BCH #004: Junior Tacos
Junior Tacos
Summary: The Fleet sent Tillman an Ensign. Tillman is surprised and not displeased.
Date: 22 FEB 2041
Related Logs: None
Tillman Kulko 

The central nexus of the ship, the fighting capability all stems from here. With entrances on both sides, an entire section of the wall will twist its armored glass and doorframes out of an air locked position and allow access. At the rear of the room is a standard hatch that allows access as well. Computer terminals sit in a semi-circle around the main plotting table in the center of the room. DRADIS and other essential readouts are displayed on screens that hang from the ceiling. Forward and aft are a set of glass plots that hang vertically from the ceiling and provide the crew with the ability to coordinate air traffic operations in the easiest way possible.

The CIC is buslting this time of the evening. With mock dogfights going on, combined with carrier qualifications, there is a non-stop hum of activity. One of the officers has a full 'board' - a glass sheet with lists of aircraft in the pattern - behind the TACCO. Tillman is standing at the plot table with the CO and XO notably absent which leaves him in command. His eyes are mostly focused on the DRADIS readout while the radio chatter from the dogfight buzzes loud enough to be heard over the ambient noise.

From the hatch emerges the greenest of green, the rookest of rook. An ensign in freshly pressed duty blues, buttons still shining from the quartermaster, emerges just far enough to take in the CIC and pauses immediately. It's a lot to take in.

The phone rings in front of Tillman and he swipes it up. "CIC, Tillman." He's quiet for a few seconds while some kind of report rolls in and he nods, looking to a chart in front of him. "Copy that. Should work. Out." He picks up a grease pencil and makes a notation on the map before he glances up to the green-gill at the doors. "In our out, Ensign. Don't be blocking the hatchways." A pause as he looks back to the map. "What can we do for you?"

"Uh," is all the newly minted officer manages to get out at first. "Spose I'm reporting for duty, sir." As if the Captain's warning dawns on him anew, he quickly decides he wants 'in', taking purposeful strides towards the projection table. "Ensign Stephen Kulko, sir. Junior Tactical. Just arrived from Scorpion shipyards."

Tillman continues writing out his notation on the chart for Uram Sector. There's a bit of a halt before he looks up to the Ensign with his last remarks. "Shit hot. Fleet sent me a Junior, eh?" He smirks and glances up to the DRADIS display and then back to the young man. "Alright, so reporting to duty. Seeing as how the XO is indisposed at the moment, I'll take your file." He turns behind him and takes a cup of coffee off a small terminal. "I'm Clive Tillman. Cerb's Battlegroup Tactical Officer and Senior Officer of the Watch. You, ah..look a little young, son. You just get out of the Academy?"

Kulko grits his teeth and nods, unclasping his hands from the small of his back and passing Tillman the sheaf of octagonal paper. "Aye, sir. Well, not exactly. Been in ECM school the last six months. This is my first time shipboard, sir." He continues flitting his glance around the CIC, but remains at rigid parade rest.

Tillman smirks, the gesture looking a bit easy as he takes the paper. "Relax, Ensign. Just a joke. I'm not a ball-buster with something to prove. You can stand at ease. Want a cup of coffee?" the man offers lazily enough. He almost seems to standout as an island of relaxation in an otherwise bustling room. "So welcome to the Cerb. Tactical is a busy place and will be for the next few weeks while we conduct the games. We've been doing a lot of cross-work with a variety of departments to get things moving and kick this baby girl into gear. We keep things moving at a pretty good clip for our officers, too. You can expect to have something on the burner most of the time. The Admiral is a good guy with a decent sense of humor. You'll see enough of him up here. Colonel Sarkis doesn't take any shit from anyone and he's demanding - one of the better XO's I've spent time under but not the best." He keeps his voice even and calm while he gives a quick rundown. Likely its something he doesn't mind having to repeat.

Kulko nods at each sentence, as if trying in futility to file this all away for future use. "Aye, sir. Looking forward to learning the ropes." He pauses a moment. "Supposin' he'll be the best I've ever had, sir."

Tillman chuckles. "True enough. Well, he won't be your last. Once you make Jig they will probably bounce you around Frigates for a few years." He looks down at the paper and sips at his coffee. "So Ensign Stephen Kulko. What can you tell me about yourself that isn't on this paper? What do I need to know about the man I'm getting settled in the fleet?"

"Glad to serve my first tour on a Battlestar. Seems the Gods are keeping watch on me in some sense." Stephen seems alright with that last question, making and holding eye contact with the senior officer. "Sir, when I say I'm going to do something, it's going to damn well get done. Sir."

