Phoenix Wright Saves a Whale (aka How Phoenix Wright REALLY Lost His Badge)
By Diana Gray
“Come on, Nick, hurry up! We’re going to miss the show!” Maya Fey yelled, dragging a groggy Phoenix Wright along with her. He checked his watch wearily—9AM. Far too early for any respectable person to be up on a Saturday morning.
“Maya, remind me again why we’re at Gatewater Land at 9 in the morning,” he mumbled as he dug around in his pocket for his wallet to pay for tickets. Maya gave a disgruntled sigh.
“Because, Nick, the new whale exhibit opens today! Did you really want us to miss it?”
“Yeah, Mr. Nick, did you?” a small voice piped up from his elbow. Pearl Fey bounced around Phoenix happily, parroting her cousin. She was very excited to see the dolphins and whales—Maya had been telling her tall tales about sea life all morning.
“All right, all right, don’t double team me again,” Phoenix said wearily, paying for tickets for all three of them. The girls cheered and grabbed their tickets from him, running ahead and entering the gate before him. He sighed and followed.
The park was deserted. It was only 9AM after all. Maya and Pearl skipped toward the back of the park, which now featured an aquarium and a stadium for aquatic shows.
Phoenix let out a low whistle as they drew closer. The stadium was huge! The sign outside said that the show began at 9:30, so the trio entered and grabbed seats close to the front, much to Maya and Pearl’s delight (and Phoenix’s dismay). The arena was fairly empty, containing only a few families with younger children.
Suddenly, there was indiscernible yelling and splashing from the side of the stage. “What’s going on, Mr. Nick?” Pearl asked curiously.
“Aw, Pearl, Nick doesn’t know. He’s too clueless,” Maya told her cousin. “Let’s go find out for ourselves!” Before Phoenix could protest, the two were off, running toward the noise. He stood and hurried after them, grumbling slightly.
“Veronika Buckler, you will be paying for this, mark my words!” a voice with a thick Russian accent yelled as Phoenix approached.
“I’m so sorry Miss Orly,” another Russian voice replied, seemingly on the verge of tears. “I don’t know how this could have happened!”
“Well, if you don’t take care of this right now, this show will not go on!”
“But Miss Orly, Bandit and I are so excited for this show,” the second voice squeaked.
“Excuse me!” Phoenix almost face palmed as Maya interrupted. “Can we do anything to help?”
“No, little girls. Please take your seats,” the first voice said, sounding irritated.
Phoenix finally arrived on the scene. Two women were standing on the side of the stage, apparently deep in an argument. One was blonde with a bandana tied over her hair. She wore a business suit—black pants and a black vest. The other cowering by the pool had spiky red hair and was dressed in a pirate costume, complete with hat, fake mustache, and sword. In the pool behind the two women, an orca swam around, occasionally sticking its head out of the water to nudge the pirate’s hand. It also had a hat, mustache, and a pink star painted on one side of its face, matching its owners. Phoenix idly wondered if that was an example of animal abuse as he stepped forward.
“I’m sorry,” he apologized, taking Pearl’s hand and grabbing Maya by the arm. “I’ll take them back to the audience area.”
“Yes, do that,” the one in the business suit said dismissively. Then she took a second look at him. “Wait. Your badge. You are a cop?”
Phoenix adjusted his badge unconsciously. “No, I’m an attorney,” he replied.
“Hmph, close enough,” the woman said, raising an eyebrow. “I need to report a theft. Perhaps you can help me?”
“Well, that’s not really my jurisdiction,” the attorney answered uncomfortable, noting the other woman’s terrified expression. “Why don’t you explain what happened?”
“Well, when I arrived at work this morning, I noticed that the herring barrel was empty. Herring isn’t cheap, you know, and the barrel is located right here, in front of Bandit’s pool.” The orca stuck its head out of the water and Phoenix could have sworn it was smiling. “There was no one here last night except Veronika, so it couldn’t have been anyone else. She must have fed all the herring to that spoiled orca of hers. Or perhaps the orca stole it! It’s name is Bandit, after all. What other proof do I need?”
