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Topic: USS Endeavour: Meeting Without Coffee  (Read 129 times) previous topic - next topic

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USS Endeavour: Meeting Without Coffee
[ Cmdr Ranaan Ducote | XO's Office | Deck 03 | USS Endeavour ] attn: @Multificionado

Ducote much preferred to do his job 'in the wild'; walking the corridors, listening to passing conversations, feeling around with his empathy when he was close enough - though when his effective range for most people had been foreshortened to a dozen metres or fewer and was also attenuated by intervening bulkheads, that was rare - and generally settling disputes as he found them. Much of the paperwork could be done on the move, too, arranging training and certification schedules via PADD and ensuring their itinerary took them near the relevant starbases and planets for conferences any members of his crew wished to attend. Captain Amasov was a good match in that regard; he preferred to stay on or near the bridge which freed Ducote to act as he did.

When meetings or briefings were called, the hybrid similarly preferred to use the observation lounge if it was free or one of the other conference spaces. Besides being open and comfortable, and affording a better view, they also counted as neutral spaces for those present. It was everyone's territory; he found that discussions tended to flow better between all present rather than whoever's station it happened to be.

His own office, then, was reserved for when such considerations were irrelevant. It was his territory.

He had a well-known habit of insisting that refreshments be available at any day-to-day meeting. And his office desk had even been modified with a replicator plate at his self-indulgent request so he didn't have to constantly get up for a fresh cortado every time he finished one. However, it saw little use when the room was occupied. The commander provided no refreshment during disciplinary matters, and that ended up being mostly what he used his office for.

Except in Blue's case, anyway. He had tried to have a Sit Down Talk with her in here precisely twice, and both times had resulted in just about anything other than disciplinary action. Before he could get too distracted, he shifted in his seat and readjusted his uniform before refocusing on the PADD in his hands. He sighed deeply, annoyed that he had to be here for this at all... but it was an inevitability on a ship with as many... strong personalities as the Endeavour.

Dark eyes flicked over the lines of the report while he shook his head subconsciously. He felt someone approaching the door, coming down the corridor. His office was actually at the end of this particular section, so anyone he picked up through the bulkhead was almost always there because he asked them to be. Sure enough, his door chime rang a couple of seconds later.

He spent another few seconds skimming the report in his hands before dropping the PADD on the desk with a metallic slap.

"Enter."
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Re: USS Endeavour: Meeting Without Coffee
Reply #1
[Lieutenant JG Gideon Drake | Corridors | Deck 03 | USS Endeavour] Attn: @Top Hat
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Gideon knew he was in trouble, and things were serious as crap, given that he had been summoned directly to Commander Ducote's office. He felt if it was his boss handling this sort of appointment, he would be okay; after all he had expected his own departmental head even to handle disciplinary meetings, but the first officer of the Endeavour? That's how he knew things were serious.

It most likely had to do with the rumors going around. Rumors among the ladies of the lower ranks. He was reputed as a lady's man, after all, but the fingers were pointed so quickly because he used to be with the Maquis. At first, he didn't care much. So what if the ladies were so attractive? So attractive...well, he can be charming enough, it worked. Often times, too well. He'd take to seeing lovely birds, then wake up the next day lying next to her. He couldn't help it.

The rumors soon flew around the Endeavour. Rumors and gossip seem to travel as fast as news, if not faster. Sometimes they got somewhat farfetched, like the claims Gideon was sleeping his way to a promotion. It seemed to have started when he began snogging the Endeavour's Communications Specialist, Lieutenant Anna Syrin, as a means by hitting on her, going so far as seduction. Indeed, Gideon was infatuated with Anna, but he had one date. Only one. And what a date it seemed.

He had been on the Endeavour for almost a month, and he was so taken in by Anna, he asked her out. Big mistake. He should've remembered her from the Academy, a year or two ahead of him, he should've remembered she had a libido bigger than a Warbird. Anna's horniness was escalating the entire evening, so much that it was even too much for Gideon to handle, escalating to the point that Gideon made like Joseph with Potiphar's wife and got the dickens out of her quarters before things got out of hand.

The next day, fingers began pointing at Gideon, and Gideon was sure that part of the reasons to cast blame on him was that he was ex-Maquis, even if Starfleet was accepting of anybody regardless of race, sex (gender and orientation), ethnicity, even if one's record was against him.

