Trial of Jetfire, Day I

Ultra Magnus.jpg
City Commander Ultra Magnus for the defense

Characters: Blaster, Crosscut, Demonhead, Docket, Dust Devil, Elita One, Jetfire, Jive, Junket, Perceptor, Rumble, Slugfest, Spike, Chief Justice Tyrest, Red Alert, Ultra Magnus, Wheeljack

Location: Tower of Justice, Luna 1

Date: September 15, 2015

TP: Betrayal of the Autobots TP

Summary: First day of Jetfire’s trial.

As logged by Ultra Magnus - Tuesday, September 15, 2015, 5:13 PM

Iacon Launch Pad - Iacon – Cybertron

Iacon's Launch Pad is a domed platform that can be closed and shielded from Decepticon attack, but must be re-opened to launch and receive starcraft. It's one of the largest launch pads on Cybertron - large enough to hold the Ark as well as a tiny fleet of smaller shuttlecraft. Usually the pad is nearly deserted aside from the occasional engineer or guard, but when a ship is scheduled to land or launch, it gets much busier.

Ultra Magnus is waiting at the shuttle when Jetfire arrives, leading a small procession of gawkers and onlookers. As soon as he spots the Air Guardian he steps forward, giving Red Alert a bit of a dirty look. "Are you OK?" he asks Jetfire, glancing down at his stasis cuffs. "Are these really necessary?" he asks Red, stopping him as the Autobot approach the Concordium, which has been prepped for launch to Luna 1 where the trial will be held.

Jetfire enters the room with the cuffed restraints Red Alert donned on him. He looks at Ultra Magnus and says in a relieved tone. "It's great to see you again."

Red Alert frowns back up at Ultra Magnus. "Jetfire is one of the fastest Autobots alive. If he tries to escape, who here can stop him?" He motions for Jetfire to board the awaiting shuttle. Crosscut follows the procession with Spike. However, unlike most of the onlookers, Spike and he are allowed to board the shuttle to Luna 1.

Autobot Shuttle <Concordium II>

If you've been inside of one Autobot shuttle, you might as well say you've been inside all of them. A silver floor, silver walls, and a white fluorescent-light lined ceiling. The layout is quite simple, actually. At the very front of the room are two gray pilot-chairs, each one located in front of a small monitor -- a larger third screen spans the width of the windshield, covering from the top of the window to the ceiling. On the left, fifteen feet from the pilot's seat, resides the navigation station. Across from that is weapons control. Lining the edges are numerous seats; each one having a safety harness for those times when there's turbulence outside of the shuttle. A medical repair-table resides in the back left-hand corner -- across from a three-mech prisoner transport chamber.

Although the flight is brief, Red Alert is highly vigilant, scanning for any possible interference on the way to Luna 1. Jetfire is magbolted to his seat, "for his own protection," and of course to discourage any escape attempts. Gears flies the shuttle, but naturally doesn't look happy about it, grousing under this breath the entire short trip.

The shuttle flies onward to...

Luna 1

Luna 1 is the largest of Cybertron's moons. It is the home of Moonbase One, an Autobot command base.

The shuttle docks at Moonbase One, and is met by Tyrest's Legislators, large sparkless drones that will guard him during the trial and see to his safety and security. As they take their positions flanking Jetfire, Red Alert looks up at them distrustfully with narrowed optics, his grip tightening on his particle beam rifle. His gaze then sweeps the sky, and the security director keeps close to Jetfire during the long walk between Moonbase One and the Tower of Justice.

Tower of Justice

The courtroom is large, with seats for a ruling tribunal at the head of the room, a bench before them, a stand for witnesses, a place for representatives to prepare, and a small galley for trial witnesses who wish to attend the hearings. The room is silver and white, with hard, uncomfortable seats that don't encourage loitering without good reason to be here. Over the seats of the tribunal a flag hangs containing a stylized image of Cybertron, with a star-shape representing each of the planet's moons.

A small group of Autobots and neutrals have gathered to watch the trial. At the head of the court sits the tribunal that will decide on Jetfire's case: an Autobot civilian leader, an Autobot military leader, and Chief Justice Tyrest, a neutral former-Autobot judge. Tyrest is known for his impartiality and wisdom; the Autobot leaders, however, are rumored to be predisposed to find Jetfire innocent. Nonetheless, they seem alert and ready to hear the evidence as it is presented before them.

Representing the Autobot civil government is Emirate Xaaron. His gold and silver armor gleams in the light of the courtroom. His expression is serious, with a furrowed brow and a deep frown. He has a blank dataPADD in front of him, with a stylus to take notes. He leans forward slightly, looking over the defense and Jetfire specifically. He is quiet. Although known for his dramatic speeches, he seems in this case prepared to simply sit and listen.

