PHD 237: Dereliction
Summary: Demitros and Mehra have a final meeting where the former presents the data and recommendations for all personnel. Later, Ens. Nikos is called in, and both the Kharon personnel each receive a surprise. Colonel Cortez is charged with dereliction of duty.
Date: PHD 237
Related Logs: A Bad Time?


"Right. Understood." Praxis jams the phone right back onto the receiver. Thanks to last night's DH meeting, it wasn't hard to set up his officer such that it would allow for a professional setting; in fact the XO is completely prepared for Sabah's arrival. There are folders upon folders upon folders of service records, recommendations, and anything else a person would want on every single being on the vessel all stacked in piles on the coffee table. While all the tertiary stuff is off to the side, the focus are given on the DH recommendations as well as the XO's notes in a series of specialized folders. With all that done and taken care of, Demitros opens the hatchway, walks out into the corridor, and stands at attention.

It isn't long before the Admiral is spotted coming up the hall. She's flanked by her pair of marine guards in full combat gear, each of whom virtually tower over the diminutive woman dressed in officer's blues. A few crew members heading to and from their duty shifts pause to watch the procession, all but staring as Sabah comes to a halt and throws up a smooth salute to Kharon's XO. "Good afternoon, Captain," she demurs with a touch of a smile. And then steps right on through the open hatch, expecting him to hold it like the gentleman he comes across as.

Demitros cants his head in what could considered to be one of the most subtle of nods after the salute is complete, and he simply stands there at the hatchway's threshold to allow for the Admiral to proceed into the quarters. As soon as she has her back turned to Praxis, he glances at his chronometer with an incredulous expression. Afternoon?! He'd been up for the duration of the night getting prepared, it would appear that time has flown faster than he could keep track of. Closing the hatchway behind him, he secures it shut before moving into the room and pulling out Sabah's chair for her before moving around the table to find his own, only setting down when she has found a perch. "How would you like to begin, sir?"

This time, one of the guards steps inside, and the other remains at the hatch with his rifle and a suitably dour expression. The Admiral sweeps her eyes over the room, much as she had on her prior visit, before curling into the chair that Praxis slides out for her. A small smile is given in thanks, and a file folder is set down in front of her. "Why don't you start by giving me an overview of your recommendations, then I'll pass on any direct requests and orders that I have, and I'll have my XO draft up a final roster for the two ships by tonight. We'll move onto any questions or concerns you have, after that, and I have one final thing to discuss at the conclusion of our meeting."

Praxis rises from his seat almost as quickly as he had sat down, and he roves around the table to open one of the folders for her. "Air-Wing," he says, in the folder a list of names as well as the dossier on Captain Marek. "These are the personnel that he has recommended stay aboard the vessel, I have gone over the names myself and have approved them. As for the Captain, he has expressed the desire to remain onboard the escort carrier to manage what is left of the wing. As for my personal opinion on the matter, he has been a valuable commodity and I am unsure if it would be wise not to utilize that to its full potential." He clears his throat and continues onward. "Colonial Military Corps, under the command of Ensign Salazar Nikos. Again we have a list of recommended transfers, and a small rotation of Marine personnel will remain. Again, Nikos has suggested that she remain on board the vessel to handle the remaining on board, however Nikos has not failed me a single moment when I needed something done. My recommendation is that she transfers and becomes a tertiary company officer." Demitros runs teeth over his lip, letting Sabah process all of that before continuing.

The woman seated across from Praxis is obviously accustomed to meetings such as these, to decisions of this magnitude, and shows little to no distress at discussing the crew of his ship like they were merely chips on a poker table. Her slender fingers touch the edge of the folder that's opened up, then pull it closer to read while Demitros speaks. "Mm," is all she has to say on the matter for the time being. Once she's finished reading the list of names of people she doesn't know from a hole in the wall, for the most part, she inclines her head slightly. "Continue, please."

