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Phoenix von Karma

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God, it hurts... it hurts so much...

A painful groan escaped from the chapped lips of the haggard shipwrecked soul, his dark lashes fluttering over his pale blue eyes which winced under the hot tropical sun. Nausea quivered in his gut like an angry bull, aches and sores twisting from him the very ability to move from his scorching grave. His trembling hand fisted the ground beneath him, feeling only the dry, rasping sand as it slid between his fingers. Assorted colors danced in his vision, and though groggy, the young man was coherent enough to realize that there was something terribly wrong with his body and his vision.

A shadow passed over him, relieving him from the ruthless sun, and he quietly thanked the angel who provided him shade. If only he could see who it was...

YOU~! The word swam into his consciousness, his recognition of the word delayed. WhaT are YOU! doIng hERe~

You? he wondered. Me? Somehow a connection did not click and with a dawning horror, the haggard mind realized that it did not recognize the person that this angel was accusing him of being.

His breath was like raspy husk as he breathed out, “Yo-u... know-me?” The shadow above him shivered in the heat. “Plea-se- I can-t -emember...” For a long time, the shadow didn’t answer. Vaguely, he wondered if he was on the verge of death and this shade was the grim reaper dwelling upon him in limbo. Or was he already dead and somehow in his nonexistent past, he had deserved this nightmarish hell.

YoU don-t RemeMber? it asked. It could have been confused or angry or even happy for all his addled brain could figure out. Instead, he rasped a simple ‘no’ in reply, holding back the tears of frustration and the agony that was still shooting through his body. If this person didn’t know who he was, he didn’t know what he was going to do. ~FeEniks: YouR naMe is FeaNix...

His brow drew into a tightly knit frown, his mind still attempting to discern the words, his cognition still not up to par. The title he gave him still did not register, and he wondered if it would always remain foreign to him. Hold ON, PheAniks. I wIll geT YOu some Help. Just SLepp. The voice, he realized, was comforting now and a hand pressed against the bare skin of his sunburnt back, trying to soothe him as it massaged his aching skin. Pain riveted through his body from the long massages, drumming his fatigued mind into a sweet stupor.

~o~

June 17, 2024
Chief Prosecutor’s Office
7:20 AM

A silver coin danced around atop the flat and bare surface of the mahogany desk, the afternoon flashing brightly in its spinning sides. It seemed to flutter on top of the wood, as lifelike as a young butterfly drifting lazily about the desk.

A hand slammed down on the coin, swatting it like a bug.

Detective Gumshoe, a gruff but amiable criminal investigator, glanced up from his squatting position to look straight into the colorless gaze of the district’s chief prosecutor. He jumped to attention, his old, tan trenchcoat sweeping up off the floor with his broad shoulders. “Oh! Mr. Edgeworth, sir! I was waiting for you!”

“Yes, that much is apparent,” the office’s owner answered sharply, though without the venom reserved for the truly annoying pests. Albeit it was hard to get the prosecutor to respond to much of anything anymore. As Detective Gumshoe looked over the hunched shoulders of the wine colored suit and the haggard pale face of Miles Edgeworth – he could tell all was not well. His platinum hair had lost its luster and his gaunt fatigue only made his angular features all the more vampyric. Even his cravat seemed to droop.

Gumshoe knew what was the matter this day, and he felt vaguely powerless that he couldn’t do a thing about it. How could anyone make time stop after all? “So... I have the details on the prosecutor that’s being transferred,” he spoke as he fumbled for the envelope that he had received from the Attorney General’s office.

An elegant hand tapped against the wooden rim of the inbox atop the desk. Reluctantly, the detective let the envelope fall, the heavy papers snapping sharply against the wood. For a long moment, he stood at the edge of the desk, shuffling his weight from one foot to another as he tried to muster the courage to speak with the haggard attorney. Edgeworth’s void of attentiveness did little to help his cause. “...Are you alright, Mr. Edgeworth?” he finally asked, awkwardly, dipping his head so he could better gauge the prosecutor’s downcast expression.

Those colorless eyes snapped up, startling the detective. “What do you mean?” the prosecutor asked dully, “I am the same as any other day.”