Sitting in the center of the tribunal is Chief Justice Tyrest. He is calm and confident in his element. His cape thrown back over the chair in which he sits with scepter of justice in hand. His golden optics study everyone who enters his courtroom, as if measuring and wordlessly judging them before they even have a chance to speak or act. Oddly enough, his body seems to be covered with small holes, although Tyrest himself seems to be giving them no notice.

Deployed around the room are Tyrest's Legislator robots, sparkles drones that serve as bailiffs, security, and, if required, shock troops. Although of different designs, each is massive, gold-plated, and heavily armed. Unless activated, they stare straight ahead, silent but ever-ready to act in an instant if needed. They are vaguely threatening even at rest, and there are more of them than seem strictly necessary to maintain peace in the courtroom.

Spike looks at the architecture and then looks at Crosscut. He whispers "This is incredible."

Jetfire stands at attention, next to Ultra Magnus. He leans in and makes some quick notes before the trial commences. Jetfire mutters to Magnus, "Regardless of this outcome, thank you for defending me."

Ultra Magnus heads to the legal defense table, standing with Jetfire physically as well as in spirit. He turn to look up at his client. "The pleasure and responsibility is mine." From a panel in his powered armor, he withdraws a dataPADD, which he looks over quickly before setting on the table in front of them. He then looks around the room, studying both the ruling tribunal and the Autobots that will help decide Jetfire's fate.

Among the Autobots crowding into the Tower of Justice, is the notable Elita One. The Femme Commander, consort to Optimus Prime himself, stands at the podium for the Offense. She busies herself with tapping on several datapads as the court starts to settle. Either obliquely or intentionally, she doesn't seem to give a glance one way or another to Jetfire. At her side are the civil team of Junket and Paralegal, who sit in chairs off to the side. Recorder is naturally doing Court Recorder duties, the Autobot's rare use as a dictation machine finally seeing some use. As the murmurs die down, Elita One notes, "Counsel is ready Your Honor." She gives a respectful nod towards Defense and Ultra Magnus, "at the Defense's behest. We are ready."

Red Alert follows the Legislators into the courtroom, and moves to take a seat, not looking happy about having his security authority usurped while in the Tower of Justice.

Spike takes a seat next to Crosscut.

Ultra Magnus nods, indicating his readiness to proceed. He looks at Docket, his own legal assistant, and motions for him to prepare to assist him with the defense. Magnus then turns his attention to Chief Justice Tyrest.

Chief Justice Tyrest stands, still holding his scepter and sweeping his cape dramatically behind him as he gazes across his courtroom. In his deep, commanding voice, he intones, "Today marks the trial of the Autobot Jetfire, solemnly accused of sabotage, treason, and attempted assassination. This court will consider the evidence and determine his guilt or innocence." Without further preamble, he says, "Prosecution, you may present your opening remarks." Tyrest then sits again, and the court falls silent.

Jetfire stands at attention. He briefly looks at Optimus Prime. He wants to give a nod, acknowledging the commander's presence, but he's been carefully instructed not to, for fear that some jurors could see it as an act. Instead, he looks onward, toward Justice Tyest.

Spike arches and angles his head to see the happening, hearing the opening remarks, and marveling how similar this seems to trials on Earth.

Elita One takes a few moments to assess herself, touching a datapad a few last times. "Yes your Honor." Satisfied with her notes thus far, Elita One removes herself from the podium, moving to address the Autobots gathered. "Mechs and Femmes. You are here today as part of a military tribunal regarding the guilt or innocence of Jetfire in an alleged assassination attempt. Many of you have been fortunate to not know this particular duty however as we Autobots strive to find the truth we ask you to accept this burden as we press forward. After both Prosecution and Defense examine the witness stand the floor will be turned over to the tribunal for their own questions and remarks. Please keep your questions neutral and polite and delay them until the floor is opened."

She steps forward, pacing slightly. "Now for the trial itself. As Prosecution it is my sworn duty to press the issue at hand for the fullest extent of the law. Today I intent to prove that Jetfire was caught red-handed as part of a Decepticon plot to assassinate senior members of Autobot High Command!" She gestures at Jetfire, an accusatory finger at him. "The Defendant did willfully and with foreknowledge commit a traitorous action in his attempt to assassinate the Prime. The evidence will be presented clearly and upon this trial's conclusion. Upon your decided vote... Jetfire... will be delivered unto a fate worthy of said crime."
She steps back to her station, concluding her opening remarks.

Jetfire knows Elita One is doing this out of duty. Knows she is doing this because of the severity of the charge. But hearing the accusations coming from her mouth, in front of these jurors and judges, Jetfire clinches a fist, but his faceplate and his eyes remain calm.

Spike looks up at Crosscut to see his reaction at Elita One's opening statement. Most likely, Crosscut's looks aren't going to betray much on the emotional end.

