Deadly Sins, Part Nine

Continued from Part Eight

Jirel paced the grounds outside the barracks. Lord, there has to be some way I can at least talk to Snyder. Even during his morning exercise and target practice, that woman is hovering all the time. Please make a way.

A stench of an earthly sort wafted his way. Burning tobacco. Snyder sat atop a picnic table, with a cigar between his fingers.

Jirel did a double take. Snyder didn’t smoke. Or at least he hadn’t. Jirel approached Snyder’s position. “I don’t believe your eighteenth birthday has come yet.”

“It’s only two days away.”

Jirel smiled. “In two days, you can smoke away. Until then, I’d rather not have to call the MPs.”

Snyder extinguished the cigar. “You’re such a stickler, Sarge.”

“Where’d you pick up cigars?”

Snyder looked down. “Some officer.”

“I see.” Jirel folded his arms. “Captain Greywolf.”

Snyder looked up at Jirel. “You know, don’t you? Of course, you’d have to be a complete idiot not to figure it out.”

Zorba snickered in his ear, “He’s got that right, Sherlock.”

Jirel snapped, “You stay out of this!”

Snyder frowned. “What?”

Jirel sighed. He’d been stuck in this tent far too long. He should’ve known Zorba wouldn’t have manifested to Snyder. “I thought I heard someone butting in. Snyder, why are you doing this?”

Snyder flicked ash from his cigar onto the cement. “Well, it’s kind of relaxing. You just go outside, light up, and smoke the world away.”

“Do you mean to tell me Captain Greywolf has had Emergency Operations open more days these past three months than in the last six years just for business?”

Snyder glared. “You going to make trouble for Amanda?”

“Dread doesn’t care.”

“What do you think?”

“There’s something very wrong with a thirty-year-old captain who goes around seducing seventeen-year old boys.”

Snyder’s glare deepened. “Look, Cutler, I’m a man. I’ve been a man since my egg donor killed my grandmother. And certainly since I was sent off to the Army.”

“You weren’t the first boy drafted and you won’t be the last. I thought you didn’t want an Army woman because that girl wanted—” Jirel covered his mouth.

Snyder stared at Jirel. “How do you know that?”

“You two weren’t arguing quietly.”

“Don’t worry. Amanda’s fixed and it’s good for three more years. She told me she would not have Native blood become a slave. Even though she’s pro-choice, I know few people who aren’t religious who are more personally anti-breeder than her.”

“Your mother and grandmother taught you better than this.”

Snyder swallowed hard. “You gonna tell Mama?”

Tempting as it was, that wasn’t the answer. “No, you’re becoming a man, and you don’t solve things with men by telling their mamas. But Snyder, this is wrong, and it’s not good for you. There’s a reason the army has rules against this, even if Dread doesn’t want to enforce them.”

“Which are?”

“First, it could create a hostile situation if you two break up.”

“Oh, that’s easy.” Snyder shrugged. “We’re not going to break up.”

Oh boy. “And then there’s the matter of preferential treatment.”

Snyder laughed. “And why would I care if I receive preferential treatment?”

“Would you like to see other people promoted because of who they slept with?”

“I’ll follow the golden rule when I’m twenty.”

“Exactly. If you displease her before your three years are up, she could send you to the gallows.”

“But Amanda wouldn’t do that.”

“Yeah, it’d be unethical. Kind of like seducing a seventeen-year-old that you have authority over. With the noose hanging over your head, how are her actions any different, morally speaking, than when a rival gang rapes a female for associating with yours?”

Continued…Next Thursday

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