Star Trek: First Duty #1 - "Trial of Transfer" (PUBLISHED)

McCovey Cove

Baseball & Literature
Premium Member
For those of you currently reading Gibraltar's new story, "Conduct Unbecoming," the character of JAG officer Leo Verde shows up in the second chapter. His origin is told in this series of shorts, taking place four years prior to CU, beginning with this one. Fair warning, this is a work in progress, so there may be a bunch of grammatical/spelling errors, along with the usual caveats that some lines or plot points may differ from the final version. All comments are very welcome, nonetheless.

My thanks to Gibraltar for his help and alpha readthrough.


Star Trek: First Duty
By Lord McCovey Cove (aka Zefram_Cochrane)

"Trial of Transfer"

Part One: De Novo

Starbase 8
In orbit of Memory Alpha
Main Landing Bay
January 17, 2318

The large transport shuttle Doubleday touched down on Starbase Eight, its reaction control thrusters firing with a resonating roar. Once the post-landing sequence was complete, the egress doors to the rear slid open, allowing its passengers to disembark. Every single person departing the shuttle carried their personal effects in various forms of luggage, except for one: Lieutenant Commander Leo Verde.

Leo stepped down from the side doors, his gaze immediately drawn to the gleaming gold and silver lettering above the bank of turbolifts, displaying the starbase's identification. As he observed several people waiting for an open car to arrive, ready to whisk them away to parts unknown, his eyes wandered to the vast expanse of the landing bay spread out before him. Shuttles and personnel transports landing and lifting off, the entire bay bustling with activity, and the hum of energy permeating the air filled him with a sense of anticipation and excitement.

"Sir?" said a human petty officer second class, her black utility uniform showing her enlisted status, while the Windsor green tabs on her shoulders revealed her membership in the local constabulary. Her sharp alto tone carried a touch of formality. "May I help you find your way?"

Leo, adorned in civilian attire for the long flight from Spacedock, responded with a toothy grin, his rich and smooth baritone voice exuding confidence. "Actually, yes," he said, reaching into the inside pocket of his reddish-brown jacket. With a flourish, he produced a tan folded case, unfolding it to reveal his office and rank, which he offered to the petty officer. "I'm new here, and I'm not sure where to go to report in."

The petty officer stiffened to attention upon realizing she was addressing a badge-carrying officer.. Her eyes fell on the display within the case, which showed Leo's name, role, and badge number. "I'm sorry, sir, I didn't realize," she stammered, quickly offering the case back to him.

Leo accepted the case, placing it back inside his jacket with a light chuckle. "No apologies necessary; you weren't to know. I like to travel in comfort," he said with a pat of his jacket to show off his style.

Managing a small grin, the petty officer gestured toward the central bank of lifts, her raised hand indicating the way. "All the command-level officers are asleep, sir. I would head toward the quartermaster section and find the billeting office. The night duty officer'll be able to find you a place to rack out for the night. Take the lift down to level thirty-seven. Head toward section gamma, and you'll see the Q insignia pretty large on the bulkhead to your left. Billeting's inside, on the right side of the office, you can't miss it."

"I will definitely do that. Thanks for your help, Sheriff…" His voice trailed off, prompting her for her name.

"Lois. Uh, Lois McLaren, sir. Master-at-Arms Second Class," she supplied, her tone now playful.

The surname "McLaren" softened him considerably, as it also happened to belong to his mother. "Leo Verde," he replied warmly, pronouncing his name as 'bear-day.' Tapping the top of his ID case, he added, "But you probably already saw that."

"Uh, yes, sir."

The conversation suddenly paused, and Leo held a frozen smile for a moment. "I should probably leave before this gets awkward," he admitted, a flicker of amusement dancing in his eyes. "See you around."

McLaren nodded once as he departed, her gaze lingering behind him, reflecting a mix of curiosity and anticipation. Leo entered the nearest open lift and called out his destination, while peering at the base's map on the rear bulkhead to orient himself with his new assignment. Upon it, he located the local JAG office; a veritable closet compared to the sizable headquarters of the Shore Patrol and the base's armory.

As Leo arrived at the entrance to the Quartermaster's Section, his eyes swept across the expansive office, noting its three distinct areas. The atmosphere within was noticeably different from the bustling landing bay he had just left. Most of the people working in the office seemed relatively unoccupied, their actions contrasting with the hectic energy he had grown accustomed to. Above the reception counter, a placard proudly displayed the name "Billeting Office," its arched bulkhead casting a shadow over a bored-looking ensign who absentmindedly tapped on a PADD. The ensign's attire, an excursion jacket layered over a sky blue turtleneck shirt, showed his affiliation with the special services division.

"Excuse me?" Leo's voice cut through the monotony, capturing the ensign's attention. Startled, the ensign's widened blue eyes darted upward, meeting Leo's gaze. Reacting quickly, Leo raised his hand in a gesture of apology. "Hey, I'm sorry. I'm reporting in to my new job tomorrow, but I was hoping to secure someplace to sleep tonight. I'm Commander Verde."

"Geez, sir. I wasn't expecting anyone this late," the ensign explained, his surprise evident in his tone. "Okay... spell that for me?" With Leo's compliance, the ensign redirected his focus to a nearby terminal, deftly entering the information. "Okay, Verde. Right. One moment."

Leo nodded, finding solace in resting his hands atop the counter, his gaze wandering across the office. Amidst the paperwork and computer screens, his eyes caught sight of a weathered baseball occupying a small pedestal on the desk behind the counter. Though he couldn't discern the lettering on the base from his current position, Leo's lips curled into a smile as he silently appreciated the incongruity of the item. The discovery of another baseball enthusiast sparked a surge of warmth within him, a shared connection that transcended the confines of formalities.

"Verde, okay, okay. I got you down on level sixteen, section bravo, number twenty-two," the ensign recited the details from the screen, his voice projecting a mix of professional efficiency and earnestness. "If you give me a moment, I'll inform the computer to activate your access."

"Hey, by chance are you the baseball fan in the office?" Leo's curiosity permeated his words as he nodded toward the desk, indicating the treasured baseball.

The ensign's attention shifted, his gaze drawn back to the spot Leo had indicated. A softness crept into his voice, carrying the warmth of a shared passion. "That is indeed me. Been a fan since I was a little kid," the ensign replied, a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth as he now gave Leo his undivided attention. "Baseball is an amazing sport, shame they don't play it anymore."

Leo's eyes sparkled with delight, his natural wit and humor gleaming through his response. "I couldn't agree more, my friend. I was six years old when my parents showed me Willie Mays' catch during the 1954 World Series. The sheer athleticism Mays displayed as he ran that ball down still resonates with me."

