source, I burn my reputation.  

[Rebecca:]    In the ten years you have been reporting, have you developed sources that are “in the know” about local politics?

[Kit:]    Yes, I have.

[Rebecca:]    Turning your attention to roughly three weeks ago, did you receive a phone call from a source regarding information about the mayoral race?

[Kit:]    Yes, I did.

[Rebecca:]    Who was that source.

[Kit:]    I decline to answer that question on 1st amendment grounds.  I will not reveal my source.

[Rebecca:]    You are aware, are you not, that this court has previously ruled that you are compelled to testify in this case?

[Kit:]    Yes.

[Rebecca:]    You realize that you will be held in contempt if you continue to refuse to reveal your source?

[Kit:]    I do. That, unfortunately, is part of the job.

[Judge:]    Counsel – we will address whatever consequences this witness faces outside of the presence of the jury.  Move on.

[Rebecca:]    Yes, your honor.  Kit, roughly three weeks ago, did you receive a tip that Jordan Redfield-Wade was going to be announcing his run for mayor of New Ark City?

[Willa:]    Objection, calls for hearsay.

[Rebecca:]    Not offered for the truth of the matter, your honor, offered to explain what the witness did next.

[Judge:]    Overruled, you may answer.

[Kit:]    Yes, I received a call from a source who had information that suggested Jordan would be announcing his run for mayor at the upcoming Family Council soiree.

[Rebecca:]    As a result of receiving that information, did you do anything?

[Kit:]    Yes, I attended the event, and brought my camera crew.  

[Rebecca:]    Did you instruct them to do anything?

[Kit:]    Yes, I told him to record Jordan’s speech when it started.

[Rebecca:]    And did they?

[Kit:]    Yes.

[Rebecca:]    Do you, as part of the ordinary course of your business as a journalist, have camera men audio and video record events of public interest?

[Kit:]    Yes.

[Rebecca:]    Would you recognize a recording of the Family Council event if it was shown to you?

[Kit:]    Yes, I would.

[Rebecca:]    I’m asking the clerk to mark this video as Exhibit 2.  

[Judge:]    So marked.

[Rebecca:]    <SHOWS WITNESS> Do you recognize this CD?

[Kit:]    Yes, it is the recording my camera man took at my direction the night of the Family Council event.

[Rebecca:]    How do you know?  

[Kit:]     Every time I have a cameraman with me, they copy their footage onto a disc, and we time and date stamp that disc. This disc is marked with my handwriting, which indicates the date, time, and nature of the footage.  

[Rebecca:]    Can you read the writing on the disc?

[Kit:]    Yes.  It says “Family Council event – Jordan announcement and homicide.”

[Rebecca:]    Did you provide this disc to police pursuant to a subpoena?

[Kit:]    Yes I did.

[Rebecca:]    Does the disc appear to be altered in any way?

[Kit:]    No.

[Rebecca:]    Permission to publish to the jury?

[Judge:]    Granted.

[Rebecca:]    <PLAYS FIRST PORTION OF VIDEO.> Do you recognize this footage?

[Kit:]    Yes, that’s the footage of the event.

[Rebecca:]     Is this footage consistent with your independent recollection of the event?

[Kit:]    Yes, it is.

[Rebecca:]    Have you altered or edited this footage in any way?

[Kit:]    No.

[Rebecca:]    <CONTINUES PLAYING VIDEO>

[Rebecca:]     I’m hoping you can help me identify what we’re seeing here.  What is happening at the beginning of this footage?

[Kit:]    Jordan is addressing the crowd.

[Rebecca:]    What happens next?

[Kit:]    The doors to the arena blew open.

[Rebecca:]    What then?

[Kit:]    A woman – or, well, she looked half dead, to be honest – a woman came in.  She didn’t seem... real. She looked like…a zombie or a ghost or something. It was creepy.

[Rebecca:]    What happened next?

[Kit:]    She was looking for people she thought were in the crowd.

[Rebecca:]    How do you know?

[Kit:]    She said ---

[Willa:]    Objection, hearsay.

[Rebecca:]    Best evidence rule, your honor.  The video shows objectively what happened, whereas this witness would be recalling solely from memory.

[Judge:]    Overruled. Go on.

[Rebecca:]    You can answer the question.  What did she say?

[Kit:]    She said she was looking for three people who had harmed her. I mean, she didn’t say exactly that they harmed her, but it was pretty obvious she was angry.

[Rebecca:]    What happened next?

[Kit:]    Crazy shit.  I’m sorry, please excuse my language.  It was just…like nothing I’ve ever seen.  She seemed to be doing some type of magic.  The three people she was looking for came forward, and she held her hands up and made some kind of weird gesture, and they all started choking.

[Rebecca:]    Do you know who those people were?

[Kit:]    I learned later that they were Mr. and Mrs. Brennan, I think, and William O’Hea.

[Rebecca:]    Looking at this screen that is paused, can you tell me who each of these people are?

[Kit:]    Yes.  On the far left is Mrs. Brennan.  Mr. Brennan is in the middle, kind of trying to shield his wife.  William O’Hea is on the far right.

[Rebecca:]    Thank you.  What happened then?

[Kit:]    The creepy, floating woman, she started ranting about mermaids and revenge.  She kept gesturing wildly at the Brennans and Mr. O’Hea. All of a sudden, they started….I know this sounds insane, but you can see it…floating.  And their bodies were basically disintegrated. They became dust. It seemed like whatever this woman was doing was killing them.

[Rebecca:]    Then what?

[Kit:]    They basically exploded.

[Rebecca:]    Did it appear to you that they could have survived this ordeal?

[Kit:]    No, absolutely not. Their bodies were literally dust and dried bones.

[Rebecca:]    At any point, did a new person enter the arena?

[Kit:]    Yes, just after the people were killed, RedWing showed up, yelling “Stand down, Merrow! NOW!”

[Rebecca:]    No further questions. {footsteps back to seat}

[Willa:]    May I also call you Kit for purposes of today’s conversation?

[Kit:]    Yes, that’s just fine.

