PWD #19: The First Steps
The First Steps
Summary: Kelsey finds Duke in the Ready Room, they discuss how her studies should go.
Date: 18/12/2012 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: Frakking, Flying and Fud
Duke Kelsey 
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.
December 18, 2004 (PWD #19)

The Ready Room is not a place that is /always/ occupied by people; as a matter of fact, there are moments during the day in which it's pretty much empty. Right at this time, there is only one person there, and that's Richard Duke. He is sitting on one of the spots right in the front row, and he is pretty much leaning against it. Up on the monitors, there are different sets of footage playing..and it ranges from Viper camera, to Raptor camera, to Predator camera. On the small arm table belonging to his seat, he has a few folders and he is currently writing down a few things. He is wearing his Blue uniform, which means that at this moment, he is on-duty.

The door swings open at the back and a head peeks in. It lingers for a few seconds before the woman steps inside and closes the hatch behind her. Dressed in her orange deck gear, she looks fresh from the showers and ready for duty. Her helmet is tucked under her arm, toolbelt on, and she's wearing a black backpack under both straps. Nothing official issue, but something more appropriate to a high school or college student. Kelsey looks around, wide-eyed, at the room as she steps slowly down towards the front and her eyes focus on the footage. Wow. She stops at the bottom, end of the row, and she just stares at the images flashing across the screen. This is stuff they don't show in movies. This is gritty. This is her first experience with that, plainly.

Write write write. Duke doesn't notice that Kelsey walked in, at least at first of course. The man continues taking notes for a few more seconds and then takes the control to switch from footage to footage. When he sets the remote down he takes a moment to look around and there she is, Kelsey. "Ms. Wescott" offers the Viper Pilot, taking the control again and pausing the images. He stands up now and looks at her with a gentle smile "Getting ready for another day of work?" asks the man now having already noticed her outfit. How can one possibly miss it of course. Her expression is noticed and he chuckles softly "Pretty interesting huh?" His smile carries and now he waits for her to speak.

The Petty Officer looks a little taken aback at seeing actual combat footage. Her breath catches with some of the explosions. When it pauses and Duke says her name, her head turns suddenly to see him. "Oh, uh, yessir." She comes to attention and renders a salute. "Interesting and a little scary, sir. ..Is all that real? are those pilots getting shot at?" And killed?

Duke returns the salute and then he smiles "As you were" Now, he looks at the footage again and then shakes his head "No, no…that is footage belonging to training scenarios, there's no live ammunition being fired there" He looks at her once again and explains "I'm just taking some notes, to discover potential places for improvement" The man takes a deep breath and adds "Even during peace times, it's a good thing to keep all Air-Wing at the best possible shape" he shrugs "You never know what will happen the next day, so we cannot let our guard down"

Kels drops the salute with a snap. Her uniform is clean, arranged properly, and even her rank pins look like they've been carefully measured. Boots shined. Hair tied up into a precision bun. Wescott is making an effort to look more professional, even if nothing is going to help her /look/ or /be/ older. "Oh. That's pretty intense, sir. I think most of what I know about your actual missions comes from movies my boyfriends have made me watch. Which is, like, nothing 'actual' I'm guessing." The last has her nod slowly, though and she looks away for a moment and then back. She remembers her posture and stands straighter. "Sir, a Major came down to the Deck last night and was asking questions about radiation shielding on Raptors. But he also mentioned you had been promoted." A glance to his rank pins, then back to him. She doesn't smile, though. This is Petty Officer Wescott, not 'Kelsey'. She has a job and she can be professional. "I wanted to come by and give my personal congratulations, sir. He said you had been bumped up higher. I wanted to say, sir, in addition that I understand if you can't put time to my interest. I need to be realistic about this. The pilots come first, Major. I'm okay if you need to let me go." There's some defiance in her eyes as if beating back the urge to beg or plead. To refused to be the teenage girl, to force herself to be the professional woman.