"Engineering & Deck Crew," Praxis continues without hesitation, his confident voice carrying across from her. "Under the command of Captain Sen Eos-Hale, has seen it fit to produce a handful of personnel for the Hestia. My recommendation is that the Captain remains on board the escort carrier in order to continue its operation, as her knowledge (and undoubtedly passion) of the vessel will prove more useful than introducing her to a new class of vessel and a new environment. Captain Eos-Hale will continue to make repairs and continue to ensure the carrier is performing within acceptable parameters. She seems to think that with the minimum amount of souls on board, they can afford to seal off and cut power to particular systems of the vessel in the name of efficiency." Then the medical folder is cracked open, a list of names to transfer. There appears to be no personal recommendation on this facet of the vessel, but instead he leaves the Admiral to make her own decisions based on the service record of the senior staff. "Tactical. I would advise that the bulk of my senior officers transfer, and have two rotations of personnel to remain. I have hand-chosen only several enlisted technicians to move to the Hestia, while the remainder stay aboard. The tactical officer will remain to oversee all bridge operations."

Sabah closes the first folder once Praxis moves onto Engineering and Deck crew, and opens up the second. It's skimmed with her eyes while he speaks, and the man himself given a glance or two at certain significant points in his monologue. There's another incline of her head when he mentions cutting power to certain parts of the ship. "A good suggestion, Captain. I concur." The Medical folder is glanced at, a couple of names memorised, and then it's flipped closed and slid atop the other two for the time being. Undoubtedly, she'll take another look at it later. Finally, Tactical. "As I understand it, bridge operations have been severely reduced to FTL, manual helm controls, DRADIS and weapons. Am I correct?" Her dark eyes lift from the contents of the folder, to rest on Praxis again.

"You understand correctly, sir. Electronic countermeasures are no longer functioning - until that is repaired I'm not entirely certain it is efficient to leave countermeasures personnel onboard Kharon. Navigation technicians are finding it increasingly difficult to find tasks to do as most of their equipment is inoperative. There only needs to be one FTL technician and a navigator on duty at most." Demitros folds his hands behind his back. "It's possible that we can have personnel double up on duties - communications is a task I have done simultaneously with Tactical before." He's probably going too far into the subject; or at least more than she wanted him to.

"Commander Taji and I will consider it, Captain," answers the Admiral with a warm smile. There doesn't appear to be any pretense in the gesture, though one never knows with high Command. "All right, I think we have enough information here to make a decision by tonight.." She flips the folders closed, flicks a glance toward the marine standing vigilant by the hatch, then weaves her fingers together against her abdomen as she leans back in her chair. "I'd like to hear your thoughts on all of this. Off the record, as it were. Any reservations, questions, specific requests.. fears." Her voice softens with the last word, eyes unmoving from his.

"Of course, sir," Praxis replies contentedly, hands folded behind his back while he paces slightly. Sabah calls on his for his thoughts and feelings, and it's that point in time where he freezes in space. Turning back to the Admiral, he's as rigid as a stick. "Oh, no sir…I'm not really one to…" He cuts himself off, grinding his teeth together. "I suppose it is just the same as everyone else. As Captain Marek had put it the other day at meeting, half the crew is concerned with the uncertainty of the future, and half is … excited at the new posting. A new beginning, so to speak." There's another little pause while Demitros gathers his thoughts. "Whichever decisions are made about the future, I will work to make the transition as smooth and efficient as possible, as well as the integration. I had some rather favorable suggestions about a fight night, pyramid, triad games amongst the new crew…if I may be allowed to enlist a few personnel in its organization."

Sabah licks her lower lip thoughtfully, dark eyes following Praxis as he paces to and fro. She is, undoubtedly, studying his posture and his demeanor with an eagle's eye. "I think that would be lovely," is her soft-voiced reply. Her emotions are not difficult to read; there's a note of admiration, as well as care in her voice. "Once the crew transfer is complete, I'll be happy to call upon them to make it happen." She pauses a moment, and then explains, "The Commander and I have been reviewing some of your mission logs, and we'd like to set a course for this.. algae planet that was discovered by your raptor team, as soon as possible. I'd also like a full inventory done of all food and fuel stores, to facilitate a bit of number crunching on our end. And Captain." She lifts her hand palm up, as if to implore him to stop pacing, and to watch her for a moment. "You and your crew have been through so much. I can understand if you're uncertain. I will try to soften the blow as much as I am able, but I needn't tell you that you must be strong for them. As I must. We cannot be out there, what we are in here." Her hand moves slightly, gesturing to the room.

