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Preliminaries

Posted on Wed Sep 12th, 2018 @ 2:14am by Commander Leigh Jacobs & Lieutenant Commander Arturo S'Rohass & Lieutenant Xiulan Song & Deacon Kane & Senior Chief Petty Officer Coltan Xan

Mission: Repairs and Reprimands
Location: Starbase JAG Court #3
Timeline: MD 03 09:00

The courtroom consisted of a raised dais with a table and seating for the fleet officers. Admiral Robertson was already seated their flanked by a Tellorite wearing the pips of Commodore to his left and an Andorian Captain to his right. In front of the dais sat a single chair facing the board, the ‘hot seat’ as it was known around the fleet due to the single spotlight that bathed the chair in an uncomfortably stark light.

Admiral Robertson sitting in the senior member’s position picked up a small metal hammer and struck a copper bell sitting on the table in front of him three times. “This board of inquiry will come to order.” He said in a solemn, almost pompous sounding voice. “The reporter will note the time and date for the record.”

“The Commanding Authority, Admiral Robertson, convened this board by an appointing order dated SD 72614.6.” the Recorder stated, “The following officers named in that order are present: Admiral James Robertson as the senior member. With Commodore Khilend chim and Captain Syzo Zh'qilrirh, substituted to the Board, with two of the officers named in the appointing order being called to field duty.” It was odd to see Robertson glower with the introduction of the other board members, and the way he almost snarled at the mention of them as being ‘substituted.’

“The appointing order had a Captains Wendell Addington and a Mercy Highmore listed.” Barik whispered to Leigh, “Two officers who apparently are up and coming proteges of our good Admiral Robertson.” He explained, “Strangely, they were both diverted by their assignments to the starbase just prior to Robertson authorizing the board. And just as strangely their ships were ordered back to their assigned missions this morning” the Ferengi added glance over to Admiral Viktor sitting in the corner of the court.

Their attention was then brought back to the recorder as he continued with the preliminares of the board “I am Commander Asan Fredricks. I have been named as recorder for the board and is present. Independent Advocate, Barik Nah Gregg, has been assigned as the counsel for the respondent and is present." Fredricks added nodding to the ferengi. "Both the recorder and counsel for the respondent are lawyers certified under Article 27(b)(1), UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice). The board's legal advisor is Admiral Viktor, a judge advocate certified under Article 27(b)(1) of the UCMJ. The legal advisor provides such assistance as the board requires, but does not participate, in closed sessions of the board.”

"You can thank Robertson for that maneuver." Barik explained, "Keeps Viktor close but neutralizes any overt pressure he can place on the board."

"Silence in the court." Robertson ordered striking his gavel to silence the ferengi, “The respondent, Commander Leigh Jacobs is present.” Robertson then said, unable to keep the venom he had for Leigh completely out of his voice. “The record will reflect that this board is properly convened and constituted. The purpose of this board is to consider relevant facts in the case of the respondent, who has been recommended for discharge from the service by reasons of substandard performance of duty, misconduct, moral and professional dereliction making her retention not consistent with the interests of either the service or Federation security as a whole. Does either side have any motions to present the board ?

"The government does not." Fredrick replied in a crisp efficient tone.

"As the advocate for the respondent, I would like to restate my motion for an extension to the opening of these proceedings so I can confer with my client and become more familiar with the case against her."

"As the counselor is well aware the convening authority has already reviewed this motion, as well as the eight others you so,,,,, dutifully submitted, All are denied in then spirit of bringing a swift conclusion to these proceedings." Roberstson replied almost sneering at Barik, "This is especially true concerning you slanderous implications of the board members."

Barik took in a breath of air as if to protest but held his tongue knowing Robertson was itching to have him removed for contempt. Instead the ferengi looked into Robertson's eyes and said, "The senior boardmember's tireless pursuit of swift justice is a amazing thing to behold, as always."

Robertson' stared at the dirty ferengi that dared challenge him with a look that spoke volumes. After several heartbeats he turned to Fredricks, "The recorder may proceed with an opening statement."

