|It Is a Marine's Life for Me|
|Summary:||Norton has trouble with his quartermaster duties.|
|Cast:||Lucius Tullius Castus Norton Taeren|
Landing Bay <Hancock Station>
- This incredible chamber sports almost a square mile of poured plascrete, all watched over by a high communications tower. Most of the ceiling of this chamber is of a lightly buzzing blue energy, allowing ships in and out with a minimum of atmosphere loss. Cheery lighting fixtures line the walls in stark contrast to the otherwise utilitarian nature of the bay. There is a set of double doors near the back of the bay, manned by half a dozen armed New Luna Militia members.
Norton is standing by the equipment locker with a datapad in his hand.
Taeren emerges from the inner lobby, hands behind his back, uniform crisp, sleeves rolled down. Norton seems to be taking the serial numbers off the various items in the equipment locker and noting them down in the datapd.
"Sergeant," Tay addresses Norton, approaching the other man.
Norton shifts the datapad to his left hand and salutes Taeren. With a bland monotone, he addresses the officer. "Sir."
Taeren returns the salute. "How goes the quest for order in our equipment, Norton?"
"Sir, it might not be completely appropriate for you to keep such a large amount on ships where the access is limited. While the finders are a part of the militia, they are not the entire of the militia," says Norton with the same bland tone. "It is, in fact, the only plasma rifle, for example, and it is a large percentage of the combat armor. I understand the need for a QRF, but that is what the marines on the flight deck provide. If a larger QRF is necessary, I am sure something can be coordinated, sir, at higher levels than myself."
Taeren frowns at Norton. "Sergeant," he begins, "if the plasma rifle on the Kestrel is the only plasma rifle, then the issue is not that the plasma rifle is inaccessible but that there is only one plasma rifle on this station. Draft a requisition and send it up through channels. The same goes for the combat armor, which, upon further inspection, must be returned to the quartermaster anyway because the Chief badly distended it with his oversized Zangali body." Taeren's tone is sour but not harsh. "However, I appreciate your forthrightness."
Lucius enters the landing bay basically inhaling food from a bag of carrots. Attack of the Urf Episode Two.
The Lunite sergeant's tone remains bland. "Sir, the issue at hand is the equipment that is inaccessible. Requests have been drafted for more equipment, but that is not my area of responsibility. I am given to understand, by experience in combat armor, that a standard sized suit would not fit a Zangali. If a Zangali had a suit of combat armor, I am under the impression that such a suit would be specifically designed for a Zangali whcih is why a smaller being may have trouble with wearing it."
"Then your concerns over the suit of armor in the Kestrel are moot," Taeren replies to Norton, "and if you manage to pull off the task of organizing this Station's inventory, to which you have assigned yourself, your initiative deserves greater reward than perhaps you initially thought." The Timonae smiles a devious little smile, hands remaining clasped behind his back. "If your findings are that, at present, there is not enough equipment available for a general muster of the station, then we should be sacking most of the Quartermaster's office. I'm inclined to believe that the mechanics of the station are not so inefficient, but if Sergeant Castus supports your request to move that equipment off the ships and back to Hancock I'll make it happen." He nods. "In the meantime you should continue to keep me posted on your discoveries in the field of Hancock's errant inventory."
As his blue eyes dart around the bay and eventually fall on Taeren and Norton speaking, the carrot-bag wielding Sergeant First Class walks on over to the two of them. As he comes closer, he shoots off a salute to Taeren. He apparently hasn't been keeping current with the conversation. Or more likely he hasn't heard any of it.
"Sir," says Norton in a tone as mild as milk. "I did not realize that you were the commander of the Finder Squadron and overseeing the office of the quartermaster. It was my impression that my reports would be directed to 2nd Lieutenant Donovan. Are there any other roles that you are filling that I am not aware of, sir? If you are, then, you must understand that a station so short on chains of command that one officer is filling slots in multiple roles that we are, indeed, also painfully short on equipment. You, like myself, are going above and beyond in stepping outside your occupational specialty to benefit the station; although, all I am doing is scut work while you seem to be in charge of making everything work smoothly."
Taeren leans forward, looking down at the Lunite. "With regards to the roles I am filling, Sergeant Norton, I will tell you this since you must have forgotten: the Command band on my arm means that I am directly in the chain of command of all branches of this Militia. I rank with but after Captains in each branch except the space navy, where I am on equal footing. I'm *paid* to be the grease on the wheels, Sergeant, and poking my nose in everyone's business is my *job*."
