Posted Oct 12, '10 at 8:35pm
Awesome timing, I just popped on a few minutes ago to check whether this had been updated.
Note to self: remember to replace Thoad's skull sometime or his brains are gonna be hanging out of his head like that crazy dude in Bad Taste...
When I get back from work I'll submit the next section. Note, it's... well, long. It may not fit into a single forum post. So better find your reading glasses!
Posted Oct 12, '10 at 8:59pm
That was actually sad. I teared up a bit there. Good job conveying emotion.
I find Thoad's wish to cover up the horrors of life with manic happiness particularly interesting... could make an important plot point later. I hope he gets over it, because whatever he is, I'm pretty sure he doesn't want to be Leon McAcid.
Posted Oct 13, '10 at 12:49am
Sadly enough the way Thoad is turning out so far I think he'll end up being like Leon only in a constant :D face and wanting to get laid much more.
Another fun thing about Thoad, going from round 9 alone, he actually dislikes Leon for "Being a cheap b*st*rd."
But yes, I thought it would be pretty sad. Play the background music to cen's segment when thoad is having a breakdown and it gets very sad.
Posted Oct 13, '10 at 6:34am
Nah, I think I have a better one for you thoad.
Okay, TIME FOR THE UPDATE! This next bit is sheer madness.
Posted Oct 13, '10 at 6:50am
What's up with the devil horse chick thing.......
Posted Oct 13, '10 at 7:03am
Hang on, let me try that one more time, the post keeps cutting off D:
As The Days Went By cont.
The Judge be Judged
It was as appeared on TV and in the movies. Endless waves upon waves of people, yelling and waving placards and pushing and jostling each and every way. The chaos, the noise filled the heavy brick confines of the ArmorGames court complexes to bursting. The occasion? A corrupt mod was being brought to justice!
Through the midst of all this, Strop wove a meandering path. Today he wasn't the Strop the ninja horse, but rather, Strop the defendant, his ninja suit adorned with the finest tie and jacket in his wardrobe, in tune with the delusion that any presumed criminal could improve their chances with the jury if they looked presentable. That said, Strop was painfully aware of just how tight and restrictive the tie was, and felt a familiar tingling on the back of his neck. Who was it that he had forced to wear a suit for so many months again...? But there was no time to think about such things, he had his own problems right now.
Flanking Strop was an unlikely companion, last seen in the throes of drunken defeat. Yet Strop hoped that the fishman Manta would be able to turn the tides in this debacle with a replica of his statement, this time not as one laughing at Strop's misfortune, but to help him rectify it. That was if the fishman was even willing to do so now, and given the sulky look he sported, Strop had his doubts.
"Strop, did it have to be TODAY?" Manta whined, tugging at the collar of his suit. "Why not tomorrow? Or the day after?"
"If I had a choice in the matter Manta, the time I'd prefer to do this would be 'never'," Strop grumped. "What gives anyway? What's so bad about today?"
"Well, it's just that I'm missing out on The Sorority Show."
Strop blinked. "The what?"
"Today's episode is Wet T-Shirt Car Wash on Candid Camera. And I'm missing it. Because of this stupid court appearance thingy."
Strop began to make a >:O face, when he realised this was pretty par-for-the-course for Manta, so he stopped. "Look, just consider that part of your punishment. Yeah. That punishment for trashing the tavern last week, remember?"
Manta said nothing. His lengthy pout was interrupted by a zealous protestor taking a swing at Strop with a large "MODS SUK" sign. Without blinking, Strop ducked it.
"If you want to blow off some steam, you could get rid of the protestors blocking our way," Strop suggested, perhaps a little improperly.
"And you're not going to 'punish' me this time around?" Manta shot back.
Strop shrugged, "Unlike the previous incident, I hardly think it would be counterproductive."
High up on the steps of the greatest of the court houses, the Armor Court of Great Justice, one had a view of the whole complex, swarming with people. Suddenly in the distance, users started flying, or rather, were violently ejected from the crowd into the sky before falling back into the masses. This fountain of users progressed, making a beeline for the stairs until Strop and Manta emerged, Manta still swinging his fists threateningly at anybody who wandered too close. For a moment, the crowds at the top of the steps near the entrance to the great courthouse drew back, and Strop and Manta plunged into the gap and through the doors, just as the crowd surged forward again.
Strop slammed the doors shut and Manta and Strop stood, backs plastered to it, breathing heavily.
"There you have it," Strop quipped. "A day in the life of a mod."