Duke does notice that she is pretty much clean to perfection, and the man appreciates this. He looks at the footage and then back at her, nodding his head "Even training can be pretty intense, this is true. It can give an idea of how to handle different situations and that is pretty much what we seek." He nods and then tilts his head, thinking about those movies "I might have seen a few, when I was younger" And probably very recently, he does like them. But now that Kelsey is talking about someone asking about Radiation Shielding on the Raptors, he presses his lips together and clicks his tongue "Regardless of the shielding on the Raptors, the safety of the Crew is also to keep in consideration" This is said mostly like just a comment. A smile draws on his lips again and Duke says "Well, thank you, Petty Officer Wescott" He will also return the professional style. But his smile fades a little bit when she mentions the potential scenario in which she might have to be dropped. Duke just shakes his head and offers "Ms. Wescott…" starts the DCAG "while I do agree with what you say with regards to the Pilots coming first…I will not let you go. There might be time constraints but if you are willing, I'm also willing to put my time as well. We'll work together, get you up to speed." He takes a deep breath and clears his throat "It might be possible that a real flight might take a little longer but the Sims? Those we can use, and we /will/ be using them" A faint smile draws on his lips "I will not leave you hanging"

Wescott listens to all this and she has to bit the inside of her cheek to keep from smiling. Its hard and Duke can probably see her trying to keep from smiling and getting excited. But she manages to keep a straight face, even if she doesn't say anything for a few moments. Stockpile composure, lass. "You put faith in me with the offer, sir. As long as you're willing, I gave my word. I'll make you proud, sir. Whatever you need done." She taps a finger to a strap of her backpack. "Brought your books back just in case we had to stop, sir. But otherwise they're coming to work with me. Studied on my breaks yesterday and during downtime on swing, Major." She works doubles! "But I'll take whatever I can get. I'm really excited, sir. Wanted to learn how to fly since, like, Gramma could tell me stories. So forever. Wish I could make ya proud enough to be an officer, sir. But the Gods had other ideas for me." And that's just fine with her.

Duke does notice that she is trying to stop herself from smiling and this actually makes /him/ smile. The man just shakes his head and says "You know, you /can/ smile if you want…nothing bad is going to happen" Then, he nods at a couple things she says and adds "Don't worry, take the books back with you, go over them but do /not/ overwork yourself, you have to do Deck work as well and I don't want the Chief to be angry because you look sleepy" A nod is offered after that "Ms. Wescott, I am more than sure that your gramma is already proud of you, and if I may say so myself…I can easily say that you are a very dedicated mother that alone is something to be proud of." He shows a soft smile "We'll work together, find how you handle yourself. You will learn a lot and so will I.."

"Yessir," she whispers in reply for permission to smile, still trying not to and failing a little more. "Just trying to be-" a grownup "-more professional." Make him proud. She nods to his urgings to take the books, though. "Aye, sir. Chief won't know. Its a private interest, sir. Not official transfer. What I do in my free time, as long as it doesn't effect my work, is my business." Cited right from policy. "You got it, sir." The rest, though, just has her shoulders and chest swell with pride and she can't help her smile. Chin lifted, eyes bright, that internal pride and confidence is a little more external. Maybe its not so hard to see her as aircrew. "Thank you for saying so, sir." Its a little bit of a choke to get out, but its very plainly appreciated more than she can appropriately vocalize. "I can't wait, sir. I've been studying about velocity vectors and trying to nail down the math, Major. Its been some years since I took pre-calc and physics, but I'm figuring it out. If I can't find it in one book, its usually in another. Is it-" she straightens again. "Would it be appropriate for me to skip the chapters on systems, Major?" Hope. Those are thick. …but its also what she does for a job.

"Oh I know, I know" offers Richard Duke, nodding his head and sporting a very faint smile. "But a smile here and there doesn't hurt anyone, none of us are robots after all" Oh, the irony. Now, he nods firmly and offers "Stand tall, Petty Officer, you have every right to do so" When she explains all the areas that she has been covering, he nods in acceptance, pleased by this of course. And…when she talks about skipping chapters, he smiles a little more "Aha.." offers the man. "Well, I would not really encourage you to skip those Chapters, I know it's a lot of reading but it's something we all went through" The man takes a deep breath and explains "To my perspective, text books are not everything…there is a lot of knowledge to be gained out there and I'm sure you have gained quite a bit already, while working with the birds. But I do encourage you to go through these chapters, it's just putting a little extra" He swallows and adds "And Ms. Wescott, you already made me proud"

"Bzzrt, sir," Kelsey whispers with a subtle smirk. "By your command." At this point she actually does give him a big smile. The point about the chapters has her sigh, though, and she nods. "I guessss, sir. Alright. I'll read them anyway. I'm lodging an official protest with the human rights council." Prim nod. "But I'll do it. Gotta trust the officer who has been flying longer than I've been alive." Yeah. Kels gives him a conciliatory look. "Thanks, sir, but I still need to make myself proud. I have my goals, sir. Get my book learning done, get into sims, apply what I've learned, and one day get out for a ride or maybe fly. A ride is my pride, sir." Lady has her life in steps.

