THE NEXT DAY I was constantly looking over my shoulder and finding a couple of teams that seemed to alternate in following me. When David and Kendra came back on Sunday, they insisted on paying for some extra security for my house, and to travel around with us when we went to court each day. The teams following me did back off once we had a few brawny security guards traveling everywhere with us. Kendra had also decided it was a good idea for her not to leave me alone to go back to Crescent City, so that left David going back and forth on the weekends to check on the office. None of us were quite sure what the stalkers had planned, but it didn’t seem like it would be good no matter what!
We made it through the pre-trial motions, chose a fairly decent panel of jurors who weren’t all Little babying maniacs, and were in our second day of testimony of the third month I’d been back. The first day we had called a few of the ‘caregivers’ and ‘parents’ as witnesses to testify on their perspective of what had happened.
“Your Honor, we would like to call Doctor Katrina Welsh as our next witness,” I said in my firm voice.
Katrina was a chemist who had studied the contents of each of the items we had remaining in evidence, not only from Beth and her mom, but thirty others as well. I watched as she was sworn in, and stepped up to the plate for the first time in this trial since Kendra had taken yesterday’s witnesses.
“Doctor Welsh, would you please tell us your qualifications?” I began.
“Certainly, I have a PhD in Biochemistry, with an emphasis in proteins and neurotransporters.”
“In lay terms, you study the chemistry of how our bodies make decisions and communicate between the brain and the body parts?”
She nodded, “That’s a good way to break it down.”
“You have in the past studied a specific Casein Protein that is involved in a specific process, correct?”
“Yes, I was the lead researcher in a study we titled ‘Pathway to Control’ that looked at a phenomenon known to most Bigs with the affects our breastmilk has on Littles. Several studies had linked adopted mothers nursing their Littles as causing a severe reduction in signals to a Little’s bladder or bowels to let them know they need to go. Long-term feeding of breastmilk to Littles seemed to even completely eradicate any ability to voluntarily control those functions on their own. Through our study we identified the specific protein that we dubbed Casein Protein E3. Further studies show that it essentially gums up the Pontine Mictruition Center of the brain, along with the spinal cord and nerve receptors of the bladder and anal sphincter.”
“So, you effectively in this study proved what everyone had always known was probably true about breastmilk?”
“Objection Your Honor, Speculation!” The defense counsel said loudly.
The judge looked down at me and said, “Sustained.”
“Your Honor?” I asked.
“Asking her what has always been known is out of order. Continue on with your questions…”
I kept my cool and said, “Now that we know about your focus, you had a chance to examine samples of the body lotions in exhibits thirteen through fort-three, correct?”
“Yes sir,” she said with a smile.
“And what did you find?”
“A true chemical hodgepodge… Standard ingredients based off of a petroleum base, Sodium, Citrus, and some elements for scent that are normal in such products. What wasn’t normal though was a high concentration of the Casein Protein E3, as well as E8, J4, and a neurotoxin that is commonly found in stingrays”
“A neurotoxin?” I asked.
“Yes, I was quite surprised by it actually… The fact I found it in all of the lotion samples was not something I would have expected given I was told they were from dozens of separate sources?”
“Objection Your Honor! The witness is speculating!”
“Your Honor the witness is an expert in biochemistry, she is using her expert knowledge and opinions to render a valid series of scientific observations.”
“Sustained,” the judge said coolly. “Stick with the chemistry.”
I was more annoyed at that point, but moved on, “This neurotoxin you identified, what effect would it have upon entering someone’s bloodstream?”
“Well, it was really a true cocktail of sorts within these samples. The neurotoxin in particular would most likely attack the person's nervous system, at the very least causing them to have severe coordination and motor control issues. In too high of a dose there is always the potential for a heart attack.”
“So, a person would probably not be able to walk very well?”
“Or talk… or potentially even breathe,” she added.
“What would the other items affect?”
“Well, with a dose in enough quantity I would expect the neuro-receptors to be gummed up by the E3 protein. It would be the equivalent damage as three years of nursing…”
“Objection your honor, again, this is pure speculation. Not to mention breastfeeding has shown no negatives in study after study!”
“Sustained!” the judge looked at me.
“On what grounds? This isn’t speculation, this is hard science being presented by a specialist in the field!” I argued.
“My courtroom Mr. Sylvester, move on!”
“Doctor Welsh if you had to predict the effects based on your knowledge of chemistry, what happened to the individuals who applied this lotion onto their bodies?”
