James awoke to the usual feelings of the last two years of being refreshed and no time having passed since he had just closed his eyes. 0500, huh? My 'standard' three dreamless hours. Then again, I did dream for almost thirty-eight years... He quickly changes into in his PTs and straps on his gunbelt. And all I have to show for it is a three-hour dreamless sleep cycle, freezerburn, my history being so classified that almost everyone who reads my file wants nothing to do with me, a life amongst a population the majority of whom don't understand--or care--about 'The War', and a suitable callsign, courtesy of the infamously-snarky ELINT Raptor crews. He expertly tunes a hand-held military wireless tranceiver to the squadron frequencies, attaches it to his gunbelt, and slips an earbud in his left ear. Let us see what is going on this morning, shall we?
The halls are quite deserted as he steps out of his quarters. Half-crew, and my Senior Instructor/Master Trainer/Liaison orders, got me a birthing compartment to myself. Of course, if I didn't sleep as little--and deeply--as I do, sharing the left compartment wall with Electronics Shop 1, the right with the largest head on the deck, and the back wall with the Armory would make my quarters a great deal less pleasant. Still, no surprise that in a ship with space to spare in berthing that no one wanted to bunk in it besides me. He walks into Electronics Shop 1--a common haunt of his compared to the hangar-dedicated Electronics Shop 2--and performs a quick inspection to make sure everything was still in place. He stops as he notices something--two somethings--that are pink, frilly, and definitely not shop-issue on top of one of the cabinents. Again, Dargien? Is that girl trying to shake the tree of everyone not legally forbidden on this ship? Of course, given that she keeps it out of work, within the regulations, and is competent, I can't really fault her...and during the war, I was the only one not doing the same damn thing. Maybe the recruiters need to try 'The Fleet, Where ALL of the Action is Fast, Hot, and Heavy'? He shakes his head as he closes the shop hatch behind him, then turns towards the rest of Crew Berthing and begins a slow, steady jog.
I do miss being able to actually run, though. He passes through the majority of Crew Berthing, taking 15 minutes to do what he knew the Marines did in 5...and feeling the familiar mild pain in every fiber of his being. As he approaches the boundary between the Fleet and Marine sections of the Meleager, he spots a familiar Electronics Specialist trying to very quickly and discretely place boots back inside the quarters she was leaving. James smiles slightly as he sees the compartment number, then stops a short distance behind the still-groggy Specialist Lacy Dargein and composes his face in its normal neutral 'glare'. This is going to be slightly entertaining. His deadpan voice--quiet although stern--suddenly coming from behind her causes her to jump a little and quickly spin to face him.
"Specialist, I believe you have personal property in the shop. Try to make sure you retrieve it before everyone else is on-shift; I run a professional shop." He looks her in the eyes, letting none of his inner humor show, and gives her points for levelly meeting his gaze...despite the blush on her cheeks. "Carry on, Specialist." He resumes his steady jog, although he hears her mutter a few quiet, choice oaths as her footsteps quickly accelerate back towards Electronics Shop 1 once he is around the bend. Let the little embarassment to be a lesson to her; after all, I am not going to let anyone under me suffer public embarassment without a damn good reason. He shakes his head as he finally reaches Marine Berthing, then stops as he realizes that none of the Marines were out finishing their morning run with the sprint and cooldown laps he normally joins them on. That is odd...
He hears the sounds of a familiar thick Aerelon accent faintly echoing from the open door of the Troop Bay. Wonder what has SSGT Burke going? As he walks up to the open door, he begins to make out what the Staff Sergeant was saying. An inspection? Did one of the Marines somehow draw the XO's ire on them...again? As he looks inside, he both clearly understands exactly what Burke is saying and sees that every single one of the Meleager's small Marine Contingent were inside. They are carefully checking over each others' full kit as SSGT Burke strolls amongst them, his corrections and admonishments easily carrying throughout the compartment in a thick Aerelon drawl. James quickly withdraws, snapping an abbreviated but respectful salute to the veteran NCO. Thankfully only Burke saw me, what with all of his Marines facing away from the door. Good thing I took efforts to get to know him as soon--and with as much respectf--as possible. Another lesson of the war: make sure the Marines like you enough to take decent risks saving your ass. James shakes his head as he resumes jogging; he had accomplished that goal by spending time on the range with the Marines, teaching them several tricks they could use, and always buying at least two beers for all them when possible. With no Marines to wear me out, looks like I am going to have to do a long lap. Hell, it's only 0533; I have plenty of time. I feel for those Marines, although I can't blame Burke for having them already starting his notoriously-thorough 'pre'-inspections. Damn, I thought that Third was arriving tomorrow...