Duke half smiles and nods his head "Very well, and don't worry, I promise nothing bad will happen to you if you read them" That smile holds of course and he is soon chuckling "Human rights? What is that?" The man shakes his head after saying this, clearly joking. Or maybe not? Mystery. But needless to say, his smile fades completely when she calls him /old/. "So you are basically saying I'm old. Thank you" says the man now, faint smile returning once again. Now, he takes a deep breath and nods firmly "Very well, you do that…I am sure you will reach your goals, Ms. Wescott, I am confident"

Kelsey brings a hand around from behind her back and gives him a thumbs up. "Nothing bad. Copy that, sir." She holds her big smile until he says 'old' and those eyes go wide and cheeks redden — clearly embarrassed. "Noooo! Just, like, I'm only twenty, sir! You started flying when you were fourteen! You're spiffy and a Major and super awesome and, like, I'm a /kid/! ..Sort of." Pause. "Still trying to figure myself out, sir. Awkward time in my life." Ahem. "TMI. Gotcha. Don't have to say a word. Sir." She nods along, looking away. Still needs to learn when to keep quiet.

Duke shows a bit of a smile and just lifts one hand, his palm towards her "I am just kidding, Ms. Wescott, I know I'm old…and I'm not getting any younger either" Hey, it's the truth. Maybe he is not /that/ old, but sometimes it feels like it. "None of us ever reach the point in which we've figured ourselves out, don't try too hard…" He looks at the paused footage and then looks back at her "Sometimes we think we have everything figured out, and the next day…there's something new. We are constantly evolving, changing and then only thing we need to keep always in mind is this…" and he taps his chest over the heart "…always be a good person, you hear?"

Kelsey listens because this guy knows what he is talking about. The smile sort of fades, but its plain her focus is on what he's saying, not just the fact that he's speaking to her. "Yes, sir." She holds her head high once more. "Dad used to tell me that it was always easy to tell what the right choice was. Its the harder one. So be sure you're ready to answer for your decisions, good and bad." She glances to the video screen and then back to him. "Is that stuff I should watch, sir? Or is it kinda superfluous to what I'm doing, Major?" Honest question.

"Good" says Duke, going silent for a couple seconds as he looks back at the screens "Eventually." adds the man, now turning to look at her again "There are a few things that we need to do first" he nods his head at her backpack "Which is why the reading of those books is important. But when we start with simulator work, we'll take the 'virtual cameras' and map out how you did." He clears his throat and continues "Then, we'll compare with live footage, find points to improve on" The man tilts his head now and asks "I don't think I've asked this but…what is your preference? What would you like to aim for?"

Kelsey listens, glancing to her backpack when he does. But cameras? "We get to tape me flying in the sims?" She tries really hard to refrain from asking the next, but fails. "Can I get a copy to show my Gramma?" she whispers. "But okay, sir. I know I'll never be important like you guys flying combat ships, but that's fine. It'll be a hoot to be able to one day teach my daughter. Flying is so awesome. I want to pass it along to her if I can, at all possible." She nods but the last has her blink. "My preference?" She almost looks confused. "What do I want to learn to fly?" this question had not occurred to her, obviously. "Uhm, I, uhh- Well, geez, sir," she whispers. "Everything. Ever. But seriously? Whatever I'm best at, I guess. I think the Pred's are really awesome but I know everyone flies them so I dunno. I know the most about Raptor systems? But Vipers are hot. So…" She has no idea. "What do you think I should do?"

Duke shakes his head "Don't do that, don't say something like 'I'll never be important like you guys'" He presses his lips together, not agreeing with that "Everyone in this ship is important, every single soul…don't ever let anyone tell you different, ok?" He does smile a little when she mentions teaching her daughter "That would be a good thing, yes." As for the options of frame, he just shrugs and says "Every single person has a preference, I can tell you that all my students had a preference when they got in Flight School and not all of them got what they wanted. However, you shouldn't take that as a bad thing. See, what happens is that students are tested, in all platforms, and they are pipelined to whatever worked best for them. So you know, you might have something in mind and you end up with something else…we are going to take that same approach." He clears his throat and continues "But every single person in the Wing covers an important role, one cannot function without the other. So, we'll see how you perform, and then we'll reach the best option"

