Little Fuzzy – Day 66 of 77

“I agree,” Coombes said equably. “Most of these witnesses will have to be recalled to the stand later, but in general I think Mr. Brannhard’s suggestion will be economical of the court’s time.”

“Will Mr. Coombes agree to stipulate that any evidence tending to prove or disprove the sapience of Fuzzies in general be accepted as proving or disproving the sapience of the being referred to as Goldilocks?”

Coombes looked that over carefully, decided that it wasn’t booby-trapped and agreed. A deputy marshal went over to the witness stand, made some adjustments and snapped on a switch at the back of the chair. Immediately the two-foot globe in a standard behind it lit, a clear blue. George Lunt’s name was called; the lieutenant took his seat and the bright helmet was let down over his head and the electrodes attached.

The globe stayed a calm, untroubled blue while he stated his name and rank. Then he waited while Coombes and Brannhard conferred. Finally Brannhard took a silver half-sol piece from his pocket, shook it between cupped palms and slapped it onto his wrist. Coombes said, “Heads,” and Brannhard uncovered it, bowed slightly and stepped back.

“Now, Lieutenant Lunt,” Coombes began, “when you arrived at the temporary camp across the run from Holloway’s camp, what did you find there?”

“Two dead people,” Lunt said. “A Terran human, who had been shot three times through the chest, and a Fuzzy, who had been kicked or trampled to death.”

“Your Honors!” Coombes expostulated, “I must ask that the witness be requested to rephrase his answer, and that the answer he has just made be stricken from the record. The witness, under the circumstances, has no right to refer to the Fuzzies as ‘people.’”

“Your Honors,” Brannhard caught it up, “Mr. Coombes’s objection is no less prejudicial. He has no right, under the circumstances, to deny that the Fuzzies be referred to as ‘people.’ This is tantamount to insisting that the witness speak of them as nonsapient animals.”

It went on like that for five minutes. Jack began doodling on a notepad. Baby picked up a pencil with both hands and began making doodles too. They looked rather like the knots he had been learning to tie. Finally, the court intervened and told Lunt to tell, in his own words, why he went to Holloway’s camp, what he found there, what he was told and what he did. There was some argument between Coombes and Brannhard, at one point, about the difference between hearsay and res gestae. When he was through, Coombes said, “No questions.”

“Lieutenant, you placed Leonard Kellogg under arrest on a complaint of homicide by Jack Holloway. I take it that you considered this complaint a valid one?”

“Yes, sir. I believed that Leonard Kellogg had killed a sapient being. Only sapient beings bury their dead.”

Ahmed Khadra testified. The two troopers who had come in the other car, and the men who had brought the investigative equipment and done the photographing at the scene testified. Brannhard called Ruth Ortheris to the stand, and, after some futile objections by Coombes, she was allowed to tell her own story of the killing of Goldilocks, the beating of Kellogg and the shooting of Borch. When she had finished, the Chief Justice rapped with his gavel.

“I believe that this testimony is sufficient to establish the fact that the being referred to as Jane Doe alias Goldilocks was in fact kicked and trampled to death by the defendant Leonard Kellogg, and that the Terran human known as Kurt Borch was in fact shot to death by Jack Holloway. This being the case, we may now consider whether or not either or both of these killings constitute murder within the meaning of the law. It is now eleven forty. We will adjourn for lunch, and court will reconvene at fourteen hundred. There are a number of things, including some alterations to the courtroom, which must be done before the afternoon session…. Yes, Mr. Brannhard?”

“Your Honors, there is only one member of the species Fuzzy fuzzy holloway zarathustra at present in court, an immature and hence nonrepresentative individual.” He picked up Baby and exhibited him. “If we are to take up the question of the sapience of this species, or race, would it not be well to send for the Fuzzies now staying at the Hotel Mallory and have them on hand?”

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