2016-07-26 It's Just the Law

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It's Just the Law
Date 2016/07/26
Location Lost Light - Recreation -- Library
Participants Barrister, Lieutenant
Summary Lieutenant has questions for Barrister about the law.

Barrister has once again commandeered the little space in the library that he has turned into his de facto office. The door is open, revealing that the lawbot is sat behind a small desk. He fiddles with a holographic display which is readable only from one side. Because he is in, a plaque has been affixed to his door: 'Barrister of Iacon, Ship's Counsel.'

Lieutenant is not letting the difference in size curtail his ability to do his job. The vertically challenged avian still is able to keep up with his usual duties so things haven't been too bad. As he passes by the back of the library, he looks up to note the plaque on the door. It's not the first time he's seen it there, but unlike the other times, he decides to knock at the door frame. "Barrister of Iacon? Lieutenant. Could I speak with you a moment." he pauses for a moment, before tacking on: "I am not looking for business."

"Lieutenant!" Barrister replies almost as soon as the green bot is done speaking. He clearly didn't see Lieutenant approach, because he looks over the rim of his holographic display. Seeing nothing there, the lawbot's otherwise amiable expression creases into a frown. He pushes his display aside and looks down, taking in Lieutenant's new form with his blue optics. "Are you sure you're not looking for business?" He asks, a small smirk starting to tug at the side of his mouth. The sort of expression that communicates that its owner is pleased with what he's about to say. "Because if I had to guess you were going to ask me to sue Brainstorm." He gestures for Lieutenant to step inside.

The avian snorts with slight amusement as he enters the 'office.' "Close, Wheeljack." he strides up to one of the chairs and climbs up to stand on the seat. "It was an accident and he is looking into reversing the effects." One could say it would be easier to ask Brainstorm, but Lieutenant has let that scientist use him as a test subject one too many times. "No, I am here to discuss the placement of your law firm."

Lieutenant glances around the room since his seismic sense is unable to pick up their entire surroundings. "I have no issue with your Law Firm set up here as you are not disturbing anyone, but I have not seen a permit to allow this."

"Huh. He didn't mention it." Barrister remarks once Lieutenant identifies Wheeljack as the culprit. He watches with some amusement as the formerly tall bot climbs onto a chair. The room is fairly spartan, really just a space for Barrister to meet with other mechs in private. Nothing adorns the walls, and only his datapad graces the table. Even the plaque is detachable. When Lieutenant mentions a permit Barrister sits back in his chair, lacing his fingers in his lap. His smile never quite fades. "First, it's not a law firm." He remarks. "I'm a member of the Security Division. I serve on the ship as Ship's Counsel, providing legal services and advices at no cost to command and the members of the crew who have need of such services. There's really no 'business' going on in here, so it's not an outfit like Swerve's. I don't need a permit."

"You will find that Wheeljack is a third of his size as well." he remarks, "I doubt he needs to mention it." Lieutenant folds his hands behind his back as he stays standing on the seat. It is true that this is not a place where one has to go to command to request a section of the ship be holed out. Torque had to request it for her body shop, but this was different. Barrister was only here periodically so it wasn't as though he were blockading the room off to himself everyday, all day. "Very well. If I may ask another question then, you may choose not to answer this is you would prefer not to."

Barrister laughs lightly. "So I haven't been home in a while." He admits, as if Lieutenant caught him with a servo in the enerjar. Once Lieutenant states he's in the clear Barrister sits up a little. He spreads his hands on the table, one place finger running up against his datapad. "Answering questions is my job. Lay it on me."

"It pertains to your job during the war," Lieutenant starts, "Specifically with Aequitas." The avian was with Prowl for a very long time, so he knows the files on others - inparticular Autobots. "A hypothetical question: could a Decepticon-turned-Autobot still be charge for his crimes as Decepticon if brought before Aequitas, or are his crimes looked over?" Hypothetical question that he's been meaning to ask for centuries but could never bring himself to ask someone that until now. You know with the whole 'let Prowl think I'm dead instead of realizing I failed my mission' thing going on during the war.

