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[personal profile] mllelaurel
Fandom: Ace Attorney
Title: Notes from the Underworld
Characters: Ensemble, with a special focus on Apollo Justice, Klavier Gavin and Damon Gant
Pairings: None
Rating: M/R
Warnings: Major character death! Implied violence and mention of suicide.
Summary: A universe in which everything goes horribly wrong, starting with the death of Phoenix Wright. Told largely in epistolary format.


Autopsy Report
Autopsy: LAPD584849-24D
Decedent: Phoenix Wright
Autopsy Authorized By: Dr. Wu Wang for the City of Los Angeles
Identified by: Fingerprints and dental comparison

Age: 24
Race: White
Sex: Male
...

Clothing:
White dress shirt; electrical scorch marks around the chest area, small spatters of blood around the collar (proven via blood tests to be Wright’s)
...

Cause of death: electric shock, applied directly over the heart. Burn patterns on chest suggest the use of a stun gun or taser, set to maximum standard capacity.

Manner of death: homicide

Further notes: Ref. LAPD5848489-24C; Fey, Maya.

***

Los Angeles Times
PROSECUTING LEGEND CONVICTED
Feb.7, 2016

On February 3, 2016, authorities arrested legendary prosecutor, Manfred Von Karma, at his home in Pasadena, on suspicions of murder, to be tried immediately on two counts of homicide. Three days later, Von Karma was found guilty by the tribunal for the homicide deaths of defense attorney Phoenix Wright and his associate, Maya Fey. Wright and Fey had been Von Karma’s opposition in court, during the sensation-soaked trial of Von Karma’s protege, Miles Edgeworth, known to the press and public as the infamous Demon Prosecutor.

In the wake of Wright and Fey’s deaths, Edgeworth publicly and vehemently refused the services of another court-assigned legal defense. He was convicted in the shooting death of Robert Hammond on Dec. 28, 2016. At the time, Von Karma’s professionalism at the trial appeared commendable, fighting for the conviction of someone close to him. He was quoted to say, after the trial, that Edgeworth “had been like a son to [him],” and that “abhorrent actions, like his would not be allowed to stain the court of law or the good name of his family.”

Though Von Karma had a clear motive for the murders of his opposition, it took the initiative of Detective Richard Gumshoe and his personally selected team to place Von Karma at the scene of the crime, in the police archives, where he had cornered Wright and Fey, stunning and then killing them with the aid of a taser he had kept on his person, supposedly for self-defense. He’d been fairly careful not to leave fingerprints or much in the way of DNA evidence on the scene. His profession, after all, had left him intimately familiar with the minor details of a murder. Upon further examination, various case files and evidence exhibits were found missing from the scene of the crime, most notably the files connected to the case legally shorthanded as DL-6, which dealt with the murder of Edgeworth’s father, defense attorney Gregory Edgeworth.

Three days later, in court, Von Karma found his alibi dismantled by Chief Prosecutor Lana Skye herself, who’d insisted on taking a case of this magnitude and notoriety. While Von Karma’s advanced age threw doubt on his ability to overpower a healthy young man such as Wright, a physician’s testimony proved him capable, particularly if he used Fey’s safety as leverage, to get Wright to cooperate, as suggested by Prosecutor Skye.

Naturally, Von Karma’s conviction throws the previous resolution of State v. Edgeworth into doubt. Some have even suggested looking as far back as DL-6. Unfortunately, any and all such speculation will have to remain just that. The statute of limitations on DL-6 has expired on December 28 - the very same day on which Miles Edgeworth was convicted. A spokesperson from the Prosecutor’s Office gave a statement as follows: “while the new evidence has been deemed sufficient to re-open the case of State v. Edgeworth, there would be very little point in doing so now.” It is a sadly well known fact that the California legal system is swamped, and the efforts would be better spent on proving the guilt or innocence of a living person, rather than someone like Miles Edgeworth, who was found dead inside his cell four days after his trial.

None of Von Karma’s remaining living family, including his prosecutor daughter, Franziska Von Karma, could be reached for further questions.

***

A photograph

[A smiling Lana Skye, shaking hands with the mayor of Los Angeles as she accepts her position as Chief Prosecutor. The date underneath the photograph doesn’t match this event, however, mapping instead to Skye’s conviction in the murder of Detective Bruce Goodman.]

