January 14, 4:45 PM, District Court, Los Angeles, Courtroom #4
Henry Orson was at the stand, combing his hair, probably completely unaware that Mrs. Wright was close to death. Then again, he probably didn't care. Armando was at the prosecution stand, calmly drinking his coffee, and Mia Fey was at the defense. "So you're Phoenix's protege?" she said, and he nodded. She looked forward, her arms crossed, and said, "Diego's not going to go down without a fight."
Apollo glanced at Armando, who nodded towards the bailiffs. Then Apollo looked at the bailiffs and realized, with a sinking feeling, that he only recognized one of them. There were two others: a red-haired woman with her gun out and a man with a bandana chewing gum. The one he recognized was that Meekins guy. Were the other two working for Orson?
"Court is now back in session for the trial of Bertha Caroline," the Judge said, and he glanced at Armando. "…why is the defense's co-counsel at the prosecution desk?"
"There was a little accident and a disguised extremist shot Mrs. Wright," Armando said, "so I'll be taking over the prosecution."
The Judge nodded. "And your co-counsel, Mr. Justice? I don't remember authorizing-"
"It doesn't matter," Armando said promptly, "Mia's fine. Bare your claws, kitten, you'll need 'em."
Apollo felt nervous and wished he had more coffee to calm his nerves. "Your Honor," Apollo said, "the defense is ready."
"The prosecution is ready," Armando said, "and I want to lay down the prosecution's objective. The prosecution intends to prove that the murderer of Gus Org was Irene Chandler-Chavez."
"But what about everything you said about Orson!?" the Judge said.
Orson just combed his hair. "Don't worry about the prosecutor, dude," Orson said, and he scratched his chin. "You know, Mr. Judge-man, you need a beard trim."
"What!? You insult my beard!? A penalty on you!" the Judge yelled.
Orson smiled and twisted his comb. The ceiling suddenly shuddered. "There goes a few prosecution offices," Orson said, "kapoof. I think all those prosecutors were in the hospital, though. Don't worry."
"W-WHAT!?" the Judge said.
The woman bailiff cocked her gun. "Your Honor," Apollo said, "Mr. Orson has agreed to a little deal. The defense wishes to prove that Orson was behind the murder of Gus Org, as well as having an instrumental part in the conspiracy to attack Kurain village."
The Judge nodded. "I-I see," he said, "and- and who's pointing a rifle in my gallery!?"
"That would be Mr. Amulek Josephson, your Honor," Apollo said, "a friend of Mrs. Wright's. I think he's trying to keep Orson from running off."
"He's shiftless, and dangerous, but is that really necessary!?" the Judge exclaimed.
The other new bailiff pulled out his own gun and fired it at the ceiling. "Put the rifle away or we kill someone," he announced, "Blue Peace's in charge now."
"Eep! Y-yes sir!" the Judge shrieked, and he jumped under his desk. One of the bailiffs, the woman, walked up the stairs to the judge throne and forced him onto his seat, then leaned on the chair. The other bailiff kept his gun pointed at the gallery. Josephson put his rifle down.
"Let's begin," Armando said. "Orson. The evidence against you is overwhelming for the murder of Gus Org. What do you say?"
"What do you mean?" Orson said, combing his hair, "is there a problem?"
"The results of the coffee pot examination showed that you switched pots," Apollo said, pointing, "furthermore, you were the only one with the ability to actually make the switch to try and implicate Chandler-Chavez."
Orson frowned. "Your point is?" he said, and he snapped his fingers. The woman by the Judge fired up, shattering a light. "It doesn't matter what the facts are."
"Well put," Armando said, smirking. He summoned a cup of coffee and drank from it, and then he said, "then let's hear your testimony."
Orson kept combing his hair and said nothing. "This is odd," Mia suddenly commented, "Mr. Justice, did you put this photo down?"
Apollo glanced at her and then at the picture she was looking at. The paper Josephson had given him… it was a photograph of a cigarette-smoking man with blond hair streaked with gray sitting next to a boy, who had some sort of lollipop sticking out of his mouth… and a comb in his hand. Apollo glanced up at Orson. Was the boy Orson when he was younger? The comb matched, but Orson's hair was brown and this kid's was blond; furthermore, who was the man with gray-streaked hair?
"Orson!" Armando barked, slamming his fist on the desk, "answer!"
"Chill, Mr. Lawyer," Orson said, and then he leaned forward on the witness stand to leer at Mia. "So, babe, you wanna open up that costume up a little more? Might give me the boost I need."
"Objection!" Armando and Mia yelled at the same time.
"This is obscene!" Mia yelled.
"You don't need that!" Armando shouted.
"And I'll have the Judge's pretty bald head blasted off if you don't listen," Orson said. He glanced at the courtroom clock. "Hmm… won't be long before the mercs are set up. I hope you don't mind if the courtroom becomes completely cut off?"
The woman behind the Judge lowered her gun to the Judge's head, and he whimpered. "…sorry, kitten, but I guess we have to play along with the madman for now," Armando said. Mia sighed and started adjusting her channeling robe, looking incredibly uncomfortable, and Orson shuddered and ran his comb through his hair more times. Apollo felt sick.
"Oh- oh yeah, that's good!" Orson said, giving her a thumbs-up, "just what I wanna see on a woman! You'll be hanging out with me later, I think, unless you want a little 'accident' to happen to the Wrights' children…" And then he snickered. No, he chuckled.
No, he laughed. He laughed uproariously, putting his hand over his face and bursting into laughter. It was cruel laughter, like that of someone who'd gone mad. Someone like Kristoph. Then he stopped laughing, a huge, evil smile on his features, and flicked his comb. A blade swung out, and he quickly shaved, revealing more of his handsome face. And then he took the razor to his hair, hacking off most of his long hair, until he just had short, brown hair. And then he cut across his sweatshirt with his razor and threw it off, revealing a dark blue uniform of some sort, decorated with leafy crosses and teardrop medals. Then he flicked his razor shut and leaned forward again.
"My name," he said, giving the courtroom a mirthless smile, "is Henry Mingun Orson. I am the founder of the environmentalist group Blue Peace, designed to give a more hands-on, activist alternative to past useless environmental groups."
He was still leaning forward, but now his hair was short and somehow trim, his face was cruel and clean-shaven, but the biggest change now seemed to be his clothes: Apollo could tell now that it was a military-style uniform. There were platinum epaulettes on his shoulders, a necklace with a dark blue orb hanging from it, a multicolored stripe of various shades of green, brown, and blue over his right breastpocket, and a huge set of medals in all sorts of shapes, like teardrops and crosses and circles, over his left breastpocket. Finally, his buttons were also platinum, making him look like some sort of blue-and-white admiral. And Apollo realized what it all meant: to Orson, this was a war. And he was dressed for it. It was… it was terrifying.
"You said that you have the Wrights' children under your eye?" Mia said.
