Case #1: Seaside Harbor Murder Pt. 1
“This is crazy,” a young man sighed out as he sat on a worn cushioned bench. He was currently inside a room that was furnished as a waiting room of sorts. The walls were painted a generically dull white with more benches lining along the wall and an indoor potted plant sitting ornately in the corner next to a small table. The air in the place held that of great prestige and instilled a sense of awe and respect into those who resided in it. “I never thought I’d be starting out my career right off the bat like this. I only just got accepted into this job two days ago; you’d think they’d wait a bit before sending a rookie into his first big job.”
“A defense attorney’s life is never easy, Sonic,” another voice that sounded older spoke up in a reassuring tone. “You’ll never know when you might get called upon to defend someone in their time of need. I suppose you could say it’s like a war except that this battle is more civil and resolved in a courtroom of prestigious justice.”
“If that speech of yours was meant to help me, then you did a very bad job at it,” Sonic replied as his lips twitched into a frown. He was a hedgehog with blue fur and quills that served as his spiked up hair that was slicked back a bit. His stomach held some peach colored fur that was the same as his muzzle, his stunningly green eyes looking over at the contents of a manila folder in his hands. “Couldn’t you have said something more encouraging and less along the lines of war and all that, Dr. Robotnik?”
“I’m sorry, but I don’t think there’s another analogy that’d best fit the situation,” Dr. Robotnik responded with a sort of humorous apologetic tone in his words. He was a middle-aged man with a portly figure and a balding head that held remnants of what was surely once a bunch of brilliant brown hair. His round spectacles rested lightly against his slightly pointed nose as the moustache underneath it wiggled a bit with a small snort. And his suit that consisted of freshly pressed black pants and white dress shirt underneath a red overcoat clearly reflected the kind of person he was. “I just thought that a bit of a play on words would help calm your nerves. You do seem more nervous than usual.”
“No offense, but I don’t really think this qualifies as one of those times to be cracking jokes sir,” the cobalt hedgehog responded with another sigh as his shoulders slumped a bit. The folder he had been browsing through listlessly fell to his lap. “I’m a defense attorney who has only gotten his Attorney’s Badge less than a month ago and hired by you two days ago. I’m already starting out my career with figurative guns blazing by having to defend a client who’s been accused of murder, one of the most severe charges there is in the judicial system. I don’t think anybody would want to trust their hope for freedom on a newbie like me.”
“I guess that there’s a first for everything, Sonic,” a third voice chirped in, this one belonging to someone young. “I don’t think I’ve heard of a twelve-year-old like myself being accused of murder. Is it even possible to go about persecuting someone my age of such a horrible crime? The prosecution would either have some very convincing evidence or paint me out as some kind of conniving little devil for it to work. And before any of you say anything, I didn’t kill anybody!”
“Don’t worry, Tails; we’ve kind of already established that as a basis of defending you against this claim,” the portly man responded confidently as he gave a friendly smile to the third person, a small orange-yellow fox with a white furred chest. And as if to set him off from any of the others around him, he had two bushy tails that had white on their tips as if they were snow-covered peaks. It was also clear that he was nervous about the whole situation his twiddling fingers and pacing feet were not any indication of it. “As to your question, the law has seen quite a morphing over the past few years. Anybody who has been officially accused of murder must go through the proper court proceedings.”
“I think they taught us about that back in law school,” Sonic added with a shrug of his shoulders before securing the folder in his hands and getting up. “Barring certain exceptional circumstances, murder is murder despite how old the suspect might be. They didn’t have any recordable case examples to demonstrate such an occasion, but they reminded us about it almost every year. I guess this shows how naïve I was when I thought they were just saying that to keep our attitudes at a serious level. This is definitely one of those things you never really think about until it ends up happening to you.”
“But that still doesn’t explain why nobody believes me when I say I didn’t murder that man,” Tails whimpered as his shoulders slumped, his eyes moving downwards and suddenly displaying an interest to his sneakers. “I only happened to be hanging around there when the whole thing took place. All I did was go and see what was going on before going to call the police, and this is the thanks I get for trying to be a Good Samaritan. It was just a case of me being at the wrong place at the wrong time.”
“I must admit that I cannot see you murdering the victim, accidentally or otherwise, in such a unique and brazen way,” Dr. Robotnik responded with a shake of his head as he took the folder out of the hedgehog’s hands and quickly took a photograph from it. “It seems too messy for anybody to consider pulling off; it’s even less likely that someone of your caliber would go so far. Unfortunately, evidence is everything when fighting for justice. As of now, it all seems to point in your direction.”
The photo that the man was looking at showed anything but a pleasant scene. Then again, it was the picture that clearly captured the crime scene at the time the police got there, so that was clearly to be expected. It showed a dark haired man being pinned and crushed from the waist down by a humongous cargo container, his arms out in front of him and head turned to the side against the concrete and a red object of sorts next to him. Amazingly enough, there was hardly any clear signs of blood seeping from under the wreckage, but that was probably for the best as it seemed to lessen the overall gruesomeness of the scene.
