• Published 9th Jun 2013
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Judge Luna - Aegis Shield



Princess Luna runs a Judge Judy-like show, but quickly grows ill as the show's popularity grows.

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Case #1: Eleven Foals

Judge Luna
Case #1 – Eleven Foals

It was nearly midnight in Ponyville. Twilight Sparkle had long since gone to bed. Early to bed, early to rise, after all! Spike, on the other hoof, had other plans. When the wooden clock hanging on the wall quietly struck 11:30pm, his eyes popped open. He’d been feigning sleep for almost three hours now, a rare feat indeed since it was hard to stay awake with one’s eyes closed. Twilight had bought his playing possum and gone to bed so… he’d had to lay still for a long, long while until the appropriate time.

Leaning slowly, the purple dragon lifted his head and peered at his mistress. She was splayed out on her back, as though embracing something huge that was laying atop her. The blankets were kicked to one side, for the summer night had stayed rather muggy. Trying not to chuckle Spike rose stealthy from his bed and carefully crept away. Gingerly closing the bedroom door, he went to all fours and down the stairs to the great room. Pulling open the door to Twilight’s lab, he slunk down into darkness. Clicking on the light, he pulled up a sitting pillow near the television.

Being a bookish sort of mare that coveted study and outdoor activities, Twilight had never had much use for her television. Since the invention was only a few years old now, it was still in black and white, and sometimes the channels didn’t come in properly. After she’d tinkered with it for a few days, she decided she’d learned everything she could from it and thrown a quilt over it to use as a side table.

Spike carefully stacked the books that had been on it to one side and pulled off the quilt. Plugging a spare refracting crystal into its power outlet (magic, not electricity, remember…) he turned the volume down as the machine whirred to life and bathed him in its strange snowy glow. Checking over his shoulder to make sure Twilight had not been roused, he grinned and rubbed his little paws together. The baby dragon had heard about a show recently. A very late-night show that wasn’t for foals or the weak of heart. And it starred none other than Princess Luna. He watched it every week when it came on, and he couldn’t get enough of it! Reaching up, he click-click-clicked the giant clumsy dial to find the right channel. When the image started skipping he fished the rabbit-ears out of a nearby closet. Leaning them back and forth with excitement, he finally managed to get the image to settle and come into focus. “Looks like I’m just in time!” he whispered. Backing up, he adjusted the volume so he could hear it, but not rouse Twilight. Running, he plopped himself down on his round little belly on the sitting pillow. Resting his chin in his palms, he kicked his legs excitedly as the music started up. The announcer, a deep-voiced stallion, spoke as the show started:

Dun dun dun duhhhhhhn!
You are about to enter the Courtroom of Princess Luna!
The ponies are real!
The cases are real!
And the rulings are final!
This-- is Judge Luna.

A sharp, silvery sort of logo flew into view trailing stars behind it. Luna’s cutie mark exploded onto the screen, spinning before coming to rest on the right side of the logo. Shots of a busy Canterlot whipped past the camera, showing busy streets and chattering ponies. Then it panned up the palace, racing at warp speed through the hallways and towards the throne room. The doors dashed open to reveal a set of pews, two front tables, a high-seated throne and a series of guards. The massive clock on one wall read midnight.

“This is gonna be great!” Spike squeaked, trying to keep his voice down.

=-----=-----=-----=-----=

“All rise!” barked an armored Lunar Stallion. “The honorable Princess Luna, presiding!” His yellow, slit-pupil’ed eyes darted around. The ponies gathered in the throne room jumped from their chairs as the massive double doors came open. A tall, intimidating alicorn swept into the room. Walking at a firm and authoritative pace, she passed row after row of gawking pony subjects. Her mane was liquid starlight, her tail a sweeping trail of comet’s dust, and her silvery regalia a sparkling mass of cold steel. Her sharp, intelligent eyes swept back and forth as she walked at a decent clip down the aisle between the pews. Lunar Stallions turned in pairs, saluting her as she went by. She held her nose up, regal and serious. Stepping up onto the dais, she waited for her soldiers to arrange themselves. One remained near the throne while the others lined the walls, ten feet between each stallion. Nothing escaped their yellow eyes. Princess Luna came to the throne at last, turning and seating herself formally. “You may be seated!” barked the same stallion.

Luna picked up a scroll, studying the names and notes she’d made earlier. A couple of cameras off to the side turned on, and were pointed at her. The only reason she’d allowed them was because her court had an open-door policy. If other ponies wanted to see their government in action but could not attend, who was she to say no? Her only condition was that the cameras and crew made exactly zero noise during her proceedings. Because of this, she’d gotten rid of no less than seven camera crews before they’d sent one quiet enough for her liking. “Ahem.” Luna said, when she was ready at last.

“All parties in the matter of Quick Buck versus the Equestrian Welfare Board, step forward!” The stallion that was assigned to stand near the throne made a ‘come here’ gesture. A pair of ponies came into the throne room, one at a time, taking their places before the throne. There was a pair of tables in front of the throne at the base of the dais, to its left and right. The defendant went on one side, and plaintiff on the other. When both stallions had taken their place, the throne attendant turned, giving Princess Luna a thin folder of papers. “Your Majesty, this is case number 60659, in the matter of Quick Buck versus the EWB.” Murmured the stallion to Luna.