Orson nodded. "Here's a little hint, now that all communications are out: did you know that the Wrights' home is in a suburb in the shadow of a recent dam construction? It holds back millions of gallons of water… I wonder what a few children are going to do in the face of nature's wrath?"
The courtroom was paralyzed. Apollo thought of the Wright children- of Trucy, his steadfast partner last year who helped him bring Tiala, Crescend, and Kristoph to justice, and of her two siblings, the kids he met only two nights ago. Six years old and with death hanging over them… "That's not the only family there, you know," Orson added, examining his comb, "and the funny thing about it is that every one of my men in here has a detonator. You kill me, they blow the dam up. And the trigger's in the shoe, all they need is to step too hard."
"I-I see!" the Judge said.
"Just get on with the testimony!" Armando snapped.
"Ah-ah," Orson said, wagging his finger, "I'm not in the same position as I was in the prosecution lobby."
"Just tell us what you claim happened," Apollo said.
Orson smirked. "Very well, but don't bother objecting," Orson said, "or the Judge- or that neighborhood- gets it."
The Judge audibly gulped. "We're badly handicapped," Mia said, "but we can do this." Apollo nodded.
Orson snorted and then stowed his comb away. "Let's begin," he said, "I think I've made things clear. Ahem. It was all an idea of Irene's. After Marvin died, she found out from some anonymous source that Gus killed him." He paused and then snapped his fingers. "I wanna a chair, now. Useless bailiff. Get me one."
Meekins squeaked and ran out of the room; a few seconds later, Orson was seated, his feet up on the witness stand. For an admiral, he sure wasn't taking this seriously. "Are you going to continue?" Apollo said.
Orson shrugged. "You tell me, dude," Orson said, "anything else you wanna know yet? Oh, and remember- no objections."
Armando shook his head and sipped his coffee, but he was not smirking for once. "Your Honor," he said, "the prosecution has a second charge it wants to cover in this court."
"W-what's that?" the Judge said.
"The murderer of Marvin Org," Armando said, and he leaned forward, smirking again. "I'm sure Mr. Orson wouldn't mind if we included that too?"
"Of course not," Orson said. He pulled his comb out and began combing his shorter hair. "Carry on, dude."
"The question we need to ask ourselves now is simple: who was the anonymous caller?" Armando said, "because while Gus Org can't be punished for his part in Marvin's death, this caller who planted the motive for Chandler-Chavez can."
"Then who do you claim was the caller?" Apollo said, "Mr. Orson. Mr. Armando?"
"Isn't that obvious, Red?" Armando said, smirking evilly, "obviously, it was Bertha Caroline. Unbeknownst to this court, our two leading ladies have actually been working together the whole time- and it seems that Chandler-Chavez didn't know that."
"What! But, that's ridiculous!" Caroline said.
"Shut up, granny," Orson snapped. "Well, Mr. Attorney? Any problems?"
"Uh, no," Apollo said. He didn't see any way out, at least not yet.
"However, we'd like to ask a question of Ms. Chandler-Chavez," Mia said.
Orson shrugged again, and Chandler-Chavez was let out of the defendant's stand. She had Orson's necklace around her neck again, and her rings were letting off sparks. "Speak," Orson said, pointing his knife-comb at her.
"About what?" Chandler-Chavez said, "what do you want?"
"I want to know everything about that anonymous caller," Mia said. "Please."
Orson's goon pressed the gun into the Judge's head, and Chandler-Chavez glanced at him… and then shrugged. "It could've been her, but I don't think it was," Chandler-Chavez said, "so I'll give this little challenge to Henry… explain how Caroline found my cell number."
The goon pulled the gun back and Chandler-Chavez took her seat back. Apollo watched her go and then focused on Orson. How to stop him… "Well," Orson said, "you've gotta remember that Marvin was a little snake sent to bite Blue Peace. I'm sure he told Caroline the phone number at the party. And she used that to arrange the calls to Irene so that Irene could kill Org in her stead."
Apollo wanted to object, but he couldn't or risk Orson's wrath. "Mr. Orson," Mia said, "I know you said that we can't object… but what about pressing for more information?"
"Sure, chick," Orson said. Apollo waited for him to add a dirty request or something, but mercifully, he said nothing.
"Thank you, Mr. Orson," Apollo said. Orson nodded. "Mr. Orson. Ms. Chandler-Chavez claimed that the assailant was using a voice-changer. If Caroline and Chandler-Chavez didn't know each other, why was that necessary?"
"Hell if I know," Orson said. "Do I look like Caroline?"
"Then how about this?" Apollo said, "how do you know about Caroline's supposed phone call?"
"Objection!" Armando shouted, pointing his coffee at Apollo, and he shook his head and drank his coffee. Then, slamming his mug on his desk, he shouted, "we already know that Chandler-Chavez used Orson in her scheme to kill Org."
Apollo recoiled, shocked at Armando's objection. Maybe it was just that he was used to Armando helping him? And Orson was glaring at Armando. "What's this?" he said, and the male bailiff pointed his gun at Mia. "Are you accepting one of her lies?"
But Armando just smirked at him. "I'm sorry, I think I misheard you," Armando said, "did you just say, 'I have no way to know about that phone call unless I was the one who made it'?"
The bailiff fired, and a bullet lodged just to the left of Mia- in other words, almost hitting Apollo as well. But Armando kept smirking, and Orson looked infuriated: his face twisted in fury, he'd sat up, his feet firmly on the ground, and his comb looking dangerously close to being twisted as his hands twitched. "We never collaborated on killing Org," Orson spat, "or is it time for another 'accident'?"
"It's time for more testimony," Apollo said, feeling utterly and absolutely tense, "if Chandler-Chavez is lying, then explain to us what really happened." Was he going to be shot…?
But Orson leaned back and began combing his hair again. "Good point," Orson said, "I guess it's understandable that you don't understand what's going on." He cleared his throat and said: "I got a job at MBA last Friday, 'cuz I wanted to bring my enemy down from the inside. Genetic engineering's one of the enemies of environmentalism, you know, of Blue Peace."
"Hold it!" Apollo yelled, taking a huge risk. The male bailiff pointed his gun at Apollo and Apollo gulped, and Orson was glaring at him with cold fury. "I-well- what do you mean by Blue Peace? Aren't you guys Blue Earth?"
"The only one who calls us 'Blue Earth' is Irene. Well, and Org. The rest of us, we were always Blue Peace," Orson informed him, smirking toothily. "Now, if there's no more questions, let's go on: on Friday, Irene called me to the hotel for a bit of fun. Afterwards, she told me a few choice secrets: about a death threat, and some phone calls, and how she was concocting a plan to kill Org. We already knew about what Org drank thanks to Marvin, so we were able to concoct a plan."
"So in other words, you were part of a conspiracy to murder Gus Org?" Mia said.
