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The Cosmic Turnabout
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TheCosmicTurnabout
Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

Apollo:
The courtroom bombing incident -- a terrible attack launched by the will of a madman. That incident perfectly symbolized the state of the legal world in this dark age of the law. Mr. Wright brought it to a resolution... of sorts. Ted Tonate was discovered to be the one responsible for the bombing. ............If only it were that simple. Somehow, I can't help but think... ...that there's a darker influence at work -- one that's lurking in the shadows, waiting... That's why I want to review the trial that was taking place when the bombing occurred. After all, I've got more than a few personal stakes in it...

Episode 4
The Cosmic Turnabout

Anime cutscene
Operator:
One hour remaining until launch. Please begin your final equipment check.

Astronaut:
Check complete! Everything's all okay! We're ready here whenever you are!

Operator:
Come in HAT-2! Come in! Do you copy?


December 16, 9:12 AM
District Court - Defendant Lobby No. 5


Apollo:
(Time for another trial to begin... But this one is different.) ............

???:
Umm.. Sorry to bother you, but... Are you all right, Apollo?

Apollo:
(Ack! Was I making a scary face just now?!) Oh, hi, Juniper! Yes, I'm fine! I was just doing my Chords of Steel exercises. Now I'm all ready to go!

Woods:
Yes, knowing you, I'm sure you will be just fine! Oh! I brought you a present from my garden.

Apollo:
Is this... a lotus root?

Woods:
That's right. My grandma says lotus root is good for your eyes. She says that if you look through the holes, it can help you see into the future! It's for good luck! Maybe later, you can cook it and--

Apollo:
Thanks for this! I'm gonna have some right now!

Woods:
Oh, my!

Apollo:
............Mmm. *crunch* Kinda tough, though...

Woods:
Hee hee! You can't eat it raw! But... thank you for the enthusiastic try.

Apollo:
(Oops! If she didn't think me weird before, she will now! I've gotta calm down!)

Athena:
Apollo! I'm sorry I'm late!

Woods:
Hi, Thena!

Athena:
Junie! I didn't know you were coming today. Did you come to cheer Apollo on? Oh, I get it. You sly little thing, you! Ha ha ha!

Woods:
Th-Thena, stop!

Apollo:
Quit kidding around, Athena. The trial's about to start any second. Is everything all set?

Athena:
Oh, Apollo, Apollo... When will you ever figure it out?

Apollo:
Figure out what?

???:
............Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaangh...

Apollo:
(Wow. That was the longest sigh I've ever heard.)

???:
Haaaaangh... This is it. It's all over for me... They're gonna find me guilty.

Apollo:
(This is our client, one Mr. Solomon "Sol" Starbuck. He's a very famous astronaut, who happens to be an acquaintance of mine. You wouldn't know it right now, but he's usually a very upbeat and driven person. The scene of the crime this time happened to be the Cosmos Space Center. Back in high school, my best friend and I went there almost a little too much... ...but that's where we met Mr. Starbuck. We'd ask about space travel and he'd launch into story after story with so much passion... Back in those days, the man was one hundred percent my hero.)

Starbuck:
Are... you sure you're okay with being my lawyer, Apollo...?

Apollo:
Of course I'm sure. I know you, Mr. Starbuck. I know you're not the type to commit murder.

Starbuck:
Thanks, but......... Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaangh... I was supposed to be in space right about now... Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaangh... Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaangh...

Apollo:
(He's so depressed, it almost seems like an act. The launch getting called off must've been a huge shock.)

Starbuck:
I'll probably never get the chance to go into space again.

Apollo:
Don't say that! Don't stop believing! Besides, you just have to go into space again!

Starbuck:
Yeah... I don't think I could face Clay in the afterlife if I just rotted away in a cell.

Athena:
Clay Terran... I can't believe he was murdered. I mean, he was such a promising astronaut under your command...

Starbuck:
Yeah... He was a good guy -- always there to pick me up when I was down. No one loved life as much as him, that's for sure. He was always so full of energy, telling me, "You're fine, Mr. Starbuck!"... ...Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaangh... How could something like this happen to a guy like him, huh?

Apollo:
(I've never seen Mr. Starbuck so down...)

Starbuck:
...Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaangh... Clay's gone, and I'm going to prison... I wish I could burn up like a shooting star right now.

Apollo:
...Mr. Starbuck! You'll be fine!

Starbuck:
Ah! Wh-What is it?! What's with the yelling?!

Apollo:
I'll get to the bottom of this today! You'll see! And in exchange, I want you to go back into space for you and Clay! Promise?!

Starbuck:
...Does that mean you have lots of evidence to prove my innocence?

Apollo:
Oh! Umm... Well... About that... We... didn't get to investigate the area as much as I'd have liked, thanks to the police.

Starbuck:
............I'm done for. I'm a goner. Everybody thinks I did it. Thought I was gonna soar like a comet, but I'm just gonna crash like a meteorite.

Apollo:
No, don't say that, Mr. Starbuck!

Athena:
Don't count yourself out yet!

Apollo:
I know it's hard to lose a teammate, but you've got to keep going.

Athena:
............And what about you, Apollo?

Apollo:
What about me?

Athena:
I was just thinking, wasn't Clay your best friend?

Apollo:
.........We need to focus on the trial right now. Are you all ready to go?

Athena:
Apollo...

Bailiff:
The trial is about to begin. If the defense would please proceed into the courtroom!

Athena:
O-Okay! Here we go!

Apollo:
(This is it. This is one trial I can't afford to lose! For Clay's sake and our client's, I WILL find Clay's killer!)


December 16, 9:55 AM
District Court - Courtroom No. 4


Day 1
Court Is Now In Session
All Rise


Judge:
Court is now in session for the trial of Solomon Starbuck.

