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The Great and The Good (A_Great Captain_Roberts Tale!!)

Chapter 10 - Dignified Discussion

"...speak to the convicts."

Amanda stood with arms crossed, as the Military Police officers checked with their superiors.

"Which one?"

"Roberts, Jeffrey, conviction notice 2271JR31150816, crime was Food Supply Negligence." Amanda recited from the heading Desmond displayed in her vision. "Sentence was eighteen months public service. He has four months to go."

"You do not look like an advocate. Family member?"

"Biological relation, close, sister." Amanda stated. "Just point me in the right direction and I'll find him."

The guards checked with their superiors first, then had her sign a log…

"So, Milk-seed in the…

…cream? And you thought nobody would notice?" Jeff's fugue of digging was distracted, her voice…her voice.

He looked up.


"I'd like to think if you're going to prank someone, you should at least think through your plan, Jeff." she looked like Amanda, only…older, a little taller, and maimed. "Besides, according to Mom, I was the one who idolized 'irresponsible behaviors'."

She squatted down on the side of the ditch, "Then again, Daryl's wife says you're a bigot now. I don't remember, so maybe you were before and everyone was too polite to admit it? But I'm thinking there's another side to the story. Anyway, my therapist thinks I should confront my issues, and not remembering family is considered an issue."

"I've been out in the heat too long, I'm hallucinating-"

She reached out and swatted the side of his head. "Not a hallucination." she said, "I'm supposed to care about you, so…we're going to try the 'caring about you' thing." up close, he could see that one of her eyes doesn't quite move…right, and is that off-color that a prosthetic has at close distance. "What the ******, dood?" she added.
"You're…you're alive…you're back?"

"For a while." she said, "Got me a career even, and I'm only eighteen this year. You're supposed to be getting ready to marry what's-her-name, Dowry's been paid even, but instead, you're digging drainage ditches on the airbase as part of a chain gang, so I want to know your side of what happened."

"W-why? Why would you want to know that?" he asked

"Because I need to decide if Samantha's right or Natalie." she said quietly, "Do I write you off as something lost with my old life or welcome you into my new life? Also, you're invited to Grandfather's funeral and prisoner togs don't look good at the graveside."

"Lionel's dead?"

"No, Our Other Grandfather, the one who hopped a space-available to Quatre Belle to meet me when we came into port. Jeremiah, our Father's Father. He died less than a meter from me over coffee-he wanted to know so bad he took a trip he didn't return from to meet me, while, apparently, you were hanging around with people who think putting milk-seed extract into cow's milk for human consumption is a clever way to tell the world they'd really rather be preyed on by the kind of people who cut into my brain and killed eleven kids from my class."

"It wasn't supposed to do any true harm…"

"Dehydration by Diarrhea and vomiting? Not harmful? People can and do die of that." she snapped. "Try again. what was the objective?"

"To…" he was ashamed, "to make them leave, or bunker in and stay in their base."

"Stupid." she snapped, "First, your plan wouldn't have worked that way if it had succeeded. Instead, it would have made McAmmon's Dairy a Pariah, which would be bad for that whole side of the valley. Second, if you hadn't been brought in, the Clan Watch would be combing the region with infantry teams and people would be going into narco-interrogation and learning what kind of fun comes with pain-induction chairs until they gave you up-and it would be Legal, because of the Treaties of incorporation-because it would be Treason and sabotage."

She sat, dangling her legs into his trench, and added, "Third, what if a civilian ate in that mess-hall, Jeffrey? What if your 'plan' poisoned a child? The Ravens share their stuff with their lower-castes, not just the warriors, not just the active duty warriors either. How would you react if someone did that to your nephews? Your 'non-violent' plan of violence could get a lot of innocent people killed, and that's not accounting for the raiders who they're here to dissuade."

"Raiders are stories-" He stopped, remembering who he was talking to and what had already happened to her.

"I fought them, I've killed them." She hissed, "Yeah, Jeff, I'm one of those, a Killer of men. Your plan was beyond stupid, it put your family and everyone you love in danger, so, give me your side of it, explain your thinking, your logic, and who floated the idea that you didn't name in your hearing, because somebody encouraged you to act without thinking it through."

"And if I tell you?" he inquired.

"Then, I'll make you tell the guards, and we'll get your sentence reduced." she told him, "it will come with a job because I'm supposed to care about my relationships, you'll be off-world, it' will have real pay, real work, real dangers…but it will offer you some chance to not be a humiliation to your family and community."

"How? How would you have that kind of pull?" he scoffed, "You're my Little Sister."

She stood up, arms akimbo, and announced, "I? I am THE GREAT CAPTAIN ROBERTS!! Liberator of Devil's Breath, Joan's Post, Slayer of Bandits and rescuer of slaves, Privateer Director in the Outworlds Privateer Fleet!" she squatted, "I can talk to the Watch and get you reassigned to somewhere that will let you see the real monsters out there."

"I have a trench to dig, Amanda." he turned away from her, "Your fantasies are still disgusting."

"Well…I tried." she turned, and walked away.

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