Orson snapped his fingers and the bailiff fired. One of Mia's (or was that Pearl's?) hair loops was blasted down. "I wasn't part of anything," Orson said, and he sighed. "I backed out, you see, after she kicked me out on Saturday." He began combing his hair again and continued: "on Monday, I did my job. During my lunch break, though, I met Irene. At the time, I didn't think she was about to go through with her plan. So then I went and destroyed that paper Irene wanted me to destroy. I did that, and then someone was dead. I realized what Irene's cryptic comment, 'don't drink the coffee' earlier meant, and then I tried to cover for her."
The Judge nodded, or at least tried to without hitting the gun close to his head, and said, "y-y-your cross-examination, Mr. Justice!"
"Mr. Orson," Apollo said, "I want to clarify a few things. First, you paid several visits to Ms. Chandler-Chavez on Monday, including once with a phone-necklace you were proven to have used. Do you deny this?"
"No," Orson said instantly, "there's no shame in admitting that. It was basically because I knew the wickedly smart police would find Irene at some point, and hey, what do you know? I was right."
"Because you told us about her," Apollo said.
"It took me a while to break down, though," Orson said. He shook his head and made a 'tsk'ing sound. "Such a shame, I wanted to protect my sweetheart at all costs."
Apollo glanced at Chandler-Chavez, who looked completely disinterested in him and was glaring at him with one of her impressively icy stares. "Then what about the coffee pot gambit?" Mia said.
"Objection!" Armando shouted. He shook his head and sipped his coffee, and then he said, "I'm disappointed, kitten. I have a question for you: what makes you say that Orson was the one who pulled that off? What about Chandler-Chavez herself?"
"But she has no reason to!" Apollo said.
There was another gunshot and a bullet slammed into the desk beside Apollo's right ear. "What'd I say?" Orson said.
"I shouldn't have to explain it," Armando said, "it was possible. Unless you have proof?"
"Yeah. A bullet in Fey's skull will be all the proof he needs," Orson said, "or do you have a different question, Mr. Attorney?"
Apollo swallowed. What he could do now? Orson had complete control! "Well," he said, "um… I-I guess maybe Chandler-Chavez could've done that too. But… but what about the report? Tell us more about that!"
"Heh, simple," Orson said, examining his comb. "It was written on a file called the '12-2 Report'. It said, '$500000 Chandler-Chavez Bell Friday' on it."
There was a crackle of electricity, and Apollo glanced at Chandler-Chavez, who had gripped the defendant's stand railing so hard that the wood was appearing to crack. Did she know something? Was the report wrong?
Wait a minute.
"That's completely wrong," Mia said, "everyone missed it."
"What was that?" Orson said, and he snapped his fingers again. The other hair loop was blasted off. "Keep this up, woman, and you're out."
Mia nodded, but Apollo was starting to think hard. No wonder Mrs. Wright had mentioned that, it was the key to Orson's guilt, wasn't it? But what had the original said? And most importantly, would he ever be able to present it to the court? "One other thing to clear up," Armando said, "Orson. Explain about Morgan Fey's claims."
"Dude, she heard I was arrested and tried to throw me under the bus. While I did use the phone to listen in to trial thanks to my buddies, I never called her," Orson said. Even though Apollo was sure he was lying, he certainly seemed completely tensionless. Was he just taking this all in stride?
"Well, it seems that all the lingering questions have been answered," Armando said, "except one. Orson, you are aware that you had a motive?"
"I don't have one, Mr. Lawyer," Orson replied, examining his comb again. "See, just because Org was a bastard didn't mean that I would ever've gotten my hands dirty. My job was never planning or killing. Just recruitment. One of my other friends, maybe, but not me."
The two bailiffs nodded; it seemed they knew the score. "So there was absolutely no motive?" Armando said, "no childhood past, no attempts to kill him because of Marvin's death, nothing?"
"Absolutely none," Orson replied, except this time he seemed to tense up. That he had a motive was clear, but what was he so tense over?
"Mr. Orson," Apollo said, "I couldn't quite hear you. You know, what with the gun noise. Could you please restate that?"
Orson rolled his eyes. "I have no childhood past with Org," he said, running his finger along his comb, and Apollo's bracelet instantly contracted, but Apollo tried not to react. "I didn't care about him killing his traitorous son, or about what he did to the old corrupt Blue Earth, or anything else. Got it?"
"…got it," Apollo said. He didn't like the look that the male bailiff was giving him.
"Well, that seems about it," Orson said, standing up and brushing himself off. "I'm glad to see that everyone's ready to finish this exhausting trial."
"What!?" Apollo said, "but we weren't even given the chance-"
"Shut up," Orson snapped, and the male bailiff pointed his gun at Mia. "Shut. Up. Hank, kill her-"
"…I think it's time for the defense to rest," Armando said quickly, before Hank the bailiff could shoot Mia. "What do you think?"
"I… the defense rests," Apollo said, feeling terrible.
"Just to let you know," Caroline said suddenly, "this isn't a legitimate trial."
"It's not a question of legitimacy," Orson said, "it's a question of having enough time as a free man to skip town. I ain't hanging around this capitalist wasteland any more, and neither are my pals."
"Go ahead," said a new, fourth bailiff wearing a monocle, and with what looked like stitches down his face. "Go ahead and tell us that 'we won't get away with this'."
Orson glanced up at him… and backed into his chair. "You," he hissed. Apollo blinked. You what? Mia also looked startled, and Chandler-Chavez was smiling lightly. Armando and most of the rest of court just looked confused.
"Uh… is that someone we're supposed to know?" Apollo said as the new bailiff joined the woman bailiff next to the Judge.
"I… no," Orson said, "Marcie, get down from there."
"What's the rush?" the new bailiff said, putting his hand on Marcie's shoulder, "why are you all afraid of me, John S. Doe, a humble bailiff? Do you not believe in Blue Peace?"
Orson coughed and pulled a gun out of his uniform, and said, "now, it's time for the verdict, right? Does the prosecution rest?"
"Under force of arms," Armando said, his visor smoking.
"Now, then, your verdict?" Orson said, his knife flicked out.
"W-well," the Judge said, practically sweating bullets, "I-I s-suppose this c-court has no ch-ch-choice but to find the defendants, B-Bertha Caroline and Irene Chandler-Chavez-"
And the doors burst open and Ema ran into the room. "Hold it!" she yelled, and a set of scalpels came flying out of nowhere and dug into Hank the bailiff, causing him to cry in pain and collapse to the floor- without pressing his foot to the ground. And then, with an ugly bang, Marcie the bailiff was shot by John Doe, and before she could hit the floor Doe caught her and slung her over the banister next to the Judge, who looked like he was going to faint. And then, with a clicking sound, Josephson pointed his rifle at Orson and the sound of gunfire erupted from outside.
"I'd suggest not stepping, by the way," Doe said cheerfully, "I've been instructed to painfully kill you if you set off your little bomb."
