Injustice System

Council Courtroom
Locust Court
October 9, 2014
4:31 PM PST

As Rau's three Powers arrived at the doors of the courtroom, they were greeted by several thugs who blocked their way. “We need to get in there!” Gadgeteer said to them.

“Not yet you don't, darling.” a voice said behind them. They turned to see what appeared to be a young woman in a cheetah fur coat, smoking a cigarette on a holder. Her aura was strange, instead of being filled to the brim with the fate of her Estate, the Power of Gambling was slowly decaying the destiny of everything around her, with only a tiny amount of her auctoritas able to escape the event horizon. “Elizabeth River. I'm sure you can figure out my estate. What's more important is that I run the Cammora, the most powerful secret society in Creation. My influence over the organization is second only to Lord Entropy. More than that, I know everything about you. I know where you came from. I know what you hold dear and what your ideals are. I know and have what you seek. I always do.” she said, pointing at Gadgeteer.

“I can get what I want from someone else.” he responded.

“I know that as well, and I have no intent of forcing you to seek your freedom from me.” Elizabeth said. “No, my point is that I am the Unchosen One. I have no destiny but what I chose, and I've chosen to destroy the web of fate. To do that, I need the help of the three of you. Besides, social freedom only goes so far against fate, and it would be in my best interests to ensure you are truly free.”

“What's the catch?” Feeney asked. “There's always a catch isn't there?”

“Indeed.” Elizabeth said, taking a breath of the noxious fumes. “I want a certain somebody dead. I think you know who.”

“Join the club.” Gadgeteer grumbled. “What do you guys think?”

“It's risky.” Feeney pointed out. “That said, I wouldn't expect any less from a power of Gambling. It will certainly prove disruptive.”

“I'm okay with it.” Alex said. “We'll have to start somewhere, right?”

“Then it's a deal.” Elizabeth said. “I'm not one for contracts, so I'll leave it up to you to fulfill your end.” She snapped her fingers, and the thugs parted to allow access to the courtroom door. Then she handed a piece of paper to Gadgeteer. “Read this, follow its advice, and you should survive the trial.”

Council Courtroom
Locust Court
October 9, 2014
4:35 PM PST

Gadgeteer tried to quietly slip into the courtroom, but awkward little things like the creaking of the door and everyone looking straight at him the second he walked in put that option six feet under.

“Well, look at that. Early by… 10 seconds.” Lord Entropy said, looking at the wall clock, blood dripping down his fingers as they always were.

Alex burst in right afterwards in an unhappy manner, followed by Feeney calmly closing the door behind him.

“You're lucky I couldn't find you three to lock you up while you await trial.” Lord Entropy grumbled.

“Court is now in session.” said an anthropomorphic dog who they had been told was the Imperator Surolam, one of the Council of Four, the owner of the Locust Court and probably their best hope for a somewhat fair trial. “We call Gadgeteer to the stand.”

“Gadgeteer, the Pawn of Play, has been charged with breaking the Chestnut law by wreaking more vengeance than the sevenfold degree.” Ananda stated. His intrinsic beauty that normally drove people mad with joy was carefully countered by the three Powers. Gadgeteer was unfazed due to his Active Immortality. Alex had to do his job as CEO of Draconic Studios which would be hard to do if driven insane. As for Feeney, a quick shot from his gun which was purposefully meant to graze Ananda - but was instead caught in the Imperator's divine hand - pretty much made the efforts of everyone in the room moot for a little while, thanks to the disruption of Ananda's beauty. ““If you want to disrupt my beauty to protect your saity, I politely request you find another way.” Ananda said, chucking the bullet into a nearby garbage can while giving Feeney a nasty look. Just because he knew he intent, didn’t mean he had to be happy about it. “How do you plead?”

“Not Guilty.” Gadgeteer said, unflinching.

“How exactly do you hope to make such a claim stand up in this courtroom?” Ananda asked. “You have obviously taken the life of Remus Nosferatus.”

