Turnabout Tyson (Part 6)

This is chapter six. Chapter five is available here and chapter seven can be found here.

July 18

Courtroom No. 2

District Court (Part 3, continued)

Tyson was panting audibly, their eyes wide open and eyebrows raised, hands still gripping the witness stand, now to the point where their knuckles had turned white. Even with the bandana covering half of their face, the pure fear Tyson was feeling was obvious.

– "HOLD IT! Hold it!" Tyson shrieked again.

"What is it now, witness?" Franziska frowned. "You can't have it both ways. Or are you suggesting you were actually the murderer?" she quipped, extending her arm with a wry smile.

– "YES!" their voice boomed, echoing through the room.

Time seemed to stand still for a moment in the courtroom.

"W-w-what?" the lawyers on both sides of the court involuntarily exclaimed. Franziska was clutching herself, shaking and Phoenix just stood there, eyes wide and mouth agape.

– "OBJECTION!" he exclaimed, pointing towards the witness stand. "I object to my witness' confession! Strike it from the record!" He wasn't even thinking at that moment, just acting on instinct.

"NO! I AM the girl Sam talked about! It was me who pushed him!" they protested loudly, breathing loudly, while pointing a finger towards themselves.

Phoenix took down his arm, now completely at a loss for words, unable to do anything but watch.

(Hard to believe that this angry fury is the same person that just some short time ago was so meek and anxious... I was even worried they wouldn't be able to withstand the pressure of a trial. Instead they display this brazen confidence to announce a secret they were loath to even implicitly admit to me earlier, and use that to confess to the murder? Of all the witnesses I have ever encountered...)

"OBJECTION!" shouted Franziska, who had needed a moment longer to get a grip on herself again. "The witness is talking nonsense! There is no way they could have been present at the crime scene!" slamming her fist into the prosecution bench again, teeth clenched.

"OBJECTION!" exclaimed Tyson, still angrily.

"OBJECTION!" interrupted a distraught Franziska before they could continue. "Only lawyers can object in court! I demand order! Your Honor!"

"Uhh, yes" the judge began, caught off guard. "The prosecution is correct. Witnesses may not raise objections." A single gavel bang, albeit less powerful than previous ones, underlined the statement.

"Witness, please calm yourself. If you have something more to say, please testify."

"YES! I do!" Tyson had now clenched their fists and was standing upright. "Dyson wasn't at the crime scene!

– "HOLD IT!" Phoenix interrupted, trying to strike a confident pose, slamming the bench in front of him. But he immediately lost composure again when he realized that Tyson hadn't even flinched and was looking at him icily. "But ... we just had established the opposite..." He wanted to hold up some evidence, but it somehow struck him as pointless now.

(I have a very bad feeling about this... and I thought it couldn't get worse)

"I can explain this." Tyson said, now again in a low, but still unwavering voice. "There's a very simple reason why it couldn't have been Dyson."

All eyes were now on the witness stand. Phoenix noted that some uneasiness and anxiety seemed to creep back into their behavior. Involuntary twitches, eyes darting from left to right.

Tyson looked down for a moment before looking towards the judge, as if trying to challenge him to a staring duel, and then finally spoke.

"Dyson doesn't exist."

"WHAT?" Franziska shouted, even less able to maintain decorum this time. She angrily banged the prosecution desk. "Your Honor, I demand that the witness be removed from the stand immediately. They are clearly no longer of sound mind and unable to give testimony."

"HOLD IT!" Tyson interrupted. "The truth is... Dyson never existed. I made them up... to feel less lonely, and tried to cover up my crime that way. But ... I can't stand the guilt wearing on me. I don't want to hide who I am anymore."

Even Franziska was now rendered speechless, even stunned. Phoenix had already given up on trying to think of something to say long ago. He could only watch it unfold.

"All the things mentioned in the letter... those were actually my plans. I wrote it myself, because it was me who wanted to work together with Sam. I offered him my help, but he rejected it like the stupid proud boy he can... could be."

Tyson's voice now sounded weak and defeated, as if they had used up all their energy on their outburst anymore. They paused to rub their eyes.

"So we started arguing. I was jealous of Ini who seemed to hang out with Sam so much. I thought they had become a couple and Sam had lied to me when he had said he wasn't interested in a relationship. It felt like he was thinking I wasn't good enough for him.

Phoenix realized there was a noticeable dissonance between what they were saying and the tone of their voice. There was no jealousy or anger in their voice. It was something else, but he couldn't really pinpoint what. After a brief pause for breathtaking, Tyson continued:

"I ... I always felt like I was in his shadow as dance instructor. He was the one who got all the attention, and I got none." they said in a weirdly flat tone, tinged with something that almost sounded like cheerfulness.

(Hold on, Tyson, I thought you were a writer, not a dance instructor? You never told me about this. In fact, I have never heard you bring up that you dance at all...)

"So, I pushed him, to show I was getting tired of his attitude. It was intentional, yes. I was too full of anger too think of what I was doing. He had already been sitting on the railing and now was losing balance... and..." Phoenix could pick out some quivering in Tyson's voice. But it wasn't very obvious. It was as if... they didn't sound confident?

"I finally realized what I had done and tried to grab him by his calves but he was too heavy for me and he fell on the floor and ... died." Tyson seemed to hold their breath for a moment before looking at the floor of the court room, sobbing.

(There's very obviously something not right here. I don't have very sensitive hearing like Athena does but even I could pick up there is discord in this voice.)

Phoenix looked around. Franziska seemed to have resigned herself to the situation, flashing an ironic smile at him. The judge was taking the gavel in his hand, seemingly ready to decide on a verdict.

(I wish I had asked Athena to be a co-counsel. I could definitely use some of her psychological expertise right now...)

