Flight Lieutenant Phineas “Flathead” Flannery was no stranger to the harsh sting of military justice, but a court martial was covering new ground even for him. It had been pointed out to him by any number of dispensers of Confederation Naval punishment that merely being one of the most proficient combat pilots in all of Confederation space did not excuse his complete refusal to conform to the very understandable and clear-cut rules of military conduct.
To be honest, Flannery wasn’t entirely surprised things had come to this juncture. When he’d ditched his prised things had come to this juncture. When he'ble and clear-cut rules of military conduct. federation space didduty shift the previous cycle to hoist a few tankards at one of the seedier cantinas aboard the Confederation command carrier Insidious, he was setting himself up for a reprimand and some additional duty. When he’d made off with a Shrike-class singleship and headed for the nearest inhabited Cholgachi settlement he was well aware he was courting the very real possibility of being pulled from flight status and even demoted.
We Confederation command carrier, hen he’d exhausted every scintilla of the Shrike’s onboard munitions engaging what were, in his opinion, targets of significant military importance, he knew he had locked himself onto a terminal opinion, targets of significsant military heading to a court martial and, in all likelihood, imprisonment on one of the less-appealing Confederation backwaters.
But if he’d had the options or the tech to travel backward in time and undo his actions, Flannery would not have chosen to. While he understood that diplomacy and détente had their place in interstellar relations, simple fact dictated the only possible result of negotiating with the Cholgachi was a painful and ignominious death. They were a warrior race of unparalleled ferocity and cruelty. They offered no quarter, took no prisoners and honored no treaties. The Cholgachi took what they wanted, when they wanted and crushed any opposition to their wishes beneath their brutal clawed feet.
Flannery was from an Outrim world the Cholachi had absorbed into their empire when he was but a boy. Fleeing their wrath, he and his parents had barely survived. He would never, ever allow the reptilian bastards to plot the course of his life again. He would fight them to the last ounce of his strength with whatever weapons were at his disposal and to do anything less was to spit on the memories of his people and his world.
He was jolted from his inner turmoil by the voice of Fleet Commander Grushin asking if he had anything he wished to say in his defense before the tribunal r turmoil by the voice of Fleet Commander Grushin asking if he had anything he wished to say in his dadjourned to decide his fate. Standing straight and proud with his gaze fixed firmly on the eyes of the panel, his thoughts were awhirl.
While he was an exceptional pilot with the skills and instincts to rise to the heights of command, the court would have no choice but to sacrifice him upon the altar of political expediency. So, while his military career was, most certainly, at an end it did not mean his personal war with the Cholgachi would ever been done until the stench of their oppression was long gone from all of known space.
This story was written for the weekly Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge and is loosely-based on the prompt song: Drunken Sailor by Captain Tractor.