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Subject: For All Nails #51j: Victoria's Secret (Part 10)

The Guardian
Nairobi, Victoria
4 May 1973

"I have a present for you, Raja," said Victoria Madoka.  She
reached into her purse and removed two rolls of film.

"What's that?" asked Anand Rajaram.

"Pictures of the interrogation room at Nyeri prison camp, and
of Letitia Ntimana.  It's what the people there look like
_before_ the guards clean them up for trial - or before
they're made to disappear.  I want you to run them.  I want
Caroline Boyle to see exactly what the buttons are doing in
her bloody name."

The reporter looked at her, taken aback by the vehemence of
her words.  "I don't see why not," he said.  "It'll certainly
sell papers.  I'll have to run it by Olivier, though - unless
I miss my guess, you didn't take those pictures legally."

"You could say that," Victoria said drily.

"Then what do I do when CID comes down here and asks me where
I got the pictures?"

"Tell CID you got them from someone inside the prison," she
answered.  "It'll be the truth - I was certainly inside when
I took them - and it might bring some well-deserved trouble
on those damned guards."

Rajaram snorted.  "It might, at that.  How was it in court
yesterday afternoon?  I was called back here at two o'clock,
so I missed what happened after lunch."

"You didn't miss much, Raja," Victoria replied.  "Hodges had
one more witness - a fellow from the Attorney General's
office, to enter the list of banned parties into evidence -
and he rested about three thirty.  The judge let the jury go
home early, and after that it was just housekeeping.  I
actually got to Nyeri early."

"Good for you, I suppose," said Rajaram.  "Are we still
meeting tonight?"

"At the City Gardens, yes, and you can ask me all you want
then.  And now, I have to go to court..."

***

Magistrate's Court
Nairobi, Victoria
4 May 1973

"Does the defense have any witnesses?" asked Magistrate Ian
Douglas.

"I have several, your Honor," Victoria Madoka answered.  "I'd
been meaning to discuss that with you before we started today,
because there are logistical issues we need to consider."

"Logistical issues?" the judge repeated.

"Yes, your Honor.  You see, I plan to call myself as my first
witness, which will put me in the somewhat awkward position of
examining myself.  The trip back and forth from the lectern to
the witness stand might grow quite tiring."  She was rewarded
with a scowl from the prosecutor, but the surreptitious smiles
on six of the jurors' faces more than made up for that.

"I'm sure we can excuse you from that, Mrs. Madoka.  Let's get
on with it."

"All the same, your Honor, the spectacle of me questioning
myself might not be entirely compatible with the solemnity of
a trial.  What I suggest is that we adopt a North American
innovation, and put the case to the jury somewhat more
directly.  In Manitoba, jurors are allowed to put questions to
witnesses once the attorneys are finished.  [FN1]  I propose
that we modify that system slightly, and give the jurors their
turn first.  If this is acceptable to the Court, I will take
the stand, and the jurors may ask me anything they wish."

"This is highly irregular, your Honor," said the prosecutor.
It wasn't Hodges today; Harry Keller himself, _the_ Public
Prosecutor, had come to take charge during Madoka's testimony.
"Nothing like this has ever been done in a Victorian court..."

"I don't think there's been a case like this in a Victorian
court either," interrupted the judge.  "And I'm sure there are
things the jurors want to know about this case that might not
otherwise be addressed by the parties."  As if to confirm his
statement, the jurors - who ordinarily endured legal colloquy
with a keen sense of ennui - were listening with real
interest.  "Mrs. Madoka's proposal intrigues me, and I'm
inclined to adopt it.  What if one of the jurors asks an
improper question, though?"

"Then Mr. Keller or I will object, and you can strike the
question just as if one of us had asked it."

"Your Honor," interrupted the prosecutor.  "Do you really
intend to entertain this nonsense?  The accused is obviously
hoping for an opportunity to make a speech..."

"She hasn't done that thus far, Mr. Keller, but this is her
turn on the stand, and if the jurors want speeches from her,
then that will be up to them.  Rest assured that you will have
a full opportunity to cross-examine her after the jurors are
finished.  I will grant the application.  Mrs. Madoka, please
raise your right hand."

Victoria did so, and was sworn.

"I will consider you to have been duly called, Mrs. Madoka.
You may take the stand, and the jurors may put their questions
to you."

"Thank you, your Honor."  Madoka rose from the counsel table,
walked to the witness box, and looked serenely at the jurors.
"Mr. Klein, you are the foreman," she said.  "Why don't you go
first?"

She had expected him to take a moment to decide what to ask
her, but he didn't; like the other jurors, he had begun to
formulate questions in his mind as soon as she had suggested
that they do so.  "Mrs. Madoka..." he began.

"Go right ahead."

"Are you a member of the Victoria National Congress?"

"No, I am not."

"Are you in favor of their attacks on the farms in the
westlands?"

"No, I'm not."

"Then why did you say you support them?"

"That's a very good question, Mr. Klein," Victoria said.  "The
answer is that I make a distinction between their cause and
their methods.  I don't support all their methods - that's why
I urged my audience to vote for the VNC in the election rather
than to take up arms on its behalf - but I do support their
cause."

"What do you consider their cause?"

"Their cause - and mine - is a future where all Victorians
are citizens, equal under the law, and where there are no
preferences given to any race."

"You don't believe that the VNC wants to drive all the whites
out of Victoria?"

