Session 17: The Gates of Light. Lycanthropic Coda

   The lesser werewolves weren’t willing to wait any longer: Hayley, Mina, and Theodore thought that their uncle was getting suspicious – and that mean that Vasilko might shortly be on trial for his life. They needed some new precedents before that happened… The opening wedge should be something unusual enough to seem unimportant – and the triplets thought they had just the thing. They were canine-dominant, and thus animals under current law, because they were clones and hadn’t had a well-developed human mind – not because they’d been so unstable to begin with that their minds had broken under the stress. They were inhuman, not insane – and that was rare enough that it shouldn’t stir up too much opposition at first.

   They decided that Michel should be the first test case. Amara and Dulcine both had nursing infants, and they didn’t think that that would help their impression in court: humans had prejudices about early youngsters with children of their own. Besides, if Michel lost, officially belonging to either Vasilko or the Chauffeur wouldn’t actually change much – and they could still try twice more.

   Ilarion Drake dropped by during the planning session: he’d heard that Baen was in Ranko’s possession for the moment, and wanted to see him, laugh, and try to persuade Ranko to enter him in a dressage competition… She refused: she didn’t see any need to humiliate Baen any more than he already was.

   The group already had Long Walker – a superhuman lawyer specializing in super power related and civil rights law – and a couple of assistants on retainer, the White Necromancer hired on a few notable deceased lawyers from among for the case, and they had a discussion… There were a number of points they could work with.

  • Times had changed. It had been nearly 120 years since the precedents and laws were reviewed. Wasn’t it time for this one, like segregation, to pass away?
  • Slavery was illegal, and – while they might not be human, they were definitely people.
  • Michel was perfectly functional in society – loyal, friendly, dependable, and even superheroic. She should not be classed as property simply because her mind wasn’t human.
  • She was obviously little different from other children
  • More recent legislation on the rights of intelligent, but nonhuman, beings, should also apply to werewolves, and definitely took priority over rules from more than a hundred years ago.
  • Since the bond occurred before birth in master werewolves, they should probably be regarded as innocent victims of an ancient enchantment.
  • Several notable heroes were lycanthropes.

   There were several witnesses they could call in too… Pantor, Lahatiel, Dr Midnight, the Paladin, and the Bishop of New York were all willing – although the Bishop thought that it was all too obvious that Michel both had a boyfriend, was fooling around with him, and that it was likely only luck that she hadn’t already had a child too: She’d all too obviously shapeshifted herself into the fulfillment of an adolescent male fantasy. If they wanted to make a case in court they should (1) tone that down and try to get her to look young instead, and (2) demonstrate that they acknowledged that insane werewolves needed to be restrained.

   They decided to put Stephen on a leash and bring him – and Vasilko – along.

   The opposition was mostly pro forma: the city counsel turned up, presenting the proposition that (1) it was the law, (2) it had worked well for a long time, (3) animalistic werewolves were especially risky to have running around loose, (4) there was no applicable precedent for such a ruling, and (5) that this was a matter for a higher court. They called in the Warlock – and his well-known werewolf-pet – to testify that quite a few animalistic werewolves apparently really needed to be kept on a leash. They argued that both superheroes, and normal people, were risky to have around as well. The biologists produced fairly neutral testimony, the Knights of God filed a Friend of the Court brief against extending any additional rights to werewolves, the police testified against their recent problems with werewolf gangers (the group pointed out that this was a problem with any enhanced ganger, not specifically with werewolves – although the police pointed out that normal superhumans couldn’t infect other people), and a number of people testified as to the utter folly of relaxing any of the restrictions on crazed man-beasts who were living offences against the laws of god and nature – as was demonstrated by the known fact that they only existed due to some ancient curse.

   After concluding arguments the eventual ruling was in a preliminary injunction in favor of Michel: pending review by a higher court, she was presumed a nonhuman sentient, and therefore possessed of legal rights – albeit a slightly more limited set than those of a human citizen.

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