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  #76  
Unread 5th of January, 2006, 11:28
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South Manhattan Medical Dispatch Centre.
1.4006 seconds ago

A wind whipped through ER nurse Kara Pontelli's hair, and sent several documents scampering for freedom out of her grip. She hissed in irritation, hopping forward to recapture them.

Then she heard the rasping of breathing from behind her.

Kara felt the skin on the back of her neck prickle. It has been quiet so far this morning, blessedly so after the havoc and carnage of the massacre in Madison Square and the gang war outside that corporate office last night. But of one thing she was sure; the room had been empty when she looked, not two heartbeats before. She turned, and saw the man slumped across one of the benches, his neck and shoulder a mess of black and red.

"Where the hell..." she breathed, wondering if the Living Light-Show Guy from a couple of nights before was back... but there was no sign of the wrecked furniture and scorched floors he had left behind previously. Before she took a step, a grey blur rippled into the room...

"Hisorryaboutthatdidn'tmeantodrophimoffandrunGotta makethisquickandgetbacktocourtThisguywasstabbedand wethinkhewaspsychiclycoercedintoitUmmmmyfriendwasa lsostabbedwithaweaponcoveredbythisguysbloodsoyoush ouldprobablycheckhimfordiseasesOkayIhavetogetbackn ow-nowayasthatscumbagO'Malleygettingoffbecauseofme."

...and was gone.

Kara blinked.

"OK, that's it," she muttered through gritted teeth as she pulled back the collar of the homeless man's shirt, cringing a little at the depth and brutality of the wound.

"This is my last weird-ass-day. I'm going to quit nursing and take up stripping, like mama wanted me to. Hell, I've even got the outfit..."
  #77  
Unread 6th of January, 2006, 07:00
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"What timing," Astrid remarks, seeing Osprey and Bolt making their way back towards security. Seeing the one man's limp, then the trail of blood he was leaving behind him, the attractive assistant DA takes a few steps towards him before noticing Robertson's intercept vector. Stepping in front of him with the confidence of a matador, she holds up one hand and raises her eyebrows behind her glasses.

"The rest of my witnesses just arrived, but it looks like one of them is in need of some medical care -- can you call for an EMT?"
  #78  
Unread 8th of January, 2006, 12:43
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Osprey
HP: 5/5; Status: boy, that's a tender spot

"Firstly though return his money."

"There wasn't any money to take," Rob says matter-of-factly, flipping open the wallet to show his teammate, as if the other man could somehow recognize whether money had been there or not. He then once again pulls the ID card and compares the photo against the wounded man's face, just to make sure the two don't match.

Minutes later, he tries his best to walk into the courthouse as if the pain's just not there. Pragmatism takes precedence over decorum, however, and he limps inside to find medical help, not really aware of how much of the red stuff he's leaving on the floor behind him. 'What was that you said earlier about blood on your leathers?'

He sees Astrid seeing him and involuntarily changes course to head towards her. Better keep this as official as possible, fill out a police report and all that so this doesn't cause any trouble. She's polite enough not to show it, but he very much suspects that she's none too happy about his escapades, regardless of the motivations involved or the reality that he did-in-fact save a man's life this morning, shortly after breakfast.

Bolt whooshes in behind him, and as Rob turns to him he finally notices how much he's bleeding and stops in place. "Jeez, he really got into me," he says to the speedster, almost cracking a smile. "Every time I go out with you people, I swear..."
  #79  
Unread 30th of January, 2006, 14:21
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Osprey
HP: 5/5; Status: boy, that's a tender spot

Robertson looms large in Rob's periphery, and for a moment the young man thinks he's actually going to have to argue his case for needing some Neosporin and a bandage; that would be just typical of the larger man's type, of course. Without even realizing that he's done it, Rob subconsciously sizes him up and puts on his best Masked Avenger face*.

The obligatory circle-and-growl is interrupted, however, by the young DA; she may be asking Robertson to call in the medics, but it's clear that she's not making a request. He has to admire her for that, considering the circumstances--many folks under this kind of stress would be next to worthless right now. Perhaps their case is in better hands that he might have thought.