Ultra Magnus steps up before the court. His armor is freshly buffed, and his stance is ramrod straight. He carries his dataPADD, at which he glances frequently, in between looking up at the tribunal, back at Jetfire, and around the room at the gallery of observers. Clearing his vocalizer, he reads the following stiffly off his tablet, looking up between statements and then back down at the handheld computer:

"Good evening, gentlemechs of the tribunal. My name is Ultra Magnus, and it is my privilege to represent Jetfire in this case before you today. You have heard the prosecutor explain what she hopes to be proven, but while well-intentioned she did not tell you all the facts. I will cast the light of truth on these facts, and demonstrate that Jetfire is innocent of all charges. In fact, it is a grave injustice that Jetfire has been arrested at all, and I am glad of this chance at last to clear his good name.

"The prosecutor has stated that Jetfire 'did willfully and with foreknowledge commit a traitorous action in his attempt to assassinate the Prime.' I will demonstrate beyond a shadow of doubt that the evidence presented by the prosecutor is either circumstantial, fabricated, or both, and cannot be used to convict Jetfire of any crimes whatsoever. Jetfire is as innocent a victim in this as anyone, as this trial will soon make clear.

"So I would ask you to keep an open mind and listen to ALL the evidence, and return a verdict of not just 'not guilty,' but 'innocent.' Thank you." Ultra Magnus returns to Jetfire's side, and glances up at him, raising his optic ridges and slightly shrugging his massive shoulders. He then turns his attention back to the leading tribunal.

Chief Justice Tyrest, at the head of the tribunal, nods in reaction to the opening statements of Elita One and Ultra Magnus. As Magnus returns to Jetfire's side, Tyrest turns to Elita One. "Prosecution may call the first witness," he intones.

Jetfire gives a brief nod to Ultra Magnus. This is his intention. This is his want - not to be found "not guilty" by either the prosecution's inability to prove conclusive guilt, or a legal glitch. He wants to be found innocent. To be found innocent not only in front of this court, but in the eyes of all Autobots.

Crosscut listens quietly from where he sits, glancing back at Spike briefly but otherwise completely focused on the trial goings-on. As Spike assumed, Crosscut is keeping his emotional responses close to the vest, so to speak, reacting not to Elita One's accusations nor Magnus's claims of Jetfire's innocence. The small Autobot looks from prosecutor to defense as if watching a tennis match, occasionally pausing to examine the reactions of the tribunal as well.

Red Alert watches from his seat in the galley. He glanced at Jetfire when Elita One made her accusation, but seemed to listen to Ultra Magnus, too, as the city commander made his awkward rebuttal. For someone who has been a loud anti-Jetfire partisan until this point, he is now silent, watching the trial with a wary optic while still scanning the crowd around him as if expecting shenanigans at any moment.

Placing her hands before her on the podium, Elita One calls out "The Prosecution calls Perceptor to the stand."
With a modicum of murmuring, the Autobot Scientist, all in red as usual, steps forward to take the witness stand. He takes the oath on a replica of the fabled Book of Primus, then sits in the stand. Elita One stands off to the side of him so the Tribunal can see the scene before them.

"Perceptor. As one of the early responders to the incident"

Perceptor turns up his hands, "Well... it had appeared a large detonation device had gone off in the storage facility delivering grievous wounds to several members of Autobot High Command. Jazz was especially in critical shape. Kup and Blaster had already been on scene before I had arrived. The list of wounds was extensive."
Elita One nods, "Perceptor. In your expert opinion how catastrophic do you deem the explosion?"
Perceptor considers the question, "Quite. The bomb had a high magnitude of power for a small range. As much as I am loathe to admit it It would seem that it was sheer luck that there were no fatalities in the explosion."
Elita One continues, "Which means that this explosion was to be considered an assassination attempt given the targets. It is at this time that the Prosecution would like to introduce Exhibit A."
A video plays. Short version - Jetfire and Starscream talk.
Elita One lets the crowd die down before gesturing to the display. "Perceptor. You've analyzed this footage." The scientist nods once, "Indeed I did." "And your conclusion?"
Perceptor raises a finger as he explains, "The footage is sound. There are no signs of forgery on the timestamp of the footage. And most notably that the timestamp matches Jetfire's current configuration." Elita One nods again, explaining for the crowd. "Jetfire has a noteworthy habit of upgrading himself at irregular intervals. Upgrades that make slight modifications to his form. Perceptor has certified that the frame modifications do indeed match the timestamp. Its proof positive that he met with Starscream at this time frame."

Jetfire steels himself and listens to Perceptor's damning testimony. If there's a better witness for the prosecution, someone who could out-do Perceptor in the legitimacy department, Jetfire isn't sure he could find someone. He continues looking on, knowing any emotion, one way or another, could be interpreted wrongly by the jury.

A few murmurs in the courtroom can be heard as the video plays. The murmurs aren't sensationalistic in nature, but show some involuntary gasps of surprise.

