Sam Caldwell and Mark Foeswan came to their feet as Mathias entered the small conference room—he waved both of them, and the other ship commanders, as well as Lieutenant Shiro Gian, back down. “Good morning,” he said to them all as he sat down.
“Mister Namer, I understand that your people are having problems with laundry?” he began.
“Yes, Commander,” the former terrorist said. “A lot of my folks on Leonis Pryde
had just what they were wearing when they boarded ship—maybe one or two spare garments. I’m sure the other ships are seeing the same things,” he said and the commanders of Bounty
, and Umino Hana
nodded their agreement, “and none of our ships were ever intended as long-duration personnel vessels. Our laundry facilities are sorely lacking.”
doesn’t even washing or drying facilities fitted,” said Lieutenant Olin Kirk, formerly assigned to Cerberus Anchorage.
“Colonel Foeswan?” Mathias asked and the stout officer nodded as he scrolled through a computer pad with a manifest of the supplies on his ship.
And then he nodded. “I have a two-ton cargo container with Fleet undress jumpsuits—unmarked. All sizes, I’ll get my crew to crack her open and get them distributed, Sir.”
“Underwear and socks would nice as well, Colonel,” Namer drawled in that slow Saggitaron accent, and several of the people at the table chuckled at that.
“There should be one pair of each—at least—for every jumpsuit. The civvies might hate the color and the style, but they are warm and clean,” Foeswan said.
“Sir,” Shiro said from the foot of the table. “We took six hundred-weight of cloth bolts off of Typhon—I have no clue what they were doing there, but its good quality stuff, if we’ve got people who know how to sew.”
“Thank you, Mister Gian,” said Mathias with a smile. “I trust you gentlemen and ladies will pass the word on your ships for seamstresses and tailors—I’ll be glad to release the cloth on an as-needed basis, once you find someone who is able to make it into clothing.”
He paused and smiled. “And yes, having a laundry is absolutely essential
to keeping good hygiene and good morale—and we will do both on these ships. Mister Gian, how many laundry bags do we have in storage? The same question goes for you Colonel Foeswan?”
Both men queried their tablets and then nodded, Shiro gesturing for the senior officer to go first. “Fifty-five hundred, plus the ones assigned to the crew,” he said.
“Eighteen hundred, sir—other than the ones already assigned to the crew.”
“Good. Gentlemen, I want those broken out from storage and two assigned to every civilian in the flotilla. I want their names and ship assignments stenciled on them—I understand if that might take a while, but it is going
to be done. We do have sufficient stencils and ink available, yes?”
“Yes, sir,” replied Shiro as Mark just nodded with a smile.
“Captains, you will be responsible for getting the clothing and laundry bags handed out. Aurora
has industrial laundry facilities on board. Every day, from this point on, Raptors will dock with your ships and pick up one laundry bag from each individual on your ships—these will be taken to either Aurora
and processed for cleaning. On the fourth day, the Raptor will return the clean clothes and pick up the next bag. Our laundries are designed for high volume—will that correct the problem?”
“Absolutely,” Jon Namer answered.
“Now, the second part,” said Mathias. “I know some of your ships do not have adequate sanitation systems. When my engineers and those on Aurora
finish the repairs on Scorpia
, we will install those systems on your ships—showers, heads, wash-sinks, the whole nine yards. There will no excuse for having improper sanitation in this flotilla, ladies and gentlemen, and will not allow our vessels to become a breeding ground for disease—or lice. I understand a problem with lice has broken out on Umino Hana
, Captain Shane?” Mathias asked in an icy tone.
The officer from Cerberus looked ashamed and he nodded as the two officers sitting next to him slid their chairs away from him slightly. “The survivors from Canceron apparently brought the little devils aboard—most of the rest of my folks are from Aerilon and they are simply furious. But once we get the showers up and running and get the clothing and bedding sterilized, the problem should be done with, Sir.”
