[Closed] Second chances

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Tabitha Maru
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Postby Tabitha Maru » Mon Jul 30, 2018 10:03 am

If there was one place on the base that lieutenant Yudel Eckhardt truly despised it was this place: the brig. On occasion there was someone who actually deserved to be there that had ended up behind those bars, but far more often it was someone that had just messed up in one way or the other. Today, he wasn’t certain but he thought it was the latter.

He looked up at the door as he signed his name on the papers the guard had handed him. Beyond it sat a man that had left his post and refused to follow orders earlier today. It was very serious allegations. In other circumstances it could very well lead to him being shot by a commissar. In these circumstances too, quite frankly.

But that didn’t feel right. When he had looked into the man’s eyes earlier, it had not been cowardice he saw in them. Maybe, just maybe this one could be salvaged. That’s why he was here after all. To get a better grasp of the man.

Stepping up to the door, he stopped for a moment. Grabbing the pocket flask from his inner pocket and taking a quick swig from it, feeling the burning from the alcohol run down his throat. Putting back in its proper place he opened the door and stepped inside.

He walked with a few determined strides over to the cell and looked at the corporal inside. Then slowly sat down on the bench opposite to him. From his pocket he produced a small locket, from which he removed a lho-stub. Carefully inspecting and trimming it wordlessly, before putting it in his mouth. He produced a lighter and held it to the stub, puffing on it for a few moments so that he got the embers just right.

Then finally he looked up at Corporal Talsen.

”So corporal, what am I supposed to do with you?”
Private Tabitha Maru - Lieutenant Yudel Eckhardt



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Postby Hey Ricky » Mon Jul 30, 2018 4:20 pm

Ricky sat upright as his CO entered, and saluted neatly. He watched Eckhardt, but didn't understand why the shouting hadn't started.

"...Sir? I assume there's standard protocol for disobedience." he responded, not really understanding the question.
Or perhaps it was a trick question. The corporal didn't wish to push his luck.

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Postby Tabitha Maru » Wed Aug 01, 2018 1:34 pm

"Of course there's a standard protocol for dealing with disobedience. All ranging from quick smack over the fingers to Holt demonstrating what happens to those that fail to live up to their expectations!"

He had raised his voice now, his annoyance at the whole situation slipping past his facade for a brief moment. Realising this he took a deep breath and put the glowing roll back in his mouth to silence himself. Looking the soldier straight in the eyes. As if trying to glean something from it.

"Question here is what is appropriate for you, son. You can speak frankly in here, there's just me listening and here and now I want to know what you truly think.

See... I could deal with you like I deal with cowards... yet despite your actions earlier you don't strike me as one. You seem perfectly cogniscant of and accepting of the consequences of your actions today. You're expressing shame over the whole thing... which is to your credit. Furthermore I've never had a problem like this before.

And yet... you refused to take part in an excercise today. If not out of cowardice or lack of conviction then why, I wonder? Why is it that one instance of indiscriminate fire make you unable to participate in a teambuilding exercise, hmm? You claimed it was because of what she said. Yet she said that everything was acceptable losses unless I had said otherwise. And I had declared each and everyone of you an -unacceptable- loss."

Eckhardt leaned forward, folding his hands. Letting the lho roll over his lip into the corner of the mouth as his his steely purple eyes locked with the soldier's. Yet there was a tone of concern in his voice, just barely showing it's face beneath his gruff soldier demeanor..

"So tell me corporal... what part of -my- ability to keep you alive is it that you doubt?"
Private Tabitha Maru - Lieutenant Yudel Eckhardt



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Postby Hey Ricky » Wed Aug 01, 2018 2:36 pm

Ricky didn't startle at the sudden raise in volume, he'd expected it to come at some point. Ever since he'd stepped away, he'd been waiting for the shouting to start, but it hadn't. Just stares and mutters and disappointment.
And even now, it wasn't the kind of shouting he'd anticipated. The Lieut seemed frustrated, but still willing to listen.

One of the problems Talsen now had answering Eckhardt was that he couldn't quite put into words what had felt wrong. He looked away, not out of disobedience, but with an expression of concentration.
"It's a few things, sir. I don't doubt you. Nor did I doubt Sergeant Beckett. I trust you both." The corporal rubbed his hand across his face, a sign he was trying to put his words together.
"...But neither of you are the ones who have to stand in front of those things. You're experimenting to prove a point, and you're doing it with the good men who trust you."

