12 Angry Penguins

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Operation Report #A271

STF Phi-23

(“Dream Defense”)

On the night of 2020/12/16, Dr. Alto Clef was arrested by SCP-4917 for various crimes committed at the Somnia Coffee Bar within the Oneiroi West collective. Dr. Clef’s beverage order was unclear, and the barista asked him to clarify. Dr. Clef then began threatening the barista with a loaded shotgun. When the barista threatened to call the police, Dr. Clef fired two rounds into the barista's head. Upon realized the severity of the situation, Dr. Clef set the building on fire and fled the scene, resulting in an hour-long motorcycle chase with SCP-4917 instances.

DATE: 2020/12/17
FROM: matthew.tempest@████.net
Re: Clef Trial

I just had a long talk with Dr. Clef. He's a little disoriented on account of not having lucid dream training, but his account more or less lines up with 4917's. Still don't know what the hell he's doing here. I'd think Clef of all people would understand the dangers of plugging a high-rank Foundation researcher into a subconscious hive mind with their prefrontal cortex shut off. But I digress.

The good news is, Clef was wearing a black jacket when he was arrested, so we were able to get him tried as a penguin. Thanks to a freak accident of environmental protection laws, this means that Clef can't be sentenced to death or more than 20 years in prison. So if anything goes wrong, he’ll at least get off with a lighter sentence.

Still, even with the kind of shenaniganry we can get away with in OW, I can already tell this is going to be one of the toughest cases we've dealt with. We're going to need to pull off every trick we have if we're going to keep Dr. Clef out of dream jail.

Agent Matthew Tempest
“Precipitory Buckler”
STF Phi-23

Dr. Clef was indicted on 2020/12/17. The trial took place from 2020/12/18 to 2020/12/22. Agent Matthew Tempest served as Dr. Clef’s defense attorney.

DATE: 2020/12/18-2020/12/22

LOCATION: Oneiroi West Central Courthouse

NOTES: The following is a partial transcript of the trial People v. Cinderbrick Banjo, taking place within the Oneiroi West collective. Dr. Alto Clef and Agent Matthew Tempest are frequently referred to by their Shadows’ names within this text (Cinderbrick Banjo and Precipitory Buckler, respectively).

This transcript was reconstructed from the memories of Agent Matthew Tempest and 4 other members of STF Phi-23 present at the trial. Extraneous information has been omitted, and this text may contain inaccuracies in certain places.

CLERK: Docker number 2330518, People v. Cinderbrick Banjo. Two counts of homicide, three counts of manslaughter, possession of an unregistered firearm, resisting arrest, arson, and one parking violation.

JUDGE: What do you plea, Mr. Banjo?

CLEF: Not guilty. And that’s Dr. Banjo.

[Agent Tempest elbows Dr. Clef]

CLEF: …Your Honor.

JUDGE: Very well. Bailiff, show the jury to their seats.

[12 penguins of various species waddle into the courtroom, quacking softly amongst themselves]

JUDGE: Let's get this over with, gentlemen. Mr. Hammer, you may make your opening statement.

[The prosecution and defense make their opening statements before the first witness is called to the stand]

Witness #1

“Literary Apple Strudel”

HAMMER: What time did you arrive at the scene of the crime on December 16th, 2020?

STRUDEL: About 9:30.

HAMMER: Describe what you saw outside the store.

STRUDEL: The parking lot was mostly empty, aside from a blue SUV and a silver sedan. There was a motorcycle in one of the handicapped spaces. I don't remember any of the makes.

HAMMER: What car did you drive, Ms. Strudel?

STRUDEL: I didn't drive, I walked.

HAMMER: Now, describe what you saw when you entered the store.

STRUDEL: There were two men inside. A barista was standing behind the counter. The other man was across the counter from him, with his back to me.

HAMMER: Did you recognize either of them at the time?

STRUDEL: The barista worked there often. I didn’t recognize the other one.

HAMMER: How often did you visit the Somnia Coffee Bar?

STRUDEL: About once or twice a week.

HAMMER: Can you describe the man in front in more detail?

STRUDEL: He was tall, with a slim build. He wore a black jacket and a wide-brimmed hat. He also had some kind of instrument on his back, a guitar I think.

HAMMER: What were the two men doing?

STRUDEL: The one in front was holding a gun and yelling at the barista. He was screaming at him to hand something over. I didn’t know what he was talking about; I thought it was a robbery.

HAMMER: What did you do then?

STRUDEL: I turned around and ran.

HAMMER: Do you see that man - the one who was holding the gun - in the audience today?

STRUDEL: Yes. [points to Dr. Clef] It's him.

[The jury gasps melodramatically]

HAMMER: I have no further questions, Your Honor.

