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Chapter 10: Not a chance

Mike Williams series: A courtroom drama in space

Mike Williams saw his life flash before his eyes, quite literally. The big screen behind him showed a slideshow of pictures from his life. Right from his first moments as a red-faced baby, to his childhood and now it was showing awful teenage pictures. The entire United Galaxy Council stared at him in a diaper, him missing his first tooth, him skinny and pimpled with a goofy smile. Lay’tek broke the silence.

“We chose Mike Williams for a reason. This is his life. He hates Mondays, he likes to have a beer with his friend, to tend to his garden. He has a pretty forgettable face, he’s never won anything in his life, he’s not smart or powerful. In fact, Mike Williams is one of the most boring and average humans on Earth. This is why we chose him, this is the rules: We choose an average citizen to reflect a specie.”

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Chapter 9: Not a winning type

Mike Williams series: A courtroom drama in space

Mike Williams did not wish for much. Most people dreamed of being millionaires, big celebrity stars or famous artists but Mike never had,he simply could not see the point of it. He thought it must be absolutely awful to be a celebrity and not having a private life at all. Or at least, having to struggle to have one. No, Mike liked being able to enjoy his front garden without being attacked by paparazzi or to go to the garden centre without being tackled by crazy stalkers.

 It wasn’t that Mike didn’t have dreams. He dreamed of owninga lawn tractor. And when he dreamed big, he dreamed of owning a big lawn tractor.

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Chapter 7: Not a confrontational type

Mike Williams series: A courtroom drama in space

Mike Williams had always been afraid of conflicts. Whenever the clouds for an argument started to gather he was the first to leave the room. Growing up, his two big sisters and father had always loved discussions in a very aggressive way. They would discuss any subject just for the sport of it, and they still did.
Mike would usually withdraw to the kitchen and help his mother. He often brought homegrown vegetables or herbs for her and together they would clean them up in a comforting silence.

One evening the whole family was gathered for dinner, Mike was the only one of the siblings still living at home but his sisters were both visiting. His father made a rather unfunny homophobic joke and to everyone’s surprise, Mike raised his voice. In some very well articulated points, he put his father in place. They were all baffled, not with Mike’s opinions, but that he had had one at all. Mike was the most surprised of them.

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Chapter 6: Not a screen-friendly look

Mike Williams series: A courtroom drama in space

Mike Williams hated to watch himself on video. His voice sounded strange and his face always had weird proportions on a screen.
As a kid, he always hid whenever his mom decided to pull out the video camera and record whatever he was doing. They had several videos from birthdays just showing Mike running out of the room and hiding in a closet.
Lately, his mother had insisted on video-calling him and he just couldn’t stop looking at his own face in the corner of the screen. All bloated and chinny.

Luckily, sitting in the stand Mike had his back against the giant screen showing his face. The last thing he wanted was to throw up in front of the entire United Galaxy Council. Again. Unfortunately, he couldn’t stop staring at the countless legs on prosecutor Nai’zest Qalong, and they somehow made his stomach turn.

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Chapter 5: Not like a TV-show

Mike Williams series: A courtroom drama in space

Mike Williams had seen a lot of TV in his life. As a kid, he would often join his friends at Sesame Street in the afternoon. In his teens, he had watched an unimaginable amount of courtroom dramas. He was fascinated by the charisma and eloquence of the lawyers. How the right speech could turn the jury and win the case. The fierce lawyers never seemed to have problems with wet palms.

At the door to the council, Mike and Morgan Freeman met up with Carl. Carl the lion, Mike thought and then, I wonder if that would be offensive to him? It probably would. I should note not to call him that.
‘You seem prepared, Mike Williams,’ Carl greeted him.
‘Not at all.’
Carl looked like he didn’t know how to respond to that answer. But at least his whiskers didn’t curl. Instead, he turned to Morgan Freeman.
‘Ready to defend the lawbreakers, Lay’tek?’
‘You make us sound like criminals!’ Mike interrupted.
‘But you are?’ Carl sounded confused.
‘What kind of law? Alien law? How does that apply to us?’
Morgan Freeman cut them off.
‘Save it for the hearing, Mike, you’re going to need it.’
Somehow he made it sound reassuring and not condescending. Must be the Morgan Freeman look, Mike decided. Damn well chosen.

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Chapter 4: Not a lucky number

Mike Williams series: A courtroom drama in space

Mike Williams had never won anything in his life. He was never costumer number 1.000, had the winning ticket or the lucky numbers. It wasn’t because he never competed in anything, sometimes he would answer a quiz or participate in a draw, but he never got picked and he never had the right answers.
His grandma always won at the local bingo game, she would bring home a turkey or a box of tissue, but the times Mike had joined her, he left emptyhanded.
To his defence, Mike obviously was an optimist, because he would still buy a lottery ticket from time to time.

‘We only have limited time to prepare before the hearing,’ Morgan Freeman said. ‘But I think it can be to our advantage, that you know as little as you do. In that way, you will seem more genuine.’
‘I’m not sure I agree. You see, I like to be prepared. A lot. Before making a phone call I always take notes on what to say and how to say it. I sort my shopping list into categories to make the shopping more efficient. I never leave the house without gum and bandages, for Christ’s sake!’

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Chapter 3: Not the driest palms

Mike Williams series: A courtroom drama in space

Mike Williams didn’t like to speak in public. It always seemed to make his palms sweaty. Once, at his parents anniversary, he was expected to make a toast. For weeks he was tormented and had a terrible stomach ache. On the big day, he tapped his glass, stood in front of all the guests, his palms all wet and managed to stammer ‘To mom and dad!’. It was a disaster.

He wasn’t sure how many people – or aliens – would be at the United Galaxy Council, but he was pretty sure that this crowd wouldn’t fit in his parents’ living room.
‘How am I supposed to address all the members of that council?’ he asked Carl.
‘The UGC? Ah, you see, Mike Williams, as soon as we go aboard the M/S UGC, you will get to meet your legal counsellor. Shouldn’t be long now.’ Carl glanced at a digital board at the wall showing a couple of weird symbols.
There were so many questions building up in Mike’s head, that they seemed to stumble upon one another.
I wonder what was in my drink, Mike thought to himself.

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Chapter 2: Not a familiar face

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.’

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Chapter 1: Not a normal day

Mike Williams series: A courtroom drama in space

Mike Williams was an extremely normal person. If you can use the word “extremely” about someone who is absolutely not extreme in any way, that is. He lived in a small house in a medium-sized town. Not a Big City, but not a small village either.

He didn’t hate his job but was as fond of it as he could be. He worked at a help desk and answered the same ten questions asked in one hundred different rude ways over and over again.

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