Phoenix looked toward Veronika. “I didn’t do it and neither did Bandit,” she protested. “I honestly have no idea what happened, but I didn’t take the herring. It’s happened before while we’ve been training for the show, a few times, but I have no idea who’s doing it. I’ve been paying for it out of my own pocket, but Miss Orly said this time, she’s going to fire me and set Bandit loose in the ocean.”
“I don’t see how that’s a bad thing,” Phoenix said and Veronika sighed, looking uneasily at Miss Orly, who was checking her phone.
“Well, Bandit was born in captivity. I’ve been with her since she was a baby and I always make sure that she’s treated really well. I’m the only one who handles her. But she’s smaller than the normal orca at her age. I’m afraid if they let Bandit go, she’ll never be accepted into a pod and…”
Phoenix nodded. He didn’t know much about whales, but he knew enough to know that if a whale wasn’t accepted into a pod, it was difficult to survive. He had to solve this mystery, not just for Veronika’s sake, but for the whale’s as well!
“So, who else has access to this pool?” he asked, taking a look around.
“Well, anyone has access to the pool, but only Miss Orly and I can unlock the gate to come up to the side of the stage where the herring bin is,” Veronika answered.
Phoenix suddenly realized how quiet it was. Too quiet. “Maya? Pearl?”
He looked around, finally spotting the pair by an adjacent pool. They were marveling at the dolphins that were swimming around and doing tricks. He glanced at the gate separating the two pools. He assumed the dolphins would swim through it to be able to get to the main pool for the show.
“Veronika, would it be possible for dolphins to jump over that gate?” he asked curiously. It couldn’t be, right?
Veronika looked at the gate, appraising it. “I suppose so. It’s close enough to the edge that it might be possible.” Phoenix thought for a second, then motioned her down and whispered a plan to her. She nodded and hurried toward the back of the platform and grabbed a chunk of ice with clearly visible herring inside.
“Hey!” Orly yelled angrily, noticing the woman’s actions. “That’s coming out of your paycheck, too!”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” Veronika said under her breath, jumping the fence to the ground next to Phoenix. “Miss Orly, please come down here. The attorney and I are testing a theory.” After much grumbling, the other woman climbed down reluctantly. Maya and Pearl rejoined them, seemingly excited to have a celebrity so close to them.
As the group watched, two dolphins stuck their heads out of the water. One by one, they jumped the gate into Bandit’s pool. The orca gave a distressed call as one dolphin leapt out of the water, easily opening the barrel with its nose. The other was waiting to knock over the barrel and cause the ice to fall into the water. They pushed the ice toward the gate, slipping it through a gap in the bottom. Finally, they jumped back over the gate and the scene was exactly how it looked before, except with a knocked-over empty barrel and a sad-looking whale.
“I-incredible,” Orly murmured, watching the dolphins celebrate with their prize.
“I’m really impressed that you managed to figure that out, Nick,” Maya said, her face still incredulous at the dolphins’ feat.
“Always the tone of surprise,” Phoenix replied.
“Thank you, Mr. Attorney, sir!” Veronika said happily, clasping his hand in her own. “You’re a genius! You’ve saved my job, and you’ve also saved Bandit! What can I ever do to thank you?” Phoenix opened his mouth, about to tell her that no thanks was necessary, when her eyes lit up. “I know! I’m going to make this a show you’ll never forget!”
15 minutes later, the show was about to start. “Isn’t this exciting, Mr. Nick?” Pearl asked happily. The trio was sitting on chairs on the side of the stage, to ensure that they got the maximum splash.
“Yeah…” Phoenix muttered, inwardly calculating dry cleaning costs in his head.
