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Kali Nicholotti

Round 7 Lt JG Ben Livingston - Witness

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((Runabout Rick Husband))

::Through the runabout, a voice echoed. It was peaceful, perhaps, but some kind of surety or strength stood behind the pleasant façade.::

Odyssey Station: Welcome to Odyssey Station. Please proceed to the nearest docking port. All Travelers must abide by the Wayfarer's Code while visiting the station.

((Flashback moments prior))

::Opening his eyes just long enough to note that Kevin was staring out the window, Ben forced them shut again. His hands gripped his shoulder straps as they plunged through the gravity well and into probably, oblivion. When he could tell that theyd passed through, he opened his eyes and breathed a sigh of relief. He could feel anxiety slipping off of him now that they were there.::

::Unbuckling his safety restraint, Ben walked past officers trying to catch a first glimpse of where they were headed. His hand went out before him as he walked toward the door of the [...]pit, and it pressed on the door, which yielded and opened. Stepping across the threshold, he crossed into the courtroom and took a seat beside an older gentleman wearing a pinstriped suit. No sooner had he taken a seat than the proceedings began.::

Bailiff: All rise for the honorable judge Justin Phillips III!

:: As everyone stood, Ben looked around. So many of them were there. Perhaps not as many as the day before, but that was natural. For some, it must have been hard to come at all; returning would not be easy. Friends and family of the deceased held one another, crying. The judge sat, and the old wooden benches creaked as everyone in attendance followed. Ben lost himself as he examined in detail those in mourning.::

Prosecutor: The prosecution calls Benjamin Livingston!

Livingston: oO What? Oo

::Ben went stiff as a board, every hair standing up on end. Involuntarily, his legs straightened beneath him, lifting him to an upright position. They began to carry him forward, toward the bench. As he looked around, the tear-filled, glaring eyes had shifted to him!::

Livingston: oO This isnt right I didnt do anything. I wasnt involved! Oo

:: His slow, forced steps quickened as he sought to move past the angry onlookers. Reaching the appointed seat, he was approached by the bailiff, who offered him a beautiful leather-bound book one of only a few hed seen in his life.::

Bailiff: Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

::Ben looked down to find his hand resting upon the cover, his fingertips sensing the books beauty and softness. His other arm was midair.::

Livingston: I do.

::The book dropped from beneath his hand; the Bailiff retreated with it under his arm. Ben looked around and the crowded room, then sat. The seat, too, was very comfortable, much as the book had been.::

Judge: Please state your name for the record.

Livingston: Ben Livingston.

Judge: Your FULL name, Mr. Livingston.

Livingston: ::beat:: Benjamin Livingston.

Judge: And your relation to the defendant?

::Ben closed his eyes and swallowed what little was in his dry mouth. His tongue tasted like sandpaper. He looked up at the judge, who glowered, jaw clenched and gavel in hand, down at him. The prosecutor, likewise, stood facing him with arms crossed.::

::He looked over to the table before him, where sat, eyes pleading and sorrowful and contrite, the boy who had looked at him so many times before, after getting himself into trouble with the neighbors or Mom and Dad or his teachers.::

::Ben gulped down the sandpaper.::

Livingston: He is my brother.

Prosecutor: And your Starfleet rank, Mr. Livingston?

Livingston: ::frowning:: Im not in Starfleet. I work for a corporation.

Judge: ::loudly:: Answer the question, Mr. Livingston.

Livingston: Lieutenant, Junior Grade attached to Starbase 118 Operations. ::He glanced to the side, then down.:: oO Where did that come from? Oo

Prosecutor: And on the day that ::sniff:: ahem, that this tragedy occurred, Mr. Livingston. Where were you?

::Ben reached to grab his hand. When had it begun shaking? He leaned in toward the small microphone before him.::

Livingston: I was at home.

Prosecutor: And your home is where?

Livingston: Boston, Massachusetts.

Prosecutor: So you were not with the defendant in New York City on that day.

Livingston: No. But I did speak to him that morning.

Prosecutor: But to be clear, you were not WITH him, Mr. Livingston?

::Bens mouth opened, but nothing came out.::

Judge: I remind you that you are under oath to tell the truth.

Livingston: ::beat:: No. I was not.

::Bens gaze wandered back to the seat in front of him. His brother held his head in his hands, fingers gripping his hair. Those big, brown eyes had always laughed. Now there was more anguish in them than amusement.::

Prosecutor: And does the phrase Odyssey Station mean anything to you?

::He squinted, thinking.::

Livingston: No no I dont think so.

Prosecutor: I must insist that you be more exact, Mr. Livingston. Does that phrase mean anything to you?

Livingston: ::beat:: No, it doesnt.

Prosecutor: And the phrase biomatrix?

Livingston: No, it doesnt, unless it was covered in passing in an engineering course.

Prosecutor: Think, Mr. Livingston. Does it mean anything to you anything at all?

Livingston: Its a largely experimental biomechanical device that simulates living tissue, although recently it has been made to produce effects bordering on, or meeting the definition of, sentience. They may be useful tools, but they should be considered very dangerous. I strongly advise shelving of the technology, destruction of public records that may lead to their creation, and classification of relevant information as Top Secret and Dangerous to the Public.

Prosecutor: Are you a traveler, Mr. Livingston?

Livingston: I dont see

Judge: You will answer the question, Mr. Livingston!

Livingston: Ive done a bit, but nothing particularly exotic. Euorpe, Mars, China once to Vulcan, on business.

::The prosecutor looked at the judge, who returned the glance, then turned back toward Ben.::

Livingston: Why is this important to the case?

Prosecutor: Have you ever engaged in extra-galactic travel?

Livingston: oO Extra-galactic Oo Thats absurd!

Prosecutor: Thank you, Mr. Livingston. You may step down.

::Ahead of him, the weeping, glaring crowd continued to scrutinize him as he walked back to his seat. A deep sigh escaped him as he once again retook the ancient, creaking wooden bench. His eyes closed.::

::Beneath him, the bench jostled from side to side, and there was noise all around him. Opening his eyes and looking around, he saw Kevin at the window looking at the space station that must by now have become visible. Theyd all made it, after all.::

----

Lieutenant, J.G. Ben Livingston

Assistant Chief Engineer

Starbase 118 Ops

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