The Judge completed his summing up in a disinterested tone, as if he was reading a textbook to a class of particularly bored students. He had summarised the prosecution case with a completeness noticeably lacking in his coverage of the defence. There was little doubt about his feelings in the matter.
"You have a grave responsibility, members of the jury. The death penalty is mandatory in these circumstances. The bench will not entertain a plea for clemency."
He nodded to the Judoon clerk of the court who rose. "The alternate jurors are dismissed," he grunted.
Jurors 13 and 14 stood. They were immediately enveloped in a haze of disassembling molecules and transported away.
The remaining jurors moved towards the door of the jury room by whatever means of locomotion was natural to them. Some of them paused to look back at the forlorn figure located in the transparent cube in the centre of the courtroom.
Most of them didn't.
The jury room was dominated by a long table with space for all the jurors around it. The outer wall was shuttered. Opposite was a sheer metal wall broken only by a single small screen and computer terminal. At the far end was a set of doors leading into an all- purpose ablutions area. There were no windows. It was functional and soulless.
The clerk went around the assembled group, checking them off his list.
Satisfied, he left the room and there was a pneumatic hiss as the door closed behind him. This was followed by four electronic beeps as the exit code was set.
"I didn't know we were locked in," said someone.
"Normal procedure, I understand," said the foreman. "Now, if we can take our places in accordance with our jury numbers we can get started."
The group moved to their alloted positions around the long table as follows:
Juror 1 - The foreman. Dedicated to the rituals and procedures of the court and determined to do things by the book. Humanoid, dressed in immaculate white. High forehead and dark, tight hair. The MOROK representative.
Juror 2 – A square, traction-powered cabinet with a transparent dome housing a small, tentacled starfish with bulging eyes. Shrill, truculent and scheming. The representative from ARCTURUS.
Juror 3 – Squat, bullish, single-minded, aggressive. The SONTARAN representative.
Juror 4 – A silver hybrid. A blank metal plate with a parody of human features for a face and square lugs on the side of his head. Rational, methodical and unswayed by emotion or sentimentality. The CYBERMAN representative.
Juror 5 – An imperious woman. Hawkishly pinch-faced with long, flaxen hair. Dressed in medieval attire with a small circlet crown on her head. MORGAINE the sorceress.
Juror 6 – A pot-bellied, baby-faced, green-skinned creature. Naked for the hunt. A SLITHEEN.
Juror 7 – An anthropoid. A hulking brute of a figure in leather armour. Barely capable of serving on a jury due to his pitiful intellect. The OGRON representative.
Juror 8 - An attractive humanoid female in military uniform. Luxurious red-hair and a hint of freckles around her green eyes. The DRAHVIN representative.
Juror 9 – A helmet-shaped head and plexiglass eyes. He wears a cloak of office from the Red Planet. Ice-Lord Alixxyr, representative of the ICE WARRIORS.
Juror 10 – An icon of hate. Evil, bigoted and convinced of its own superiority to all other lifeforms. The ultimate racist. The DALEK representative.
Juror 11 – Nebulous, disembodied. Semi-transparent. A magenta and blue outline, hinting of a humanoid form and shimmering gently. The GELTH representative.
Juror 12 – A chubby-faced human. Dressed in a religious habit. Disinterested, easily distracted. He would rather be somewhere else. THE MEDDLING MONK.
The Morok foreman tapped the table to gain the attention of his colleagues. "I am not here to prescribe procedure. I am here to ensure that we all are able to contribute freely and fully. As you see we have a terminal. If we wish to review the evidence we can do so."
"Expedite!" grated the Dalek, dangerously.
" Ahem. Certainly. You heard the judge. A man's life is at stake. We can discuss the case first and then vote -"
"I understand that a preliminary vote is customary in these circumstances." This from the Cybernetic voice of Juror 4.
"We can do it that way if you wish. Is that agreed?"
There was a general murmur of assent around the table.
"Right. On the question of the prisoner known as 'The Doctor'. All those in favour of a Guilty verdict please raise an appendage or otherwise indicate."
The Foreman started to count around the room, beginning with himself.
"1...2...3...4...5...6...7...err...7...8...9...10...11." There was a surprised pause. "And Not Guilty?"
All eyes, eyesticks and other optical equivalents in the room turned to stare at juror 8.
Slowly, the Drahvin raised her hand.
(End of Chapter 1)