Detective Gumshoe could only sigh, his heart swelling with frustration and ultimately pity for his long time friend. “It’s been five years to the day since the shipwreck. I know you still feel guilty about giving him the ticket to get him outta your hair, but with all due respect, you have to let it go, sir.”

The prosecutor, still only a young man in the middle aged detective’s eyes, sifted a hand through his platinum bangs, briefly clenching it between his fingers before he let the appendage fall to his desk. He remained silent, his eyes trained on the immobile silver coin the detective had been playing with, like a lifeless doll as he refused to brood over the older man’s words.

Once again, Gumshoe decided to make his case. “Mr. Edgeworth, please. I know he meant a lot to you, but you guys were only friends.” A sharp flicker of something ran through those eyes at his words, encouraging the detective to press further. He leaned on the edge of the desk, his face soulful and pleading. “Just think about it, for the sake of the friends who are still here.”

“Do I need to ask someone else to investigate his disappearance?” Edgeworth demanded abruptly, forcing the detective to realize that the other man had hardly been listening.

Gumshoe’s cheeks colored with anger and he slowly pulled back from the desk, his fists trembling at his sides. “No, that’s not necessary, sir,” he answered, his words tight and heated. “See you later.” Without the usual dismissal, Detective Gumshoe stormed from the room, leaving Edgeworth alone in the shivering room. Unshaken by the hasty departure, Miles stared down at the face of the silver coin upon his desk.

“Only friends...” he echoed, knowing how utterly tragic and devastating and true the words were. God, if only I was not plagued by so many ‘what if’s. A shuddering sigh escaped him and the young man rested his forehead against his hands in a brief moment of weakness.

No, the day had only started, Miles knew, shaking himself from his grief. He had to make some attempt to get through the hours...

His colorless eyes glanced over to the envelope that Gumshoe had left before his undesired sermon. At least work had to be done, and gratefully there was always plenty of it. Reaching over for the envelope, Miles pulled out a manila folder from its package, quickly disposing the useless wrapping. This new prosecutor was due in little less than a week and he had barely started rearranging the prosecutor’s office to accommodate him. His old office would have to do temporarily, until he could find someplace more suitable for the new arrival. Ah, he needed a welcome package as well. He would delegate the work to one of his subordinates then.

Offhandedly, Miles opened up the file, copying the name down onto his e-mail page. He did not register the name at first, but seconds later, like a loathsome wraith, the name dripped poison into his eyes.

von Karma, Phoenix

Phoenix! His thoughts snapped upon the name he had repressed for so long, instantly conjuring an image of jet black spikes and a handsome earnest face, inlaid with sapphire eyes.

NO! No, stop it! STOP! He screamed into his own head, lashing out at his mind’s portrait with a mad fury. It cannot be him! With one last stroke, he tore the image away, realizing only then how wide his eyes were as he stared upon the name as it glared at him from the monitor, his heart racing and his breath but shallow rapid pants.

There are plenty with that name, Miles berated himself, casting his eyes away from the screen. What I should be more concerned with is this von Karma relation I have never heard of before... With barely a thought, his hand was on the phone, dialing up Franziska von Karma, the only one of her lineage that he felt relatively comfortable with. The phone rang on the other side, shivering like a death rattle, sending an ominous chill through Miles’ bones as he waited for a response.

The line clicked, halfway startling the chief prosecutor. [Hallo?] a sharp feminine voice spoke from the other side.

“Franziska,” he spoke, barely giving the younger attorney enough time for a proper salutation, “did you hear about the new prosecutor that’s being transferred into my district?”

A humm, like static over the line. [Nein, only that there is one.]

Miles paused, thinking over her response. She did not seem to be lying, though he did not know yet if there was any motivation for deception. “Well, he’s a von Karma. Phoenix von Karma...”

[Oh?] she said, not particularly perturbed by the information. [I have heard of no Phoenix in our familie. Ironic his name, though.] A mirthful laugh, oblivious to the emotions that raged through her ‘little brother’ at that particular comment. [Where is he coming from?] His gray eyes glanced over the information and relayed it across the line. [Ah München!] Franziska echoed with delight. [Wunderbar! Meine Schwester has a summer house in Garmisch! The one just at the foot of Zugsptize? It is only a little way from München. I heard that she has die Zeit vertreiben there lately. Maybe they are having good weather there recently.]