"Yes!" The ensign's voice brimmed with enthusiasm, his genuine passion breaking through. "If we're talking Giants, then what about Thompson's home run in '51?"

Leo's tone turned reverent, his love for the game pouring forth. "The 'Shot Heard 'Round the World.' You know your history."

In that moment, the burdens of their respective roles fell away, replaced by a shared love for the sport. A respite from the monotony of duty unfolded as Leo and the ensign exchanged stories, reliving legendary moments and engaging in spirited debates over the intricacies of the game. The connection forged in their mutual admiration for baseball revealed a deeper understanding—a recognition of the beauty and camaraderie that the sport had brought into their lives.

The ensign's distracted air dissipated entirely, replaced by a genuine warmth and camaraderie. "You know what, Commander? I think I may have a better berth for you. There's some VIP quarters on the edge of the base that have just become available. Level six. It's on the quieter side of the base. I believe you'll find it much more to your liking than slumming it down on sixteen."

Leo responded with a touch of humor. "Stop drilling, you've hit dilithium!"

Already, the ensign began making the necessary changes in the system, his fingers tapping away with purpose. "By the way, my name is Tom. Tom Maroni."

"I'm already more than pleased to make your acquaintance, Tom."

"Hey," Tom said, handing over Leo's new location on a chip, "you like poker?"

Leo's grin widened, his playful nature evident. "I've been known to hold 'em or fold 'em from time to time, yes." He placed the proffered chip in his pocket.

"The shuttle pilots have a regular game going every weekend. You are most definitely invited, sir."

"Call me Leo," he replied, his hand waving in a nonchalant gesture. "And if you ever need anything, come find me on level five during office hours."

Curiosity shone in Tom's eyes as he contemplated Leo's suggestion. "Level five? Shore Patrol?"

Leo shook his head, a mischievous look in his eyes as he retrieved his badge for the second time since his arrival. Facing the inside of the case toward Tom, he revealed his true identity. "I'm with JAG. I'm going to be the new lawyer around here."

Tom's eyebrows shot up in surprise, a chuckle escaping his lips. The unexpected revelation added an extra layer of intrigue and amusement to their encounter. "It seems some rather interesting company has arrived on base. Welcome to the Crazy Eight, Leo."
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You have really created a warm and likable character, whose strength in attention to detail and ability to make connections is really engaging. Also some great word-painting to make some very crisp environments come alive.

Thanks!! rbs
Part Two: Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc

Starbase 8
In orbit of Memory Alpha
VIP Quarters 6A01
January 18, 2318

Leo scrutinized his reflection in the full-length mirror, taking note of every minute detail. From his tousled waves of dark brown hair to the captivating hues of his heterochromatic green-brown eyes, the mirror seemed to capture it all. His neatly-trimmed full beard added a hint of rugged charm to his overall appearance, while his meticulously polished uniform boots shone flawlessly, a testament to his dedication to perfection.

Every element of Leo's uniform exuded pristine freshness, obtained straight from the quartermaster's office. Earlier that morning, he had sought the assistance of Senior Chief Quartermaster Sket, a resourceful Tellarite recommended by his new friend Tom. In a remarkably short time, Leo had acquired a complete set of service and dress uniforms, as if they were destined to be his. Alongside his new wardrobe, an excursion jacket hung, a unique addition that hinted at his past.

Leo's deep maroon uniform jacket displayed the rank insignia of a lieutenant commander, positioned atop the command white uniform shoulder strap. Beneath the jacket, he wore a turtleneck shirt of the same hue, complementing his overall ensemble. Proudly displayed on his left chest was his commissioned officer's badge, featuring the insignia of the Judge Advocate General below, symbolizing his specialized role.

The meticulousness with which Leo arranged his appearance contradicted his typically carefree attitude towards his career. It hinted at the significance of the upcoming meeting he was about to attend—an important moment where making a positive first impression was paramount, regardless of the challenging circumstances that had led him here.

Leo's eyes glanced at the chronometer display he had set up. It showed that he had only twenty minutes left before he needed to report and make himself known to the commanding officer of Starbase Eight's JAG Office. One minute later, he would be considered "absent without leave" or guilty a lesser charge of "failure to appear."

As Leo entered the corridor, he noticed the shore patrol officers, the starbase's security forces, moving purposefully along the corridors outside. Pairs of patrol officers nodded respectfully to Leo as they passed, acknowledging his presence.

Inside the office, the yeoman first class, with unusually large dark brown eyes, rose from her seat at the reception desk as a gesture of respect. With a polite smile and a nod, she greeted him, "Good morning, Commander. How can I assist you today?"

Leo raised his hand, signaling for her to relax and release the rigid posture dictated by military bearing. "Oh, please, put yourself at ease." Once the yeoman settled back into her seat, he continued, "I have an appointment with Captain Ch’charhat at oh-eight-thirty."

Briefly glancing at her desk, the yeoman replied, "Oh, yes, sir." She read from her screen, "You're Commander... Verde?" Unbeknownst to her, she mispronounced his name, following the phonetic spelling.

"Verde," he corrected with a knowing smile, using the Spanish pronunciation preferred by his family.

A hint of embarrassment colored the yeoman's cheeks. "I apologize, sir."

Leo maintained his good-natured humor and widened his smile. "Everyone always gets it wrong the first time. Don't even stress about it."

In a gesture of professionalism, the yeoman rose to her feet. "If you'll excuse me, sir, I'll inform the captain that you're waiting to see her."

"Please and thank you very much. I'm more than happy to wait here," he replied warmly, appreciative of her assistance. As the yeoman left her desk, Leo looked past into the bullpen area of the office, seeing it manned by junior officers of both the naval and marine variety, ensigns and lieutenants. The perimeter of the bullpen had several doors leading to private offices, likely occupied by the lawyers.

"Commander?" the yeoman returned. "The captain will see you now, sir."

"Thank you, Yeoman…?" Leo inquired.

"Zenn, sir. Lara Zenn."

"A pleasure to meet you, Yeoman Zenn. I'm sure we'll speak again soon."

Leo passed through the doors leading to the captain's office. The room's size suggested it was intended for a flag officer, exuding a sense of opulence with adornments lining the walls, emphasizing the authority of the Judge Advocate General's office, extending from Starfleet Headquarters on Earth.

Fifteen steps forward brought Leo face to face with the thin Andorian woman wearing the captain's rank insignia on her shoulder strap. Her antennae twitched in his direction as he approached, and he came to attention, reporting formally, "Lieutenant Commander Verde, reporting for duty, sir."

"You can always tell a line officer from any other kind of officer, especially us staffers," Captain Ch’charhat remarked, scanning Leo up and down. She held her stern gaze upon him for another ten seconds before a smile broke over her features. Leaning forward, she relented in a soprano voice, "Relax, Commander. Please take a seat."

