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The Slap On The Wrist

Posted on Fri Nov 17th, 2023 @ 9:12pm by Lieutenant Didrea Zade & Lieutenant JG Nayisa Wrea & Commander N'Garzi Zora

Mission: Character Development
Location: Deck 2 :: Zora's Office
Timeline: 0800, 40 hours after "Behind Forcefield Number Two"
1915 words - 3.8 OF Standard Post Measure

Zade was tired. The whole situation left her in a rather sour mood that disturbed her sleep, and it didn't help when she was released from the brig and told to immediately report to Zora's office. As she left the brig, she redid her hair into a simple braid, something to keep it out of her face while also hiding the hint of bedhead from a rather restless night.

Nayisa felt a bit of guilt when she was released from the brig last night, leaving Zade alone in her cell. She did her time, however, and there was no reason for her to stick around, so she took advantage of the ability to sleep in her own bed. It was currently a couple of minutes before 0800, the time specified in the message sent to her, and she was waiting right outside the office door. The faint hiss of the turbolift alerted Nayisa to company, and she turned her head to see a rather tired Zade approach. "Morning," she offered, hoping to try and break the tension a little.

The voice sent another wave of irritation through Zade as she approached the door, seeing Nayisa waiting. Choosing to ignore the intelligence officer, the Trill stopped in front of Zora's office door. Since she was expected to return to her duties after this meeting, the brig officer had given Zade her communicator, so she removed it from her pocket to fasten it to her uniform before giving the jacket a quick brush to make it as pristine as possible. She then waited for the clock on the panel to switch from 0759 to 0800, her hands crossed behind her back.

Yeah, she was going to be salty for a while. Nayisa turned her attention to the panel's clock as well, letting an uncomfortable silence rest between them. The second it changed to 0800, she watched Zade press the chime before giving her own uniform a quick tug.

"Enter," Zora said over the comm.

After the door opened, Zade led the way, leaving her mood at the door in favor of a neutral expression more worthy of the seriousness this conversation would bring. Coming to a stop in front of Zora's desk, she kept her hands behind her back and waited. She had nothing to say, and nothing she wanted to say, so she remained silent.

While she was more relaxed about the situation, Nayisa kept her own body language professional as she followed Zade in. She followed Zade's lead of resting her hands behind her back when she got to Zora's desk, the desired parade-rest-yet-still-attentive posture that conveyed respect to their superior. Nayisa also didn't say anything, but not for Zade's reasons. Since Zora had called them here, it simply made sense for Zora to initiate the conversation.

Zora sat behind her desk and cradled a cup of steaming Bolian broth tea. It was rumoured to have calming effects in stressful situations and that was what she needed right now. She had had the whole night to consider this conversation and she was grateful for that. Even someone as controlled as herself still could lose themselves in their emotions and that was not what this situation needed. Calmer heads needed to prevail, and as a leader, she had to set that example. So she drank her tea for a moment, allowing the flavours to work their magic and giving the women in front of her some time to stew. She may be calmer but she didn't want to make things too easy on them.

Placing her cup down gently on the table, Zora cleared her throat. "I trust you both had some time to think about things?" She looked at both of them in turn but didn't expect a direct answer to her question. "For some reason, you both felt the need to break protocol so I'm allowing you a minute each to explain yourself, starting with you Ensign."

Nayisa met Zora's eyes for a moment as she considered a response. "I valued the Commodore's innocence, though I realize now that it was not my verdict to make." She was playing it safe because a simple 'because P'Rel knew what she was doing' wasn't the response Zora wanted to hear right now, nor did Nayisa know if that was even true. Her words were truthful, however; from what she could gather from the trial, it was rigged, and it would have been unfair to Kane to let it run its course. Of course, they'd never know the alternative outcome. "I put trust in Lieutenant P'Rel as a superior officer and as a fellow intelligence officer, but that trust was misplaced given her fugitive status. I also recognize that I put Lieutenant Zade in a difficult position that could have been avoided if I had more objectively judged P'Rel's intentions."

Zora nodded, her face unreadable. "Lieutenant," she said towards Zade.

The Trill took in a steady breath and forced herself to look at Zora, out of respect if anything. The mood she tried to leave at the door questioned if Zora deserved the respect after pitting Zade and Nayisa against each other in the brig, but it wasn't the time for bitter feelings. Zade adjusted her stance, a result of the uncomfortable gaze she was under. "I did try to dissuade Ensign Wrea when she approached me, but I wasn't prepared to perform my duties to their fullest extent against someone I had known for years. The trust I had in her as a friend influenced my actions. I recognize that my feelings cannot influence my professional decisions."

