- Oxford has changed the topic to: Smoking in the Officer's Mess is Prohibited - Use the Smoking Lounge
<Oxford> The trial has reached its theoretical midpoint. The Prosecution has finished presenting their witnesses, who, though not particularly damning for Elsa, have strongly implicated Westfield in either gross negligence or criminal conspiracy. The girls have a short recess to prepare before the Defense begins presenting their evidence.
- Joslyn sighs, wiping her forehead. This had been a lot more trying than she'd thought - doubly so given how close they were to all getting discharged.
<Caitlin> "…Okay, Joslyn. There's nothing we can do for Mister Westfield at this moment in time—we have to keep our sights set on Elsa and try to incriminate Westfield as little as possible along the way. With that in mind, who do you think we should be calling?"
<Joslyn> "Hmm…" Joslyn thinks for a moment. "Reiker's case is relly weak. I don't want to give him any more ammo."
<Joslyn> "I'm thinking asking Major Westfield to testify on how Elsa is helpful more than she is harmful, and just let that be it."
<Caitlin> "Not even calling Elsa herself?"
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<Joslyn> "Absolutely not! Reiker is probably betting on it. He called both of us for the purposes of destroying our credibility - I don't want to put her through that."
- Firespitter is now known as Elsa
<Joslyn> "Reiker's case is flimsy. If we give him the chance to have his way with Elsa, he could easily turn the case in his favor." Joslyn starts scribbling some more on her notepd.
<Caitlin> "You don't think it would be strange for the accused not to speak? What about Paige and Madison? …I don't think they could add much about the effects of the pendants we haven't already mentioned. Hm. Donalds?"
<Caitlin> "Mister Donalds would support us, I'm sure, but I don't think he's up to it, we should leave him be…"
<Joslyn> "Yeah, he's got enough on his plate. I sure hope we find Flauri soon though…"
- Elsa looks like we're thinking hard, "Wouldn't it look bad if we didn't call me up there? I think its a lose-lose situation"
<Elsa> "And yeah, lets keep donalds out of this."
<Joslyn> "As much as I hate to say it, having you state your case will do you more harm than good. If I were prossecuting you, I'd be jumping at the chance to tear into you. If you cry, that makes my case that much better. He wouldn't pass up a chance like that."
- Elsa grits her teeth, "Alright, what DO we have to defend myself with? We only have Westfield backing us up."
<Caitlin> "If we call Elsa, then we have her directly placing the blame for her activities on the pendants. If we don't, it's suspicious and seems as if we're trying to hide something."
- Clarity is now known as Giantree
<Elsa> "Why not have me go up there and try to shoot down Reiker's points before he even has a chance to say them?"
<Elsa> "And we can point out they happened after I used lots of magic."
<Joslyn> "If you're so dead-set on Elsa testifying, go ahead. But it's a trap - I'm sure of it. We should call one witness to improve our position a little, and rest our case before Reiker can get another word in."
<Elsa> "Okay, if not me then who do we call, Everyone else I can think of doesn't really make me look any better.
<Joslyn> "Major Westfield can attest to how you didn't want to do him any harm. And Reiker's likely to get off on a tangent, we can cut him off easily enough."
<Elsa> "Well lets call him then."
<Elsa> "Is there anyone else we can call?"
<Joslyn> "Hmm…Erica would blab about you not needing a pendant. Donalds is occupied, and Paige and Maddie would just be led by Reiker to sy whatever he needs. I think it's just the Major."
<Caitlin> "Why do you think Miss Stranahan would do that?"
<Elsa> "You DID tell her not to, right Cait? Also can we NOT talk about that here?"
<Elsa> "Or at least be as vague as possible."
<Joslyn> "Because Reiker has a really easy way to lead her into it. He's been implying that you can do it all trial, the last thing we need is someone who can corroborate it."
<Caitlin> "Strictly speaking, telling her not to doesn't mean much, we can't tell her to lie. I suppose it would be dangerous for him to ask her to directly confirm or deny what you can do… Okay. No to Miss Stranahan. What questions might I ask Elsa to paint her favorably?"
<Joslyn> "You'd need to ask her to lie." Joslyn frowns. "I know you mean well, but nothing good can come of her taking the stand."
<Caitlin> "Did you ever hold ill will or intent to harm towards Major Westfield? To your knowledge, have you repeatedly violated military code of your own will?"
