An Overdue Court Action

By James Walker


They sat back and waited, as their companion dithered his way through the problem. Finally he spoke: "This is bizarre! I've spent my entire life denying the existence of the place!"

One of his companions chucked. "So? Does it really matter what they call themselves? We have evidence of wrongdoing within our borders. They are responsible. So we demand compensation...If it makes you feel better, you can always pretend that they're just humans, or aliens or something."

A third man snorted. "His foolishness would not be delaying us if he had been taught the truth. Our quarrel is not with God - quite the opposite. It is in His Name that we will be making our claims."

A younger man, who had been standing quietly by the wall, now spoke up: "There is precedent. It is worth remembering that Abraham swore a legal contract with God... if a contract can be made with God, then damages can be demanded from his servants."

The first man sighed. This was painful, but he didn't really have a choice...and he could always claim later that he was merely taking an opportunity to humiliate the religious nuts... "Very well, I agree. Let us continue."

The second man nodded, and reading the document aloud, began "By unanimous agreement of the United Nations Security Council, the following statement will be handed to terminally ill diplomats and lawyers, to memorise before being present to the body known as.."

"..Finally, the United Nations insists that in addition to compensating the governments of earth for the repeated dumping of your criminal elements in their nations, you will cease inserting your agents within human nations without gaining the consent of the governments of those nations." The speaker, a young hostage negotiator who had died of cancer, paused. "We have been authorised to begin preliminary negotiations, and can assure you that any representatives you send to the United Nations will be granted diplomatic status, once they have presented their credentials..." His voice trailed off. The imposing structure the angels called 'The Spires of Judgement' was filled with ranks of glittering beings, shining with glory, and showing emotions ranging from fury to hysterical amusement. He returned his gaze to the one sitting in the judge's chair - and remembered the embarrassment of confessing to childhood pranks when the robed figure had first turned it's gaze on him. You'll pay for that, he silently promised. He jumped as another of the beings - winged, haloed, but seemingly made out of ebony night - spoke in a passionate voice: "Our 'Spies' as you call them, are the only things standing between you and conquest by Hell!"

Another of the humans spoke: "Yes, the CIA used to go on about how they were defending us from Communism...and sometimes they were. If they can learn to obey International Law, so can you." He grinned. "No government on Earth wants Hell to take over..we're quite happy to make arrangements for angels to hunt demons. But you'll play by the rules from now on. It's in your best interests, as well as ours - or don't you like the idea of your warrior angels being able to call for backup from the police and military? Being able to trade information with our intelligence agencies will make your jobs so much easier..."

Finally, the cloaked one spoke: "So, your claims to be aggrieved is merely a bargaining ploy, a trick to try and wheedle diplomatic concessions out of..."

"NO!" The hostage negotiator snapped. "Every human culture has suffered from your actions. Through out the world, exiled angels wander: killing, thieving, ravaging...and, apparently, as often as not they become demons, and wreak even more evil! That is what this about! To keep your own backyard clean, you've turned our world into a hellhole, preyed on by your criminals." His voice grew quieter. "Perhaps you don't believe me? You can refuse to make amends. You can face the wrath of the entire planet. It's too late to play the 'holier than thou' card - you've proven to be as irresponsible as the worst of human governments. If you refuse to make amends, your agents will be hunted down and destroyed, as befits spies and provocateurs."

"Or, you can admit you made a mistake, we can resolve the matter peacefully and we can be friends - and allies".

