Apollo Justice hated archive research. He hated the overly quiet studiousness that always pervaded the basement of the courthouse, the way someone would hiss out a "Shhh" the moment anyone dared to raise their voice above a whisper, even if it was to discuss something case-related, the smell of dust and old paper which was ever-present. Perhaps it was a remnant of his law school days, which he now regarded with rather mixed feelings. While he loved his profession, looking back at his past had become something he preferred to avoid. Kristoph Gavin, and then, recently, Clay…

He shook his head, forcing his thoughts back into the present by telling himself that he particularly hated being stuck here half an hour before closing time on a Friday night, looking up some obscure precedent to use in court next week, since Mr. Wright had recalled a case from his early days which had apparently been similar – now if only he could find it…

By now, he had read his way through a number of manila folders, and his eyelids were growing heavy. He would soon have to give up – thank goodness this case came with a slightly longer preparation period than their average murder trial. Come to think of it, that was rather bizarre. Comparatively minor crimes like patent infringement and theft allowed for a few days, while killings were, more often than not, tried the very next day. Perhaps this, more than anything, was a sign that a 'dark age of the law' was at hand, only that it had begun long before the press had begun to make a big deal out of it.

Apollo pinched his cheek when his eyes threatened to close, the pain serving to restore his alertness for a moment.

I'll just finish this one folder, and then, I'll go home. I've done what I could for today.

If he did not happen upon it soon, he would have to return on Monday. Just thinking about it made him roll his eyes.

Come on…it's got to be here somewhere…

Stifling a yawn, he read on, forcing himself to ignore the way the words began to blur on the page until they became all but impossible to read. Maybe, if he just closed his eyes for a minute, he would be able to refocus and finish this up…

A minute became two, grew into five, turned into seven. By the time ten minutes had passed, Apollo was snoring softly, sitting in the small reading alcove, the file folder still open in his lap.

Apollo woke to darkness and the sound of someone rattling on a locked door.

A locked door…?

He shot up from the comfortable armchair that had, in its coziness, served to trap him here with whatever maniac was currently attempting to get out of the large subterranean hall.

Since his eyes were slow to adjust to the low light level, he could only see the vaguest outline of the other person – but when they growled in frustration, things suddenly became a whole lot worse.

That isn't…? No, it can't be.

"If there is anybody left in this godforsaken temple to the distortion of truth, they would do well to open this door, or else I will…"

It is.

Apollo sighed. "Prosecutor Blackquill?"

The other man's tirade ceased immediately, and he could dimly see the figure near the door turning around and leaning against the wood.

"Justice-dono, what a surprise. It seems I am not the only one who chanced being bored into slumber by the local reading material."

Blackquill let out a derisive chuckle. "This is probably karmic retribution for inviting you to spend the night in my cell a few months ago."

Oh hell no.

Apollo reached into his pocket and pulled out his cell phone, thinking that perhaps Prosecutor Gavin would know someone who could let them out of this case mausoleum, as much of a people person as he was – only to give it a crestfallen look when the display did not light up. Apparently, the battery was dead, and he had not thought to bring his charger.

"My cell phone's out of juice. I don't suppose you have one on you?"

Blackquill scoffed as he walked towards the defense attorney.

"I have yet to purchase one again. Taka serves as a speedy enough means of communication at present."

Apollo cringed. "Don't tell me your bird's somewhere in here, too?"

On one hand, sudden talons in his face in near-total darkness were probably the one thing that would completely frame this situation as hell on earth, on the other, maybe Blackquill's damn overgrown pigeon could suss out a way out of here and notify someone…

The tall prosecutor promptly negated his tentatively burgeoning hope. "No. My compatriot prefers above-ground quarters, and since there is no decent hunting to be had in these catacombs, he never ventures down here with me."

"Of course not – the one time he'd be useful…"

Apollo did not have to be able to see Blackquill's face to know that the other man's eyes were narrowing dangerously upon his remark.

"Agreed – he would certainly prove to be of more use than you."

That did it. Apollo stalked over to the large double doors, banging on them and shouting at his best Chords of Steel volume, "HEY! IS ANYBODY OUT THERE?"


Blackquill had followed him and now clamped a hand over his mouth to emphasize his command. The prosecutor's grip was not unlike a steel vise, and Apollo found himself swallowing hard. Exonerated or not, the man was an ex-inmate, and probably not entirely unused to getting his way by employing physical means.

In a quieter voice, Blackquill continued, "If you continue to insist on exacerbating this already untenable situation by giving me a headache, know that I do not take kindly to obviously futile attempts to get yourself released by resorting to this sort of infernal racket. Everyone has left. We are trapped for now, and we are going to deal with it without you deafening me. Is that understood?"

Apollo nodded quickly, and the hand was removed from his face. Only then did the full reality of the problem set in.

He was stuck in an archive which would not be unlocked until Monday morning, and his companion in this misery was a man who had a fairly nasty temper and not much of a reason to be friendly towards him.

The next fifty-odd hours were going to be the worst.