<Elsa> "Umm, no I really haven't, Though I guess Jos is right Reiker might have something planned."
<Caitlin> "I… wasn't asking you that question, I was asking you about questions along those lines…"
<Elsa> "Oh, yeah, those sound fine, but what do we know about what Reiker knows? I'm leaning towards Jos' plan right now."
<Joslyn> "If he doesn't know about your…needs, then he heavily suspects."
<Joslyn> "Was it not that obvious?"
<Elsa> "I really Couldn't tell."
<Elsa> "And what do you mean by needs anyways?"
<Joslyn> by…you know, the thing you wanted to not talk about."
<Elsa> "Its not really a need, more like a situation, its confusing when you say it like that"
<Joslyn> "Whatever. you get the idea, right?"
<Elsa> "So do we have an agreement then?"
<Caitlin> "Look, I just wanted you guys to help me generate good questions." Caitlin sighs and shakes her head. This talk of needs is just silly.
<Joslyn> "If you're drawing a blank, I can do it for you."
<Caitlin> "I'm not, I just listed a few and asked for feedback."
<Elsa> "I said they were good, and then you kinda shut up"
<Joslyn> "well…I trust you. keep things short and to the point, and we ought to be fine."
<Caitlin> "Alright, what about our questions for Mister Westfield?"
<Joslyn> "…that's what I was just talking about." Joslyn sighs.
<Caitlin> "Yes, and I'm looking for a concrete decision on what to ask. I plan to reference Elsa's attempts to clear the area and isolate herself."
<Elsa> "Well, I guess it would be better to ask him what he thought about the whole incident, and probably ask him if there was lots of magic on the fight right before."
<Caitlin> "Alright. Anything to add, Joslyn?"
<Joslyn> "Not really. Just that you need to keep Reiker off-balance. The less he gets to say, the better."
<Caitlin> "Last question. What are your opinions? Do we object to Reiker going off topic or allow him to dilute his case here but strengthen his one against Mister Westfield with his tangents? I lean towards the former…"
<Oxford> A bailiff steps quickly out into the hall, hands behind his back. "The trial will resume shortly. Please take your seats, ma'ams."
<Elsa> "What you said Cait, sounds great."
<Caitlin> Caitlin returns to her seat.
<Joslyn> "Shut him off if you think he's trying to build evidence against westfield. let him wander until then." Joslyn puts her steel-framed glasses back on and gets back to writing.
- Elsa goes take her seat back wherever they were.
<Oxford> Within, the tribunal is apparently in the midst of a heated discussion. Sharp words and emphatic gestures fly freely, though to exact subject of the discussion is unclear. Finally, the Chief Judge checks his watch and silences them with a bang of the gavel. "The trial of Warrant Elsa will now continue with the Defense's presentation of evidence. Warrant O'Connell, you may begin."
<Caitlin> "The Defense calls Major Lucas Westfield."
<Oxford> A sharp crack of wood on wood splits the air as Reiker, leaned back in his chair, suddenly sits bolt-upright. He looks at Caitlin with an mixture of glee and confusion as the bailiff leads a somber-faced Major Westfield into the courtroom.
<Oxford> He is swiftly sworn in, and sits down at the witness' stand with the same stern look he always has. He waits patiently for the Defense's questions.
<Caitlin> "Major Westfield, as the superior of Officer Elsa, would you characterize her behavior as demonstrating a pattern of disrespect for military code and unnecessary aggression towards non-enemies?"
<Oxford> "Objection, compound," says Reiker quickly, biting his lower lip. The Chief Judge shrugs. "Answer those one at a time, please, Major Westfield."
<Oxford> The officer frowns and folds his hands in his lap, gathering his thoughts. "No, I would not characterize Warrant Elsa as displaying either a disrespect for military code or any aggression toward- excuse me, rather, any pattern of aggression toward non-hostiles."
<Caitlin> "In the battle prior to the incident wherein Elsa allegedly assaulted you, can you confirm the usage of greater than normal amounts of her power?"
<Oxford> "Yes," he says, nodding. "The raid on Bougnetsport involved the flight's first contact with Capt. Merovin's customiz-" "Objection, narrative!" interupts Reiker, giving Westfield a hateful glare. The Chief nods. "Sustained; 'yes' will do, Major."
