☾ O ☽
“What happened?” Mas Kilmar asked.
His entire senior staff, five strained faces, looked back blankly across the marble and obsidian table at him. Sarah's eyes were watery. Essica's face was unreadable. Mark Michaelson only rolled his eyes. John, the vice-president, sat in silence. His expression was very readable. Anger.
“It’s obvious,” Mark said. “I sent Hamp home early and he found his wife with the Yee kid.”
“But how does Mr. Hamp end up dead?” Kilmar asked. “He’s three times the size of David.”
Here there was a pause. Everybody looked down at the shiny black surface.
Finally: “I couldn’t get anything out of David or Mrs. Hamp,” Bolin, said. “Both are incoherent. We need an autopsy, but I already talked to Dr. Atsuko and he says he’s not qualified to perform one. At least not competently.”
Bolin looked around the room as if for approval. Balding, overweight, and red about the face, he was not the picture of health.
"We could just have the computer do it," he said.
Everybody in the room shuddered. Essica raised her hand and waited until Kilmar told her that she didn’t need to raise her hand to speak.
“Do we even have a forensics lab?” she asked.
“We never needed one, but our science labs should be able to handle it,” Kilmar said.
“This is why we need a constable,” Mark said.
“How would that help?” Sarah asked sharply.
Essica put her hand on Sarah’s shoulder.
“We need to stay calm,” Essica said. “Bolin, what does the Constitution say about this?”
Bolin sighed and brought up a small holographic display. He quickly scanned through it.
“Nothing,” he said.
“Nothing?” Sarah repeated.
“He’s right,” Kilmar said. “We have a crime rate of zero. Why would he have any thing on the books?”
“I say,” Mark said, jabbing his finger into the table, “we dump the kid out an airlock and forget about this.”
“Without due process?” Kilmar asked. “That’s a little harsh.”
“He just wants to choke him with his stupid moon dust,” Sarah said. “Like you’re any better than the kid. Kill forty people and you’re fine. Kill one and you want to ‘dump’ a child out an airlock.”
“Whoa,” Kilmar said, putting his hands up. “We’re all stressed and we’ve all been working very hard. So, let’s just turn down the volume a little bit here.”
“What we need to do,” John, the vice-President, spoke for the first time. His voice was very carefully controlled. His emotions simmered on the surface of his face, “is to set up a court. Pick a jury and a judge and some lawyers.”
“Should we do all that behind closed doors?” Essica asked. “Or should we ask the colonists? Shouldn’t our people have a say? We can set up a court system and then have everybody vote on who gets to be on it.”
“At that point, why not have the entire city vote on his punishment?” Mark asked.
“Wait, wait, wait,” Sarah said. “We cannot just presume he’s guilty.”
Mark began to laugh.
“Oh come on!” he said. “He’s guilty! We all know it.”
“We don’t know that at all,” Sarah said. “How does a small kid like David Yee kill somebody the size of Hamp? For all we know, Mrs. Hamp could have framed him. Without an autopsy we don’t know if it’s even murder. Hamp could have had a heart attack.”
“A heart attack where he threw stuff all over the room,” Mark said. He shrugged as if to say “Okaaay.”
Sarah looked like she dearly wanted to slug him.
“Can we get a forensic scientist here?” Kilmar asked.
“I don’t think it would be too hard finding a scientist who wants to take a vacation on the Moon,” John said.
“Sarah?” Kilmar asked.
“I can send a request to Earth as soon as this meeting is over,” Sarah said.
“Do it,” Kilmar said. “People, we’re not proceeding until we get an expert here. Bolin, keep the kid and the wife under house arrest and keep asking them questions. John, talk to the Yee kid’s parents, explain the situation. Sarah, talk to Earth. Get us a doctor. Essica… continue on continuing on.”
“Aye, aye, capt’n,” Essica said.
“Keep this quiet,” Kilmar said. “I don’t want everybody and their grandmother holding an opinion about this. Dismissed.”
They all nodded. But when they stepped outside the room, a small crowd of early risers were waiting for them. They all looked very nervous, but one a P.D. Jenners (a cousin of Essica’s in fact) stepped forward and addressing Kilmar with more bravery than he probably had said,
“Mr. President, sir, I just want you to know that if we are going to war with America, we’ll all do our part to protect our homes.”
☾ O ☽