IronHorse: The locomotive
man CHAPTER 5
Kitsumi waited as the security guard opened the door
for her and stepped into a storm of tension. A middle-aged woman currently
held the courtroom in thrall as she issued a rebuke directed at a
short high strung man who scowled and glared defiantly at her in return,
but kept silent.
The same silence filled the courtroom as the same
woman, whose tag in front introduced her as 'City Representative'
stared at Kitsumi. The rest of the courtroom followed her line of
sight and all attention belonged to the newcomer.
the room quickly seeing Maria whose face lit up in joy when their
eyes met. Maria waved her hand, beckoning Kitsumi to join her and
a striking lady with pink hair, with whose appearance directly represented
the voice that Kitsumi knew to belong to Anna Keldowski. Between the
two of them, was an iron monstrosity. Kitsumi paused for a second
regarding the machine man's appearance from behind briefly before
making her way down the aisle.
Kitsumi walked quickly and quietly,
hoping that people would find something more interesting to look at.
But this was not the case. The courtroom was juxtaposed into two entities,
one side glowered at her coldly, even angrily, and the other side
viewed her with warm jovial smiles.
Kitsumi reached Maria who had
stood up promptly. Maria gave Kitsumi a quick hug. "Thank you for
coming to save us."
"I feel like the crème filling in a Twinkie,"
Kitsumi whispered to the mechanic. "Half the people here look like
they want to devour me, the other half look like they want to savor
“Kitsumi? That had to be both the most provocative and dirty
analogy I have heard in a long time.” Anna stated while the young
woman took a spot behind the defense’s table.
Maria muttered under
her breath while trying not to laugh. Anna descended into a fit of
giggles but it was IronHorse’s outburst that seemed to grab the most
response. It was a single word filled with mirth and joy and rang
out in the tense air of the courtroom. His eye visor filled with a
glowing pink of a grin as the word left body.
Everyone who had
been looking at Kitsumi suddenly looked at IronHorse. Anna slapped
a palm to her forehead as Clockstopper sputtered in indignation.
was IronHorse’s next word. The Paragon Police suddenly began to laugh
as well. Long and hard.
“WHY ISN’T THAT MACHINE PROPERLY SILENCED?!?”
Clockstopper leapt from his seat and stood on his table pointing at
IronHorse in a manic fashion.
“Hey Pee-Wee, I don’t have a MOUTH genius.
All this mask is doin’ is wreckin’ my chance to have a nice conversation
with the ladies at my table.”
Maria paused just long enough to let
her head fall forward with an audible thunk on the table.
stood there with a noticeable twitch forming above his left eyebrow.
A small amount of froth seemed to form slowly on the corner of his
mouth. Before he could begin a full-fledged rant however, both Anna
and the City Representative stepped in.
“Ahem! Ah yes… I see miss
Ichimura has joined us.” The City Representative began. “You may now
give testimony for miss Anna Keldowski.”
Anna quickly stood again
and took her position on the floor while the bailiff helped Kitsumi
into the witness stand. Anna smiled and then brought over the stack
of packing invoices.
“Miss Ichimura, Do you recognize these invoices?”
“Yes I do.” Kitsumi responded to the first question, shifting slightly
in her seat until finally settling on the wooden chair comfortably.
“Do you remember clearing these papers?”
“Yes, I cleared these at
approximately 11:15am on the date listed in the register.” Kitsumi
pointed at the form.
“Did you inspect the contents of the crate at
“No, I did not. This was a private shipment. There was
no need for me to open the crates, nor did I have legal right because
I was without cause.”
“Are these your signatures here, here and here?”
“Yes ma’am that is my signature on both spots.” Kitsumi responded
“Very good… Your witness Clockstopper.”
The little man
was red with fury as he took the floor. Everything that Anna and Kitsumi
had talked about had shot holes in his case. He forgot about the bylaw
of the one-year grace period to the law, or the fact that the thing
was built in the 1800’s…
He walked towards the witness stand and stared
hard at Kitsumi.
“I… Miss Ichimura! Have you at any time experienced
mental pain, trauma, or strange feelings while in the presence of
the contents of the crate?”
Kitsumi studied the opposition intently
as he presented his question, “No sir.”
“Uh… Huh. Can you in any way
CONFIRM that this… This THING here, represents the contents of this
supposedly destroyed crate?”
“Possibly,” Kitsumi responded much to
the shocked look from Clockstopper. “I have a photocopy of the packing
slip in the inventory folder that I presented as I arrived. The packing
slip bears the same date and crate number on it that is on my receiving
register. Even though this was a private shipment, since it was so
large, I requested to make a copy of it, should there be any damages
or questions to its ownership. The packing slip lists the contents
as; ‘Quantity 1 – IronHorse, circa 1800’s Steam powered mechanical
“The packing slip is stamped with the date and
time when I processed the paperwork, and my initials are included
underneath in the space provided, ‘KSI’ for Kitsumi Sakura Ichimura.”
