In our last episode, Marine Colonel Roberto Gallo met privately with Navy Marine Corps Commandant Gerald Kingsley about a serious problem brewing among the Navy Marine Corps, stemming from their treatment at the hands of Crusaders military personnel. This issue is part of the aftermath of the ill-fated educational field trip to the planet surface by science teacher Georgio Pinto.
“Has there been repercussions on the sergeant’s family as a result of his so-called blasphemy?”
Gallo takes another deep breath to steady himself. He is enraged, but an emotional outburst will serve no purpose. “I understand that Ames has a brother who was submitted to the lash and just barely survived. His two sisters were… violated by Crusaders.”
Kingsley clenches his fists and growls menacingly, “They were raped… Gods damned bastards!”
Gallo looks away, fights for control then makes eye contact with the Commandant. “There’s more, sir.” He pauses, but Kingsley waits expectantly. “ Hendricks ordered Ames’ marine detail to witness his execution. Private Cheryl-Lynn Soares, who assisted Ames, in rescuing the students, was a good friend of his. Her discipline wavered during the spacing of Ames, and she shed some tears in silence. The Shaspa noticed and ordered her to report to his quarters, to discipline her. He forced her into his bed.”
“This was the trigger, Colonel?”
Gallo nods in the affirmative but pauses before he responds. They had to handle this situation with great delicacy. Emotions are running high, and there is substantial support for the detail that was victimized.
“Commandant, Soares has been doubly traumatized. Her commander, Captain Dupont, got enough details from her to help her get counseling. The rest of his unit are determined to bring hell’s fury on Hendricks’ head, then go after the entire Church establishment.”
“Can we isolate Dupont’s unit, to keep a lid on this?”
“That’s why I came to you, sir. That unit has quietly whipped up a lot of support over the past few weeks. I believe they think they can seize control of the ship once the Churchers move to the planet surface.”
Kingsley walks back to his desk and takes his chair. His mind is reeling with possible rebellion scenarios, and none are ending well. This situation is preposterous, he muses. Crusaders outnumber us three to one and are better armed.
The Commandant reestablishes eye contact with Gallo. “Does Dupont think the Chancellery Council will move to Genesis City without maintaining a large contingent of Crusaders aboard Scepter?”
The colonel shrugs, “I have no idea, Commandant. The rebel leaders are very tight-lipped after what happened to Ames, his family, and then to Soares.”
Kingsley sighs heavily, “Thank you, Colonel, for bringing this to my attention. We need to act quickly before that unit triggers a terrible blood bath. I’ll consult with the ArcGeneral, and then we’ll figure out some way out of this mess. My heart is with the rebels. Their cause is righteous, and the religious fanatics that hold most of the power do need to learn some hard lessons. But an armed confrontation could be catastrophic. I’ll get back to you. In the meantime, keep your eyes and ears open.”
Gallo rises to attention and snaps off a crisp salute. “Thank you, sir.” He turns on his heel and leaves Kingsley alone in his office.
Kingsley watches the door close, then keys the comm unit on his desk. “Carter, please inform ArcGeneral Hastings’ office that I’m on my way.”