We have a city in crisis. Our newspapers are filled with tales of murder, corruption and most recently cultish spreads of dangerous thoughts. This was all sparked by a second recession. Things were tight. Those at the top guarded what they had like a dragon over its gold. Those greedy consumers would be asked take a leap of faith and see just what was truly important to them. It was a mess, dear readers, pure and simple. Who was asked to bring order to such travesty? That task belonged with the Office of Law Makers. As voting season looms the Law Makers will be asked to step up to the challenge of dealing with the darkest shades of Coldford. Whether that is the right choice or not will remain the decision of the voters but for now let me take on an exclusive look inside the Office of Law Makers. I’m hoping an understanding of what they are up against will help you make a more informed choice in the ballot box. I’m reporter, Sam Crusow, and no matter how bad things get, the Law is the Law.
The rain was lashing down outside. Luckily Bobby’s Lunch Box, the meeting place I had arranged with my source, was warm. The smell of coffee filled the air and the excitement of the story was keeping me shifting in my seat with eagerness. I had approached the Office of Law Makers many times for an interview with a senior member. Which member didn’t matter to me as long as it was someone who could offer some real insight into the High Court. This was a fruitless endeavor because every time I was refused. On a couple of occasions, I was given a perfectly polished statement to use but the truth is rarely polished. If I wanted to offer what the true thoughts where I needed the advice of someone who was on the inside.
Fortune smiled on me a few days before the meeting I now discuss when I received an anonymous call. The caller was one of those senior members I had been pursuing. They were not so senior that they sat at the top. Neither were they so bottom rank that they knew nothing. I was an exciting prospect for me. As a reporter being able to open up the Office of Law Makers, which had always carried an air of mystery was the kind of opportunities one dreams of.
My source made their arrival not ten minutes after my own. They dashed from a black town car and into the diner, holding a brief case over their heads to protect themselves from the torrential downpour. I noticed they had removed their Law Maker pin. It made it easier on them to seem like they were on no official business. I can’t blame them for that. If they were found to be whistleblowing it would put them at great risk. I opted to show my appreciation with a smile as they took a seat in the booth opposite me.
“I’m going to get into a lot of trouble for this,” they said.
I couldn’t blame them for their apprehension, but it wasn’t my intention to write any kind of expose on the office. I just merely wanted my readers to learn the truth.
“I protect my sources at all costs,” I assured them.
They looked around themselves as though they were waiting for the net to fall.
“Would you like some coffee?” I offered.
“I can’t stay long,” they said as they sat the brief case on the table
It opened with a delightful click. Inside was some tapes. They passed them over to me and I slipped them quickly into my bag.
“What do the tapes contain?” I asked.
The source looked out of the window where the town car was still parked.
“A lot of people say that the office is ruthless. I’m not going to deny that but what I’d like for the people to understand is sometimes brute force is necessary.”
I couldn’t wholly agree with this sentiment.
“I saw what the Subalan Black Bands did at the football matches. That was not necessary brute force.”
“You think so?” the source contradicted. “I was there too. We had been given word that Loyalists of Main were going to riot. We apprehended a man who admitted they were charged with the task of storming the stadium. Yes, many people were injured when the Black Bands stepped in but if they hadn’t countless would have been killed in a crush. If the storm of the stadium had gone ahead it would have set precedent and then more public places would erupt in riots.”
Do you think the Black Bands are Just?”
“Everyone in my office agrees that we shouldn’t need such a presence in the city but the violence has to stop. The Black Bands have curbed a lot. Since the imposition of Article 22 the crime rates have fallen. However, when certain young women in red dresses or men with chains for weapons insist their way is law it just shows there is still so much more work to be done. No one wants to have to live through the tension this city is under right now but unless huge examples are made we’ll never get out of it and it will just get worse.”
“Do you oppose the death penalty.”
“I do. But the law is the law. If it says you will die for your crimes then there is no mistaking that. Listen to the recordings I gave you. They will help you understand just what we’re up against.”
