Hit and Kiss
Chapter 1: Damon the Demon
May 13th 2017
Wright Stuff Detective Agency
Phoenix Wright held the badge in his hand. It had been a golden color, but now it had faded. It had collected much dust over the past three months. This was to be expected, as it hadn't been used at all in that time.
Phoenix was honestly surprised he had taken it out again. He thought had sworn to lock that wretched, wretched thing away, and never think of it again. It didn't work, and now, as he ran his right index finger over the badge, his face came back to him. That evil lowlife. That mockery of a human. That thing.
"Damon Gant." Just saying his name made Phoenix shudder with horror. It was his fault Lana died. His fault Gumshoe was fired. His fault Ema was now without family.
His fault Miles was gone.
Phoenix remembered it was if it were yesterday. He had accused Gant of both murdering Neil Marshall, and forging evidence to put the blame on Ema Skye. He had almost had him as well – but the only evidence Phoenix had to back up his claim was illegal. He was given a chance to prove it wasn't – and he failed. He still hated himself for it. He hated Gant's smarmy attitude. He hated his disgusting orange suit. He hated that the second the verdict was passed, was also the second he had figured out how to prove his evidence was relevant. But it was too late by then. His entire case had already fallen apart. Lana Skye was put to death, Ema was charged with manslaughter, Gant sued Wright for his allegations, Gumshoe was fired for his role in the events, and Edgeworth "chose death."
Phoenix lost faith in the legal system that day. Although he hadn't formally retired per se, he had stopped taking clients, and instead closed down "Wright and Co. Law Offices" and made it his base of operations as a private eye.
In the time since then, Ema had gone to and been released from juvy, and was now staying with Phoenix. The man was quite honestly surprised at how little animosity she held towards him. "I know you didn't prove what happened to the court," she would respond if asked "but you certainly proved it to me." She would then pause and say "Scientifically speaking, of course."
Phoenix sighed, and put the badge down on his desk, and walked over to the window. He was currently at his office to do the spring cleaning he had been putting off for the past few months. He pulled the blinds up, and then stared into the bright, cheerful Los Angeles sun. It was currently a vibrant yellow, its light illuminating everything in sight. Phoenix looked at it, and smiled.
Just then, the polyphonic rendering of The Steel Samurai song he had set as his ringtone started playing. Phoenix reached into his pocket, and took out his cell phone.
"Hello?" he asked.
"Nick!" Ema Skye's horrified voice boomed out through the speaker. "Timothy Bender… he – he…" The teenager's voice faded, and gave way to an endless barrage of sniffling. Phoenix recognized the name. Timothy Bender was an up-and-coming researcher in reptilian biology, and Ema's Role Model of The Week. Last week, it had been Galileo, the week before, Marie Currie, and the week before that, Ryan Murphy.
"What happened, Ema?" Phoenix asked.
"He was…" Ema sniffled for a moment, and then "murdered!" Despite himself, Phoenix sighed again. (Why did I not see this coming? Seriously I can't go two days anymore without hearing about someone croaking.)
"I'm so sorry to hear that, Ema…"
Ema sniffled a little more, and said "I am too…" In an attempt to take Ema's mind off of the murder itself, and out of curiosity Phoenix asked "Do they know who did it?"
"They say it's his son!" Ema's sniffles ceased and were replaced by all-out bawling.
(Yeesh, Ema, you act like you knew the guy personally.)
"Well, if it's of any comfort, I got your favorite brand of fish sticks," Phoenix said, and braced himself for Ema's inevitable reaction.
A loud, joyous scream came out of the phone, followed by "I'm on my way over. Wait for me to get started, mmkay?" There was a click sound, and the call was over. Phoenix sighed for the third time. (Well, someone's heart is quick to heal.)
No sooner had he finished thinking that then did his phone ring a second time.
"Hello, is this Mr. Phoenix Wright?" The voice said. It was a deep, raspy voice, one that sounded old, experienced and knowing, and one that Phoenix had heard it before. It belonged to Jason S. Dix, a secretary at Los Angeles city hall. He was an elderly man, thus his voice. Phoenix had met him once a few years back when he was running the polling station for mayoral election.
"Yes it is," the PI responded. "Is that you, Mr. Dix?"
Jason chuckled. "Ah, you remember me! I'm impressed." (Hard not to. I got trapped in the voting booth, and you had to pry it open with a crowbar.) He paused, and took a deep breath, almost as if he was preparing to deliver some particularly bad news. "Did you hear about Timothy Bender's death yesterday?" Phoenix said he had.
"Well," Jason continued, "they have a suspect, and the state has assigned you to be his attorney."
Phoenix's hands tightened, and the one not holding the phone balled up into a fist. "I'm sorry," he said, struggling to keep his tone even. "I'm not taking cases anymore." Just as he was about to hang up, Jason said "I'm afraid you don't have a choice. He has a right to an attorney, and since you never actually resigned…" Phoenix inwardly cursed his lack of foresight, and said "Can't you find someone else to do it?"
"Nope," Jason replied.