"Hells bells," Manta swore, before shushing himself. "If I'd known before..."
"All rise, for the Honorable Justice Moegreche".
In a cacophony of shuffling and stifled coughing, everybody rose. Justice Mogreche was the most venerable and venerated of justices in the city, one of the original Moderators. He was the one who engendered the notion of rational justice in the city of ArmorGames, in its early days- Strop remembered it was not a month after he himself had arrived. Shortly after, the courts had been built with the unlikely aid of Devoidless the Ancient, and Strop himself remembered testing the courts, participating in several debates, culminating in the giant Star Wars nerd-off in which Devoidless had earnt the nickname of Darth Voidy, for his knowledge of the rare properties of unique lightsabers was bordering unholy. All in those carefree days before Strop had taken on the moderator mantle...
Wheeling the famed brain-in-a-jar on his red chuck wagon, was the normally taciturn spaminator robot Flipski, but given that he was the security in today's session, Flipski was obligated to make the calls. Clanking over to the judge's booth, Flipski lifted the jar onto the counter and draped the judge's wig over the top.
"Please, be seated", Justice Moegreche grated in his electronic monotone. Flipski pressed a button on his chest console, and a scratchy recording played back from Flipski's speakers:
"Now calling into session the case Secret Society of Armorgames Representing Victims of Moderator Abuse versus Moderator Strop."
Strop, sitting in the defendant's box, felt hundreds of eyes boring into him. While as a rock-star ninja, he enjoyed great popularity, and he would liked to have think that he did his best to be congenial, fair and equitable... he knew that nobody was perfect... he also knew that this Way Of Moderation tournament was really eating into his duties... and that simply by virtue of being a moderator he was automatically an enemy of many. As to what proportion of people were here to support him, and what proportion were to see him lynched, well that just might be answered before the session was out!
Strop cast his eyes over to the plaintiff's side of the court, to find several shady hooded figures huddled over a table with a stack of folders, glaring back at him. He dreaded to imagine the contents of the folders, so he shrank back and gazed down at his table, empty save for his briefcase. He snapped open the case and took out a stack of papers. Atop the stack was a post-it note, and on that post-it note, in cursive scribble: "I prepared some notes for you."
Oh, bless his troubled heart! Strop thought to himself, once again feeling a rush of mixed thankfulness and guilt... which turned into a plunging, queasy rush of his stomach dropping through the floor as he flipped through page after page of complete blank. Save for the last page. Upon which was written, in that rounded cursive: "Sadly, I don't have resources to actually research anything due to the utter lack of payment. Good luck."
Desperately hoping this was just a practical joke, Strop flipped the page over, to find another note: "P.S. Sai made you a sandwich. But I ate it. -C."
Strop screwed his face up, trying to move the raging FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU building up in him to a parallel dimension where he could conveniently forget about it.
"Moderator Strop, do you have legal counsel to represent you?"
"Uhh." Strop, being a moderator, was stuck in an unusual situation. Normally when a complaint was processed against a moderator, it would go to the administration and be independently reviewed by an omniscient entity. Failing this, another moderator would investigate and act based on the evidence garnered. However, in this case... Carlie was away and nobody really knew what happened, hence the purpose of this trial being to present said evidence... but more importantly for Strop, it meant that nobody could represent him, except...
"I'll be representing myself, Mo- your Honour."
Judge Moegreche didn't blink, but then again that would have been because he didn't have eyes, though as to how he knew who was addressing him was- anyway. "I will take the liberty of presuming that you have pleaded Not Guilty."
Strop sighed. "Yes, your Honour, but seriously, couldn't you just have thrown the case out? Manta here is missing out on his fanservice TV and I've already obtained statements to the effect that-"
Flipski banged his cannon arm on the counter to counteract the roars of indignation arising from the stands. It was just as well that the cannon wasn't charged, which made Strop wonder how further and more extreme outbursts might be handled. "Thank you, Flipski," Moe intoned, before adding, "Moderator Strop, as you would well appreciate there is much more at stake than a simple verdict, thus this trial will be run in its due course."
"Pfffft" Strop muttered to himself. Here he was defending himself against a charge of a crime he didn't even know the details of, allegedly taking place at a time he didn't even remember. All he had were a few names and some dodgy 'confessions', going up against some consortium of users who made it their job to take moderators to task for failing to adhere to some arbitrary level of perfection that probably involved being a mindless robot (Flipski, of course, didn't count, as even though he was a robot he also had a mind of his own... a dangerously erratic one.)
