The audience filed back into the courtroom, their voices making a high pitched cacophony until the Judge entered. Taking his seat on his bench he growled and the room fell silent. Then in a much deeper voice than the audience he spoke:
"The prisoner will stand."
There were audible hisses from the audience as the man in the dock stood. His counsel closed her eyes and rubbed her nose unable or unwilling to look at him and trying not to listen to the foregone conclusion about to be announced. For their part, the prosecutors sat and preened themselves, positively purring with happiness.
"Since long ago," the Judge intoned, "there have been some acts, and some words, which are off limits. They show a fundamental breach of decency that goes beyond mere vulgarity or lack of respect, lack of a sense of pride. Those words hark back to dark times indeed, times of slavery, abuse, neglect and patronising hostility."
The Court of Rights was silent now. All knew what was coming.
"This man," the Judge went on, "forgot that he is not the master of the world; that he does not have the right to dictate to others, and that he must at all times show the correct level of respect to those around him. He breached this duty incumbent on all humans when he used... er, the C Word."
"A man must NEVER, EVER, use the C word. Least of all directly to the face of a Lady. That is now and will ever be forbidden."
The man looked around the Court, at the cold eyes, pupils slitted. His own eyes were nearly closed through exhaustion. There was no mercy in this system of justice. Just a sense of play...
"Further, the accused admits his crime. He almost boasts, since he admits it and says it is justified. He says that he called the Lady the C Word because a C Word is what she is." the Judge looked at the accused man and despite himself the accused man stumbled backwards against the rail of the dock. The Judge was an incredibly impressive, imposing figure. The great mane of hair framed his eyes and accentuated the effect of his voice.
"The accused is GUILTY of the charge of use of hurtful or abusive speech. His sentence will be two years penal servitude to be served at the island reserved for such purpose."
"And let this be a lesson to all humans who hear this:"
The Judge leaned forward, stretching his enormous front paws to extend his massive black claws.
"NO human will ever call one of us 'Cat' again! Now and forever, WE ARE THE MASTERS!"
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