As the second human spoke, another of the shining beings moved, and began to speak. This one was a winged, haloed human - who looked smart in his business suit: "Please, the Good Cop, Bad Cop routine grows old after the first few centuries of its use, and I've been dealing with it since Lucifer & Baal developed it, over twenty millennia ago. Why not try honestly dealing with us? You have grievances; you have desires. Both are reasonable. What is unreasonable is your hidden agenda. Removing the Outcasts from Earth strikes me as an excellent idea, benefiting both heaven and Earth. An apology for exiling them to Earth is also negotiable. Despite our war leaders' protests -" he flashed an apologetic smile at the dark angel - "working in tandem with your organisations would benefit all. However...that's not all that you want. Refugee status for angels and demons who wish to flee their Superiors? Don't jump, it's my job to know what you expect from a deal. And yes, I know the spiel about the rights of refugees - I helped draft it. Something that is the universal right of all humans is not necessarily the right of celestials - we are different beings, created to glorify God in a different way. Much as we like the idea of demons fleeing Hell, you simply don't have the resources to control them...although that could change, if we can spare the resources to help you..."

"Equally as important, Heaven is not going to agree to paying punitive damages every time an angel misbehaves on Earth - not unless you agree to pay damages to us every time a human causes damage in Heaven, of course."

Dismay crossed the faces of every human in the delegation. They had been ready to argue the point, but the casual comment had cut the ground from under their feet. How many humans were in Heaven? Rounded to the nearest billion? Still, there was always the refugee issue...

Marc sighed to himself, and realised that this would take times to sort out.

In a room elsewhere in the Council Spires, the Archangels met, even though they also sat in the Hall of Judgement. Michael spoke: "This is your fault, Dominic. They have a legitimate complaint, and it is your responsibility to make amends - and without harming the War effort, either."

Janus & Novalis grinned happily. The absurdity of the situation appealed to both of them. David & Yves remained quiet, calmly considering the situation. Marc shook his head: "It's not quite that simple. Somehow, the humans have acquired a very detailed understanding of what we can and cannot do - their desired objectives include the services of specific choirs of angels, with specified Songs and Attunements." He paused. "If they hadn't been able to deal with us, I think they'd have tried to contact Hell - they really want to have Renegades on staff - possibly more than they want angels." He drummed his fingers on the table. "I'm going down to the U.N. to negotiate - whether the council agrees or not. We have to know how they found out so much." He sighed. "I would like to be able to negotiate in good faith - and that requires your support."

Jean snorted. "This is foolishness. Humans cannot be trusted with access to Heaven's secrets - that is not a condemnation of them, merely a simple fact - just as a savage could not be trusted with a live electrical cord, and Da Vinci's plan to build an atomic bomb would have destroyed Europe during the religious wars. I will not support this absurdity!"

Marc smiled. "I'll be quoting you repeatedly while dealing with them. So long as we have a veto on any Symphonic ability, we should be able to control the harm."

Dominic finally spoke. "You must go - and so must I. The humans are right: so is Michael. Although I have always considered it my duty to protect Heaven from the corrupted, all of God's creatures have the right to Justice. I will apologise to the representatives of humanity - and no, I will not wait while you negotiate a value for it, Marc. I owe them, and I will pay it - and begin collecting the Outcasts and returning them to Heaven, where I can watch them."

Marc smiled. "I understand, Dominic."

Laurence stirred, and spoke. "If our presence has been revealed to the humans, then we will need to arrange formal alliances. I will also join you. In addition to your apology, Dominic, you must decide how far we can go, in revealing ourselves to humanity...and how much we can meddle in their affairs. The military lawyer at the back, who wasn't saying anything - he really wants angels available for U.N. peacekeeping missions, and assaults. I have no objections - but I need to have your judgement on what is allowable under God's orders and what isn't."

Dominic's voice was very soft, as if he'd been crying: "None of this is permissible. I have failed to keep the War secret. Marc is right: we must negotiate, so as find out how they discovered us. I have failed; and must fail again - Justice demands I apologise. And I suspect that exiling Outcasts to the Corporeal is what twigged the mortals to our existence. I've failed God."

Dominic quietly followed Marc and Laurence to the Corporeal. Laurence watched him nervously....if no Outcast should ever have been exiled to earth, did that mean that Dominic had punished them all "excessively"? If so, how dissonant was he?

Laurence sent a thought back to the Seraphim Council, asking that they check on Dominic's Heart. Just as a precaution, of course...


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