PHD #094: Hear Me Out
Hear Me Out
Summary: Coll gets her hearing in front of the JAG.
Date: 31 May 2041 AE
Related Logs: Anything with Coll and the Brig.
Constin Coll Sabaudia 
Naval Offices
This area is set-up much like any standard office building. Cubicles have been constructed using cheap waist-high walls, their contents left neutral for whoever needs to use them. Inside each cubicle is a desk with a laptop and chair. Simple overhead lights bring dull illumination to the room except over the back wall where each one of the colonies twelve flags hangs from its own pole. Fake, potted plants dot the room and seem to be standard issue along with the water cooler and coffee machines. Off the main room are a few private offices such as that of the JAG or CAG.
Post-Holocaust Day: #94

The Naval Offices have never been anything but a sterile and dreary place, and they're no different today. The empty office a few doors down from the JAG's office has again been commandeered for witness duties. Tile floors run beneath one uncomfortable armchair, one slightly-comfortable loveseat, and one office desk with matching chair. Even filing cabinets would be more interesting to look at, at this point.

The crisp sound of heels announce Captain Sabaudia's arrival before the door swings open. In her duty blues with a thick, disorganized-looking folder under one arm and a carafe in the other, she strides in and slides her burdens onto the desk before turning to look to Constin and Coll. "Corporal. Specialist. I'm sorry for the delay." She looks faintly harried, though it vanishes when she smiles. "I'm Elisabeta Sabaudia, from the Office of the Judge Advocate General." No mention of rank. She offers a handshake, instead — to each of them.

The marine presence arrived promptly 30 minutes prior to the scheduled arrival of the JAG officer; two on-duty MPs in the full battledress blacks, Constin in the tan uniform and black 'MP' armband, and Coll. Upon the Judge Advocate General's entrance, the Corporal (who had remained standing) goes to attention, before nodding once to the greeting and accepting the offered handshake, "Sir."

Coll took the time to make sure she looked as professional as she can. The nicest thing the enlisted wear - their best set of duty greens - is currently on her. Its probably not her own uniform but she took the time to trim off all the loose threads and force creases into the proper places. Her hair is arranged into a bun and pulled tight against her head, giving the appearance of someone who is far more serious or senior than their pins might claim. Preferring to stand, Coll has been standing at parade rest the entire time, facing the door. Her face is hard with determination and those eyes only further the commitment to that mood. "Cap'n on deck," she says quietly to those in the room when the JAG arrives. Coll comes to attention and looks to the offered hand, unsure, for a moment. Eventually its taken. "Specialist Lauren Coll, sir." A firm shake and a look in the eye and she falls back to a semi-relaxed attention.

Jezza gives good handshake — firm, brisk, over with blessedly quick. Lords know she's practiced it enough. There's a quick glance to Coll's ankles, and perhaps a flicker of relief. Not a fan of conducting meeting with someone in restraints, perhaps. "I've been appointed your counsel for these proceedings, Specialist," she says as she moves around to the desk, sliding out the office chair. The seat is glanced at, dusted off. Instead of sitting, she instead moves to a near-empty bookshelf where a stack of glasses sit. "Can I get either of you a glass of water, before we begin?" She's already pouring herself one.

"No, sir," is Constin's answer, the big man's voice slightly higher in pitch than one might expect from his size. As long as the JAG is on her feet, the marine keeps his, simply turning to face the desk, and follow Jezza with his narrow blue eyes. Hands composed at the small of his back, boots at shoulder width.

"Thank you, sir," Coll says quickly to the notification of counsel. She turns only to face the woman but holding herself stoic and straight. Her stature is much smaller than the Marine's but her stance nearly matches it exactly. As does her answer. "I'll decline sir, thank you."

"Please help yourselves, if you change your mind. It's ice-water." To each their own vices — properly cold water is apparently on of the JAG's. She glances to each of them before she settles down into her office chair, shifting a couple times to try to find a comfortable spot. It never works. Inside the disorganized folder is a black leather-bound notebook which she flips open first, uncapping a fountain pen tucked within to jot the date down at the top of an empty page. "I understand you've got information you're wanting to present as well, Corporal. Would you prefer to do so before or after I've spoken with the Specialist?"

"Afterward, sir," is Constin's answer, given just prior to sitting down in the chair. It's no worse and no better a chair than any other on board, so the Corporal is content to simply sit still, and let the business move forward.

Coll just remains silent and standing, waiting for the JAG officer to proceed. Something about the look on her face might say 'Bring it on'. She's about ready for anything and to attack it head on.

