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Interview Six - Lieutenant Jaya Maera-Garlake

Posted on Mon Mar 23rd, 2020 @ 8:48pm by Lieutenant JG Jaya Maera Garlake & Commander Arianna Frost
Edited on on Mon Mar 23rd, 2020 @ 8:49pm

Mission: Mission 0: Everybody Has A Story
Location: Intelligence Office | Overwatch Station

This was not the first time Jaya had given official testimony in her Starfleet career. Depositions, recommendations, countless other forms of testimony... None of it seemed to matter, not when her first field mission with Memory Theta was considered. The things that happened on the USS Phantom, particularly inside fluidic space, would stick with her for the rest of her life.

Still, she was Deltan. Fears were beneath her. She confidently pressed the chime on the Intelligence Office door and presented herself for what may come.

"Come in!" Arianna called from inside. She was quite curious to interview Lieutenant Garlake, who was at her door at that very moment. The woman's record spoke volumes to Frost, as did the reports she had read that had been submitted by the Deltan woman. Non medical ones she'd had access to, at any rate.

Still, a report only told you so much. So, the aussie/russian from Alpha Eridani waited for the deltan to enter.

"G'day, pleased ta meet ya," Jaya said with Arianna's own accent. Mirroring and mimicking were counseling traits embedded so deeply into her that they happened on reflex now. As she entered, though, she resumed her standard diction. Spotting a mimic often had an adverse effect. "I'm Jaya. While I have to say, Commander, that while I'm happy to help, I don't know just how helpful I can be."

Frost motioned for the Deltan to have a seat. "As someone who's specialized in talking to people, I'm sure you know that even seemingly insignificant information may provide more information than initially considered. With near catastrophic events such as your last is policy to investigate, assess and improve for further use, wouldn't you agree?"

"Absolutely." Jaya seated herself with her palms rested on her thighs. Her surface reading of Arianna's emotions indicated the woman was tightly wound but not in a stressed state. All business, then. Jaya could deal with that. She leaned back enough to cross her legs and fold her hands atop her knee. "This was my first field mission with... with Memory Theta." Pausing a moment to gather herself, she looked down and away as she continued speaking. "If I'm to be perfectly honest, I've been struggling with processing recent events." She stared off just long enough to assess her thoughts, then resumed eye contact. People were more receptive to statements spoken eye to eye. "Without any field experience in this area with which to judge what unfolded, I'm left to form conclusions from my own subjectivity..." She trailed off, letting the unfinished sentence express her uncertainty of her own assessment.

Arianna nodded, then she too sat down. After the mandatory reciting, signifiying the official beginning of the interview, the space aussie motioned for Jaya to continue, "share what you can voice, it doesn't matter how undertain or disjointed it is. It will all fill a bigger picture, somehow."

"Well, where would you like me to begin?" Jaya asked.

"Tell me about Karna Zsan and Kazyah Linn..." Ari prompted gently.

The mention of their names sent a shock through Jaya's body. "I have no disillusionment about Starfleet's role in the Universe," she began diplomatically. "Sometimes circumstances are such that one cannot act on their ideals, but rather the moral remainder left to them by previous injustices. I understand some individuals are better disposed to morally gray tasks than others. I further understand this to be a rationalization to myself of working with Kazyah and Karna. If I had to choose again, I don't know that I wouldn't have recused myself from the mission."

"You've had extensive contact with Zsan, as I understand? Did you find him to be a threat to Theta or the Federation?" Ari asked after she listened to Jaya's answer. The vagueness of the answer spoke volumes. The direction of said volumes was yet to be determined though.

Jaya fought back the chill from her innermost being. "I interviewed him, yes. Karna...did what he thought was right. I think that is the one and only good thing I can professionally say about the man. He was guided by an artificial ethos constructed by a duty to a Noble Lie that he didn't really believe. It was mostly just a way to keep score." Hesitation. Did she really want to go there? "He also reminded me of the worst creature I have ever known."

Arianna tilted her to the right, studying Jaya for a moment, wondering if she should pause the intervew here or keep recording. "Go on," she found herself saying.

Looking directly in Ari's eyes, Jaya let her empathic gravitas come out a little. "They were clinical psychopaths, and for the life of me I can't understand how they wound up in a Starfleet uniform."

Arianna could hazard a good guess, or remember cases where she directly knew the answer. However, once something was recorded...

That and the fact that this wasn't about her thoughts and opinions, this investigation anyway. Only evidence and expertise. Maybe over a drink sometime...

"Has this been a recent incident? Connected to Memory Theta?" Frost forced herself to stay on point, to ignore her own curiosity and empathy for now.

