One of Every Color
Friday, September 20h, 2019.
Miles was used to taking risks in court, but he had a feeling this particular maneuver would stay on his record for some time.
It wasn't as if he had a
choice. When his boss had described to
him the clinic report
But she concealed it for this long. Miles watched
Urami from across the court, and she met his gaze without falter. Whatever
"The Prosecution calls Dr. Hotta to the stand."
Not my finest hour, Miles admitted to himself. He cleared his throat. "Witness. Please state your name and occupation."
"Ah, hm. Do I have to?" Dr. Hotta asked. He spotted Chassie in her defendant's seat and waved creepily.
Miles frowned. "What you told me earlier will be sufficient."
"Ah, okay." He straightened and grinned, displaying crooked teeth. "I'm Dr. Hotta. I work at the Hotta Clinic."
"As a doctor?" the Judge inquired quickly. As slow as he usually was, even he didn't seem encouraged by the prospect of having Dr. Hotta as a physician.
"Yes! Well…." Dr. Hotta's beady eyes gleamed. "Sort of."
"Your Honor," Miles interrupted. "I believe Dr. Hotta is the source from which Mr. Wright received his latest evidence. Isn't that so?"
He glanced to
"Yes. In fact, I checked with the clinic myself, yesterday." Miles shifted through his papers. "The Dr. Stiles that treated and released Chassie no longer works there, and I wasn't able to find any current contact information." He pushed the rest of his evidence aside--all that mattered now was this one report and the man that had supplied it. "So there really is no way to confirm the contents of this report."
"Witness." Miles tore his gaze away to focus again on Dr. Hotta. "Will you please testify as to what you witnessed the morning of October 2nd?"
Dr. Hotta nodded, though he was distracted, busily scanning the row of spectators. All along the walls Miles could see women flinching and drawing away. "Ah, that's right. Night of the fire, hm. I was around." His leering gaze swung back to Chassie, who held herself with remarkable self-control under his scrutiny. "Cute little thing comes in, I take notice. She was all cut up, so they stitched her up good. Sent her home. I got a picture for my collection." He patted the front pocket of his frayed lab coat, and the stiffness of it indicated there was more than one photo inside.
He had better not have Franziska's photo in there, Miles thought uncomfortably.
"Would the defense like to cross examine?" the Judge prompted.
"In that case, I'd like the witness to continue his testimony," Miles took over. "Specifically, this 'collection' he mentioned just now."
The Judge looked dubious, but he nodded. "Very well. The witness may continue."
Dr. Hotta glanced between Miles and the Judge with his own expression of doubt. "My collection?" He covered his pocket protectively. "Photos of old patients."
"You don't have to show us," Miles quickly assured. "Just describe it, briefly, for the court."
"Well…they're photos," Dr. Hotta explained, suddenly wary. There was clearly someone in there he didn't want Miles to know about. "When a pretty girl shows up to the clinic…sometimes they let me take a picture. Out of gratitude, yup. For all the help I give'm."
Whispers arose from the gallery, mostly women expressing their disgust. It was the best reaction Miles could have hoped for, even if he was considering surrendering Dr. Hotta over to his sister by the end of the day. "Out of gratitude," Miles repeated, half to himself. He lifted his voice once more. "So you're saying they're all pictures of beautiful women that you've collected over the years."
"You're very fond of beautiful women?"
Dr. Hotta chuckled deeply, inducing another round of cringing spectators. "Isn't everyone?"
"So if one of these women needed your help, like when they come into the clinic," Miles pressed, "you would help her. Isn't that so?"
"Mr. Edgeworth," the Judge said, frowning as he considered the strange testimony. "May I ask what point you're trying to make?"
Miles grinned smugly. "Isn't it clear, Your Honor? This supposed 'doctor' has a weakness for attractive young women, like the defendant. He just admitted he would be more than willing to help such a woman in need. And here he is, with a remarkable piece of evidence that just happens to be exactly what's needed to save her life."
"Then let's ask him," Miles suggested boldly. He looked to Dr. Hotta as well, knowing full well that his case and half his reputation depended on the man's answer. "Dr. Hotta. Would you lie to help Chassie Gander, if it meant she would be indebted to you?"
Hotta replied, causing
Miles grinned at his rival triumphantly. He was about offer some extra words of gloating, but he suddenly realized what Dr. Hotta had just said. Wouldn't be the first time? He might not have thought too much of it, if not for the sudden narrowing of Urami's eyes. Miles glanced to Chassie, who was wringing her hands together anxiously. She had been watching the proceedings closely up until then, but now her head was turned away.
He's lied for her before, Miles thought, his mind suddenly spinning. And it doesn't look like Wright caught that. He took a breath and pounded his fist on his desk, using the percussion to focus himself once more. "But he could have," he reasoned. "This document was only introduced today--we have only the word of an admitted liar that it's authentic."
The Judge pounded on his gavel to quiet them down. "Mr. Edgeworth, the defense does have a point. Do you have any proof this document has been fabricated or altered in some way?"
"Not yet, Your Honor," Miles admitted. "But our lab has not had the chance to examine this document, whether to authenticate or discredit it. The Prosecution asks that court be adjourned until certain tests are conducted."