[Willa:]    Thank you. OK, Kit. I’d like to talk to you for a minute about your source.

[Kit:]    I am not going to reveal my source.

[Willa:]    I understand that, and I’m not asking you to do so. I do, however, want to talk about the nature of the tip you received.  When you took that call, were you told that something violent was going to happen?

[Kit:]    No, I was not.  

[Rebecca:]    Objection, called for hearsay. Move to strike.  

[Judge:]    You opened the door to this on direct, counsel.

[Willa:]    What did they tell you was going to happen?

[Kit:]    I was told that Jordan was going to announce something at that meeting, and then later it was confirmed for me that it was Jordan announcing his candidacy for mayor.

[Willa:]    You take pride in your work, do you not?

[Kit:]    Of course.

[Willa:]    We’ve heard you refuse to identify your source.  That’s because you believe in what you do, right?

[Kit:]    Yes.

[Willa:]    You believe in what you do, and in the protection of sources so that you can obtain relevant and reliable information?

[Kit:]    Yes, very much so.

[Willa:]    You presumably had some dialogue with your source to determine their credibility?

[Kit:]    Yes, I always carefully vet my sources.

[Willa:]    You had no concerns about the reliability of this source when you decided to go to the council event, correct?

[Kit:]    Correct.

[Willa:]    The source did not tell you that there was any likelihood of violence, did they?

[Kit:]    No, they did not.

[Willa:]    If you had received that information, are there steps you would have taken to verify it?

[Kit:]    Yes, I would have contacted other regular sources I use to see if they knew anything about it. I also likely would have called the police to get extra protection for the attendees. I report the news but I don’t want to be responsible for causing it, if you know what I mean.

[Willa:]    I do, and I appreciate that.  So, when you went to this event, you had no idea that you were going to end up capturing the rather peculiar death of three people on camera?

[Kit:]     I did not.

[Willa:]    Did this source tell you that Jordan was conspiring to commit homicide, did they?

[Kit:]    No, they did not.

[Willa:]    No further questions.

[Narrator:]    I gave a nod toward Kit, and made a note to send him another exclusive: exclusive rights to publish the wedding photos. Next the prosecutor called Fayth to the stand. Fayth wore a smile as she approached the stand in her trademark blazer in its usual shade of bubblegum pink.

[Rebecca:]     Please introduce yourself to the jury.

[FAYTH:]    My name is Fayth Flaherty.  F-A-Y-T-H F-L-A-H-E-R-T-Y.

[Rebecca:]    May I call you Fayth?

[FAYTH:]    Yes, that’s just fine.

[Rebecca:]    Where do you live?

[FAYTH:]    In New Ark City.  

[Rebecca:]    How long have you lived in New Ark City?

[FAYTH:]    All my life, even the time I was getting my degree.  I always knew that I wanted to stay in my hometown. I believe in working to better the place from which I came.

[Rebecca:]    Fayth, what do you do for a living?

[FAYTH:]    I am the interim mayor of New Ark City.

[Rebecca:]    Can you tell the jury a bit about the training and experience you have to allow you to hold that position?

[FAYTH:]    Yes. I have a degree in Political Science, and after finishing college, I took a position working in local government, specifically the city council.  After roughly ten years, I ultimately decided to run for the seat of council chair, and I was elected. I held that position for four years until I was appointed interim mayor.

[Rebecca:]     Are you currently running for election?

[FAYTH:]    Yes, I am.

[Rebecca:]    Does that affect your testimony here today at all?

[FAYTH:]    Only to the extent that it is of the utmost importance to me that I tell the truth. I owe that to my constituents.  They deserve honesty from their representative.

[Rebecca:]    Do you know a man named Jordan Redfield-Wade?

[FAYTH:]    Yes, I do.

[Rebecca:]    How?

[FAYTH:]    Among other things, he’s my opponent in the upcoming mayoral election.

[Rebecca:]     Let’s talk about that. When did you first learn that Jordan would be running for mayor?

[FAYTH:]    Approximately three weeks ago.

[Rebecca:]    How did you come to learn this?

[FAYTH:]    He told me.

[Willa:]    Objection, hearsay.  Move to strike.

[Rebecca:]     Statement by party opponent.

[Judge:]    Overruled. The answer stands.

[Rebecca:]    Did you happen to record the conversation between you and Jordan in which he tells you he’s running?

[FAYTH:]    Yes, I did.

[Rebecca:]     Would you recognize the recording if I played it for you?

[FAYTH:]    Yes, I would.

[Rebecca:]    Your honor, I’d like this flash drive to be marked as Exhibit 1.

[Judge:]    Madame Clerk, will you mark the exhibit? <PAUSE> Thank you.

[Rebecca:]    Prior to your testimony today, did you have the opportunity to review the contents of this flash drive?

[FAYTH:]    Yes, it appears to be the same flash drive.

[Rebecca:]    Is the recording a true and accurate representation of the conversation between you and Jordan?

[FAYTH:]    Yes.

[Rebecca:]    Permission to publish to the jury?

[Willa:]    Objection, this recording is hearsay.

[Rebecca:]    Judge, this was subject to a pre-trial ruling.

[Judge:]    Overruled. Counsel, you may publish.

[Rebecca:]    {PLAYS RECORDING, PAUSING ROUGHLY TEN SECONDS IN} Do you recognize the voices on this recording?

[FAYTH:]    Yes.

[Rebecca:]    Who are they?

[FAYTH:]    The female voice is mine. The male voice is Jordan’s. May I add also, I apologize to the jury for the foul language I used during the recording.

[Rebecca:]    Did Jordan know you were recording this conversation?

[Willa:]    Objection, calls for speculation.

[Judge:]    Sustained.

[Rebecca:]    May I continue playing the recording?

[Judge:]    Yes.

[Rebecca:]    {PLAYS RECORDING} OK, that’s enough of that. Thank you. Now, Fayth, I’d like to ask you some questions about the contents of that recording, is that all right?

[FAYTH:]    Yes, of course, absolutely.

