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MSPNPC Lt Commander Aria Maddox JP with Skepus - Juris Prudentia


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(( Courtroom 407, Starfleet Judiciary Facility, Andoria ))

 

Skepus’ eyes narrowed as he gazed down his nose at the defendant on the stand. It was uncommon for a defendant to sit on the witness stand, but as Skepus had learned in the weeks prior, this particular defendant was easily led. His own counsel had even (unwittingly) expressed exasperation at their client’s bellicose and short-sighted desire to never appear weak.

 

Aria sat back examining and reexamining their evidence, and it was a mountain full. 

 

Skepus: Admiral Fraser, just so we’re clear, you maintain that you did not order *anyone* to alter the logs of the Constitution?

 

The round-faced man on the stand had become quite incensed and red at the line of questioning.

 

Fraser: No, I don’t know what you’re talking about.

 

Skepus: You don’t know about the altered logs of the Constitution?

 

Fraser: I’m not familiar with that ship. I hear the captain is a nasty woman, though.

 

Skepus raised an eyebrow and looked back over his shoulder at Aria. The two had somewhat improved their relationship by working on the same team for once, instead of against each other. He looked to her to see if her face gave any hint of how he might proceed. All it revealed was frustration.

 

Aria’s hands were balled into fist under the table. She was thankful that she hadn’t chosen that moment to take a drink. She could feel her blood pressure rising and her heartbeat thumped in her ears. oOThat lying, conniving Oo Her stomach was doing flips at the waves of arrogance pouring off from Fraser. It didn’t take an empath to know he was right proud of himself. She was seeing red.

 

Skepus turned back around toward the Admiral and exhaled.

 

Skepus: Sir, your own logs show you personally signed the orders for the Constitution to investigate Xatrac City. Of course, your logs reflect different orders than were sent to the Constitution, but nonetheless–

 

Fraser: I don’t recall that. I sign lots of orders.

 

Skepus: Are you saying you do not read the orders you sign?

 

Fraser: No, no, I read them but you know you read them and sign them and that’s it they’re gone.

 

Aria cringed. That hole was getting mighty deep. His own incompetence might do him in. 

 

The man spoke without punctuation, as if he were unfamiliar with the concept. Skepus pursed his lips and clasped his hands behind his back. He turned to the bench.

 

Skepus: Your Honor, I request a recess with my partner to discuss a matter of the case.

 

The judge silently nodded. She had been reticent the entire case, merely watching.

 

He returned to Aria, with only the hint of flames in his eyes. Fraser was infuriating!

 

Maddox: Thank the Four for that. I cannot take another minute of his…. His arrogant self-congratulatory behavior. Be thankful you are a touch telepath and not an empath. 

 

Skepus chuckled.

 

Skepus: Indeed. But what do we do about him?

 

Maddox: I have an idea.

 

Skepus nodded in approval.

 

Maddox: He is so arrogant and thinks he can do no wrong, get him talking about his assistant. The one that tampered with the logs,. ::scaning the files:: Lt. Dolen. Eventually, at least likely, he’ll start on about how he could have done it better if he had just done it himself.

 

A wry smile cracked Skepus’ face. 

 

Skepus: You’re devious.

 

Maddox: I think I’ve been working too closely with you. You’ve rubbed off on me.

 

Aria shook her head as Skepus staled back to the floor. At least this time they had a plan.

 

Skepus had already returned to stalk back to the floor and resume questioning when he hung his head and shook it, smiling. She certainly had a way with words. Truth was that working together felt good. Felt damned good, and reminded him about what he saw in her in the first place. “Rekindled” might be too strong a word, but he felt that they were more than mere friends. She was someone he could trust.

 

Skepus: Admiral, let’s set aside orders for the moment. What can you tell us about Lieutenant Dolen? 

 

Fraser: Good officer, works hard.

 

Skepus: He was identified, tried, and convicted of tampering with official Starfleet orders and records.

 

Fraser: :: defiant :: So? What’s that got to do with me?

 

Skepus: Sir, he served with you for the past 12 years. 

 

Fraser: Ok.

 

Skepus: You have no comment on his conduct?

 

Fraser: No.

 

Skepus: He implicated you, which is why you stand trial today. He says that you ordered him to make those changes. He produced evidence :: motioning to the display :: such as extemporaneous memos claiming you ordered him to “make it go away.”

 

Fraser: What he does is his business.

 

Typically, the prosecution is disincentivized from screaming in primal fury in the courtroom. So Skepus took a step back, took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. Time to let Aria have a go with him. He walked over to her and leaned in, to speak in soft tones.

 

Skepus: I cede him to you, Aria.