The judge raised his gavel. "I think with this confession we can finally settle this case. Truly, what a tragic occurence."

(Your Honor, can you not hear how Tyson is lying? They must be lying... I hope...)

But Phoenix somehow still felt too overwhelmed to raise an objection.

"If there are no further objections..." the judge continued, but was then interrupted.

The courtroom doors were flung open and a confident, girlish voice shouted "OBJECTION!"

Athena walked down towards the witness stand and exclaimed, finger pointed at Tyson:

"Your Honor, the witness is clearly under great stress! This calls for a therapy session, right now!"

"Athena!" Phoenix was more than glad to see the other lawyer in his office be here now, but had no clue where she had come from.

"Boss! When Tyson gave their confession, I knew I could no longer stay on the gallery because I would be needed here, so I stormed down the stairs as fast as I could". And with a big grin in the direction of the judge added: "And just in time, too, it seems."

Franziska was not happy about this development though. "Your Honor! What is this about a therapy session? This is a courtroom, not the office of a therapist."

Athena's smile turned smug as she turned towards the prosecution. "You're wrong. Analytical psychology has its place in trials. It has uncovered inconsistencies in many testimonies and was crucial to solving many cases!"

Franziska was breaking out in a cold sweat. All her preparation had not prepared her for this. "Fools..." she muttered under her breath, teeth clenched.

The judge banged his gavel once again. "On a second look, the witness does appear to be rather agitated. Please proceed with your therapy session, Ms. Cykes."

Phoenix' savior took a place behind the desk of the defense and with a necklace-computer booted up a hologram displaying the Mood Matrix, a program that could analyze subtle undertones in the voice of a person and then visualized them as expressions of emotions.

"There's a lot to unpack here. It will be some work, but we can do this. ¡Vamos!" She rammed her fist into the open palm of her other hand to punctuate her statement.

"Tyson" she began again. "look at me.", now having a serious look on her face. The person at the witness stand hesitantly turned towards her.

"Could you please repeat the part of your testimony where you talk about your motive?" Athena said.

"S-Sure." Tyson replied, hesitantly.

"Sam and Ini together, they... they seemed like a couple. So perfect and cute, it made me jealous..." Tyson leaned forward, clenched their teeth and sniffed once, trying to give Athena a fierce stare. "Sam had promised me it wasn't that he didn't like me, but that he just wasn't looking for a relationship. Who wouldn't get angry at that? Even now just thinking of it..." They raised their voice for a moment, but then it trailed off again, full of uncertainty and what seemed to be regret.

Athena didn't respond, but had listened attentively. Now lost in thought, she muttered more to herself than anyone else: "Hmmm. There's really a lot of noise here that I can pick up. Discord in their voice..."

The Mood Matrix had now finished analyzing the testimony and now gave Athena a visual representation of the scene described and Tyson's emotions.

In the corners of the image were four indicators for the main groups of emotions the device recognized: positive emotions like joy and cheerfulness in the upper left corner, negative emotions such as sadness or anguish in the lower left corner, emotions like anger or strong resentment in the upper right one and finally shock in the lower right. The indicators for happines and sadness lighted up.

Athena looked away from the hologram and towards the witness stand again. "GOT IT!" she shouted. "Tyson, you are hiding something. You clearly seem to try to come across as angry, but I can tell even just by looking at you that this is not how you really feel."

Tyson's eyes went large for a moment. "But ... I... I just feel horrible at the whole thing of course, at how it went. What my anger led to. It's now gone, too late, since it won't bring back Sam..."

Athena slammed the defense bench with the full length of her arm. "Objection! You weren't even describing Sam and Ini together like you were jealous. You described them as "perfect" and "cute" as if you admired them and were happy for them!"

Tyson flinched. "Even then, I... still pushed him... I can clearly remember the scene, and the anger I felt at least in that moment that... m-made me do it." Their expression was blank, and their voice sounded almost incredulous.

Athena made a single movement with her finger and the Mood Matrix program updated its display to show the analysis of the new statement. As she suspected, the the shock indicator was blinking strongly. But nothing else lighted up.

"That's odd..." she muttered to herself. "No anger? Not even sadness? I would expect Tyson to at least feel one of those if they really were the one who shoved Sam... And if the action was intentional, as they claimed, and the realization only set in later, then a feeling of shock shouldn't be there either."

She looked at the ceiling for a moment, lost in thought. "The only reasonable explanation for a state of shock would be ... if it was entirely unexpected. That might even suppress other feelings that would normally be expected. Wait..."

She pointed her finger towards the witness stand.

"Tyson! You only accidentally stumbled across the crime scene, didn't you? You never meant to be there at all!"

"W-what?" Tyson involuntarily raised both arms into a defensive position. "It was a spur of the moment thing, yes, but I did mean to talk to Sam! It wasn't like I accidentally bumped into him... I mean accidentally met him, sorry."

Franziska banged a fist on the prosecution bench several times, brows furrowed. "Foolish lawyer! What do you hope to achieve by badgering them with baseless conjecture? Even if the witness is lying, it is Ini who would become the main suspect again!"

The judge banged his gavel again. "Ms. Cykes, do you have evidence to support your claim?"

– "Of course" she said, smiling, trying to appear confident.

"It better be something new, or else I will end this trial right here and now!" the judge continued.

Athena hesitated, her smile faltering into a frown. Phoenix could tell she wasn't sure how to proceed.

(Earlier she saved me... I wish I could repay the favor and think of something to do now, and that way also save Tyson...)

He felt sweat running down his back again and his muscles tensing up.

(Think, think... what was not yet fully examined? Ugh, no good. We still have basically no evidence to present.)