The JAG's expression remains light and unruffled, the moss-green eyes purposeful. It's an uphill battle to convince anyone she's speaking to that she's /friendly/, but it's one she seems determined to fight every time. "Of course," she acknowledges Constin, dipping her head to him before her attention moves to Coll. "So. Specialist. Would you prefer I call you Lauren? I know some people are uncomfortable with too much familiarity." She makes another small notation in her book — some sort of tiny shorthand, it's barely a half-dozen penstrokes — as she speaks, barely glancing down. "I'd appreciate it if you'd explain to me, in your own words, why you've been charged with dereliction of duty."

As Jezza turns her regard from him to Lauren, Constin turns his own eye from the JAG sitting at the desk before him, to Coll as she stands to his right. It begins.

"Call me as you see fit, sir. I'll respond the same to any address or question." Coll keeps her eyes on the wall over the JAG. She's barely moved a muscle except to breathe and speak. "Captain: Major Hahn settled charges of Dereliction of Duty on me because she may believe me to have contributed to the death of the crew of Raptor three-zero-five through negligence of action. At least, that is the understanding of the charges as I have it. I can assure you sir that if I felt there was something more I could have done to prevent it or I believed myself to be guilty of these charges, the point of the question would be moot. I wouldn't be able to live with myself." The words aren't rapid fire, but its a straight answer and she doesn't look like she's in the mood to joke or kid around. This is her future at stake.

She's a patient listener, is Jezza — slim fingers folded together, eyes remaining on Coll until she's done speaking. "I've been given a lot of information regarding this," she says, glancing back down to the opened folder, flipping through paper after paper with a rasping sound. "You left your tools on the Deck, against regulations, for a health emergency. They were- missing? -when you returned. You believe your on- and off-duty hours were known well-enough that someone used this opportunity to frame you." Her slim brows lift slightly at Coll, questioningly, as she looks up from the papers again.

"Tools, sir?" Coll shakes her head. "Yes, I did leave my tools out but the important item of note would be an ASIM-54 Charlie 'Lightning Javelin' missile. When I returned from my health emergency, the warhead had been removed." The last remarks get another stern nod from her. "Aye, sir. That is the only thing that makes sense. However, I don't believe anyone framed me, though. Sir, I *know* I was." The last line from her finally produces some emotion from her. There's a bit of anger tempered with her rock-solid determination, eyes narrowing at that invisible point in space.

"You /know/ you were," Jezza echoes back. It's more confirmation than question, that. "You realize I have several accounts, here in front of me, relating to your state of high emotions, when first discussing these events. Do you understand why your reactions may have seemed either paranoid or that of someone caught in the act of a misdeed?" Misdeed. So neutral.

"Yes, sir, I know it with every fiber of my being," Coll confirms to the knowledge of her framing. This woman isn't going to quit. She'd probably chew screws at this point to make her argument if it would help. To the rest of it, she gives a firm nod. "Absolutely, sir. I would even confirm that I was paranoid, though I still believe those indirect threats were on some level dangerous. Placing myself in the position of anyone on that Deck, very likely I would have probably considered my behavior suspicious. Though after this episode, sir, if I am allowed to stay on? I am not about to jump to conclusions anymore. This has hit a little too close to home for me, Captain."

Constin remains in his seat, stonefaced expression neither stirring nor slipping at the exchange of words between the officer and enlisted.

"We all know someone is responsible for some terrible things happening down on the deck. We get tense. We see threats where there aren't any. We draw conclusions we shouldn't be making because they make us feel better. It's a very dangerous and stressful environment to have to try to do one's job in, Specialist." Jezza pauses there to lift her glass for a drink, then resteeples her fingers together. "It seems to me like there were several details about yourself that you chose to keep private when you first came aboard and signed up for duty. And then, when they were revealed in the thick of all this, may have done you more harm than good. Is hindsight twenty-twenty, Specialist? It would be a very easy thing to see it all as someone desperately cooking up information to bolster their point."

"I do the job with pride and honor regardless, Captain. 'Dangerous and stressful' be damned. I kept working after I had accusations thrown at me. Sir, Marines and Air Crew have it tougher than we do. We directly support those who make up our front line of defense. Can you tell me of another billet on this ship that claims that?" Coll will not be deterred. She's speaking from the heart at this point. Her jaw tenses briefly before she speaks up again. "Sir, I didn't think it was anyone else's business. When it became important, I spoke up about the truth of it. Whether or not someone wants to consider what I'm saying to be false is their own decision. Though I'm not quite sure what I have to gain about telling my detaining officer about a prior arrest. As well, if someone would like me to prove that I was an ECO, point me to a Raptor or a sim. I will put down every doubt anyone might have had, sir." The challenge is issued as if it were chiseled into granite - a standing offer that won't expire. Ever. Her eyes narrow again with those words and she falls silent once more.