“Oh?” Miles responded, much in the same curious detached way that Franziska had earlier, coating over the strange nervous energy that coiled in his gut. He only very rarely met Franziska’s older sister and whenever they did meet, they usually did not part on pleasant terms. Quite frankly, the woman reminded him far, far too much of his sorry excuse of a foster father, Manfred von Karma. Perhaps, he was being unduly suspicious of her now, but he could not quite escape the possibility that she was up to no good. “So, is there a possibility that she knows this... certain von Karma then?”

[Vielleicht.] He could almost sense the shrug over the phone. [I can ask her, if you are interested.]

His heart thundered in his chest, his hand trembling around the handle of the phone and it took a concerted effort to keep his breathes at a cool and collected level. “Yes, that would be most helpful. I would like to at least get a feel for this person’s character before he arrives.”

[Very well, I shall call her soon and let you know.] Sensing that despite his calm tone, Miles was very interested in this new von Karma, the younger prosecutor added rather cheekily, [Bitte sehr im voraus, kleiner Bruder.]

A rough, unpracticed smile pulled at the corners of Miles mouth at the younger prosecutor’s audacity. You’re welcome in advance, indeed...  “Danke, Franziska.” Then he dropped the phone onto the receiver, falling back to rest against the soft leather back of his chair, his eyes still staring at the name upon the screen, the e-mail of delegation waiting to be sent off. He thought of someone else taking on the work, taking the man through the office and all its protocol, looking over his shoulder, accompanying him to court for his first month in the United States.

And at the thought, something sharp and ugly formed in the center of his chest, clawing its prison like a rabid animal...

On impulse, he closed the window. Yet the feeling lingered. Miles buried the heel of his wrist against his eye, determined to rationalize the sensation away. God, why are you getting possessive? You do not even know if this is him? How can it be him! In his eyes, Phoenix Wright and the von Karma family were like matter and anti-matter, complete and total polar opposites. That they should be associated in any way was simply preposterous.

Yet the chief prosecutor glanced over the file, scouring it for any clues.

Name (Last/First): von Karma, Phoenix
DOB: June 17, 1992
POB: Phoenix, AZ, USA

Education:
Zwischenprüfung (BA): University of Münster – awarded May 8, 2008
Diplom Recht FH (Master of Laws): Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich Faculty of Law – awarded May 16, 2012

Experience:
Prosecuting Attorney practicing in the Munich East-District Court of Law in Munich, Germany from September 14, 2019 through June 1, 2024
Served as Legal Aide for Friedrich von Karma from April 27, 2013 through August 25, 2019.
Served as Court Clerk from May 21, 2012 through April 25, 2013.

Attached:
See cases worked

A small sliver of disappointment ran through the chief prosecutor as he deducted the rather obvious reason for the incoming prosecutor’s non-German name. Perhaps his parents had taken vacation there and he was merely an unexpected souvenir. Nonetheless, he continued reading, humming as he calculated the dates within his mind. A Bachelor's when he was fifteen, a Masters when he was nineteen. Then he built up seven years of experience in the court system before he became a full fledged attorney at law. Even then, as he looked over the cases, the man won all but five of his cases and even those were only initial proceedings before the boy truly had a handle of the court.

If this man was anything but a von Karma, Miles Edgeworth would have the man immediately investigated for fraud. Given the family’s astounding number of talented personas, this one was rather mediocre compared to the rest of the line.

However, Miles could not help but feel that something was out of place, his gaze growing darker as he checked and rechecked the information. Yes, there was certainly something strange with these dates, no less than three coincidences pointedly glaring at him in the face, his alarm growing as he read them over and over again to make sure they were not a fabrication of his mind. He was not sure what to make of it, though he knew for certain that he did not like this desperate feeling of hope that had replaced the jealousy lurking within him. He could not afford to be damaged by this...

Yet against his better judgment, Miles Edgeworth never sent out that e-mail of delegation and immediately set to work on the preparations for Phoenix von Karma’s arrival, wishing that Franziska would call him back sooner rather than later.