Friday, May 11, 2012

Who Killed Iron Joe? Part 2: Moon of the Dark Red Calves

“Carrie Arosen, please step forward.”

If I didn’t know what was going on, I might be expecting something good, like a reward or something.

“You’ve been charged with treason and assassination.  How do you plead?”

If you want to know my response, it might help to know my personality, which might also help explain why I was such an easy target, even though there was no evidence, circumstantial or otherwise, to link me to the scene of the crime.  I simply hadn’t been seen by anyone that evening, and everyone knew how much I hated Iron Joe.  I hadn’t been shy about that, and despite the fact that I do have a few friends, I might best be described as “antisocial.”

By the way, “treason” might actually be applicable in this case, even putting aside the spurious charge of assassination they can’t prove, if the Danab could prove they have the right to claim an entire world that can’t possibly be owned by anyone.  They can’t even claim the right of governance over me.  They would have to mount a whole legal defense on the topic, if anyone bothered to care enough to consider such things.  But that’s not the kind of world I live in.  If I were feeling generous like this all the time, I probably wouldn’t be in this situation: by almost every standard, what some people call “New Earth” does in fact fall under the general understanding of belonging to them.  They consider it their home world, and that has been true for a very long time.  But they’re not natives.  I’m not one, either, but I was adopted by them.  That seems enough for me, but not for others.

Magnum and Stringfellow, they’re like my brothers.  In every sense of the word, they’re my family, except the strictly biological.  No one would try to make the same case for Iron Joe, even though he served as governor for ten years, longer than anyone has a right to claim distinctions that were always dubious at best.  I know I didn’t elect him, not the first, second, or third time, and neither did anyone else I care about.  It’s always the idiots who buy into ideology and empty slogans who put people like Iron Joe into power, who continue to believe the myth of what Iron Joe is supposed to represent rather than what they actually accomplish.

Well, now they mourn him as a martyr, and while I applaud his assassination, I can’t exactly celebrate it.  In court, I’ve got to look as close to innocent as I can get, even though the verdict was settled before anyone even considered starting the proceedings, probably even before the body was cool.  That’s just the way things work around here, and then they wonder why the Danab don’t get a lot of respect.

This is not me being unreliable: I swear to all the spirits in the universe that I am not guilty, that I did not kill Iron Joe, otherwise known as Fialkov and bastard.  The authorities think it’s all very convenient to think otherwise, but they’re in for a rude awakening.  The first thing they’ll realize is that nobody actually cares about Iron Joe, not outside of the village and certainly not off this planet.  Iron Joe is small fish they’ve elevated beyond his ken in death.  But they’re making too fine a point about it, and there will be no benefit to it.

They don’t realize that they’re courting war, but that’s exactly what they’re doing.  They’re likely to make me a martyr, too, if they’re not careful.  Now of course that’s not the outcome I’d prefer.  I still want to believe there’s some way out of this for me, that I won’t be dead in ten months.  There are still ways out of this, not the least being the hope Cavanaugh will actually be able to do his job and figure out who is really responsible for the idiot’s death.  My day in court is just beginning, and while everything seems lost now, I don’t aim to keep it that way.  I still have a few tricks up my sleeve.

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