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The Humiliation of Casparo Zolog. [Felix/Admiral Kreik]

Posted on Sun Sep 1st, 2019 @ 11:32am by Captain Felix de l'Isle

Mission: Admiralgate.
Location: Felix's Quarters—Ready Room
Timeline: Three months after Admiralgate

Three months at slipstream hadn’t quite given the disgraced crew of the USS Lone Star cabin fever, but it had come close. Even her captain and motivator-general was starting to grind at the gears, changing between them with the tired monotony more familiar to a miner or a hauler.

“The time is 0500 hours,” the computer declared again. The first time that day, although the days had started to become the same. Earlier in their journey Felix had held out against it until, say, ten or quarter past the hour, when the ratchety voice became truly intolerable. These days – whichever they were – he tended to rise before it, chiselling out a little victory from the monotony of voice, travel and repetition.

Slumberous, de l’Isle went about his morning stretches, eyed by Lester. Tonx hadn’t stayed the night that night. He stretched, only clad in his boxer shorts, overlooking the false sunrise over the arboretum below.

“Bridge to Captain.”

Felix didn’t bother to move himself from his stretch. “De l’Isle.”

“Incoming call from Admiral Kreik.” Tonx cut a great tone of bemused when she wanted to, and this was one of those times. “She says she’ll wait for you to get dressed.”

Orders. At last.

“Put here through to my ready room. I’ll be there in three minutes.”

-=-

The emblem of Starfleet Command lingered holographically in the corner of his office, taunting him as Felix arrived. He swiped to accept the transmission, the pixels sweeping into the three-dimensional image of the half-Klingon woman.

“Admiral.” He nodded. “I was expecting Admiral Stanton, perhaps Admiral McArnh.”

“They’ve still had enough of you and your crew, by all accounts. Besides, this one’s from Chief JAG and she asked me to relay it directly.”

Felix remained at attention: a forcible cruelty for a man who insisted upon it from his own crew only because his rank demanded him to. Behind him, one display tinkled with the influx of mission orders.

“It has been determined by the office of the Judge Advocate General that the Lone Star’s lack of discipline did indeed disrupt the conference on Calapina Four and bring the service into disrepute. It is her judgment after consultation that every active officer interviewed during the investigation, your chief of the boat and your chief science officer included, is found guilty under section 4B of the military justice code and sentenced to three months’ suspension of privileges.”

Kreik raised a hand, expecting Felix to object. He held his face and body mutinously still: an officer experienced both at the bluff and the hold. She appraised him for signs of poker, finding none.

Perdita? Why Perdita? For doing nothing, he supposed. Felix deferred the thought in case his expression betrayed even a hint of what was going through his head.

“In this case,” she continued, her own voice flattening, “that is deemed to have been served. A marker will be placed on the permanent record of all crew, except for yours. The Admiralty gave up on that some time ago.”

Felix’s mouth quivered open but Kreik intercepted his words in a flash.

“And don’t bother volunteering to take responsibility. That won’t work, either.”

It slumped shut.

“Furthermore, in the case of Commander Casparo Zolog.” What? Something within Felix’s torso became hot. “This case was brought to court martial and heard by the Chief JAG with participation from Commander Zolog via a quantum subspace channel. He declined the use of an advocate and represented himself.” Kreik seemed to find this both unintelligent and impressive, given the contortion of her eyebrows. “He was found guilty of gross negligence in this matter with the penalty being demotion and the discharge of all previous awards and medals.”

The heat became white and boiled Felix’s shoulders two inches higher. “That’s out of line, Admiral!” he exclaimed.

“Maintain your stance!” she roared back. Her gaze became a laser that bore into his. The captain’s chest rose and fell like a tango dancer’s. “It is not for you to declare what is appropriate or inappropriate in this matter, Captain. This has gone to the top and been appealed on Lieutenant Zolog’s behalf.”


“Lieutenant?!” Felix gasped. That made Casparo Zolog only the third officer he had encountered to receive a double-demotion. The first two were him.

“As the officer on duty for the majority of this catastrophe he must bear the consequences of his actions. It is only because you are in deep space that he was not reduced to Ensign, or decommissioned.”

Despite travelling at slipstream, flames of azure and russet and teal licking the windows of the ship thirstily, the Lone Star seemed, for once, very still.

“The JAG has shown leniency in this case,” Kreik continued. “You are to inform him of this outcome and assign him a new role aboard the Lone Star, effective immediately.”

“I require an executive officer and you have removed my only two candidates,” Felix growled.

“Not so, Captain. A slipstream carrier shuttle is already on its way to you. It contains your new two-eye-see and other supplementary officers.”

There was a pause.

“Try not to let your damned ship ruin their careers. Kreik out.”

-=-

On the bridge, Lieutenant Skrillo jumped a little from her place at the helm as a violent sound emanated from the Captain’s ready room. Then another, and the sound of something breaking.

“At ease, Lieutenant,” said Casparo Zolog. At last, his demeanour began to collapse; the joy flooded from his voice as his shoulders tightened in anticipation.

“I have a feeling I know what that is.”

-=-=-=-

by Captain Felix de l’Isle

 

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