PHD #332: Frank Snipes
Frank Snipes
Summary: The new ChEng and the M&R SCPO get a chance to really talk.
Date: 24 Jan 2042 AE
Related Logs: Too much to list.
Ximena Mark 
Pipes, conduits, and cramped passageways. Heat and the smells of sweat and machine oil. Engineering is a maze of hallways that run deep into the aft of the Cerberus. Dotted with a few storage rooms, offices, and workshops, this section of the ship is constantly staffed by a huge team of professionals. From the main fuel tank feeds to the massive FTL drive room, no other part of the ship is more important than this section that provides propulsion and life support to every section of the battlestar.
Post-Holocaust Day: #332

Maintenance reports. Parts requisitions. In triplicate, colour coded for easy filing. Who would have thought that the ending of the worlds didn't include and end to the endless paperwork a desk jockey has to wrangle. Ximena, however, seems to be handling it with her usual good-natured attitude, a phone to her ear as she carries on a conversation with Supply, "Yes, Form 34-J7a. Yes, the green one, you know, the one we'll probably be wiping our asses with when the toilet paper supply runs out. Yes, exactly that one. Be a dear and run that up to me would you, Crewman? Yes, thank you. Connect me to the machine shop, if you wouldn't mind?"

Rumors of the new ChEng are probably varied. After all, you can't please everyone. But he sounds fairly laxed. When he appears in the office doorway he does nothing to dispel the rumors, either. The only real way to recognize him is by the Captains pips on his collar. He's filthy, again, and looking like he took a tumble down an exhaust chute when he raps knuckles on the doorframe. "Knock knock. I'm lookin' for a Senior Chief Alteris. Haven't seen her around have you?" He plays coy poorly, smiling while he speaks quietly. She's on the phone after all.

Ximena's head lifts, eyes settling on the newly arrived ChEng. A hand follows suit, a finger lifted. 'Just a minute', it says, because she doesn't, "Shim, how are we looking on the retrofit for those conduits? You got the schematics I sent down?" She doesn't frown, not exactly, but there's a tightening around her eyes, "I'll come down and finish them myself. Yeah." The phone's set back down, chair wheeled around to face the man in the doorway, saluting(complete with a 'Sir' and all), though, just after, "You'll understand if I don't stand at attention, Captain. And as a matter of fact I have, this morning in the mirror in fact. What can I do for you, Sir?"

Mark waves teh salute away and steps on through the doorway. "At ease. Just glad I don't have to tell you not to get up. Getting kinda sick of people always jumping around outside of Engineering. At least around here people know better. Or at least they're learning." The man beams a grin as he unzips the front of his coveralls and climbs his arms out, stepping to her desk. He extends a (clean) hand to her to shake. "Mark Makinen. You've got rights as senior enlisted so you can just call me Mark if you prefer. I'm not about to run ragged about rank. Its got its place but I think you might agree we've got bigger fish to fry."

"Well, if it makes things any better, I can rise to the occasion, if it comes to that." The hand is accepted, the grin returned. Not the soft hand of a woman of learning, or a invalid spending most of her time convalescing, despite the fact that OCS and the restructuring of her position in Engineering seems to require that she spends more time behind a desk than away from it. But hard and calloused, as befits the sapper she was and the engineer she still is. "Mark then. Ximena Alteris." Her head inclines, a brief nod, "Usually on the tip of my boot on its way up someone's backside when work's running behind schedule." Once a marine always a marine, "No word back from the marine detachment on the blueprints for the foundry I send down with their corporal. I've already got the EVA equipment bagged and ready for deployment." Yes, bigger fish to fry.

Mark chuckles. "And here I was worried about making short-stature jokes." He glances around for one of the metal chairs and nearly flops himself into it. "Yeah, they've probably got a lot of shit going on up there in.." He flits his hand toward the deck above them, "wherever the hell they are. Six, I think." He clears his throat. "Anyhow, I wanted to get down here for a couple of quick things. One of which is so I could finally meet you. Been busting my ass trying to get too much crap done with impossible timeframes. I'm prrrrretty sure you know how that goes."

"My concern has nothing to do with the snipes, or the deck crew who will be taking part in the operation. My concern is for the marines. Too many of them are green, too used to being boots to the ground in an oxygen rich atmosphere. I'm not sure they quite understand that they might not make it back out again once they get into that facility." But that's neither here nor there. They'll die or they won't. "Been in that situation the better part of half my life. Good to finally put a face to a name."

Mark shrugs, leaning back in the chair. "Can't say I know. My only interaction with the Marines was the ones who busted me off of Leonis and the ones doing my security clearances. Even in my past work, I hardly ever talked to them." Its not that he doesn't care. Far from it. Its just a different world he's never visited. "But back to serious bidness." He swings an arm over the back of his chair, aiming an index finger at her. "I heard a pretty nasty rumor about you. The kind of thing that makes me wonder. Sifting through my paperwork I got a notice about it." He grins. "So, Officer eh? That little piece of paper said you were due to finish OCS first week of next month. That right?"

