PHD #060: On the Expendability of Pilots
Log Title
Summary: Bannik and Cilusia have a philosophical discussion about the function and expendability of pilots versus the birds they fly.
Date: 27 Apr 2041 AE
Related Logs: None
Bannik Cilusia 
Repair Bay - Hangar Deck - Battlestar Cerberus
When engines need to be rebuilt or other heavy but short-term work needs to be done, this is where it happens. Large, red hand-mobile cranes are situated along the wall beside stacks of toolchests. Carts with various computers and electronics are dispersed around the area for quick access. A very conspicuous yellow locker at the rear holds a sizable amount of firefighting gear, as well. Sturdy metal stands are available to hold all sorts of parts from gun systems to the FTL drives of a Raptor. Big enough to accommodate quite a few Vipers and Raptors at once, this area see's extensive use and is usually attended by at least one crew at all hours of the day and night.
Post-Holocaust Day: #60

"CIC's done," announces Bannik as he comes in with his tool kit in hand, in his bright orange deck coveralls. "Now back to trying to make sure what Vipers we have left don't fall apart in mid-air out there."

"Well, sure beats trying to build them from scratch? Probably next to impossible anyways, given the state of the fabrication facilities, huh?" And just like keeping the existing ships in repair, the existing flight suits have to be kept up too, since there's unlikely to be too many more of them until fab facilities are back up. Cilusia's sitting up on one of the work tables with a suit across her lap, stitching something, hair down and looking comfortable enough.

"Our last round of repairs used up a lot of our spare parts," explains Bannik, lamenting. "We're going to have to send out ships that have displays on the fritz or things out of alignment. We weren't made to be out here like this. All the manuals assume we'd go back to dry dock or at least resupply if things got this bad."

"Sometimes you gotta make do," she replies with a shrug. "Figure the pilots understand that too. They ain't gonna get their ship back in the best of condition anymore when they go out and get shot up. Everyone's got to compromise so that we can at least get them up in the air. Unless we want to start picking and choosing, cannibalizing one bird to save two others. Eventually though, we'll be out of remains to pick at."

"Yeah. Most of the pilots don't understand much of anything we do down here," gripes Bannik, putting his tools down on a bench and picking up one of the clipboards here with the 'to-do' list for repairs and maintenance. "A lot of them just figure their planes come back by magic." He sighs. "At this point, we have have more pilots then we have birds."

Cilusia stops stitching for a moment to ponder something. "So does that mean they're expendable now?" She smirks a bit, but quickly counters with "I'm kidding, I'm kidding. Don't get your panties in a bunch." But really, she figures it'll mean that pilots will come down here griping and getting in deckie faces about why they have to go out on CAP in a bird that's got a warm seat. Also, that service on existing birds becomes even more difficult, since they're in rotation more frequently.

Bannik heads towards one of the birds with a bum weapon hardpoint, the clipboard put back where it goes after marking that he's doing the work on it. "Expendable? I don't know about that. But really? It'd be better for the Fleet if birds came back and pilots didn't at this point. It sucks, but that's the Gods honest truth from a utility perspective."

Yeah, yeah, the way she nods just exclaims 'tell me about it man, preach it brother.' Something like that at least. "Unfortunately? Our job says we have to do good enough job so that these planes go boom and the pilots get a ride back on the bus, you know? So, not much we can do about that…unless we want to get court-marshaled for dereliction or something."

"Yeah. Well. Yeah." Bannik just falls quiet after that. After all, what can he really say? "And you know what's worse? They've got excess pilots, and we've got a shortage of deckhands." He opens up the hardpoint's panel, staring at it thoughtfully after turning on his penlight torch. "Guess having a fancy college degree isn't as much of a help to the Fleet now as the Admiralty thought it'd be."

"Oh…hey, there's an idea. Let's bring the jocks down here and teach them to fix some things that they break, huh? Maybe then they'll be a little less quick to break it in the future, huh? You need some help over there?" Cilusia calls out to Bannik, as he gets down to start fixing that hardpoint.

"I bet they'd break more than they'd fix." Bannik snickers. "I'd just put them in the sims more to learn how to not constantly be losing birds." He shuts off the penlight and then closes up the panel. "Nope. It's not that bad. They'll just have to be okay with their canons firing nine times out of ten and hope they don't need the canons the tenth time."

"Yeah, let's hope so. Otherwise that bird might not come back either. Flight suits aren't in much better shape. Pretty soon, these things are going to look like jeans off an Aerilon farmer." Meaning, all patched and worn and worn and worn until they fall apart.

