Chapter 9

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Chapter 9 

Banner thought perhaps one thing he could do which might help, was to pay a visit on Captain Lang. 

He couldn't understand why the man who was supposed to be the Lieutenant's closest friend was so certain he was guilty. As far as he knew, Lang hadn't even spoken to Stewart, hadn't even asked him for his version of events before assuming his guilt. What was going on there? 

Robin Lang didn't want to see anyone from the Qatar, let alone this unknown Medical Officer calling him from Reception, but he thought that perhaps he should. He didn't want Captain Martinez to think he was being unreasonable. A few moments later he ushered the young man into the lounge room of his hotel suite. 

"What can I do for you Medic Banner?" he asked with scarcely veiled impatience. 

"I'm here on behalf of Lieutenant Stewart," Banner announced straight forwardly, but before he could say any more, Lang interrupted angrily. 

"Then I have nothing to say to you, please leave."  

"Why are you so angry with him?" Banner asked curiously, holding his ground. 

"He attacked my son! Isn't that enough?" 

"What makes you so sure of that?" pursued Banner. 

Lang stared at him in disbelief. "He was caught in the act!" 

"Well, no, he wasn't," Banner argued apologetically. "He was found unconscious in the same room. Have you heard his account of events? He went to Private Lang's aid and found him being attacked by two men. He shot both of them with a stunner but then a third party attacked him and presumably struck your son again to keep him from talking." He stopped, Lang wasn't listening. He tried another angle. "Why though? Why on Earth would Lieutenant Stewart attack Max?" 

"He's been after him since he was sixteen!"  

Now it was Banner's turn to stare in disbelief, he had seen the way Max looked at Alan. He had watched them jealously, until he saw that Alan treated Max like a very much younger brother.  

"Alan Stewart is not a rapist. Believe me if he'd wanted sex from Max he would have only had to ask." Not the most tactful thing to say to an angry father but it was true. Surely if Lang knew anything about his son he would know that.  

"How dare you!" Lang looked as if he were actually going to choke with anger. "Get out! Get out of my room!"  

"Alright, I'll go." As Banner left, he turned to have the last word. "You realise of course, your insistence on Alan's guilt is preventing the patrol from pursuing the real assailants?"

The door closed decisively behind him. On the other side, Robin Lang leant back against it, sliding down until he was slumped on the floor. He buried his face in his arms, tears leaking through his clenched eyes.  

"It was Alan, damn him to hell. I know it was Alan, I saw him. Oh Max, I'm so sorry! I should have stopped him."

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