Leo couldn't help but feel a sense of relief as he realized the captain's friendly demeanor. It put him at ease and allowed him to settle comfortably into the chair. "Thank you, sir," he replied, opting for the chair to his right.

Ch’charhat smiled. "Firstly, let me welcome you to the starbase. Have you been here before?"

"No, sir," Leo admitted. "But there are quite a few bases out there I've never been to. I'm surprised they opted for a large starbase comparable to Spacedock. Usually, they go for smaller outpost-type stations."

"I think the encounter with the Zetarians decades ago proved that the Federation's largest data archive needed some protection," the captain explained.

Leo nodded in understanding, accepting the reasoning. As a silence stretched between them after the small talk, he knew the question he dreaded would be forthcoming—the reason for his transfer to her command. However, he decided not to be the first to speak, given his subordinate status.

Finally, Ch’charhat asked a question, but it was not the one he expected. "How are you feeling about the transfer?"

Leo sputtered, "What?" He processed the question a few more times before finding his response. "Uh, I suppose it's okay so far, sir. I've met some good people here." He looked around briefly. "The office is nice?"

"Glad you like it," she replied with a wide smile, clearly amused by Leo's discomfiture. "This unit is somewhat deficient due to recent transfers, so I'm very happy that you're here. We've lost a handful of paralegals and a couple of attorneys."

Unusual as the news may be, Leo kept silent, waiting for more information. With a simple look, he encouraged her to continue.

"That being said, our caseload is backlogged, and we've had to start passing requests for field inquiries to other starbases. An embarrassing situation, to be sure," Ch’charhat continued. "Also, I'm afraid your rank makes you the next senior officer after me. Major Bex has been our acting executive officer, but she is not an administrator. Your record indicates extensive experience in this area."

Leo nodded once more and only spoke due to the pregnant pause under her scrutiny. "Yes, sir. I held several collateral duties aboard Decker and Hansen. Most prominently, I acted as the legal officer, but a lot of my time was spent less as a lawyer and more as a paralegal. I handled paperwork for captains' masts and other Article 15 actions taken while underway."

"Erm, yes. I was referring to your report writing and personnel management on behalf of your division."

"Oh! Uh, yes, sir. Those responsibilities were part of my duties as a division officer on both ships."

"And you did them well?"

"According to most of my performance evaluations, yes, sir."

Ch’charhat grinned toothily at the mention of his performance evaluations. Leo closed his eyes, unable to keep the grimace from his countenance. He groaned out loud, "I walked right into that one, didn't I?" A smirk soon followed.

"I'm glad you recognized that you were under a little cross-examination, Counselor," Ch’charhat returned his smirk. "You're just as bright as your mom said you were. I'm glad it wasn't simple parental boasting that you humans are so famous for."

"Well, I'm glad my mom is proud of me, sir. The feeling is most definitely mutual."

"Of course it is." She leaned forward, placing her elbows atop her desk. "Listen, I know you went through a terrible experience on Hansen. I've read the incident report from your former CO." Off his questioning look, she added, "When your transfer order came through, I had every right to look you up and read your service record."

Leo sighed. "I understand."

In a serious tone, she promised, "You won't have to go through anything like that again. I give you my word."

Relieved, Leo couldn't help but feel the weight lifted off his shoulders, wearing a genuine smile for the first time since meeting her. "I... I really appreciate that, sir. Thank you."

She chuckled and raised a hand toward him. "Hold your thanks. You're the new XO, so maybe wait a month or so and see if you're still as thankful as you feel right now."

Leo rose from his seat, sensing that the discussion was coming to a close. "Aye, sir. Any priorities you'd like me to attend to?"

"Head out there and let Yeoman Zenn know you'll need an office, then meet up with Major Bex and get caught up to speed. But you should start kicking those feet because you're in a deep, cold lake with an icy cover," she said in rapid-fire speech.

"Understood, sir."

"If you need help, pull any of the support officers and as many NCOs as you need to get a handle on it." Ch’charhat checked her desktop terminal. "I've got a weekly call with the home office in five minutes, but let's meet up for lunch around thirteen hundred."

"I look forward to it, sir. Anything else?"

She nodded. "I know you're used to a lot of military formality, but when we're in here, we can drop the ranks so we make it easy on both of us. I'm as informal as it gets, normally. I was commissioned as a captain by the admiral. You can call me Janeera or Jan."

Leo grinned. "I'm somewhat informal as well, sir. Call me Leo."

"All right," said Janeera. With a quick gesture of her hand, showing the back toward him, she ordered, "Go to work, Leo."
I really appreciate the feeling of a military setting and discipline. And your lead character becomes more interesting - having gone through an unspecified failure (at least on record) and feeling a little beaten down by it, but still managing a warm, easy charm with the people he encounters.

Thanks!! rbs
I really appreciate the feeling of a military setting and discipline. And your lead character becomes more interesting - having gone through an unspecified failure (at least on record) and feeling a little beaten down by it, but still managing a warm, easy charm with the people he encounters.

Above all else, Leo carries himself with respect for others, regardless of their rank and position. A person like that, operating in a class-based system will ruffle feathers for a myriad of reasons. I don't want to necessarily tip my hand on the specifics, because that will come out later (maybe not in this short) to reveal the reasons why he finds himself in the JAG Corps. Some of that information has actually already been stated in Conduct Unbecoming, so you could likely piece together some clues if you're so inclined.

Thanks for reading!
Part Three: De Minimus

Starbase 8
In orbit of Memory Alpha
JAG Offices
January 25, 2318

Leo hunched over his console within the second largest office in the starbase's JAG facility. Just seven days prior, he had met Major Bex, the marine attorney of Bolian heritage who had occupied the office in her acting capacity. He knew that there were some implications of meeting the Major and then taking over her office. While it proved to be a precarious start to their relationship, after a week of working together in handing off her collateral duties to him, they developed a healthy respect for one another. Though, as soon as he took over full responsibility, Bex and her team were detached for a JAGMAN investigation in the field.

Lieutenant (jg) Barzel Timel, a male Trill officer assigned to him as his paralegal, announced as he entered the room, holding a stack of PADD, "I have the personnel reports and the last year of performance evaluations, Commander. The captain wants you to read through and then sign off on them as soon as possible."

Leo glanced up from his terminal and motioned for Barzel to join him, beckoning with his right hand. Leaning back in his chair, he said, "Come on in and take a load off, would you?"

Barzel followed the instruction, placing the PADDs on the only unoccupied corner of the cluttered desk. "The captain sure keeps us on our toes, huh, sir?"

