2237-06-04 - Brick by Brick

Kell meets with Eva to go over phase one of his redesigned comms SOP.

Date: 2237-06-04

Location: ready Room, //Vanguard//

Related Scenes: None

Plot: None

Scene Number: 1082

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Since Kell was not involved in any heavy drinking on the beach yesterday, he had no problem returning to the Vanguard. Then that is where he sees the crew preparing for departure again and scuttlebutt saying that they are heading to Picon next, a definite hotspot with heavy fighting against the Cylons ever since the Fall of Hyperion. That means the young Ensign is in the Ready Room first thing in the morning, checking to see if it is occupied or not, and when finding that the room is free for now, he's back hard at work on the modification of the pre-flight checklist procedures for the taskforce communications. After occupying two desks like he usually does, Kell sends a message to Captain Thorne, to see if she was free and if she was, if she was willing to meet in the Ready Room. When she arrives, she would find Razor standing over his notepad at the desk, crossing something out on a list of items he has written down.

Captain Thorn was indeed free, having missed the beachside festivities entirely, pulling both a normal CAP and an Alert Five to allow people as much time for the festivities as possible. So it's probably likely that she's had barely more than a handful of stolen hours of sleep in the past twenty-four. If that is the case, however, she doesn't show it, arriving not long after Kell's summons. There is some concession to downtime, however, as she's wearing, not a flight suit or sweats, but her duty greens, "You wanted to see me, Razor?"

Kell is in his duty blues as usual when focused on tasks that involve paperwork or non-physical duties on board the Vanguard though at this point, the top two buttons have become undone. When Eva enters the Ready Room, the young pilot looks up immediately and stands a bit more to attention. No salute is offered but he does incline his head respectfully to the senior pilot, "Captain Thorne, thank you for coming so quickly. It sounds like we may be shipping out to Picon shortly so I wanted to present what I have so far, a first draft I guess?" Looking back down at his desk, he moves a few sheets of paper around until one that is a bit neater remains which he picks up. He offers the document to Cherry, letting her review it right off the bat, not bothering to beat around the bush and getting right to the point.

Contents on the Document:

When Mission Operations are being conducted in an area that includes the present of friendly Colonial elements, these additional procedures must be followed:

The officer that is in charge of the mission briefing is required to verify what the joint taskforce frequency is for the day.

When the mission briefings are being conducted, the officer delivering the briefing is required to repeat the joint taskforce frequency to those who are present for the briefing.

The mission leader is responsible for verifying that the joint taskforce frequency is correctly set with the ECO that is responsible for the duty on the mission. If no ECO is present for the mission, then the next ranking Viper pilot is tasked with the responsibility of setting the mission team's joint taskforce frequency.

Upon launch of mission, the ECO that is responsible for communications is to send a query to the communications officer of the capital vessel or airbase that the mission team has launched from, if possible.

"As you were, Razor. If I bothered following that sort of stiff upper lip policy when working...well, hell, I'd probably be a Major by now." which...given her time in grade, might lead one to wonder why she hasn't been promoted yet. She moves over to the table, eyes turning to the paperwork laid out, reading over it, easily dividing her attention between what;s written, and the Ensign tasked with writing it. "Can you tell me, as we get started...what were your primary concerns when coming up with this new SOP? What were the questions you wanted to answer, the points you though we needed to make sure that we hit?"

Hearing that, Kell does relax his stance slightly though the young pilot is still use to the formalities and teachings from flight school, never really having the chance to shake them off when he was with the Libran Armed Forces. There is a tug of amusement at the edge of his lips though at Eva's mention of her potential progression through the ranks if she was more by the book. "Initially, my focus was on redundancy and making sure that something like what happened with the Canceron squadron never happens again. The obvious solution to that was having everyone double checking the information, down to every pilot. So I had a much... larger revision and addition to the checklist. However, after reviewing the list and reviewing the current checklists over again, for both Raptor, ECO, and Viper pilots, I could see why it wasn't done. It would have taken /too much/ time and we would be spending more times prepping on the flight deck than actually flying our missions, and in combat, seconds matters. So I went through and removed a lot of the redundancies that I had created so it is more streamlined. My focus was then on realm of responsibility and that, logically, applies to the senior officers on duty for the day and also the mission leaders." There is a pause as he thinks of the questions that he wanted answers, "I wish to know if my thinking is on the right path and if the changes I have suggested is enough so that if they were implemented prior to that day, would it have prevented the tragedy?"

