Mike Williams series: A courtroom drama in space
Mike Williams had a very forgettable face. People always seemed to have trouble remembering him. Not his name but him as a person. ‘Excuse me, have we met?’ they would say and not ‘I know I have seen you somewhere before!’. At social events, people would introduce themselves even though they had already met.
In high school and college, he was that kid everybody forgot. He simply
got lost in the crowd because he wasn’t outstanding in any way.
In school, Mike had never failed a test, but he never got a full score. He didn’t seem to struggle as some of his classmates did, and he never had to repeat a year. But he was never top of his class either. Mike Williams seemed to be a very average student.
The other kids
didn’t talk to him very often, not because they didn’t want to, but
because they forgot. Years later when flipping through their yearbook,
people would look at their class photo and think ‘who was that kid?’ and
‘I never got to know that guy’.
You could say, that Mike was used to not being recognized. Therefore, he was quite puzzled when a humanoid lion with glasses and a clipboard said: ‘Welcome aboard, Mike Williams.’
Mike had absolutely no idea where he was or how he got there.
‘You probably don’t know where you are, or how you got here’, said the lion looking thing. ‘It’s understandable if you are a bit confused. I will answer all the questions you might have, but first, let me introduce myself. I’m KqlZ3rg, but since your throat is not developed to pronounce that, you can call me Carl.’
‘How do you know who I am?’ Mike asked. His head was buzzing but no longer from the beer. Carl gave an approving nod.
‘Very good question, Mike Williams. You see, the answer to that is a long story that will answer a lot of other questions, but since we are short on time I can not give an adequate answer right now.’
Mike began looking at his surroundings. He seemed to be in some sort of waiting room or office. He was seated on a comfy couch with colourful pillows. At the coffee table, a bunch of magazines was carefully spread out in a way that was supposed to look casual. He caught a glimpse of one of them, SpaceGlam, featuring an article about the hottest intergalactic fashion.
‘You are now aboard on the SDS-44, Short Distance Shuttle. We are on our way to the M/S, that stands for mothership by the way, of the UGC, United Galaxy Council,’ Carl explained. He was seated in a mustard-coloured armchair and was constantly clicking a pen.
‘Would you mind not doing that,’ Mike asked and nodded at the pen.
Carl’s whiskers curled in a funny way and he looked embarrassed as he put the pen down. ‘Excuse me. I’m just a little stressed, under pressure, I’m fine.’
He looked carefully at his clipboard for a very long time, and Mike got the feeling that Carl was either shy, ashamed or anxious. Or all of the above at the same time.
Mike cleared his throat and asked:
‘Why am I here? Or on my way to the Galactic United something?’
‘Oh, right! You are brought here to represent Earth in the upcoming hearing before the actual trial.’
‘I’m what now?’
‘Yes, your answers and negotiations will determine the future of Earth and mankind.’
This is not good, Mike Williams thought to himself. Earth is screwed.