“You can make yourself comfortable,” Jane Christie said as the door of her office in the Prince Royce Clinic in Kingsgate was closed over.
Judge Karyn Doyle looked around herself.
“You can sit in the arm chair or lay out on the sofa. Whichever you prefer,” Christie ushered.
Karyn chose the armchair. She preferred to be seated and hold the gaze of the analyst eye to eye.
Christie leaned forward and pushed record.
“Firstly, I’d like to thank you for taking this opportunity,” Christie began. “It’s not easy opening up but given the strain you’ve been under lately I thought it may be of some use to you.”
Karyn nodded but her tight lips showed she was operating a don’t ask don’t tell attitude to the session. This delighted Christie. It just meant she had to dig her fingers in that skull a little deeper.
She began her probing. “Do you feel you are under strain?”
“Under pressure? Yes. Under strain? No.”
“What’s the difference? Christie asked.
Karyn replied, “to be under pressure suggests what it is. Times are tough. To be under strain suggests it is having ill effect on me.”
“And you don’t feel like it is?” Christie pondered, starting to take a few notes.
“No,” The Judge returned swiftly.
Christie noted a whole paragraph of interest in that statement. She looked up. She observed The Judge in her chair for a few moments.
“You’re a tough cookie, Karyn,” she said. “You always have been. We are all forced to pull on a shell and charge through life because we feel that’s the only way to survive. You need to clean out that shell every once and a while. Tell me, what are your thoughts on Howard Bergman?”
Karyn blinked but her expression remained blank.
“He was tried, there was new evidence, and he was released.”
Christie smiled a little. “He’s a close personal friend, isn’t he? He has been a companion for many years. Surely you have some emotional response to him almost being put to death on your orders.”
“He lives,” Karyn said.
“But he may not have …”
“He lives!” Karyn reacted with more gusto.
Christie took more notes.
“Anger,” she said, “is a perfectly valid emotion. I would be angry too if I almost put a friend to death.
“The evidence …” Karyn snarled.
“Yes, the evidence. What clues the evidence can give us. At what point in the proceedings – if any – did you feel the evidence may be wrong?”
“I couldn’t believe Howard would do such a thing.”
“When the evidence suggested otherwise, how did you feel?”
“I was angry. I felt betrayed.”
“Betrayed by Howard?”
“Betrayed by myself. I should have known better.”
“The loss of a child is more than any parent can bare. You have to give yourself some understanding for that. How have you been coping? Has Cameron’s passing affected your judgement in any way?”
Karyn’s lips pursed. “I will not speak of that,” she said. “I’m not ready to yet.”
Christie closed her notebook
“Fair enough,” she said. “We’ll come back to that later. For the record and so we’re both on the same page, you say you’re under pressure. Exactly what pressure is that?”
“The city is unwell,” said Karyn Doyle. “A barbaric population requires a barbaric response. It’s exhausting. They can cry that people are dying under harsh circumstances and yet they will continue to behave like barbarians. It is believed that influence is as good as a license to break the law but it’s not. It never will be. They cry that the dregs of our society are being forgotten. They say they stand with the deprived. Those deprived flooded our city with drugs, forced girls into prostitution and destroyed our properties and they feel they are forgotten about? Misunderstood? The city nurtures the poor but when the meal tickets my office provides are being stolen or sold for needles they have to be stopped. They are depriving themselves. When I first joined the Office of Law Makers I believed I would care about every single person that came before my bench. How can I care about a mother who would leave her baby to rot whilst she lay in the corner with needles in her arm? How can I care when she cries that I’m taking her baby away from her when I know that child will become another negligence statistic if I do not. How can I care if when a dear friend of mine is accused of a crime that hurts me so badly I would pull Buzzkill’s switches myself. Caring would impede my judgement.”
“Judgement is important,” Christie agreed.
“The Law is the Law,” The Judge went on. “It is the same for everyone. Over the years I’ve had everything in my office from the sickening to the downright ridiculous. No matter what, one thing remains. The Law is the Law.”
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