|jake_mackenzie (jake_mackenzie) wrote in kobols_legacies,|
@ 2008-01-19 11:20:00
|Current location:||Hanger Deck, Avalon|
|Entry tags:||(c) jake mackenzie, (c) rhys gaither, (l) avalon|
Back on Track
[Note: Takes place a few days after Choices]
Jake made his way down to the hanger deck, the box containing a Chief Petty Officer's insignia in his pocket. He'd wanted to do this with Kobe at his side as well, since the other officer actually had direct day to day authority over Avalon's Airgroup, but a good opportunity for the two men to present together hadn't occurred and the task needed doing. Gaither's section had been without a Chief Petty Officer since the Cylon attack the previous week and the next senior man lacked that formal authority that a Chief possessed.
He spotted Gaither standing next to another crewman, looking over an engine that had been pulled from a Viper for repair, and made his way over toward them.
"All right, this shouldn't be too complicated," Rhys said, examining the engine that had been extracted to pinpoint the problem. "Sometimes things jar loose at high speeds, it might just need to be re-calibrated. Hand me that wrench, will ya? And hold that light steady so I can get a good look."
He was just about to set to work when the crewman next to him poked him lightly in the ribs with an elbow, and when he looked up the other man made a 'look there' gesture with his head. Rhys turned, then straightened up when he saw Colonel MacKenzie headed in their direction. The wrench was placed back on the movable workbench so that he could salute, his posture straightening to half-attention.
"Sir," he said politely. Things might be more relaxed as far as regulations went these days, but showing proper respect towards an officer never went by the wayside. "Is there something I can do for you this afternoon?"
"A word in private, Mr. Gaither," Jake replied as he returned the salute, not giving away his reason for coming down to the deck. The Colonel gestured to an area out of the way, a parking berth for a Viper currently out on CAP. He was almost looking forward to the noncom's reaction, and he intended to sweat the man just a little.
It wasn't that Jake had a cruel streak, but Gaither had taken an active pilot out of circulation for at least a year at a time when they needed every experienced pilot they could get their hands on. Yes the regs were more forgiving than they would have been before the exodus, but that didn't mean Jake had forgotten the matter entirely.
Rhys blinked. He hadn't been called 'Mr.' anything in so long that it sounded strange to his ears, and when he looked at his fellow mechanic the other man shrugged and shook his head, giving him a look that said 'you're on your own, buddy.' The noncom returned the look with one that said 'thanks a lot', then cleared his throat and said, "All right, take over here. I'll be back in a few minutes. Try not to weld yourself to anything while I'm gone, huh?"
He indicated a more private area, where some empty crates had been set aside for breakdown and disposal, thought about sitting, then decided to stand. If the Colonel invited him to sit, then he would, but this was clearly not a social call. As it was, he remained at half-attention, his hands hanging loose and open at his sides.
"You wanted to speak to me alone, Sir? I know inspections are coming up soon, and I think we're prepared for it."
Jake let him stand there halfway at attention for a moment, saying nothing as he examined the other man. Gaither had the respect of the deck crews, but that respect would only get him so far. "You had better be, wouldn't want to think you were slacking off now that Lieutenant Kypros has domesticated you. Especially not now that you're the senior man in your section."
He looked over the other man's shoulder toward the rest of the deck and the crewmembers working off in the distance. "How has everyone handled Chief Troy's death? He was a good man."
The mechanic's posture had straightened a little more at the mention of 'Lieutenant Kypros', and he coughed quietly. "No slacking off here, Colonel," he told MacKenzie, using the rank deliberately. Was that an implication? He didn't like implications. He was a damned good mechanic, and he knew his job.
"And yes sir, Chief Troy was a good man, one of the best mechanics I ever worked with. We've had to spread the work out among the crew to make up for the loss and keep things running smoothly. I attended his memorial service. He'll be missed, both as a fellow crewmember and as a person." Behind him, there was the loud clang of tools being dropped, but Rhys ignored it.
"I guess I've been holding things together down here as well as can be expected. These are good people I'm working with, and if we ever needed to pull together its now." Careful pause, then; "There hasn't been an issue, has there, Sir? We are short-handed, its true, but short-handed isn't the same thing as letting things slide."
"There has been one issue, Gaither," Jake let his tone grow cooler, even though it took an effort to keep a straight face. It was cruel of him to get the petty officer worked up over nothing, but at the same time it was only fair given that the man had taken out of circulation one of his better and more experienced pilots.
"Get your people together, I have an announcement to make and only want to do it once."
Now look here, Rhys thought, clamping down on his annoyance as he started a slow burn. There was a reason he didn't spend much time up top, and this was part of it. Like he needed some officer to come down and tell him his job. He turned towards the rest of the crew where they labored at their respective tasks and clapped his hands together to get their attention.
"All right, people," he said in a clipped voice. "The Colonel has something to say, and I'm sure he's a very busy man. Let's not have him waste more time down here than he needs to, please. Everyone over here."
The other mechanics slowly abandoned their stations, forming a ragged circle near where the other two men stood. Several muttered conversations took place in the interval, and Rhys held himself at that half-attention pose, reminding himself about why it would be a bad idea to snap as he turned back towards MacKenzie.
Jake was smiling broadly now, no doubt confusing Gaither to no end after the conversation they'd just had. "Everyone gather round, as Petty Officer Gaither said I don't have a lot of time but I wanted to handle this personally."
He removed a piece of paper from his pocket and unfolded it, then looked around at the deck crew again. "I know things have been rough dealing with Chief Troy's death, and that everyone has been wondering who would be tapped to fill his spot. I'm pleased to announce we've come to a decision."