Kitsumi responded pointing to the bottom of the form that Clockstopper
had quickly flipped to in the provided manila folder. “I am the only
employee at the museum with those initials, you can verify that if
you wish via the employee contact lookup. My LAN ID is KSICHIMU. Alphabetically
I fall between Kevin R. Holden and Lance B. James both by first name
and last name.” Kitsumi said with a cheerful giggle.
“Um… No… No further
questions your honor.” Clockstopper looked smug but shaken.
Representative nodded and then looked at Maria, Anna, Kitsumi, and
Anna nodded and then took to the floor.
She grinned at Clockstopper who glowered in the corner trying to make
some kind of case now that his seemed to be scattering into the four
“So now that we have proven that this AI has only been active
in this day and age for the sum total of 4 days, we can all agree
that he still has 360 to conform to the law and apply for an official
AI license. In addition, because the crate received by miss Ichimura
was a personal shipment to miss Estavez, we also must conclude that
the AI in question is the legal property of Maria Estavez. That means,
under Paragon code 40b, that as long as the AI’s owner is with the
unlicensed AI and takes responsibility for its actions, the AI is
free to be in public. Forcible removal of the AI from the owner’s
custody reverts all responsibility to the individuals who take the
Anna turned and grinned at Clockstopper again before swatting
a new sheaf of papers in her hand.
“Now the account of the events
at the museum as detailed already for the court, have been told by
three different sources! All of which agree that the AI, IronHorse,
did NOT attack the museum, but rather defend it from an attack by
the street gang known as the trolls.”
Anna handed the written accounts
of each person, Maria, Hank, Carl, Frank Harris, and IronHorse, to
the city representative.
“In addition, we have a contact with M.A.G.I.
that supports the evidence that Trolls were going to attack the museum
in the night in question.”
Again, Anna handed more documentation to
the city representative. The woman was looking at each piece of paper
critically and sighing as she looked at Clockstopper.
“So as it stands,
we have an AI, in the presence of its owner, operating in public long
before the limit for AI application has expired, coming to the rescue
of his owner AND saving the museum from a bomb attack as shown by
forensic evidence! In addition, Freedom Corps members, specifically
under the recommendation of one Clockstopper, forcibly took the AI
into custody. From here we have a signed affidavit by Shadow-Form
that Clockstopper made several verbal threats to the AI who then responded
with force to defend itself.”
Anna whirled and looked fiercely at
Clockstopper. “The subsequent damage to the Freedom Corps vehicle,
the street outside of its Steel Canyon base, AND damage to one city
police vehicle are then the fault of Clockstopper, because the AI
was in HIS possession at the time!”
The room went dead quiet as Clockstopper’s
face went white with anger.
Anna looked at the crowd gathered and
“Ladies and gentlemen, IronHorse here is in
no violation of the law, he has no reason to be chained, and he should
be treated as a HERO! He SAVED the life of miss Estavez as well as
protected the museum from imminent destruction! Is this how we treat
one such as him?”
Murmurs went through the crowd and increasingly,
people began to look at Clockstopper and his supporters as if they
were trying to hang an innocent man. Clockstopper himself however
paused, as someone in his group, a man he had never truly seen before,
leaned over and whispered into Clockstopper’s ear.
This stranger seemed
unnaturally pale and wore drab, and almost outdated clothing. However,
whatever he whispered had the necessary effect, as Clockstopper rose
for rebuttal seemingly renewed.
“Miss Keldowski… I have but ONE question.
Despite everything said here, how can you deny the evidence from the
documentation that this MACHINE was already tried once for being responsible
for the death and destruction of an entire town of over one hundred
people?!? Both you and I have the paperwork to PROVE that this machine
was ordered to be disassembled and to never again be re-activated
because of its faulty nature! How do we know that the things it committed
before will not happen again?”
Anna paused and then looked at IronHorse.
The massive metal man however was staring at Clockstopper with intense
hatred. Even Anna could tell the shift in color from his eye visor
from pink to red was not a good sign. Maria even had to shift in her
seat to get away from the increasing levels of heat IronHorse was
Maria looked about terrified and then looked at Kitsumi.
It was as if a bolt of lightening had struck her as her face suddenly
She leaned over and whispered into Kitsumi’s ear.
Kitsumi, you are the best at finding the history of items at work.
Look if the museum uses you to track and date objects… can you do
the same for IronHorse? You can find something right? I hope you can
prove to these people that IronHorse never DID those things… You…
you have to try to find something.” Maria’s eyes almost filled with
tears and looked at her friend imploringly. “You can prove it for
me too… Prove to me that I am right about him… Please.”
at the distraught girl with a look of compassion. "I know that you
trust him, and I hope that everything is as you hope it is with him.