***

A list of verdicts

Maggey Byrde found Guilty in the murder of Dustin Prince
Maximillion Galactica found Guilty in the murder of Russel Berry
Adrian Andrews found Guilty in the murder of Juan Corrida
Ron DeLite found Guilty in the murder of Kane Bullard
Larry Butz found Guilty in the murder of Elise Deauxanym

***

Note found in the home of Prosecutor Godot, shortly following his death by suicide

Kitten, I don’t think you will like me for any of the things I have done. I can almost feel you out there, so close, just out of my reach, with that disapproving look on your face. No, not just disapproving, I can see that fury blazing in your eyes, like it used to. You thought you loved a good man, didn’t you?

Funny, I thought you’d loved a good man too, once. But then, you died, and the floor opened up beneath my feet. I did everything I could, please believe me. I drowned myself in coffee and blood, and I kept fighting. Funny, how none of it brought you back.

They’re all dead now, the ones who should have saved you but didn’t, from the mother who’d tried her best in the end, to your hapless foolish boy of an apprentice, to...

Your sister. Mia, I’m so sorry. I could not save her. She died… well, if you can still see or hear anything, then you know how and where and when she died. And I am a weak, pathetic, cowardly wretch who slept through every last drop of it.

I should have protected them all. I could not and did not.

The man who killed you still lives. Not for long. I’ve pulled some strings; I know Redd White will get the rope around his neck soon enough, just as the poisoner, Dahlia Hawthorne, had.

You avenged me much more neatly and quickly than ever I could avenge you.

And now, there is nothing left. When Colombian roast begins to taste like acid rain in your mouth, it’s time to- [words scratched out, illegible]

Mia… I think it’s over now.

***

Los Angeles Times
MAGICIAN PULLS A VANISHING ACT
April 20, 2019

...the defendant, stage name Zak Gramarye, vanished midway through the trial. Kristoph Gavin, Gramarye’s defense attorney called Gramarye’s actions “needlessly rash,” though some speculate the case wasn’t going Gavin’s way and Gramarye feared that they would lose…

***

Adoption Papers

The State of California certifies Kristoph Gavin as the adopted father of Trucy Enigmar. All background checks passed, as per the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006.

***

Court Transcript: State v. Justice

Defendant: Apollo Justice
Attorney for the Defense: pro se
Attorney for the Prosecution: Klavier Gavin

The court calls the defendant to the stand. Please state your name and occupation.

JUSTICE: Apollo Justice. I, uh… [long pause] I think I’m unemployed right now.

GAVIN: You still joke after everything you’ve done?

[The defendant does not reply]



To the charge of attempted murder in the first degree of Vera Misham, how do you plead?

JUSTICE: Not guilty.

To the charge of murder in the first degree of Trucy Gavin, how do you plead?

[Long pause with no response from the defendant, as he begins to shake, face white]

JUSTICE: I would never, in a million years! She was like… Like a little sister to me.

How do you plead?

JUSTICE: N-not guilty.

To the charge of murder in the first degree of Kristoph Gavin, how do you plead?

JUSTICE: Guilty. Not in the first degree, but… [the defendant looks resolute] Guilty.



Please begin the testimony.

JUSTICE: Mr. Gavin and I had gone to visit Miss Misham at the detention center. She was his client, detained after her father’s death. She wasn’t guilty, of course, but-

GAVIN: Objection! I move Herr Justice’s comment regarding Fraulein Misham be struck, as speculation of questionable relevance. She is not the one on trial here.

JUSTICE: What does it matter to you? She can’t speak for herself, either way!

[Judge overrules objection as, itself, insufficiently related to the case at hand]

As I was saying, we had gone to visit her, at the detention center. She didn’t speak much- I don’t think it was just us. I think she wasn’t really used to people. I think she trusted us as much as she was going to trust anyone, not that it says much. Truce… Truce had struck up a little bit of a friendship with her. She does that. Just starts talking to you, and suddenly you’re caught up in her crazy schemes, watching her perform magic tricks...

Did that. I mean she did that. Used to do that.

Anyway. Miss Misham said Mr. Gavin had given her a bottle of nail polish, as a kind of good luck charm. Ariadoney, the kind he used. She had it with her. Truce asked if Vera wanted her to help her do her nails. She- she did Truce’s, too, in return.

Afterwards, Mr. Gavin dropped Trucy off, back home, and drove us back to his office.