In short, he was screwed. "Very well then, let's get this over with", he said to nobody in particular and sat down, arms folded.
"So let us recall the facts of the case," spoke one of the hooded plaintiffs, pacing to and fro in the space between the judge's bench and the stands. "On a Winter's night some two months ago, henceforth to be named 'The Night of the Incident', there was a certain Rap Battle, held as part of the Way of Moderation Tournament, which is directed by The Defendant, hence The Defendant is responsible for the events that happen within..."
Strop's eyelids felt like they weighed a ton, which was bad for Strop because he never did any eyelid training. Consequentially he was finding it extraordinarily difficult not to close his eyes and fall asleep. He had hoped that his opponents would consist of kids and noobs whose opening oration would go something like "Mods r suck, they r corrupt and will rune you're akknt," but it figured that they had to be a little older than that to think that authority was their natural enemy. Oh! Adolescent angst! Whatever the case may be, though, Strop simply had to stay awake long enough to discover what the plaintiff's actual argument was, and how they were planning to support it.
"...some hours after the event ended, we allege that The Defendant loosed an arrow from his own bow, and pierced the tournament contestant known as Chill, Grandmaster of George, henceforth known as The Victim. The Victim was seriously wounded, and on the basis of The Defendant's behaviour for the duration of The Way of Moderation Tournament, we will establish that The Defendant is in fact corrupted and seeking the destruction of the City of Armorgames itself, along with the attempted murder of The Victim!"
Wait, what? Strop's ears pricked and he sat upright, and not just because the atmosphere in the room seemed to have chilled a few degrees. This didn't sound at all like what he'd come here to defend... and it certainly didn't sound like a valid opening oration, in fact it sounded more like inciting a riot!
"OBJECTION!" Strop jumped to his hooves and brandished his index finger. His cry rang around the chamber, before settling atop a pregnant silence.
"Strop, you realise that objections only apply to arguments and witness questioning?"
"But... but that opening oration, that's not a prosecuting me, that's character assassination!" Strop flailed.
"Naturally the defence would object to the plaintiff's opening oration; if they did not, there would probably be precious little in the hearing." Strop resumed his seat, cheeks burning. Moe paused, a few bubbles forming in the vat. "Will the member of the prosecution please restate the charges they are arguing?"
"Your Honour, we contend that The Defendant attempted to murder The Victim by firing an arrow from his bow through The Victim."
"Good, let us proceed from there." Strop winced; the damage was already done, then paled as Moe continued. "Would the defence please present their opening statement?"
Oh crap, Strop hadn't prepared any opening statement. He fumbled with the blank sheets of paper, stalling for time, only to be shoved from the stand by an enthusiastic clap on the back from Manta: "Go get 'em, ponyboy!"
Dusting himself off, Strop opened his mouth to speak, for the first time in a long while feeling truly out of his element as the audience crucified him with their glare. What was he going to say? "Ladies and Gentlemen, what you are seeing here is a witch-hunt!?" Oh, that would go down well. Or, "Ladies and Gentlemen, I have no idea what happened that night, but I swear I didn't do it!?"
This day was only going to get worse.
"The Prosecution would like to submit this evidence, henceforth known as Exhibit A."
A box was passed up to the front of the room and laid on a long flat table. The box was unwrapped to reveal Strop's (extremely long) longbow and quiver. Strop's eyes widened.
"OBJECTION!" Strop found himself on his hooves again, that same finger pointed at nothing in particular.
"What is it this time, Moderator Strop?"
Strop started pointing in multiple directions, trying to find the legalese to substantiate himself. "I, uh, your Honour, I call Fruit of the Poisoned Tree. This evidence was improperly requisitioned, therefore I move that this case be dismissed on the grounds that any case built on this evidence is also improper!"
"COUNTEROBJECTION" the prosecution roared, falling over themselves before one got up. "The bow was confiscated in the interests of the safety of the public immediately following the Incident!"
"Overruled," Moe decided. "Given that Exhibit A is the weapon of the alleged attempted murder, you would have to disprove the charges in order to establish that the taking of the evidence was done improperly, Moderator Strop."
"But it's not a we-" Strop started, then facepalmed, trying to mask his rising panic. His bow! Ever since it had gone missing and the first of those suspicious letters had landed on his bed, he had found it difficult to believe that it would come to this, yet he'd found it impossible to shake that suspicion that something sinister was afoot. Registering an inquiry with the "Lost and Found" was useless (which really he shouldn't have expected anything, as it was something he'd told the post-office gremlin to do as lip-service, given that the Freemarket yielded a plethora of minor hiccups and complaints of the sort and the moderators had the power to do jack-all about it,) and given that even the veteran Crimson didn't have any leads, naturally there was nobody else to turn to except the other moderators, and they didn't know anything either...