"Thanks. Although I doubt this is going to be much more than some topical antiseptic and a strip of adhesive cotton; let me get this leak fixed, and I'll be in there with the rest of you, unless..." He pauses, wrestiling with the validity of the question. "Look, I wouldn't miss this for the world, but do you think there's any serious way O'Malley's lawyers could turn this against us?"


*=which isn't really much of a face at all, considering it's a mask
  #80  
Unread 31st of January, 2006, 02:01
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"Just get yourself cleaned up so it's not even an issue -- if you're sure you're going to be alright."
Looking at the vital fluids on the floor, Astrid adds, "You know, it looks like you've lost a lot of blood. It's not going to help anyone if you keel over in there in front of the judge, so are you sure that you're okay? We can get by if you need to go to the hospital." Thinking a moment about the machismo most capes she's known have demonstrated, she wonders if it's better to take that decision out of his hands. "Actually... we should probably let the EMTs make that call. If they clear you, clean up and come on in when you can."

Looking to the Mechanic and Bolt, she adds, "You two will lend enough weight to the proceedings, I hope, but do me a favor and don't go running off in the next minute." Looking at the watch that adourns her slender wrist, she says, "Because we're up now."
  #81  
Unread 31st of January, 2006, 05:06
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"I've been wondering that myself," Paul adds. "I mean, I've already figured out this guy's got more up his sleeve than his elbow, but what sort of nasty tricks should we be prepared for?"
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Unread 31st of January, 2006, 06:02
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"With Alex Waters on this defense, you can be sure we're going to hear about you all being Perpetual Threats," Astrid replies. "Meaning that everything you guys did could be looked at as being 'deadly force' -- but we don't need to worry about that at the arraignment. That's for me to worry about later, during the trial. This is pretty clear-cut in terms of there being enough evidence to at least bring him to trial."

So why do I have this feeling in the pit of my stomach?

Brant starts for the courtroom. "Just keep your cool -- normally witnesses don't have to answer questions at an arraignment, but if things start to get dicey follow my lead and stick to your statements. This should go our way."
  #83  
Unread 4th of February, 2006, 10:38
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HP:5/5 status: At least we are all still alive

Ignoring the big sweaty guy, Ryan heads towards Osprey finishing off his bagel. "Are you ok?" As he waits for an answer he turns to address the others.

"I found him in a alley close by, he was helping a homeless person who looked like he got attacked only to get attacked himself by a free floating knife. I tried to stop it but you can see the results yourself. It seemed like a setup so we took off, I figure we can track down whoever did it after the proceedings."

Ryan turns back to Osprey and gently pats his armor where he saw the martial artist stow the money from the bum. "You still need to return the money you were forced to take."
  #84  
Unread 6th of February, 2006, 11:48
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"What are you talking about?" The look on Rob's face is pure, unadulterated bewilderment...but that fades and is replaced by something with a darker tone.

Dextrous hands dive deep into the folds of his outfit where Bolt had patted him, then emerge clutching a wad of bills. Rob eyes flit from the money to Bolt and back, and what Ryan can see of his face is filled with disbelief. "Holy crap...I..."

Behind the mask, however, his mind is reeling. Imagine coming home one evening, making dinner and attending chores, and then only as you lay in bed do you realize that someone has been in your home. The sense of violation is so overwhelming as to seem nearly a physical weight; utterly caught up in his internal whirlings, Rob's knee nearly buckles as he tries to take a step toward the approaching EMT's. It is a tiny misstep that would go unnoticed by nearly everyone around him, but the stern look in the medic's eyes leaves Rob hoping that they won't think him too injured to go on the stand today.
  #85  
Unread 10th of February, 2006, 02:50
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HP: 5/5; Status: Ten HUT! Let's get a move on!

"Oh, I do not want to hear about this," Astrid says upon hearing Bolt and seeing the loot that Osprey produces. "Let's just stay on target here, guys. I'll let you worry about what did or didn't just go down outside on your own time, but right now let's get patched up and go see the judge, okay?"

