Just Left of Center Pt 1
Mission: Shoreleave One: SB109
The executive officer's office was easy enough to find. It usually was as it had the most traffic from personnel aboard ship. Stone made his way there from Medical, Sidi padding easily at his side.
While Stone may be unaware of the attention brought to him as he made his way through the corridors, Sidi wasn't. His head kept turning as he glanced and sniffed at passerbys, getting to know the various scents of the various crewmembers aboard the ship.
Stone arrived at the office and hit the chime, waiting for admittance.
"He's not in there," a man said from behind him, going through PaDDs on a desk. "Guy's a loser anyway," he said, simply.
"Oh," Jeremy said as he frowned. Then, with only the person's words to aide him, he decided the executive officer must be somewhere where games are being played. He started to walk away before he stopped four steps in and glanced at his PaDD. "Thank you for your assistance, it is appreciated," he spoke in a rote tone. Then, having nodded, he continued in the direction he'd started, headed for the rec areas of the ship.
The man at the desk - being the XO in question - blinked as the man left, then ran off after him, "Hey, where are you going?" he asked, as he caught up.
Jeremy stopped and faced the man in red trim in question. "I surmise by your words that the executive officer is a 'loser' that he must be in some area where games are being enacted. Therefore I am headed for the recreational area of the ship. I am not supposed to surmise instantly, that you are being insubordinate in your words and conduct where the executive officer is concerned." He stopped for a moment frowning as he took a deep breath.
"Where is the recreational area of the ship?"
"Uh huh," Brenan replied, narrowing his eyes at the man. "So... Okay, hi, I'm Lieutenant Commander Brenan Stowe, I'm the XO, and I was joking with you back there... are you half-Vulcan or something?" He asked, trying to inconspicuously look at the other man's ears.
Stone scowled at the other man, then lifted his PaDD and flipped through screens, finally settling on the computer record of the executive officer. Comparing the photo, he sighed. "I am told I am Terran," Stone answered. "You were not joking. You lied. A joke is a story with a humorous ending, such as 'two Terrans walk into a bar, the Vulcan ducked under it'. Though, I'm unaware how that is humorous. Nor how the outmoded custom of 'knocking' upon a portal entrance is a set up for a 'joke'. You however, sir, lied to a subordinate which is a violation of Starfleet regulations regarding conduct as well as conduct unbecoming of an officer. Perhaps the captain was not wrong in stating that you should be arrested."
At the mention of the captain, he twisted the red ribbon he wore around his left pinkie finger.
Brenan narrowed his eyes a bit, "Cap said I should be... nevermind... My intention was to haze you a bit, but apparently that doesn't work so well with you. Sorry about that," Brenan replied, a bit stiffly, eyeing the mine curiously. "What's the ribbon for?"
"Hazing is a violation of the SFUCMJ, as any attempt to commit it," Stone said, shaking his head. "I was given to understand the crew of this ship were criminals and thus far you have committed fraudulent statements to a subordinate, fraudulent statements to a security officer, conduct unbecoming an officer and now you are admitting to the attempted act of 'hazing'." Jeremy sighed.
"I am afraid, at this time, I will have to take you into custody until such time as a court martial can be convened to sit in judgement of these actions, as well as any my investigation into you shall turn up."
Brenan blinked, "Wait... what?"
"Through act and admission," Stone said, his tone flat and neutral, "you have committed several infractions against the SFUCMJ. As such you are being taken into custody pending formal charges and court martial regarding those infractions."
Jeremy changed his stance slightly while Sidi stood and peered intently at Stowe. "Will you come along peacefully or will I need to call for armed security officers to escort you to the station's brig?"
Brenan took a cautious step back and tapped his comm badge, "Stowe to O'Touvelli... new Chief Sec is trying to arrest me, could you make that not happen, please?" He said, nervously.
"Interference in a lawful arrest could open O'Touvelli to criminal liability of her own," Stone said, but as Stowe made it clear he would be uncooperative, he hit is own commbadge. "Lieutenant Stone to security, please send armed officers to the executive officer's office for escort." Jeremy hit the commbadge to deactivate the line then said something quickly to Sidi. The dog, previously standing and glaring at Stowe started a low growl in the back of his throat while dropping into a ready crouch. Jeremy kept a tight hold of the lead on the dog, now with its ears back and tail swishing angrily behind it.
