Mathias carefully kept all expression from his face—but inside he was grinning with pure malice of heart at the eighty-one men and women crammed into the cell that had once housed Gina Inviere. The cell where sixty-three of the Fleet officers and crew had raped her and beaten her repeatedly. The cell where another eighteen had egged the rapists on.
Admiral William Adama made no such effort—and the obvious fury and displeasure caused those closest to the glass to recoil.
High Justice Lampkin was perhaps more used to dealing with criminal scum—and his face would have suited a professional Triad player. It was utterly unreadable.
And finally, there was the President and his Vice-President: Lee Adama and Tom Zarek. And both of these were just as visibly angered and disgusted as the Admiral.
For nearly three minutes, no one said a single word, and those . . . animals on two legs caged behind the glass got more and more nervous. Finally, one of them blurted, “We have rights!”
?” snarled the Admiral. “I have spent three hours viewing footage of what you people did in this very cell
—and there was plenty more to see when I finally got so disgusted I shut it off. Do not talk
to me about your
Mathias’ lips twisted as the blood drained from their faces. “You erased the security footage after Cain’s death—you didn’t know she had a copy
in her own safe,” he gloated.
Lampkin looked at Adama and then Lorne and he sighed before he turned back to the captives. “I have also viewed excerpts of the tapes myself—along with Commander Lorne and the President and the Vice-President. I am here to offer you a one-time deal,” he said—and the smile, the smirk, faded slowly from the face of Mathias. Intellectually, he realized this was the best way to handle the situation—in his heart, as the father of two daughters, he wanted to see all of them lined up against a wall and shot.
The High Justice continued. “If you insist on a courts-martial as is your right as serving Fleet officers and crew, it is my considered opinion that the preponderance of evidence against you will be more than adequate to get you convicted.”
you are convicted,” snarled Adama, “I will
hand down the maximum possible sentence—for each
separate offense assigned to you consecutively.”
A moan went up from the captives. Colonial law held aggravated rape by a service member was punishable by up to fifteen years at hard labor—if Adama sentenced them to consecutive sentences, they would die of natural causes long
before they were up for release.
“The Admiral ordered it!” one man blurted out.
“And if Helena Cain were alive today,” Lampkin declared bluntly, “she would be looking at a firing squad—or a noose. I was only obeying orders is not a legal defense, ladies and gentlemen.”
And some of the captives sank to the floor of the cell and began to cry and shake—Mathias snarled at their dismay.
“Now, I have a deal to offer each one of you—in lieu of a courts-martial,” Lampkin continued in an even voice, “In exchange for a plea of guilty, I will sentence each and every one of you who committed an act of rape to fifteen years at hard labor for each offense—sentences to be served concurrently. Fifteen years, ladies and gentlemen—or the rest of your natural lives. Your choice.”
“Some of us didn’t rape that Cylon!” another cried out, and Lampkin smiled.
“No. You just engaged in a criminal conspiracy to commit aggravated rape and assault upon a prisoner in your custody. Despite fervent pleas for me to sentence you to the same,” and he glanced sideways at Mathias, “I will instead sentence those of you who did not physically touch Gina Inviere with twelve years per offense—once again concurrently.”
“Just three years
difference?” the woman wailed.
Lampkin shrugged. “You can reject the plea deal and stand a courts-martial—I am not forcing this deal down your throat.”
And there was silence.
Until Adama spoke. “Personally, I hope that some of you are stupid enough to reject this offer.”
And then he turned and left, with the rest of the Colonial officers, jurists, and politicians trailing in his wake.