Star Trek Hunter
Episode 2: The Colony of New Hope
Scene 4: The Courthouse
The courthouse was one of the oldest buildings in Virtue and a complex of prisons had gradually been built up around it. Justice Minerva Irons set down the gavel and block that were kept in this room on the desk and looked out through the barred windows of the judges chamber - a small office inside the courthouse used for private hearings - onto a courtyard long fallen into disrepair and gray, crumbling concrete buildings that served as prisons. These could be observed by looking out of any window in the courthouse. It seemed inevitable that what had once been a center for overweening, puritanical justice would become a seething cauldron of corruption.
Justice Irons opened the door from the judges chamber into the main courtroom and stepped up to the bench. About thirty men in drab civilian clothing were seated inside. They were neither witnesses nor an audience - they looked and behaved far more like a private army. Two security guards, their drab gray uniforms devoid of any emblems or badges, stood watch on either side of the judicial platform. Irons had little doubt the guards were corrupt.
Irons’ tiny second officer sat alone at the prosecutor’s table. Apparently The Colony of New Hope was unable to provide a prosecutor to pursue any of the local charges. The planetary governor, dressed in a simple, unadorned but exceptionally well made dark suit, along with two other men in dark suits, sat at the defendant’s table. The Hunter’s gigantic first officer was nowhere to be seen - and there was nowhere in this room anything that large could possibly be concealed.
Because one of the charges against the governor involved the Federation Charter, Justice Irons’ first officer was required to assist the defense team and her second officer was assigned to assist with prosecution as officers of the Federation Tribunal.
Irons did not sit down. “Will the counsel for the people approach.” It was a command, not a question.
Lieutenant Commander Mlady - the only person in the room wearing a Star Fleet uniform - the black JAG uniform with red piping - stepped up to the dais. Irons spoke very, very quietly. “I smell explosives - possibly the chair.”
Mlady’s nostrils flared. She responded just as quietly, “Pelletized nitrocellulose. Small amount.”
“There are no objective observers in this room. Can you handle this many men in a fight?”
Mlady hesitated just for a second: “Yes, but without my phasers, it would be a bloody mess.”
“Get out of here if you can. Find David.” Irons’ gaze strayed briefly to the men seated in the hard benches that served as an audience for this courtroom. “Seats C-1 and E-4 - those men have weapons,” Irons said quietly. She straightened and then spoke loudly enough to be heard by everyone: “Counsel may step back,” She turned toward the defense table. “Where is the special counsel for the defense?”
“Your honor, if I may,” the planetary governor began…
“You may not,” Irons snapped. “I want to hear from your counsel. Where is the special counsel?”
One of the dark-suited men seated next to the governor stood up. “Your Honor, he has been dismissed. Our client does not trust him.”
“Answer my question, counselor,” Her icy fury was like a whip. Even in a room full of enemies, it had a powerful effect, sending a chill around the room.
“He is in one of the offices down the hall.” The lawyer waived vaguely toward the door of the courtroom.
“Produce him,” Justice Irons said frostily, then, without touching the gavel, block, desk or chair that had been set out for her, walked back toward the door to the judges chamber. The two guards moved quickly to follow her. “Court is in recess until then,” she said and quickly entered the judges chamber. The two guards barged in after her as she was trying to close the door. Chaos erupted in the courtroom as all the men in the room leapt to their feet.
Rather than try in vain to fight the two guards off along with probably a half-dozen thugs behind them, Irons stepped quickly to the side of the door, set her stance firmly, grabbed the jacket of the second guard and pulled him into the man in front of him, bringing them both stumbling into the room. It was a classic Tai Chi technique - she was using her attackers’ energy against them. While the two guards were regaining their balance, she quickly closed and locked the door.
The first guard to regain his footing turned and charged toward her. With flowing, unhurried movements born of more than a century of training, Irons readied her stance, grabbed her attacker’s jacket again and, using the same Tai Chi technique she had used seconds before, redirected his momentum to send him crashing into a stone wall. His forehead smacked against the wall and he fell to his knees, stunned, as the second man charged toward her.
Irons dodged around the desk, putting it between herself and her second attacker. She grabbed the gavel and block from the desk and sent the block spinning toward his head. The prison guard ducked this missile as Irons shrugged her way out of her judge’s robe and sent it spinning toward him. Her attacker pushed the garment away, his hands tangling briefly in it. This gave Irons the opening she needed to deliver a powerful, backhanded blow to his temple with the gavel.
Justice Irons winced in pain and drew a sharp breath. The look of rage on her attacker’s face was replaced by a look of utter confusion as his eyes slowly crossed and he crumpled to the floor.
The other man, the first who had attacked her, had clearly suffered from his encounter with the wall and was leaning heavily against it, his forehead against the wall, trying to regain his footing, his head wobbling - quite possibly from a concussion. Irons transferred the gavel to her left hand, moved up quickly behind him and delivered a powerful blow to the back of his head. His forehead smacked the wall again and he slid down the wall to the floor, unconscious.
Irons set the gavel down, then hissed as she touched her right wrist. “Yeah, that’s broken.”
There was a heavy thud against the other side of the door that led into the courtroom - not someone trying to get in, but someone sagging heavily against the other side. Now that her own fight was over, Justice Irons could hear the sounds of fighting from the courtroom had also ebbed. She had left her tiny second officer alone in a room with about thirty angry men.
They had no idea what they were up against.
A low snarling growl came from the other room, along with various groans. Mlady was probably feeding - the growl was a warning to whomever might be watching her that she did not like being watched while she was feeding. If any of the men in that room could still stand, they would be well advised to leave before she attacked again. Compassion was an emotion Mlady said she admired in humans, but claimed to never have actually experienced herself. When the need arose, she would kill without pity or hesitation.
Justice Irons picked her robe up from the floor and donned it with some difficulty, then wrapped part of it around her right arm, creating a makeshift sling. She secured each of the unconscious prison guards with their own manacles, then opened the door that led into the courtroom. A dead man, who had been propped up against the other side of the door where he had fallen, slumped partly into the chamber. She stepped over his body and spotted Mlady seated on the floor behind another dying man, her fangs embedded in his neck, her black Star Fleet JAG uniform slick with blood. Irons surveyed the room - Mlady’s prediction had been accurate - a bloodbath. Blood was spattered on the walls and pooling on the floor. At least eighteen men lay dead or dying. The governor was not among them.
“It’s over, Lieutenant Commander. We need to find David.” Irons deliberately avoided looking at her minuscule operations officer. At this point she could not do much but wait for Mlady to calm down. Irons sat in the back of the room, cradled her broken wrist and waited for her 2nd officer to regain her composure. Mlady had been a vicious predator far, far longer than she had been sentient.