“I will never forget you, Rural Juror, I'm always glad I met you, Rural Juror, --- These were the best days of my … Flerm.” - Jane Krakowski
“We'll be back in the high life again, All the doors I closed one time, Will open again, We'll be back in the high life again, All the eyes that watched us once, Will smile and take us in.” - Steve Winwood
Though it took only three days for the jury to reach a verdict, the quakes would reverberate through this species' final decades.
For the entirety of the trial, the jurors were sequestered, separated from their families and locked up in a hotel. With billions of dollars on the line, the court wanted to ensure that these rural jurors would not be corrupted or even slightly influenced by the outside world. The city of Los Angeles had spent $50 million for the heightened police presence and could not afford this amount again if there was a mistrial.
During the first week, each of the jurors clustered in groups most familiar to them. After a week together, the walls between the groups disappeared. It happened one night. Just after dinner but before they could be excused from the conference room where they took all their meals. Metuker grabs two spoons and drums on the table's edge. An easy four count rhythm fills the room.
Without a word, Jedidiah snatches two spoons and pounds along with him. In a minute, they are grinning from ear to ear as their percussions blend together. Mersadie, who had done her Mormon mission on the Solomon Islands, joins the beat with her voice, singing a song she learned from her Melanesian friends. Though she's been rigidly trained in the tabernacle choir tradition, Mersadie's voice sparks the rest of the group. Moon Crag and Detox jump up and stomp their feet in time.
Even after they are excused, they continue their musical reverie in the living room connecting their hotel suites. Each night after this ends with music. The jury had a small entertainment budget and the court was happy to rent musical instruments for them: guitars, banjos, cowbells, fiddles, and even a piano.
Jedidiah kicks off the first solo performance by sharing the Shaker hymn, Simple Gifts. He sings, plays the fiddle and twirls around as the group claps for him. Mersadie, Jenedy and Athanasius recognize the lyrics and they pick it up during the second chorus. Jedidiah shows them the fervent celebration style that gave the United Society of Believer's in Christ's Second Appearing its terse nickname, the “Shaking Quakers.”
After the communion of music, they open up about their hopes and fears. All the jurors are parents and share holograms of their children. They find a deep connection in a common goal, to create a world full of love and happiness for their children to thrive. Too bad their children would live to see their species' end.
* * *
The stars' publicists are infuriated with every additional day of deliberation. Each morning, their clients would arrive at the courthouse, wearing an outfit that would be perfect for post-trial interviews and photos-ops. But each afternoon, there was still no verdict. These looks couldn't reused, so they spent the evenings dashing around town, buying up new outfits and coordinating with the other publicists to ensure none arrived wearing the same ensemble.
On the third day, Lindsay Lohan strums her chipped nails on the seat in front of her. Justin Timberlake poofs his hair. Milez Cyrus dozes silently in their chair, periodically kicking their right leg. Britney Spears rocks her head, squealing at the Cheetos that dangle from her hat's wide brim. Demi Lovato writes in her legal pad possible lyrics for a song. The top of the page reads, “Words that rhyme with Jury,” and then beneath this, “fury, Marie Curie, Astronaut Yuri (Gaga rin?), surrey (fringe on top?), flurry.”
The door flies open and the bailiff walks in. All those gathered perk up and scan the hall behind him.
He holds the door for the jurors, who enter and take their seats. Chapley looks for any hint as to the outcome, but she can't read their poker faces.
Metuker, the foreman of the jury, stands.
“Has the jury come to a verdict?” Judge Sandra Dee says with a flourish and a practiced head tilt to camera 2.
“We have your honor.”
“Members of the jury, on the Case of Spears et al. vs. The Walt Disney Company, what is your verdict?”
“We the jury find for the plaintiffs, Spears et al.”
Christina and Britney throw their gaudy hats in the air as the stars erupt with cheers. An explosion of Cheetos dust lands on those seated near Britney.
Chapley shushes them, reminding them they need to hear the award.
The stars grab each others' hands as the Judge reads the details of the damages awarded them.
“- the total damages are equal to one year of Disney's net income. $10 billion for the plaintiffs.”
Britney is in shock. Zac Efron collapses to the ground. Demi Lovato screams with delight. Chapley cracks her knuckles and smiles to Kip and Caden, who give her a thumbs up.
Katinka is the first to exit the courtroom. She kicks open the doors and howls her frustration. Photographers line the hallway and Katinka cuts one down with her spiked stiletto.