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JL - Swift/Deniaud - A Wolf's Bite (is Worse Than His Bark)

USS Hermes Lounge

by First Lieutenant Leonard Swift & Ensign Marielle Deniaud
[Stardate ]


Joint Log - CMO Leonard Korrel Swift / Ensign Marielle Deniaud

Stardate - 1610.02

A Wolf’s Bite (is Worse Than His Bark)

Many people had filed into the classroom, some joking around a bit, some not taking it seriously, most looking bored or annoyed. Most likely at the oddity of having to sit in on such a thing. Many chairs were lined up neatly in the room, most already filled, but the last few were filing in, and the large overbearing Wolfen stood at the front, waiting for everyone. He recognized many of the faces, having spoken to everyone on the ship at least once, though with so many, he didn’t know most as well as he’d have liked. Right now, however, pleasantries was not something on his mind.

So he stood, stone faced, arms crossed, looking less than happy to be there himself. So he waited. The level of sound that the people in the room generated was something of a dull roar, people talking, some making some sort of jokes here and there, laughter pouring from various spots.

Finally, all the seats were filled, no more people entering, and people getting restless.

Doc lifted a small remote, touched a button, and the lights dimmed ever slightly. Hologram emitters came to life, and a rather bland opening visual displayed, merely the words “Sexual Harassment” displayed in prominent letters. For the most part, the sound levels died down to a quiet murmur of silence, with only a whisper.

“I’m more than certain that by now that vast majority have come up with your own reasons or have heard rumors as to why I’ve called this seminar,” began the now pacing Wolfen, stopping in the center of the front part of the room, turning to look at everyone with piercing eyes. “The reasons are irrelevant, just that this is something that must be covered among all.”

His eyes moved about the room, looking at certain faces, some he knew to have indulged in rumors by now, others, suspected.

“I will begin by reminding everyone of Article 600-20, chapter 7, on the policy of sexual harassment. A zero tolerance policy to ensure the quality of duty that is conducive to maintaining a unity of the peoples that make up the Federation.”

Levani Sen looked up from speaking to Peterson. “The policy on what?” she asked. Though confused, her tone was bright and cheery.

“I would also like to remind you all that it is important that we pay attention to the policy on sexual harassment,” replied the Wolfen, but looking over everyone. “Sexual harassment in a workplace, or other professional or social situation, is defined in its simplest terms, the involving of or making of unwanted sexual advances or obscene remarks. Such things in the latter category include but are not limited to statements, remarks...rumors…” His eyes darted again to a few people. Landing once more on Levani. “Does this answer your question, Ensign Sen?”

Fisher shifted in his seat, rolling his eyes. “What a load of crap,” he grumbled under his breath, the words barely a breath over a whisper. The Wolfen didn’t look, but his ears swiveled in the direction of the man.

Sen nodded, but she leaned over to Peterson and whispered behind her hand, “This is stupid. Everyone knows what - whom - this is about and we all know those are all true.”

Peterson snickered. “It’d certainly explain a lot,” he mumbled under his breath. “There’s no way she would have been promoted so quickly if they weren’t.”

The group that surrounded the pair laughed, though many sounded uncomfortable. Nobody and a small group of engineers who did not sit with Peterson and Sen remained quiet, their eyes trained on the screen before them.

Leonard cleared his throat. Loudly. “I should remind you further, that I can hear you. Even in the back, Mister Fisher. Miss Sen,” He redirected his attention back to the Orion woman, after letting Fisher know he wasn’t off any hooks. “It doesn’t matter what this is about, or what you think is true based on hearsay. In fact, I’m a little surprised that you, of all people in this room, would be so quick to make judgements within this topic. I should think you would be offended at such behavior, no?” Cold and steely eyes locked to the woman, his face emotionless.

She wrinkled her green nose. “That makes no sense,” she retorted, flipping her hair back with a flick of her hand. “Why would I be offended that people are sharing the truth about some hussy?”

Leonard paced a bit, walking to one side of the room. “Firstly, I highly doubt that anyone has any evidence around it, and even if so, why would it be anyone’s business? Further, you are an Orion woman. Would I be correct in assuming that in your career you’ve been met with advances from those around you due to assumptions based on the knowledge that your people as a general whole, tend to be generally open about things of sexual nature, whether you desired such advances or not? That due to who you are, people assumed things as truth?”