“At least the victim’s autopsy report seems to go along with what you’re saying,” the blue hedgehog responded as he took a sheet of paper from the folder that had a colored photo of the victim clipped at the corner. “The guy died due to blood loss from the murder but was still alive for a few minutes before officially dying. It’s too bad that there isn’t anything else working for us. That doesn’t mean that I don’t believe you, though. You’re my best friend; I’ve known you for probably most of my life and know you’re not capable of something like this. I promise to do whatever I can to get you out of this mess!”
“Excuse me, sirs,” a man’s deep voice suddenly cut in to their conversation. The three turned towards the source and saw a man dressed in a brown officer’s uniform and a gun resting at his waist. “The trial is going to begin soon. I suggest that you finish up whatever business you need to take care of.”
“Thank you, bailiff,” the older man thanked with a curt nod of his head. The bailiff merely stared back at the other for a second before making his way back through the doors he came through. “Well, it sounds like this is my cue to leave. I wish you good luck with your first trial, Sonic.”
“W-wait a minute!” the young attorney stuttered as he nearly dropped his folder from the surprise. While he did manage to keep a grip on it, he failed to keep a small plastic bag from tumbling to the floor. “I thought that you were going in with me give me some assistance in case I miss something important or make a mistake! I don’t think they’re going to take the trial seriously if a rookie’s the only one handling the defense.”
“Oh, I doubt the Judge would be that shallow," Dr. Robotnik stated as he bent down and picked up the fallen object. “And even if he were, I wouldn’t be able to help you out today. Don’t you remember that I have a case myself I need to take charge over in the next courtroom? It’ll be taking place in about thirty minutes from now.”
“O-oh, I forgot about that. But still, I don’t know if I’ll be able to do as well as you on my first groundbreaking case. I mean, I only just recently graduated from law school a couple months ago!”
“From what I heard when I was performing a background check, you were quite the student in your high school’s law program. You may have not been at the top of your class, but you had both the skill and confidence that I always look for. This might be different from what you’re used to, but the concept is basically the same as you’ve been taught to work through. So when you enter those courtroom doors, I want you to leave whatever uncertainty you have about your abilities behind and allow yourself an air of confidence.”
“Y-yes sir!” Sonic stuttered in an attempt to make himself sound confident, but it was clear he was still pretty nervous. Instead, he settled on taking the small bag and looking at it once more before putting it back into the folder. The front had a label that said “Victim’s Note” on it, and on it were the words “Blue Ocean” written in blood that had since dried into a rust-like color and caked over the wrinkled paper.
“Good, then I’ll see you after our respective trials are over,” the doctor replied with a comforting smile as he began to make his way to his designated courtroom. “Hopefully, your client won’t be on death row when you’re done.”
“Do you really have to say that right before something like this?” both Sonic and Tails exclaimed to the quickly retreating form of the man before he turned the corner and was out of their sights.
A few minutes later, the blue hedgehog found himself inside the courtroom where the trial for his best friend was being held. He was standing on the right side of the room where a podium that doubled up as a table was set up. On it was his folder now empty with its contents spread out neatly for easy access. Tails had been escorted to a separate podium by the bailiff where he now sat in waiting for the results of his fate.
On the opposite end of Sonic was the same table structure with another person standing behind it. He was a young green crocodile dressed in brown leather sleeveless vest with a black headset resting against the back of his neck. He had a sort of childish yet cocky aura about him, his cocky half-smile partially supplying said aura. Upon closer inspection, the badge signifying his role as a prosecutor was set onto one of the ear pieces and clearly visible from its position. Apparently, his headset was with him through all his trials.
Behind both of these tables was a seating section with an audience sitting and watching the case unfold before them. It was as if they were the witness themselves to the proceedings of the case. At the center of the room was a small wooden podium that was currently devoid of people. In various points of the room were unmanned cameras set at specific angles that were most likely going to record the events that were soon to take place.
“Court is now in session!” a deep booming voice suddenly announced as the sound of something relatively heavy and hallow echoed throughout the room. When the hedgehog turned his head towards the source of the sound, he saw a man with graying hair donned in black robes and a wooden gavel in hand sitting behind a tall podium. It was clear that he was the judge who was to oversee the progression of the trial. “Will the parties presiding over this case please make themselves known?”
“Y-yes, Your Honor,” Sonic replied before letting out a nervous sigh and clearing his throat. “My name is Sonic Hedgehog. I’ll be representing my client, Mr. Miles Prower, throughout the course of this trial.”
“Vector Crocodile, representative of the Prosecutor’s Office and working on behalf of the state for the duration of this case,” the crocodile confidently replied, his white teeth peeking out from behind his cocky grin. “It’s my given obligation today to prove that the defendant is the true perpetrator of this crime.”
“And I would suppose that both parties are prepared to present their arguments to the court?” the Judge asked as he looked at both attorneys.
