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Chapter 17

Friday, March 16th, 2029


“Okay. Mr. Cress, you may begin your direct examination,” the judge says. I nod my head in response.

“So, Mr. Baker, you had said that you’d found a note in your pocket, correct?”

“Yes, I’d found it in my jeans pocket,” he answers.

“Right and what, generally, did the note read?”

“It said something about a man named Reinhardt. It spoke of his growing interest in me and how the writer needed to borrow me.”

“The writer? Who would that be?”

“It was signed by a man named Micah,” John explains.

“Micah? You don’t mean the Micah I think you mean?” the judge asks.

“The very same,” I say.

“The note makes mention of him needing to borrow me,” John says.

“Yes, yes, that was said before. What does that mean, exactly?”

“You see, when I’d found that note, it was after I’d woken up after being missing.”

“Missing?” Jake asks.

John nods his head. “You’ll notice that there were missing person’s papers all around town for John’s whereabouts for the past two weeks.” I explain.

“There were witnesses to the event and even news articles about it, am I right?” John asks.

I nod.

“This is what I meant about waking up, your honor. I woke up in the gymnasium after being missing.”

“So, you were kidnapped?”

“I believe so, your honor.”

“What do you mean that you believe so, Mr. Baker?” Jake asks.

“It’s very difficult for me to remember all of the details because I was half awake. It happened in the middle of the night on the 26th. The last thing I remember before I went ‘missing’ was the sound of a lot of people talking and screaming and various bodies around my bedroom. They’re grabbing me and taking me away.”

“Isn’t it possible that it were just a nightmare?” Jake proposes.

“Do you go missing for two whole weeks whenever you have a nightmare?” John asks him bluntly.

“I…I’ve not had that experience.”

“Isn’t it possible that that was when my parents were killed? If I was taken away, I mean.”

“It’s possible and it’s even sounding likely,” the judge says.

“This isn’t over yet, your honor, you simply cannot take his word as anything else other than fallacy,” Jake says.

“Your honor, I’d like to call Jennifer Cress to the stand,” I say.

Jen elbows me, I laugh a little.

“Don’t call me Jennifer again, it’s too weird,” she whispers.

“Okay. Mr. Baker, you may step down,” the judge says.

Jen approaches the witness stand and I see that Jake is staring holes through her more so than he was with me.

“Hello, Jen. It’s been awhile,” Jake says.

“It’s been some time, Jake.”

“It’s a shame to see you side with them,” Jake says with disgust.

“Prosecutor Carroway, would you kindly stop badgering my witness?” I ask.

Jake steps back and gives another smirk, “Surely.”

“Well, it sure seems that we’re all familiar with each other here. Ms. Cress, I hope you wouldn’t falsify any of your testimony in hopes to help your brother’s case?”

“I swear, your honor,” Jen says.

“Mr. Carroway, do you have any objections?”

“As much as I’d hate to say it, she isn’t a liar, so I feel that whatever she says will be completely factual,” Jake says.

“Okay, Mr. Cress, you may begin your Direct Examination,” the judge says.

I nod my head.

“So, Ms. Cress, name and occupation?” I ask, trying not to laugh.

“Jen Cress, Forensic Scientist,” she says.

“Now, Jen, there’s been something that has been bothering me. On the note that John had received, there was a speck of blood on it, was there not?” I ask.

“Yes, I do believe there was,” she says.

“Do we know whose blood is on that scrap of paper?”

“I’d assumed it was just Mr. Underwood’s, or John’s parents’,” Jen says.

“Maybe we should get it checked, just in case,” I say.

I have a hunch and maybe, just maybe this will come through for me!

“Objection. I find that the piece of paper’s blood is irrelevant to the case at hand. All you will prove is that you are a master at wasting time and valuable resources,” Jake says.

“I don’t want you wasting any time, Mr. Cress,” the judge warns.

“Your honor, I don’t intend to waste anyone’s time. I say that this blood may very well blow a hole wide open in this case.”

“Very well, let us have this blood tested, but if nothing substantial shows up, then I want the accused locked up behind bars,” Jake says.

“If it saves time, your honor, I could do the test myself. I am a certified authority in this situation,” Jen says.

“If it’s to save time, then I’m all for it,” the judge says.

That doesn’t inspire a lot of hope for this legal system, even if it is in my advantage. I grab the plastic bag that holds the note inside of it and walk it over to Jen.

“I’m just going to need my equipment. I have them in a locker outside of courtroom #5,” Jen says.

“Bailiff, would you please escort Ms. Cress out to her locker to fetch her equipment?”

The presiding bailiff nods his head and leaves the courtroom with Jen. They re-enter the room about three minutes later and Jen has a small little gizmo in her hands. It’s like a little cube with two antennae sticking out of the side.

“Would the witness please explain what that gadget is, for those of us not in the loop?” the judge asks.

“Why, of course. This is the machine I will use to analyze the sample of blood. It’s called the Hemoglobal Data Sampler, but we can just stick with the HDS, for simplicity,” Jen says. Jen takes the plastic bag and unzips it. She takes out the slip of paper and feeds it into one slot on a side of the HDS. It goes all the way in and the machine begins making a slow shallow hum.

“Now, the HDS is cross referencing every blood sample that has been entered into the national database since the beginning, obviously, barring the years which aren’t relevant to our case. So, anybody alive in the past twenty years that has been entered into this system could be found through this,” Jen says.

