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Equestria v. Flash Sentry (Invite Only)

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OOC: Rules and procedures for this thread are posted here: http://www.canterlot...try-ooc-thread/

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Treason. Not for a thousand years had somepony in Equestria been charged with such a high crime. Thus it must have been shocking to all when PFC Flash Sentry, an unassuming and rather unremarkable guard stationed in the Crystal Empire, was accused of being an inside agent for an alliance of Equestria’s foes. According to the prosecutor bringing the charges forward, PFC Sentry provided intelligence to the enemy, radicalized members of the Royal Guard to the side of disharmony, used explosives to destroy the Crystal Vault, and attempted to kidnap an injured Princess Twilight Sparkle.

Naturally, these serious allegations stirred up a hornet's nest of endless speculation. Rumors abounded concerning Flash Sentry’s possible infatuation with Twilight Sparkle, others attested of his nature as a fanatic Daring Do fan who celebrated the franchise in especially unglamorous ways. A select few whispers mentioned that the prosecutor’s case may actually be very weak, and that this trial would amount to a spectacularly trainwreck of a courtroom circus.

Flash Sentry’s fate would be decided in a Royal Equestrian Army courtroom in Canterlot, Princess Celestia presiding as the trier of fact. At the defendant’s table he sat wearing his dress uniform and a grim expression. Representing Flash in court was infamous defense attorney Robbiku Pegasus, the only lawyer who dared offer his services to the accused guardstallion. Not too long from now, Princess Celestia would enter the courtroom and the trial could begin. For now though, PFC Sentry kept silent.....

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About the only ponies to whom this trial was of no surprise whatsoever were those who had been present at the time and place it all went down; the Spire of the Crystal Empire when the caribou invaded. Prince Blueblood had been among them, and so naturally such a high-profile witness was the first to be issued a subpeona.

This was hardy the first time his Royal Highness had been in court. He'd pressed many a libel suit against tabloids, been sued for breach of promise at least twice, and various 'drunk and disorderlies' from his University days. This, though, was a capital charge, and the difference in atmosphere was apparent from the first to him. A Prince had to appreciate social tone, and this one was... odd. Like a slower, sicker version of battle. His own trials had been like football scrimmages compared with this.

As he was the first to arrive, he took up a silent and dignified position at the side of the prosecution. The defendant looked gormless enough; Blueblood could well believe the infatuation theory, though, particularly considering the fact that he'd distinctly heard him shout, "THE PRINCESS IS MINE!" Hence, why the prosecution snapped him up.

Personally, he didn't believe that the fellow was in any way a mastermind; he was just a proxy for all the traitors that happened to be killed by the caribou in the double-cross. Still, this was serious. Blueblood had been an idiot, and probably still was in many respects, but at the end of the day, the rulers of Equestria were his family, and Flash had hurt them. This could not be tolerated.

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After having played such a major role in the escape of Princess Twilight as the spire collapsed, Ice Storm wasn't surprised when she had royal guards at her doors within days of getting hom from the empire giving her a document that told her that she was required to appear before princess Celestia. What did surprise her was that the appearance was to be a trial for treason. At first Ice Storm thought that se herself was being accused as such, but the fact that the guards did not appear to be arresting her was an indication that the documentation was some sort of subpena telling her when and where she needed to attend. The pony on trial was the royal guard that was there that caused the vault to explode with the princess next to him. "What? Treason? He was brainwashed, any pony within eye contact should have been able to see that!" she said as she switched her open sign to closed.

She followed the guards closely, wanting to make sure that she didn't look like she was non-compliant. She was the exact opposite. Somepony needed to be there to clear up this mess, and considering that she herself was right in the thick of things, and had first hoof contact with this "Flash Sentry". She knew all the details of what had happened and how they happened. Even in her bandaged state, she still felt like she needed to be there, and had no intentions of letting the truth go untold. She was lead through the REA Headquarters and soon enough she was lead through a set of double doors. She was directed to take a seat in the front row of the court room, and she did so without hesitation. She looked on as Flash was in his full military attire, while she herself wasn't in anything. Not that she could have worn anything if she wanted to, her dress was nothing but torn fabric at this point. That wasn't important now though. She also spied Prince Blueblood, sitting behind the prosecution section. He must not have seen or understood that all of the guards had been brainwashed. A point that she would have to make a note of in her statements. For the time being though, she would wait, and listened before being called to the stand.

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Well, this trial was inevitable. Sunrise knew this was going to come up at some point, given the actions Flash Sentry was forced into performing. There really was no other option but to charge him with treason, as false as the charge was. One not in control of their own actions, as despicable as they were, should not, in her mind, be convicted because of such actions. Thus, she found herself in the courtroom, wearing a simple dress as she sat on the defense side of the room.

She spotted both Prince Blueblood and Ice Storm, the former sitting on the side of the prosecution. She frowned at that, as well as the general feeling of the courtroom, refocusing on the pegasus on trial. She really hoped the combined efforts of the defense and it's witnesses, herself included, could convince the court that he was not guilty of this crime he was accused of.

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Oh geez - Robikku had been after something meaty case wise for a while now, and apparently it seemed as though for his sins, he'd got a doozy.

The last few days had been mostly him cramming as much dedication into understanding what had transpired - names, places, events and whatnot...even so much as what Flash had eaten for breakfast that week and if he'd had any changes to his routine to accomodate what was one of the Crystal empires most important events and his equestria-specific assigned roles during them. With a court record full of tidbits and an obviously hungry courtroom audience demanding a resolution to this extremely serious matter, there was really no room for Error on either side. A verdict was going to be reached, and everything hung in the balance for the poor clueless guard!