Perhaps being under so much scrutiny is what is making this officer marginally uneasy. It has practically been unheard of since he was Tactical, here. Demitros stares at the hand lifted up to him, and decides that a seat in the chair would most likely be the best spot for him. Remaining still, fingers locking together and sitting down on the table. The algae planet is mentioned, and a nod of his head is made. "Absolutely, sir," he concurs with a nod of his head. "The numbers will be handed to you as soon as humanly possible." And as instructed albeit subtly, jade eyes remain locked onto the Admiral as she speaks. When she's finished, he nods his head. "I assure you Admiral, nobody out there sees what happens in here. Strength is precisely what I have exhibited and will continue to do so, sir. From the time that I have been able to get acquainted with you, it would perhaps be prudent to say that I have faith you will do what is right for all of us. Out there - I am unflappable, sir."

A long, quiet moment follows those words. There is the ticking of a clock somewhere, the distant creak and groan of Kharon's hull as she navigates the stars at a hobble and a limp, already a veteran of this war that's nowhere near done. Finally, there is a smile from the woman, and she reaches across to place her hand over his gently. "I believe you." Another few seconds pass before she leans back in her chair again. "On to the last matter. Would you please place a call for Ensign Nikos to report?"

In addition to the quiet, ambient noises that are present throughout the ship, perhaps the thumping of the pulse in Demitros' veins could be heard too for someone with keen enough ears. It can definitely be felt when the hand touches down on his own, but at that moment it calms down, a final deep breath taken. It was the reassurance that helped…Knight's behaviour could probably be attributed to the fact that the highest-ranking officer he's ever seen is watching him so closely. But still, all of a sudden, it takes a single touch from Sabah to make things that much clearer for him, a boost of courage and faith everything will be just fine. "Right away, sir." It's a softer sort of reply, as he stands up and goes to the phone. Maybe even the beginnings of a smile.

[Intercom] Praxis says, "Ensign Salazar Nikos, report to XO's Quarters. I say again, Nikos to XO's quarters."

The Admiral glances absently at her fingernails while Praxis moves to the phone to place his call. She doesn't wear a coloured polish, just a touch of gloss. One of them looks chipped, though it's hard to say whether it's this fact, or the precipitous groaning of the ship that has her looking mildly distressed.

Praxis once again hooks the phone back onto the wall, an air of curiosity about his features at the order…but it appears that the matter will be made clear soon enough. Unless of course he's forced out of his room. His own room. That's sad. Regardless, he goes back to seat himself at the table, looking towards the hatchway for the expected crewmember with a raised brow.

It's roughly forty five seconds before there's a knock at the hatch, and then the hatch promptly opens, and the requested crew member steps inside. She must have been just across the hall in the Officer's Quarters, getting her off duty on. Still, she shows up in clean clothes, her usual duty gear down in the Sec Hub. "Sir, you rang." That greeting is brief before she goes to attention, sharply. When she notices the Admiral, that attention snaps into a salute. The entire process takes about 3.2 seconds.

Before Praxis can quite plant his butt back into his chair, Sabah turns her hand palm up, and makes a small motion with her index finger, to indicate for him to rise again. Up, down, up, down. It's the jack in the box of high Command. Maybe she is going to send him out of his own room. Or not, since she rises herself once Salazar's sealed the hatch and pulled into a salute. "Hello, Ensign," she greets the S2 with a smile that comes easily to her older features. "I'm sure you're a busy woman, but I assure you, this won't take long. As you were, please." Her dark eyes peruse the off duties, pause for a long, long moment on the ink gracing her throat, then shift askance to regard the tall marine in combat blacks guarding the inside entrance. "Sergeant." She holds out her hand, palm up. The soldier lowers his rifle and steps toward her, placing a small box in her palm; there is another one, which he retains for the moment.

Without hesitation, Praxis backs away from the offending chair and instead stands back, going to parade rest and raising his chin, remaining still and placid as the business takes place between the Admiral the the Ensign. The box is handed towards Mehra at that point and his eyes track it. There's an almost audible click within his mind when he sees it, but he doesn't express any emotion on his features for the time being.

Salazar drops to a more relaxed, but still professional posture, parade rest. Her eyes linger on Praxis for a moment, then that dark eyes gaze returns to the Admiral and stays there for the duration of the words being exchanged. Her eyes find and settle on the box briefly. Her expression does not so much as twitch. "Sir." Chin up, marine. Sal nervous? No way.

