Written 11 May, 2007
The United States of America vs. Sweetie
II: The Trial Begins
The United States had every intention of holding Sweetie forever without a trial, but when I informed them that Pele had nuclear capabilities and wasn’t afraid to use them, the Department of Justice reluctantly agreed to a trial. That meant they had to come up with charges, which of course, they did. And of course as a menace to the world, Sweetie’s bail was refused—even though I was ready to secure her bond with Pele, to which I hold clear title.
Sweetie’s trial was the biggest thing since the Scopes trial. Bigger than O.J., even, and that Anna Nicole Smith farce. She isn't really dead, you know. She's holed up somewhere with Andy Kaufman, laughing her ass off.
The hastily-built courthouse was packed with Second Lifers of every sort—most carrying weapons.
Sweetie’s friends were there, of course, and mine, and Sweetie’s clients who were concerned she couldn’t modify their doors and windows unless she was freed, and a large contingent of dragons which I tell you made for a tight squeeze on the benches in the courtroom, and members of Sweetie’s Icarus Society, who were prepared to rezz on an instant’s notice such serious support material as a giant drinking bird and a 60 meter roll of paper towels. There was a large group of builders, concerned that a fellow builder had been taken. And of course the press was there, all of it, from the Metaverse Messenger, with its flying pterodactyl van full of radio antennas to several hundred bloggers with virtual laptops, all eager for a scoop.
And then there were the “issue” people. The Reverend Fred Phelps (IHateYou Ling in Second Life) and his followers were carrying Death to Sweetie signs, enraging the Quaker faction, which had shown up en masse to support one of their own. Anti death-penalty advocates were there, and critics of the current administration, and FBI agents were furiously taking down the names and Unique Identifiers of everyone present. Sidewalk vendors were selling everything from virtual hot dogs to one-prim rezzers, and the more unscrupulous were making a killing selling freebies to the many newbies who were walking around in a daze. One newbie had somehow bought or found a set of huge prims and was blanketing the sim with them until the Lindens arrested him for violating the Terms of Service.
Griefers and sound spammers were creating chaos, making a chorus of disgusting body noises and animal and Eric Cartman sounds and pushing and caging and orbiting people right and left. Pickpockets were working the crowd, even though pockets are notoriously difficult to pick in SL (Skulks Avery has offered to pick your pocket. Type Y to animate your avatar). Various and assorted Lindens were lurking about, trying without much success to blend into the crowd, and Even the Church of Elvis was present, holding an impromptu service and handing out free Velvises.
Some underpaid clerk at the Justice Department had neglected to lock down the land, so it quickly filled up with particles and stray prims; when the parcel became filled, the courthouse disappeared and had to be re-rezzed. Then some idiot reverted the land and we were all buried inside a huge mountain.
That clerk must have been seriously underpaid, because she set the land to sell for $100 Lindens, and it was purchased by Anshe Chung, who promptly hung out a Dreamland banner and charged every avatar $100L to stay on the land.
Those who didn’t pay promptly and set up a tier so they could continue to pay Anshe $100L were banned. This got rid of the griefers and noobs and most of the vendors. Soon the land had been re-terraformed, the courthouse more-or-less put back in place (they never did find the roof), and the judge (they actually had a Judge camping chair) was in residence.
They brought Sweetie in in handcuffs, but that didn’t stop her from tweaking the courthouse textures on the way in— something I had myself been doing. It was of abysmal design. Our eyes locked, she was led to the prisoner’s cage, and…
The United States of America vs. Sweetie was about to begin.