Raj could still recall the classroom after his parents moved to Minneapolis. The desks were clean and the classroom walls polished. It was a step up from the crude stone classrooms in Sri Lanka. He should’ve counted himself lucky that he learned fluent English there. Transferring to America should’ve been a breeze.
Robbie Smits and his friends made it a nightmare.
The hazing began in that spotless classroom. Raj was the smallest child in the 6th-grade class. Naturally, he was picked upon for it, but mostly because Raj’s personality left him introspective and studious. His pride kept him from enlisting the aid of his teachers to stop Robbie’s constant abuse.
Soon the Robbie Smits gang expanded their operations outside the school. They’d intercept him while walking home and beat him nearly daily. In the same spot, four blocks from home, they stole Raj’s shoes. They tied the laces together and threw the shoes over a power line. “You tell anyone and the beatings get worse,” Robbie would warn him.
Raj would sullenly nod in agreement. This was Robbie’s world, Raj surmised, and the bully dictated the terms. Robbie always smiled evilly at Raj’s acceptance, knowing he got away with another crime. Robbie used to cackle as he dashed off with his fellow bullies. He always pointed at the shoes, calling, “Go get ’em, Punk!”
Hearing that phrase so often, the terrible words simmered and boiled in a shadowed place within Raj’s soul.
The memory faded from Captain Raj Jayasuriya’s mind as he stood on the steel grates before his officers. The crew of light cruiser SPNS Triumphant had convened a court and found Starman 3rd Class Robbie Smits guilty as charged.
Normally, such events never occurred on Triumphant. It was a happy ship because Raj, her master and commander, deemed it would be so. The vessel was his world to command and he dictated the terms. His introspective mind guided him to two Ph.Ds and a meteoric rise to command his own ship at a very young age. By contrast, Robbie Smits spent many years in and out of jail before a court decided he must accept military service or face execution.
Unfortunately for Smits, he faced a similar charge once again. The SPN (Sovereign Planets Navy) directed the punishments for a large variety of criminal assaults. Most of the punishments involved beatings of some sort or hard labor. The SPN valued its crewmen and presumed anyone was worth rehabilitating. Few exceptions existed. Sexual assault was one of them. With mixed male and female crews, a no tolerance policy recommended death as the punishment.
Apparently, Robbie wasn’t used to security cams recording everything. Thus, guaranteeing his guilt. Further, he never expected his victim to be a martial arts instructor.
Robbie stood awkwardly on his shattered knee between two burly security men.
Raj’s officers and his Chief Bosun’s Mate, Gerard Bouldin, awaited the inevitable death sentence. Raj considered that, as master and commander of the ship, he was free to levy any sentence he wished. He could sentence Robbie to cleaning the sewer bilges if he wished. He called Bouldin to his side and whispered in the Bosun’s ear.
The stunned Chief shrugged and approached Robbie. He took off the criminal’s shoes, tied the laces together, and shot them out the airlock.
Having expected to die, Robbie Smits smiled evilly. That same smile he directed to Raj as a child when he knew he would get away with a crime. Raj’s officers stared at him in shock as he turned away, signalling the termination of sentencing.
Suddenly, Raj turned back to absorb that horrible knowing smile of Robbie Smits. In the cold vacuum of space, the shoes still floated within sight outside the airlock. Raj winked at the Chief Bosun and turned back to Robbie.
Raj grinned and noted how Robbie’s vile smile suddenly fell away.
Captain Raj Jayasuriya pointed at the shoes. “Go get ’em, Punk!”
Written for Grammar Ghoul Press’ Mutant 750 writing challenge. Look here to see what others wrote: http://www.grammarghoulpress.com/gg-writing-challenge-50/#more-2126