[GOLDBERG & SILENT LADY opening credits standard version]
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FRONT OFFICEGOLDBERGWhat is this? (waves case file angrily)SILENT LADY looks at the case and then back at him,blinking.GOLDBERGOkay, it’s a case. I’m not blind. Why is it here?SILENT LADY waits.
GOLDBERGIt’s a woohooing elf lord! The kind that owns people!I don’t defend people like that. (drops the case onSILENT LADY’S desk) Get rid of it.SILENT LADY picks the case up and hands it back.GOLDBERGI told you, I don’t defend elf lords! (throws thecase back on SILENT LADY’S desk)SILENT LADY picks up the case, opens the folder, andhands it back.
GOLDBERG(barely glances at it) I don’t care if the schmuckstole all of Macdeirféar Thornleaf’s “property,” I --SILENT LADY continues to hold out the case, bored.GOLDBERGThornleaf? As in Ælfric?SILENT LADY waggles the case enticingly.GOLDBERGAll right, I’ll have a look. But I don’t defend elflords.
TIARNA’S GARDENTIARNAThank you for taking my case, Mr. Goldberg.GOLDBERGI agreed to meet, not to take the case.TIARNA inclines his head.TIARNAUnderstood. Thank you for that.
GOLDBERGSo... Nice place you got here.TIARNA(shrugs) It’s nice to have money sometimes.GOLDBERGYou couldn’t just spend some of that on the girl --Lucinda?TIARNAI offered a good price. Slightly above fair marketvalue, actually. Macdeirféar wouldn’t sell. He’s fondof her, apparently.
GOLDBERGApparently not enough to keep her with him.TIARNAOh, leasing for a year and a day is very traditional.And very lucrative.GOLDBERGWhy would anyone lease a favorite to you?TIARNABecause I offered a pantsload of money plus a favor?
GOLDBERGI read up on you, Mr. Brightdawn. You have thehighest “attrition rate” of anyone in the EasternKingdom.TIARNAYes, I do, don’t I. Funny how nobody asks to see thebodies. Do you know, if people are willing to squashup a bit, you can fit three to a coffin?
GOLDBERG and TIARA look at each other. No dialog.
GOLDBERGAnd what happens after they squish up three to acoffin?TIARNAImmediately? They move on to the next station.Eventually? They reach one border or another, andcross.GOLDBERG is silent; you can almost see the wheelsspinning.
GOLDBERGAnd Lucinda?TIARNAWas pregnant.GOLDBERGBut humans and elves aren’t cross-fertile.TIARNAPrecisely.
GOLDBERGYou couldn’t just say she was dead?TIARNAHe’d want to see the body.GOLDBERGSo you said she ran away.TIARNA spreads his hands.TIARNAWhat else could I say? I couldn’t produce a body,live or dead.
GOLDBERGAnd Macdeirféar accused you of theft.TIARNAIt’s logical enough. I’m afraid it didn’t help that Icouldn’t let them search.GOLDBERGBecause?TIARNA looks at him.GOLDBERGOh, right.
TIARNAThey can search now. It’s clear. Although it mightlook good if my learned counsel were to persuade meto cooperate. (raises an eyebrow) I do have a learnedcounsel, don’t I, Mr. Goldberg?GOLDBERGYou bet your ass.-COMMERCIAL-
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COURTROOMGOLDBERGDid my client take Lucinda by force, sir? Did he rideup on a big black horse, wearing a cape and a maskand one of those floppy hats with the feathers, sweepher up, and carry her off with him?MACDEIRFÉAR THORNLEAFNo, of course not.
GOLDBERGAh, then he put on a black ski mask and a stylishblack-and-white striped sweater and climbed a ladderinto her room, where he put a pillowcase over herhead and tied her hands with the curtain cord beforeabsconding with her down the ladder?MACDEIRFÉAR THORNLEAFNo.
GOLDBERGI see. Then he must have put on a wet suit and ascuba mask and tunneled up through the ornamentalfish pond --MACDEIRFÉAR THORNLEAFHe leased her for a year and a day.GOLDBERGNo masks?MACDEIRFÉAR THORNLEAFDon’t be stupid.
GOLDBERGAh, but perhaps when my client proposed the lease, hegrabbed your arm and twisted it so far behind yourback that you were in fear of it popping out of thesocket.MACDEIRFÉAR THORNLEAF sneers.MACDEIRFÉAR THORNLEAFThere is nothing a squib like that could do to makeme do something I didn’t want to do.
