Caffeine isn’t enough anymore.
The second part of the Lopez story is going to be late. I’ve been having especial difficulty
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Slight retcon on the location of the Elevon.
After a night of father and sonfu drinking, you woke up badly hungover. You managed to feed your termites and left Jeremy in the care of Mr. ‘Pedebody (or vice versa) in the Elevon at Lion’s Rock park. You then drove to court in your van, encountering minimal traffic and bullets. You may or may not have arrived on time but you were accosted by the defendant’s internet girlfriend who wanted you to have a conscience. You were confused by the concept.
Now you stand before your acquaintance, Inspector Lopez of ScythCorp and an attendant army of lawyers and psychologists who make up the prosecution.
You can still hear the defendant’s internet girlfriend fighting with security as you take your seat. The crackling to tasers is audible as Lopez greets you. As in his earlier call, he seems unfazed by your lateness. He also mentions nothing of the warning he gave you earlier. What exactly he knew or didn’t know is impossible to say; you struggle to read his eyes and he explains how the case will be conducted in a detached, business-like manner.
“We try and keep things simple here. The prosecution will begin by describing the circumstances of Mr. Ko’s arrest and the charges being leveled against him. Then we enter all our evidence against Mr. Ko formally into the record. Once that’s done, the defense gets its turn to speak and lay out their case. They call their witnesses, try and emphasize the good character of the defendant, maybe pick at our case preemptively a bit, and rest. We present our own witnesses and then cross examine theirs.”
“We question them. Try and pull apart their testimonies. They get the same chance to question us at the end of the case.”
“So they’ll be questioning me.”
“Okay… So my thing is the skull.”
Several of the lawyers sitting on either side of the table nod at you.
“I found it on the job. In a den of man-eating bats. Doesn’t that make it, uh… what’s the word, used to know back when I was talking to lawyers last, uh…”
“Circumstantial,” chimes one of the younger lawyers, “That won’t be an issue here.”
“No? Because I remember it being a pretty big… hurdle in the States.”
“You’re not in the States anymore, Mr. Esperanza. This court belongs wholesale to the Scyths who have been contracted by the United States government to govern approximately 96% of the new Chinese territories. As such, we make the rules.”
All the lawyers smile at you. They remind you of cats.
“Either way… the skull isn’t conclusive.”
“You would think that, wouldn’t you? But it just so happens that the eye socket of the dearly departed contained quite a bit of Mr. Ko’s genetic material. So it doesn’t really matter whether he placed it there intentionally or not.”
Your stomach turns. You don’t really want to know what kind of genetic material it was or how the Scyths might have obtained it. You decide to skip to the point.
“How much am I being paid for this?”
One of the lawyer’s pushes a sealed envelope to you.
“Here’s your official contract. You’ll receive a thousand dollars just for appearing.”
“Just a thousand? I thought-”
Lopez holds a finger to his lips.
“Some things aren’t done on paper, ‘mister’ Esperanza.”
He seems to take a certain relish in pronouncing the “mister”. You’re not sure if he’s in his right mind.
>Discreetly turn on holo-recorder, ask about these things which aren’t done on paper.
>Ask about the unwritten contract
>Ask how the trial is actually decided
>Ask about what they expect from the defense
>Explain that you can’t go through with this because Ko is innocent
Feel free to ask questions if you're not sure what's going on anons.
(if you're out there)
"So nobody put this to paper, I guess. What am I actually getting out of this?"
Lopez watches you as one of the lawyers explains for him.
"For one, a performance based fee up to ten thousand dollars. In addition, you'll receive one percent of the total royalties from the case for the rest of your life, funneled through a laundering charity of course."
"In return for all this, you will comply with Scyth supplied talking points and subjects if interviewed on the case and will ask permission before speaking on it after the case is resolved. Our current discussion will be completely confidential."
"Sounds doable. But this performance based fee... what kind of performance does it require?"
"Well, for us to even bother to pay it to you, we're going to need to win the case. That means convincing the attending jury by any means necessary. After the case, physiognomic analysis will be performed to evaluate how well you emulated sincerity. Strong enough performance may merit your invitation to future cases."
>how much will the royalties be?
>when will the case start?
>what do we expect from my cross-examination?
"What should we expect from the cross-examination?"
"They're going to question the custody chain regarding the skull. There's a gap between when you conducted the job and how long it took you to turn it in that they're going to try and push. Emphasize that you kept it in good condition. They may also attack your record at GEC."
"Wait, they contacted GEC?"
"Assuredly, both sides did. Your Vice-Administrator was extremely cooperative with the case... though certain parts of your career will be difficult to airbrush."
You swallow, thinking of the Vice-Administrator watching the live-broadcast of the case. It's certainly too late for you to turn this on her.