<Caitlin> "Can you confirm that, in your experience, greater usages of the Pendants leads to greater side effects?"
<Oxford> "In general terms, yes. The more energy expended while using the Pendants, the more likely the chance of side-effects."
- Elsa looks intently, at reiker specifically, goddamn why is he so damn happy?
<Caitlin> Caitlin briefly asks the court to refer to the report already entered in evidence wherein the assault took place, "Ahem, according to the report, Officer Elsa repeatedly tried to isolate herself before she could do damage, explicitly stated she could not control herself, and endeavored to protect those in the area from the magic she could feel escaping her control. Can you confirm she
<Caitlin> did indeed do all of this? One point at a time, if the court prefers."
<Oxford> "I can confirm that Warrant Elsa did all of those things. Specifically, she asked to be locked up, and I chose to place her in the bomb shelter for safety. She also advised the civilians present to flee. This was all shortly before the incident."
<Caitlin> "Did this incident seem to be a result of malice or ill will held by Officer Elsa?"
- Giantree is now known as Frederica
<Oxford> "I don't feel that Elsa displayed any ill will during the incident, no."
<Caitlin> "Can you confirm that Officer Elsa turned in her Pendant in order to prevent any sort of mass destruction, also allowing herself to be more easily restrained?"
<Oxford> Westfield pauses uncomfortably. "Yes," he says at length, "I can confirm she turned in her Pendant before the incident took place." One of the judges leans over to whisper to his neighbor.
- Joslyn grimaces slightly, striking out a line from her legal pad and writing more.
<Caitlin> "Can you also confirm that any given Pendant user is capable of using limited versions of their abilities, as Officer Elsa there demonstrated?"
<Oxford> "Yes," he replies, more quickly this time, "any Pendant User can display limited access to their abilities, even without a Pendant."
<Caitlin> "…Had Officer Elsa not demonstrated the concern and foresight to have turned in her Pendant and consequently had full access to her powers while out of her control, what do you judge the likelihood that you would have been able to neutralize her with so little damage?"
- Elsa thinks its gonna be 0
<Oxford> "I find it unlikely that, had she full access to her powers, I would have been able to neutralize the threat with so little damage to the Warrant." He folds his hands and nods.
<Caitlin> "Thank you very much. No further questions."
<Oxford> The Chief Judge nods. "Would the Defense wish to cross-examine?"
<Oxford> Reiker stands. His face is a twisted combination of smugness, self-satisfaction, and barely-concealed hatred. "The Prosecution would, your Honors."
<Oxford> Westfield, seated behind the witness stand, maintains his stoic disposition. Nevertheless, a hint of anger creeps around the corners of his eyes as Reiker begins the questioning. "Mr. Westfield, is the information in your report on this incident correct?"
<Oxford> Westfield frowns, and fails to keep a touch of resentment from his voice. "Of course; I would never have filed them without the best information available to me."
<Oxford> "Then, Mr. Westfield, when you wrote on page 3, middle of the page: 'Warrant Elsa then emitted a large blast of fire which,' and I quote, 'tore the cellar door from its hinges and propelled Maj. Westfield (R.O.) against the far wall', was that accurate?"
<Caitlin> "Objection, your honor. The Prosecution has already asked and received confirmation as to the accuracy of the report."
<Oxford> "Sustained; skip the rhetoric, Major." Reiker doesn't even break stride, asking his next question before the judge has finished admonishing him: "And would hurling a direct superior against a wall constitute Assaulting an Officer?"
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<Oxford> "It would." Reiker's smile is predatory, fierce. "Mr. Westfield, would you then say that Warrant Elsa assaulted you?"
<Oxford> Reiker blinks a double-take. "A- In what way did Elsa not fulfill the legal definition of Assaulting an Officer?" he demands.
<Oxford> "Warrant Elsa was not responsible for having emitted the blast of fire." Westfield smiles coolly.
<Oxford> Reiker sputters as he flips through the notes in his hand. "Then- here, same page, first paragraph: 'Warrant Elsa stated: "Everything should burn!"-'," Westfield cuts him off. "Clearly a general statement, not indicative of intent or malice. Likely brought on by temporary Pendant-related instability."
- Joslyn stifles a giggle. damn that was impressive
- Elsa is really reaelly glad we focused on the pendsnts.