Much as was the case, the blame and the rumors escalated, and they had been for the past week. People began talking about Gideon behind his back. He knew they were talking about him because they were referring to "the Maquis sleeper." In his own defense, he knew his charm was good, but probably too good. He didn't speak up because he was worried his own charm would be powerful enough for men to try to snog him; he only experienced such cases three times in his Starfleet career, twice at the Academy. Fortunately for him, it didn't happen on his first post; ninety percent of the crew of the Longbottom, or Proxima-class starship, known as the Bismarck, consisted primarily of old fogies who were too old to be taken in by the wiles of a young pup. The third case happened on the Rabin, when he came across a Vulcan undergoing Pon Farr, and the encounter scared him enough that he remained under his bed, so long that it took a security detail to coax him out.

Whether or not men took an interest in him, the fact remained that there seemed to be a growing animosity from most of the men so far, directed at him, and he figured that there was an eighty percent probability for why fingers were pointing at him, even more than the fact that he was ex-Maquis.

To be summoned by Commander Ducote was an indication of how serious the rumors seemed to be getting. Gideon knew his innocence, but he hoped he can make a strong defense to the XO.

He chimed in and after a moment, was informed he can enter. He stepped in, ready for the reprimand. He was somewhat surprised to see Ducote hadn't looked up at the door to see him come in; was it possible that somehow heard him...or felt him arrive? It would indicate Ducote was either Betazoid or El-Aurian, he didn't know the first officer. Nonetheless, he stood at attention.

"Lieutenant Junior Grade Gideon Drake, reporting as ordered, sir," he said.

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Re: USS Endeavour: Meeting Without Coffee
Reply #2
[ Cmdr Ranaan Ducote | XO's Office | Deck 03 | USS Endeavour ] attn: @Multificionado

He was worried, which at least spoke to some level of awareness. He didn't get anything more specific than that, though, given their unfamiliarity and a lack of adequate time to absorb it. There was an undercurrent of something else, there, too, but he couldn't pin it down just yet. Ducote was happy to spend another second or two looking Drake over before deciding he didn't want to drag this out.

"Have a seat," he said, gesturing to the seats before his desk, then sitting back in his own chair and gazing levelly at Gideon across the surface. It had been phrased as an offer, but his tone implied otherwise.

It took a lot more concentration these days than it used to - and it was technically a violation of the Code of Sentience, but what a 'mundane' didn't know wouldn't hurt them - but Ducote focused his empathic talent squarely on the young man in front of him, tuning out the faint background babble of the surrounding compartments. No deep dives, or anything that might tip him off, but the hybrid was 'tuning in' before the meeting got started. He wanted to be sure that they were both on the right page and that Drake accepted whatever outcome was reached... and was honest about what he said. A past career in psychically-verified interrogation came in handy; transferable skills, etc.

"Why don't you tell me about what happened with Lieutenant Syrin the other night?" he asked, resisting the temptation to pick up the PADD on the table (its display now having darkened automatically) and read through the transcript of her complaint still on it.

Let's see how well they match.

Finding where the gaps in the respective accounts were - if there were any, he dutifully reminded himself - would help determine if this were a case of mere immaturity or if something more direct was required. He sorely hoped for the former. It was easier to wait for someone to grow up (albeit now with the reminder of such an expectation) than it was to go through the effort of putting someone through the administrative wringer until they Got It.

In his experience, once they were already at the 'Come to my office' stage, the eventual solution lay somewhere between those two extremes.
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Re: USS Endeavour: Meeting Without Coffee
Reply #3
[Lieutenant JG Gideon Drake | XO's Office | Deck 03 | USS Endeavour] Attn: @Top Hat
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As Gideon took a seat, he was aware of Ducote studying him. Was it his imagination, or did it seem like he was giving him an X-Ray?

At the request to explain about what happened between him and Lieutenant Syrin, it was easy enough to begin.

