Hawk in a Chicken Coop
Chapter 6: Terms and Conditions
Copyright© 2018 by Lazlo Zalezac
November 12, 1986
Cadet Ocival looked at the envelope with interest. She read her name and the address of the Academy on the front of it with a perverse kind of pleasure. This was the first letter she had ever received. In a way, she viewed it as an acknowledgment from the world outside of the Academy that she existed.
Teacher Dale said, “Open it.”
“I will. It’s my first letter.”
“Then take your time,” Teacher Dale said with a smile.
She reached behind her back and pulled out her knife. Using the ten-inch knife as a letter opener, she slid the point of it under the flap and carefully slit the envelope. She returned the knife to the sheath on her back. She opened the cut envelope and extracted the letter it contained. She carefully unfolded the letter and looked at it.
“One-hundred seventy-nine,” she said a little disappointed. “I must have missed a question.”
Cadet Hopo said, “Be real, Ocival. I got a 174 on the LSAT and I’m more than satisfied. That puts me in the top one percentile. We’ll get accepted anywhere we apply.”
“Your score isn’t as important as mine. I’m applying to an Amra school. You’re applying to an Engle school.”
The two young women were interesting contrasts. Ocival was of Khung descent with the typical Onor facial features: heavily lidded eyes, round face, and flat nose. Her skin color was brownish yellow with dull black hair. She was short and stocky, with a longer trunk and shorter legs than average. She had almost square hips, and was flat-chested. People in most parts of the world would not consider her to be particularly attractive, but she was a fine specimen of a woman from the perspective of someone from Khung. She was wickedly smart but was fixated on everything being in order.
Hopo was of United Islands descent, with features typical for women from there. She had an oval face with eyes that were slightly slanted, a regularly shaped nose, and full lush lips. Her skin color was almost a golden tan. She had bright black hair. She was tall with an hourglass figure, and large breasts for a woman her age with long well shaped legs. She was smart, but laid back and had fun teasing people with her dry wit.
They were the only two cadets who had chosen Pen as their cadre. It made for small specialization classes, but very intense interactions with the instructors. Despite their young age, they were prepared to compete with law students anywhere in the world. Some behind the scenes manipulation of the Inra Ministry of Education regulations had supplied them with credentials that would grant Cadet Ocival admission to law school in Amra and Hopo admission to law school in Engle. Both would spend a long time away from Jade Force while becoming credentialed to practice law.
Teacher Dale said, “You two can fill out your applications for school tomorrow. Today, we are talking about international treaties, particularly those concluding wars. Cadet Ocival, do you have any general comments to make about this subject area in terms of legal content and historical consequences?”
“Almost all wars that were won in battle ended up being lost because of terms and conditions in the articles of surrender. This was either because the legal content was excessively punitive or extremely generous.”
“Comments, Cadet Hopo?”
“She nailed it, as usual.”
“You must always keep in mind that the last battle of any war is fought with shovels or pens rather than guns and ammo.”
“Shovels?” Cadet Ocival asked, looking very surprised.
“You use shovels to bury people. This is how a war ends when you totally eliminate everyone in the opposition.”
“Exactly. It is rare to win a war in that manner, but it has been done. Khung did it in Palarma. Elsewhere in the world, entire populations of indigenous tribes have been eradicated. It is a sad but effective end to a war. There is no ambiguity in the outcome.
“The pen, though, is an end to war that is usually fraught with danger. It is occasionally the case where the victor of war ends up being the real victor, although it is far rarer than people might imagine. Sometimes, the victor becomes the real loser in peace. It is more often the case where the treaty dictated at the end of one war sows the seeds for the next war. Why don’t you give an example of where the end of one war was the beginning of the next, Cadet Hopo.”
“The Treaty of Shando with Chen at the end of the First Great War is an obvious example.”