“I believe it likely they would collapse within a relatively short time, be unable to control their bodies, and likely suffer significant permanent motor function losses from the neurotoxin. It is also quite likely that two of the proteins would bind to centers in the brain for motor control, and another would be binding to the emotional area of the cortex. Based on studies with lab animals I believe it would also likely do significant damage to other portions of the brain, such as the hippocampus that controls memory. Those animal subjects were later autopsied and found to have literal holes in the tissue of their brains where healthy synapses should form.”
“In lay terms, this would essentially create a vegetable?”
“Your Honor, Objection, the counsel is attempting to prejudice the jury against our clients!”
“Sustained,” the judge looked at me, “Mr. Sylvester, are you quite through here? If you’re not, I want to warn you that I’m about to strike all of her testimony if you continue to push the bar.”
I debated for a moment about pushing it, but a glance to our table saw David and Kendra waving me off. “No more questions, Your Honor,” I told her.
I watched the defense begin to cross examine Doctor Welsh. Several times we raised our own objections, but we were overruled on all but one of them. “Court is in recess for ninety minutes for lunch!” The judge said.
I groaned as we gathered our things and walked to a nearby deli. “What the hell is her problem?” I asked the two quietly as we sat at a table away from others.
Kendra shook her head, “I’m not sure, but it’s clear there’s something more at play here. Cameron you need to be careful with this judge, I don’t trust her…”
“I agree,” David said. “You sure you want to take the afternoon? She’s way more combative with you than she was with Kendra?”
“I want to at least get through Doctor Nickerson. She’s a Big with a massive reputation that I’m surprised we got to help us out here.”
“You shouldn’t be surprised,” Kendra said. “And you have the wrong Doctor Nickerson.”
“You’re thinking of Doctor Ivy Nickerson, the CEO of the hospitals in town here. Doctor Holly Nickerson is the one who did the examination. She’s actually a Little herself.” Kendra smiled.
“Apparently she got into some sort of a scuffle with terrorists a few years back? She’s from the other dimension?” David filled in.
David nodded, “Yep, but some loopholes let her run the pediatric ward at University Hospitals General Campus.”
“She was quite the steal to have examined them. Flying her out to check out the patients in New Haven helps out with credibility locally.” Kendra stated.
“Won’t they just dismiss her for being a Little?” I asked, confused.
“I doubt it in this town… or State. She’s made quite the name for herself since they let her start practicing medicine here.”
“Huh,” I said, “I think I maybe remember a little bit of that news… If it’s the attack I’m thinking of, it was completely crazy!”
The steak and cheese sandwich I had was pretty tasty, and I was feeling nice and full going back to the courthouse. A quick trip to the restroom was made before we began the afternoon arguments. Kendra saw that Doctor Holly Nickerson was set to go, while David and I made sure we were organized at our table. Just before we heard ‘All-rise’ that afternoon I noticed a tall figure had joined the bench behind the wall of the defense team.
Her beautiful red hair was as lovely as ever, and the grey scoop-necked dress was both classy, and flattering to her form. We made eye contact for one second, and then my attention went back to the judge who was just being announced.
“Please call your next witness,” she told us.
“We would like to call Doctor Holly Nickerson,” I said aloud. ‘I sure hope that David prepped her…’ I couldn’t help but think. ‘I should have been involved with that with her being a Little!’
The short woman walked confidently up to the witness stand where a booster seat was already being provided. There were titters in the gallery and the jury box, so Judge Taney used her gavel and called, “Order!”
Doctor Nickerson was dressed in a pantsuit with her white doctor’s coat over the top. Once she was sworn in, I began with the typical questions, “Doctor Nickerson, to begin would you please state your qualifications for the court?”
“Certainly!” she said with a smile. “I received my MD from Yale University, a university back in my home dimension. I completed an extended residency afterwards and focused there on general and pediatric procedures. Since arriving in this dimension I have become the head of the Pediatric department at University Hospitals General campus. I now specialize in nanite procedures, as well as trauma care for Pediatrics for Children and Littles who come to the hospital.”
“Objection, Your Honor! There is no way this Little is qualified to testify here!”
To my surprise the gavel came down and she said, “Overruled, Doctor Nickerson here is a very competent doctor, I know this for a fact as she has performed surgery on one of my own Littles last year, saving her life. She’s actually known as the best pediatric surgeon in the region, if not one of the best in the country. I doubt they could have found a more respected doctor.” She said quite confidently.
