Powertalk by Hogan

Submitted by Konarciq

* * * * * *

Harry sighed. "I thought we were practically done with this case, Riker. And now you tell me Hogan wants to testify again?" What more can he have to say?"

"Well, he told me he and his men have been trying their hand at fanfiction themselves lately, and apparently that has been quite a revelation for them."

Harry groaned. "Fanfic-characters writing fanfiction!?! If they're ever going to sue the person who invented fanfiction in the first place, I know what my verdict would be."


The court-room was packed. It had been very quiet these past days, and people had passed the time with sight-seeing, going to the movies, and testing modern restaurants.

The jury had been preparing their decision, since the date of the final verdict was set for the end of this week.

But all of a sudden Colonel Hogan had decided to make yet another statement. And that – of course – caught everyone's interest after a week of happily hanging around New York City.

The judge opened the session. "Colonel Robert E. Hogan, may I remind you that you are still under oath?"

"Yes sir."

"Okay. Riker, go ahead."

Mason watched as a lynx as Riker approached the witness-stand.

"Colonel Hogan, is it true that you and your men recently have engaged yourselves in writing fanfiction yourselves?"

"Yes, that is true."

"Can you tell us when you started writing fanfiction?"

Hogan frowned. "Not exactly. About two weeks ago, I think." A sudden grin. "It's not going very fast. We're new at this, you know. And we have our jobs to do, too."

"According to the version you published through konarciq's account at the fanfiction-website, you told your men you were going to take a humorous revenge on a few authors. Is this true?"

"Yes sir."

"Can you tell us what happened next?"

"Of course." Hogan sat up. "I won't mention any names, but once we had written the ladies within our reach, some of the men continued to come up with all kinds of torture for the ladies. Water torture and electrocution were some of the more harmless suggestions, so you can imagine what the rest was like."

A few ladies in the author's section of the room paled.

"And they promised to keep any harm well within K-rating range!" ColHogan whispered shocked.

"And why was that, Colonel Hogan?"

Hogan took a deep breath. "It made me understand the other authors at last. It's all got to do with power."

"Power, Colonel?"

"Yes, power. How you handle power. As author, you have absolute power over the people you're writing about. To put it bluntly: it's no one but the author who decides whether you live or die. It's a power so all-encompassing, that the author is a god. A god with his own play-world."

People looked uneasily at each other as Hogan continued: "So all it comes down to is whether the author can handle power or not. Power means responsibility for the well-being of others: your subordinates, your people. For example: as senior officer in the camp, my first responsibility is to my men. All my men. All of Stalag 13, in a way even including Schultz and the Kommandant."

Klink shot up. "He is responsible for my well-being?!" A nervous laugh. "You are mistaken, Hogan: it's the other way around! You are in my custody, so I am responsible for your well-being instead!"

Hogan hadn't heard him. "But when power gets into the hands of people who can't handle it – like What's-his-name – then there will be no end to the suffering of his subordinates. Because a powerful man who can't handle power will totally ignore the needs of his people, and only pursue his own glory. With no thought whatsoever for the people under his command; they're merely stepping-stones on his way to greater personal glory. And if they become obstacles, they're simply disposed of."

Riker coughed. "And how do you say this ties in with the abusive fanfiction?"

"Easy." Hogan glanced over to the author's section. "These authors have absolute power over us. But clearly some of them can't handle that power. And they use us as stepping-stones on their way to personal glory."

"Er… what personal glory?" Riker looked puzzled. "As far as I understand, they don't earn any money with their stories, do they?"

"No, they don't. But what I meant was the appreciation of their fellow-authors. As we heard earlier in this trial, what they call 'angst' is a very popular genre here. And some authors decided to try that kind just to get more recognition from their fellow-authors. More recognition, more reviews… more personal glory. So just in order to get more recognition, they start abusing us, too. And from what I've seen from my men this past week, it occurs to me that this kind of behaviour simply means they need a few lessons in how to handle power."

Riker nodded. "Thank you, Colonel Hogan. No more questions."

The judge turned to Mason. "Mason, would you like to question the witness again?"

Mason jumped up as if there were a spring inside him. "Indeed I do, Your Honour!"

He quickly approached the witness-stand. "Colonel Hogan, I have a quote here from your very own story. You said: 'This is fiction, not for real, remember? We can do anything we want!' Do you admit that you used this phrase?"

"Yes, I did," Hogan replied calmly. "But I would like you to..."

"You see, Your Honour?" Mason crowed triumphantly. "He's not a whit better than the defendants he's accusing! That should speak for itself! No more questions, Your Honour."

Mason retreated as proud as a peacock, but the judge said calmly: "Colonel Hogan, you were going to say more, weren't you? Mason had no right to cut you off like that. So please finish the statement you were going to make – the court is interested in your explanation for using those words."

"Thank you, Your Honour." Hogan cast a smug glance at Mason. "As I was saying, those words were used in relation to how to get four ladies from another era, another universe, and from all over the world to Stalag 13 within a day. So those words should be regarded in their context, and not separately.

"Secondly – as reasonably attentive readers surely have noticed – have I stressed my men several times that having the power to do anything you want does not give you the right to do anything you want. Again: in this story we have absolute power over the four ladies we're writing about. And I have every intention of using that power in a responsible way – the way we would like the authors to treat us. After all, our little story is to set an example, in every way. And I can promise the ladies in question that I'll make darned sure my men won't run off with the story by themselves. After the discussions we've had earlier this week, it's obvious that some of them can't handle power all that well either."

The judge smiled. "Thank you for explaining, Colonel. Are you done?"

"Yes, Your Honour."

"Good. Let's have some coffee then, before we have to decide on the final verdict."

That's it for the main portion of the Fanfic Court Trial, folks! The remainder, including the closing arguments and verdict, will be handled by our original poster, Snooky. Thanks again for all of your fantastic contributions! ---Bits and Pieces