With Robikku trying his best to keep focused whilst the court settled down and got ready for what would inevitably a fight for Flash Sentrys life, the stakes really were monumentally high...but which side was to prevail in this most utterly unexpected trial? This was the question dancing on the muzzles and beaks of those in attendance - at this stage, all the pegasus attorney could do was to maintain his stance that Flash was not in his right mind during the even and innocent of all the accusations thrown his way; The occasional fog of his clients memory about the event itself and, with any luck, witness accounts would help to sway that particular fact into light.

Sure, The prosecution no doubt had a few tricks up their sleeves, but if Flash Sentry was truly innocent then they were likely all meaningless smoke and mirrors!

Still, there was a lot of unknowns about the case and Robikku wasn't really sure what he was in for - but as was so often the case, he was likely to find out soon enough what lay at the bottom of all that had transpired!

Whatever had led to Flash Sentrys current predicament needed to be exposed for all to see, and it seemed as though the pegasus attorney was the only one bold enough to do just that!

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Sachadara had herself a whale of a time as the Empire burned around her puppets. Sure her power over them had faded a little faster than she had expected, but her formula was never really meant for such control in heated situations like that over so many ponies. The followup was more important, however. She never did have much faith in the theatrics of Sombra or her own Queen. They were blunt instruments of war masquerading as the hidden dagger. They could neither blow apart valiant pony defenses nor could they sneak in behind them. The caribou had been a big help but she was not one to stake her claim to fame on the back of some berserkers and an arrogant former king in shadow and dust. Sachadara understood better than most that you could not defeat ponies if you gave them something to fight.

No, not at all. There was more powerful magic and much stronger creatures but ponies were blessed with good luck and fortune as a result of their inherent good nature. If you wanted to defeat them you had to corrupt that good nature, twist it into a sneering mockery of their values until it all came crashing down. You didn't do that with swords or shields, but words. Words and actions of friends and family, pillars of the community and legends. Steal their sense of worth before you stole their love, their honor before their lives. Equestria would hear the rampaging hooves of the vikings and would fear the chortling of the Queen and the demands of the King. They would soon understand the tendrils of the Kraken pulling and tugging at their infrastructure but Sachadara knew they would never hear the shot that took them out, and she would be the one to pull the trigger.

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Prosecuting Attorney in the Royal Equestrian Military Crime Service (REMCS) was a title that Noble had been shooting for for years, somewhat on account of the fact that the REA almost never seemed to have a criminal amongst them. He loved to work but in his advanced age a nice little retirement was in order, he figured. Two hundred and sixteen successful convictions as well as twenty years of active service, including wounds during the Changeling Attacks in Canterlot and Ponyville spoke to Noble's history and willingness to serve and sacrifice to Equestria. If anypony deserved a break it was him. Sadly though, the attack in the Crystal Empire had shattered that dream. He had gone to the bar immediately afterward where a nice mare consoled him and gave him a wonderfully fruity drink. Afterward, some sort of sixth sense seemed to guide him to the important details of the case. Finely honed instincts after decades of service, he figured.

It was a terrible case of corruption and treason. Most of the traitors had vanished during the attack but one, a young Guard named Flash Sentry, remained. Oh, he pleaded innocent of course. They almost always did. Witnesses on the scene who they could not contact now claimed to have seen any number of odd magical afflictions. Mind control, perhaps? They had done their scans for known magical spells of that flavor and found nothing. They had rounded up a collection of evidence he would present to show the court that lust and loneliness had sent the Guard over the edge, an impressionable youth who fell into the charismatic sway of Sombra. And because of that, Noble would seek permanent petrification, Tartarus imprisonment, or banishment- if he would simply confess.

The court room was packed. That made sense due to the case. Robikku was opposed to Noble today. Good lawyer. Good stallion. Some may complain that the traitor was receiving any representation but they'd be terrible Equestrians to do so. If this was a kangaroo court then the verdict would be foregone and if the verdict was foregone than enforcement of law and punishment was a farce. The traitor was in his dress uniform, the same that Noble was wearing- quite disgusting. Noble bent his head respectfully at Robikku and took a sip of water, waiting for the trial to begin.

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This was a day Celestia never expected to occur... A member of the REA put on trial for treason? Celestia simply couldn't believe it. She honestly didn't want to; however, as the one who helped found the REA to help protect Equestria in the absence of her sister, she was called to judge this hearing. And as such, she had to be impartial, listen to both sides and make a fair and just decision, whatever that may be. Celestia prepared herself for the worst, but hoped for the best. Celestia reviewed everything, on both sides were good lawyers... Robbiku for the defense and Noble for the prosecution. Robikku had more witness testimony but Noble had listed more evidence. It should be an interesting, though arduous battle.

The bailiff had already made his rounds ensuring the security of the courtroom. And an anti-magic barrier was put up to ensure that nothing could happen during the case. Only those whom entered through the front of the court, that is to say Celestia herself and the court officials, bypassed the barrier, were capable of performing any magic.

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As Celestia prepare to step out the Bailiff stood at attention and said in a stern commanding voice "All rise for the Judge, Princess Celestia."

Celestia walked in and stood behind the judge's bench. To start with this was already an odd case, for one it is the first case of treason in the long history of the REA, and this is the first time there was no jury... Apparently the REA leadership felt that such an important decision was best left to Celestia, as she would be impartial. The contempt that fellow REA members would feel might skew the judgement in the wrong direction....

"We are here to hold trial Equestria vs Private First Class Flash Sentry." Celestia announced the case before turning attention to the defendant. "Private First Class Flash Sentry, you have been charged with the crime of treason, assault against a member of royalty, and attempted kidnapping of royalty. How do you plead?"

Celestia awaited the response and prepared to start the trial.

