Adapted from Starfighter Command Records and Trial Transcripts
The Attorney General for the Earth Council barged into the Admiral's office. "Have you heard the news?" he asked. "He is coming here. The traitor is coming back to Earth."
"Yes, I have heard the news," the Admiral replied calmly. He was not half as excited about it as the Attorney General appeared to be. "I don't think we can touch him, though. He is coming here as part of a Kelgaron diplomatic party to improve economic ties between our two worlds. In any case it would be a military matter, not a civilian one."
The Attorney General frowned. "I would think you would be glad to get your hands on him. I know I am. He is still a citizen of this planet. His crimes are against humanity, not just the military. I plan to have him arrested the moment he sets foot on the planet."
"That is not a good idea," the Admiral said. "We had other plans in mind."
"Well, you'll just have to change them," the Attorney General said.
The Admiral drummed his fingers in thought. "At least be a little more circumspect about arresting him. After all, he is part of a diplomatic mission to our world, and his family will be present."
"Okay, I will wait until I can get him alone and away from their embassy. What I don't understand is why you are so reluctant to help me."
"First off, legally it is a very weak case," the Admiral said. "There are also other considerations which must be taken into account. It is my recommendation that you do not pursue this case. We take care of our own. Just let us deal with this matter."
"I can't do that," the Attorney General replied. "Humanity demands that justice be served."
The Admiral watched the Attorney General walk out of his office. "Humanity better check the facts of the case before it sticks its foot in its mouth," he said to himself. He reached out and pushed a button on his desk.
"Yes sir," a small voice from a speaker said.
"Jack, that press release we had planned -
The Attorney General just sat and stared at the computer screen. He was not happy. Big red letters were flashing on the screen: Access Denied. Information Requested Classified: Top Secret. He would have to get a court order to get the records declassified.
It was a stunned company of Starfighters that stood before their Captain. Most of them had grown up thinking that man they were going to guard was a traitor to the Starfighter Legion. They were shocked to find out that the lie they had grown up believing was part of the best kept secret in military history. It was a stunning revelation. Their orders required that they keep the secret for a little while longer until the official press release.
Red carpet all the way. A half a dozen admirals were there to greet the ship when it landed. The Starfighter Legion Commander was the last to shake Tom's hand. "Welcome home Commander," he said. "We had other plans that we had to scrap because the Attorney General is dead set on prosecuting you for your so-
"What do you want me to do, Admiral?" Tom asked.
The Admiral smiled. "I want you to turn yourself in to stand trial."
Ankneesheia gasped. "Tom, no," she said, turning on the Admiral. "Haven't you used him enough?"
"I understand your concerns, my dear, and I share them; but this may be the only way to clear both your names in such a way as to leave no lingering doubt," the Admiral said. "After all, humanity sees you as the woman that seduced him into betraying humanity. So you will be on trial as much as he is."
"Ankneesheia, it's okay. The Admiral is right. I must answer for my crimes or there will always be lingering doubt in the minds of some people," Tom said.
The Attorney General watched the ceremony below from the spaceport's observation deck. He thought it was a bit much for visiting bug diplomats. Starfighter Command was going overboard to make the traitor and his bug wife and bug friends feel welcome. Even though the war was over he still had no love for bugs. So preoccupied was he with his own hatred of the bugs, he failed to notice that every Starfighter the traitor passed snapped to attention and saluted him.
It came as a surprise to the Attorney General to find the Judge Advocate General for Starfighter Command and the traitor waiting for him outside his office when he came to work the next morning.
"I am here to turn myself in," Tom said. "And, I demand my right to a speedy public trial."
"That's cute. You abandon humanity, and then you demand your rights as a human. That's real cute," the Attorney General said.
The JAG Admiral walked over and stood in front of the Attorney General. "You will find that the Commander has never abrogated his rights as a human; furthermore, he has never denied or even been ashamed of being human or a part of humanity," he said. "We have already talked with the Supreme Court, and they have agreed based on the evidence that this is a purely military matter. We will relinquish the Commander to a civil court if you will uphold his right to a speedy trial. Otherwise, the trial will be held in a military courtroom with military judges."