Oh yeah, that was the weird thing I’d noticed, on the way! Mr. Gavin told Trucy to take off the nail polish as soon as she got home. I mean, it’s not like she wears makeup much, offstage, but he wasn’t one of those dads who goes ballistic because his kid is growing up. Hell, he wore that nail polish himself.

She just stuck her tongue out at him and said, ‘sure, Dad.’ In that tone of voice that means you’re ignoring him.

She was back at the office with us, after school the next day. We were all going to be heading out for Vera’s trial. Truce likes Vera. She was nervous for her, so she kept…

She kept chewing her nails.

Like I said, we were just about to head out, when Truce made a face and said, “ugh, I don’t feel so good.” Her stomach hurt, and she said her mouth was numb. Then, she- she collapsed.

I called the ambulance. Mr. Gavin had to go to the trial, so I rode in with her. She was shivering, and she couldn’t breathe…

[Present Exhibit C - symptoms of atroquinine poisoning]

She died at the hospital. I held her hand and she died.

[court recesses, as the defendant breaks down]

[court resumes]

GAVIN: At which point did you learn of Ms. Misham’s fate?

JUSTICE: I called Mr. Gavin at the courthouse. I knew he wouldn’t pick up, he always kept his phone off during trials. But with-

With Truce… I thought he’d want…

He picked up, and told me Miss Misham had fainted in court. She’d been taken to a different hospital. He hadn’t gone with her, and he hadn’t gone to meet me and Trucy.

I told him… I told him.

He didn’t sound surprised. He sounded so calm and comforting, and it was his own daughter!

Your honor, if I told you your daughter had just died, would you have been c-calm? [turns on the prosecutor.] Would you?

[Gavin begins to reply, but the judge bangs his gavel]

He told me to meet him at the office. And I was starting to see what was happening.

I confronted him at the office. Asked him why he had given Vera that nailpolish. He blew me off, at first. But I kept pressing him. I reminded him how he’d told Truce to remove it.

[quiet] You know, I don’t think he’d meant to kill her. I think he- What if he really was sorry she’d-

GAVIN: Showing remorse, Herr Justice? A little too late, if you ask me.

JUSTICE: I know he’d meant to kill Vera.

GAVIN: Really. Would you care to present some evidence?

JUSTICE: He had this… This tell. When he thought something was worthless- someone was worthless. His eyes would widen a little, then narrow, and you wouldn’t be able to tell his expression at all, behind those glasses. When I asked about Vera, I couldn’t see his eyes.

GAVIN: Ah, well that settles it, then. You are such an expert witness in forensic psychology. Forgive me, I had not realized. You had a light flare to excuse your murdering my brother! And if I put on sunglasses right now, I can only assume you will surely kill me. For my horrid plans to assassinate Herr Judge, of course. Serves me right, for such perfidy.

JUSTICE: It- It wasn’t a light flare! It was the way- His expression changed. Like always. You don’t know what he was like!

[quiet] Or maybe you do. You of all people…

[the prosecution remains oddly silent]

JUSTICE: I can tell when people are lying. Or what they feel, sometimes.

GAVIN: So, you are a telepath now, Herr Justice? Wunderbar! You are adeptly planting the seeds for an insanity plea. I must commend you.

JUSTICE: Then let me ask you this, Prosecutor Gavin? If I was completely off-base, why did he try to strangle me? Perhaps because he wasn’t happy with how I filed his legal briefs?

[Evidence Exhibit D: closeups of fingerprint-shaped bruises around Justice’s throat, size and shape of fingers certified to roughly match Kristoph Gavin’s by Dr. Emmanuel Herrera, MD.]

GAVIN: May I ask you to remove your tie and unbutton your collar?

JUSTICE: [sharp laugh] Do you ask every witness to strip in front of you, or am I just special like that?

[Judge orders Justice to comply with prosecution’s request. Strangulation marks are clearly visible. Justice’s hand moves to cover his throat]

JUSTICE: Satisfied?

GAVIN: Ja, I am. Continue with your testimony.

JUSTICE: As I said, he was trying to kill me. I was down on the floor, and I couldn’t throw him off. I was starting to see black spots. I- I groped around for something. Anything. Something I could hit him with. I don’t even know what. I just didn’t want to die. And my hand hit these scissors.