Ricky brought his gaze back to Eckhardt, "If a gun had a history of malfunction and harming civvies and men around it, then you wouldn't issue it. You wouldn't put the burden of responsibility on the squad to carry it, or leave that fear in the unit."
The Cadian was quietly spoken and calm, though he wasn't entirely certain he was making his point as well as he wished.

"You put a child killer in with us, and then told us to forget who we are and work together. We're told we all have to support and accommodate one another, but the thing is it's not even. The Kriegers aren't changing their ways, they can't. So you put it entirely on the rest of us to suck up the unease and risks."

Ricky sucked his teeth, but considering he was already damned, "Sir, can you say that you honestly, completely knew what that one from the disciplinary was capable of? That you had certainty, in a practise run rather than a life or death situation, it was worth the risk of putting it with us?"

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Postby Tabitha Maru » Thu Aug 02, 2018 3:44 pm

The lieutenant sat there, listening to the corporal lay out his thoughts and feelings on the matter, occasionally taking a drag from his lho as the young man did so. He never took his eyes away from the young man, just sitting there with a face made out of stone. He didn't nod, didn't shake his head and didn't arch an eyebrow. He just sat there, his hands folded, listening to corporal Talsen. Only at one point did he seem to react to the guardsman and that was when the young man called the krieger child killer.

He knew the rumours spreading about the kriegers were bad. But not that they had gotten that bad. If they weren't damaging before they certainly were now. If nothing else, this certainly proved that more efforts would be needed to demonstrate that the rest of the force could work with the kriegers.

Once Talsen finished, the lieutenant let his words hang in the air for a moment. Both so he was sure that the corporal had spoken his mind and that he wasn't about to interrupt the young man. But also to lend those words weight. He got to his feet and held his lho-stub between his fingers and spoke with a calm even voice, with as much conviction as he could muster.

"Yes.

I am completely aware of what the one from the disciplinary is capable of and I was certain that allowing her on the exercise was worth the risk.

I would not have allowed her on the excercise otherwise. I would have sent her back to captain Schulze and commissar Wittman with a note explaining I didn't see her fit to take part. I was convinced that whatever flaws existed in her had either been dealt with or were manegable.

I don't like exposing any of the people under my command to unneccessary risk, corporal. If I ask you to risk your lives then it is because I believe it must be done. I'm not going to waste any of you pointlessly. When I told you to be their pointman today, it was because I sought to prove to you that you had no reason to fear being shot in the back.

And even then, I took precautions. I ordered blanks in the weapons and specifically made a point to emphasize that I saw any friendly fire as unacceptable. That I considered none of you acceptable collateral damage. Not because I saw it as neccessary, but because I will not ever treat any of you recklessly."

He took a deep breath and looked the corporal over.

"What happened in that infamous mission we don't know for certain, as Commissar Holt deemed it classified. I know the rumours claim that she shot indiscriminantely. Did she? Maybe. But I do know this: the woman you damn with words was rushed to medicae with horrible injuries because she had interjected herself between incoming fire and a fellow guardsman.

She sacreficed herself to keep one of her comrades alive and it was only through the grace of Him on Terra that she is still with us. She's twice decorated for outstanding performance. As was the other krieger with us. I'd trust both of them with my life.

So once more: Yes. I do know what she's capable of.

Were you? Or did this rumour, that you don't know the origin of, colour your decisions today? Did it occur to you that maybe the rumours are the enemy sowing discord among us?"
Private Tabitha Maru - Lieutenant Yudel Eckhardt



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Postby Hey Ricky » Thu Aug 02, 2018 6:54 pm

"Not exactly... No."
If the assurances were expected to mollify the corporal, they appeared to have fallen flat. He shook his head, "I based my choices today on there having been a tribunal for two Kriegers. I based it on their behaviour around base, when we are forced to mix. From what I hear outside the walls, what Narisians passing through the gates say of their experiences."

"Yes, I know that she was rushed to Medicae because the tribunal was also for a Kriegsman who opened fire in Medicae, which is why we now have a total weapons ban."

Ricky continued after a pause, "I don't see any tribunals for Cadians or Catachans having shot medics or civvies. I don't see lectures and tents encouraging us to get to know the Valhallans better. Like I said, it's always everyone else's burden to handle or accomodate the Kriegers. You shouldn't have had to go through all that to be assured one guardsman wouldn't kill anyone in a practise run."

