PWD #15: It's Probably Nothing
It's Probably Nothing
Summary: Thaddeus brings Sera some news he's heard via the grapevine and gets himself a promise and a bit of brain-breaking in reply.
Date: 20/12/2004
Related Logs: See also: Could Be Nothing.
Sera Thaddeus 
Hangar Deck
Each hangar deck is divided into five one-hundred yard sections, each divided from the others by massive blast doors that close vertically from the floor and overhead. Each hangar section houses all of the Vipers, Raptors, and Predators that the wing operates as well as the vital work areas to support and maintain these fighting platforms. Each bay is large enough to accommodate one of these frames and still get heavy work done, though the fore- and aft-most sections are dedicated to overhauls and major work to be done. The bays along the center section are located across from launch tubes and elevators in order to provide scramble and Alert-Five capabilities. The second-to-aft bay provides major elevator and transport access to the starboard bay as well as the major manufacturing facility. Due to the nature of the work, the hangar decks are major hubs of activity at all hours of the day and all but four hours overnight.
Thurs, Dec 20th 2004

Another evening in another orbit around Piraeus, and the Orion's hangar bay is slowing down for the night. With only the CAPs and the Raptor running bar pickup to worry about, the bustle settles into routine.

Part of the routine is pilots showing up on off hours to 'double check' their birds. You know, because something might happen between the rigorous checklists and double-checking the deckies do. YOU NEVER KNOW. One of the most guilty parties is one Captain Kostopolous, arriving from the side hatch as he puts his cigarette out. Instead of heading over toward the parked Raptors, though, he heads toward the Chief's office, where Important People might be found.

Pfft. Like Sera bothers with paperwork, whenever she can possibly avoid filling out slips in triplicate. (Yellow is your copy…) She's nowhere near there. Nor is the head of mechanical. Or the Chief of the deck. "He ain't in there, Captain," comes Sera's easy reply, with her vague Trojan twang. It's coming from over there… near the coffee pot, where the deckhand stands with her clipboard hugged to her chest with one hand and a mug held tightly in the other. There's a fair amount of grease smudged across her face and her fingers, the latter leaving little greyish-brown prints all over the white ceramic. "Chief's off tonight."

Thaddeus is almost always frowning, but tonight that frown seems to have extra oomph and purpose. He turns, focusses on Sera, and his chin lifts in a mute greeting to her. "Perfect," he says, of all things. "Was looking for you. Mind me interrupting your coffee break?" He's already walking over, of course, shoulders slouched, thumbs hooked into his beltloops.

There's a shake of her head, which makes her ponytail bob and sway. Her clipboard gets shoved underneath her arm, so that she can reach up and brush her bangs back out of her eyes. It really does nothing to help with all those smudges. In fact, it doesn't help at all. "I'm wrappin' up swing shift soon, anyway, sir. Did you need somethin', with your bird? I already gave it the once over tonight, but I can check it again, if you like."

Dub's pale blue eyes spot those grease-smudges, all right. Any other day, there would be a flicker of amusement in his gaze — but tonight has something eating at him, and his teeny-tiny pilot brain is on a mission. "Huh? No, no. Bird's great." It may be the first time Dub's /ever/ waved away a re-re-recheck of his Raptor. "I was wondering-" He glances around to the hangar, marking where the other deckies move to and fro. "-well. You heard any grumblings? Serious ones. Someone pissed enough to engineer an early trip home."

She blinks a few times, slowly. Perhaps a touch stupidly? No, no, that's not it. She's just surprised — and obviously confused — by the question. The sudden furrow in her brow is a dead giveaway, when it comes to that. "Uhhh, nooooooo," Sera answers quietly, giving him a sidelong look from the corners of her pretty browns. "'Course, I don't really know what somebody could do to get a cruise this big and this quiet headin' home a whole eighteen months early, save maybe blow a big ol' hole in her side, and that sounds like a good way to end up with a one-way ticket to the bottom of a very dark hole on some backwater planet. Which ain't exactly home." A beat. "Why?"