“The Allied countries really hammered that country with demands to pay off everyone’s war debts. They placed unreasonable limits on the size of its military, and imposed horrible trade restrictions. The only way Chen could recover from that was by moving towards a strong dictatorial government filled with officials who had a strong hate towards the rest of the world. Everyone at the negotiations should have known the inevitability of the Second Great War.”
“That’s a perfect starting example. Let’s go through that particular treaty line by line to examine what was imposed and the effect that it had historically.”
“You mean to examine it regarding economical, sociological, and political implications and how they dictated the consequent history?” Cadet Ocival asked.
“Precise as usual, Cadet Ocival.”
“Let’s start with the preamble in which they justified the need for the treaty. Cadet Hopo, you first. I always appreciate your summaries.”
“It basically states that Chen was very very naughty, and deserved to be anally raped by the rest of the world.”
Groaning, Cadet Ocival lowered her head to her desk. She hated it when Hopo said things like that.
Smiling, Cadet Hopo added, “Without lubrication.”
“Stop it!” Cadet Ocival demanded.
“Once again, you amaze me. That was a very colorful interpretation of a legal document, Cadet Hopo.”
“I aim to please.”
“I can’t stand it when she does that,” Cadet Ocival said. “Law is a very serious endeavor.”
Teacher Dale said, “Actually, she nailed it. How would you put it?”
“I’d say that it listed the illegal and immoral actions performed by Chen before and during the war that justify the restrictions placed upon the country.”
“That’s what I said: Chen was naughty and deserved to be anally raped.”
Teacher Dale said, “You two are so different that sometimes I’m amazed you haven’t killed each other in a duel, yet.
“You, Cadet Ocival are a stickler for detail. Every ‘i’ is dotted, and every ‘t’ is crossed. Your language is precise with every word carefully chosen. The only problem is that your documents are lifeless. They are boring. They miss the point. Even worse, no one can act within the narrow confines in which you place them. The real world, at times, is a very messy and sloppy place.
“You, Cadet Hopo, get straight to the heart of the matter. Your documents are lively, but they aren’t of much use. Your language is vague at times. You leave too much room for interpretation. Your papers are basically unenforceable.
“Don’t get me wrong, you will both make good lawyers. Your depth and breadth of law is already impressive. I’d say in terms of ratings, you’ll both qualify as masters. When you go to law school, you will discover that you are already as knowledgeable about law as many graduates. To the rest of the world, you will quite possibly become great lawyers.
“However, Jade Force needs exceptional lawyers. Working together, the two of you could be one exceptional lawyer. Requiring two of you to meet that need is not acceptable. It would be a shame if our Swords and Shields should win a war, only to have it lost by one of you.
“Cadet Ocival, you need to lighten up. Cadet Hopo, you need to get more serious.”
“Yes, Teacher Dale,” Ocival said.
Cadet Hopo said, “You’re right, Teacher Dale. I’ll try to be more serious from now on.”
“Let’s get back to—”
There was knock on the door. One of the cadets opened the door, stuck his head in the room, and said, “I hate to interrupt, but there’s been a development that requires your attention.”
“Really?” Teacher Dale said with a smile.
“Two limousines pulled up to the administration complex. They are asking for General Wynn. He wants you three to attend.”
“I guess they didn’t expect us to shoot down their bomber yesterday and have decided that it is time to talk to us,” Teacher Dale said.
“That’s what General Wynn believes,” the cadet answered.
“We’ll be there shortly,” Teacher Dale said.
“He’ll meet you in the small conference room.”
The cadet closed the door.
“Do you have the materials we prepared in class last week?”
“Yep,” Cadet Hopo said.
“It’s in our locker,” Cadet Ocival said.
“Well, get them.”
When the two young women returned, he held up two new leather briefcases. They were so new that they still smelled of leather tanning. He placed them on the table.
“A little something for you two to carry your papers. You’ll notice on the table that there are two new pads of legal-size paper, and two gold pen sets. Take one of each and load up your briefcase for battle ... er, for business.”
While the two women organized things in their briefcases, Teacher Dale said, “I’m the only one qualified to practice law in Inra. However, you two will negotiate the treaty. General Wynn and I will sign it.”