“The prosecution is ready,” Vector simply replied as he fiddled with the badge on his headset.
“Uh, the defense…is ready!” the hedgehog said with a nervous smile, mentally cursing himself for sounding so nervous.
“Hmm, you don’t sound too sure of yourself, Mr. Sonic,” the old man observed with a frown. “I understand this this will be the first case of your career. Nevertheless, it shouldn’t be reason for you to be so nervous. It doesn’t bode well for what is to happen during the course of this trial. I suggest that you take the next couple of minutes relaxing and getting your thoughts in order before you start with your defense.
“Regardless, let us get started with today’s proceedings,” he continued on while ignoring the sheepish smile from the hedgehog. “The accused, Mr. Miles Prower, has been accused of murdering a thirty-year-old man who goes by the name of Jak O’Altraids. Will the prosecution please elaborate on the facts of this case?”
“I’ll be happy to, Your Honor,” the prosecutor said with a small sense of sadness in his voice before it disappeared and replaced with his normal tone. “The victim was a man who worked at the Mobius Harbor during the night shifts. He had only been on the job for a couple of months, but it appears from both his boss and fellow coworkers that he was a great employee with no known enemies both inside and out of the workplace.” He then picked up a photo from his podium before saying, “I have a photo of the crime scene as it was discovered, but I suspect that it’ll be easier if I just explained it.
“Mr. O’Altraids happened to love to work on the odd jobs nobody wants to be hired for,” he began to explain. “As strange as it sounds, he didn’t do this because he was unable to find steady employment; those who knew him say that it was one of the quirks that made him who he was. However, he decided this time to try his hand at a concrete job and accepted a position as dock worker at the Mobius Harbor.”
“I suppose he figured it was time to change the habit,” the Judge noted with a nod of his head as he carefully scanned the Crime Scene Photo that had popped up onto a white screen courtesy of an image projector. “I know it’s already explained in Mr. O’Altraids’s Autopsy Report, but do you think you could elaborate a bit on just how the victim was killed? I believe an explanation apart from an official report will help to alleviate whatever confusion anyone in the court might have.”
“As seen in this photo, the victim was killed by a cargo container that fell and crushed the bottom half of his body. He was underneath it when the container was hanging overhead on a crane that was moving from the dock towards one of the ships. Somehow, the mechanism that held onto the cargo became loose, and this was the last thing the victim noticed before trying to dodge the heavy object and falling painfully short from freedom. I’m sure you all know what happened next courtesy of this photograph.”
“So that was how our victim met his end,” the old man replied with a sad sigh. “And how did the defendant become the center of attention in this? I personally find it hard to believe that one his age can already be so devious. How could he possibly execute such a messy yet amazingly complicated plan? It’s inconceivable!”
“I’ll admit that this case does pose some level of unusualness,” Vector admitted without any hesitation. “However, the evidence currently at hand conveniently points at his direction. I’ve read through it all a couple times over and have yet to see anything that doesn’t help prove his innocence.
“And to further cement the notion that he is in fact the true culprit, I would like for the defendant himself to testify before us,” he quickly added before shooting an accusatory glance towards Tails. Said fox visibly flinched at the intensity of those eyes looking down at him. “Would that be alright with you, Your Honor? After all, the boy is the most qualified person to tell you what happened in the moments leading up to the murder. However, I’ve no guarantees that what he says will be the truth. Regardless, I’m sure it’ll be enough to better set the stage and prove the prosecution’s stance.”
“Hmm…,” the Judge thought for a moment as he shut his eyes a bit in contemplation. He soon opened them again and looked at Sonic who was quiet for the entire time. “This does sound like the only course of action that we can take as of now. Mr. Sonic, do you have any objections with your client testifying about his account?”
“Um, I suppose not?” Sonic responded with a sheepish smile, unsure of how to really answer the question as he nervously scratched behind one of his ears. He kind of figured that Tails was going to be called up at some point, but he was not betting on him being called right off the start of the trial. “I…don’t really have much to say against it since we haven’t heard much about this case yet.”
“You don’t seem very confident with the answer you just gave,” the old man pointed out with a concerned eyebrow raised at the hedgehog. “I understand that this case marks the start of your career, but that’s no excuse for you to allow this to affect your overall performance. Rookie or not, it’s your responsibility that you guide this case down the correct path and away from any falsehoods. I don’t believe I need to remind you that your conduct will directly affect the fate of your client. Now let me ask you once more; do you have any problems with the prosecution’s request to call the defendant to the stand?”
“N-no, Your Honor,” the defense attorney answered again, this time trying to put more confidence in his answer despite accidentally letting a small stutter escape. “The defense has no objections with the calling of Mr. Prower to the stand.”
“You still seem to be missing that bit of confidence,” Vector chided with a cheeky smile while shaking his head. “Allow me one piece of advice and say that can easily make or break you. Oh well, I suppose that means I’ll have an easy time getting my points across in this case. Anyway, since we now have the defense’s permission, I suggest we move on to hearing what the defendant has to say for himself.”
