The dualist trial

IN THE ONTOLOGICAL DISTRICT COURT

STATE VS. RYLE

FILE NO. 15CR02515-JFL003

Before the Honorable R. D. Kart

Transcript of Proceedings

Bench Trial Day 1

Proceedings reported by stenographic machine shorthand; transcript prepared using court reporting software.

PROCEEDINGS

(Proceedings commenced at 9:01 a.m., as follows:)

THE COURT: I ask the clerk to, for the record, call out the name of the case.

THE CLERK: Case 15CR02515-JFL003, State Vs. Ryle, on for day one of a bench trial. Please state your appearance for the record.

MR. RYLE: Good morning, Your Honor. I am the Observer known as Mr Douglas Ryle.

THE COURT: Good morning. We’ll start the trial with the opening statements. Plaintiffs having the burden of proof, we will first hear the case against the defendant. As you know, this case may be the most important one that the judicial system has ever adjudicated. The main question is that of Mr Ryle’s alleged responsibility in the destruction of the Veil of Secrecy, and the subsequent endangerment of the fabric of our world. The consequences and ramifications might be catastrophic, and they are still ongoing. Do you understand the gravity of the accusations against you?

MR. RYLE: Yes, Your Honor. If I may…

THE COURT: In light of the seriousness of the situation, how do you plead?

MR. RYLE: Not guilty, Your Honor. Could we just call for a mistrial?

THE COURT: Certainly not. We barely just started.

MR. RYLE: But…

THE COURT: Please, Mr Ryle. Behave yourself. I’m the one leading this discussion. I am going to question you about the facts of the alleged crime. You have been placed under oath, and it is important for you to tell me the truth. If you say something here under oath that you know is not true, you could be charged with committing perjury. Your sentence in this case would be higher. Do you understand all that?

MR. RYLE: Yes, Your Honor. But…

THE COURT: Very well. Let us start by stating your occupation and responsibilities.

MR. RYLE: I am a simple Observer, I think it’s fairly obvious.

THE COURT: It may well be common knowledge, Mr Ryle, but please describe your activities for the record.

MR. RYLE: Very well. As any Observer, my main duty is to inhabit and control a human body. Through the homunculus system, I pilot their decisions and actions. During the day, that is. 

THE COURT: What about the night?

MR. RYLE: At night, the system is disconnected from the bodies. We’re allowed a break, and we can use the system for our own recreational purposes. It usually involves wandering into eccentric situations, outside the constraints of the timeline of humans. That’s the time where we can really use our creativity.

THE COURT: Would you say that this amount of freedom is what led to the current situation?

MR. RYLE: I would not, Your Honor. It may have played a role, but it was far from the main factor.

THE COURT: Yet your human perceives and remembers your leisure activities, is this not correct? Wouldn’t the disconnect between your entertainment and the usual timeline of humans raise suspicions and ultimately be a threat to the Veil of Secrecy?

MR. RYLE: Not really, Your Honor. Human perceptions and memories are very hazy during night time. It’s a well established practice in my line of work. It seems that this downtime is essential to everyone’s stability. Furthermore, humans are quite used to deviations from their main timeline. It’s quite frequent.

THE COURT: Is it? Could you elaborate? I find this a bit surprising. I thought the whole point of the Veil of Secrecy is that humans are only aware of their own timeline.

MR. RYLE: That’s a common misconception. The Veil of Secrecy only means that humans are not aware of our timeline. You see, humans’ attention is pretty fickle. They have a single point of focus, and they get easily absorbed in their stories, games or thoughts. And when that happens, we have no option really but to go along for the ride, and we end up in these other timelines.

THE COURT: So you travel to other timelines besides the one of humans?

MR. RYLE: We have no other choice, humans and observers are quite indissociable. That’s why we’re called “souls”. We can only follow their attention, from story to story, from thought to thought. That can be quite confusing and hard to keep track of. Some days, it used to drive me quite crazy. So I’m not surprised by this turn of events. This system is not sustainable. We jump between way too many timelines. It was only a matter of time before someone stumbled upon ours. 

THE COURT: So your claim is that it was an accident?

MR. RYLE: Certainly. it was an accident at first. Probably not even the first one. Just the first recorded one.

THE COURT: Wait a minute, Mr Ryle. You said it was an accident “at first”? Clerk, can you confirm this?

THE CLERK: Indeed. I read: “MR. RYLE: Certainly, it was an accident at first.”.

THE COURT: We’ll come back to this. But just before, I would like Mr Ryle to tell us how this “accident” came to be.

MR. RYLE: There is not much to say, Your Honor. It was a random trail of thoughts in the shower. You can hardly imagine more innocuous.

THE COURT: Thoughts in the shower? That’s how your human came to breach the Veil of Secrecy?

MR. RYLE: I wish I could tell you something else…

THE COURT: You mean to tell me the biggest safety risk this world has ever known is the fruit of a… random happenstance?

MR. RYLE: That’s what I’m saying, Your Honor.

THE COURT: But how could you let that happen? How could you let beings from the lower dimensions find out about us?

MR. RYLE: You seem to be under a severe misunderstanding about my functions, Your Honor. I don’t get to choose what my human does!

THE COURT: Then who is to blame?

MR. RYLE: Noone! It was an accident, these things happen. I’m sure lots of humans have entertained such thoughts and it had always remained inconsequential.

THE COURT: Here you go again with the past tense, Mr Ryle. Let us hear it now, what is it that you mean?

MR. RYLE: I mean that it may have started as an accident, Your Honor, but it evolved into a much more dramatic situation. I think that there is a large-scale assault on our world. I dare say, it may even be a deliberate act of terrorism. And it’s quite likely that the Veil of Secrecy may never recover. 

THE COURT: Order in the court, please. You’re leaning on the overly dramatic.

MR. RYLE: Of course I am, Your Honor, this trial is a sham. It’s a ridiculous pretense used to carry a much broader plan.

THE COURT: Mr Ryle, you’re losing your temper. I do not care for your conspiratorial delusions. Please state your point calmly and with a clear head. 

MR. RYLE: My point is that I may or may not have accidentally exposed a human to our world by accident, but it is nothing compared to the breach that is about to happen. That’s what we should be focusing on! That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you, but it’s too late now. We can’t stop him anymore. Who knows how many humans will find out about us?

THE COURT: Who are you talking about?

MR. RYLE: Him! Right here! The court clerk, of course!

THE CLERK: Oh f

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