Obsidian Command
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Letter Versus Spirit

Posted on 19 Jul 2018 @ 4:22am by Ensign Vahlen Serra
Edited on on 29 Jul 2018 @ 4:18pm

Mission: Character Development
Location: FCPD Office

It was a new experience for Serra to enter the station's police department offices. She'd never been in trouble as a child; always the straight-edged, Prophets-obeying girl. Never been in trouble at the Academy, either. So for some reason, this place filled her with an irrational sense of wonder and trepidation, as though she was somehow incriminating herself just by her presence.

She spotted a familiar face almost immediately, just leaving through one of the doors. The tall Police Lieutenant from the party. Serra strode up to him, clearing her throat and standing as tall as she could (despite being significantly shorter than him).

"Excuse me, Lieutenant Butler?" Her hand jutted-out with a PADD. "From Commander Lance. I'm supposed to provide some of the latest telemetry reports to someone in the security section, but I'm not sure whom. Perhaps you could assist me?"

Matt raised his eyebrow at her. This was the girl he had made, during a brief and desperate time in his life, a somewhat alcohol-induced pass at during Rebecca's birthday party. After being somewhat brushed off, he realized he was out of his mind for even trying and let it go. And he was definitely glad he did. "Telemetry? If that's for the Loki search that should go to Captain Reed." He nodded over towards the other side of the office. "She's in her office in the Detective's section."

"Oh. Thank you, Lieutenant." She hesitated a moment. He'd said a few...things...at the party that maybe he might have regretted. "I realise our first meeting was not the most agreeable, and if you feel as though an apology is required, then I will happily accept," she said, waiting expectantly for his answer.

His jaw gaped open slightly. An apology? For trying to talk to her and ask her out? What was she talking about? "I'm..." He was stunned at her straightforward and rather interesting interpretation of events from that night. "An apology?"

She clasped her hands behind her back, her body still formal and upright.

"Fraternizing with a junior officer is discouraged by Starfleet code of conduct; viewed as a conflict of interest." She flicked a glance at him. "I was not in uniform at the time, so I will not be reporting this to my Commanding Officer. Provided an apology is made, of course."

This conversation was getting weird incredibly quickly. "Fraternizing? I just asked if you wanted to maybe grab some food!" He noticed his voice was slightly louder than intended. He looked around for any wandering eyes and ears then turned back to Vahlen. His voice was quiet but laced with a bit of frustration. "Technically I'm not even a part of Starfleet so that rule wouldn't even apply." What was she trying to do here?

"Starfleet regulation 146.2a states that personnel serving within the command structure of a Starfleet outpost or vessel must adhere to the general codes of conduct." She barely stopped for breath. "I understand that your senior officer is within that structure. Therefore, it is not only warranted, it is mandated. Sir."

You have got to be kidding me... "That command structure is only under your own department... What, you're going to punish me for trying to be polite to you?" Well, there was a slightly ulterior motive for the food invitation at the time but that was kept well hidden. He hadn't gone anywhere near any sexually-driven comments or behaviors. He felt like she was putting him into a corner, and he was incredibly glad things had worked out the way they did.

"Punish...?" Serra frowned. "The polite thing to do would be to follow the letter of the regulations, sir. It's not my intention to be confrontational on the matter, it's simply a case of the rules being as they are."

Matt couldn't help but chuckle at her. "Letter of the regulations? The regulations don't even apply, especially to this. I asked if you wanted to grab food, you said, 'No thank you,' and that was it. If that was fraternization then every single one of us would have broken that regulation at least once a day." He shook his head, still in disbelief that the woman was digging a hole for herself. "If you're going that route, you broke the regulation for even showing up to Rebecca Sharpe's party, which, by the way, you were invited to by Commander Lance."

"Commander Lance is not a..." Serra stopped mid-sentence. "What I mean is, it wouldn't be..." Again, she hesitated. He'd caught her out somehow. The regulations were the regulations, yet he was correct in his assertion. She'd been so sure he had been propositioning her, when in fact he'd offered her some food. "Prophets..." she hissed to herself, feeling her cheeks warm. "Excuse me, Lieutenant. I have...to show these reports to Captain Reed."

Matt gave her a closed-lip smile, relieved that he was able to diffuse the situation. She was young and incredibly naive and new to life outside of the Academy. "Wait..." He paused, waiting for her to look back at him. "Life isn't always black and white here. Don't forget about the Spirit of the Law. It will save you a lot of trouble... and embarrassment." He gave her a wink. "Though I will apologize if I personally made you feel uncomfortable at the party. That was not my intention." He had realized that was maybe the reason why she was pushing the rulebook on him.

Serra stared at him. Probably for too long. Then she realised and righted herself, trying to avoid embarrassment. "Yes. Thank you." She blinked. "Goodbye, Lieutenant." She turned and marched for the exit at a rapid pace. Then she realised she was going in the wrong direction, froze, then turned and scuttled her way towards Captain Reed's door, hoping he hadn't witnessed it.

Matt let out an amused scoff as the woman clumsily made her way over to Archie’s office. He shook his head and turned back towards his office. He spotted Officer’s Waters who’s brows were furrowed from witnessing their conversation.

“Who was that?” He asked innocently, only catching a few key words from the conversation.

Matt gave him a shrug. “New girl. Slight miscommunication during Rebecca’s party.”

Waters cranes himself to get a better look at Archie’s office. “She seeing anyone?”

Matt let out a laugh. “No, but good luck if you try.”


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