“I agree; the defendant will now take the stand!” the Judge ordered with a bang of his gavel in a way to officiate his command.
Within a couple of seconds, Tails was walking from his position next to a police officer keeping surveillance on him and towards the witness stand at the center of the room. He had a worried look on his face, but the gaze he shot at Sonic as he walked by showed that he was confident in his abilities. Said hedgehog noticed the look and immediately received a small boost of confidence from it.
“Mr. Prower, I only have one question that I’d love for you to answer,” the crocodile stated once the fox had made it to the podium, giving him no time to become properly situated with his new position. It was clear that he was eager to uncover the answers that would benefit his position in this case. This also managed to cut away at the confidence boost tails had just given him. “On the night in question, were you anywhere near Mobius Harbor on the night that the victim was killed? I suggest you answer it to the best of your abilities as it will lead into the discussion of whether or not you’re the true perpetrator.”
“I was standing around at the harbor that evening,” the young kit answered nervously but without hesitation. “I don’t usually travel to that particular part of town; it’s not an area I’m too familiar with nor do I have any business being in. However, I had received a phone call earlier in the afternoon with the person requesting I be there. I didn’t recognize who the caller was, but they said that they had something important they wanted to discuss with me. He was to meet me somewhere inside the harbor later that night to give me the details. I’ll admit that it was rather suspicious, but I was concerned for my friends’ wellbeing. It was a few minutes after I had arrive when the man was killed.”
“Are you really saying that you were baited into the harbor by some suspicious phone call?” the crocodile asked with disbelief dripping off his words. “Do you understand how hard that is for someone like me to believe? It just seems too convenient that somebody decided to call you over to the harbor to meet them at around the same time that Mr. O’Altraids was murdered. If anything, it seems as though you’re right now trying to cover up your tracks by feeding us nothing but lies.”
“Y-You can’t just go about saying things like that, Prosecutor Vector!” Sonic feebly objected in an attempt to save his little brother’s good name. It was not even half an hour into the proceedings and he was already having a hard time. “Where’s your evidence showing what you said to be the truth? You may believe that you have some proving that my client is the murderer, but where’s the proof backing up your current claim?”
“Oh, you really do have a lot to learn if you plan on making an impression here in the big leagues. You better start listening better at what people say before you open your mouth and embarrass yourself. I merely said that it felt like he was lying; I never proclaimed outright that he was doing so. I’m sure that even someone with your level of experience can differentiate between a proclamation of a fact and a simple opinion.
“However, I believe I can throw your question right back at you,” the prosecutor added as he cockily placed his headset over his ears. “If you’re so sure that what I said is wrong, then where is your proof that says he’s telling the truth? I would suppose that you have some considering how quick you were to jump the gun there.”
Instead of answering, the cobalt hedgehog simply let out a growl as he attempted and failed at staring down the crocodile.
“I figured you had nothing to add on that. Another thing you should learn is to be careful with what you say. You never know when it might come back to bite you. Consider yourself lucky that this doesn’t serve to damn you on your position here, especially since we have yet to even begin to examine the evidence.”
“Well, it sounds as though the defense’s objection was rather short-lived,” the Judge simply replied. “I can’t say, though, that they even petitioned for a good objection in the first place. Regardless, I feel that the witness’s previous statement leaves some room for scrutiny considering that this is murder we’re dealing with. Will the witness please testify to the court in detail about what happened that day?”
“Yes, Your Honor,” the young fox said with a small sigh as he prepared himself for the explanation as to why he went to the harbor. “I’ll tell you everything I know and hope it’ll be enough to prove me innocent.”
Sounds like things are about to get interesting, Sonic thought as he gave off a nervous grin while mentally preparing himself to listen in on the first testimony of his career. I know Tails would never lie about something like this, so him getting that phone call instructing him to go to the harbor has to be the truth! If only he didn’t follow those directions, then maybe we wouldn’t be in this mess… Oh well, I guess all I can do is hear what he has to say and hope it’ll be helpful. Better make sure I listen to every word he says if I want any hope of proving his innocence.
The Night of the Incident
I think it was a little before nine when I first arrived at the Mobius docks. I was told to go there by somebody who placed a call to me earlier that afternoon. I don’t know who the person was nor did he mention a name; however, he claimed to have been working for the police and had information regarding one of my friends. It was probably only a couple minutes after I had arrived did I hear a loud crash. Wondering what had just happened, I ran over to the source of the sound. That was when I saw the victim crushed under a large cargo container. When I approached him, I noticed that he was barely alive. When I tried to leave to get help, he stopped me for a moment by grabbing at my leg. He soon let go of me, and I went into the main office so as to call the police.