"It will be impossible to give the Commander here his speedy trial as long as his records remain classified."
"Let me get this straight. You're charging the Commander with crimes against humanity without any evidence to back up your charges. You are a bigger fool than I thought you were," the JAG Admiral said. "The trial will be held in seven days at Starfighter Command Headquarters. All records concerning the Commander will be declassified 24 hours before the trial. Because you seem to think that the Commander's crimes are against humanity -
"That’s not fair," the Attorney General said. "I have a right to view the evidence."
"No, actually you don't," the JAG Admiral said. "It is we who have a right to view the evidence against the Commander, and I really don't care what evidence you might have against him anyway. So you can dig for dirt all you want. Besides, his records would not do you any good anyway."
"What do you mean his records won't do me any good! He helped a female bug military officer to escape, stole a state-
"Sounds like you might have a case when you put it that way," the JAG Admiral said calmly. "Don't worry, we will declassify the Commander's records and give you time to review them before the trial starts. If all your ducks are in a row, then his records will only give you more ammo to use against him." The JAG Admiral turned and took Tom by the arm. "Commander, I think we’re done here."
"Just where do you think you're taking him?" the Attorney General asked.
"He is under house arrest. I'm taking him back home," the JAG Admiral replied.
As promised Tom's records were declassified, but that was not much help if you didn't know what to look for. The Attorney General and his staff were only looking for things related to the crime.
The officer defending Tom was Captain David Harden, the best attorney that the JAG office had. He had spent days being debriefed by the Starfighter Legion Commander and other admirals. He had a printout of every little scrap of information concerning the case on the desk before him. He knew the Attorney General would present a compelling case. His job was not to try the case before the court, but to try the case in the minds and hearts of every man, woman, and child on the face of the planet.
Using a small metal rod, the JAG Admiral tapped the bell on the desk three times to bring the court to order. There were six other high-
The Attorney General went first. "Gentleman, I will prove that the defendant, Commander Thomas Avery Andrews, committed crimes against humanity by helping a Kelgaron female military officer to escape. In the commission of this crime he also committed the crime of theft of Starfighter property by taking a state-
David Harden waited for the Attorney General to sit down before he stood. "I suppose that is one way to look at Commander Andrews’s actions," he said. He pulled a folded piece of paper from his desk and unfolded it. It was a poster of a naked woman sitting on the edge of a bed. The caption read: Kelgaron Women Are Real Killers. He showed it to the cameras before giving it to the JAG Admiral. "That is, or rather was, part of a program to indoctrinate Starfighters regarding the supposed dangers posed by Kelgaron women. I have no doubt that the Attorney General will try and make you think that Commander Andrews was seduced into helping the Kelgaron female military officer escape. He will want to make you think that all Kelgaron women are as dangerous as that poster portrays them to be. I'm here to tell you that nothing could be further from the truth. Take away all the elements of danger from that picture, and what you have left is a beautiful seductive naked young woman sitting on the edge of a bed. The caption should have then read: Kelgaron Women Are Real Women. That is what Starfighter Command feared. Kelgaron women don't have to do anything to capture a man's heart. They come genetically perfect. Commander Andrews's crime was falling in love after spending some fifty plus days stranded on a planet with a genetically perfect Kelgaron woman where they both had the misfortune to crash. Commander Andrews is not the only Starfighter to lose his heart to a Kelgaron woman, either. Every Starfighter that has given in to their natural charms has resigned and started working for the cause of peace to bring an end to the war between our two species."
"Commander Andrews did not help the Kelgaron woman to escape although it might have looked that way on the surface. ‘Kidnapped’ would probably be a more accurate term. The fighter he took was hardly state-
"You may call your first witness," the JAG Admiral said.