"Yeah. Enjoy the comfort while you can. I had to spend my first cruise in the Navy on a flak frigate. Horrid-ass few years, lemme tell you." The radio crackles again and Tillman looks to it, chuckling a bit. Something the pilots said. Tillman looks back to Kulko. "So you're dedicated and motived. Good to know. What's your biggest fault or weakness?" By the look in the Watch Officer's eyes, he's dead serious.

"Same answer, sir." Kulko turns up the corner of his mouth in a half-smirk. "I'm not so good at cuttin' corners, sir. And I sure as hell don't like to retreat." He rolls his shoulders, and tosses a glance over his shoulder towards the hatchway, then resumes eye contact with the officer of the watch. "Of my own self, I mean. I got no problem followin' orders, sir."

Tillman lifts the handset from its post and shoots off a quick comment on the tactical circuit before looking back to the young Ensign. The DRADIS shows the Raptors and Vipers slowly turning back to the ship. "So your biggest flaw is your drive. Some might interpret that to mean that you don't play well with others. Is that a truth or an inaccurate assumption? Orders are part of life for everyone - as you've probably known for the last four years. But we function on a very high level as a team. If I have a junior under me I need to know that he can work with me and everyone else as well as think fast." Might be a test. Might not. Tillman looks like he's almost daring the kid to say he can't.

Kulko shakes his head. "No, sir. Maybe I misspoke. I, uh… I'm fine in a team, sir. Thrive in it, matter of fact. I just…" He shifts his weight from one foot to the other, momentarily. "I don't like to hear something can't be done, and I sure's hell don't like to hear it's me who can't do it."

The TACCO nods a few times before he sips at the mug once more. Its settled back on the terminal behind him unceremoniously. "Good to know. Alright. So you get nervous at all around brass and senior officers? Its okay to say yes. The vast majority of fresh Ensigns are. I was after I finished OCS."

Kulko returns to formal parade rest. "Ah dunno bout nervous, sir. I get quiet, sure. Unless I got somethin' to say. Thought that was how you're supposed to be."

Tillman shrugs. His posture relaxes and he leans forward onto his elbows, resting on the plotting table. Its the body language of someone more interested in an unofficial discussion. "Well I'm not sure what they tell you to expect about a battlestar at the Academy, but I have my own way of running things as far as having a Junior. I believe in getting them involved and having them make hard choices. You will be asked to work with Majors, Captains, and potentially Command Staff. I won't shield you from those interactions and often I will push you into them. But this also means that you will have to swim. I'll support you, provide advice and guidance. I'll show you the ropes and we may even put Jigs and a Watch Officer designation on you before you leave, but you will get a chance to prove that you do what you say. It'll challenge you in ever way. Its a lot of late nights and you don't get a ton of personal time. But its rewarding as hell."

Kulko has to fight to keep the grin off his face, spreading slowly as Tillman continues. "Sir. If I wanted a lot of sleep, or personal time, I'da took a job testing mattresses, sir. I won't let you down."

Tillman watches the Ensign for a moment and nods before looking back to the plotting charts. "Good to know. Now all that crap they shove down your throat at the Academy, forget it. Its a good baseline but a lot of it is fluff to cover too much across the spectrum of what the job entails. The truth of the matter is that you will spend a lot of your first year finding your focus. Your file says you got E-Warfare - which is good. But the practical applications may change your interest. The most important thing I can tell you there is not to let yourself get tied to it. If you end up loving it, good. But if it doesn't suit you and something else is more your speed - don't be shy. Tell me. We'll get you hooked-up with someone else. Got any questions so far?" The man has lost most of his 'officer speak' and his face has slackened. Its definitely a more personable guy than the one who took the file.

"Yes, sir." Kulko drops his voice a bit, taking a step towards the Captain. His syllables slacken somewhat. "Anything I oughtta know about the ship or her crew afore I go pokin around? Seems everyone round the Academy had some story of makin a damn fool of themselves as soon as they got shipside, and I've got a mind not to repeat that."

Tillman smiles. "Very good question. Don't hear that one enough. But yeah - the two best pieces of advice I can give you? First: If you get lost or need help then just ask. There's no shame on your first cruise. You're going to screw up or be embarassed or something. But if you ask for help I can promise you will have a better career for it. I do it all the time, the only difference is that I call it 'delegation'." He flashes a stupid grin. "Second: If you don't know the answer to something, then don't make something up or guess. Say 'I don't know, but I will find out.' and that's it. That's a key rule because it can make the difference between life and death in a combat environment. If anyone ever gives you shit about that or calls you to the mat for it, you come directly to me or send them to me and I will personally bolt their faces to the bulkhead. Copy?"

