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[Fiction] TimeSlip and the Cascade of Justice


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Big events begin with smaller movements that build upon themselves for a larger effect. In time, the originating event becomes lost in importance to the final outcome.

Izzard Mittiwhyan was the first to get a call. All he needed to know was the identity of his caller to know what the message was about. Politeness sake demanded he take the call from his wife and he waited patiently for the transfer of the call over. Few could tell how much he prevaricated over this decision, how much he let fear rule his decision before he agreed. His only question was who else would be most likely joining him, to which he received a quick answer.

He liked the names. They made sense and helped clarify for Izzard about the political make-up of the tribunal. It would be a political monster, not one devoted solely to the finer points of law. That worried him, but would also mean the decision would become more of a living being and that excited him.

Suyrana Velprathrun got the call next. He was much more in the dark over the message of this very important call. He had never talked to her before and this was something of an honor. The offer came and it floored him. Suyrana was famous for his pro-Utopian stances, his life-long battle against the political and social consequences of the India Syndrome, and his support of Utopia’s extra-legal status. ‘Why me?’ he wanted to know, followed quickly enough by who he would be sharing this honor with. Of course, it occurred to him that he would be hurting his future opportunities with the Project and marking his career forever after, but the chance to make such a legal precedence was too much to forgo. He agreed.

Jorge Gomez was the youngest, in both life-time terms and time as a nova, but also the most vocal. He had written the scholarly ground-breaking work Deliberate Catastrophe over a year ago and was widely regarded as someone with pro-Terat leanings. Gomez denied any such ties, referring to most terats as small-minded revolutionaries. Instead, he fought a one-man struggle to separate novakind from nova-kind, saying that the alternative was a bloody struggle of dominance with only one winner. Jorge took the call right after stepping off the stage from another lecture. For him, it was a step up into the big leagues. The offer was surprising. Not because he felt himself unworthy, but because another luminary had wised up to his brilliance. He accepted automatically, and gave not a moment’s consideration to whom else he would be working with.

Anna DeVries set down the phone. She had the tribunal and had gained three of the top five most qualified people with hardly an effort. Just like elites, jurists wanted the grandest stage to practice their craft. Form some, it was a personal crusade and for others it would be a matter of fame. At least no one could fairly accuse her of being anything but fair. She had a pro-Utopian, pro-Terat, and a man with a decade of experience on the World Court. From here on out, she wouldn’t have any more conflict with the judges – fairness again, but in her heart she felt confident in the outcome.

The Slope

Time-Space folded in front of the three gathered novas while the press gathered for the event. Jager stepped forward and moved to take TimeSlip into custody.

“TimeSlip, in the name of the Windy City Knights I am place under arrest,” he said dryly.

“It’s a pleasure to see you too, Jager,” she replied equally bland.

Jager couldn’t help but grin. This was all rehearsed. The big, bad Terat murderess was turning herself over to the largest Municipal Defender Team in the Americas. The both knew this was just a pit stop for TimeSlip before the main stage. On the outskirts, waiting for the other shoe to drop were the feds. The press was flashing, filming, and audio-casting away. Only a few seconds away, Team Tomorrows Americas made their appearance. If Jager had any concerns, he was doing a masterful job of hiding it.

“Knights”, the Green Leader of T2MAmericas began, “we are here to take custody of your prisoner.”

They had the numbers, but Jager was confident that he held the power. Not only were his numbers spread out over TimeSlip’s head, but quality was the Knights were superior to that of the Utopians. More importantly though …

“I don’t think so,” said a nova stepping out from the crowd.

… Jager had the other shoe to drop.

“I represent the government of Namibia and I am here to convey TimeSlip to a hold facility in that country to await trial.”

Two more novas stepped out with him. Suddenly, two more groups of three novas appeared around the Utopias, ready for a fight.

“I repeat,” the first elite to step forward said, “I am here to take TimeSlip into custody so that she can stand trial for murder. A tribunal has been set up in Namibia and I am fully authorized by that body to bring the accused to an as-of-yet disclosed location for that trial too take place.”

