AWD #236: Matters of Law
Matters of Law
Summary: Atalanta and Holtz discuss several past events pertaining to a certain former wing commander and the fallout of his actions.
Date: 30/08/2013
Related Logs: None
Holtz Atalanta 
Except when the gun batteries are firing, the offices aboard the Orion tend to be a quiet area where clerks can get their work done as needed. However, there are several closed-door offices, with small windows, lining the walls in addition to unclaimed cubicles that run down the center of the long room. However, this is not just a place for clerks. Anyone who has paperwork that they need to do and would prefer to do it someplace quiet can come here at all hours of the day or night to accomplish what they require space and peace to complete.
IC Date

Two weeks. It's been almost two weeks since Atalanta Franklin has said a single word, a single syllable even, to Kurt Holtz. It's fairly impressive, honestly, when considering the fact that they're effectively a captive audience. The close living quarters would be bad enough, as the woman sleeps only two bunks over. But he's supposed to report to her, too. And yet… silence. Complete and utter silence from her, from behind the heavy hatch her office. Until now. Report to the DCAG's office. It was an order, not a request.

There are things Holtz would much rather be doing than meandering through the office section towards Atia's appropriated office space. The past two weeks of non-communication haven't been lost on him, but apparently it's over now. Unfortunately, a summons from the DCAG is non-negotiable, and with a quiet, guttural sigh, he straightens his uniform and stiffly throws open the hatch.

The look on the woman's face is all too reminiscent of a teenager that's been caught red-handed, smoking in the girl's bathroom of the Athenian Academy — probably because that's effectively what she's doing. A cigarette, likely one of the ones which he snatched from her steamer trunk almost a month ago, is pinched tightly between her pale pink lips. It's a fragrant thing, smelling strongly of exotic spices mixed with fine fumarella, nothing at all like the cheap things practically everyone else on the ship smokes. She quickly snatches it out of her mouth, holding it behind her back momentarily, when the realization that she isn't seventeen and about to get a lecture from Sister Catherine Parthenos (again) hits. "Didn't anyone teach you to knock?," she snaps.

At another time, he might have been amused by her rushed attempt to hide the cigarette. This time, though, his expression remains blank as his eyes sweep over her, his only reaction a slightly angled brow. "Someone must've forgotten that clearly vital part of my education," he retorts stonily. "Didn't anyone teach you how to hide a cigarette?" He straightens, cool grey eyes boring into her expectantly.

There's nothing to be done about it now, is there? But there's no sense in wasting the thing, either. She licks her thumb and pinches the end of the cigarette shut, killing the flame inside. It's then tucked into her top drawer, which she shuts with a bit more force than is really necessary. "Would you like something to drink?," she asks reflexively, gesturing to the shelf where she keeps her electric kettle, her decorative tea tins, and small stash of sugar and (eugh!) powedered creamer. He's still a guest in her office, after all.

His eyes dart in the direction of the kettle, but it's followed by a quick, jerky shake of the head. "No," Holtz replies curtly as he slides into the chair in front of her desk, crossing his arms over his chest as he slouches. "Look, Major… you wanted to see me. I'm guessin' it wasn't to have a cuppa tea and a chat about old vices, yeah?" His features twitch impatiently as he speaks.

There's a retort which immediately springs to her lips. They part, to utter it, before she think better of it. Apparently, Atalanta has decided that it — or maybe he — isn't worth the trouble. "Yes. I wanted to advise you of a situation regarding your former CO, Lieutenant Colonel Shepherd." There's a pause, a long one, as she allows that to sink in. "The JAG office may have already contacted you. I was there yesterday, discussing the papertrail that he left with Captain Llywarch. Being as I've never met the man and have no personal experience with him, I expect she's going to want to interview you and possibly Captain St. Clair, who I've reinstated as the Ghost's squadron leader, for a more… in-depth discussion of some of his decisions."

Holtz's brows crinkle; he's clearly surprised — or is that disappointed? — by the mention of her unlamented predecessor. He straightens in his seat, hands reaching out to lightly grip the ends of the armrests. "Yeah, got a note from the JAG office last night. I'm gonna talk to the captain this evening, I think. So they plan to prosecute, do they?" There's a trace of satisfaction in his tone at that. Well, possibly more than just a trace, actually. The news about Bennett gets a nod. "Good for her. They haven't had proper leadership since her first stint, you ask me." Which would include Shepard's stint as CO in addition to his duties as CAG. Not that anyone did ask him, though.

She certainly didn't. One brow arches, albeit slightly, before settling back into its proper place. "I believe they're still building a case." Her lips press together for a moment, forming a thin line. "As such, I made a point of highlighting the fallout from seveal of his mistakes: the condition of the survivors from the Persephone, the unneccessary deaths at Hebe, the trauma and starvation inflicted on the reduced number of survivors from Pallas, the inaccurate intelligence on the capital. And the presumed death of everyone on Minos, which Lieutenant Colonel Shepherd had recommended abandoning after exfiltrating mission-critical personnel, due to "difficulties" with a large scale evacuation." There's a pause, during which her normally delicate features set into a hard, unforgiving expression. As they both know, Shepherd didn't even bother doing that. "Captain Llywarch has copies of all of the AARs from the aforementioned missions, with the pertaining portions highlighted for her use."

