PWD #08:Stamped, Sealed, and Delivered
Stamped, Sealed, and Delivered
Summary: Captain St. Clair brings some orders down to the deck, without anyone there to take them but Petty Officer Rutlii. It leads to an interesting conversation, considering the fact that they're some rather interesting orders.
Date: 27/12/2012
Related Logs: No More Games
Bennett Sera 
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.
Dec 27th, 2004

Bennett is not on patrol at this time of day, and most of the deck crew are probably well aware. So why she's trotting down the stairs to the hangar bay with such a determined step, and in her duty blues, is anyone's guess. Rather than wade into the thick of things where she's like to get underfoot, the captain pauses to scan the 'bay from the very back. Eeny meeny miney mo..

Near the middle, there is one decidedly bright pair of orange legs sticking out from underneath a Raptor. It's got to be someone that's using their own free time to work, as the afternoon shift is wrapping up, leaving only a skeleton crew behind to keep the alert Vipers ready. Those orange legs? They end in a pair of black boots, which are tapping out a beat no one else on the deck can actually hear.

The reason they can't hear it might have something to do with the level of noise that's everpresent here. It's a little much for the uninitiated. Squinting slightly, Bennett spots the boots first, then the orange coveralls'd legs attached to them, then the bus they're sticking out of. Not hers, but it doesn't stop the woman from turning and heading thataway. "Excuse me.." She sinks into a crouch once she's within conversational range, though still has to speak loudly to be heard over the din, "..but do you know where I might find the Chief? I have no compunctions about interrupting his coffee break or whatever.."

Thank gods Sera only had one headphone crammed into her ear. The other one just had the usual safety plug stuffed in it, though that's not really visible under the helmet — which she looks stupid wearing, by the way. She rolls out from under the Raptor, shouting "What???" up at Bennett, over both the noise and her music. Oh. Duh. Headphones. There's a tug, and the white earbud comes popping out. "Sorry. What did you say, Captain?," she asks in a much more civil 'shouting over the machines' sort of tone.

Bennett is either accustomed to being bellowed at by deck folk, or has simply lost some hearing as a result of spending so much time down here. She cracks a grin, actually, when Sera tugs off her headphones and speaks again in a more normal voice. "I was asking where the Chief was, but.." She taps her palm against the folder on her lap. "..maybe you can help me, instead. Petty Officer Rutlii, right?"

"Yes, sir," Sera says, confirming her identity with a nod. She can't really bob her ponytail, with that dumb orange thing on her head, clamping down on her hair. Which, really, she ought to have tucked up, anyway. "I haven't seen much of the Chief, lately. I think maybe he's been down planetside a few days, lookin' at generators or somethin'?", she offers up, oh-so-very helpful. "What do you need?"

Bennett seems pleased that the technician is who she thinks she is; the talk of the missing Chief is dismissed with a polite nod and smile. "I need your help configuring a few of the raptors for me. CAG's orders, of course." She thumbs through a few of the papers in her folder, slides one out entitled 'vehicle requisitions' and passes it across to Sera. "Six Raptor-F gunships. Two Raptor-G ground assault buses. Two dradome sensor buses. It's all itemised on there. When do you think we might be able to get this by?"

"That depends more on when you need by and who you're willin' to have pulled off of other projects," Sera advises. It's the deck crew, after all. They've worked bigger miracles before. Hangar Queen's still flying, after all. "Barring broken parts needin' repair or somethin' really strange you're wantin', it's more a matter of hands available and priority lists than just straight time." Sera takes the offered papers and begins flipping through them.

There's nothing too terribly exotic in there. Though it does look suspiciously like a wartime configuration. Like someone's expecting either the need for launching a rather large-scale attack or defense, some time very soon. Bennett's eyes remain upon Sera's while she reads, and the captain herself stays in her crouch with one hand on the flank of the raptor for support. "If it helps any, this comes down from the Admiral. So I think it would be safe to say, spare no expense in making this happen." She smiles crookedly. "I've swung a spanner or two in my day, too, and while I can't do much more than tell the nuts from the bolts, I'd be more than willing to pitch in if necessary."

"I'll be honest with you there, Captain. We've had several pilots come in tellin' us they know how to fix up birds and are willin' to help with special projects. But with all due respect, it ain't what any of you are trained to do — especially when it comes to handlin' ordnance. I mean, I can taxi a Viper down the runway without smashin' into a wall and have flown a few civie transports down in atmo on Troy, which is pretty damned thin and pretty damned stable as a result. So while I appreciate the offer, I don't go raisin' my hand to volunteer to drive a bus full of Marines down planet, either, even if we are out in the middle of frak-all nowhere, with peace-time on us." She shuffles through the papers, one dark brow arching sharply at the number of Raptor-F configurations requested. A low whistle comes from pursed — and surprisingly glossed — lips. "Six gunships?"

"Your deck, your rules," Bennett answers, not seeming particularly bothered by the rebuff. "So long as you're aware that it's my ass on the line if this doesn't happen. If that means I need to be knocking on doors and getting people re-tasked, then I'll do that too." A nod of confirmation to Sera's last. "Six. What do you think, doable? If we need to scale that down, just let me know why and what you can do, and I'll just have to see whether there's push back."