“Well, that was a rather detailed and informative piece of testimony,” the Judge responded once Tails was done recounting what he remembered about that night. It was clear that he was amazed at the conciseness that was presented by a mere twelve-year-old boy. “You sound quite proper and professional for someone of your age. But just for future reference, Mr. Prower; a police officer would either come to you directly or ask you to go to the Police Department if they wanted to have a private discussion with you. They would never ask to meet with you directly out of the blue at some random area.
“However, let’s get back to the main topic at hand,” he quickly changed subjects as he cleared his throat. “You said that you were summoned to the harbor by some unknown person and was asked to arrive at around the same time the victim was murdered. During that time, you were simply waiting and looking for the person who had called you. If you don’t mind me saying so, it all sounds a little bit too convenient. The timing of everything seems too concise for me to merely pass off as any kind of coincidence.”
“Well, I wouldn’t have expected to hear any less from the accused,” Vector responded with a hint of disbelief in his words as he changed the placement of his headset so that one of his ears was free. It was his job to doubt the defendant on what he said, so Sonic was expecting some kind of resistance. It still hurt, however, for him to hear his best friend being referred to as a liar. “Despite whether or not his recollection of that evening is the truth, the main point is that he was there when the murder took place. If we are to sort out whatever it is to be the truth from this testimony, then I believe a cross-examination is in order. Do you think you’ll be able to handle such a daunting task, amateur?”
“Alright, there’s no need for you to go harrying the defense, Prosecutor Vector,” the man lightly reprimanded the crocodile before turning his attention towards Sonic. “Mr. Sonic, you may now proceed with your cross-examination.”
“Yes, Your Honor,” the hedgehog responded as he glared minutely at the prosecutor across from him for the comment he had made earlier. He then thought silently to himself, It’s time to see what it is I can learn from Tails’ testimony. Time to prove to the prosecutor that he’s anything but a liar. I just hope that he didn’t end up saying anything that’ll end up hurting me after I break it down.
“Mr. Prower, you mentioned earlier that you received a call from an anonymous person who requested that you to meet him at Mobius Harbor,” Sonic repeated a small portion of what the fox had said earlier. He made sure to keep the cross-examination on a professional level so as to not have the court believe he was committing favoritism by speaking so familiarly with the witness. That and he did not want to get grilled by Dr. Robotnik for unprofessionalism after the trial was over. “Do you remember what was mentioned in that conversation?”
“I do, but I’m afraid there really isn’t all that much to recall,” Tails answered as he crossed his arms and tried to remember the details of the call. His eyes, which looked at Sonic as he answered the question, showed that he understood what the hedgehog was doing and would play along with the formality front. “Our conversation lasted no more than a minute at the most. It was mainly the person saying that he had something important to tell me and he couldn’t afford being overheard over the phone.”
“Hmm, definitely a suspicious person,” the Judge commented as he furrowed his eyebrows in thought. “Did you say he told you that he was an officer? I find it hard to believe that such a man would behave so questionably.”
“Actually, he said that he was a freelance private detective who happened to be working with the police,” the fox quickly clarified. “I was skeptical at first when he told me to meet with him, especially when he claims to only be working as a freelancer. However, he persuaded me by saying that he had some bad news about one of my friends. He even mentioned them by name, so he pretty much convinced me to meet up with him. Needless to say, he managed to lure me out by appealing to my sense of concern.”
“And did you end up ever meeting up with this person?” the hedgehog asked. “Do you remember what he said or looked like? Anything that you remember that can help us identify who this person is?”
“Sorry, but I didn’t end up meeting with the caller that evening. If he did come by to the harbor, then it must have been during or after everything had gone bad. I never once saw any sign of him before the incident occurred.”
“As interesting as all this is, I fail to see just how this unknown caller has any kind of relations to this case,” Vector stated as he fiddled around with gold chain that was hanging around his neck. It was clear he was becoming annoyed with an explanation that seemingly held no importance whatsoever to the trial. “There’s nothing in it that can either prove or disprove the defendant’s innocence. I object to this pointless line of questioning.”
“Objection sustained,” the old man announced with before bringing down his gavel to officiate the order. “Mr. Sonic, I suggest that you abandon this topic and continue on with your cross-examination.”
“Yes, Your Honor,” Sonic replied in a submitting tone before letting out a small sigh. He then stated once he thought of a new line of questioning, “So this mysterious caller asked for you to meet him at the main office building at the Mobius Harbor at around nine that night. Did he tell you to wait for him inside or out?”
“He only said to wait around the main office; he never said anything about going inside,” Tails replied with a small frown. “I don’t think I could’ve waited inside even if I wanted to, anyway. The door was locked tight, and nobody answered when I knocked. There was a window there, but it was a bit too high for me to look through. I basically had nowhere else to wait except just outside.”
“Hold on a second!” the hedgehog interrupted the young fox with a raise of his hand. “You said earlier in your testimony that you ran back to the office to call for help when the accident happened. However, you just said that the door was locked when you first arrived. How could you have gone in to call for help?”