[Rebecca:]     I can’t help but notice the tension between you and Jordan in this recording.  How was your relationship with Jordan at that time?

[FAYTH:]    I was angry at him.

[Rebecca:]    Does that anger influence your testimony at all today?

[FAYTH:]    No, not at all. I’m just here to tell you what happened.

[Rebecca:]    I’d like to turn your attention to the latter part of the recording.  Did there come a point where Jordan revealed his true intentions about running for mayor to you?

[FAYTH:]    Yes.  As you heard, he told me that he only entered the race to get Merrow, RedWing, and the deceased all in one place.

[Rebecca:]    Did he tell you why he wanted to do that?

[FAYTH:]    Yes, he said that RedWing had asked him to do it.  That it was a “set up.”

[Willa:]    Objection – Judge, we’re now into two layers of hearsay.  Come on.

[Judge:]    I’m inclined to agree…

[Rebecca:]     Not offered for the truth of the matter, Judge.  Offered for defendant’s state of mind.

[Judge:]    Hmmm… Okay… Overruled, the answer will stand.

[Willa:]    <EXASPERATED SIGH.>

[Rebecca:]     Are you familiar with RedWing?

[FAYTH:]    Yes, I am.

[Rebecca:]    Are you familiar with Merrow?

[FAYTH:]    I am now. Merrow is the name that Elizabeth Brennan used when the attack occurred.

[Rebecca:]    Based on your position in this community, have you had the opportunity to come to know if Merrow has a character for violence?

[FAYTH:]    I would say yes, but I don’t blame Elizabeth for the actions of Merrow. Elizabeth is a victim, but Merrow was a violent psychopath. I think, with the therapy she is receiving, she won’t reoffend.

[Rebecca:]    Thank you, Fayth.

[Willa:]    Objection, Elizabeth Brennan is not on trial here, nor is she even here today.

[Judge:]    Sustained, the jury will disregard. Counselor Pelli, reign it in.

[Rebecca:]    Based on what Jordan told you about this “set up”, did you have any concerns for people’s safety?

[FAYTH:]    Yes, I did.

[Rebecca:]    No further questions.

[Narrator:]    Rebecca gave Willa a little smug headnod, with a face that said “Bring your A-Game, homegirl.” Willa rolled her eyes at Rebecca’s challenge, and gave a face back that simply said four words: Girl, You are Weak. She stood up, and walked forward with the confidence of a tiger walking towards it’s wounded prey. I knew Fayth would feel this.

[Willa:]    Ms. Flaherty, I want to start by clearing up a few things from your testimony on direct, ok?

[FAYTH:]    I don’t think I was unclear about anything.

[Willa:]    If I want an opinion from you, I will ask you for it.  Unless I do, stick to answering the questions I ask you, rather than editorializing.  Now, let’s start at the beginning. You recorded the conversation between yourself and Jordan?

[FAYTH:]    Yes.

[Willa:]    You recorded the conversation because you wanted to have a record of it?

[FAYTH:]    Yes.

[Willa:]    You wanted to have a record of it because you didn’t trust Jordan to represent the conversation honestly if he was asked about it later?

[FAYTH:]    That’s right.

[Willa:]    You didn’t trust him because the two of you have a long history of bad blood, isn’t that right?

[FAYTH:]    I wouldn’t say “bad blood.”

[Willa:]    Well, let’s start with the very first thing you say to Jordan in this recording.  You say – and I’m quoting – “What the fuck is your problem?”, don’t you?

[FAYTH:]    Yes, I said that.

[Willa:]    Do you always use such coarse language when speaking to people, or was this crass tone specific to Jordan?

[FAYTH:]    I don’t know how to answer that.

[Willa:]    Ms. Flaherty – This is going to go a lot more smoothly if you quit playing games.  We both have roles here. My role is to ask you questions. Your role is to answer the questions I ask, not the questions you wish I asked.  I mention this because I don’t want us to have any misunderstandings about how this is going to go. Do you understand me?

[FAYTH:]    Yes.

[Willa:]    Good. So --yes or no, is that the type of language you typically use with another person?

[FAYTH:]    No, I suppose it isn’t.

[Willa:]    We won’t find footage of you giving speeches on the campaign trail with such language?

[FAYTH:]    No, you will not.

[Willa:]    Thank you. This crass language, it was intentional on your part?

[FAYTH:]    I suppose.

[Willa:]    You meant what you said, didn’t you?

[FAYTH:]    Yes, I did.

[Willa:]    And you said it crassly?

[FAYTH:]    I used an expletive, yes.

[Willa:]    Because you were angry with Jordan?

[FAYTH:]    Yes.

[Willa:]    In fact, you have been angry with Jordan for quite some time, isn’t that right?

[FAYTH:]    We do not get along.

[Willa:]    Let’s talk about that. You had a lot of reasons to be angry with Jordan, didn’t you?

[FAYTH:]    He was opposing me in an election that he had no real intention of winning.  It was going to cost me a lot by way of campaign resources. Of course I was angry.

[Willa:]    You were angry at Jordan long before he announced his candidacy, though, weren’t you?

[FAYTH:]    As I said, we do not get along.

[Willa:]    You don’t “get along” because years ago, Jordan tried to help you, and it made you angry?

[FAYTH:]    I wouldn’t say angry, no.

[Willa:]    Let’s back up a minute. You’ve known Jordan since childhood, haven’t you?

[FAYTH:]    Yes.

[Willa:]    Jordan had a privileged upbringing, did he not?

[FAYTH:]    He did.

[Willa:]    That’s different than your upbringing, isn’t it?

[FAYTH:]    Very different.

[Willa:]    You resent that, don’t you? That Jordan was given everything while you had to work for it?

[FAYTH:]    Resent isn’t the right word. I do think that I’ve earned a lot more than he has, though.

[Willa:]    I’d like to direct your attention to this part of the recording. You say to him – and tell me if I’m reading this incorrectly – “I didn’t have literal geniuses for parents, I had to earn each and every grade I got. I paid for college myself, by working as an assistant in a law firm every holiday break.  I shook every hand, I made every connection, I did everything I was supposed to do to become the youngest Mayor in our state’s history. And what about you? What did you do to deserve your wealth and status? The answer is, of course, nothing. All of this belongs to your dead parents.” Did I read that correctly?