[Evidence Exhibit A: The murder weapon. Miniature scissors, used for trimming fingernails]

JUSTICE: I grabbed them, and I jabbed at his. I don’t remember… Shoulder? Knee? Whatever I could reach. He just kept laughing. He was bleeding, and he didn’t care. He just kept laughing, and I thought, that’s it. This is how I’m gonna…

When I woke up, he was dead. Just sprawled out on top of me, hands still around my neck.

GAVIN: Please state the location where this all took place, again.

JUSTICE: The office. Not the reception area, but the room just beyond it.

GAVIN: And why do you suppose there was a pair of nail clippers in this room?

JUSTICE: Truce must have left them.

GAVIN: Objection! Didn’t you say she was not in the habit of fussing over her fingernails, normally? And didn’t you say the equipment she used on her nails before her death belonged to - and one can assume remained with - Miss Vera Misham?

JUSTICE: I don’t know whose they were, okay? Maybe they were Mr. Gavin’s.

[the prosecution smiles]

GAVIN: Oh, now I’ve got you. Your Honor! Kristoph Gavin’s autopsy showed atroquinine contamination in his bloodstream. Moreover, if you look here - [Exhibit A again], the scissors were found to be coated in clear nail polish, which likewise contained traces of atroquinine, in quantities strong enough to be lethal.

Herr Justice, if these belonged to my brother, as you say, why would he have poisoned his own belongings?

Here is what I believe happened! The defendant standing here is the one who poisoned Vera Misham and Trucy Gavin, just as he is charged. I believe that Kris- That Kristoph discovered what he had done, and thus became Herr Justice’s next victim.

I believe the marks around Herr Justice’s neck are defensive wounds. If someone you knew to be capable of killing came at you, you, too, would do your best to protect yourself against the assailant.

I believe that the defendant returned to the office, after ascertaining Trucy Gavin’s death. That at the office he acquired the scissors, which may, in fact, have belonged to my brother. I believe that he calmly and deliberately dipped them in the same poison he had used on Frauleins Misham and Gavin.

You knew that the poison would work within fifteen minutes, so you weren’t worried about Kris standing up to you, but he almost got you, didn’t he? Even if it was already too late for him, the moment you stabbed him.

Tell me I am wrong, Herr Justice.

[defendant closes his eyes]

JUSTICE: Very well, you’ve got me. Would you like me to change my testimony?

GAVIN: I would like to add a count of perjury to your already impressive list of charges.

JUSTICE: Wow. Petty.

GAVIN: You killed my brother and niece in cold blood, while attempting to kill another innocent young woman. I can afford to be a little petty, when it comes to you.

JUSTICE: I told you, I didn’t kill Trucy! Or try to kill Vera!

GAVIN: Just tell us again what you did, once you got back to the office.

JUSTICE: I knew he was responsible for Trucy’s death. Or I was pretty sure, after the phone call. I’d have to see him face-to-face, to be sure. I went through his desk, until I found two bottles of Ariadoney and other nail stuff. One of the bottles had the same mark scratched on the glass as the one Vera had.

GAVIN: Hold it! You noticed a scratch on the glass of a nail polish bottle you weren’t looking at closely?

JUSTICE: I notice things.

I dipped the scissors in the bottle with the similar mark. I wasn’t going to use them unless I knew I was right. Unless he attacked me. Which he did, just like I told you.

GAVIN: [cutting him off with a hand gesture] We’ve all heard enough. Your Honor, on the charge of Kristoph’s Gavin’s first-degree murder, the prosecution rests. As for the rest-

[the judge rules they resume tomorrow]

***

Retroactive Mistrial Petition, Regarding State v. Justice

I hereby petition the board that the case NQ-3 (State v. Justice) be retroactively deemed a mistrial, due to the prosecution’s innate bias and inability to work impartially. It is my belief that with stakes as personal as the ones faced here, the case’s assigned prosecutor would not have been able to cross-examine Mr. Justice fairly and contributed to significantly biasing the court against him, as well as himself missing details critical to the case. I request that the case in question be re-tried as soon as a new court date can be set, with a different counsel for the prosecution and a mandated court-appointed attorney for the defense.

Petition filed by: Klavier Gavin
Board’s decision: Request denied

***

Lost in thought, Klavier didn’t see the police chief come in, until a large hand landed on his shoulder, with a crinkle of leather gloves. “Klavi-o! To what do I owe the honor of this visit?” The office had good acoustics, Klavier noted. Damon Gant’s voice boomed, echoing off the walls. “If I’d known you were going to show up, I’d have had drinks on standby. Don’t worry, I wouldn’t try and make you suck down American beer, or anything so crass.” Gant guffawed.

