Author: John McNeil
Excuse me, I thought it was my turn. You had your hours and hours to say your so-called evidence, and now I’d like to talk about what really happened. Can we have Javert with a clipboard over here stop interrupting?
Thank you. As I was trying to say, the trespassing was a complete misunderstanding, first of all. Maybe I noticed the “Authorized Personnel Only” sign. Do you know how many signs there are on this space station? There are probably about a million signs nobody pays any attention to. Oh like say, the one in this tribunal chamber that says “No Eating.” Half of you are chewing clams right now and I believe Mister Inquisitor had a panini before his enthralling presentation. Look at the crumbs on his lapels.
Yes, it was the power reactor chamber, and yes, if someone messed up the controls we’d all be blown to stardust. That’s why I was being careful, not wasting time reading signs, okay? So this trespassing thing is a complete joke.
Secondly. Let’s be honest. Things fall into people’s pockets by mistake all the time. If a power crystal fell in my pocket what does that prove? I have with me, in fact I’m wearing it now, the same light jacket I was wearing on the night in question. I’m going to give it to the evidence robot and roll it over to you. Now I ask you, members of the tribunal, to inspect the left-hand pocket in question and tell me — remembering your oath to follow the facts wherever they lead — does or does not the left-hand pocket of this light jacket in question have a simple cloth flap that could be tucked inside it, allowing something to fall in? Rather than say a zipper? There’s no zipper.
So it’s undeniable that the power orb could have fallen into a pocket through no cognizance of my own. And then maybe I did notice the signs you keep talking about, “Authorized Personnel Only,” and thought to myself, hey! I’m a law-abiding guy. I don’t eat paninis when I’m not supposed to. I’ll obey a sign even if some people don’t. I’m on my way out.
Sure I noticed the lights going out, the alarms and people running around, and the orders to evacuate. It’s an emergency. Am I asking “what have I got in my pocket?” At a time like this? What am I, Bilbo Baggins? I just got on the first shuttle I saw. Lucky there was one idling right there, but lucky’s not a crime.
I’ll tell you what is a crime though. To wantonly search a man’s bank account for an alleged transfer of funds. Did you give your bank special instructions to refuse all large sums that the Gorgonoids might ever send you? If not, you’re as guilty as I am. And if the Gorgonoids have power crystal technology all the sudden what does that have to do with me? Proves nothing. The real crime here is that I was interrupted in the middle of a well-earned vacation and made to sit and listen to Crumbs the Inquisitor and his wild imagination. I put it to the tribunal that he is the true robber, a robber of my valuable time, and I rest my case.
365tomorrows launched August 1st, 2005 with the lofty goal of providing a new story every day for a year. We’ve been on the wire ever since. Our stories are a mix of those lovingly hand crafted by a talented pool of staff writers, and select stories received by submission.
The archives are deep, feel free to dive in.
"Flash fiction is fiction with its teeth bared and its claws extended, lithe and muscular with no extra fat. It pounces in the first paragraph, and if those claws aren’t embedded in the reader by the start of the second, the story began a paragraph too soon. There is no margin for error. Every word must be essential, and if it isn’t essential, it must be eliminated."
We're open to submissions of original Science or Speculative Fiction of 600 words or less. We only accepting work which you previously haven't sold or given away the rights to. That means your work must not have been published elsewhere, either in print or on the web. When your story is accepted, you're giving us first electronic publication rights and non-exclusive subsequent publication rights. You retain ownership over your story. We are not a paying market.
Voices of Tomorrow
Voices of Tomorrow is the official podcast of 365tomorrows, with audio versions of many of the stories published here.
If you're interested in recording stories for Voices of Tomorrow, or for any other inquiries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org