"Thank-you Admiral Robertson." Fredericks said, as he stood up, "Officers of the Board it is the government's position that Commander Leigh Jacobs, a woman who previously suffered a reduction in rank and lost her command due to her flagrant disregard of orders, should have never been given command of another starship. In the course of this inquiry, the government will prove that Commander Jacob's lack of judgement and ability to effectively command resulted not only and multiple violations of established treaties and procedures regarding the Tholian Empire, but also contributed to an unnecessary hostile interaction with a previously unknown species. It was during these actions that the commander also showed a gross Dereliction of Duty and or Cowardice in her inability to determine the status of Lieutenant Commander Mark Cross listed as MIA most likely KIA during the Tholian incident."

"In addition the Commander's later actions resulted in a major violation of the prime directive in which she potentially jeopardize the natural development of a pre-warp civilization after crash landing on Janos III by exposing the Valiant to the local population and by kidnapping one of their leading scientists." Fredrick added, "After the government has stated its case, the board should find sufficient evidence to proceed with the general court-martial of Commander Jacobs."

Jacobs sat, anger building within her. She hated these bureaucratic morons who never knew or forgotten what it was like to be assigned to the fringes of Federation Space. To have to make decisions on a moment's notice while they get all the time in the world to sit back and second guess your decisions.

Colt, who had been sitting in the back of the room, bristled at the accusation of kidnapping. Robertson was an arsehole of the first order. If Robertson had possessed the guts to join the Marines after Starfleet Academy, which he hadn't then and he didn't now, someone would have fragged him long before he made flag rank. Hell, Colt was seriously considering fragging him now. Bastard.

The Ferengi stood up and using a cane, hobbled his way over to the front of the said and started to pace back and forth as he began his statement. “Members of the board, as counsel to the respondent is my duty to inform you that the government’s case, or more precisely the ‘convening authority's' opinion of events at hand is pure claptrap.” Barik said waving his hand dismissively In back of him, vaguely in Robertson's direction casuing the Admiral to huff slightly, “That’s right I said ‘claptrap’ because those opinions are ‘bullshit` and a ‘waste of the boards time’ might offend the board." The Ferengi said as he turned to face Commodore Chin. The favorite, far from looking offended, actually smiled down at the Ferengi slightly, almost admiring the little alien’s bravado.

Barik turned and limped back down the length of the dais, “The board will find that if it ignores ‘biased opinions’,” he said glancing briefly at Robertson, “and instead pays attention to the actual events it will find that Lieutenant Commander Jacobs showed not only good judgement and an effective command style while on this initial patrol, but also acted in such a way that prevented a significant diplomatic crisis between the Federation and the Thollian Empire. And in addition was able to collect valuable intelligence on a previously unknown species that may yet pose a threat to the security and stability of this sector.”

“As to the second charge of breaking the prime directive,” Barik added seemingly playing to the Andorian officer whose antenna followed the impassioned Ferengi, “It is my intention to show that Jacob’s quick and decisive actions not only prevented the detection of her ship, by a prewar culture, but also removed not one but two sources of cultural contamination, in the forms of a native scientist that discovered the Valiant and a marooned Federation citizen that her crew had found there.” With a respectful nod to the Recorders deck Baric made his way back to his table to sit next to Leigh.

Not a bad start, Mouthpiece, Colt thought. Now we just need to actually prove all of that.

Arturo sat with Xiulan in the back of the courtroom.

"I hate these things!" he said, quietly, but with great intensity. "They bring back bad memories! Damned Chairborne Commandos second guessing a starship captain...so...insulting! At least her attorney sounds like he knows what he's talking about!"

"I have no idea what's going on," Xiulan murmured in return. Then a thought occurred to her. "The Tholian incident is prior her recent stint in Command, so why is that relevant now? Hasn't that already been dealt with? It can't possibly have any bearing on what happened since she took command of the Valiant," she asked Arturo, quietly.

"This Admiral Robertson has made it his personal mission to end Commander Jacobs' career," Arturo replied quietly. "He's going to try and bring up everything he feels she's done wrong, every little violation, every minor error in judgement, he's going to bring them all up in the hopes that some of it will stick to her. They did the same thing to me in the Halsey inquiry."

"But the Tholian incident was already dealt with; she can't be tried twice for the same incident, can she?" Xiulan asked in return.

