Rights and Wrongs
by Brian K. Lowe
"Tell me again who I pissed off to get this job?" Carefully unwrapping my roast
beef on wheat, I used the paper as a holder to keep mustard off of my lap.
"I thought you wanted the job," Rusty said. "I thought you were taking it as some
kind of personal challenge." Russ Becker and I ate lunch together almost every
day. "Rusty" was another assistant district attorney, and we'd bonded over a
mutual disdain for other lawyers. Things being what they were, though, sometimes
we got drafted to work the other side, and I'd drawn the short straw here, with
Rusty as my prosecutor.
"Hell, no, I didn't want it! The Jan'i killed my parents, Rusty. I had to break into
their house and find them on the floor, blood coming out of their ears. I couldn't
even bury them; they had to burn down the house with them still inside." I stopped
to pull myself together. "This is somebody's idea of payback, probably Bertoli.
She's still mad at me because she thinks I screwed up the Andelson case."
"All right," he said. "What's done is done. But she's doing you a favor here.
Nobody expects you to win this one; heck, nobody wants you to win this one. The
only reason the alien's even getting a trial is because the administration wants to
make this look like a regular murder instead of another terror attack. It's not like
we're pushing for human rights for non-humans here. You sit next to him, I
present my case, the judge finds him guilty. They'll be strapping him down for an
injection before we can find an open bar."
"Wait a second," I said, putting up a hand. "Are you saying I should throw over
the defense? Just phone it in?"
"No! No. I'm saying it's not going to hurt you when you lose. You take one for the
team, Bertoli leaves you alone."
"Good. Because I'm going to give that alien son of a bitch the best defense I know
how. You're going to have to work to convict. And when you do, and they strap
him down and put those needles in him --
-- then we can have that beer."