Our Duty
Our Duty
Summary: Nicholas cuts some red tape and calls Rhea about the Carina's worsening water situation.
Date: 113 ACH
Related Logs: None.

JAG Office Carina - Main Level
113 ACH 23777 Souls

This office is a rather plain affair with a pair of desks placed at right angles to one another in a corner of the room, with computer terminals on each desk, file cabinets, still new from the crates, sit along one wall, while in the middle of the room is a collection of four chairs. Finishing off the room is a new coffee maker sitting on a table near a sink with a collection of cups bearing the seal of the Battlestar Genesis on them.

It's after hours and the JAG complex is completely silent. One light is on in an office where Nicholas is waiting for someone, the blinds drawn so the light doesn't spill into the dimmed areas beyond.

Rhea gains entry into the JAG complex, invited as she is. She's in her off-duties, no sign of rank visible, though there's a purposeful, all-business manner about her. The office with the light on isn't hard to spot, and the proceeds to it and knocks. Three short, blunt raps of her knuckle.

Nicholas looks up from the papers he's shuffling, absently straightening his tie as he calls out. "Yes, come in." It might be a random person.

Rhea opens the door and proceeds in, closing it behind her. "Mister Luma." Tone polite, and rather curious. "I got your message." Eyes flit around his office. "Long way from Aera Cura, aren't we?" It's said wryly.

A Saggie always calls a Saggie. It's a rule, and cylon holocausts be damned. Nicholas stands up smoothly, dropping the papers on his desk once he sees who's come. They have nothing but doodling on them. "Well I don't know about you, Major, but I am damned glad of that. Please, won't you sit down?"

"Damned glad," Rhea agrees firmly, sitting. She eyes the doodles, her smirk crooking, but doesn't comment on them. "You can cut the 'Major' bit if you want. You're pretty far out of my chain of command. 'Rhea' or 'Zimmermann' are both fine. Pick whichever suits your fancy."

Nicholas smiles, inclining his head. "Nicholas then, please." He crosses his legs, scratching his pinky along his hairline. "Well, I don't want to waste your time here, Rhea." He clears his throat quietly. "You might know I've been elected to council, and…I suppose it's the Sagittaron in me, but bureaucracy makes me a little crazy. So when something needs to be done, I will damned well do it."

"Nicholas, then. Yeah. I heard. Congratulations, I suppose." Rhea doesn't sound sure whether to be congratulatory or sympathetic. "I don't envy the job you folks have over here. The military has its pluses and minuses, but it's got structure. Most days. Makes some things easier. Anyhow. You see how things are on this ship? What do you think needs be done?"

"Can't say I envy yours either, so we're even." Nicholas settles that. "Well, you see. There's this matter of the water." His lips thin into a slight frown. "I know that some vials were tested on the Genesis, so I probably don't have to show you the readouts. Corrosive acids and nasty stuff. Engineering assured us all it needed was a good flush and cleaning, and that would be that. But it isn't working."

Rhea frowns, deeply, nodding to that. "So it seems. You mind if I cut the crap for a second, Nicholas? I don't want to offend your tender civilian feelings but I've never been much on mincing words."

"If you're going to rail me about pride and ill treatment and…in fact anything else but the water," Nicholas says with a slight smile. "Might we save it until after we figure out if something can be done?"

"I'm going to rail about the water," Rhea replies after a snort. "I don't particularly give a frak about the rest. My feelings don't get hurt easily. But it's fairly clear some members of your technical crew here are either incompetent or far worse, and neither possibly makes me feel particularly diplomatic. They tell you what caused all this?" She sounds doubtful.

"It's not incompetance," Nicholas picks up a pen, shaking his head. "Just because we aren't military doesn't mean we're stupid, Rhea. Don't fall into that trap, I do beg you. The flush and clean was done by the book. I looked at the specs and I was along with the inspection. The work was fine." He frowns. "They found no signs that chemicals were coming from normal wear, and no evidence of cross-flow from other system. What they did should have worked, and the water -did- test clean for 30 hours after the flush. And then suddenly people are sick again. This isn't normal."

"It never should've happened in the first place," Rhea says. "Military, civilian, frak all that. It's meaningless to the work. Somebody over here frakked up on a simple, routine piece of maintenance and people died. Or somebody *didn't* frak up. That possibility scares the hell out of me, and it should scare the hell out of all of you as well." She exhales a long breath. There's actual fear under her irritation. "The crew here told me the work'd be done. And you're right. It should've worked. It was a simple job. You tested the water again?"

"You're not listening to me," Nicholas exhales slowly. "Nobody frakked up. The system is running perfectly, it wasn't a maintenance foul-up and it wasn't a spill. We've checked every hazardous junction on the Carina. We have tested, and we -have- found points where it appears the chemicals were introduced but absolutely no reason they would've appeared there. This isn't someone slacking on the job, it's something introducing this acid to the water that's mobile and releases variable bursts. A technical problem doesn't do that. But our manpower is at its breaking point searching for what does."