Dr. Hotta blinked dumbly. "What, you mean me?"
The Judge cleared his throat uncomfortably. "The Prosecution has a point. How much time do you need?"
"I'd still like to attempt to get in contact with the issuing doctor, as well as perform the necessary tests," Miles said, relaxing a little. "Since it's already Friday, I request that we adjourn for the weekend."
Thankfully, the Judge shook his head. "This is an important trial, with a new and surprising piece of evidence. As I understand, the Prosecution was given very short notice on the appeal of this case. More than that, their office burned down just the other day." He nodded to Miles in sympathy. "It's good to see you in good health, Mr. Edgeworth."
"Thank you, Your Honor. Not that our office was entirely burned down."
"See what a good sport he is?" the Judge complimented. "I think the least this court can do is grant both sides the opportunity to conduct the necessary investigations. Dr. Hotta is excused from the stand, and this court is hereby adjourned until Monday morning."
The Judge's gavel came down, signaling the end of that day's proceedings. It was a welcomed sound that allowed Miles a long sigh of relief. Three days. More than we usually have to make a case. It'll have to be enough. He arranged his papers together and slid them into his briefcase.
The crowd was buzzing as everyone began to pile slowly out of the gallery seats. Miles tried not to pay attention to them, as he was fairly certain he didn't want to hear whatever they thought of him at the moment. As he straightened his suit and cravat Gumshoe came up next to him.
"Mr. Edgeworth! You did great," he said brightly.
"Not really. But at least I bought us some time." Miles ran a hand back through his hair, collecting his thoughts. "There's still a lot of work to do."
Gumshoe clapped his shoulder. "I've got the weekend off duty, 'cause of the other day. If ya got any leg work for me to do, I'll hop right to it, Pal."
"You shouldn't waste your time off on this," Miles chided. "You earned it."
Miles glanced across the
"It's no problem at all, Sir!" Gumshoe assured, drawing Miles' attention back. "With so many of us working on the arson--er, the newer one--there aren't many cops to spare for ya. You'll need a hand on the investigation, won't ya?"
Miles relented. "Yes, you're right. Thank you, Detective."
They turned to go, Miles relating his instructions on the way.
"That fool Hotta,"
Urami murmured, straightening her dress.
"I knew he would be a problem…." She glanced up at
"I did the best I
"Will I still have to
testify?" asked Chassie.
"Probably not. The clinic report is solid evidence, and once
it's proved authentic there won't be a need."
Chassie nodded slowly. It was already going to be a struggle for her once she was acquitted; even if the law found her innocent, it didn't mean the public would. She would never be able to escape being considered a Shikabane accomplice.
"Yes, I know--I was there." She glanced at Urami and Chassie. A woman's smile had never looked so fake. "Congratulations, you two."
"Good to see you
again…Miss May…" Urami greeted coldly.
She looked to
"Is something the matter…?" Urami asked quietly.
"N-No, of course
not. Just…very busy."
"Edgeworth!" Phoenix hadn't meant to call out, as he figured it would only make Miles walk faster, but he was surprised to see it work; Miles slowed, and Gumshoe with him, so that Phoenix was able to catch up. He huffed momentarily before speaking. "Edgeworth, we…we have to talk."
Miles' eyes thinned slightly,
but he managed not to falter in stride or expression. He didn't even look at
"Now's not a good time," he said stiffly.
Being a jerk about it won't, either.
Miles met his gaze, and
finally something behind his eyes softened, revealing at least some of the
Gumshoe glanced between them awkwardly. "Umm…."
Miles must have forgotten
they were being watched, as the sound of Gumshoe's voice jarred him. He tugged his arm out of
Miles smirked faintly as he turned back towards the door. "You might want to brace yourself."
Miles pushed the door open,
and immediately they were flooded by a fresh barrage of flashing camera lights
and unanswerable questions.
After all this time, he's still a mystery, Phoenix thought as he watched Miles' gray hair bob through the crowd. I have no idea what he thinks of me. He took a deep breath and prepared to make his own exit. Maybe we'll figure it out tonight.
Just as he stepped outside,
the commotion raised a pitch, and it wasn't until two thin arms wrapped around
his elbow that he really understood why.
He glanced down, and jumped at the sight of Urami clinging to him. Right in front of every camera in
"Mr. Wright! So you are working for Miss Shikabane!"
"Have you changed your ethical policy, Mr. Wright?"
"Exactly how much is she paying you?"
"Just keep walking," Urami instructed. He could barely hear her over the sound of the reporters. "Don't answer their questions."
"Is this going to be a repeat of last year, Mr. Wright?" someone close to him asked.
That only increased their
Urami chuckled. "There's a taxi behind it…." She lowered her arms to instead hold his hand, and he felt her tuck a piece of paper into the cuff of his sleeve. "Meet me at this address… We have to talk."
This…does not sound good.
"Okay." Maybe Edgeworth will avenge me, at least. "I will."
"I know you will…." Urami let go of him, and thanks to her shorter stature managed to slip through the rest of the gawking spectators with little difficulty. A man in a black suit opened the door to the limousine for her.
You've come this far.
What's the worst that could happen? With a deep breath