- Caitlin is really reaelly glad Elsa isn't failing her classes
<Elsa> Mental typos they happen
<Oxford> "Your Honors, the direct use of offensive powers surely constitutes-" Again, Westfield cuts him off. "Something akin to an accidental discharge on the firing range, your Honors. The penalty for which is-"
<Oxford> This time Reiker interupts. "Permission to treat the witness as hostile?" he demands. "Denied," says the Chief Judge, smirking a bit himself. "It is the Court's opinion that Major Westfield has been perfectly civil."
<Oxford> Reiker paces back to the prosecution's table, hurls down his notes, and drains the tall glass of water in long, slow gulps. His face is beet red, but the delay seems to have at least given him a chance to take a few deep breaths. He prepares one last line of questioning.
<Oxford> "Mister Westfield," he growls, "how would you classify Warrant Elsa's use of her abilities when not equipped with a Pendant?"
<Caitlin> "Objection, your honors. Further questioning in this line is irrelevant to the case and has already been discussed in the Defense's questioning."
<Oxford> "Indeed, your Honors. Since the Defense opened that topic to discussion, surely I can ask for clarification on the matter?" The Chief frowns, but gives Reiker a nod. "Overruled, but let's not dwell on this topic unless it's leading somewhere." From the looks the other judges are giving the Chief, though, some of them seem perfectly happy to be dwelling on this.
<Oxford> Reiker turns back to the witness' stand. Westfield shrugs and says, in a mild voice, "She's certainly more talented than most Users I've met, in that department."
<Oxford> "Are you aware that she can use her combat form without possessing a Pendant?" A hush falls over the tribunal.
<Joslyn> "Objection! Assumes facts not in evidence!" Joslyn stands up, knocking her chair over..
- Elsa tenses the fuck up, she heavily suppresses the urge to stand up and knock her chair over. But manages to hold really tight to the edge of the table.
- Elsa tries to show the least amount of emotion as possible, but its kinda hard. Fear is a tough thing to hide when you're a 14 year old.
<Oxford> "Sustai-" begins the Chief Judge, but stops as he feels a hand on his shoulder from the general seated next to him. The other officer leans over to whisper, and the Chief listens uncomfortably before revising his statement. "The Tribunal will confer."
<Caitlin> Caitlin waits and watches like a hawk to see what happens. More like a statue of a hawk.
- Joslyn glares at Reiker, pokerfacing as best she can.
<Oxford> The judges quickly rearrange themselves into a small cluster, with the two on the edges moving their chairs around the back to complete the circle. The speak in whispers for several minutes.
- Elsa motherfucking tries as best as she can to calm down, despite that the wait is killing her.
<Oxford> Finally, they return to the table, and the Chief Judge looks out over it and grimaces. "By a vote of 4 to 1, the tribunal overrules the Defense's objection. Major Westfield, you will answer the question."
- Elsa bites her lip and begins a barely audible "ffffffffff"
<Oxford> A look of triumph appears on Reiker's face. "I can repeat it for you, if you'd like, Mr. Westfield."
<Joslyn> "I would like to have on record that Defense has a standing objection to this line of questioning."
<Oxford> "Noted," says the Chief quietly, jotting it down in his notepad.
<Oxford> "Mr. Westfield, are you aware that Warrant Elsa can use her combat form without possessing a Pendant?"
<Oxford> Major Westfield smiles softly. "I have no such knowledge, your Honors."
<Oxford> He looks at Joslyn, and gives her the subtlest of winks.
- Joslyn does her best to hide it
- Elsa doesn't notice.
- Elsa looks more relaxed though.
<Oxford> Reiker explodes. "Your Honors, this is blatant perjury! The altered mission reports clearly show-"
<Oxford> "Address your questions to the witness, Major Reiker."
<Caitlin> Caitlin raises an eyebrow at the word altered.
- Elsa looks around confused and whispers, "You know anything about that?"
<Oxford> "Did you, or did you not intentionally change the mission reports to show-" Westfield smiles. "Yes." - "Yes what?" - "You asked, 'Did you or did you not'…"
<Oxford> "Your Honors!" Reiker practically howls, "permission to treat the witness-" The Chief Judge smiles again. "Denied; he seems perfectly willing to ans-"
<Oxford> "No further questions!" shouts Reiker, in frustration. Then he blanches, realizing what he's done.