Rhea nods to that. "Fair enough. But you're not listening to me, either. What if somebody didn't frak up? What's the only other explanation? Somebody introduced those chemicals into the water system deliberately. And is still doing it, from what you're telling me. Frak." Her tone softens, albeit with dread, as she contemplates that. "A tech can do incalculable damage to a ship, the kind of access they have, if they put their mind to it. Frak." She shudders, taking a deep breath and running her fingers through her long dark hair. Her hands are shaking slightly. "I warned you, Nicholas. I'm no frakking diplomat. My son is housed on this ship and, whether it's a frak-up or something more sinister, right now all I want is to figure out what happened and get my hands around the neck of the frakker responsible. Accident or…not."

"Can you help us, then?" Nicholas asks, plainly. "Not replace, but combine the effort. I have all the information from the flushes and sweeps, and everyone can be re-briefed together. I'm going to get boots up my arse from all sides, I don't doubt, but I really don't give a damn."

"All I offered before was help," Rhea says, taking another breath to calm herself. "Glad to offer it again. I don't know what the frak your techs thought I was trying to do that so offended their sensibilities, Nicholas, but all I want to do is see the frakking job gets done and my kid has clean drinking water. I don't particularly care who's doing it so long as they know their wrench from their asshole. Manpower's stretched all over. We all have to do what we can."

Nicholas folds his hands. "Would you mind terribly not swearing quite so much at me? I'm not your enemy."

Rhea actually looks mildly abashed at that. She shrugs, snorting. "Was I? Sorry. I'll make an effort to moderate my language, if it offends. Though this isn't any different than how I talk to my friends, I assure you."

"I would say too much 'frakking' gives me a headache, but that wouldn't sound quite right," Nicholas smiles at her, but the smile is brief. "But anyway. I'll alert our technicians and I trust you'll gather who you can spare of yours, and we'll be moving." He sighs. "I don't want to believe the worst case scenario. But I know the facts I see, and I know the Destiny's water is already overtaxed trying to provide for two ships now. We won't have much time."

Rhea crooks a smirk at the frakking bit, though her reply is all business. "I'll get a crew together soon as I'm back on the Genny. They'll be at your disposal before the shift is over. The flushing's no problem, whether yours or mine are doing it. Has it been done again already? Once the water's clear again, we can gather samples and have them sent up for testing. Then test again in another…thirty-six hours, maybe? Anyhow, it's the keeping it clean part that concerns me, given all this. I don't know what kind of logging system your engineering head has. Are there rosters kept of who's done what job when? Would make it easier to trace back who was playing with the water at suspect times. Or who might've been around to see something."

"There are rosters, of course." Nicholas nods. "Technicians on duty punch in and out at checkpoints around the ship. They're quite strict about it. Yes, the keeping it clean is the problem. Even if we had a larger police force it would take thousands to man every pipe and junction…but we might be able to get some extra mileage out of our handheld testers if we could wire them into an alert system."

Rhea nods to that. "If it's a tech that's mucking with the water, makes it harder to trust the logs. But it's something to look at, at least. I'd also recommend everyone work in groups of three at least when assigned to pipe and water systems work. Don't know how doable that is, given your manpower, but I'll lend as I can. And it'll make it harder for anyone trying anything to slip it by unseen." Another nod to the alerts. That appeals to her. "We can assist with the wiring on your testers, as we may. Does this ship have an internal security camera system? You probably couldn't train them on every access point, but it's more eyes for your security folks."

"Threes? What an odd number." Shamelessly deadpan is the pun. Nicholas re-crosses his legs. "Pairs would likely be the most efficient, given our numbers. Any ground we can cover at this point is precious. Cameras…yes, we've got cameras. Mostly trained in the public areas. The parks, the stadium, around the big establishments. Security will be itchy about moving them considering the violence we've been seeing."

Rhea can't contain a smirk at the pun. She clears her throat. "Only thing that worries me about pairs is the prospect that, if somebody's doing this, they might not be doing it alone. But if you mixed who was paired with who on each job that might not be such a concern. As for the cameras, I'm no security expert. It's one more way to keep a watch on things, but it might not be feasible given what you're dealing with. Just an idea. You'll all balance as you have to, I'm sure."

Nicholas nods. "I'll see what we can do with it while you're gathering your people." He glances at his watch. "We can meet on the main engineering deck, it's deck 10. How long do you think you'll need?"

"A few hours should do to get a preliminary team together," Rhea says. "I'll pull from the techs coming onto the next shift for routine maintenance rounds. Jobs that'll keep for a shift or so."

Nicholas watches the second hand move for a couple ticks. "That's good, ours will be just changing shifts themselves. May as well start with the batch of most rested possible."

"May as well," Rhea agrees, standing. "Look. I don't know how you want to handle questioning your people about this. I'm no investigator. Can't lend much expertise there. But…this is all stinks, and people are dead. I hope you'll see done what needs to be done."

"That's security's issue," Nicholas stands up, straightening his sweater cuff. "And I am seeing done what needs to be done. If I weren't, you wouldn't be standing here."