GOLDBERGOh, certainly, certainly! But when my client used aglamourie of persuasion --MACDEIRFÉAR THORNLEAFHe’s a squib. There is nothing he could do.GOLDBERGWell, being persuasive doesn’t necessarily mean thatit involved glamourie. I’m sure that my client’snatural eloquence overcame --
MACDEIRFÉAR THORNLEAFHe. Is. A. Squib. The lease was my idea. I wanted himto owe me a favor. And he stole my Lucinda!GOLDBERGSo there was no guile?MACDEIRFÉAR THORNLEAFNo!GOLDBERGNo trickery?
MACDEIRFÉAR THORNLEAFNo!GOLDBERGNo force?MACDEIRFÉAR THORNLEAFAre you deaf? No!GOLDBERGThank you. That will be all.
GOLDBERGCan you tell us what your search results were, Mr.Pertt?XAVIERNegative. The Waldo, the Chameleon, and the Frankturned up nothing. Those are standard tests fortrying to find a person. Or any mammal, really.GOLDBERGAnd the Wells?XAVIERNegative.
GOLDBERGAnd did you find Lucinda?XAVIERI just said no.GOLDBERGI apologize. Did you find anywhere she might behiding?XAVIERIf we’d found that, we’d’ve found her.
GOLDBERGAgain, I apologize. Did you locate anywhere she mighthave been hidden in the past awaiting resale?XAVIERNo.GOLDBERGDid you find a body? Or any evidence that she mighthave been killed?XAVIERWe didn’t look.
GOLDBERGNo? That seems pretty logical to me. Why not?XAVIERMr. Thornleaf has a twig.GOLDBERGAs in, a twig that indicates the life state of theperson who is tuned to it?XAVIERIt’s more that the twig is tuned to the person, butyes.
GOLDBERGAn Lucinda’s twig is green? So she’s still alive?XAVIERYes.GOLDBERGAnd she’s not on my client’s land, or on any propertyhe owns?XAVIERNo.
GOLDBERGAnd I see in your report that you’ve also nogetforfærdeligted all my client’s lands and environs.You’ll forgive me, I’m not a trained professional.That means...?XAVIERIf the girl crosses any boundary to which your clienthas set his mark, his vital organs will shrivel up,his genitals will drop off, his fat will melt off hisbones through every available orifice, and hiseyeballs will probably explode.
GOLDBERGDoes that include his personal boundary? His body?XAVIERActually, it extends one hundred yards beyond hisperson. Roughly ninety-one and a half meters, if youprefer.GOLDBERGThat’s rather extreme, isn’t it? Rather expensive?XAVIERIt’s what the client paid for.
GOLDBERGSo there is no way my client, Mr. Brightdawn, coulduse Lucinda for her intended purpose?XAVIERResale, perhaps. Or rental on some property that isnot his own.GOLDBERGBut not for her, ah, intended purposes?XAVIERNot at all.-COMMERCIAL-
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COURTROOMSKLAVENHÄNDLERShe wasn’t traded within these borders.GOLDBERGBut how can you be sure of that, Mr. Sklavenhändler?You don’t own a trading house.SKLAVENHÄNDLERI do better. I own the database.GOLDBERGThe database?
SKLAVENHÄNDLERThe database where every trade is tracked. Everysale, every price, every trade, every body thatpasses through any trading house in the EasternKingdom, they all come through my database.GOLDBERGBut what about illegal houses? Dark, off-the-books,under-the-table houses? Maybe ones where the sellersdon’t exactly own what they’re selling?
SKLAVENHÄNDLERThem too. Do you know how they finally brought downNoble the Cuckold, Mr. Goldberg? Unregisteredtrading. Such a little thing, but it leads to havingacid poured on your endlessly regenerating liver forfive hundred years at a minimum. The taxman alwaystakes his due, Mr. Goldberg, so unless the seller issuicidal, all trades are registered. And there wereno trades involving that body.GOLDBERGOkay, but maybe they used another name...
SKLAVENHÄNDLERMy system is better than that, Mr. Goldberg. I havetrolls recording a three hundred point list ofdistinguishing characteristics of every body involvedin every trade, which is compared against a list ofthe same characteristics for every owned body in theEastern Kingdom. More than seventy-five points ofsimilarity will trigger an automatic investigation,with genetic sampling if a master sample is on file.The body in question had such a sample in thedatabase, and there were no matches. It’s a verycomprehensive system, Mr. Goldberg. This is very bigbusiness.
GOLDBERGTrolls, huh? Uncorruptible and unimaginative. Notlikely to make things up.SKLAVENHÄNDLERThat’s why I hire them.GOLDBERGSo my client could not have traded Lucinda on? Ormade a profit from her in any way?SKLAVENHÄNDLERNot unless he rented her out on his own property.
