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The Inferno (Backlog)

Posted on Sat Nov 24th, 2018 @ 6:59am by Lieutenant Commander Jael Steiger & Ensign Breana Rathburn

Mission: Spoilt Settlers
Location: Jael's Office
Timeline: The day after 'She's Always a Woman'

Jael stared at the PADD in front of her, her eyes squinting in analysis over Bree’s military file. The dark-haired woman just stared right back at her, almost taunting her with her brown almond shaped eyes. It was not a Starfleet officer she was looking it; it was a rebellious teen trying to assert herself as a ‘grown-up’ in her parents’ eyes. Jael was the parent. Bad decision after bad decision after bad decision had been made even knowing fair and well that she was already skating on thin ice with Starfleet. Bree had been given far too many chances to step up to the plate and each time she didn’t even step out of the dugout.

The question that lingered in Jael’s mind was ‘How do I get through to her?’ After their last meeting she felt confidence she had left Bree with the tools to be able to win her and Alexia’s trust back. What ended up happening was just the opposite. Jael had gone from one extreme to the other in her approaches and still couldn’t break the officer’s deadly stubbornness. Attacking would only harden Bree’s exterior, patronising would only cause a roll of the eye, and humiliation would only serve to prove a point and not push Bree to look inwardly at her own thought process. Jael needed to have a conversation, a real conversation, that would strike on a bulb of enlightenment in the officer’s head.

Having a few moments before Bree’s arrival for the meeting, Jael quickly went over her words in preparation of what was about to come.

Bree headed to the First Officers Office with a soft sigh as she got closer. While she knew what was coming, it didn't make this walk any easier. She screwed up in her going against the advice of the command team in engaging with the guest, but she'd made life easier for everyone at the same time. Somehow though, she had no doubt that the XO would turn this around and make it even worse then it was. After all, it wasn't as though she was a part of the take over, she hadn't even known about it... hell, she'd been used just as much as everyone else had been. But yet... it would be her fault. Damn it, what hadn't Carter just shot her..?

Taking a slow deep breath as she reached the door she reminded herself that this was going to happen, and to simply take whatever was given to her. It wasn't like she was ever going to get anyplace on this ship anyways, so might as well just make the best of whatever was thrown at her... at least till she figured out what she wanted to do off the ship and back on earth. Closing her eyes a moment as she tried to settle her mind and the thoughts that drifted around, she reached up and rang the chime.

Jael looked up at the door and let out a quick breath. "Enter," she stated as the door opened to reveal the very nervous-looking Ensign. "Please, have a seat, Ensign." She decided to take a slightly less direct approach with Bree in hopes she would feel more open to what Jael had to say this time around.

Stepping in, Bree gave a slight nod of her head to the Commander. Following her lead, she stepped around and made her way over to settle, somewhat stiffly, into the chair. Brown eyes looked towards Jael, giving the woman her full attention as she waiting for what was to come.

Giving Bree a moment to settle in, Jael came from around her desk, quickly pressing the button on her computer to begin the recording. "Now, Ensign, I am very sure you are aware of why we are having this meeting." She softened her bright green eyes a bit. "I am going to, as they say, 'cut to the chase.' I am asking for your total honesty as we go through this meeting, but, please, spare me the intricate details. When did your affair with our esteemed," the word was drawn out thickly with her accent, "guest?"

Bree had no plans to go into the details, but was glad to know that the First officer wasn't going to want them. Her gaze dropped down a little to look at her hands as she rested them upon her lap. "It started that day that I went to fix his replicator over the sweater. "

Jael nodded. "You were still under the confinements of your quarters per Commander Nolan's orders at the time of your initial interaction, yes?"

"Yes, but to be honest I was on duty when it first happened." Bree said with a slight furrow of brows, fingertips moving as nails worked the rough edges of her other nails in nervousness and thoughts.