The JAG's light green stare remains on Coll for several long moments after she finishes speaking. There is, perhaps, the faintest of nods — as if some internal question was confirmed — or perhaps it's just the mildest cant of her head to one side. "There /are/ several easily-performed tasks and routines that would confirm or deny your skills in several areas," she agrees, at length. "It seems to have fallen by the wayside in the rush to see justice done, and something I will be bringing up. I promise you that." She adds a few quick penstrokes to her hieroglyphic-like collection of notes, then looks to Coll again. "I believe that's everything. You've spoken very well for yourself, Specialist. Is there anything else you'd like to add?"

"You name the time and place, Captain. I'll be there, suited, and ready to put my money where my mouth is. Haven't sat gib in about sixteen to seventeen months so I might be rusty for a few minutes, but I flew for seven years. I could teach some of these crews quite a few tricks." Coll's eyes have never wavered from that one point above the JAG's head, her own held high. Especially when the woman tells her than she had spoken well. "Thank you, sir. I would only like to add that I request one thing: No matter what happens, don't take my uniform, sir. Please. Its all I've got left. I know I'm in no place to make requests, but its all I care about." She makes one last jerky nod and appears finished. "Sir." And so punctuated, the Specialist falls silent.

That faint cant to her head deepens to a proper nod. "Thank you, Specialist." The JAG's attention then moves across to Constin. Though she didn't appear to be slouching, somehow she seems to straighten further as she looks to him. "Corporal. You had further information for me regarding this, as well?"

Constin nods curtly, once. "Yes, sir. The investigation into this incident remains ongoing, so all that ah can tell you about Specialist Coll's suspicions is that at this time they have not been entirely disqualified." The words aren't hurried and his expression remains fixed into something a bit closer to a frown than a smile.

'Not entirely disqualified.' There's something about the phrasing that shifts the JAG's faint smile toward something more crooked. "I see," she says; her expression's back to that light, friendly neutrality by the time she finishes saying it. "If the Specialist was in fact framed, knew her schedule, removed the warhead…" She opens her hands, palm out, in a shoulderless shrug. These things take time. She understands. "No estimation for how long it may require to complete your investigations, of course?" she asks, as if she already knows the answer.

"Ah cannot reveal further details of an ongoing investigation, sir," Constin replies obligingly, from rote. No surprises there. Jezza's open litany of the possibilities that having Coll's story confirmed is met with no reaction but a breath drawn in and let out through the marine's nose.

"Of course, Corporal. I understand." It's the same shell game Jezza's played with the MPs before, information hidden away until the Big Reveal finale. Not that she doesn't watch Constin's expression as she asks, or he gives his answer. One never knows what one might learn /around/ the actual words. "Is there anything more? I trust you'll be in touch as soon as there's further word."

"That is all, sir," Constin answers, leaving his half statement that Coll hasn't been conclusively proven a liar his only contribution to the proceedings. "The Judge Advocates Office will be included in any further development in this matter." The formal phrasing doesn't disguise his lowbrow drawl, it simply polishes it a bit.

"Thank you. I appreciate it." Jezza caps her fountain pen with a soft click and pushes up from her office chair, shifting side to side a little as if realigning her spine. Lowest-bidder furniture. Sigh. She crosses briskly to the door, heels clopping against the tiles, and opens it with a smooth gesture. "I'm sure the Specialist is eager to see something beyond these terrible offices and the inside of the brig."

Coll stands to attention when the Captain rises, her eyes never leaving the wall. With the brisk pace, the Specialist doesn't even bother to try and turn with her. She just remains in front of the desk with her back to the JAG. Though the comments from the other woman get a sidelong glance as if unsure what's going on. She's still in 'fight mode' and not about to get her hopes up. Not yet.

Constin rises to his feet along with the JAG, evenly voicing the question that Coll doesnt dare ask: "Your formal decision, sir?" The two black clad marines who have kept mute watch over the proceedings stand still apart from the occasional shift of weight from boot to boot.

"I cannot reveal further details until my decision has been rendered to my superiors, Corporal." The reply is suspiciously similar to the MP's timbre and phrasing. Is the JAG attempting to have /fun/, here? "They'll be delivered in full to the Deck Six Security Hub by eight a.m., and are free to deliver to the Specialist as soon as they're signed."

"Yes, sir," is Constin's dry reply to the answer. Someone who's either particularly observant, or moderately acquainted with the Corproal's mannerisms might catch a vaguely amused turn briefly touch his lip, as he nods to the guards, who will once again escort Coll back.

Coll holds her breath and just nods at the response to her back. She turns slightly, then all the way. There's a glance to the JAG, then Constin. "Back to the brig for me, sounds like. Maybe this'll be the last night." Dare to dream, right? "Thank you, sir. I appreciate you hearing this." That, to Jezza.

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