(( Note to all players: The Bailiff and the Court Clerk are in my full control. If they are needed for a player for any reason, please let me know and I will dictate. The court recorder is up for use by anyone, and should be used if something is needed "read back." ))

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Only a fool in this situation would claim that they felt no fear. Never in his life could Flash Sentry, standing up along with everypony else when ordered to by the bailiff, imagine meeting Princess Celestia for the first time... under these circumstances. Keeping his brave face on, Flash stotically and methodically breathed in and out to relieve the tension of the moment. There was no going back after this; if the pegasus plead not guilty but lost his case, the punishment would supposedly be most severe. As harsh as allowed by pony society.

But fortunately, Mr. Robikku Pegasus had assured Flash countless times that his innocence could be decisively proved with witness testimony. Even though practically every other defense attorney in Equestria refused to touch this case with a 50-foot pole. Either Robikku was the bravest lawyer in the land, or the most foolhardy. No matter though, Flash knew what he had to say with conviction; “I plead not guilty, Your Majesty.”

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Celestia nodded at the response given by Flash Sentry, and expected it. She momentarily forgot where she was though. "Your plea has been noted, however, while in court you will refer to me as "Judge" or "Your Honor." Is that understood?" This may have been a bit harsh, but she would do the same in any court of law over which she was presiding. Proper rules and protocol must be maintained, because if it wasn't, ponies may claim that the trial was faulty and demand a retrial. She looked at the two ponies and spoke directly to the Courtroom Clerk. "Please record a plea of "Not Guilty" from the accused," with that the clerk nodded and jotted it down.

"Everyone may be seated." The princess spoke firmly. "The prosecution may give its opening statement to the court."

((For the sake of my sanity, after the prosecution gives it's opening you can assume that Celestia gave the go ahead for the defense to do the same. Robi may also change the above quote to read "The defense" and quote me if that will be easier.))

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Sachadara giggled and scooted in her gooey seat as she watched the proceedings take place. Oooh, how delicious was it that the entirety of the court seemingly oozed with desperate for a not guilty verdict? Not that Sachadra excpected any other outcome. Sure, she had sure to gather a great deal of evidence that had been created mostly at her beckoning in the first place, but Equestrians were notoriously emotional and the appeals towards what was in his heart instead of what Noble could lay before them would hold sway in a way she couldn't crack. Oh well. The sheer fact it had gone to a trial was proof enough that her plan was working. The REA for all of their ineffectiveness was a byword for reliability and loyalty. Just by bringing up such a case of treason at such a time, that reliability would be shattered and the illusion of protection offered to the average Equestrian would likewise vanish. A brave new world and Sachadara was already salivating at the fear that would slowly creep into the border regions as a result.

--

Noble nodded. It was his job to start this off on the right hoof. “Thank you, Your Honor,” he started as he stood up, trotting slowly into position as he took a deep breath before beginning:

“Equestria is under attack. In the past few years we have went from a thousand years of relative peace outside of the occasional campaign involving renegades and caribou to being attacked on our very soil and recently some of the biggest holidays and festivals we celebrate. The Royal Equestrian Army has steadfastly sought to defend Equestria- and to a mare and stallion have put their lives on the line for our continued safety. What I hope to show you today is not simply a sordid tale of obsession leading to cruelty and malice, but of a stallion who willingly traded in his honor and OUR safety in a bid for selfish desires and greed. I will present to you a Private Flash Sentry. Lust-filled, passed over, forgotten and discarded by a system he deemed below him in his pursuit of royalty, he worked with an international organization to subvert the Guard and helped set up and lead the attack on the Crystal Empire in an effort to capture Princess Twilight Sparkle.

I will show letters and other documentation detailing not only his motives and desires, but the mechanics of his disloyalty. Who he sent his letters to- what he received in turn- what he told them- it is all there. How did they know where the REN Marelia and Stalliongrad were patrolling and how to attack those mighty ships silently? How were other members of the REA and Guard subverted against their homeland? How did he plan the attack? What was the objective- both of those he worked with, and his own? All of these questions- and more- will be answered as we show the evidence of the charge that Private Flash is a traitor to Equestria responsible for the terrible events of that day as much as the Red Jarl or Sombra himself. What we will discuss this day is troubling and sad, but it falls upon us to see this through to the end and do what is right for all of Equestria and the civilized world. Thank you,” Noble said before bowing his head slightly and trotting back to his seat.

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There was no point in retaliating or directing any of his attention towards the prosecutions statement - Robikku needed to put full focus into the trial, regardless of what had been said.

He couldn't help but feel as though the pressure of the courtroom had suddenly intensified with Celestia's presence - he had never once been in a court under these kinds of circumstances before, and this was one of those times that the

full gravity of what was to transpire here today hung in the air like a thick, ethereal fog that threatened to choke those who were unwary. Flash clearly had the same grim feelings as the pegasus attorney, Robikku could see it in the guardstallions eyes - as much as these highly trained military types could take a physical beating, it was interesting to see that same tough resiliance dissolve under the uniquely corrosive atmosphere of the courtroom...stripping away any sense of falsity and ego, leaving only what lay at the core of the pony before the mercy of those who would pass judgement.

The cue given for his opening statement, Robikku takes a final calming sip of his water and clears his throat...it was showtime!

" Mares, Gentlecolts...and of course, to the royalty and military ponies amongst us today. " He began - his nerve perhaps wavering but he fought back into a strong stance of delivery, coughing into a hoof before continuing.