Orson looked at Doe, his face utterly pale, and sat back down in his chair. In contrast to his earlier smugness and sick behavior, Orson was increasingly looking like a nervous wreck. "Ms. Fey, who is that?" Apollo said, completely unnerved, to the point that he almost missed Dr. Kamosinko and Ema enter the courtroom.
"That would be Shelly de Killer," Mia said, "but what's he-" And her eyes fell on Chandler-Chavez. "…oh."
"Now, I have further instructions from my client," de Killer said, "they want you to actually stand trial, with no complications."
"Heh, well, at least that's not death," Orson said, and he glanced at Marcie's body. "But, what about the others-"
"You were a complete idiot, Mr. Orson," Ema replied, "do you know anything about bullet wounds?"
"A little," Orson said, "why?"
And Kamosinko shook his head and smirked, scalpels poking out between his fingers. "Prosecutor shot in side, but only on edge. Bullet did not hit vital organs or skeleton- enough to cause bleeding injury and hospitalization, da, but not too much." Then he snapped his fingers and a group of paramedics ran in and ran to Hank and Marcie.
"What?" Orson said, paling even more. Armando was smirking again, Mia was smiling smugly and brushing the fringe of her hair out of her eyes, and Apollo had crossed his arms and smiled. At last. "What?"
"She need hospitalization, da? So much so that show it to your goons, they take sympathy and let out prosecutor and husband who can now tell police about Mexican goons staying in prison," Kamosinko said. He crossed his arms and started laughing. "Now police are making assault on courtroom!"
As if to underscore it, there was a blast outside. "She's not dead!" one of the paramedics yelled, his hand on Marcie, and then Marcie and Hank were taken out of the room on stretchers run in.
And in the aftermath of it all, Mia looked through the papers and then glanced at Apollo. "Apollo," Mia said, "I'm going to go help Diego."
"What? But Ms. Fey," Apollo said, but she shook her head.
"I have something in mind," she said, and she joined Armando at the other desk.
"Um, I do want to ask one thing, though," Orson said, and he started running his comb over his fingers. "Mr. Assassin… you'll only kill me if I set off the bomb in the dam or something?"
"That is my instructions, yes," de Killer said, standing behind a very pale Judge.
And then Orson gave another psychotic smile and twisted his comb. The building shook. "I hope no one was using library #2," Orson said, smirking, "because it just went up in smoke."
There was another gunshot, and Orson's gun was shot out of his hand, literally. Josephson ejected a cartridge from his rifle, and Ema 'eeped' and ran over to the defense stand. "Listen up," Josephson growled, "Orson. There'll be a proper trial here."
"Hmph. Of course," Orson said, "however… I've gotta remind you of something. I still have bombs wired up. You skimp, Godot, and I start lighting this city up!"
"I understand," Armando said, and he smiled toothily at Orson. "Let's see about a real trial now, shall we?"
"W-well, this is certainly unusual circumstances!" the Judge said. "Um- let's start this over! Is the prosecution ready?"
"Prosecution team leader, ready," Armando said. Mia nodded.
"And defense?" the Judge said.
Apollo nodded. "Defense team ready," Apollo said, glancing at Ema, who was now looking through his files.
"I take it Ms. Fey and Ms. Skye will be taking over as the new co-counsels?" the Judge said.
Apollo nodded. "So it seems, your Honor," he said.
"And now, before we start, I do wonder something: I thought communications were down?" the Judge said.
"They still are, your Honor," Kamosinko said, scraping his scalpels against each other. "I will now go and try to fix."
Kamosinko left, and the Judge looked at de Killer and started shaking a bit more. "And how did Mr. Doe get contacted!?"
"I was contacted via a satellite phone number," de Killer said.
"Then it's time for a real cross-examination," Armando said, pointing his coffee at Orson- who was back to his normal slinking back. "Now, it's time for you to restate what you claim happened on Monday, the 11th of January."
"Of course, Mr. Lawyer," Orson said. He tossed his comb into the air and caught it, and then said, "like I said, on Monday, I did my job. During my lunch break, I met Irene. At the time, I didn't think she was about to go through with her plan since, you know, I wasn't gonna be able to help. But I agreed to go and destroy that paper Irene wanted me to destroy. I did that, and then someone was dead. I realized what Irene's cryptic comment about coffee just after lunch met, and then I tried to cover for her in court."
The Judge nodded. "And at what time did she make that comment?"
"Eh, around the time I met her during my lunch break," Orson said.
"Objection!" Apollo shouted, pointing. "Mr. Orson, even if she did make that comment, the coffee pots were washed out at 1:23 PM!"
"Objection!" Armando shouted, pointing his coffee cup at Apollo. "All we have is Caroline's word that she did it. Can you prove that she did wash out the pots?"
Apollo cringed. Did he have a way to prove it? Mrs. Wright had accepted it without question-
"All we need to do is examine those pots," Ema said suddenly. "C'mon, Apollo, you need to think with science."
"What? How would that be useful?" Apollo said.
Ema glanced at him. "Did you already forget about what made them so suspicious?" she said.
Oh. Apollo slammed his hands on the desk and said, "Mr. Armando! Of course I can prove it!"
"Oh? Then tell me," Armando said, "where's the proof?"
"It's the pot itself, Mr. Armando," Apollo said, "if the pot hadn't been washed, then why weren't there more fingerprints? Unless you're claiming that the first coffee pot was only used by Gus Org and Bertha Caroline?"
Armando was down, his visor smoking. Orson was sweating visibly again. "Objection!" Mia yelled, "can you prove that, Mr. Justice?" She flipped her fringe and added, "can you prove that the pot wasn't simply wiped?"
But before Apollo could answer in the negative, Ema spoke up. "It's pretty simple, Ms. Fey," Ema said, "there's a difference between wiped prints and washed prints. If you just wipe the prints, there'll be a certain amount of oils left behind on the plastic or glass, but if it's washed off, then those will be gone entirely. If there was no wiping on the first pot beyond Morgan Fey emptying the pot using her kimono sleeve, then-"
"-then there's proof that the pot was washed," Armando said, his visor still smoking. Mia recoiled. Apollo wondered if it was just force of habit.
"Yeah, well, in that case," Orson said, his eyes flicking towards the defense stand, "it must've been Caroline who poisoned him, not me!"
"Objection! Caroline had no opportunity to switch out that coffeepot!" Apollo shouted, "not only was she arrested at the scene of the crime, but you have already been proven to be the one who switched out the pots! And if you really are innocent, then I wonder why you did that!"
Orson recoiled again and threw the comb up into the air. He clonked him on the head, and then he began trying to turn it- only for a rifle shot to go off, leaving a bullet hole at his feet. He yelped and dropped the comb. "I-I-" he said, sweating rapidly, "I- well, you know-"
"It's almost like you really are the killer," Apollo said, crossing his arms.
"Objection!" Armando shouted. He slammed his coffee cup on his desk and said, "then explain this, Red! How did he find out about Chandler-Chavez's phone calls and email? Do you claim that they were not the work of Caroline and Org?"