Jaya shook her head. "No. It happened a few years ago, before Storr and I were married. A crazed Vulcan named Saalkan Za'ul Kaiyen led a mutiny on our former vessel and was responsible for the murder of hundreds of people. He sabotaged life support, killing half the crew before it was restored. And he did it all in a mad quest for immortality of all things." It was an odd mixture of shame and wrath that made Jaya trembled. Memories flashed before her eyes that her clinical psychology training identified as traumatic. "And I missed it. He served as a science officer right under my nose, yet I didn't see it until he started telepathically subverting people through mind melds." A tear shed from her left eye. "He mentally raped a patient right in front of me and I couldn't stop it."

The tears began to flow.

"Karna did not have Saalkan's rage. Just his insatiable emptiness and disregard for life. They're both monsters and the shame of Starfleet Intelligence." She sniffled her nose once the tears slowed. "No offense."

"None taken," Ari said quietly, schooling her features to remain neutral, knowing all too well that her branch especially liked to skirt the rigid moral norms when it came to recruitment. On both sides of the coin, hence her, here.

"This was when you two served with Captain ben Avram?" Frost asked finally, just a touch of emotion lacing her tone. As desirable as empathy was, neutrality was demanded of investigators so as not to taint statements.

"Correct," Jaya said, resuming the practiced, professional tone of a clinician. "Though he was Commander ben-Avram at the time. First officer of the Vindex." She let out a sigh, savoring the mildly cathartic release that allowed her to breathe a little easier. "If I may ask, how is this helping your investigation?"

"It gives me much needed insight into participants and events that aren't necessarily in the reports themselves." Ari leaned back in her chair. "It also gives me an insight into how certain past events can shape actions and reactions now. Tell me, how did Mrazak act in all of this?"

Jaya paused to consider her answer. "In a word: indifferent. His myopic focus on the mission resulted in repeated moral failures."

"Can you expand on that, please?"

"Perhaps the most grievous was the death of a Cardassian national," Jaya said. "The Lagashi had held him in custody, and seemed more than happy to turn him over to us. We suspected he was Cardassian Intelligence, but Karna insisted he was part of a terrorist cell he was tasked with eliminating." The recollection made her sigh. "Lieutenant Kirill detected a subdermal implant at the base of the man's neck. Mrazak ordered him to remove it, but Nevin protested on the grounds it would potentially kill him. Mrazak threatened him. Eventually, back on the Phantom, Lieutenant Kirill complied, and the worst happened. I'm not sure what happened to the body, but the Cardassian was never seen again and Lieutenant Kirill ended his life within 24 hours."

"Was Kiril prone to such thoughts, do you think?" Arianna had to ask.

Jaya shook her head. "Not to my knowledge, but I had had no interaction with him. He seemed a little agitated and detached during the mission briefing, but that's honestly pretty standard around here."

"Do you not do screenings and counseling with the team, Jaya?" Frost nodded as she took down notes, "or is there someone else assigned to it? Also, would you say that it was the death of the Lagashi that drove Kiril to suicide?"

"He was Mrazak's second in command well before I arrived," Jaya explained. "Since this was my first field mission and there has been nothing flagged in his file, we had no cause to interact. You would think that as Field Team Leader, Mrazak would avail himself of my counsel and expertise more often, but..."

Again, Jaya let her silence speak volumes.

"Would you like a drink?" Ari stood up to head for the replicator.

Hospitality was a familiar tactic. Recognizing it diluted its effect somewhat, but it still brought a smile to Jaya's face. "Yes, please. Seyalian tea."

"Seyalian tea and Black tea with milk, please." Ari said to the replicator. "So, the Captain is not making use of your counsel you say?" She asked as she turned around with two mugs.

Jaya shook her head yet again. "No, not really. He doesn't seem to have much regard for anyone outside of the hard sciences. Even then, he's rather inconsiderate, but what else would one expect from a textbook narcissist?"

Ari slowly nodded her silent agreement as she sat back down. "What is your assessment of him?"

Ari had different questions she wanted to ask, but those questions would render her interview moot at this stage. A picture was forming in her head of this whole thing, but it was all theory at present, theory she couldn't voice yet for fear of tainting.

"Exactly that," Jaya said. "He is a clinical narcissist with a touch of megalomania. His goals seem directly tied to the success of Memory Theta's mandate. The trick would seem to be making sure that mandate directly aligns with saving lives."

Frost nodded again, "you would have suggestions, I assume?"

"No, nothing specific," Jaya conceded. "So long as the right thing remains the best thing, Mrazak will uphold the law in the letter. Only when the right thing deviates from the best thing will we see a blatant disregard for others."

"How do you propose to keep the two aligned?" Frost found herself asking.

This would be useful information going forward with this assignment, Arianna felt, in her own conduct with Mrazak, as well as helping steer others on the path of alignment.

"That is really hard to say," Jaya said. "Narcissism typically reorients the subject's view of the universe entirely around oneself. This view is common in humanoids, though most grow out of it in adolescence. In theory, there might be two approaches. The first approach would be to leverage Mrazak's extension of himself onto Memory Theta. So far, he perceives himself to be the personification of Memory Theta's mandate -- its success is his success, and vice versa. If we could somehow inculcate a positive value of other people into that tightly woven value system, then Mrazak could potentially become a powerful humanitarian, insofar as his service to Memory Theta is concerned. The brightest stars, when burned out, become the strongest black holes."