GOLDBERGOr someone else’s property.SKLAVENHÄNDLERNo. That’s one of the three hundred points for thisbody. If she’s not on the property of her owner orlegally subcontracted leassee, there’s a cantripembedded in her brain stem that that will paralyzeher from the ears down instantly. She’d die.
GOLDBERGAnd that works no matter where she is?SKLAVENHÄNDLERAnywhere within the Eastern Kingdom, yes.GOLDBERGThank you, Mr. Sklavenhändler. No further questions.
CONFERENCE ROOM FOR THE DEFENSEGOLDBERGI can’t believe he said that about the brain stem! Wehave this in the bag now! (sobers) But that’s so --so inhuman. And it’s a real thing now?It’s rhetorical, but SILENT LADY nods. After anincongruously tense beat, she taps the small of herback.
GOLDBERGThey’ll cantrip the base of the spine, too? Arrogant,barbaric, interfering woohoo-headed bastards! (sigh)And we’ve got one of them to defend, so let’s getback out there. Is my tie straight?SILENT LADY regards GOLDBERG critically for a moment,and then nods. GOLDBERG exits and SILENT LADY slumpsagainst the wall, eyes closed.
GOLDBERGLadies and gentlemen of the jury, my client is manythings, but he is not a thief. The law is very clearon this point. A thief is someone who take somethingthat belongs to another, whether by guile, bytrickery, or by force. A thief takes property forprofit, either to use themselves for its intendedpurpose, or to exchange for money, goods, orservices. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I haveconclusively proved that none of those circumstancesapply to my client. Consider: My client did not takeLucinda by guile, force, or trickery. Mr. Thornleafwas quite clear that it was a legal contract, freelyentered into by both parties.
GOLDBERGConsider: My client made no profit off his possessionof Lucinda. Mr. Sklavenhändler has assured us that myclient could not, did not, trade her anywhere withinthese borders. Therefore, my client could not, didnot, profit off Lucinda in any way. Consider: Myclient could not rent her out off his own propertywithout killing her, and yet Mr. Pertt has proof thatshe is not dead. Consider: My client cannot comewithin one hundred yards of her without (stagewhisper) his genitals dropping off. (normally) Now,that defeats the entire purpose, doesn’t it?Laughter from THE JURY.
GOLDBERGNow, if this were a trial for criminal negligence ofMr. Thornleaf’s property, then you could convict him.Absolutely. If this were a civil trial for breach ofcontract, nobody could be more guilty than my client,because he cannot produce Lucinda as set forth in theagreement. Corrupted files, if this were a trial forbeing a slave-owning piece of censor blur, I wouldurge you to convict without hesitation! But this is atrial for theft, ladies and gentlemen of the jury,and by the legal definition of theft my client isclearly not a thief. I must therefore regretfully askyou to acquit him. Thank you.
GOLDBERG’S OFFICETIARNAAn unusual tactic, Mr. Goldberg. Very unusual.GOLDBERGBut it worked.TIARNAThat’s true. It did. I would imagine it doesn’t workall that often, though, does it?
GOLDBERGI’ve never lost a case.TIARNANever? (pause) Ah, I see. You only take cases youthink you can win.GOLDBERGI take cases I think are right.There is a long and not entirely comfortable pause,broken when SILENT LADY coughs theatrically from thedoorway and taps her wrist.
TIARNAYour admirable assistant is right. (rises) It’s late,and I should let you go home. (places a small butvery heavy box on GOLDBERG’S desk) Worth everycopper, Mr. Goldberg. I thank you.GOLDBERG stands and walks him to the door.
GOLDBERGYeah, well… I don’t like elf lords. But you’re not asbad as most of them.TIARNA laughs.TIARNAI could say the same about lawyers. Until we meetagain, hopefully under better circumstances.GOLDBERG and TIARNA shake hands before TIARNA leaves.
GOLDBERG returns to the desk and sits down. SILENTLADY passes him an already-filled-in deposit slip.She picks up the heavy box and puts it in her purseas GOLDBERG signs the deposit slip.
GOLDBERGI wonder if you could beat Sklavehändler’s database.You’d need to cover up scars. And birthmarks. And getownership tataus removed. (yawns) Or altered. Butwhat would you do about your fingerprints?SILENT LADY shrugs and holds out her hand for thedeposit slip. GOLDBERG hands it to her, glancing ather palm has he does so. SILENT LADY leaves,pointedly turning off the light. GOLDBERG looks athis own palm and then just sits, thoughtful, in thegathering dark.