"The Expert Witness"
Submitted by Snooky
Michael Kuzak, Perry Mason and the rest of the defense team were conferring amongst themselves. Kuzak had managed to find an expert witness to testify regarding the metaphysical evidence that had cropped up during Snooky's recall.
"I think you will be satisfied with his credentials, Perry." Michael and Perry were walking back to the courtroom together.
"Are you sure? He seems kind of flighty to me."
"He's a genius, Perry. If anyone can explain this mumbo-jumbo to the jury, he can. Oh, here he comes now." A silver DeLorean came screeching to a halt outside the courthouse.
"I would like to call my next defense witness, Judge. He is an expert in metaphysical phenomena."
"Cool," Harry said. "I hope he can explain this stuff without giving everyone a headache!" The spectators laughed.
"I think you'll be pleased, Judge." Kuzak turned to the bailiffs. "Please escort the witness to the stand."
The courtroom doors opened and an extremely disheveled looking man with a very messy head of hair half ran down the aisle and took his oath on Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time. He then gazed at the spectators.
"Your Honor, may I introduce the eminent scientist and time-traveler, Dr. Emmett Brown, PhD."
"Awesome," Harry exclaimed. "Loved the steam train!"
"For those of you unfamiliar with Dr. Brown, he invented time-travel back in 1985. Obviously the man is a certifiable genius."
"If he's such a genius, why is he driving a DeLorean?" Riker asked.
"It's spiffy?" Harry surmised. He couldn't quite remember why the scientist drove a DeLorean, but it worked in the movie.
"The type of car he is driving is inconsequential," Kuzak replied. "Can we get to the case?"
"Sure, go ahead." Harry said.
Kuzak faced the befuddled scientist and asked his first question.
"Doctor Brown, you have familiarized yourself with the case and all of the previous testimony?"
"Great. Let's address this time issue, which I believe falls under your expertise. According to the testimony, our plaintiffs have no memory of participating in any events from the time the series ended to the beginning of the Hogan's Heroes board on the Fan fiction web site, a period of 28 years. Yet, here they are. How is that possible?"
"Well, first, it wouldn't seem like 28 years to them. Time is relative, you know, always fluid. It was maybe the next day, the next week and it certainly wasn't 1999 or 1971. They're stuck in between 1942 and 1945, for the most part.
"But, Doctor, how do you explain the jump between the episode and the first story?"
"It's possible they ceased to exist, and then were reborn, counselor."
"Are you saying these authors are responsible for their continued existence?"
"I could say that, yes!"
"And what would happen to these characters if the authors stopped writing?"
Brown leaned forward in his seat and stared intently at the attorney and the entire courtroom. "It's hard to say, Counselor. My educated guess is that once the stories have been played out, if there is nothing left, then poof!"
"Yes. They'll probably fade away, like Marty almost did back in 1955, and cease to exist."
Cries erupted throughout the gallery. "Oh, no. That can't be true. No way. You're insane. Get a haircut!"
Olsen turned around and went back to his blanket. The rest of the soldiers, on both sides, were too numb to speak.
"Order! Order! And no smart-alecky remarks." Harry glared at the spectators.
"Thank you, Doctor Brown. Your witness, Commander."
Riker approached the witness and shook his head. This was an eminent scientist? Go figure. "Are you aware that although some of these stories have played out, years and months ago, the side effects have somehow continued to hit the characters, right here in this courtroom?"
"Why, yes I have. It's a shame, a damn shame. Terrible. To have to go through that stuff twice."
"Doctor Brown, do you have any explanation as to why that has occurred?"
"Spillover," Brown replied without hesitation. "You see, initially, the site was not as popular. A story started and ended. There was normally one at a time. Now, there are so many stories at once, and a lot aren't completed. You know, I would hate to see what's going on with the Harry Potter characters. Those poor kids! Or where was I? Right. The stories are competing with one another, actions are mixing, the stories are moving all over the page, plots are beginning to interact, new readers and new writers keep adding to the mix. It's a miracle these boys can remember what war they're in."
"You can say that again," Hogan said sarcastically.
"The defense would have us believe that since these characters were somehow brought back into existence by the defendants, that they can indeed be erased from existence, if the authors stop writing."
"Yes, I believe that's true, Commander."
"Yet, the defense is also saying that the characters aren't real. Yet, here they are. If they aren't real, then how can they be erased? I see no proof of this theory. Do you, Doctor?"
"Wait, Commander, I just said they can be erased or removed from existence. I never said they didn't exist now or they weren't real. You can remove Commander Data from existence, can you not?"
"Well, yes, I can turn him off." Riker shuddered at the memory. It's what got him involved in this mess in the first place.
"But you wouldn't, would you, Sir? He's real to you and to everyone else who knows him? Isn't he your friend?"
"Yes." Is he switching sides here?
"He was built, wasn't he? Created? Just like our friends out there?" Brown pointed to the soldiers, who were now paying the utmost attention.
"Hey, isn't Commander Riker supposed to be asking the questions?"
Brown and Riker ignored the catcall from the gallery.
"And what about the guy from the holodeck? Rick, Mick, Dick…"
"Vic?" Riker reminded the scientist.
