IronHorse: The locomotive man CHAPTER 7

“Preposterous!” Clockstopper fairly stood on his chair, even so it barely lifted his head above the seated audience.

“I must protest this foolishness from going on any further! I mean really! If miss Ichimura could not read living material and this “Machine” is alive as she states, which I highly doubt, then how could she have “read” it in the first place!”

The angry little man hopped off his perch and strode the floor looking angrily at the gathered members in the city hall. He snarled as he pointed at IronHorse.

“Ladies and gentlemen I say this machine is duping you all! He is in league with Miss Ichimura and Miss Estavez! This is travesty and bad comedy! He was already sentenced once for being a rouge killer in 1868 what more proof do we need?”

In the back the gaunt figure that had counseled Clockstopper gave a grim smile as he eased back into the crowd. Another face watched the proceedings with interest however. Her face was un-emotional, even cold, and her eyes never seemed to leave the form of IronHorse. Her clothes were prim and neat, and she had a certain edge about her, as if with a look she could cut steel.

If one listened closely, one could barely hear the whirring of gears, like a high precision clock, and a small muttering of the woman under her breath.

Maria meanwhile was watching the little man with mounting anger. She wanted nothing more than to grab a chair and hurl it at the man who was causing her friend so much pain. IronHorse just sat there in the middle of the hall. He had not moved since Kitsumi had read his past up until the point he became alive. He simply stared at his hands and the floor.

“I ask the City Representative to strike the nonsense about this machine from the record and let us fact the fact that this machine is a killer!”

The City Representative flushed with anger, but had to admit the testimony was suspect. “Please, miss Ichimura, if you can not read living material how could you read IronHorse?”

“Because that message was left by Raven’s Whisper to be heard.” The voice boomed throughout the hall as the main doors burst open. A Native American man strode in unconcerned about the faces in the hall. He stood tall and proud in his black costume decked with the feathers of ravens. His dark eyes watched all in the hall and he strode to the City Representative. The figure thrust a document into her hands.

Shadow-Form meanwhile slipped into the room and sat next to Sparkle and Maria.

“Shadow, is that who I think it is?” Sparkle whispered. Shadow merely nodded and leaned into the group with a whisper.

“I had to hunt to find him, and low and behold he’s in the middle of Perez Park sitting on a pile of Hellion thugs while his Imps were keeping them in place. He was reading an ecology textbook to them and shouting why they should not be beating on trees.”

Maria looked at Shadow and then at the dark man who stood in the center of the room with his arms crossed. “Who is he?” She whispered.

“Father Raven.” Shadow stated simply. “Avatar of the Native American God, Raven.”

The City Representative at this time had turned from red at the intrusion to white. She looked at the man and then at the documents. Clockstopper meanwhile was not to be denied.

“Who ARE you? How dare you intrude on these affairs!” He was about to rant on when Father Raven looked at him with a fire hotter than the sun.

“Paragon City code 802. When a certified representative of a higher power wishes to testify he may. Precedent set by Guardian Angel in Azaroth Vs. Bishop West in 1987. Now do shut up.” This left the little man gasping and staring at the man. Father Raven ignored Clockstopper and strode to the prone form of IronHorse. Gently he laid his hand on the massive metal man’s shoulder.

“Old Friend…” Father Raven whispered. IronHorse looked up and then his eye-visor flared in shock.

“Raven’s Whisper?”

“No… But I am his descendant. My people spoke much about you. More so than would be heard in the courts in 1868. Indeed, one of the members of my tribe tried to defend you in court but was thrown out before being able to speak a single word.”

“I don’t remember that. They didn’t let him get near me I guess.” IronHorse sighed and looked into the eyes of the spitting image of his oldest friend.

Father Raven turned and looked at the gathered crowd.

“I shall summarize quickly. I have just given tribal documents passed down from generation to generation among my tribe that clearly exonerates this MAN.” He slapped IronHorse on the back and looked at Clockstopper daring him to disagree.

“My ancestor, Raven’s Whisper, wrote down everything that transpired the night in question. This he passed to four Braves as they traveled to four other tribes so the documents would be held in safekeeping. The documents detail the exact whereabouts of IronHorse, his role in averting a great disaster, and the role he had in holding off a horde of undead outside of Dudley Arizona. The documents are notarized, and signed by the Braves who witnessed IronHorse that night.”

Father Raven whirled and looked at Clockstopper and those few remaining supporters of the angry little bigot.

“These documents were denied in the original court case of IronHorse because, like him, my people were not considered human. I hope in this day and age there is more enlightened views of humanity. The documents prove IronHorse is innocent of the past charges, and that he should walk out of here a free man.”

Clockstopper gaped like a fish as Father Raven gazed at him in hatred. The City Representative read the documents again and again.

“These…” She muttered. “These are real and official. I’d like to have them examined for authenticity, but the tribal seals…” She looked up into the crowd and then at IronHorse.

“I see no further reason to hold this being here any longer. These documents prove he was innocent in the past, and the evidence given also shows he was acting in defense of the city and human life in the present. I ask only a waiting period for these documents to be examined, and for miss Estavez to keep watch over IronHorse until such time his AI license is properly applied.”

The crowd literally erupted and several people charged the floor to congratulate IronHorse. Maria hugged him tightly and wiped tears away. Why this metal man meant so much to her she was not sure, but seeing him free made her feel better than ever before.

Clockstopper yelled and cursed but could not be heard above the din. He even considered charging the monstrosity before a hard grip locked about his arm and pulled him from the crowd. The gaunt figure looked hard into Clockstopper’s eyes, and for once he could see the sunken eye-sockets and pale grey skin of the figure.

“You still wish to get revenge upon the metal man yes?” The voice was a harsh and foul smelling whisper. Clockstopper gagged but found himself helpless in the gaunt man’s gaze. “My master thinks he may be able to help you. Come with me then.” Without another word the gaunt man dragged Clockstopper out of the building before he could be missed.

Father Raven meanwhile walked to IronHorse’s side and patted the metal man on his shoulder. IronHorse stood, and gripped Maria’s hand while he shook Father Raven’s with his free palm.

“Thank you…”

“No IronHorse, thank you. Raven’s Whisper spoke highly of you in his journals. He called you a true friend of the land and his people. I also must tell you to not regret or feel guilt for what happened. Ed, your father, lives in you still. Just as Raven’s Whisper does.” With a subtle gesture Father Raven pressed a small bag into IronHorse’s palm. The machine man looked down and saw the small shaman’s neckband.

“They… They took this from me in the courtroom in 1868!”

“Yes… It took some finding, and I was going to offer it to the spirit of my ancestor but, I found that he wanted it to come to you. Don’t ask me how.” He smiled and then bowed to Maria.

“Take care of this lug miss. He is one of a kind.” Before Maria could answer the Native American man vanished in a cloud of feathers and a large raven flew out the doors.

Cops swarmed about IronHorse, Maria hugged his arm, Sparkle and Shadow came up and congratulated him, and Kitsumi smiled and wished him well along with all the others.

A lone figure stayed in her seat and watched the room slowly empty. She stood stiffly and then placed a hand to her ear. In a muffled whisper she spoke to mid-air.

“Lord Nemesis, I can confirm it is him. The being you sought during the Civil War walks and functions again, and he is all you said he was…”
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