" Treason is a grave matter for all concerned - no ponies know this better than those who serve the royal militia in any capacity...and none do more to combat those who would seek to do harm against those who govern not only our nation, but the very days and nights themselves. " he took a breath, pausing as he read the small statement written some few days ago. " Flash Sentry isn't the most decorated, nor the most exceptional, of his chosen career path...but he also bears none of this 'supposed' ill will against the princesses and equally he has no personal desire to see harm come to the Crystal Empire. I stand here today on HIS behalf to prove to this court, and in part to those outside who might doubt him, that he did not intend or plan any part of the events that transpired at the crystal empire, which means the defences stance is simply this; Whatever happened to, or with, Flash Sentry on that day goes against his personal code, therefore his 'witnessed' actions were not of his own accord - whatever is to be discussed here will only lead to that result being seen by everypony present, because THAT is the only grain of truth that matters today. "

Robikku paused and looked around for a moment to get a read of the courts collective expressions momentarily...Uncertainty was a fairly common sight, and one that he could see was all around him once more.

Realising the silence was lingering a little too long, and his speech beginning to get a little more extended than he'd planned, he simply offers one last communicative and confident nod as he simply spoke the only real words that mattered.

" In regards to the case and the accusations against the client...The Defence shall seek to clear up all of the prosecutions doubts about Flash Sentry once and for all - that is all, your honour. "

Statement made, he looked over to Flash Sentry for a brief moment, not expressing anything more than a quiet confidence as he picked up the half-filled glass and took a hearty sip - internally wishing it was something else right about now.

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It was the prosecution's time to go an Noble didn't dally. He nodded and the bailiff and his deputy went into a side room as the stallion stood up.

“If the court would allow, we'll begin. The prosecution presents Exhibit A- a collection of hoofwritten letters and a journal, labeled A1 through A334- that we intend to show were authored by the defendant. The defense has had time to review this evidence and it has been verified in terms of content by the Royal Equestrian Army Independent Investigation Task Force commissioned to examine impartially all evidence submitted. Their findings are Exhibit A335,” he started as the bailiff and the deputy returned with folder after folder of letters and notes about said letters, all of which had been copied for content review and were being blown up onto a projector by a lucky unicorn with a useful spell.

 

“Letter A1- this is dated six months before the attack, shortly before the defendant entered into a contest to win a date with Princess Twilight Sparkle- the target of his affection and later obsession, as we will soon show. Due to the extreme nature of time this will take, the prosecution has sought the application of a time dillation spell that affects this courtroom and this courtroom alone so we may get reading the entire library of letters finished before the day is over. We all have lives,” He cleared his throat, “Glorious Prince Shining Armor...” and with that, they were off. The letters were read and started to show a clear pattern. At first Twilight seemed to be a secondary concern but soon after he won and went out on the date, he started admitting to himself through letters to some of his compatriots- expected to be co-conspirators, most of whom were missing- as well as through selected passages of his journal that he was growing madly in love with her. Letters started to show a clear disdain for his position and inability to act on his growing obsession with the Princess as well as a desire to do something about it. Letter A93 was the last in the chain as the spell wore off, only fifteen minutes having passed in the real world.

 

“That would be what we call the first phase, Your Honor. As the content of the letters clearly show, the defendant was becoming obsessed with Princess Twilight Sparkle and was considering his options. The REAIITF report, A335, covers this in Sections I and II of their report,” He said, A335 and its copies being noted and levitated for easier perusal by all concerned.

Edited by SteelEagle
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Well, that had dragged on even WITH the aid of magic - Robikku quietly pondered if the Prosecution had ever read a kid a bedtime story, 'cause clearly he wasn't all that great at keeping an audience engaged during a speech...still, the facts were still there, and he had to agree internally that, at the very least, the presence of all these letters was something to consider. Still, there was something niggling him about these letters - or rather, about the truth behind them: it was all well and good that Noble was elaborating so very well on the fact that these were letters written by the defendant, but he wasn't exactly showing anything that backed up his claim.

 

Not only that, but it didn't seem like this was enough to really clear up anything else surrounding the supposed relations of Twilight and Flash in itself - the lack of the Princess was really going to mean a lot of alternative methods of proving the dangers of Flash Sentrys supposed obsession were likely going to be needed for their case against him to really stick.

 

" Prosecutor Noble... " Robikku finally says, giving a quizzical expression. " If that's all the letters you have, then I'd just like to ask that perhaps, for the sake of curiosity...you can verify for the court here and now that the letters WERE 100% written by Flash? I mean, if your case is going to use this as evidence against him, then surely you should be presenting some kinda evidence that this was all unquestionably his work, right? "

 

Robikku pauses and observes the courts current silence, before hears a small quiet clearing of the throat from an unseen source and proceeds again to make his own point. " Considering we don't have the luxury of a KEY witness in Twilight Sparkle, who was there at the events taking place...well, it only stands to reason that you should be able to present something a little more solid than unverified letters. Is there, perhaps, a hoofwriting expert or some kind of witness to prove the fact that Flash wrote these letters? "

 

He was a little uncertain still - this seemed like such a flimsily put together situation...it was possible, therefore, that it was a trap for the defense in the making designed to undermine his case later.

There was no point worrying about it now though, since if there was a trap then clearly he should attempt to call their bluff on the situation, perhaps he could even catch the prosecutor offguard!

Edited by Robikku Pegasus
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Noble smiled as the defense attorneytook the expected shots. Why he felt the need to ask if there were more letters seemed silly since it had been made clear this was phase one. The REAIITF report also had a breakdown of the letters and if he was reading it he'd see that as well. That was a bonus for Noble. What was also a bonus was allowing Noble to introduce his hoofwriting expert earlier than Noble had intended- at the defense's prodding! Answering holes as they appeared allowed for Noble's case to stand stronger than it already was. Everything was coming into place rather well thanks to the defense and Noble could swear that somewhere in his head he heard a sinister little laugh of delight. Move, my pet. What was that? Sometimes an aging stallion's mind could play tricks for a moment, he supposed.

