Chapter 20

Daniella says: And after a loooong time, this story comes to a close...I hope you enjoyed it, I certainly did! Yes, I know, a cliché – but it's true!

As soon as the judges had left the court-room, Jason fell down heavily on a chair, taking deep calming breaths.

"Well, that didn't go too bad," he grinned at his team-mates.

"Idiot! You put us through this again, you're done!" said Mark, torn between relief at the verdict and pent-up feelings of rage against Jason, the ISO, Anderson, Spectra, everyone he could think of.

"Shouldn't we go thank Cronus?" asked Princess, looking outside the court-room, where Cronus was in the corridor, talking to Anderson.

Jason pulled himself off the chair.

"Wait for me here," he said, walking out. "This is something I have to do alone."

He approached Cronus, but Anderson caught his arm first.

"Jason, I'm glad it was sorted out in the end. Losing half your pay is tough, but it could have been much worse."

Jason shrugged.

"It's okay, Chief."

"I just wanted to let you know that...well, what Cronus said...I feel the same, but..."

"It's okay, Chief," said Jason again. "You had to obey the rules."

Anderson sighed. He bowed his head.

"Yes. That's how it is."

He handed Jason his wrist activator, and the gunner, relief visible on his face, put in on.

"Thanks, Chief."

Jason turned to Cronus, who was silent during this exchange.

"Colonel, thank you. If it wasn't for you..."

"Save it, Jason. If it wasn't for me nothing would've changed. The court knew very well why you did what you did. That's why you got off so lightly."

"Still, sir, thank you for the vote of confidence."

Cronus smiled.

"Hope to fight with you at my side in the future, Jason!"

"Yes, sir!"

Jason saluted, looked a bit uncertainly at Anderson, and started to go.

"Jason..."

"Yes, Chief?"

"Well done."

Jason nodded, and walked back into the court-room.

"So, a drink at the Snack?" he asked, looking around.

"And we'll have to pay, now that your salary's docked," sighed Mark.

"Yes, well, there's that too..." grinned Jason.

"Spaceburgers, here we come!" said Tiny enthusiastically.

"Computer games!" piped Keyop.

"And maybe plan a long weekend to Riga, for some rest and recreation," said Princess, placing her arm around Mark's waist. He smiled at her, relieved that she was, apparently, no longer angry with him.

"Lead on, Jason," said Mark as they headed outside the court-room, enjoying a few precious moments of laughter and friendship and being carefree. Until Spectra's next strike.

The end

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