Turnabout Tyson (Part 4)

This is chapter four. Chapter three is available here and chapter five can be found here.

July 18

Courtroom No. 2

District Court (Part 3)

Once they had re-entered the courtroom, Phoenix noticed something entirely unexpected.

"Athena? What are you doing here? I told you to stay at... I mean that I wanted to take the case on alone!" he asked the young lady sitting in the gallery.

A budding lawyer working for him, Athena Cykes. She specialized in witness psychology and was immediately recognizable just with her flashy colors and particular sense of style. A yellow bolero jacket (so, a jacket with long sleeves that did not reach her midriff), a white t-shirt, and a blue tie covered her upper body, and she also was wearing an equally yellow short skirt, black thighs and white boots. But most notable was her hair, with a massive cowlick as wide as her face and a side ponytail that was long enough to be able to reach her legs.

"Boss! I couldn't leave you alone on this important day! Even if you don't allow me to be your co-counsel today, I wanted to at least see how the trial goes!" she said.

Phoenix tried to take on a confident, authoritative position, but it was only fooling him. "A-ah, I see. Well, I have everything under control so it should be all good. Thanks for coming to support me, though."

"You got this, Boss!" She flashed a smile, but it seemed slightly strained.

Phoenix didn't notice and returned to behind his desk. Tyson walked slowly to the witness stand, almost unnaturally so, as if trying to stall for time. On it, they grasped it so tightly for a moment that their knuckles turned white, their breaths heavy and their eyes unfocused, staring off in the distance.

Before the judge could do anything, a single loud crack of the whip had already broken the silence and woken up Tyson from their stupor.

"Foolish fools are those who think they can doze off in a courtroom! The court demands your whole attention. To be with your thoughts elsewhere is to be in contempt of court! Your Honor, if you might."

The judge, surprised that someone would speak before him, ignoring court procedures so brazenly, just replied a single bemused "Huh?", looking around with wide eyes.

Finally, he said: "Anyway, yes, pay attention to court. Which is now in session." The bang of the gavel made it official. "The trial of Ini Sent may now continue. Bailiff, turn on the screens to show the new evidence so the prosecution can begin anew with the cross-examination."

"The witness claimed they had proof of hitherto ignored evidence. The court will now examine this proof. Witness, please explain what we are looking at here." Large screens on both sides of the courtroom showed a simple, unfolded piece of paper laying on what seemed to be a green table. It had a message written in light blue ink on it, similar to the one used on the booking papers, but it was slightly smudged.

Phoenix felt tense, but that seemed like nothing in comparison to what his friend at the witness stand seemed to be going through. Tyson seemed to have a bad case of a cold sweat, their body almost as if frozen, not even fidgeting anymore. Franziska seemed to be watching the scene with some amusement.

(Franziska... I know you can be ruthless, but please, don't take it too far here.)

Two loud gavel bangs interrupted the moment. "Tyson Sagurl! Speak or you'll immediately be held in contempt of court for having wasted valuable time."

– "I-I'm sorry, Your Honor."

"The prosecution may now begin the cross-examination anew."

– "So, on this screen you can see... you can see, that I got a photo of a letter my sibling sent me." Tyson began.

"Witness, tell me, does this sibling have a name?" Franziska asked.

– "They would like to ... stay anonymous, because..." Tyson replied.

"Witness! Their name is crucial information to the case. The court demands you share their name." the judge interrupted.

– "O-okay. Their name is ... Dyson Saman. Or was it Shaman? I'm sorry, I'm not good with names, especially surnames. Here's a photo."

The photo showed someone who looked noticeably similar to Tyson in height and figure, although with more overtly masculine characteristics and some other smaller differences.

The smirk on Franziska's face got noticeably larger.

"So this Dyson Saman sent you a photo of this letter? Can you explain what it is about? The handwriting is hard to read." she said.

– "Yes. Uhh, well, there was this fight between Ini and Sam that day over how to proceed with the preparations, from what I gathered. My sibling overheard it and was planning on... ugh." Tyson gulped. "assisting Ini. By giving her this letter that ... they excitedly also shared with me with this app."

Franziska cracked her whip against the prosecution bench again.

"So, how was this sibling of yours supposed to have done that, if the defendant had locked up the door long before?"

– "They told me that they picked up on some tension between the two already earlier on, telling me that it was going to be their big opportunity to make it."

"Make it? What is that supposed to mean? Explain yourself at once!" Franziska asked, holding her whip over her head. "Only fools use vague language... and those covering for crimes."

Tyson flinched visibly and kept their head down, pulling at the strings of their hoodie.

– "Y-you...! Don't..." they shrieked.

"Don't what?" Franziska smirked. "If this evidence is supposed to help show the defendant isn't guilty, why are you so afraid to talk about it openly? Earlier you were so eager to argue for Ini Sent's innocence. What happened?"

Phoenix was loath to admit it, but Franziska wasn't entirely wrong. Tyson was avoiding giving clear answers, instead every single one seemed to raise more questions than the one before. He couldn't even help out or raise an objection since he was largely in the dark as well. He could only sit and watch and hope Tyson would not dig a hole for themselves. Had he only talked to Tyson more before the trial...

"Witness, to save us all some time, will you just read out the letter?" the judge said.

Tyson had to swallow again.

– "Hey Sam! I'm sorry about that argument you had with Ini. I think you could benefit from some quality time with someone else to get over it, and hey, I could help you set up with some good music composer if Ini no longer wants to work with you! With the competition being so close we have no time to lose. What do you think?" they read out, slowly, with a trembling voice.

"That's it? That sounds like something that could have been simply said in person! Tyson Sagurl, you owe the court another explanation!"

Tyson winced in response and with a low voice replied. "Dyson doesn't like their voice. Plus, they didn't want to risk Ini hear such a conversation... I guess"

Franziska cracked her whip. "Speculation is useless! Did you hear it from Dyson directly?" Silence for a moment, broken by another crack of the whip. "Witness!"

"I did! Dyson was like 'Hey Tyson. Ini and Sam were arguing again, but this time it seems both won't get back together anymore. Now is my chance, I just need to be low-key about it so it stays between me and Sam.'. Here, it's even in my message history, from 6:45 PM"

The prosecution didn't immediately respond. Franziska was frowning, seemingly thinking for a moment, or maybe making a pause for dramatic effect.

"So" she finally began, facing Phoenix. "we have established that this message exists online, and was sent before the murder took place. But it also took place on the stairway, and everything said on it could be heard, even seen to a degree from the first floor, right?" Now with a smug look on her face again, she continued. "That's how Tyson Sagurl could witness the murder to begin with."

She now turned to them, still on the witness stand, waving her index finger at them again.

"So where is the evidence, dear witness, that this letter was written on the other side of the door, in reach of the crime scene? Where is the evidence it ever actually reached the victim?"

She didn't wait for an answer. "In fact, a third person remains impossible! The investigation began when the crime scene was still locked, and found no one but the defendant there!"

Phoenix could not stand that grin on the other side of the courtroom, it really felt like he was helpless in witnessing Franziska doing a victory lap already. Just thinking of it made him break into a cold sweat. Was that it? Was his sole trump card not enough?