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Attitude Adjustment

Posted on Mon Aug 17th, 2020 @ 4:46pm by Lieutenant Commander Adele Wyndham & Gunnery Sergeant Jasen Calin

Mission: Gods of War
Location: Counselor's Office

The gunnery sergeant stared at the door leading to the counselor's office like it were a mythical Iconian gateway.

Or the entrance to the canyon that would lead to the ancient The Battle of Thermopylae on Earth thousands of years ago. As it was, Jasen Calin rather trade in his phaser rifle for a spear and march solo against the might of the Persian empire than spend an hour with a blasted shrink.

But orders were orders. His entire personnel file was rife was reasons why he needed to see a counselor, or so he had been told. As many commendations and medals he had racked up over 13 years as a marine, he'd surely made his mark with disciplinary actions and time spent in the brig. The last year ... the fall of Denobula, and with it ... well, his time spent in combat situations while aboard this thrice-damned ship was an indication of his mental state. He'd consistently volunteered for ground missions that saw high chances of mortality rates and greater risks. And his aggression was mounting.

Hence the order.

Jasen tapped the bell console next to the door and entered when beckoned. "Gunnery Sergeant Calin reporting for appointment as ordered."

Lieutenant Commander Adele Wyndham was pretty, in an understated sort of way. Most of her features were round, from an oval face to round eyes and round lips. Hair and eyes were brown and she was marked otherwise as a human, or any species that looked human with no outward differences at all. Which was unlikely.

"Mister Calin," she greeted with a kind smile, the sort of expression that most had seen burned off their faces during the long years of war. "Please come in. Have a seat wherever you feel comfortable."

Jasen eyed the space he entered, eyed the seats available to find one against a wall or bulkhead and promptly moved toward it as the invitation was given. He didn't need to look at the counselor more than the few seconds his eyes had landed on her.

He'd sized her up. Pretty face, nice demeanor, disarming smile. Lovely eyes. Every trademark meant to evoke a sense of calm for patients and strip away the shields. In many ways, it was more effective than a phaser or a disruptor. Only, the commander would find her training bouncing back like old laser cannons did off a Galaxy-class starship's shields.

"Yes, commander," he said plainly, with respect due the shrink's rank. "But with respect to the commander, I'm hoping this will not take the full hour. I have orders to recalibrate a large number of small arms today."

Another punishment from the incident in the mess hall, but more in line with his expertise. Marines were funny some times -- why issue meaningless tasks when a Marine can be put to use performing menial but necessary tasks. Not that it wouldn't take all day and most of the night to complete.

She took a seat as well at this point, settling back in without looking to be slouching. It seemed she had more reluctant visits than she had willing ones, Adele reasoned, but she was wholly aware of the reason he was here. He was even more reluctant than most, she had guessed before he'd even walked through the door.

"It will take as long as it takes," she said easily. "Maybe an hour, but maybe less. We both know why you're here, of course." She wasn't going to waste time playing coy. Not with war veterans like they all were. "So why don't we start with why you think you ended up in the situation that ended with you here? Why do you think there are issues?"

Jasen was well aware of the counseling techniques ... it had been used on him a few times during the first year of the war after he had accidentally punched a superior officer in a bar fight. Well, not an accident that he struck the man, just that he didn't know the other man was a Starfleet lieutenant commander. He was required to undergo counseling for three weeks, in addition to waste extraction duties.

"My magnetic personality and charming wit were what drew me here," he said offhandedly, with a slight wave of his hand. "My superiors found it so annoying that they thought it best to shunt it off onto another department for just a little bit."

His eyes locked briefly on the counselor. "And maybe the mess hall incident. I daresay I did the petty officer a favor ... the food probably did more good as part of his uniform than had he eaten any more. Can't have an engineer in sickbay when there's still holes to patch and warp engines to jump start."

So it's going to be that way, is it, Adele thought with an inward sigh what was half-rueful and half-amused. She listened and tilted her head slightly. "Tell me more about the incident in the mess hall. Not the outcome, but what led up to it."

Jasen knew there was no way he would get out of this meeting without surrendering something. Might as well attempt to cross the Styx without giving the ferryman the gold coin owed for passage. The end result was the same -- you were stuck.

Of course, there was the Ferengi mantra - Everyone in a while declare peace with one's enemy. It confuses the hell out of them.

"He was chewing too loudly and smacking his lips," Jasen said, his eyes suddenly focused on the wall decor. There was no deception in his voice. The crewman did have an annoying habit at the table, and while an Akira heavy cruiser was, by all means, larger than a Defiant escort ship, it was still a small mess.

"And he might have said some things while drinking some actual booze," he said. "A petty officer should not go spouting off his mouth in a room full of weary crewmen about how hopeless our predicament was and go questioning the skipper's orders. Those poor souls are already well aware of it without having some drunken fool mouthing off."

An odd statement coming from a man with a history of either insubordination or disobedience in his Marine file. Jasen might also have been mouthy when it came to briefings, but he at least did so in official, close-knit circles among Marines. 