Zora gulped her tea, allowing the scent to fill her nostrils. It was somewhat similar to a mixture of eucalyptus and thyme, but whatever the Bolian versions of those may be. Placing the cup back on the desk and allowing time for the liquid to stop dancing in the cup, gave her some time to consider her words. It was clear that the officers in front of her were sorry for their actions, though sorry for the deceit or for being caught was something she had yet to figure out. Either way, Zora’s mind was set.

“Ensign,” she said turning to the silver-haired human. Her voice was calm and steady, she wanted this to be a learning moment for the pair, raising her voice would only foster contempt and rebellion, and then none of them would win. “I recognise that you were following the orders of your superior officer and I also recognise that Lieutenant P’rel isn’t the easiest person to say no to or the most forgiving. However, as you are aware, any fugitive from Starfleet, immediately has their rank and position revoked, so at the time in question, she was not your superior officer, I was. You abused the trust I placed in you for which I am very disappointed.

“You are officially on restricted duty and you are banned from any recreational activity for the next four weeks, including holodecks and the bar. I am also officially dropping your intel clearance down to level three until you prove you can be trusted again.”

A slight scrunch of the nose conveyed Nayisa's displeasure over the punishment. It wasn't the worst punishment she could have gotten, and level three clearance didn't affect her too terribly much, but restricted duty still sucked. It was effectively house arrest. "Yes, Commander."

“You’re dismissed, Ensign,” Zora said firmly. She watched as the officer in grey left the room and the doors closed behind her. The El-Aurian took a breath and another gulp of tea. She wasn’t quite sure it was having the desired effects but it gave her hands something to do and her mind a slight break before the next round. Eventually, her dark eyes found that of the Trill’s and the two stared at each other for a few moments before Zora spoke.

“Lieutenant, I recognise that you were being loyal to your friend. Loyalty is something that is valued on this ship, especially by the Commodore and I. However, that loyalty was greatly misplaced and should have been to your crew and duties as chief of security. You broke protocol, you broke the law, and worse, you broke our trust. This was a serious error in your judgement and I would be well within my rights to transfer you off the Athena.”

Zora paused, taking another breath. “I am giving you a formal reprimand which will be entered in your permanent file and you will also lose your off-duty privileges for the next four weeks. I know you haven’t been a department head for long Zade and you’re still finding your feet. I am here to help you do so, but if you continue working against me I will cut you loose. Is that understood?”

Internally, Zade was glad that Zora told Nayisa to leave. The Trill had too many vulnerable moments recently for her liking, and she knew this would be yet another one. As the punishments were listed, Zade realized that Zora was going easy on her when she certainly didn't deserve it. She was being given a second --and likely last-- chance to do better. "Yes, Commander," she answered. There was a brief pause before she added, "permission to speak freely, Commander?"

Zora lifted the cup to her lips and drank some more of the tea. She was giving herself some time before allowing the Trill to speak her mind, mentally preparing for whatever may come next. "Go on," she encouraged.

Zade also took the moment to prepare, a silence settling between them for a couple of seconds. "For what it's worth, I regret my actions," she quietly said. She let that hang for a moment. "I felt... useless, during the trial, like I was failing to protect my commanding officer. That frustration made me vulnerable. I can talk to Commander Savin about better controlling my emotions..." There was a second air of discomfort in the room, or at least that's how it felt to Zade. She was on the spot, showing Zora a hint of what the Trill usually kept to herself, and it left a knot in her throat. "What... would you recommend, in addition?"

Zora let out a slow breath. This was the second senior officer that had been rattled by Kane's trial, more if you counted P'rel and Keating too. The consequences of that event were still reverbing around the ship and she wasn't sure how best to go about doing that. "Honestly?" She asked eventually. "Time and wisdom Lieutenant. They will come but you can't rush it. Learn from this error in judgment, grow from it and use it to make yourself a stronger officer. You have all the capability, believe me, I have seen much worse than you."

A slow nod was the Trill's response. Zade knew she was inexperienced, and she was thankful that Zora not only saw that, but was giving her the chance to do better, to be better. "Yes, Commander. Thank you." Upon dismissal, Zade left the office, and took a moment after the doors shut to get ahold of herself, her breath shuddering. She wanted nothing more than to just go to her quarters and de-stress, but it was still early into the shift. Straightening a little, she finally left the vicinity of Zora's office to get this day over with.


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