<Oxford> The Chief Judge taps his gavel softly. "Would the Defense like to call any other witnesses?"
<Caitlin> "The Defense rests its case, no further witnesses."
<Oxford> "Very well." The other judges look somewhat surprised, but the Chief nods. "The Prosecution and Defense may now present their closing statements, after which the Tribunal will confer and render judgment. The Prosecution may go first. Major Reiker?"
<Oxford> Reiker has drained yet another glass. His confidence has been shaken somewhat; he reads from a prepared document - poor form, but it prevents his emotions from getting in the way of his argument.
<Oxford> "Your Honors, the Prosecution has provided irrefutable evidence, in the form of testimony by both the school headmistress and the victim of this explosive attack, that Warrant Officer Elsa is indeed responsible for assaulting Major Lucas Westfield, her commanding officer. It has furthermore been proven that this outburst, whether malicious or the result of a dangerously unstable psyche, is mirrored in Warrant Elsa's unchecked aggre
<Oxford> ssion against enemies and classmates alike. With this in mind, the Prosecution requests that the Tribunal enact the full punishment as required by military law: dishonourable discharge and imprisonment. Furthermore, due to the possibility of mental instability and permanent, massive physical deformity, the Prosecution reccommends a full clinical re-examination, followed by treatment as prescribed by the examining physician. Your Ho
<Oxford> nors, certain allowances may be made during times of need, but when insubordination crosses the line into assault on a superior officer, only the harshest penalties are appropriate. The Prosecution rests."
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<Caitlin> Caitlin stands up. The small girl clears her throat and does not start speaking until she's certain everyone is silent.
<Caitlin> The small girls starts off slow, "I would like to thank everyone for listening this far as we present our closing statements…"
<Caitlin> And in an instant, she picks up with her speech, speaking rather quickly and confidently without a single notecard to aid her, giving small, sometimes flourishing gestures with her hands as she does so.
<Caitlin> "Ahem, Your Honors, throughout this trial, the Defense has repeatedly demonstrated that the Focus Pendants are known to have physical and psychological side effects beyond any individual's control, going so far as to find confirmation from a medical doctor that the symptoms Elsa exhibited during her alleged assault have nothing to do with her own intentions. In short, she did not commit
<Caitlin> assault because she was not in control of her powers or herself, and in fact actively attempted to minimize the danger for those around her. Elsa held no ill will towards any citizens and did not make any sort of assault or violent acts of her own will or volition. Furthermore, the accusations of flaunting military code are unfounded, as evidenced by multiple character witnesses and
<Caitlin> both of her superiors confirming that Officer Elsa is nothing more than eager to serve her country; the accusations of aggression are nothing more than the clever spin based off of her efficient combat style meant to most effectively harm the enemy. By all means, Warrant Elsa is extremely dangerous… but given her solid character and admirable loyalty to her country… the group Elsa
<Caitlin> is truly dangerous to is the enemy forces. To punish her is to reward the enemy for forcing her to expend enough of her energy to suffer these unfortunate side effects. The Defense urges Your Honors to not punish a young girl for being willing to use her gifts for her country, to not punish a young soldier for having the strength to challenge the enemy head on, and to not punish a
<Caitlin> young citizen for being willing to sacrifice her life for her country."
<Caitlin> "…Officer Elsa is innocent. Thank you for listening, the Defense rests."
<Oxford> The tribunal listens with mixed expressions: some seem disinterested, but the Chief Judge blinks quickly and looks away as Caitlin finishes her speech. He taps the gavel against its block. "The Tribunal will now confer to render judgment. Court will recess until a consensus has been reached. Counsel may wait outside, and will be sent for when the Tribunal has made its decision. Adjourned!"
<Oxford> Another pound of the gavel closes court while the judges gather to weigh the case. The bailiff helpfully holds open the door at the rear of the officer's mess to let everyone out.
- Elsa lets out a sigh she didn't even realize she was holding back, "Thank god thats over."
- Frederica is now known as Giantree
- Joslyn has quit (Quit: <Cleff> "Stealing is fun. It's like treasure hunting except you get to screw over people you don't like.")
<Oxford> Almost over, at any rate. All that's left is for the judges to return with their verdict. But whether Warrant Elsa will ever fly again - or whether Major Reiker's machinations will leave her permanently grounded - remains to be seen.
<Oxford> /session charm, c'mon wait for it