"He's just giving you ammunition," Ema noted quietly.
"Shh," Apollo said quietly back, "before Orson sets off any more bombs." Ema pouted, and Apollo said to the court, "Mr. Armando, the defense believes that Orson was the one who sent those emails and phone calls."
"Objection!" Mia shouted. She slammed her hand on the desk and said, "Mr. Justice! Explain how he'd know what happened to Orson or was able to send that email!"
Apollo thought for a moment. He didn't know about the latter, but the former… "On Friday," Apollo said, reading from a paper from the court record from the first day of trial, "Mr. Orson was at MBA for a job interview, probably using his power as the co-leader of Blue Earth to blackmail his way into a job. If this is the case, then he was presumably in a meeting with Org. At some point, Org left his computer alone, allowing Orson to use his email to send Ms. Chandler-Chavez death threats."
"Objection!" Armando shouted, and he slammed his coffee on the desk. "Why would Org ever leave his desk?"
"That's… a good question," Ema said, "but what would actually get rid of him? Hmm…"
Apollo wondered that as well. Maybe it was a phone call? No, he had Caroline for that. Was there something he just had to address? Or maybe Caroline was busy… "Mr. Armando," Apollo said, "at what times did you meet with Ms. Caroline regarding your coffee bean testing initiative?"
Armando thought for a moment. "…every Friday afternoon," he finally said.
"Then the defense charges that Org had to leave to answer a call that Caroline couldn't answer!" Ema shouted.
"Wait, Ema-" Apollo said, but he was too late: Armando shook his head and sipped his coffee, while Mia smiled confidentily at them.
"I'm sure Mr. Justice and Ms. Skye don't need to be reminded about Morgan Fey?" Mia said, "I mean, she was a major part of the second day of trial."
"As the second secretary, she would've taken any jobs," Armando said, "so unless she was calling Org away herself, your little theory's less solid than a mug made of sand."
"Well, back to square zero," Ema said, leaning forward, her hands on the desk. Had she done something like this before? Apollo shook his head. He had to focus. But Armando and Mia were right. He couldn't explain that away.
Orson's infuriating smirk was back. "Well, looks like I wasn't the one who sent that email," Orson said, combing his hair again. "Should I move on?"
The Judge nodded. "Org's viciousness has already been proven. I suppose-"
"Objection!" Apollo shouted, and he slammed his fists on the desk. "Your Honor! The defense has a new theory to propose!"
"Yeah?" Armando said, "and what would that be?"
"That Morgan Fey was in on the plan from the start," Apollo said. The gallery, long silent thanks to Orson's goons, suddenly exploded back into life, and the Judge was forced to employ his gavel once more.
"But I thought the defense claimed that Fey caught them in the act!?" the Judge said, "I thought that the unusual timing of the attack on Kurain proved that it was an impromptu plan?"
"That was what we thought too," Apollo said, "however, that was under the assumption that Chandler-Chavez was the killer. But with the revelations about Orson, the defense has realized something else: that there's another question we never answered."
"And that would be?" Armando said, "what question is that?"
"The sugar-shaker," Apollo said, "the one that the poison was found in." He took out a paper and said, reading from it, "if the court will recall, Ms. Chandler-Chavez stated in her testimony that the poison shaker was given to her by Mr. Orson. However, Ms. Caroline told the defense in the first day of court that she was missing the shaker."
"Objection!" Armando shouted. "Red. How do you know that that's the truth?" He smiled and said, "that'd be awfully convenient, you know."
"Well, I can't say I disagree," Apollo said, "it would be awfully convenient. Except for one thing: there's no reason whatsoever for Caroline to leave behind that sugar shaker. It's just awfully convienant that she happened to leave it, isn't it, Mr. Armando?" He smiled and crossed his arms, and then added, "or can you prove that Caroline did leave that behind?"
Armando summoned a new coffee, shook his head, and took a long drink. And then he spat his coffee out. "However, if Morgan Fey was the one who stole it and then brought it as part of a plan with Orson, then that'd explain that," Mia said. "But if that's the case, then when did Orson and Fey have the time to plan?"
That was a good point. Was there a time they could've met? It would've had to be before the shaker went missing… "Probably after the attack on the maize field last November," Apollo said. "Fey was in charge of compiling the 12-2 Report; there's a high likelihood that she would've met with him during it."
"Yeah, actually, she did," Ema said, flipping through a copy of the report. "It says that the team met with the leaders of the cell."
"Orson was one of the leaders of Blue Earth- or Blue Peace, I suppose- and he's already boasted to that effect," Mia said. "Do you deny that then, Mr. Orson?"
Orson squeaked and began trying to twist his comb, but he quickly stopped when a rifle shot fired off one of his epaulettes. "I-I didn't meet with her!" he said.
"Ha, you coward," Armando said. He smirked again and said, "I wonder what happens when we tell Morgan that you told the mercs to plan for being arrested. You never really had any intention on killing Kurain off, did you?"
"I- that's a loaded question!" Orson said. "D-don't make me blow something else up!"
"But Mr. Armando," the Judge said, "if that's the truth, then what about the timing of the train?"
"We now know something from the attacks on the courtroom and the detention center," Armando said, "those mercenaries have been answering to Orson the entire time. Same thing with those saboteurs."
"Which means that he could've simply planned for something like this," Apollo said, "and purposely delayed the attack so that Fey wouldn't talk."
"But would Fey even talk?" Armando said, "I doubt she would. Ever."
"True," Mia said, "but we know her. Mr. Orson doesn't."
Orson paled more and pulled his feet off of the witness stand. "I- well- if that's the case, then how do you explain that report?" Orson said. "If I wanted to blame Irene, then why would I destroy it for her!?"
Apollo wasn't sure about that… or even if that was what the document even originally said. "Ema," he said privately, "can you science up that report or something? I want to know what it originally said."
Ema nodded. "I'll see what I can do," she said, and she took out her copy of the report.
"Your Honor," Apollo said, "before the defense addresses that report, it wishes to return to something else: the email."
"Let me guess," Armando said, "Morgan called Org away, letting Orson send the email."
"Exactly," Apollo said, "and I bet that even then Orson and Fey had some means of communicating so that Org would be called away when Orson could send that email."
"I-I see!" the Judge said.
"Hold it!" Orson screamed. "W-what about a motive!? I already told you all! I don't have one!"
"Objection!" Apollo shouted, and he slammed his fists on the desk. "Mr. Orson! You do have a motive!"
"Objection!" Armando shouted, "the prosecution demands proof!"
And Apollo submitted that photograph Josephson had given them. "Your Honor, before this trial began, I was given this photograph of a man and his son," Apollo said, "and I have to admit that at first I didn't recognize them. But I have a theory as to who these people are: Ian Phillips and Henry Orson!"
The gallery erupted into an enormous conversation. "Objection!" Mia shouted, "you have no proof that's who those people are!" But Armando's visor was smoking, and Orson'd turned white. "…Diego?"
