((Flashback – Dr. Andy Thomas Senior School, Sydney, Australia – Stardate 238712.09)
::The Principal’s blue antennae moved around on her head as she spoke to Wil.::
Zh'kahrik: Your record is spotless, Ukinix. This incident could change that for you unless you start talking. ::Looking at display on her desk:: It says here you want to go to Starfleet Academy when you leave school.
::Wil put his hands in his pockets.::
Zh'kahrik: ::Raised eyebrows:: No?
Ukinix: ::Shrugging apathetically:: Changed my mind.
::Wil shrugged his shoulders again and looked away.::
Ukinix: Wanna be a footy player.
::His principal looked back at her display.::
Zh'kahrik: Your mother is a Starfleet officer. Your parents enrolled you at this school for a reason. How would she feel about you saying that?
Ukinix: ::Shrugging:: Don’t care what she thinks.
Zh'kahrik: ::Sitting back in her chair:: Well you might after today. I contacted her in San Francisco, to let her know of the incident that you’re here for.
::Wil placed his hands on his head and blew out of his cheeks. He slouched in his chair.::
Zh'kahrik: Sit on the floor.
::Wil furrowed his brow as he stared at her, quizzically.::
Zh'kahrik: I mean it. You’re acting like a pre-school child. That’s where they sit, on the floor. I don’t think you realize how much trouble you’re in.
Ukinix: ::Moving to floor:: I don’t think you realise that it wasn’t me.
::Wil placed his hands behind his back, with his palms on the floor. He raised his knees, and lay back a little, in defiance. The principal got up from her chair, walked to the front of her desk, and then crossed her arms, resting back on the front of the desk. Wil could sense her anger. It made his underlying anger rage even bigger.::
Zh'kahrik: ::Angrily:: We had to evacuate the whole school, and it was closed for most of the day. We had firefighters, doctors, security personnel turn up, hell even a few Starfleet officers beamed in. Exams were interrupted. All because someone thought it would be funny to bypass the school system’s AI and trigger an automated “Critical Threat Incident” alert. That’s only ever happened twice in a school in Earth’s history. ::Raising voice:: Twice, Ukinix! And they were by accident!
::The Andorian principal’s raised voice made him jump a little.::
Zh'kahrik: You’d better start talking, or there will be repercussions that could affect your future.
::Wil looked up to the ceiling. With his new empathic “abilities”, he had struggled in recent months to see a decent future for himself.::
Ukinix: ::Shaking his head:: Alrighty then. ::Angrily:: About three weeks ago during System Engineering class I told Y’noin and “Davo” - David Beachman - how it was possible to kinda hack the school’s systems. I even showed them a little bit, but I also said you’d need the encryption codes to get any further. Then every few days after that they asked me to show them how I would go about various ways of hacking into specific system types – they told me it was for their end of year project, something about ::waving hand:: “System Vulnerabilities” or something. I asked them if it was about the school’s systems, and they said “no”. Then last Friday they asked me again and finally told me they had somehow got into the school’s system, and said they worked out how to play an anonymous prank to get out of their exams for the day. I didn’t believe them. I had nothing to do with this. ::Staring at Principal, clenching jaw:: And if you don’t believe me, fine.
::When Zh'kahrik stared back at him coldly, he looked away.::
Zh'kahrik: Security experts have looked at the logs. Y’noin and Beachman weren’t so anonymous after all. I’ve had them in here individually a few hours ago, before you. They also said that you were the ringleader –
::Wil looked at Zh'kahrik, wide eyed with anger, and went to speak vociferously. The principal raised her hand to quiet him.::
Zh'kahrik: - but we know they lied. However, there is record of your initial mini-hack three weeks ago. You’re in luck, your story checks out. But, you had an indirect part in this. If you had your suspicions, you should have reported it. Especially when they admitted it to you last Friday.
Ukinix: ::Challenging:: So, I’m in trouble now because *they* triggered the alarm?
Zh'kahrik: No. You’re in trouble because you did the initial mini-hack. And then you didn’t say anything to anyone about what the other two told you. You sat on it all weekend. Even if you didn’t believe they could or would do it, you should have reported it. And if there were vulnerabilities in the school’s systems which you knew about, you should have reported them too. I question how you found out about *those* vulnerabilities, but I’m going to let that slide.
::Zh'kahrik surprised Wil by sitting on the floor in front of him, crossing her legs, and placing her hands in her lap.::
Zh'kahrik: This is a large school. Before now, I only knew you by name. Your mother, Lieutenant Commander Ukinix and I had a lovely chat today. She seems like a nice person. She’s also told me the problems you’re going through with your empathic abilities. ::Nodding:: I can’t imagine what that’s like for you.
