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Quartermaster Pain in the Butt

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Quartermaster Pain in the Butt
Summary: Nort tries to broker a deal, decided to be a pain.
Cast: Lucius Tullius Castus Norton Taeren
Air Date: 2006.10.22

Quartermaster <Hancock Station>

Set up in a small cavern in the tough rock of the asteroid, the majority of the Quartermaster's office consists of dozens upon dozens of locked cabinets set up in four rows. Near the front is a fancy wooden desk with a computer atop it, and two monitors. One seems to be a feedback terminal of some sort, giving a ticker-tape tally of various key supplies. The other is a large computer monitor for accessing the logs of what is on the Station and what needs to be. A securely locked metal door leads out to the Residence Deck.

Norton is posted up at the desk with his feet, clad in socks, planted on it. He's got a keyboard in his lap.

Taeren enters the room with his hands swinging at his sides, approaching the desk. "Evening, sir," says Norton in a rather bland tone.

"Sergeant." The Timonae looks between Norton's face and his stocking feet and back, expectantly. A long pause makes it awkward until Taeren lifts a hand to his mouth, clearing his throat loudly.

"Sir?" asks Norton as he types on the keyboard.

"I don't get paid enough to be disrespected," Taeren says, drily. "When I show up you can at least pretend to be interested in what I have to say." There's a pause before he explains, "Means get your feet off the counter and at least sit up straight, Sergeant. Set an example for the rest of the men."

Norton does a bit more typing before he spins one of the monitors around as he says, "There's no one else in here, sir. It's Sunday, and I am holding things down by myself so that the guy on shift can get some things straightened out on the home front." The monitor, if it is looked at, shows personel records from the LM. The records in question concern on Norton, Gregory Gaines, one each. Rank, major. "Look, sir, I am happy with these files lost, but if you want to be a micromanaging pain in my backside, I can and will find them. I'd rather be a sergeant, and I'm sure you'd rather pretend to run the show, so how about we find a happy compromise in the land of middle ground?" His tone is no longer bland but instead rather friendly and an easy grin has replaced his blank expression.

"I'm not asking you to jump over the counter and spit-shine my boots, Sergeant. I don't even care about your socks," Taeren replies, looking cooly from Norton to the monitor and back. "And you know what? I would be -so- much happier if there was an XO on this station who would actually do his damn job. But the fact of the matter is that right now, I'm in a situation where there's people actively brewing insubordination in the ranks and I can't let any inkling of disrespect slide for fear of letting it get that much worse. So how's this for a compromise: get your feet of the table and give me that manifest you worked up, or I'll throw you in the brig until someone 'accidentally' finds your records and YOU have to deal with all the shit on my plate right now instead of me."

The Timonae smiles back, saccarine-sweet, at Norton, hands behind his back. "Do we understand one another?"

"See, sir," says Norton as he doesn't move his feet. "I'm an easy going kind of guy, and I'm not the sort who worries about how well the people above me are doing their job." He turns the monitor back around. "How about you throw me in the brig for having my feet on the desk and talking in a rational manner to an officer while I'm off duty, sir, I'm sure that'd go over swell." He holds his hands out, wrists together. "Or, how about you explain to me why you believe you need to be a micromanaging nit picker instead of running missions with your Finders and letting those above and below you do their jobs.

"Since I think there's been some serious miscommunication, I'll indulge you this once," Captain M'nammrann replies. "There's an operation coming up and Sergeant Castus needs all the special equipment he can get. Furthermore, the people we're trying to go out and kill have spies on this station right this minute, and are getting information from an untold number of turned officers at unknown points at the chain of command. Secrecy is kind of a big deal right now."

The Timonae leans his hands on the desk and looms forward over Norton's face. "So big, in fact, that I'm only telling you this because I've personally had you cleared through a process I'd be impressed you had any idea you went through." His mouth forms a thin line as he draws a breath to continue, straightening. "The short answer, Sergeant, is I'm being a nit-picking pain in the ass because I don't know who to trust. Now please give me the manifest."

"Well, since you said that, sir, I don't know who to trust, either. See you 'round, sir," says Norton as he leans back in his chair and closes his eyes after hitting the power button on the computers.