Phoenix briefly weighed the pros of declining with the cons of accepting. If he accepted, he'd have to go back into a court. He'd have to defend someone – probably innocent, as the police almost arrested the right person – in a vastly one-sided court, most likely with a judge significantly more inclined to believe the prosecution than the defense. His stress levels would skyrocket, and he'd likely be paid dirt, if at all, no matter how spectacular his theoretical victory. On the other hand, if he declined, he'd be sent to jail. That, and he'd be condemning the defendant with no one to defend him.
"Alright, fine," Phoenix said. One more trial couldn't hurt, could it? He'd just make sure to turn in his badge the instant the verdict was passed.
May 13th 2017
Detention Center, Visitor's Room
"Wow," Ema said through a mouthful of fishstick, "I can't believe you're doing this." She swallowed and finished with "Whoever told you must have had a really well-thought-out and scientific argument to make you!"
"Uh, yeah?" Phoenix said. They were waiting for the boy to show up as the guard had gone to get him from his cell. Both Ema and Phoenix found this strange, because as Ema had pointed out "Wait, don't they usually just walk?"
Just then, the door to the room opened, and it became clear why the accused needed to brought in: he was in a wheelchair. He was a teenager, around Ema's age. He had a white, freckled face and smooth brown hair. His green eyes were red and puffy, and if Phoenix had looked hard enough, he would have seen the boy had been crying.
What really got Phoenix's attention though, was the boy's metal leg.
"Hi," he said. "My name is Anders." The boy spoke with a slight Scandinavian accent, pronouncing "is" as "iz."
Phoenix, making a valiant effort not to stare at the artificial leg responded "Hello, Anders. My name is Phoenix Wright." He stopped, and forced himself to spit the next sentence out. "I have been assigned by the city government to defend you in court."
The boy smiled. "Thanks." He paused for a moment, and then turned to Ema. "I uh, appreciate what you two are doing, but would you mind not staring at my leg? It's a big source of insecurity for me."
"Oh, right," Ema said. "Sorry. It's just I've never seen such an unscientific prosthetic before. It's no wonder you're in a wheelchair, that thing is practically"- Phoenix elbowed Ema, and made a sshing noise. (Yeesh! You don't just go around asking people about their metal legs!)
"It was made on the spot, really," Anders said, an annoyed slant to his voice. "The person who made it didn't really have much time to think." He looked at the two people for a moment, and said "So, about the whole 'defending me in court' thing?"
"Ah, yes," Phoenix said. "Could I ask you a few questions, just to start us off?"
"Fire away!" Anders said.
"First off," Phoenix said "What were you doing at the time of murder?" Anders became quite. He his smile turned to a frown, and he looked almost reluctant to answer. (Don't tell me he really did do it…) Finally, his response was "I was out in the backyard, reading a book. We have a ramp instead of stairs, so I don't need someone to help me get around the house." He became quite again, before continuing with: "I heard a few thumping sounds, and a scream from the kitchen. I rushed inside as fast as I could." Tears in his eyes, Anders said "Then, I found Dad lying on the kitchen floor, dead. He had been stabbed with my knife, and the kitchen table busted was with one leg missing." Before Phoenix could respond, the boy sardonically added "Seeing your dad dead sure does do wonders for your health."
When Anders had said "with my knife" Ema's face had tightened into a horrified knot. (Poor girl. She must be thinking of last time.)
However, Ema, ever-diligent, took out her notepad and wrote the memo "Note to self: children of scientists have knifes."
"Uh-huh," Phoenix answered, stroking his chin in thought. "Well, did you see the murderer? He couldn't have gone very far…" Anders shook his head with a pained look in his eyes. "Actually, I can't move very fast in this," he said, pointing his wheelchair. "It took me at least three minutes to get to the kitchen."
Phoenix nodded. "Well, I guess that's good for now. I'll just go investigate the crime scene." Anders' eyes lit up. "Well, if you're going by there, could you get something for me from my room?" When Ema asked what it was, Anders replied "It's a toy Viking helmet. I know it's kinda lame, but it… means a lot to me."
Phoenix nodded again, and he was off.
May 13th 2017
Detention Center Bus Stop
So, then, Nick," Ema said, "It looks you've thought of something."
Phoenix checked his watch before replying. "You noticed it too, didn't you Ema?"
She nodded. "Yeah, Anders is definitely hiding something from us. And beyond that," she continued "I don't recall anything about Bender having a kid."
"I know," her companion agreed. "Plus, the man was only a little older than I was, and I'm twenty five. This kid is way too old to be genetically related to Bender."
Ema suggested that Anders was adopted, but Phoenix replied "That's possible, but I still don't think that's everything. Plus, why would you want a toy to comfort you in prison?" The bus pulled up then, and as he boarded, he made the last statement, "It must have really meant a lot to him, especially since he must realize they won't let him play with it."
Then, he placed his head on his hand, and stared out the window, marveling at how the the events of the last hour. (And thus begins my last case. At least I don't have to treat Ema to burgers afterwards…)