PWD #13: How Things Are
How Things Are
Summary: The D-CAG calls Captain Kostopolous in for a one-on-one chat.
Date: 23/12/2012
Related Logs: Any other getting-to-know-you scenes that Duke's done.
Duke Thaddeus 
Deck 2 - Ready Room
Capable of seating every member of the wing with space to spare in its stadium organization, the Ready Room has more than two hundred seats and is the largest room on the ship dedicated to single briefings. Sections of desks were manufactured specifically for this and wrap the width of each level of seating, rolling leather seats positioned at even points through each row. The walls have the tenant squadrons' patches painted on individual panels as well as a Kill Board up to the left side of the dais and podium, the Training Board on the other side to log progress. At the rear hatch, on a barren section of wall, is the framed and cased photo of 'Bad Dog' Ruegger.
Dec 23, 2004.

Duke cracks his knuckles.

Moooooore meetings, yes, more meetings, more, moar I say! Duke continues with the sequence of one-on-one meetings with the people from the Air-Wing and now, it's Thaddeus' turn. There is one particular difference with this meeting and it's that, there's no flight footage on the screens, there's only Duke sitting there with Thad's folder in his hands. He browses through the different sheets and reads the provided information, this way learning a little more about the Raptor Captain. Yes, Raptor Crew in particular is not something he is used to dealing with but still, meetings were scheduled and he is talking to pretty much everyone.

There was that time (okay, maybe more than one time) that he spent a night in the brig sobering up, and then that time he kindasorta 'borrowed' a Raptor to take a xenobiologist out to a lake for research (read: beer and fishing), and…

If he wasn't so good at his job, he'd be punted by now — or out doing deep-space missions for real.

Tidy and freshly-shaved in his duty blues, Thaddeus strides in, raps the hatch twice with his knuckles, and greets, "Major," before continuing in.

Duke looks up from his reading, yes, he did read all about those events in the past. He stands up when Thad appears and nods his head "Captain, come in…" With that, he offers a quick salute to the officer and then nods to one of the empty seats "Please, have a seat." And Duke does exactly that, getting himself comfortable for the meeting that it's about to take place "Thank you for coming on such short notice, I know these things take time for each of you" A nod is offered and then says "But, I feel that it is required for me to have a quick chat with all Air-Wing personnel, to see how things are"

Thaddeus snaps off a well-practiced salute; at this point in his career, it's probably muscle memory. He drags out a chair with one foot, smooths down his jacket, then seats himself with the lack of his usual I-can't-be-arsed slouch. "You cut into my laundry hour, sir, but I'm sure I'll manage." One corner of his mouth quirks up higher than the other, slivers of his teeth flashing for a moment. "Bit of a surprise for you to end up with the extra pins, I'd bet, sir."

Duke nods his head at Thad's last comment "Even if it's only until the CAGs return, yes." Of course, it would have been a surprise for anyone. he clears his throat and makes no comments on the laundry thing, there are far worse things in life that's for sure. "So, Captain, basically speaking…I want to know how are you doing during this second leg of the Orion…mission" With that, he nods in acceptance to his own words "Also, I want to have a quick discussion with reference to the note you wrote back..about Ensign Lennox, but that goes for the last."

Thaddeus scratches at his cheek for a moment at mention of Ensign Lennox, his eyes downcast and unreadable. "Reckoned you might," he says; but then he backtracks to the first order of business, lips pursed thoughtfully before he speaks. "Speaking frankly, sir? It's like coming home. Two more years, and I'll have been in the military half my life." His eyebrows lift a touch, as if he can't believe it, himself. Time flies, it seems. "Ensigns are Ensigns- seems like they get younger every tour. Suppose it's the other way around." There's a soft snort. "I'm betting it'll get softer and softer, the longer we're here- all the heavy lifting's done already. Power plant's in, the nearby area's mapped out, the CIDSR ladies aren't having to step over bearshit on the way to the office anymore. By the time we're done, all we're going to be doing is laps we've done a hundred times before."

"It is, just like coming home" says Duke in agreement to Thad's first words. He nods at this and then half chuckles "No, Captain…the sad truth is that we are all getting old, and that's not going to change. Ensigns are a reflection of what we were when we first joined only that our matured selves cannot deal with that fact properly" Heck, the hotshot Viper Pilot thing? He was part of that as well, and now, he spent his years trying to teach against it, go figure. "It'll definitely continue improving, isn't that the plan? Right now, this place is halfway done…but I assure you that a lot more people will be popping in when things are done and completed." Because shit, that's what always happens.

There's old pilots, and bold pilots, but there's never old, bold pilots — or so the saying goes… mostly perpetrated by old pilots. "I refuse to think about the President coming to tour the facilities until the word comes down the pipe, sir," Thaddeus mutters wryly. Presidential tour? That'd be the headaches to end all headaches. "The new Ensigns could be worse. I'm counting the days until Apostolos simmers down, but otherwise? Pretty grounded bunch." He raps one knuckle three times against the table. Knock on wood. "Anything more specific you were hoping to hear, sir?"