=/\= Why is the security chief trying to arrest you? =/\= Ro called back over the commbadge. It really was anyone's guess. =/\= And where is this taking place? =/\=
"Because apparently a little playful joking and mild hazing," He turned his attention away from the dog and back at the man in front of him and bit, "Which would not fall under the SFUCML guidelines for hazing," he bit through gritted teeth, "And he's doing it right outside of my office. AND his dog apparently wants to kill me AND he just asked for armed guards to come and escort so if you could be here instead of where you are, that'd be super..."
At that moment, Daniels and another officer Brenan hadn't met ran around the corners, phasers at the ready, "Who's hasslin' the XO?" He asked, casting a confused glance at the growling dog, before looking around for the suspect in question.
There was a sigh from Ro's end of the combadge. =/\=Gentlemen hold position. I'm on my way.=/\=
"I am Lieutenant Jeremy Stone," Jeremy said, keeping his gaze on Stowe, "Chief of Security assigned to USS Langport. This man has committed chargeable offenses and is to be taken into custody. Should he continue to refuse, you will use what force necessary to effect that custody." Jeremy didn't bother looking at them, as it seemed the suspect wanted to get violent, as well as pull his criminal cohorts into the mix. "If anyone interferes with effecting custody, you will also take them into custody. Do you understand your orders."
Daniels looked up at the man next to him, then back to Stowe, then back at Stone again, "Uhm... no, no questions..." He said, then swallowed, "Well... I mean... I have one question... a clarification... sir... if I may," He said, looking back at Brenan, "You uh... you want us to arrest the XO?"
"Yeah, but the CO said hold position so we hold position until the CO gets here like she said, or you'll be in violation of disobeying a direct order, which is an even greater offense than the bullshit you're trying to arrest me for," Brenan replied, angrily. "This really how you want to start our working relationship, bub?"
"Hold on just a second, sir," Daniels said, raising a finger and giving Brenan a reassuring nod. "What are the charges?" He asked the apparent new Security Chief before him.
"He will be charged with conduct unbecoming an officer, attempted hazing of subordinates, issuing fraudulent statements and is coming close to resisting arrest. Your orders stand, you will take him into custody pending a transfer to the station's brig and then court martial."
Sidi's focused remained on Stowe, but his agitation seemed to be getting higher, to the point where Stone was making a visible effort to hold him in place. Suddenly there were two loud barks, teeth snapping at the end.
"Sir, with all due respect, your pup needs to stand down. Starfleet Regulation 22-mark-99-Alpha-Charlie clearly states that Starfleet Security are not allowed to employ attack animals of any kind in a Starship environment for any reason," Daniels said, firmly. The dog was scaring the shit out of him, but he wasn't going to let that show. "Also worth noting, conduct unbecoming of an officer is a damn high charge, sir. I've worked with Brenan for a while now. Seen him take a phaser blast to the side to keep folks safe. He's a bit rough around the edges some days," Brenan gave Daniels a disapproving look, but remained quiet, "But he's a good officer. And hazing has a very specific definition in Starfleet regulations that states it has to be with the intention of causing physical or mental harm deemed arbitrarily necessary to be allowed inclusion into a group. Now I didn't see the entire exchange, but again, workin' with Brenan as much as I have, I can't see him intentionally trying to cause anyone harm," He explained calmly.
"Now, I can't comply with your orders until the CO arrives, since we're both under orders to stand down until she gets here," He continued, "And once she's here, I'll only comply if you can tell me that without any shadow of a doubt this whole ordeal isn't just a misunderstanding that we can sort out without any brig time," Daniels said, gently. "I'm not aiding and abetting anyone, sir. Just trying to make sure that we've all got our heads on straight. Okay?"
"Consider yourself relieved of duty," Stone said, to the offending security officer, "Pending a review of your actions and any potential disciplinary actions to follow for refusing to follow a lawful order from your direct chain." Stone glanced at the other officer, "Are you going to follow orders or will you also be relieved?" Stone's arm was growing fatigued holding back the nearly hundred pound dog.
"God dammit," Daniels bit, "Computer, verify this hunk of stupid is the Chief of Security?" He called.
"Negative, the Chief of Security aboard the USS Langport is currently unassigned. Lieutenant Stone has not completed his check in, though does have standing orders to be assigned to the Langport."
"Is Lieutenant Stone authorized to issue orders aboard the USS Langport at this time," Daniels replied.
"Negative, Lieutenant Stone has not completed his check in and therefore is not authorized to issue orders to the USS Langport crew at this time," The computer replied.
Daniels brought his phaser to bear on the dogs head while his partner brought up his to bear on Stone, "Then that means until that time as you are approved for duty aboard this ship, I'm still the acting Chief of Security. I will stun your dog and my pal here will stun you if you do not back down right now," Daniels replied, seriously. "Try me. Seriously."