Holly Nickerson looked just as surprised by the defense, but smiled and said, “Thank you, Your Honor.”
“Continue on Mr. Sylvester,” she told me.
“You had a chance to examine thirteen patients mentioned in this suit so far?”
She nodded, “I did. I was able to perform very thorough physical examinations, as well as scans, and a colleague of mine performed neuro examinations as well.”
“What were your findings?”
“All of them had significant motor deficiencies upon my initial examination. It became apparent that something had been done to them. All thirteen of the patients I examined seeming to be unable to follow conversations, answer questions verbally, or do more than struggle to crawl. Four of the patients were unable to even turn themselves over from their back to their stomach, or their stomach to their back. If I was to put an age on their behavior, I would put them at about the one to two-month level for motor skills.”
Videos of the victims were being shown by David remotely on a screen during her explanation.
“Did they react to any stimuli?”
She shrugged, “Not a lot. Three of the patients would follow a parent with their eyes as they moved about the room, but most of them didn’t even do that. A light pinch did induce crying, so the pain receptors are functioning. I also observed crying for attention to the state of their diapers, and all of them also cried if they were hungry.”
“This isn’t a natural occurrence?” I asked.
She shrugged, “Not normally. Maybe if there had been a severe head trauma incident, or a case of a stroke, or a long loss of oxygen there could be some of these symptoms, but not all of them.”
“What else did you find?”
“Well using some of our scanning technology,” a screen pulled up then and a scan of a brain was shown. ‘Victim A’ was labeled, and I knew it was Beth’s scan even without the smaller name listed. “We looked at scans of their brains and discovered some significant buildup of proteins on these centers of their brains. In this patient’s case, it almost appears to be a hard casing that’s formed blocking the brain from receiving signals.”
“Objection, Your Honor!” The defense suddenly said. “The Doctor is not a neurosurgeon!”
I looked at the judge with curiosity as she seemed to wrestle with a decision. “Sustained!”
“Your Honor?” I questioned. “You’ve already stated this witness is qualified?”
“Not in neurosurgery, you need to call another witness for that.”
“Your Honor, move to strike the witness comment about blocking the brain from receiving signals?”
“Your Honor, that's a hard fact that she’s seeing on a scan that she is qualified to note!” I argued.
“Sustained,” she said, looking apologetic at Holly for some reason. “Move on Mr. Sylvester!”
I debated arguing more, but ended up pulling back again and getting her observations on the damages that were visible outside of the brain… ‘This is bullshit!’ I couldn’t help but think.
Eventually I ended my questioning and stepped back and watched the defense go to work. They asked question after question and seemed flustered that Doctor Nickerson ably defended her observations. I guessed they were about done with their cross when I heard a fart.
“Excuse me,” Doctor Nickerson said with a blush.
“Your Honor, would you please have the Bailiff check her diaper?” their counsel said.
“What?” I found myself in stereo with my table and the judge.
“I believe the Little Doctor just pooped herself?”
“Umm… Please do so…” She said to the bailiff.
I watched as her coat was pulled out of the way and the suit pants pulled back. By the face the bailiff made I knew the answer, “She is poopy,” he said.
“Any more questions?” The Judge asked the counsel.
“Just a motion that her testimony be stricken from the record, Your Honor. Surely anyone who cannot maturely control their poopy pants has no credibility in this courtroom.”
“I don’t think…” Doctor Nickerson tried to defend herself.
“Your Honor Doctor Nickerson has a medical condition; she’s allowed to ably practice medicine in-spite of this. Surely if she can perform life saving surgeries, her control shouldn’t mean her testimony should be thrown out?” I argued.
I turned and noticed that Aubry Harris was staring the judge down, and she was looking straight back at her.
She turned to their attorney, “Very well, you have a point. The Jury is instructed to disregard the testimony of Doctor Nickerson which is hereby stricken from the record! Give the girl back to her mommy so she can be changed.”
“Your Honor this is outrageous! What are the Harris’s blackmailing you with?!? I move that you recuse yourself from this trial, it’s clear that it’s not going to be a fair one with you on the bench!”
The eyes that stared at me told me that I’d gone too far. A quick glance at Kendra and David’s faces revealed that they felt it too. In response though I stared down this judge who was the embodiment of everything unjust in this damn state!
“Mr. Sylvester you are in contempt of court! I declare you unfit to be an adult at this time! Bailiff, seize him and diaper him before he has an accident in my courtroom! Have Little Protective Services see to his future care!”