Jael paused at the added statement to her answer. She was beginning to wonder how aware Bree really was of her actions and that she had already begun to dig an even deeper hole for herself. "The terms of your confinement include the ability to leave your quarters only when you are on duty. However, I was not aware that included on the list of your Starfleet duties was to have sexual relations with one of our guests. So you are telling me that while you were on duty you violated two of the conditions of your punishment?"

Bree gave a little shrug, what did the woman want her to say? She'd been honest with the answer like the woman had asked and now she wanted to use it to add to everything else. So now where did that leave her? A slow deep breath was taken as she pondered how she violated two of her conditions... having sex, while she knew pretty of other people that did it also, on duty was one... the other? Brows furrowed a little more as she had a while little internal conversation with herself before she finally answered. "Sure."

Jael's eyes remained focused on the officer. "The furrowing of your eyebrows makes me believe you are not so sure. Is there something that you are confused about that you would like me to clarify?"

"No, Commander." Bree replied quickly. After all, like it really mattered what she said? Either way, she had no doubt the woman would just use it to add to everything. At the moment she wanted nothing more then to be told what her new punishment was going to be so she could get on with it. Nipping lightly at her lower lip as she wondered what happened to Jael's words about cutting to the chase, brown eyes flickered up to her a moment before dropping back down to her hands.

There was no doubt in Jael’s mind that Bree was holding back. Though it did serve the officer to continue to just listen and not be worried about what comeback she wanted to say. “Now, I do not need to go into detail about the second violation of sneaking the guest into your quarters while under confinement in order to further your natural inhibitions. I would just be repeating myself. I will now move on to the other reason we are having this meeting: your violation of my orders to not engage with the colonists unless it was absolutely vital to your duties assigned by Starfleet. If I have the timeline correct, the incident with the sweater occurred after the briefing which you were present at, yes?”

There was a slight raise of brow hearing the violation about her sneaking guest in. There had been nothing stating that she couldn't have guest come into her quarters. Hell, the XO, her brother while they had been on the starbase when she was first assigned to her punishment, Doyle and some of the other engineering officers had all dropped by to check on her. Yet nothing was said about that, but let some guy come in who she had a fling with and that's a break of punishment? She took a slow deep breath and bit a little harder on her lower lip to keep silent.

Closing her eyes a moment to keep from rolling them with the question asked. After all, the woman knew dang well it had, so why even bother to ask? yes, clearly Jael didn't understand the concept of 'cutting to the chase'. "Yep"

“You and your fellow officers were under orders to not engage with the colonists due to the issues they had been causing us. Believe me, you are not the only one to have violated that order and those who did have been dealt with, including one who has been relieved from his Starfleet duties and will be joining the colonists in a penal colony.” Jael had managed to get the redhead led colonist to talk, who had decided to throw the officer she used to get the access codes under the bus. “What I find both frustrating and fascinating is that you knowingly engaged in a sexual relationship that I forbade in order to protect you and your fellow officers from unnecessary conflicts. I would like to listen to your thought process throughout the chain of events from the initial engagement with our guest up until the point where he revealed his true intentions to you.”

Bree had been listening and was glad to know that she hadn't been the only one that had screwed up, though she was curious if the others had all had to go though the same line of questioning that she herself was going though. Or if the bull was still focused on her. Curling fingers into a ball before stretching them outwards as she tried to keep herself focused on simply getting though this without pissing the woman off even more she took a slow deep breath in before releasing it to speak. "I went in and flirted lightly with him, I have found in my experiences that sometimes it's easier to deal with high strung people by killing them with kindness and letting them think that it's all about them. While I perhaps went a little overboard. Life was a bit easier for people after I did what I did, he relaxed on everyone as long as I kept him happy. As for his intentions, I learned that the same time everyone else did."