The Attorney General stood up. "I have a list of witnesses compiled from the Commander's records. As I have no idea where they may be found, and it may take some time to get them here, I request that this court be adjourned until my witnesses can be assembled."
"Motion denied. We have anticipated your witness list, and you will be surprised how many of them we have waiting to be called,” the JAG Admiral replied.
A court clerk handed the Attorney General the list of witnesses the military had waiting in a room just across the hall from the court. He was indeed surprised to find most of his witnesses had already been assembled. "I call the first person on my list, then -
Once the guard was sworn in, the Attorney General began his questioning. "I know it has been a long time, but would you tell us what happened the night Commander Andrews helped the Kelgaron female prisoner to escape?"
"Commander Andrews presented us with a transfer order for the prisoner for the purpose of interrogation and we released her to him," the guard replied.
"And when did you discover that the transfer order was in reality a forged document?"
"About seven hours later when the interrogation team returned to continue their interrogation of the prisoner."
"I have no further questions," the Attorney General said as he sat back down.
"Captain Harden you may question the witnesses," the JAG Admiral said after a while, since David had not stood up.
"I have no questions sir," David replied, looking up from the papers on his desk.
"Call your next witness."
"I would like to call the flight control officer on duty when Commander Andrews took the fighter." The Attorney General wasted no time launching right into his line of questioning the moment the flight officer finished stating his name. "Captain, can you tell us when Commander Andrews left the ship with his fighter, and when it was discovered that he had taken the prisoner with him?"
"The Commander requested a flight check for the repairs he had been making to his fighter just after the shift change. His possible involvement with helping a prisoner to escape was reported to us about twenty minutes later."
"Can you tell us about the fighter that Commander Andrews took?"
"Yes sir, he took a SS7-
"So his fighter had all kinds of high-
"Yes sir, it did."
"You said he was working on his own ship," the Attorney General asked.
"Yes sir, he was," the Captain replied.
"Then he had the time to secrete just about anything on his ship -
"Yes sir, I suppose he did."
"Is it normal for a Starfighter to work on his own fighter?"
"No sir, not normally, but some like to tinker a bit."
"I have no further questions. Your witness, councilor," the Attorney General said as he sat back down.
"Was the SS7-
"No sir, the SS7-
"When you said that the SS7-
"No sir, it was a retrofit."
"One last question, Captain. What was the flight status of the Commander's fighter?"
"It was considered to be space worthy, but not combat ready, sir."
"I have no more questions," David said.
"I'd like to call Admiral Tallinn who was the destroyer's commander at the time of the incident," the Attorney General said.
"When it was discovered that Commander Andrews had helped a prisoner escape and was no longer onboard the destroyer, what did you do?" the Attorney General asked after the Admiral had been sworn in and directed to the witness chair.
"I ordered the Commander to return to the ship -
"So you are saying that he disobeyed a direct order and evaded capture."
"Yes, I suppose that is what I just said."
"Exactly how did Commander Andrews evade capture?" the Attorney General asked.
"He engaged his star-
"No further questions. Your witness, councilor," the Attorney General said.
"Only one question Admiral," David said. "Commander Andrews had secured the prisoner nearly six hours before he requested to leave the ship to test the repairs he had been making to his fighter. Don't you find that a little odd considering that he could have gotten a six or seven hour head start?"
"You know, I never really thought about that at the time," Admiral Tallinn replied.
"My next witness is one of the psychologists that prepared a top secret report on the Kelgaron women for Starfighter Command," the Attorney General said after the admiral left the witness stand.
"Your name is Allen Albertson, and you are the chief psychologist for Starfighter Command, is that correct?" the Attorney General asked as the witness sat down.
"Yes, that is correct," Allen replied.
"And you were the person that wrote the report concerning the Kelgaron women?"
"Yes, I and a few others drafted that report."
"Can you tell us why that report was written?" the Attorney General asked.
"At the time it was believed that the Kelgaron women possessed a hypnotic ability which enabled them to affect the behavior of Starfighters that came into contact with them," Allen replied.