The Utopian leader hovered down and stared the elite down. Neither one blinked, but it was clear to the Utopian this wasn’t a fight he could win, no matter what the outcome. He signaled the rest of Team Tomorrow Americas to stand back as the elite known as Thrall took TimeSlip into custody, took her by the hand through a rip in space, and left with the two closest novas to him. Once they were gone, the other two groups of elites both rapidly left the scene. The Utopians were left staring down the Knights, but the Knights were giving them no reason for a flare-up, none at all.

Back at the DVNTS base in Southern Africa, it was already sunset. Any thought that this might be relaxing was quickly shattered by TimeSlip’s immediate custodian. With no preamble, he began laying down his position.

“I am Thrall. Any questions you have will be addressed through me, or through one of the judges, if they address you. You will not talk to the other members of your security detail. That will be considered an attempt to escape. You will not attempt to communicate with anyone else on this compound. That will be considered an attempt to escape.”

“I am here both as your security and as your jailor. I am responsible for you being kept here for trial. I am also your primary source of personal safety for you as well. Please believe me I consider both objectives very important.”

“You need not ask me how I feel about this case. I have no opinion that matter. Do not ask me questions of a personal nature, because I will not answer.”

“Now, do you have any questions?”

She did ask him a few questions that first night. He told her were she was. He told her the names of the people on her tribunal, and he told her the general scope of how one of the worlds largest employer’s of novas was taking this. Other nova teams would be surround her at all times. The judges had their own security details, though not as intense, and the world press would be witness to this novas-only trial as it came down. For whatever reasons, Anna DeVries was seeing to it she would have her day in court.


The trial didn’t start off the way most people thought it would. A DeVries nova with an adequate legal mind laid out the facts for the assembled judges, who all opted to wear black robes for the occasion. The charges that TimeSlip would have to face were offered up and the three justices were able to give the first indications of how they stood. The youngest jurist, a Hispanic with a distinct South American accent was the first to challenge the evidence, and more important, the grounds on which Project Utopia was even there. The eldest, a grey-haired East Indian, defended the Utopian position and kept his questions to the most basic of natures.

“Was TimeSlip aware of what Team Tomorrow was?”

“Did she know what Interventions Teams did?”

“Did she have any evidence to back up her counter-claims to a Utopian threat?”

The middle jurist, a black man with a crisp British-style accent, kept the peace between the other two and kept his questions to the periphery of the major issues.

For his part, Thrall kept close to TimeSlip at all times. His two companions, Warspite and Blackzone, proved to be more human, or humane, of the two. They tended to relax and whisper amongst themselves when inside at the trial. They listened to the trial and seemed to be keeping score with the proceedings. Thrall never left the job, though, and was always hyper-alert.

The trial only went on for a few days. The justices went back to the crime scene and had a postcognative artist recreate the scene for them. They heard testimony from ex-T2Mers and Utopian employees. To TimeSlip, most of it felt damning and again she questioned why she was doing this. During one of her darker moments, she felt a hand on her shoulder. It was Thrall.

“It could be going worse,” he said softly. “Wait and see. This could still work out for you.”

That was an easier sentiment for him to say than for her to accept. So much of what the three men talked about was way beyond their experience and past her mental pay-grade. Time and again, they seemed to be talking in half-sentences. She was missing out on what they were really saying and it hurt to have members of the One Race so outdistance here, especially with her life on the line.

The question that would save her came from the old man. It was another in a long line of seemingly inane questions that he launched at her. She hardly felt it was important, but it was.

“Did you know that Project Utopia considered you a terrorist before the encounter?”

“Yes,” she replied wearily. “I was aware that the company I kept put me on a small list of novas they considered dangerous.”

That was all it took, thought wasn’t immediately obvious. Only when the Hispanic and African judges got into an argument did TimeSlip see the tide begin to change in her favor. The next day they handed down their judgment.


‘Fourteen years of service’ she thought. “Fourteen years of service to replace the promise of service for Excavator.’

Not guilty for the Murder of the dead Utopian. The fact that Project Utopia chose to put her on a terrorist list before the encounter meant to the judges that a law-abiding nova was within their rights to assume that organization was a threat.

