Who is that Jerk?!
Kelly was fuming. She had no idea how a CO like Ro had wound up with an XO like that jack ass. It was going to be a long damn assignment.
She stalked down the hallway with her arms crossed and a scowl on her face.
Likewise, Ro was coming from the opposite direction with an armload of bulky data padds, just chattering to herself about where they were all to go when she nearly ran into Kelly. "Hey there prize fighter! Feeling.. not. so good still?"
"Who in the hell assigned you your XO?" She snapped without preamble or explanation.
Ro stopped walking altogether, her red brows raising curiously on her freckled face. "Well that's a how you do.. I take it that you two don't get along real well?"
"He's an asshole," Kelly replied, flatly. "Seriously. Someone needs to jerk the frakking stick out of his ass."
"Erm... Sir." She added, quickly.
For a moment, Ro said nothing. She just looked at Kelly hard with her lips twitched to the side. "An asshole," she repeated with a nod of her head. "This isn't the first time I've heard that word, but it's a little surprising how quickly it came out just then. Can you go into more detail?"
"He referred to me as 'inmate' to start our conversation. Then started trying to dig up all the shit I went through in Academy. I hard a hard damn life, okay? Yeah. I've had some anger issues. Probably still do. But that doesn't give him the god damned right to judge me," She replied, bluntly.
Again, the redhead's eyebrow twitched. She'd been yelled at by way too many people during her own career: Ro remembered intimately how it felt and how long it took before she realized the why behind any of it. Maybe she could spare the girl some frustration. "Walk with me. I think I know a few things that'll help you. You up to it?"
"Can I just go punch him? I'll take brig time," Kelly said, sullenly.
"Nope. It's time to pull out the big girl panties, sweetheart. This is the big leagues now. So our XO- I don't really know him. I'm not going to defend him. I'm not going to talk about him at all," O'Touvelli began as she started moving again. "This is a personal story and I hate to tell these, so listen up, okay?"
"When I was younger I was not Fleet material at all. Take your little party on starbase the other night and bring it to the ship. I was pretty awful.. anytime I had booze in my hand- although I think you might be a little more violent than I was, but that's not important right now. So I was a wreck. I was in security. I knew better. And I was still a wreck. I had people breathing down my throat left right and center to clean up and fly right all the damn time and my comeback of the day was usually 'they're such tightwads. They're assholes. They're dicks trying to tell me how to run my life or be a good officer. People knew me and knew that I was where the party was. It was great for then." Ro wrinkled her nose around this point. she was smiling, but it wasn't entirely a pleasant one. More like bittersweet. "I didn't think then about the implications of travelling in a giant fishbowl on an extended voyage through space. Then beyond that to the rest of the crew, their actions, their families back home. It all ripples. They were absolutely right to call me on my shit because I would have gotten someone seriously hurt one day if I kept it up. I still catch flack over it today because there's those that don't believe I've changed. Or that I haven't changed enough."
"Now you're not there. That's not what I think happened, but those ripples still apply. If you're pushed now- if you swing now- you make all of those assumptions reality, right?" Ro led them down a narrow hallway towards main engineering. "We've got almost 400 people on this ship. A ship that you guide while it hurtles through space through a billion possible demises. Your judgement has to be absolutely unquestionable in all things. What response did you give? That you're cool under pressure? That you rise above? That petty words don't shake you because you're not what anyone assumes, you're what you are?"
"I told him he was a jerk in the most political way I could figure out how to do it, and that if he wanted to judge me, hide and watch, don't make assumptions," Kelly replied.
"There's really a political way to tell someone that they're a jerk?" Ro asked, completely serious. She waved down an engineer that she knew from the look of it- told him to pass the PADD she thrust at him to Hel- then steered them back out of engineering. "You'd better share that bit 'cause I step in it something fierce and it'd be handy to know it."
Kelly let out a tiny, but genuine, laugh and shook her head, "It's different for every situation, bosslady. But I'll be glad to act as a translator any time," She said with a slight smirk.
"Good," Ro sighed as she pressed the turbolift call button. "Just kick me right in the shin if I say something stupid. I know that I will. Just.. discretely. Any how.. Kelly, you'll always have someone yelling at you and questioning your worth. Some do it to test you- to see if you'll rise above. Others are afraid of what might happen if you're not up to snuff. Some are just jerks. you've got t figure out which is which and how you'll deal with it because rank is rank regardless of your feelings. This is a job. You don't have to like a person or go out of your way to be kind. I don't need you chummy chummy with everyone. But I do need you to be able to work with fussers, too."
"I'll work with whoever I have to, ma'am. And I'll do it just fine, but I don't deserve to be dragged off and ambushed in private. I'll respect the rank as far as it goes, but there's a point where you're being such an glorious jerk that it doesn't go anymore. I won't be treated like garbage. Not anymore," She said, jamming her hands into her uniform pockets and slumping back on the turbolift wall. "Not anymore. He doesn't even know me."
"But he will. And no, you don't deserve to be ambushed or treated like crud. Not by anyone," agreed the commander with a nod of the head. She'd nose the issue, for sure, but in her own way- which had evolved greatly in the last few years. "You remind me so much of me. It's odd.. I'm wondering if you were sent here on purpose."
"Torture?" Kelly asked with a smirk.
"No," Ro shook her head as she spoke. "A cautionary tale for you and I. I know a few admirals with poetic sense of humors."
Kelly laughed, "Yeah well... I'm glad they stuck me with you... COs don't normally give me a chance..." She admitted, crossing her arms in a more 'hugging myself' manner.
"Everybody gets a chance." And only one, as she'd learned that going too far in the other direction was just as bad. "I'm the self imposed queen of the comeback kids don't you know."
"Long live the queen," Kelly replied, grinning broadly. "I'm off duty in five... how bout you? I could use a jog through the engineering section," She said with a grin. "All those stairs are fantastic for your butt."
Ro glanced back at her butt- which wasn't much to speak of- and shrugged. "I've gotta swing by and feed my monsters, then we can run, sure. Meet me at my quarters? Give the parrots someone to squawk at for a few?"
"Sounds like a plan," Kelly said, grabbing the turbolift control to let her off at the next stop, "I'll be there in twenty," She said as she backed out of the lift.