[Agent Tempest steps into the well]

TEMPEST: You mentioned the defendant’s motorcycle was in a handicapped parking space. How could you tell that it was disabled?

STRUDEL: …what?

TEMPEST: How could you tell that the space was handicapped? Was it missing limbs? Did it have a crutch? Maybe a wheelchair?

STRUDEL: Uh… no. There was a sign.

TEMPEST: So your only indication that the defendant was parked illegally was a sign that anyone could have put there?

STRUDEL: Well… yes.

TEMPEST: Interesting. When you entered the store, where were you standing in relation to the attacker?

STRUDEL: I was directly behind him. About 8 feet away.

TEMPEST: Then how could you see his face?

STRUDEL: I… I’m sorry?

TEMPEST: You claimed that you could confirm that my client was the attacker, but you also claim that you were standing directly behind him. How can you make any statements about who the attacker is or is not if you couldn’t see his face?

HAMMER: Objection! Argumentative.

TEMPEST: It’s a valid question, Your Honor. I want to hear what she says.

JUDGE: I’ll allow it. Answer the question, Ms. Strudel.

STRUDEL: I… I could look around him, so I could see his face that way.

TEMPEST: Interesting. One more question. Was the barista holding anything?

STRUDEL: I couldn't see, his hands were behind the counter.

TEMPEST: No further questions.

Witness #4

SCP-4917-A-2 ("Deyis")

[Witness’s appearance is consistent with other SCP-4917-A instances. It wears apparrel resembling that of an 1980s American motorcycle officer, wearing an 8-pointed badge and Aviator sunglasses, which it removes upon entering the courtroom]

HAMMER: Mr. Deyis, how long have you been a member of the Oneiroi West police force?

DEYIS: About 30 years now.

HAMMER: On December 16th, 2020, were you dispatched to respond to an incident at 278 Carol Street?

DEYIS: Yes, I was.

HAMMER: What was the reason for the dispatch?

DEYIS: We had reports of an armed robber at the Somnia Coffee Bar.

HAMMER: How long did it take you to arrive at the scene?

DEYIS: About five minutes or so.

HAMMER: Did you see anyone else when you arrived?

DEYIS: The paramedics and firefighters were already there. They were loading two bodies into an ambulance. My partner Astrachan was also there.

HAMMER: Did you notice anything unusual about the scene?

DEYIS: Other than that it was on fire? Not really.

HAMMER: Did you enter the building at any point?

DEYIS: No. Like I said, it was on fire.

HAMMER: What did you do once you arrived?

DEYIS: After looking over the crime scene, me and Astrachan went looking for the suspect. He was right where we knew he’d be; heading southbound on I-21.

HAMMER: What type of vehicle was the defendant driving?

DEYIS: Harley Iron 1200. License plate 436C3366.

HAMMER: How did the defendant react when he saw you?

TEMPEST: Objection! Speculation.

JUDGE: Overruled.

DEYIS: He sped up. Went from 80 to 110, speed limit 65. People were swerving to get out of his way. Caused some real nasty crashes. Took over an hour to stop him and get the cuffs on.

HAMMER: When did he finally stop?

DEYIS: He hit a curve too fast and went flying. Hit a few trees on the way down. Bounced like a pinball. We had to peel him up three miles away.

HAMMER: Thank you for your time, officer. No further questions.

[Agent Tempest steps forward]

TEMPEST: Officer Deyis, how did you conduct your investigation for this case?

DEYIS: We quickly surveyed the crime scene, and then went looking for the suspect.

TEMPEST: Really? No forensic examination or anything?

DEYIS: It wasn’t necessary. They’re mostly a hollow formality anyways.

TEMPEST: Oh, are they? Then why did you decide to arrest my client?

DEYIS: [chuckles] You realize where you are, right?

JUDGE: Answer the question, officer.

DEYIS: Okay then. We aren’t like you and your client, Mr. Buckler; we're a part of this place. We already saw everything go down.

TEMPEST: Unbelievable. You singled out my client on a hunch?

DEYIS: It’s not a hunch. Like I said, we see everything around here.

TEMPEST: You spent over an hour terrorizing my client without a single solitary scrap of evidence other than a wild superstition!

DEYIS: You know I'm right, Mr. Buckler. This is just for show.

TEMPEST: With the kind of kangaroo court you people run around here, I'm sure it is!

HAMMER: Objection! The witness is not on trial here!

JUDGE: He’s right, Mr. Buckler. That’s enough.

[Agent Tempest takes a few deep breaths]

TEMPEST: I apologize, officer. I didn’t intend to offend you. [turns to the judge] No more questions.