Noble smiled and laughed. "Mr. Pegasus, the Prosecution does have a hoofwriting expert it can and will call to the stand, but it first must point out that this is simply the first phase of letters to establish motive. As the REAIITF shows, we still have two phases to go, both of which will concern the actual act of your client's betrayal in his own writing. If the Court prefers we interrupt the reading of these letters and introduce the Prosecution's first witness, a hoofwriting expert from the Royal Academy of Scribes, Verification and Editing Department. However, we must remind the defense that the follow up phases of letters detailing the defendant's betrayal and treason must be read at some point. We leave the order of events up to the Court by invoking Your Honor's Grace," Noble replied, furnishing a reply from Celestia. The Equestrian court system was naturally flexible and the judge was given great power, and should the order of events come up to a debate Your Honor's Grace could be invoked, allowing a definitive course to be laid down.
 

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The pace of the trial was unlike any other that Celestia has ever presided over, this should have been expected though as it was the first serious trial in many moons. While there was the occasional misconduct trial, but treason was something else entirely. The prosecutor presented a rather sizable stack of letters, apparently from the defendant to the victim, Princess Twilight Sparkle. The reason was to show dangerous obsession. 

 

"I do not think calling the hoofwriting expert to the stand at this juncture will be necessary. However, this is a rather large stack of letters, going through all of them will be quite the task. The amount does speak to your argument, but specific excepts that strengthen your argument to the idea that this can be nothing other than treason would be appreciated by the court. Do you have specific letters that can accomplish this?" Celestia replied to the defense, declining changing the order of events that should unfold in the court. Moving from protocol will only serve to confuse and derail proceedings, which would be detrimental. For now the present evidence must be removed. "Of course the context of the rest may be summarized to give a general idea."

(OOC: It would be good at this juncture to read off "excerpts")

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Noble bowed and smiled. Good, cut to the chase. That would allow the REAIITF to be its most potent, summarizing what needed to be summarized. If Celestia was not going to allow him time to fully explain the motive, which was well established through individual letters, the pattern they showed, and various reports as well as most importantly his own diary entries, then Noble doubted Celestia would denote a lengthy period for the defense to counter. It would be egregiously unethical for her to truncate one case in favor of brevity while giving a counter-point due time in response. The system as designed for an innocent pony to have every realistic opportunity at success but it wasn't designed to make a conviction impossible. Noble rose and cleared his throat.

“The REAIITF summarizes the first phase of letters thusly: A clear obsession with Princess Twilight Sparkle develops, from an unnatural crush to a fixation. “The beauty of her lavender body blazes in my heart beyond all control,” on exhibit 23. Unreturned feelings help to create a bitter and paranoid dinner dialogue. “She is a witch sent to hurt me, a sorceress sent to scorch my soul! Why must I have ever met her?” on exhibit 39. Anger results from his impotence at getting a response, culminating in jealous threats. “Let her face the chains of Tartarus or be mine alone...” exhibit 60.
All of which started to, at various times in his letters, ferment anti-Equestrian feelings. “I am a Guard and she a Princess. It would never be allowed- I am not a unicorn captain. I am unworthy in their eyes,” exhibit 26. “Damn the Princesses and their laws. Why am I so much lesser than they?” exhibit 35. “To Tartarus with Equestria. I am sick of their lies. Friendship is an illusion they use to crush us. Is there no better way? No better master to be found? I have been told there is...” exhibit 71. The defendant's obsession with Twilight created the ground with which his anti-Equestrian views grew strong, which became as powerful as his obsession as they became intertwined.

 

The second phase is of great importance. To use the REAIITF report again: The second phase shows the mechanics of his betrayal. From meeting a client of Sombra who promised him everything he would need to win her over- exhibit 78- to an agreement during a meeting with that same contact to meet with Sombra directly. Exhibit 89, Your Honor, the meeting with the Dark One and Detestable Enemy himself, Sombra the Dark Sorceror-King!” Noble bellowed, blowing up the diary entry in all its gory details. It was a long one, Flash showing a near precise memory for the encounter. Terrifying. Incriminating. “Here, Your Honor, the defendant agrees to undermine the defenses of the Crystal Empire DURING the Crystal Faire should he be asked to! In return, Sombra promises to capture Princess Twilight Sparkle and use his most darkest of Maretonian Black Magic to make her love him until the very dying of existence! A clear and present exchange: The safety of ponies, an act of sincere and cowardly betrayal, to satisfy his growing OBSESSION with the Princess Sparkle!” Noble yelled once more, stomping once for grand emphasis. He let the moment sit.

“Exhibits 90-99 detail simply his fiendish delight at the plan and his post-attack future with his mind controlled slave Twilight. We will leave out the sordid details. Exhibit 100 is another meeting, where he is told of the upcoming attack on the Crystal Empire. The defendant details MONTHS before the attack on the Crystal Empire exactly how the attack is supposed to go down- and it is, almost to the smallest detail, exactly how the attack will go down during the actual attack. He agrees to supply any information he can to Sombra and his allies to help them plan their attack. The following...ladies and gentlemen, the following hundred entries are filled with everything a spy could ever dream of sharing. Of course, he did not have access to the exact documents. He memorized what he could, wrote it down, and copied it- entries during this time show signatures of basic duplication spells linked to unicorns we cannot yet identify, the same signatures which are found on copies of these plans found at the wreckage of a caribou longship which was destroyed near the spire as well on various caribou officers and agents of Sombra.

