Day of Dread, Part Eighteen

Continued from Part Seventeen

The judge said, “So ordered.”

Snyder, Hollerman, Mama, and Cerulean sat in the conference room.

Hollerman clapped. “Bravo. I enjoy having someone at the opposite table who is not awed by my reputation. I’m prepared to do some-thing I’ve never done before. I’m willing to offer a plea bargain.”

Snyder laughed. “Oh, you do comedy on the side? That jury’s not going to convict me. “

“Yes, you can walk out a free man and be returned to duty. You can be known as the man who defeated Major Bryce Hollerman in court. And they can put it in your epithet in weeks.”

Mama Borden glared at Hollerman. “You threatening my boy?”

“No, ma’am. In an ideal world, I’d move for the case to be dismissed and recruit Snyder into JAG. Unfortunately, the Imperial military has a culture of gaining promotion by arrang-ing accidents for your superiors. I don’t support it, but I’ve never had the cooperation needed to bring a case. Snyder’s defense today threatens that culture. So long as he’s enlisted, he’ll wear a target on his back. But if he’s not enlisted, I can take the evidence he’s gathered and build my case against Dread. And more importantly, Snyder can stay alive.”

Snyder sighed. “What’s the deal?

 “The treason charge will be dropped if you will plead guilty to insubordination. You’ll be demoted and discharged.”

“I’ll plead no contest, but I won’t plead guilty.”

“That’s reasonable.”

“What about your case law?”

“There’ll be another case. This one came with too high of a price tag. I’d rather get Dread than hang you.”

“A. L. Snyder, this court finds you guilty of insubordination. You are hereby demoted to the rank of Private First Class and dishonorably discharged.” Judge Appel banged his gavel.

Hollerman approached the defense table and ripped the rank and the imperial insignia from Snyder’s dress uniform. “Mr. Snyder, you are free to go.”

Continued Thursday

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