In court, appearances matter. One day it all came crashing down around a certain judge's head. A fool like any other had taken the stand. He had a look on his face like he had just remembered he hated public speaking, which was indeed what he was thinking. He stuttered and stammered through a brief account of the last four years. The story was unbelievable.

The judge was not taken in by this, alone, mind you. She was about like any other attractive young American judge of African descent who happened to be female... The fool was staring at her.

"I believe he's asking you a question, ma'am." The stenographer, an antiquated profession largely replaced by a chatty friend for the judge to joke around with, whose sole interaction with the machinery was through a single button.

"Yes, well..." She hadn't been paying attention. No need to worry. "I have a question for him. Young man," he was scarcely a year younger than her, if his birth certificate wasn't forged, which was seeming more and more doubtful... "Get out of my courtroom."

The next case was a big one. Two software pirates had stolen the same piece of artwork or something, and they were posting it all around the internet, even to kids, but with their viruses embedded in its core make-up. The men had both been deemed white-collar crime at its best by the initial queries of the first investigatory panel.

As the courtroom moved on to this next item of business, the fool seemed to be rather taken aback that no one was listening to him anymore. The judge put up with it for as long as she could, then finally screamed, "Get out! Get out with your 'Planet 9!' God-damn fool!"

"Don't use the Lord's name in vain!" the fool shouted angrily, simultaneously making a dive to shake the Finnish software pirate's hand. The man started acting very like... some animal... the judge tried to place it, but she couldn't in this racket. She banged her gavel and called for order in the court.

"Now listen," it was the other software pirate, a Canadian. Even his opponent stopped acting like... a penguin... yeah, that was it. She was going to have to crack a haughty joke to excuse her laughter... "I don't even understand why we're divided up like this. This man and I are angry at YOU." There was an audible gasp. The Canadian begged just to be heard out, and the judge tried to focus through her swelling rage. She seized the opportunity to laugh, but it came out all wrong.

At points in the story that unfolded, it wasn't clear what the two men were hiding, but it was something verging on sacred. The best part was, they failed to see how the fool was involved even after they had implicated him in their crimes. And a citation for Jesus, if you have faith like that, but this man seemed to be talking about religion more generally. It left questions, mostly to the man's sanity, but the computer presented as evidence clearly did work.

"Well, but could it work on its own?" she asked the Canadian. He looked more confused than she felt. The Finn, who was supposed to be opposing this one, shouted a... well... an objection, and the judge stood up and glared menacingly to silence them both.

The fool was causing a commotion in the background. "This concerns me!" he was shouting tearfully.

The judge looked questioningly at the Finn, testing the waters for an alliance. He shook his head no, the correct answer. "No, I am quite sure it does not! Bailiff..." she began. The fool burst from the room, screaming that he had escaped and warning bewildered thugs on the benches outside. She nodded to the bailiff, and instantly thought better of it. She didn't even really know what happened when she made that nod, and there was something almost... well she wouldn't even think that. Not about some fool. "Bailiff, come back here. Might need you with these two."

Both software pirates jumped, signaling they understood at least the basics of the courtroom's proceedings. She explained to them calmly that she was willing to dismiss the case with a promise she would never see either of them again. It didn't work. The Finn seemed to think about it a minute, and the Canadian looked thoroughly confused and to be following not his lawyer, but...

Hang on a second, why weren't the lawyers participating? Her head hurt. She rubbed her forehead, and realized everyone seemed to be doing the same. The lawyers looked completely baffled. Why had their clients been representing themselves? The judge began to go off on them like a damaged fire hydrant. Did lawyers as a fucking concept just pop into existence? Everyone in the courtroom looked terrified for a second, but then the mood of the room turned jovial as everyone laughed it off.

The door slammed, and no one in the room stifled their gasp. "I'm back!" shouted the fool. "I found a computer it runs on in one of your locked offices with the fancy interior windows." He had in tow a running computer module thingy and screen, trailing a long extension cord. "Does this prove my innocence?"

"No," said the Canadian to the judge, "and we're not software pirates."