Leo's gaze drifted to Barzel's arm, noticing the absence of any pips or indications of significant service time; evidence that Barzel was a recent, reserve commission. Leo replied with a wry smile, "Oh, she's quite the taskmaster, alright."

"So, do you think she'll let you take a case?" Barzel asked, his tone pointed, both eyes unwaveringly scanning Leo's expression.

Leo glanced down and coughed to suppress a laugh. "Tell me something."

"Yes, sir?"

"Is there a wager or perhaps a pool of wagers going on somewhere?"

Barzel immediately averted his gaze, stammering a soft response. "Well, sir, I'm not entirely sure."

Leo grinned, pressing his lips together. "I see. In answer to your question, it's up to the captain to distribute the workload as she sees fit. She explained that Major Bex had taken on the responsibility of acting as the XO, but with her caseload, it wasn't an ideal arrangement. As for me, being new, I don't have any cases. My courtroom, for the foreseeable future, is this deepening sea of paperwork upon which the JAG Corps floats."

Barzel nodded in understanding. "But, you're a lawyer. Aren't you anxious to, you know, fight for justice?"

"I'm guessing your wager is on me taking a case very soon," Leo noted. Again, Barzel looked away, guilt evident on his face. Leo sighed and tapped a PADD on his desk. "For now, I'm content with fighting for justice this way. The office was in danger of falling behind on administration, and without proper administration, none of the attorneys working for us would be able to fight for justice."

"So... not anytime soon," Barzel sighed, sounding defeated.

Leo tapped on his terminal, returning to his work. "Sorry to disappoint you."

Barzel rose to his feet. "Can I get you anything, sir?"

"Only if you're getting something for yourself," Leo replied. "If that's the case, then hot cocoa. Otherwise, just let the captain know I'll put the reports and evaluations on top of my inbox."

Barzel nodded. "You got it, sir."

Leo returned to his solitude, but it didn't last long. Less than a minute later, another attorney, Alejandro Martinez, appeared at the transparent aluminum pane of Leo's office. He waved in his usual manner, and Leo motioned for him to come in.

Alejandro immediately switched to Spanish, their shared language. "Do you have a moment for a quick consultation, sir?"

Glancing at his terminal screen and realizing he had made little progress on the first report, Leo quickly assessed the urgency of both matters. Opting for a brief distraction, he replied, "My office is yours, Ale-esé. What's up?"

"I've got a strange case from the marine detachment on the base," Martinez explained, taking the seat vacated by Barzel. "An AWOL corporal was picked up by the shore patrol last night, and she's requested counsel. I was next in rotation, but when I sat down with her, all she said was that she's guilty of all charges and nothing more."

Leo smirked. "That doesn't sound strange to me. Sounds like you've got an open-and-shut case."

Martinez shifted uneasily in his seat. "I don't think it's that simple."

"Tell me."

"You remember when you helped me out yesterday, with that D&D? You told me to trust my instincts on whether he was telling the truth or not."

Leo nodded. "Yeah?"

"My gut is telling me that there's something more going on here. And whatever it is, she's scared to death and wants to be sent to Andor." Martinez referred to the Starfleet rehabilitation center on the Federation member world.

Leo pondered the reasoning behind the corporal's fear-driven decision. "Interesting," he said slowly, staring into the distance. "I assume she's in Holding?"

Martinez replied, "Yeah."

Leo weighed his workload against his curiosity. It took less than a second for him to make a decision. "I can spare you an hour to check this out. That's it, okay?" He directed the last part more to himself than to Martinez.

The young lawyer was elated and got to his feet. "Thank you, sir. Thank you."

Barzel returned with a mug, noticing that both men were standing. "Sir, your drink?"

Leo accepted the hot mug and twisted it quickly to grasp the handle. In English, he said, "I'm heading down to Holding with Ale for a bit. Checking out something 'weird' for him."

Barzel grinned broadly. "Does this mean it could be a case?"

Martinez answered before Leo could. "This is one of mine."

Without waiting for a dismissal, Barzel hurried to the bullpen and pulled aside an ensign to relay the sudden development. As Leo and Martinez made their way through the office toward the corridor, they overheard the ensign saying, "It's actually Martinez' day."

Martinez turned back, wagging his tongue at Barzel. He mouthed the words, "I win," completing his victorious expression. When he faced forward again, Martinez was taken aback by Leo's abrupt halt and the sour expression on his face.

"What precisely did you win?" Leo asked him in Spanish.

"Uh... a couple of bottles of Aldebaran whisky that the captain put into the pot."

Leo took another sip of his cocoa and pursed his lips thoughtfully. "If I do this for you, I get one of the bottles."

Martinez sighed, scratching his suddenly itchy head. "Deal."


Leo and Martinez stepped into the starbase holding facility, where the air was thick with tension, overseen by the black-uniformed members of the Starfleet Marine Corps detachment. Leo, a commanding presence with a determined gaze, addressed the gunnery sergeant stationed at the desk. His eyes flickered with curiosity as he turned to Martinez, seeking confirmation of the name they had come to see.

"Angela Torres. Corporal Angela Torres," Martinez supplied.

"Corporal Torres," Leo repeated.

The gunnery sergeant grimaced, clearly conflicted. "Sorry, sir, but we're under orders not to allow anyone to see Corporal Torres."

Leo's eyes widened in surprise at the unexpected restriction. "Gunny, who issued that order?"

"That would be the corporal's commanding officer, Captain Kline."

"Marine Captain Kline?" Leo sought reassurance that he outranked the officer responsible for the decision.

"Yes, sir," the gunnery sergeant affirmed.

Leo sighed, sharing a quick, silent exchange of understanding with Martinez. Martinez deferentially acknowledged Leo's judgment through a subtle tilt of his head and widened eyes.

"Gunny, is the corporal under arrest right now?" Leo inquired, his voice calm yet resolute. "Has she been informed of her rights under the Starfleet Code of Justice?"

The gunnery sergeant narrowed his eyes, observing Leo's rank insignia flashing before him. Uncertainty crept into his response. "Uh, sir, I'm not sure, sir. I believe she had been."

"So, you or someone in your unit informed her of her right to counsel, correct?"

"That is part of the wording, yes, sir."

"And Captain Kline has chosen to deny her that right?"

The gunnery sergeant cleared his throat, discomfort evident. "I can't rightly speak to that, sir. However, the captain... he's an officer."

Leo closed his eyes briefly, weighing his options. Ultimately, he stayed true to his nature, considering the principles he held dear. "Gunny, I understand that Lieutenant Martinez and I may seem like a couple of JAG assholes who took the easy path. I assure you, that's not the case. I'm a ring knocker."