Ultra Magnus stands awkwardly, and approaches Perceptor on the bench. He looks at the Autobot scientist, and pauses a moment, collecting his thoughts. Finally he asks, "Perceptor. You say the recording shows no sign of tampering, and that any deviation from Jetfire's normal appearance can be explained by Jetfire's need for continual upgrades. But how can you be sure the appearance of Jetfire isn't some sort of hologram, or a robot in disguise? The Decepticons have attempted such deceptions before."

Spike tries not to smile at Ultra Magnus' remark. Suave. Spike mutters to Crosscut, "... Magnus..."

At the head of the court sits Chief Justice Tyrest, Emirate Xaaron, and an Autobot military commander to be named later. ;) Tyrest watches regally from the center of the raised platform, optics now locked on Perceptor as he is questioned by Ultra Magnus.

Dust Devil has wandered in at some point and finds himself a seat. He's been listening to the testimony and grinning and shaking his head now and then. Glancing around, he opens a compartment and pulls out a box of energoodies. It’s almost fun to not be the center of one of these things.

Crosscut mutters to Spike, "... has... depths.... out... other as-yet... If... that... good... can... of all..."

Jetfire looks on at Perceptor, as the pre-trial guidelines by Ultra Magnus reiterate: don't make any emotional/pleading looks at your friends. He looks on at Perceptor, trying to put his mind at ease by imagining this entire this is part of one, enormous, elaborate scientific experiment.

Spike takes in what Crosscut is saying and gives a slight nod.

Rumble knows he's allowed here, provided he follows the court rules. He isn't entirely sure if he has any outstanding warrants for this particular jurisdiction, BUT he's willing to take that chance, if only to irritate the ever-living cogs out of the Bots.

He strolls in with a mean little grin, and has a seat in the public trial observation area. He actually checked his weapons in with the bailiff in order to gain access to the courtroom, so he's unarmed. However, he is, of course, recording everything.

Spike looks on, observing the gravity of the situation, but inside, loving witnessing the history of everything. The procedure. The reverence. The... Rumble?

Spike’s optics lock on Rumble and they immediately flare with anger.

Elita One glances over at Junket, conversing for a few moments. Perceptor's response to this was bound to affect her response.

Perceptor shakes his head, "It is highly unlikely. Even high-resolution illusions do have mass-density issues." He produces his own datapad to affect the display. Several key points of the video are highlighted with green circles and text. Note here and here the eddies of dust that swirl around the scene. They ARE affected by mass. By density. Why there's even a micro-pull of gravity towards all the participants. It is in my expert opinion that this is no hologram. As for deception Jetfire had recently had his alt-mode thrusters recalibrated... again giving him a distinct added edge visible upon his port side." The affected area is highlighted. "This change was recorded within eighteen breems of the video. The window of opportunity for this is staggering. It is also of my professional opinion that it is highly unlikely though possible."

It was bad enough when Dust Devil arrived. With Rumble's entrance, Red Alert nearly blows a gasket. Red glances at the Legislator robots, optics wide, and seems personally insulted when they do nothing in reaction to Rumble's presence. Unable to act on his own in Tyrest's court, Red has to settle for staring daggers at Rumble where he sits, as if wishing he had Dinobot optic beams to obliterate the diminutive Decepticon demolitions demon.

Spike mutters under his breath, just barely loud enough for Crosscut to faintly detect: "What the hell is HE doing here?!"

Rumble notices Spike, and he gives the mechanic a nasty, nasty little grin.

Ultra Magnus consults near-silently with Docket, and then nods. "No further questions for now, your honor," he tells the court. Tyrest looks from Magnus to Elita One. "Very well. Elita One, you may call your next witness."

Jetfire’s optics glow faintly and he leans back in his chair.

Crosscut mutters to Spike, "... we... or... this... are welcome... long... they cause... in... courtroom."

Spike looks at Rumble and can only shoot a sneer toward him. He's not going to have an outburst, but inside, he's still calculating a way to pay back the Decepticon for snapping his forearm like a twig.

Elita One again puts her hands on the podium as she leans forward, as Perceptor is dismissed. "The Prosecution calls Blaster to the stand. The Prosecution also calls Jive to the court to translate Blaster's speech for clarity." A minibot that can only be described as flamboyant, swaggers forward from the back. His head is shaped like he wears a hat with a feather in it, gold trim enamel on his form, especially his fingers, and one can almost hear the 70s funk music that follows him.

Blaster steps forward, swearing in as well, with Jive, cane in hand, beside him, giving the big Bot a knowing nod.
"Blaster. You have evidence of your own to share. Moments before the incident you picked up some interesting transmissions. Would you play back these recordings and verify as to their authenticity for us?"

Jetfire’s optics look directly forward, trying to find a focal point between the judge and Blaster, knowing full and well what's in store.