Jael nodded in understanding. Bree had used a tactic that even she had used during her work with Intelligence. However, Bree had used it at the wrong time with the wrong person and caused herself to get caught up in a rather large pool of quicksand. Jael hoped to guide Bree a bit, maybe get her to see that she is not the enemy as long as Bree doesn’t make her one. “Yes, ‘killing with kindness’ is often a valuable tool when it comes to dealing with difficult people. You also have to consider who the receiver is. I stated during the briefing that Monsieur Deubratonè is a misogynist. A misogynist is a person who hates women and finds them to be not of equal stature to men. So when a woman flirts with a misogynist it only serves to inflate their already over-inflated egos and mental notion that they are ‘God’s gift to women.’” She paused, watching for the wheels to turn in Bree’s head. “I am not punishing you for your thinking as it was honest, though slightly misguided. Monsieur Deubratonè took advantage of you which you should have been able to see after piecing together what I had said and how he had been acting with you. Does this make sense?”

"Yeah" A slight nod of her head was given hearing Jael. While she hadn't realized to what extent Phillipe had been using her, she had known she was being used. But in the same concept she'd used the man also. She'd used him as an outlet for her pent up frustrations, she'd used him as a way to relax and let her mind be free of the trouble she'd found on this ship. They had both used each other, but she decided to leave all that to herself.

Jael gave her a slight grin. "I understand you were in a position of feeling vulnerable after what had happened before. I had hoped you had taken your secluded time to think about what had happened and why and find a better outlet to release your... frustrations." Jael looked at the woman who had been slowly crumbling from the pressure of everything, and everyone, around her. "Do you have any questions or concerns for me that you would like to address before I move on to the rather unpleasant portion of this meeting?"

There was a slight lift of a brow hearing Jael talk about how she supposed to have been feeling vulnerable and been finding an outlet to release her frustrations while stuck in her quarters. Did no one realize that for people to do that, the gym might be a good place to spend time, or other places like that? Being stuck in ones room only served to cause people to get even more frustrated, depressed, and restless. Then again what did she know, she was only some lowly engineer officer who the bloody woman had no clue about other then what she'd read about her. But, nibbling on her lower lip she gave a little shake of her head and opted to keep her mouth shut once more. She was finding more and more silence was becoming her friend. "Nope" was all she said.

“Actually,” Jael had noticed the woman’s posture change, shutting down even more right in front of her. She could feel Bree’s hatred towards her. That was a very familiar sensation, one she had felt throughout her entire career. It was nothing new. Deciding to try and douse Bree’s burning flames, Jael took off her Executive Officer hat for a brief moment in order to ask a question she was very curious in hearing the answer to. It may also serve to get Bree to talk and not just think that Jael is a monster out to get her. She softened her voice a bit, letting her green eyes lighten to an almost translucent shade. “I have a question for you. You had your phaser pointed right at Monsieur Deubratonè. Why did you not stun him so he was unconscious and could be taken into custody sooner?” She had seen Bree pointing the phaser at him yet was nearly killed because of her inaction. It went against Bree’s usual impulsive behavior, especially when she had been so angry after he revealed his true intentions with her.

That brought her thoughts to a standstill a moment as brown eyes flickered to the woman a moment before dropping once more. Part of her wanting to blurt out the whole 'What, let me guess I'm in trouble now because I didn't shot him fast enough? Because I didn't take the two seconds to see what setting the phaser was on? Whatever, just add it to the list of things you're going to punish me for.' Yet, there was a slight part of her that actually now asked herself the same things. Why hadn't she taken those two seconds? She hadn't shot him because she didn't know, after all shooting him in his dick wouldn't have been a kill shot. He had of course been right in the fact that she couldn't kill an unarmed person. Had she wanted to die? Had he been the final straw on this bloody ship that she'd wanted to die? Hoped that Carter or someone would have killed? Closing her eyes a moment as she felt her head start to throb. Crap, just what I need she thought to herself. Hell, the woman was still likely waiting on an answer and all she'd managed to do was come up with more questions for herself. Brows furrowed a little more before she gave a little shrug and finally answered honestly. "I dunno."

