Chair of Principle

London’s six-foot-five frame towered over the Allegiant seated next to her.  She was dressed ordinary, white linen tunic with a blue and red trim, matching workwear trousers, simple canvas slip-ons.  Indistinguishable from anyone else, with one exception.  She was bound to the hardwood that comprised the Chair of Principle.   Nonetheless, she sat erect, stoic, the picture of a self-possessed young woman.  It was only if you took in those green eyes could you see the smoldering defiance.  London understood that anyone under allegation was treated with equal restraint no matter the size or scope of the supposed misconduct, but that didn’t make it any easier to tolerate.   

Once the judging chamber was filled to capacity with onlookers, commencement was announced by the striking “whop” of a short-handled mallet batted against a sound block on the Templar’s elevated desk some three yards in front of her.  The abrupt bang made rumbling voices dwindle to less than a whisper.  A moment later the charge against her was pronounced by the Public Safety Interpreter, a somber fellow  of Keshterian lineage.  His words echoed through the chamber until deadened by its solid walls.  London resisted the temptation to squirm about in her seat, test the restraints.  Her Allegiant hadn’t once bothered to look at her since she’d been placed next to him, seemingly holding little interest in the task at hand.  

The Chief Persuader, a squatty homme stuffed into a tailored suit and double buckle shoes, was seated at a desk to her left about eight feet away, far enough from her reach even if she were not in restraints.  He stood.  His fleshy cheeks and neck swinging and swaying as he cleared his throat to begin his monologue.  He spoke as if he were exhibiting some rare skill that he wished to show off, emphasizing points with wild hand movements.  He constructed events and theories, creating as unflattering a story as there ever could be told about her, richly furnished with embellishments and distortions of facts in some political interest of which she did not nor want to understand.  His tone of prejudice was unmistakable as each word strived for supremacy.  The Templar listened to him with ears bent toward plausibility, heavy eyes partly closed.  

It would be impossible to reconcile what was being said with her words alone.  She looked around with some desperation as he spoke.  There were nine divisions of the populace assembled in clock formation around them.  The participants of the mockery the center dot of said clock.  Her eyes tried to attach to someone else’s as she scanned the different faces taking up seat.  She saw no kindness, great or small, no true understanding, no alliance.  Were there really none willing to give aid to one of their own?  Her heart went empty.  She had never felt such a stranger to the citizens of  Kator, Earth’s one and only daughter planet.  Katar the shining example of peaceful coexistence.  The colonies had started out consisting of a multitude of species; however, now it was mostly narrow-minded hommes and humanoids.  No artificials remained either.  Robanoids had proven to be unreliable as far as peace was concerned or was it their ability to think that made them unsuitable. 

Here she sat surrounded by fellow citizens of common purpose who seemed unaware that the so-called common purpose was driven by principles not necessarily in their own best interest.  Proletariats for the Regency, lapping up their instructions and rules of development without question.  They believed it their duty to prove what could be attained through these uncompromising doctrines.  It was a mockery in her eyes.  After the sentencing, they would celebrate themselves.   She would not be remembered with malice but as a milestone  in their striving for uncompromising tranquility.  The price for such peace would be her.

London had no right to speech once she entered the judging chambers unless given so by the reigning Templar.  The Chief Persuader finished presenting his evidence, and her Allegiant began his argument in her behalf by asking for dismissal, declaring that the the claim of heresy was unfounded, unproven, and undeserved.   The Templar did as expected, ruled that the allegation would stand.  The Allegiant spoke for two clicks of the clock, molding her as pitiful, easily manipulated and force fed a doctrine by those entrusted to her care. Others were the villains and she their victim.   After the Allegiant went silent, she was given liberty  to speak on her own behalf.  She glared at the Templar and rejected everything that was said  as fiction, waving off the Chief Persuader’s blending of truth with lies. London was antagonistic and openly showed her contempt. 

“I will not defend my beliefs, because I hold them as truths and are mine alone.”  She looked around the room before beginning again.  “The fabric of each life should be woven by one’s own hands, one’s own mind, one’s own beliefs.”  She said no more.