"Anyway, we should be starting in about ten minutes. Is there anything we can do to make you more comfortable in the meantime?"
>I could use something for my headache.
>I need something to decrease my anxiety.
>I'd like to put some pep in my step.
>Just review the case carefully with me, I want to make sure I get *everything* right on the stand
"I'm feeling a little anxious, do you have anything for that?"
The lawyers and psychologists all look at one another and then reach into their suit pockets, withdrawing dozens of pill bottles. Several slip on old fashioned spectacles to examine the labels and discuss the finer points of their respective pharmaceuticals, arguing in a way that makes your still-aching head want to explode.
Finally they seem to agree on something and you're handed some pills with medical mumbo-jumbo on them that you're too fatigued to try and interpret the fine print on.
Swallowing the pills with a handful of ice water, you soon feel your body becoming less tense and... wavier. Groovy, man.
>You're high on a quality prescription painkiller!
>Awareness -1, 2 hours
>Addiction Effects: Unknown
"Mr. Esperanza, I hope you're feeling a bit more ready now? It's time to go inside..."
You're guided inside to the prosecution's witness booth, from which you can look out at the spectacular courtroom.
It's been built in the style of a classic arena, with stands for spectators and the media that surround an inner oval where the jurors sit on the perimeter opposite the judge's bench and witness stand. The lawyers stand on a floor of spotless faux marble, strutting around one another in theatrical fashion as they make their opening remarks.
>roll 1d100 for the prosecutions opening remarks and protocol, I'll take the best of three. Samefag if there are insufficient rollers in the thread.
Rolled 50 (1d100)
The prosecution's lawyer stands up and begins by addressing the jury. He starts promisingly, beating the drum about Ko's "degenerative fantasies" and how people like him endanger society. Yet it doesn't take long for him to go off the rails, railing against pornography as a whole and speaking back to the wholesome days of the 1980s, when such deviance had to be openly purchased in print form.
"Ladies and gentleman, perverts in those days really had to have huevos!" he declares, miming swollen testes around his crotch. Then, pointing to the defendant: "I charge that this man has no such thing!"
"Agreed, Mr. Radbury, contain your social commentary, please."
In the protocol phase, one of the younger lawyers stumbles by presenting a map which purports to show Mr. Ko's proximity to several schools from which children went missing. The defense objects and has the map thrown out by pointing out that Ko's actual address is given in the record.
Not good so far... but you have yet to see how the defense will fare when they present their side of the case.
They perform... adequately, you suppose. Despite the many vulnerabilities created by the prosecution's inept opening statements, the defense fails to capitalize on many of them. Instead, their lawyer simply sinks to a long and overly verbose ramble about Mr. Ko's non-existent right to privacy, hitting high notes only when he talks about the brutal conditions of the man's arrest.
They call Ko and the rest of their witnesses. The fact that Ko is extremely ugly does them no favors. The audience seems to hate him as well, audibly booing when he speaks and drowning him out until the judge finally bothers to bring about order with his gavel. He doesn't come off as a murderer exactly but he doesn't seem like the kind of guy you would trust around women or children either.
Most of their other witnesses are ineffective. The internet GF is too fried from her recent bout with security to say anything too groundbreaking.
But when it finally ends, you still feel the defense is a little bit ahead.
>roll another 3 1d100s for the prosecution presenting their witnesses leading up to your testimony
The prosecution trots out their own witnesses, a seemingly endless stream of experts that speak on sexual fetishes, serial killing, and Mr. Ko's likely mental profile as a lowly RepCorp helpline operator. It's all defamatory in the extreme and though the prosecutor could stand to bring some fire to his interviews, it seems largely effective. The audience and the jury seem enthralled by tales of past debauchery that the experts provide as precedent for their testimony on this kind of case.
Finally, it comes to you.
"The prosecution calls... Vincent Esperanza!"
You're in your GEC uniform when you ascend to the witness stand and the audience is silent, already knowing the broad strokes of your involvement in the case.
The prosecutor makes eye contact and you prepare to begin your testimony.
>gonna need roll 3d6+1 (charisma roll), we'll allow usage of Nerves to boost up to three times (boosting consumes 2 points per boost, you currently have [12/12])
>0 - No Boost
>1 - One Boost
>2 - Two Boosts
>3 - Three Boosts
Current Nerves are 12/12, if first two votes are not in agreement, I'll roll to determine the choice.
You put on your most solemn expression as the prosecutor lobs you softballs.
"Where were you on July 14th?"
"Who were you working for?"
"What were you doing?"
"What did you find?"
It's a boring line of questioning but you answer quickly and do your best to appear distraught as you remember back to that day, a task made even easier by your memories of tumbling through a ceiling and getting bitten by a giant bat. The audience is on the edge of their seats as you get into the finer details of describing your takedown of the second bat.