[FAYTH:]    Yes.

[Willa:]    Let’s break that down.  You had to pay your way through life, whereas Jordan was born to a wealthy family?

[FAYTH:]    Yes.

[Willa:]    You had to work while he got to party?

[FAYTH:]    Yes.

[Willa:]    You devoted your life to public service while he did nothing to help others, in your view?

[FAYTH:]    Yes.

[Willa:]    All of the time he spent gallivanting around town spending money, you were working, isn’t that true?

[FAYTH:]    YES, it is.

[Willa:]    You have plans for your life -- ambitions?

[FAYTH:]    Yes.

[Willa:]    You want to see those plans through, don’t you?

[FAYTH:]    Yes.

[Willa:]    That’s why you’re running for mayor?

[FAYTH:]    One of many reasons.

[Willa:]    Jordan, on the other hand, you’d agree he had no such work ethic, and no such ambition?

[FAYTH:]    Yes, I agree with that.

[Willa:]    At the time this conversation took place, you had been interim mayor for six months, right?

[FAYTH:]    Yes.

[Willa:]    You’d been doing a good job, hadn’t you?

[FAYTH:]    I thought so, yes.

[Willa:]    Working to the best of your ability?

[FAYTH:]    Yes.

[Willa:]    It must’ve angered you, then, that Jordan would have the audacity to announce that he was running against you?

[FAYTH:]    I guess it did.

[Willa:]     Especially because he didn’t have the history of public service that you had, right?

[FAYTH:]    He DOESN’T.  That’s true.

[Willa:]    And when he told you it was all a “set up”, that made you even more angry, didn’t it? Because it denigrated a position that you worked so hard to get?

[FAYTH:]    Absolutely. I’m running for the right reasons, and he was turning it into a joke.  Our city deserves better than that.

[Willa:]    Our city deserves better than that?

[FAYTH:]    Yes.

[Willa:]    Doesn’t our city also deserve better than a mayor who uses crass language to disparage political opponents?

[FAYTH:]    This was in a private conversation.

[Willa:]    A private conversation you recorded?

[FAYTH:]    Yes.

[Willa:]    And turned over to police?

[FAYTH:]    Yes.

[Willa:]    Because you believed it contained information that would harm your opponent?

[FAYTH:]    That’s not why I gave it to police.

[Willa:]    But it did, didn’t it? Contain information that could harm Jordan?

[FAYTH:]    I’m not responsible for Jordan’s words.

[Willa:]    You are, however, responsible for yours.  In this recording, you tell Jordan – and I’m quoting – “Drop out of the race?”

[FAYTH:]    I said that.

[Willa:]    You tell him, and again, I’m quoting – “Pull out of the election?”

[FAYTH:]    Yes.

[Willa:]    In this recording, you also accuse Jordan of not actually helping anyone, but only “throwing money around?”

[FAYTH:]    Yes.

[Willa:]    You also blame Jordan for the fact that two young women are in comas right now, don’t you?

[Rebecca:]    Objection, relevance.

[Willa:]    It goes to bias, your honor.

[Judge:]    Overruled. I’ll allow it.

[Willa:]    Answer my question.

[FAYTH:]    Yes, I do.

[Willa:]    In this recording, towards the beginning, we hear a thud.  That sound was caused by you pushing Jordan into a bookshelf, isn’t that right?

[FAYTH:]    He invaded my space and I pushed him away.

[Willa:]    So that was a “yes, the thud was caused by you pushing Jordan into a bookshelf?”

[FAYTH:]    Yes, I did that but only because he was in my ----

[Willa:]    Thank you, you’ve answered my question. Again, I do not need your editorializing.  You’d agree with me, wouldn’t you, that committing an act of physical violence is unbecoming of an elected official?

[FAYTH:]    I didn’t commit an act of physical violence.

[Willa:]    I’m going to ask that you not perjure yourself on the witness stand. You are under oath. Move to strike, non-responsive.  Ask that the court instruct the witness to answer the question asked of her.

[Judge:]    Granted. Members of the jury, disregard the witness’ last answer.  Ms. Flaherty, you are to answer the questions asked.

[Willa:]    Thank you, your honor.  Ms. Flaherty, do you need the last question repeated?

[FAYTH:]    Yes.

[Willa:]    You’d agree with me, wouldn’t you, that committing an act of physical violence is unbecoming of an elected official?

[FAYTH:]    Not if it is necessary to protect oneself or the public.

[Willa:]    Well, this conversation took place in private, didn’t it?

[FAYTH:]    Yes.

[Willa:]    We don’t hear anything on the recording that sounds like a struggle, do we?

[FAYTH:]    No.

[Willa:]    We don’t hear you screaming for help because Jordan is putting his hands on you?

[FAYTH:]    No.

[Willa:]    We don’t hear you say “Step back, you’re in my space?”

[FAYTH:]    No, I didn’t say that.

[Willa:]    We do, however, hear a thud from your pushing Jordan into a bookshelf?

[FAYTH:]    Yes.

[Willa:]    Now I want to talk about this so-called set up.  When Jordan told you about it, you didn’t respond by asking “Wait, what set up? Why?”, did you?

[FAYTH:]    You heard my response on the tape.

[Willa:]    Move to strike, non-responsive.  Ask that the court instruct the witness to answer the question.

[Judge:]    Granted. The jury should disregard the witness’ last answer. Ms. Flahtery, I’m not going to tell you again.  Answer the questions that are asked of you.

[FAYTH:]    I was.

[Willa:]    Well, I guess we’re going to have to look at the transcript again, then.  Tell me if I’m reading this correctly. After Jordan describes RedWing’s alleged set up, you respond by saying “And what? Added bonus, you managed to piss me off?” You said that, right?

[FAYTH:]    Yes.

[Willa:]    So your immediate reaction was not of concern for public safety, it was about you, wasn’t it?