"Well, to start off, Commander," he said, "I can easily compare the situation to that one story from Earth's Bible, the part with Joseph with Potiphar's wife? Pretty much the same thing, only much worse. I remember her from the Academy, a year or two ahead of me. What I forgot about her was that her libido was bigger than a Warbird...Klingon, Romulan or Reman. Or all three. In any case, we had a nice chat, we intended to have a romantic evening, then things got worse. Bad enough to get myself out. I count myself glad Lieutenant Syrin is no Klingon or Orion, or else I would've lost an arm in escaping, though I had to ditch my uniform in my escape.

"I'm very sure the rumors have been going around and have pointed at me since I made my narrow escape. I wouldn't be surprised if Lieutenant Syrin started them; if I didn't know her better, I'd presume her to be Orion. I can also compare that with that biblical story; Potiphar's wife did as much as she could to smear Joseph's reputation after he rejected him and made his escape, given how he was on good terms with Potiphar. The wife smeared him enough for Potiphar to throw the poor kid in prison."

He couldn't help but bring up the subject of the Bible; after all, he had studied a wide variety of religious texts; as a half-Bajoran, he was familiar with the Prophets, but he never so much as said a prayer to them in his life; his mother never prayed to them ever since her captivity.

Nonetheless, things aren't too bad yet; things would have to get worse for Gideon to even so much as attempt a prayer, whether to God or the Prophets.

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Re: USS Endeavour: Meeting Without Coffee
Reply #4
[ Cmdr Ranaan Ducote | XO's Office | Deck 03 | USS Endeavour ] attn: @Multificionado

Ducote sat in silence through Drake's... account. Though he couldn't help the bemused blink that the extended biblical reference brought out of him. Between his French father and Brazilian upbringing, he was (vaguely-speaking) a Catholic himself, and the Christian Bible (in its current translation, anyway) was not unknown to him. But given that the story of Joseph and Potiphar not only resulted in the imprisonment of one of its titular characters, but how that person was also a slave, he wasn't sure how Gideon's situation could even charitably be called equivalent, let alone 'worse'.

His Academy timeline didn't match up either, unless he'd attempted to get in more than once. Which was, Ducote had to admit, a possibility... even if he didn't care to look up the numbers at this particular moment. But the good lieutenant was coming up on her second year aboard the Endeavour, and this hadn't been her first assignment either. But there was no real deceit coming from Gideon. He either believed it, or was a better dissembler than the empath gave him credit for. Or perhaps had simply convinced himself.

Taken together, these things pointed to a certain narcissism. Arrogance, at the least.

"As part of my investigation into this complaint, Mister Drake, I asked around Ms Syrin's friends to see what they thought of the situation - hers and not yours, because she is better established here and I had more brains to pick. There are two sides, of course, but the sides in question are sometimes a little close to proceedings to give the clearest picture. I'm sure you won't be surprised to hear that they don't like you. Do you know why?"

The question was obviously rhetorical; he didn't wait for a response. "They think you took advantage of her. You might have known of her at the Academy, but I doubt it was by reputation. The reason for her..." he frowned, as if trying to painstakingly recall the proper wording, "warbird-sized libido was more to do with the fact that she was in a long-term relationship with a Deltan hybrid. A relationship which has, in point of fact, recently ended." He shrugged. "Or perhaps she did mention that. Her report-" he tapped the PADD on the desk in front of him before folding his hands in his lap again, "-doesn't say. Mentions a lot of alcohol, though." He let the implication at the end hang there.

"Anything else to add?"
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Re: USS Endeavour: Meeting Without Coffee
Reply #5
[Lieutenant JG Gideon Drake | XO's Office | Deck 03 | USS Endeavour] Attn: @Top Hat
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Gideon blinked in surprise at the news about Lieutenant Syrin.

"Commander!" he said with surprise. "I didn't know that! A Deltan hybrid? That's...the first I heard. Never knew about the Deltan. As for the alcohol, it was true; it was technically champagne, as befitting a date, although I don't know how one simple bottle of champagne constituted as 'a lot of alcohol.'"

Anything else to add...Gideon could mention...

"If I may also add," Gideon added, "it could be possible Lieutenant was getting back at me; back at the Academy, I took part in exposing some infiltrators from the Orion Syndicate. One of them was Syrin's personal trainer. Whether or not he was in cahoots with the Orion Syndicate, Lieutenant Syrin had something of a grudge against me. She never made it obvious around me, though I had heard ever since then that she's hated me for it. Of course, I didn't expose the infiltrators alone, I had help from some other cadets as well.