Duke just shrugs casually at this and says "Eventually, it'll happen…but not for the time being" And for the new Ensigns, he just nods his head and mentions nothing at this given time. But anyway, on to other things "No, not in this case, Captain…I do however, want to talk about your note" He clears his throat after saying this and pulls the note from Thad's folder, reading it once again before commenting something else. Then, he clicks his tongue and says "When I was teaching at the Academy, I saw many different pilots and ECOs leave with their wings, all shiny and new. Most of them of course did rather well in their new stations, but I've heard from a few that made a couple mistakes…" shakes his head "…small ones really." he looks at the letter again and says "Ensign Lennox earned her wings, fully…and this is why she is here. The fact that she asked to sit with senior pilots just to observe? That says quite a lot about her and I, appreciate this." His attention goes back to the letter. "As I mentioned in my own note, it depends on each Captain to allow her to join in and if you do not wish for her to do so, you are in all your right, Captain" A nod "What I don't appreciate, is the way you word things in your letter and the fact that you copied the Ensign in. This, Captain…only acts as a punch to the gut when it really is uncalled for and completely not required" He nods again "She didn't request practice, she requested to sit with senior pilots to observe their flight style…which in all honesty and I think you would agree, is something that /all/ ensigns should do…in one way or another" Because heck, Vipers are one passenger only.

Thaddeus's shoulders twitch in a mild shrug. "I disagree, obviously, sir, or I wouldn't have written what I did. Captain Bennett and the Ensign are cozy enough already. Maybe she wants a tiny little replica of herself with cute little Ensign's pins. I don't. If she wants to learn to fly better, then she needs to fly, and have someone watching how /she/ flies. Not the other way around."

Duke half smiles at Thadd's words and nods his head "Well, at least you do disagree." He clears his throat and says "Ensign Lennox has been paired with a Senior ECO and already has a watchful eye over her, like every Ensign does…this is protocol and how things have been done for a long time" He rubs his fingers over his chin and says "Wether you disagree or not, and believe me, you have every right to do so…I still believe that your reply was in poor form. I won't go to the extreme of asking you to take it back because no…that's not how things work." Again, he clears his throat, covering his mouth with the back of his hand "Excuse me" says the man, now shaking his head "Ensign Lennox is doing her hours, just like everyone else."

Thaddeus purses his lips again, pale blue eyes distant as his teeny-tiny pilot's brain works. "I'll speak to her myself, if you think it'll help," he suggests, eyebrows lifted in query. "Explain why I said what I did- what I think's good for her, what I think isn't. I'm shooting the squad in the foot if she feels she's short on learning opportunities, after all."

"Dub" says Duke "What I think would work is just to…avoid punching her gut when it's not required, that is all" He nods his head and says "As I said, if you are busy, you don't need to do a thing…but if you feel, as a senior Pilot of the Raptor Squadron, that you have to have a few words with her…then by all means" And then, he nods at this. "I am not going to stick my nose on how things are handled in each Squadron, this is why we have SLs. I know our SLs have been swamped with a few things, which is why I trust our Senior pilots to do right by their Squadrons"

"Nobody wants to trust their life to someone who comes apart at the smallest bit of rough handling," muses Thaddeus. "Toughest part about having anyone fresh out of school in your squad. It's /your/ job to be the one teaching them how to straighten back up after that gut-punch. Most times, no way to teach it other than be the one throwing the punch." His shoulders twitch again in that mild shrug, dismissing his contemplations. "I'll keep what you said in mind, sir, if there's another situation like this."

Duke nods his head now, apparently having reached a middle ground with the Raptor Pilot. "Also, Dub…about Peacock" And with that said, he hands over the recordings of the Raptor in which Theo was. "During the last simulated mission, we received the alert that a Nuke was engaged and that was on hot mode, ready to be fired. And it stayed there for quite a while." He clears his throat and continues "This was during a close-quarters engagement and was definitely something that could have caused the entire Flight's lives if it was fired." He licks his lips "It was of course, linked to Peacock and when I demanded him to disengage the Nuke, he acted as if didn't know what was happening." The man takes a deep breath now "Upon inspection of the Sim systems, this was discovered to be a programming error. However, it goes beyond the point, the problem is that he, at no point, double checked what was loaded in his console." And now he shakes his head "An ECO cannot allow something like this to happen, no matter if it is a system error or not. Heck, might come down to a real system error in a real ECO console…I can't have Peacock not double checking his systems"

The Raptor pilot's eyes sharpen; not in anger, but attentiveness. As Duke speaks, he nods faintly from time to time, acknowledging the points that are made, then is silent a long moment after he finishes speaking. He clicks his tongue a couple times, finally, as if searching for the right words. "No way for a nuke to go hot if there's no nuke on board to begin with," he agrees. His words are a little slower than usual. Careful. "Might have assumed his pilot had to sign off, being senior officer on-board. Doesn't make it any less dangerous an assumption. I'll talk to him about it, sir. It won't happen again."

"In this simulation, they were on board…we are using F configurations for the Raptors, so they were fully decked…" informs Duke, nodding at this. "I know it won't happen again, Captain…he's got a lot of potential, but there errors that we simply cannot overlook, this being one of them given that it endangered the lives of…well…everyone else." Yes, in a simulation, but still to be cautious. "I only require that you keep a close look on him, make sure that things are not….off" And he adds "You'll agree with me, that we cannot work on /assumptions/, everyone needs to be fully aware of what they are doing" Now, he taps on the arm of his chair and says "But anyway, I wish not to take any more of your time, Captain. Do you have any questions for me?"

"We both know what happens when you assume something rather than making certain," agrees Thaddeus. His brows twitch as he says it, settling into his usual frown, eyes darkening. He blinks, then resquares his shoulders as if physically pushing the troubling thought away. "Nothing else from me, Major- if I think of anything, I'll be sure to let you know." He stands up, sliding the chair back under the table before he salutes. You'd think he was a picture-perfect soldier… if you squint and look at him just right. Once dismissed, he's out the door at a brisk pace — and unbuttoning the collar of his duty blues before the hatch swings shut behind him.

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