“I believe I can answer that one,” Vector spoke up as he stared down at a piece of paper that was in his hand. “The defendant said that he had arrived a little before nine that evening. The workers tend to change office shifts five minutes before nine. They keep the door locked since no one would be tending to the office during that five-minute gap. When the murder happened, it understandably caused quite a commotion; a worker who had the key to the office with him ran inside to get the First Aid Kit before going to check the scene. He thus left the door unlocked in his rush.
“And if you’ll just look at the Crime Scene Photo, you’ll see the kit sitting on the floor next to the victim,” he further explained as he pulled out said picture. “They are only located within the office, so somebody must have went inside during the time the defendant was not near the building. I hope that this will be enough to explain just how the locked door suddenly became unlocked.”
“So that’s what the red object in the photo was,” the Judge responded in realization. Sonic merely frowned at the reasonably sound explanation that had been rubbed into his face. “I was wondering what that was this whole time. But just for the record, did the defendant bring out the First Aid Kit himself?”
“I didn’t have a chance to do so,” the young fox responded with a shake of his head. “Like I said earlier, I made my way to the office so as to call for help. While I was doing so, two workers came in and kept me from leaving the building. One of them took a First Aid Kit and left while the other kept me in the building until the police arrived. I was then arrested a few minutes later after they spoke with the one who kept me from leaving.”
“So you’re saying that there was a witness to this terrible incident?” the old man asked with his eyes now trained at the prosecution. “This sounds like a pretty important detail. Why haven’t we heard from this person yet?”
“Because I don’t feel that he is necessary to close this rather simple case,” the crocodile explained with a smug smile. “He heard the murder take place and ran to the office where he saw the accused standing by the phone. He then instructed his coworker to keep watch over him while he went to see if anybody was hurt. There’s nothing of importance there to cross-examine lest you would wish for me to waste the court’s time with it.”
“Hmm, I suppose you do raise a good point there, Prosecutor Vector. The testimony the defendant has already supplied us seems quite straightforward and warrants no reasonable cause as of now to hear about the witness’s account of that evening. You may continue on with your cross-examination, Mr. Sonic.”
“If you don’t mind, I would like for us to do a bit of backtracking,” Sonic said as he thought back to his buddy’s testimony. “You said that after you saw the victim being crushed by the fallen cargo container, you decided to go call for help. Before you did, the victim managed to grab ahold of your leg. Chances are that you were the last person to see him alive, so can you tell us what happened in those few seconds?”
“To be perfectly honest, I don’t remember much about that moment,” Tails admitted, his bottom lip being bitten in nervousness no doubt brought about by the question. “My adrenaline was pumping at full blast the whole time. All I could think about was finding some help for the man. I think I felt him shove something into my hand, but by the time I had calmed down and remembered that action, I didn’t see anything. I must have dropped it sometime between going to call for help and being arrested.”
“And do you remember what this item felt like?” the hedgehog questioned, hoping that the boy’s subconscious was working well enough during those high adrenaline moments. “It has to be important if the victim passed it on to you.”
“Objection, Your Honor!” Vector exclaimed as he let out a little snort. His arms were crossed in a defiant manner as he looked annoyed somewhat. “The defense is wasting the court’s time pursuing this question. The defendant has already admitted that he didn’t see what if anything he received from the victim. There’s no way he can tell you what it was even if they could prove it exists!”
“He hasn’t even said anything in regards to that yet, Prosecutor Vector!” the defense attorney quickly countered as he tried to keep his line of attack. “You can’t just keep him from not answering the question when there isn’t anything saying that he never received anything from the victim. Unless you happen to have evidence of that nature which you’ve been holding out on us for some reason…”
Instead of providing another explanation, the crocodile simply pursed his lips and glared at the other. It was clear by this action even before the Judge has said anything that he knew he was going to lose this argument.
“It appears that the prosecution isn’t in a position to adequately back up his claim,” the Judge noted after waiting a couple of seconds for a response. “As such, I’ll have to overrule their previous objection. I’ll allow the witness to answer the defense’s question.” He then quickly shifted his attention towards Tails. “Young man, do you remember what the object the victim gave to you felt like?”
“Uh, I kind of remember feeling something kind of sharp lightly pricking my hand when I had my hand in a fist,” the fox said as he tried to remember something that was not clearly all there in his mind. “But it wasn’t overly sharp since it didn’t pierce the skin of my palm. I think I also heard some kind of light crinkling noise, but I’m not overly sure about that. I’m sorry that I couldn’t be more informative about this.”
“That’s really all you can remember?” Sonic asked as he scrunched his eyebrows in concern. “I guess I was being a bit hopeful there. Still I was actually kind of hoping you’d give us something new to work with.”
“Unfortunately for you, that doesn’t seem to be the case,” the crocodile responded with an annoyed click of his tongue. “As I was arguing earlier, the only purpose your question served was to waste the court’s time! The defendant clearly can’t remember what it was that he had in his hands. Of course, that’s only provided that there was even anything passed on to him from the victim in the first place. I hardly find this to be the case since we only have the word of the accused to go with.”