Jesus
, Astrid thinks to herself. This is a fucking slam dunk with all the evidence and witnesses we have. Why do I already feel like the wheels are coming off?
  #86  
Unread 11th of February, 2006, 06:54
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Blackthorne
HP: unk; Status: Quietly hanging in the background.

The courtroom had filled up quickly, making the dark-clad figure thankful he arrived at the proceedings early, to ensure he had an inconspicuous spot in the back row.

Henry Elias Blackthorne is normally an unmistakable fellow, a well-known figure in the power circles of Manhattan. But, even with his trademark logo adorning the left breast pocket of his silk suit, Henry is almost invisible in the arraignment court. O'Malley's a popular man.

But, the Irish mobster is not who he's here to see today. Instead, Henry's attentions are directed firmly at the prosecution's star witnesses: the vigilantes of the Centinel Foundation.

Not that he'd get much out of these proceedings, but, in the interest of thoroughness and the morbid curiosity of wanting to see if something...worthwhile happened, Henry decided to see the Centinels "in action."

Suddenly wishing he has even just his baton with him -- blasted security measures -- Henry hears the excitement in the hallway and perks up slightly as he waits for the players to arrive.

Let the circus begin...
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Last edited by Left-Handed Bandit; 11th of February, 2006 at 17:50.
  #87  
Unread 15th of February, 2006, 09:41
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Verve, Osprey, Quantum, Bolt, the Mechanic, Blackthorne

One would thing that a High Court, allegedly dispensing a justice in some way greater or more voluminous in nature than a local or district, should be.... grander.

Bolt and Osprey, both of whom have had cause to be in courtrooms earlier in their lives, find the similarity most noticeable: the same wood panelling, the same architecture and layout. The jury-box sits empty for now, and the gallery has only a handful of observers, including a small press contingent. Osprey grimaces as he sits, feeling the fresh gash in his back twist under the hasty bandages.

Alec Waters and his client sit off to one side already; the lawyer glancing back with a wry, mocking smile just touching his suntanned lips; O'Malley picking his teeth with his thumbnail and ignoring them.

Judge Wilber Tranh, a wiry, grey-haired Vietnamese man watches the Centinels and the ADA file in with a calm eye. One of the court flunkies, his exact position indiscernable by his uniform alone, sidles up to the judge's podium and whispers something up at him. Trahn frowns, and beckons to Astrid Brand before she even has a chance to put down her documents.

The crimelord's lawyer leans forward, straining as if trying to eavesdrop by telepathy. O'Malley leans back in his chair and half-turns towards the Centinels.

"Psst!" he whispers. "Why don't cha show us those pearly whites, sunshine?" He grins at Osprey, baring his own yellowish fangs.
  #88  
Unread 15th of February, 2006, 09:58
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Brant sees Judge Trahn's summoning gesture and approaches the bench still holding her files, briefcase and coffee. "Your honor," she says spiritedly but respectfully. "Were you told that the DA wasn't going to be able to make the arraignment? I'm Assistant District Attourney Astrid Brant, representing the People in this matter."

Behind her, the black-haired woman hears O'Malley's taunt, and she hopes to high hell as the judge responds that the Centinels can hold their tongues. The last thing they all need a is a verbal exchange that leaves the bunch of them -- O'Malley and the Centinels too -- looking like a bunch of sophmoric thugs who can't keep their penises holstered.
  #89  
Unread 19th of February, 2006, 02:17
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Hmmm, this could get interesting
, Henry thinks as he sees O'Malley lean back and appear to address the Centinels. When the gangster looses his insidious smile, Henry immediately attempts to gague the team's reaction.

Maybe it was worth stopping by...
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  #90  
Unread 20th of February, 2006, 09:52
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Quantum

For just a moment, a scene from an old movie flashes into Paul's mind. Fight Club, and the scene where the unnamed lead character flashes a grin at someone during a meeting. A grin filled with mashed teeth and blood.