::She looked out of her large office window to her left and admired her view of half of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the distance. A lone, old ferry full of tourists was making its way towards Darling Harbour.::
Zh'kahrik: I know you students nickname me “Blue Tritanium”. ::Smiling ironically:: I am tough. But I love educating, seeing students in their teens become adults that contribute to the Federation – and beyond – is rewarding for me. Unfortunately, I know that there’s going to be a small percentage of my students who don’t become the best they can be. ::Looking back at Wil:: Don’t be that statistic, Ukinix.
::Wil clenched his jaw and looked down. He was worried about what was coming.::
Ukinix: So what now.
Zh'kahrik: Well… I’ve suspended Y’noin and Beachman until the beginning of next year. Which means they can’t sit their end of year exams, which means they’ll have to repeat this year.
::Wil’s eyes opened wide in shock, and his jaw dropped. He was ready for his exams and wanted to get this year behind him. The thought of having two more years of senior school instead of one gutted him.::
Zh'kahrik: Upon reflection, I’m going to allow you to sit your exams. But, you’ll have four weeks of after school detention waiting for you next year when you get back. I want to see the word “Lieutenant” in front of your name one day.
::Leaning forward, Wil brought his hands up to his face, closed his eyes, and rubbed his cheeks from relief.::
Zh'kahrik: And I don’t want to see you in here ever again. Good luck with your exams.
::Even though this was good news, Wil was still angry. He wasn’t sure how he ended up in this predicament. He felt that any disciplinary action was not warranted, as he wasn’t the one that triggered the alarm. He stood up, and as he walked out he quietly let several swear words out under his breath at the situation.::
Zh'kahrik: ::Returning to her desk:: Oh, and I don’t like swearing. That’s an extra three days of detention you’ve just earned yourself.
((Ready Room, USS Veritas))
Ukinix: ::Cheekily, To Jansen:: Actually, I called him a “fool”. Twice.
::Wil’s eyes opened wide as he realised he should keep his mouth shut, before he snapped his head back to look at the Captain.::
Rahman: Mr. Ukinix, you’re the furthest ahead. I suggest you stop talking.
Ukinix: ::Raising palm:: Sorry. ::Dropping palm.:: I mean - ::raising palm:: sorry, *Captain*. ::Dropping palm::
Rahman: You’re all just lucky that Admiral Washington hasn’t seen this video yet.
Ukinix: ::Confused:: Sorry, who?
Orrey: Regarding the test. As a highly published and sought after engineer including your work as a project manager for the Engineering Corp you know how important an accurate reporting of testing is. There for when the Chief began his recording there was no other option but to continue the test. I can at least vouch for the issue from the scientific end of the spectrum. Next, as it was the twentieth iteration of the test the results up to that point had followed a predictable curve. Given the output of the nineteenth test, medically I also knew what the likely outcome would be so that I, correctly decided on the need for morphenolog rather than something more prone to side effects given the nature of the metabolic changes such as asinolyathin or hydrocortilene both of which would have reacted poorly given his hypersensitive nervous system.
Teller: Captain, Counselor, I....::Teller stopped short at a whitehot glare from both of them::
::Wil stopped when Jansen raised his palm, so he could continue.::
Orrey: Past the shot being fired you would please note that Teller not only immediately saw the folly of the situation he placed himself in, as well as Wil’s continued chaistizing of him. ::lowering his leg and sitting forward.:: Penultimately you will also note that the recording ends on Teller prompting a question from me.
Ukinix: oO Wait. What Question? Oo
Orrey: Teller was ultimately making sure that the weapon was in such a state that it could, if need be, save the life of any member of this crew, that can be easily denoted by the time of end on the final recording and the time sent that the computer was instructed to relay the test notes to Commander Kelrod.
Ukinix: oO What does he mean… Oo
::As Jansen leant back in his chair and crossed his legs, he sensed confidence and almost a relaxation in the man. That made Wil nervous…::
Orrey: Finally per Starfleet Regulation 256.25 which states in short, “Officers shall show professional behavior at all times.” I am aware that we did violate such a regulation. However as the ranking officer in the situation ultimate responsibility falls to me. So should the punishment.
::Wil looked up at Jansen, and then at his Captain. He guessed she wasn’t buying it.::
Rahman: Frankly, Counselor… that’s a bunch of targ-$#@%. But nice try.
