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Smoking and Not Joking

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Smoking and Not Joking
Summary: Nort tries to be a good soldier.
Cast: Taeren Norton
Air Date: 2006.10.09

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 smoking a cigarette as he walks towards the inner lobby. Somehow none of the ash falling off the cancer stick is getting on his boots or uniform.

Taeren descends the ramp of the Franklin, looking not happy at all. He clasps his hands behind his back and likewise walks towards the inner lobby.

Norton stops partway to the inner lobby to kneel down and stub the cigarette butt out on the deck of the bay. As he straightens up, he looks over his shoulder, shifts to stand at attention, and manages a crisp salute, neatly hiding the butt in his left hand against his leg to free up his right hand.

Taeren stops a few feet away and returns the salute, then waggles his finger. "No smoking near fuel fumes, Sergeant," he chides, though his tone is not severe. "Unless you plan on exploding yourself and, you know, the rest of the station out into vacuum."

Norton drops his right hand and says with a bland expression and tone, "Didn't plan on it, sir. It's not a high priority on the list. I'd have to check to be sure, but I believe it falls somewhere in the realm of never."

Taeren smirks. "Glad to hear it, Mister Norton. Confine your ash-generation duties to the residential deck and the promenades in future and we will get along swimmingly."

Norton's expression remains bland, "Easy enough, sir."

"Outstanding," the Timonae drawls, his smirk fading. "How are you finding the station so far, Sergeant?"

"Homey, sir," says Norton.

Taeren snorts. "Just like home," the Timonae agrees. "I imagine you're headed off duty. Don't let me keep you from your chow." He moves towards the inner lobby. "Carry on." He pauses to glance over his shoulder at Norton quizzically. "One last thing," Tay adds. "You wouldn't happen to be handy with a turret, would you?"

"Don't see too much high flying turret action down on Greenville, sir," says Norton with the same neutral expression and tone. "I used to be all right."

Taeren stops and turns. "Used to be?" he asks, eyes looking up and to the left briefly before returning to the man. "In the LMMC, you mean?"

Norton monotones, "That's right, sir."

"I'll see what I can do about getting you some practice," the Timonae says, "maybe training sorties on the Kestrel. I try to keep gunners handy." He squints at Norton. "You handled ship turrets, or vehicle turrets?"

"Stationary gun positions for space defense purposes primarily, but I have some time in the bubbles of death, sir," says Norton placidly.

Taeren laughs. "Typical Marine. Talk about flying around with just a little steel between him and vacuum and he gets all squirmy." The Timonae nods. "Stationary guns. That's good. We could try you on a rotation handling the station's weapons. If you like explosions, you'll bust a nut. Working shipside isn't all that different; so long as you're used to shooting in a vacuum, you'll get your reckoning for the physics no problem."

Norton's expression doesn't change. "Typical marine, sir. I like explosions, and I have some experience with the vacuum."

"I qualify Marines in use of plasma arc cutter for dynamic entry in vacuum and basic zero-gee maneuvers in our gravless bay belowdecks," the Timonae replies with a nod. "Once you get settled in with your squad I'd like to see you requesting a session for your squad, or at least an element, if you haven't already had experience in both yourself. And I'd keep up the PT if I was you, Sergeant," he adds, turning again for the hatch, "I've got a hunch there's some explosions on the horizon here pretty soon."

Norton's face is still blank as he says, "Yes, sir."

Taeren hooks a ninety-degree for the Outcast. "Carry on, Sergeant. And welcome to Hancock." He starts up the freighter's ramp, enters a keycode, passes inside.

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