The machine hums for another few seconds and then spits the note back out. Through the top slot of the cube another sheet of paper begins to print out. Jen takes out the paper and looks it over.

“Well, what are the results?” the judge asks.

Jen’s eyes go wide.

“It says here that there are two owners of the blood here,” she says.

“What?” Jake asks, flinching.

“It means that there isn’t just one person’s blood on this note. It could be a drop, or it could be 99% of it, but there are actually two small stains on this note, instead of one large one.”

“Quick! Tell us whose blood that is!” I say.

“The first sample of blood belongs to Tonya Baker, John’s mother,” Jen says.

“Hahahaha!” Jake’s face contorts and he slams his hand down on the table.

“What is it Jake?” I ask.

“Oh, you really had me worried there for a moment. I thought that this evidence had turned into something big, but here I was worrying about nothing!”


“Of course the mother’s blood would be on it. And I can bet the other owner belongs to the father, Mr. Peter Baker.”

“Incorrect,” Jen says.

“What?” Jake asks, his grin disappearing.

“The second stain on the note, that blood belongs to none other than Detective Ace Harde.”

The gallery erupts into chaos. The judge slams his gavel down repeatedly, but the nonsense doesn’t end. The look on Jake’s face matches my own, complete and utter, “What the hell is going on?!” It takes a whole ten minutes for the whole situation to calm down and then the judge is the first one to break the new silence.

“Ms. Cress, are we to believe that your machine is 100% fully functional?” he asks.

“Why, of course, it’s been inspected every week by my department and no flaws have been noted,” Jen explains.

“So, we can safely assume it is Detective Harde’s blood on the note,” the judge says.

“Not assume, your honor. We know that it is his blood,” I say.

“Right, quite right,” the judge nods his head.

Jake cuts in with a shallow laughter once more.

“What is it now, Jake?” I ask.

“My, I understand now. I never thought you’d stoop to such levels, Cress.” he says, a disdainful look on his face.

“What are you talking about?”

“Your honor, I propose to you that one of these clues in this case is a little too perfect for its own well-being. I suggest that the note of interest has been forged by Mr. Cress, in a dirty attempt to get his client off the hook from his crimes!”

“What!? Is this true Mr. Cress?” the judge asks.

“Of course it’s not true. The prosecution is grasping at straws.”

“Mr. Carroway, these are very serious allegations you’re throwing against the defense. Are you willing to back up your claim?”

“I am,” Jake says, nodding.

His demon-smirk has returned in full form.

“Alright then, we shall hear Prosecutor Carroway’s description of the events with the supposedly forged evidence,” the judge says.

I straighten my tie and tighten it just a little bit. I feel this is going to be a bit of a bumpy ride, but it is a ride I must take to reach the truth. Jake stands up straight and clears his throat.

“All right, before the trial had begun I had received an anonymous tip that forged evidence would be entering this case.”

“You what?” I ask.

“It was an anonymous tip with a card attached to it that detailed the monetary purchase of a forged piece of evidence. At first, I’d doubted it. While my feelings for you are less than stellar I had believed you to be the kind of opponent who would fight fair. So, this is why I had tested you in the beginning of the trial,” he says.

“What did this card say, specifically?” The judge asks.

“It didn’t list any specific bit of evidence, hence why I didn’t know which it would have been at first, but think on this. How perfect of a situation do we have here that Mr. Baker had just mysteriously found in his pocket the plans of someone to kidnap him? Who would legitimately do something like that?”

“Well, it does sound a little far-fetched…” the judge says.

“Who would do this and then pin a crime on them, when leaving this piece of paper on the defendant would surely get him off? The answer here is clear, the letter proposed here is a fraud and the blood faked.”

“This…it isn’t fake,” I say, stammering.

“According to the federal database, there is but a single item in evidence that hasn’t been processed by the police in this case, that being your note, there. All other pieces of evidence were thoroughly checked for legitimacy and logged into the system by yours truly. Anything else, like that note, which is the evidence which your whole case hangs on, is questionable and is reason enough to suspect forgery! I put it to the court that Andrew Cress had forged this piece of evidence to alter the court’s mind and feign his client’s innocence!” Jake exclaims.

The gallery lets out one loud audible gasp.

“Well...this is all very something, but it isn’t exactly definite proof, Mr. Carroway.”

“Objection! I wish to have a chance to prove my evidence’s legitimacy!” I call.

“And how do you plan on doing that?” Jake asks.

Shit, I didn’t really think this part through. Let me think...the only defining features are the blood stains and the message itself, written by Micah...wait! That’s it!

“Are there any pieces of evidence from any of Micah’s trials still circulating around?”

“Why would they be important?” Jake asks.

“There must have been some sort of evidence he’d handwritten on. Anything,” I say.

“There was one of Pablo Picasso’s old paintings, “The Weeping Woman” that had some of his scrawling written on the back.”

“I say we retrieve that piece of evidence and do a handwriting analysis on the note!” I say.

“What’d you say?” Jake asks.

“I said we can find out if this is the real deal, here and now.”

“Fine,” Jake says with a nasty snarl on his face.

“Mr. Carroway, please call the District Attorney to have the Pablo Picasso painting sent over, stat. Meanwhile, we will have a short recess,” the judge says and then slams his gavel down.

I managed to make it this far, I’ve loaded the gun. Now I just have to aim properly and finish strong, or else this could be the end.

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