“Are you sure you want us negotiating?” Cadet Hopo asked.
“We’re not fully trained,” Cadet Ocival said.
“I’m positive. So is General Wynn. Don’t forget that you are representing all of the cadets at the Academy.”
It was an odd collection of people seated around conference table. On one side was Mr. Shah representing the Ministry of Justice, Mr. Das representing the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Mr. Nayar representing the Intelligence Service, General Saxena representing the Ministry of Defense, Colonel Kadam represented the Army; and, surprisingly, Mr. Chavan was the envoy for Parliament. On the other side of the table were General Wynn, Teacher Dale, Cadet Sada, Cadet Hopo, Cadet Ocival, Cadet Chang, and Cadet Amandi.
General Wynn said, “Major Chavan, I thought I told you that you were not welcome here.”
“It’s no longer Major Chavan. It’s Mr. Chavan, soon to be Grocer Chavan. I am here as an envoy for Parliament. They want assurances that you will not kill them.”
“You have left military service?”
“I’m surprised to learn that. I heard reports about how well you organized the forces at the railroad yard. It was very impressive,” General Wynn said.
“I had already resigned my commission but there was no one else.”
“The War Gods called and you answered,” General Wynn said.
Cadet Sada said, “That’s odd. We saw you walking away from the center of town just before the explosion. You would have had to have turned around and run back to get there as quickly as you did.”
“I commandeered a car.”
“Ah, that would explain how quickly you got there.”
Unable to hold back a moment longer, General Saxena declared, “That was a despicable act blowing up the hotel like that. That was an act of terrorism.”
“Would it have been better if we had flown over the hotel and dropped a couple bombs on it?” Cadet Chang asked.
General Wynn said, “We could have done that. We have the resources.”
Mr. Nayar raised an eyebrow making a mental note of the fact that they had a plane capable of delivering a bomb.
Cadet Sada asked, “Or should we have turned your own tanks on it and leveled the hotel that way?”
General Wynn said, “We could have done that. We had just stolen your tanks and the munitions for them. However, the cadets thought that just leveling the hotel and leaving all of the other buildings around it intact ... They felt it sent a much clearer message about the target of the attack.”
“Namely, the officers who were busy planning how to attack us, with five tanks and three gunships,” Cadet Sada said.
General Saxena growled. “There’s a difference.”
“Only in means of execution, not of substance,” Cadet Sada said.
Mr. Nayar asked, “How do you know what they were intending?”
Cadet Sada said, “If a three-ring circus pulls up to town, unloads the elephants, and starts setting up their circus tents, do you expect to see a circus, or do you think they’re just stopping by to do some shopping?”
“Point taken,” Mr. Nayar said looking over at General Saxena who was fuming.
It didn’t take an information leak to know what was going on. It was blindingly obvious. The army had basically advertised what they were doing, particularly after having sent two armed forces to the facility, already.
Mr. Shah said, “This is getting us nowhere. There were a number of laws that were violated and we’re here today to sort that out.”
Cadet Ocival said, “Yes. Violations of laws. That’s a very good place to start. Until the visit by Major Chavan, we were preparing to file suit against the government as a result of Lieutenant Rangan’s visit.”
“You were going to sue us?” Mr. Shah asked incredulous.
“Lieutenant Rangan violated multiple laws during his visit.”
“Are you talking about the attempted rape?” Mr. Shah asked.
Cadet Sada said, “No. They’re dead. I killed them, so there was no reason for me to press charges against them.”
Cadet Ocival said, “I’m talking about how he attempted to unlawfully gain entrance to the Jade Academy by using intimidation with the threat represented by the use of twelve armed men. He did not have a warrant granting him the authority to enter private property without the owner’s permission.”
“I’m the owner,” General Wynn said.