 

Maddox: Gee thanks. Just what I never wanted ::she chuckled::

 

Skepus: Glad to be of service. :: He swung around the desk and sat next to her. ::

His game had always been to get people talking, peek through their words to see the truth, provoke them into admitting something… Fraser’s tactic was so blunt and unbecoming that Skepus couldn’t get anywhere. Skepus had begun to understand his error: not everyone is decent at heart.

 

Aria took one last moment to scan her files for anything useful before she stood. He was prepped and ready for any material they threw at him that was trial related. It was time to shake the ground beneath his feet. Time to get him unsteady.

 

Aria stood gracefully and walked to the floor where Skepus had just been occupying.

 

Maddox: I read somewhere that you are close to retirement, surely you have had an long and interesting career.

 

Fraser: Young lady, you wouldn’t believe the things I’ve achieved. 

 

Maddox: I’m sure that’s true. Do you mind if we speak hypothetically for a moment? Surely, your experience might help shed light on a situation that is most unfortunate. 

 

The round-faced man’s features softened a bit.

 

Fraser: You ask and I’ll have it solved before you’re done asking the question.

 

Maddox: Well, then let’s give this a go. Say we have a Starfleet Admiral, who is close to retirement, and he sees a culture that has a rare thing, let’s say a gas. He knows immediately that it has an immense value, but it isn’t without risks. So he sends a ship to negotiate a possible trade deal, but it goes horribly wrong in ways he never could have known… what should he do? His career and name are in jeopardy if word gets around that he signed off on it.

 

His demeanor shifted. 

 

Fraser: Well, I wouldn’t know anything about all that. You know, I heard the Constitution captain broke all sorts of rules.

 

Maddox: We were talking hypothetically. Though, it’s interesting that you felt it was about you. 

 

Fraser: You can't prove that.

 

Maddox: Prove what? That we were talking hypothetically and you made it about you? Actually, yes I can since there is a room full of witnesses. Anyway, you said you could solve it, so what would you do?

 

Fraser: I– look, I think i’m just about done being on the stand.

 

Maddox: What would you do if your name was on the orders?

 

He recoiled in his seat. He wasn’t used to be addressed like that.

 

Fraser: I don’t have to answer that.

 

Maddox: What would you do if your name was on the orders?

 

Fraser: :: angry :: I’d–I’d–

 

Maddox: ::louder and sternly:: What.  Would you do. If your name was on the orders?

 

Fraser: :: shaking, beet red, and stamping his feet :: Change them! Change the orders! I’d change the damned orders, ok?!

 

Skepus was wide eyed. She’d gotten to him far faster than he thought possible.

 

Maddox: ::Calmly:: I’ll raise you and give you one better. What about having someone else change them?

 

Fraser: What? 

 

Maddox: Why would an Admiral get his hands dirty, unless…

 

Fraser: Unless what!

 

Maddox: How do you go in and change ship logs Admiral?

 

Fraser: I, well see. You need to address the computer to alter the, er, identity of the date, and… 

 

Maddox: You don’t actually know do you?

 

Fraser: :: thinking he was making a point :: Exactly. Which is why I couldn’t have changed the orders!

 

Maddox: But Lieutenant Dolen could. You worked with him for 12 years. You knew what he was capable of. You were his direct Commanding Officer. Your wish was his command. “Make it go away”. Did you order Dolen to do it for you?

 

Fraser: Wish I could make you go away. :: Standing up :: I’m done.

 

Maddox: Answer the question and I’m gone.

 

Fraser: No. :: Be bent over and pushed open the half-door, and moved to return to his seat. ::

 

Skepus watched closely, his hand covering his mouth as he propped his chin up.

 

Maddox: Your Honor, I wasn’t finished with the Defendant. 

 

A bailiff looked to the judge for orders. The judge, turned to Aria and Skepu, looking inquisitively.

 

Skepus motioned to Aria to come over to him.


Aria saw Skepus and complied, waltzing over like it was just a casual day in the park rather than the court room… just to irritate Fraser.

 

Skepus: Let him sit back down. I think we got everything we could hope for from him. Plus he looks like an absolute ass.

 

Maddox: Do you think it's enough?

 

Skepus: I’m not sure. :: His gut said yes, but he couldn’t trust it anymore after ‘Rajel’ :: But we still have Dolen and the medical reports of the Admiral’s psych workup.

 

Maddox: I can keep grilling him. I can serve him Medium well or well done, whichever you prefer.

 

Skepus: I’d rather him burnt to a crisp. :: Looking her in the eye and placing his hand on hers. :: I know you could. But let’s let him cook himself. 