Blaster moves up to the witness stand, and looks anxiously between Elita One and Jetfire. Although an accomplished public speaker, for once Blaster doesn't seem to be enjoying this chance to be the center of attention. At Elita's question, he hems and haws a bit before giving an apologetic look to Jetfire. "Hey, man. I hate to be a snitch, dig, and repeat tunes crooned to someone else, but I did overhear a song sung to Megatron, and I can't help but play it for you now. To all listeners, don't turn that dial -- here's what I heard Jetfire tell Megatron:"

<<Decepticon>> Jetfire says, "Everything is in place. I am almost ready to move. Remember our agreement."
<<Decepticon>> Lord Megatron says, "I remember. The Autobots will be spared, and you will be rewarded."

Blaster looks somewhat embarrassed, and glances at Jetfire and then down at the ground, muttering, "Sorry, dude."

Jetfire gives a brief nod to Blaster, wanting to say it's his job, but not wanting to sway the court any more than this somewhat-disastrous beginning.

Rumble smirks as Blaster takes the stand. He wants to heckle the mech SO BADLY.

Tyrest, looking neutral and unmoved, looks down at Elita One. "Do you have further questions for this witness?" Xaaron looks troubled, as if surprised at the amount of evidence piling up against Jetfire so quickly.

Jive gives a nod of affirmation, "Totes Legit, it is. My man Blaster's representin the truth here, you dig?"
Elita One looks over at Junket blankly. Junket gives Elita One a thumbs up of approval. "Your witness. Defense."

Crosscut glances down at Spike, and then over at Rumble. "Don't provoke him," he says quietly to Spike. "Now isn't the time."

Jetfire looks at Ultra Magnus, hoping he's still one of the only ones in this courtroom that still believe in his innocence.

Spike looks up at Crosscut and whispers "I'm a human, that doesn't mean I'm immature. I know where we're at."

Ultra Magnus nods, and once again approaches the witness stand. He looks down at Blaster, and says, "You say you recorded this from the Decepticon broadband. Can you confirm it is actually Jetfire and Megatron we're hearing?"

Blaster looks back up at Magnus. He sounds miserable. "I ran it though all the scans, man. The vocaliser that made that rap is an exact match to Jetfire's - it's no goof, and no spoof. That's Jetfire talking to Megatron. Why, though, I can't say." Blaster looks back at the ground, unable to meet the optics of Jetfire, Magnus, or Elita One.

This...THIS is the time he wants to say 'but it wasn't me!' and to challenge the prosecution with his own theories at what could have made that audio come out the way it did. But all he can do is put his faith in the hands of Ultra Magnus.

A grim countenance crosses Elita One's face. The testimony is piling up, and Ultra Magnus hasn't successfully argued down the evidence. So far the evidence weighs heavily on the scales of balance. She moves to her bench, relaxing with poise as she and Junket murmur for a few more moments. "The Prosecution holds action. The Defense may call their first witness."

Ultra Magnus addresses the tribunal directly. "If it pleases the court, I call Jetfire himself to the stand." Magnus sounds a little more confident now that it's his turn to present evidence. He actually gives Jetfire a small reassuring smile, and then sobers up, straightening his posture while he waits for the former Air Guardian to take the stand. He glances at his dataPADD, and then at Docket, sending encrypted notes over to his assistant.

Jetfire stands up and approaches the court. But before heading toward the court, he looks at Ultra Magnus, and a few of the handlers, showing them his cuffs, gesturing if it's OK if SOMEONE removes these restraints. They don't do to well with the 'Jetfire is innocent' strategy.

"Dead mech walkin'," Rumble mutters to himself quietly, or perhaps he's narrating the footage he's obtaining as he focuses on Jetfire.

Ultra Magnus glances up at Tyrest, who gives a slight nod. One of Tyrest's Legislators walks over, and deactivates Jetfire's stasis cuffs. Magnus gives Tyrest a silent nod of thanks, and approaches the witness stand once Jetfire is in place.

Elita One folds her hands before her, her head slumped forward a little as she gauges Jetfire. He certainly walks the walk of the doomed, but the mech is far more cunning than not. How masterful an actor was Jetfire, and what did she have in her arsenal to stop it?

Jetfire looks at Elita One, using every bit of his scientific faculties to regard Elita One as an Autobot who is just doing her job, and not holding his life in balance.

Ultra Magnus questions Jetfire directly. "Jetfire, you've been accused of some serious crimes. Attempted assassination. Betrayal. Treason. Blaster and Perceptor have presented some damning evidence backing up these accusations. How do you answer these charges? What explanation can you give to refute what some see as guilt plainly laid out before their optics?" Magnus leans forward, as if as anxious to hear Jetfire's answer as anyone else.

Jetfire nods, absorbing this question, realizing this is the only chance he may have to prove his innocence. He looks at Elita One, then the jury, then the judge.

This is a neutral courtroom, welcome to any visitors that refrain from disrupting the proceedings. While most of the spectators are Autobots and neutrals, there are at least one or two Decepticons who have shown up just to witness the Autobots' misery as they try one of their own for treason. Tyrest rules here in the Tower of Justice, and he alone decides who may or may not witness the court martial of Jetfire. For now, even Decepticons are welcome.

