By Douglas E. Gogerty
Prince William sat there shackled to a chair. The citizens of the peninsula surrounded him. On the spot, he had to decide which course of action to take. He could discuss his actions with an attorney, or he could tell his story in open court. He desperately wanted to sleep on it, but that was not an option. Everyone in the room was waiting for his decision, so he had to make his choice.
"War," the Prince began "is a terrible thing. It forces people from their homes. Many of these people have no where to go. They become refugees. Of that group of refugees, some of us have no where to turn. For various reasons, we are not welcome anywhere. What are we to do?"
"I must assume that you have made your choice," interrupted the judge.
"I have your honor," replied the Prince. "You see, I could not stay in my country because of war. A civil war raged in my country of Lakeland, and it ended the lives of my family. I was seen as a threat to the new monarchy, which was victorious. Hence, I could not stay in Lakeland. Further, the three formerly neutral countries decided to attack Lakeland. I certainly could not go to any of those. Finally, I could have gone to Calmondak, but I would be a hostage to the king there. Thus, I had to come here."
"You had to attempt to claim the country for yourself?" asked the prosecutor.
"May I finish?" asked the Prince.
"By all means," replied the prosecutor.
"I came here and made my way to the capitol. I did this because I was familiar with the area. I had stayed there while my father was in prison."
"If it please the court," added the prosecutor. "The defendant's father was in prison for crimes against the state. He was fomenting unrest among the people."
"Can I object to that?" Prince William asked the judge.
"On what grounds?" asked the judge.
"My father's deeds were wrong. I fully admit that. However, that does not eliminate a son's duty towards his father. Thus, his actions are not relevant."
"Goes to motive your honor," added the prosecutor.
"Thank you your honor -- I think." The Prince continued, "Since I had no where to go, I went to somewhere familiar -- the capitol. In fact, I stayed at the same hotel and hotel room I had previously used. I visited familiar places."
"If I may interrupt," interrupted the prosecutor. "We have subpoenaed a local server to testify if needed. She can illuminate the actions of Mr. Thorbjornson and associates while at the capitol."
"Noted," the judge responded.
"It was mere coincidence that I eventually ran into the deceased troublemakers," returned the Prince. "I was willing to live out my life in peace and obscurity. I frequented a local establishment, where I can assume the server in question works. Unfortunately, these men decided to also frequent this place."
"For the record, these deceased troublemakers were associates of Mr. Thorbjornson's father."
"Yes," the Prince injected. "I knew the men. However, they were accompanying my father for his misconceived mission. I did not wish to establish any report with them, but they would not let me go without conflict. It was a conflict that would not result well on my behalf."
"It is here that they formed their plot to overthrow the country," added the prosecutor.
"I object your honor! I had no knowledge of their plans."
"Objection sustained. Please continue."
"I was dragged unwillingly here. At every point, I looked for an out, but none came. They wanted me to be there because they had something planned for me."
"Objection your honor. Hearsay!"
"Objection sustained. Please Mr. Thorbjornson, stick to what you know."
"Sorry your honor," replied the Prince. "So, I could not get away, and we came to a parlay tent. I had no idea what we were doing there. None! That is when I found out that they proposed to make me king of this country. I swear it was the first I had heard of it."
"What did you do when you learned of their plans?" asked the prosecutor.
"I stood there with my mouth open. I was shocked."
"And, how did you act during the negotiation phase?" the prosecutor enquired.
"I...," stumbled the Prince. "Ever since I was young, I dreamed of being a king. However, in my own country I was well down on the hierarchy. Thus, my dreams of kingdom were just that -- dreams."
"I ask again," interrupted the prosecutor. "How did you act after learning of your men's plans?"
"I...," stumbled the Prince. "These men were not my men. They were my father's. He recruited them for nefarious deeds. These were bad."
"Fair enough," replied the prosecutor. "How did you act after you heard your father's men's plans?"
"I object," the Prince stated.
"On what grounds?" asked the judge.
"He is leading the witness."
"Yes Mr. Thorbjornson he is," responded the judge. "Please answer his question."
"I behaved abysmally. The power went to my head. I got carried away."
"The prosecution rests!" exclaimed the prosecutor.
"Wait!" yelled the Prince. "I was just a pawn in their game. It is evident in my being here and they being dead. I survived because they refused me the cover that they took. It turned out to be ineffective cover, but they left me out to die."
"Immaterial," responded the prosecutor.
"I admit I made some mistakes!" shouted the Prince. "I let the power corrupt me! I did things I would never have done in any other circumstances! I..."
A silence fell over the courtroom as a shot rang out. The entire room was suddenly mayhem. People were running here and there. Officials were looking from where the shot came. There was a mad scramble everywhere. People pointing and saying it came from here or there. The judge attempted to regain order, but no one heard him pounding his gavel.
The Prince sat slumped down in his chair with a pool of blood growing around him. No one paid any attention to him.