"I recognize that you're making an extra effort, Sergeant, and I appreciate it. But don't mistake my civilian background and my multitude of roles for my own ignorance or a failure in the chain of command. I'm in my fifties, Sergeant. I've been a spacer since before you were born," the Timonae continues, confidently, "so rather than question my qualifications in the area of handling inhabitited bodies in vacuum, focus on the task at hand." Taeren turns, returning Lucius' salute, and heads for the lobby. "Do your job, Sergeant. Dismissed."
"Sir," says Norton in a perfectly bland voice. "If you do not feel that as a non-commissioned officer I am up to par with your standards and capable of carrying out the mission as I am directed, please, take the additional duties heaped upon me to assist the quartermaster off and let me return to ddo what I know how to do. Since you can do that, sir."
Lucius pauses, popping a carrot into his mouth with a conspiratory look on his face. He seems slightly bewildered, to be truthful. He does not say anything to indicate that he's going to step in either of the people's defence, simply staying quiet as his salute falls.
Taeren stops two steps away from Norton but does not turn, speaking in a conversational tone -- no louder than is audible for Norton, Taeren, and possibly Lucius -- over his shoulder. "If I did not think you were up to the task, you would be out the airlock without a suit or climbing a hill in Jasper Point," he replies immediately. "You gave yourself this job, Sergeant. I know you can do it. I'm telling you to have your superior officer, Sergeant Castus, vet your recommendations before Donovan and I have to see them. This isn't a hard thing to do, so quit whining and do the job you've so nobly given yourself. End. Of. Discussion." The Timonae faces forward and starts walking again.
"Sir, yes, sir," barks Norton as he crisply salutes the departing Timonae. He holds said salute for the moment.
Lucius arches an eyebrow, tucking the little bag of carrots closed and then away into his trouser pockets. "Sir." He gives a verbal acknowledgement to Taeren, and then looks at Norton. "Well.. got anything for me?"
"Got some dip, sergeant, but that's about it," says Norton with an easy grin. "What'cha looking for?"
Lucius motions at Taeren as he hurries back out of here. "Whatever it was you gave him to make him so stirred up, evidently, Sarge." He returns the grin. "Just don't tell 'im I don't give you such a hard time." A wink.
"That?" asks Norton. He shrugs, "I honestly don't know. I just asked him about some supplies that he was bogarting. I was confused as to what exactly his business was always asking me what I was doing, so I asked him, and he told me. Then, there was something about you having to hold my hand before I do anything. Something about fourty years as a spacer."
Lucius rubs his chin. "Yeah. Those Timmy's are a weird bunch, really. Kinda touchy with their feelings and slower to mature than us, apparently." A shrug. "Anyways, he's a good officer and he's just looking out for the best. Ignore whatever it is for now and just do your job well. I'm not too worried about it and neither should you be really. I'm going to try to see if I can't talk to Captain Vasilyov about more supplies."
"I'm not worried, sergeant. Glad he explained the facts to me. I was under the impression that, you know, low ranking officers on command staffs were gophers and sketched out basic op orders and weather reports and what not," says Norton with another shrug. "Guess not. I suppose they're the backbone of the militia." There's a pause as Norton wrinkles his forhead. "Explains some things, actually."
Lucius looks Norton squarely for a moment, not saying anything as he regards the soldier critically. And then, he nods slowly. "Hancock's lost a lot of personel in the officer corps recently. We're thin, and they're all tired from lots of double shifting. He carries that air with him until he can get back into his realm, I think."
"Right, sergeant, they're all working too hard," says Norton. "It's too bad that they don't have a bunch of NCOs they can trust to get the job done or anything."
"Give him time, you're new. For now just try to clear things with me firstly. It's not that we don't appreciate the personal initiative taken it's just.. well, some people appreciate it less. You know the deal. The officer cycle and all." Lucius says, shrugging. A frown tugs at the sides of his lips.
"Right, sergeant," says Norton. "Simple enough, and it doesn't hurt my feelings any if I don't have to deal with him. Although, I was serious about somebody else taking the job. You want it? If I'm going to have to throw you every ball I try to pitch anyway, you might as well just start out with it."
"Not every ball. A bunch of balls clumped together to speak. I probably won't look at most of them in much depth, unfortunately. I have three squads and the platoon's logistics to work with now." Laments Lucius, sighing lightly. "If you need help, I'll get a few troops on detail to aid ya. Maybe I can round up some remphs planetside to come up and file shit. We need more Quartermasters."
Norton nods, "It's not the work that I need help with, sergeant. The work isn't that hard despite the mess it has been made into. It's just that if I run into the golden wall of the officer corps every time I take a deep breath, I'm not going to get much done. Maybe give it to someone he won't ride as much. A private could do the work."
The end, I guess.