I could try to find something but that might take too long, trying
to locate the proper resources and documents."
Kitsumi's eyes widened
with an expression of revelation. "There is a better way though I
think. I don't want to do it, but I don't think I have a choice. I
can't abandon you two." Kitsumi talked out loud for both her and Maria's
Quickly she turned to Anna. "Anna, I have an idea, if you
can get me up on the stand I can attempt to prove his innocence, but
I will need a recess to have some documents faxed here."
to Maria, "Don't worry sweetie, I think we can win this."
up in her seat. "Your Honor, I would like to request a fifteen minute
recess to consult with my clients on this issue, and to have some
documents faxed here."
The City Representative looked up at the clock
on the wall. "Granted. You have fifteen minutes until we reconvene."
Kitsumi was up in a flash as soon as she was clear to go. The girl
whisked out of the room and down the hall to an administrator's desk.
"Excuse me miss, can I borrow a phone and your fax machine to have
some urgent documents faxed here immediately for the court session."
The elder woman sitting at the desk looked up. "Sorry honey, but I
can only allow..."
"It's Ok Rosie. She's with me." Anna had quickly
followed Kitsumi out of the courtroom to find out more concerning
"Oh, then it's quite alright, as long as you are with
Miss Keldowski." The woman offered a cheerful smile.
"Over here Miss
Ichimura." Anna dragged her by the elbow to the fax machine and phone.
* * * * *
Kitsumi and Anna rushed back into the room just as the Representative
reentered. Anna was carrying a stack of papers and had a very pleased
look on her face.
The room went silent as the City Representative
announced that the session was now resumed.
Anna stood up and walked
up to the podium. "I would like to recall Miss Kitsumi Ichimura to
the stand. I would also like to present Miss Ichimura's case records
from the Paragon City University's Department of Psychology."
presented the stack of papers to the representative. "If you note
the highlighted sections; you will see that Miss Ichimura is a certified
psychometric." The room was soon filled by whispers and hushed talk.
Anna paused for a second as Kitsumi moved up to take the stand. After
the room quieted down she resumed. "Psychometry, is defined as the
ability to retrieve information from an inanimate object. The psychometric
picks up emanations, emotions and history from an object; this can
be the history of object itself, or the past, present or future of
"Comments were made concerning her unbelievable accuracy
in all tests performed. Not only does she have the ability to read
an object, she is also able to determine its entire accurate timeline,
however it is also noted that this she did not at the time of the
study have the ability to also read the future of the object."
volume of the crowded room increased as Anna paused, but with a sharp
look from the podium, the noise settled.
Without waiting for an invitation
to continue Anna proceeded. "Miss Ichimura has the ability to read
inanimate objects, which should be more properly defined as, 'non
living tissue,' which the studies conducted confirm." Anna quickly
pointed to a highlighted paragraph.
"Miss Ichimura, is everything
spoken by Miss Keldowski correct?" The City Representative looked
over her rimed glasses at Kitsumi.
"Yes, your honor, that is all correct."
Kitsumi smiled sheepishly, at her secret finally being exposed.
a nod she looked over to Anna next. "Alright then, Miss Keldowski,
you may continue."
"Miss Ichimura, for the record, have you attempted
to 'read' the entity known as IronHorse prior or post reassembly?"
Anna approached Kitsumi with professionalism.
"No, I have not." The
"In your opinion, do you have the ability
to read the entity on trial?" She next asked of Kitsumi.
my experience, I should not have a problem reading him for more accurate
information." Kitsumi confirmed.
"OK then Miss Ichimura. With the
Representative's permission, I would like for you to do what you need."
"Granted Attorney Keldowski." Anna winced at the title slightly as
the woman looked around the room and announced from her seat up on
the dais, "For the record, Miss Kitsumi Ichimura will psychometrically
be attempting to read the entity known as IronHorse. Miss Ichimura
will present her findings linearly if possible."
"Miss Ichimura, I
require that you present your finding out loud for the entire court
room. In the meantime, the courtroom will remain silent. Anyone who
violates this order will be arrested; this includes Law Enforcement
officials as well. This session once begun will 'Not' be interrupted."
"Now if the recorder is ready please precede Miss Ichimura." The recorder
nodded in affirmation.
Kitsumi stood up from the bench and walked
to the large mechanical man. She looked at IronHorse sitting quietly
on the floor and gave him a reassuring smile. She breathed slowly,
calmingly focusing on him alone.
The girl stopped right beside him
and settled in a chair provided by the Bailiff next to him. Gingerly
she placed her hands on his chest and closed her eyes.
The girl parted
her lips and began her reading. "IronHorse's first coal fire was ignited
at 16:11 on October 14th, 1864…"