"...I'm sure Commissar Holt and the officers involved in whatever incident led to that tribunal, thought the same thing about controlled risk." Ricky gazed back tiredly.
"I don't imagine anyone expected to end up with civilian casualties, and I wouldn't suggest as such. But we can't ignore that as a lesson."

"I'm not in any doubt of your leadership. But I utterly disbelieve anyone has a true leash on those troops in this situation, because they're so far from their own environment. It's like the difference between a dog and a wolf; the longer you try and push the wild animal to live alongside humans, the more you're just gonna end up getting bitten and blaming yourself. They shouldn't be here. They should be out filling their suicidal purpose in siege warfare, far away from anyone else."

Ricky pinched the bridge of his nose, and sighed, "I'm not saying they're bad soldiers. They're great soldiers. They're terrible human beings. Every time I go near one I can feel some disaster waiting to happen, like it's just a ticking clock."

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Postby Tabitha Maru » Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:37 am

This was clearly not a subject that well chosen words could make the corporal change his mind about. There were issues with the kriegers, sure, but not nearly as egregious as the corporal made them out to be. But that was not something the lieutenant could prove here and now. Only time and familiarity would solve that, so the trick here was to find the terms of cooperation that the corporal would find acceptable. Sitting down on the bench again, the lieutenant frowned thoughtfully as he crossed his arms.

"That's what I'm working on, corporal.

Neither you nor I have the luxury to pick and choose what soldier will be next to us when things get hot. We cannot assume that we'll only have catachans, valhallans or cadians to watch our backs. The kriegers are here with us and that's the reality we have to adapt to.

That means we need to hammer those differences out before they come to a head. You're right that we're not the only ones that will have to learn to adapt to them, they have to learn to adapt to us as well. Their officers recognice this, but I think you're smart enough to realise that that's not going to happen overnight. It's going to take time and a great deal of effort.

Quite the task we've got ahead of ourselves, I think. But it's going to be a great deal easier if I have good solid people out there, helping me keep an eye out for when we need to reel them in. Reliable men and women that can help preempt disaster, rather than sit by and let it happen. "

He took a long drag from his lho to let his words sink in, then gave Talsen a meaningful look.

"You have a problem with civilians being killed. Good, suggests you got your head screwed on right. I need people out there that consider that important and are willing to work to see that objective through. Not everyone are, not even among us cadians.

So the question is, corporal: Can you be what I need out there? You don't need to like the kriegers, you don't need to approve of them or even respect them. But can you be the person to point out to me when they need to be reigned in? Can you be someone I can rely on?"
Private Tabitha Maru - Lieutenant Yudel Eckhardt



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Postby Hey Ricky » Mon Aug 06, 2018 7:44 am

"I don't believe I have the luxury of choosing what I'm ordered to do, either. Sir." Ricky replied flatly, "So what I can't work out is why you would care what I think of those suggestions, or this situation."

He leaned back against the wall, straightening out his figure, and stretching his neck.
"You want the honest answer? I'm never going to be comfortable and troopers who detach themselves entirely from human nature. I'm never going to give them a truly fair assessment... I can see that I'm prejudiced, but it doesn't change the sensation of impending disaster every time I go near one of them."

The corporal rubbed his hand over his face again, "And that's not fair to then have anyone relying on me... That's why I withdrew. Because if I can't play nice in front of my comrades, I shouldn't be dragging them down by association. I would have ruined that drill for everyone else." he sighed, frustrated.

"There's no nice and neat solution to any of this, long or short term. Neither of us can change anything. The Kriegers haven't changed in the slightest over the past year or so, some things are just ingrained too deeply." Ricky closed his eyes and leaned his head back, "And Throne I wish I wasn't self aware enough to notice that."

His eyes opened, though gazing at the ceiling, "But I still don't understand why you'd take the time to hear what I think."

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Tabitha Maru
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Postby Tabitha Maru » Tue Aug 07, 2018 8:50 am

"Because it matters.

There's always going to be someone that relies on you. If you think that's not fair: well that's war for you, son. Today there were twelve fellow soldiers you let down out there today. It didn't hurt anyone because it was only a training run, but any other situation and you withdrawing could very well have led to any one of them being dead.

I need to -know- that's never going to happen again."

With a long audible exhale, the lieutenant let the smoke run out through his nostrils. Talking the lho-stub in his grip.