"In combat, seconds matter, of course. But everything else that we do outside of combat is supposed to be about making those seconds count. So if a procedure works that requires an extra five or ten minutes, then that's the cost of doing business. It's a sacrifice that we make in order to do our jobs." Eva looks up from where she's still reading, "Each of us is human, is a person, has things that we do, people that we are when we're not in that cockpit. But when we put these uniforms on, the rest of that doesn't matter. The mission matters. The duty matters. And the sacrifices that you have to make to ensure that it's done and done well. if you think an extra comms check is needed, add it to the schedule, the deck, the LSO crew, the pilots will do their jobs. And if they refuse to, they'll face the consequences of that."

That said, Eva looks back down to the papers. "I like where you're going with this, Razor. It absolutely does need to begin from the top down. From the mission briefing to the final checks at the time of launch. But there are a few things you might want to consider.

First: What happens if we lose the ECO responsible for our frequencies in the middle of a combat? Especially if we need to shift between them to manage multi-military operations? We should, I think, work redundancy into that. We already know a basic chain of command. The CAG, the Senior Pilot, then the next senior, etc, if we lose command to attrition. This needs to be worked in as well. It would also allow better communications is the raptor is no longer able to do its duty of maintaining communications. We've seen that the cylons are learning how to spoof our comm traffic, being able to switch on the fly, possibly through the use of coded words or signals might become a necessity."

When the Captain speaks, Kell remains silent though his gaze is focused, taking in each word that is being shared, his head nodding periodically to show understanding as well. When the conversation shifts to what he may want to consider though, the Ensign picks up his notepad and pencil, making notes as Eva speaks, not afraid to show that he may need to put what is shared down in writing to make sure he doesn't forget or mis-remember in the future. The issue of attrition was something that Kell definitely did not factor in, his assumption that once the checklists were completed before the flight launched, it was done. "That is something I will need to definitely consider and study, Captain. I may need to reach out to some of the more senior Raptor pilots and Electronic Countermeasure Officers as well for more information." The list created was of course from a Viper pilot's perspective as well.

"I'm also glad to see that you're looking at moving beyond in-flight communications and look at joint taskforce work. Normally, we might be called to work with other squadrons, but I might suggest that you look at ways of moving beyond the small ships. How can we improve communications between the CICs who will be running the operations? Do we give them the ability to make adjustments as needed to see the mission through?" Eva looks over at Razor as he works, "These are all things that we've never had to consider before. Questions we've never had to ask, because we've spent too long trusting to our on ways of doing things. This is the bleeding edge. You're helping to solve a problem that is both critically important, and also never considered before. I know you must feel overwhelmed. Maybe you're wondering how you could possible contribute anything because of your rank. But a good mind isn't predicated by a high rank, Razor. It's enhanced by it. Mace picked you for a reason, and it wasn't solely because he wanted to give you a chance to make contrition for what happened." As to the raptors, she nods, "I think that's a good idea. See how the operate, find out how they change things on the fly. And I would definitely recommend meeting with Flats. His idea of using low tech for identification was brilliant. Who knows what else he might have tucked away up there that might get you to where you need to be, in terms of being happy with your procedure."

The young Ensign's brows furrow up slightly but not in a disapproving sense, more in the consideration and thinking sense as he continues to digest what the Captain is saying as she further widens the scope that this project can be focused on. She is very much correct that he was focused on just their Vipers and Raptors, and the mission instead of the entire task force. That opens up an entirely new chapter of what Kell will need to study up on. "On the grand scheme of things, it can feel rather overwhelming." Razor admits to that much but he doesn't stop speaking there, "But I've been trying to focus on more specific parts, finishing one portion before moving to another. You are right though, Captain, I need to widen the scope of what we are trying to accomplish here." Which means more tasks to be added to the list that he will need to accomplish. "I will seek Leftenant Carrington out once I have more written down."