>Roll 3d6+1 and select one of the following options. More dramatic options will help the case if successful but demand a higher DC.
>be truthful, describe lobbing your tranquilizing spear at it
>embellish, describe a deadly spearfighting dance between you and the bat
>embellish, describe putting the bat in a chokehold
>embellish, you knocked it out with a single punch
Just give me one more roll. Also, we've lost a lot of players. I don't know if I should blame myself for our weird schedule lately or if the quest is drying up.
You decide to stick to the truth, feeling that it's a harrowing enough tale to stand on its own. And it does! You're not able tell it very dramatically but you are convincing and the truth here is still stranger than many possible fictions.
When the prosecution finally finishes asking you questions, they declare their direct examinations to be effectively wrapped up. It's now time for cross-examinations.
The defense works their way through the expert witnesses, questioning their various motives and careers until they finally get to you. The defense attorney's ocular implants sparkle with read-outs as he addresses you.
"Mr. Esperanza, the prosecution would have us believe you to be some kind of selfless he-man who fought his way through a nest of monsters to bring us the core evidence of this case."
The judge, you've noticed, seems to sustain and overrule objections primarily for theatrical effect.
The defense lawyer continues:
"Where were you on July 13th, the day before you found the skull?"
You wrack your brain.
"I was doing a job at... St. Michael's School for Catholic youth."
"Indeed. The defense would like to enter a late piece of evidence."
From where you're sitting you can see the prosecutor's eyes darting from you to the judge, desperate.
"I'll allow it."
"This is local news footage recovered from HK-Copter 9."
The room dims and a vast holographic projection springs up in the middle of the room, showing the roof of St. Michael's billowing smoke into the air. A reporter's voice details what's happening in frantic Chinese and the perspective shifts to show the smoke blowing into surrounding apartment buildings before turning back to the school itself, where a single figure emerges onto the roof and begins trying to wrench free what looks like a giant satellite dish to cover the hole. He succeeds but not before screams are heard in the audio.
"Mr. Esperanza, according to testimony obtained from the surviving Brothers who operate St. Michael's, you were called in to clear out a simple roach infestation, correct?"
"Most would have opted to clear this infestation via conventional means. But you used your agency as a GEC employee to do something a little bit more... dramatic. By mixing chemicals in a fallout shelter beneath the school, you created a toxic explosion that damaged the ventilation system of the school and caused a plume of toxic chlorine gas to erupt from the roof, correct?"
"Do you really feel your solution was proper for the issue at hand?"
>I think that... (roll 3d6+1)
Rolled 4, 3, 2 + 1 = 10 (3d6 + 1)
>I think that... (roll 3d6+1)
After studying my current assets I was forced to come to the conclusion that considering the highly infectious nature of a fungus carried by the cockroaches and it's extremely fast gestation period it was imperative for me to quickly destroy the massive infestation that had at that point already resulted in deaths among both faculty and student body.
Rolled 67 (1d100)
"I think that-"
"I'd like a yes or no answer, Mr. Esperanza!"
You stare plaintively at the judge, trying to relay with your eyes what a juicy morsel you have to tell. You narrowly succeed.
"I think the Exterminator deserves a chance to explain his methodology and besides, you didn't limit him to yes or no in your original wording of the question."
The defense lawyer grimaces.
"Based on what I had," you begin, "I was sorely under-equipped to deal with the magnitude of the infestation. The school was host to millions, maybe even a billion roaches and they had contracted a fungus which seemed capable of spreading to humans."
"At least one Brother contracted a fungal infection, I'm sure you learned that from their testimony before the trial."
"No, no we did not."
Oh right. The only witness besides you was eaten alive.
"Then you'll have to take my word for it... There was a real chance that this would spread, given the short gestation time of the common cockroach and what I'd observed of the fungus' contagiousness so time was limited. I took the drastic actions required to protect the area around St. Michael's from a far greater threat than a little gas."
Your speech seems to resonate with the crowd and jury, though there are plenty of faces that look unconvinced.
The defense lawyer quickly changes gears, grilling you on the other key elements of your story. But his main thrust seems to have been at least partially deflected.
>roll 3d6+1 for wrapping up your testimony
Rolled 2, 6, 1 + 1 = 10 (3d6 + 1)
The question is who tried to murder us.
The Russians' only motive to do it would be spite wouldn't it, this would lose them their lead.
Oh wait, no, if they know Vince knows Russians are after him, and that they compromised the Scyth cameras, I guess he knows too much.
Alternatively it would be Ko's hacker friends silencing the defense.
Damn you law and order.
