Day of Dread, Part Eight

Continued from Part Seven

The next day, the prosecution rested at three o’clock. Captain Merle stood. “Defense calls Doctor Marie Boulet.”

The military psychiatrist took the stand.

Merle said, “After examining Specialist Snyder, what is your evaluation of Colonel’s Dread’s order?”

Dr. Boulet replied, “I believe the order was psychologically abusive to Specialist Snyder.”

“Could you elaborate?”

“Of prime importance is sexual autonomy. Decisions by persons about sexuality must be made consensually by the persons involved.”

Merle lifted a document from off the de-fense table. “The Defense would like to enter as exhibit A…” Merle walked across to the pros-ecution table and slapped the document on Hollerman’s desk. “Article two of the Imperial Charter granting the right of sexual autonomy to all persons.”

Hollerman chuckled.

Snyder sighed. This is not good.

Merle said, “Dr. Boulet, what is the appro-priate word for forcing someone to perform a sexual act against their will?”


“So you’re saying Colonel Dread’s order to Specialist Snyder was the equivalent of rape.”

Hollerman said, “Objection!”

Merle held up his hand. “Withdrawn.” He turned to Dr. Boulet. “Were there other factors that would have extenuated this for Snyder?”

“He was raised in a black home. The girl chosen reminded him of his sisters. Further, his family indoctrinated him to believe that trade in non-persons restores the inhumane slave trade, which evilly regarded black persons as animals. This lie has led to a strong inhibition.”

“What would have been the psychological impact had Snyder obeyed Dread’s orders?”

“He was not capable of obeying. To do so would have psychologically devastated him.”

“Thank you. Your witness, Major.”

Hollerman stood. “Dr. Boulet, how long would you say have you been in his Imperial Majesty’s service?”

“Eleven years.”

“Would you say your average Imperial Soldier is mentally healthy?”

Boulet swallowed. “I couldn’t say.”

“Really?” Hollerman walked over to his desk and pulled out a piece of paper from a file folder. “Your honor, if it pleases the court, I’d ask this be labeled Prosecution Exhibit Eight for identification, an article that appeared in the American Journal of Psychology seven years ago concerning mental illness among members of the military. The article alleges higher rates of a wide range of mental disorders brought on by post-traumatic stress syndrome. Could you tell me who wrote this article, doctor?”

“I did, but—”

“I didn’t ask for an essay, doctor. Tell me, could you tell me, Dr. Boulet, is the execution of terrorists psychologically healthy?”

“It can cause trauma.”

“So should allow traitors to run wild?”

Snyder leaned over to Merle. “Object.”

Merle shrugged.

Boulet licked her lips. “My job is to treat my patients, not to propose policy changes.”

“That’s not what you wrote seven years ago. You laid out that the military ought to cease the execution of non-violent terrorists for the mental stability of soldiers and the long-term good of society.”


Everyone turned. Mama Borden stood in the visitor’s galley, shaking her fist. “There wasn’t even a question in that!”

Judge Appel banged his gavel. “Order! Madam, be seated, or I’ll remove you from my court. Major, proceed.”

Mama Borden sat down.

Hollerman said to Dr. Boulet, “Do you think we ought to weaken our military to make it more friendly to mental health?”

Dr. Boulet coughed. “I’m not here for a political debate.”

Snyder glared at Merle, who apparently thought he was posing for  painting.

Hollerman moved in inches from Boulet’s face. “We do not need to be soft on non-violent traitors. We need a tough military. Civilians can only sleep in their bed because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do them harm of any kind. Isn’t it true that you seek to undermine this?”

Snyder stood. “Objection! Badgering the witness, argumentative, and irrelevant.”

Judge Appel banged his gavel. “Specialist Snyder, sit down. You have representation.”

Snyder glared at Merle. “My apologies, your honor. I couldn’t tell.”

“Major Hollerman, I’m inclined to agree with Specialist Snyder regarding this line of questioning. Do you have any other questions?”

Hollerman sighed. “No, your honor.”

“Then I think it appropriate to adjourn until tomorrow.” The judge banged the gavel.

Continued Next Thursday

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