"Well, if we go yankin' people of special projects, right?," she says, brushing her bangs back out of her eyes, which reveals a scrunched up and thoughtful brow. "I mean, like, if we take everyone off of everythin' except routine maintenance we have to do to keep the deck runnin'? We could do it in, mmm, three days? Maybe four? Y'see, the biggest problem here is your F-frames." Her fingers are long, and thin, with tips stained a near-permanent shade of gray. It's the nails that are the worst. She doesn't bother painting them, 'cause there'd be no point.

"It's not the reconfig that's the problem, it's gettin' our hands on the ordnance. Last Chief we had, the one before Rembrandt, had a policy about the way it was all packed up. Bein' peace-time and all, we got the stuff we use more often easily accessible. Oil, replacement parts? They're all front-loaded. All our ordnance is way in the back, so it's more about gettin' to it than slappin' the rocket pods in the right place." Her mouth quirks to one side, "Of course, that's assumin' the clear to order everyone off like that. If it's just my crew on it? Probably a week. Maybe ten days. I've only got about twenty-five people reportin' in to me."

It's those nails that catch Bennett's attention, oddly enough. Niggly little details, things that pass most people by, but pilots are a special breed— for better or for worse. With a faint smile, she draws her gaze back to the octagonal page in Sera's hands, and nods to the point about ordnance. "I understand." Her eyes narrow a little as she thinks; they really are an unusual shade of blue, touched with crow's feet at the corners. "Well, let me see what I can do to free up more sets of hands. If you could mention this to the Chief as well.. and in the meantime, get everyone you can working on this." She smiles warmly. "I'd be ever so appreciative." The little colloquialism slips into her speech almost unnoticed.

"I'll cancel all the leave for my crew and recall the folks that are down planetside. I mean, if it's comin' from the Admiral, it might as well be the word of Zeus himself. Fact of the matter is, if my CPO or even the Chief don't like, there ain't much they can do about, really, except backtrack the paperwork to look it over and sign themselves, if they don't like me doin' it. And I don't think that'd go over too well with command," Sera says with a shrug of her shoulders, which causing those ridiculous rubber pockets on her coveralls to rise and fall noticeably. In short, if she gets herself in hot water for doing what Jameson ordered, well, she doesn't think she's going to be in that hot water too long. "Thing is, orders like this are goin' to start rumors flyin' and people askin' questions. I mean, the whole deck is goin' to know, which means most of the enlisted. I'm sure your air-jockeys will pick up on it, too. You want to tell me why we're doin' reconfigs to F-frames in double-time, or is this one of those 'need to know' kind of things, and none of us need to?"

"It would not," Bennett concurs, "go over very well with Command. The Admiral wants this done yesterday, if truth be told.." Palms on her knees, she pushes back to her feet. "..and I'm not particularly thrilled about the idea of being reamed out a second time for it." She winces slightly. Might be her nearly-fourty body starting to betray her, or it might be the memory of that 'talk' with Jameson that's hinted at. "I guess you can tell them it's readiness drills, or prep for live ordnance training, or heck, a display of military might for our esteemed civilians, who want to know where their tax dollars are going." She looks right at Sera as she says this, and she could not make more plain by the tone of her voice that: a) these are all patently false and b) she's not cleared to tell the truth. Softer, and with no small amount of discomfort, "If you need an official line, or announcement, or something.."

"I can tack up paperwork with the old man's signature and say nothin', if you want, but that'll get folks talkin' and the brass won't have any control over what gets said. Or," Sera says calmly, given the sudden tone of the conversation and Bennett's obvious fabrication, "I can feed them the official line of bullshit, stamped, sealed, and delivered from upstairs. Which won't stop anybody from talkin', but will at least keep them focused mostly on whatever polish you'd care to spray on the turd, sir. Your call. I mean, you do have my sympathies. I don't think it's my ass that's on the line; at least not unless this takes forever." Blunt little thing, isn't she?

Maybe Bennett likes blunt. It's a refreshing change from dealing with the diplomatic nightmare that the CoC often is. "I think no matter how we handle this, it's going to be the talk of scuttlebutt for the next month," the captain murmurs, smoothing a crease in her blues. Her off duty blues, judging by the unbuttoned collar. She too is on official business during her off hours. "Training. Just.. just say it's for training. I'll straighten it out with the CAG, and see if there's something he'd rather.." Stamp with the seal of gen-u-ine certified bullshit? At least she's professional enough not to come out and say it. "Let me know if you need anything else; I should get some rest before my shift. And thank you, Rutlii." She smiles, somewhat wearily.

There's a slight tic in her cheek at yet another mention of the CAG, which suggests that it may indeed be best for Bennett to talk to the man, rather than her. "It ain't a thing, Captain. We'll call it live ordnance trainin' and have you up and runnin' by the new year, I'd say, absolute latest. Unless somebody makes a stink about." She grins suddenly, then, flashing Bennett her pearly whites. They're awfully bright, against a perpetual tan she really shouldn't be able to maintain spending this much time in a spaceship. It's a conspiratorial expression, which is perfectly fitting when she adds, "And if they do make a stink about it, well, how 'bout we toss them into the old man's cage for him to chew on for awhile?"

Bennett answers with a grin in kind, perhaps the first sincere expression of mirth she's had since she first happened upon Sera's feet sticking out from under the raptor. "I like the way you think," she opines, grin mellowing to a similarly conspiratorial smile. "Take it easy, Rutlii. On your hands, too." She takes two steps back, and spins upon her heel to stride away without bothering to explain what the hell she means by that.

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