Day of Dread, Part Seventeen

Continued from Part Sixteen

Oh boy, I’m in trouble now. “Why didn’t you report her? You knew I was underage.”

Dread waved. “A minor regulation.”

“Wasn’t it the JAG’s place to judge that? Didn’t you request the assignment of the officer in question, Captain Amanda Greywolf, who has since been executed by hanging for several of counts of homicide, which were charged as hate crimes for targeting minorities?”

A psst noise turned Snyder’s head to the gate where Cerulean was gesturing for Snyder.

“Just a moment.” Snyder jogged over to Cerulean.

Cerulean handed him a file folder. “Your friend the invisible man wants you to enter Amanda Greywolf’s record into evidence.”

“Thanks.” Snyder returned to the bench waving the file in the air. “I present as Defense Exhibit C Amanda Greywolf’s military record, which includes several warnings of misconduct towards those in her command and concerns about her gambling problem. What possessed you to bring her here?”

“I thought she’d be a good fit.”

“A gambling addict near Las Vegas is like a drunk in a rum factory. You brought her on because you knew she was a serial killer and you knew my natural father was three quarters native American.”

Mama asked, “He was?”

Hollerman said, “Objection. Your honor, it becomes clear to the prosecution there’s been a lovely soap opera going on here in the desert, but as much as the people appreciate the art, I fail to see the relevance.”

Snyder said, “I’m getting to that. Dread, tell me why was I finally promoted.”

“It was recommended by the late Colonel Morgan. I objected because I didn’t think you  specialist material, but Sergeant Major Kendall impressed upon me that she found you a useful addition. And since I was leaving anyway—”

“Before Colonel Morgan died, how did you get along?”

“We did fine.”

“Did you really? I’ve got witnesses willing to testify that, on the morning of the day he died, Colonel Morgan broke down your door because you didn’t answer quick enough for him and verbally assaulted you for sloth within hearing distance of several enlisted men.”

 “Oh, that. Just a little misunderstanding. I don’t hold grudges against dead men.”

“Not if you killed them.”

Hollerman said, “Objection, lacks proper foundation. Further, the witness isn’t on trial.”

“Withdrawn. Colonel, it took you an over-ly long time to be promoted to captain. Have you read any of your evaluations?”

“You read my evaluations?”

“Yes, and I actually gained access legally. An early one says, ‘Lieutenant Dread displays violent, anti-social tendencies.’ Next we have, ‘Lieutenant Dread lacks good judgment and has a violent temper.’ And then we have, ‘The big-gest mistake I’ve observed in all my years in the military is the decision to graduate Lieutenant Dread from the academy.’ It continues even into your later career. ‘I’m transferring Major Dread to intelligence because there he will have fewer opportunities to damage military morale and our public image.’ I ask that his evaluations be entered as exhibits ‘D’ through ‘W’.”

Dread shrugged. “So I wouldn’t win Mr. Congeniality.”

“Nor would you be congenial to Colonel Morgan. The prosecution has accepted the facts that I provided on a mission that you, myself, Colonel Morgan, and Sergeant Kendall were on. Tell me, how did Colonel Morgan die?”

Hollerman said, “Objection, relevance.”

“Your honor, it goes to the motive for the order in question. If it was an attempt to cover up a crime, it wasn’t a valid order.”

The judge said, “Proceed. Colonel Dread, please answer the question.”

“We were patrolling the basement area in search of our objective. Two terrorists ambush-ed us from behind. They fired two shots that hit Colonel Morgan and missed me. I turned and shot the killers.”

Got you for perjury. “You sure about that?”

“You have another theory you can prove?”

“I’d like to do a re-enactment.”

Hollerman said, “The prosecution has no objection provided we can do it in the court-room.”

“We can.”

Hollerman walked over to Snyder. “Good to know someone else watches ancient episodes of Matlock. I’d like to play a role.”

“Sure, you can be Colonel Dread. I’ll be Colonel Morgan, and I’ll need the two guards to be the terrorists.” Snyder gestured for Holler-man to follow him. “So, Colonel Dread, you and Colonel Morgan were walking through a basement area like this. Are we about the right distance apart.”

Dread said, “It looks right.”

“Now the two terrorists come out and they shoot me in the back. Just wave your guns and say bang, bang.”

At the dead silence, Snyder peeked behind him. The guards were shooting their very silent index fingers at him.

Snyder lay on his stomach. “Then I fall down dead, and Colonel Dread shoots the two terrorists.”

Hollerman turned and used his finger as a gun. “Bang, bang.”

Snyder stood. “Is this how it happened?”

Dread nodded. “Yes, exactly.”

“Great. Only one problem. It couldn’t have  happened this way.”

“I was there. I fired three shots.”

“I sent forensics folks out last week. They found all three of your bullets embedded in the wall. The bullets that killed the terrorists came from Colonel Morgan’s gun. Thus, he killed the terrorists, not the other way around. How does a dead man shoot his killers?”

Dread blinked.

Snyder said, “It’s ironic, sir. You set me up lest I get curious and investigate. Instead, this trial got Morgan’s body exhumed and the crime scene checked out. You killed Colonel Morgan because he knew you’d taken credit for work I did and he threatened to expose you. He killed those terrorist and, when his back was turned, you shot him with the terrorist’s gun.”

“The terrorist fired the weapon.”

“No, he didn’t. This was an old gun, and there were no powder burns on his hands. Tell me, Colonel, you wore gloves that day. Do you still have those gloves?”


“Very interesting. Nothing further.”

Hollerman stood. “Your honor, I’d like to ask for a fifteen minute recess to confer with the defendant in the conference room.”

Continued Thursday

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