The Orthogonal Galaxy

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Chapter 3

As Paol Joonter took his seat at the defense table, he poured himself a cup of water from the pitcher in front of him. He looked down at a legal pad and scribbled a few notes. The notes were intended as a distraction to keep him from looking up at the jury or the district attorney, actions which his lawyer suggested could cause him to appear desperate, and that could sway the jury against him.

“Warron?” Paol whispered leaning somewhat to the left to get closer to his lawyer. With his chin resting in the palm of his hand, the lawyer bent his ear towards Joonter’s head, after which he spoke a brief statement that only the lawyer was able to hear.

Scribbling quickly on a corner of his legal pad, Warron ripped off the note and turned back to hand the scrap to a paralegal, who nodded and quickly departed the courtroom.

As the door to the back of the courtroom opened, the court bailiff announced, “All rise. The honorable judge Walldar J. Etherton presiding.”

All stood in unison as directed and watched as the judge entered and assumed his seat at the front of the room. Looking down at a flurry of papers in front of him, he put on a pair of wire-rimmed spectacles, assessed that all was in order and looked up at the courtroom. He counted the jury and studied the counsel tables to make sure all were accounted for. Looking at the audience, he saw many of the same individuals who had been present for the duration of the case.

He observed the concern on the face of Joyera Joonter, who sat as normal directly behind her husband within arm’s reach. He saw a few additional individuals seated on the opposite side of the courtroom, and understood that more of the victims’ family members were showing up now that the case was nearing its conclusion. To say that it was a somber setting would be an understatement. Faces devoid of color hinted at anxiety. Dark shadows expressed a lack of sleep. Bloodshot eyes betrayed the tears that flowed freely previously.

“Please be seated,” he instructed. Looking at the district attorney, he continued, “Is the prosecution prepared for closing remarks?”

“Yes, your Honor,” stated the lawyer with his hands folded over his legal pad.

“Please proceed, then.”

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