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An excerpt from a Science Fiction adventure
Weldon Tanner: Trial for the Treasure World

In what seemed an instant later, I began a sickening and fitful rise back up to a waking state … there was drumming. Was I dancing the old swamp stomp boogetie rumduty, at a family reunion? It was a dream; I was poundin' down and raising dust with every step … the drumming got chaotic. I knew I was waking, sluggishly, something was up … slowly.

Some one was pounding on our door. Kelly began freaking out, yelling nonsensically in response to the racket. It all wizzled my hook, by damn. I bellowed for him to shut up then hollered at the door something that didn't make sense even to me. There was a graceful pause. I'd a doozy hang over. I swear that had I been able to sleep I'd have been fine. I didn't think it was check out time or that they'd treat me this way. Kelly stared stupidly at me for a moment. Then the banging at the door began again. Kelly started up again too, unable to rise he just bellowed. In a blink, the door was straining. I tried to stand up, getting ready to fight. Then I stumbled on my own legs. I fell back flat on my back just as the door burst open.

Seven officers were soon present, seven! One of them parted the window shades. Bright sunlight flooded the room. It was the late afternoon, if I knew sunlight and. If I knew police, I was about to be hauled. Thinking I'd gotten in some fight or owed someone money. I quickly got up to dress while the standard questions were being asked. The room was being cleaned out completely. I assumed they were taking what they could for my debt. This theory was soon to be proven incorrect.

As I hustled clothes on, I was advised of my rights then told my case had been proceeding without me. The prosecutor in the trial had called for us publicly. We had failed to appear. As he went on with legal rigmarole, other roomers in the building began crowd up outside in the hall. When their murmurs grew audible a couple of the uniforms went outside to push them away. One of officers still in our room began outlining the charges. I wasn't so unclear that I didn't begin to apprehend the charges being read had nothing to do with a bar fight or disorderliness. He was talking ship theft, waylaying, claim jumping, murder, serious stuff, though I couldn't think really. How the hell had our case, whatever it was, been called, who had called us out? Why was our trial on without notice? What a crashy flash this was. However, it was no use talking to them, they were being all too dutiful, bureaucratic. All they knew was we had not made our appearance. If anyone knows anything about Plank's, it's that they take depositions and legal procedures seriously and somehow we had not started on the right foot, yet I was not worried, as if I ever am.

We, Kelly and I, half listened as we made ourselves decent, checking our pockets and praying for our heads to clear. We'd hear them all again. What was clearest though was that we were up for what the pirates had done, which meant "someone was giving a good poke to someone and we weren't the ones with our hands on the handle." In a min, we were under escort through the rudely cleared hallway. We were quick - timed out of the building then slipped into a security vehicle. Kelly and I were in good humor so we tried to chat up our entourage, even joking a bit about it all. We got nowhere with them. They were silent and surly.

When I explained we'd not received a notice to attend. I was curtly told we had been. Some one as famous as I can be given public notice, paged, as it were, through the news, magazines or other public media. Since we ignored that summons, the trial had been allowed to proceed under the assumption we were disregarding it. Then, my mind clearing a bit, I protested that things must have changed on Plank's, plaintiffs are not subject to that requirement, so they couldn't have our cases started without us anyway. With condescension the driver told us, what I said was true however he added, over his shoulder, that in case we hadn't listened to those who had picked us up, we were the defendants in a case. As such we were subject such things - including, immediate search, seizure and retention until a ruling after the last bang of the gavel. As Kelly and I gaped at each other the man riding shotgun turned adding, "Yeah, Mr. hero, "you haven't been up on the news have ya?"

"What do you mean?" asked Kelly

"What he means," said the driver, "is you're both charged with a long list of offenses which include, conspiracy, war treaty violations, theft, piracy, mutiny, commandeering, claim jumping, assault with intent to kill, inciting robots to assault humans and the converse. Or didn't you listen when your rights were read to you?"

I looked at Kelly and he at me. We both must have looked even dumber than anything. So, after some dumb moments, the man continued, "I'd say, you have a lot of people wanting to ask you a lot of questions but rather than have a crazed mob descend on you we came to get you first. Oh, you're still in the news Mr. Tanner however now it's as much for your being held as one who ignored the appeal of the public's right to know and the demands of a fair plaintiff. So much for your wanton ways and braggadocio."


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