PHD #314: Overworked, Underpaid
Overworked, Underpaid
Summary: Mark pays Damon a visit and talks about how their crews are riding the burnout line.
Date: 06 Jan 2042 AE
Related Logs: None.
Damon Mark 
Chief's Office - Hangar Deck - Battlestar Cerberus
Post-Holocaust Day: #314
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.
Condition Level: 2 - Danger Close

Requests, reports, and write-ups dominate Damon's office, especially following the launch tube incident the other day. The Chief is obscured from view by the comically high pile of paperwork on his desk which is sorted into five separate piles. His door is left open, indicating that he's available for anyone to walk in to talk. He's made a point of leaving his door open and inviting anyone to come speak to him at any time - the Deck crew needs support now more than ever.

Its barely half a second between a rap of knuckles on the door and Mark arriving. If the Chief hasn't met this guy yet, its one helluva first impression. The man, devoid of rank, is in one of the orange jumpsuits usually reserved for enlisted and he is covered in carbon trade from nearly head to toe. The only way to tell the guy is white is by some of the sweat wipes from his brow, chin, and nose. There's cuts and scrapes across his face as he peels gloves off his hands. At least those look moderately clean. "Are you Chief Damon?" the man asks, lifting his chin towards the man bunkered by paperwork. "If that's you, I need a few minutes of your time to get some things straightened out."

Damon peeks out from behind his paper fortress looking puzzled. "I… am," he replies, rolling his chair sideways to get out from behind the desk and getting on his feet. "I'm afraid I don't know who you are, though. Or it's possible that I do, just not when you're…" He gestures at Mark from head to toe. "Anyway. What can I straighten out for you?"

"Oh- OH. Shit, yeah. Sorry, Chief." Mark searches throug ha few pockets and finally digs out a set of Lieutenants pins and haphazardly attaches them. "Mark Makinen. I'm sort of filling in for Captain Gabrieli while he's down for repairs. Colonel Back-ass-woods brought me over here from my Praetorian to help advise and run DC teams. As you can see?" He flaps his arms out and looks down at himself. "I've been at it." His right hand swings out towards Damon as if offering to shake his. "You got some damned fine people doing an impossible job, Chief. Workin' some hellacious hours, though. Wanted to hit a few points. Namely, I got some manpower concerns. I also got some project junk you ain't going to believe. When you hear what I- well, WE got tossed, you might decide to take a deadblow to some particular brassy Colonel's jawline. Which one you want first?"

"Oh!" Damon straightens up a bit and offers a salute. It's a little half-hearted; the Chief is clearly exhausted and protocol is not at the top of his priorities list right now. "I've heard your name thrown about quite a bit there, El-Tee, good to finally put a face to the name. What I can see of your face, anyway." He steps forward and shakes the offered hand. "Thanks for that compliment, they've been doing the best they can. We all have, really." Stepping back, he gestures toward the little plastic seat facing his desk. "Have a seat if you like, El-Tee." Damon reclaims his chair and starts rearranging the paperwork on his desk off to the sides. Now they form a sort of tunnel between him and Mark. "Let's hear about the manpower concerns, 'cause… well, it's something I've been thinking about with no real solution."

Mark waves off the salute. "Stow it. We've got bigger problems than worrying about kickin rank. Besides, it was Petty Officer a long time ago. Work the Deck on the Volans. They tossed me these pins because I picked up a doctorate between then and now. Dumbasses will figure out their mistake eventually." There's a particularly feral element to the man's smile, made worse by the grime and dirt all over his face. "If its all good, keep your seat. Last thing you need is me dumping a bunch of black crap all over your office." He stuffs those hands in his pockets after shaking Damon's hand. "Alright, manpower. Look, I came to you because you've got more experience with this. I had to break up a fight this morning and another yesterday. I've got slipshod work passing for what should be simple soldering. Whoever the frak decided pushing eighteen hour shifts on Engineering and Deck? I've frakkin had it." The man looks serious. "We can't keep this up. My boys and girls are at the end. Something has got to give and I'm afraid more people are going to get killed if we don't get these people some time off and I mean yesterday. Thinking of saying exactly that, but maybe a little more verbose, to the Colonel's face. Thoughts?"

