The judge said, â€œSo ordered.â€
Snyder, Hollerman, Mama, and Cerulean sat in the conference room.
Hollerman clapped. â€œBravo. I enjoy having someone at the opposite table who is not awed by my reputation. Iâ€™m prepared to do some-thing I’ve never done before. Iâ€™m willing to offer a plea bargain.â€
Snyder laughed. â€œOh, you do comedy on the side? That juryâ€™s not going to convict me. â€œ
â€œYes, 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.â€
Mama Borden glared at Hollerman. â€œYou threatening my boy?â€
â€œNo, maâ€™am. In an ideal world, Iâ€™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 donâ€™t support it, but Iâ€™ve never had the cooperation needed to bring a case. Snyderâ€™s defense today threatens that culture. So long as heâ€™s enlisted, heâ€™ll wear a target on his back. But if heâ€™s not enlisted, I can take the evidence heâ€™s gathered and build my case against Dread. And more importantly, Snyder can stay alive.â€
Snyder sighed. â€œWhat’s the deal?
Â â€œThe treason charge will be dropped if you will plead guilty to insubordination. Youâ€™ll be demoted and discharged.â€
â€œI’ll plead no contest, but I won’t plead guilty.â€
â€œWhat about your case law?â€
â€œThere’ll be another case. This one came with too high of a price tag. I’d rather get Dread than hang you.â€
â€œA. L. Snyder, this court finds you guilty of insubordination. You are hereby demoted to the rank of Private First Class and dishonorably discharged.â€ Judge Appel banged his gavel.
Hollerman approached the defense table and ripped the rank and the imperial insignia from Snyderâ€™s dress uniform. â€œMr. Snyder, you are free to go.â€
Tales of the Dim Knight is available in Paperback form, in the Kindle StoreÂ as well as on Smashwords in a variety of formats. At both sites, you can get extensive free excerpts on your computer, or sent directly to your Kindle device from the Kindle store.