It was up to the Templar now to ask questions, if he chose to do so.  He would contemplate what would serve as justice.  In this case, he did not contemplate long.

“We have taken in considerable independent evidence through testimony and documentation and concluded that you are under the power of a belief that does not and cannot coexist within our community.”  He began.  “ There is no higher power.  Ours is a society illuminated by intellectual rather than spiritual evolution.    We are independent of belief systems based upon any God or Goddess, unprejudiced by such an authority.  We are critical thinkers, not blind worshippers.  We…are…very…proud…of…that…fact.”  He spoke the last sentence with pauses between words, impressing the contract each word had with the next, ending with the word “fact” accentuated.

The assembly within the chamber in unison stood and stomped just once, their show of solidarity with the Templar’s words.  A small smile appeared on his lips.

“We apply logic to everything.  The solidarity you witness here, among all these different species, depends on clarity, no multiple interpretations of our laws.”

He took a pensive breath before continuing.  

“You are an early generation; however, you not a pure-blood citizen.  We do not necessarily hold that against someone, but I am compelled to do so in your case.”

Her Allegiant stood and spoke out of turn, a last pitch on her behalf.  If he did not do so, it would look as if he didn’t care and future clients would not seek out his counsel, which would not be a value to him.

“She has been blinded by indoctrination, told it was inspiration from some holy spirit.  It is not malfeasance but nonfeasance.  Her banishment could afford her intercourse with other antagonists.  That would not serve well our community.”

“A century of peace, counselor.  That is what we have accomplished here.  The significance of a lack in hostility or violent outbreaks speaks volumes to our successful laws and protocols.  The eyes of all planets in all solar systems are on us.”

Her Allegiant would not back down.  “Her struggles and ours will terminate if we purpose our pursuits toward rehabilitation instead of abandonment of her intellect.  Direct her sentence toward residence at Unity.”

“No!’  She cried out and tried to stand. Unity was the last place she wanted to be placed.  There she would be mind-washed or worse, lobotomized.  

The counselor put his stubby fingers on her shoulder and squeezed, his look, his only look at her, a reprimand.

“She must tell us where she obtained this imaginary belief  system now narrowing and blinding her, and she must reject the existence of such. “  said the Templar.

“There is no need for coercion on that subject.  I already know.  It was an indulgent succor.  I can say this with notable certainty.  She received her divinity training orally while under her care.

The counselor shuffled papers along the top of the desk until he found the one he was looking for.  “May I approach.”

The Templar nodded, and the Allegiant approached and handed the document to the Templar, who read it over while the Allegiant continued to speak.

“The succor or as she was called by the defendant, Nanny Em,  was her caregiver since she was of language age.  The succor has been ostracized and a date set for suppression.  The adjudication being..”

The Templar finished the sentence “Presently unfit for any career choice or useful service.”  

The Allegiant looked at the  Templar triumphantly, feeling he’d succeeded in his argument on behalf of this client.

“And you feel some 15 years of influence by a succor is reversible?”  The Templar asked.

Before her Allegiant could answer, six mammoth stone statues, three on each side of the room, rose from their sitting posture.  Each extended a right arm from the crossed position, turned their fists, with  thumbs extended from facing upward to facing downward.  The sentence was acknowledged by the Templar with a nod of his head.  He stood and made his pronouncement.  

“In the language of intellect for this our educated new world order, I banish you London Quinn, to the outer expanse beyond civilization.  His words were met with silent acquiesce and a multitude of thumbs down.  It was now over.

London thought of her mother’s dream that revealed  impending danger was coming for her.  Pride had made her laugh it off.  Now she would never see her mother again, not even to say good-bye.  Two watchman of extraordinary strength undid her restraints and seized her arms.  She struggled half-heartedly.  She no longer had the fury needed to antagonize, much in contrast to the woman she was when entering the judging rooms.  The sentence had demolished her defiance.