"Speaking as a former Aerilon farmer, I'd have you know that I treated my jeans with a lot more care and respect than these fly boys treat their flight suits." Bannik marks something off on the checklist, apparently noting that this will have to be 'good enough' for now. "Even when we get Viper Fabrication back online, I don't know what we'll use for raw parts. I need to start reading up on /how/ to fabricate."

"We can smelt the pilots down and use carbon-fiber engineering," she jokes, trying to take the subject off a little bit of deriding Colonial humor…and maybe stumbling onto a new fabrication idea in the process. "Know any good folks down in engineering that'll explain it to you? I wonder if we can get the frak down there and help put stuff back together, start pumping out new Viper parts ASAP."

Bannik shrugs his shoulders. "Engineering's just as busy as we are," laments the deck hand. "I just figured I would pull the manuals and see what I could teach myself in my copious spare time."

"Hey man, if you can, more power to you. I don't have the smarts to teach myself engineering fabrication. I know what I know, and I make myself good at that, yeah? Works best for me, at least." She takes a break in stitching a little while she chats, reaching back and fanning her hair out some behind her shoulders, since it got all drooped forward over her shoulders while leaning forward to sew.

"I figure you just make a checklist and it'll go a little bit easier, right? Just learn the steps in order and go with that." Bannik shrugs his shoulders. "It's what I do out of most of the manuals I'm still working out." He moves down the next bird on the checklist, seeing what he can do for it.

"That one there seems like it's right up your alley. Computers systems inside are all shot to hell. I messed around with it a little, mostly just pulling it apart though. That's not my area of expertise though. Got what parts you might be able to use out of the salvage bins already. Hope it helps some, because I don't have any frakkin' clue what to do on the inside of the cockpit…aside from the ejection seat." She shrugs, and goes back to what she does know.

Bannik goes to climb into the cockpit, taking his penlight and shining it inside. "Oh, yeah. This is going to be fun." He hops out of the cockpit and then goes over to the whiteboard, marking himself as the tech working on the bird. "Thanks for going through. If you ever want to talk Electronics sometime, let me know. I figure we're all going to have to work outside our comfort zone. Can't be rigid specialists, you know?"

To demonstrate, Cilusia holds up the flight suit she's working on and shakes it some. "I'm not a rigid specialist," she jokes. Hooray for being way too literal! "But yeah, I get your point. I'm just sucky when it comes to fixing electronics and shit. Give me a turbine or something with some real moving parts and I'm happy."

"Well, then," says Bannik, picking up one of the salvaged parts. "You're not a specialist either. You're a petty officer." He winks over at Cilusia and sighs. "Even the 'new' parts I'm putting in these birds aren't going to make them good as new. Just make them run."

"Running is better than 'sitting here like a frakkin' expensive paperweight' though. I mean, we can load dead birds in the tube and shoot them into space and see what happens, but…the pilots wouldn't appreciate that too much, I don't think. And again, they need to make some sacrifices too, huh? The whole world doesn't revolve around Viper jocks. You wouldn't believe how often I have to fix helmets that get busted from their huge heads and egos though…" Cilusia trails off, smirking and chuckling a little to herself.

"Sadly, though, it /does/ revolve around the pilots. We're just one expensive platform for getting those doofuses into space so they can actually shoot things when they're not busy chasing fleeing Raiders into explosions." Bannik shakes his head as he goes to slide back into the cockpit of the damaged bird, popping open the cockpit's front to do some work there. "Wish they'd just remember that sometimes."

"Hmm, maybe I'm in the wrong damn field, huh? I want the whole frakkin' military to revolve around me…right down to having entire ships devoted to taking advantage of my expertise!" Cilusia faux-pouts, before chuckling. "But nah. Maybe this will teach those jocks a little bit of humility, huh? Not that I don't think what they do is super dangerous and totally unnecessary. Just saying, maybe they should be a little less diva-ish and a little more pilot-ish."

"Yeah. Well. I guess all the complaining in the world won't get the birds fixed, right?" Bannik sighs and slips the pen light into his pocket on his coveralls. "I bet the pilots are doing the same thing about us in their berths."

"Well, whatever. We can't fix them any faster than we can get parts for them. Only difference is that they get to gripe in the berths, and we have to gripe while fixing what they're griping about." Cilusia sighs, and grudgingly sets herself back to work, while letting Bannik do the same. Only way to get those jocks off their back is to get the work done, and they're not going to achieve that by bitching about it, that's for sure!

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