Holtz grunts. "Well hell, if she's got all that, what the hell does she need to talk to us for?" Holtz mutters. It's at least partly a serious question, too, given the former CAG's track record. "Not like you need us to confirm what's already a matter of official record, yeah?" He shrugs. "For frak's sake, he'd probably be facin' a court martial for dereliction of duty by now even if he hadn't up an' deserted his post."

"As far as I'm concerned, Major, the man abused his authority, violated the trust placed in by his subordinates, grossly neglected his duties to the point that hundreds died as a result of his failures, and deserted his post in a time of war. If the decision were left to me, there wouldn't be a court martial. I'd simply have him shot. Which seems like a waste of perfectly good bullets when we have a fully functional airlock to toss him out of, but at least this way, the damned dogs would have something to eat." There's an unmistakable harshness to her words — a cold slap that indicates her bloodlust is no hyperbole. "But the decision isn't mine to make. It is the court's decision, and the court requires witness testimony, even in the case of official record. So you will go to Captain Llywarch's office and complete an affadavit for her, just as Captain St. Clair will conduct a search of the Piraen wildnerss for Lieutenant Colonel Shepherd, whether the evidence indicates that he is dead or not." There is absolutely no 'bend' in her statement. None. At all. Her decision has been made and, regardless of whether or not he thinks the proceedings are ridiculous or unncessary, that decision is final.

"If you think I'm going to argue the point with you, Major, you're gonna be in for a long wait," Holtz replies flatly and bristles, the hairs on the back of his neck standing up. "But a bullet?" He shakes his head. "For all the death and suffering caused by his neglect, he may as well have been a Cylon agent, and as far as I'm concerned, he's not too good to eat vaccuum like a skinjob. Or lock him up and throw away the key, let him share the fate of the people he sentenced to a slow and painful death, yeah?" Where Atia's tone was cold, Holtz's is volcanic, but no less deathly earnest. "Fine. I'll speak with the captain. I'll even go with Butch when she goes to look for the bastard, if you want." He stands, expression pinched and fists clenched, with several goosebumps visible on the skin between his knuckles and his sleeves. "Is there anything else?"

"Yes," she says, pointedly. "I've also informed JAG of his response to Lieutenant McBride's letter of protest. Being as he was following the chain of command by alerting both you and Lieutenant Colonel Shepherd to the issues he believed the Ceres' model's continued service presented, his response was completely inappropriate. I also suspect it was illegal, and so have asked that it be removed from all of his records if my assumption is correct." She leans back in her seat, though she doesn't drop her hands into her lap. They remain resting on the flat surface of her desk, fingers splayed. "You will be expected to speak to that, as well. I assume it won't be a problem for you."

Holtz snorts, his lips curling into a sneer. "Inappropriate? Major, he threatened to have us — him and me — removed from the ship and transferred to Picon. Which at the time would've been tantamount to a death sentence, or close to it." He begins prowling to and fro in front of her desk, fists still clenched. "And then he posted — publicly — one of the most humiliatingly patronizing and hostile letters to a subordinate I've ever seen an officer write. All because Lieutenant McBride availed himself of his right to protest the incomprehensible decision of command allowin' a frakking skinjob to remain in the ranks. So no, Major, that won't be a problem."

"You're going to wear a hole in my carpet," she informs him casually, her expression remarkably sedate given the force of his anger. Of course, it shouldn't come as a surprise. Meeting all of his fiery rage with a wall of ice? That was always her response… before. And it's true, she has put a rug down, something to cover the cold, hard metal floor. "As I said, I believe his response was illegal as well. I've brought it to the attention of the JAG officer aboard. I intend to have it removed from Lieutenant McBride's records, as I don't believe the lieutenant should suffer any further as a result of his former CO's failings." Her mouth quirks to one side for a moment, before she adds, "Unless you think I'm somehow capable of miraculously producing the Lieutenant Colonel from parts unknown? Right here, right now? There is nothing else I can do except clean up his mess, and try to undo whatever damage I can still have any hope to repair."

Holtz grunts and looks down; no, that carpet certainly wasn't there before. He comes to a stop, but he can't stay still for long; a few moments later he's resumed his pacing, if not quite as energetically as before. "I'm not expecting any miracles from you, Major," he replies dully. "For the lieutenant's sake, however, I appreciate that letter being removed from his file. He doesn't deserve the likes of Zachary Shepard putting a stain on the rest of whatever career he's to have."

"Then we're in agreement." For once. Perhaps the proverbial clouds will part and a light will shine down from Mount Olympus? "Good," she says, crisply. Her thumbs drum against the desk for a moment before she says, calmly, "Unless you have any other business, Major, that will be all for now." The point she's making is obvious. He's being dismissed from her office. But hey, it's certainly much better than simply being told to get out, right?

Not that Holtz needs to be told twice. He straightens as he regards her, chin thrust proudly upwards as he gives his head a quick, terse shake to indicate that no, he has no other business and he's only too happy to vacate the room, thank you kindly. Hands at his sides, he turns crisply on his heel and ducks out.

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