Go to Prologue
The afternoon session was about to begin. Kacey and Natalia walked into the room. They sat and talked as the room filled. They avoided talking about the case. Both wanted to distance themselves from the events. They waited for the Judges to enter. The Sergeant under guard strutted in and sat down. Everyone stood when the judges entered.
"Be seated. " Kate said. "Mr. Wilcox, after hearing the testimony and seeing the video evidence, I will ask once again, does your client wish to change his plea?"
Wilcox stood. Again Castor shook his head no. "Once again against advice, Sergeant Castor does not want to change his plea."
Kate sighed and shook her head. "Very well. Call your first witness."
"I call Sergeant Barry Castor."
"The Sergeant strutted to the stand raised his had and swore to tell the truth."
"Sergeant after hearing the testimonies and seeing the video evidence this morning is there anything you would like to say on your behalf
"Yeah I have something to say. Those are trumped up charges. Those fucking bitches lied." Kate banged her gavel.
"Sergeant, I advise you to keep you comments civil" Kate warned.
"Yes Captain." He mocked saluted her, but threw a look of loathing at her.
"Sergeant you heard the Private say she was in a committed relationship."
"Yeah with another broad. Really when given a chance, what woman would choose another woman over a man. Who would turn down what a real man could give them. What two women do together ain't natural. No woman can give another what a real man can. They want a living breathing man not a piece of plastic."
Kate banged her gavel again.
"How exactly did the Private show that she wanted you?"
"She would smile at me every time she saw me. She would make sure I noticed her with that exaggerated walk every time she came near me. It was an open invitation. Women can't seem to help themselves around me. Must be some sort of chemistry."
"So this sort of thing has happened before on the ship?"
"On the ship and on Earth. Sometimes I had to beat them off." The sergeant puffed out his chest as he bragged. Natalia looked at Kate and smiled. The Sergeant just gave her the opening she needed.
"No further questions" Wilcox turned away from his client with a look of disgust on his face.
Natalia stood up walked around the table and leaned back against it. "Sergeant, have you ever been brought up on charges of inapropiate behavior?"
"Hell no." The Sergeant stated.
"Let me rephrase that. Have you ever been accused of inappropriate behavior?"
"Yeah once or twice back on Earth."
"Once or twice? How about fourteen times?"
"Might have been. I don't know the exact amount. I was never charged with anything."
"Why is that Sergeant?"
"Who the hell knows. Maybe they changed their minds."
"Or had their minds changed for them." Natalia stated. "Tell me Sergeant, why did you sign up for The Andromeda."
"I was ordered to."
"Why is that Sergeant?"
"Damned if I know. It wasn't my choice to be stuck in space for three years."
"Isn't it because the last person you assaulted was a thirteen year old girl who died under your assault? Isn't it also true that your family could not buy off, threaten or gloss over this attack, as they had in the past? Is Castor even your legal name?"
"Of course it's my name." He stated angrily.
"Is it not true that your legal name is Eden. That you changed your name to Castor which is your mother's maiden name, when you had your assault spree. General Eden is actually your father."
"Yeah he is my old man. What of it?"
"He helped you escape prosecution for assault of a person under the age of sixteen and murder when she died from your assault. Isn't that correct?"
"That file was locked. How did you get that information."
"Answer the question Sergeant." Kate ordered.
"Yeah what of it. He pulled some strings to get me off Earth and onto this ship. It is way out of your jurisdiction. You can't use any of that against me."
"You are right, Sergeant it is out of our jurisdiction, but you are wrong I can and will use the evidence collected against you. It shows that you have a habit of assaulting women. Assaults that have continued here. No further questions" Natalia turned and went back to her chair her stomach tied in knots. Kacey smiled and winked at her which helped loosen the knots.
"Call your next witness Mr. Wilcox." Kate ordered.
"I have no further witnesses, Captain. The Defense rests."
"Closing arguments? Crewman you may begin."
"The testimony and evidence presented here today stands on its own merits Captain. No closing arguments."
"Nothing more needs to be said. No closing arguments either Captain." Wilcox stated.
"This court is adjourned while the Judges discuss the case and come to a verdict."
Everyone stood and left the courtroom. As soon as the room emptied the Judges put their heads together.
No one wandered far from the courtroom. Everyone expected a quick verdict. Kacey stood with Natalia. "I am certainly glad that is over." Kacey stated.
"Me too. I can not believe how his father could cover up his son's crimes. Did Kate tell you about the call she got from General Millhouse this morning?"
"No. What happened?"
"He gave her complete jurisdiction over any crimes here on the ship. He will back up any decisions she makes."
"That is good news."
"After we finish up here, want to take me out for dinner and drinks?" Natalia asked. "After a hot shower that is."
"It would be my pleasure, Natalia."
"There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this jerk is guilty." Kate said.
"I agree Captain. What a scum bag." Bella Torino stated
"Doctor? what do you say?"
"Beyond a doubt Captain, Guilty" Doctor Stiles the Geologist stated.
"Three guilty verdicts. Now as for punishment. Opinions or suggestions?"
"Sending him out an air lock seems appropriate, Captain."
"Wish we could. Unfortunately we can not kill him."
"Why not. He killed a thirteen year old girl."
"That happened on Earth. We can only punish him for what he has done here. When we return to Earth they can take care of that. Fortunately the statutes of limitations never runs out on murder. He will be sentenced here and serve out every second of his sentence here"
"What is taking so long?" Natalia asked. "I thought I proved my case." Natalia stated worry clouding her voice.
"I really don't think it's the verdict that is taking a long time. It's the punishment."
The door opened. "The judges have come to a decision. Please return to the court room." The Ensign stated. Everyone filed back into the room. Castor was the last one to come in with his guard.
Kate banged her gavel and brought the court room to order.
"The judges have reached a verdict. Sergeant please stand. You have been found guilty of sexual harassment, physical assault and unlawful restraint. Your sentence is that you will be confined to the Brig for the duration of our mission. You will be stripped of all rank and as I have been given full power over this ship, you are here by dishonorably discharged from the Marines. You have forfeited all rights, benefits and pensions. As your confinement to the Brig would be a drain on the resources of the ship, you will be assigned to the garbage room and compactor. You will work under armed guard from the hours of zero eight hundred hours to sixteen hundred hours each and every day. There will be no days off. No holidays and no weekends. At the end of your workday you will be returned to the Brig. If at any time you step even a little over the line I will not hesitate to put you in an escape pod with one week's supply of food and water and send you to the nearest piece of rock we can find without life signs. Captain Taggart please escort Mr. Castor or should I say Eden back to his cell. His garbage detail begins tomorrow morning. This court is dismissed.
The Captain took Castor's arm and began to lead him from the courtroom. Castor stopped and yelled at Kate. "This is not over Captain. My father will not stand for this treatment." He left, his words still echoed in the room.
To be continued...
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