"Yeah. Exactly," echoes Thaddeus, when Sera blocks out what's necessary to make a Top Sekrit Mission turn around and go home. "Hell or high water, we're here. The Old Man would have us dig out a prison before we'd go back to drop someone off at one." His mouth screws up as he starts sucking on his teeth. Thinking, thinking. When his eyes focus back on Sera, he says, "I heard something- overheard something- meant to be private. Might be nothing- about a month in is when the honeymoon ends, folks realize there's seventeen months more to look forward to." /Might NOT be nothing,/ is what the frown keeps coming back to, though.

There's a frown in reply to that, one which is swiftly concealed by her polishing off the last of her coffee in a few quick swallows. "There was some grumblin' last time, too, as I recall. Gets worse, 'til about nine months in. Seems to be that halfway hump that's the big turnin' point." The mug, now empty, is set down with a soft clunk. "Then folks start countin' down, and it gets better. Unless they sign up for a second round, in which case they know what they're signin' up for."

"Yeah. Maybe that's what this is." Thaddeus rocks back on his heels, balances there as he starts sucking on his teeth again. His brain is going to start smouldering, at this rate. "Well," he decides, as he rocks forward again. "If you could keep your ears open, I'd appreciate it. You know what to expect, and you've been around long enough to tell what's hot air and what isn't. Might be nothing." He keeps trying to convince himself of that. He even unhooks one hand to rap his knuckles three times on the nearby table. "Sorry to rattle up your coffee break." First he's /fine/ with his bird, and now he's apologizing. The world really must be coming to an end.

One black brow quirks at that. Thaddeus? Apologizing? Refusing extra checks? Yeah. Something has the man rattled. "Care to tell me what I'm lookin' for, save for a whole bunch of crazy that sounds well and truly crazy, instead of just some drunk bluster?," Sera asks, quirking her mouth to one side so that she can give the inside of her cheek a good, pensive chewing. "I mean, who's been talkin'? That'd sorta narrow it down, you know."

"Mmn," says Thaddeus, watching Sera as she watches him. It's an unsure sound; the sort reporters make before refusing to reveal their sources. "I don't know who it was, running their mouth," he says after a long pause. "They mentioned one of the Marine officers. Kreskas. Too high up for me to know him- it's the MPs that I recognize." The ones chucking him in the brig, natch. "Wanted to bounce this all off some level heads before I knocked on his door."

Her lips press into a thin line, slowly draining of what little color they have without any trace of makeup — not even her trademark peach lipgloss. Must've worn off, this late into a shift. "I don't know him. I know some of the Marines. Three or four I see semi-regular, but none of 'em are that high up. Sergeants, mostly. If you like, I can always ask 'em what he's like. I mean, if he's a pain in the ass to talk to, the sort that's too busy gettin' his boxers in a bunch about whatever to listen. But they might not know him too well, either."

"Could you? I'd appreciate it. A Sergeant's perfect- best place to take the pulse of an outfit, if you ask me." Spoken like the good little rifleman he was, once upon a decade ago. "Just- you know. We both know how rumours can go nuclear. Try not to talk to him in the showers." He doesn't quite grin as he says it, but the frown gentles a bit. "I'll check in with you tomorrow after my CAP."

At that, there's a snort. "There's only one Marine I know that I'd care to stand next to in the showers, Captain, and I can promise you that if I am, I sure won't be thinkin' about you." Pause. Wait. Did she… did she really just say that? Seriously? How the hell does Rutlii get away with bursting out with things like that, especially when she's got such an innocent face. It's cognitive dissonance like whoooooa.

Blink. You don't treat a teeny-tiny pilot's brain like that. Thaddeus just /stares/ at Sera for several seconds, as if replaying the comment back to himself — three times to be triply certain — before he permits himself a low, scratchy chuckle. "Understood," he says. "If you'll excuse me-" He starts to move away, walking the first few steps in reverse, still facing her. "I'll check in with you tomorrow."

There's a sharp nod from her, and a lopsided grin of amusement. It's the spreading sort, the kind that catches — like her laughter. "Tomorrow, then. Goodnight, sir." And with that, she heads straight towards the Chief's office, to file whatever papers-in-triplicate she's got attached to her clipboard, summing up her work, repairs, and requisitions for the day.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License