Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Blood on the Stars - Part 1: Secrets & Lies - CH.1 (2)

Hans walked into the hangar area to find the small staff under his command all huddled together talking quietly. He took a deep breath and approached them. This wasn’t going to be easy, but he had to be confident and in charge. He needed to show them all that he knew what he was doing, even if he had no clue at all.
“Good morning everyone. I’m Hans Beaulieu, your new supervisor. For those who don’t already know I learned to fly in the Armed Forces. When I retired I joined Global Space Tech as an instructor. I am certified in all planetary and space craft operation. This includes military craft as well. I have five years experience in flight instruction and flew in active service for five years prior to that.”
Hans glanced around at the faces before continuing, hoping that he was making a good impression on his new employees. All he got in return was blank stares. He smiled before continuing.
“I’m not going to be your stereotypical military hard-ass boss. I’m pretty fair-minded and I believe in efficiency and honesty. I’m looking forward to getting to know you all over the next few weeks. I know we have a busy day ahead of us, but are there any questions at all?”
Once again he was met was nothing, but blank stares. He noticed a few people giving Duke quick glances as though waiting for him to address the new boss. He made a mental note of those people, knowing that he would have to be careful with them down the road. They were most likely the ones that supported the idea of Duke as the boss.
“Alright then, Duke?” Hans waited patiently for Duke to respond.
“Yes,” he said after letting the silence between them grow to an awkward length.
“You were the interim manager before I was assigned here, if we could have a small talk so you could bring me up to speed on what’s what and who’s who around here, that would be great. I did take the liberty of double checking the schedules this morning when I got in so I believe your schedule is fairly clear right now?”
Although Hans phrased that last sentence as a question, it was really more of a statement. If Duke was going to play games with him and then he was going to give it a good go. He was used to people looking down on him for his youth, but there was no way he was going to let anyone get the upper hand on him.
“Sure.” Duke continued with the short and sharp responses. He was giving no ground to the new boss.
“Okay, I look forward to chatting with each of you later. In the meantime, my door is always open.” Hans didn’t wait for anyone else to say anything or to see if Duke would follow him. He just turned sharply and headed back to his office.
He caught Duke out of the corner of his eye as he stepped around his desk. He heard the door shut quietly behind him before turning to sit down and face what he believed was going to be his biggest challenge in this new position.
“Alright Duke, I’m asking you to lay it down for me. I’d like you to be honest and frank. Are you going to have a problem with me as your new boss?” Hans stared at him intently, really studying the older man for the first time.
He took in everything from the rough stubble and weathered skin to the semi-permanent sneer on his face. There was no doubt in Hans’ mind that the man across from him was going to be a tough man to deal with if he couldn’t find away to strike a deal with him.
“Frank and honest, eh?” Duke scratched his chin and gave a quick glance to the ceiling. “Right then.  I’m not overly impressed that the company sent some as young as you to take control of the location. I’ve been with them a long time and was originally under the impression that I was going to be given this position.”
“I can respect that, but is it going to be an issue? I need to know if I can count on you. You’ve been here since they opened this location a few months ago. You’ve got the feel for this place and you know the people. I very much respect your experience here and I don’t want to step on toes. I didn’t ask for this transfer, but I wasn’t going to turn it down either.” Hans leaned towards Duke and extended his hand across the desk.
Duke started at for a moment before taking it and shaking. “Can’t say that we’re going to be best buds, but I’m here to do a job. I’m going to respect your honesty, but you’re going to have prove yourself as a boss to me. That’s just how it is.”
“Understood, now anything I need to know to keep operations going smoothly here? I don’t need there to be any hiccups with this change in leadership.”
“Nothing out of the ordinary, it should be pretty routine stuff. Although we’re getting pretty busy since there is really no way around this planet without a pilot and there just isn’t many people here beyond us to get people places. So there more chartering and less lessons than there would be where you came from.”  Duke gave the same non-committal shrug that he had been using earlier this morning.
“I noticed that and it was expected on a frontier planet, especially with the heavy mining on the moons. I did take the time to study up on this planet and the system it’s in before coming here.” Hans smiled politely. “Thank you Duke for your honesty with me and just so you know, I would like to keep you as an assistant manager of the facility. It’s not what you wanted, but it’s the best I can do.”
“It’s the smart thing for you to do.” Duke stood up and walked out without waiting to be dismissed leaving Hans a little unsure still of where he stood with this man. He had done the best he could in damage control and a part of him wasn’t sure if it was going to be enough.
“Alice, did you make a record of that conversation?”
“Yes. All conversations are automatically set to be recorded and stored unless otherwise directed to do so. These files will be stored locally for up to one standard-t year before being archived to the main server.”
“Thank you Alice. Please show me my schedule for today.” Hans glanced over the display and frowned at how light it seemed. He knew that this position would bring more administrative work with it, but he had been hoping to get out of the office and into the air a little more often. He made a note to talk to Marietta about booking him out a little more once he had settled in.
He had a couple of hours before his first customer for the day, in the meantime there were inspection reports to sign off on and requisition and special request form to go over. He wasn’t a fan of paperwork, but it was one of those necessary evils of any job. He could bear with it so long as he got to fly often enough to feed his soul.

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