She took a breath and shrugged off the unlikelihood of that ever happening. "The second approach would be to uncover what traumatic point in his life delayed his empathic development and triggered a narcissistic framework. While there's no telling just what type of person he would choose to be if that original trauma were to be processed and resolved, he would no longer suffer from what I readily see as a Borderline Personality Disorder."

Arianna nodded, then took a sip of her tea, "is there anything else you can think of that you would wish to report that you haven't already?" She asked then, realizing she had more than enough now to start with. Frost would definitely have to talk to the deltan later.

The next part was difficult to say. Not only was it potentially airing a friend's dirty laundry, there were also professional ethics to be considered. Still...

"There seems to be a personal antipathy between Captains Mrazak and ben-Avram," Jaya said solemnly. How could she express personal concern without flagging Akiva with a counselor's warning or showing favoritism in her position?

"Akiva brought Mrazak up on charges, and not only did Mrazak somehow get out of it, but somehow conscripted Ryland Dedeker to Memory Theta. Ryland..." It was physically uncomfortable revealing the intimate details of others, but Jaya made herself continue. "...was a former suitor for Akiva's fiancee Laena. The timing of it struck me as especially spiteful. Laena is gone now, and Akiva is not doing well. I suspect this was due to an ongoing campaign on Mrazak's part to undermine Akiva and drive him out. Memory Theta has a high turnover rate, as I'm sure you're aware, and I want to ensure our current administrator doesn't fall prey to the familiar hazards of the position."

Arianna nodded slowly again. She paused for a moment to formulate the next thought. "Do you think Mrazak knew of Dedeker and Laena's past? Was that a calculated action, do you think?"

She quickly tapped a note on the second PADD, Dedeker's record, interlinks with Mrazak, Akiva ben Avram, Laena Sendelin/Cavitts/ben-Avram.

"I do," Jaya said with an affirmative mid. "Without access to the finer details like the JAG records, I can't prove it. You might just call it..." Her eyebrow quirked as her lips coiled into a smirk. "... woman's intuition."

Arianna nodded, then took another sip, "do you think Captain ben-Avram can bounce back from this without assistance?"

"I'm afraid that may be privileged information," Jaya said. She sipped her tea as well. "I will say that Akiva could use all the support he can get."

"Very well, Doctor Garlake," Arianna nodded respectfully, "is there anything you wish to add before we conclude this interview? I will likely have additional questions later."

"No, nothing that comes to mind," Jaya said. "If there's anything I can do to help... not just with your investigation, but to make you feel more at home on Overwatch Station... I'd be happy to do whatever I can." A happy smile spread over her face. "Don't be afraid to reach out."

"Interview terminated," Arianna nodded, dictating the time and date before she ended the recording and turned to Jaya. "Thank you, for that, Jaya. I appreciate your offer more than I can say." She said then took the last sip of tea. "I'm going to be the pariah for a while, I know and I've already noticed a great divergence in this place between people and their outlooks. This is bad, Theta is heavily divided and it'll only get worse before it gets better."

Jaya cocked her head at that. "Yes..." she enunciated. "There is something to be said for operations and agencies that aren't supposed to exist. It breeds an inherent mistrust and malcontent, regardless of one's training. We are social creatures unaccustomed to multiple versions of reality predicated on clearance levels. Some people acclimate, others don't, and sometimes there are casualties." Hazarding an empathic probe, Jaya confirmed what she already suspected. "You are the rare one who does not actually enjoy the cloak-and-dagger routine. Aren't you?" She paused just long enough to make her question more of a rhetorical statement. "That is why you excel at investigation. Your gift is to bring secrets to light rather than bury them deeper." A look of pity came over Jaya's face. "I fully expect you will require the aid of a friend well before your time here is finished."

Arianna laughed a little, "aw yeaahhh..." she drawled out in a typical aussie fashion. "I understand the need for secrets, they are sadly necessary in the societies the current powers have built, including the Federation. I understand and will enforce them where necessary. I am very much against them being used to further own's goals or to detriment of those they are meant to protect. That is inherently selfish and dangerous and power hoarding."

"That is exactly what I mean," Jaya said. "And that is what makes Akiva... Captain ben-Avram... such a rarity. Whether it's Mrazak or Kazyah or Admiral Nyel or even your own Admiral Tau... everybody trading in secrets draws power-hungry monsters like moths to flame." She let out a soft chuckle. "Even though I expect this place will be harder on you than the average officer assigned to it, perhaps you are exactly who it needs." She stood to her feet. "Anyway, I'd better go. If you're ever in the mood for a nightcap or an afternoon tea, don't hesitate to send word."

Ari nodded, "cheers, Jaya. Might hit you up on an arvo."

"I'll look forward to it." Jaya beamed at the other woman on her way out.


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