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Deep Dive

Posted on Sat Sep 8th, 2018 @ 7:56pm by Captain Akiva ben-Avram & Lieutenant Colonel Storr Garlake

Mission: S1E2: Half Past Dead
Location: Memory Theta (Overwatch), Deck 3, Facility Administrator's Quarters
Timeline: MD 001; 2030

Storr sat at his desk, a scowl imprinted across his brow. His normally well-organized desk was a sea of PADDs and archival reports, each threatening in their own way to tumble down onto the floor below. One was emitting an eminently annoying tone, however, and the Afrikaner began rummaging for it in earnest. He had managed to ignore its shrill whine for some time now but the irritant had finally run its course and forced the Commandant's hand. After overturning a technical order on the 149 nested checklist items for accessing the Tartarus' HVAC override and another on an in-depth peer-reviewed study on the mating habits of trans-dimensional tardigrades (he would never get that hour of his life back), he finally unearthed the offending device.


Lt Col Garlake shook his head; the read color meant that he was already late and the timestamp said 1348. "Computer, what's the time now? And coffee. Black." he asked as he quickly stood up from his chair and grabbed his trusty SFMC mug, nearly tossing it into the replicator.

"Time now: 2030."

Stopping in his tracks, Storr frowned. Reaching out and grasping the piping hot mug, he watched the steam slowly whisp from the surface of the liquid up into the air. He had installed a "dumbed down" Virtual Interface in his office so as not to be constantly badgered by the stations' resident Well of Snark but he doubted that it would last long...who knew, Ferrofax might already have corrupted the poor program and was even now stewing over the Lieutenant Colonel's use of the "computer" request and wondering how to take revenge. Taking a sip, he wondered where the time had gone. While Memory Theta was a storehouse of incredibly unimaginable and nearly inconceivable treasures, separating the wheat from the chaff was harder than appeared at first blush (as his desk would attest).

Honestly, he was well past due to his quarters but there was one last stop he needed to make before calling it a night.

Storr knocked on the door. He hated the impersonal chime and it let the person on the other side know unequivocally who it was that was calling. After less than a breath, he heard a response and entered.

It was a bit later than he had expected, but late was better than ever. "Enter," Akiva called out. There was only one person, unfortunately, who would come calling at this hour.

Looking around, Akiva's quarters were far barer than he would have imagined. While the FA's room was nearly palatial, the Hebron's personal effects seemed dwarfed by the space that they were in. A small effort had seemed to have been started to make the area a home but abandoned; Garlake's blood pressure raised 10 points on his consideration of the subject. Taking a deep breath, he smiled and extended a hand.

"Glad I could make it, though sorry I'm caught up in trying to figure out this enigma in a riddle in a maze. What's on your mind?"

Akiva made a wry and insincere chuckle. "What isn't, these days? The reason I called for you, though, is a professional matter." He sighed, then pulled up a jar of crystal clear water. "This was bottled from Tahor'Ayin on Hebron. I've... decided to cut back on other drinks for awhile." He poured two ceramic cups full of the water, leaving one for Storr to take.

"In short, old friend, I have to do something about Commander Mrazak. His leadership style leaves much to be desired, which is something that I would handle through standard channels -- command reports, performance evals, and so on. Today, however..." Akiva trailed off in reluctant recollection of the lurid event. "... he had two truant officers beamed onto the Observation Deck. They were not dressed. And when I went to retrieve some clothes, Mrazak just left them there -- naked or near enough, trapped in a force field. When I returned, they were being subjected to a replay loop of the briefing they had missed."

Garlake had taken the offered water and drank slowly as he listened. The clear liquid was exquisite and he reached the bottom of the cup far sooner than he had anticipated. Licking his lips only made the empty vessel that much more bitter. He was glad that he had missed the briefing.

The whole explanation made Akiva groan in frustration. "I can't stand for this, Storr. From the month I have spent with this Vulcan, I know this can't be his only cruel and unusual action. The lieutenants are furious, and I don't blame them. Therefore, I've decided to open an Article 32 investigation."

"I don't blame them either," the Marine said as he nodded slowly, setting the ceramic cup on a small end table, "but might I suggest another course of action?" The two men met gazes for several moments before Storr continued.

"Our position here is remote, to say the least, in both geography and chain-of-command. As such, your ability to reach back to the framework is very limited, as is Fleet's ability to insert itself into the situation. I want to keelhaul the bliksem but space barnacles aren't a thing that I'm aware of. Yet." Awaiting a smug reply from Ferrofax, Garlake waited a moment and when one surprisingly didn't come, wrapped up his thoughts. "You have great flexibility here that other Captains lack. I'd suggest an Article 15 in order to avoid the lengthy investigation and you become the judge and jury of his case rather than having to import a stuffed shirt to run a real trial. Make HIM defend himself to you for his egregious actions and then drop the hammer good and hard. Big rocks into small rocks, hard. Humiliation, degradation, abuse of authority/resources, and improper command authority are a few of the spears he won't be able to avoid."

Akiva rubbed his chin in thought. "But will that be enough? Yes, Article 15 will allow me to levy punishment against him, but it doesn't guarantee his removal, not as entrenched as he is in Memory Theta." The thought of making the man grovel beneath official censure did present a certain satisfaction. Akiva smiled at the thought. "Of course, making him squirm could be effective all in itself." That angle actually presented a new consideration, one whose morality made him waver in his conviction. "Do... do you think he could change his ways given sufficient punishment?"

Storr shrugged noncommittally. "Recidivism isn't my specialty and honestly, I couldn't care less." A few beats passed before the Commandant spoke again. "That's not completely true. As a leader, you should want him to mend his ways and return to productive work here on the station. My concern is that he would only be motivated by not being caught again, not that he should be doing the right thing. THAT leads to potentially even worse problems."

"True. On all counts." Akiva nodded ever so slowly as he stared off with a faraway look in his eye. "Let's begin the Article 15 process. If he responds poorly and continues in his evil ways, then I will use it as a recommendation for a formal Article 32 with the nearest Staff JAG's office." He put a hand on Storr's shoulder. "But that means I need your help all the more. I need evidence of his wrongdoings. Testimonies, documentation, anything with which I can bolster the list of charges."

Garlake returned his friend's nods as he listened to Akiva's reply. That is, until his last request. "You know that I'll help you in every way I can but...uh, how do I put this," the Afrikaner said with a chuckle and a matching hand on his friend's opposite shoulder, "delicate investigation isn't my specialty."

Mischief exploded from Akiva's grin. "Why do you think I came to you, old friend?"

Storr couldn't repress a smile. Perhaps this station truly needed some applecarts overturned, and he couldn't think of a better opportunity...


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