Eventually a nice little array of exhibits had been lined up on the table, Exhibit B being pictures of the hall (presumably after The Incident), still decked out in Firefly's street do, but empty save for a small bloodstain and a chalk outline (Strop had OBJECTED again, arguing that chalk contaminates the crime scene, but was shot down as it was for "demonstrative" purposes only since Chill hadn't actually died, so he OBJECTED to the fact that the chalk outline denoted a spreadeagled figure, and for once it was sustained... so the exhibit B was replaced by exhibit C, which was a closeup of the bloodstain, which made Strop go >_9000.
The audience had been on a steady simmer for most of the morning already, while the prosecution had presented their case. Now their venom started to come to the boil, as Strop's turn to present his defence rapidly approached. Frustrated, Strop jiggled his blank sheets of paper, wondering why Cen had chosen such a time as this to play such a mean trick on him. He couldn't help but wonder why Cen had gone so far as to give him a whole briefcase worth of blank paper. Maybe it was symbolism of just how much paperwork he'd been saddled with? Maybe it was for another purpose. Or maybe Strop was reading into it too much.
"Would the defence call its first witness please."
Strop looked around the room, fretting. There was no way he was going to be able to mount a complete defence, meaning that all his plans were really stalling for time, for an eventuality that was more of a liability, given he didn't even know if it was going to eventuate, or whether he even wanted it to eventuate. But alea jacta est, and que sera, sera. While he was at it, he might as well throw in a Ave, morituri te salutant, though he would have much preferred a hakuna matata, despite the latter not even being Latin.
Amidst general coughing and muttering, Strop stood up. "I would like to call Manta to the witness stand."
"BOO-YAH, HERE I GO!" Manta yelled, pumping his fist and springing into the box in a single bound.
It was a less than desirable start.
Having done away with all the preamble, Strop opened the questions. "Manta, please state your relation to The Way of Moderation Tournament."
"I," Manta opened grandly, "The fishman from a small village in the Wilderness, some way from the City of ArmorGames, was a participant in the tournament, for my name, in my native tongue, means 'he who is destined to strive for great things, and may sometimes fail-"
"Good, good," Strop hastily cut him off, leaving Manta in shocked indignation (>:O ha, the shoe's on the other foot now isn't it!) before following with his next question: "And you were present at the Way of Moderation Rap Battle, weren't you."
"Yeah, and I was getting all my verbal stylinz down like mad, and I won this!" Manta produced a diamond studded pendant. Made with paper and gems of congealed glue. With the inscription "WINNAR" on the medallion.
Strop was starting to wish right about now that he hadn't decided to make the whole round a parody.
"Well, yes. Yes, you did. So can you tell me what happened after that?"
Manta took a deep breath, trying to get serious. "Well, after the battle was over, you went to buy a drink from Hermit's stand. Then you passed out. Then, uhh, we decided to play a few tricks on you."
The muttering increased in intensity.
"Okay, okay," Strop said, trying to steer the questions in an organised fashion. "Who is 'we'?"
"Well, everybody present at the battle. Okay, not everybody. Actually it was just my idea to shave and tie-dye you, since you shaved me... and my hair's finally grown back thank you very much!"
Strop was overtly aware of the people behind him exchanging glances and imagining what he would look like shaven and tie-dyed. But he had to get on with the more important questions.
"So what happened to Chill at this point?"
Just like in the interrogation, Manta shrugged and deadpanned, "Oh, well, Leon picked you up and put the bow in your hands, then he shot Chill."
And the crowd went wild.
"Order." Justice Moe called, but was drowned out by the cacophony. "Order. Order? Is this voicebox even working anymore? Darn these cheapskate manufacturers, I specifically asked for a volume control..." Flipski's cannon arm started glowing and crackling, and the crowd very quickly went silent, more out of rigid fear than anything else.
"So," Strop said. "Could you describe this incident in more detail?"
"Well," Manta said, "More like Leon said 'I have an idea that will get Strop into trouble!' and so he got Chill to stand against the wall and use his magic to prevent him from getting hurt too bad when he got shot. So that's why only the tip of the arrow went in. We thought it was a pretty funny prank."