"It is my solemn feeling, Ensign, that dead men should not be spoken ill of. No matter what it is they did in life." The Admiral, once she's accepted the box, steps around so that she's facing Salazar. She could reach out and touch her with ease, and the S2 may be able to smell the distinct tang of green tea on her, and a slight perfume that's no doubt been in severely diminishing quantity over the past several months. It's almost sweet at first blush, but hides something darker and more complex. "So I will try not to pass judgements on Jack Sheridan's past command of this vessel, or why he chose to buck convention in making an Ensign out of his Security Officer. I think it's largely irrelevant now." She opens up the case to reveal a pair of Lieutenant's pins, and turns it around to show the woman. "You will continue to serve this fleet as the Captain has assured me you have up until now. The men and women of the Colonial Marine Corps have relied on your guidance, and I have faith that it will remain the case. I am asking you to remain aboard Kharon for the duration of her service, as the Commanding Officer of the CMC. Your Master at Arms will function jointly as Security Officer until such time as Kharon is decommissioned." And then, since Salazar's in off duties, the box is closed and passed across.

Content and in the background, Demitros watches the steps of the Admiral approach that of the now obviously former Ensign, a very subtle twitch at his lips while each of the words flow forth from Sabah's lips. The smile is a little bit more obvious when the box is opened to reveal the pins, but at the moment any eyes turn in his direction…well, he'd wipe that right off of his features. When the Captain is mentioned, there is a slight nod of his head as if backing up the statement…but otherwise he remains unmoving and largely unspoken. Though there is that sort of look that goes, 'What say you, Nikos?'

The ominous beginning to the Admiral's address has Salazar's chin coming up slightly, though her eyes remain watchful. Her eyes meet those of Sabah, and there's a long moment of consideration. She inhales a slow breath. There is a two second lag from the presentation of the box to Salazar's tattooed hand reaching for it. A Nikos does not refuse a duty charged by an Admiral. "I would be honored, sir." She takes the box in her right hand, and nods to the woman before her. She slides the box around to the small of her back, where her hand clasps the wrist holding it. Her eyes very subtly slide to the Kharon's XO after a few beats.

Oh, Sabah needn't look to be aware of that smile. Admirals have eyes in the front, back, sides and tops of their heads, don't you know? Full three hundred and sixty degrees; it's the only way to cope up on the bridge during a hectic mission. Once the box is accepted, she offers her hand for the newly minted Lieutenant to shake. Her skin is cool to the touch, fingers almost delicate, an illusion that's ruined by the distinct pattern of callouses on her middle and ring fingers, that match where a weapon would be reloaded. "Shubhamastu," she intones softly, dark eyes lowering just a fraction before meeting the taller woman's again. It's an old word in Kalimnos that's found its way into somewhat more common use as a blessing. There's another beat before she releases her hand entirely, then steps back and glances to the Sergeant once more. He withdraws the second box wordlessly, and presses it into her hand as he had the first. This time, she steps toward Praxis.

When eyes are met between the Kharon CMC CO and the ship's XO, there's a slight nod in congratulations, his intense jade stare conveying everything it needs to; first and foremost being that he believes she deserves it. Breaths are intaken through his nose, eyes wandering down to the hands that meet, and then back up to the Admiral when she's reaching for another box from the Sergeant. Demitros has been known for his eyebrow acrobatics, and this is no exception when the Rear Admiral begins stepping towards his rigid form. That's when, you know, the synapses fire in his brain all over the place, wondering what's in store for him. The pulse quickens again, but he remains iron.

Salazar's inked fingers take those of the Admiral without hesitation, the transfer of the box to her other hand happening out of view behind her back. She bears similar roughness to her hand — soft but for the telltale roughness of a habitual soldier. She inclines her head just slightly, and murmurs, "Bendiciones." She turns her attention back to Praxis, and it's her turn to quirk the faintest of smiles as she watches the Admiral approach him with a box in hand. She has not been dismissed, so she remains to watch. Her fingers roll the box in hand behind her back.

