(In our last episode, ArcGeneral Hastings had delivered a firm ultimatum to High Chancellor Hayes and the CO of the Crusader Army, Shappa Durant. Hastings pleaded with them to punish the Crusaders who assisted Shaspa Hendricks in the unlawful execution of one Marine, the torture and rape of that man’s siblings, and the coercion and violation of a female Marine. If they refused, an all-out war between the Crusader army and the Marine Corps could ensue.)
[We join the conversation between Hayes and Durant after Hastings left their presence.]
Durant fumes in silence after the hatch closes behind Hastings, while the High Chancellor thumbs through the Scriptures that Hastings quoted to them a few minutes before. The cleric’s frown deepens as he reads the Holy directives – the ArcGeneral is correct, and he has little choice but to enforce the dictates of the Holy Book. Sighing in resignation, Hayes reverently returns the Scriptures to the top of the desk and locks eyes with his Crusader CO, Shappa Durant.
“You know, Frederick, we don’t have a lot of choices open to us.”
The soldier slaps his thigh in disgust. “My Lord, I detest that scum Hastings, and I’m not afraid of his puny Marine Corps. My Crusaders would thoroughly enjoy exterminating the lot of them!”
Hayes’ face softens, as he holds up his hands to silence his angry Shappa. “My dear Shappa, I share your feelings, and I admire your courage and loyalty. But make no mistake, if it comes to a firefight, there will be many losses on both sides. The ArcGeneral gave us two reasons to give him what he wants…”
“Surely we’re not giving in to his demands, my lord!” Durant’s angry and defiant expression gives way to one of incredulity.
The High Chancellor rises, strides around his desk and takes the chair opposite Durant. “We must, Shappa! First, Hastings is quite right – Hendricks and his men are guilty of heinous offenses and second, we can’t afford a civil war just as we’re about to carve out a new civilization on this pristine planet.”
Durant looks down at his balled fists in his lap and lets them relax. He mulls over the High Chancellor’s words before he replies. “I detest Hendricks and his band of thugs – they are not truly religious men.” The fire then returns to his eyes. “But I hate that damned Navy and Marine Corps even more! It just galls me to capitulate to those… scum!” Hayes watches in silence as Durant wrestles with his feelings.
Hayes understands these feelings of disdain for the Naval class in general because he shares them. Most of them are decent, peaceful people, but their lack of faith is a threat to the success of their holy mission. And yet, there will be no new civilization built on Genesis without them. It is a conundrum. One thing is clear: a bloody revolt is not part of the solution.
“Shappa, we must convene a military court to deal with these charges. Hendricks and his followers must face justice.”
Durant’s head snaps up in surprise. “My lord, they will be spaced if convicted.”
“Indeed they will, Shappa.” Hayes rises as he speaks and puts his hand on his general’s shoulder. “But it is the only way. Bullying the Naval class with that kind of violence is NOT the will of the Gods. It must stop… NOW!”