She was guilty of killing another nova without that other nova being an obvious threat – believing Excavator was a threat was not enough to void the Manslaughter charge. This charge garnered her the 14 years of making up for Excavator’s lost life.

But it also meant she had a real promise of freedom. She was the mistress of time. She could do the fourteen years standing on her head and in a way there was a sense of justice to verdict. Excavator devoted her life to helping others and now TimeSlip would be required to take up the mantle of the one she had slain for a time.

TimeSlip walked out into the sunshine, Thrall at her side. He was already scanning about, eager enough to spot anything that might threaten TimeSlip. She had already exchanged words with him inside and she wanted to say one more thing.

Thrall died messily. Most of his defensiveness relied on him being able to see the attack coming and this somehow short circuited. The 30mm shell took him through the left eye and took off the back of his head. TimeSlip saw it all clearly. She saw reality move at a slower pace. Past Thrall, she could see Warspite already reacting. In her heart, she knew he couldn’t be past enough. She struggled to move her head so that she could see the attack coming in. Her node was just beginning to spark to life, trying to get enough power to save her. A single second ticked by.

The second bullet – the first to hit her, passed just to the right of her sternum at the same moment that a starscape opened up before her. It was Warspite trying to whisk her to safety. A third bullet passed through the ephemeral barrier and hit her just under her left breast. The field grew larger. TimeSlip saw stars. She saw the universe once more laid out in its infinite possibilities. The stars grew up around her, surrounding her, becoming once more her world.

Warspite was too late, she realized. She was already milliseconds away from death from hydrostatic shock. He was unwittingly giving her the greatest final gift and she let go of her life and fell into it.

For everyone else at the court it happened too fast for the eye to catch. Blackzone had blacked out the area before Thrall’s body hit the ground. Seconds later, Warspite had warped himself to TimeSlip’s location, but no one saw him. A few seconds after that, he took her body to a DeVries Emergency Clinic. It was too late, of course. The assassins had been too well schooled. Though DeVries would wait two days to make their announcement – hoping to draw out the assassins, but nothing had happened. The judgment had been gutted. Everyone had an opinion as to who was responsible, of course, but the real victim’s here were TimeSlip and the hope that her successful trial and sentencing would have brought.


There was no going home. There was death or exile. No one talked about the Death option, but it was clearly there. If not the DeVries people clearing up this massive liability, the unknown assassins could strike again. By vanishing for the better part of forever, there would be the illusion of justice. By coming back, the case would be put on the back burner as everyone waited for the next bigger explosion to finish TimeSlip off.

Now there was the chance for the trial to take on a life of its own and grow. Not true justice, but maybe the only justice the young race could expect. Now there was the chance for the One Race to take that first tentative step toward its own sense of jurisprudence.

She tumbled in near-Earth space weightless. Warspite hung close by, decidedly grim and haunted. Thrall really was dead. Thrall’s last instruction was to get TimeSlip to safety. Now Warspite hung around to fulfill that last order, her solitary companion. The only other sensation that belonged with her now was pain. The phantom pains in her chest. The pain from knowing there was no one else she trusted enough to share this last secret. The pain in understanding that there would be no more true friends she could share all with; pain that her mere presence could put every member of her family at risk.

‘She’ came into the room alone. They were limiting everyone who saw her now that she had been assassinated. ‘She’ had authorized the temporal manipulators to cheat and buy her those extra few seconds of time. ‘She had brought in the best, and most discreet, healers money could buy to keep her on this side of alive. Now that TimeSlip had a voice, ‘She’ had come for some quick decisions.

“I need you make that call soon,” ‘She’ said not wanting to use names.

“I know. I appreciate being alive, but this has far reaching consequences for me. My child …”

“A sad reality,” ‘She added.

‘Sad reality … yes, it was sad and for more than just her. She had been the first and now she was being sacrificed. More accurately, she had sacrificed herself and now the bill was due. TimeSlip looked at Anna DeVries. Neither of them was happy with the outcome of this trial. They had each their own priorities and neither woman was satisfied. The difference was that the last decision on this remained TimeSlip’s. Free, but forever vulnerable, or in hiding but forever alone.

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