"You'll probably want to try to rectify that if you can. If only to learn the trick to showing them that your way is the right way. Since they usually have the opposite idea. But enough about that." Ximena settles back into her chair, keeping it turned so that she can properly address the man, now that he's found himself a seat. "That's what they tell me. After we lost the Captain, and my Lieutenant, the Colonel thought the department needed some shoring up at the upper level. And despite my glowing work record and obvious qualifications," that said with more than a bit of humour, taking the piss, as it were,with herself as the target, "I'm not quite the woman I used to be. Seemed like a good idea to take over some of the more sedentary stuff, leave the front lines to those who were more capable. And the Colonel really isn't the sort of man you say no to."

Mark shrugs. "I won't turn away a Marine but they seem more intent on blowing shit up. I prefer to keep things assembled." His sly smile flashes quickly before he nods to he words. "Fair enough. Well I'm sure as hell not going to try and talk you out of it. Just wish I'd heard about it sooner. Do me a favor and get me a date of graduation? Unless you have someone else in mind, I'd like to be the one to pin you and administer the oath. BUT!" He holds up a hand. "If there is someone else, I'll try to understand." He sniffles, giving her the faux puppy dog eyes. He probably gets a big kick out of promotions.

"That's what a Marine's supposed to do. See a target, blow it up. I think it's written into the uniform code." Ximena's expression grows momentarily serious, "All I ever wanted to be was a Marine, enlisted, down in the trenches with my men," the men a more general collective than one geared towards a specific gender. "Building things up and blowing them down again. But you don't always get what you want. But if Engineering gets what they need, then I'm alright with it." There's a tilt of her head, as Ximena studies the ChEng seated across from her, "No one else that I can think of. Although…maybe if I let Hawkins down in requisitions do it, it might light the fire under his ass and get him to work a bit faster to fill my orders." A quick smile, that makes it's way to her eyes. Smiles, in XImena's case, are always genuine, "It would be my honour, Mark."

Mark just chuckles at the description of Marines. "All I ever wanted was to make a shit ton of money, marry some big-chested blonde, and retire on a beach and abuse my liver until it gave out. Frak all of that apparently." The man rolls his eyes. He looks like he could probably be at home at a computer terminal or passed out on a beach wearing only an 'I ate the worm!' t-shirt. "Yeah, as long as we get what we need now, right?" But the mention of Hawkins has him looking a little offended, but its nothing serious. At the end, though, he shakes that finger at her. "Jooo little minx!" he says, imitating an old gangster from a movie. "Awesome. Thanks. I really love that stuff. Started out my career enlisted, too. Spent six years on the Battlestar Volans working on Vipers. Promotions get me all gooey only the way a proper stoning can."

"Boobs are all well and good until the day you realize what used to be up around her ears, is now down for the count around her knees," says the woman who barely looks as if she has enough of anything on her chest to have them be called boobs. "The world doesn't really seem to have a lot of room left for wants anymore. But you do what you have to do." Spoken like a true snipe. "I have my moments." While it's likely there's very little of Ximena's file Mark /doesn't// have access to, the opposite isn't true, and there's very little beyond the memo blurb she knows about him. "Deckie to Engineering. Bit of a lateral move. Can't see that you've forgotten what it was like." A glance goes over his coveralls, which look quite appropriately filthy. If there was a test, it seems the ChEng passed it. "Eighteen…doing just about everything." Long enough to be fully qualified in three separate engineering ratings. "I'll remember that when it comes time for my stoning."

Mark chuckles. "You think I planned on marrying my own age? I planned on being stinkin rich. Figured I could find a mail order Leonisian bride or something." There's something more behind the smile. Its a little too fond. He's probably loved in his own time. "Lateral? You're telling me. I got out and went to college. Spent fifteen years in the private sector. Those chuckleheads grabbed me on Leonis, found out I'd done a lot of the systems design on the Praetorian and gave me the full court press on getting a commission. Petty Officer Third to full Lieutenant. Only took me two decades. But speaking of which, I've got something else for you that you might get a good kick out of. How'd you feel about some fresh meat?"

Leontinian mail-order bride? "Well, there's used goods and then there should have been chucked in the bin last week." But who is she to dissuade a man from his fantasy of nubile female flesh. "You make it sound as if that was what you were hoping for from the beginning." There neither censure nor amusement in her voice. It's a simple statement of one viewpoint of Mark's advancement to officer status. "We could certainly use all of the help we can get. But we're not quite at the stage where beggars can't be choosers. Who's your candidate?"