"And she hasn't been the only one with a grudge; A lot of those Orions had friends. My last postings before the Endeavour, the Starship Rabin and the old Longbottom Bismarck - a Proxima-class starship in case you didn't know what I was talking about - at both times each ship was attacked by Orions. The Bismarck was almost seized by the Orions, and I found out later that some of the attackers were friends of the infiltrators back at the Academy, and were undoubtedly getting payback. The Rabin...granted, attacks from Orions were normal, the starship was assigned to play nanny to the supply fleet, something purposeful for a veteran of the Dominion War. Nonetheless, I've already had inklings of Orions out to get me. And one of Syrin's friends was Orion after all; whether or not she put her up to it or was a friend of the Orion infiltrators, I am not sure."

It was true, for the most part, although he tended to rely on his badass exterior to cover for his behavior. But it probably may not work this time; he figured there would come one time when somebody would see past his badassery.

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Re: USS Endeavour: Meeting Without Coffee
Reply #6
[ Cmdr Ranaan Ducote | XO's Office | Deck 03 | USS Endeavour ] attn: @Multificionado 

Orion infil-?

The whole story had definitely jumped the shark, now. Quite aside from the fact that both Starfleet Security and Starfleet Intelligence would be all over a Syndicate operation on the capital world of the UFP like blood fleas on a Klingon berserker. The idea that a couple of cadets would be the one to crack such an operation - inside the Academy! - and not SFI quietly removing the agents in question defied belief. Not only that, but he was reasonably sure he would have heard about it. His own network of contacts from his time tackling organised crime aboard 157, not to mention the even wider net he had access to through his father (loathe though he was to use it), hadn't released a whisper of it. Fantasy.

Ducote couldn't do much but gaze levelly at Drake across the desk. Not for the first time, he found himself wondering if being prescient would help him not sign certain transfer orders, and keep his life nice and quiet. Well, possibly. He couldn't deny that it did at least break the monotony of paperwork, and he would probably never have met Blue if he followed such a 'quiet life' policy. He took a breath as he tapped on his desk console to wake the screen, checking the time.

He wasn't even sure what to make of the young man opposite him any more. Either he truly thought his fantasy was going to get past the empathic hybrid in front of him, or he didn't quite appreciate why he was here. Perhaps both. Perhaps he bought too deeply into his own hype.

The XO looked back to Gideon.

"So, tell me if I have this straight," he began rhetorically, pulling his chair closer to the desk and leaning his elbows on the edge, his hands clasped in front of him. "This woman, who hated you, and bore a grudge - despite a personality mostly devoid of the capability - was so... willing to jump your bones, so enamoured with you, that she came on to you hard enough that you... ran away? And now any potential discipline issue I have is only because she has smeared your good name thoroughly enough."

The commander decided he was going to need a rag to clean his desk of all the sarcasm that must have dripped onto it. Before Drake could offer a rejoinder, he continued, his tone becoming a little more deadpan.

"There are responsibilities and expectations associated with your rank, Lieutenant. There are five hundred people aboard this ship, which really isn't all that many when it comes to establishing a reputation for yourself. If it helps, imagine at the outset whether or not a future personal interaction is going to land you in this office, or have a think about how happy you'd be about your chain of command learning about it. I don't particularly care what this crew gets up to in their personal time, as long as there is no harm wrought nor complaints made. When we end up getting to this stage, I am already annoyed - you're all supposed to be adults, for crying out loud.

"And if nothing else, you'd probably enjoy more success if every woman you chase doesn't have to worry about the story you will tell of them later. Don't forget, I've seen the notes added to your service jacket from your previous assignments." Of particular prominence was a Vulcan undergoing pon farr who ended up reducing him to hiding under the bed until Security arrived to rescue him - interesting to read how he reacted when the shoe was on the other foot.

Right about now, he wished he did provide coffee in these meetings. At least for himself. Having to give this kind of elementary talk always dried him out. He hated them.

"Frankly, Mister Drake, this whole meeting has spoken to some fundamental problems that were not apparent to me in any of your profiles and records. As it stands, you have plateaued your career. Materially, going forward, I will not sign any transfer request you might make until I am satisfied you will not be a detriment to your future crew. The only way you get off this ship for the foreseeable future is by going AWOL - and let me tell you now; our next layover is a long time off.