Witness #7

Crispy Demitasse

[The witness appears humanoid and stands approximately 1.6 meters in height. Subject’s head is missing, and visible skin is notably charred. The absence of a mouth or vocal chords does not inhibit the subject's speaking ability]

HAMMER: Were you working at the Somnia Coffee Bar on December 16th, 2020?

DEMITASSE: Would I be missing my head if I wasn’t?

JUDGE: Answer the question, Mr. Demitasse.

DEMITASSE: Yes, I was.

HAMMER: Were you previously scheduled to work on that day?

DEMITASSE: No, I was filling in for someone else.

HAMMER: Was there anyone else on-duty at the time of the incident?

DEMITASSE: There was Solar Wreath. She was upstairs at the time. She died in the fire.

HAMMER: Did the defendant enter the store at any point during your shift?

DEMITASSE: Yes, at about 9:35.

HAMMER: What were your initial impressions of the defendant?

TEMPEST: Objection! Relevance.

JUDGE: Sustained.

HAMMER: [grumbles] What did the defendant do once entering the store?

DEMITASSE: He ordered, and I quote, “one of those vanilla bullshit things”. When I asked him what the hell he meant by that, he got angry and pulled out a shotgun.

HAMMER: How did you respond?

DEMITASSE: I told him to leave before I called the cops.

HAMMER: And did he?

DEMITASSE: No. He blew my head off.

[Jury gasps in horror]

HAMMER: One final question. [points to Dr. Clef] Can you confirm that the man who killed you is the defendant?

DEMITASSE: Without a doubt. It’s him.

HAMMER: I have no further questions, Your Honor.

[Agent Tempest steps forward]

TEMPEST: Before we begin, Mr. Demitasse, I must say that you are the most well-spoken dead man I have ever met.

DEMITASSE: [nods] Thank you.

TEMPEST: Are you familiar with the results of your autopsy?

DEMITASSE: I’ve read the report.

TEMPEST: Then you know that the coroner claimed you died of natural causes in his report.

[Confused murmurs from the jury]

HAMMER: Objection! The victim died of a gunshot wound!

TEMPEST: Exactly! It’s only natural that he would die from the loss of his head.

DEMITASSE: What are you trying to imply?

TEMPEST: Had you ever met the defendant before December 16th?

DEMITASSE: No, I’d never seen him before.

TEMPEST: Then you’ll be surprised to hear that your second cousin’s roommate once bumped into my client at a chinese grocery store.

[Murmurs from the jury box]

DEMITASSE: First I’ve heard of it. Should I have?

TEMPEST: Records show you are a licensed handgun owner. Is that right?

HAMMER: Objection! Relevance.

TEMPEST: I’m going somewhere with this, Your Honor.

JUDGE: Get there faster, Mr. Buckler. It's almost lunchtime.


TEMPEST: Did you have a handgun with you on the day of the incident?


TEMPEST: Why not?

DEMITASSE: It melted. I left it in the sun too long.

TEMPEST: On accident? Or because it would weaken your case?

DEMITASSE: Get to the point.

TEMPEST: Simple. I’m saying you pulled a gun on my client on the day of the incident. You wanted to avenge your cousin’s roommate. And when he naturally killed you in rightful self-defense, you went crying to the police about murder!

DEMITASSE: [stands] You son of a bitch!

> JUDGE: Mr. Demitasse, sit down.

DEMITASSE: I was murdered by this bastard, and now you’re trying to pin the blame on me?!

JUDGE: Mr. Demitasse, I told you to sit down!

[The witness begins levitating two meters above the stand]


JUDGE: Oh for the love of… bailiff, restrain that man!

[The bailiff tackles the witness in midair]

TEMPEST: [laughing] Don’t lose your head, Mr. Demitasse. You might get killed a second time!

HAMMER: Objection!

TEMPEST: Withdrawn.


JUDGE: Has the jury reached a verdict?

[One of the jurors stands and honks loudly. A translator steps forward]

TRANSLATOR: They have, Your Honor.

JUDGE: What do you find?

[The juryman continues quacking, while the translator relates their words]

TRANSLATOR: To the charges of second-degree homicide, the jury finds the defendant… not guilty.

TRANSLATOR: To the charges of manslaughter, the jury finds the defendant… not guilty.

TRANSLATOR: To the charge of possession of an unregistered firearm, the jury finds.. not guilty.

TRANSLATOR: To the charge of arson, the jury finds… not guilty.

TRANSLATOR: To the charge of disabled parking abuse, the jury finds the defendant… guilty as charged.

[There is a long pause]

TEMPEST: Well… I guess you can’t win them all.

Dr. Clef was sentenced to a $500 fine for the parking violation. He is scheduled to undergo lucid dreaming training to prevent similar incidents in the future.

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