James then hits one of the major passageways around the ship's perimeter and heads aft at his highest sustainable jogging speed. He tunes out the slightly increased pain coming from his body by focusing on the Meleager around him and the wireless traffic coming through his earpiece. Let's go see what the snipes are up to this morning...And if they need anything computerized worked on today...
A half-hour later, right after passing the Missile Magazines, James finally hears the announcement that heralds the start of most of the actually interesting--and usually entertaining--wireless traffic he has listened to since being assigned to the 24th Viper Training Squadron. He recognizes the tired voices of both--relatively attractive--communications operators on both ends as Constallation-shift personnel; he has worked with--and given a few tips--to both of them during his two months in 'exile'.
Echidna Flight Control, this is Meleager, request clearance for Flight Operations in Erebos Flight Range.
Meleager, Echidna Flight Control, you are Cleared for Flight Operations in Erebos Flight Range. Break. Two-Four Training Squadron, Echidna Flight Control: Be advised that Meleager is now conducting Flight Operations in Erebos Flight Range. Break. Erebos Flight Range is now Status Red and Release is Granted for training munitions. We say again, Erebos Flight Range is now Hot and Flight Operations are now Active; all ships contact Echidna Flight Control for additional flight clearance, weapons release, or range status changes. Echinda Flight Ops clear.
Copy, Flight Control.
James briefly smiles as he starts jogging his return path, choosing to wind through the center of Meleager. Well, let us see what fun message traffic we have today... Fifteen minutes later, he casaully salutes a groggy Lieutenant suddenly exiting CIC as he dodges around her. "Morning Ma'am!" Her reply was lost as he rounds the bend and runs as hard as he can through the relatively 'bendy' passageways between him and the long hallway in front of his quarters. I think I startled her; and if she is that new Lieutenant we got last week, than she must be the Constellation Officer of the Watch at the moment. It certainly looks like she had a long night from how worn out she looks. Of course, if she was relieved, that means either Captain 'More Frakkin Discipline' Fenq or The Major have the Watch; wonder which one was up first today? James slows to a moderate walk, carefully taking long strides to cool down AND stretch his muscles, as he enters the corridor in front of his quarters. Hopefully The Major will be up by the time I stop by CIC to report, since if not, I will end up sharing the CIC with 'More Martinet' Fenq until she gets there. I know we had our share of needlessy hard-assed leadership during the war, but I swear that man is aiming to be the Fleet definition of 'Hard-Assed Mother-Fracker'. At least I do not report to HIM every morning. James shakes his head, then checks his chronometer as he steps back into his quarters.
0643. I think I managed to shave a couple minutes off of my 'perimeter run' time; still makes me wish for when I could still seriously run. I'm only thirty; I am sure the frack not supposed to feel this old and worn. He pauses momentarily to listen as 'Riptide', 'Killer', and 'Artemis' launch from the Meleager. Oh, as usual, that is going to be fun to listen to. James quickly grabs his tolietry kit and a towel, and then heads into the head next door. He nods to a few 'early-risers' from Alpha Shift, and then quickly performs his personal hygiene. I am probably the only person in this entire Squadron who regularly wears a gunbelt over my towel to walk less than five meters from the head to my room because they refuse to be more than an arm's reach from their sidearm. Of course, I am not having a repeat of when the fracking Cylons cut through the Chiron's hull right into the head I happened to be showering in. Thank whichever Gods, God, or Whatever that they didn't think to check the showers...that time, at least. Those poor pilots on the Warden were not as lucky as me...I was fracking lucky during the war. He quickly and efficiently changs into his flight suit, re-securing all of his gear over it before grabbing his clipboard and leaving for CIC. 0658, Damn. As he re-traces his run route towards the CIC, he finds his way blocked by a detail shifting supplies. These guys won't have the cross-traffic cleared for another ten to fifteen, minimum. Damn!
He turns around and quickly passes through Marine Berthing, noting that all of the Marines are absent; he shrugs, and proceeds through into the passage that will eventually take him to Hangar Deck Hatch 2. He rapidly ducks down the first available cross-corridor as he notes the passageway's occupants and hears the transmissions to and from Raptor Two-Zero-Four. I get along as well with SSGT Burke as an extremely senior Fleet Petty Officer can with a senior Marine Staff Sergeant, but if I disrupt the welcoming inspection of his new Lieutenant, he is going use me for target practice...and I could not even blame him. James takes a right and heads down the passageway to Hangar Deck Hatch 2. Wonder if we should just let 'Killer' and 'Artemis' go at each other with live ammunition NOW, or keep seeing if they will ever get past their damned rivalry and focus on the important mission of DEFENDING THE FRACKING COLONIES. I really, really miss the days when all such issues were forgotten about--in public, at least--by almost everyone...of course, I don't wish another desperate defense against genocidal robots to come back. I just wish this generation would notice the fact that the Cylons are not gone, just quietly sitting in their own corner! I would use the normal 'Pilots!', but since I have Wings, I know that is not fracking true. He passes through the hatch onto the hangar deck of the Meleager, and quickly assesses his surroundings as he continues towards the hatch on the far side of the hangar that will allow him to continue to CIC.
