And then it was all over, except for the fine details.
I've been in Paris for the last two weeks, watching what can only be called the Trial of a Civilization -- both in terms of what it is, and its magnitude. Never in human history, recorded or otherwise, have we had the duty, or the right, to put an entire civilization on trial for its actions against us.
Hopefully, after this, we never will again.
I've been in the courtroom, watching it happen. I've been out in the streets, afterwards, talking with the people who couldn't be there, or really shouldn't have been allowed in. And I've been pouring over the testimony and depositions, the evidence and conclusions.
I was there the day we got to hear what is, without a doubt, the most horrifying testimony to come from from a defendant's mouth, ever. I was there when we heard just how small and inconsequential we are, in the galactic scheme of things, and how far we have yet to go.
I was there when the truth about what happened to the American President was told, and the existence of Alter-Earth -- and, by extension, the SPYGOD of Alter Earth -- made public for the first time ever. I was there when America's greatest and finest Superhero came clean about having been blackmailed into inaction for decades by that man, thinking he was actually SPYGOD.
And I was there when SPYGOD got on the witness stand, and admitted to authorizing a war plan that resulted in the deaths of billions of children, in order to deprive the Imago of their energy reserves.
(An admission that, it is said, may land him in that same courtroom at a later date.)
I was there. I saw. I listened. I made connections and looked them up. I went out and asked people what they thought, or what they knew.
And now here I sit, three days away from an ultimate reckoning, and I have to ask myself a very tough question: Do I think justice was served?
I'll have to wait three days for the sentencing to be certain, of course. But at this point, based on what I know, I'd like to say yes. I want there to have been a final, satisfying conclusion to everything that's happened. A way to say that we got through this terrible, truly-worldshattering event with at least our basic human dignity intact.
A way to say that everything we have suffered -- both as individuals, and as a species -- has at last been answered for.
A way to say that justice for what we have lost has been achieved.
But I know that I can't. I cannot say that justice has been served, here, today. Not by any standard we care to uphold, anyway.
I think we have only served the cause of revenge.
Why would I say such a thing? Well, that should be !@#$ing obvious to anyone who's ever been in court, much less read about it. And ayone who's sat through the process of jury duty, or actually gotten through to serve on one, should know where I'm going before I get there.
Because what's the one thing they always ask you, after your name and profession? What's the one sure way to get out of jury duty, if you really feel like being a shirk?
They ask you if you personally know anyone in the case, or are a party to it. They ask you if you have any kind of a personal stake in what's happening, in that court, and cannot render a fair verdict.
And if you answer "yes," then you're out of the pool right then and there. Do not pass go. Do not lose however much money and time because of someone else's problems.
Walk out the !@#$ Courtroom doors and be free, for now.
So consider the following statement: the Imago took over our planet.
Consider that they left no part of it untouched or untransformed. Consider that they changed our entire way of life and doing things, and saw to it that we either didn't notice, or no longer cared.
Consider that they warped our perceptions and our sensibilities, and told us that it was all for the best and that we should be happy -- grateful, even -- and just accept this new way of thinking and doing.
And consider that, all the while, as we were being happy little busy humans, they were using us as raw material and a slave labor force, the better to build them a rocket ship to get the !@#$ off this planet before a really nasty thing comes to destroy the world.
Consider all those things, and then ask yourself whether we could render any kind of a fair verdict on these Imago.
Yes, they plead Guilty. Yes, the outcome was never in doubt. Yes, everything we heard and learned just emphasized and underlined the reasons why it was right for them to plead guilty in the first place.
But there was no impartiality at work, in this trial. There was no detachment from the personal. There was no divorce from injury and suffering.
There was no fairness, and therefore no fair trial.
What else could we have done? I don't know. Apparently, just about every alien race that lives amongst us, here on Earth, left either before or during the Occupation. Some left of their own accord, and some were apparently forced out while we weren't looking.
(And many say that it was this approaching, cosmic doom that they fled, and not the Imago.)
But I can't help but think that there had to be some other body that could have adjudicated this. Some higher court or arbiter that could have looked down upon the facts and rendered a totally fair and impartial judgment.
Some force, beyond our petty concerns and injuries, who could have seen the whole thing from afar, and been moved to find a righteous verdict.
But none came forward. None appeared. And if anyone involved in this injurious farce of a trial sought them out, I have no idea, and may never.
All I know is that, in spite of the cheers and the jeers, and the cathartic "human scream" that was uttered in that courtroom when the sentence was read, we have only gained revenge, this day. I can only hope that, for the sake of posterity -- if not our souls -- the sentence they mete out in three days' time is much more real.
Those we lost deserve it. We deserve it.
And so do the Imago.
(SPYGOD is listening to I Will (The FIXX) and having a Kanterbrau Biere de Noel)