PHD #240: Bad Bannik
Bad Bannik
Summary: Bannik is called on the carpet by Damon for his deception and sort-of sabotage.
Date: 24 October 2041 AE
Related Logs: Cry Against the Machine.
Damon Bannik 
Chief's Office — Hangar Deck — Battlestar Cerberus
The room is fairly small, to maximize the area of the deck itself. It contains a smallish metal desk with locking drawers, a computer terminal, a file cabinet against one wall and metal shelves filled with tools, spare parts, and manuals. There are two chairs facing the desk, clearly scavenged from somewhere else. One area of the shelving, nearest the desk, has been cleared and is clean. This holds a coffee maker that constantly seems to have some brew or other in it. Above the chair behind the desk, in a position of prominence, a framed picture has been hung. It is an embroidered image depicting Hephaestus with his two metal helpers. The work is beautiful and almost lovingly detailed. The god is laughing, one eye bright where a patch covers the other. He is held aloft by his helpers, one done in glittering gold, the other in silver.
Post-Holocaust Day: #240

Well, they all knew this meeting was coming. It was just a question of when. The intense pace of operations on Aerilon has pushed it out this far; it can't go any longer. Bannik enters the Chief's office, a clipboard clutched under his arm like a security blanket. He's never here for GOOD things. "You wanted to see me, Damon?" he asks.

Come into my lair. Damon seems to have been preparing for Bannik's arrival after requesting his presence. The usually enormous clutter on his tiny desk is neatly organized, filed, and stacked. But he's not sitting at his desk; he's on his feet, pacing restlessly, hands clasped behind his back. When Bannik finally arrives, he forgoes the usual cheerful smile and indicates the uncomfortable-looking plastic chair across the desk. "Bannik, have a seat," he says. The sternness of the words are forced - they lack real energy, and there's a gentleness behind them. The pacing stops, and Damon stands in place, rocking back and forth a bit on the balls of his feet. Clearly, this is not something he wants to do. But it's been long coming. "I think you know what this is about, yeah?"

"Yeah. Of course." But Bannik won't pursue further than that for right now. No protestations. No confession. No begging. Ball's in your court. He pulls out the uncomfortable chair and settles down onto it. It's more uncomfortable than usual.

With a deep sigh, Damon sinks into his slightly more comfortable chair. "This is the official report I've compiled, along with the supporting documentation I've received," he says, tapping a small stack of papers in the center of his desk. His fingers keep tapping it again and again as he purses his lips, deep in conflicted thought. "It starts with the Raptor readings from the recon of Kinlochard Village. There are reports from the Raptor-ECO pair who flew that mission, compiled separately, which state that their scans showed no signs of survivors. However, the Deck's post-flight analysis marked signs of life. You were the technician who signed off that report. I've got a copy of that here as well." He shuffles around the papers half-heartedly, so that Bannik can see. "Then it moves onto the freighter recon that you and I were on together. We both know what happened there. Some supporting statements." More shuffling of papers. They're now all laid out before the Specialist, some twelve pages total. "Bannik, I need to hear from your own mouth. Did you do this? Did you fake sensor readouts, falsify records, and misdirect the recon effort?"

The silence lingers between the two of them as Bannik reaches out and takes the papers. He flips through them, his big eyes behind his glasses scanning the pages, reading each and every line of text. He's going to drag this out. He, of course, finds all that he expected to find. And so when he speaks, it's just one word, his eyes looking up to meet Damon's: "Yes."

Damon waits patiently as Bannik reads. He wants the Specialist to know exactly what he's being accused of from beginning to end. But the confirmation comes so succinctly and without visible remorse that the Interim Chief is taken aback. "You've put me in a real hard spot, Bannik," he says quietly, gathering the papers into a neat little pile again. "I have to report this. You know that. And I'm going to try my damned hardest to see if we can't deal with it within the Deck department, but because of the issue of fraud and falsification, the might escalate it higher. I'm hoping that your record of service and importance to the Deck will gain lenience, plus the fact that this is a first offense." He glances up at Bannik. "This is your first offense, right?"

"I wanted to go home, Damon. I wanted to see if my girl and my Mom were alive." Bannik finally gets into it, helping Damon stack up the papers. "I went to Air Ops. I asked really nicely. You know, if I was some Squadron Leader, I could just go look for whoever I wanted. But I'm not. I'm just some Specialist. So no one gives a damn. It doesn't matter how hard I work. It doesn't matter that I worked for weeks, learning targeting system programming so that I could try to make a targeting algorithm from scratch for these missiles on a project that just got scrapped. Or that I try to keep everyone's spirits up and do my part on everything that comes along." He takes a deep breath. "So I did what I had to do to get something for me for once."
There's a long silence before Damon speaks. "Bannik, believe me when I say that I know where you're coming from. It was hard enough for me to see your disappointment when we flew over your farm and registered nothing, so I don't even want to try to imagine what you must've been feeling." He takes a deep breath. "And I know you've been working your ass off. You've been pulled every which way not just on the Deck but from other departments as well. You're good at what you do, and you're thorough. If you'd been in for as long as I have, I don't have a single doubt that you'd be the one sitting behind this desk, not me. Atreus trusted you, I trusted you, and the entire ship trusted you because of your excellence and reliability." He stands up from the desk and starts to pace again. "But we don't do what we do for ourselves. We don't do it to get promoted, to get recognized, or to pull favors later on down the road. We do it for the Deck, for the ship, for the Fleet. What you did, it wasn't for the Fleet, it was for yourself. You left behind 'duty before self', the principle that defines us as members of the Navy." He stops and looks at Bannik. "I know you know this, Bannik. You're smart guy. And somehow, for me, that almost makes all this worse. Because you were cognizant of what you were doing as you did it." He purses his lips for a moment, then asks, "Why didn't you come to me? Or to someone else in your chain of command?"

"I. I. Just …" Bannik is quiet. "I just thought — that. It would be just like Air Ops. And I didn't just want to run in circles. I wanted to — get something done." He lets out a heavy sigh. "Just — do whatever you have to. If I get brigged, at least it means I won't have as much work to do."

Damon's expression is conflicted between being the detached disciplinarian - which he obviously isn't very good at - and a sympathetic coworker. Without warning, he completely changes the subject, coming back to sit down at his desk. "Have you taken your forty-eight hours R&R down there yet?" he asks, starting to flip through another stack of papers to find the R&R rotation schedule.

"Not. Uh. R&R or anything. I've been down." Bannik shrugs. "I don't know if I really want to. It's — a whole lot of emotions, Damon. I don't really know about that. Maybe I should." He takes off his glasses and rubs at the bridge of his nose.

Damon's head tilts side to side, considering the situation. "I'll leave the choice to you, then, Bannik. I know it can't be easy going down to Aerilon, but I want you to consider taking some time for yourself. Or maybe head over to the freighter for a couple days. Either way, take a quick break from the Cerberus. Ninety-six hours, a double R&R, spend it however you want. I'll put in the report right after you leave the ship. That way, I can try to hash it out with higher while you're away so they have to deal with me instead. And like I said, I'll try to make it so we can deal with this within our department." He chews on his lips, eyes scanning Bannik's face. "Just tell me something like this isn't going to happen again."

"Yeah. Well. I won't go searching for my family again. You guys are all the family I have left. So all that I have left to do stupid stuff on behalf of is you guys." Bannik gives a tight, tight smile, getting to his feet. "I'll see you on Ewe Aerilon, Damon."

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