AWD #323: Jumping the Chain
Jumping the Chain
Summary: Knox jumped the gun and gets called on it.
Date: 10/05/2016 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: Prior Aerilon mission's firefight.
Fairfax Knox 
Batallion HQ
Outer office.
AWD #323

Knox would have recieved word to report for 'office hours', a euphemism that means anything from a violent ass-chewing to NJP. It is actually conducted in an office off of Battalion HQ, this sort of thing not done in any sort of public arena. Fairfax is the one holding office hours, in place of the CO, and the Captain is currently sitting beside the office desk awaiting his next vic..appointment.

Gods. Damnit. Knox gets the notice and isn't entirely sure what it is for, but he knows. The guy has been with humanity for nearly half a dozen years, and a Marine the whole time. Even if a bit unofficial for most of it. He shaves and pulls out the nice cammies since the enlisted don't really have Class A's. He blouses properly and makes sure the stray strings are policed. It's the only uniform he has with a 4th ANGLICO patch that isn't dirty and frayed. At least when he shows up, he looks clean cut but for the scar on his left cheek. The GSW he took to the leg must have been a graze because he doesn't even limp when he enters. There's the traditional knock, wait for welcome, and he steps inside. He moves to stand in front of the desk and goes to attention. "Sergeant Cooper Knox, reporting as ordered, sir." There's no bark or bravado with it. The guy never seems to speak louder than he needs to - as if it were an effort at energy conservation.

"Have a seat, Sergeant." Fairfax gestures to the chair in front of the desk. His tone is clipped, but he's not yelling. Not yet, anyway. There's no malice in the Captain's face. No gleam at getting a chance to stick it to the skinjob. Instead there's just frustration. "Sergeant Knox, you're here because of a recent action you participated in on Aerilon. During this accent you disregarded the chain of command and called in close air support, despite not being the NCO in charge and having no authorisation to do from the Sergeant in charge of your element. At this time, no determination has been made on what action to take. I want to hear your side of the story. Proceed."

Knox nods at the order and he takes the seat, sitting at attention. The guy seems to take this seriously. Even if he's a skinjob, he's been awarded his humanity officially and made a Marine as any other for his services rendered. But with that comes dealing with his own actions. Upon hearing what this is about, the guy looks down and grimaces. He wants to turn his head away in frustration but he doesn't, instead looking back forward. "To clarify, sir, it was not close air support. We were taking sustained heavy fire from the front while more and more of the canners were advancing. We would knock one down and two would take its place, sir. Most of us were wounded, some badly. Including the NCOIC and my partner, Corporal Rakes. The two Special Warfare Marines were also in dire need of evac, as evidenced by one dying on the way home. I admit that I broke the chain of command and called in the medevac element without permission or orders, but did-so due to the need for immediate evac of our people. I recognize that was not my call to make. I regret that I broke the chain of command, sir." But pointedly he doesn't say he regrets what he did. He leaves it there.

Fairfax hrms at that, looking down at his notes for a moment. "I see. My mistake. The references I'm seeing to fire must have been the doorguns on the medevac." A pause. "So you called the medevac into a hot LZ. In the process we lost a raptor. However, you report that it was functionally impossible to establish a clear LZ." He sighs, closing his eyes for a moment in frustration. "Sergeant Knox, do you know /why/ we have a Chain of Command?"

"Copy that, sir. There was a Raptor making an overhead pass for covering fire. If I recall, a SAM keyholed the canopy and blew it apart. The LZ was hot, though, yes, sir. Attempting to get to a clear LZ would have involved carrying the six Special Warfare Marines, plus our own wounded, sir." It still doesn't explain that he frakked up. Fairfax need only look at his face to know that Knox is well aware of it, too. He answers anyway, though. "To establish who makes the calls, sir." This is going to hurt either way and saying more probably isn't going to help him.

Fairfax is looking at Knox's face, and it's clear he recognises it. "Exactly. Which is why, even if the NCOIC is out of comission, we know who is next, and who is next." A pause. "There were young marines on that op, Sergeant Knox. Some of them very impressionable. I believe Private Mallas, for example, was there. I expect my NCOs to set the standard, not throw it out the window when things get hot. Privates already do that. Natural instinct. Panic. People are just wired that way. They need you to show them how to act, not reinforce their private tendancies."

Knox thinks about Malles and looks away for a moment, eyes drifting down. Mallas. Coop clearly knows the Marine well and they've seen a lot of shit together. That's the part that makes his lip twitch. Frak. The Sergeant doesn't look happy as his eyes come back forward. Angry with himself? Fairfax? Maybe both? "Set the standard for the Corps, aye sir. It won't happen again, Captain."