Elita One responds with an unreadable look. Only analysis shows on her face, a look that Jetfire knows well. She gauges his nervousness, watching his kinesics for signs of truth or guilt in his statements. The Femme Commander nearly lost her consort, her Prime, in that explosion, and Primus help her if she didn't find justice in this courtroom today.

Demonhead came to watch the trial, because hell, why not? It should be pretty funny. He even brought his own drink! "Haha, seriously? Assassination, sure, but betrayal and treason? Ain't the first time for that guy." he says to... whoever's sitting next to him.

Jetfire says, "With every neuro-fiber of my being, I am innocent." He looks at the jury. "I am not blind to the evidence. But I simply ask you review my actions up to this point. There is no possible, logical reason I would do such a thing. I defected from the Decepticons because they went against every spec of my programming." He looks at the jury. "There is an answer to what has been presented. I know there is..." He adds "Unfortunately, it hasn't been discovered, yet." Jetfire looks at Optimus Prime, "But I have every belief that this evidence WILL be produced!"

Rumble is apparently here to capture the proceedings for Soundwave's benefit. He waves over to Demonhead briefly, then focuses on Jetfire's face. That GUILTY face.

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Elita One slams her fists to the podium as she stands. "Objection! The Defense's witness is pleading to the jury moving for a pity plea. We cannot accept such grounds. Defense is letting the witness run free!"

Tyrest looks down at Ultra Magnus. "Please direct the accused to focus on the facts of the case and limit emotional appeals." Magnus frowns, and grumbles an assent. "We'll produce that evidence," he assures Jetfire and the tribunal, and then turns to Elita One. "Your witness, ma'am." He moves back to his table, quietly conferring with Docket.

Red Alert's optics widen as another Decepticon joins the proceedings. He shakes silently, clenching his fists, his feverish gaze darting between Demonhead and Rumble.

<<Autobot>> Director Red Alert says, "I can't believe they're letting Decepticons in here! What if they attempt to free Jetfire before a verdict is reached?"

Elita One stands, her hands at the podium for a moment. She draws out her datapad, tapping it. "Jetfire. You have degrees from sixteen different university and institutes of higher learning." She smacks the datapad with the back of her hand for emphasis as his credentials list. "You are a foremost expert in technology of twenty five sorts. And yet your own testimony comes down to an emotional appeal. How can you expect anyone to accept such irrational testimony from such a scientific expert? You. Have. No. Recourse. So let's move forward. It is on record that Teletraan 1 responded with false positives on your position on the day in question. So tell us Jetfire... exactly where were you during the incident?"

Demonhead notices Red Alert looking at him, and gives the 'Bot a little wave of a talon.

Jetfire looks at Elita-One and says reluctantly "Well, we were back at the Ark... as you know." He looks at the jury. "The Decepticons still had control of Autobot City..."

Rumble grins cheekily at Red Alert, chuckling like the craptacular little mech he is.

Jetfire frowns and continues " better judgment, Starscream hailed me. He's done this before. He's taunted me... wanted to punish me for defecting." He slows down, trying to get the details right. "I was hoping I could find a way to get back Autobot City from him." He adds "Starscream said I HAD to meet with him." He looks at the jury. "It was then he nulled me. It was before I could respond. And I was incapacitated briefly." He looks at the jury. He must have drug me into a cave, because when I awoke... there was no one there."

<<Autobot>> Herr Doktor Wheeljack says, "Calm down. Security is tight."

Ultra Magnus leans down and confers quickly with Docket, frowning deeply. Finally he looks up. "Sirs, if it pleases the court, we'd like to request a recess while we prepare a response to the evidence presented this evening." Tyrest doesn't even glance at the other members of the tribunal before responding, "Very well. Legislators, take Jetfire into custody. The rest of you are dismissed until proceedings are rescheduled." He stands, flourishing his cape dramatically, and disappears back into his chambers while Jetfire is taken away.

<<Autobot>> Director Red Alert says, "Very well. I will be keeping a wary optic on them, however, until the trial is complete!"

"RECESS! Finally." Rumble peers around, looking confused. "...Hey, where's the concessive stand?"

Demonhead nudges Rumble. "Shoulda brought your own drink, shortstuff." he says, sipping from his energon canister.

Ultra Magnus looks troubled, even after his request is approved. He makes further comment to Docket, and then approaches Wheeljack. "Are you prepared with your evidence for when the trial resumes? Is there anything else we need to do to help you prepare your testimony? It looks bad -- we're relying on you to help back up Jetfire's explanation of his whereabouts during that video."

"Yeah, you had the right idea, D," Rumble laments, peering at Demonhead's drink. "I didn't know this court thing was gonna suck so bad."