He passes around the crowd of Nuggets, showing no outward notice of their curious looks at his flight suit's patches and insignia. The instructing senior pilot catches sight of the flight-suited figure passing to his left and turns towards James. He thinks I am a tardy Nugget. I keep forgetting that since I arrived in the middle of Constellation shift two weeks ago, almost none of the crew has seen me in my flight suit. He stops, turns towards the pilot, and snaps off a smooth, well-worn salute. "Good morning Sir, Ladies and Gentlemen." The senior pilot answers James' salute with a surprised, somewhat sloppy, salute and a dawning light of recognition in his eyes.
"Good morning, First Class Mundy." The senior pilot looks notably confused. "Are you here to join the class...?"
"No sir. And by all means, call me 'Morpheus' when I am in the flight suit, Sir. Sorry for momentarily disrupting your class." James resumes walking, only to be stopped by a deckhand as a Raptor--Two-Oh-Four, if I am reading its markings right--trundles out of an airlock and directly across his intended path. It is 204. I might as well see the new Marine Third anyway, since his arrival has delayed me. Maybe my damned Portable Cyberwarfare Suite will have finally gotten shipped out here and be aboard as well. At least it is not my ass, since it was in Depot Storage, if they lose it. And deities know that I don't need the 4-million-plus credit bill if they have lost it. He shifts to just within hearing distance as he spots SSGT Burke standing at parade rest, and then quickly starts 'inspecting' a handy piece of targetting electronics from a Viper Mk.VIa4 sitting nearby that still allows him a discrete line of sight on the Raptor and the Staff Sergeant. He watches as salutes and greetings are exchanged, and manages to catch part of their conversation as they duck through a hatch and towards the waiting Marines.
Smart enough to relegate formalities to their appropriate place, seek his senior NCO's advice, and have done at least a little information collection before arriving. There is potential there. And, alas, no Portable Cyberwarfare Suite aboard that Raptor. Time to get to the CIC. "Sir?" James turns towards the understandably confused Senior Deckhand that had just walked up behind him. "Is there a problem with this component, Sir?" James narrows his eyes at the Deckhand. Given the rarity of Enlisted Flight Crew--and especially Enlisted Flight Wings--these days in the Fleet, I should not be surprised...but when did the Fleet stop teaching crew to read a person's FRACKING RANK before addressing them?
"First Class, Senior Deckhand, First Class. I actually work very, very hard for a living, and would like to be addressed as such." At the deckhand's clear confusion, James continues the educational lecture. "See the patches?" James rotates each should in sequence so that the deckhand can see both patches. "I am a--very--veteran Cyberwarfare Specialist who is-" James points to the rank and Enlisted Flight Wings on his caller "-both an NCO and Flight-Qualified." At the young woman's look of comprehension, James continues speaking in a level tone of voice. "Any questions on this quick instructional briefing, courtesy of Petty Officer First Class Mundy, Senior Deckhand?" James slightly raises his left eyebrow at the deckhand, internally amused at the sudden drop in traffic passing behind the young woman.
"No, First-Class Mundy!" James drops the eyebrow, widens his eyes to a slightly sympathetic look, and nods at her.
"Good, Senior Deckhand. And since we have established that, you will--and pass it along--call me 'Morpheus' while I am in a flight suit. It is quicker, less officious sounding, and much, much easier for you all to remember admidst all the other people you have to deal with on a daily business. Carry on." James spins on his heel and resumes his travels to the CIC. As he walks, he can hear the deckhands quietly start discussing his actions as they continue working. Not quiet enough, but I see no reason to bust their chops any further. That deckhand only got 'The Speech' because it was the quickest way to get the message out across the ships' enlisted and to--hopefully establish that I am exacting but reasonable. Now if I can just get to the fracking CIC, not have to deal with Captain fracking Fenq, and get his planned EVA training-and-maintenance operations for today finally approved. It is definitely time to get some time 'in the black', since it has been a good six weeks since I last was in microgravity OR death pressure...and I need the peace.
He shakes his head as hears the two nearest deckhands comparing him to Fenq. Really? I am pretty sure Fenq never killed anyone accidentally due to a difference in protocol--or intentionally, for that matter--and I am consistently diappointed in large chunks of the modern Fleet. Next one of the senior pilots--or better yet, the CAG--WILL actually mistake me for a Nugget and attempt to order me to take a Raptor out for combat maneuvering practice. James shook his head as he finally arrived at the CIC hatch. And now we REALLY start my day going...