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She looked around his office, tucking her hands in front of her. She made sure to wear her starfleet uniform, even though she technically wasn't on duty for any classes that day. The office was clearly put together by humans, but the decor had been touched by a Lagier -- curved paneling, white elements for clean contrast... all Lagier design, but married well enough with Federation utilitarianism. In a way she found it unnerving. Why would Juro, a mazzir, have such a non-utilitarian design sense to his office space?
"So," Juro closed the door and locked it, turning on his heel to head for his desk. "You wanted to speak with me."
"I did, Mazzir," Aoko nodded politely. "I'm... speaking on behalf of Hlaoa."
"The hell you are," he mumbled as he sat down.
She blinked, thrown off by his comment. "I..." she paused, "... well sir, I want you to end her disciplinary action."
"And why would you want that?" he settled in his seat, leaning back.
"Because... it's cruel," she furrowed her brows.
"It's merciful, considering what they would have done to her at the military academy."
Aoko gaped. "Well... yes... but it's gone on long enough."
"I don't think it has," he shook his head matter-of-factly. After a moment, he chimed in, "Are we done here, Cadet?"
She blinked several times. "It's not fair, Mazzir!" she raised her voice.
"And why is that?"
"Because I started the fight!" she yelled at him.
Aoko blinked. "What?"
"Yeah. So what?"
"You knew?" she recoiled slightly.
"Of course I knew. You think Hlaoa would be stupid enough to start a confrontation after being put on trial and forced to wear one of those constricting suit things for half a year?"
"And... and you still punished her?" she grew frustrated. "Why!?"
"Because she needed it," he folded his arms. "She's a good student, but she's defiant. She does what I tell her to only because she agrees its the best thing to do, not because she trusts me."
Aoko blinked. "And you think this is going to build up her trust .... how?"
"I have to break her down before I can build her up, Oneida."
"Well then why didn't you punish me to?"
"Because you are punished," he motioned around the environment. "I read your profile. You're here because you're too weak to make it there."
"Shut up!" she spat out abruptly, before recoiling and covering her mouth.
Juro stared on at her blankly. "There's the spunk you had when you first got here. Was that all an act too? Trying to assert yourself as a dominant figure before everyone found out you're a quitter?"
"I never quit!" she spat.
"I'm not weak!"
"That's why she's getting this treatment and you're not. She can handle it."
"Try me!" she roared, pounding her fists on his desk with a clap of thunder as she leaned in. "I can do anything she can do, and BETTER!"
"Excellent," Juro grinned. "I'll take you up on that."
"What?" she whispered softly as she leaned back.
"You never had a full physical here ... only partial ones. You're over due," he pulled out a padd and thumbed through her file. "We'll schedule it for next week. Complete your full security requirement qualification exam, plus a couple of tests from the Military Academy."
She took a step back. "That's uhh .... my ... schedule is booked for that week Mazzir..." she gulped.
"Don't turn fin, Oneida," Juro grunted, trying not to sound judgemental this time. "Do this, and I'll personally send a letter to Mazzir Zaiba'ny stating that I consider you to have proven yourself a premier solider of the SDF, and to recommend your father a promotion for raising a daughter with the ability to achieve and overcome."
Aoko's jaw dropped. "You.... you're serious?"
"Dead serious," Juro stared at her blankly.
"I'll ... I'll be here, then."
"Start of next week," he nodded as he stood up and walked to the door.
"So.... what's the challenges?" she eyed him as he passed.
"What!?" she gaped. "How am I supposed to..."
"Study? You don't," he spun around and approached her. "You think any other officer in the SDF gets to study for the immediate dangers of defending Nom from another alien mismanagement like the Great Debacle?" he leaned into her. "What if these Borg showed up? Or something entirely new? Or if the Terrans returned to mine our world all together? Would they have time to study for combat? No!" he backed away, unlocking the door and opening it. "You must meet the challenge and overcome it, just like any other officer, no matter what it is."
Aoko nodded, before gulping and heading out the door.
"I'll see you next week, Cadet," Juro gave her a half smirk.
Aoko walked away from his office, watching her shiny boots as they took each step. She'd gone in there selflessly, to get Hlaoa off the hook, because her conscience told her to.... and now this?