OOC: This meeting happens after Falt’s adventure on the Holodeck, but before the Juneau arrives at Ring 42
((Bridge, Deck 1, USS Juneau))
Tomas stepped out of the turbolift and onto the bridge. He nodded at the officers on duty as he made his way towards the Captain’s ready room. Externally he was calm and confident like normal, but inside he was feeling apprehensive about this meeting.
Ever since he’d submitted his report on the mission to Anadasa he’d been waiting to be called to a debriefing. Normally a post mission debrief would be with his immediate superior, in this case Commander T’Lea, or with the XO, so he’d been slightly surprised when the Captain had summoned him.
Surprised but not shocked. He’d suspected she was annoyed with him after the last mission, he’d said as much to Ensign Vihn when he’d returned to the ship. The fact that his debrief was to be with her had only confirmed this suspicion.
Truth be told he’d also been annoyed with the Captain. He’d been unsure of a few of her decisions during the mission, particularly when she had decided to run away with the Anadasan girl. It was a borderline prime directive breach, one he had glossed over in his report. On reflection that could be another reason she was annoyed with him.
He reached the door. Taking a deep breath he pressed the announcer, hoping the coming debrief would be more of a conversation and less of a dressing down.
((Captain’s Ready Room, Deck 1, USS Juneau))
Aria was behind her desk, reading the report of the senior officers from the previous mission, and reflecting on it herself. The Bajoran was already getting pushback from Command – you didn’t skirt the Prime Directive and not get feedback. When you arguably broke the directive altogether, the feedback became deafening.
Part of her consternation was the young, somewhat promising, science officer that just entered her office.
Falt: Reporting as ordered, sir.
She snapped the PADD down on her desk and stared, leaning back as she did so. It was true, she didn’t normally handle any ‘one on one’ meetings with the crew, but the Away Mission had bugged her.
Oddas: Care to explain yourself, Mister Falt?
The Captain gestured toward the PADD she had been using to read the summaries of the after action reports.
Judging by the Captain’s tone Tomas realised he had made a mistake with his report. He hadn’t been one hundred percent sure he was doing the right thing by being as vague as he had been when he had submitted it. Nothing he could do about it now, except be honest with the Captain.
Falt: I’m not going to lie sir, I struggled with how to write that report. I would have asked Commander Qinn or T’Lea for help but neither were available. I chose to be vague as I couldn’t find a way to make sure my description of events were accurate.
Aria set grimly and listened. Tomas pressed on, hoping he was making sense.
Falt: For example, the initial encounter with Ra’Am. My observation was that you ran away with Anadasan child, likely in breach of the prime directive. Kendrick and I fell in behind you without seeking an explanation, but I realised I needed that context if I was to describe the event accurately in my report. I chose to be ambiguous to make sure you could provide that context without being contradicted by me.
Aria shook her head softly. She had picked up the vagueness, but she also wanted to talk about what had happened on the surface.
Oddas: And the decision to sideline me?
The voice that came out of her was probably harsher than it needed to be. It wasn’t one she liked to use often, generally reserved for people doing something that could get them hurt in Engineering.
Falt: In the alley, sir? I take full responsibility for the decisions I made. The soldiers were armed with chemically propelled projectile weapons. I’ve studied them and despite their inaccuracies they can be extremely lethal at short range. I didn’t know if either you or Kendrick would have been as aware of that fact as I was so I made the decision to distract them and reduce their lines of fire. Better one casualty than four, sir.
She squinted and tilted her head. It was a common refrain she had heard before—that she didn’t understand violence and weaponry. It seemed to be a common misconception—the fact she didn’t reach for a phaser as a first result didn’t mean she didn’t understand them, recognize them, or even use them when necessary.
Oddas: And that’s your decision to make?
She regretted the tone she had used, was using. It was a disagreement she was letting get the better of her. The Lieutenant in front of her didn’t know her past with being second guessed, and didn’t know all of her history. Still, it was a valid question, and she stared directly at the Lieutenant, sharp-eyed.
Tomas realised he was going to have to be completely candid with the Captain. His father had always told it was better to get in trouble for telling the truth than for being caught in a lie.
Falt: Permission to speak freely, sir.
The Captain nodded and waved her hand.
Falt: As much as it hurt I was fully prepared to stand-by and watch that boy be abducted and that old man be murdered. It was Ra’Am that took that option away. The guards were advancing and could have opened fire at any moment, especially if we ran. There wasn’t time for a discussion so I took the action I thought best.
She wasn’t sure if she liked having officers willing to watch people killed, regardless of the regulations. Regardless of the fact that she knew it was the right thing to do according to the uniform she had chosen to wear.
