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Aboard Harper's Ferry

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Sep. 19th, 2006 | 10:32 am
mood: stressedstressed
posted by: firsttour in tmserenity

“Do you have anything to say in your defense?” the judge of this hastily thrown together court-martial asked the accused prisoner.

Harken stood upright with impeccable command presence, despite the shabby condition of his uniform, under harsh blue light. “I do.” He took a moment to rest his burning challenging gaze on every person in the room.

“Acting on Admiral Leggett’s orders, I detained and procured the crew of Serenity. I released them into the custody of an authorized Parliamentary representative. I acted completely by the book and am innocent of all charges of breaking the Allied Planets Military Code of Conduct.”

He did go a bit overboard with the assault on Niska’s Skyplex, but there was plenty of evidence in the man’s own security files to convict him of murder, drug running, tax evasion and much much more, hundreds of times over. He was a roach that Harken was proud to have crushed.

But that wasn’t the point.

“Very well then,” the judge said, completely unimpressed. “This court-martial finds you guilty of all charges, but most especially guilty of accessory to the kidnap and murder of Citizen Adelei Niska. Your sentence is, however, mitigated by your years of outstanding service to the Armed Forces of the Allied Planets and as such, I hereby sentence you to life imprisonment … on Dyton Colony.”

Harken closed his eyes.

That was it. His career was over. No appeal. No succor. And for what? He’d actually had the odd rebellious thought about somehow allowing Serenity’s crew to escape, or at least the Tam girl. He believed Dr. Tam, that she was a military research experiment, and that Leggett wanted to go on record as the one to present them to Parliament… where they would never be heard from again.

But his career… his expertise… They were throwing that away? Shipping him to Dyton Colony? For life? This was unbelievable… unconscionable!

On the way out of the ‘court’ room, it was an easy thing to lift a pistol off a guard and turn it on himself, only he missed during the struggle. They did not offer him that ‘honorable solution’ again. He was placed on suicide watch after that… and through the journey to the prison planet.

He killed the first two inmates that tried to… take advantage of him… He was an officer in the space navy for black’s sake! What were they thinking?

At the first mail call, there was, unexpectedly, a note for Harken. He thought his parents would have just heard the news by now. No one else would even know… perhaps an old shipmate… or some encouraging words from one of the junior officers back on Harper’s Ferry.

He opened the printout in the privacy of his dismal cell.

Be ready, was all it said. No wonder the comm clerk had given him that funny look.

Be ready for what? It was ridiculous to hope. Yet, he couldn’t stop the tiny spark that lighted in his chest at the thought of escape … and a new beginning.

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