Posted on Friday, 25 December 2020 - 6:01pm by Commander Soral & Lieutenant Alex Kingsley & Lieutenant JG Adrianna Eberhardt
Location: XO's Office
Soral sat down in his chair. He'd asked Alex ad Adrianna to join him. Alex was his center, his calm. She was his rational self. His disappointment in someone he'd pinned his hopes on as a powerful member of the crew was great. He'd even been prepared to offer Adrianna a very large and responsible task, sadly that would not happen now.
He leaned back and waited for the two to arrive.
Adrianna was near anyway, and so was there in a minute. After sounding the chime to the office and being allowed entry she smiled to Soral, "morning. You look better."
"Indeed." He motioned to the chair.
“Morning,” Alex offered as she entered, resisting the urge to chide her husband and remind him that he should still be resting more than he was allowing himself. Yet she was curious as to why they had been summoned.
Adrianna was less curious and was bracing herself for an earful on behaviour. Adrianna still didn't think she'd done anything wrong. The acting captain had merely over reacted to a genuine question. Nonetheless, she'd take it. She smiled to Alex as a friendly greeting.
"I wanted to address the incident n the briefing."
Adrianna simply nodded.
"I read the report that Captain Demi submitted." He turned on the computer terminal and brought up the report. "Conduct unbecoming, insubordination, and just words that she termed disrespectful of rank and station." He looked at her.
"That's her opinion," Adrianna replied honestly and without malice. She then continued, "frankly, I found her conduct the same from the opening of the meeting."
Keeping quiet, Alex allowed the two to speak. The Petty Officer was certainly capable of defending herself so she was determined to remain as inconspicuous as possible.
"Hmm. " He studied her. "I see." He steeples his fingers. "Let us explore this logically. Tell me Ms. Baciami how did you arrive at that conclusion." He was, thus far, not impressed.
Adrianna looked confused, "sorry, at the conclusion that she was unprofessional during her introductory meeting?"
Adrianna nodded now understanding, she went on to explain, professionally explain the use of pet names for superior officers, how a genuine question got her shot down with references to the Baciami family as if Adrianna was still very much part of the business without need. It had offended Adrianna and frankly set her back a few paces. Adrianna then concluded, "Sir, I walked myself to the brig. I appreciate that things escalated when they did not need to. Both of us were the cause of that, perhaps one more than the other. That however, is a matter of opinion, one which will not aide me in defense."
"Indeed not." He leaned back. "While command is indeed not perfect there is a chain and a system to maintain decorum. Let us start by examining things. First. For the record state both her rank and your own."
Adrianna looked confused, "Sir? Is this necessary? Will she also be receiving a form of disciplinary for being disrespectful? I was degraded in front of my colleagues as nothing more than a criminal like the rest of my family, for asking a question which honestly, she encouraged us to ask."
The headache started to thump in the back of his head. "We are simply trying to examine this logically. Thus far I have only asked questions and twice you have interjected with less then impressive tones. First with a defensive 'that is her opinion' when I simply read out the charges and now when I simply asked a question that would require a simple answer with more defensiveness again undermining the very reason we are here to discuss the incident in a logical manner."
Adrianna could feel her temper flaring as she was once again being reprimanded for mere questions and honest responses. She took a breath and decided to go along with it." I am a petty officer, she, and the time, was acting cap-ee-tan, filling in for cap-ee-tan Stillwater." Adrianna paused. She heard her Italian accent grow thicker since her return to Earth. She tried again, "cap-ee-tan capt-tee-tain. Captain. Captain."
"Indeed. Captain is her rank. She was acting captain on this ship while the second officer was away. Now you are an NCO that tells me that while you are not a full officer you have experience enough to function as an expert in your field, would you say that is valid?"
"I humbly hope so," Adrianna nodded.
"In fact being a Non Commissioned Officer in Intel and Sec means you not only have the skill and tactical knowledge you have the sharpness and logic and quick thinking needed to excel. Fact?"
Adrianna was unsure where this was heading and it was clear on her face. The woman made no attempt to maintain a poker face, after all she trusted those in the room. She replied," again, I humbly believe so."