[FAYTH:]    I was worried about a lot of things when I heard that.

[Willa:]    One of those “many things” was yourself, though, wasn’t it? I mean, you say so.

[FAYTH:]    Yes, but as I said, it wasn’t the only----

[Willa:]    Thank you, you’ve answered my question.  Now, after you hear about this alleged set up that has you worried about “a lot of things”, I assume you run right out and call the police, to tell them that something dangerous is going to happen?

[FAYTH:]    I did not.

[Willa:]    Interesting.  You’d agree with me, wouldn’t you, that one of the primary job duties of a mayor is to protect your city’s citizens?

[FAYTH:]    Yes.

[Willa:]    It logically follows then, does it not, that if you suspected this “set up” would end in violence, you would’ve done something to stop it?

[Rebecca:]    Objection, calls for speculation.

[Judge:]    Sustained.  Counsel, move on.

[Willa:]    This conversation, between you and Jordan, it ends with you saying “This. Is. Not. Over.”, does it not?

[FAYTH:]    It does.

[Willa:]    You stated that quite emphatically, as we heard.

[FAYTH:]    Yes, I did.

[Willa:]    Assuming Jordan is convicted, you’ll be unopposed in the mayoral race, won’t you?

[FAYTH:]    Yes, I will.

[Willa:]    Which virtually guarantees your election?

[FAYTH:]    You’d have to ask the pollsters that.

[Willa:]    I’m asking you. It virtually guarantees your election, right?

[FAYTH:]    I guess.

[Willa:]    The election that you’ve spent literally decades of your life preparing for, with your poli sci degree and your work with the council?

[FAYTH:]    I’ve devoted my life to public service, yes.

[Willa:]    And you wouldn’t want anyone to take that away from you, would you?

[FAYTH:]    Of course not.  No more than you’d want someone to take away your bar card.  That doesn’t make me---

[Willa:]    Again, Ms. Flaherty, you’ve answered my question. I do not need your extra commentary.  Bottom line – if Jordan is convicted, you get to be mayor, which is exactly what you want, isn’t it? To be mayor?

[Rebecca:]    Objection, compound question.

[Willa:]    I’ll withdraw the question, judge.

[Judge:]    Question is withdrawn.  Jury, you should disregard the question.

[Willa:]    One more thing – while you and Jordan were having this conversation, you told him that all of his wealth and influence belonged to “his dead parents”, didn’t you?

[FAYTH:]    It’s true. It does.

[Willa:]    So that’s a “yes, I said that?”

[FAYTH:]    Yes.

[Willa:]    How very mayoral of you.  No further questions.

[Narrator:]    I gave Fayth a momentary sneer. She narrowed her eyes at me. Her smile was gone as she left the stand. That probably hurt her campaign. I knew I’d hired the best possible attorney.

[Scene 4][The Courtroom, pt 2]

[Narrator:]    Willa looked at me and gave me a nod. She gave Dean a wink. I knew what time it was… it was time for my testimony.

[Willa:]    Can you introduce yourself to the jury?

[Jordan:]    Yes, I’m Jordan Redfield-Wade. I’m the defendant of this case.

[Willa:]    Where do you live, Jordan?

[Jordan:]    I live in New Ark City.  I’ve been here basically my entire life.  This city was really important to my parents and I’ve tried my best to carry that legacy on by remaining active in this community.

[Willa:]    Can I infer from your answer that your parents are no longer with us?

[Jordan:]    That’s correct, my parents are both deceased.

[Willa:]    I’m sorry to hear that.

[Jordan:]    Thank you. I appreciate that. It never really gets any easier, even as time passes. I do what I can with my work to honor their memory.

[Willa:]    Indeed.  You mentioned that your parents were philanthropic?

[Jordan:]    Oh Very much so. They were very involved in this community. I benefited from their generosity, so I’ve tried to follow their lead.

[Willa:]    As part of that tradition, have you considered running for office?

[Jordan:]    Yes. That is something they never actually did, surprisingly. I am currently running for mayor of New Ark City.  Part of my decision to do that rests with my parents’ legacy, but I have a number of other reasons for wanting to run, as well.

[Willa:]    Briefly tell the jury what those are.

[Rebecca:]    [barely containing her annoyance] Objection – this is a criminal trial, not a campaign event.  This defendant shouldn’t be allowed to use the witness stand as a podium.

[Willa:]    It goes to my client’s state of mind at the time of the alleged events, your honor.

[Judge:]    I’m going to need to hear some additional foundation on that, counsel.  Objection sustained.

[Willa:]    I’ll come back to it.

[Judge:]    Very well.

[Willa:]    Jordan, I want to turn your attention to about three weeks ago.  Do you recall what was going on in your life at that time?

[Jordan:]    Yes, I was contemplating running for mayor of New Ark City.

[Willa:]    Why was that on your mind?

[Jordan:]    I had some concerns about the interim mayor, Fayth Flaherty.

[Willa:]    When you say “concerns”, what do you mean?

[Jordan:]    In all honesty, I do not think she is the best fit for the full job. Sure, she had done some good things for the city, but I don’t believe that she has the resources or the connections to do the job long-term in a way that will benefit the people.

[Willa:]    Other than your political disagreements, was there anything else that motivated you to decide to run?

[Jordan:]    Yes, there was.

[Willa:]    What were those things?

[Jordan:]    Well, first off, as I said before, my parents have a history of serving this city, and I take that legacy seriously.  Secondly, I know Ms. Flaherty on a personal level, and I have concerns about her ability to hold elected office based on those concerns.  Thirdly, as I stated at the event I held where I announced my candidacy, I do not believe Ms. Flaherty has the resources or connections necessary to effectively govern this city.  Fourth and finally, I had multiple conversations with concerned community members who encouraged me to run and hold the candidacy announcement at the date and time that I did.

[Willa:]    There’s a lot to unpack there.  Let’s take it reason by reason. You mentioned that you know Ms. Flaherty on a personal level?

[Jordan:]    Yes, we’ve known each other since we were very young. We’re both members of the founding family council, and close in age, so we went to school together.

[Willa:]    Do you like Ms. Flaherty?

[Jordan:]    It’s not a matter of liking her or not liking her.  It’s matter of trusting her. I do not trust her.

[Willa:]    Why not?

[Rebecca:]    Objection, relevance.

[Willa:]    It goes to bias, judge.  I have no doubt the prosecutor is going to ask my client about his dislike of Ms. Flaherty, I should be entitled to explore the same issue on direct.

[Judge:]    Overruled.

[Willa:]    Let me repeat the question.  Why don’t you trust Ms. Flaherty?

[Jordan:]    We have a history.  Long story short, I tried to help her out, years ago. I gave her the benefit of the doubt in a situation that I probably shouldn’t have.  She repaid that kindness by becoming openly hostile towards me.

[Willa:]    Now, Jordan, wouldn’t you agree that you’ve been hostile towards Ms. Flaherty, too?

[Jordan:]    I agree with that assessment, yes.

[Willa:]    The decision to run, though, that wasn’t just about Ms. Flaherty, as you’ve said?

[Jordan:]    Correct.

[Willa:]    You mentioned that members of the community had encouraged you to run, as well?

[Jordan:]    Yes.

[Willa:]    Anyone in particular?

[Jordan:]    Yes, RedWing.

[Willa:]    Did you and RedWing discuss when the most opportune time to announce your candidacy would be?

[Rebecca:]    Objection, answer calls for hearsay.

[Jordan:]    Yes.

[Judge:]    The answer may stand – the witness can answer the question about if discussions had happened, the contents of those discussions are another story.

[Willa:]    Based on your conversations about the timing of your announcement with RedWing, did you take any steps to plan your announcement?  I ask without asking you to tell me anything RedWing might have said to you.

[Jordan:]    Yes, I did.  I decided that I would announce at the Founding Family Council soiree.

[Willa:]    Was there any particular reason for that?

[Jordan:]    Yes, there was.  It was a highly publicized event and I could count on the press picking it up.  I also knew that Ms. Flaherty was planning on attending. I assumed without knowing for sure that a number of prominent people would attend the soiree.

[Willa:]    Among those prominent people, were you planning on Elizabeth Brennan attending?

[Jordan:]    Yes, I assumed that she would.

[Willa:]    Why?

[Jordan:]    The same reason that I assumed all the other prominent local figures would attend – this event was a big deal to our city.

[Willa:]    Did you plan your candidacy announcement knowing that Elizabeth Brennan intended to murder three people at the event?

[Jordan:]    No, I did not.  I had no idea what Elizabeth Brennan was planning.  She and I did not communicate at all about this event.

[Willa:]    Did you and RedWing talk about the possibility that murders might occur at this event?

[Rebecca:]    Objection, calls for hearsay.

[Judge:]    Sustained.

[Willa:]    Do you know the three people that were killed the night of the soiree?

[Jordan:]    I know of them, yes.  It was Elizabeth’s parents and a William O’Hea.

[Willa:]    Was Elizabeth’s relationship with her parents a good one?

[Jordan:]     I don’t have any personal knowledge about that.  I had heard things, but I don’t have any personal knowledge about that.

[Willa:]    OK.  Did you conspire with RedWing to facilitate the murder of the Brennans and William O’Hea?

[Jordan:]    No, I did not.

[Willa:]    Did you conspire with Elizabeth Brennan to facilitate her committing multiple homicides?

[Jordan:]    No, I did not.

[Willa:]    If you had known that such disastrous events would occur that night, would you have planned the event the way that you did?

[Rebecca:]    Objection, calls for speculation.

[Judge:]    Sustained.

[Willa:]    Jordan, as you sit here today, did you – at any point – take an active role in planning or conspiring to facilitate the homicides of the Brennans and O’Hea with any person at all?

[Jordan:]    I did not.

[Willa:]    No further questions.

[Narrator:]    Willa took her seat, and gave me a nod. I watched her turn and wink at Dean, who stood up and walked out of the courtroom. I knew he was going to bring in our ace in the hole.

[Rebecca:]    [condescending] Well, that was a very engaging performance, Jordan, but it seems you’ve left a few things out. I’d like to go back to the beginning of things, before you announced your candidacy.  You had decided to announce, right?

[Jordan:]    Yes.

[Rebecca:]    After you decided to announce, you shared that information with RedWing?

[Jordan:]    Yes.

[Rebecca:]    You shared that information with RedWing because he was a confidant?

[Jordan:]    I would call him a close friend and occasionally colleague, but I suppose a confidant could suffice.

[Rebecca:]    RedWing had suggestions on how and when you should announce, didn’t he?

[Jordan:]    Yes, he did.

[Rebecca:]    You followed those suggestions?

[Jordan:]    I did.

[Rebecca:]    You followed those suggestions without asking why?

[Jordan:]    Yes, I did.

[Rebecca:]    That’s not like you, is it? You’re usually a very careful planner.

[Jordan:]    That’s making a lot of assumptions, darling, considering you don’t know me. So, considering I don’t know what evidence you are basing that assessment on, I don’t know that I’d agree with you on that.

[Rebecca:]    Fine, moving on – after you decided to announce at the soiree, you tipped the press off, didn’t you?

[Jordan:]    Is it a crime to notify the press of a newsworthy event?

[Rebecca:]    Please answer my question.  You notified the press, didn’t you?

[Jordan:]    Yes, I did – I wanted as much publicity surrounding the announcement as possible.  Free media and all that.

[Rebecca:]    Uh-huh.  Because you were such a committed candidate?

[Jordan:]    Among other reasons.

[Rebecca:]    You were such a committed candidate that the very next day, you told your opponent that you hadn’t even been planning on running?

[Jordan:]    I said that to piss Fayth off.

[Rebecca:]    So you were lying to her when you said that, and I’m quoting—“It was a set up.  It was a set up for Redwing….I wasn’t even going to file the paperwork, and thus not actually ever ben on the ballot.” You said that, didn’t you?