Evidently scandal was more effective at lubricating tongues than fear of Flipski's cannon was at freezing it, for the gallery was getting loud again.
"To ask directly, did I, I mean my client, shoot Chill?"
"Well, technically speaking you did-"
"I'll ask that again. Did I or did I not shoot Chill?"
"...no. You didn't."
"No further questions, your Honour."
"Manta, could you please explain to us what happened on the night of the Round of Eight, in which you were defeated by Thoad?"
Strop raised his hand. "Objection, your Honour, this isn't relevant to the case."
Justice Moe paused. "...I'll allow it. Mainly because I've always wanted to say 'I'll allow it.'"
Strop flailed, "Aw come on, Moe, what-"
"Sorry, your Honour..."
The prosecution stood expectantly. Manta scratched his head one way, than the other. Then both ways at once.
"Honestly, I don't recall."
"Then let us refresh your memory." Thus Exhibit H was submitted, it being an article on a certain fishman who had trashed the Tavern while pretending to be a moderator. A very drunk moderator. Featuring a photo of Manta. Poised to throw a barstool at the hapless reporter while flipping them off.
"Is this you?"
Manta squinted at the article. "Why I guess it is!"
A murmur rippled around the room. "So you admit to being drunk and disorderly on that night?"
Manta shrugged again, "Yeah, I guess. I mean that's why I'm here after all. It's punishment. You know I'm missing out on The Sorori-"
Manta only stopped because he had spotted Strop making zigzagging motions across his neck with as much suppressed vigour as possible. But it was too late.
"...punishment? What do you mean by punishment?"
"Oh," the clearly straightforward Manta answered, "coz I, well, trashed the tavern, Strop decided my punishment would be to testify on his behalf. Here, today. Otherwise he woulda banned me for sure. Guess I got off pretty light, huh?"
Strop's head hit the desk with a thunk.
"I put it to this court, then," the lead prosecutor said smugly, "that The Defendant has used his powers improperly to distort the course of justice."
And with that, Manta's testimony was, for all its truthfulness, blown out of the water.
Posted Oct 13, '10 at 7:04am
The Judge Be Judged cont.
"Crap crap crap," Strop stood outside the doors of the court room, in the lobby. His tie was in disarray, hanging loosely over his suit, and for some reason he was significantly sweaty. His modphone poofed into his hand and with trembling fingers, he punched several numbers with increasing desperation.
"Why is nobody picking up!? Oh, Zophia, hiiii! You don't have some kind of hidden camera around that could possibly have filmed some kind of evidence in my favour, do you? ... What do you mean you don't know what I am talking about? You know, I am being prosecuted today! ... Yes, it is today... I have been using the entire morning on this, so I am pretty sure it is today, yes. ... Well, of all the things you could do, couldn't one of the things have been to have put up a hidden camera in the great hall? ... Because it seems like a thing you would do? ... Uhm, okay... Thanks..."
Strop stared at his phone for a moment, while dialling some more numbers. "I need to go check my bedroom after this... Cen? I really need your... Cen? Are you there? Helloooo! Come on, you can't pull something like this after that stunt with the blank papers, it isn't fair! Hello? Hello?! ****."
Evidently Cen was still pissed off.
"Do you have any more witnesses to call, counsel for the defence?"
Strop, now alone on the defence side, rubbed his head, trying to hide his complete lack of plan. "Well, uhm, I do... is what I would LIKE to say, but, uhm, well..."
"If you do not have any more witnesses," Justice Moe lectured Strop, "We should hasten to the closing statements."
"Hey, now," Strop protested, "I didn't say I didn't have any more witnesses, but, well, it's just that he hasn't arrived yet." Strop hastily appended: "Your Honour."
"Be that as it may, you still have to nominate a witness in order to continue your defence."
Strop cast his eyes around the court room, studiously ignoring the glowering poses of the Prosecution. After Manta's spectacular fail ("Well, that's what you get for cutting me off when you did!"), Strop felt like his first, second and third leg had all been cut off. He would have liked to be as optimistic as the Black Knight ("It's only a flesh wound, HAVE AT IT!"), but, well, he really didn't know what to do now, and he was probably going to get banned, and fired, and...
It was at this point that Strop noticed something highly irregular from the back of the gallery. That was to say, he noticed a haze of smoke obscuring the back wall. Which seemed to be emanating from one point. Which meant that just maybe there was one last trick card he could play.
"The defence would like to call Hectic Hermit to the stand."
Everybody looked at each other, confused. Justice Moe's wig slipped off. Then suddenly, everybody turned to the back as a rumbling voice piped up: "Here I am!"