In response to O'Malley, and completely unaware of Osprey's reaction, Paul shows off his own pearly whites -- well, they're not quite pearly, showing years of tobacco use -- including one incisor half-missing. To accentuate the sarcasm of the gesture, he very slowly crosses his eyes.
  #91  
Unread 20th of February, 2006, 09:52
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"I was informed, Ms. Brand. Or should I say, Acting District Attorney." The old man's eyes glitter like razors behind the thin lenses of his glasses. "Please give DA Kirwin my regards and understanding when you next speak to him."

He pauses for a moment, lips pursed. "I've been informed that one of your witnesses is... bleeding in my courtroom. Is that strictly necessary?" He question is characteristically open, leaving you wondering exactly which aspect of the matter he's commenting on.

Behind her, Quantum sways on his seat and claps his hands to his forehead as if in discomfort, for no appreciable reason. Astrid suddenly feels the need to scream and swing something very large and solid.
  #92  
Unread 21st of February, 2006, 08:52
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Osprey
HP: 5/5; Status: c'mon, now...breathe

There he is.

Jerry O'Malley, the Hammer, the root of so much evil and disease in this city; the personification of all that is rotten, the antithesis of all that is good. A symbol of corruption that somehow transcends his own humanity, becoming just a thing, a name, an elemental force.

Right there. So easily within striking distance.

O'Malley flashes that mirthless smile, that yellowed rictus sardonicus that Rob has seen in his mind's eye so many nights as he tried to sleep; the sight of it brings back memories of the worst kind: the flash and boom of O'Malley's revolver, lightning and thunder on a night without rain. The crunch and scrape and taste of rust. Agony. Humiliation. Hurt. Fear.

With no more effort than to think it done, Rob could flash across the courtroom, whip the stick around hard enough to split the roof of OMalley's mouth, perhaps even hard enought to kill him with the first blow; and if not the first, there is always the second. It would be just and fitting punishment for all the things the man had done and gotten away with, and all that he will do yet. It could happen just as easily as Rob rising from his seat.

He remains where he is, however, still as a statue and forcibly calm. His eyes stare through the gangster, finding a point beyond that mocking gaze and fixing on it. There is no outward evidence of the turmoil within; Rob's breathing comes deep and slow, his hands remain open and at rest in his lap, and there is no violence. His thoughts pale and evaporate into a zen-like nothingness, and those that sit close to him on either side may or may not hear an odd, hollow sound; a rhythmic groaning, somehow familiar, but somehow alien.

It is the grinding of polycarbonate teeth.
  #93  
Unread 22nd of February, 2006, 15:18
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HP: 5/5; Status: SON OF A--

"Uh, I'll do that your honor... and it's Brant with a T. No D."

Why did I say that? Nice work.

"Bran-tuh."

Oh good. Better still.

"No D."

Will you just shut the fuck up already?! Jesus!

"In any case, Judge Trahn, Osprey did suffer an injury recently, but the EMTs cleared him for being present. Frankly, he's our star witness, and the one who suffered the worst at the hands of the defendant."


Astrid turns to look over her shoulder and sweeps the men with a pair of steady, stylishly bespectacled eyes. She catches Quantum's gaze for a moment and mentally kicks him square in the balls -- and he can tell. The shoes the leggy, attractive assistant DA is wearing make him squirm a little when he thinks about that, and she turns back to the bench.

"It's a testament to how badly these men want to see O'Malley behind bars, sir, that they're here today. We all know it's a... risky proposition to testify against men like O'Malley. I told the Centinel that I'd excuse him from the proceedings, that it wasn't strictly necessary that he be here for the arraignment, but he'd hear none of it."

Didn't edit this later, noooo sir, not me.

Last edited by Harrigan; 22nd of February, 2006 at 15:37.
  #94  
Unread 23rd of February, 2006, 08:30
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Ryan sits and twirls a pencil between his fingers as he trys not to fidget too much. This wasn't the first time he has ever been in a court room and probably wouldn't be his last but he never did like them. Too much red tape, lawyers weasling about, getting there guilty clients off while the innocent suffered more and more, Ryan shakes his head slightly as if to mentally derail his train of thought, he knew full well where it would take him. He half-turns and glances up at the gallery, locking eyes for a moment with Trisha before turning back with a small smile on his lips.