Oddas: That wasn’t your call.
Falt: I understand that wasn’t ideal, but I’m not going to apologise for my actions. I was angry we’d been put in that situation, and I may have let that affect my judgement. But neither you or Kendrick had issued any order so I did what I thought was right. And if the conditions were repeated I’d do so again.
The Bajoran let out a deep sigh. She was torn between her thoughts of the last time someone gave her an ultimatum along those lines, a giant Marine who had felt he was better for the center seat, and her responsibility of being the Captain.
Her friend Brayden had counselled her to take a moment, try to remember she was responsible for the crew, and that meant more than just internalizing her anger. She counted carefully to 13, down to zero, and back to 13.
Oddas: ::biting her lip, making a concerted effort to reign in her voice:: I need to know, Mister Falt, that the people under my command will trust me, inform me, and most importantly follow orders :: emphasizing :: especially when they disagree.
Falt: At the risk of my career, sir, I think that’s an unfair question. My actions to date should have shown that I trust you completely. In nearly every situation I would follow your lead, just like I did when you ran with Ra’Am. I only didn’t in the alley because Ra’Am complicated things and there wasn’t time for me to wait. I have and will always follow your legal orders, even if I disagree. And in the absence of an order from you I will always do what I think is the right action by a Starfleet Officer, and I hope that is what I did here.
Aria held up a hand, instinctively, to cool the conversation. She used the time to consider her response, what she was really upset about. It was true -- Aria was concerned about the regulation aspects of what had happened, but there was something else as well.
Oddas: I can deal with a regulation breach, I don’t want to worry about another death under my command.
That gave Tomas pause for a moment. Was the Captain only worried about a death under her command, or one that would have arguably been her fault. Regardless of Tomas’s actions it was her action to run with Ra’Am that had put them in the situation. He decided that wasn’t part of the conversation he was going to push. The Captain knew that - she didn’t need a brand new lieutenant to remind her.
Falt: As you know I minored in security at the academy, so I am trained in that regard. Whilst it’s not my duty post aboard this ship I do not believe that absolves me from my duty to keep you safe, sir.
Aria pressed her artificial thumb into the wrinkles between her nose and closed her eyes. She could almost hear her mother laughing at her, the ‘Engineer turned Captain’.
Oddas: You don’t think I take that into account?
Falt: It’s really not my plan to charge in on some kind of personal mission to keep you safe, sir. I’d like to be around for a lot longer if nothing else. In this case my action felt like the best thing to do at the time and there wasn’t opportunity to consult further,
Oddas: That’s good to hear. Mister Falt, Tomas, it is not my intention to put you into a situation like that again - but if it comes up, let’s see if there is a solution short of sacrificing yourself. I’ve found there is usually half a second, or more, to find another way. ::pause:: I’m not any more special than the rest of the crew.
And that was the crux of the matter for her - as she voiced it she realized her body relaxed, her shoulders felt as if a weight was a removed.
As the Captain visibly relaxed, Tomas felt the tension he had been feeling for the last few days drain away as well.
Falt: I understand your meaning, but I’m sure you don’t get to be a Captain without a few people having thought you were special.
Oddas: I have my moments.
The self deprecation was instinctual, and she dismissed it with a shrug.
Falt: Thank you for giving me the chance to explain myself, sir.
Oddas: Just take it to heart in the future.
Falt: Again, thank you sir. I will learn from this and do better next time. I’ll also arrange a session with the counsellor, to make sure I haven’t acquired some self-sacrificial tendencies from anywhere.
Oddas: That seems reasonable.
Aria sipped her coffee and mulled over what she had heard and said.
As the conversation had taken a turn for the better Tomas decided to risk asking a question.
Falt: Speaking of learning, I’d like to ask your permission to study the Anadasian further - in my own time of course. I’ve been thinking of approaching the Vulcan Science Academy with a proposal to investigate the long term effects of the Borg’s cultural contamination on the planet? Normally I’d ask Commander T’Lea but she is not available.
Oddas: I have no issue with continued learning, coordinate with the XO in Commander T’Lea’s stead. I’m no stranger to collecting degrees while on duty.
Falt: Thank you, sir. I consider you something of a mentor, so I appreciate your faith in me.
Oddas: Of course.
She resisted saying something snarky at the thought of her being anyone’s mentor.
As he was dismissed and left the room Tomas wondered if he should have used the word mentor, it felt like it created a slightly awkward end to their conversation. Still, it could have been much worse.
Lieutenant JG Tomas Falt
USS Juneau, NX-99801
Captain Oddas Aria
USS Juneau, NX-99801
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