"No one is shooting anybody's dog. Stun or not," Brenan said firmly, raising a cautioning hand at Daniels. "But you need to have that dog calm the hell down, and stand down, soldier. That is a direct order from a ranking officer," Brenan said, seriously.
Within a flash, Stone had a small palm phaser in his hand and pointed at Daniels, "You threaten Sidi again and I will end you!" His normally flat features were definitely angry. Sidi, however, changed his focus from Stowe to the new threat. "I suggest you leave before I lose my self-control. I honestly do not remember what happens when I lose my self-control. Drop the phaser, now." Despite the arm holding Sidi's harness shaking, the hand he used to aim the phaser remained rock steady.
"Whoa!" Stopping shy of the knot of angry men, Ro raised her voice to 'you're in deep shit mom' voice. "Everybody take a step back and holster those phasers. Stone, take three steps back towards me and have Sidi heel at your side. Daniels: two steps back. Stowe: two towards your door. What the hell is going on?"
There was a second of calculation wherein Stone's distrust warred with Mulgrew's statement that he couldn't arrest anyone without evidence, and since so far he did not have anything to arrest the captain for, she was still considered the captain. He sighed as he pocketed the phaser, spoke a command to Sidi wherein the dog perked up again. Taking the three required steps, Stone patted his chest wherein Sidi put his front paws there. "You okay?" he asked the dog, making sure to shield it with his body, his back now to the attackers. If they attacked, his body would protect that of Sidi and give him enough time to either take out his attackers or get away. "It's okay, Sidi, you did a good job."
Daniels, broke and stepped back, hands raised. Once he'd taken two steps back, he motioned for the other security officer with him to step in behind him, and keep eyes on Stone.
"Misunderstanding that got escalated way the hell out of control," Brenan said, complying with Ro's request for two steps back as well.
"I was intending to joke around and have a little fun with the new guy, but apparently that isn't ideal with this guy," Brenan said, no hiding the frustration on his face, in spite of his best efforts. "He better keep that damn dog in his quarters. I see him threaten another officer on this boat with that thing, and that'll be it for his career," Brenan said, sternly.
"I only pulled my side arm because he was threatening Stowe and trying to relieve me of duty. Wouldn't listen to reason, wouldn't back down. Kept saying stuff to imply that somehow Brenan was trying to resist arrest, ma'am," Daniels chimed in.
"The dog is doing his duty. However, he's not to be used as a weapon. Now.. A misunderstanding that leads to phasers drawn and potential arrests needs to be hashed out. And not in the hall. The conference room is just a few doors down. Let's talk this out and figure out where the missteps are taken and if there was truly any misdeed." She waved her hands in an ushering movement, nodding to Daniels to lead the way.
Daniels nodded and headed down the hallway, signaling his partner to take up the rear.
Brenan motioned for Stone to follow the other security officer with a forced smile, giving the dog a wary glance.
"Negative, Mr. Stowe, as you are the criminal under arrest, I will follow you," he said while looking at his PaDD. Sidi stared back at Stowe, even dropping a wink as he licked his muzzle.
Inwardly, Ro began a stream of centering mantras. It momentarily amused her to think that her father would have just stepped in the center, yelled out bare knuckles only and let them duke it out. Luckily, it was her ship and she was all about centering mantras today. "You're not on the duty roster yet, Lieutenant Stone. Any arrests made will be done by Lieutenant Daniels. Honestly, you could hold hands and skip on in there for all that I care, so long as we get there, plant ass and have a chat. Come on, now, we all have legs. And I've got the rear. All together now."
Brenan held fast until Stone finally moved then fell in next to Ro as other security guard took up the rear of the progression. They walked wordlessly into the conference room.
Stone entered the conference room and claimed the side of the table against the viewports, to make sure that the others, who threatened Sidi, were not behind him.
Brenan sat down next to Ro across from Stone, "Okay, first things first. Daniels, am I arrested?"
"I don't have sufficient evidence to arrest anyone at this time, sir," Daniels replied, nodding, then gave Stone a look, "Well... maybe someone," He said, flatly.
"That's enough," Stowe replied, pointing a finger at Daniels.
The Acting Chief just raised his hands in acquiescence and fell to a parade rest, watching Stone carefully.
"Now, that means I'm still the XO, and you're still here to sign in," he explained. "Now, you tried to sic a dog on me out there, Lieutenant, and that right here is enough to land your ass in the brig. But you'll note I'm not trying to have you arrested right now," he said, simply. "Nor will I, if you can tell me just what the hell you were thinking out there?"