"That- that's Phillips," Armando said, his visor still smoking, "but how-"
"I doubt that Mr. Josephson would give me unrelated pictures," Apollo said, "and while I don't know how he acquired them- presumably as part of his QLF research- I do know that up until now there's two major components of this case that we don't know the face of: William Waxman and Ian Phillips."
"But what makes you think that that's Orson," Mia said, looking disquieted, "they look nothing alike."
"No," Ema said, "there's a definite resemblance, scientifically-speaking." She had looked up from her paper and was now looking back and forth between Orson and the photograph. "I think that if we were to try and wash the dye out of his hair, we'd find a blond-haired child who shares the same love of combs as his younger self."
Orson's eyes went wide and he made another squeaking noise. "I- no!" Orson said, his voice higher-pitched as his voice cracked. "No!"
"Thus the defense argues that the motive for murder was revenge for the death of Ian Philips!" Apollo shouted.
"Objection!" Armando shouted, and he threw his coffee at Apollo. It was very painful. "Why would he wait eight years!?"
"Objection!" Apollo shouted, wiping some of the scalding-hot coffee off of his face with one hand, "unlike Caroline, Orson wouldn't've been in position until just recently, due to his age! Furthermore, as his plan has already shown, he was desperate to make sure someone else took the blame!"
"Objection!" Armando yelled, and he slammed a new coffee cup on the desk. "If that's the case, then why Morgan!?"
"Simple, Mr. Armando," Apollo said tersely, "his complicated scheme had many levels of backup. But in order for the original plan to work, he needed to make sure that his intended fallwoman, Chandler-Chavez, would have a reason to try and kill Org! And who better than a secretary to help arrange that! Further, Fey's corruption meant that for an heir to a billionaire like Orson, it'd be more than easy enough to get what she wanted!"
The crowd continued in its loud discussion. "Order! Order! Order in the court!" the Judge shouted. "Mr. Justice! Are you claiming that Orson intended from the beginning to have Chandler-Chavez murder Gus Org?"
"Yes, your Honor," Apollo said.
"And the defense's proof is this: the 12-2 Report that Orson burnt," Ema said.
"Objection!" Mia said, and she slammed her hands on the desk and pointed. "That's some of the most incriminating evidence against her!"
"That would be the case if that was what was written on there," Ema said, "however! Thanks to the power of science, or rather, handwriting, I've figured out something! Two different people wrote down these words!"
"What!?" the Judge, Mia, and Armando said, the latter two recoiling.
"Mr. Justice! Ms. Skye! What exactly is different!?" the Judge demanded. "Who wrote what!?"
Apollo put his finger to his forehead and thought. What would make sense for Org to write? "Your Honor," Apollo said after a minute, "the only word that Org ever wrote was '$500000'."
"What? But all those other words-" the Judge said.
"Objection!" Armando shouted, cutting the Judge off, and he shook his head and drank some coffee. "Red," he said finally, "don't you remember? Wright told Chandler-Chavez about what was written on the report that she saw during her testimony. Are you suggesting that she misremembered her own report?"
"No," Apollo said, "Mr. Wright never actually read the whole thing when Chandler-Chavez could hear them. The only time he did read the whole report aloud was towards the end of Dr. Kamosinko's last testimony- in other words, after the communications cut off. Then, during her testimony, he only read that she was going to give him $500000 on Friday."
"And that's the point, Mr. Justice," Mia said, crossing her arms and smiling slightly. "I'm told that she was shocked, but that's only because the court was able to obtain a burnt document."
And then Apollo crossed his own arms and smiled back. "And that's exactly it, Ms. Fey," Apollo said, "first, a question: does the prosecution accept the claim that that note was made on the 27th of December, the last time that Org and Chandler-Chavez could've met face-to-face?"
"Of course," Armando said… and then his visor started smoking. "Don't tell me…"
"Wait, December 27th?" Mia said, looking surprised and uncrossing her arms, "that can't be right-"
"But it is, Ms. Fey," Apollo said, his arms still folded. "And that's our proof that the note was forged. Because if it was really written by Org, then there's no reason he'd just say Friday! That wouldn't refer to tomorrow, after all!"
The crowd erupted into conversation, and Mia and Armando recoiled again. Orson fell out of his chair. "Great job, Apollo!" Ema said, "and great job me," she added, smugly, and she looked at the paper again. "Let's see… we don't have the original papers, but…"
"Hold it!" Orson shouted, standing up. "If I did that, then why would I admit to burning the paper!?"
"Because Chandler-Chavez would tell us anyways," Apollo said, "and because it was convenient for us to find incriminating proof of Chandler-Chavez that would 'prove' who the real killer was. So, while you did appear to burn that document, in reality you left the rest of the document so that a forensic examination would reveal what appeared to be the whole truth."
"But what about the name Chandler-Chavez? Or Bell?" Orson said.
"Org was a member of the original Blue Earth and knew exactly who was blackmailing him, since they talked face-to-face," Apollo said, "and further, he couldn't say anything about her role, because if he could he already would've- chances are, she had some sort of protection."
Orson recoiled and fell onto his butt. "Then all he wrote down was the monetary amount?" Mia said.
Apollo nodded. "If you think about it, it makes more sense for him to just write the monetary amount," Apollo said, "because that way, it wouldn't be clear that it was blackmail or that he was giving money to a terrorist organization."
"Then what about the attack on the report that destroyed the original copy?" the Judge said, "how do you explain that!?"
Oh. Oh yeah. "Uh," Apollo said, "Orson felt like destroying it?"
"No, that's pretty obvious," Ema said before anyone else could say something. "I bet that there was something on the original report that would've given away the forgery- deeper or lighter markings from the penstrokes."
"In other words," Armando said, back to normal, "Orson had it destroyed so that he could try and pin the blame on Chandler-Chavez- hence why he tried to kill the lawyers too- and so that we wouldn't be able to prove it was him."
"Stop siding with him!" Orson snapped and he twisted his comb so hard that it snapped in two. The courtroom shuddered once again, and the sounds of gunfire suddenly became much louder. "Oops. I think that was the hallway bombs."
Hallway bombs!? Apollo took a deep breath. He had to stay focused… "Mr. Orson," Apollo said, "you had to've been the one who ordered the paper's destruction, because you're the only one who can command the various members of Blue Earth or Blue Peace." He slammed his hands on the desk and shouted, "just admit it already, Orson! You're the true killer of Gus Org, and you've been trying to pin the blame on Caroline and Chandler-Chavez!"
Orson clutched at his head and screamed, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" When he was done wailing, he doubled down, holding his head… and then stood up, now in military posture, his epaulette mysteriously back, and with a lit cigarette clenched between his teeth. And then he clapped. "Good show, Mr. Justice," he said, now sounding stiff and formal.
"Where did the old Orson go?" Ema said as Orson pulled a small phone-like device out of his uniform.
"Orson," Armando said, "you admit to it?"