"I don't have time for this," M'nammrann growls. "I'm making that inventory request an order, Sergeant, and then if you're not going to obey I'm going to decide whether I should throw you in the brig or skip the formalities and just toss you out an airlock."

Norton doesn't open his eyes. He clasps his hands behind his head, "Work together, die alone, sir."

"From where I'm standing, you're the one not working together. Which is making me the one dying alone, Sergeant," Taeren observes.

"No, sir," says Norton. "You're the guy standing in the supply room without the proper authorization forms for the information you're requesting cleared by the appropriate authorities. Mighty suspicious to me, but I'm not the one personally clearing people through some sort of highly secretive process."

"My clearance comes from General Gerry," Taeren replies, "who reaffirmed my access to whatever I need in the course of this counter-insurgency effort earlier today. What's more, Sergeant, let me fill you in on the chain of command here on the station: Ryan, at Brigadier General, has not appointed an XO. That means there's two big wigs working under him on Hancock - the Marine Captain running 3rd Platoon, and Colonel Moss on the spacer side, and then me. Your fudged records would explain the lack of a Major properly handling executive officer's duties. The problem is, Moss is technically assigned to the Franklin, not the Station. And he hates running the station. So guess who's picking up everyone's slack." The Timonae smiles. "Do you get it yet, Sergeant? I -am- the proper authorities."

"Uh huh," says Norton who neither opens his eyes or removes his feet from the desk. He begins to hum.

"Then you're disobeying a direct, legal order," M'nammrann observes. "Sergeant, I don't care who you are. This isn't the way this station works." He activates his commlink. "Sergeant Castus. Please report to the Quartermaster to escort Sergeant Norton to the brig."

Norton cracks an eyelid, "Filled out that form yet, sir? If not, you're just beating your chest for no purpose."

Taeren eyes Norton. "Where's the form."

"Not here, sir," says Norton simply as he closes his eyes again. "I can't give you access to these computers until you have it filled out, so having it here would defeat the purpose. You can fill it out on hardcopy or electronically. I'll need a signature from your commander as well. It's all explained on the form."

Taeren inhales, exhales slowly. "Fair enough, Sergeant. I'm giving you the business for fudging the rules. It's within your rights to throw it back in my face. I will pull the form. Have the manifest ready for me." He smirks. "But when I come back in ten minutes, have your boots on. I can pull the uniform regs just as easily as I can pull a form."

Taeren is standing next to the quartermaster's desk, behind which Norton is sitting, stocking feet up on the desk.

Norton's eyes remain closed as he sits behind the desk with his feet up on it, leaning back in the chair. He says, "I'm already on extra duty, sir, that's all uniform violation merits. I suppose I could do some pushups."

"You're not imaginative enough, Sergeant," Taeren replies as he leaves. "I've got some fighters that need repainting."

Lucius enters the quartermaster's office with a sheet of paper in hand. He doesn't appear to notice that the situation might be a bit more than normal, giving a quick nod to Taeren as he heads out. "Sir." Then he looks to Norton. "Sergeant, I need you to look through the manifests right now and see who would have requisitioned some dry ice in the past week. Specifically the day we had that incident."

"NCOs can only supervise, sir," says Norton as he continues to fake the funk of dozing in his chair. "Sorry, sir, guess you haven't quite caught up on all the regs yet." He gives Lucius a nod as he opens his eyes, "Right, sergeant, probably just got it off a food supply shuttle. They pack perishables in that sometimes. It wouldn't show up here. It just gets tossed out." He leans over and turns on a computer.

Taeren doesn't bother responding as he leaves through the hatch.

FORGERY: Lucius was the one who requested the dry ice, Taeren was the authorising officer. Though if Nort remembers, it was dropped off by a rather nervous corporal named Thomas Wilkson.

Lucius nods at Norton. "Sure. I want you to check anyways, it's not exactly the most common of materials, though I do suppose it helps keep the foodstuff better than ordinary ice would. We're also going on mission within the next little while. We're going to need to cover basic movement, firing and reaction to contact with the tots before that."

Then, the link exploded. The end.

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