Apollo:
The defense is ready, Your Honor.

Judge:
............Excuse me, Mr. Justice?

Apollo:
Yes, Your Honor?

Judge:
What happened to your eye?

Apollo:
...I'm fine! The defense is ready, Your Honor!

Judge:
............Are you sure? I don't--

Apollo:
I'm fine, Your Honor! The defense is ready!

Athena:
I'm sorry, Your Honor. He's been like this since yesterday. He keeps insisting it's just a sty.

Judge:
Hmm... I suppose it's something he doesn't want to discuss. Maybe he's entering a touchy age...

Apollo:
............

Judge:
Very well. And the prosecution...?

Blackquill:
............

Judge:
The prosecution appears to be ready as well.

Blackquill:
Silence Official

Blackquill:
............ ............... ...Not yet. I'm... not quite ready yet.

Judge:
Hmm?

Blackquill:
Ngh... Graaaaaaagh!

Judge:
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagh!

Blackquill:
The prosecution... is now ready.

Athena:
Well, it didn't take him long this time.

Apollo:
............ (What's up with Blackquill?)

Judge:
N-N-Now, then. I-I-I shall give the opening statement...

Blackquill:
Silence Official

Judge:
............

Blackquill:
I'll do it.

Judge:
You will? Wh-What an unexpected surprise!

Blackquill:
This time, I can't leave it to anyone else.

Judge:
I-I see... Hmm... Something is off with the two of you today. You both seem different somehow.

Athena:
............

Judge:
Very well, Prosecutor Blackquill. Your opening statement, if you would.

Blackquill:
It was just yesterday. The crimes in question occurred at the Cosmos Space Center.

Judge:
Ah, that famous federal research facility of all things related to astrology, right?

Blackquill:
Astronomy. It's astronomy. Anyway, a rocket was set to launch from there... ...but at 9:28 AM, before they could even move the rocket to the launch site... ...two explosive devices were detonated, and the launch was canceled.

Judge:
My word! Two bombs? How dreadful...

Blackquill:
The defendant in today's trial is charged with both the bombing and with murder... One Mr. Solomon Starbuck. For whatever inane reason, he detonated a bomb on the rocket he himself would be in.

Judge:
Solomon Starbuck? I recognize that name. Isn't he that famous astronaut?!

Blackquill:
Correct, Your Baldness. Mr. Starbuck was the pilot of the HAT-1 rocket seven years ago. As you may recall, despite some interstellar trouble, his mission was a success. Some say it was a miracle he returned alive. I suppose you could say he's a living legend.

Judge:
Oh, I remember now. He's become something of an international celebrity, right? They even turned that incident into a movie and everything! We've got a real space pioneer in court today!

Blackquill:
Hmph. But even heroes tumble from their lofty heights. Returning to the subject at hand...

Judge:
Ah, yes. The victim was one Mr. Clay Terran, a subordinate of the defendant.

Blackquill:
Indeed. A loyal disciple brutally stabbed to death by his mentor.

Judge:
Stabbed to death, you say? You mean his death wasn't a result of the bombing?

Blackquill:
Correct. Despite his lofty dreams, the victim was seen as an interloper by the defendant. And so, he was sent not into space, but to the universe which we mortals cannot see.

Apollo:
(Clay...)

Judge:
I think I've heard enough. The case seems pretty clear-cut at this point. However, there is one thing I'm curious about. That metal box next to the witness stand... What purpose does it serve, exactly?

Blackquill:
Since you asked so nicely... It's your coffin.

Judge:
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagh! Have mercy on meeeeeeeeeeee!

Blackquill:
............I jest. It's evidence. Due to its immense size, we've little choice but to lay it where it rests now. We shall get to the contents of the box in due time.

Judge:
Phew... I feel like I just lost fifty years off of my life.

Athena:
...Does he even HAVE fifty years left?

Apollo:
Inner monologue, Athena! Inner monologue!

Blackquill:
Enough jabbering.

Fulbright:
Bobby Fulbright's the name! In justice we trust!

Judge:
Ah, Detective Fulbright! Very well, them. Please explain the details of this incident to the court, if you would.

Fulbright:
On it! First, take a look at this pamphlet from the Cosmos Space Center! In it, you'll find a diagram outlining the overall layout of the Space Center. Ah, here we are. For a more detailed look at what's on the left side of this building... ...take a look at this cross-section that we the police have created. See the launch pad and the main building?

Judge:
The launch pad is the square building, and the rounded structure is the main building, right?

Fulbright:
You got it. The incidents took place in Launch Pad 1 and in the main building's Lounge. I'll be using this diagram during my testimony -- it'll make it easier to understand!

Space Center Diagram added to the Court Record.


Witness Testimony
-- Details of the Case --

Fulbright:
Just before the rocket was set to launch, two bombs went off. BOOM! BOOM!
One on the second floor of the Space Center's main building and one in Launch Pad 1.
Thankfully, only the two astronauts were in Launch Pad 1 at the time.
The two of them managed to make it back as far as the boarding lounge...
...but after the escape, one of the two was found stabbed to death!


Judge:
Hmm... A murder on top of a bombing...? Detective, the victim was already dead by the time you arrived at the lounge, correct?

Fulbright:
Yup. Thinking he'd sabotage the bombing, the defendant attacked and killed the victim. Just look at this tragic photo!

Judge:
Oh, my! I-Is that a knife in the victim's chest?!

Fulbright:
Yes, Your Honor, it's the knife that cruelly ended this young man's dreams! We couldn't get any prints off of it, though, because the defendant was in his space suit.

Utility Knife added to the Court Record.

Judge:
By the way, Detective Fulbright... Why are the victim's helmet and right glove absent in this photograph?