In the middle of a clearing cloud of smoke, the bushy bearded man dressed in bits of tree appeared.
"We protest," protested the Prosecution, clearly unsettled by this unexpected turn of events. "This witness does not even meet the minimum dress code requirements for this court, he isn't wearing shoes!"
"Please," Justice Moe cut in, "I have suffered enough frivolities today."
Hermit lumbered around to the front of the court, and sat in the middle of the floor. "Give it your best!" He instructed.
"Hectic Hermit, you need to be sitting in the witness box to testify."
"Is okay, I bought my own Bible, I'll just do the oath here," Hermit assured Justice Moe.
"The witness box!" Strop mouthed. "Get in the witness box!"
Naturally, Hermit couldn't lip-read through his curiously herbal haze, so Flipski simply reached over, picked him up and plunked him in the witness box.
"Right," Strop said, wiping sweat from his brow. He stood and walked to the witness box to begin his questioning, increasingly aware of the faintly sweet smell emanating from Hermit... faintly sweet but laced with a whole complex of various spices and aromas and odours and things that Strop doubted there even existed words for.
"Hectic Hermit, please state your occupation."
Hermit blew out a puff of smoke without even taking a drag from anything. "Herbalist", he uttered. "And purveyor of all substances natural and homegrown."
Strop ignored the scandalised hushing from the gallery. "And where were you the Night of The Incident?"
"The world affords us many incidents, thus I am everywhere and nowhere all at once."
"Let me rephrase," Strop struggled to maintain his tenuous composure. "Where were you on the night of the Rap Battle of the Way of Moderation Trials, otherwise known as the Night of the Incident?"
"You know, you need to tighten your sentence structure, my friend. It was incomprehensible."
"Hermit is your ally, Hermit is your ally," Strop mumbled to himself as a mantra, beating down the urge to let fly with a "NO U". Instead, he said, "Where were you on the night of the Rap Battle?"
"Why, at the Rap Battle of course."
"And what were you doing there?"
"I was being myself. You shouldn't try to be anything else." Hermit puffed another plume of smoke.
"And what were you doing there?" Perhaps persistence would be key.
"I was selling herbs. From my POWRADE stand. Fifty cents for any item."
"Right," Strop said, digging around in his suit and handing up a picture of Hermit's stand that he seemed to keep handy for reasons previously unknown to himself. "I submit this for consideration, it is a photo of Hermit's Stand." Sure enough, it showed Hermit sitting in his stand with his HTOWN belt on, and his Rasta cap. With this done, he continued.
"And what were you selling? Specifically, what was it that you sold me?"
Hermit scratched his beard, before grinning. "Good stuff."
Strop facepalmed. "Can you remember what I asked you before you gave me this 'good stuff'?"
In a rare moment of lucidity, Hermit quoted, "You said 'Hit me up with some juice.'"
Strop nodded. "That's correct. So what WAS the 'juice' that you provided me with?"
Several seconds passed.
Strop waved at Hermit. "Hermit?"
Hermit shrugged and grinned again. "Good stuff!"
"Nevermind..." Strop muttered. "Can you tell me what the effect of said 'good stuff' was?"
This was a crucial question for Strop's campaign... but it also proved to be his biggest mistake. Hermit spread his arms wide, his various branches rustling. "When I say 'good stuff', I mean 'stuff that takes you places.' And when I say 'places', I mean 'on awesome trips'. Awesome trips can not be described by the mere confines of this language, no, it requires inventing a new language, for language is so limited to describe our experiences, with all its useless complexities... see, life is so simple, all you need is going places..."
"Please stop," Strop begged Hermit. "Can you please just tell me what happened after I drank your 'juice' and passed out?"
"Do you mean what you did, or what was going through your mind?"
Strop didn't even bother thinking about how Hermit could know what had gone through his mind after he passed out, seeing as he didn't remember any of it himself. "I just need the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth."
"What is truth!" Hermit declared, not as a question, it seemed. "To say one thing or another, when the truth, it can be bent, it can be molded, it is as this smoke I am blowing, I do not know where it comes from but it is there, or is it? Because I don't know where it comes from, maybe I am just seeing it and you see it too, you tell me but you are only telling me that you see it, how do I know you are telling... the truth?"
Before Strop could lose the last of his patience, the prosecution did it for him. "Your Honour, I think we've heard enough. This witness is clearly baked."
"...your point being?" Justice Moe asked.