He watches as O'Malley leans back mocking Osprey, practically daring him to attack and he can feel his team mate stiffen with rage and yet he does nothing. Ryan is impressed with his self control, if the situation was reversed he doubted that he would have been able to do it.

The pencil passes from one hand to the other as he returns his attention back to the judge and the assistant D.A., what was her last name again? Bran.. Brand, no it was Brant. She was a looker for sure but what information could she possible have that would be useful to him and why would the Seer go to that much trouble in pointing it out. To many questions and not enough answers

Last edited by Kaos; 23rd of February, 2006 at 09:00.
  #95  
Unread 25th of February, 2006, 09:59
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Quantum

Paul quickly composes himself, mentally checking his face to make sure he's not visibly wincing. I'll bet she'd give the 'Port a run for his money, he thinks. That guy needs someone to say "yes, ma'am" to.
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  #96  
Unread 4th of March, 2006, 10:52
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The Arraignment

Snorting contemptuously, O'Malley straightens in his chair, brushing a fleck of paint off the shoulder of his crisp suit. As Astrid gracefully takes her seat just in front of the collected novas and the lone technologist, Tranh's gavel drops: the trump of justice.

The officers of the court stands. Quantum is sure he's seen the man fulfilling the same role on Judge July or Mills Lane or Night Court or something. He glances sideways at Osprey, Bolt and the Mechanic, not detecting the same in their faces. He wonders how much difference three years on ice have made to the world... or even just its pop culture.

The officer barks. "This arraignment is called to order at 11am on the seventeenth of January, the honourable Judge Wilber Tranh presiding." The judge leans forward, nodding to the officer as he sits.

But Alec Waters is on his feet before the older man can even open his mouth, all spunk and slick blond hair and creases, like he just stepped out of a Grisham novel. His voice is smooth and confident. "Your honour, I wish to call for this arraignment to be postponed and relocated to closed hearings. It is unjustifiable to ask my client, a humble businessman, to wage a publicity battle with the Centinel Foundation and its masked spokesmen." He glances pointedly at Osprey, the only one actually wearing a mask. "Further more, it is unfair to tarnish his reputation in front of the public's eye before we have even determined there should be a trial." This time, his glance is furtive, and directed back at the public gallery.

Henry Blackthorne meets Waters' gaze, ever so slightly impressed at the man's keen sight, able to pick him out of a crowd he only looked over superficially. The industrialist shifts, recalling his previous dealings with Waters; the man is that useful breed of snake that will take any case, no matter how immoral. Were he more concerned with winning them rather than spinning them to his own benefit, Blackthorne might have had a use for those services. Astrid notices the look, and turns her head, trying to follow Waters' line of sight.

Judge Tranh watches the accused's lawyer for a moment. "According to the records I have here, Mr. Waters - that you furnished me with - Mr. O'Malley's wealth is far from humble... and since he recently retained the talents of the PR firm Prentiss McCabe, I think we can say he's hardly unchampioned in the media." He shakes his head. "This arraignment will go forward. I will, however, consider your request if a trial date and location are set."

O'Malley glares at his lawyer, but Waters seems to be taking the setback in his stride.

"We are here today to assess the necessity and viability of proceeding to the trial of Jeremy Milligan O'Malley on charges of grievous bodily harm, assault with intent to kill - twice, intent to supply illegal firearms, possession of illegal firearms, intent to import contraband, aiding and abetting a metacriminal - also twice. These charges arise from an intervention by the Centinel Foundation into a warehouse rented by Mercer Shipping International on the night of January the thirteenth."

Tranh surveys the assembled lawyers, witnesses, reporters and public. "Matters of crime dealt with under the auspices and protocols of the Vigilance Act are always fraught with difficulties. We recognise that some criminals and terrorists have powers and modus operandi that defy the ability of law enforcement and the military to curtail. On the other other hand, costumed vigilantes must not be allowed to serve as investigator, jury and executioner all at once. Despite our need for them, they must be held accountable.

