Admiral William Redmon had always dreamt of being presented to the High Admiralty, to have his name on the lips of Hades 9â€™s most powerful Admirals.
But not like this.
â€œAdmiral Redmon, you stand here, charged with crimes against humanity. Do you understand the gravity of the charge?â€
That came from High Admiral Rannik Newgrove, seated dead centre in the room. He was flanked by two colleagues, High Admirals Saiman Delaney and Paul Major. With their gold frogging and medals they presented a uniformly stern appearance, an impression only enhanced by the raised dais on which they sat, forcing Redmon to have to look up at them.
He licked his lips and swallowed dryly as he regarded the three people who could decide his immediate future with impunity.
â€œSorry, crimes against humanity?â€ He asked, confusion clear in his voice.
Rannik scowled at him, â€œWhat else would you call a friendly fire incident upon a flagship? Hades 9 is all that remains of humanity. Her navies are vital to the stationâ€™s defense and order.â€ William wasnâ€™t sure he agreed with that sentiment. Hades seemed to chug along just fine both before the Extinction as a pirate base and then after the Navy and Megacorporations as a refuge for mankind.
â€œSorry, sir. I understand.â€
Admiral Newgrove shuffled a sheaf of paper, crinkling millions of credits worth of processed plant matter in the process before he looked back at William.
â€œWell? How do you plead?â€
The surprise on their faces and the knowledge that even Hadesâ€™ most powerful Admirals could be knocked speechless made up for the plea.
Admiral Delaney leaned forward, â€œAre you sure you wish to plead guilty? This crime carries the highest penalties.â€
William nodded, â€œI freely admit that the weaponâ€™s exercise should have been held further away from Admiral Doorejâ€™s flagship, especially in light of his habit to issue erratic manoeuvre orders. I have just one special request sirs.â€
There was a hubbub of whispered conversation before the High Admirals faced him again.
â€œThe Tribunal finds itself able to be lenient. You are sentenced to four monthsâ€™ imprisonment. Name your request.â€
Admiral William Redmon nodded profusely, remembered himself and straightened to attention. â€œSirs, please grant me a different cell to Admiral Eben Doorej. Otherwise, I cannot be held accountable for what I will do to him.â€
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- Short Stories
- April 18, 2018