Red Alert stands, and approaches the Decepticons. Red is unarmed, but looks ready to kill with his optics. "What are you reprobates doing?" he demands. "This is an internal Autobot concern. You two have no business being here."

Elita One nods to Magnus and Tyrest. "Agreed. We'll reconvene at High Judge Tyrest's scheduling." With the clack of the gavel, she shifts her posture, a bit of stress melting off of her. She starts to pack up her items as she converses with Docket about the situation at hand, Elita pauses to give Jetfire's exit a meaningful look. Only after he is fully gone, does she finish her task at hand, that same grim look on her face. "For the sake of all involved. Let this not take too much longer."

Wheeljack shakes his head, "Nope. I've got it covered. I've checked it. I've rechecked it. And then I checked it again to be sure it's solid." he looks down at his pad, "All of my evidence is solid and indisputable. It was Starscream's weapon in that cave and it was Starcream's weapon that attacked Jetfire. There is absolutely no doubt about it and the science backs it up.

Rumble is sure to get a great distorted close-up of Red Alert's furious faceplate as he heads over to confront the Cons. "Lissen here, we got a /right/ to be here, this ain't your court! This is open to the public! So there."

Ultra Magnus gives Wheeljack a tight nod. "Good. We're relying on you, Wheeljack, but I know we're in good hands. I appreciate you making this a priority - I know you have a lot on your plate. In this, I agree with Elita One - it's best we get this over with as quickly as possible, so we can clear Jetfire's name and put all of this behind us. Will you be staying on Luna 1, or heading back to Cybertron?" Unlike Elita One, none of Magnus's tension has eased. He's still wound up as tight as a spring. (Although still not as wound up as Red Alert.)

Crosscut moves quickly to try to diffuse the situation between Red Alert and the Decepticons. "As much as I hate to admit it, Red," Crosscut says calmly, "The Decepticon is right. As long as they don't cause trouble, the Decepticons have as much right to be here as we do. Don't be the one to initiate conflict and get removed. Perhaps it might be best if you went back to Earth and make sure things are in tip-top shape there."

Wheeljack sighs and looks back at the PADD. "I'm not goin' anywhere until this is over. Jetfire and I don't always see optic to optic... but he didn't do this. And the science shows it. The cons have done better frameup's than this... but you can't hide the facts. It was Starscream's null ray. That can't be reproduced...even in the cheap knock-offs we got and other cons got. Proof is in the puddin'. I'll see if I can't turn anything else helpful up."

"Perhaps it's best -" Red sputters, "If I - Crosscut, on whose side are you? I belong here, ensuring nothing happens to Jetfire or anyone else during the length of this trial. Do you expect me to rely on the security of those --- automatons?" Red shakes, pointing at one of the Legislators. "I will not! I have seen things through this far, and I have no intention of giving up now! You're all against me, but you'll see! Jetfire will be convicted, and you'll see I was right all along!"

Demonhead just leans back in his seat. "Yeah, this is a neutral place, you can't kick us out. Though I'm about to leave, anyway. This court scrap is gettin' boring."

Magnus nods again, allowing himself the merest ghost of a smile. "Thanks again, Wheeljack. I'll stay as well - Docket and I have to confer with Lightspeed about his testimony casting doubt on the legitimacy of the recording itself. If you can prove Jetfire wasn't there, and we can prove the recording was a setup, it should be open and shut, no matter how badly this trial started out." Magnus glances towards where Jetfire was taken away, guilt plain across his silver features.

"Hey, I'll catch you later at the bar," Rumble tells Demonhead. But he makes no motion to leave. If anything, he's loving the level of rage he's able to give Red Alert without doing a single thing other than standing in this courtroom. "That Cross Cutter mech is right, that's the rules! They ain't YOUR rules, they're the Rules of Tyrest."

Red Alert glares at Demonhead. "Well, you should leave, and take your little runt friend with you! You aren't welcome here! Justice Tyrest may allow you to stay for now, but I'm warning you - attempt to free Jetfire or interfere with this trial in any way, and you'll have more than just Tyrest's Legislators with which to deal, whether I am armed or not! I swear it," Red sputters, "- Get in my way, and I will end the both of you with my bare hands!"

"Yeah, whatever, go jump inna smelter," Rumble mouths off to Red Alert as he in the public seating area with a VERY smug expression, arms folded across his chestplate.

There is a break in the hearing, and the witnesses are milling about as the defense discuss things intently at the front of the courtroom. Tyrest has adjourned, leaving Xaaron free of his duties to mix with the crowd, although he's remaining much more reserved now that he's an official in the trial.

In the observer galley, Red has confronted two of the Decepticon witnesses, Demonhead and Rumble, and Red's optics look ready to pop out of his head. Autobot ambassador Crosscut seems to be trying to intervene, but so far his famed peacekeeping prowess has failed in keeping Red calm and in line.