“Let me guess. A power's life is somehow worth more than the 27 mortal lives he took first?” Gadgeteer said. “That's beside the point though, isn't it, because Remus Nosferatus isn't dead. I call Alex Chaser to the stand.”

Alex traded positions with Gadgeteer, and cleared his throat. “Ask away!”

“Is it not true that you, the Duke of Video Games, tore the dead heart from Remus' chest after he suffocated on riot foam at the hands of Gadgeteer?” Lord Entropy asked, annoyed that he wasn't being referred to by his full title and then otherwise treated normally.

“Well, let's see…” Alex said, and pulled Remus' heart out of his pocket. It was a sickly brown color and appeared to be decaying. Alex held it in front of his face and took a big whiff. “Ugh, that's ripe. Seems this heart is rotting like old meat. It's been over three-quarters of a day since I pulled this out of Remus' chest. Aren't Noble hearts supposed to last indefinitely to preserve the Estate they hold?”

There was an immediate murmur in the courtroom.

“I suppose you think this is somehow proof that Remus lives.” Lord Entropy countered. “There could be any number of reasons that is not actually his heart.”

“Well, the person I ripped this heart out of - ugh, never thought I'd say that without feeling like a villain - had the auctoritas of the Power of Sadism guarding it shortly before they died. Obviously, the reason this is not his heart is because it is his anchor's heart.” Alex responded.

“Unless you have Remus himself available to come to the stand, I see no merit in this argument.” Lord Entropy said.

“Then I call Jack Talini to the stand.” Gadgeteer said. Jack, who had been sitting in the benches, approached the stand as Alex returned to his seat.

“Jack, did you see your familia member Remus at any point after I met for you for the first time?” Gadgeteer asked.

“No.” Jack said.

Lord Entropy gave a slight smile that sent shivers down Gadgeteer's spine. “Do you have any reason to believe he is still alive?” Gadgeteer asked.

“Yes.” Jack answered. The smile was wiped right off Lord Entropy's face.

“Can you elaborate?” Gadgeteer said.

“Remus always wears a pair of rusty iron claws. They're a prized possession of his, but they were not on the body of the victim when I got to it.” Jack explained.

“Could the items have been taken by the accused or one of his familia?” Lord Entropy said.

“They are enchanted to return to a vault in Remus' secret lair in our chancel should the heart of the wearer be taken from them. This happens either when nobody is looking, or as soon as someone else tries to claim them. Unless one of them was both skilled at miracles and had enough foresight to not look away from or touch them, they will be in that chamber, where few could access it.” Jack explained.

“How do you know this so well?” Lord Entropy asked.

“Because I tried to take them myself, to end the bloodshed Remus causes.” Jack said. “Obviously I never succeeded.”

"How powerful and skilled are the rest of your familia, Jack?" Gadgeteer asked.

"Very." Jack said.

"Would you agree that they are powerful enough that we should not have been able to subdue Remus as easily as we did, especially without any attempts at revenge?" Gadgeteer continued.

"Yes, I would." Jack admitted.

"Then were you aware of any plot by your familia against us, which could have involved faking Remus' defeat as part of their plan?" Gadgeteer questioned.

"No." Jack said, with uncertainty in his voice.

"Then did you have any suspicions that might be the case?" Gadgeteer asked.

"Yes. They had been keeping me in the dark about something. I still have no idea what about." Jack answered.

"Just what are you implying?" Lord Entropy said, extremely unhappy.

"Nothing. That's all, folks!" Gadgeteer told him.

“Is there any more evidence the defence would like to present?” Lord Entropy said, gears working in the back of his head. Someone had leaked important information, but who? “Nothing? Then I suppose we'll break for lunch.”

“It's almost 5 in the evening.” Gadgeteer pointed out.

“Not in Fiji.” Lord Entropy said, giving him a look that suggested he was onto their plan.

