Previously, Marine Commandant Gerald Kingsley was on his way to meet with ArcGeneral Hastings in the hope of averting bloodshed between his Marines and the Crusader Army. Feelings were running high among the Marines and many among the civilian Naval or technical class after the execution of a Marine sergeant, the whipping of his brother, the sexual violation of his sisters and a marine private – all at the hands of Crusaders. Kingsley feared total disaster – a full-blown civil war between the two social classes aboard Scepter and on the planet surface.
(Office of ArcGeneral Hastings – Kingsley, Hastings, and Romano in attendance. We join the meeting in progress. Kingsley has finished his briefing about the unrest among many Marines due to Crusader abuses.)
Hastings glances over at his XO and sees that Romano is struggling to control her outrage. Kingsley’s eyes are stormy as he looks back at him expectantly.
“I think it’s accurate to say that we didn’t see this coming.” Hastings looks, again, to Romano, who nods her head in assent. “I didn’t know Ames, his siblings, or Soares personally, but I understand the feelings that are driving this crisis. That said, I’m open to suggestions.”
Romano looks to Kingsley, who nods in her direction. “Tom, Gerald, I’m just trembling with rage, but if we’re to find a peaceful solution, we have to keep cool heads. We need to meet with both groups and get this thing de-escalated – and quickly.”
Nodding, Hastings turns his attention to Kingsley. “Gerald?”
“Tom, I’ve given this some thought; we should move the entire Marine Corps to the surface as quickly as possible. We can schedule some training exercises nearby the construction site. There won’t be any Crusaders on Genesis, so we’ll have the two groups separated.”
Hastings rises and turns to the map affixed to his office wall depicting the site of Genesis City and surrounding area. “Take them to the jungle? What will that accomplish?”
Romano strides across the office to the map then addresses both men. “Tom, I have an idea. Gerald and I can lead the troops into the jungle and to a large clearing here (points to the location); that’s a one-mile hike from the construction site. We talk to them, let them vent, and defuse this crisis before it gets bloody.”
“That sounds promising,” Kingsley put in, “but it’ll take more than that, Helena. We need to give these Marines something – from Shappa Durant – or the High Chancellor himself.”
Nodding and heaving a big sigh, Hastings returned resolutely to his chair. “Agreed, Gerald. I’ll get a meeting with The High Chancellor and Durant this afternoon. I’ll shame them into disciplining Shaspa Hendricks and the Crusaders involved in the rapes. Meanwhile, I want you two to take the Corps to the surface for training exercises tomorrow. I’d like to meet you on the surface and speak to everyone myself.”