As for getting the footage to her grandmother "We'll have to see about that footage, normally those things are not to be shared outside the Military. However, we'll see…perhaps we can do something"

Don't do that? "Sorry, sir. I just, you know," she shrugs. "I try to be realistic. There's nothing wrong with me not flying Vipers or Raptors or whatever. Academies won't take me and I don't think I could stay in the navy anyway. I got my girl and I need to be with her." Another low shrug. "Sir." She swallows before saying more. "But I'm okay with whatever, sir. Just the chance to learn is enough. I'd be okay with flying crop dusters and little stuff. But I'll take whatever tests you want me to." She probably has her preference but is too shy to say anything. Or doesn't want to get her hopes up. To Gramma, "Geez, okay. Well she retired as a Major. it'd just be something for my family to see. I don't care what other people back home say. I just want my family to know that I'm doing things with my life. Exciting things." Things she can be proud of. And they can be proud of.

Duke shakes his head "You don't have to apologize, Ms. Wescott, I understand what you are saying" offers the man, showing a faint smile. "We'll figure something up, something to show your family" adds Duke, smiling at this just a little bit more "I was exactly like you, still am in many ways. I would send pictures to my Mother and Father back in Aerilon, I believe they even build a mural with all of them." There is a warm smile drawing at the fond memories. He tilts his head, idea. "You know…I'll write a letter, to your daughter. To open when she turns 18 and gets ready to start the next stage of her life. I'll tell her the effort that her mother placed" Yes, he thinks it'll be a nice touch.

The PO nods a few times. "Thanks for understanding, sir. I have to keep my head out of the clouds and feet planted in reality. I start believing I'm going to be a combat pilot, I'm setting myself up for failure and disappointment. I can't afford failure, sir. Too many lives depending on me." Because when you are twenty and a single mother, one /is/ a lot. She understands the pressures in a different way. "Yeah if I ever get to wear a flightsuit and all the gear? Sir, don't put me in that stuff unless you can take pictures of me. I just need to know before hand so I can shower, get my hair done up pretty, and all that." Because once in a lifetime photos require a woman looking her best, damnit. She probably expects to sit in the sims in her grungy orange jumpsuit. But the last has her stare at him and her eyes well up. "You- you wanna write someting?" She tries not to choke and a hand touches over her heart. "You want to- Sir." Her lips part but she's left speechless as a tear rolls off her cheek. Its hard to keep her posture, but she does it.

Duke chuckles just a little bit and then nods his head "Noted, let you know in advance so you can do all that" Truth be told, those types of pictures are easy, so, it'll probably happen. It is however when her eyes well up that the smile fades, slooooowly. It doesn't fade completely tho and he nods "Of course, it'll be a pleasure to do so. Your daughter should know what her mother did for her years ago" Now, he pats on his pockets and pulls a handkerchief (it is absolutely clean) and hands it over to her "Here." He takes a deep breath and says "What you are doing is already worth a commendation" This being the single mom thing at age 20.

Kelsey takes the hankie and dabs at her cheek. "Sorry, sir," she sighs. "Hard to get noticed. Nobody cares. Too many of their own problems." Its all whispered as she folds the cloth and sets it on the chair, sniffling. She takes a long breath to steady herself but its still hard to look up at him properly. "I did it to myself. Don't deserve a medal, anyway. Girls been havin babies at that age for thousands of years." Her voice still doesn't rise above a whisper. "Just how we're built." Another long sigh. "Just don't normally get a lot of support. Like I said. Most people dismiss me as just some airhead that's too stupid to know she's been beat. So she just keeps smiling." Kelsey smiles at finally looks at him again. "I know you don't, sir. You don't have to say it. I think you understand me and what I'm trying to do with my life. Things like this aren't forgotten, sir. You're changing lives right now." She swallows and looks back towards the hatch and hastily wipes her eyes. "I should go, sir. I like to be early on shift."

Duke remains in silence until she says those very last words, it is only then that he nods his head and says "Very well. Go and take care of your work, and do keep up with your studies." He smiles just a little more and offers "If we fall, the only thing to do is to get back up and move forward. Other's people's opinions…" he shrugs at this and says "Your focus is in the right place, Ms. Wescott" Now, he nods to the hatch as well "You should, I wouldn't want you to be punished for not getting there on time" But he does know that she will be.

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