Instinct (part 5)
Chapter 23 of Senses
Paul stopped the tape recorder and faced the panel.
"For the record," he began, "my name is Paul Cynic, counsel for 'drink Davis and Mats Gibraltar; the accused. The recording we have just heard is the personal reflections and testimony of the accused, including minor pieces of data spoken by Deborah Davis and extracted exactly from Foundation computers.
"As The Foundation is a closed society and has jurisdiction over its members only, Deborah Davis, Scott David and myself are uncharged, and our actions have been charged to the accused. I shall now, for the record, list the charges assessed and address them on a singular basis.
"Charged against Mats Gibraltar; withholding the location of a Foundation charged discovery, illegal retrieval of data by non-Foundationers, espionage, the establishment of a black market, unauthorized return to homeworld, theft, filing a false theft report, sabotage in space, unauthorized smuggling of non-Foundationers, sabotage on base, destruction of Foundation property, and breaking and entering.
"Charged against 'drink Davis; unauthorized smuggling of non-Foundationers by subversion, withholding information vital to The Foundation, perjury, unauthorized homeworld return, theft by means of stealth, vandalism, establishing residence on a quarantined planet, malicious destruction during unauthorized battle, and defiance of known tradition.
"Let us establish some common ground. What is of value to The Foundation? Information? People? What makes it tick? Are Mats and 'drink of value to The Foundation?
"Mats first. It has been established by The Foundation itself that Mats has the highest new worlds discovered ratio on record. Four, including Mats' place, in five months. For the record, does The Foundation place value on that? Is Mats of value?"
The three member panel conferred for a moment before the head jurist responded. "Yes," it said.
"Thank you," Paul replied, nodding to the speaker. "Regarding 'drink, there are questions I need answered. Obviously, class nines are highly regarded and quite rare. This is unstated but is fact. How many class nines are there?"
The head jurist responded, "Three."
Paul was surprised. He expected a low number, but not that low. "And where are the other two? After all, this involves them as well."
The second jurist responded, "Both have resigned from The Foundation."
Paul considered for a moment. "Second jurist," he said, "I am not sure I believe you. If so, Mats and 'drink could simply resign. However, that is not the point. What your answer tells me is that you had plans for 'drink. I do not know or even care what those plans were. Is 'drink of value?"
"Yes," the head jurist acknowledged.
"Thank you," Paul replied. He took a sip of water before continuing.
"As has been established," he said, "Mats and 'drink were recruited form Earth. It was their induction that sets the precedence for the majority of their actions. I charge to you, esteemed jurists, that they were both stolen from Earth. On our world we call it kidnapping; one of the more severe crimes on the planet. However, The Foundation distracted both men into believing they were being done a good service and they proceeded to forget about the crime that brought them here.
"Remember that word, distraction. I'll be coming back to it. Regarding the charges against Mats..."
"Mr. Cynic," the first jurist spoke.
"Yes, first jurist?"
"Are you aware you have used half your allotted time with us?"
Paul frowned. "Excuse me?"
"As is well known within our system," the jurist explained, "there is a time limit to our presentations."
"I never saw that in the records I have researched!" Paul protested.
"Then obviously you didn't steal everything," the second jurist sneered.
"On Earth, you would be barred from the courtroom for bias for that comment. You can not blame me for something I didn't know!"
"I shall use a phrase of your own governmental system," the second jurist said. "Ignorance of the law is no excuse."
Paul began to protest anew but stopped, his frown deepening. They've already decided this, he thought. "May I then sum up?" he asked aloud.
"Please do," the third jurist said.
"Thank you," Paul replied, sipping some water. "Regarding Matthias Gibraltar, have any of his actions caused any harm? His 'hidden' planet has now been reported, through the actions taken before this court. The black market has always existed; Mats simply used it as an information system, as I am sure you sometimes do. Unauthorized return to Earth? How about stealing him away from it? Mats himself thought he had authorization."
"What of the drones he destroyed?" the third jurist asked.
"That should be charged to 'drink. He fired the shots as he himself has admitted."
"The damage to our base?"
"There Mats did you all a service. Did it not point out the weak points in your security? As with the mirrored ventilation system, did it not show you where you needed to improve your own work?"
First jurist regarded Paul for a moment. "Point conceded," the jurist said.
"Thank you," Paul nodded. "So stated I move that all charges against Matthias Gibraltar be dropped so that we may concentrate on the true issues here, which involve 'drink Davis."
The jurists conferred for several moments, while Paul organized his thoughts. It was the first jurist who broke the silence. "Motion carried."
Paul hid his surprise, something he did well. He had not expected such good fortune, as even he thought he was stretching things a bit. Perhaps they do not wish to hide behind a screen anymore.
"Continue the defense," first jurist said.
"Thank you," Paul returned. "Regarding 'drink, I can use similar arguments to have all but two of the charges against dismissed. Smuggling Deborah? The Foundation itself picked her up. Quarantined planet? Done after he arrived there. Would the drones have let the ship take off the first time when 'drink and Debbie were brought there? You get the idea.
"I move that all charges save two, malicious destruction during unauthorized battle and defiance of known tradition, be dropped."
The jurists conferred for a longer period, while Paul concealed a smile. If he won this concession he stood a chance.
Finally the third jurist spoke. "Granted."
"Thank you," Paul said. "Regarding the battle, my defense is a simple one. 'drink was fighting to save something of value to The Foundation, himself. How many drones were destroyed?"
"Sixteen Terraforming drones, three satellites and ten defense drones," second jurist pronounced.
Paul shook his head. That's a lot he thought to himself. Aloud he continued, "I put to you by your own admissions that 'drink is of more value than 29 pieces of space hardware. If you agree, then I ask for this charge to be dropped as well."
The jurist began to confer but the first jurist stopped them, saying, "We will need to consider this. Continue with the last charge."
Paul nodded. Lost that one, he thought. "There is no reasonable defense against the last, unreasonable charge," he said aloud. "I do, however, have some thoughts for you to consider.
"This legend 'drink and his family are faced with; where did it come from? Does it make sense? On Earth if you came up with a theory like that many would believe, but not enough to make a law out of it. It is that logic, plus the fact that 'drink sees this as an outlaw organization due to his own kidnapping, that drives him to his actions. He cannot accept the legend as true. Nor can I, and if you give it some thought from his point of view, neither can you.
"On that note, esteemed jurists, the defense shall