"Was Starfighter Command justified in their concern with this problem?"
"Yes, there were some reports that gave them cause for concern…."
"Could a Kelgaron woman seduce Commander Andrews into helping her escape?"
"Without knowing more about Commander Andrews it would be hard to say."
"But it is possible?"
"Yes, it is possible."
"So during the war the Kelgaron women were considered a threat, and it is possible that a Kelgaron woman highly trained in the art of seduction could have seduced Commander Andrews into helping her escape, isn't that correct?" the Attorney General asked.
"Yes, I suppose it is," Allen replied.
"I have no more questions. Your witness."
David stood up and looked at the witness for a moment before he walked around his desk and over to the witness chair. "What do you think the Kelgarons thought about the human males during this time?" he asked.
"They probably thought the same about the human males as we did about their women," Allen replied.
"The Kelgaron male almost has to be drugged into having sex. The Kelgaron female actually has a gland in their skin that produces just such a drug. The sex drive in a Kelgaron female is quite high. I would imagine that a male that doesn't have to be drugged -
"Would the Kelgarons be justified in thinking that way?"
"Absolutely. The human male could be considered as a threat to their whole species. The only thing we risked was the occasional Starfighter falling in love. They risked the complete genetic alteration of their species now that we know that there can be children produced from a union between the two species. That is something they have known for much longer than we have, and perhaps it is one of the reasons why they fought us as long as they did."
"So it is not likely that a Kelgaron female military officer would be highly trained in the art of seduction much less try to seduce Commander Andrews into helping her to escape?" David asked.
"That is correct," Allen replied. "I doubt that they even knew about, or even considered, the effect their women had on the human male."
"I have no further questions," David said as he headed back to his desk.
The Attorney General knew Captain Harden had just made him look like a fool, but that did not change things. "I have one question on redirect. What will a human male do for love?” he asked.
"Just about anything," Allen replied.
"For my next witness I would like to call Commander Andrews's Kelgaron wife to the stand. I would also like to have her declared as a hostile witness," the Attorney General said.
Ankneesheia sat down on the witness chair and watched the Attorney General pace back and forth in front of her. “Tell us your name, what you did for the Kelgaron military, and what your current occupation is," he said.
"My name is Ankneesheia. I was a weapons officer on a Kelgaron fighter. Presently, I am the mother of two beautiful children," she replied.
"So you don't have to work. What do you do to keep busy? Where does your money come from?"
"I used to be very active in the anti-
"When was the first time you made love to Commander Andrews?" the Attorney General asked.
David was on his feet in an instant. "Objection!" he yelled.
"It goes to motive. I contend that Commander Andrews was seduced," the Attorney General countered.
"Objection overruled, but you had better come to your point quickly sir," the JAG Admiral warned.
Ankneesheia smiled at the memory as she answered the question. "It was shortly after he was released from his imprisonment on my world. It was a rainy night. The power had just gone off due to the storm. I had just lit a few candles when he came up behind me and ran his fingers down the edges of my backbone cover plate…"
"Just the time and place. I don't need details," the Attorney General snapped at her.
"My house, about a half year after our arrival on my world. That's about seven-
"Somehow I find it hard to believe that a Kelgaron female could go that long without sex."
"It can be done, but you have to take a lot of really cold baths."
"So you're telling me you made no effort to try and seduce Commander Andrews at any time; including the months you were stranded together after your fighters crashed on the same planet. No place to take a good cold bath there, I bet."
"That is what I'm telling you. At no time did I try to seduce Tom during the couple of months we were stranded on the same planet. For your information there were a couple of places you could get a good cold bath -
"So you never tried to get friendly with Commander Andrews, never tried to kiss him, never gave him a back rub, never did anything that he might have misconstrued as interest in him at any time," the Attorney General asked.
"Not in the way you are suggesting," Ankneesheia replied. "We became friends. That's all. We don't toy with our men the way your women do."
