22 April 2007

Saskia's Trials - Chapter 2 Part 2

At that moment her guard stopped beside a different door to the ones she'd seen before, and she suddenly realised that she had no idea where she was in relation to either her cell or the canteen. The guard led her through the door and Saskia realised that it had scanned her as she passed through, presumably to ensure that she wasn't carrying any weapons as she went in to see the Commander. The corridor on the other side of the door was lit with a soft yellow glow, and there was a carpet on the floor. A small side table held a vase of flowers that scented the air with a heady perfume. Saskia blinked in surprise, then realised that she must be in the Commander's personal quarters, and of course they would be more pleasant than the rest of the detention unit. There were five doors, two on either side of the corridor, with a fifth door at the far end. The guard led her towards this door and knocked.
"Come in," answered a muffled voice.
The guard opened the door and gestured to Saskia to precede him into the room. She went inside, straightening her back unconsciously and trying to project a friendly, co-operative manner. She got a surprise when she saw the Commander and found a tall, blonde-haired woman looking back at her. Saskia blinked twice, wondering why she hadn't known that Commander Posten was a woman. The truth was that she had never given the matter any thought: only a few Empathia ever had anything to do with the justice system on Einfuhlung.
"Sit down Ms Scolere," said Posten, her voice light and neutral.
Saskia obeyed, hoping her surprise hadn't been too obvious when she came in.
"Wait outside," Posten told the guard, who nodded and went out, quietly closing the door behind him.
Posten sat down behind the large mahogany-coloured desk which dominated the room. Saskia felt a momentary pang of envy – it was a beautiful desk, clearly a reproduction of an Old Earth design, judging by the intricate carving on the legs and around the feet.
"You understand why you're here, Ms Scolere?" asked Posten, interrupting Saskia's musings.
Saskia focused her attention on the woman behind the desk, who was watching her with a look of curiosity in her bright blue eyes.
"Yes Commander."
"Luca Leerling has accused you of killing Professor Jackson and five of his men at the site of the Lost City of Eupatoria in the Dasleere Viertel region."
Saskia nodded unhappily.
"Did you kill them?" asked Posten, her curiosity obvious in her voice as well as her look.
"No. They died as a result of trying to enter the Rock Palace; the Guardian there threw them through a crack in time when it sensed their desire for the Grimoire of Delmoro. The Guardian only allows those with a pure intent to enter the Rock Palace. Their greed killed them."
Posten looked at Saskia thoughtfully, her fingers steepled in front of her face, elbows resting on her desk. "I feel there's more to this matter than you are telling me," she said. "But all the facts will be revealed at your trial, which will begin at eight thirty tomorrow morning.
Saskia nodded numbly.
"You will be receiving one or more visitors later this afternoon," Posten said after a few moments.
Saskia looked up in surprise. "Visitors?" she asked, hardly daring to hope that she had heard correctly.
"Yes. Dr Karg, the Elder, contacted the Council and requested permission to visit you, which was granted. He said he has been treating you."
Saskia heard the unspoken question in Posten's voice, and guessed she was wondering why Dr Karg had been treating her. "Yes he has." She didn't volunteer any more and Posten didn't push her to explain.
"I believe Dr Karg is bringing a colleague with him. You will be taken to see them in the visitors' area at four o'clock."
Saskia nodded automatically, her mind suddenly focused and working furiously. She felt certain Dr Karg's colleague would be the Doctor; she knew that Dr Karg didn't work closely with anyone whom he would describe as a colleague, just a couple of assistants. She squashed her feeling of hope and excitement. It was better not to be too optimistic about her suspicion in case she was wrong.
Commander Posten stood up, indicating that the conversation was at an end. "Goodbye, Ms Scolere," she said.
Saskia got up too. "Goodbye Commander." She went out and followed her guard back to her cell.

Dr Karg and the Doctor left Saskia's apartment together at three o'clock. Dr Karg had warned the Doctor to leave behind any gadgets he might have that the guards would see as a potential weapon, so he had left his Sonic Screwdriver on Saskia's desk. Now he strode along the street, hands deep in his pockets, wondering why he felt so naked without it in the breast pocket of his jacket.
Dr Karg was watching the Festival-goers with an amused look and the Doctor envied him for a moment, he seemed very calm about the whole situation. The Doctor was feeling far from calm himself, and it was taking every ounce of self-restraint not to go running off to the detention unit so that he could see if Saskia was OK. Luckily for his self-control, it didn't take them long to reach the Council Quarter, and only a few minutes more to get to the detention unit.

Dr Karg showed his ID to the guards at the front gate and they were allowed to enter. The Doctor's raking glance took in the building and courtyard, and the surrounding metal spike-topped wall, and he suppressed a shudder at the thought of Saskia being here. They were led through a number of doors and along three corridors before finally being shown into a room in the visitors' area. The room was painted grey and was not very comfortable by anyone's standards. The chairs were the hard wooden sort that were painful to sit on for more than ten minutes, although the Doctor suspected that this was a deliberate ploy to discourage visitors from lingering. Dr Karg sat down at the table without appearing to notice the discomfort of the chairs, but the Doctor preferred to lean against the wall with his hands shoved into his pockets yet again.
When Luca was shown into the room he stopped dead in his tracks at the sight of the Doctor lounging carelessly against the wall as if he owned the place. He turned to the guard and said clearly and viciously "I'm not talking to him! Take me back to my cell."
The guard looked him up and down, then folded his arms across his chest and spread his feet a little wider. His stance said as clearly as words that he wasn't going anywhere any time soon.
"Come and sit down please Luca." Dr Karg's voice was mild, yet quietly authoritative.
Luca sullenly obeyed, still glowering at the Doctor, who was glowering back at him just as fiercely.
"Thank you," said Dr Karg.
"Why are you here?" demanded Luca. "And why did you bring him?"
"We've come to see you about Saskia's trial," Dr Karg answered.
"Ha! Stupid bitch! I vowed I'd make her pay for making a fool out of me. I just didn't think it would be quite so soon." He looked over at the Doctor. "Thanks for bringing her back here. This trial will be the best entertainment I've ever had."
The Doctor straightened up and stepped away from the wall. "Saskia didn't make a fool out of you," he said, his voice full of quiet contempt. "You did that all by yourself." He walked around the table and leaned over Luca, who whimpered and cowered backwards in his chair as the Doctor shook a finger at him. "You thought Jackson would make you rich, or powerful, or both, didn't you? And that Saskia would find you irresistible. But Saskia's not that shallow."
"I suppose you think she prefers a stuck-up ponce like you? Swanning around the place in your expensive clothes?" Luca leered suddenly. "Have you had her yet, then?"

No comments: