Where Lies the Honor?
|Where Lies the Honor?|
|Author||William H. Keith, Jr.|
Where Lies the Honor (Introductory haiku: Where lies the honor / in bonds with men of terror / or naked power?) is a BattleTech short story by William H. Keith, Jr. that was published in the 1988 anthology Shrapnel.
The exact time frame of the story is indeterminate. There is a reference to Yancey's father becoming dispossessed fighting House Davion at Mallory's World, presumably referring to the famous battle in 3013.
In the city of Marakani on the dry Draconis Combine world of Kawabe, Corpsman Yancey (the story's first-person narrator) of the Civilian Guidance Corps and his fellow Corpsman Okabi arrest Gunnar Holmes, an impoverished peddler, on orders of Vander Hassan, the city's Prefect.
Yances is uneasy with Hassan's heavy-handed treatment of the peddler, who was just trying to keep his family fed. With Homes' execution pending, he and Okabi resume patrols in the city. Yancey insists they let another peddler who acted suspciously escape from being stopped and searched. This causes an argument with Okabi about their oath to serve Hassan and fulfill their duties; Yancey feels that Hassan's rule sullies and betrays their honor, while Okabi insists that bushido, the Way of the Warrior, demands them to unquestioningly obey Hassan.
On the next day, Yancey is part of Hassan's personal guard during trials. Okabi is off-duty. Holmes' family is sentenced to pay off his debts since he now cannot; his wife is sent to serve a company official as indentured domestic worker for two years, his son to work in a mine for three years. Hassan plans something "special" for Holmes' beautiful teenage daughter and orders her to undress. This pushes the attending Okabi over the edge. He voices protest, then prepares to commit seppuku in front of Hassan, the only honorable solution to his moral dilemma that he can see. Hassan however denies it, claiming that he would stain the floor, and orders Yancey to take Okabi's sword away. This in turn prompts Yancey to snap and force Hassan at gunpoint that he allows Okabi to flee the scene with Holmes' family.
In the end, Yancey realizes that Hassan is honorless. He might escape using him as a hostage, but opts for his own honor instead and shoots Hassan. He is in turn shot by other bodyguards.
(It remains unclear if Yancey dies at the conclusion of the story as he is narrating it in past tense.)
- Prefect Vander Hassan
- Corpsman Yancey
- Corpsman Okabi
- Gunnar Holmes