Alex cleared her throat. She was not sure where her husband was going with this approach and could imagine it ending up as badly as the incident which landed Baciami in the Brig in the first place. "If I may?"
Adrianna remained silent and she looked to Alex, allowing her to talk if Soral permitted.
Soral gave a nod.
"Firstly, don't believe anything," Alex commented as she turned towards the Petty Officer, "you are and you do. Sometimes your skills and experience terrify me."
Her gaze turned to Soral, "I fully appreciate the need to maintain order and discipline. We all need to be able to trust and rely upon those we serve with. However, logic is not the sole factor at work here and this is not a question of logic. Equally, I would argue rank does not provide a free pass to behave and do what one wants without question or consequence. The petty officer has admitted she could have dealt with the situation better and I believe that should be taken into consideration. And I do not believe the captain's decision to place her n the Brig was either necessary or warranted."
"I will agree with the fact that you have outstanding skills and knowledge," he said looking a Adrianna. "However, I do not agree with your assessment Lieutenant Kingsley." He picked up a PaDD.
Soral cleared his throat. "And I quote, petty officer, you said, 'Respect is earned not demanded and frankly you are far from respectful towards myself, a hurting wife and frankly an off situation anyway. Starfleet is as corrupt as my family and you'd be wise to not talk down to me. I know my family but that does not make me one of them.' those are your words." He scrolled ahead. "Then you stood up and even though you were ordered to wait you went to the brig, you undermined a commanding officer, you showed zero respect for rank, you placed yourself above a captain. Those are the fact. You made both Stillwater and I look like fools. Yes the captain may have been wrong in some of what she said but the proper protocol is to first ask for permission to speak freely. Then you could have said to her that you would prefer to give the report directly to Stillwater or I. You did not. You as good as accused the captain of being corrupt."
"I don't deny it," Adrianna replied, "the permission for speaking freely was -"
He held up his hand. "You said, I quote, 'what is to stop us going directly to Stillwater and cut out the middle man, again, saving information being leaked, which seems to be a common problem in Earth's Starfleet facilities. You are new to us. A new face. What do you have to insure and ensure that we can trust you?' these words are not only out of line and disrespectful and accusatory if you had followed proper protocol you would have known who she was. I ensured a message was sent to all staff. Upon return from away missions it is your duty to check those and ensure any urgent matters are dealt with. This message was marked urgent. All you had to say was that you prefer to give us the report or give it to the second officer. Then you could have launched a complaint to the captains unprofessional behaviour and we could have then taken steps to rectify that. Instead of her being here in front of us with an apology as the meeting conduction you took matters into your own hands and then disobeyed a direct order to stay where you were until security came in effect saying her rank matters not."
" I'm not denying any of it, " Adrianna stated calmly.
Soral rubbed the bridge of his nose, his headache growing worse. "Petty Officer, listen to me. May I speak frankly with you?"
"Always, sir," she nodded.
"You were given charge of the Intel department because Stillwater and I felt that your skills were beyond reproach. That is still the case. I, however, as XO must be in charge of discipline on this ship. Personally when I met you I thought that you were full of potential. I knew that you had the ability to be more then your past, that you had the ability to rise above any officer in the tactical and intel department. I was impressed by your skill and your logic and I placed a lot of faith in you as a person."
Adrianna just nodded a thank you. She didn't want to give her excuse unless asked. She didn't feel that explaining herself and the events of the past few weeks would help much.
"Disciplining my crew is not something I am fond of." He sighed. "So what do I do? You are guilty yet so is Captain Demi. A report has been filed and seen by command and they say that it I because I advocated for you to be allowed to contact your family that you have as they say regressed. The crew has gone through stresses, gone thorough the very gates of Tartarus." He paused. "I have weighed much with my decision. It has not been easy. It was unexpected." He pushed a PaDD towards her. "Since both of you were present before I pronounce my verdict you both have the right of statement. You for yourself and you," He looked at Alex, "In her defense if you wish."
“Absolutely,” Alex nodded, before glancing at Adrianna, “if you want, that is?”
