The man's face, hell his whole body was bruised and burned. There were cuts, aches and scratches everywhere. Still though, he was fully dressed in his military coat…though all his medals were stripped. Around his arm was a sling and the people in the courtroom kept their attention on him…there was an aura around him…one of guilt and horror…a man who'd seen too much.
Ahead of the man was a judge who sat on a chair, his expression one of boredom. He toyed with his wig and straightened his robes before asking the man with a tired voice, "What do you plead?"
A look of irritation flashed on the man's face but he steely replied, "I plead guilty."
The judge's face did not changed but he banged down upon the board table with his hammer, sending a click across the whole room. Men and women that were in the court all stared at him in shock, stunned by his reply. He kept his face straight; his eyes glaring at the judge with such malevolence that people shuddered at his appearance. The man opened his lips, and that cold voice spoke, "I plead guilty. But I am not."
The judge rolled his eyes and banged down on the table with the hammer once again, "You, Helios Worthington will now be sentenced to Ard-Oa Penitentiary for two counts of violation against the Soldier's Creed of Zenebas."
Two heavily-armored guards walked up to Helios' position and gripped his arm, one especially clutching his slung arm in a cast. No expression of pain registered on Helios' face. He kept his glare trained on the judge for a moment before casting his eyes away and abiding with the guards. They led him through the long walkway towards the exit where the people or stared at him…The opposite of a wedding…a bride led by two bridegrooms where no flowers are thrown and no clapping resounds.
The large doors opened…holding for a mere four seconds before they clacked with a final lock.
Helios Worthington was sentenced to Ard-Oa where he remained until his death in ZAC 2095 at the age of eighty-one under Regent Gunther Prozen's order that all inhabitants of penitentiaries be slaughtered to cut down costs of the nation. He was buried with no military honors and was executed by a firing squad.
Westing breathed in deeply. The desert air came through his nostrils. What a wonderful sensation. He walked through the gates of the ancient village of Tal-Ahaddi. It seemed somewhat familiar to him. He passed by children playing with a top and street-vendors peddling their carts around and offering different fruits and vegetation to happy mothers who strolled around with their baskets.
He smiled. A scene of peace. Where he first came years ago. In his hand, he held two bouquets of fresh ixoras bundled together. The smell of oil reached his nostrils as he walked around a Zoids parts shop and he grimaced, blocking out darker memories. More larger buildings surrounded this section of Tal-Ahaddi, a church hall…a schoolhouse and even a miniature playground. But neither of these were Westing's destination. He walked past all these building's towards Ahaddi's cemetery…where all people born here would be buried.
He arrived at the gates of the cemetery, its metal doors clinking as he opened it. There were rows and rows of tombstones…yet another culture introduced by the humans. Each one had names of people….thousands of names of dead people who had once lived lives in the village or were born here. Westing sighed as he made out two people dressed in coats further off in the distance, obviously paying their respects too.
He headed for the ninth row and walked in. There, he came to his uncle's grave. On it was inscribed 'ARIEN AAUS.' Westing dropped one bundle of ixoras on Arien's grave, hoping his uncle could hear him. In a soft voice that no one heard on that day, he whispered, "Thank you."
Westing then strolled off to another grave, carrying the remaining bundle of ixora. As he walked towards the second grave, he could see that the two men in coats were approaching him. The two parties stopped as they realized that their graves were exactly next to one another's. Westing looked up at the first men…a bushy beard and a torn face while the other one had a slimmer composure though equally bruised. He offered to start the conversation.
"Hey, visiting?" Westing asked cautiously.
The older man smiled, "Yeah..." He dropped his bundle of fragrant roses. Westing did the same with his ixoras, "You live here?"
"Yes," Westing replied before adding an awkward, "You?"
"I used to teach here…" He pointed to the schoolhouse, "Right there."
Westing smiled, "Ret Flerry?"
The man returned the smile, "Yup, good ol' Ret Flerry."
Westing shook hands with both the older man and the slimmer one before parting their own ways. Their flowers, still cold with dew lay on their graves. The two tombstones had one thing in common though…that probably no one would guess. They had these words inscribed on them:
TABITHIA SING and EIDEN BLACK
Westing Aaus managed to survive but was kept in a humane POW camp before his liberation by Republican soldiers. He had to take three surgeries to remove glass pieces, slight plastic surgery for reconstruction of his mutilated face and had four fingers amputated. After his liberation, he was termed unfit for combat and so resigned from the Helic Military, choosing instead to return to his homeplace of Tal-Ahaddi where he took up the job as a local policemen and married to a Zoidian woman, where they had two boys together.
D Day would eventually be known as though successful, one of the most costly amphibious invasions in Zenebas history, undisputed even by the assaults of the First Helic-Guylos War. Only seventeen Republic participating soldiers survived the aftermath of the assault. Only one still lives today.