Guilty or not guilty?
Posted on Mon Dec 2nd, 2013 @ 4:56am by Master Leftheris Vunos & Captain Daenelia Bradley & Master Ashrieda Sjaarda & Mate Ivan Petrov & Lieutenant Faizel Naji & Sailor Nate Winters & Mate Herring Finn
Chapter 9: Steam City
Location: Kanesville, in the dormitory
Timeline: Day 5
There were several people in the dormitory. Some of them got to discuss the hottest event – the fact that a man of their crew had been arrested for several murders and others were investigated too. Miyra was listening while arranging some things in her trunk, without taking part in the discussion. This was nothing unusual, as she had always been the orderly type. And she was not the only one keeping silent, at least for a while.
"I thought from the beginning this man had something creepy!" Nate said, loudly enough to be heared by everyone in the dormitory. "When the Militia found the weapon in his luggage and the earring... what more evidence they were looking for? He had time to have done it and he couldn't say how he had spent several hours during that evening! Of course this is more than suspicious."
Leftheris disagreed with him. He couldn't say that Chago was among his friends, but he had opportunities to get acquainted with him in the time they had been together aboard the ship and also during the voyage, by sharing the same coach. One got to have an idea about a man by spending enough time together.
"What if he didn't though?" said Leftheris. "He had asked that woman for help with finishing a song - the same accords he had been torturing us with for a while. This is exactly what I heard there too, and I believe him with this. I don't think he would have killed that helpless firebreather either. I can imagine him killing a man in a fight, but not this."
From the shadows a man stood, a man none had previously noticed in the room despite his imposing aura. This man had heard enough, and it was time to say his piece. The large slavic Ivan strode quickly and suddenly to the table in the center of the room and slammed his good hand down on the table, ruffling his coat and instantly drawing the room’s attention.
“Chago...” Ivan began, his slow and ponderous method of speaking forcing the words to practically ooze forth. “ ... is innocent.” Despite his difficulty speaking there was no amount of uncertainty to his tone, nor any amount of wavering. “None of... the evidence... points to him.” Once more his voice remained firm. How could he be so sure?
“Come on, how do you say he is innocent, when that Espanian blade was full of blood and the earring was the one missing from one of the victims’ ears?" Nate turned to Ivan with fury in his eyes. "And all of us have seen, aboard the ship, when he used a smaller one like that to demonstrate a certain fight move, and when he needed a knife quickly during the skimjumping, it was that one from his boot that he took in a hurry. So yes, he must have been the killer.” The deckhand looked around the room expecting to see people agreeing with his argument.
“As if you have never seen Militia forces arresting innocent people and planting evidence just to make others like you believe they found the murderer!” Herring protested loudly. “Who remembers how I got arrested in Mypos? I think he is innocent too.”
"Ha! Innocent!" said Nate. "You were not innocent, remember? You did look at an Elladian woman, you were just the wrong Elphin at the wrong place." Nate shook his head. "It is one thing to be arrested for breaking a stupid law like that. It is a different story if you actually kill innocent people."
Ivan interjected suddenly. “None of this... fits the man’s... way of business.” Ivan of course was referring to the method in which the murders took place. “It is something... one develops over... their life. It is not something... changed so... easily or... on a whim.” he continued.
“You can’t know for sure,” Faizel intervened. “Still waters are deep. What if that was merely a façade, and he had done it? And even if he hadn’t… they know how to make anyone confess anything. Including the fact that he had been with the pirates, and get us arrested and judged with him.”
Leftheris gulped. Out of everyone there, he would rather believe Ivan and Herring, but Faizel had a good point as well. At least in the second part of his statement.
“I can’t deny they are capable of anything, and that we are in danger too. But I still believe that we must do something to save him.”
Only that he had no idea exactly what.
Like Miyra, Ashrieda had been listening quietly. She hadn't been in the dormitory when the militia arrive, and she was only now getting the particulars. But when Leftheris mentioned 'doing something', she couldn't stay out of it any longer. That was her jurisdiction, and she had to make sure the something they were planning to do didn’t get all of them into trouble.
“All right, Pirates P.I.,” she said. “You’ve got three possibilities. One, Chago didn’t do it; two, Chago did it, and he’s stupid; or three, Chago did it, and he’s crazy. You’ve got to be able to prove which one is which before we can do anything to get him out of it. And I’m inclined to think that it’s number one, because I haven’t seen any evidence of him being stupid or crazy, which is what he’d have to be hide the murder weapon with the blood still on it among his stuff."
"Perfectly true. Who's stupid to hide an uncleaned murder weapon... and a victim's earring, knowing well they would point to him?" Herring approved.
Once more Ivan spoke. “Nor was the weapon... his blade. Similar... but different.”
Herring nodded in approval to Ivan. It made sense. Then, he continued his idea: "Who put the murder-related evidence there is another question. Even less likely to find an answer than our first one: what can we do to save him."
"Why would we risk our hides for him?" Nate protested, while looking towards Miyra's corner. He wanted to attract her into the discussion as well.
But the bed was already empty. No trace of the luggage and no trace of the look-out girl. She must have sneaked behind them while they were absorbed in the discussion. For Nate, it meant one more argument that she had thought Chago guilty too.
"Nobody is making you do anything against your will," Leftheris answered to Nate, not paying attention what he was staring at. "I am talking to those like me, who would save a crewmate in deep trouble. Ivan, do you have any idea what's to be done?"
Everyone in the room looked at the large man with the mask. Ivan's opinions were rarely shared, but when they were, people listened. The large man remained silent for a brief while, apparently lost in thought, before finally giving an answer. “If we do nothing... Chago will be... executed.” Ivan coughed in his pause. “There is one punishment... for murder in... frontier justice.”
Once more the man paused. “His guilt has... likely already been... decided in the eyes of... the law.” Though obvious, Ivan felt it needed to be said. “We have two... options. Either we find the real... killer to clear... his name. Or we free him... ourselves.”
“The former... will take longer... and risk being too late... while the latter... makes us all criminals in this... town.”
Leftheris nodded, silent for a while. Ivan was right, as usual. And Melisande was doing exactly the first option, even if he didn't know what it meant exactly.
"I would vote for the latter, but I guess it needs preparation too. And it needs volunteers. As Nate had well said, I am aware that not many people would be willing to risk their lives for a crewmate."
Unfortunately, if nobody else was by his side, he knew he would have to abandon the quest this way. One man can't defend a whole army. Not even the one in the ballad which had brought him to the damn vaudeville show first and foremost...
"Why not both?" Ashrieda piped up. "Some of us track down the real killer--assuming Chago didn't do it, others keep an eye on the militia and see if there's a way to get him out of jail or wherever they're keeping him in case that fails. That way we have all our bases covered. We need a cover for Kevin too."
Both Leftheris and Herring nodded affirmatively, but it was clear in their puzzled gazes that they weren't sure how to start. Leftheris was the first to express it in words:
"I guess I'll be seeking where he is kept, and how we can get to him. For anything else, I am open to suggestions."
"And I'll talk to the captain, to see what she is thinking about it. She was the one to save me from prison in Mypos", Herring said.