[Jordan:]    If that’s what the transcript says, yeah, I said it.

[Rebecca:]    You agree that this sounds like a less than committed candidate, don’t you?

[Jordan:]    I do not agree with that.  I agree that I said that in part to anger Ms. Flathery.

[Rebecca:]    You also told Ms. Flathery, in that same moment, that Redwing had been hoping the creature called Merrow would show up?

[Jordan:]    Yes, if that’s what the transcript shows.

[Rebecca:]    Merrow is another name for Elizabeth Brennan, is it not?

[Jordan:]    It is.

[Rebecca:]    And it’s your testimony that while you knew Redwing wanted them all in the same place, you had NO idea why?

[Jordan:]    That’s right.

[Rebecca:]    You’re a smart guy, Jordan.  IQ of 125, I think you said?

[Jordan:]    Yeah, I do all right.

[Rebecca:]    And despite that, you’re telling me that it never occurred to a man of your intellect and connections to inquire as to Redwing’s motivation for having these people all in one place? You expect this jury to be that naïve?

[Jordan:]    Ma’am, I expect this jury to listen to what I’ve said, both in my recordings and today on the witness stand. I expect them to conclude that I’m telling them the truth, because I took an oath to do so, and I’ve lived my whole life attempting to protect this city and the citizens that reside here.  Of course I wanted as many people as possible there! Who announces their candidacy quietly?

[Rebecca:]    You don’t like Fayth Flaherty personally, am I right?

[Jordan:]    I testified to that, yes.

[Rebecca:]    You want to see her lose this election?

[Jordan:]    Yes; I wouldn’t be running if I didn’t want to win.

[Rebecca:]    But you acknowledge that there is bad blood between the two of you?

[Jordan:]    I do acknowledge that, but as I testified on direct, that was only one factor in my decision to run.

[Rebecca:]    You’re seriously trying to tell this jury that your hatred of Fayth Flaherty was not a motivating factor for you?

[Jordan:]    I’m saying it was only ONE motivating factor.  Just like you, probably. I assume that you both want to win this trial because you believe that I’m guilty, and also because it will look good for your career, maybe even earn you a promotion.  Just because you’re thinking about both doesn’t mean you’re being unethical in prosecuting me. Unless, of course, you know this whole case is bullshit, in which case, maybe it is your ambition driving you rather than a sense of justice.  You’d have to tell me.

[Rebecca:]    (long pause while sorting out what to do.) Moving on.  You argued with Fayth at length the day after you announced, didn’t you?

[Jordan:]    I wouldn’t call it an argument.  I’d call it a discussion.

[Rebecca:]    Among the things you said in this “discussion”, you insulted her husband, did you not?

[Jordan:]    I can’t speak to how her husband may have felt about my comments. I do wonder why she’d share them with him.

[Rebecca:]    You threatened Fayth, didn’t you?

[Jordan:]    I did not.  Please show me the part of the transcript that you’re interpreting as a threat.

[Rebecca:]    Reads the last line into the record “BRING IT ON, Fayth.  BRING. IT. ON.” It’s your testimony that this wasn’t a threat?

[Jordan:]    That wasn’t a threat at all, unless you consider threatening to beat someone in an election to be a threat for legal purposes, in which case, yeah, I suppose I did threaten to beat her in this election.

[Rebecca:]    You’d agree with me that the transcript speaks for itself, would you not?

[Jordan:]    Sure.

[Rebecca:]    No further questions.

[Judge:]    Counsel, do you have any other witnesses you’d like to call?

[Willa:]    Why yes, your honor, in fact, we do.

[Rebecca:]    objection, your honor, I haven’t had time to prepare for this witness.

[Willa:]    Oh no, dear, you definitely did. This person was directly involved with the case, and has been listed as a witness since the beginning. You had time.

[Judge:]    Counsel, name your witness.

[Willa:]    Your honor, I call the vigilante RedWing to the stand.

[Rebecca:]    How? He’s not even here!

[RedWing:]    Oh no, I’m here.

[Narrator:]    In that moment, everyone turned around. RedWing was in the doorway, with Dean standing just behind him. I smiled. It is very convenient to have a twin brother trained as a spy. Murmurs went through the audience. Estella blanched. I think that was the moment she knew she might lose her case. Jeremy, wearing my suit, approached the witness stand.

[Judge:]    Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you God?

[RedWing:]    I do, indeed.

[Judge:]    Please be seated.

[Willa:]    State your name and spell it for the record, please.

[RedWing:]    RedWing.  R-E-D-W-I-N-G.

[Willa:]    Thank you. I am assuming that is not the name on your birth certificate.

[RedWing:]    The name on my birth certificate is inconsequential to my testimony and role in this  case. Suffice it to say that the people I work for know who I am, and how to find me. And I have taken an oath. But know that I will maintain my anonymity.

[Willa:]    That is perfectly fine, under your 5th amendment right. I’d like to get right to it. Do you know a Jordan Redfield-Wade?

[RedWing:]    Yes.

[Willa:]    How?

[RedWing:]    We have collaborated in the past.   

[Willa:]    Do you recall having a conversation with Jordan roughly three weeks ago?

[RedWing:]    Yes, I do.

[Willa:]    What do you recall asking him?

[RedWing:]    I asked him to announce his mayoral candidacy at the New Ark City Founding Family soiree.

[Willa:]    Why did you do that?

[RedWing:]    Well, at the time I was investigating the missing persons case for Elizabeth Brennan, who had last been seen where those 2 boys were murdered. I figured she might have been connected. So that morning, when Jordan told me he was going to announce it, I told him he should. I wanted all of the powerful families in the same room at the same time.

[Willa:]    Why?

[RedWing:]    I suspected that there might be bad blood between Elizabeth Brennan and her parents, due to a complaint that was filed shortly before Ms Brennan initially went missing 7 months ago.

[Willa:]    Did you suspect that she would murder her parents and William O’Hea?

[RedWing:]    I suspected there might be a verbal confrontation, because I knew she was angry but I did not expect there to be any homicides that evening, no.

