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ACTIONS AND CONSEQUENCES
Fleet Captain Jonas Brent
First Lieutenant Charles Lescoe
Fleet Captain Jonas Brent waited patiently for the chime he knew would be coming. The Doctor's report had just enough mix of bad and good to go either way, but Jonas needed his Chief of Security; and what would he do with him otherwise? It wasn't as though First Lieutenant Charles Lescoe could just step off the ship at the next Star base; and 9 months in the brig or confined to quarters during transit back to Federation territory was unacceptable. The Lieutenant had to work with the system, there was no other option. Jonas also had a card he could throw, though it was a long shot, it bore merit and therefore might be accepted by Star fleet Command, now nearly 9 months in the opposite direction.
A fair sized man with a good build stepped in through the doorway wearing the uniform of a Security Officer. His boots were shined and his uniform was perfectly clean. on his waist, though, he wore a leather belt with a small metallic buckle on it. The emblem on it was Klingon. On the side of the leather belt was a black leather sheath for a Klingon D'k Tagh Dagger but it was empty at the moment. The man looked human but had the markings on his head and neck that could easily have mistaken him for a trill except that they were light - almost faded - this was a sign of being of at least two species crossed genetically. He stood in front of the Captains Desk at Attention.
"Captain, First Lieutenant Lescoe reporting as ordered, sir."
Jonas stood up and eyed the Lieutenant for a moment, collecting his thoughts before getting right to the point. "I realize what you've been through during the last several months ... in fact, what we've all been through. Nevertheless, I won't stand for my officers, nor any Star fleet officer, collecting vendettas." Still standing, he paused, allowing for a response.
"Sir, if I may." Charles waited for the Captain to nod. "It wasn't a Vendetta, it had nothing to do with a Vendetta," he replied, still maintaining a rigid position of attention.
Jonas sat down, unimpressed as he had the full report. "Then explain yourself, Lieutenant."
Charles took a deep breath and then exhaled as he prepared himself mentally to explain everything in full truth. He relaxed and separated his legs and cross his arms behind his back into a parade rest position not really being told he could, but he did anyway, and then he began.
"It started with that away mission, sir. Jurall, Ramirez, Na'pall, G'Kar, Millari, D'Linn, Sheridan, they were cloaked, but somehow the Romulans knew we were coming. The Romulans set up a trap and all 9 of them died. I somehow was only wounded but survived. I was their leader and I should have been the one to die instead of them, but then I was held captive for 12 hours. 12 long hours of torture and only asked one question over and over and over. "What are the security clearance codes for the Lexington." I was ready to die. I refused to give the Romulan commander what he wanted and still he would not end it. 12 hours. The things they did to me I can't even bear repeating, but it wasn't until the Commander started using a Jedosi Plasma Sword to burn holes in me that he said something else. "Whether you give them to us or not does not matter. We will destroy the Lexington. It's only a matter of time." At that point I was so injured, I don't know if it was an hour or only a few minutes before Falco's Hazard team rescued me. In the commander's escape from the team he dropped the plasma sword and I kept it."
Dredging through the past was like re-living it and it hurt. It hurt very badly and he winced inside as he calmed himself again with the techniques Tiffany had been teaching him. "After I healed, I began teaching myself how to use that weapon I took from the Commander. And no matter what, I couldn't forget the 9 that died and the Romulan Commander's vow to take down our ship. As You know I belong to the Klingon House of Kuroth, and I have been with them before I ever joined Star Fleet, as you know already, Captain. So you know that when I say that knowing of an impending threat against our ship, It was my Duty as Chief of Security at the time to do everything I could to protect this ship, even if it meant my life was forfeit, or lose all honor I have."
"That is why I left to search out the Romulans, And I found them, but instead of just taking the threat out or finding the proof I ..." Charles hesitated, he didn't want to say it. He knew exactly what it was that had happened, that kept him from doing that. No. He had to tell the Captain. It was the honorable thing to do and as Tiffany had told him, he could never recover and become stronger from this tragedy if he did not admit it openly. So he looked the Captain in the eyes and even though full shame in his actions were weighing very heavily in his eyes he admitted it. ,,, "When I found that the Commander who tortured me was there. And that, Captain, is when I lost control. I let anger and rage take over me and at that moment it changed from protecting the ship to revenge."
He lowered his head in shame after admitting it. "I just wanted you to know that It wasn't about Revenge, until that moment." He looked back up again and stood at attention. "Sir and I will bear the price for my shame as you see fit, sir."
Jonas listened, then stood again. "Oh, you will," he said flatly.