“See that it is, Captain. You will have whatever your need from Aurora
, just get it done.”
“Medical,” Mathias said, moving along to the next topic. “I understand you have a woman on Leonis Pryde
that is overdue for delivery, Mister Namer?”
“Yes, Commander,” Jon answered. “And I have two midwives, but no certified doctors. About three-quarters of my folk are from Saggitaron, so the lack of a doctor isn’t normally a problem—but she’s three weeks past
Mathias made a note. “I’ll have Doctor Bako join you on the flight back—we might want to go ahead and take her aboard Scorpia
for care; if she isn’t one of yours, that is?”
“No, she’s one of the civilians we picked up—from Caprica, actually. Not with the resistance groups, just with a small band of survivors that we located,” said Jon. “She says the baby’s father—her fiancée—is Fleet,” and Mathias winced but he nodded, “and I figure I’ll let you have that
conversation, Commander Lorne.”
“Food? Water?” Mathias continued. Everyone made agreeable noises and he smiled. That had been his first priority—people without water tended to panic, and panicky people tended to do very stupid things. “I expect to be informed immediately if you have problems with your food or water supplies, people. This is something we cannot
frack up. Clear?”
“Clear,” answered a half-dozen voices.
“I know Bounty
is approaching the need for refueling—is anyone else below 30% tankage?”
Everyone shook their head. Mathias nodded and he turned to face Lieutenant Kirk. “Your vessel, Lieutenant, has the smallest fuel and water tanks, so I expect to have to top you off pretty often—or Colonel Foeswan will do so.”
“Actually, Sir,” Lieutenant Kirk said, “I have an idea about that. Our biggest expenditure of tylium is when we active the FTL. Bounty
is small enough that unless it is an emergency jump, she can land on your flight deck and ride along with you. Or Aurora
. That would extend our fuel tankage by . . . a third? Sir.”
“Closer to forty percent,” mused Colonel Foeswan. “Why didn’t we
think of that?” he asked himself aloud, and then he shook his head.
“Because we are not used to saving such small quantities, Colonel,” Mathias answered. “Excellent suggestion, Lieutenant. Get with the Colonel and we will set up a rotating plan for scheduled jumps.”
“Last thing on the list for today is engineering gripes—Major Church has received them, gentlemen, ladies, but Scorpia
’s repairs take priority. We will get to them, the vast majority are minor, and not life-threatening, but we
will get them taken care of. That is a promise. Captain Hilden,” he said to the officer assigned to Scylla
, “your DRADIS being off-line is NOT
problem. There should be an engineering team over there as we speak getting it functional again.”
“Thank you, Sir.”
“Don’t thank me yet,” Mathias continued. “That should have never
been on the gripe sheet because you should have let me know the moment
you lost that system. Without it, how are you managing to avoid a collision?”
The young man blushed. “I posted lookouts, Sir.”
And across the table there sudden intakes of breath as the more senior officers—and Jon Namer—stared at the young man in horror.
“Lookouts? People looking out the portholes?”, Mathias sighed. “Do not
fail to inform me of such a system failure again, Captain,” he warned.
“Aye, aye, Sir.”
Mathias stood. “My schedule today is tight—but our jobs require that we keep these people filled with hope. I will leave you with this thought that I learned back on board Columbia
as brand-new J.G. just out of Flight School, gentlemen, ladies. My first division chief told me that ‘A proud ship is not a grungy ship
’. And he was absolutely right. Your people have time and they have elbow grease—so I want your ships kept clean and fit to live in. It will give them something to do and it will lift their morale. Believe it or not, it will. If you need cleaning agents—get with Shiro or Mark. They’ve got plenty. But I want the ships cleaned—stem to stern, dorsal to ventral, and everything in between.”
Mathias waited and then he nodded. “Dismissed, ladies and gentlemen. Sam, you and Jon walk with me to the surgery on my way to engineering and I will see to it that Lindsey grabs her medical bag and gets over to the Pryde