PHD #025: Rumors Are No Fun
Rumors Are No Fun
Summary: Atreus chews out Bannik for spilling the secret of the found jump coordinates.
Date: 23 Mar 2041 AE
Related Logs: Coordinates and Stupid Is As Stupid Does.
Atreus Bannik 
Chief's Office — Hangar Deck — Battlestar Cerberus
Post Holocaust Day: #25
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: 3 - All Clear

The day has been a long one, what with one thing and another. Atreus finished up a few refits, then ducked into his office to catch up on paperwork and submit reports. Fun times. Somewhere in there, he sent a notice to one young man in his crew. Now he has kicked back a little, feet up on the desk and a mug of coffee resting in his hands.

Bannik makes his way into the Chief's Office, closing the door behind him. He can know a ticked off sort of memorandum when he reads one, so he comes to his best parade rest in front of his boss's desk. "You wanted to see me, Chief." It's phrased as a statement rather than a question this time around.

Atreus looks over when a shadow crosses the door, then watches Bannik from out of the corner of his eyes. He does make the young man walk all the way to his desk, make his semi-query and stand there for a while while the chief takes a long, slow sip of coffee. Finally, as the silence grows, the man sets his feet on the floor, one by one. The coffee is abandoned and Atreus folds his hands together, elbows on the desk, "Bannik. I know that you are young, and the young do foolish things. But, we are in a situation now where young is no longer a viable excuse. Now, you have put me in a terrible position. Because of you, I have had to use misdirection and lies of omission with someone I consider a friend." He looks up, his gaze measuring and intense. "Do you have any idea what I am talking about?"

"I can take a few guesses, Chief, but it might be better if you told me straight-up what you're specifically referring to." Bannik keeps his hands locked tightly behind his back, interlacing fingers together for his own support. "So we don't have to beat around the bush or anything." His voice is low, soft, bracing for what comes next.

Atreus says, "I would actually rather hear what you think I am talking about, Crewman. That will let me know what else I have to deal with." While his tone holds a quiet patience, that is edged with disappointment. Standing, he moves to the corner of the desk nearest Bannik and, hitching his slacks a little, leans a hip against it. "We have time."

Bannik takes a deep breath. Well, then. "Is it about the coordinates we found in the Raptor, Chief?" he finally asks, pretty sure he knows what his boss is talking about.

Atreus tilts his head to one side, his tone shifting just a little. The disappointment remains, while the tone softens. "Now, why would I be talking about the coordinates, Crewman?" There is a flash of anger in his gaze and he clasps his hands, resting them on one thigh.

"A lot of rumors are flying around about those coordinates," explains Bannik. "And I'm the one who found the coordinates in the Raptor. So." His voice trails off. Yeah.

Atreus nods slowly, though his look focuses more intently. The man becomes still. So very still. Even his voice, when it comes, is almost uninflected, "And where, prey tell, did anyone hear about the coordinates in the first place? Consider, Crewman, who was there when you found them. Consider, also, the value I place on honesty. Then, once you have had time to weigh your reply, do so."

"Well, it's a big Deck, Chief, and I was pretty loud when I found them. A lot of folks are always around the Deck." Bannik is muddling this through in his head. "But besides that, you mean?"

Atreus nods, "Besides that, yes." His hands tighten a bit, the knuckles going almost white with the tension he is under.

"I. Uh. I spoke to Ensign Apostolos about the coordinates, Chief." And here's the admission. Bannik perhaps realizes there's no use evading it. Or perhaps he's just honest. "Yeah."

Atreus nods, "You did." There is a faint thawing, though the quiet fury remains, "And, tell me, Crewman, why was that a really frak-tarded idea?" He draws a slow breath, then motions to the chair, "Sit, Bannik."

Bannik takes the 'offered' seat. "She just — she was so down, Chief. I can't even really describe it. Like — she was beaten. Like there's nothing left to live for or hope about. And —" His voice trails off, trying to compose his words. "You should have seen her face when I told her, Chief. You should have seen how it just lightened up a little bit. Like she had something to pull for and look forward to." It doesn't really answer the question, but it perhaps explains his thinking.

Atreus nods, "I can understand that, Bannik." By the look in his eyes and the softness of his tone, he is being entirely open, honest, available. "I would want to do the same thing. But, a superior officer told you explicitly not to talk about them. That means, you keep your lip buttoned, no exceptions. Now, think about this. What happens if we go to investigate the coordinates and nothing is there? Or, if we go there and find a next of Cylon? Or, another frakin' graveyard full of dead ships? How is she going to feel?" He keeps his gaze focused on the man seated before him.

"Well, she'll be let down," confesses Bannik. "But then there's something else that gives you hope and you just take it up. Having hope means being disappointed sometimes. But it's better than begin completely hopeless and facing just continuing despair." A beat. "At least according to me. I just — I don't know anymore." He sort of diverts. "I was in the laundry today, you know? Doing my wash. And folks were talking about the Centurion onboard. Even Lieutenant Oberlin was talking about it front of Ensign Apostolos. And I didn't say anything; when the Lieutenant asked if I wanted to look at it, I said I'd have to talk to you. But even Lieutenant Oberlin isn't keeping it buttoned. I just figured that, you know, with the rumors already going around, it wouldn't hurt too bad."