Fulbright:
We had to remove them to identify him, Your Honor. I personally removed his glove during the investigation. We had to get his fingerprints to confirm his identity, after all.

Judge:
Hmm... Yes, it would be very difficult to identify him without a face or fingerprints. Now, there's just one more thing I'd like to inquire about... What is this round thing next to the victim in this photo?

Blackquill:
Something so important to the victim he took it with him as he escaped the launch pad. A capsule that apparently contains asteroid samples. While obviously valuable for research purposes, it has no relation to this case.

Judge:
Hmm... I see.

Apollo:
So... we know that the bomb in the main building was on the second floor... ...but where was the bomb that was in Launch Pad 1 located?

Fulbright:
Heh. That one was on the rocket itself. It was situated around the central part of the rocket. Apparently, the area around the launch pad's elevator was a sea of flames. I would like to submit this diagram and report into the record!

Bombing Report added to the Court Record.

Athena:
The trial's just started and we're already in a bind.

Apollo:
You get used to it. Besides, that's what cross-examination is for, right? (What the two astronauts were doing during the bombing... That'll be the key!)


Cross Examination
-- Details of the Case --

Fulbright:
Just before the rocket was set to launch, two bombs went off. BOOM! BOOM!

Fulbright:
One on the second floor of the Space Center's main building and one in Launch Pad 1.

Fulbright:
Thankfully, only the two astronauts were in Launch Pad 1 at the time.

Fulbright:
The two of them managed to make it back as far as the boarding lounge...

Fulbright:
...but after the escape, one of the two was found stabbed to death!

Athena:
Hmm... It's like he's trying to give us as little information as possible.

Apollo:
Maybe Prosecutor Blackquill's got his tongue...

Athena:
Well, don't let that hold you back. Keep pressing until we get what we need!


After pressing all statements:

Judge:
I think that pretty much covers the details of the case. Only the victim and the defendant were on the launch pad when the former was killed. If this is the truth, then only Mr. Starbuck could have carried out this crime.

Apollo:
(What little I could get out of him only hurt my case.)

Blackquill:
Hmph. Justice-dono, foolish is the warrior who rushes headlong into battle. Preparation is an essential element of battle, so I advise you to take a gander at this.

Apollo:
What is it...?

Blackquill:
Footage from a security camera. As the two astronauts emerged from the bowels of the Launch Pad 1 Corridor... ... the boarding lounge security camera captured their desperate escape. Now, I would direct your attention to what the defendant is shouldering... ...which you can see, is none other than... the lifeless body of the victim.

Apollo:
Wh.....Whaaaaaaaat?!

Judge:
Order! Order I say! This... This lines up exactly with what the prosecution has been asserting!

Apollo:
I should've known Blackquill would have something like this ready.

Security Camera Video added to the Court Record.

Athena:
Um, Apollo...? How exactly did they determine that Clay was... already gone in that footage?

Apollo:
.........Ah, I see what you mean! Whether Clay was still alive at that point IS pretty crucial. Your Honor! Please take another look at the footage. Isn't it possible that Mr. Terran was still alive here and that Mr. Starbuck was helping him?!

Judge:
Why, I believe you're right. One man carrying the other to safety... What a beautiful expression of friendship...

Blackquill:
Silence Official

Blackquill:
Hmph. Perhaps that's what it looks like to a one-eyed hothead and a dotard... But it only makes sense if it's the victim's dead body.

Apollo:
What do you mean?

Blackquill:
...Fool Bright, explain it to Justice-dono.

Fulbright:
You got it! Ready, kid? If the murder had occurred in the lounge, someone could've spotted it. Anyone can enter the lounge, after all. But doing it while they were alone in the spaceship? That's a horse of a different color!

Apollo:
PWAADD Objection!

Apollo:
But you can't deny that there's a possibility the murder could've happened in the lounge! All that video shows is a man helping his fellow astronaut out!

Blackquill:
Silence Official

Blackquill:
Your assertion... is based on emotion. It's based in your belief that Mr. Starbuck would surely help his own disciple. But you have no logical explanation as to why the victim could still be alive.

Apollo:
Urk!

Judge:
Unfortunately, Mr. Justice, the prosecution is right. Your argument is lacking in sound logic.

Apollo:
(But it sounded perfectly logical to me...)

Judge:
Well, Mr. Justice? If you have no further objections... ...I believe it's time to bring this cross-examination to a close.

Apollo:
Objections...? Well, I, uh...

Athena:
AA5 Holdit

Athena:
Your Honor! The defense requests a little time to think and regroup.

Judge:
Hmm... Given the facts, I'm not sure I see the need...

Apollo:
What is it, Athena?

Athena:
It's just... There's something that's been bothering me.

Blackquill:
Hmph. If it isn't the defense stalling for time, as always. ............Very well, I'm feeling generous. You may have a small measure of time.

Athena:
Yes!

Blackquill:
You have......... five seconds.

Athena:
F-FIVE SECONDS?!

Blackquill:
After that, I declare this cross-examination to be closed, and a verdict to be rendered. Your Baldness! Raise your gavel high. It's time for a countdown!

Judge:
Oh... OH!

Blackquill:
Ready?

Apollo:
We don't have time! Spit it out, Athena!

Judge:
Only three more seconds!

Athena:
Ack! L-Look! I don't think the prosecution's explanation is very complete.

Apollo:
Meaning?!

Athena:
Meaning there's something missing -- like they conveniently left it unexplained...

Apollo:
Something they didn't explain... Something they didn't explain... .........Ah! You're right! I think I know what you're talking about!

Judge:
Your five seconds are up, Mr. Justice. Is there anything about the prosecution's argument that you'd like to rebut?

Apollo:
Y-Yes, Your Honor! Actually, there is! There is something the prosecution has yet to make clear to this court!