Council Chamber
Locust Court
October 9, 2014
5:07 PM PST

“You called?” Remus asked from the shadows once everyone but Lord Entropy was out of the back room where the decisions were made.

“Yes I did.” Lord Entropy said, then thrust his hand into Remus' chest. “You have outlived your usefulness, Mr. Nosferatus. I will give my condolences to Imperator Bial.” He then used the World-Breaker's Hand to eliminate the heart in the same way an Excrucian would. “Such a loss, that Estate. I will certainly miss Sadism, but I can't afford to lose to that upstart Rau.” he said to Remus' dying face. He then took out a cell phone that looked like it was barely working, his influence slowly corroding it. “Ms. River, I almost forgot to thank you for your information on Remus' treachery! Be a dear and send some of your men to clean up the mess before someone sees it. It's in the Council Chamber. Oh, and before I forget… See to it that Rau's powers don't leave the courtroom without owing you a debt they can't possibly repay. Already taken care of? Impressive as always. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm a very busy Imperator.” he said, and crushed the phone with his bare hand, which despite obviously not breaking his Imperial skin, caused the blood that constantly dripped from those evil digits to run down and pool on the tiled floor.

Council Courtroom
Locust Court
October 9, 2014
5:39 PM PST

“We have made our decisions.” Surolam said. “I place my vote. There is insufficient evidence to support the defendant's guilt. Not guilty.”

“Guilty.” Lord Entropy said casually.

“Guilty.” said Ha-Qadosch Berakha, and Gadgeteer buried his head in his hands.

“Not Guilty.” said Ananda.

Gadgeteer suddenly raised his head. There was an awkward, deadly silence in the courtroom. Ananda never voted differently than Lord Entropy. He occasionally abstained, but that was the farthest it ever went. Despite rumors of Lord Entropy threatening Ananda, the lack of retribution upon those who believed there was any corruption pointed to an even worse possibility… that the prophesy that Ananda had stated, that if he and Lord Entropy were ever opposed a terrible disaster would occur, was true. Of course, so far nobody had opposed them and such a disaster had yet to occur. The silence hung for nearly a full minute before the only person free enough of worry to break it spoke, and even the face of the Darkest Lord was paler than usual. “I'm sorry, could you repeat that?” Lord Entropy asked.

“Not Guilty.” Ananda repeated. “It has happened. The tragedy looms upon us. Now it is only a matter of time before the dawn of the Fourth Age.”

“Ananda? The disaster was something bad, wasn't it?” Surolam pointed out.

“The dawn of the Fourth Age is bad. Even though it will bring about good things, it will come at a great cost.” Ananda said, and turned to Lord Entropy. “Especially to you, Lord Entropy. For your sake, and for everyone else's, you should tread lightly.”

Great. First day on the job and I nearly get executed. Second day on the job and I trigger the apocalypse Gadgeteer thought to himself.

“This is merely a draw.” Lord Entropy pointed out. “We can discuss the impending doomsday later. The task at hand is whether the Power of Play is guilty.”

“Then I'm going to go ahead and be the deal-breaker.” Ha-Qadosch Berakha said. “I have my reasons. Not guilty.”

Council Courtroom
Locust Court
October 9, 2014
5:47 PM PST

“You asked for us?” Gadgeteer asked Ha-Qadosch Berakha outside the courtroom.

“I have grown somewhat bored of toying with the Prosaic Earth. I suppose the possibility that its remaining lifespan is now short might explain that. Regardless, I have a deal with Rau.” the Imperator explained. “I will stop by Locus Apepi soon to collect my payment.” Ha-Qadosch Berakha told them offhandedly, as if the words could not possibly seem ominous, and walked away.

“Should we be worried about that?” Alex asked.

Town Square
Locus Apepi
October 9, 2014
6:12 PM PST

“Here we are!” Alex told Ha-Qadosch Berakha. “A Chancel that's like a giant video game. Perfect for an Imperator who views the world as a playground.” Alex held out his hand to give the Imperator a SeaLink Transit card.