“I am going to run a theory by you, Ensign. Please correct me if I am wrong.” Jael locked eyes with Bree as she took a seat in the empty chair next to her. “You were very angry. Understandably angry. So angry that you only saw in extremes: kill or not kill. You were blinded by your rage against him that you were unable to remember the option of stunning him and rendering him unconscious even though you had every right to. You are not in trouble for this indecision, Ensign, as I have witnessed many officers freeze in the same situation. I am hoping you can learn from it and I would be very happy to be able to go through scenarios with you so that you do not have to be hindered under pressure.”

Bree shifted slightly in her chair as she felt the First officers gaze upon her as she listened to her. Her brothers and father had taught her well on how to use weapons. How to protect herself, family and friends. But... Jael had made a point, she hadn't been put to the test to the point of doing such in anger or rage. Could she be right? On top of all her other feelings, could it had been her rage holding her back? Brows furrowed a bit more as she pondered that, a soft "hmm" slipping from her before responding. "I dunno, you could be right."

Jael grinned. Not at the fact that Bree had stated that there was a possibility that she could be right but at the fact that Bree had given her another answer that was more than one or two words. "’He who, over injury received, resentful, for revenge grows greedy and, angrily, seeks out another's harm.’” Jael paused, expecting continued furrowed brows from Bree. She continued after a quick breath. “Dante’s Inferno. Wrath is the fifth circle in Purgatory, or Hell, where those who commited the sin of wrath walk around in a pungent smoke, representing the blinding effects of anger. Fascinating read and interpretation of human behavior, even if considered extremely outdated and theoretical.”

While brows had been furrowed, they couldn't help but to lift some as she listened to Jael and tried to figure out what she was speaking of. Dante's Inferno? A book, she gathered as she tried to make sense of it all. As much as she herself loved to read, she tended to go more on the science fiction realm. The again what she spoke of seemed to be a sci-fi thing, that or her first officer was more into religious life then she was. Either way, she was trying to figure out just what she was speaking of. A soft sigh slipped from her as she lowered her gaze back down to her hands once more in silence.

Jael gave her another small grin as she stood up to move behind her desk. "I digress," she pressed a few buttons on her console. "For the violations of both Commander Nolan's orders and my orders as I have stated previously, you are hereby sentenced to 15 days confinement in your quarters when not on duty, along with a three-month reassignment to Deck 34.” Jael raised her eyebrow slightly, “As you are well aware that is the Solid Waste Processing Plant. Since you have not proven yourself to be responsible I will be monitoring your quarters for any unsanctioned guests.”

Jael paused, quickly going over the next portion of her speech in her mind. “However, since the crew has been given shore leave upon arrival at Starbase 1, I will grant you 24 hours leave as well. It is to be spent with your family, and only your family, at their home in Texas. You also have a right to execute your Article 32 rights and request a court-martial though I believe that will be ill-advised as you will more than likely end up out of the service and facing criminal charges. I hope you can see how generous Commander Nolan and I are being with how serious your infractions have been.” Her eyes darkened as she looked at Bree with a stone-cold stare. “This is your last chance to gain our trust back, Ensign. Take a long, hard look at yourself and how you ended up in the same position as before. Perhaps read a bit of Dante’s Inferno, or I can recommend some other reading materials for you to enjoy. Do you have any questions or statements to make before this meeting is officially ended?”

Gain there trust back? She wanted to laugh with that, they never trusted her in the first place... at least the woman in front of her hadn't and likely never would. That once more raised the question of why she was even trying to make it work on this ship. 24 hours of freedom.. yeah, sure she'd spend that with her family and perhaps ponder just staying there, after all... at least at home she would be treated like an adult and not like some kid. Nipping hard on her lower lip to keep herself silent as she took it all in.

Three months dealing with shit all because she had a guest into her quarter's and had sex. And she was still trying to figure out how she went against the Commanders orders, but whatever. A soft sigh nearly slipped from her as she gave a little shake of her head wanting nothing more now then to be done with this meeting, and she answered softly. "Nope."

"When we meet again I expect 'Yes' and 'No' answers, not 'Sure' and 'Nope', Ensign. You know better than that." Jael gave her one last hardened look over before taking her seat in her chair. "You are dismissed."

 

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