The dark alicorn took the folder, signing it briefly and setting it to one side of herself. “Thank you, Steel Wing.” She murmured, nodding that he could take his place to her immediate left. The stallion stood at attention, becoming a living statue unless his Princess told him otherwise. “Mister Buck, it is our understanding that you are sueing the Equestrian Welfare Board because you feel you qualify for their aid but they have stopped providing said aid in the past few months. You say this is because they have some personal bias against you and that you are not being treated fairly under Equestrian law, is this true?”

“Yes, your Majesty.” Quick Buck nodded quickly. He was a square-looking, stubbled stallion with a comic-book-like striking shape on his flank. Luna was thankful ‘Quick Buck’ was not as lewd or literal as she’d initially thought. Not that she would make mention of such things in her courtroom. She studied him for a moment. He looked a little laxing in the midsection and didn’t stand quite as straight as a few stallions she could name. His mane had been slicked back with simple oils and his tie was a bit lopsided. Probably a clip-on, under that white collar.

“And you sir, mister…” Luna paused to check her notes. “Golden Leaf.” She said at last. “You say that Mister Buck no longer qualifies for the aid of the government because of certain circumstances which came to light at the EWB. Is this true?” she asked, turning her royal gaze on the second stallion.

Golden Leaf nodded, prim and proper. “Yes, your highness.” He said. The golden seal on his flank said he was used to dealing with important papers, signing things and looking for discrepancies in contracts. In other words, he was an eagle-eye for the company he represented to make sure nopony cheated the system.

“Let us begin with you, Quick Buck.” Luna’s aqua eyes turned to the brown stallion. “How long have you been on welfare with the EWB?”

“Er, twelve years.”

“For what reason?”

“I have foals to feed!”

“Oh, I see!” Luna’s motherly face flitted across her features. For one stark and startling moment, she resembled Celestia and it was easy to believe they were twin sisters. “You come from a large family, and needed aid from the government in order to keep everypony fed and watered?”

“Yes.” Quick Buck nodded.

“What do you do for a living, Mister Buck?” Luna lifted a few sheets of paper, looking for his details page. It seemed to escape her for a moment.

“Er, I’m unemployed.” The stallion wilted, looking away.

“Oh, I see…” Luna said sympathetically. “Your foals must be in for hard times indeed if their father has no work to put feed in their troughs.”

“Tell me about it. And these cheapskates won’t give me a dime to support my family!” Quick Buck thrust an accusing hoof at Gold Leaf, whose face grew angry. “How do you sleep at night, huh?!”

“Why I NEVER--!”

“Shhh-sh-sh!” Luna hushed Gold Leaf, lifting her hoof. “We shalt get to thy complaints, hush for now, we beseech thee.” The princess turned back to Quick Buck, her smile growing milky and warm again. “How many foals are in such a family, sir?” she asked.

“Eleven, your majesty!”

“Eleven! My my!” Luna chuckled, making note of it. “All from the same mother, I assume? Your wife?” she asked off-handedly.

“Oh yes, of course! We’ve been married for fifteen years!”

“What does missus Buck do?”

“W-well she’s a nurse and a mother.”

“Quite the workload.” Luna commented. “I cannot imagine such a thing, even from the throne where I sit. Eleven foals and a full-time job, and a husband desperately wanting to provide for them as well… but no job for himself?” it came out like a question.

“Yes, your highness. Ever since I hurt my back all that time ago…” Quick Buck looked to one side again, turning his ears back. Luna’s eyes swept up and down his square-ish body. “Even with my wife being a nurse, it acts up badly now and then and I just can’t find something that suites me... I just wanna provide for me kids, but now not even the Welfare Board will!” he hung his head a little, and Luna quirked a brow. He shot a dirty glare at his opponent when a time had passed.

“I see, I see.” The night time Princess stroked her chin for a moment, thoughtful. “And now you, Gold Leaf. What have you to say about all this?” she turned her attention to the pony that was being sued.

“Your Majesty, the Equestrian Welfare Board provides monies, as you well know, to those that cannot support themselves. That means they’ve retired, or been hurt, or can’t work for some other reason.”

“I was in an accident and my back was thrown out of whack! I have hospital documents to prove it!” barked Quick Buck, pulling a little fan of papers from his saddlebag. Luna gestured, and Steel Wing went forward to collect them for her Majesty to see. The armored stallion turned and brought them up to her before returning to his post.

“Er, as I was saying.” Gold Leaf said. “After a certain amount of time has gone by our contracts expire and the family must fend for itself.” He paused for a time. “Or, under really bad circumstances, they can be extended. Mister Buck’s contract of welfare monies was extended… er…” he paused to check, “Over a dozen times. And over time he started claiming more beneficiaries.”

“My foals!” The poor stallion snapped angrily. “Don’t talk about them like they’re a statistic!”