"So you became friends. If you knew anything about human males that's all it takes. Once in love they are willing to do anything, risk anything to hold on to what they are feeling. I have no more questions," the Attorney General said as he turned around and headed back to his desk.
David had never been this close to a Kelgaron woman. He could see that there was a lot of truth about them being naturally seductive. He found he was having trouble resisting the urge to stare at Ankneesheia, but after clearing his voice a couple of times he made the mental adjustment he needed to continue.
“Toward the end of your stay on the planet -
"Yeah, if he would have asked I might have pinned him to the ground and ripped his clothes off, but he was too much of a gentleman to ask," Ankneesheia replied.
"Why would you have wanted to have sex with him?"
"He was the only available male on the planet, I liked him, and he had saved my life. Any of those reasons would have been good enough for me at the time. But as I said, he was too much of a gentleman to ask."
"And, after that…?" David asked.
"Just damn bad timing. He freed me from a fate he himself had to suffer for a while. It was well worth the wait and all the cold baths though," Ankneesheia replied.
"I have no more questions at this time," David said.
The Attorney General could not help from smiling. Captain Harden just handed him the case -
"Captain Harden, you may call your first witness," the JAG Admiral said.
"I pretty much have only one witness. I call Commander Andrews," he replied.
Tom stood up smartly and marched to the witness chair and sat back down after the Chaplain administered the oath. "State your name and occupation for the record, Commander," the JAG Admiral said.
"Thomas Avery Andrews, Commander, Starfighter Command. I am listed as semi-
David reached down and pulled a couple of pieces of paper from the stack of papers on his desk. He handed a copy to the Attorney General and the JAG Admiral. "Do you recognize this Commander?" he asked holding the paper in front of Tom.
"It's my letter of resignation," Tom replied.
"Would you read it please?" David asked.
Tom took the paper from David's hand and began to read:
To the Admiralty of Starfighter Command:
I find myself in a moral dilemma. After crashing on a deserted planet I spent several months in the company of a young female bug named Ankneesheia. She was a weapons officer on a fighter I shot down. She was the only survivor from her ship that crashed not far from where I crashed. I found her, carried her back to my ship, and tended to her wounds. Basically, I saved her life. We were down on the planet together for about two months, and I got to know her quite well. She was a very nice young woman prone to standing naked under an ice cold waterfall near where my ship went down. When search-
Several days later an interrogation team member asked me to visit the prisoner, which I was happy to do. What I saw tore out my heart, and I cannot in good conscience condemn her to the life that we have planned for her. Effective today I resign. I plan to return this young woman to her home. She lives on the bugs' home world. This is a one-
I have repaired my fighter the best I can and it is equipped for long range scouting. The stealth equipment is only partially functional. I will map as much of the bugs' solar system and planet as best I can before I set the self-
So far the bugs would rather die than give up the location of their home world. I may at long last achieve what so many others have failed to do: find the location of the bugs' home world. I think it is well worth the price I may have to pay to follow my heart.
Captain Thomas A. Andrews
Stingray Flight Group Commander, code name Bluebird
"Did you follow your plan as outlined?" David asked.
"Yes, I did," Tom replied.
"Did your Kelgaron wife know about this?"
"Yes, she did."
"I have to ask -
"I knew that the admiralty might want to disavow any knowledge of my actions to protect their knowledge of the Kelgaron home world’s location," Tom replied. "I waited as long as I dared before launching; otherwise it might not have been so convincing. It had to look like I was willing to risk everything for her. That was part of what helped me convince Ankneesheia that if we knew the location of their world it would make it easier to bring the war to a quick conclusion. It wasn't a lie exactly. We were fighting in the dark without really knowing where the enemy was coming from. We have been fighting for almost fifty years and we could have fought for another fifty years if we did not gain a more focused goal. Anything that would bring the war to an end more quickly was worth the risk."
"So you risk everything to steal your own fighter and help a prisoner to escape so you can defect to the Kelgarons -
"Except for the defecting to the Kelgaron part, that is correct," Tom replied.