What were in these plans? Deployments of guards on the day of the attack. Tactical guides. Patrol routes of the REN and various Guard forces in the leadup. Lists of potential allies- most of whom are now missing- as well as a small list of potential enemies to be crossed off before the attack. Travel itinerary of ALL important VIPs. Disguises and weaponry so the agents may take over for Guard; changelings who were able to ambush and take thee position of several others, with complete ability to pass themselves off thanks to the defendant's research. He is near the end pulled closer towards Sombra's circle, told of his plan to betray the Red Jarl- of which Flash Sentry volunteers to be involved in, with the understanding this will ensure Twilight Sparkle survives the Red Jarl's attack. We remind everyone that every witness statement coming out of the event detailed a betrayal of the Red Jarl by Flash Sentry on the order of Sombra.

Closer to the day of the attack, once all information he could conceivable transfer has been, his diaries die down. The final one, the very NIGHT of the attack, minutes before his deployment and hours before the attack? It seemed normal until we applied an unmasking agent and spell on the paper. All other letters vanished, revealing etched in secret ink: “Hail Sombra.”
Noble finished, the courtroom lightning up as the report finished.

“I believe the exhibits, the entries, and the report speaks for itself. The court may choose to let the defense respond now or during their session. If the court chooses later, the prosecution shall move towards calling its first witness to the stand.”

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Well, this was going from fairly bad to disproportionately awful - Nobles case was piling on brick by brick and Robikku could find himself sinking deeper and deeper into the metaphorical quicksand.

 

All of the text evidence certainly seemed to be fairly solid - there was no way to prove he didn't write or say these things at any point and Robikku had to begrudgingly mentally prepare himself for the gruesome fact that this may well turn out to be one of the most cut and dried cases he'd ever dealt with...and for the possibility he was about to be entirely trounced at what many would consider a dream case in a dream setting against a prosecutor of Nobles reputation. Heck, even he found himself questioning the innocence somewhat of his own client for a moment before realising that was a pretty crappy thing to be doing at such an early stage.

 

Still, now that he was really thinking about what was being said, something...odd was beginning to strike him about the content of the letters and his overall impressions of Flash Sentry. He wasn't, of course, an entirely stupid stallion and at the very least had many of his wits about him, but the language and the descriptions on the letters stood out to the Pegasus as...off, even slightly out of line with Flash as a whole from what Robikku had gathered from friends and associates of the guardpony. Yes, many ponies may well have had a deeper mindset internally than they show to the outside world, but this was just weird...almost unheard of levels of poetic wordsmithing dedicated to lines of spurned love, hate, paranoia, and jealousy. 

 

To the Pegasus Lawyer, there was something intangibly wrong here - he couldn't put his hoof on it at all, but there was just an underlying feeling that these letters were fundementally unusual even for this situation. Would it even have made sense for Flash, a guardspony all too informed of the dangers of treacherous consequence, to have written this out where there was a chance for ponies to find and read it, knowing that this would have constituted for crucial evidence against him if discovered? 

 

He would either have had to been rendered entirely incompetent with rage, which wouldn't have been easy for anypony to hide for so long...or something else was going on here.

Whatever the answer, Robikku wasn't going to let it slip away into the ether...not whilst the chance to uncover it lay before him - but for now, he simply remains quiet whilst the scene continued on.

Edited by Robikku Pegasus
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1ktwo.jpg

 

Turmoil engulfed Flash Sentry’s mind while the prosecutor went on and on about the letters that Flash supposedly wrote. Something felt very off about the whole accusation. For one thing, the defendant for the life of him couldn’t remember obsessing over Princess Twilight period. Well, there was what happened during that one date, but that had been determined long ago to be the produce of some sort of wonky spell which Twilight used which had worn off after a few hours.

 

And then there was the fact that all these letters were conveniently around to incriminate PFC Sentry. It pained the stallion to even think about it, but had he really wanted to ally with King Sombra, why would he be stupid enough to leave behind evidence of his wrongdoings for somepony to stumble upon? The only explanation Flash could think of was that someone was setting him up, framing him for high treason. Didn’t seem all that far-fetched considering the brainwashing that Sombra’s allies put him through. Hopefully, Princess Celestia would come to the same conclusion, assuming that Mr. Pegasus could argue the theory effective. Otherwise... it's game over.

 

For the time being, Flash Sentry remained silent and stoic.

Edited by Bellosh101

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Celestia listened to the full explaination by the prosecution. It was clear that these letters were expansive and comprehensive to their case... Celestia saw no other choice but to cast a spell to read through the entirety of the letters. With that decision her horn glowed and the letters in front of her quickly flipped one after another. Something struck her as odd though... while the prosecution was correct in what it said, it was almost like a different person had written the letters. Still, unless the defense could prove duress... Which Celestia knew was a possibility but it is something that the defense would have to prove themselves. She as a judge could not ask questions and she could think of several. "I've reviewed all of the letters after hearing your extensive summation Mr Noble, and I must say, this evidence is rather disturbing. Considering it has been already verified, I see no reason to not accept this as fact. Mr Pegasus, do you have anything to refute this evidence at this time? If not, I would like the prosecution to proceed with their first witness." Celestia hated to do this, Flash Sentry had been a decent REA soldier to say the least, and it seemed he was doing even better with his restation. To see him court marshaled or worse was not something she wished to see happen, but if the rest of the prosecutions case was as strong as this, it would be hard to not pass a guilty verdict...

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Ah Tartarus, this was just going from bad to worse...Celestia was as fair a judge as any could be, and whilst that was certainly a good sign for Equestria's daytime ruling Alicorn as a whole, it wasn't exactly giving Robikku Pegasus the easiest time of countering an argument that was clearly derived from excessively suspect origins. He couldn't shake the feeling that Flash hadn't been the true source of these notes, but how can you prove anything going on in his mind at any given time? Since all the tests seemed to state that Flash was currently free of anything that might have caused a lapse of free will, this situation was entirely unfavourable and his point...currently unproveable.

