“I am sorry.” Juan said softly to Sumit, the President of the Earth Charter.
“Its alright.” Sumit said wiping his brow with a handkerchief while reading the papers in front of him. It has been four years since humans first came in contact with aliens and the Earth Charter was formed to represent the Earth in the universe. He had only been the president for one year and in that one year, he had to come to the Galaxy Court 7 times and once, he had to even go to the Universe Court. All this, because some idiot human decided to act human on a galactic scale. He has come to learn the hard way that in the Inter-planetary world, they are the endangered species.
“We will plead Barbarism. It won’t get us out free but it should reduce the sentence. You did not know, right?” Sumit asked in the same soft voice.
The whole courtroom was silent. There was a jury of 29 individuals, each from a different species from across the galaxy. The judge was going through the details of the crime while the prosecutor, Retan — a humanoid ant (anctids as they are called) about the same height as Sumit, was looking at her notes. Her client, Meghan — a five feet anctid was looking suspiciously at Juan.
Juan was flabbergasted to see around 351 people sitting in the courtroom, each of a different species. No two members of the same species were present.
“What one knows, they all know.” Sumit spoke reading Juan’s mind.
“How does it work? What about freedom of thought or privacy?” Juan asked exasperated.
Privacy, Independence of thought and diversity in action, the most cherished of human traits are not only rare but looked down upon in the universe. Sumit thought amusingly. Almost all intelligent species in the universe originate from the hive communities. Some of the more advanced species have even created networks that have unified the brain systems of their entire species. Thus, they all have access to the collective information of the whole species at the same time. No sense of privacy left.
“There are some species that are still not ‘Uniformed’, if I had read the word right. They do not have the technology yet. But they are mostly considered barbaric and are trying to reach that position. In the meantime, they share information using technologies similar to ours — Internet. That is our defense today. That you did not have the necessary information regarding the change in law.” Sumit explained to Juan quickly.
“You really did not know this?” Sumit again asked Juan sceptically.
“No, I did not. Why would anyone want to live like that?” Juan said disgustingly.
“The advantage of course is that there were no crimes in their planets. The whole species behave as a single organism and no one harms themselves.” Sumit said sternly. The butt-kicking disadvantage, especially for his butt was that any crime committed by an individual was considered a collective action by the whole species. Sumit thought to himself.
“Humans have slapped the Anctids.” Retan said bringing Sumit out of his thoughts. “Humanity has decided to attack Anctids and we won’t take it lightly.” Retan continued in the same menacing voice detailing how humanity should be destroyed for what they have done.
This was Sumit’s second bout with Retan and he was not taken aback by the shrieking and screeching that Retan’s voice was. Through the universal translator, it felt like some was passing through a grating machine. Juan had no such practice and he panic was written all over his face. Was he also looking at Retan like this last time. No wonder he lost. Sumit thought with amusement.
“You want to pitch in Sumit, or smilingly foolishly will be all.” The judge, a 200-year old 27 feet tree spoke and started laughing at his own joke. A flower fell from one of his branch due to the shaking and shut him immediately.
“Ahem, please remove the flower and strike that off the court proceedings. Guard, please take it to my wife.” Judge spoke a little embarrassed. Sumit imagined that if the judge could, he would be blushing right now. It was equivalent to a wardrobe malfunction on Earth. On the bright side, it was good to see the judge doing family planning.
“So, Mr. Sumit. Do you want to proceed?”
“Yes sir. I completely agree with Retan. The atrocious crime committed by Juan is unforgivable. However, as before, I would like the court to understand that we are still not technologically advanced for the information to be with every individual. Thus, will it be possible to pass the judgement based on Earth laws, once again.”
“Sir. How long is humanity going to use this advantage while hurting other species? We want humanity destroyed.”
“Humanity Destroyed! For domestic violence.” Juan said startled. “She is my girlfriend and I know what I did was wrong but I had just slapped her once. Humanity destroyed for that. Are you kidding me?” Juan ranted on.
Sumit looked at Meghan. It was clearly visible that she was not comfortable with the idea of destruction of humanity, or at least her boyfriend. She kept looking at Juan and then at his hand. Sumit looked at Juan’s hand and knew at once, he could save humanity.
“Judge, sir. If the earth laws are unacceptable then please let Meghan decide what will happen to Juan. Whatever she decides for Juan, will be acceptable to rest of the humanity as well.” Sumit played his card.
“Now.. Now.. the final decision will be of the jury. I hope you know how the law works Sumit.” Judge said in a jovial voice. For a tree he was really full of life, Sumit thought.
“Yes, of course. But as the crime is committed against Meghan, she should have some part in the final punishment.”
“The crime is against Anctids. And the punishment will be for Humans.” Retan again shrieked.
Sumit looked at the judge and Meghan expectantly.
“I want humanity to be punished.” Meghan said softly.
“Of course you do. But what punishment you want to give Juan and Juan alone.” Sumit quipped.
“Juan alone?” Meghan asked confused.
‘Hive-mind.’ Hmmpphed Sumit under his breath.
“Yes. I believe your fight with him started on some issue and escalated. What if he did it 10 times over, or 100 times over. Can you agree to that as Juan’s punishment??”
Meghan did not speak anything but kept looking at Juan longingly.
“I suppose that would work.” Retan said, looking at Meghan. She already knew the decision Meghan had made.
“Alright then. Let the jury decide on all the aspects. Give us 2 minutes and we will make the decision.” Judge spoke while his branch extended to the jury platform. Each of the jury members touched his hand to give their advice.
“The results are out! Humanity is guilty of slapping Anctids. However, as Anctids have decided against complete annihilation of Humanity, the jury agrees to go with the Anctids proposed punishment. Humanity will wash all the clothes and dishes for Anctids for the next ten years. These will be sent to earth every 24 hours and should be return within next 24 hours. Sumit, please meet me in the chamber.” Judge said.
“Sumit, how did you know Anctids would cave?” Judge asked while flipping out his phone.
“I got an information that was not with me before.” Sumit said to judge.
“What was that information?” Judge asked absently while another tree, probably his wife was on the other side.
“Meghan stung first.” Sumit said.
“How did you not know that? Kinda vital don’t you think.” Judge chuckled.
“Yeah. Disadvantage of being a human. Juan had the choice of not telling me.” Sumit said with an emphasis on the word choice.