An unstoppable force and an immovable object

Posted on Wed Jan 13th, 2021 @ 7:52am by Lieutenant Jonathan "Jon" Anderson & Civilian Cetus Lapetus

Mission: Mission 1 - "Pound of Flesh"
Location: Public Affairs Office
Timeline: Current

The cup of coffee on Jon's desk sat cold. He had drank half of it before the morning reports had come in and then spent the next hour trying to figure out why the morning reports were on his desk, compaining, and then refusing to comment on all media requests. It was a good morning.

What was not good was when a member of the UNN came into his office, demanded to see him, stormed past his assistant, a woman's whose whole job was to say no comment and get coffee, and now occupied space in his office. This was the makings for a bad morning.

"Alright, now let me get this straight, you've come to me, the Public Relations Officer, and you want to lodge a complaint?" Jon asked skeptically. He hated wasting time, unless it was Union time, that was why he worked in public relations. This was going to be a waste of time.

"Oh, what a relief," Cetus Lapetus said with an ostentatious hand to his forehead. "You're not as dumb as you look." With a scoff of derision, he said, "The internal affairs division detained me without cause and impeded with my investigation. Were the roles reversed, I would be in a cell right now. What I demand is merely commensurate consequences for clear dereliction of duty."

"So, you're saying you were arrested without charge?" Jon asked skeptically. He was a simple man and he was not one for complex or florid language. He liked to get to the point and he liked to do it immediately. "So, if I pull up the arrest file, there won't be a charge or reason to take you in? Is that what you are contending?" He paused as he began to type into his computer and looked over the screen at the man across from him again. "Or are you saying you were arrested for reasons you don't think are valid?"

Cetus scoffed at the other man. "I need you and your terribly ungroomed mustache to listen very carefully: I was detained without cause and it impeded my UNS investigation. Does the freedom of the press mean nothing to you?"

"I'll ignore the bit about the mustache, if and only if you can tell me what you were investigating," Jon replied, his tone starkly blunt. He was a busy man and he really wasn't interested in dealing with the press. "What are you doing on my station?"

"You can read about it in my next column." Cetus let out a sniff. "What I need to know is what you're going to do about this egregious miscarriage of justice!"

"I'm going to need you to send my a copy of that column before you publish," Jon replied flatly. "To ensure no classified material is released." He began to pull out a number of forms from his desk and tapped them together into a bundle. "And these are the complaint form request forms. Fill these out and I can get you the complaint form, which I then need you to fill out and return so I can get you the incident report form, after you get that back to me we can start on the incident review form and then we can push right through to the incident complaint review form. I'm thinking in the next 6 months I may be able to get the incident reviewed and hopefully in the next year we can get action." He paused there and eyered the man across from him. "Or you can cut the bullshit and tell me what happened."

Cetus bristled and let out a sound that was somewhere between a purr and a squawk. "You will drink my gooch sweat before I allow you to exercise editorial control over my column, do you understand me?" He grabbed the forms and began filling them out. "I have time, Groucho Marx, and I have lawyers, so you had better change your tone."

"No, I don't think I will," Jon replied mutely. His tone, as always, was discompassionate. He wasn't attempting to be rude, he simply didn't care. "As for the nature of your column, we are currently involved in a number of sensitive investigations. If you are reporting on our activities Article 317 Section A of the Press Corps Certification Code states I am entitled to review any material and remove any material I deem to be sensitive in nature." He picked up his now ice cold coffee and took a sip. "By code the process can take up to 3 weeks, depending on the nature of the information and the credulity of your press pass."

"You can stuff your press code straight up your unbleached asshole, darling, because my publication is outside your jurisdiction." Cetus Lapetus did not even look up as he continued filling out the forms. "As much as I appreciate a thick dickhead, what you will soon find, Mr. Pubic Face, is that mine is bigger." And with that he continued with one form after another.

"You are aware that I can have your press pass taken away," Jon replied leaning back in her chair and tenting his fingers slightly.

"Temporarily," Cetus said, "and only in your sector. Ebonically speaking, I know my shit." He pushed the electronic forms back under Jon's nose. His steely-eyed glare challenged Jon to do his worst. "I'm ready for the actual complaint form now."

Jon took the tablet and looked over the forms. It was really all meaningless, just pointless paperwork that would go into a file no one would ever look at. "You know, I get the feeling you really believe that. Yes, only in this sector, but if you leave this sector, you are not my problem," he replied tapping a few keys to pull up even more meaningless forms before sliding the tablet back across his desk. "And honestly, I'd be fine with that. I'm a simple man after all."

"Yes, your simpleton status is practically broadcasted," Cetus said as he began the next forms. Fortunately he was accustomed to such actions and made prodigious use of the autofill feature of his personal stylus. "If you insist on being the fly in my bonnet that you present yourself to be, you will find that I can strike you from anywhere. The pen is mightier than the sheriff's mustache, you know, and I do not require anybody's permission to wield it."

"You do know that using autofill functions on official forms invalidates them," Jon replied simply. None of this really mattered. He would shunt the complaint to the Unit Chief and then she would have to deal with it. The complaint would go nowhere because at the end of the day it was clear why the man had been detained, for being an ass. Jon was tempted to report him to security already, but it would only cause more problems. "If you submit invalid forms I will be forced to reject your complaint as a matter of procedure."

"You do realize that obstructing legal remedy will lead to legal action," Cetus retorted. "I have many attorneys at my back, both corporate and private. Do you?"

Jon sighed. This was getting him nowhere, and fast. "What is it you hope to accomplish? This is my job, so you're only really wasting your own time," he said softly. "You can file your complaint and I will promise you that it will lead to nothing and even if you get your fancy lawyers, all the person who arrested you needs to do is prove they had a good reason. Do you really think they won't be able to come up with a good reason? Because I can come up with several right now."

"It's my understanding that the officer who falsely detained me is deceased," the reporter replied as he moved to the next form. "So when it's my word, my brilliant, illustrious, well-spoken, and famous word against that of a shitheel jackboot who got himself killed by a stupid space podder gang -- a fate you can see that I've only begun to tarnish -- then you will be singing a different tune."

There was something to be said about speaking ill of the dead. It was a line Jon tended not to cross. "Then you are filing a complaint against someone no longer registered as part of the Union?" Jon ask, suddenly standing and snatching the data tablet from the reporter. "That makes things much simpler. I am rejecting your claim as it no longer pertains to my office." He tapped clear on the tablet and sat down in his chair once more. "It would have been nice to know that at the start. Could have saved us both plenty of time."

"My complaint is against the division, not the individual. Your institution is not absolved of culpability just because the primary individual got himself killed," Cetus scoffed. "The late Lieutenant Klein had a partner in crime, you see, and I have no doubt that a judicial subpoena will reveal illegal surveillance without a warrant. We have laws, Mr. Pornography Mustache, and we will uphold them."

"We have procedures and unless you are prepared to provide me evidence of the specific allegation you are making, I cannot proceed with you complaint," Jon explained evenly. The disrespect of a fallen officer did bother him and he had half a mind to throw the reporter out of his office, but he also knew what that would look like. "If you have evidence, present it. If not, then you are wasting both of our time."

Cetus scowled at Jon so hard his frown nearly turned into a pucker. "Since you insist on being a syphilis-contaminated vibrating dildo up the ass of the universe, then I suppose you will be hearing from my attorneys. I do have a fleet of them." He pounded his fist on the desk. "This means war!" shouted the reporter. "War, I say!"

And with that declaration, he turned on his high heels and marched out of the office.

Jon sighed and leaned back in his desk. "What an ass," he breathed and picked up his cold coffee once more.