 

Robikku scratched his muzzle and reached for his nearly drained glass...pouring himself another in a small effort to stall for time to come up with something, anything that might be worth saying to expound on the evidence - perhaps there was a magic undeniable sentance, a structure of words and ideas, that would cement his case post haste. Sipping on the cold liquid, he could feel the eyes of the court on him as the hushed silence started to grow ever louder in Robikku's ears - the worst sound of all was that of nothing when there shouldn't be - an ever present universal irony. 

 

No, he concluded to himself - there was no way to press the argument about possession in the current situation...anything he could have said about how the client might present themselves was supposition based on personal communications, and that would probably wind up as both insubstantial and biased if he simply came out and said 'My client is not the kind who'd write such a statement'. He could just imagine the look on the faces of all in the court at such an outburst...the feeling of humiliation that would result and the fact that he'd probably have to abandon law forever and go hide out in the everfree for the next Luna knew how many years. The only viable option to string this thing out long enough was likely to be the cross investigations and witness accounts - he couldn't dispute the letters, there was just nothing there that he could pick at, save the point that it was clearly an idiotic move to have written them out in the first place...but prosecution had the 'obsession does strange things to a ponys mind' as a very effective rebuttal to anything in that direction that he might be able to throw.

 

" The defense believes that there may be many questionable factors regarding the letters themselves and that there may indeed be an elaborate attempt to frame my client for a crime he had no intent to commit, but unfortunately I...lack anything truly decisive to back up this assertion at the current time. " he starts, an inaudible sigh of resignation escapes his muzzle as the words tumble out. " it is, therefore, my belief that there may be something to be gained in following the current order for the courts procession within the witness testimonies - it troubles me that my client would, hypothetically, write such incriminating letters he has considering they could have easily been discovered before the events took place. Given the situation, it seems as though the only real option for me at this juncture is to simply ride the wave and see what new details come to light. "

 

Admission of having nothing was not exactly something he ever liked - and during a case like this, it made him nervous that so much was solidly against his client whilst all he had currently were suppositions, suspicions and suggestions. The way of the defense was never the easiest task in the world, but this was where they were and he could do nothing else but hang onto the rest of the ride by the skin of his teeth and hope that somepony would throw him some rope...and that it wouldn't just trip him up at the moment he needed it the most.

 

Perhaps he could have chased it up further here but he knew that without anything on his side proving that this was a plausible scenario and not just one being fabricated to free Flash, he would only wind up barking up the wrong tree and annoying the 'judge' with what would be assumed to be conjectural theories with only a few threadbare 'thoughts' based on him guessing at his clients inner most thoughts during a past event compared to how they might normally act or come across in a normal everyday situation. No, if he had to settle this at the cross examination then he was just going to have to make sure that he paid full attention and left no considerations unturned - passing this by was not a good idea normally if there was something that was immediately proveable, but if he was going to convince the court of this 'possession' angle, he needed more information that he simply wasn't going to get at this stage.

 

He shot a small sympathetic look over at Flash followed up by a resolute nod - he wasn't giving up, he wanted to ensure Flash understood this...there were just some holes he needed to fill in before beginning a true counter attack!

Edited by Robikku Pegasus
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It wasn't that Prince Blueblood actually disrespected the court in any way, and he never dared disrespect his Aunt.  In truth, he'd made a resolution to neither make a fool of himself nor any undignified scene in any way while he was here, and at first he actually managed to keep it!  A noble, dignified pose; profile presented to any court reporter who was half-decent with a sketch pencil, that sort of thing.  He was a true witness to the Truth, willing and able to serve his country in that respect!

 

Only... the Prosecution kept going on.  And on. And ON.  Did he honestly expect everypony to actually read all that stuff?  *I can barely get through the morning edition of the Chronicle without getting a headache.  We get it already!*  But nope, Noble was even employing a time spell so that everypony could read through the tripe.  Flash was enamored with royalty, and went off his nut.  Blueblood could have told them all that without any need for temporal hocus-pocus!

 

Well, it wasn't as if the Prince was a member of the Jury or anything, and nopony was paying any attention to him.  *Surely, Auntie won't mind if I take forty winks or so...*

 

 

****~***

 

"KNAKTCGHTcchss...!"  Like most ponies, Prince Blueblood firmly believed that he never snored.  The Prosecution, however, could rest his case on that trial, in the brief silence right before Noble called his first witness to the stand.

 

Everypony was certainly paying attention to the Prince now, including one of the Prosecutor's legal pages, who gave the royal stallion a most insubordinate poke in the ribs.  "KNACT- Bwah!  Changelings!  Wolves!  Changelings riding wolves!  Eh?"  He broke free of one nightmare to emerge right in the middle of another, with everypony staring at him, except Aunt Celestia, who was simultaneously glaring and trying not to acknowledge his presence.  

 

Oh.  Right.  Crap.

 

Swiftly composing himself, Blueblood drew himself up and trotted neatly on towards the witness stand, every step proclaiming that what had just happened did not happen, and you will kindly forget about it, OK? 

 

He made it to the stand without incident, and duly swore to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help him Celestia.  Not that Auntie was going to help him out of any disgrace he might bring upon himself this time, of course....

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Things were not going well for the defense... Celestia did agree with the defense's words though about there being more to the letters. The sheer amount was excessive and she could not think of a reason why they would be written. And the defense questioning would only lead to the prosecution claiming obsession makes even the most level-headed pony do crazy things. However without the evidence to back it up, Celestia could make no such decisions based on supposition... Being a judge was always difficult, and this was more difficult than usual... Still, he didn't seem dismayed by his affirmation towards his client PFC Flash Sentry. The witnesses were to come...