[Willa:]    Did you, at any point, suggest to Jordan that by having such an event, he would be helping to facilitate homicides?

[RedWing:]    No, I didn’t. Quite frankly, it would not have been possible for me to say that because I had no such knowledge.

[Willa:]    Did Jordan attempt in any way to get you to conspire with him and Elizabeth Brennan to commit homicide?

[RedWing:]    No, he did not.

[Willa:]    Did you conspire with Elizabeth Brennan to commit any homicides?

[RedWing:]    No, I did not. Until that part of the tape where I told her to stand down, I had never said a word to Miss Brennan.

[Willa:]    No further questions.

[Rebecca:]    I’m sorry.  Is it your testimony that you just “happened” to want all of these people in the same room together, and then, once they were, it just “happened” to be that Elizabeth Brennan killed her parents and William O’Hea?

[RedWing:]    That’s correct, ma’am.

[Rebecca:]    You had NO idea what was going to happen?

[RedWing:]    No, I did not.

[Rebecca:]    But it was important to you that this event happened, wasn’t it?

[RedWing:]    Yes, it was.

[Rebecca:]    Important because you knew there was conflict between all of these people, didn’t you?

[RedWing:]    I was aware of that, yes.

[Rebecca:]    So, you knew that there were very high emotions running through the invitees?

[RedWing:]    Yes, I did.

[Rebecca:]    You knew the general content of what caused that emotion, didn’t you?

[Willa:]    Objection – form of the question.

[Rebecca:]    I’ll rephrase.

[Rebecca:]    You knew that Elizabeth’s parents had committed atrocities against her, didn’t you?

[RedWing:]    I knew there was a complaint filed with NACPD claiming abuse by William O’Hea. I would like to point out that I did try to stop her, which you have on video record.

[Rebecca:]    Yes, you did…but only after the homicides, isn’t that right?

[RedWing:]    I was too late to stop the homicides, yes. Given that the cause of death was literal magic, that can’t surprise you, counsel.

[Rebecca:]    How do you mean?

[RedWing:]    I think it is important for the Jury to know that I have magical abilities myself. I have had them for many years. My specific ability is to cast forcefields. But in order to do that effectively, I have to know the KIND of danger a victim is facing. Well, given that Ms. Brennan used supernatural powers I had never seen before to execute these people that I didn’t know the existence of, I also had no idea exactly what she was going to do. And thus I couldn’t stop her.

[Rebecca:]    You had no idea what she was planning, were powerless to stop it, and yet it was YOU that put this whole series of events in motion, wasn’t it?  By asking Jordan to declare at the soiree?

[RedWing:]    I, operating on behave of the NACPD, which is a government organization, asked him to announce his candidacy and plan an event, madam. I did not however invite Merrow to kill anyone. Neither did Jordan. I had no knowledge of her power. I was working for the government to solve a crime, and this is sadly where it lead. The fault does not lie on anyone in this case. It simply is what it is.

[Rebecca:]    No further questions.

[Scene 5] [The Courtroom/Foyer]

[Narrator:]    It was over. The jury deliberated for exactly 1 hour.

[Judge:]    Foreperson, please read the jury ruling for the court please.

[Foreperson:]    We, the members of this Jury, have found in the case of State vs Jordan Redfield-Wade, find the defendant not guilty on all 4 charges. We find there to be no evidence that he had prior knowledge of the attacks, and

[Judge:]    The jury has spoken. All charges are hereby dropped from this case. To both sides, good work and best of luck. [gavel bangs]

[Jordan:]    Oh my god… Thank you, Willa.

[Willa:]    Anytime, Jordan. I like a challenge, but even more than that, I believe in justice and I believe in truth. If you or… your friend, need any help, I’ll be here to help.

[Jordan:]    Trust me, I think uh, we’ll be staying out of the court system, but if we ever need you, you’re definitely the one we’ll call.

[Narrator:]    I shook her hand, and immediately ran to hug and kiss Dean. After 3 weeks of not being able to feel his touch, I felt like I was in Heaven. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Kit snap a picture of us, before sneaking off to write their story on the verdict. I hugged Johanna and Marilyn. Jeremy had left already, but Marilyn handed me a black feather, and I knew what that meant. Something was bothering me though. I looked at Fayth, who was in the back. As she exited, I got a weird feeling. I told my friends to wait for me and I ran after her.

[Jordan:]    Fayth! Wait…

[Fayth:]    What, Jordan? What more could you POSSIBLY want?

[Jordan:]    I… {thwack of an arrow, tiny boom, smoke hiss} [coughing] OMG, what is… what is happening?

[Fayth:]    {coughing} Jordan, are you there? I can’t see you anything.

[Jordan:]    I’m right here, Fayth, take my hand and stay close. I think that was a smoke bomb.

[Alan:]    Actually, Jordan, it’s a Smoke Arrow.

[Liza:]    You’re both coming with us. The Raven King would like to see you.

[Jordan:]    Who the fuck are you people?

[Dean:]    [slightly far away from the microphone] Jordan, where are you?

[Jordan:]    [cough cough] Dean, I’m he- {Punch sound, and crumbled.}

[Dean:]    Jordan… JORDAN! [gun cocks] Freeze. Where are you taking Jordan and Fayth?

[Marilyn:]    Alan?! Hunter? What the hell are you doing here?

[Alan:]    Rook? What the hell are YOU doing here?

[Liza:]    Damnit, Hunter, we don’t have time for this. Give us a flash.

[Alan:]    Dean Morrighan, you know exactly where to find us. If you want to see your boyfriend and the mayor, as well as your friend Keiran, again, you’d best not keep him waiting. The KING wishes to speak with you. Might I suggest taking the train there? It leaves in an hour.

[Liza:]    We’ll have a car waiting for you when you get off the train. See you soon, bird boy. {thwack, flash, silence}

[Marilyn:]    Dean, where did they go? [pause] Dean… What is happening? Who is the Raven King?

[Dean:] I don’t know… But it looks like we’ve got a train to catch. And I think I know just where we’re getting off.