"He's not!" Strop asserted, not really knowing if he was even correct. "He's just... a difficult historian."
"No, he's baked, blazed, off his tree, under the influence, high, off with the fairies, on the chuff, toked, in lah-lah land... What we're saying is that he's on drugs and you have hit a new low, allowing the use of drugs in this sacred land!"
"Order." Justice Moe bleated, to no avail as the noise levels rose around him.
"No," Strop threw caution to the wind, marching to the prosecution's bench. "You have all been acting low this whole time. I've had it with your White-Knight crusade, your manipulations and exploitations of public opinion and of the witnesses for your own disgruntled agenda, you have absolutely no idea-"
"Moderator Strop, if you do not desist harrassing the prosecution, I will have to throw you out of court and award the case to the plaintiff." Moe's lack of volume control once again let him down, for his voice was lost to the hubbub. So too, was Hermit's advice, "You all need to chillaaaaax."
"YOU ARE A CORRUPT MODERATOR!" The prosecution were all climbing over their bench to get at Strop. "AND WE WILL SEE TO IT THAT YOU ARE REMOVED!"
"THIS IS INJUSTICE!" Strop shouted back, "LET'S SETTLE THIS FARCE THE OLD-FASHIONED WAY!"
Shouts erupted from the gallery, piling one over the other until the whole court was awash with noise. The shouts turned into screams and a mad rush for the exit as Flipski raised his cannon arm, arcs of lightning shooting out of it, an electric whine piercing the room. "HE'S GONNA SHOOP," somebody yelled, and all of a sudden the aisles were packed, and nobody could move anywhere. Meanwhile, the hooded prosecution were all rushing Strop, trying to grab him, and Strop, abandoning all pretense, ripped his tie off, reached up and poofed his banhammer.
"Stop." Justice Moe pleaded, "You can't use that now." But of course nobody was listening. Strop reached up, lifting the hammer high as the half-dozen prosecutors lunged for him...
Flipski swung his cannon arm down and let forth a mighty blast, an arc of pure obliterating energy lancing out, set to vaporise the entire room in an instant.
...Strop swung his hammer, twisting at the last minute to slam the charged end of his beloved Thor into Flipski's laser bolt.
There was a thunderous crash, and every brick, every fiber of every being shook... and then fell silent. The prosecutors, frozen mid-dive, fell in a heap upon the floor. Strop watched as the business end of his hammer glowed an incandescent white, then gradually faded to its usual black. Then a heavy shroud of stillness settled over the court.
Strop was the first to speak. "Moe, what was that all about?"
"I, I... I..." For a moment Strop feared that the massive electromagnetic flux created by Flipski's discharging capacitor had disrupted Moe's vocal circuits, but fortunately he managed to choke out the next words. "I don't know! It's never happened before, but I... I'm the judge and you shouldn't be asking me questions! And you forgot to call me Your Honour again."
"What.. what are you..." Strop screwed up his face in frustration, his suspicions becoming clearer and clearer. "This is nuts, I just saved everybody's life here. Shouldn't that be enough? Can't you just call the friggin' case off already, could you?"
"Due process is due process, you still need to finish your defence, otherwise things are frankly not looking good for you." Justice Moe's defence, evidently, was offence, and this departure from his usual analytical, unflappable character, could not have come at a worse time for Strop. "Call your next witness."
This was it. Strop was backed up as far against the wall that he could go. And he still wasn't here yet. There was only one thing he could do now, and that was to make the call and hope, against all hopes, that he could somehow transmigrate through walls or was disguised as somebody else.
"The defence would like to call upon-"
Suddenly the doors to the courtroom burst open, blowing the two posted guards away. Everybody gasped, turning to the back, to see a tall, raggedy silhouette filling the doorway.
Leon McAcid, seven feet of towering gnoll, strode up the aisle in the center of the gallery, amid dead silence. A baby started crying, the noise echoing through the room, and everybody else tensed up. Leon whipped around, shooting the baby a withering glare.
The baby shut up.
"Is this your next witness, Moderator Strop?" Justice Moe asked.
"I shot Chill the Grandmaster of George!" Leon McAcid barked without waiting for Strop. He strode all the way to the pile of prosecutors, still huddled on the floor, and glowered at them. "What'cha gonna do, cry about it?"
Strop almost fainted on the spot, his life flashing before his eyes. Well, not really his life, but the brief few seconds in which he had spoken to Leon about this day in court.
"As you may know," he had said, "I have to appear in court on charges of attempting to murder Chill. A matter you are likely familiar with."