"I think, that in the end, the scope might end up being larger than either of us envisioned, Razor." Eva moves, to settle on the edge of the desk, "But don't let yourself get bogged down in that either. You've done good work here, and it will absolutely be useful on the small scale with our squadrons, and the others we may need to work with when we get to Picon. Let's measure our, no, your, accomplishments in small steps. Let's get one procedure down, test it, implement it, and then add the next layer, and then test and implement that, and then the next layer, and the next, until you're happy wit what you've built." A laugh, short, but merry, as she hears you address Tucker, "Is that how they pronounce that on Libran too, Razor? Or is Newton rubbing off on you?"

Kell does continue to jot down some notes, both what Eva is saying and what he is also considering himself, quick notes that he will review later and most likely flesh out into actual objectives to achieve, "Implementing these changes in steps and layers is probably the best solution, so we have something in place when we get into the thick of things on Picon. I had hoped that we would be given a longer reprieve so we have more time... but if we are assigned, then it is what it is." A quick review of what he has jotted down, Razor appears to be pleased with what he has so he puts the pencil and notepad down on the desk.

As the subject shifts to how he addresses people when not in their crafts, one edge of Kell's lips twirk up slightly in a half smile, "I guess my style is similar to Newton's and I would say it is due to my service back on Libran and also my parents. Both are in the Libran Armed Forces and my father is an officer in the Marines, so there was quite a bit of focus on order and proper procedures while growing up for me. While I was on active duty on Libran... I hate to admit but we're one of the luckier colonies, the Cylons pulled out before I graduated flight school, so all I did right out of flight school was fly transport missions in a Raptor. Then when I transferred to a Viper Squadron, it was just uneventful combat air patrols."

Eva nods, listening to Kell's history, what he's willing to share of his own history and background, "I'd just never heard it pronounced quite that way, 'Leftenant'," here she pronounces it as you did, "and not 'Lieutenant'," which is how she herself pronounces it, "Until I transferred to the CF. It's still a learning experience for me, and every new member of the Wolves add another piece to the puzzle."

Returning to the work at hand, she gives another nod to what's been presented to her. "You're doing admirable work. And I am also sorry we won't have enough time to give it a proper trial while we're here...where mistakes won't matter. But fire does forge the best tools. Picon might just have to be that fire."

As for the difference between 'Leftenant' and 'Lieutenant', Kell has an 'ah' moment and he has an answer for that, "I've used Leftenant for the Junior Grades and Lieutenant for the Full Grades, I guess an easier way to differentiate between the two." As for learning experiences in the Colonial Forces, the young pilot nods his head in agreement, "It is definitely a different experience, the unique personalities are much more diverse, that's for sure." Then he looks back down the notes and narrows his eye slightly, as if he is unsure whether or not he feels good about Picon being used as the testing grounds for the new procedures, "We just need to make sure that the tools we've made won't break in that fire. Thank you Captain, your knowledge that you have shared with me have been invaluable."

"If we work them hard enough, they either will come out stronger, or they'll break and we'll fix them." Eva lifts up from where she's perched, "Nice trick, the different pronunciations. I'd never considered that." A finger reaches out to tap the paperwork Kell's laid out for her to read, "I'm supposed to be your point of contact on this, Razor, but your mandate is from Mace himself. So anyone you think you need, you pull them aside. I'll do whatever I have to to make that work, if they don't want to work with you voluntarily."

Difficulty working with others is not something that Kell was expecting or predicting but he does tuck that card away if it needs to be used, "Thank you Captain, from what I have seen, everyone is keen on working together and I don't forsee any difficulties in getting assistance. If I do run into any obstacles though, I will be sure to let you know." The last thing he wants to do is go to the Colonel with any problems, always best to get it handled without the brass's notice.

"I'm hoping that you won't run into any of that sort of obstacle either, but we do have some strong personalities in this squadron. Some that don't even necessarily know they're throwing up obstacles. Always good to be prepared for anything." Once she's fully back on her feet, Cherry smooths down her uniform jacket, "Anything else that I can do for you, Razor? If not, I have a bunk I need to crawl into, before I'm back on the alert."

Shaking his head, Kell returns to his full posture again, almost standing to attention once more out of habit, "Nothing else, Captain. Thank you."

"As you were, Razor." Again, that edge of humour in her voice, "People see you doing that, they really will start calling me Little Spider." And that would be good for exactly...nobody. "Thank you for your work. Catch me whenever you need me." With that, Eva makes her way back out and likely towards the berthings.


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