Judge:
Hmm... Well, if you put it that way... What is it that the prosecution has failed to explain?

Apollo:
They have failed to explain why Mr. Starbuck would bother bringing the body back at all. If the defendant wanted to kill the victim, why didn't he just leave the body in the rocket? Why go through the trouble of bringing him all the way back to the boarding lounge?

Judge:
Oh! That's true! I don't think we've heard the prosecution's thoughts on that yet.

Apollo:
That's because they have none, Your Honor. After all, how does one explain something so illogical?

Blackquill:
............

Apollo:
The prosecution is claiming that the defendant moved the victim's dead body. But what if the entire premise of that argument is wrong?

Judge:
Then let's hear your theory, Mr. Justice.

Apollo:
The defense proposes that the defendant didn't kill the victim! He was helping him! Aaaaack!

Blackquill:
Fool Bright. Explain it for our sad friend here before I nod off to his monotone monologue. Inform him exactly why Space Boy moved the victim.

Apollo:
Huh? (They've gotta be joking...)

Fulbright:
It's simple! Mr. Starbuck did what he did to direct suspicion away from himself! He wanted to create the impression he heroically risked his life to save his partner! That's why he made sure to make it to the security camera so there'd be a record!

Blackquill:
At the very least, he appears to have achieved success with you and the old man.

Apollo:
Ah!


Judge:
One man carrying the other to safety... What a beautiful expression of friendship...


Blackquill:
The average person wearing a space suit weighs easily over 200 pounds. Saving the life of a partner who weighs as much, while trying to escape deadly flames... What a dramatic sob story fit for the silver screen.

Judge:
Indeed. I was completely taken in by the humanity of the story.

Blackquill:
You see? Yet the true ending is that all traces of his hammy act were meant to be blown up. Yes, and now we arrive at the thrilling conclusion: the third explosion!

Athena:
PWAADD Objection!

Athena:
What are you talking about? There was no third explosion!

Blackquill:
Silence Official

Blackquill:
Indeed, you are correct. But that is thanks to Detective Arme. It was she who identified and secured the bomb. However, it doesn't change the fact that the third bomb was discovered in the lounge. The steel coffin beside the witness stand. That would be... a bomb transport case. We used that to transport the deactivated bomb here. It was found in the lounge... A bomb in the form of a most distasteful toy.

Athena:
WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?!

Blackquill:
One on the second floor of the main building, one on the launch pad, and one in the lounge. The defendant planned to set off three firework displays. Fortunately, the third one was discovered before it could be detonated, for had it not... ...the victim's body and other vital evidence would surely have been immolated.

Apollo:
PWAADD Objection!

Apollo:
Gaaagh!

Blackquill:
Before you utter a word, know that the evidence supports me.

Apollo:
(Ugh... It's like he's reading my mind...)

Blackquill:
As it is still undergoing forensic investigation, I do not have the evidence on hand. However, know that a peculiar item was found in one of Mr. Starbuck's pockets. Specifically, a bomb detonation switch...

Apollo:
You found whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?!

Blackquill:
I suspect the defendant had no time to destroy such damning evidence... ...when the Space Center director and Detective Arme stumbled across the murder. So he thought to hide it in his pocket... feeble-brained that he is.

Apollo:
Aaaaaaagh... No! Mr. Starbuck would never do anything like that! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!

Blackquill:
Justice-dono, open your eyes and see the truth.

Judge:
Hmm, this appears to be irrefutable evidence that the accused set off the explosions.

Apollo:
(No! There has to be some kind of mistake! This can't be the "truth"!)

Blackquill:
Still can't accept it? You'll believe in your client, come what may? ............Then why don't you cross-examine the defendant himself?

Apollo:
(......This has got to be a trap.)

Athena:
It's like Blackquill's controlling the entire game.

Apollo:
Yeah. It seemed like he was waiting for me to bring up the body moving issue.

Athena:
Why do you say that?

Apollo:
Because he had just the right argument when I pointed it out... ...and to really rub it in, he had a decisive piece of evidence up his sleeve, too. He was trying to shake my faith in Mr. Starbuck and break me down!

Athena:
Then, making you cross-examine Mr. Starbuck at this point was part of his plan, too...? Totally underhanded, but I wouldn't expect anything less from him.

Blackquill:
Now, let us hear from the arch villain, the fiendish murderer himself. Famed astronaut, Solomon Starbuck!


Judge:
Witness, your name and occupation, please.

Starbuck:
Solomon Starbuck. Astronaut... Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaangh... How did this happen?

Judge:
Mr. Starbuck, you aren't looking very well. Will you be able to give testimony?

Starbuck:
Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaangh............ No.

Judge:
............Well, unfortunately, "no" is not an option. You are being accused of the Space Center bombing and the murder of Clay Terran. Please testify to these allegations.

Starbuck:
Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaangh... Umm... Mind if I take this suit off? It's getting really heavy...

Blackquill:
Silence Official

Blackquill:
It's not the weight of the suit that you feel, but of your sins. Prepare to carry that weight for the rest of your life...

Starbuck:
............Banish me to the moon... I don't care anymore...

Athena:
Wow... That was super-negative... Is he going to be all right up there?

Apollo:
H-He'll be fine! I think... (As long as he doesn't totally give up and say he did it, that is.)


Witness Testimony
-- I Didn't Kill Him --

Starbuck:
All I did was support Clay over my shoulder and get us out of the rocket!
Like always, I took the elevator down to the middle level and headed for the corridor.
Clay had passed out by the time we got the order to evacuate.
I didn't kill Clay! I was trying to save him!


Judge:
Hmm... So you assert you didn't set off the bombs or murder the victim?

Starbuck:
Ha ha. Ha ha ha... But I bet you think I'm lying, right?

Judge:
I reserve all judgment until after I've heard your full testimony.