The gunny's lips curled into a fleeting smirk, a hint of amusement dancing in his eyes at Leo's unexpected self-deprecating remark. The term "ring knocker," often used by marines to describe the overconfident graduates of Starfleet Academy, slipped out of Leo's mouth, catching the gunny off-guard. To witness a member of the elite fraternity openly acknowledging their status with a touch of irony surprised him.

Leo's voice carried a note of sincerity as he pressed on, his gaze steady on the gunny. "I served on the line with marines, so believe me when I say that I understand the predicament you're in with your chain of command. I've witnessed the challenges and sacrifices you face firsthand. I'm not here to make your life miserable." His words held an earnestness that resonated with the gunny, forging a connection between them based on shared experiences and mutual respect.

"Understood, sir," the gunnery sergeant replied, his tone remaining neutral but distant. The tension between them eased, albeit only slightly, as the gunny processed Leo's words and acknowledged his understanding. A flicker of guarded respect glimmered in the gunny's eyes, a subtle sign that Leo's empathy had made an impression..

Leo finished his cocoa, giving the gunnery sergeant time to absorb his words. "Just take us to see the Corporal, if you wouldn't mind."

The gunnery sergeant's Adam's apple bobbed as he visibly struggled with the weight of the decision before him. Leo, sensing the internal conflict, wasted no time and swiftly interjected, speaking over the gunny. "If Captain Kline takes issue, you tell him that some JAG candy-ass shithead pulled rank on you. I'll take the heat, okay?"

Relief washed over the gunnery sergeant's face. "Thank you, sir. I really appreciate that."

With a confident yet reassuring demeanor, Leo reached into his pocket and retrieved his identification, extending it towards the gunny. "Leo Verde, my office is up on five," he introduced himself, his voice firm and resolute.

"My name is Tolliver." Gunny Tolliver snapped his fingers, and two marine sergeants stepped forward to be addressed. "Take these officers to see Prisoner Torres."

"Yes, Gunny!" the sergeants replied almost in unison. The sergeant on the left gestured for Leo and Martinez to follow. "Right this way, Commander, Lieutenant."

Leo took a step forward but paused, addressing the gunnery sergeant once more. "If you need anything, Gunny... and I mean anything, you come up and see me, okay?"

The gunnery sergeant studied Leo for a long moment before finally nodding. One of the sergeants led the pair of lawyers through the imposing reinforced door that separated them from the cells beyond. Within a few minutes, they found themselves standing before a cell, where a woman in high-visibility coveralls adorned with a number on the front and back lay atop the bunk in confinement.

"Thank you, Sergeants," Leo acknowledged with gratitude. "You're dismissed."
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Again, really liking how Verde builds relationships. He can easily simply pull rank but takes the time to build relationships with the NCOs - heart and soul of the marines.

Thanks!! rbs
Part Four: Habeas Corpus

Starbase 8
In orbit of Memory Alpha
Holding Facility
January 25, 2318

In the secluded corner of the holding facility, Leo's perceptive gaze scanned the surroundings, his mind contemplating the significance of the vacant cells surrounding Torres' confinement. The deliberate isolation seemed to amplify the weight of her predicament. His eyes traced the vaulted ceilings, observing the marine sentries and master-at-arms stationed at strategic vantage points, silently overseeing the entire area.

As the marine sergeants departed, Leo addressed Torres, his voice laced with composed empathy. "Corporal Torres, I'm Commander Leo Verde from the JAG office. You're already acquainted with my colleague, Lieutenant Martinez."

Responding with ardor, the woman on the bunk swiftly rose to her feet, assuming the posture of attention in the presence of an officer. Leo couldn't help but admire the strength emanating from Angela Torres, her towering height and unmistakable physical prowess concealed beneath her worn coveralls.

"Relax, Corporal," Leo reassured her, his tone carrying a soothing warmth.

Their eyes locked, Torres momentarily diverting her gaze to acknowledge Martinez standing beside Leo.

Martinez responded to her recognition with a nod. "Good to see you again."

A glimmer of recognition and relief illuminated Torres' expression as Leo seamlessly transitioned to their shared language, a familiar connection in their interaction. "I haven't had the chance to review your record. May I ask where you're from?"

"Sir, Cestus III, sir," Torres responded in the disciplined speech pattern ingrained through her Marine infantry training.

Leo's voice softened, conveying a sense of understanding and trust. "You can speak freely with us, Corporal. We are here as your counsel."

With her arms tightly folded, Torres exhibited a guarded demeanor. "I already admitted to Lieutenant Martinez that I'm guilty of going AWOL."

Leo's voice maintained its gentle timbre, as if carefully treading upon the fragile ground of her trust. "It's, uh, very important to me that you understand that pleading guilty to this charge will likely result in your transfer to Andor for rehabilitation. Additionally, you'll likely earn a Big Chicken Dinner, alongside your sentence."

The mention of the Marine Corps' slang term, the "Big Chicken Dinner," struck a chord within Torres. It represented the dishonorable or bad conduct discharge, signifying the burden of entering civilian life with a felony conviction. Her dark brown eyes fell to the deck beneath her feet, and her previously tense posture visibly wilted under the weight of the potential consequences.

Silence enveloped the room, as Torres let her body language convey the turmoil within her. Leo persisted, his voice maintaining its soothing cadence. "We are here to help you."

Visibly, Torres wrestled with conflicting emotions, her inner turmoil palpable. She bit the inside of her lip, her determination etched onto her features. Finally, she relented, the words escaping her lips with a mix of trepidation and nascent trust. "Fine. I'll trust you." Her gaze leveled on Martinez. "And you."

Leo swiftly made his way to the nearest communications terminal, activating it with purpose. "Verde to guard station. I require a private conference room for a conversation with my client."

The response from the other end crackled with an immediate and firm denial. "Denied by order of Captain Kline."

The mention of Kline elicited a visible flinch from Torres, a sight that unsettled Leo to the core. He quickly muted his audio, turning to Martinez. "They're truly testing my patience."

"I'm just glad you're here, sir," Martinez responded, a sense of unease evident in his voice. "This whole situation gives me the creeps."

Leo refocused his attention on the communication panel, activating the pickup to ensure his words carried weight. "Very well. Please inform Captain Kline that his presence is required. Also, may I know who I am speaking to?"

"This is Gunny Drake," came the gruff reply, tinged with a clear disapproval of the sudden order to summon Kline. "The captain is occupied with other duties and cannot be reached."

"I understand that Captain Kline is a busy individual, Gunny, as are we all. However, his order is depriving my client of due process by denying her the privilege of confidential discussions with her legal counsel, considering the seriousness of the charge she's under arrest for," Leo explained, his tone steady and confident. Sensing the need for a more personal appeal, he softened his voice. "Listen, I would really prefer not to escalate this matter to your colonel. Can't we find a resolution among ourselves?"