“Silence.” Luna snapped at them both. “Fetch that contract for me as well, Steel Wing.” She gestured, and the paper was brought to her. “Mmm, yes I see. Monies to be paid monthly until you got back on your hooves… after catastrophic injury at a construction site, yes?”

“That’s right, your Majesty.” said Quick Buck, nodding that it was true. “I fell from really, really high up! Never been the same since.” He sighed. Luna nodded thoughtfully, studying the documents closely.

“Gold Leaf, what is the reason that the EWB started looking more closely at Quick Buck and his family?” Princess Luna said, looking over the lip of the paper at him. “Could thou not see that he was ‘down and out’ at the moment?” there were a few drops of poison in her words. “What could thou possibly gain from picking on him, huhm?”

“His contract is over twelve years old. When ponies stay hurt for that long without applying for disability, medical financial aid, tags for their wagons, or anything else…” Gold Leaf trailed off, providing a slip of paper for each item Quick Buck didn’t have, “It started to draw attention. Now, there’s only so many ponies watching over the EWB, but I happened to spot him and shut him down.”

“Why?” Luna pressed.

“He’s… not handicapped?” it came out like a question.

“Why do you think that?” Luna said, leaning forward.

“He didn’t apply for any of the benefits for handicapped ponies in any other department, and it sounded like a… well, a leech.” Gold Leaf said carefully, fixed under her majesty’s powerful gaze.

“That’s a dirty rotten lie!” roared Quick Buck. “I have a growing family! I have foals to feed!”

Luna straightened a bit, mulling their words over. “Thou say thy back is too weak to work, Quick Buck,” the dark Princess said pensively. There was a short silence, and a rather devilish smirk rose on one side of her muzzle.“…but strong enough to sire eleven foals?” her head swerved about to fix the stallion with a stern look.

“Well I… I… erm…” Quick Buck’s muzzle wrinkled and his face reddened in embarrassment.

“We art thousands of years old, and we have had many lovers.” Luna raised her voice a bit, tossing her mane. “And we can tell thee that no stallion with back problems so severe he could not work,” she paused to point at him with a gilded hoof. “Could possibly mount a mare and produce eleven foals! It isn’t done!”

“But… But I…!” Quick Buck’s face was as red as a cherry. Busted.

“Even something as simple as ‘would thou like hay fries with that’, would bring home a paycheck.” Luna went on, switching gears over to scold Quick Buck. “Any simpleton can do ‘would thou like hay fries with that’!”

“Th-that’s colt’s work!” Quick Buck blurted. “I have an education! A degree even! I graduated from college!” the stallion said, hunching defensively.

“Thou worked construction after college, despite thy degree?” Luna asked.

“I couldn’t find anything in my field in Ponyville or anywhere near where I lived.” The stallion said in a smaller voice.

“And your field was?”

“Microbiology…” he mumbled, red-cheeked.

“If there are no tiny things that need studying nearby, then apply thyself to something and put food on your foals’ table!” Luna barked, stamping a hoof. “You make a mockery of the Welfare system because you think certain jobs are BENEATH you?!” her voice was rising angrily, and a couple of the nearby stained-glass windows shuddered in warning. A couple of Lunar stallions reached up to keep them from shattering.

“B-but your Majesty! I went to school for a long time! I just got hurt early and have been waiting for the right job to come along for—!”

“A job so complex does not wander up and snap at thy backside, you lazy fool!” Luna was already shifting over into her angry mode. The ponies in the pews shifted a little fearfully. “The EWB was right to take you off of their programs. Thou likes nothing more than to stay home and make foals with thy wife. Get out of thy house! Get a job! Shovelling cow flop would be more bits than none at all!

“B-but I—!”

“Your case is dismissed!” Luna raised a massive hoof and stamped it on the lip of the throne. The crack resounded like an echo, and everypony flinched. “Thou may expect a visit from several government bodies, Mister Buck, in regards to the safety and welfare of thy eleven foals. Until then tell thy wife to keep her legs closed and her tail tucked!” the last barb stung badly, and Quick Buck sank behind the table miserably, mumbling to himself.

“Er, your Majesty?” ventured Gold Leaf.

“As the precise moment of his mending cannot be identified I cannot award you any damages, Gold Leaf.” Luna said, huffing as Quick Buck was escorted out by Lunar Stallions. “We are afraid the Equestrian Welfare Board will have to take the brunt for this case. But worry not. One less leech holding onto it will only make the system healthier. You are dismissed as well.”

“Yes, Princess.” Gold Leaf bowed low, not daring anything further.

“Stalwart Hide.” Princess Luna turned to another nearby guard. “Send word to the proper agencies. The household of Quick Buck is to be inspected for safety, financial stability, and anything else they might think of in regards to the eleven foals in the home. If they find it lacking, well…” Luna actually took a moment to sigh, looking troubled. “…Better they be in foster homes that can care for them, than in a home where their sire flat out refuses to provide for them.”

“Yes your Highness.” He turned to make it so.

“My judgement has been made!” Luna announced to the room. “Let the next case be brought before me!” The alicorn stamped a large hoof.

Case 1 End

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