Starbuck:
Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaangh... I'm sure you don't believe me. I bet you don't even believe I'm an astronaut.

Apollo:
(I don't think the judge doubts THAT!)

Athena:
Who'd wear a suit like that EXCEPT an astronaut...

Judge:
Hmm... I will say that when I saw you in that movie... ...you appeared quite courageous, though I suppose reality never quite lives up to fantasy.

Starbuck:
Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaangh... I guess I'm just a big disappointment... Ha ha. Ha ha ha. Ha ha... I really don't care what happens anymore. Ha ha ha...

Apollo:
(Oh, no! He's completely give up!)

???:
Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaangh...

Blackquill:
Hmph. What a depressing fellow. If you were to join me in the clink... ...I imagine that annoying sighing of yours would rub off on the other inmates.

Athena:
Like how it rubbed off on Prosecutor Blackquill a second ago?

Apollo:
(Huh? That was Blackquill sighing? Mr. Starbuck's testimony contains a glaring contradiction. The question is, what does it mean? Even if Mr. Starbuck is my client, I can't be gun-shy now! It's time to find out the truth!)


Cross Examination
-- I Didn't Kill Him --

Starbuck:
All I did was support Clay over my shoulder and get us out of the rocket!

Starbuck:
Like always, I took the elevator down to the middle level and headed for the corridor.

Starbuck:
Clay had passed out by the time we got the order to evacuate.

Starbuck:
I didn't kill Clay! I was trying to save him!

Athena:
Apollo, there's something strange about Mr. Starbuck's testimony.

Apollo:
Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. There's a glaring contradiction. I just wonder why it's there and what it means for our case.

Athena:
Well, it doesn't look like he's lying, at least...

Apollo:
............ (Guess I'll have to show some evidence.)


Apollo:
Mr. Starbuck, I need your testimony to be as accurate as possible.

Starbuck:
W-Was I not being accurate?

Apollo:
No, because it's impossible for you to have taken the elevator down to the middle level.

Judge:
What makes you say that, Mr. Justice?

Apollo:
Please recall where the bomb went off in Launch Pad 1. Also recall that after the explosion, the middle level elevator was engulfed in flames.

Judge:
Oh! You're right. Which means...

Apollo:
Exactly. The launch pad's elevator would've been unusable. In other words... ...Mr. Starbuck, your statement is decidedly inconsistent with the facts! Wh-What's with the helmet?

Starbuck:
Aaaaaagh! Mission command! Mission command! Do you read me?! Come in, please!

Apollo:
PWAADD Objection!

Apollo:
This is mission command... I order you to PAY ATTENTION! Stop this nonsense and answer my questions, Mr. Starbuck!

Starbuck:
Aaaaagh! M-My helmet! Ah! My oxygen taaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaank! Oxygen concentration and body temperature declining! Requesting medical assistance! Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagh!

Judge:
M-Mr. Starbuck! We are not in space right now! Please stop pretending you have lost consciousness and stand back up!

Starbuck:
I-I apologize, Your Honor. I forgot I was still on Earth.

Athena:
I feel like we all just got a real glimpse of Solomon Starbuck the astronaut.

Apollo:
Yeah, he seemed more like an astronaut now than when he was doing all that sighing. Mr. Starbuck, could you please explain the inconsistency in your statement? About how you used the middle level elevator?

Starbuck:
I, uh... was nervous, and I said the wrong thing! I'm sorry! I actually, uh, took a different route, I think.

Apollo:
A different route?

Blackquill:
............I hope you're able to deliver a straight story this time.

Starbuck:
Ack! I-I-I'll get it right this time! Maybe. No, I mean, probably!

Blackquill:
Probably...?

Judge:
It's understandable to be nervous, but let me remind you that accuracy is paramount in court.


Witness Testimony
-- My Escape Route --

Starbuck:
Let's see... Uh, my escape route... What I said before was a mistake.
I, uh, I remember now! I took a different route... Maybe... Probably...
With the capsule and Clay in my arms, I made my way down from the upper level.


Apollo:
So you're saying you escaped without using the elevator?

Starbuck:
Th-That's right! There's a ladder that spans the upper and middle levels. I used that ladder to get to the middle level. Luckily, the fire hadn't reached the ladder, so we could make our escape that way.

Apollo:
And the capsule you mentioned... I suppose you mean the thing next to Mr. Terran here? Was the capsule that important that you'd risk your life to take it with you?

Starbuck:
It almost goes without saying, but yeah! That capsule contains asteroid samples. Therefore it's invaluable as research material. With his space suit on, Clay weighed a ton, but securing the capsule was also important.

Apollo:
I need you to answer to the best of your ability! Mr. Starbuck! Please remember that your verdict is riding on your testimony!

Starbuck:
Ha ha... ha ha ha... Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaangh... Maybe I am guilty after all. I wonder if you can see the stars in prison? Bet it's more comfortable than a spaceship.


Cross Examination
-- My Escape Route --

Starbuck:
Let's see... Uh, my escape route... What I said before was a mistake.

Starbuck:
I, uh, I remember now! I took a different route... Maybe... Probably...

Starbuck:
With the capsule and Clay in my arms, I made my way down from the upper level.

Athena:
So Mr. Starbuck escaped with Clay and the capsule, which means... ...it's just like in the footage. I can see why he couldn't run, though.

Apollo:
He must've weighed over 200 pounds just by himself.

Athena:
Yeah, and he had to support Clay, who was another 200 pounds. Plus, he had to ensure the safety of that capsule. I don't think I could've even walked under those circumstances.

Apollo:
(Walking straight forward is probably about all I would've been able to manage...)


Apollo:
Mr. Starbuck, why don't you just tell the truth?