The anger doesn't seem to trouble Fairfax. "I'm quite certain it won't, Sergeant. I'm ensuring that presently." He observes, midly. And then his tone becomes a little more frustrated. "And there's something else you need to think about, Knox. Yourself." Now he's talking more to the man than the soldier. "The matter of your parentage. I don't give a frak. You're one of my Marines. The Corps has seen fit to entrust you to me, and I will watch after you like a parent to a child because that is how I care for my Marines. But dammit, how does it look when you go and do something like this? I know it may seem unfair, but you have to be better than the best. All the time. You can't give them room to insinuate anything." There's a sigh then. "Well, anyway, there endeth the sermon. I've figured out what we're going to do about this, I think."

Knox stares forward and the frustration keeps building on his face, jaw clenching. "Sir. Marines are the only family I have," he says through clenched teeth. "If I wanted everything handed to me with minimal work, I would've joined the Navy, sir. But I read you five-by, Captain." He purses his lips and waits for what's coming.

Fairfax can't help but smirk at the comment about the Navy. "I'm giving you a Page 11." He states, even as he pulls out the paperwork to begin filling it out. "Stepping over the CoC like that is an NJP-able offense, Sergeant. However against that I have to balance the fact that opinion is divided on the consequences of your actions. Some reports say you saved some lives down there. Your service record is clean, and you're a good soldier. And to be frank, we need good experienced NCOs. An NJP now could block your promotion later. Can't afford that, not now." There's a heavy sigh. "A wise man once said to be a good soldier, you had to love the service. To be a good commander, you had to be willing to order the death of the thing you love. It's true for NCOs, too. I've seen combat. I know it's bullshit, watching men die when you think you could do better or you know how to fix it. But if we abandon the chain of command…it becomes chaos. And a lot of people die." The discussion section is filled out with items Knox could have done instead, such as asking for permission or recommending to the NCOIC evac be called immediately. "The purpose of disciplinary proceedings, Sergeant, in my mind isn't just so I can sit here and chew on you. It's so the air is cleared, the accounts are closed, and marine and Corps can move on. To that aim and end, you have my permission to speak freely and unburden yourself."

Knox watches from the corner of his eye while the Captain works on the paperwork. He listens, too. The guy's frustration doesn't seem to depart, though. When the Captain gives him leave to speak he has a few false starts before finally settling on an angle. "Sir, I don't care about the promotion." He finally glances to the Captain, then back down to the desk. He isn't as tense and not quite sitting at attention. "To me it's not about who is right, it's about who is left. When I suspected the attacks were coming and I started writing letters to command, it wasn't because I wanted to save my ass. It's because I wanted to save everyone else's. Yes, sir, I get a kick out of dropping bombs on canners, but my goals have never been there. I frakking hate you for being right about Mallas, sir." He shakes his head. "I think something just snapped in me at seeing all those bodies while our own wounded were shot more. I guess after all the combat time it sorta gets away from you." His knee jerks a bit like he might kick the desk but he stops himself. "That was stupid. If Rakes had done that to me I'd probably make her life hell for it." His eyes close and he shakes his head, still angry.

"Well, you might not care but I do. It's my job to care about that sort of thing." Fairfax nods as Knox tells him he hates him. "Good. Hang on to that. Lessons stick better when there's emotional attachment." The paperwork is pushed across the table. "Go ahead and check whether you agree or disagree. Write any statements you want to make. Then sign and date in the appropriate place." There's a pause, as it looks like the Captain is about to say something else than reconsiders.

"Pretty sure the emotional attachment is there to stay, sir. I didn't even think of any of that until now. Now I'm going over everything in my head, wondering what I missed." He's quiet and his eyes are closed and somehow the quiet voice he has just makes him seem all the more angry. When the paper is pushed across, he looks down to it. The guy doesn't bother to read it, he just signs it. "Nothing to add, sir."

Fairfax takes it back and signs his portion. "This will be placed in your SRB, where it will remain." He's fairly sure Knox knows that, but he's still required to say it. There's a pause. "It's good to be angry when you mess up, Sergeant. But don't lose sight of everything else because of it. If this happens again, it will be an NJP. I'm confident, however, the next time I see you in this office it will be for much more commendable reasons. Dismissed."

Knox looks as if he might groan. He knows what it means. Unfortunately. That's going to effect anything in the future. Anytime he fucks up ever, someone can point to it. Evidence the skinjob 'can't be trusted'. And its on his own ass for it. There isn't much to say for it, though. He's still angry, probably at everyone at the moment. Especially himself. The guy stands after dismissal and does a smart about face and moves for the door. He probably needs to go punch something. Preferrably something not explosive or important.

After Knox leaves, Fairfax frowns as something occurs to him. The page-11 has something added to it, in the box for commander's comments. And then it's set to one side, to be sent off to S1 for inclusion in the records. Time to prepare for the next appointment. The wheels must keep turning.

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