"You are in error, Mr. Stowe, as is..." Stone shook his head, "Daniels?" he asked glancing at the man currently relieved of duty. He indicated the monitor at the end of the room, which, at a tap of his wrist PaDD came to life, showing Captain O'Touvelli entering into the station's security offices. Following, her own voice from the monitor:
"I received word from your superiors that I could find my security chief here- not in jail- but as a surprise addendum to the department that I'd better come get quickly or else. His name is Lieutenant Jeremy Stone. Is he around by chance?"
The playback stopped there.
"Despite the computer's assertion, the Captain clearly stated 'my security chief' as well as stated my name and rank. As the Captain is the authority on the ship, to include personnel, her acknowledgement that I am her security chief supercedes the failure of the computer record to be updated. Therefore, I remain the security chief here by the Captain's statement, you are under arrest, with the additional charge of obstructing justice by making false statements, threatening an officer as well as issuing illegal orders in regards to bigotry of a crewmember."
He turned to the Captain, "As you, yourself told me that Stowe is a criminal it should not come as a surprise that he admits to criminal activity." He again indicated the monitor where Stowe's voice and image were played:
"Cap said I should be... nevermind... My intention was to haze you a bit, but apparently that doesn't work so well with you. Sorry about that."
Jeremy turned back to the Captain, looking just past her ear. "That is the extent of the evidence I will provide at this time. The rest of it will be, of course, included with the official report regarding this incident and Stowe's arrest on the stated charges."
"You do understand that much of this is semantics driven supposition based on relaxed language, not hard fact. That, paired with me never stating that the XO was a criminal- I believe I said that you'd probably arrest him at some point- make the situation a crapshoot of vagueries at best. Let's break off on a momentary tangent as if this were a crime for a moment-" Holding a finger up at Stowe before he could object, Ro set her elbows on the table and leaned forward just a bit. "What is the motive, the means, the weapon or act. Reconstruct this for me, Stone."
"It would be inappropriate, Captain, to give any sort of report in front of the arrested criminal. Discovery rules would apply after formal charges, of course, at which point the completed evidence, including exculpatory evidence, would be handed over to the defense."
Jeremy took a moment as he frowned. "Unless, considering the stated charges, you were convening a Captain's Mast into this incident here and now?" He frowned and looked uncertain. "If so, I was not aware that was your intention."
"Oh you've got to be fucking kidding me," Brennan blurted, jamming the heels of his hands into his eye sockets to try and ward off the building headache.
It was a mystery to Ro- who'd come up through security herself- that Stone was that much by the book. To the letter. To the font. There had to be more to it, and it was a mystery that she intended to see through. "Fine. Brenan, Daniels and company, stay here. Stone, come with me. My room is just around the corner. You can give your deposition there in private."
Brenan looked up suddenly at Ro, "You can't be serious, Cap. You're entertaining this garbage?" He asked, then turned abruptly to Stone, "And by the way, no. You haven't passed muster, and you haven't been given final official approval from the CO and XO of the vessel to be here, so you're not officially on duty, and I'm not arrested," he said, flatly.
"There's something off, Stowe, and I'm trying to figure out what it is. Now if that means that you park your ass in here for fifteen minutes, then you sit and admire the seat cushions. This is larger than the scene." The captain stood regardless and motioned for Stone to follow her. "Cushions, Brenan. Lovely shade of green."
"Aye, Captain," Stone said as he stood and looked to Stowe. "As you are currently under arrest and facing charges...I mean, Captain's Mast, you have lost the benefit of rank and billet until such a time as the situation is resolved and you have been reinstated to duty - presuming you are at current rank and/or billet, as such you are unable to qualify whether or not I 'pass muster' and therefore I remain the security chief here as the Captain as not stated that I must "pass muster" with her, only the CMO, XO and counselor."
With that, Stone started to walk forward with Sidi but then stopped. He scowled deeply but then turned to Stowe. "Do you intend to call Sidi as a witness?"
Ro massaged the bridge of her nose as she spoke, "Sure. I don't know. Just bring Sidi."
Brenan blinked at the man, then cast a glance at Ro, and abruptly looked at the couch across the way, "Would you call that a chartreuse or more of a lime green, Daniels?" he asked, his voice strained.
"Chartreuse, sir. Definitely chartreuse," Daniels responded nodding confidently.
Once Ro and Stone left the room, Brenan pointed to the other two people in the room in turn, "I am still the XO, I don't care what he says," he grumbled.
Daniels couldn't help but chuckle a little, "Careful sir, that might be considered impersonating an officer."
"That's not funny," Brenan replied, sorely.