Orson nodded. "I will admit that I forged that report in an effort to implicate Irene. I also knew of Caroline's past and forged an alliance with Morgan Fey to kill Kurain village and try and manipulate Irene into murder. However, there's one thing you are yet to answer- if this was all set up, then what about Marvin?"
"What?" Apollo said.
Orson took a deep drag of his cigarette and blew the smoke out. "You heard me," he said, "what about Marvin Org's death? Without Marvin's death at Caroline's hands, I doubt that Irene would ever've come to the conclusion that Org would want to kill her too."
"Oh, that's rather simple," Apollo said. "Your Honor, the defense wishes to implicate Henry Orson in the murder of Marvin Org as well."
The entire courtroom was silent, with the only sound being Orson's cigarette burning up to its base. "What are you talking about?" the Judge said, shaking his head, "I thought that Org was the killer?"
"And that's our last fatal assumption, your Honor," Apollo said. "I would like the court to direct its attention to the last piece of evidence at the scene of the crime- the cigarette. And thanks to Mr. Orson, we know whose it was- and what really happened."
"What are you talking about!?" the Judge said.
"Objection!" Armando shouted, and he slammed his coffee cup on his desk. "Let Red finish speaking!"
"O-of course!" the Judge yelped.
Good old Armando. "Your Honor," Apollo said, "it's simple. As Dr. Kamosinko mentioned, the police were afraid that the cigarette would be discovered during a trial of Org for his son's death. Therefore, we can assume that it was not common knowledge, to the point that even Chandler-Chavez didn't know about it until that mystery caller told her. And as Orson had already admitted to being the anonymous caller, in an attempt to goad Chandler-Chavez into murder… we can assume that Orson knew what happened in the last hours of Marvin Org's life!"
"Gah!" Orson hissed, and he stepped backwards, although hopefully enough not to set off that bomb. "N-no!"
"Objection!" Armando shouted, "then tell me, Red, what really happened!?"
"Mr. Armando, the defense will now lay out what happened," Apollo said. "From Ms. Caroline, we already know that Orson was at the Orgs' holiday party. While there, he acquired Caroline's natural gas containers and planted them them in the car, with the mechanism to release the gas."
"However, he needed a way to trigger that," Ema said, adjusting her glasses, "and that's how we'll find our proof."
What? "What do you mean?" Mia said, looking somewhat confused.
"Well, you see, while the car was damaged by the natural gas explosion, it wasn't completely destroyed," Ema said, "Orson was never able to wipe his prints, after all. So the defense charges that an examination of the car will reveal prints of Henry Orson, from when he set off the gas containers!"
"And in the process of leaving, he left behind a cigarette, that he knew he left and told Chandler-Chavez to try and legitimize himself," Armando said. He nodded. "I see. However, where was Orson?"
"…in the back seat," Apollo said after thinking a little, "we've assumed that Org somehow made a mechanism to cause the natural gas to leak. But if that never was the case- if the police had simply found bits of the car itself and assumed they went to the 'bomb'- then we can piece together what happened and find out why Org left when he did, and where he was going." Apollo pointed dramatically at Orson and said, "the defense charges that Org was bringing Henry Orson to his apartment! But at some point in the tunnel, Orson opened a gas container and rushed into the front to disengage the lock and jump out! Org, who saw Orson doing this, turned around- and subsequently died!"
"And if we find the fingerprints, we can prove it," Ema said, "even beyond the cigarette, and the coffee pot trick, and the actions of the mercenaries and Blue Planet."
Orson began twitching. "Don't- don't you have an objection!?" Orson demanded, and he began tearing his medals off frantically. "Don't you have something to say!?"
But Armando shook his head. "The prosecution rests," he said, "your Honor, the prosecution will order a check on that car immediately. And if that's true-"
"Then the prosecution asserts that the defense's theory is completely correct," Mia said.
"I- you- NO!" Orson howled, and he held his phone device up. "I'll do it! I'll blast those children to kingdom come!"
There was a set of gunshots, and Orson collapsed to the ground, but he was still alive and clutching the detonator. He began laughing and prepared to press the button. Apollo leaned forward, desperate to stop Orson- and then a phone rang.
Mia pulled Pearl's phone out. "Mia Fey. Oh, hi, Trucy… let me put you on speaker-phone," Mia said. She pressed a button and put it on the desk.
"Okay, I'll say it again," Trucy said, her voice ringing through the courtroom. "Diego and Valerie are with me, and we're going to the hospital with Aunt Maggey now. We've all been ordered to evacuate, but we're all okay now!"
"E-e-evacuate!?" Orson demanded, and he slammed his fist on the button.
"Is everything okay?" Trucy said, "I heard someone shot Mommy…"
"Go off!" Orson hissed, and he slammed the button over and over with his fist, until it was cracked. "Why won't- why won't-"
"And we saw the bomb squad go by, actually," Trucy said, "um, Aunt Mia, is there a dog over there?"
And Orson collapsed to the ground, his splintered detonator under his fist and his medals scattered around him, like testaments to all the lives he ruined.
The paramedics removed him, and Caroline took the stand. "Ms. Caroline, you'll still be under arrest for your attempt on Marvin Org's life," the Judge said. He shook his head, and said, "and today's trial was certainly extremely stressful. However, it seems that the time has finally come for me to deliver my verdict." He glanced behind him to see that Shelly de Killer had vanished, and then he nodded and looked down at Caroline. "At least for the death of Gus Org, this court finds the defendant, Bertha Caroline… NOT GUILTY."
The mysterious confetti fell from the ceiling, and Armando and Mia were smiling. "We did it!" Ema said, looking happier than Apollo'd ever seen her, "we did it! Yeah!" She and Apollo shared a fist-bump.
Trial was finally over.
January 15, 12:31 AM, Hickfield Clinic, Los Angeles, Room 103
Mrs. Wright was still in her hospital bed when Apollo visited her. Mr. Wright and his kids had come and gone, according to a nurse; right now, her only visitor was Amulek Josephson, who was sitting in a chair and reading a newspaper.
"Apollo!" Mrs. Wright said, shifting upwards (she looked no worse for wear, if you ignored the IVs and wires and cords and numerous blankets), "so you've finally come to visit me."
"I'm just surprised you're able to be visited so quickly, ma'am," Apollo said. "I assume you heard about what happened?"
Mrs. Wright nodded. Besides Caroline and Orson, Chandler-Chavez and Dr. Kamosinko had been arrested, although the latter two had turned themselves in. Chandler-Chavez was also under suspicion of hiring Shelly de Killer, although she was saying nothing and de Killer had left with only a card to admit that he had been there. Further, the mercenaries had surrendered without a fight at the detention center once the police began arriving en masse, ensuring no casualties, while the police were able to subdue the Blue Earth/Blue Police extremists who'd been keeping the courtroom under Orson's iron grip.