Demonhead shrugs at Rumble, finishing off his energon and crumpling the can. He's not gonna risk starting a fight right now by tossing the can at someone, though. Even he has his limits. He does snort at Red Alert's little tirade, though, casually waving it off. "Pfeh, like I'd try to free that backstabbin' jerk. I just came to watch the hilarity." Then, leaning forward a bit, snapping his talons, he peers right into Red Alert's optics with his own domed monoeye. "But if ya wanna try it, I'll let ya make the first move. Even with this many Autobots around, it's gonna be reeeaaal hard to prove I started it."

Slugfest noses beside Rumble, suddenly being apparent, though it was likely he was there all along.

Wheeljack nods at Magnus and follows his gaze. Muttering, "Damn, bloody shame. That's what it is. Damn bloody shame. Captain Preen pulls one over on us again and this time most of us are buyin' it hook line and sinker." he shakes his head, "I'll keep you updated." he heads towards his quarters.

Red Alert's glare tries to burn right through Demonhead. "I won't be starting anything in here, but if you'd like to take things outside..." At this point Crosscut physically intervenes, placing his hand on the larger Autobot's chest. "Now, Red, that's enough," he insists, ever so slightly raising his voice in deadly seriousness. "Let's not make things worse. Don't make me pull rank," he says, lowering his voice again. "Back off, now, and leave the Decepticons be."

Ultra Magnus nods in response to Wheeljack, and watches him leave. He stares into space a moment, and then hands his dataPADD to Docket. Belatedly he notices the near-altercation between Red Alert and the Decepticons. "What exactly is going on here?" he asks loudly, closing the distance in a few long strides to join the others in the spectator galley.

Rumble smirks, looking glancing at Slugfest. "How you like this circus show?" he exclaims, gesturing as Magnus comes striding toward them. "We got the right to sit here, quit harasstizin' us!"

Demonhead settles down in his seat again, turning his gaze lazily toward Ultra Magnus. "I was just sitting here enjoying my drink, and this paranoid son of a glitch started trying to pick a fight." he says with a gesture toward Red... which is soon followed by a smack upside Rumble's head. "Stop makin' a scene. They're doing a good enough job of it already."

"Is fun to watch!" Slugfest says, nodding, wagging his thagomizer which might accidentally brush others behind.

Rumble gets smacked in the head. <WHAP!> ...And nothing of value was lost. Rumble pouts at Demonhead, but for the moment, he simmers down. He really doesn't want to get kicked out of here; Soundwave *commanded* him to get this footage, so it's important to him that he remain.

Red looks up at Magnus and opens his mouth to speak, but Magnus cuts him off. "That's enough," he insists, mirroring Crosscut's assessment. "Director Alert, you will report to Moonbase One until you are called upon for testimony or prisoner escort." Red opens his mouth again, and Magnus cuts him off once more. "Now."

Red gives the Decepticons another death glare, his anger further fueled by humiliation. Glowering and sulking, Red heads for the exit, glancing backwards one last time as he collects his weapons and leaves.

>> Red Alert retreats from the area, leaving himself open to Rumble, Dust Devil, Wheeljack, Ultra Magnus, Crosscut, and Demonhead. <<

Slugfest receives a radio transmission.

Red Alert pauses in the doorway, frowning, but then continues out into Luna 1's night. Red Alert has left.

Demonhead would smirk if he had any facial features capable of doing so, but instead he just takes another sip of his... oh, wait, he crushed the canister. "Aw, slag it. I need to go get another drink. Rumble, Slugger, you comin' with?" he asks the other two 'Cons as he gets up from his seat, heading toward the exit regardless of their answers.

"You three don't cause any trouble," Magnus warns the Decepticons. "This tower may be neutral territory, but there's an Autobot base nearby, so don't think there aren't nearby forces if we need to call them." Unlike Red Alert, Magnus doesn't sound like he's looking for a fight. If anything, he seems exhausted and not wanting one more things on his plate. He simply can't deal with that now.

"Sure!" Slugfest says, gazing up at Demonhead and tailwagging, which might be accidentally swatting Rumble.

"Pffffffff." Rumble grins up at Magnus, then glances over toward Demonhead and Slugfest. "Smell you later, Autojerks," he says, giving them a friendly (single-digit) universal departure. "It's drinkin' time."

Ultra Magnus shakes his head slightly, but doesn't intervene if the Decepticons want to go drink -- that's one less problem with which he has to deal. He returns to his defense desk and resumes consulting with Docket, preparing Jetfire's defense for then the trial eventually resumes. Although weary of the case already, Magnus gives it his all, as he does anything put before him.

Crosscut watches the Decepticons leave, and waits a while before following them out. Without his bodyguard Road Rage, he knows he's a plumb target if anyone realizes who he is. While he waits, he goes to talk with Blaster, who still seems upset from having to testify against Jetfire. Crosscut talks to Blaster in soft, even tones, eventually helping restore Blaster's more bombastic mood.

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