“Your secretary told me to come on in, Herr Gant. I wanted to take another look at the NQ-3 evidence, if that’s all right with you.”

“NQ-3 again?” Gant shook his head. “You’ve got to let that one go, my boy. I understand it was personal, but you made the bastard pay. We all cheered for you, up in here. Your own brother and niece… Shame, shame.”

“So, you think I did the right thing, then?”

“We’re back to that petition of yours again, eh, Klavi-o? Yeah, I’ve heard about it. Everyone’s heard about it! I’m pretty sure the janitor’s wife’s heard about it.” Klavier flinched. “You want my suggestion,” Gant said, “I’d say take a nice long vacation. Somewhere tropical. Nice and quiet. Go for a swim. Take a model with you. Take three! Hell, take me with you. Forget the little ironically-named cocksucker, you hear me?

“Or hey, I’ve got an even better idea. I’ve heard some of those early recordings of yours. You’ve got pipes on you, boy. Real pipes. I should know, I pride myself as a musician, myself.”

“Ja, that organ’s a beauty.” It was one of the first things inside the office to capture Klavier’s attention. Not an instrument he’d been trained in, but intriguing nonetheless. Distracting.

“You ever thought about starting up a band? Of course you have! It’s what you were going to do before the Blind Lady ate up your life, just like she’s done with everyone else’s in here.”

A band. It had been a long-ago, faraway dream. Just him and Daryan, drunk off their asses and talking into the night. Never came to anything, and he wondered how Gant knew about it at all.

He pushed his sunglasses up the bridge of his nose. “I just keep thinking there was something to what Justice was saying. That he had no motive to try and kill Vera Misham.”

“I can give you thousands of reasons for a little shithead like Justice to try and kill a girl. Maybe she drew him funny, maybe she wouldn’t put out. Motive’s the easiest part. You can always make one up, for anyone, in regards to anyone.”

“And Trucy?” His niece’s name hurt to say. Not the same way Kris’s did, but every time he said it, he heard Justice’s voice breaking over it again.

Gant grimaced. “Baby Gavin? Well, maybe she was an accident, just like he’d said it was when he accused poor ol’ Krissy. Collateral damage.” For such an avuncular man, that was an awfully cold way of putting it, Klavier thought, just as Gant’s voice softened.

“Changing the subject, any news on our little artist?”

“Nein. She’s still in the same damned coma. Not braindead, at least, but the doctors aren’t giving her great odds at waking up. I’ve stopped by to check on her, and. Yeah, it’s not looking good.”

“Stopped by to check on her, eh? You’re a good man, Klavi-o.” Klavier couldn’t tell anymore whether the man was being serious or not. “You were looking at my clippings when I came in, weren’t you. I’ve got a whole wall of good men here, and let me tell you something about them.” He jabbed a finger at an old newspaper article. “Dead.” A rueful headshake. “Poor ol’ Worthy-boy. Met him when he was a gawky pipsqueak you know, when Manny brought him into the office. I knew even then, kid was gonna give scumbags hell. But they were the ones that got him in the end.” He pointed at another clipping. “Mia Fey. Now there was a lady with assets, if you don’t mind my saying so. Good lawyer, too. Got clocked in the head when she dug too deep, in one of her cases, and there she went. Had a junior partner, and he got whacked too, ‘least I’m pretty sure. Fuck even knows what happened to the old partner of hers. Armando. Pretty sure he’s keeping your Miss Misham company in a coma, if he hasn’t gacked it already. But I’m reminiscing…”

Gant’s finger shifted to a photograph. “And then, you’ve got folks like Lana. Damned good woman, once. Shared this very office with me, before she went off the deep end and stabbed the bejesus out of Brucie-boy. That’s another one to add to the dead list. But that’s just my point. You’ve got good men, and sooner or later all they are is dust. Or they turn into Lana Skye, Manny Von Karma, that Blackquill kid.”

Klavier wondered what Gant thought of himself as, if this were the case. The police chief’s hand felt like lead on his shoulder. He’d never bothered to remove it.

“Tell me, Klavi-o. Would you consider yourself to be a good man?”

Klavier took off his sunglasses, folded them, stuck them in his pocket, and said, “I don’t know.”

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