Silence hung in the air, followed by a begrudging response from Gunny Drake. "Stand by. Out."

Leo arched an eyebrow at the abrupt end of the communication, turning to Martinez with a wry smile. "Charming." As they awaited a resolution, Leo directed his attention back to Torres. "Are you being treated okay?"

Torres shrugged in response, her silence speaking volumes. Leo observed the unmistakable signs of fear seeping through her posture, reaffirming the magnitude of the ordeal she was facing.

Three non-commissioned officers approached, their precise footfalls reverberating in the vicinity. The leading NCO, a gunnery sergeant adorned with black-and-gray battle dress uniform and insignia, addressed the attorneys from behind without any exchange of pleasantries. "Your meeting with the Corporal is over. You are ordered to leave the holding facility immediately."

Leo's brows knitted together, his intrigue piqued by the heavy-handed response to a simple request. With a deliberate gesture, he raised his hands toward Torres, concealing the calming gesture from the marines. Slowly turning to face the trio, Leo wore a gentle smile and raised his hands outward to indicate no ill intentions. "Good morning, Gunny. I'm Commander Leo Verde, and this is my colleague, Lieutenant Martinez."

Martinez waved cheerfully in greeting. "Hello."

"I will reach into my pocket for my identification," Leo announced, extracting his badge case and presenting it open. "This is an official JAG matter, and we are representing Corporal Torres in response to the charges leveled by Captain Kline."

"I don't care," Drake retorted with a brief flicker of scorn before resuming a stern expression. "Captain Kline has ordered your removal. If you do not comply, we will ensure your prompt departure."

Sensing that a gentle approach would yield no results, Leo let out a sigh. As he replaced his badge case, he glanced at the other two sergeants presenting hostile expressions, and mustered a smirk. "Seems like Captain Kline wasn't as out of reach as you claimed."

Drake grimaced, his face showing a hint of surprise and discomfort. With a raised index finger toward Verde, he raised his voice, "Look, you-"

"Gunny, you are addressing an officer," Leo forcibly placed an edge to his tone as he replied, allowing his voice to grow deeper, almost growl-like. His second sentence was more measured than the first, keeping a steady cadence. "When you speak to me, you will address me as Commander or Sir."

All three sergeants visibly paled in response to the sudden rebuke. Even Martinez stood taller, as if transported back to his Officer Training School days.

Drake swallowed visibly, uncertain of his footing. He clearly hadn't expected a JAG lawyer to challenge him in such a manner. "Aye, sir," he finally replied.

"That's a start," Leo responded, striving to conceal his irritation. "Do not mistake my friendly tone for acquiescence. Your behavior has exhausted my patience given the gravity of these charges."


"Stand at attention when I am addressing you, Gunny!" Leo shouted as if he were a drill instructor. "You will speak only when I ask a direct question and not before!"

Instantly, everyone snapped to attention. Leo berated himself internally for allowing his emotions to get the best of him. Struggling to suppress his emotional tone, he continued softly, "First question, Gunny: Has the corporal been charged with going AWOL?"

"Yes, sir," Drake promptly replied.

"She is being held on those charges in this holding facility under Captain Drake's orders, is that correct?"

"Yes, sir."

"Was she read her rights upon being taken into custody?"

Drake hesitated, his voice taking on a different tone as he responded, "Yes, sir."

"And included in those rights is the right to counsel, correct?"

Drake's voice grew gruffer as he replied, "Yes, sir."

"Do you happen to know the authority under which those rights are granted?"

"No, sir," Drake conceded, maintaining a confident demeanor.

"The Federation Council," Leo informed him. "The Council that outranks you, me, and even Captain Kline. Those are inalienable, sacred rights. Wearing that uniform, under the oath you took as a marine, you do not get to trample on those rights while holding people in this facility. Not ever."

Drake kept his gaze fixed in the distance as Leo eyed him directly. Not having been posed a direct question, he remained silent under the weight of scrutiny.

Leo took a deep breath, his mind racing with strategies. He had to be cautious and play his cards right; there was an opportunity to sway the gunnery sergeant to their side.

"I understand the position you're in, Gunny," Leo said, his voice calm and empathetic. "But let me ask you this: Is Captain Kline really acting in the best interest of the Marine Corps, or could there be another agenda at play here?"

"Captain Kline has always had the Corps' best interests at heart, sir," Drake replied, his voice laced with conviction. "He's a man of integrity, and I trust his judgment."

Leo nodded, his gaze steady as he continued to probe. "I don't doubt Captain Kline's dedication, but sometimes even the most honorable individuals can be misguided. Don't you think it's important to question his decisions, to ensure that justice is truly being served?"

Drake's expression flickered for a moment, a subtle hint of doubt crossing his features. But he quickly regained his composure. "We follow orders, Commander. That's how the Marine Corps operates. We trust our superiors to make the right decisions."

Leo's brows furrowed. "I admire your loyalty, Gunny," he said, masking his growing unease with a reassuring smile. "But I also believe in the importance of upholding the principles of justice and fairness. We owe it to Corporal Torres to ensure that her rights are respected and that the truth prevails."

Drake's gaze hardened, a flicker of unease crossing his eyes before he regained control. "Corporal Torres made her choices. It's not our place to question them."

"Very well, Gunny," Leo conceded, his tone laced with a mix of disappointment and determination. "We may not see eye to eye on this, but I hope that someday you'll reconsider. The truth has a way of revealing itself, no matter how deeply it's buried."

The gunny remained at silent attention.

Leo shared a quick glance with Martinez, standing next to the cell's forcefield where Torres stood within. The moment grew long, and he returned his attention back to Drake. "Gunny, since you leave me no choice, I'm ordering you to release the corporal from custody."

Drake's eyes moved from their drill-ordered position to lock with Leo's in surprise.

"I wasn't making a funny." Leo sighed, his tone tinged with disappointment. "I expect to see the corporal in my office on level five within fifteen minutes, gentlemen. If I don't, then I'll be in your colonel's office approximately five minutes after that, along with my CO and the Inspector General, where I will recommend a full investigation into your unit." He placed his hand on Martinez's shoulder to guide him toward the exit. "Come on, Ale."

The two lawyers made their way down the hall, leaving the three sergeants standing at attention. Leo called out as he kept walking, his voice carrying authority. "By the way, if Captain Kline wants to discuss any of this, tell him to come see me when he has concluded with his very busy schedule." He added, to release them from their stance: "Execute my orders."
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I am really liking the strong military tone here. It was something largely missing from the franchise, although there were moments. Leo wears his rank lightly until it's needed. As commander, he far outranks a Marine captain, his authority equivalent to a Lt. Col. But given his duties, his authority is considerably greater than that and can supersede the orders of a superior officer. With NCO's who seem to have forgotten that, it seems that something very corrupt is going on - and prison facilities tend to breed corruption.