Starbuck:
Th-The truth? Um, let's see... The Earth is blue...? No, no. That's not right. So, uh... I guess the Earth isn't blue? Yeah, that's it!

Apollo:
The truth, Mr. Starbuck!

Starbuck:
Gawrh! The oxygen concentration is super low in this area! Prepare the emergency oxygen tanks!

Judge:
Mr. Justice, the witness appears confused. Please help draw out the truth from him.

Apollo:
Mr. Starbuck, under the circumstances at the time... ...you couldn't possibly have reached the boarding lounge via the upper level route.

Starbuck:
Huh?

Apollo:
Not as long as this was along the escape route!

Apollo:
To get down from the upper to the middle level where the Launch Pad 1 corridor is... ...you would have to go down the ladder, isn't that right, Mr. Starbuck?

Starbuck:
O-Of course! That was the only way we could escape!

Apollo:
PWAADD Objection!

Apollo:
But how would that work? At the time, you were supporting Mr. Terran over your shoulder, were you not? And remember, he was in full space gear as well, putting him at over 200 pounds.

Starbuck:
Ah! Ooooooh! W-W-Well, it's easy on the moon! Gravity is only one-sixth of what it is on Earth.

Apollo:
PWAADD Objection!

Apollo:
But the Space Center is located on Earth! Short of being an octopus, climbing a ladder with an adult male in space gear in one arm... ...while carrying the capsule in your other is impossible, wouldn't you say?

Starbuck:
Oh...!

Apollo:
So, Mr. Starbuck! How exactly DID you climb down that ladder with your arms full?!

Starbuck:
Aaaaaah!

Apollo:
Mr. Starbuck! Come clean and tell us the truth! NOW!

Starbuck:
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagh! Engineer! Where's that engineer?! Oxygen leak detected due to faulty maintenance! Evacuate immediately!

Apollo:
What the--!? (He's flying the coop!)

Starbuck:
Aaaaagh! Help! I'm caught on the ceiling! .........Um, help? Anyone...?

Judge:
Bailiff! Prepare the cherry picker! We must launch our rescue mission at once!

Athena:
Well, that's one way to take off while being questioned...

Apollo:
I'd rather prove his innocence so he can go to space again someday for real...


Judge:
Now then, Mr. Starbuck, do you think you can keep your feet planted on the ground?

Starbuck:
Yes. I apologize for losing control.

Apollo:
Are you ready to tell us... the truth?

Starbuck:
Ungh... Not that... Anything but that...

Apollo:
(What is going on? This isn't the Mr. Starbuck I know...)

Blackquill:
...It appears Space Boy is prone to deception. Witness!

Starbuck:
Y-Yikes! Y-Yes...?

Blackquill:
I thought your story odd, but perhaps the inconsistencies can be explained as... ...the result of a medical side effect?

Starbuck:
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagh! Prosecutor Blackquill! Please... Please don't talk about that...

Apollo:
W-What are you talking about, Prosecutor Blackquill?

Blackquill:
Hmph. Didn't I already state that Space Boy is, ironically, terrified of going into space? That's why he took some "precautions" just before the launch. For you see, traces of this anti-anxiety drug were found in his system.

Apollo:
Oh...? (I sense things are about to nosedive...)

Starbuck:
AA5 Holdit

Starbuck:
Y-You got it all wrong! I told 'em during the investigation, too! I don't know anything about any drugs! I never took any medication, I swear!

Apollo:
(It was found in his system, but he doesn't remember taking it...?) How could that be?

Starbuck:
Somebody must've slipped them to me! B-But I guess maybe that's why I don't remember... because of the side effects... Yeah, that's why I don't remember much about what really happened!

Apollo:
Wh-Whaaaaaaaaaaat?!

Judge:
Order! Order in the court!

Apollo:
(We can't get any useful testimony out of him if he doesn't remember anything...!)

Athena:
Well, this certainly explains why his testimony kept changing.

Apollo:
Ungh... Why didn't he just tell me he couldn't remember?

Athena:
I guess he didn't want anybody to find out he was terrified of going into space.

Starbuck:
Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaangh... Maybe I really DID do it...?

Blackquill:
Which brings us to the answer of our original question... ...of how the witness climbed down the ladder with a dead body.

Apollo:
It does? ............Um, so what is it?

Blackquill:
A dead man feels no pain and makes no complaints, Justice-dono. So the body was simply dropped down from the top of the ladder.

Judge:
Oh, my! I see... And then the defendant could climb down with his free hand...

Apollo:
PWAADD Objection!

Apollo:
Drop the body down?! Who would do such a disrespectable thing?! Besides, dropping the body down would leave marks on the body itself.

Blackquill:
So you are capable of quick thinking. ...Yes, you are correct.

Apollo:
Really? Oh, um, thanks...? Heh heh. Aaaaaaagh! ...Huh? What's this?

Blackquill:
It's the oxygen tank from the victim's spacesuit. It's ruptured, and I'm sure you can figure out why.

Apollo:
.........Y-You can't be implying it ruptured when the defendant dropped the victim's body!

Blackquill:
I am, for they fracture easily when struck.

Apollo:
PWAADD Objection!

Apollo:
Even if that's true, the tank's explosion and shrapnel would leave its mark on the body. Yet, according to the autopsy report, only the knife wound was found on the victim's body. You're clearly grasping at straws with this line of reasoning!

Blackquill:
Silence Official

Blackquill:
A spacesuit isn't heavy for the sake of being heavy, Justice-dono. It includes the latest technological devices and is made of the fabric of tomorrow. The fabric is made to protect astronauts from the dangers of space... ...so falling a few Earth yards would hardly leave a mark on the wearer.

Apollo:
PWAADD Objection!

Apollo:
Then shouldn't it be impossible to stab someone through it as well?!

