The Wilding Blue Yonder

Reel life, real problems.

And then prosecutors missed the appeal deadline by a few days.

"We can't even file a brief unless they reinstate the appeal," says Wendy Murphy, lawyer for both Brakey and Bier. "I'll be amazed if the case goes forward. Jessica is devastated. She wanted to have her day in court. She wanted to look at him, point the finger. She wanted him to be held accountable.

"This was the Air Force's only way to prevent the truth from coming out, to dump the case," she concludes.

Although Brakey's case has stalled, there's still a contempt-of-court warrant out for Bier -- as well as subpoenas outstanding for numerous media outlets, including Westword. "What is the point?" she wonders. "Why haven't they done something about this? If they want clarification of the law, they need to send it to the higher court."

Bier isn't content with leaving future sex-assault cases in Colorado Springs -- on or off academy grounds -- to the military justice system. She recently met with John Newsome, the El Paso County district attorney, to discuss how rape allegations at the academy should be handled in the future. "We are in the process of researching the issue and exploring various options," says Diana May, chief deputy district attorney.

"I asked him to look at the degree to which the Air Force Academy's prosecution of sex-assault cases was successful or not," Bier elaborates. "I'm hoping our district attorney's office and the academy can work out a memorandum of understanding on cases in El Paso County, but that doesn't do anything for the military at large."

Meanwhile, back in this particular slice of the military, Jewel of the Rockies was wrapping up.

"A few people kind of went astray," one cadet said.

"Scandals happen everywhere," said another.

The film finishes with a flourish in July 2004, with a new slogan, new leaders, a new class and a new honor: That April, the Air Force Academy had been named a national historic landmark.

History was made here, all right.

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