"Don't discount the mail orders," he jokes. "But for that promotion?" Mark shakes his head. "Nah. I wasn't ever really a fan of officers. The more and more I had to deal with them up at the higher levels the more full of themselves they got. I was pretty much done with them by the time it all went to crap. I had considered getting my second Doctorate and just retiring. Maybe writing or teaching someplace. Spend my forties and fifties making other people sweat. Do be dead honest I'd be happy doing just about anything. Hell, I helped out Damon down on the Deck a week or two ago. Donned some Specialist pins and went to work." he shrugs, the look contorted into self-entertainment. "But the candidate is miss Callidora Doukas. Contractor. She was a Caprican engineering student and is trying to get involved here on the Cerberus. I've already got her clearances checked and she is fine to come aboard whenever you send for her." The man slings his ankle up onto his other knee, relaxing. "I know I look like some dude who doesn't give a shit about much. Like I'd rather be hitting on women at a bar. But there is one thing I take damned seriously and that's safety. Before this woman touches a wrench, I want her completely vetted in damage control, firefighting, and some basic skills to test her reaction to bad situations. Teach her. She will not be working alongside the personnel in this environment unless she proves to -you- that she can hack it. If she can, she needs a rundown on ranks. She's got very little training but is trying hard to learn. As far as I am concerned, she will be following the orders of everyone because nobody will be below her without your say-so."

"Most officers, especially as they get higher up, forget what they ever knew about the jobs of the people who work under them. A fair lot of them never knew the jobs under them. And it's hard to take orders from someone who hasn't a clue how to do themselves what they're asking you to do. I'm sorry to see that you won't be able to fulfill your dreams as soon as you might have liked. But I like to hold out hope for tomorrow." As they more onto a more pertinent subject, "What was her field of study specifically?" What she studied before will determine how much training, or retraining Ximena needs to do, as well as what division of Engineering she's slotted into. "And why is she not looking to enlist? Wanting to work over here and still be a civilian doesn't make for easy going." It's not really separate but equal, civilians and military, and nobody knows that more than Ximena. "I'm more than willing to teach her what she needs to know. And if she can hack it, I'll welcome her into the department. But if she can't, she's out. And that's non-negotiable. I won't risk the lives of my people and the safety of this ship on someone who can't cut it. And yes, I would say that to anyone who wanted to transfer to engineering, not just a civilian.

"Gods I know what you mean about the officers. Too many damned lazy-asses with Yes Men working for them. Pissed me off fierce. I think the last rank I could ever really respect anyone at was Major. After that?" He makes a 'pbthbtbthb' sound and gives a thumbs down. "Ah well. At least the people running this fleet seem to have a better idea. For the most part." Uh huh. "But Doukas' specialty? Civil engineering. Building dams was what she wanted to do, if I recall. I'm not sure why she won't enlist. I tried to talk her into it but she doesn't seem that interested. I warned her, though. She still wants to do it. As far as not hacking it, though?" Mark chuckles, shaking his head. "I told her almost verbatim what you just told me. If she can't please, that's your call. Just make sure you're giving her a fair chance. No reason to go Marine on her. just make sure she gets the same training everyone else does with what I mentioned."

"Well, as far as being a civilian contractor, realistically speaking, it's all of the benefits, none of the responsibility. You get to come over here, hopefully do the work you're trained and qualified for, but you don't need to worry about all of those pesky rules we're expected to follow as members of the military. At the end of the day, you get to go home, live your normal life because this place, these hallways aren't your life, not the way they are for us." Ximena's head inclines, another nod, "I have no reason to do other than give her a fair chance. But she's going to learn to be the best or she won't learn at all. That's how I learned it, that's how all of the people I've taught since them have learned it. I know I don't need to tell you how dangerous being an engineer is. Every day could be your last day. But you punch that clock and pick up that wrench regardless. That's not something everyone can come to grips with. Especially civilians. Culture shock gets to the best of them." But finally, a nod, "I'll send word over to the Elpis for her to report for duty. I'll put together a full set of M&R training manuals for her to start in on."

"I know. makes me wish I hadn't taken the commission and just stayed as a civilian contractor. Course, its not like I would be able to leave anyway. Figured I might as well wear a uniform. Damned insomnia." Mark rolls his eyes with it and stands from the chair. "Damned right its dangerous. That's why you'll hear about me doing stupid shit and yuckin' around with Snipes. We've got enough seriously frakked up risks and odds. The last thing this team needs is some jerk-off with a brass pole shoved so far up his ass he should be getting cubits tossed at him for turning around." He climbs back into his coveralls. "Anywho, I need to head up Fore and check on the gun amp installs on the Bow. Send Callie a message and bring her over and get her trained ASAP. I trust you to take care of the rest. If you run into problems, let me know. I'll yell at her with the appropriate volume and officerly superiority complex." He makes a snooty face and shakes a finger. "Good meetin you, Chief. Don't forget to get me a final date on your graduation from OCS."

"Better you than me. If you hadn't agreed to it, it might be me having to sit those pins on my collar. Trust me, going from Senior Chief to Ensign will be bad enough. If I had to go right to Captain, that would have killed me stone dead." Though, after eighteen years in the saddle, there isn't much the woman can't shoulder. As for the rest…that's what The Chair is good for. "I'd offer to send Shim down to help you, but that boy would trip over his own feet if he wasn't always looking down. I'll send word to her. And if you need me, I'll be down in fabrication. I'll send word as soon as I know." Once Mark's cleared the office, Ximena will as well. A snipe's work is never done.

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