 

Maddox: ::addressing the Judge:: Actually, Your Honor, the prosecution requests a recess.

 

The judge’s eyes darted back and forth between the defendant and the prosecution. Before nodding to a bailiff. 

 

Bailiff: Judge Riva agrees to a recess of two days. The defense would be wise to remind the defendant of the rules and regulations of this courtroom.

 

The judge nodded in approval of the Bailiff’s words. In a short while, they had collected their things and left the courtroom.

 

((Flashback, Trial Prep Federation v Fraser))

 

It looked like it was shaping up to be a working dinner. Aria had spent all day trying deperately to consolidate the notes that she and Skepus had kept during the Rajel trial. It was a mess. His notes were all along the lines of “Jalana violated this general order” “Her crew’s incompetence…”. Her notes were the only to contain any notion of what actually happened. And it didn’t really help them now.

 

Maddox: Did you gather ANY evidence for the trial or did you just bully people and leak things to the press about me?

 

Skepus: *Excuse me,* I had a job to do and I did it to the best of my ability. Lot of good that did me.

 

Maddox: Yeah, it really paid off I see. Care to add anything or… I don’t know, help me maybe. I have been reading these PADDs all day and have precisely nothing new to add.

 

He was slouched in his chair but straightened up when she jabbed at him.

 

Skepus: I don’t know what you want me to say. I’m helping to organize the notes, aren’t I?

 

Maddox: You are getting a second chance. Act like it.

 

Skepus: Mm. And we’d better not mess this up.

 

Maddox: Then help me read. My head is killing me. 

 

He dispondantly picked up a PADD and began scrolling through it, highlighting the important parts of the notes. 

 

All of the bravado, the swagger, the confidence… it was all gone. 

 

Aria clutched her head in pain, a fresh wave washed over her that felt like she was being stabbed and electrocuted. Maybe she worked too hard, slept too little, but it didn’t explain the pain getting worse.

 

Skepus: :: Looking up  and noticing her expression, concerned :: Are you alright? Do you need a doctor?

 

Maddox: I did get it checked, actually. Dr. Spears didn’t find anything amiss; aside from my lifestyle. I am a diagnosed workaholic it seems.

 

Skepus snorted in agreement as he turned his eyes back to the PADD.

 

Skepus: Happens to the best of us.

 

Maddox: Well, I don’t see any other betazoids running around clutching their heads in agony. I have named the headache though

 

Skepus: :: not looking up :: What ignoble title have you given it?

 

Maddox: Skepus. I think it might have earned a last name of Fraser though.

 

Skepus: Yes, this case should be open-and-shut, but did you take a look at his most recent psych report?

 

Maddox: ::sarcastically: No, I was too busy looking at yours. In all honestly, yes I did and it is deeply troubling.

 

Skepus: He sounds like a treat. I suppose they were going to just let him ride to retirement. His service record shows he was a skilled captain in his time. Captained an Ambassador class. Decorated several times over.

 

Maddox: Being a Captain doesn’t make you a saint… in this case it makes you a pompous slimeball.

 

Skepus: Did you see the note about 2364?

 

Maddox: Briefly saw it listed but zoned out. We need food… and sleep. I feel like I’m on a meltdown.

 

Skepus: Just a moment ago you were admonishing me for not working enough. :: beat :: In 2364, he was taken captive by an apparent Romulan splinter group for about a month. From there on out, his psych reports show him unfit for command, and was “promoted” into an obscure desk job.

 

Maddox: Wait, seriously? ::taking the PADD unceremoniously from Skepus’ hands:: That does explain one thing for sure.

 

Skepus: Well, yes, how he got the job.

 

Maddox: No, why he had it out for Jalana. Her sterling career and his desk bound one.

 

Skepus: ::struck with sudden realization:: Motive, or at least more layers to the motive.

 

Maddox: It’s a start surely ::Shaking her head slightly that she was about to admit this:: Good job!

 

Skepus: Maybe we should leave it here for tonight. Get some rest.

 

Maddox: Maybe that’s a good plan. We made some progress tonight. I’ll see you in your office around 0700?

 

TBC

 

Lt Commander Aria Maddox

Starfleet Legal

Defense Attorney

 

Simmed by

 

Lieutenant Ravenna Carter

Medical Officer

USS Constitution B

C239607RC0

 

Lieutenant Commander Skepus

Special Prosecutor

Starfleet

 

As simmed by

 

Lieutenant Lazarus Davis

Chief Science Officer

USS Constitution-B

C239510LD0

(he/him; player & character) 



“Tis true, ’tis pity, And pity ’tis, ’tis true—a foolish figure” - Polonius (Hamlet, 2.2.100-101)  

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