A proven solution to a sadly reoccurring problem.
This is a bit of throwaway chapter that will probably be part of a larger work. Still I think it’s a good enough laugh on its own.
The terrorist attack on the Tiki Tacky Club had been only one of three simultaneous attacks by Marxist elements against soft targets in the city. Fortunately causalities were far lighter than they had any right to be. The attack on the nightclub had failed due to the completely unexpected rigor with which the junior naval officers and asteroid miners who made up most the clientele had fought back. The other two attacks failed mostly due to poor planning and the inexperience of the Marxist guerillas. The final body count was somber; forty seven civilians and eight policeman killed but San Tseung was in many ways a military city and the people took the news in stride. They would weep for the fallen but they had seen bad times before. Of the thirty estimated attackers, twenty four were confirmed dead, and two more were captured. They would for a brief moment become the focus of an angry city’s hate.
Sensing a threat to his authority the local High Justice acted quickly without waiting for a response from the System Governor’s office. The two terrorists were given a summary trial and sentenced to death under the Martial Law previsions of the Emergency Powers Act. Since they were communists, tradition demanded that they be put to death by being thrown out of a rotary-winged aircraft. Not always the easiest thing to find but thankfully an eccentric plantation owner was willing to lend the government the use of his aircraft, after all it was simply part of his civic duty. Even better the aircraft in question was an actual to honest God helicopter and not an autogyro or a tilt-rotor. The High Justice was almost beside himself with joy, he would be able to honor the tradition after all.
The Governor of course was sceptical but the High Justice was a very convincing man and evidence was cut and dry. They were Marxist Terrorists caught in the act. Now convinced the Governor, a former policeman himself suggested a refinement of the High Justice’s plan. Instead of quietly throwing the terrorists out of the helicopter over the ocean as was the normal practice and letting the nearsharks and razorsquids make a brief meal of them, the Governor wanted to make an example out of them. They would throw the communists out of the helicopter directly over the main plaza in the middle of the commercial district; there was a very nice flat concrete parking lot that would do nicely, and produce a memorable visual effect in the process.
The High Justice thought about this for a moment and pointed out that some of the foodcart vendors who normally conducted business in that area might not be too fond of that idea. The Governor dithered for a minute or so before suggesting that it might be best to pay a slight compensation to the local vendors (he would later do so out of his own privy purse) but that the central plaza was the place to make this happen. The High Justice heartily agreed. It was time to send a message.
Word of the planned operation spread rapidly throughout the soldiers and gendarmes of the demoralized garrison detachment and was greeted with almost ecstatic zeal. They were going to throw a pair of actual communists out of a real helicopter, just like in the old movies. Arrangements were made in record time. By midday tomorrow the plaza was cleared by local police and the helicopter, a sleek beautiful machine that seemed to mock the laws of physics was airborne with its two special passengers. It was time for justice; Breyland colonial style.
Unfortunately the two terrorists were historically illiterate papaya farmers and did not seem to appreciate the fact they were being thrown out of a real authentic helicopter, rather than one of the garrison’s tilt-rotors. The two gentlemen in question voiced their rigorous protests all the way down and then suddenly stopped. Luckily one of the gendarmes had taken on his own initiative, to attach small recording devices to the terrorists so he and his mates could enjoy the comrades inflight conversation and that inevitable scream of terror just before impact. Those sound recordings passed through several hands in quick secession and were inadvertently leaked to the local media, just in time to be broadcast as part of the local nightly news.
While the Breylanders were universally pleased with themselves; the response among the locals was admittedly mixed. Some of the wealthier citizens felt the spectacle an unnecessary piece of street theatre and would have preferred have had the situation in a much more quiet and discreet manner. The local Patriarch of the Western Orthodox Church was the sole voice condemning the executions as un-Christian barbarism. This caused a great deal of agitation within the church rank and file and the Patriarch would later have to clarify that his objection was to the method of execution and the denial of proper Christian burials, not to the executions themselves.
Among the lower classes there was a strange silent solidarity, while some of the other cities on the planet might harbour some lingering sympathy for the Marxist insurgents almost all of the permanent residents of San Tseung were the children and grandchildren of refugees who had been forced out of their farms and villages during the initial uprising a generation ago. While no-one openly cheered the execution there was a certain amount of stoic satisfaction and the only sympathy they felt was to the poor sanitation workers who had to clean up the resulting mess.
With that small bit of closure the fine upstanding residents of San Tseung returned to the ethanol-fuelled joie de vivre that was their day to day lives.