"But you helped them during the peace negotiations gain concessions we would not have given them otherwise," David countered.
"I have to live there, you don't," Tom snapped back. "The Kelgarons knew they had lost. They were willing to give away more than was necessary. I entered the picture to make sure that the peace treaty was a peace treaty that both sides could live with. The government officials needed a way out of the war and still maintain their dignity and the dignity of their people. I just helped them achieve their goal. I kept the government from collapsing, and gave the Kelgaron people a peace treaty they could easily accept. If you call that helping them, then yes, I helped them. It was all part of a promise I made to my wife a long time ago."
"I have no more questions," David said. "Your witness."
The Attorney General didn't know what to say. His whole case and his career had just fallen flat on its face in front of the whole world. The only thing he had managed to do was expose a secret that Starfighter Command had managed to keep secret for over fourteen years. "I have no questions at this time," he said.
"I'd like to recall Admiral Tallinn for a moment," David said. He waited for the Admiral to get comfortable. "Can you confirm Commander Andrews story, and at what point did you find out about the Commander's little secret," David asked.
"It was just after I got my second star when I found out. Up until then I thought like everybody else that he was a traitor," Admiral Tallinn replied. "He kept us posted on what was happening on Kelgar a couple of times a year. There is still a lot of classified information I can't talk about, but everything you have heard here today is true. As far as the Starfighter Legion is concerned, Commander Andrews retired to the planet Kelgar and left us his forwarding address. During his retirement he has worked tirelessly to bring about a lasting peace between our two worlds. We promoted him to commander to show our thanks on behalf of the Starfighter Legion. Both worlds owe Tom and his Kelgaron wife a debt of gratitude for their tireless efforts in the cause of peace that we can never truly repay."
"I have no more questions," David said as he sat back down. "I move for a dismissal of all charges against Commander Andrews."
The Attorney General had no choice, but to agree to drop the charges. David could not help gloating a little. He leaned over to the Attorney General and whispered, "The first clue should have been all the blinking red lights that told you everything concerning Commander Andrews was top secret. Starfighter Command would not do that if he had truly been a traitor. They would have just sent out a Starfighter to find him and kill him."
A grand victory party was held at Starfighter Command Headquarters. Tom's human family was there along with the Admiralty, their wives, and anyone that had an interest in the case. David Harden had been congratulated about a hundred times over his dazzling victory, to which he responded that any second year law student could have gotten the commander off. As the party progressed into the night, he managed to pull Tom and Ankneesheia away from the others. "What was the promise you made?" he asked Tom.
"What promise?" Tom asked.
"At the end of your statement in court you said you made a promise to your wife," David said.
"The night we first made love I promised that I would never let anything bad happen to her world."
"We both made a lot of promises to each other that night," Ankneesheia said. "After he ran his fingers down my back I totally lost it. I'd have done anything he wanted after that. Tom was gentleman enough to wait until I returned to my senses before getting me to promise to help him find a way to stop the war between our two worlds. Now here we are almost fifteen years later and the war is over. I say we are pretty good at keeping promises, wouldn't you?"
"You're pretty good at keeping secrets too," David said. "Did the Kelgarons know you gave away the location of their home world?"
"Yeah, I told them in a roundabout way. The last act of a good soldier and all that," Tom replied. "I made it very clear to them that I was no traitor. I told them that I was in love with Ankneesheia and I could no longer continue to fight against them, which was the truth. I told them we could not live on my world so I had come to live on hers. I spent seven-
David watched Tom rub the edge of the bracelet that Ankneesheia was wearing. She closed her eyes in pure pleasure. David suddenly remembered his Kelgaron anatomy, and felt a little embarrassed watching. Ankneesheia open her eyes back up and smile at him. "It is a bit like being French kissed in public except it's a lot more subtle," she told him.
"Let's go get a drink," Tom said.
"What shall we drink to?" David asked.
"To a lasting peace between our two worlds, of course," Ankneesheia replied as she took hold of the arms of both gentlemen and led them back to the party.