Blackquill:
It should, and yet, through sheer coincidence... ...the knife slipped through a weak spot in the suit's structure and found its way to its target.

Apollo:
Wh-What are the chances...?

Blackquill:
You forget that our killer is an astronaut himself with knowledge of how the suits work.

Apollo:
Nngh... (He's got me there...)

Blackquill:
And now my argument has been proven. Space Boy killed the victim in the rocket and then dropped his body from the upper level. After climbing down, he shouldered the body and made sure the camera recorded them. There's no room for debate about these facts. It is clear that Solomon Starbuck is the only one who could have killed Clay Terran!

Apollo:
GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!

Blackquill:
Here. The report regarding the astronauts' oxygen tanks. Consider it my send-off gift. Feel free to use it as payment to cross the river Styx.

Apollo:
Ack!

Oxygen Tank Data added to the Court Record.

Athena:
Hey, this report is pretty detailed.

Apollo:
Let's see... "The display on the astronaut's left shoulder shows how much oxygen remains." I guess that means these glowing cyan digits represent the amount of oxygen remaining...

Starbuck:
Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaangh... I'm done foooooooooor! I'm going to prison instead of spaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace!

Blackquill:
...Space Boy.

Starbuck:
Y-Y-Y-Yes?!

Blackquill:
Take heart. The bejeweled night sky is still beautiful even when viewed through bars.

Starbuck:
Y-You mean... the stars as seen from... prison...?

Blackquill:
That's right. Your cell will be your spaceship. Picture the view through the iron bars. It's like being an astronaut in your own craft for all time.

Starbuck:
Ha ha ha. That's not a half bad thought...

Apollo:
Um, Mr. Starbuck..? (Prosecutor Blackquill got to him good...)

Starbuck:
Spaceship "Prison Cell," fly me, my guilt, and my despair into the deepest, darkest space. And then, let's get sucked into a black hole together!

Apollo:
PWAADD Objection!

Apollo:
Mr. Starbuck, you can't give up hope!

Starbuck:
Oh...! Yes, Apollo...?

Apollo:
You know, Clay really looked up to you. He said you are an incredible man. He said you'd never give up your dreams and passion for space, no matter the situation.

Starbuck:
He said that...?

Apollo:
So don't give up now and help me prove your innocence! For the sake of the man who respected you and believe in you -- Clay Terran!

Starbuck:
For Clay...!

Blackquill:
...Hmph. You're wasting your breath.

Starbuck:
Unnnh... Nngh... Raaaaaaaaaaaaagh! RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH! GRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!


Starbuck:
............Apollo, thank you! I can see things clearly now!

Apollo:
Mr. Starbuck!

Starbuck:
I'm... I'm fine now -- thanks for reminding me of my life's mission.

Apollo:
Right. We'll both be fine! I'll prove you're innocent. You'll see! And after that, we'll get you back into space!

Starbuck:
Raaaaaaaaahhhh! You've ignited the booster rockets of my soooouuuul! I'm on fiiiiiiiiiiire!!! I am Solomon Starbuck, astronaut! A cosmic hero chosen by the universe itself! This is no time to be whimpering and crying! I can't let you and Clay down!

Blackquill:
Balderdash.

Starbuck:
The sun... the moon... all of space is calling me! Solomon "Sol" Starbuck! Ready for launch! Begin the countdown! Five!

Apollo:
Four!

Athena:
Three!

Judge:
Two!

One!


Starbuck:
LIFT OFF!


Judge:
Well! I feel like I've witnessed an actual rocket launch!

Athena:
Apollo! You did it! You broke Prosecutor Blackquill's grip over Mr. Starbuck!

Apollo:
I can't take the credit. It was all Mr. Starbuck. He pulled himself through.

Blackquill:
Hmph. If you simpletons are done massaging one another's egos... No matter how positive your mood, my advantage remains unshakable. I have but to wait for the final guilty verdict. Isn't that right, Your Baldness?

Apollo:
Gah... (I can't let up now! I have to stop Blackquill! I have to see this through... Mr. Starbuck just has to make it back into space! I won't allow Clay's dream to remain unfulfilled! I've got to destroy Blackquill's argument somehow! Think, Justice! Think! If the only people at Launch Pad 1 were Clay and Mr. Starbuck... ...and if Clay was already dead by the time this footage was taken... ...then the only person who could've killed him is Mr. Starbuck. So the only way to counter Blackquill's argument is... ... if I can prove that Clay was still alive when they arrived at the boarding lounge. In which case, I should be able to find some contradiction in the evidence itself! Now, let's see... About this data that we just received... This supposedly proves that Mr. Starbuck dropped Clay's body in Launch Pad 1. But if I'm going to prove that false, then there must be something I can use here.)

Blackquill:
Enough of this farce, Your Baldness! Let's have your verdict!

Apollo:
PWAADD Objection!

Apollo:
Prosecutor Blackquill, you seem to be in quite a hurry to rush the verdict. But about this oxygen tank data you submitted just now... ...it says that Mr. Starbuck's tank had 80 percent remaining while Mr. Terran's had 0. Do you stand by the accuracy of this report?

Blackquill:
Of course.

Apollo:
............Then I guess it simply means that it's faulty, as evidence goes.

Blackquill:
You will explain what you mean, Justice-dono.

Apollo:
It's simple. This evidence contradicts the facts of this case. Take a look here at the detailed description and you'll see what I mean.

Judge:
I hope you have some evidence, Mr. Justice, because I don't see what's so contradictory!

Apollo:
Y-Yes, Your Honor! Right away! This is the evidence that the oxygen tank report stands in contradiction to!

Judge:
And how does this evidence present a contradiction?

Apollo:
The problem is this part here.

Apollo:
Note the remaining oxygen in Mr. Starbuck's tank as he carries Mr. Terran.