Kulko nods solemnly. "Aye, /sir/." There's a little extra pep in his step, with that one. "Also… any particular rules I oughtta know regarding the flyboys? Are we all one big happy family?"

Tillman shakes his head slowly. "I know the CAG personally. I did a cruise with her a couple years back when she had her own Raptor squadron. She's damned solid. I know a few of the squad leaders and they are pretty good, too. I don't know much of the Viper pilots except that they are, as always, in love with themselves. Hair Gel and Cannon Rounds." He rolls his eyes, laughing a bit. "But for the most part we all get along. I've spent a lot of time working with them over the years, though. I understand them and I have quite a bit of combat time with the Marines so I don't catch a lot of heat that CIC types might otherwise."

"Good to know. I'll see that I don't do us any disservice." Kulko grins again, sheepishly. "Though I ain't got any time at all, with the marines or otherwise. Just have to see to it I don't do nothin too stupid."

"We're Navy, Ensign. We do the Colonies a disservice just by existing. Didn't you know? Its why the Quorum Delegation is aboard." There's a shit-eating grin with that sarcasm. "But no problem, Ensign. I'm not shy about putting junior officers in the hot seat. I've got Lieutenant Oberlin, our intelligence officer, riding shotgun on Raptors. So be warned, you'll probably be wearing a flightsuit more than once. Just remember what I said about asking questions and not knowing answers. You're new and everyone knows it. Playing the tough guy is dangerous for you and those around you. You know that Tact Officers have a lot on their shoulders. Best thing you can do is be honest with yourself about the weight. We all support each other on the Cerb. The team we have working as department heads is outstanding. You'll also likely see plenty of Captain Mackay who stands watch, also. He's our Weps and one damned fine example of an officer."

Kulko considers the ramifications of all that. "Can't say I ever fancied myself in the cockpit, sir. But I'll get the job done to the best of my skill, whatever it is." Another pause. "Unless I don't know how, n'then I'll be askin' someone on the bounce."

"Me either. Truth be told son, I -hate- flying. It doesn't scare me but I've seen enough of it to know better." Tillman lifts a hand and rubs at his chin. "So where are you from, anyway? What's your background look like before the Academy?" He doesn't sound like he's asking for detailed histories but more just an overview. To get a sense of who he is working with on a personal level.

Kulko, for the first time, looks somewhat ill at ease in the impromptu interview. "Ah, I'm from Canceron, sir. Pops is a rancher there. So was granddad. And so on and so on. Was sposed to be my ranch. 'Stead, I'm here on Cerberus." Kulko fights back the urge to spit, eyeing the deck. "As you can imagine, Pops ain't so happy bout it."

The TACCO notices the discomfort and lifts a hand as if to signal that its okay. "Like I said Ensign, this isn't an inquisition. Just curious about the person I'm going to be training. But I'm from Canceron, also. Legally. I grew up on Scorpia, though. I know the idea of ranching and growing up like that." He gives an even shrug as if the motion brushed aside the matter. "Well hey, don't sweat too much about anything. A lot of us are still getting settled here. If you're religious, the Chaplain is an absolutely outstanding Captain who insists on being called 'Sister'. The CAG is great and has an excellent head on her shoulders. The Cheng," Chief Engineer "is Captain Gabrieli. Very smart guy and quick on his feet. He's got a damned busy department. Our Deck Chief I've heard good things about, too. Expect to be working with those folks quite a bit in addition to myself and Command." He takes a long breath and looks back to Kelko. "Any more questions? Beyond getting you started with a fresh duty rotation there isn't a lot I can throw at you so questions work well for me." He laughs lightly.

Kulko shakes his head. "No, that's all I've got, sir. I'll get down to officer bunks and settle in for some rack time, if it's all the same to you."

"Its all the same to me, Ensign. Go grab some rack. Take the evening and morning to unpack and get settled. We'll hit the ground running after you get your last full night of sleep for the rest of your life." Tillman grins. "I've got Watch again most of the day tomorrow so you know where to find me. We'll go over the tactical operations of the wargames we have coming up and I'll hopefully introduce you around to some of the people you will be working with." He then lifts a bit and sticks his hand out towards the new arrival. "Welcome aboard Ensign Kulko."

Kulko shakes the proffered hand in a steady grip. "Can't think of anywhere I'd rather be, sir. Thanks for takin' the time."

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