"Is the prosecution ready to present the case framework and evidence against the accused?"
  #97  
Unread 5th of March, 2006, 04:10
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Blackthorne
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Ah, yes, the Caberlie affair. What a mess that was. Two killed in a field test, lawsuits galore, allegations of bribes and corporate corruption. Blackthorne Industries was only remotely involved in the secret Army project, but was lumped in with the rest of the manufacturers accused of corruption and fraud.

Waters' ideas were...creative, to say the least, but would have had lasting effects on his "street credibility" inside the beltway and on Wall Street. He would have won and earned hundreds of millions of dollars off a counter suit, but lost billions in future contracts.

Instead, Henry maneuvered Senator Edward Caberlie of Ilinois into an untenable position, where the senator was forced to admit his own corruption, exonorate three-quarters of the companies involved in the project, and resign in disgrace. It took a few months to do so, but Blackthorne Industries weathered the controversy and was rewarded 10-fold for its perserverance.

Henry heard the senator took his own life three days before he was going to be indicted. It was a shame, really; Caberlie should've accepted his role as a warning against political corruption.

The Caberlie affair taught Henry much about Alec Waters, especially that his services were best focused on men who needn't worry about their public image.
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Last edited by Left-Handed Bandit; 14th of March, 2006 at 03:27.
  #98  
Unread 5th of March, 2006, 14:53
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Quantum

Costumed vigilantes? Paul wonders, thankfully not aloud. Most of these guys don't bother with Spandex and masks. Heck, I even proposed uniforms, but got vetoed. And I thought the Foundation had backing for just this sort of thing.

He looks across the courtroom, at O'Malley and his lawyer. Or lackey. Or whatever. 'Course, they might take the whole 'acting on our own' thread as far as they can. Jeez. I couldn't stand watching this crap on TV, now I'm sitting in the middle of it.

And where have I seen that judge before? Trying to keep his expression neutral, and letting Astrid take the reins, he tries to sift through freeze-dried memories.
  #99  
Unread 7th of March, 2006, 17:48
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"Yes, your honor," Astrid answers without hesitation. She wishes to hell that she'd had proper time to prepare, that she had John backing her up and Kristine in her corner (where the hell is she, anyway?), but she knows that a postponement or any other kind of delay in the proceedings will help Waters and O'Malley more than it helps her. So, turning on one heel to face her opposition, Brant takes a few clicking steps towards the defense. The dark skirt she's wearing covers her to the knee, a slight slit in the material leaving precisely the right amount of leg visible. Enough to distract slightly, enough to hint at what isn't visible. Some members of her gender would be appalled at such tactics, but Astrid Brant is a realist: she uses what works.

"Fifty two policemen are dead, your honor, and countless civilians with them, all because of the cheap, cop-killer bullet-firing Chinese guns that Jerry O'Malley has been selling on our city streets. NYPD tracked a shipment of the guns to the Mercer warehouse and enlisted the aid of the Centinels Foundation to raid the place before O'Malley could move them. With SWAT teams backing them up and the proper authorizations in place -- see Exhibit A -- the Centinels moved in on the night of January thirteenth, 2010." Turning her attention to her star witnesses and then the judge, the assistant DA continues, "We'll hear testimony that they found there the illegal arms, two restricted military-grade defense drones, three metahuman criminals, a number of mercenaries and O'Malley himself, along with his bodyguard."

Moving with an easy, professional grace that keeps all eyes on her -- Astrid doesn't want O'Malley and the Centinels making any more goo-goo eyes at one another -- Brant locks eyes with Judge Tranh. "Jeremy O'Malley and his men refused to surrender, instead attacking the Centinel team and forcing the melee detailed in the report that's part of the prosecution's case portfolio. During that battle, O'Malley himself participated and twice attempted to kill or maim one of the Centinels."
Looking at Osprey, the dark-haired woman raises an eyebrow and adds, "The second attack can't be considered anything but vicious, practically inhuman. With Osprey already injured and down from a gunshot wound delivered by the defendant, Mr. O'Malley approached him and struck him in the face with a hammer, doing severe damage to the man's mandibles and teeth that required extensive reconstructive surgery."