“I suppose we were asking for a bit much,” the old man admitted, carefully refraining from saying more on the subject since he did allow for the explanation to be made. “Oh well, better to have tried than to simply ignore it. Is there anything else that you would like to hear from the defendant, Mr. Sonic?”
“I’ve no more questions, Your Honor,” Sonic simply replied, his eyes suddenly shining with realization as he figured out something that could help him get one step closer to Tails’s acquittal. “However, I would like to use this time to present the court with some evidence. I admit that I was a bit skeptical upon hearing my client’s explanation, but I now see that what he said holds some level of importance!”
“Oh, I definitely have to hear what kind of rookie explanation you cooked up in that head of yours,” Vector stated in intrigue as he began fiddling with his gold chain once again. Whether he was being sarcastic or genuinely interested was hard to tell; his stoic glance aimed at the hedgehog did little to help determine his official attitude. “I like to see how you’re going to connect the defendant’s statement with an apparently nonexistent piece of evidence. If you’re just trying to waste our time, then I’ll make your debut case very memorable by getting you kicked out of here for wasting our time!”
“That’s enough, Prosecutor Vector!” the Judge warned as he banged on his gavel to try and bring order back into the courtroom. He then turned his attention back to the hedgehog who had since began rummaging through his evidence. “Mr. Sonic, do you have evidence that might indicate as to what it was the victim might have handed to the witness? Correct me if I’m wrong, but that’s what it sounded like you were alluding to.”
“You would be right about that, Your Honor,” the cobalt hedgehog responded confidently as he picked up the plastic bag that held the Victim’s Note and placed it underneath a camera-like machine that was on his table. “As the court can see, this piece of paper was written in blood. An analysis has proven that it belonged to Mr. O’Altraids.”
“And how is this supposed to help prove what the defendant was holding onto?” the crocodile asked, his attention hardly on the presented evidence. “All it proves was that it was written with the victim’s blood.”
“That’s because you’re not looking beyond that fact. If you would pretend for a moment that the message isn’t on it, then you’ll see that it has shown signs of being crumpled up once before. Now correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t paper make a crinkling sound when crumpled and can lightly prick your hand when in a ball?”
“H-hold on a second!” the prosecutor suddenly explained as he seemed to finally catch on to what Sonic was saying. “Are you saying that this piece of trash was what the victim passed onto the defendant? I’ve never heard of anything like that being found throughout the entire investigation! Where did you find it?”
“Well, I didn’t personally find it myself. My mentor was the one to have collected the evidence before handing off the case to me. However, he did tell me that it was discovered underneath the desk where the phone was situated inside the main office building at the harbor. And since the defendant was busy in there calling the police, it seems more than probable that he dropped this paper during his moment of adrenaline. Put the two together and I say that he did have in hand what the victim gave him but dropped it when he was suddenly surprised by the introduction of two harbor workers!”
“Are you kidding me?!” Vector angrily exclaimed as he held a tight grip on his gold chain. His headset even became a bit uneven as he violently shook his head. “I’ve never been informed about this piece of trash before! I’ve been in contact with the detective in charge of the investigation since it first started!”
“Maybe he had forgotten to inform you about it on top of everything else that he had to take care of. Either way, it should be clear to you now that the item the victim gave to the defendant does, in fact, exist! It’s also clear that this note meets the conditions of what Mr. Prower said he remembered being shoved into his hands. As such, the victim give something to the defendant before he died. This should officially throw your argument that it never existed out the window.”
“You cocky amateur rookie!” the crocodile growled as he accidentally pulled down on his chain, causing his head to suddenly sink closer to his table in the process. Even the entire courtroom started murmuring amongst themselves in amazement. “That detective’s going to be in a world of hurt once I get my hands on him!”
“Order!” the Judge commanded as he banged at his gavel in order to quell the gallery’s murmurings and get back into pace with the trial. “The defense has brought up a valid point. That would then make this piece of paper a true note from the victim. It should be clear then that this was written by his own hand. However, can we really say with such certainty that he was trying to impart to the defendant the name of the true perpetrator?”
“That’s the next question that we’ll have to start finding an answer for,” Sonic responded as he allowed a triumphant smile approach his lips. This was the first piece of evidence of his career he presented without any problems; he also managed to make the prosecutor look like a fool for not knowing anything about it at the same time. “Since this is truly Mr. O’Altraids’s dying words, it would only make sense that he would write down the name or even telltale details regarding his murderer!”
“…Ha, I highly doubt that’s the case this time around!” Vector responded with renewed cockiness as he started examining the Victim’s Note. “I agree with you that one who is near death after being attacked would try to leave some kind of obvious clue about their attacker. Unless my eyes are failing me here, all that’s written on that piece of scrap is ‘Blue Ocean’. Unless he’s saying that the ocean itself caused the container to fall on him and end his life, I would hardly refer to this as a competent piece of evidence!”
