#30 What Punishment?

"Tomorrow I will go over to that Central Dome tomorrow and turn in my report to Major Finon on the blaster cap incident." said Kenom. "What do you think they will do with Flecktoid Zeltoin." asked Enew. "I don't know, "but I am sure they will have something to say about it." "I wouldn't want to be in Zelton's shoes," said Enew, "he turned this compound upside down with just a small blaster cap. If Central Headquarters on Zimtel was to hear about this, some heads would roll, that's for sure." "You can bet on that," said Kenom, "Worse still, if the Flecktons found out how ill prepared this compound is to fight off a Figgnon attack, it could turn into a real incident. They could hardly justify the large amount of money they spend here if they knew this place was more like a party platform than a war compound."

The next morning Kenom and Enew were at Major Finon's office early. They had left with plenty of time expecting a tunnel delay, but to their surprise, there was none. Major Finon greeted them warmly. "Come in, come in," he said, "We have been hearing some good things about you Kenom, it seems that you have been using your Special Patrolman status with great success. Our message transfer machine has been flooded with messages from Fleckmasters all over the compound. It seems as though the Vertons have been repairing the tunnels with great effectiveness. Everyone is very pleased. They say the Vertons are even smartly dressed these days, which is a real surprise." "Thank you sir," said Kenom, "but I had little to do with it. You can thank Master Lector in dome #7 if things have changed for the better." "Well, I will certainly see that he is commended at your request, Patrolman Kenom." "I know he will be pleased." said Kenom.

"Now what news do you have on the blaster cap incident?" asked Finon. "Well sir," replied Kenom," I have a full report here for you." Kenom handed the major his report. "In brief, a certain maintenance man, assigned to dome #5, got a little zealous with his religious convictions. He climbed up on the catwalk and dropped a blaster cap on the Relig-u-dome. I suppose he was making a religious statement of sorts. At any rate, he confessed and is now in the confinement center awaiting Central Command's decision on what to do with him." "Humm, I see," said Finon, "We can't have this sort of thing disrupting our combat alertness here in the compound. We must remain at a high level of effectiveness at all times. The Flecton war council on Flecton expects nothing less of us." "I'm sure your right major." said Kenom.

"I hate to trouble Commander Finloy with this, he is occupied with more important matters. Perhaps you would be kind enough to see that the proper punishment is rendered on the patrolman responsible for this incident? Maybe you can just have him returned to Flecton, after all no real damage was done." "Are there no precedents set for this kind of crime?" asked Kenom. "I'm afraid not," said Finon, "We have very little trouble here, most patrolmen, Flecton and Zimtellions, consider this "privileged" duty, so they mind themselves. I was afraid something like this would happen though, once we let the Plutons rent space here. Trouble always follows religion."

"Well I don't know sir," said Kenom, "I would prefer not to be the judge of what punishment should fit this crime. I may not be able to make the proper decision, as I am new here and not sensitive to you ways." "Nonsense," said Major Finon, "you have shown yourself to be quite capable of making good and proper decisions. Command headquarters will abide by whatever you decide." "Very well then," said Kenom, "I will do what I think best." "I know you will make the right decision Patrolman Kenom." "I hope so sir," was Kenom's reply, "I hope so."

Of course Major Finon knew that Commander Finloy would prefer Kenom take the blame if there was to be any repercussions as a result of this incident. After all, they were career patrolmen with a pension to look out for.

"Judge, jury, and executioner," said Enew, "as they left the majors office, I had better watch my step with all the power you are accumulating." "I didn't ask for this." said Kenom. Enew laughed, "Don't worry; I won't let it go to your head." "I'm sure you won't," said Kenom, "now I just have to be sure I don't let it go to my head." "You have shown a lot more good judgment and restraint then any man I have ever met," said Enew, "I know you will be alright." "Let's hope so," said Kenom

Kenom decided to ponder the question for a while. He thought that a few days in confinement would be good for Zelton. He could contemplate his fate, and Kenom was sure that whatever Zelton believed his fate to be, would be much greater then it would probably be in reality. "I think I had better go down and tell Priest Leader Scott that we caught the man responsible for the explosion, and get his opinion on the matter." "OK said," Enew, "I'm going back to the Mini-dome and shut down for a while, I'll catch up with you later." "Fine," said Kenom, "I'll be along shortly."

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