Judge:
Hmm... It appears to say 50.

Apollo:
Yes, but according to the data, our client's tank had 80 percent remaining.

Judge:
The oxygen in the tank increased?

Apollo:
I see Your Honor finds it as strange as I do. It's bad enough that there is a contradiction, but the increase in oxygen is beyond illogical!

Judge:
Oh, my! You're absolutely right! What is going on here?

Blackquill:
Silence Official

Blackquill:
Hmph. I, too, find it odd that the oxygen remaining has increased. It would be as odd as if my rations were to increase. But what does that prove? It doesn't change the fact that it is the defendant carrying the victim's corpse!

Apollo:
PWAADD Objection!

Apollo:
Heh. I'm going to bet you don't get more rations because you don't abide by the rules. Either way, the oxygen remaining shouldn't increase, just as your rations don't increase. Therefore, this new information is critical! We can't overlook it!

Blackquill:
Silence Official

Blackquill:
In that case, do you have an answer to this riddle of the mysteriously increasing oxygen? You'd better not disappoint, or I'll declare the inconsistency as mere equipment malfunction.

Apollo:
Erk!

Judge:
Hmm... Prosecutor Blackquill has a point. I suppose it could be a simple malfunction. Mr. Justice. If you cannot provide an adequate counterargument to this point... ...I'm afraid I must bring this trial to an end. So, do you think you can explain why the remaining oxygen level increased?

Apollo:
O-Of course I can! (The thing to do at a time like this is turn my thinking around! Mr. Starbuck has no memory of it, but he claims to have carried Clay. So this man with the 50 on his tank ought to be Mr. Starbuck. But, if anything, the display on his oxygen tank should have shown an 80. This is a clear contradiction between the report and the security footage. So what I should be asking is not, "Why did the oxygen level increase?"... ...but, "What had to have happened to make it LOOK like it increased?" Am I making some kind of mistake in my base assumptions here...?)

Judge:
Well, Mr. Justice? We're waiting.

Apollo:
Yes, Your Honor! I'm ready to answer! This is why the remaining oxygen appears to have increased!

Apollo:
What if it was the other way around?

Judge:
The other way around? Would you care to explain, Mr. Justice?

Apollo:
As you can see, Your Honor, both men had their helmets on in this footage. But it turns out, this is where our base assumptions went astray. We assumed that it was Mr. Starbuck helping Mr. Terran, but it was actually the other way around. It wasn't Mr. Starbuck helping Mr. Terran at all. It was Mr. Terran who was helping Mr. Starbuck to the boarding lounge!

Judge:
I-I-It was whaaaaaaaaaaaat?! Order! Order! Mr. Justice! You mean to tell me that the person on the right in this image is the victim, Clay Terran?

Apollo:
It's the only way the riddle of the increasing oxygen level can be solved, Your Honor. At this point in time, the remaining oxygen in the victim's tank was at 50 percent. And when the victim was found in the boarding lounge, his tank was at 0 percent.

Athena:
That's right! There's nothing contradictory about the oxygen level decreasing!

Apollo:
This means Mr. Terran was alive as they made their escape to the lounge!

Blackquill:
Silence Official

Blackquill:
Hmph. How short your memory is. Have you forgotten what you yourself proposed? Even if the victim was alive at this point in time... ...how did he descend the ladder with his arms full?!

Apollo:
DD Objection! animated

Apollo:
Prosecutor Blackquill, you can't hurt me with a broken blade.

Blackquill:
Excuse me?

Apollo:
It's true that we don't know how they got down the ladder. I suppose that matter needs further investigating. But we have proven that Mr. Terran was alive when he reached the boarding lounge. This fact alone shatters your claims... ...and opens up the possibility that the victim could've been killed by a third party!

Blackquill:
GRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWR!

Apollo:
There were two people who claimed to be the first on the scene. But can we truly trust their statements?

Athena:
Let's see. The two people were Detective Candice Arme and Yuri Cosmos, right? You think that one of them might have given a false statement to the police?

Apollo:
Yes, it's certainly possible. We might have to do a little more digging.

Judge:
It seems we'll have to hear the testimony of these first two people on the scene.

Apollo:
(Score!)

Judge:
Come to think of it, Detective Arme should be here in court right now. Bailiff, could you please show Detective Arme to the stand?

Tonate:
AA5 Holdit

Tonate:
I-I have an announcement, everyone!

Judge:
Wh-What's the meaning of this? We're in the middle of a trial here!

Tonate:
P-Please remain calm and listen carefully. Someone has reactivated the bomb! The bomb was diffused, but, but, but...... I-It's about to explode!

Apollo:
EX-

Athena:
PL-

Judge:
OOOOOOOOODE!?

Apollo:
A bomb? Now?!

Man:

-- Aaaagh! Everybody run!


Woman:

-- Eeeeek! I don't want to die!


Athena:
Oh, no! Everybody's panicking!

Blackquill:
Silence Official

Blackquill:
Headless chickens with a death wish, the lot of you! Calm yourselves afore all else!

Athena:
C'mon, Apollo! Let's get out of here!

Apollo:
But what about Mr. Starbuck's dream? And who will carry out Clay's final wish? I don't care what happens to me! I'm not letting some bomb blow the truth up forever! I... I... I refuse to let things end here!

Athena:
Apollo, this is no time to be dramatic! If we don't get out of here now, we're gonna die! C'MON! THIS WAY!

Apollo:
Hey! Ouch! Let me go!


Woods:
Apollo!

Apollo:
J-Juniper? (She hasn't evacuated yet?)

Woods:
Eeeeek!

Apollo:
J-Juniper! Are you all right?!

Athena:
Apollo! No! Not that way!

Apollo:
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

To Be Continued



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