Atreus says, "The Lieutenant has the option of divulging his secrets, Crewman. You and I do not. When he says to keep it quiet, we keep it quiet. Period. If you cannot follow those orders until they are countermanded by the Lieutenant or someone who is above his paygrade, I cannot in good conscience assign you to projects where secrecy is a requirement. That is how it works in the military, but it is especially true now. We are teetering on the brink of extinction as a species, Bannik. To survive, we must trust each other. Must. I must know that when I give you an order, you will follow it to the letter. Unless following it would kill you. If I cannot trust you, we're finished." He inhales, holds the breath, then lets it out. "As for hope? There are a lot of ways to inspire hope, Bannik. Most of them do not require breaking your word."

"Yeah, Chief," murmurs Bannik, dipping his head. "I want to help out however I can, and well — folks seemed happy enough with what I'm doing. I just — if people don't have hope, then they don't have anything out there. They're just sitting out there waiting to die. But I'll — I'll keep my word, Chief. I work for you and for the Deck and I wanted to do what's best for everyone here."

Atreus settles a little, his hands finally releasing their tight grip. "Good. Good. I would be lying if I said that everything is all hunky-dory, Bannik. You broke trust and that will take time to reestablish but I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt so don't disappoint me." Leaning over, he reaches for his coffee and pulls it closer without lifting it. "Hope." His sigh is quiet, easy, "Hope is internal. Like happiness. Yes, you can provide someone a situation that eases their anxiety, but if they're going to succumb to darkness and despair, there is not a frak-ton you can do about it. Other than show by example. If you are not hopeless, that spreads."

"Maybe, Chief. Maybe it's partly internal, but it's also external. You figure there are so many ways to look at things. You can be gloomy and say that this is another dead-end, or you can think that there might be something there, something that's going to make things a little bit easier for us." Bannik sighs. "And if you don't share that outlook with people, if you don't tell them that things might not be so bad if you look at it a different way, then that's something you can do externally. Share what's inside."

Atreus says, "Then share what you can, Bannik. Share what is internal, but don't betray trusts or go against orders. In all honesty, I should take you off the Centurian project because of this." He lifts a hand to tug lightly on one earlobe, tilting his head in the direction of that ear. "You also should think about consequences. As I said before, if we find anything, that gives everyone something to celebrate. But, if we don't? Because you jumped the gun, she could potentially lose faith in you, in me, and in the CAG. By extension, she could lose faith in the Admiral. What does she have then? Because of your frakup, and because I did keep faith with the military, she has every right to think of me as a lying sack of shit when it comes out that we're investigating the coords. I am going to have to swallow that, whatever the outcome. The CAG? She does not even know yet that she could be blindsided by accusations."

That perhaps hits Bannik more than anything. "I didn't mean for that to happen, Chief," he says, apologetically. "You've been good to me, real good for someone right out of A-school, and I didn't mean to get you dragged into this." He clears his throat. "If you need to take me off the Centurion project, I understand, but I'll work real hard on it to show you I'm not some frak-up."

Atreus nods, his gaze level and steady, "I appreciate that, Bannik. You're a good kid and in any other situation, I'd like nothing better than to give you time to grow up. But, humanity no longer has that time. You have to do a lot of growing up right the frak now." He watches the young man and lifts his mug to take a sip of the cooling liquid. When he lowers it, the mug is set to the side, "No. You are gifted with avionics, Bannik. I was not kidding when I said you are about the best I have. Stay on the project, but know that if you disappoint me, I will pull you from it and bust you back to Apprentice." He pauses, but it is only long enough to let that sink in, "Now, I am going to appraise the CAG of what happened. I will express our profound apologies. If Ensign Apostolos accuses the CAG, I want Major Hahn to know what happened. Any questions?"

There's a pause as Bannik lets THAT sink in. "No, Chief. If you need me to — be there and explains it was all me — I'll go with you and explain it. Or if there's anything else you need. I've got most of the birds downgraded to the last-known-good CNP program," explains the crewman. "And I'm waiting on Engineering to let me know when I can get access to the Centurion. But I'm about if you need me."

Atreus quirks a smile that slowly grows to a grin, "Nah, that's okay. This is one of the responsibilities of management. But, thanks." Clearly the storm has broken, in part with that offer. He rises and moves back to his chair and taps open a mail program, "I'll remind the ChEng that we're still waiting on access. The last I heard, they were going to make sure it was inactive before bringing us in. I think they've had enough time with it, though. I'll cc you on it, Bannik. Hopefully, that way one of us will hear."

"Thanks a lot, Chief," says Bannik. "I appreciate not getting my head blown off by one of those things." He takes a deep breath. "Anything else while you've got me here?"

Atreus draws in a breath and nods, "Actually, yes. We will be jumping to investigate those coordinates you found." He looks up and that half smile returns, "I'd like you to be available in case we find something. Seems to me that you should be able to see what we find, if anything." He nods once toward the hatch, "Get going, Bannik. I have paperwork to finish."

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