"I have already arranged with Lieutenant Cross and Commander Vasiliev that you will help the Ops chief with a complete physical inspection of the phaser strips - should be easy enough for a qualified Tactical officer, heavy-menial enough to count as a punitive detail, and mindless enough for you to thoroughly contemplate how your actions are received by others. Vasiliev is expecting you on deck six - you'd better get going." The Russian Operations chief had a well-earned stern reputation on the ship. Ducote got along with him very well, but the 'personnel disposition meetings' conducted in the COps' quarters usually resulted in a sharp headache for Ducote the following morning.

"Dismissed, Lieutenant," he ordered.
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Re: USS Endeavour: Meeting Without Coffee
Reply #7
[Lieutenant JG Gideon Drake | XO's Office | Deck 03 | USS Endeavour] Attn: @Top Hat
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Gideon had seen Ducote's reaction when he mentioned the Orion infiltrators. He could tell from the look Ducote was making. Gideon would be surprised to meet somebody who believed his story; few people ever did. The fact of the matter was, it all happened purely by chance. He had merely happened upon it, and it was an operation that was so secret, the Orions would have to kill their own mothers and siblings to keep it under wraps.

Of course, the fact that nobody believed him whenever he told the story was a lesson in bragging, and he kept his mouth shut on the matter ever since; he never brought it up again unless it was absolutely necessary, and even then, nobody believed him.

Still, he wished he remembered the girl who helped him, a girl with a long name...Faye Whatchamacallit...he had a hard time remembering surnames. She struck him as the most beautiful woman there ever was, and while he found girls that were almost as beautiful by a fraction, they never were really her. Gideon had a feeling that he will know Faye when he saw her. He never forgot such a beautiful, exotic face.

As hard as Commander Ducote's words were, Gideon felt better at them. He may be a stern man, but he's a man Gideon can respect. In fact, the more Gideon studied Ducote's face, the more he was reminded of Chakotay, back from the Maquis. Granted, where Chakotay was stocky, Ducote was lanky, but they had something in common: charisma, discipline, a firm hand, and one to look up to. It took little imagination to picture Ducote talking Cardassians into abandoning a planet in the DMZ...if Ducote had been a member of the Maquis.

"I understand, sir," he said, after Ducote mentioned about his career plateauing. "Frankly, I don't mind if the next layover takes time; after being on a post or two that involves repelling Orion pirates, a quiet post will do me good. And I thank you for your words as well, I'll bear that in mind on the next girl I'm interested in."

Upon hearing about the arrangement to work with Lieutenant Cross and Commander Vasiliev, Gideon smiled. It'll be just what he needed. Nothing like another round of weapons inspections.

"Sir!" he said, at hearing that he's dismissed.

There better not be a bloody robot owl to make fun of me during my inspection, he thought as he turned to depart.

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Re: USS Endeavour: Meeting Without Coffee
Reply #8
[ Cmdr Ranaan Ducote | XO's Office | Deck 03 | USS Endeavour ]

As Gideon got up and left, gaily smiling his way out of the room, Ducote could only shake his head. Not once had he expressed - within or without - remorse, nor awareness that other people could quite easily verify the... liberal tales he might tell. It looked as if he was going to be stuck with that hollow pip for a long time; Ducote wasn't letting him up or out (unless he went far enough as to resign) until he was positive that Drake had earned it.

And if he thought working with Vasiliev was going to be easy... well. He'd let the Russian himself disabuse the young buck of that particular foolhardy notion. Ship-grade nadion emitters were bulky, heavy, and tough to take apart. And there wasn't a department head aboard more exacting than Anatoly. Not even Blue. Still, though, he might have tried to make that grin a little less shit-eating.

Standing, he deposited the PADDs containing Drake's record and infractions on a side shelf, before returning to his desk and its little mounted replicator unit. A full cafetiere of south American coffee stood on his desk, filling his office with its rich aroma in short order. Pouring himself one, he sipped appreciatively at the black liquid. He took a deep breath, taking a fair shot at a mental reset, then XO tapped his badge.

"Lieutenant Syrin; Commander Ducote. Please report to my office. Out."


-FIN
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