“I object to that, Prosecutor Vector!” Sonic quickly countered. “While it might seem like just a bunch of gibberish to us all, the very fact that the victim wrote that and gave it to Mr. Prower is proof enough that this an important piece of evidence. Why would he spend the last of his strength to write that note in his own blood before handing it to the defendant? Before we star disregarding this note as a credible piece of evidence, we should examine it further and see if we can unearth something new. Until then, you can’t ignore the possibility of the significance it holds to this case!”
Instead of providing another counter-explanation, the prosecutor let out a growl of frustration. It was clear that he was not happy about the fact that he was slowly starting to lose his standing on the case.
“Well, it looks like the defense has created a sound argument,” the old man responded after hearing both sides bicker on about the subject. “So long as there’s the potential of another suspect being named in the Victim’s Note, I can’t say with full certainty that Mr. Prower was the one to have murdered Mr. O’Altraids. I’m afraid that I’ll have to postpone this trial until we can unfurl the mystery behind this.”
“…So is that your current stance on this case, Your Honor?” the crocodile softly asked as he examined the papers in front of him.
“Well, unless you have evidence that can disprove the relevancy of this note, I’m afraid I cannot look past this cloud of doubt. Do you have anything that could prove this paper written by our victim is nothing but a piece of worthless babble?”
“I believe I can prove that the defense’s efforts here was nothing but a red herring, Your Honor,” the other replied with a smile that showed he was definitely not making a bluff. This quickly put a damper on Sonic’s happy mood and made his stomach do a sudden sinking feeling. “I’m quite confident that this will be enough to prove that the defendant was the only one who was capable of carrying out this murder!”
“My, this sounds like an interesting turn of events. Prosecutor Vector, would you be so kind as to present to the court whatever it is you have that will prove this note to be nothing more than complete gibberish?”
“I’m afraid that I don’t have anything on me that can prove it. However, I believe there is someone who can perform the job just as for me.”
“Wait a minute,” the cobalt hedgehog spoke up, a feeling coming over him that he knew what Vector’s next move was going to be. “Are you thinking of calling up the worker that we made brief mention of earlier? I thought you said that it was a waste of the court’s time if we brought him in to testify. Why the sudden change of mind?”
“I’ll admit that I might have jumped the gun when I said he wasn’t of great importance,” the prosecutor replied with a small shrug of his shoulders as if he merely made a minor lapse in judgment. “However, that was before I knew of the existence of the Victim’s Note that you so kindly showed me a few minutes ago. Now that it’s been brought to my attention, I feel that it’s appropriate to summon the dock worker to the stand so we can clear up this little mess you so kindly brought upon us.”
“And just what is it that this witness has to say that will shed light to this court in regards to the note?” the Judge asked with a raised eyebrow as he was seriously considering the benefits of calling a new witness. “I need to know whether or not it’s enough to warrant a continuation of today’s proceedings.”
“If you really want to know, then I suppose I have no choice but to tell you all,” he announced, making Tails, who had been standing quietly on the witness stand the entire time, more nervous than he had ever remembered being in his entire life. “This witness can testify that he saw the defendant cause the crane above the victim’s head to malfunction and force it to drop onto him, thus causing this to become the murder that it is today!”
“Wh-what?!” Sonic loudly exclaimed. Both the revelation and sudden outburst caused the entire audience section of the court to start talking amongst themselves as they tried to make sense of the new information the crocodile presented.
“Order in the court!” the old man shouted in a booming voice as he banged his gavel repeatedly in an attempt to regain the courtroom’s attention. After spending a good minute trying to calm everybody down, the room fell silent once again. “Prosecutor Vector, I order you to summon your next witness!”
“I’m afraid that I’m going to need a bit of time if he is to be ready to testify, Your Honor,” Vector responded with a smile as he put on his headset and began nodding his head minutely to the music flowing out of it. “I need to make sure that what he said to me during the initial questioning is what he’s going to make mention of when we bring him in to testify. It wouldn’t do if he were inadequately prepared to speak.”
“Then I’ll call for a ten-minute recess,” the old man announced as he banged his gavel in order to make the suggestion official. “I’m expecting to hear from this new witness when we reconvene. Court is now in recess!”
What the heck just happened? the cobalt hedgehog wondered as the thought of having to cross-examine another witness in order to prove Tails’s innocence brought him down from his victorious high. I thought I had everything under control. I should’ve known that it wouldn’t be that simple to just present a piece of paper and hope that’d get Tails off the hook. Looks like I’ll have to go through this next witness if I want to have any hope at clearing his name. I just hope this new guy doesn’t say anything that’ll kill me.
When the rookie attorney glanced over at Tails who was now being escorted out into the lobby by the bailiff, he saw that the fox had a look of concern. It was clear he was thinking the same thing. It looked like he was going to have to comfort not only himself but the poor fox as well during this break as he followed closely behind him. Ten minutes was definitely not going to be enough time to recover from the prosecution’s sudden recovery.