Turning back to the bench, Astrid draws a deep breath before exhaling evenly. She has no idea how this is going. There was more than enough evidence to go to trial with, especially with all the witnesses she'd be able to parade in front of the jury, but it was impossible to know how far O'Malley's reach could penetrate the judicial system. Certainly he'd scared off the DA, and tried the same with her -- had he also gotten to Tranh? She'll find out soon enough.

"Exhibits A through Q cover all the material and crime-scene evidence, your honor. Combined with the eye-witness accounts of the men behind me, the People believe that there is ample evidence to move this case to trial, and I ask that you remand Mr. O'Malley without bail. He is not only a flight risk, he also has business practices that put people of this city in harm's way. Additionally, he's a direct threat to the safety of the witnesses and their loved ones, and as of this morning is under investigation for tampering with these proceedings. I'll note in closing that the defendant attempted to smuggle a weapon into the courthouse -- another hammer. What he had planned to do with it, I can only imagine."

Last edited by Harrigan; 7th of March, 2006 at 17:52.
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Unread 25th of March, 2006, 22:47
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The Arraignment

Before the echoes of her speech have even ceased reverberating around the wood panels of the room, Judge Tranh's eyes shift from Astrid to the other lawyer, and he nods. Waters glides to his feet, smiling brightly, like everything is going to plan.

“Your honour...” he begins. “I'll address the assistant DA's case from least significant to most.

“Firstly, the hammer. Which, I may point out, was left with the security personal outside the courtroom – along with certain weapons belonging to the agents of the Centinel Foundation. While the rest,” he gestures at Bolt, with his lightning-fast fists and Quantum, with his reality-shredding fields, “are still armed, via the Perpetual Threat ruling. In any case, it's hardly against the law to carry a workman's tool, something fundamentally no different than a Leatherman or a Swiss Army knife... eccentric, I'll grant, but not illegal

“Secondly, she cites statistics regarding the number of fatalities our valiant police department has suffered from the recent influx of Chinese guns. Clearly spurious and emotive statistics, as Mr. O'Malley has no proven connection to these weapons, and over a half-dozen other arms dealers and fences have been arrested in connection with this black trade. None of them connected to Mr. O'Malley.

“No-one is denying that a fight took place at the Mercer warehouse. A fight between my client, a businessman investigating a possible new avenue of import and export, unaware of the smuggler's intentions, and an unannounced, unnamed team of vigilantes. Government-sponsored and registered, perhaps, but my client had no way of knowing this. As for any injuries sustained,” he glances at Osprey, and the Wind-borne Warrior, “A group of novas hardly have cause to complain if they get a little scuffed in the cross-fire. And, I'd like to point out, one of the other novas present remains in intensive care at a government medical institution... suffering injuries caused by the Centinel Wreck.” He gazes around theatrically. “Who, apparently, couldn't be bothered to attend this arraignment.

“And, finally...” Alec Waters practically swells with schadenfreude. “The ADA refers to exhibit A: authorisations, operations plans, crime scene reports, arrest records, charge lists and evidence depositions, provided by the Centinel Foundation.” He walks over to the desk where O'Malley sits, arms folded, and Waters picks up a manilla folder, flourishing it dramatically (and unnecessarily, given the laptop open on the surface next to it).

It falls open, emptily.

“Was I left out of the loop?” he smirks to Astrid.

The judge consults his own files for several moments. “ADA Brand? The counsel is correct. The required documentation appears to be missing.

Interplanetary ice goes nova in Astrid's stomach.

The bitter truth, that she'd been unable to admit even to herself is now undeniable. He's right. The Centinel Foundation has submitted almost none of the required paperwork. None of it. They were the agency in charge of the investigations, but there are no case files or DoJ oversight reports. The Foundation was the arresting party, but there are no records or field accounts of the raid and its aftermath. Hell, there isn't even a letter outline the things O'Malley is accused of. Without their cooperation, the DA's office cannot You knew they were tardy, but you were promised it'd be here today – in fact, that's where Kristine is supposed to be using the court's net to get them from Stone's people. But she never returned with the files.

There is, literally, no case to answer. No accusation has even been made!
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