"My options are limited, so I will take whatever is handed to me," Adrianna offered in defeat. She looked to Soral, "off the record, sir, do you believe that since I told you about my first contact with my brother, that I have 'regressed', with this incident not being your only evidence?"
"I believe that to be separated from ones family is never easy, no matter how they are. I believe that this has been stressful for you. There are some differences with your speech patters but I cannot judge if you have regressed or not. There is not enough evidence." He paused. "Let us enter both your statements into the record and then we will get to the charges."
"I ask because there was more than one communication," Adrianna sighed, "I had a video message from my father, threatening life. My brother proceeded to do the same and even attempted on my boyfriend. Whilst in Italy, I was again, almost killed." Adrianna paused and finally said something she never thought she'd say, "I've watched myself unfold into something more human since being in Starfleet. I am drawn back to my family and I thought I'd found salvation with them. I let my guard down and regretted it. I've watched myself take two steps back and I do not like it. Whatever the charges, I will be making that decision to see a counsellor at long last. Its clear that regardless of this support network I have built, I am not as strong as I think. Between the nightmares, regrets, sleepless nights and the inability to focus on protocol versus what I was trained to do, I am not the person I thought I was becoming. My statement is written and ready. This conversation does not change what I have written unless you have advise. My options and potential outcomes are between a rock and a hard place- one will involve me seeking asylum once more, the other a knock back a few paces and a hit to my ego." She handed over her prewritten statement. And sat back in her chair.
"For the record, all I can say is that the Petty Officer has shown a commitment to the ship and crew and placed herself in difficult and dangerous circumstances," Alex pointed out. "I believe she has shown regret for her behaviour and her willingness to seek recourse, by counselling, should be recognised and taken into account. Without question, I do not doubt her ability or sense of duty and loyalty to this ship and crew."
He sat back. "Alright, I am ready to make my ruling." He studied her. "As to insubordination, I'm dropping that charge. I know what insubordination is, as I have been guilty of it this is not it. That charge will not be laid. That leaves conduct unbecoming, disrespectful of rank and station." He sighed. "I find that I will lay those charges on your shoulder. There will be no brig time." He understood her, he did and that she was recognizing the issues she faced was a positive step. "In punishment you will attend five classes in conduct of a Starfleet officer as well as pass a procedure test. Since you will e seeking counseling that is something that will not be required." He sat back. "Do you understand the charges and punishment?"
Adrianna looked momentarily confused. That wasn't what she was expecting. She blinked and nodded, "Si - sorry, yes, sir."
"Good. Jupiter station is running the courses. In addition I will also ask you to take a course on running your department successfully, and managing the stress of command. Understood?"
"Yes, sir," Adrianna agreed.
"Good. Two more things."
The list was piling, but Adrianna opted to see where it was going without query.
He looked at her. "We as Starfleet officers all have falls but we must rise beyond them. When I met you, Ms. Baciami I had some insight that you would be amongst the greats as far as staff. I admire you ability to speak your mind however while it is something appreciated by myself and Stillwater it is not something appreciated by the rest of Starfleet...you must lean when to be free and when to rely on diplomacy. These classes will help." He sat back. He hoped that she understood how serious his next words were. Vulcans rarely admitted to what he was about to. "I must confess to understanding the feeling of disappointment in someone I thought would rise above the rest. I hope that the feeling will be short."
Adrianna simply nodded. She understood the severity, though chose to abstain from conversing on the matter properly. Instead the woman replied,
"understood and I appreciate the learning opportunity."
"Good. I will let you and Lieutenant Kingsley finalize the class schedule. I will... go an rest a bit." He stood nodded to both women and headed out.
Adrianna waited for the doors to shut behind Soral before muttering, "Gawd, I need grappa."
“I hear you,” Alex agreed. “Thank you though.”
"For what?" Adrianna asked.
“For not punching him, you must have been tempted,” Alex clarified with a rueful smile. “How about we go find some hot chocolate instead? I need to work in the lab this afternoon and there is zero chance of me touching grappa for the next few weeks at least.”
"I'm not taking on a Vulcan without a gun," Adrianna darkly teased, "I hear ice cream is a better cure than chocolate, but I'll eat. As for the grappa--your liver will thank you for the break unless you get used to it."