From the Story Arc: Bitter Pill

Previous Story in the Arc: Resignation of Post by Bejouled (Wednesday, July 26, 2006)

Next Story in the Arc: Belle Lettre by Re-Bear (Tuesday, March 27, 2007)

(posted Sunday, December 17, 2006)

September 30, 2006

"I understand that your client pleads guilty, Mr. Chavez, but I will not give her the elctric chair."

"But your honor..." the lawyer sputtered. He ran a nervous hand through his slicked-back hair. "Given the severity of my client's crimes, I believe the electric chair is warrented. I believe the case of Jones versus Paragon City sets precedence in this matter."

"Don't play games with me, Mr. Chavez," the judge boomed, "We all know what happened after that was decided; insurance rates in Brickstown still haven't come down. Also, I have a letter from the victim, endorsed by two officials of the CCCP demanding leniency in my sentencing. Since your client has lost her powers, my original ruling stands. Seventy years with no chance of parole. Adjourned."

The judge pounded his gavel and dismissed the court.Bejouled stood up. She was thinnner than before, with a slight rash from residual radiation poisoning. Her hair had begun to grow back in patches, giving her a chemotherapy Flock of Seagulls look. She spent most of the time looking at the floor, almost humbly.

The court was closed except for invited heroes and selected members of the press. A known Arachnos agent would be an excellent target for a daring escape or an assassination, depending on how valuable Arachnos determined her to be.

Re-Bear was there, with Chug (who was bribed with candy), the Cagey Bee, and Commissar Bella. Bear had hoped that a bigger contingent together as a show of support for their former comrade, but received few takers. After the Tutelary fiasco, it seemed that the CCCP was burned out on trials, especially thee trials of traitors. Vickie and Red sent him a thoughtful card, and Communard sent him a rambling treatise on maintaining proper levels of contempt for the bourgeoisie, which, in a Communard sort of way, was almost touching.

Bejouled shot Bear a scornful and disgusted look as she was lead out of the courtroom. Bear managed a weak smile in return. He put on his trenchcoat and followed the others outside to the motorcade. Bee and Chug entered the first car. bear lingered by Bella waiting for the second.

"What was Jones versus Paragon City?" Bear asked.

"Dr. Watson Jones, or Professor Dynamo," Bella replied, "Paragon University professor who turned to a life of crime in the 1950s. Positron brought him down, and Jones lost his powers and suffered from acute radiation poisoning like Bejouled. They gave him the electric chair, as was the standard back then, but it ampliphied his powers instead of killing him, sort of like a jump-start. It took Statesman and most of the Phalanx to bring him to justice. Zach says that Jones v Paragon is the first thing they teach you in Metahuman Law classes."

"She looked healthier. She must be keeping food down now. And her hair's growing back," Bear said weakly.

"Yeah," Bella said, "She absorbed quite a bit of radiation. It would have completely debilitated someone with a weaker genetic make-up. She must have good genes."

"The judge said I could visit her in prison."

"Are you?"

"I am considering it. Even with the complications in our relationship, she is still my daughter."

Bella sighed. She was tired and wanted Bear to drop the subject for good. Let the wench rot in prison. It pained her to ask Zach to draft the court request, and it pained her even more to sign it. "You can do as you please, Pavel. I'm not going to stop you."

"I am aware, Commissar. I just like knowing that you care."

Bella put her hand on Bear's arm and flashed him a smile, her first of the day. "Just be careful. OK Pavel?"

"Da, Commissar."

And the rest of the ride to HQ was silent.