A moment of silence followed as Jonas turned toward the ready room portal, arms behind him, back to the Lieutenant. Through those few moments, he tried to put himself in the Lieutenant's shoes, yet never lost site of the true meaning of what had happened. Lieutenant Jonas Brent, Assistant Chief of Security, USS Roddenberry, had been tortured and had lost personnel in two separate boarding actions. The difference was that in this case, a Star fleet security officer -- his Chief of Security, Lieutenant Charles Lescoe, USS Lexington -- snapped and went rogue. The disappointment was heavy, and though Jonas couldn't blame Lieutenant Lescoe for his feelings, he had acted on those feelings without authorization and without regard for Star fleet regulation or protocol. Regardless of how he felt, Lieutenant Lescoe had discredited the service and the ship by not maintaining his restraint and self-control - a point of training in every Starfleet security officer. The "House of Kuroth's", the stress, the torture nor the guilt, was immaterial when looking at the impact of the Lieutenant's actions; and truth be told, had they been in Federation space at the moment, Ensign Lescoe would have been dropped off at the nearest Starbase only to find himself shucking rocks at a penal colony somewhere in Australia.
Jonas slowly turned toward him, this time fighting to remain calm as he buried his own anger. "First Lieutenant Charles Lescoe, are you a Star fleet officer?"
Charles's Eyes betrayed his perfect stance at attention, revealing his surprise at the question. He was about to instantly answer back but then he though about what the Captain was implying. He was not asking him in the text of "Are you an officer?" because that much was a fact. He was currently an officer in Star Fleet, but what the Captain was really asking in few words was, "are you a Star Fleet officer first before everything else?" Like the Oath he had to take when entering, he had also taken an Oath with the Klingon house of Kuroth, a Blood Oath that was in fact stronger then his Oath to Star Fleet, but the two had never contradicted each other. They had always been the same thing and even with everything that had happened nothing had changed those oaths and loyalties. He had simply over thought and let survivor's guilt add to it. He thought he was doing the right thing, helping to protect the ship even at the cost of his own life, but now those words the Captain just asked him was like a cold bath waking him up to all the fantasies around him. He had in fact acted badly and not as any Star Fleet officer should, but his heart was here and he was determined to make it right no matter how long it took or what happened."
He looked into the Captain's eyes. "Sir, I am not perfect. I see I acted poorly in my actions. So as the Star Fleet officer I am, I take responsibility for everything that happened. No more excuses about any of it, and in saying that, I answer your question."
Charles held his chin high as this realization was what he truly needed and he knew everything was going to be okay with himself no matter what punishment was given to him, because now he had pour porous again even though it had always been there, He just didn't see it. "Yes Captain I am a Star Fleet Officer."
Jonas responded immediately, without hesitation. "In service to Starfleet, there should be no conflict between those duties or any other. Otherwise, you simply don't belong here. Those duties, Lieutenant, don't include succumbing to revenge, carrying out operations without orders or for personal reasons, and," he raised his voice, "clearly do not include carrying out vendettas!" He calmed his voice. Regardless of how you felt, your actions were contrary to conduct expected of a Star Fleet officer, and particularly a Starfleet Security officer."
He turned to look back out his portal. Following a deep sigh, he continued. "You're a First Lieutenant now because Starfleet accidentally made you one. They've since acknowledged that mistake and, of course, I have the authority to take it away." he sighed again and turned back toward him. "God only knows why I don't."
He could see the genuine concern and remorse in Lieutenant Lescoe's eyes. "I don't condone or approve of your actions, and I'm extremely disappointed in you. Starfleet training should have engrained into you the temperament and judgement to evaluate a situation and not loose yourself, regardless of the circumstances. The fact that it didn't, could be partly my fault, I guess ... and" ... he hesitated and slightly looked away as if analyzing mitigating circumstances ... "even so, there's something to be said about the Romulans' aggression in this region and toward the Lexington."
Jonas came to a modified Attention as was customary when passing judgment. "Lieutenant!"
Lieutenant Lescoe's relaxed position of attention stiffened, and his gaze shifted straight forward. "Sir!"
"You're hereby restricted to quarters for the next 72 hours unless ship's security is required ... as judged by me ... and only me ... to allow you time to reflect on this conversation. Also, let it be known that you are hereby on a probationary period to extend until I deem it necessary to end it, whereby you'll be demoted back to Lieutenant the moment you let your emotions or bad judgment get in the way of your duties. You're a Star fleet officer first and foremost -- nothing will substitute for that, especially out here, where I, this ship and Star Fleet need you the most. Furthermore, you'll continue to see the ship's counselor once per week, and report your status to the ship's doctor for mental check-up and evaluation once per month for the remainder of this mission. Lastly, there'll be a permanent black mark entered into your Star Fleet record to reflect your recent overall actions. Now, is all that clear, Lieutenant?"
"Yes Sir, understood." Charles maintained rigid attention until dismissed.
Jonas once again turned toward the portal and stared out. He could see the Lieutenant's reflection in the tempered glass. "And ... cross the line once more, Lieutenant, and you're through. Dismissed.
Jonas waited for the click of the lieutenant's heels as he turned, followed by the door swooshing open indicating the departure of First Lieutenant Charles Lescoe. Hopefully, he'd just gained a better officer then the one who entered. Now ... back to other issues ... the Kalakii.