PHD #438: He is Not a Coward
He is Not a Coward
Summary: Constin visits Damon to discuss the matter of Bannik and whether he's getting charged.
Date: 10 May 2042 AE
Related Logs: Signing Bannik Out and other manifesto/Despondent Damon logs.
Constin Damon 
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: #438

Damon's door is always closed these days, a stark contrast to the Way Things Used to Be when it was always open and he was always available. Of course, those days, he spent as much time as possible out on the floor getting his hands dirty or at least talking to the crew. Not anymore. He's become something of a recluse in his office, staying locked in there from the moment he gets on duty in the morning until he retires late at night, not even coming out for meals. Papers are slid under the desk and magically reappear in a neat stack outside the next day, dutifully signed off.

Into this reclusive world enters an uncommon face on the deck. A heavy, double knock on the door announces the arrival of Gunnery Sergeant Constin, whose even voice greets, "Chief Damon. Would like a few words, if'n you've got the time."

There's a hasty shuffling of papers that can be heard from the other side of the door before Damon answers, "Uh - sure. Come on in." When the door opens, it reveals the usual scene of a chaotically disorganized office with the Chief sitting behind a desk littered with piles of paperwork that don't appear to be laid out according to any reasonable hierarchy. "What can I do for you?"

"Wanted words on the subject of Specialist Tyr Bannik, Chief," the big marine voices as to the purpose of his visit, as he steps into the disorganized office. "If this is a good time?" he prompts with a raised brow, giving Damon a chance to beg off, should the Chief of the Deck wish.

"Oh, uh…" Damon definitely sounds hesitant. But he waves Constin in anyway and indicates that the man take a seat if he wishes. "What about a Deck Specialist brings you all the way here, Gunnery Sergeant?" he asks because he's expected to. "I've made it explicitly clear to the Deck crew that they're not to discuss Specialist Bannik's trip to Gemenon or manifesto during work hours. Aside from that…"

"Aside from that," Constin resumes on the heels of Damon's answer. "I'd like to know why it is you chose to dismiss all charges for abandoning his post on April fifteen, Chief. With all due respect, this is a damned serious morale issue for my office."

Damon sighs and rakes his fingers back through his hair. This is obviously the question he didn't want to have to answer. "I haven't yet reached a conclusion on whether or not charges will be laid against Specialist Bannik. I needed him back on the Deck immediately, so I got him out of the Brig. But we've all been through quite a lot, Gunnery Sergeant. The Specialist especially has been given countless taskings and duties far above his pay grade and experience. Do we really need to make matters worse by hitting him with charges? We're all only human. Or so I'm assured."

"Chief," Constin returns plainly, "I don't give a pail of another man's shit how much weight has been put on Bannik's back. I similarly do not care whether you feel sorry for him, Chief. What I do care about is the fact that Bannik, with first hand knowledge of a mutiny underway abaord this ship- at Condition One- abandoned his post. He made no effort to return, nor did he give any protest for the five days he was gone. He admits all of this. Do you have any frakking idea what would have happened to a marine or a pilot who did something like that, Chief? But because this is poor little Tyr Bannik, not only do charges get dismissed, not only does he keep his rank, but you pin a decoration on his chest? Chief Damon, exactly what kind of message does that send to the crew of this ship?"

Damon listens to what Constin has to say, his lips pressing together harder as the man goes on. "We're not Marines, Gunnery Sergeant. We're not pilots. We're mechanics and technicians. I understand and appreciate that this is still a military vessel and that we still wear uniforms, but I think we're far past the point of laying charges for every offense. That's the kind of thinking that produced Kepner and his followers." He sounds weary. "Bannik did time in the Brig. I need him on the Deck, and Cerberus needs him working on his projects. Charging him will only set all of us back." Shaking his head, he produces a folded-up piece of paper from his breast pocket. "And whatever he may have done during the mutiny, whatever the circumstances leading to him abandoning his post, he came back. With this. And this is the most important thing that's happened since this whole Gods-damned war began to give all of us some measure of hope."

"Am I to understand that you cleared him of charges because of what he saw while he were gone?" Constin asks, incredulous. "And spare me the 'poor little deckies' business, Chief. I've known Deckies so damned tough that they volunteered for a mission so dangerous they got their last rites done before they left. Bannik shouldn't get a pass on cowardice on account of his job." Mention of Kepner hardens the big man's face. "This ain't 'every offense', Chief. If I thought it applied, Bannik could've been charged with Desertion. Do not try and paint this like I got nothing better to do than hassle an innocent man, Chief. Discipline cant get chucked out the airlock when shit gets tough.. we need it even more these days, Chief, and you just decorated a man who abandoned his post during battle. For frak's sake, at least give him a slap on the damn wrist."

"No," Damon responds flatly to Constin's request to give Bannik at least a slap on the wrist. His voice remains flat even though his eyes blaze with something akin to defiance. "Bannik is many things, and he has frakked up before, but he is not a coward. He's volunteered for the very missions you're talking about, and you know it. He didn't leave his post because he was afraid, he followed the Cylon to Gemenon because he - " He cuts himself off abruptly and takes a deep breath. Unfolding the manifesto in his hand, he continues, his voice dropping lower. "He went because it was the will of the Gods." There it is. He's said it. And it's clear from his hushed tone of voice that he believes it. "He went because the Gods wanted him to bring back this message, to let us know that there is still hope. After all the senseless madness and death that's happened, there's still hope."

"That's real funny, Chief. According to Bannik he went because he was scared," Constin returns with equal lack of color. As Damon speaks those last words, the Master at Arms just shakes his head. "Huh. So you ain't gonna punish him, whatever he did, or whatever the reason.. because in abandoning his post during battle he was doing the will of the Gods." A short exhale. "Is that accurate?"

Damon is silent for a moment before speaking to make sure he has his thoughts laid out right. "I have given the matter consideration and continually reached the conclusion that bringing charges against Specialist Bannik resulting in his removal from duty would be of greater detriment to Cerberus and the Deck crew than the absence of such charges would be to general discipline and morale." He thinks about that for a second to make sure he said it properly. "Was that everything you wanted to discuss?"

"Yeah, Chief. That's all," Constin answers flatly, shaking his head and rising to his feet. "Won't take no more of your newly hopeful time." The disgruntled MaA still sells the Deck Chief a salute as a superior officer, before turning away from Damon.

Damon doesn't look or sound newly hopeful at all despite his words. If anything, he seems emotionless and despondent. "Thanks for your time, Gunnery Sergeant." The salute is returned in less-than-perfect form before the Chief sits back down, eyes staring blankly at the manifesto sitting on his desk.

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