"I think a few of them do, Mr. Klein.  I'm certainly aware of
Nicholas Biwott's speeches, and I know others have said the
same thing; I'm not naive about the people I'm supporting.
But I choose to believe what I've been told by the VNC members
I've known and represented - that Biwott does not speak for
the group as a whole, and that white Africans, like all other
Africans, will have an honored place in Victoria's future.
That is, may I say, a belief I share; I believe that whites,
from the oldest settler to the newest immigrant from Esperança
or New Friesland [FN2], have something very valuable to add to
this nation."

"Move to strike as nonresponsive, your Honor," interjected
Keller.

"Overruled," said Magistrate Douglas.  "She answered the
question.  Do you have any others, Mr. Klein?"

"No, your Honor."

"Very well, then," Madoka said.  "I believe you're next, Mrs.
O'Connell."

"I do have a question for you," the second juror replied.  She
was a matronly South Nairobi woman in her fifties; Victoria
remembered that she worked as a secretary at a nearby bank.
"You sounded very sincere just now about whites having a place
in Victoria..."

"Objection, your Honor!" the prosecutor barked.

"Please ask your question without embellishments."

"Why do you support the VNC and not the All Citizens' Party,
then?"

"I do support the All Citizens' Party, Mrs. O'Connell.  I'm a
member of the party, in fact.  But sometimes the All Citizens'
Party can be too focused on the political."

"What do you mean?"

"The All Citizens' Party is a party of the black middle
class - of which I am one - and as such, it concentrates on
areas of their concern - votes, higher education, civil
rights.  There are millions of black Victorians, though, whose
needs are more basic - adequate food, housing, medicine.  The
All Citizens' Party doesn't provide nearly enough of those.
The VNC provides more."  [FN3]

"Oh," said O'Connell.  She considered for a moment, and asked
another question.  "Are you a black revolutionary, like they
say you are?"

"That depends on what a revolution is, I suppose," Victoria
said.  "If a revolution is an armed insurrection, then no, I
am not a revolutionary.  On the other hand, one of my
professors at university once said that a revolution is a
radical change in a society.  I suppose that what I want -
a Victoria where all people are equal - would be a radical
change from what we have now.  If I had my way, then nine of
you sitting in the jury box would be black, and most likely
his Honor as well.  There would be black Victorians living
next door to you, their children would go to school with
yours, and they would look at you as person to person rather
than subject to citizen.  Maybe, then, I do want a revolution.
Maybe they're telling you the truth..."

***

West Nairobi, Victoria
5 May 1973

Antonio Marques was a happier man than his wife María had seen
him in many months.  This morning, he had started work as an
assistant bookkeeper at a payroll firm in Kibera to which he
had been referred by a local Conservative Party leader.  It
was a beginner's job, and the salary was still less than what
he had earned in Esperança, but it was almost twice what he
had been paid as a construction laborer.  And even more
importantly, it was a white man's job, one where he went to
work in a suit and performed his duties sitting at a desk.
Ever since he'd been hired a week before, he'd never stopped
being excited about what his new salary and status would bring
them - a bigger apartment, a maid, a late-model loke...

He'd told María to wait dinner tonight, because he had a party
meeting after work.  That was the other thing he was always on
about - ever since he'd heard that man Ruffin speak, the
Conservatives had been the saviors of Victoria and its leaders
the greatest political geniuses on the planet.  Lately, he'd
taken to watching the parliamentary debates on the vitavision,
cheering every point the Reds made and shouting with derision
every time a member from another party dared to open his mouth.
Given that Antonio had never before shown the slightest
interest in politics, María thought all this passing strange.

It was after eight o'clock when Antonio finally came home,
aglow with the reflected glory of the Conservative candidates.
He embraced María and kissed her soundly - another thing he'd
taken to doing lately; she had no complaints at all - and
accompanied her to the dinner table.

"How was your day in court?" he asked.

María was surprised; he hadn't seemed interested in her
service on the Madoka jury before.  She'd heard him talk about
Victoria Madoka on occasion, usually borrowing the words of
some Conservative sage, but the trial had seemed like an
afterthought.

"It was interesting," she said.  She wasn't sure what else she
could say; the defendant had seemed pleasant and sincere, but
she knew Antonio didn't like her.  "Victoria was on the stand
for the second day today, and it was my turn to ask her
questions.  Did you know she's just my age?"

"No, María," he said, his tone chiding her on her emphasis of
such an unimportant matter.  "That's not important, though.  I
want you to listen, because I have a message for you from
Harry Keller himself."  His face was flushed at the thought of
carrying the words of such an exalted person.  "He says that
you have to find the Madoka woman guilty."

"How can I do that, Antonio?" she asked.  "There are eleven
other people on the jury."

"You have to convince them, María.  Talk to them any way you
can.  If any of them are Reds, let them know that this is
important to Mr. Keller."

"But the judge told us not to let anyone tell us how to vote,"
she protested.

"Who are you going to listen to, María - the judge or your
husband?  You have to find her guilty as charged..."

***

[FN1] In Arizona OTL, jurors may submit questions to the
court, which then consults with the attorneys for all parties
and decides whether to ask them of the witness.  A similarly
participatory form of justice seems appropriate for populist,
utopian Manitoba.

[FN2] New Friesland is a Gold Republic occupying the
approximate territory of the OTL Orange Free State.  The
original settlers were Dutch, but, as with all the Gold
Republics, New Friesland received immigrants from throughout
Europe, the CNA and Mexico between 1880 and the 1920s.

[FN3] In parts of the westlands and in the urban ghettos, the
VNC plays a role somewhat similar to HAMAS in OTL Gaza.

***

Jonathan I. Edelstein in Kew Gardens, NY

"It's been a lot of fun." -- in memoriam, Alison Brooks