Sen couldn’t think of a response, her lips turning into a thin line. Eventually, she shrugged. “It’s not great,” she admitted with some degree of annoyance. “Orion women are taught to accept our sexuality. We’ve learnt to develop a thick skin. Maybe that’s what should happen here. Somebody is just being sensitive. If it wasn’t true, there should have been some sort of denial. But there haven’t been any.” Again, her statement was met with nods and a general sound of agreement.

“Be that as it may, the Federation has zero tolerance of it, and this is not planet Orion. Being taught to ‘deal with it’ does not, under any circumstances, make it okay. Do you go on denying the assumptions that people have made about you, or do you simply ignore it, and do your best not to let it get to you, pushing through to try to get your work done?” Swift had turned face, and walked to the other side of the class.

She frowned, silent at the question. She did not wish to answer.

Peterson sighed. “Look Doc,” he perked up when an uncomfortable murmur moved through the crowd. The room was filled with the Engineering staff, save for the skeleton crew that kept to the department in case anything was to go wrong. “Can we just get on with this? We have a ton of work to do. We already had a ton of people out because of the Maw, and we’re running behind on repairs as it is.”

Nobody snickered. “Just get Ellie back on the Alpha staff,” he retorted as he finally spoke up after tiring of Peterson’s voice and he turned around to look at the man. He was several rows ahead of the Orion and the pseudo-Chief of Engineering. “She’d get Engineering back up and working.” A few murmured in agreement.

Fisher snickered and spoke to no one in particular. “I wouldn’t mind getting her back in Engineering,” he whispered to himself. “Maybe finish what was apparently just a dream.”

Leonard faced the room and frowned. It was even less pleasant than the stone faced look, or even when he grinned all toothy-like. “You do have a ton of work to do. But unless this seminar is attended in its full completion, you will find yourself with no work to do, if you understand my meaning. We are currently in a zero mission status, so you will have time for your repairs, Lieutenant. Now. This is not about a single person, it's about every single one of you. Any of you can be harassed, and any of you caught harassing will be summarily dealt with.”

The doc pushed a button on the remote he carried. “Now, if you are all done making snide comments - these classes are being recorded by the way for means of evaluation - we can get this moving on, get you signed off, and back to your workstations. Believe me, I have my own workload to attend to.”

Fisher, who was seated behind Sen, sighed and scooted down his chair so he could slump against the chair’s back. His head tilted back as he looked at the ceiling. “I can’t believe we have to do this just because Deniaud couldn’t keep her legs shut,” he grumbled softly, thinking he could not be heard. At that, Sen and Peterson couldn’t help but laugh, which they poorly covered by pretending to cough.

That did it though. That was enough. Leonard took a deep breath, closed his eyes for a moment, and then stormed towards Fischer, Sen, and others in the general area. Mostly Fisher. Loud, heavy footfalls took the floor as the Wolfen growled from deep within his chest, and he slammed palms on the table, and pressed his face very, very close to Fisher’s face, his breath was no doubt felt on the man’s skin. “You will shut your damn mouth, Mister Fisher.”

The group in the area jumped, visibly frightened. Their eyes were trained on the Wolfen, so very wide that the whites of their eyes could be seen.

The Wolfen leaned in even closer, the tips of his bristled fur brushing against the now perspiring skin of the now terrified man. “You will shut the frack up. This is no laughing matter, I doubt you've any idea what goes on outside your tiny work area...which still smells, by the way. One more outburst like that and you'll be speaking with the Commodore personally. Do I make myself, absolutely clear. I am not screwing around… I take the mental and physical health of this crew very seriously, and I will not tolerate harm in either way from our own to come to anyone.”

Then, the Wolfen raised a hand off the desk, and laid itself on Fisher’s shoulder, surprisingly gently, yet still with a firm grip, and he brought himself to speak directly into Fisher’s ear, lowering his voice so that only he would hear, "I would watch what you say in front of me. Marielle is not only my patient, but she is my friend. I have heard every single little snide comment you've made, and I'm now very suspicious as to what you've done to my friend. If I find out that you've hurt her in any way, or responsible for starting or spreading any may learn what a ‘Big Bad Wolf’ truly is…Do I make myself absolutely, stunningly clear to you?”

Fisher visibly gulped. “Ye- Yes, sir!” he snapped back. His face blanched and he could not meet the Wolfen’s eyes. Instead, they stared at the desk where Swift’s hands were. There were claw marks etched into the surface...

Those around Fisher also blanched, their heads snapping forward when Leonard looked over them. The comments stopped instantly, and the once chatty engineers sat up straight in their chairs.

Leonard stood, walking calmly back to the front of the classroom, and pushed the button on the remote. “Let’s continue then.”

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