Leon had bared his teeth, probably in mirth.
"And it's going to be a real problem for the tournament if I'm found guilty and get sent to prison for it, you understand?"
Still baring his teeth, Leon had replied: "Oh, prison's not all that bad. Just don't drop the loofah. And if you do drop the loofah, remember, always lift with your knees."
And ever since then, Strop's stomach had been churning with the uncertainty of whether Leon had even understood what he had just requested of him. But evidently he had, seeing as he was announcing the real culprit of this mess for all and sundry.
"Are you willing to restate that for the record, Leon McAcid?" Justice Moe asked.
Leon scratched his head. "I'm not overly familiar with the court system of this place. Are there takesy-backsies?" He then let loose a madcap hyena laugh, causing the prosecution, and at least the front half of the gallery, to shrink back.
"No. There are not." Justice Moe informed him.
"Then let it be stated for the record that, uh..." Leon wrinkled his brow in thought, "That my evil twin brother, Skippy, did it!" Turning to Strop, he winked, "Don't wanna get kicked out of the tournament now, do I?" Strop said nothing.
Needless to say, Justice Moe was unimpressed. "Leon McAcid, does your twin-brother happen to also have a left foot that belongs to a female striped Gnoll? I find this to be highly improbable."
"YOU'RE DESPICABLE!" Leon shouted, leaping into the front benches of the gallery amid cries of horror. "THIS IS RACIAL DISCRIMINATION!" He then drew a nasty-looking knife from his belt and waved it around, eliciting more cries of horror, then snatched up several bystanders sitting in the benches, eliciting even more cries of horror. Leon then realised that the cries of horror were corresponding with his actions, so he then decided he would swing his new hostages around like he was conducting some bizarre orchestra of screams.
Almost too late, Leon noticed something large, white and metallic hurtling towards him. It was Flipski, who had recovered from his massive discharge just minutes earlier. "Well, it's been fun, see ya!" Leon quickly called out, bounding over the benches just as Flipski crashed into them. He then scrambled up the wall and jumped through the nearest window. Flipski's hot pursuit was sharply truncated by the fact his cannon arm did not fit through the window, and he wedged fast, causing spider cracks to appear in the brickwork all around the window frame.
"That's coming out of your salary," Justice Moe remarked, before adding, "And Moderator Strop, you're right. This case is a complete farce. It's clear to me that this case purported to be about restoring justice but the aim and means to do so were instead themselves a series of perversions of justice. It should never have come this far, therefore I am throwing it out and recommending an independent review of user-based secret societies. Case dismissed." Flipski banged the counter (very lightly, this time), thus sealing the judgement officially.
Strop boggled. "You gave me a hard time all day to make a judgement that you were originally going to make anyway?"
"Hey," Moe reminded Strop, "Justice in civilised society is all about observing due process. And you should be happy. You're free to go."
"Oh yeah," Strop realised. "In that case, TAKE THIS YOU STUPID CASE" he picked up his suitcase, threw it in the air, and kicked it with all his might. Predictably, it blew apart into a million pieces. At the same time, some more sheets of paper spilled out and fluttered to the ground.
It was at this point that Strop realised that the sheets were coming out of a hitherto undiscovered part of the briefcase. And that these sheets actually had writing on them. Cen's characteristic handwriting. He picked up a sheet and started reading.
"...these are the real notes I have compiled for you, if you use them, you should have a good chance of winning the case..."
Strop's utterances over the next two minutes had to be completely expunged by the court sternographer.
Posted Oct 13, '10 at 7:45am
Wooo...Strop won... :)
A nice segment Strop...definitely worth the wait.
And I O.O'd at the devilStrip. And Lol'd at the Strop-on, good to see it finally coming to use...
Hmm...Bumrash pikachu? :P
Posted Oct 13, '10 at 8:42pm
When the strop on was having a meltdown I could think of no other image than the strop on wiggling around with it's arms flailing yelling this. All the meanwhile strop is scared to crap about it. A great entry and I'm amazed that it managed to make court interesting.
Allthroughout Strop was geniunely boned up the butt with his own strop-on, but eeeevrything went back to normal, thankfully.
AND YAY, I HAD MY NAME SAID! I FEEL SPESHUL!!!
Posted Oct 15, '10 at 8:35pm
Okay guys, I can tell you now, there is one more update before the beginning of the final round.
Apart from Xzeno and Crimsonblade, I need a roll call of people who are still involved. Spread the word among the other participants!
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