And best of all, despite all the bombs Orson had set off, no one had been killed. Thanks to Mr. Wright, all the likely places for bombs had been evacuated, and the dam overlooking the Wrights' suburbs had been saved thanks to the actions of two disarming experts, Ted Tonate and Candice Arme.
"Well, I'm glad that in the end Orson was brought to justice," Mrs. Wright said, leaning back in her bed.
"Oh, that reminds me," Apollo said. "Mrs. Wright, how did you realize that report was forged?"
"The thought occurred to me after Chandler-Chavez mentioned that she met with Org on the 27th of December," Mrs. Wright said. "I realized that even if she was lying, we still knew when she flew in and out of California and we'd already confirmed it. So I knew that the report had to be false. However, I wasn't completely convinced until Orson shot me."
"And what were you doing with Detective Gumshoe?" Apollo said.
At this, Mrs. Wright smiled slightly. "By making myself a target, I could make sure that I could get the rings to Chandler-Chavez without Orson suspecting anything," she said, "fortunately, I was right."
Apollo nodded. "That was brave of you," he told her. Brave, but stupid.
And Mrs. Wright smiled lightly. "After what my mother did, I asked Josephson to come to court with his rifle," Mrs. Wright said, "and he told me that Orson and Philips were son and father. Knowing what Blue Earth did originally, I knew I had to do something drastic to save my family's life."
Apollo nodded again. "Mr. Josephson," he said, and Josephson glanced up, "how did you know about Orson, anyways?"
Josephson smiled wryly. "My late wife's maiden name is Audrey Phillips," he said, "she was an avid hiker. But one day, she went hiking with insufficient water at a lake that had recently dried up thanks to the Great Banks Dam. She was murdered by an unknown assailant, after she tried to get some water from him, according to the sole witness. The incident was only resolved four years ago."
"Wait," Apollo said, "does that mean-"
"Henry Orson is my nephew," Josephson said, "his mother's name was Orson too, you see, and he lived with her- they were divorced. But Henry and Ian were always close. He must've taken his father's death hard… to the point that he was willing to do this to kill Gus Org."
"So Phillips founded Blue Earth to avoid what happened to his sister," Mrs. Wright said sadly. "And many years later, Orson attacked the traitors to environmentalism and the woman who cared only about the fate of her brother and welcome Phillip's death, as a way of getting back at Org himself, I suppose." She paused, and looked right at Apollo. "It was a pleasure going against you in court," she said, "I hope we get the change again… and this time, that I not get shot."
Apollo nodded. That… would actually be nice.
January 19, 5:04 PM, Los Angeles International Airport
True to Ema's wishes, Mr. Wright had marshaled as many people as possible to see Ema off. There was Apollo, Trucy, Mr. Wright, Mrs. Wright (specially released from the hospital for now), Edgeworth, the Gumshoes (Mrs. Gumshoe was a nice if very clumsy woman), the Gumshoes' son Ace, Pearl, and Diego and Valerie, who both seemed very sad to see "Aunt Ema" go.
"So!" a man in a white uniform wearing orange sunglasses said, striding up, "this is who I've come to replace?" He reached towards his side-holster… and pulled the badge out. "My name's Bobby Fulbright!" he said cheerfully, "in justice we trust!"
"Hello, Detective," Edgeworth said, "fresh from San Fransisco… Ema. Good bye."
"Thank you, Mr. Edgeworth, sir!" Ema said. The others chorused their goodbyes as well, and Ema went so far as to give everyone a sort-of hug. But before she could do anything to Apollo, she said, "can I talk to you privately?"
Ema lead Apollo away from the group, who was now talking animatedly with Detective Fulbright, and over to a corner that overlooked the tarmac. "Apollo," Ema said, "it's been great knowing you. I know I'm only gone for a year, but…" she blushed and pulled a button out of her lab coat. "Uh, please remember me by this?" Then she looked left and right, and then said, "and, uh, there's something else too…"
Apollo could feel himself growing embarrassed too as Ema started to lean in, her eyes closing, her head tilted. He'd never been kissed before! But he closed his eyes anyways, and tilted his head himself. He was an amateur, but he wasn't going to back down! Ema pressed the button into his hand, and then he felt her soft lips on his-
"Herr Forehead's gettin' lucky! Good job!"
And Ema squeaked, rammed Apollo painfully in the forehead by accident, and then fell forward into Apollo, pinning him against the wall. Behind her, Klavier was standing there, snapping his finger and tapping his foot to an invisible beat. Then, leaning in, Klavier said, "I heard you got to defend with Herr Godot. That must've been fun, ja?"
"K-klavier!" Apollo said, his heart hammering almost as much as when a gun was pointed at him a week ago, "pl-please go away!"
"Go away, you glimmerous fop!" Ema shouted. She was bright red, and when Klavier left she said sullenly, "well, don't forget, okay?"
"O-okay," Apollo said. She stormed over to the group, where Klavier was now saying hello to Edgeworth and the others. Pearl and Mrs. Wright were watching Ema come over though.
"Mr. Gavin," Mrs. Wright said when Apollo and Ema arrived at the group, "could you please come over here for a second? As one prosecutor to another, I want to say something…"
"Sure thing, Fräulein Wright," he said, and he walked over to her. "Something wrong?"
And Mrs. Wright gave him an angelic smile and then slugged him, hard, in the gut. He made a sort of groaning noise and fell onto the floor. Everyone else seemed surprised… and then Mr. Wright said, "by the way, Ema, I don't think you work for the prosecution office of Los Angeles anymore."
"I will be blind and deaf for the next five seconds," Edgeworth added when Mr. Wright nudged him, and he took his glasses off.
And with a satisfied grin, Ema kicked Klavier in the leg and waved goodbye to everyone as she walked toward the terminal.
"Remember, kids," Pearl said, "don't copy your mother… unless someone gets in the way of two special someones! Then let them have it!" And to underscore it, she slapped Klavier before he could finally get up and stormed off. Mr. Wright laughed and he helped Mrs. Wright walk off, followed by two awe-struck little kids.
"Come, Detective Fulbright. We need to get you oriented," Edgeworth said. "Gumshoe?"
"Coming, pal!" Gumshoe said, and he and his family followed Edgeworth and a confused-looking Fulbright off. Apollo looked at the terminal again and waved goodbye to Ema, who waved back, and then left Klavier whimpering on the floor as he left the airport.
He slipped his button into his pocket and left to face a new case.
A/N: And so, my first casefic is completed! From now until two years in the future, my sister will be putting her own casefic here, but never fear: even if I'm not writing it, I think you'll still see some of my influence there. ;)
I want to thank everyone who left reviews, favorited, and followed, and I want to know one little thing: if this story was enjoyable, predictable, or if the final evidence was too out of left field.
Finally, as final bit of behind-the-scenes: originally Chandler-Chavez and Adams were the same person, and Chandler-Chavez was the real killer. And here's one final mystery for you: who originally hired Shelly de Killer? Why was he in LA when Chandler-Chavez wanted to hire him?