by Cyberchao X

Summary: It's amazing how drastically the course of history can be altered with just the slightest difference in a single event. In the world of Ace Attorney, the first quarter of the 21st century was shaped by one single moment.

(note: I haven't actually played the Investigations games, so I can't do my usual "direct quotes" thing for what little bit of this is pulled directly from canon before we get to the "what if?" that is basically the idea for this whole thing.)

December 23, 2000
Mansion of Jeffrey Master

"Hypogeusia? Or is it ageusia? The great Dane Gustavia…a chef who can't even taste!" The sculptor Pierre Hoquet mocked his former partner, angering the chef. "No wonder you need your son to taste all of your creations." In a rage, Gustavia charged at Hoquet, but Hoquet was ready, knocking the larger man into a rock salt lamp. Gustavia began bleeding profusely from the back of his head, falling unconscious. "…Idiot…well, even so, I'd better call for help. Murder's still murder, even if it was justified self-defense, so I can't just leave him here to bleed out." He called the others, explaining what had happened…with some omissions.

Hoquet's statement: "I was walking past Mr. Master's room when I heard someone inside. Since I knew he was having tea with Miss Hall, I looked in, and found Dane attempting to steal the Angel's Recipe. I confronted him on this, and he came at me. I defended myself, shoving him down, and he hit his head on the rock lamp. I immediately went for help." All true statements—well, actually the first thing he did was check to make sure Gustavia was only unconscious, rather than dead, but other than that it was all true; however, Gustavia had attacked not merely because Hoquet had called him on his potential theft, but also because the two men had previously been collaborating and Hoquet ended the partnership at the finals, wanting to claim the grand prize all for himself. Furthermore, since Gustavia's injury had caused the contest to be canceled, he had gone to fetch his son, Horace, from the car where he'd been instructed to tie up Gustavia's son Simon, since the extra measure of precaution to sabotage Gustavia was no longer needed. He apologized to both Simon and Horace for what he'd done. Simon, however, refused to accept the apology.

When he came to in the hospital, Dane Gustavia decided to file assault charges against Pierre Hoquet. Hoquet hired Gregory Edgeworth as his defense attorney.

December 24, 2000
Edgeworth Law Offices

Gregory Edgeworth listened to the details of the case as told by Hoquet. "Well, it's not going to be an easy case, seeing as how there are no witnesses either way and the legal system favors the prosecution. However, reading over the charges that Mr. Gustavia is pressing, something sounds fishy on his side as well. I think a 'justified self-defense' plea is your best bet…but the prosecution would have to accept such a plea, and unfortunately, this case has been assigned to Manfred von Karma. Anything less than a full conviction will likely be unacceptable to him."

"von Karma?" remarked Edgeworth's young assistant, Raymond Shields. "That's going to be tough…but I have faith in your abilities."

"Yeah. At least this isn't a murder case, so we can actually put the victim on the stand."

"It should be noted that only Gustavia had a motive for trying to steal the Angel's Recipe," Hoquet offered.

"Do you have proof of that that we can submit in court?"

"The Angel's Recipe wasn't a recipe at all, but a cure for hypogeusia and ageusia. Everyone entered in that contest knew that."

"They did?"

"Indeed. Delicia Scones wasn't even a chef, but a pharmacist."

"And for what reason were you entered in the contest? You don't seem to be a chef either, Mr. Hoquet."

"Ah…well, yes, I was only in it for the money I could get by selling the Angel's Recipe if I had won. But I most certainly would have won! For I have the aesthetic sense to be able to sculpt such ingredients into a masterwork."

"'Such ingredients?'"

"…Admittedly, Dane had every reason to be angry at me. We were in fact secretly working as a team; he, as the master chef, would assemble the ingredients, and I, as the sculptor, would assemble them into sculptures. Once we'd both made the finals, however…since my job was the one that happened last, I…double-crossed him, leaving him on his own for creating his finals sculpture. Nevertheless…I would've never dreamed he'd attack me."

Raymond cut in, "If he were a bit smarter, he'd have just outed you as a fraud during the contest."

"No, Raymond, he would've disqualified himself as well, since he had been part of the collaboration."

"Still would've screwed Hoquet over."

"You're not thinking logically. Gustavia needed that prize. …Well, I'm taking the case. I'm not sure where it'll go—von Karma's so prideful that he might not accept a deal, but he's also clever enough to realize that Gustavia is the one who had motive to attack Hoquet, not the other way around."

CCX: So the initial blow to Gustavia's head knocks him out, thereby preventing him from clubbing Hoquet to death with a rock lamp, so instead of IS-7, we get Edgeworth and von Karma squaring off on a "mere" assault case. Furthermore, Horace and Simon didn't get frozen in a car. I wonder…what will the domino effect be?

Also, hooray 100th story! Except really it's more because there have been ones that I've taken down of my own accord, plus one fic that was originally uploaded as three separate fics and the site took the two "sequels" down but left the first one alone for me to repost the sequels as chapters of it. Until next time, this is Cyberchao X, signing off.