Day of Dread, Part Two

Continued from Part One

Half an hour later, his vamp attendant returned with a Private First Class MP. Blood no longer flowed from Snyder’s nose and the swelling had gone down in his left eye.

The wacko jerked on his left arm. “Your lawyer’s here to see you.”

The MP said, “This way, sir.”

Sir. Six days ago, he’d have been the same rank. Promoted, flogged, and court-martialed, all in six days. Had to be some kind of record.

Snyder staggered down a sterile gray hall to a sterile gray room. A clean-shaven thirty-something captain shook his hand. “My name is Captain Merle of the Judge Advocate General corps. I’ll be representing you before the board of Court Martial. Have a seat.”

“I’d rather stand, sir. It hurts to sit. Hurts to stand, too, but the pain is a little less.”

“At least under the Steward’s Imperial Discipline Reform Order, examinations must be at least three days apart and can’t happen more than twice a week.”

“Yea, heck of a progressive, the Steward.”

“I take it you’re not a fan?”

“I was his biggest until two days ago. But with 255 million fans, he probably won’t miss one. Now, Sir, could we get to my case.”

“Have you been advised of the charges?”

“Insubordination was what Dread said.”

“It’s two counts of insubordination and one count of treason.”

Snyder’s jaw dropped. “Treason? I haven’t done anything treacherous.”

“The prosecutor, Major Hollerman, has come up with a novel legal theory that I don’t buy, but let’s get to that in a moment.”

Snyder leaned on the table, inches from the face of the officer. “As treason carries a heavy penalty, I’d like to get into it now.”

“It won’t make sense out of context. Now get out of my personal space.”

Snyder withdrew. “Continue, sir.”

Merle consulted an antiquated, all-in-one tablet computer from Macintosh. “I see you were promoted to Specialist six days ago on the recommendation of a Colonel Morgan as well as a Sergeant Kendell. Colonel Dread did not initially support your promotion. Do you care to elaborate on why?”

“Would it help if we could show he’d been an abusive officer who’s had it out for me since I got here?”

“The burden of proof would be immense. If we were talking to a jury of enlisted men, it’d be an easy sell, but the Court Martial judges are high-ranking officers. If he hated you so much, why did he withdraw his objections?”

Because Sergeant Kendell threatened to expose Dread for an offense I can only assume was sexual due to her refusal to elaborate. “You’d have to ask Colonel Dread.”

Merle said, “Are you sure there’s not something you want to tell me?”

Could they know about Kendell and me under-mining the IBI’s efforts to attack Christians, that she got me promoted to help her more? “No, nothing.”

“Very well. It says here on last Friday, Colonel Dread took you to Texas Roadhouse to celebrate your promotion.”

Snyder snarled. “They got great steak, but don’t let the peanuts and bread ruin your appe-tite. Could we get to the part where somebody wants to hang me?”

“We are. Dread then took you to Madam Helena’s public harem. Dread ordered you to make free use of a fifteen-year-old harem girl named Natalia, who matched an expert analysis of your preferences. You refused to obey the order.” Merle scratched his head. “Would you care to tell me why?”

“I didn’t want to.”

Merle arched an eyebrow. “You want me to go in court and say that? Captain Merle, why didn’t Snyder obey an order. Why, he didn’t want to.” Merle stood and looked Snyder in the eye. “That’s not a sufficient answer for an in-subordination trial.”

“The order violated my morals. She’s a human being, and she had no choice. You can’t treat people like that.”

Merle dropped his Itablet. “Boy, get ready for the noose. I don’t care what crap you’ve been taught, harem girls aren’t people to any officer in this Army. For Herald’s sake, you might as well have refused to go into a public bathroom. They’re facilities, not people.”

Funny. The official stance I’ve always heard is that non-persons are animals with a human genome. If I prefer sleeping with people acting of their own free will, that’s my business, or it ought to be. Are you able to represent that position, or do you need to withdraw?”

Merle breathed hard, straightened his hair, and picked up his Itablet. “My apologies, I got a little emotional, but don’t kid yourself. Every man on the panel will feel this way and every other lawyer available to you as well. Do you have any other defense?”

“She reminded me of my sisters.”

Merle stared at the report. “It says here that the girl in question was black.”

“I hardly have to explain my family his-tory to you, but to do it with a prostitute who reminds you of your sister would be awkward for anyone.”

Merle made a note. “Okay, we’ll look into that. How about health concerns?”

“That wasn’t on my mind, but a Vegas Harem girl will have plenty of diseases.”

“We’ll put that on there, too. Though the Imperial News Network did run a story on the safety of harem girls and the benefits of using public harems. Thanks to the Steward, you have a right to demand to see a harem girl’s vaccination records to verify that she’s clean.”

“You can run all kinds of baloney if you own the station. Everyone knows it’s cheaper to buy phony records than to actually give a girl all her shots.”

“Well, it’s in this incident that you’re being charged with insubordination for refusing the order and for treason.”

“Care to explain how it’s treason? I’ve been wondering about that.”

“The Emperor established public harems for the benefit of loyal citizens of the Empire. Major Hollerman believes all able-bodied, loyal citizens muse use public harems. To refuse to enter a public harem in his mind is an act of treason that must be punished with death.”

“But most public harems keep only female slaves and the few harem boys in the US also mainly service men. The women in the market prefer to sign a month-to-month lease of the conjugal rights of a male domestic who doesn’t work in the sex industry. On average, she keeps Rent-a-Hubby for five years. Does that make all straight women traitors?”

“Yes, actually, he does intend to create a captive market for public harems that service female heterosexuals.”

“So he’s a nut.”

“Idiosyncratic. Any ruling in his favor will have to exempt the owners of private harems in order to get this past the Steward, but Holler-man has made converts on the board. If he does prevail on the treason charge, it will trigger a radical paradigm shift in Imperial society.”

The only good side to that is that I wouldn’t be around to see it.

Continued Next Thursday

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