Damon drums his fingers on the desk. "The Deck's officially running twelve-hour shifts with five on, one off, six on, two off. With handover, that's a minimum thirteen hour shift… and a lot of people stay longer to finish up what they're working on before they go. We've got fatigue and strain - I mean, I don't need to say it, one of my guy threw himself on a Viper and killed himself and the pilot." His head sinks into his hand, and he rubs his face with a sigh. "Job's gotta get done. Mission before self and all that nonsense from the leadership manual. Honestly, El-Tee? What we need is for everyone to get a full night's rest for at least two days in a row, but I just don't see that happening. We're lending people to help repair Decks 10 and 11, the Areion is getting most of our damaged birds, and half my crew is working on their days off due to special projects that need continual attention. Where is there room for a break in all that?"

Mark shakes his head, lifting a hand out into the air as if to say 'I have no idea'. "Mission before self and all that crap? That theory can kiss my rich white ass. You and I know damned well that if we keep this up, there won't be a mission because all our people will be too shot to perform. I've got people falling asleep on welding jobs. People forgetting airlock procedures. Basic stuff. Forget complex tasking and projects." The Lietuenat makes a pbbth sound and looks away. "That's a hilarious pipe dream. I'm going on some scrap metal search today to find parts for the FTL. We get the FTL working, I'm ordering a forty-eight hour stand down for Engineering and they can brig me for it. We can't get it working, twenty-four. If this were the private sector, the company would either be sued or the employees would have gone on strike. Probably both. Life and death like this.. I won't do that to these people. Welcome to join for your teams. I'm only posting minimal essential personnel during the stand down. Including myself."

Damon looks like he's rather hesitant on this idea. "We can push the Deck down to minimum manning, but that wouldn't actually be too many fewer hands than what we're running right now, we're so short and damaged. The best I could do is break it up into three eight-hour rotations and try to give the crew some decent sleep time, but that would mean I'd have to cancel the days off. Well, actually, we'd probably still be able to do one day off a week." But from the twist of his lips, this doesn't seem like a much better idea to him. "I know what you're saying, El-Tee. Burnout don't help nobody. But if we reduce personnel on the Deck, we can't even maintain regular CAP unless Areion wants to take over all our duties. And if we pull people from helping Engineering out, you guys will burn up at an even faster rate. We just gotta get Cerberus back on her feet so we can get to a safe zone, even just for a couple days, so people can rest."

Mark steels his jaw and looks around. The man is angry and its just bubbling through now. "Fair enough. Wait til you hear this next part, though." He lifts his other hand and points off into space towards where he probably imagines the Areion is. "Colonel Riederer. I'm in some excuse for a tactical meeting the other night and she tells me that as soon as we are done, we have to retrofit every ship and Raptor in the fleet with some kind of amplifier system on the double so we can increase the range of its gun system." The hand drops, slapping against his side. "Even if we get this bitch jumping again, we don't get a break. I about clocked her on the spot."

Colonel who? Damon know he should know that name, but he's coming up completely blank. But given what Mark says, he can make a pretty solid assumption on who she is - or at least, what her position is. "That… I don't know about," he says hesitantly. "Getting Cerberus back into jump shape, sealing the hull breaches, yes. Raptor upgrades for the networked ECM capabilities, well…" He makes a juggling gesture with his hands. "I really feel like that can wait until the Deck crew can recover a bit and deal with the recent loss, y'know?"

"I hear you, El-Tee." Besides that, what is there that Damon can say? They all know - Command included - that if they continue at this rate, they'll start making fatal mistakes. "You mentioned something about projects too, earlier - or was that the thing about the Raptor upgrades?" he asks, sitting back in his seat. "We're having a hell of a time just keeping up with the special projects we've got on the go at the moment, and I'll probably call a stop-drop on them for now until people are back on their game."

