Mr. and Mrs. Korine, it is with profound regret...

Habitation Ring, Deck 046
Deep Space 13
13:24 Station Time

Mr. and Mrs. Korine, I’m Captain Lauren Varley.

Suite 109B. Lauren paces down the corridor along the route plotted by her PADD, glancing down to it to make sure she hasn’t passed the address. She doesn’t come to the civilian habitation levels very often.

It is with profound regret that I must inform you of the death of your son.

The words of the letter she wrote less than a week ago roll through her mind. Like much of the station’s population, she’s never met the Korines, but when their son was killed it became her duty to break the news. Usually, unless the relatives have a special request, that’s the end of it. But Neema is right. Pushing the offending Parin noble to the Court of Law on his homeworld rather than trying him in a Federation court is irregular, and shouldn’t be done without consent of the victim’s family.

A full report will be directed to you once the details are certain, but I’m afraid nothing I can give you will lessen the tragedy of your loss. I am so deeply sorry.

The door for Suite 109B swishes open. Standing there is a woman who looks about Lauren’s age, perhaps older- but that could just be the exhaustion from grief. “Oh, Captain Varley. Come in, please. Take a seat.”

“Mrs. Korine,” Lauren nods and follows her in to the apartment, finding a spot on a standard-issue sofa.

“Mark,” calls Mrs. Korine to the other room, “the Captain is here.”

A shuffling of things from the other room can be heard, and then the slow approach of footsteps. “Coming,” a male voice responds. Rounding the corner to the living room is the figure of Mr. Korine, a sturdy man with a packing box in his hands. He sets it down on the floor and nods to Lauren, “Captain, welcome.”

“Hello. Thank you for agreeing to see me,” Lauren says to them both as they sit down to join her. Gone are the signs of tears, for the moment they just seem tired. There’s a point at which continuing to be in pain is just too exhausting. She remembers finding it when Andre died, but is quick to return her focus to the present.

“Of course,” Mrs. Korine answers. “Your message was a little bit vague. Something about the trial for the murderer?”

“Yes. I’m sorry for the suddenness of it, but there’s a decision we have to make before the trial can proceed. We have the individual in our custody now, and waiting much longer would be disadvantageous.”

“Disadvantageous for what, exactly, Captain?” Mr. Korine asks. It’s not quite standoffish, but Lauren can hear the slight irritation in his voice. She doesn’t blame him. His wife takes his hand in hers and shares a glance with him, then they both look back to Lauren for her reply.

"Normally in cases like this the trial would be held in a Federation court. Without going into political specifics, this would likely displease the ruling powers of Parin, where the killer is from. They would prefer he is sent to their noble courts, where all individuals of his social class are tried. But we have an opportunity to do even more.

The lower class of Parin are tried in a different court system, where a form of justice more comparable to our own is upheld. Some want to see all nobles held to the same scrutiny as their subjects, and one of such individuals approached me with a request. They want us to push for our trial to be held in their court. This would be unprecedented, and put a bold step forwards in the direction of social equality for their civilization. But we won’t use the trial this way without your consent."

The couple are quiet for a while as they share a look with eachother. It’s a lot to unpack, and Lauren finds herself wishing she had found a better way to present the case. But there’s no point lamenting over that.

“Do you have any children, Captain?”

“Ah, no.”

Mrs. Korine nods slowly, “I can tell.”

Lauren tilts her head slightly, but otherwise restrains any reaction she might have to that. It won’t help. Instead she patiently waits for a more substantial response.

Taking a breath, Mr. Korine is next to speak. “You’re saying, Captain, that you’d like to use the trial to make a change in the society that gave us the killer of our son?”

Lauren dips her head for the affirmative. That sounds promising.

Looking to his wife for a moment, she nods and pats his leg. Then Mr. Korine nods to Lauren. “I think we can agree to that. But only if you can be certain that the killer gets his due, as he would in a Federation court.”

“I’ve personally discussed the matter with a judge from the court, and have no doubt on that part. Rest assured that justice for the crime is still our primary concern.”

“In that case you can go ahead with your plans, Captain, I don’t think the location of the trial matters much to us. Either way, he’s still gone,” the last sentence is quick and short to avoid dwelling on the painful thoughts, and in it Lauren can hear it’s time for her to take her leave.

She stands. “Thank you, I won’t forget this. If there’s anything I can do for you, please, let me know.”

“I don’t think there will be. You’ll have to forgive our apathy, Captain, it’s hard to care about such things at a time like this,” Mrs. Korine says as she sees Lauren to the door.

“Goodbye, Captain.”

The doors swish shut, leaving Lauren in the hallway. She stands there for a moment, then starts for the tubolift. It’s a win, she got what she came here for. Just doesn’t feel like it.

Sometimes, that’s how it goes. Right.