He cleared his throat and then called everyone to attention before he read. "Effective this date, Petty Officer First Class Gaither, Rhys H., is hereby promoted to the rank of Chief Petty Officer with all the rights and duties this entails." Jake pulled out the jeweler's box containing the rank insignia of a CPO.
"Congratulations Chief Gaither!"
Confused and a little suspicious on top of being annoyed, Rhys had listened in silence as Colonel MacKenzie made his announcement, and as it started to sink in his posture lost that hint of tension. Promoted. He was being promoted. He looked at the still closed box, his brow furrowing with thought, and he reached out with one uncertain hand to take the object from the officer.
"Th-thank you, Sir," he said in a low voice, wishing suddenly that Dani was there to see this. And he'd badly misjudged both the situation and the Colonel, which embarrassed him. He cleared his throat, looking down at the box in his hands. "This is...its an honor that someone would even suggest I could replace Chief Troy. I don't know what to say, I guess."
He fumbled with the box, almost dropping it in his sudden flustered state. There were murmurs of congratulations from the deck crew, a few slaps on the back. He straightened up again so that he could salute the Colonel properly. "Thank you, Sir. I'll do my best to uphold the standards Chief Troy set for us."
"I'll expect no less of you, Chief," Jake replied, returning the other man's salute. His grin turned a bit evil and he gestured to the insignia on Rhys's coveralls. "You're out of uniform, Chief, I think we'll have to do something about that."
The Colonel turned toward the nearby hatch where he'd arranged to have a special guest observe the proceedings from a spot where she could safely make her way out onto the deck. "Lieutenant Kypros, front and center!" He called out, and a visibly emotional Dani Kypros waddled out toward the assembled group, dressed in the extra large olive drab fatigues that were the only uniform able to fit around her swollen form these days.
She reached Rhys's side in front of the Colonel and saluted. "Lieutenant Kypros reporting as ordered sir."
"Lieutenant, your fiance is out of uniform. Fix it." Jake ordered, returning the salute.
"Yes sir," Dani turned to her intended with a broad smile and a sparkle in her eyes. "You're going to have to bend down, Chief." She told him, taking the box out of his hands. "I don't think I'll be able to reach around otherwise."
Now. Now this moment was perfect, and Rhys' large hands released the box into Dani's care before he bent down far enough for her to be able to reach his shirt front. It must have been a chore for her to get herself here in time. He'd rub her feet later, both her feet and her back.
"I love you," he said, so quietly that he couldn't be overheard. They were going to need the extra money when the children were born. He could feel a lump forming in his throat, and he swallowed past it, feeling happy and complete.
"I love you too," she replied softly, pressing her middle against him as she reached up to remove the old insignia and pin the new ones. Her eyes misted up and she was very self conscious, feeling the eyes of the deck crew on them both as her fingers deftly performed their task. A camera flash went off as she finished, but she managed to ignore it as she smiled up at him.
"I've never kissed a Chief Petty Officer before," she declared mischievously, and pulled him down by his shirt to bring his lips to hers, to the sounds of hoots and hollers from the assembled deck crewmen.
Jake chuckled and waited until the Lieutenant had her kiss to make his presence known again. "Congratulations Chief," he offered his hand to the freshly promoted NCO. "The promotion will be probationary for the next thirty days, but I think that's going to be a mere formality in this case as long as you keep up the level of effort we've seen out of you and your section."
"Thank you, Sir. I won't let you down." Rhys offered his own hand in acceptance, and when the handshake was finished he looked down at Dani and grinned boyishly. This was going to call for a celebration of some kind, maybe a nice dinner when they went over to the Shangri-La for the tourney. An occasion like this deserved to be noted.
"I'll get someone to go back with you if you need it," he offered. "It must have been hard enough getting down here the first time, the walk back shouldn't have to be as difficult. Want some help?"
Dani nodded at the Colonel as Jake left the deck, something she needed to do as well. The deal had been that she would come down to pin the insignia on Rhys's uniform and then remove herself from the deck shortly thereafter so the clock was ticking for her to get off the deck.
She shook her head, amused at her fiancé's suggestion. Rhys was sweet but sometimes Dani wondered where his brain went to when it came to her condition. "Can they carry the babies for me while I walk back to the office? That's the only thing that's going to help." The young woman leaned against him, taking comfort in the strong body against hers. "I'll be all right, Rhys. I'll just take my time going back." It was getting very tiring walking any kind of long distance these days but it couldn't be helped, she'd just have to pace herself.
Dani arched her neck to look up at him. "I was thinking...what if we requested two days leave after the tournament and got married over on Shangri-La?" They hadn't planned any big ceremony, but she had asked the Reverend Mother if she would officiate when the time came. Dani wouldn't be able to actually attend all the games but would be there when she wasn't at work, if she volunteered to work a few extra shifts before the tournament started hopefully Jilleen wouldn't mind her taking two days off to get married. "There's enough time to send notes letting our friends know when and where the ceremony will take place, and I can ask Bethany if she can arrange to get us a good location for the ceremony and a room to stay the night in afterward."
Rhys gave that some thought, then nodded. "Sounds good to me. The sooner the better, as far as I'm concerned." One of his big hands flattened against Dani's pregnant belly, and he leaned down for another quick kiss before reluctantly pulling away from her.
"I'll try to catch up with you at chow time, but I'll get a note to you if I decide to have a few beers here first." He gestured towards the other crewmembers, who had started to drift away back to their tasks after a few more congratulations. His crew now. That meant he had something to work towards, something to live up to. Big shoes to fill.
Kind of like being back home with his dad.
"All right, folks, let's get back on track!"