"Yeah." Mark finally deflates. "And you can just call me Mark or whatever. I've been wearing this uniform again since Leonis and it still feels weird. We'll probably be working together a lot more, anyway." He wipes a hand over his face and swipes a good amount of grime. "I ran into this gal I've got, Wolfe, said there were a bunch of projects underway but she didn't want to talk about them since I'm not domestic to this crew." Its a hefty shrug that finds his shoulders. "I've worked on a lot of different crap in the last fifteen years. If you need me for something, just let me know. The project I mentioned was the Raptor and ship thing. We're supposed to drum up some way to boost this gun system the Areion's got. I guess their Chief Engineer has a theory about it. We'll see. I don't even want to hear it until I can get a few hours rack."

"I can't sleep even when I get time off," Damon admits with a shrug. "So I might as well be working. Wolfe, that'd be Sofie - er, Sofia. She's a good girl and a great snipe, it might just take her a bit to warm up to you, I guess. As for projects off the top of my head, we're working on reverse-engineering some Cylon technology and trying to clear the Hammerfall Missile for actual use. On top of working on the Viper 7.5 upgrades and the networked ECM upgrades, of course. I'll let the SMEs and project leaders come talk to you about those if you're interested… Mark." It's not like he's never called an officer by his first name before, but it feels a bit weird. "I'm Andreas, by the way. Whichever's easier for you."

"I know the feeling. I picked up insomnia during my first undergrad degree. I get maybe two hours a night and a thirty minute nap on my lunch. Workaholic deluxe. Good to know about Sofia, though." When Damon starts listing off the projects, his arms cross and he shifts the weight to his right leg. "Sounds like a lot. Well I'm not sure where you're at with any of that or what the hell a Hammerfall is, but I'll list my shit off." He takes a breath. "Got two undergrads. One in Systems Integration, the other in Astrophysics. Did my Masters work on Naval Patform Design and did Doctoral work on Networks. Worked for Denniger-Gram," one of the largest naval vessel contractors, if not THE, "doing a lot of work. Started out doing basic shipboard design for them. Mostly on the Praetorian. After I did my Astro degree I came back and they kicked me up. I was the final systems consultant for the Praetorian's missile and navigation packages. Oversaw a lot of other junk with their structural design and armor systems, too." Mark sounds like he's had to say that enough times in his life. "You tell me where I can help with where your projects stand and I'll do what I can. For now, though, I'm just trying to eek by. People aren't my strong point so managing a department like I'm trying is a little like trying to drive a car drunk and blindfolded in a windstorm."

"Did that during A-School," Damon says with a grin. "So far, I think you're driving better than I was. Not that you need me to tell you this, but you've definitely got a lot of knowledge and experience we could use for some of our projects. If you don't mind, I'll ask the project leaders to get in touch with you about the work they're doing. After we all get some rest, of course. I can barely keep track of what's what anymore, my mind feels all foggy even though I stopped feeling tired a long time ago."

Mark barks out a laugh at the claim from A-School. "Amen. Well hell man, from everything I've heard? I wish I had a tenth of what you're giving off. It sounds like all your people love you." The man shakes his head and paces. "Sure thing. Just have them talk to me about whatever, whenever. If I don't get back to them right away, just tell them to go headhunting for me. I tend to get tunnel vision about some things down there in Engineering. And as a personal disclaimer? I make no promises." He flashes a grin. "Anyhow, I'll get out of your hair. When this crap is over, though? You 'n me over at Pete's for some booze swillin. I need a quart of ambrosia like this ship needs a working FTL." He waggles his brow and takes a step for the door. "Unless there's anything else you need, Andreas?"

"I'll do you one better than that," Damon says with a crooked grin. "See, we got a machine for, uh, making paint thinner that has a tendency to create something else altogether when fed the right ingredients. It's been taken offline while we're at Condition 2, but once we're out of it…" He shrugs nonchalantly. "Anything can happen, right?" He stands as Mark steps toward the door. "Nothing else off the top of my head. Thanks. If I think of anything, I'll come hunting for you."

"I go blind, you're the one that has to explain it to Colonel Redneck," Mark retorts shaking a finger once at Damon, grinning. "Sounds like a plan. I'll let you know what that guy says about my request, too. Stay frosty, hoss." Mark snaps his fingers and turns for the door, disappearing down the hangar deck and dodging Vipers as they move.

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