Rhea nods to that. "I'll be back with a supply of techs in about three hours. I hope you'll coordinate with the engineering head here as needs be coordinated for the preliminaries. If you think their feathers'll need to be smoothed. I'm not accustomed to having to walk on eggshells with my fellow snipes, but I'm not sure how welcome my direct input would be." She snorts. "Anyway, I'm not a diplomatic creature. That's not a military issue, it's a personal one. All I'm about is the work. I'll mind my manners and tell my techs to do the same, though."

"It's up to you whether feathers will need to be smoothed," Nicholas says, resting his hands on the back of his chair. "Our Chief Engineer already agreed we need more hands. So…treat us like equals and we'll all be fine. Treat us like idiots and we won't."

Rhea gives Nicholas a level look. "I don't need to be told how to treat snipes. Like I said, I'm about the work. I don't care whether someone wears pins or not. I'd tell you precisely how much that matters to me, but you seem to frown on swearing. And I'd appreciate it if yours wouldn't assume we'll try and run roughshod over you just because our day jobs are with the Navy." She sighs. "I know a lot of the civilians have seen an ugly side of the military, Nicholas, and the stories I've heard about what happened to them make me sick. But that's not me, and I don't have a lot of patience for being treated as if it were. Anyway, this is your ChEng's house. I know how to tread in another snipe's shop."

"Rhea, you walked in here and said it was fairly clear our technical crew was incompetant or worse," Nicholas says, with a slight smile. "What would you like me to think about what you might say to their faces?"

"It's the 'or worse' that's my main concern," Rhea says. "I think the implications of that are fairly clear. And you and your ChEng can read them better than me, up close like this. An incompetent tech makes a mess, but it happens in every crew. This…well. I'd rather deal with an incompetent man than a dangerous one. Anyway, we've both got work to do." She straightens to go, but extends her hand for a shake before she takes off. "I do appreciate that it wasn't easy for you to call me. Boots on your arse and all. Though I don't think that's the way it should be. Anyway. My comm line is always open."

"You're still automatically blaming our crew," Nicholas says, shaking his head. "For all we know it isn't a technician at all, perhaps some wack job. Our people have been working very hard since this started, and they've been working well. Acknowledge that there are other labels besides 'incompetent' and 'worse' for this team. Then I will shake your hand."

"As far as access goes, it'd be far easier for a technician to poison the water supply than just about anybody else," Rhea says. "And it's even easier if you're a trusted member of a ship's crew. That's all I'm trying to say." This seems to make her think of something. Her gaze goes beyond Nicholas, slim frown coming to her face. "But you're right. Nobody really seems to know anything yet. Sorry about any insults for your crew."

Nicholas seems to wait quite patiently until she comes around to his point. "Thank you." He lifts his right hand to shake hers.

Rhea shakes Nicholas' hand briefly with her calloused left paw. She still seems preoccupied with whatever kicked into her mind, though. She lowers her hand. "You in the civilian government gotten any information from the military on security issues in the Fleet?"

Nicholas folds his hands on the back of his chair again, raising a dark blond brow. "Security issues? No, not a word."
<Trait Roll> Rhea rolls Willpower and achieves a degree of Good (4).

"Hrmph." Rhea snorts. "Well, our new commander's got a lot on his plate. I'm sure he'll be taking care of a lot of unfinished business in the coming weeks." She might sound, a little, as if she'd like to start bitching about her chain of command, but she does not. They teach curbing bitchery in officer school. Admittedly, it's probably not an area she scored high in. "Anyway, I'll leave you to it. See you at the briefing."

"The coming weeks when we all may be dead of starvation and poisoned water?" Nicholas' tone is bone dry. He doesn't have to hide contempt for Rhea's chain of command, and…so, he doesn't. "Rhea, you wouldn't have mentioned something if it wasn't relevant. If there is something going on that may save lives here, we need to know. Not when Altair feels like getting around to it, but now."

"If I thought it was a matter of saving lives right now, I would tell you, clearances be damned," Rhea says. That sounds true enough. "As it is, security's already heightened, and I don't think I know anything terribly useful, anyway. I'm no Marine investigator. I am going to speak to Colonel Altair about a few issues you've jogged into my mind tonight. Is there anything specific you'd like me to take back to him?"

Nicholas shakes his head. "Altair wouldn't listen. I've told him myself of the state of the fleet and he waved it off. I asked him to do a small thing to help reassure these people that the Genesis wasn't leaving them. He looked me in the face and told me he would. But that was a lie. I'm sorry, I don't believe the Colonel thinks we're worth his time."

Rhea frowns some more, letting out another sharp snort. She doesn't disagree with that. Though she does say, "Salin Altair's a good man. I truly believe that. I'm not going to make excuses for my commander. But I'll talk to him. For what it's worth, I agree something like that needs to be done. Might not relieve a lot of tension, but anything'd help."

"Thank you. That means a lot these days." Nicholas nods to her. "Well, Rhea, I had better go and make good use of these hours. I'll see you soon."

"See you soon, Nicholas." And with that, Rhea takes her leave of the office. Starting the journey back to her military lair.

Nicholas settles back down and picks up the wireless. Someone answers within one beep. "Trier, it's Luma. I spoke to Zimmermann…no, she didn't leave any teeth marks. Alright, here's the deal, so behave yourself…"

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