The Admiral comes to a halt in front of Praxis, and watches him for a very long while. He's almost a foot taller than her, so it's quite a feat of neck craning in order to meet his eyes. Finally, there's a subtle quirk at the corners of her mouth that slowly spreads into a full-on smile, softened with creases that feather from the corners of her eyes and beneath her throat. Fourty eight years of life have been relatively kind to her, and it's clear that she's spent much of that time laughing. "Captain Demitros." The words are almost a soft sigh. "I've known you for such a short time, and yet I see in you the faces of others that have gone before. Young men with bright eyes and good intentions, who've been given shoes too big to have any hope of filling." Her thumb strokes the top of the box in her hands, and she doesn't take her eyes off him for a moment. Nor does she dismiss Salazar yet. "Good intentions do not help us win wars. Neither do shoes that don't fit. But I can see from your reports, and from our talks, that you are not only a capable officer but a man who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to safeguard the lives and well being of his crew." She flips the box open to reveal a set of Lieutenant Colonel pins, and slides one out before stepping forward to replace the brass on his left collar first; her fingertips brush skin ever so glancingly. "You will take full command of this vessel until such time as she is no longer fit to command." Onto the next pin. "Colonel Cortez will be removed from duty under code seventy-two F of the Colonial military code of conduct. Lieutenant Nikos, you are to detain him immediately in quarters and see that he is remanded to Medical for a psychiatric evaluation, with charges of dereliction of duty pending that assessment."

Even for young men who have mentally trained themselves to be as professional as humanly possible and has been married to his education and his job for as long as he has been living, it is difficult not to react to a smile so infectious. It's a sort of warmth that neither the CO or the XO has imparted onto him before, but they were both stalwart men, just like Demitros is a stalwart man. Pearly whites are shown in response to Sabah's visage as well as her words…no one has said such nice things about him before. In fact, they're so nice that it's surreal. Jades do not dare to look down to the box in her hands at any point in time, nor do they deviate to lock onto the tattooed-up Lieutenant Salazar Nikos. Instead, they're trained on the dark eyes of Admiral Mehra and stay there like they were adhered like super glue. His body is straight, solid, no shivering … but what is reflected on the outside is not necessarily what's happening inside mentally. One of the LtC pins goes on, and already he can feel the weight of them on his collar. Like his colleague across the room there, jumping two ranks is not exactly what he expected when Sabah came into the room. Then the next pin goes on. It's at this point his hand does not snap, but smoothly transitions to his forehead, eyes now pointing directly over the Admiral's head. "Yes, sir. Thank you, sir," his tones ring out. Yeah. Big moment.

Ohshit. That surely has to be a blip on Nikos' mind as well as Demitros'. Salazar nods slightly, order acknowledged, though there is a brief moment where her stomach turns. Not for the order itself, but that it has come to this. Detaining a Colonel isn't something you do every day, but the act in and of itself pales to what the ship and its crew have been through in recent months, and to what humanity itself has suffered. It is without hesitation that she accepts that order, but there is some distaste in anticipation of the act itself. She does not reveal these thoughts by her expression, though they slip through her mind nonetheless.
Just to be clear…yeah, it's a blip in Demitros' mind too. But he's a LITTLE bit busy, right now.

"Anugr hito'smi," replies the Admiral softly, dipping her eyes to the tall officer much as she had to Salazar moments ago. Another benediction in Kalimnos; this one, like the other, confers a blessing, but is flipped around to refer to herself. She is the one who is blessed— and unless her eyes lie, they say the same thing. As the salute is given, she steps back to return it crisply, then heads for the table to retrieve the stack of file folders she'll be passing off to Commander Kato. "Lieutenant, you're dismissed. Bring whomever you need, and do whatever you must, to get the job done." Her eyes slide to the tattooed woman for a heartbeat, then drop away again. "Colonel, I will send word to you tonight once we've finalised the crew merger. Gods speed to both of you." The warm smile returns as she looks between the pair, and then turns and prowls for the hatch.

Professional soldiers transition swiftly, and it is with a smooth gesture that Salazar turns toward the Admiral and the Lieutenant Colonel and snaps a sharp salute. That arm is spring loaded, baby! She turns sharply as she's dismissed, though there's a brief duel eyebrow raise to Praxis. That's a 'hot shit, Colonel' look. "Sir." She moves to open the hatch, then holds it for the Admiral. She has a Fishburn to fry. Er, a Cortez to … baste? No, that's not right either. Anyway, someone's getting some AiQ. Oorah.

Praxis lowers his salute, and then returns his hands to the secret spot behind his back while he listens to the final words of the Admiral before she departs. Eyes then look to Salazar, a slight nod as if he's rather aware of the fact that he's hot shit, before his lips thin while he thinks of the Colonel. Air is intaken through his nostrils and then exhaled. He can't fight for the Colonel, nor does he really want to at this point. "Sir." Demitros says in farewell to the admiral, and then he watches Salazar proceed out the hatchway to do her job. Almost nothing left to do until the merger orders come through.


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