Arturo shrugged.

"Maybe not," he said. "But Admiral Chickenshit can use it to try and show a pattern of behavior."

"Dick move, Admiral Chickenshit, dick move..." Xiulan grumbled.

"Agreed!" Arturo said, returning his focus to the board.

Robertson stood, glaring towards the observer section at Arturo. "There will be silence in this hearing or you will be removed!" Robertson slowly sat back down and sighed, glancing at the other panel members. "Well then, Mister Barik, I personally can't wait to see what sort of defense you can muster for your client as these charges are grave." He then turned to Commander Fredricks. "Commander, you may begin."

Fredericks stood, adjusting his uniform as he did so. "Thank you, admiral. "The government calls Commander Leigh Jacobs to the stand."

Leigh let out a slow breath and approached the stand and sat down. "The computer recognizes Commander Leigh Jacobs, Starfleet, assigned as commanding officer of USS Valiant, notably awarded the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit, and the Starfleet Distinguished Service Medal," came the computer's voice.

"That's enough," Robertson interrupted. "Let's get on with it, shall we? Commander Fredericks, continue."

Fredericks nodded. "Commander Jacobs. You have a habit of disobeying orders and directives, don't you?"

"Excuse me?" Jacobs replied. "I do what's in the best interest of my ship and my crew."

"Oh, is that so?" Fredericks sneered. "Because isn't it true you were found guilty of disobeying Admiral Robertson's orders to pursue Pirates that had attacked several civilian freighters?"

"Yes, however--" Leigh protested.

"And isn't it true you left your XO behind on a planet in Tholian Space, quite possibly killing him in the process?"

"No--" Jacobs began again.

"No?" Fredericks grabbed a nearby PaDD and holding it up. "I have a sworn statement from an Ensign Braith--a former Head Nurse aboard the Valiant, who was on the Away Team during the incident in which he states that you left Commander Cross behind as the Away Team retreated from a botched first contact mission! You, Commander Jacobs, are a coward!"

"Objection!" Barik exclaimed, standing quickly.

Robertson, grinning, held up his hand. The damage had already been done as he looked down at his prey of Commander Leigh Jacobs. "That is enough, Commander Fredericks."

"Aye, sir," the commander replied, placing the PaDD with the statement on the desk in front of Robertson.

"Funny," Colt said. He didn't shout, but he wasn't quiet about it either. "That doesn't sound like what happened, and I was there."

"Commander Jacobs," Commander Fredericks turned to look at Jacobs. "Is it true that you violated the Prime Directive? Yes or no."

Leigh sighed and gritted her teeth before responding. "Yes."

"And isn't it also true that not only did you violate the Prime Directive, but that you also kidnapped one of the natives on a primitive world and literally forced her to help you to escape the planet when you should have simply waited for a Starfleet vessel? Yes or No," Fredericks continued.

Leigh sighed, silently cursing Fredericks. "No."

"No?" Fredericks stopped in his pacing. "Your own sensor logs dictate otherwise, commander! Have you stooped to lying before this panel?" he gestured to the admirals sitting beside him.

"Yes I broke the Prime Directive but I never forced anyone to do anything!" Jacobs shouted, standing from her chair.

"Sit down, Commander Jacobs!" Robertson shouted. "Or I will hold you in contempt of court."

"She wouldn't be the only one in contempt of this court," Colt said, leaning over to speak quietly to Arturo and Xiulan. "I find this proceeding pretty damned contemptible."

"You and me both!" Arturo said.

Xiulan had been silently seething as she listened to the proceedings. A reasonable thing would have been to leave so as not to make things worse or get herself into trouble, but Xiulan was done being reasonable.

"No one kidnapped Valywen, and to imply that we did insults the bravery of her choice to help us!" Xiulan blurted out loudly as she rose to her feet. Oh shit, now she had done it.... Oh well, she was going to get kicked out of the courtroom anyway, so better just say what was on her mind and get it over with. "You're framing everything like you didn't even bother to read any of the after action reports from the crew; you made up your mind regardless of what the truth was, you spew out these vile theories to plant a seed of doubt, but you don't call on any proof or witnesses to corroborate these theories before moving on, and you deprive Captain Jacobs of her right to answer in her own words, she has the right to defend herself! This is not justice!"