“There are provisions for the military—”
“Hold on, Cowboy,” Cadet Hopo said. “I have the paper work here that was signed by the prime minister, himself, granting the Jade Academy certain rights not normally granted to private institutions. In particular, the Jade Academy was explicitly exempted from all search and seizure provisions, civilian and military, unless a warrant was issued. The document also requires that a solicitor representing the Academy being present at the time of issue.”
Colonel Kadam sat up and replied, “I was not aware of that.”
“As a military academy, we have weapons on the grounds. We have proper authorization from the Inra government to have and use those weapons. At the time I was setting up the Academy, I was worried that without representation from a solicitor at the time a warrant is issued, the presence of those weapons could be used to allow searches on false premises,” General Wynn said.
“We make sure that all of the local magistrates are aware of the law, and that it was passed through parliament, and signed by the prime minister,” Teacher Dale said.
Mr. Shah said, “I’ll have to check on that.”
Cadet Hopo slid a piece of paper across the table to him. She said, “Check it out.”
He looked at the paper and frowned. It looked authentic.
Teacher Dale asked, “Were you aware that Inra has no legal authority to conscript our cadets?”
“That I’ll argue,” Colonel Kadam said pointing a finger at Teacher Dale.
General Saxena said, “We’re involved in fighting rebels in the southern part of the country. We do have the right to conscript cadets in military academies.”
Cadet Hopo said, “Well, argue this: Not one cadet at Jade Academy is a citizen of Inra!”
“What?” Mr. Shah of the Ministry of Justice shouted.
Cadet Ocival said, “Attempting to conscript citizens of a foreign country is called impressment. It is a violation of international law. The Seafarer’s Rights of Nations Treaty of 1850 made it illegal to force sailors of merchant ships and captured military vessels to serve on ships fighting against their own countrymen. In 1858, the Citizen’s Rights of Nations Treaty extended the provisions of that treaty to include all citizens, not just sailors, and all services, not just navies.”
Mr. Shah, General Saxena, and Colonel Kadam all covered their eyes with a hand. Mr. Das, from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, looked like he was about to hyperventilate. Mr. Nayar was wondering why his people weren’t ever called in on this before now.
Cadet Ocival said, “The reason for the delay in filing was that we were compiling a list of what countries could participate in a class action lawsuit against Inra.”
Mr. Chavan said, “You could have mentioned that none of the cadets are Inra citizens when I showed up.”
“You were too busy insisting that we open the door,” General Wynn said.
Mr. Chavan looked sick to his stomach.
“Let’s get down to business,” Cadet Hopo said. “I take it that everyone is here to put an end to the state of war that exists between Inra and the Jade Academy.”
“Yes,” Mr. Shah said.
“Yes,” General Wynn said.
“It sounds good to me,” Cadet Sada said.
Staring at Cadet Sada, Colonel Kadam asked, “Are all of you who are wearing body armor cadets?”
“I don’t mean to be rude, but why are the cadets here?” Colonel Kadam asked looking at General Wynn.
“It’s training,” Teacher Dale said.
“Cadet Hopo and I are here because we’re supposed to negotiate the terms and conditions of the treaty.”
“Are you lawyers?”
Cadet Chang said, “I’m here to represent the cadets pledged to Shield. We defend the Academy, and I’m here to assess threats.”
“I’m Cadet Amandi. I’m here representing the cadets pledged to Cart. We stole your tanks and gunships. I’m here to determine what role we’ll have as a result of these discussions.”
“I’m Cadet Sada and I’m representing the cadets pledged to Sword. I’m here to decide who we might want to attack next if things don’t work out here.”
General Wynn asked, “Have you pledged to Sword?”
“No. They just wanted me to represent them for some reason.”
“That reason wouldn’t be your involvement in planning the missions?”
Although he suspected the reason they were there, Colonel Kadam asked, “So what are the implications of you representing these various groups of cadets?”
“If we’re not happy with the results of negotiations, then they won’t be happy. If they’re not happy, then you won’t be happy,” Cadet Sada said.
General Saxena asked, “Is that a threat?”
“No, it’s a chain of cause and effect.”