And there was questioning the captain's orders. He might have grievances for serving on this thrice-be-damned ship, but at least it had a respectable captain. Even if she was an Earther.

"So, the appropriate thing to do was to teach him some table manners. I imagine he'll never smack his lips again in a disrespectful way," he said.

"And why did you decide to be the one to correct these traits instead of reporting it to a superior officer?" Adele asked levelly.

Jasen's hazel eyes landed on the commander with a calm, respectful glance that quickly went contrary to his words for a procedure.

"With respect, L-C, my experience with Starfleet reports to superior officers on Fleetside has led me to believe it tends to be a slow process to a situation that needs to be remedied quickly," the Marine said. "By the time it reached the petty officer's superior and the Chief Engineer, or the Chief of Security, the man's words would have spread like a plague, infecting more doubt and discontent among the crew. The crewman would have been disciplined in private and no one would see the consequences."

A very Marine apt expression came to mind. "Some times it's better to use the bloody photon grenade to get the immediate effect than to use a sniper rifle," he said. "Messier, maybe, but the impact is immediate."

"And thus you deem yourself not only the judge but the one who carries out the sentence?" she asked with a small, wry smile. "I would have thought a Marine would have more faith in the chain of command."

Jasen smirked. "L-C, you've read my file and should have deduced my opinion on the chain of command," he said. Of course, files did not reveal everything. He was very much a proponent of the chain of command and had followed many orders ... except for very specific situations. The skirmishes on Betazed, the first Battle of Risa, the Federation-Klingon War -- many of those occasions had seen him come out alive because of the proper chain of command.

"It's simple, L-C. I was the senior ranking enlisted person in the mess at the time, and yes, I decided to act," he said. His voice took on a slightly deeper, more colder tone briefly: "'A very illogical action no matter how harmful the damage done by the offending party.'" What a past Vulcan CO would have likely told me. And he is right. Illogical, brash, but necessary."

He sat forward, hands steepled beneath his chin as he looked at the counselor. "Believe me, L-C, if the man had been lamenting about the sorry shape of our ship, the constant repairs needed to be done, or the lack of fully functioning holodecks and food replicators, I would have been happy to let him rant and send a report to the Chief Engineer," he said. "But question the faith of this ship's captain in front of two dozen crew members and go off on a tangent that sows more despair, no ma'am. We're all reeling from the surrender and fall of the Federation, but this crew, this ship is responsible for at least some small portion of the souls we're escorting to a new home, a remnant of what remains of a great civilization. If I have to redistribute someone's food onto their uniform to curtail further despair and then sing for my supper as punishment, it's a small cost."

[i]Ah Zeus, you just gave her ammunition,[/i] he thought.

The counselor sat, her dark eyes focused on him as she listened intently. She took it all in, although she was just as well trained as any and didn't reveal her thoughts as she did so. And she had plenty of thoughts, but she wasn't going to jump on all of them at once.

"And yet here you are," she said instead. "So apparently, not everyone above you in the chain agreed with this reasoning, did they?"

He smirked. Of course there was some ... disconcertion from the brass about some of his reasoning.

"No, ma'am, they did not," he confirmed. "The brass pretty much tore me up one side and down the other over that stunt. I believe the phrase one of the Marine officers used was 'not conducive to proper Marine attitude.'"

He looked up, almost as if losing interest in the session. Evade the enemy long enough and they might eventually give up. Unless it was a Jem'Hadar; in which case the grenade theory became reality. And maybe a spatial torpedo or for good measure.

But then this counselor was proving a tenacious hunter.

"Also, my charm tends to be less effective on the senior officers and NCOs," he said. "Hence the reason they sent me to you, to benefit from my charm."

If his personnel file revealed anything about Jasen Calin, it was that he was far from narcissistic. That trait rarely benefited Marines except for ladder climbing and backroom dealing.

Adele smiled, a little, with some sort of amusement and raised her brows. "And do you think it's working?"

Jasen folded his hands in his lap and cocked his head slightly, playing the demeanor of confidence. "You're smiling and you're obviously amused, so I guess it must be," he said. "Perhaps enough to earn a pardon from this session?"

"No," she said easily, even while she smiled. "You've been here maybe all of six minutes. I said it might not take an hour, but it's going to take longer than that." She waved at him and his chair. "So you might as well get comfortable."

Jasen sighed inwardly. This was going to be a long day and his opponent was proving to be tougher than a dosed-up Klingon in full battle rage determined to kill a changeling that had just questioned said Klingon's honor.

Honestly, Zeus probably had it easier evading Hera than Jasen would with the shrink.

"Well, you might as well order in, L-C, because I honestly find I won't have much in the way of things to talk about," he warned.

"I don't have anywhere else to be," Adele said with a small smile. "So, let's start with..."

=/\= End Log =/\=

Gunnery Sergeant Jasen Calin & Lieutenant Commander Adele Wyndham (apb Bella)

 

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