That day finally came. I found myself sitting in the lobby of the GU (Galactic Union) Interplanetary Court of Justice. My crime: Emergency landing on an undiscovered planet with civilizations. While those laws are in place for a reason, we didn’t really have any other choice on the matter at the time. I glimpsed at my fellow crewmates sitting in the other chairs in the room, each one equally as nervous as myself. After a while, the doors to the lobby opened, revealing an abroginian bailiff clad in the standard attire. With him announcing the case number and our names, it was a signal that the trial was about to start. When the signal was given, we walked to the courtroom, the judges already having taken their seats.
- This Court is now in session for the trial of Atlas Extraction and Refinement Company answering to the Galactic Union. One of the judges stated. - Today’s proceedings are precided by me, Francis Lawrence Milburn accompanied by Vikram Hresta and U’meir Falgrond. Accused Mr. Thomas Brown, please approach the podium.
I proceeded to the podium as instructed. I better play my cards right if I’m ever going to get through this.
- Prosecutor Gilpin, please read the charges. Judge Milburn continued.
I looked over to the table at a side, behind which Prosecutor Andrew Gilpin stood. After taking a brief nod, he began to speak.
- With pleasure Your Honors. The charges are quite simple: Commercial Starship X55-P3 ‘Destiny’ registered to Atlas Extraction and Refinement Company and captained by Accused Thomas Brown was caught landing in a planet with undiscovered civilizations. The Galactic Union Stability and Order Bylaw 5, section 3 clearly states that any craft caught entering the atmosphere of Forbidden Category Planets may face up to 20 Earth Years in prison along with annulment of the license of the craft’s captain and their crew. Accused, what do you have to say in your defence?
I gathered my courage. This court must know the truth whatever it takes.
Your Honors, Prosecutor Gilpin, the reason for this current predicament is quite simple: while we were returning back to the plant after a routine extraction, our craft was attacked by a gang of space pirates. We managed to fend them off before they could take the craft and her cargo hostage. But in the process, we sustained heavy damage to critical systems and we knew that there would be no way for us to make it back in one piece. And so I made the daring emergency decision to land in the first available planet we would come across until the repairs could be completed. Admittedly I was quite surprised that the planet was an inhabited one. And to our defence, we did do everything we could to land as far away from settlements as possible.
And you were caught shortly after you managed to exit thanks to the beacons every registered starship has to contain. Judge Falgrond said.
Yeah. Truth to be told, I almost forgot about the beacon. But once we were surrounded by the Security Corps. ships, it was clear trouble would soon await us.
So let me make this clear. You landed in a Forbidden Planet because of circumstances out of your control, correct? Prosecutor Gilpin asked.
Yes, that’s the truth. We have already given all of the available data to our staff attorney David Winslow. With your permission, I would gladly let him speak to the court.
The Court recognizes Attorney for Defence David Abraham Winslow. You may now state your piece.
Thank you, your honors. Like my client Captain Brown stated, he gave me access to his craft’s log information pertaining to the events that led to his and his crew’s arrest as evidence. As was to be expected, the craft sustained heavy damage to Thermal Insulation Systems, Stability Diffusers and Displacement Generators at times that corroborates to my client’s claim of the space pirate attack.
May I raise a counterpoint? Prosecutor Gilpin asked.
Yes, by all means.
According to the diagrams, all of the three systems you mentioned are, according to the diagrams, located in well-shielded areas of the craft that are unlikely to be penetrated via conventional phaser rounds most known space pirate gangs would have on their vehicles. Therefore the prosecution believes that the crew of ‘Destiny’ purposefully sabotaged the system to give them the excuse to land on a Forbidden Planet on purpose and do unthinkable deeds to the native populations.
That’s because the craft was boarded by some of the pirates.
And you have proof for your claim?
Of course. This naturally leads us to our next piece of evidence: surveillance camera footage captured during the time of the incident.
The screens located in the courtroom the sprung to life, showing footage from inside ‘Destiny’s’ corridors. Because the footage were dark with only emergency lights providing sources of illumination, all that the onlookers could see were faint silhouettes of people coming inside rooms and back.
And there you have it. While you can’t see much, we can assure you it’s because of the pirates being clever enough to turn off light sources in the corridors leading to the targeted systems.
Very interesting. But what makes you think they simply aren’t members of the crew dressed as the ‘pirates’?
You know lying are not tolerated in Halls of Justice, yes?
I know you have little reason to believe our words. But we saw with our own eyes how the pirates came and sabotaged our ship. I interjected. Just watch and wait, we’re sure to have more evidence to prove our innocence.
And you can bet we have evidence of our own to share as well, Accused. Do you wish to see them exhibited now or after a recess? Prosecutor Gilpin said.
I suppose you can do it after the recess in that case. It’s been a stressful day for all of us and we really need to gather our thoughts. Are Your Honors ok with this decision?
I guess you’re right. This court shall now be in recess for 15 minutes.
Judge Milburn then banged his gavel, signalling the start of the recess. I glanced over at Prosecutor Gilpin. I could tell from his smirk that he seems to have an ace up his sleeve. One that could potentially make us lose the whole case. Nonetheless, this isn’t a time to give up. Not when it’s our craft and way of living on the line.
Trial of Destiny by Lauri Jurvanen (@BronzeHeart92)
The laws and directives are clear: under no circumstances are spacecraft permitted to land in planets with unknown civilizations. But can the accused prosecuted under the laws shown mercy under extraordinary circumstances?
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