As the cell door closed Jens sat down facing his new client, quickly studying him. Reasonably tall, slim, looked to be in his mid forties though was actually thirty seven. Dark hair cut short, utilitarian rather than styled. Pale skin.
“Good afternoon Mr Salter. My name is Jens Hagen. I will be your defence lawyer, though you always have the choice of requesting an alternate, should you wish, right up to the trial date.”
“Jack. Please call me Jack. Mr Salter sounds so formal.” He had quite a deep voice, well spoken.
“Jack then. Please call me Jens. I’ve reviewed the charges against you and… well, frankly they’re almost unbelievable. You are charged with being a shape shifting alien who murdered three people in the alley behind Bar Neuf. Though, having seen video of the attack, tore apart would be a more accurate description than just murder. However video is easily falsified and not one of the alien species encountered so far has shown significant shape changing ability. DNA tests confirm that you are human, but then if you were a shape changer that might prove nothing.”
“You’ve seen the video then. Seen me apparently change?”
“Yes. From the beginning where the three victims grab you and drag you into the side alley, to rob you it seems. Then your transformation into some sort of creature, eight feet tall with razor sharp claws. The men seem to stand transfixed as you change rather than running. Twenty seconds later you’ve completed the change and begun to tear them apart. Starting with their legs so they can’t run. Then you are shown changing back to your normal appearance and walking away.
As I said, all very realistic looking and also very easy to fake.”
“Yes. Can I just check… this conversation is covered by client confidentiality isn’t it? You can’t discuss what we talk about with anyone else?”
“Yes, that’s right. Everything you say is for my ears only. If I want to use any of the information I need your agreement first.”
“And you aren’t recording this in any way? The prison won’t be?”
“No. No recordings.”
“Right. In that case I’d better tell you why this case is going to be so difficult.”
Jack stretched his hands out across the table, placing them on Jens’ wrists.
“I’m charged with being a shape shifting alien murderer. The problem we have is that I ama shape shifting alien. Just not a murderer.”
As he spoke Jack’s form suddenly rippled. One moment Jack sat there, the next Jens was staring at himself. He tried to pull back but the grip on his wrists was like iron. Not painful but impossible to break. His thoughts flew to the panic button just under the table. Maybe he could reach it with his leg.