 

Celestia looked around the room noticing many familiar faces... including her nephew Blueblood along with Randgrid of Heil-Barn and Radiant Steel... Glancing around the room... Celestia had to hide her disgust... her nephew was sleeping... and snoring... Hopefully this would not be telling of the testimony he would give. A pony's life was on the line and it would not do for a member of royalty would be so flippant about their civic duty. Especially when their aunt was presiding judge...

Celestia looked upon the prosecutor who just called their first witness... Prince Blueblood... She knew he was on the witness list. Though she never thought she would see him in this capacity, but it made sense, according to the reports he was there and was an eyewitness to the attack. What he saw and how he would testify could be very important.
He approached the stand and the court clerk stood to face him. [Clerk]"Please raise your right hoof," and with that motion, the clerk proceeded to swear him in... "Do you solumnly swear that the testimony that you give will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth upon your honor and the Princesses of Equestria."

 

Celestia turned to look at her nephew... "The witness may be seated." Her knowing him personally, even as family did not change protocol... "Mr Noble, you may proceed with the witness."

Edited by starswirlthebearded

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OOC- Entries with “...” are where Blueblood responds, if that is all good. I will also only be focusing on his replies unless something else demands my attention, so I'll respond once Bluey does.

Noble nodded as he prepared to question his first witness. It was an odd choice to start off with, to be sure. Prince Blueblood may have been respected because of his position and his work immediately after the attack with IMAGINE was certainly something many admired, but his reputation was old and was all pervasive. Hopefully this would change- any pony who could devote themselves to charity as much as he did was worthy of a large degree of honors and respect if nothing else. He was sat and gave his oath, Noble nodding along until it was time. He waited a second before approaching.

“I apologize for pulling Your Highness away from your work on IMAGINE.”

“...”

“Let's start early. When did you arrive? Did you notice anything unusual?”

“...”

“Did you see the defendant? If so, did you notice anything unusual?”

“...”

“Okay, understood. What did you do before the attack started?”

“...”

“What happened at the very start of the attack? Where was Princess Twilight when the attack started? This paper seems to state that she was pulled into a separate room by some guards, and then the room exploded. Is this true?”

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Now that the whole ritualistic rigamarole of swearing in was done with, Prince Blueblood could get a closer look at the prosecuting attorney.  Noble's going over the evidence in painstaking detail hadn't won him much regard from the Prince, hopefully this experience wouldn't be too tedious...

 

“I apologize for pulling Your Highness away from your work on IMAGINE.”

Blueblood brightened a bit.  Ah, so he'd done his research, had he?  Nice of the fellow to bolster a chap's reputation before grilling him.  "Well, yes; it is a painful thing to be pulled from preventing tragedies to reliving them, but we do what we must."  He gave sigh, waving a hoof as if to say, 'duty calls.'

“Let's start early. When did you arrive? Did you notice anything unusual?”

Let's see..."  Blueblood's brow furrowed in thought.  He hadn't had much time to go over the events in his head between his subpoena and arrival, and the shocking events that happened afterward had almost burnt out any memories of things before.  "Well, I arrived with the bulk of the guests to the Spire.  I had early Royal Access, of course, but it doesn't do to arrive too early, you know.  Erm, I don't recall noticing anything unusual.  Except the prawn canapes, but I think those were for the griffon guests.  Wish I'd known that before I bit into one."  He grimaced; that taste had stood out among the innocuous recollections.

“Did you see the defendant? If so, did you notice anything unusual?”

Er...”  Good gad, this was tough.  "I... think I saw him with the rest of the guards?  He was part of Twilight's contingent, I think.  I didn't pay him much attention, to tell you the truth.  He'd served that duty before, if I'm not mistaken."  He shrugged.  

“Okay, understood. What did you do before the attack started?”

An easier question, this time.  "Oh, chatted up most of the guests.  Payed respects to my royal cousin, met up with an old friend, Voronoi Fractal, along with Lady Presteza.  We were chatting when... they arrived."  He took a deep breath.  No flashbacks, not yet.  He was getting better with them, if comparisons to the Nightmare Night attack were anything to go by.  Of course, given that he wasn't so helpless in the caribou invasion as he was with the changelings, it was less traumatizing overall.

“What happened at the very start of the attack? Where was Princess Twilight when the attack started? This paper seems to state that she was pulled into a separate room by some guards, and then the room exploded. Is this true?”

 

Ah, and he'd saved the toughest for last.  The Prince sucked a breath through his teeth in the effort to recall everything clearly without dredging up too much bad feeling.  "There was an explosion... and the longship crashed through the window.  No, wait, did the longship come first?  I can't recall; it all seemed to happen at once.  Twilight-"  He paused; there was something not quite right about that.  "No, she'd left a little bit before, I remember because she mentioned her brother, Prince Shining Armor, wanted to see her.  I was talking to her when she left... I don't think any guards went with her."

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Noble nodded. Good so far. He wasn't expecting his witnesses to be perfect. In a way it could be helpful- showed there was no coaching involved. He nodded a little longer and then motioned to a stack of papers which suddenly glowed.

“The prosecution will enter into the record seventeen witness statements declaring that Princess Twilight was followed into the room by several guards,” he turned back to Blueblood, “no issue there. We understand that in the chaos of such an event it is difficult to figure out exactly what happened right around the start of it all,” Noble stated before starting back up again.

“Can you describe everything that happened up until the vault showed up?”

“What happened with the Vault? Was the defendant there? We have several witness statements that say he was. Can you corroborate?”

“Could you hear what he said?”

“What happened after the Vault exploded?”

“Thank you, Your Highness. It has been an honor. For the benefit of Equestria, what is IMAGINE going to be doing that the good ponies of this court and city may be able to get involved in?”

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