"There's plenty of officers out there that would just write you off, leave you in here to rot. But I think that's a mistake. An officer's highest duties are to the Emperor and to his men.

That means listening to you, corporal. I rely on you, that's not something you can withdraw from. What I need you to understand is that you can rely on me. Your wellbeing is my responsibility. You concerns are my concerns. And you standing behind those bars is my failure.

So hearing you out is my responsibility. There's much that isn't fair, but I'll do my damnest to treat you as fairly as I can"
Private Tabitha Maru - Lieutenant Yudel Eckhardt



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Postby Hey Ricky » Tue Aug 07, 2018 8:21 pm

Ricky watched the Lieutenant with a slight furrow to his brow, "I don't mean unfair to me. I meant it's not fair to the others. If I can't provide what they need, and today I couldn't."

He continued to watch Eckardt for a moment, "I feel we're having two close but different conversations. You asked me why I did this, why I felt that way... But when I raised my concerns you changed the subject to (admittedly valid) but different points. I'm not disagreeing with you, I'm just not feeling reassured."

The Cadian looked away, exhaling through his nose, "Maybe it's all just too muddied for cannon fodder like me to understand, or maybe neither of us can actually do anything about it regardless of how neat we try and sew it up."

He shrugged, looking back to his CO, "I don't want to be uncooperative. Never did. But the only way I could make sure everyone else got what they needed to achieve today done, was to remove myself. In the field, no, I wouldn't have left. I wouldn't have even considered it. My objection was that today we were practicing at being soldiers, and Kriegers don't know how to play. They only know how to kill for real."

Throughout, Ricky had yet to change from a neutral kind of gaze, there was an air of a man who knew he was already damned.
"I feel these thi- Kriegers are dangerous and unpredictable, testing their safety by asking us to play with them is risking good men. That you have to put so many stopgaps in place to help with that is taxing your time and resources.
"I feel that the Kriegers are personally doing nothing to integrate, other than standing around and looming at people in slightly different locations.
"I feel that the pressure is solely on the rest of us to clear their image for them."

Gesturing as he spoke, Ricky continued, "Did my record ever say 'trouble-maker' to you? I've seen how others react. I've listened. I can't speak for everyone, but can you really, hand on heart, say that you know I'm the only man on base who feels this way? Or simply the first man who had very little left to lose from voicing it?"

He watched Eckhardt once more, "If I'm the first, then you need me to be the last, or to make your solution an example. You can be sure other people know what's happened by now."
Talsen was either displaying remarkable self awareness of his actions in making himself a deliberate example, or heavily resigned pessimism at being a learning opportunity for others.
From his expression and slightly dead eyes it would be difficult to judge.

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Postby Tabitha Maru » Sat Aug 18, 2018 6:11 am

Eckhardt took a long look at the smoldering piece of paper and dried leaves in his hand, halfway through it now. Rolling the stub in his hand as he listened to the corporal speak.

"You're right there corporal. I need you to be the last and my solution needs to set an example. Make no mistake... you're not in there because you dislike the Death Korps. You're in there because you challenged my authority. I trust you're self-aware to see that. That behaviour will not be tolerated.

You've made your opinions quite clear when it comes to our collegues from. I do know for certain that you are not the only one that feels that way and your record don't give me the idea you're a troublemaker. That's why you and I are having this discussion. I could recommend the commissariat to have you whipped. But it's not going to solve this problem for ours, nor is it going to change the minds of anyone that feels the way you do. So, I'd like a better solution.

Unlike what you seem to believe, however, the Death Korp recognice that they need to take steps as well and have started a number of initiatives to achieve that. In any other theater they would not bother, but here they do. They've ordered their troops to socialize. They've set up a tent where people can vent their frustrations with them. They're sending their troops to joint training exercises to learn how we operate and how to follow the commands of non-krieg officers. Small steps admittedly, but they got to start somewhere.

Now, like I said... I want a better solution. I'd like that solution to include you being released from in there. If the death korp are taking measures to be more human and to earn our trust one small step at a time. If I start taking your concerns regarding them more seriously. Can I trust you to give them the benefit of the doubt and bring your concerns to me privately, rather than openly?

If you can do that, I'm willing to let you out of there. There'll be some punishment detail, of course. But I want you to work with me to find a solution to our krieg problem. So cadian, are you capable of working -with- me in this?"
Private Tabitha Maru - Lieutenant Yudel Eckhardt



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