“Indeed.” Ha-Qadosch Berakha said. “The debt is paid.” He then hopped into a Maserati and sped off to play 'Grand Theft Auto: Sea City' in real life.

“I still don't like this.” Gadgeteer said. “What if he spies on us for Lord Entropy?”

“Relax. You wonder where I got the Master SilverGear 3Dual? Or what about that fictional game console you carry? Along with several other methods, they have the ability to put the whole Chancel on lockdown.” Alex assured him.

“What about the people who have to live here?” Gadgeteer said.

“You read the rules. Everything respawns. They'll be fine.” Alex said dismissively.

“What now then?” Gadgeteer asked. “Do we just wait?”

“I've been thinking about that.” Feeney said. “I think we should go on the offensive.”

“Why?” Gadgeteer asked.

“He's got a point.” Alex said. “There's a lot of video games where you will lose if you play defensively. I think the real life of a Noble falls under that as well.”

“Then what do we attack?” Gadgeteer pointed out.

“Well… I was browsing the internet on the SilverGear. There's this PC game called Star Citizen. There's also a device called the Oculus Rift, some sort of VR helmet for video games.” Alex explained. “Both of them were on the rise already until shortly before we came along. Without any intervention they're likely to stall and crash as projects. Star Citizen in particular desperately needs developers with experience in CryEngine. It's going to take a powerful miracle, but I'm going to retroactively make the studio they licensed the engine from go under. A lot of CryTek ex-employees means a lot of potential new employees for Cloud Imperium Games. And CryTek happens to be based out of the same city as one of CIG's studios. I'm about to turn this crowdfunded train-wreck-in-progress into the biggest success story in the history of gaming!”

“You're going to try using them as…?” Gadgeteer asked.

“Just a way to make Video Games and Play more important estates while bringing some Disruption into the normal going-ons of both.” Alex said with a smirk.

“Huh. Clever.” Gadgeteer complimented him. “You know, I've always wondered why you guys do this.”

“Do what?” Alex asked.

“Being a Noble. Siding with the Dark or Heaven? Fighting for some random aspect of Creation? Listening to Rau and doing her bidding?” Gadgeteer said, questioning their motives out of curiosity.

“For me, it was a perfect fit. I already wanted to be a great game developer, but that was probably a pipe dream until I became a Power.” Alex explained. “Now, I literally control the fates of everyone and everything involved with that industry. Being responsible for that much would faze a lot of people, but for me it's like being given the duty of protecting and supporting what I love most, and I want no less for video games than perfection. Heaven was what worked for me.”

“I just do it because I've known nothing else.” Feeney eleaborated. “I was a scarecrow. I was fated to sit in a field day in and day out, until I fell apart. Nobilization meant I had a greater calling. I figured beggars can't be choosers. I chose the Dark because it fit my Estate. Disruption is instability, the faltering of an orderly entity. What else would describe total Disruption than the failure of all mankind's creations? I don't wish them outright harm, but the odds are stacking against them the longer they last. They will fail eventually, and someone has to oversee that series of events. That would be me. The Dark isn't nice, and I don't particularly favor it, but it gets the job done.”

“What about you, Kid? What methods do you subscribe to?” Alex questioned back.

“That's why I asked. I didn't really choose any of those beliefs. I fight for fairness, to protect the innocent and give them justice. Heaven and their beauty, Hell and their acceptance, the Light and its immortality, the Dark and its assertiveness, the Wild and its freedom… I couldn't live with sacrificing fairness for any of those things. So I stand alone against the bullies and thieves of the world.”

“That's… an Independent Song.” Feeney said with surprise. “Aren't you worried about having nobody to back you up in your beliefs?”

“Of course, but I don't care. Someone has to stand up for what's fair, and I'd rather die fighting an unfair world than live supporting it.” Gadgeteer told them. “So what was that about boosting our estates?”

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