Thanks!! rbs
Just got caught up on this. Feels like a tight military style judicial procedural with a charismatic protagonist and an intriguing mystery. Really like the effortlessly flowing dialogue and prose. Although I’m not a huge fan of Trek fanfics that read like contemporary military thrillers, this is too well written and fun to pass up.
Part Five: Propria Persona

Starbase 8
In orbit of Memory Alpha
JAG Offices
January 25, 2318

As Leo and Martinez returned to the JAG office, Captain Janeera Ch'charhat's voice could be heard at the reception desk, addressing Yeoman Zenn, "... Major Bex and her team are still working that JAGMAN investigation aboard Valkyrie, so we'll have to figure out the rotation in her absence." The captain, wearing the less-formal "bomber jacket" variant, moved the PADD in her hands from her midsection to her side as she heard the pair of attorneys returning, then turned to fix a smiling gaze on them. "Have you both finished your inspection of the holding facility?"

Leo sighed. "Could we speak to you in your office, sir? We need to bring you up to speed."

Janeera's antennae perked up as he made his request, and a faint smile settled on her lips. "This sounds like it'll be good."

Leo held up a hand and spoke to Zenn, "Yeoman, I'm expecting a visitor in about fifteen minutes, give or take. It might be a marine captain or it might be a marine corporal. In either case, we're probably going to need to speak with Captain Lawson, so stand by."

"The IG?" asked Zenn with raised eyebrows. "Aye, sir. I'll put you right through."

Janeera grinned widely. "Oh, my."

Leo managed to keep a neutral expression, but he did find his boss' reaction highly amusing. Ultimately, he failed and faced the captain with a wry grin. "It's highly entertaining, sir."

"Lead on, then," she said.

The three officers entered Janeera's office and navigated around to take the three chairs surrounding the desk. As she settled into her seat, Leo and Martinez took the proffered seats in front of the desk and began to regale her of the ordeal in holding. As they spoke, Janeera took several poses of active listening, settling on leaning forward with her elbows on her legs, fingers interlaced. Her look of rapt attention melted into a wide grin and slapping her legs in excitement, she laughed. "You were undersold to me as a transfer, very undersold."

Leo tilted his head in confusion as to who did the selling on his transfer before he arrived. "Sir?"

She dismissed his question with a quick hand gesture. "Never mind. So, all kidding aside, this is a pretty serious matter. I assume that if Corporal Torres is not here inside your deadline, then we're filing a writ of habeas corpus?"

"I think that would be the final move. I'd like to talk to Captain Lawson first. IG might want to assert jurisdiction…" he trailed off, letting that answer speak for itself.

"Right," Janeera replied, understanding the implication. "Honestly, given what you've told me, I think either way we might check in with Becky Lawson and loop in Colonel Sullivan, the garrison CO-"

The intercom sounded and Zenn's voice followed. "Captain, there are five marines here to see you."

Within seconds of the yeoman's announcement, the doors to Leo's office split apart to reveal a marine captain, Gunny Drake, and two marine sergeants stepping inside. "My apologies for the intrusion, Captain," said the marine officer. "I'm Captain Kline, commanding the holding facility. I'm here to arrest Lieutenant Commander Verde."

Janeera rose to her feet, towering over Kline and most everyone else in the room. "I'm the JAG unit commander, Captain. State the charges."

"Sir, Commander Verde ordered my gunny to release Corporal Torres from custody. I have three witnesses to that effect. That is clearly Obstruction of Justice, along with Conspiracy and Insubordination," Kline intoned respectfully.

Leo sighed, got to his feet, and held out his hands. "I'm Verde. I will surrender to the arrest."

Drake and his sergeants immediately advanced on Leo without delay, causing Martinez to stand clear of the marines.

Janeera barked, "Stand fast, marines!" Her musical tones almost belied her authority, but the marines ceased their movement before they could lay hands on Leo. "Captain Kline," she said, narrowing her eyes. "I am the presiding authority for all matters on this starbase. I'm not necessarily convinced that Commander Verde committed these acts and is subject to arrest."

Kline's blue eyes darted around, suddenly unsure of his footing. "Captain, sir… I'm only doing my duty. Commander Verde had no authority to order the release of the Corporal and asserted himself in violation of orders already given. Corporal Torres' admitted to being absent without leave and was being held on that charge lawfully."

"I've been brought up to speed on the matter by Commander Verde and Lieutenant Martinez," Janeera folded her arms in contempt of Kline's assertion. "Gunny Drake denied Corporal Torres her right to counsel by ordering two officers to depart the holding facility. The gunny claimed that he was obeying your order to do so."

"Sir, that's not relevant to our arrest, here," Kline said, though his tone lost its confidence.

"I determine what is and what is not relevant, Captain. When you arrest anyone, those charges are brought before me in courts-martial," Janeera's previously jovial demeanor melted completely away at that moment, having lost patience with Kline. "Lieutenant Martinez?"

Martinez replied, "Sir?"

"How long was Corporal Torres in holding before you spoke with her last night?"

"She told me she'd been held for at least a day at that point."

Janeera turned her attention back to Kline. "Captain, is it not required that charges be filed in a timely fashion when depriving a Federation citizen their freedoms?"

"With all due respect, we're a bit behind on our paperwork…" Kline lamely admitted.

The silence was palpable in the office after Kline's words hung in the air. Janeera moved forward towards the door. The marines in her way immediately cleared the path as she took her angry strides. From the open door, she called out to Yeoman Zenn, "Lara, get Room Alpha setup and ready to go in two hours. I'm convening an emergency Article 32 hearing."


Room Alpha originally acted as a secondary storage compartment in the original design of Starbase Eight. When it was clear that the base's population reached the minimum to require the appointment of a satellite JAG office, the compartment converted to house proceedings on the base. Across the corridor, a second room set aside for additional hearings or proceedings sat, known as Room Bravo.

Captain Ch'charhat sat at the presiding desk under the stars and branches of the Federation seal, with the Starfleet delta residing fastened to the front of the desk for all to know they stand before a military court under the Starfleet Code of Justice. The flags of the United Federation of Planets and the Ministry of Starfleet sat to her left and right, respectively.

At the two tables positioned in front of the Captain's desk, Leo, Ale Martinez, and Lieutenant Timel occupied one, while the other was empty. Amazingly, news of the hearing made it to the highest levels of the starbase leadership structure, as Captain Rebecca Lawson and Colonel Marina Sullivan sat in the galley behind Leo and Ale, along with a number of other officers and enlisted. In the back row sat the starbase's deputy commanding officer, Commodore Thelk.

