Chapter Twenty-Three: Chess Part II

For Luke Atmey this game of chess would be one of the most important things of his life. All that stood in-between this fate was Apollo, Franziska and a chessboard. Tonight's game was not for slackers. Once the game started there would be no lifelines, no hints, no gimmicks. Chess was a board-game that had survived for centuries. It was a test of wits, tactics and strategy. It would have been the first time in Los Angeles court that the verdict would be decided over a game of chess. Perhaps the first time in any court that the case would be settled over a game of chess. It could be professional suicide for everybody taking part. If they did something like this all the time the justice system could have a serious scar in the faith by the public.

The courtroom was packed. There were even a couple of camera men in the room. Luke Atmey stood in the defense chair, helpless and alone. No matter what the verdict, the criminal genius was going down. The game of chess will mean everything to him. If his lawyer won, he would spend the rest of his life in a detention center made especially for the criminally insane. If he lost, he would lose his life and rejoin his lover. Maybe it was a one way ticket to Hell but if Matt was there, it would be paradise: not Hell.

Everybody was all hyped up for this trial and rather interested that the trial would be going ahead in this way. Luke was guilty: no matter what. Still, Luke always admired chess so at least he'll be getting entertained before he gets sent down.

The chessboard was all set and everything was ready apart from the contestants: Apollo and Franziska. The pair of them were still talking to their colleges and avoiding all contact with each other until the match.

Judge Albert Salsa walked up to his podium and stood on top. He banged the gavel until everyone was silent. "Can everybody rise and put your right hand up." Everybody stood up and raised their hand. "Now repeat after me, I solemnly swear that I will not provoke the trial in any way. If I am to break this vow, I will accept the consequences."

"I solemnly swear that I will not provoke the trial in any way. If I am to break this vow, I will accept the consequences."

"I will behave just like how I should do in any normal trial," Salsa continued. "I will remain silent at all times to ensure the game is fair and square."

"I will behave just like how I should do in any normal trial. I will remain silent at all times to ensure the game is fair and square."

"Thank you," Salsa announced. "You may now all sit. I would like Mr. Justice and Ms. Von Karma to sit on the table with the chess set please. While these guys take their seats, I feel I must explain a couple of things. You guys will wonder why it's all had to come down to this. I will tell the truth. Only one witness showed up to the trial, all the other witnesses failed to turn up. We wanted to get a verdict by today and the jury felt like the couldn't deliver a verdict until they did the trial again and drag the witnesses along. Just not my style, I like things smooth, swift and exciting. I'm sure most of you agree that this trial has been exciting and will only get even greater. I mean this is the first time this court has ever had to sort a verdict out like this. There's danger and there's risks, but that's what makes this trial so unique. We have two of the best attorneys on the table, we have a criminal mastermind, and of course the paparazzi and the wonderful crowd here."

Salsa paused and drank some water. "Now before the game begins, I feel we should run through the basics of chess. Chess is a board game designed for two players. There are 64 squares arranged by an 8 by 8 grid. Each player has sixteen pieces: a queen, a king, two rooks, two knights, two bishops and eight pawns. You have to checkmate the king."

Luke thought it was one of the most intelligent speeches Salsa had ever spoke. Luke assumed that he had ripped it off by Wikipedia.

"Now for the pieces can do. The king can move one square in any direction it wants. The rook can move any numbers of squares but it can not leap over pieces. The Bishop can only move diagonally but can move in any number of squares it wants to. The queen is the most powerful piece of the game; she can move where she wants. The only piece that can leap over pieces is the knights, they move to form an L shape. And the pawns can move forward to any free square. There are plenty of special moves and illegal moves in chess, but I'm not going to go through them. There are many ways to play chess, I'm not gonna run a time limit but I'll let the players have a break at every half hour. The game will end by submission, or when all the pieces from one player are checkmated. The whites always play first. Since that's you Apollo, the game will begin as soon as you make your move. I ask that everybody in the room remains silent."

Apollo moved the pawn from the right forward. Franziska moved the pawn from the left. This was the beginning of the end of the trial. Apollo tried his best but he had a feeling that Franziska was going to tear him apart on the chessboard, but he wasn't nervous anymore. He was starting to get into the hang of it. All the practicing with Godot was paying off.

As he got into the game, Franziska had taking two pawns and a knight. Apollo had only only checkmated one of Franziska's pawns. The night was still young and he had plenty of time to catch up. Franziska had just wiped out the last of Apollo's knights. She smirked and leaned her back against the chair. Apollo stared at the board and noticed that the queen was in front of the pawn. Now he had a choice, to lose a bishop or to take Franziska's queen. Every piece was important and then he remembered what his father said: wipe that smile of her face. Franziska had abused the queen throughout the game and he had a feeling that she had swiped a few illegal moves with the queen.

Franziska had her eyes set on the bishop: it was her next target. So Apollo moved the pawn forward, swiping the queen. Franziska looked horrified. She glared at him whilst her whip got out. She shamelessly whipped Apollo. In return he threw the rest of his coffee at Franziska's face. It was an instant reaction which he couldn't help. At least he knew his father would be pleased that he threw coffee at her. He turned around and saw Godot absolutely delighted. There was a woman next to Godot laughing besides him, resembling Pearl: Mia channeled by Pearl.

"It looks like the defense and the prosecution could do with a rest," Salsa said. he banged the gavel down and announced, "the game will be paused for fifteen minute interval. Refreshments will be made available in the lobbies."