Tal had figured this day would eventually come, that he’d have to confess his sins in front of a board of people who’d rather see him burn at the stake than stand before them, and he’d hoped it’d come later than sooner. Nine, in all her robotic wisdom, hadn’t followed up with him about any potential leads. Perhaps she just didn’t have one, but it was a little too late now as the bureaucratic lion had him cornered, right where it wanted him. There wasn’t much more he could do aside from attending the hearings and attempting to reason with the board, or maybe suck start his shotgun if things were -really- starting to look bleak. Sure, it’d validate them and incriminate him in their eyes, but what would he care? He’d be dead, sent to Heaven because he and his rifle made damn sure that there’d be no more room in Hell.
He wore his old dark earth/khaki combat shirt, camouflage combat pants, and pilot boots to the hearing, for a lack of any sort of formal clothing. Surprisingly, he’d gotten his face surgically fixed as well, as he’d been advised not to go in front of the board with a massive scar on the left side of his face with the other half still kinda sloughing off from a bad acid burn. Obviously, he didn’t bring any weaponry with him, and had instead stashed them away cleverly in his room as a fallback option. In front of the board, he’d presented himself as a professional, cold and detached, with stiff posture and bearing. His answers were short and to the point, offering a brief analysis of his decisions and reasoning. Occasionally, he’d drop a quotable one-liner, such as when he was pressed for a response with regards to his lack of self-preservation instincts. All he’d said was “I’m Infantry, sir, putting my life at risk is my job.”
As much as he hated to say it, he used the “needs of the many” argument when the Pereh incident was brought up. The collateral damage was regrettable, as it always was, but the potential of this fleet to destroy Nimbus and their way of life as they knew it was too great for him to not employ these experimental weapons. Most of it was even out of their control, the runaway missiles in particular. Had he had a choice, he would’ve fired another salvo at a lower yield, but by the time the missiles reached the Star Dreadnought, the Epoch and New Hope would’ve been in several thousand pieces.
Of course, this assumed that they were willing to listen; mentions of Sylvie of all people lead him to believe otherwise. For the first time in his life, he was well and truly offended, especially at their disingenuous assertions that he was sleeping around with a robot. He wanted to take a stand on the matter, to pull a Bill Clinton and declare that he did not have sexual relations with that android, but instead, he held his breath, keeping his best poker face on as they barraged him with accusations, poking holes wherever they could in an attempt to find something to get rid of him for.
Sylvie, on the other hand, played right into their expectations, offering an analysis of Tal that surmounted to him being a dangerous loose cannon who’d committed more than enough war crimes during his career. No mentions of a relationship were to be found, although that was because it was a front for her to make him comfortable, complacent, to where she could use him as a means of getting out of Schatten and to somewhere a little more glamorous. The board wouldn’t know that, of course, just that Tal was surely unstable as mentioned in the psych report that she’d originally recommended.
All he could hope for now was that Nine or death came swiftly, whichever would come quicker.