"Silence!" Elder Conch demanded, glaring sternly over the podium at the gathered Oceanalians. They shifted awkwardly and the angry clamouring became a more discreet susurration of unrest.
"We are here to pass judgement on Citizen Surf, charged with the crime that he did knowingly sabotage productivity and waste resources!"
A low gasp murmured among the crowd, whose gaze turned to the unfortunate youth in question. Surf's usually unkempt sandy hair seemed especially wild today, clinging in places to his snot streaked cheeks. He was small for 14, skinny even by Oceanalian standards. The sturdy judgment chair dwarfed him, draining away all his usual sunny optimism.
"It was an accident!" Neryssa protested on behalf of her son, "he told us he was just cleaning the hatchery to earn extra work credits for his sister's Worthday gift, he never meant to spill bleach in the nursery tank!"
Her husband squeezed her arm, urging her to keep quiet.