::As she turned her attention to Wil, he’d realised he guessed correctly.::
Rahman: Mr. Ukinix, I’ve already had a previous talk with your department chief about judgement and responsibility.
Ukinix: oO You did? Oo
Rahman: Evidently, he needs another. I hope you do not.
Ukinix: ::Nodding conceitedly:: Not any more. Understood, Captain.
Rahman: Your assessment that this action was reckless and that you should have said something is correct. While it is your responsibility to carry out the orders of your superiors to the best of your ability, it is also your responsibility to judge for yourself and refuse if those orders are unlawful, immoral…
::As Rahman performed a half eye-roll at his chief that would have received a perfect “10” from any judges watching,
Wil’s mind started to wander…::
Ukinix: oO What’s all that abou- *ohhhh*… Oo
Rahman: …or just plain stupid. I expect you to step up next time if he should again have a lapse in judgement.
::Wil’s eyes opened wide, as he answered enthusiastically.::
Ukinix: Oh, bloody oath I will.
::He swallowed hard as he curbed his enthusiastic answer a little.::
Ukinix: ::Meekly:: Captain.
::Wil was relieved when Roshanara turned to look at Geoffrey.::
Rahman: Mr. Teller, I have told you before you will make mistakes. I will be patient as you continue to grow and learn as an officer and leader… but do not try my patience when it comes to safety. Whether you felt the risk was acceptable to yourself, you are no longer acting for yourself alone. You are the chief engineer of a Starfleet cruiser, leading the largest department aboard this ship. Seventy-five enlisted officers and a dozen commissioned officers, including Lieutenant Ukinix here, look to you for guidance and as a role model. I understand that is a hefty responsibility to be placed on you so soon in your career, but you’ve demonstrated to me you can handle it, including from your recent actions taking command of Veritas during our battle with Sentinel.
::Wil sensed his Chief’s embarrassment. He felt bad that he let his chief get himself into this position. It also dawned on Wil that he should have walked away when he had his initial concerns about working on the weapon. Or spoke up more when Teller volunteered himself as the target for the twentieth test. He started to mentally kick himself.::
Teller: Ma'am...I. Thank you, ma'am. I...I will work to follow the example you and the other senior officers have laid out for me. I sincerely apologize.
Rahman: Do not take lightly the faith the men and women under your command place in you. Show the respect you have for that faith through your actions.
Teller: Aye Aye, Captain.
::Wil stared ahead as she turned her attention towards Jansen.::
Rahman: And yes, Counselor, ultimate responsibility does fall to you as the ranking officer. While I can understand Mr. Teller’s enthusiasm can be infectious, I trust you to have the experience and maturity to temper that enthusiasm when needed.
::Wil broke his absent stare as he looked at Roshanara.::
Rahman: I’m going to forgo placing an official mark in your records as I believe I’ve made myself clear on my expectations for the future. Is that correct?
Teller: Crystal clear, Captain.
Ukinix: Absolutely, Sir.
::Wil sucked his bottom lip into his mouth. He didn’t know whether to feel anxious or relieved.::
Rahman: Still, you all have demonstrated a startling disregard for sidearm safety. As such, you are hereby ordered to complete a recertification course for basic sidearm handling under the supervision of Commanders Delano and Kelrod. Dismissed.
::At this point, Wil closed his eyes, and silently exhaled. He would have been happy with just about any other punishment. Not only did his dislike for hand weapons *not* stop him from being part of the modifications to the Romulan weapon in the first place, he was going to have to actually handle sidearms again…
He slowly opened his eyes, before standing up. He respectfully nodded to his Captain, before following his colleagues out of the ready room.
The realisation of what had just happened then hit him in the chest like a – well, like a modified Romulan weapon being fired at him. Disciplinary action in the Captain’s ready room was a personal blow for him – the circumstances around it made it worse.
He felt like he’d just failed his Andorian principal from senior school.
His thought processes were interrupted when Teller spoke up.::
Teller: For what it's worth, it was an honor getting shot by you, Counselor. Lets never do it again. I'll see you fellas on the phaser range.
Ukinix: ::Frowning:: I’m truly sorry, Sirs. That was an episode I’d rather forget. Getting recertified is not my idea of fun.
::Wil pursed his lips, nodding before continuing.::
Ukinix: And it’s my own fault. I’ll see you two later.
::He decided to cross the bridge and head towards the empty briefing room for a few minutes, to look out of the window and gather his thoughts.::
Lieutenant JG Wil Ukinix