“I can’t believe I’m negotiating with a bunch of smart-ass kids. General Sen is lucky he’s dead. If he was alive, I’d kill him with my bare hands,” General Saxena said earning a dark look from Mr. Nayar.
Mr. Das asked, “What do you want?”
Cadet Hopo said, “The first provision deals with establishing the property on which the Jade Academy is located as an independent sovereign territory to be treated in the manner of foreign military bases and embassies.”
“As far as I can tell from this law that you had passed earlier, you already have that,” Mr. Shah said.
“That’s not the case,” Cadet Ocival said. “Under this agreement, entering Jade Academy property without our authorization becomes an act of war. Before, it was just a civil matter.”
“What’s the second provision?”
Cadet Hopo said, “Reparations.”
“Reparations? You didn’t have any damage.”
“The standard fee for a Jade Warrior for a single mission is one hundred thousand dollars per day with a minimum of thirty days. Since cadets were forced into combat situations before completing their training to become Jade Warriors, we have added a ten percent penalty.”
“How much is this going to cost us?” Mr. Das asked.
“So far, this has involved 32 cadets, and the war has lasted 43 days. So that would be $151,360,000. Every day that the war continues, adds another $3,520,000 to the bill.”
“That’s rather steep,” Mr. Das said.
Colonel Kadam said, “It’s perfectly acceptable. You’re not paying a fine; you’re paying for the expertise which they used.”
“I don’t see it that way.”
Colonel Kadam asked, “How many cadets were involved the raid in town?”
“I would say that one mission to take out an entire brigade for $45,000,000 is cheap. Wouldn’t you agree, General Saxena?”
“A whole brigade? That would be high.”
“How much have we spent chasing the rebels?”
“Okay, you made your point. That’s a reasonable amount for reparations,” General Saxena agreed.
Mr. Nayar, of the Intelligence Service, said, “If I understand correctly, your minimum contract for a single mission is a hundred thousand dollars a day, per warrior, with a minimum of ten warriors, for a minimum of thirty days.”
“That is correct. We’ll be accepting contracts in two years, when these cadets graduate to become Jade Warriors.”
“Will you accept covert missions?”
“Covert missions? Do you mean covert in the sense that nobody knows the mission ever occurred or that no one knows that Inra hired us to have it done?”
“Why not?” Mr. Nayar asked.
“It does not fit our charter.”
Mr. Chavan said, “General Wynn is saying that he won’t hide you from the consequences of war. If you paid to have the leader of another country killed, then you have to face the consequences of having the world know that you paid to have him killed. General Wynn’s Jade Warriors will have to face the consequences of having killed him.”
“That is correct.”
Mr. Das asked, “Are there any further provisions?”
“The third provision deals with spoils of war,” Cadet Ocival said.
“What spoils of war?”
“Five tanks, four trucks, three gunships, and a variety of armaments and munitions. I can give you a full accounting,” Cadet Ocival said.
Cadet Hopo said, “We keep them.”
Colonel Kadam asked, “Could I make one request?”
“You return three .50 caliber rounds.”
“Why?” Cadet asked surprised by the request.
“I’d like to give them as presents to the men who accepted documents with my name forged on them.”
Cadet Sada laughed as she said, “I like you.”
“Okay, we can do that,” Cadet Hopo said with a grin.
“Any other provisions?”
Cadet Hopo looked over at Cadet Ocival.
Teacher Dale said, “Cadets, you might consider a cease-fire agreement for ten days. If the treaty is accepted in ten days, then no additional charges will accrue. If it is rejected or the time limit expires without being accepted, then we charge for those ten days.”
“If it is violated?” Cadet Chang asked.
“Then we’ll be the new government,” Cadet Sada answered earning dirty looks from everyone on the other side of the table.
Cadet Hopo asked, “Is that acceptable to everyone?”
There were murmurs of agreement around the room.
Cadet Ocival said, “If you’ll excuse us for an hour or so, we’ll get the documents prepared.”