“Ahoy there, mateys!” Veronika’s voice rang out. She suddenly burst out of Bandit’s pool on the whale’s back, causing a huge wave to splash all over Phoenix, Maya, and Pearl. The girls laughed, but Phoenix just moaned. “We be Cap’n Orla’s Swashbucklers, me buckos! We love to sail the seven seas!” The show continued, a fast-paced and exciting pirate show, with lots of whale tricks and a special appearance by the “Dolphins of Doom”. The crowd cheered at every trick and Veronika was smiling, clearly in her element. Even Bandit looked happy, Phoenix noticed and he couldn’t help but smile slightly. It was nice to help people…and marine animals.
“Finally, we have tracked down the hideout of Cap’n Spikeyhair, and his two swabbies, Pretzel and Topknot!” Veronika proclaimed to the crowd, then turned and gave Phoenix a huge wink.
“Wh-what?” he squawked. “S-Spikeyhair?”
“He has stolen our treasure, Bandit,” Veronika said, brandishing her cutlass in the group’s direction. “For that he must pay.”
“P-pay?!” Phoenix shrieked. He considered climbing over the fence, but it was too late.
“Look, there’s the fiend now!” Veronika yelled, spurring Bandit on. “Bandit, use your Super-Special Whale Powers!”
Phoenix’s yell of terror was cut off as teeth clenched the bottom of his pants and he was dragged into the water. For a minute the world was nothing but swirling blue, until a hand grabbed his collar and yanked him to the surface.
“We have you now, Cap’n Spikeyhair!” Veronika’s eyes sparkled playfully. “What say you? Will you hand over the treasure that rightfully belongs to my Cap’n, or shall you have a swim in Davey Jones’ locker?”
Phoenix spluttered for air. “I-I’ll give it to you!” he said, his voice amplified by Veronika’s mic.
“Smart choice!” the pirate said, shooting the audience a beaming smile, and the crowd cheered wildly. “Now I’m taking you to my captain. You’d better think of what you’re going to say during parlay!” Veronika set him on the back of Bandit. “Hang on,” she whispered.
“Hang on, wha—?” Phoenix began, then Bandit leapt into the air, with Phoenix barely managing to grab onto the whale’s tail. The crowd laughed and cheered; the show was over.
“Wow, Nick, that was so cool!” Maya exclaimed as Phoenix dried himself off.
“Told ya it’d be a show you’d never forget!” Veronika said cheerfully, helping Pearl feed Bandit some herring and happily discussing her plans to begin integrating Bandit into the wild as soon as possible with anyone who would listen.
“I feel like something’s missing, though,” Maya said, looking critically at him. “Maybe it’s just the hair.”
Phoenix half-heartedly ran his hands over his lapels, trying to make himself look somewhat presentable. Then he noticed it.
“Mr. Wright. Losing your badge is one of the most irresponsible things an attorney can do.”
“And how did you lose it?”
“Well, sir…I was being pulled by a whale, and it must have fallen off.”
“I’m sorry, Mr. Wright, did you say…a whale?”
“Yes, sir. We drained the entire pool. But it was gone. An orca ate my badge.”
“An orca..ate your badge.”
“Well, that settles it. I’ve heard some ridiculous bluffs from you, Mr. Wright, but this really takes the cake. This shows how irresponsible you truly are.”
“But sir, my badge really was—”
“I don’t want to hear any more excuses. From here on out, Mr. Wright, you are disbarred. Come back when you learn proper respect for the courtroom.”
And just like that, my hearing came to an end. That night, I ran away from the courthouse and wandered the streets alone. I had become emo in a matter of minutes. I didn’t go meet Maya for burgers, like I said I would. She was so angry, she never spoke to me again. And Pearl was so angry that I had “betrayed my special someone” that she never spoke to me again either.
When they drained the pool that day, I was hoping for a miracle. But the “miracle” never happen. Maybe it was never meant to. Because a “miracle” is something that doesn’t exist.