Captain Ch'charhat rang the bell that called the hearing to order and intoned the traditional words that began the proceedings. She noticed the absence of representation for the charges being made against Leo and cast a cool gaze out at the gallery. "As I do not see anyone here representing the interests of the Federation…"

At that moment, Captain Kline and a harried-looking first lieutenant entered the courtroom. "Apologies to the court, Your Honor," began the lieutenant.

"You are…?" asked Ch'charhat.

"Lieutenant Reter, sir, appearing on behalf of the Government," replied the tall Edosian man wearing the space black version of the Starfleet uniform, indicating his status as a marine officer. "My apologies for my tardiness; I was only handed this case moments ago, Your Honor."

Ch'charhat and Leo shared a quick look with one another. She asked, "You're licensed to practice law in Starfleet matters?"

Reter gestured with his center hand and replied with a request, "If it would please the court, may I approach?"

"In a moment, Lieutenant." She turned her attention to Leo and asked, "On behalf of the accused?"

"Lieutenant Commander Leo Verde, pro per, Your Honor," he replied in a clear tone. "I'm being assisted by Lieutenants Alejandro Martinez and Barzel Timel."

"Very well," Ch'charhat acknowledged and made notes. She rose from her seat and looked toward both tables. "I'll see both counsel in my chambers. We're in recess."

Within a few minutes, Reter, Leo, Ale, and Barzel stood before Janeera's desk in her office across the corridor. "Mister Reter, I've pulled up your credentials. Very impressive."

"Thank you, sir," Reter replied, looking no less nervous than he did in the courtroom.

"I thought I knew all of the lawyers serving in various capacities here on the base. Might I ask how you came to take on this case?" Ch'charhat asked neutrally.

"That's kind of a weird story, actually," Reter scratched at his bald, orange head with his right hand, while the other two rubbed together in a stalling motion. "I'm not serving here as a lawyer. I'm the garrison supply officer."

Ch'charhat blinked at the news. "Supply officer? You have three degrees and they have you in a logistic capacity? What are you doing for them right now?"

Reter glanced between Leo and the others before answering. "I was inventorying the cargo containers in the garrison."

Leo grinned at the aggrieved expression on Janeera's face, along with the twitching of both her antennae.

"The lieutenant here has an LL.B from the T'Pau Institute of Law and Culture on Vulcan," explained Ch'charhat with a pointed glare at Leo. "Since I'm guessing that Captain Kline unburied you from the mountain of supplies down in the garrison dungeon, that you're going to assemble the charge sheet."

"If I could please petition for a continuance-" Reter began.

Janeera raised a hand. "Granted. Under the circumstances, a continuance is the least I can do. But perhaps you and Commander Verde, here, could discuss an alternative solution once you're up to speed."

"Shouldn't take me until tomorrow to take a look at everything," promised Reter quickly. "Could I borrow some staff from your office, Your Honor?"

Verde spoke up first. "I'll have a couple of paralegals sent over, Lieutenant. We'll take good care of you." He turned back to Janeera and asked, "In light of current events, Your Honor, I would like to petition the court in the matter of Corporal Torres."

She nodded thoughtfully. "Yes, I don't think that she should have to suffer while we're determining this other matter."

Reter raised his center hand, seeking attention. "I'm not familiar with Corporal Torres' case, other than it precipitated this hearing."

Janeera didn't immediately respond; instead, she took a moment to jot down an official order. Leo took the opportunity to brief Reter on the background, concluding with, "I'm sure you will become acquainted with the details of that issue once you go through the discovery process."

Reter's brow furrowed as he absorbed the information. "Indeed. Your Honor, while I'm not directly involved in the Torres case…"

Interrupting further discussion, Janeera engaged the intercom on her desk. "Ch'charhat to Colonel Sullivan," her voice projected.

Colonel Sullivan's contralto voice responded through the intercom system, "Sullivan here."

"Colonel, I'm issuing an order to have Corporal Angela Torres released from confinement," Janeera stated promptly. "I wanted to inform you beforehand."

Sullivan's response carried a note of intrigue. "Interesting. I happen to be engaged in a rather spirited debate with a vehement Captain Kline who disagrees with that order, Captain."

"I'm not surprised. Nevertheless, I have admissions from multiple marines and two of my officers indicating that the corporal's civil rights were repeatedly disregarded," Janeera stated firmly. "Is the marine garrison considering bringing formal charges against Corporal Torres?"

There was a pause on the line, presumably while Sullivan discussed the matter with Kline. After a couple of minutes, Sullivan's voice returned. "Captain Kline holds a strong conviction that the interests of justice would be better served by keeping the corporal in custody."

"I understand his perspective. However, the captain and his marines appear to have taken drastic measures to prevent her from accessing legal counsel," Janeera explained. "To the extent that Captain Kline instructed Lieutenant Commander Verde to leave the holding facility when he requested a private conversation. This action constitutes a severe violation."

"I was not informed of this particular detail," Sullivan's tone shifted, carrying a hint of displeasure.

"Furthermore, I am of the firm belief that your holding platoon has violated several articles of the Starfleet Code of Justice," Janeera continued. "Now, given that Captain Kline has seen fit to arrest Corporal Torres' legal counsel, Commander Verde, I am concerned that bringing charges against him could be perceived as retaliatory. However, it's imperative to note that she remains in confinement while hearings on Verde's arrest and charges are underway."

"As I mentioned, Captain, the specifics of rights denial were not conveyed to me," Sullivan replied, her tone strained now. "An order from the court isn't required. I will ensure Corporal Torres is released immediately. Considering the mishandling of her arrest and confinement by the holding platoon, I will also instruct that the charges against her be dropped."

Leo signaled to Janeera, raising two fingers toward his lips.

Janeera promptly muted her pickup. "Yes?"

Stepping forward, Leo spoke in hushed tones, "Sir, if possible, I'd request Torres be reassigned to my office. Otherwise, she might be transferred elsewhere, and it could complicate our efforts-"

Janeera's open hand halted the conversation. She reactivated the pickup and resumed her conversation. "Thank you, Colonel. Your assistance is appreciated. One more matter, if you will."

"What else can I assist you with, Captain?"

"Given the circumstances of her arrest and the treatment she has endured in confinement, there's legitimate concern about her safety within her platoon, especially considering her current assignment with the holding facility," Janeera explained.

"Captain Kline has assured me that he will expedite her reassignment off-base," Sullivan replied. "In the interim, I will have her temporarily assigned to work in my office."

Janeera's expression brightened, and she offered a suggestion with a smile. "Actually, Colonel, I have a different destination in mind for Corporal Torres."