Rolled 19 (1d100)
You stumble on a few questions relating to how the skull was handled, struggling to explain trace amounts of pizza grease on the back of the head. Overall, you manage to avoid jeopardizing the case, thankfully.
When your testimony is done you are dismissed and the penultimate stage of the trial begins.
The prosecution goes after the defense witnesses.
>Roll 2d100, first number is for their cross examination, second for closing statements. This roll is for the defense's closing.
Higher is better, absolutely. Prosecution gets the last word, which gives them an unseen modifier (which they've had several of, not that it helped them much). Still, a strong closing gives you a very good chance of winning.
You haven't seen the pay scheme, it's quite anonymous. Besides, Lopez and you may have similar motives after this case.
Lol, true. He's not even really aware that you're involved, being something of a late substitution.
The same coot who gave such a terrible opening statement for the prosecution turns his cantankerous energy towards a complete evisceration of the defense witnesses. He questions why they would even come to the stand in defense of such a degenerate and rips apart their personal histories even more savagely than anything the defense lawyer attempted on you.
You feel well avenged.
The closing statement of the defense that follows is completely punch drunk. They can scarcely re-iterate their core points without contradicting themselves or stuttering. The lead attorney seems to be suffering stress-induced indigestion.
A young attorney on the prosecution gives your side's closing statements and does so with a simple elegance that puts the defense to shame. Although he's not the top of his field just yet, the audience and jury is deeply moved.
The judge now grants the jury time to enter their verdict via tinted touch pads that extend from beneath their seats. Some thoughtful muzak plays as they make their entries, barely covering the murmuring of the audience.
When the verdict is finally returned, you and the entire prosecution leap with elation. Guilty!
>Performance: 6.5/10, $6,546 bonus
>Trial ratings: 8.3 - Highly popular, full of bizarre moments that will be repeated ad-nauseum on the Personal Web and Darknet alike. Very marketable.
>We will now end this thread and continue tomorrow at 5pm with the Underground Grand Prix. But first you need to decide how Vince spends the next 5 hours.
>takes a nap (restores nerves and STR)
>hunts for performance enhancing drugs
>consults with Lopez about Russians
>goes to check on Jeremy and Mr. Pedebody
>looks for an expert in old gas engines
Please attach a single roll of 1d1000 to your roll for luck.
>takes a nap (restores nerves and STR)
with Speed Demon, Boosting and Amazing Wheelman all we need is our Nerves maxed to do this shit.
Archival is successful.
It's okay anon, I missed half of today IRL.
For this high of a roll, I will incorporate the successful action without actually consuming time so that another action can be performed.
I'll put a good effort into the mantis file.
Soon anon. Lopez' character gonna be fleshed out real gud, you'll see.
Roll away anons. Remember you're still friends with Clarissa after this and maybe Devlinson too, so you still have access to some degree within GEC.
Rolled 779 (1d1000)
I mean I guess we can put off actually doing the downloading until Sunday morning when the family's at church but we should at least print the plastic fingerprints.
And I wonder how winning the prix compares with killinating Russians in the 'secure Dev's favor' meter.
>"I'm really sorry, ma'am, but I don't speak whale."
>A vast weight hurls itself against the door behind you.
Simmons confirmed for thin supremacist
Absolutely, but you've got a little ways to go before you reach the motherlode.
Check the top of the post you quoted.
She's way too busy with science stuff.
Don't get me started. I watched a discussion on my FB about how people with mental illness and PTSD need to be "protected" by trigger warnings... I've begun taking offense to people taking offense, especially when they start speaking for absent factions.
It's funny, since I know these same people were all along for the ride with the "PC is bad" train when they were younger. I'll take a stand on it eventually, but I can't afford to throw my reputation to the wolves right now.
I retconned some cash in there, yeah.
I'm going to force 13788 as the "correct" result, as I've had to retabulate stuff entirely too many times.
Doing the math quickly on what you made so far today...
I'm sure future me will appreciate this post one day. The CS should have this new total and the current stats (which could be better).
I never reached that gen of pokemon but that's adorable.
Yes, now that that wraps up.
Now Vince can have a sob story someday if it's ever necessary to destroy Shan and give up on blackmail; Scyths didn't pay him to fabricate evidence, it was all Shan's doing. And this is totally the reason he went off the grid, now that Vince outlived his usefulness to GEC.
Lopez would appreciate that.
I assume you're referring to us working out the blackmail situation to avoid killing Devlinson?
I don't really remember if I was surprised or if I expected you guys to find the alternative.
I think after the next thread it will be safe to say that there is more of a targeted arc in motion for the MC, with a few large splits. Not that we're going full rail-road but with Vince moving away from the daily bug killing I want to do more time skips and character development (and eventually end the quest).
It's on my mind. Though you'll have more than one to look out for.