Arturo didn't know whether to cheer or pull Xiulan down. Ultimately, he decided to stand by his woman.

"Lieutenant Song is right!" Arturo shouted. "She's going to get us both thrown in the brig, but she's right! This is not justice! This is a FARCE! You, Robertson, are the king of a kangaroo court!"

I cannot believe I just did that! You are absolutely rubbing off on me, wife...and I love you all the more for it!

Roberston glared at the group of officers he recognized from the Valiant's manifest--the miniature caitian was Jacobs' XO nonetheless. "Security, remove those officers from my sight this instant!"

Security moved towards Arturo and Xiulan and Arturo struck up a defensive pose and started growling.

"Touch her and it will be the last thing you ever do!" he said menacingly.

Colt stood as well, ready to help.

"It's ok, I knew this would happen," Xiulan said quietly to her husband. "He's just protective 'cause I'm blind, so be careful when you lead me out," she cautioned the guard as she surrendered herself to be removed.

Arturo growled a bit more, then, reluctantly, allowed he and his wife to be escorted out of the court room.

Colt quietly returned to his seat.

Upon Xiulan and Arturo being removed, the court continued. Fredericks turned to the panel. "Do you see, your honors? Even her own crew cannot follow simple proceedings and bring dishonor to this very courtroom. I have no further questions."

Barik stood and approached Jacobs. "Commander Jacobs, it was stated you were awarded the Silver Star, and the Legion of Merit. What were those awarded for?"

"For assaulting a Dominion Stronghold on Cardassia when I was a rifleman with the Seventh Marines during the invasion of Cardassia," Jacobs replied.

"Were you wounded during the battle?" Barik asked casually.

"Yes."

"And were you evacuated?" Barik continued.

Leigh shook her head. "No. I stayed and continued to fight on Cardassia where my squad also prevented a Dominion Patrol from executing innocent Cardassian civilians."

Barik turned to the panel but staring at Robertson. "I don't know about you, but that doesn't sound like a coward to me, you honors." He then turned back to Jacobs. "Commander Jacobs, would you please state what really happened at the failed first contact with the Gluak."

Jacobs nodded. "The Away Team and the USS Valiant had been engaged by the Gluak after the Gluak ship caused the Stasis Unit that had been located under the destroyed Tholian base to power up. The result was an earthquake that broke the tetonic plates apart at the site. As the Away Team boarded the shuttle, the ground underneath Commander Cross gave way and he fell," Jacobs paused, clearing her throat. "I ordered the Away Team to get back to the ship immediately. Any time spent looking for Commander Cross would have endangered the entire team."

Barik nodded silently. "Your honors, Commander Jacobs did what any commander would do--they make the difficult decisions in the heat of battle that will save the most lives. I believe the old Vulcan proverb is: The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Commander Jacobs, did you kidnap a native of Janos Three?"

"No. We were going to wipe her memory and transport her back near her town of origin," Jacobs answered.

"And why didn't you?" Barik questioned.

"Because we learned that Janos Three had a local supply of dilithium which we needed to obtain enough power to get off of Janos Three, and the best way for us to obtain that dilithium was to use Valywen's knowledge of the town," Jacobs replied.

"And why didn't you wipe this Valywen's memory and leave her on Janos Three?" Barik asked.

"Because leaving her there would have been a death sentence. She was well known as a rogue scientist and the local population believed that Valywen's work was against their religious beliefs and we learned that the punishment for such crimes was death by being burned alive. Starfleet's Second General Order dictates that I should do what is necessary to preserve intelligent life. Leaving her on that planet to die contradicts that order. At the end of the day, Starfleet is a life saving organization."

"There you have it, gentlemen," Barik gestured to the panel. "To leave a young woman, whose only crime was to pursue knowledge on a planet to die would have been as cold and heartless as the Borg. All of Jacobs decisions have been based on saving lives. Who are we to second guess her? Let her do her job. I have no further questions."

"Step down, Commander Jacobs," Robertson grumbled.

"I believe we will take a recess to discuss the findings," Commodore Khilend chim chimed in. "The court is adjourned."

 

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