Friday, May 22, 2020

Quest: Trial

Quinn placed a levy on the squads that were more than two miles from Howell Road. He required them to detail one Squad Leader and one fighter to HQ for an undetermined amount of time. Both were to be chosen by lot.

Two days later Quinn sent for Greene and his three homies.

Chernovsky, Gimp, ‘Pepperoni’, Donni and a few other battle-tested Capiche soldiers were in attendance. They were conspicuous by the fact that they were armed.

Quinn tried the four men as a block.

Timmy Scapazzo acted as prosecutor. He had been a divorce attorney pre-Ebola and was well versed in the theater of the courtroom. Timmy presented the evidence. He held it in sealed envelops.

Greene demanded to see the evidence.

Scapazzo demurred. “These are signed statements. If you are not convicted then the witness will be in an awkward position.”

“These statements declare that you deserted your assigned post on multiple nights and crossed over into enemy territory” Scapazzo said.

Thinking quickly, Greene said “We were scouting out enemy territory”

Scopazzo asked Greene “Can you produce any reports of your scouting expedition? None was filed. Did you bring it with you?”

Greene shook his head angrily. “Hell no. It ain’t like I have a computer to write it on.”

“So you admit that you crossed over into enemy territory at a time when you were supposed to be available to your troops. You admit that you had no intention of writing a report and therefore have no evidence that it was a…what did you call it...a scouting expedition” Scopazzo hammered him.

“In a court of law, when you make a claim that flies in the face of logic and you refuse to produce evidence to support it, we have at technical term for that. We call it a lie” Scopazzo said.

“There is no need to draw this out.” Scopazzo said.

“They admit they were not where they were supposed to be. They admit that they were out of contact with both their superiors and their direct reports. They admit they were in enemy territory when our mission is defensive. Every bit of evidence points to their lying under oath.” Scopazzo said.

Scopazzo sat down.

Quinn looked over at the “jury”. “Your job is to weigh the evidence and determine if...”

Greene stood up and interrupted. “What kind of fucked up kangaroo court is this. Don’t we get to present a defense?”

This is where Scopazzo and Gimp held their breath. It could swing either way.

Quinn looked at the notes he had been doodling.

“You admitted that you were east of the river for a period in excess of eight hours at least once. None of the other defendants denied the charges or claimed they were not with you” Quinn said. “You are my direct report and I had no information, either before-hand or afterward, about your leaving your area-of-responsibility. The sealed documents with sworn statements of your underlings claim that they had no way to contact you. Will your defense change any of those facts?”

“Well, no.” Greene said. “But...”

“Nothing else is not pertinent to the charges” Quinn said. “Sit down.”

Turning back to the jury. “Your job is to determine with at least 75% certainty: Do you believe that David Greene and three of his Squad Leaders were not available to do their jobs for a period of more than two hours? Do you believe that they did so willingly and of their own free-will?”

One of the jury asked “I don’t understand ‘75% certain’. Shouldn’t it be something about ‘reasonable doubt’?”

Quinn said “Good question.”

“This is not civil law. This is military law. We are in a war zone. We cannot afford pre-Ebola, civilian standards” Quinn said.

“Fifty percent certainty means that there is a flip-of-the-coin chance it happened the way that Lieutenant Scoppazo presented and an equal chance that it was just a random alignment of chance that made it look that way. A seventy-five percent chance means there is exactly twice as much likelihood that it happened the way Lt. Scopazzo presented.” Quinn said.

“That doesn’t seem very certain.” the juror said.

“By itself, it isn’t. But if all of you arrive at that determination independently then it is very certain.” Quinn said.

Two jurors abstained. The rest were more than 75% sure that Greene and company had knowingly deserted their post.

“In times of war, desertion is punishable by death” Quinn said.

A collective gasp escaped the jury and the defendants.

Gimp, Chernovsky already had their hands on the grips of their weapons in case things got kinetic.

“Not only did you fail me; you failed the civilians you swore an oath to protect but your biggest failure is that you failed your men. You need to know that in times of war I speak for this unit from my office down to the lowliest swinging-dick mucking out outhouses. ” Quinn said.

Greene looked stricken.

“However, I am not going to have you executed. That is not something I would force my men to pollute their weapons by killing scum such as you.” Quinn said, each word a whip.

"General Chernovsky, please present yourself to the front of my court-room" Quinn said.

Chernovsky had been a starting linebacker at a Division II university. He was a big, scary man.

"Please remove their uniforms" Quinn said.

Chernovsky favored the old-school, Kabar knife with the seven inch blade. Chernovsky pinched their patches and pulled them away from their bodies before removing the patch and a generous hunk of fabric. Frankly, he would not have cared if he had removed a hunk of flesh.

The four former-officers were pinned to their chairs by Chernovsky's glare and the fact that he could almost cut them in half with his knife.

“You have twenty minutes to leave MY buffer-zone. If you are sighted in this zone you will be apprehended and I will shoot you with my own weapon” Quinn said.

“Have I made myself clear?” Quinn said.

Greene and company nodded.

“You have twenty minutes before we put out the radio transmission indicating that you are persona non grata. Don’t waste it.”

(Note from the author: An extra installment is scheduled for Saturday)



  1. Extra installment on Saturday? Bonus!

    Well played by Chernovsky, Gimp, Quinn, and Scopazzo. Now I wonder what is really going to happen with Greene and his homeys.

  2. I still would have shot them. They go out the door with WAY too much knowledge about the holes in the defense...

    1. Yeah, but what makes the better story? Like Wirecutter says "Where bad decisions make good stories"

      Life is not about always making perfect decisions. It is about recovering from decisions that prove sub-optimal, getting back on our feet, it is about wringing lessons from our experience and making adustments.

  3. Extra installment! Woohoo!! And I've got a three day weekend and a brisket to bbq too. Life's good in Freddy's world.


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