"Yeah, Vic. Same thing." Reporters hastily looked back at their notes, attempting to retrieve Vic's testimony. "Actually a lot closer," Brown continued. "Metaphysically speaking, that is. He knows he exists. He's real to his friends on the space station."
Mason and Kuzak were now whispering, while defendants attempted to pass notes to the defense team.
"Judge Stone! Objection!"
"Now what, Kuzak?" These high priced L.A. attorneys with their fancy clothes and fancier cars were not on the top of Harry's list.
"This is a hostile witness!"
"Duly noted, Counselor." Stone was wondering if he could convince Doc Brown to get him one of those flying skateboards.
"Where was I?" the scientist panicked for a moment and looked around the courtroom.
"Space station?" Riker was enjoying every moment of this.
Hochstetter crossed Doc Brown's name off of his new list.
"Sir, is this guy switching sides?" LeBeau turned to ask Colonel Hogan the question.
"I don't know, LeBeau. I'm getting too old for this." Hogan sighed.
"You're not too old, Colonel. I love science fiction and I'm pushing, well never mind." Susan reached into her purse. "Here, have a tic-tac. Are you feeling all right?"
Baker approached their bench. "Colonel, there's two American MPs waiting for you in the back of the courtroom."
"Figures." Despite the scientist's intriguing testimony, Hogan was watching his day go from bad to worse.
"I think that's my fault," Susan whispered.
"Never mind,"Hogan said. "I've already been through hell. Wilson was right. I think I am coming down with something. Where's ColHogan?" He looked around for the other friendly defendant.
"Have you had your flu shots?" Susan asked.
"Oh, yeah. Space station." Brown cheered up, as he regained his momentum. "Horton heard a Who. But no one believed him. Not a single one of his animal friends would accept that a real civilization existed on a speck of dust. But they did. They were real. As was your Professor Moriarty, Mr. Riker."
"Go on, please continue." Riker was now overjoyed.
"You had a hologram become sentient, did you not, Commander?"
"Yes, but it was an accident." Riker recalled.
"Of course, it wasn't by design like Mr. Fontaine, but the character did indeed become self-aware, just like our friends out there…" A few of the soldiers let out a cheer.
"Wait a minute, here." This time Mason interrupted. "Who's the witness and who's the attorney?"
"Good point, Mr. Mason." Harry looked sternly at Riker and Doc Brown. "Remember your place, Gentlemen."
"Sorry, Judge." Riker smiled. "Doctor Brown. Can you expand on what you were about to say regarding the self-aware hologram?"
"Of course. He became sentient and your ship provided him with a program of his own and kept it running. You didn't just snuff him out of existence, did you?"
"No, of course not. Anything else?"
"Great Scott!" Brown snapped his fingers. "I have another example."
"Mr. Riker, are you familiar with the program Red Dwarf?"
"Why yes I am. But please don't suggest I call…"
"Oh, no, please no. Don't call Rimmer to the stand. He's a complete smeghead." Several of the spectators laughed, while a few reporters hastily checked IMDB for a reference. "Arnold Rimmer is a hologram created from a dead human's memories that have been saved on a computer chip," Brown explained. "He has all his memories and original personality. So therefore, he is real, he exists, yet he, too, can be erased, or wiped out, just like that! Poof! But anyone would agree that if that happened, the poor man would die twice."
"I see," Riker said.
"General, what's a smeghead?" Klink turned to Burkhalter.
"I don't know, Klink, but somehow, I think you may fit the description."
"Doctor Brown, you claimed during Mr. Kuzak's questioning that in your opinion, the authors are in fact responsible for the existence of the characters, is that correct?"
"I believe so, yes."
"Do you indeed have any proof of what would happen, if say the authors shut down the site? Would the characters then no longer exist, as you said?"
"That's my theory, Commander, but I honestly can't say if I have proof. After all, it hasn't happened, yet."
Riker was concerned. A cease and desist order may actually cause the characters to fade from existence, if the scientist was correct. But the scientist also seemed to suggest that the characters were real, perhaps new life forms. And if the characters were real, then the abuse was real. Riker decided to quit while he was ahead. There were new questions to consider and a discussion with the plaintiffs was in order. He concluded his questioning.
"So, Doctor Brown. Let me see if I understand you correctly. You claim the authors are responsible for the existence of the characters, that the characters can easily be erased or eliminated, but you also claim that they are sentient beings, that they are real, that they do exist, in which case, they suffer, and I remember you expressed sympathy for their suffering. Did you not?"
"Yes, I did."
"But your theories are just theories. This is all conjecture."
"I did say that, Commander."
"Thank you. That will be all. I may need to recall this witness, Judge."
"Same here," Kuzak added.
"No problemo." Harry was glad to see the questioning come to an end. He was awfully confused. "You can go now, but make sure we can find you again."
"Glad to be of service." Doc Brown took his leave, pausing momentarily to grab whatever garbage he could find to feed his car.
Riker walked over to Hogan. "I think we need to have a talk."
Note: I had started this before Jake and Jordre mentioned "Back to the Future" in one of their chapters.