Barrister 's sunnier disposition quickly fades as Lieutenant gets down to what he seems able to tell is a serious question. The lawbot's fingers lace again as he listens closely. Barrister is very still, his optics never quite leaving Lieutenant. "You'll have to forgive me, Lieutenant." He finally replies, letting a moment of thought stand between Lieutenant's question and his response. "I don't know who Aequitas is. I'd heard rumors, of course, but I wasn't part of that process. Prowl gave me my commission before I could raise hell." He musters a small smile. "But if you're asking about the general laws of war, the Tyrest Accord and the like, that is something I'm competent to opine on."

Lieutenant's gaze drops to the side momentarily, a touch disappointed with Barrister's answer. He figured at most the other mech simply wouldn't answer him, and technically the result is still the same. "I suppose general laws of war is what I am asking then." he said finally, returning his attention to the lawbot. "My question still remains: could a Decepticon-turned-Autobot still be charge for his crimes from when he was a Decepticon?"

Barrister catches the look. He gives very little outward sign in response to it, save for a slight tightening of his servos. It would seem he doesn't like to disappoint. "We don't get that case very often." Barrister begins. "There aren't many of them, given the harsh penalties for switching sides and the barriers of entry to becoming an Autobot once one has been a Decepticon." He shifts in his seat, getting a little closer to Lieutenant and leaning over the table. "As a general principle, a crime is completed once all the elements are in places. You can't change the fact that you committed a crime by some later act. Now, that might be grounds for mitigation, when the time for punishment comes. Also, the Prime has the authority to pardon certain crimes, though even that power is limited when you get into violations of the Tyrest Accord, which was negotiated between the Autobots and Decepticons. Megatron couldn't pardon his own soldiers, Optimus couldn't pardon his." Barrister sits back. "This doesn't sound like an inquiry on your own behalf, so I'm obligated to tell you that none of this is strictly legal advice, I'm just describing the landscape of the law."

Lieutenant gives a curt nod once Barrister finishes his explanation. "I figured as such." he says at the end of it, "This is coming from my own behalf out of concern for a fallen friend. I understand that he is- that he is gone, but I want to know that the choices made, to spare him from punishment, if they were the best for him." He doesn't break his gaze from Barrister but he does look more intently, "I was to bring him into Garrus-9 but things changed along the way and he never made it there. I understand I was harboring a criminal, but..." his gaze drops as he sighs, "I cannot justify my actions to say it was the right thing thing to do. He should have gone, and been punished for his murder charges. I kept him from those and I did not want him charged for it." It is really stupid when he says it aloud like that.

Barrister nods slowly along with Lieutenant's explanation. He doesn't shy away from the more intense look. "So why does it matter what the law would say? It's just the law." Barrister shrugs his shoulders. "The law isn't perfect. Far from it. It's just us doing the best we can, if we're lucky. I've been to Garrus-9, more times than I would have liked. I had clients there, lots of them. Every one of them had a spark and a story, as I'm sure your friend did. It's a horrible, but sometimes necessary, thing to reduce all those stories and sparks to a prison cell or worse." The lawbot smiles a little. "War's over. What's right and what's wrong...sometimes there can be too much judgment, from my perspective. Too much trying to make sure everything is right. That's now the world is, I don't think. You made your choice and from the sound of it you wouldn't take it back."

Spark and a story...that get the avian to give a slight, brief smile. Barrister is right on all points, and that brings a sort of peace to Lieutenant when he hears what the mech says. "I would indeed repeat my choices if ever given the chance." If nothing else but to make better ones that would have kept his Commander alive.

Lieutenant gives a short bow, before beginning to climb down the seat. "Thank you for your time Barrister, it has been a pleasure speaking with you."

"Any time." Barrister replies. "It's what I'm here for, after all." He pauses for a moment, laying his laced hands on the table. "And thank you for your understanding that I might need to use this little space every now and then. I'll try to make sure no one gets too rowdy." He grins. "I'll hassle Wheeljack for a fix when I get back to our suite. Take it easy, Lieutenant."

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