“All rise. This Judge Advocate General hearing is now in session, the Honorable Captain Esther Steinberg presiding.“
The assembled Starfleet crew and civilians came to their feet, a gesture of deference and respect toward the Judge. Although the proceedings were closed to the general public, a certain number of individuals that were directly involved in the case had been permitted to attend. As the Judge took her seat at the front of the small courtroom, she asked everyone to be seated. She had been gone for only three hours, deliberating in her chambers and deciding the fate of Lieutenant Raygi Benyan.
“Will the Defendant please stand?” said the Judge as she adjusted herself a bit in her seat.
Raygi stood slowly, folding his hands behind his back in a formal yet comfortable pose. He closed his eyes, inhaled deeply through his nose, and turned his attention to the Judge. His Counsel, Commander John Locklear as well as the Starfleet Prosecutor, Lieutenant Commander Valik, also stood.
“Lieutenant Raygi,” began Judge Steinberg. “You have been charged with Insubordination, Striking a Command Level Officer, and Conduct Unbecoming of an Officer. Based upon the evidence I have seen over the past three days…the Court dismisses the charge of Insubordinatio, and finds you guilty of the remaining charges. Do you wish to speak before sentence is handed down?”
”I do, Your Honor,” said Raygi.
”Lieutenant,” said Commander Locklear softly, almost under his breath. “Do you really think this is a good idea?”
”What do I have to lose, Commander?” Raygi cleared his throat softly before addressing the Court. “Your Honor, I understand that what I did was inappropriate…and if I could take back my actions, I would. The truth of the matter is, I have no family; when I came into Starfleet, I adopted them as a sort of surrogate to fill that void. I consider my CO Captain Takashima to be a mentor and a friend…so when our XO began insulting her in an off hours conversation, I took it personally and defended the Captain’s honor. That led to the physical altercation that broke Commander Stovek’s nose.” Raygi stood up a little straighter and looked the Judge in the eye. “I will not apologize for defending my CO against the words of a jerk.“
Judge Steinberg was silent for a long moment. “I admire your conviction, Lieutenant. Such a degree of loyalty is becoming uncommon, especially among the more ambitious younger officers. But the bottom line is, you committed serious offenses and that cannot be ignored.“ Steinberg picked up a PADD and read its contents aloud. “Lieutenant Raygi Benyan, you are hereby reduced in rank to Lieutenant Junior Grade, and sentenced to serve ninety days at the Jaros II Minimum Security Prison. Security, please take the Lieutenant to begin his sentence immediately.“
As he was removed from the court, the only regret Raygi had was that he would probably never see his friends and family on the Olympus again.