How To Raid The Storeroom

Xanadu Weyr - Store Room

The storerooms here are carved into the stone, stretching back deep underground. There is, after all, little need for natural light here; a series of electric lights are more than sufficient to illuminate smoothly cut walls and the assortment of supplies kept until they are needed once more.
For some of the things here, that time will be long in coming. Broken furniture and torn clothing awaits the opportunity for someone to repair it - or else the kindling and rag piles. Other items are more immediately useful; gently worn clothing and boots are neatly arranged in rows and on racks, especially in the quickly outgrown children's sizes, and an assortment of furniture and small appliances in functional condition await new homes.
A series of side rooms connected to the kitchen are the larder which feeds the Weyr through the winter. Sacks of grain lean against barrels of salted meat and wheels of hard cheeses stacked high. Refrigeration and dragonflight make for a more flexible winter diet, but it still takes a great deal of food to provide for this many people. The food is a tempting target for tunnelsnakes, and the occasional scuttle can be heard in the otherwise quiet depths of these caves.

Much of the stores are easily accessed, requiring only the appropriate permissions to be borrowed from. These supplies are, after all, here for the good of the Weyr and the people living here. A few rooms - those containing particularly valuable or dangerous items - are kept locked.

The store rooms! They store many things. In rooms. Soriana's been back here many times, over the turns. Finding new (to her) clothes. Hunting for tunnelsnakes. Reorganizing it along with the other weyrlings. Today, though, she's here to learn about What The Stores Mean To Her as a goldrider of Xanadu. Aka… administration. Fortunately, her lesson this afternoon was scheduled with Esiae, which means Soriana can look forward to a couple hours of discussing funny outfits, twirling random objects overhead, and maybe even attempting to juggle (last time she only dropped two of the objects, and neither broke) while they do an inventory and Soriana gets things explained to her. Lessons with Esiae are seldom boring and certainly educational. Among the educational things Sori wants to learn as she walks down the corridor to the stores: how to process the paperwork for loaning things from the stores. She's even got a sample form in her hand to get things started. It's filled out and everything! Isn't that handy?

They mean headaches, that's what they mean. If you're the type who likes being outdoors and doing Big Things rather than counting how many pairs of girls trous size six and whether all the gardening gloves size small have mates then marking them down on the inventory that probably nobody even looks at. Well, the headwoman does, but no one probably really thinks about that unless it's the riders who get sent to the cold stores in the southern barrier mountains to bring back frozen ovine meat because the barrels of salted fish are depleted. Esiae? Only she could make such a mundane task a good time, a lesson one would never forget with probably only three minor explosions, the explanation for which would be both plausible AND entertaining. If only she were here. But rounding the corner from the shadowy back recesses of stores with the clipboard of inventory items and sign-out sheet in hand is Thea. She seems to be expecting Soriana, for her greeting is a semi-resigned, "Hello Soriana. Are you ready to get started?" So we can get this over with, is implied.

Not only that, Esiae would take it completely in stride that this stores request needs to happen for purposes of a party. She'd probably make a half-dozen suggestions for other party supplies. It would be - uh. That's not Esiae. Soriana's eyes widen for a moment. Is this coincidence? …nope, doesn't sound like it. "Uhm. Hello, Thea." Her tone's kind of distracted, because her mind is spinning away trying to figure out what she's going to do about this (and the paperwork she wanted to sneak past). It's also a little disappointed, because this was supposed to be easy. Maybe that'll just pass for unenthused. She can hope, because Thea is not exactly the person she wants to explain party plans to. But surely there are other reasons why someone (named Ka'el) might want to borrow a string of gather lights for one single evening? Maybe? "Uh. Yeah." There really aren't. And there's no good place to put this paper down and wait for another time, either. She glances to it briefly, then back up to Thea. Maybe she can just pretend it's nothing? Or at least wait until a better chance. (Or until she's had time to think about it.) "I'm ready."

Esiae would probably load Soriana down with fireworks - though how on Pern she'd wangle the key to the locker from Ocelara is- well the junior is talented that's for sure. And no doubt, wields her harper skills with expertise. "Oh, is that for me?" Thea's seen that paper and assuming V'dim has sent something along with Soriana, her hand is out to receive the sheet much like a drowning man would reach for a life ring. Party plans, while there's so much studying to do? Perish the thought! The Weyrwoman would gasp in horror. With graduation a mere three months distant and the most important things to grasp before they're set free? Party?! Please, don't make her laugh!

Esiae has many talents! Why, she could probably even talk her way out of this situation… if she were here, which she isn't. That's the whole problem in the first place! Soriana's eyes widen again as Thea reaches for the paper, and she draws it back. "No." Think fast, Sori. Think fast. "It's…" Faster than that. "A stores request." …no, Sori. You were supposed to think of an excuse, not the literal truth. Well, go on. "I… thought I'd practice?" Because she's so enthusiastic about these weyrwoman duties she's learning, you see. Hasn't she just been a model of enthusiasm? …yeah, even she doesn't believe herself on that one.

"Perfect! We'll use that to train you with and fill the requisition," says the Weyrwoman after a little blink at the almost-panic she might possibly sorta see for a flash in the weyrling. It was totally her imagination, right? She shuffles the order of papers on her own clip board from inventory forms to the requisition form that lurks underneath. Get used to seeing - and signing - a lot of these, Soriana. These will probably take up the bulk of your paperwork after you graduate. Thea holds the clipboard so the other can easily see the form. It's a relatively simple lined setup with Requested for _ Requested by ___ and underneath that elongated boxes headed by Stock Number, Description, Quantity Requested, Quantity Delivered, and Office Use Only. "So everyone who takes something from here will sign for them by filling out one of these and they're checked by and initialed on the way out by whichever of the juniors or headwoman's assistants that are on duty at the time. Then they go on Ocelara's desk." She has her pen ready! "So what's the first item?" She's forgotten to ask who's requesting? How odd.

Panic, what, noooo. Of course not! Besides, if there were any of that, it's been completely washed away by the wave of relief. Soriana is so very happy to see paperwork right now, and she nods her head. Training! Yes. This is for training purposes. She's even half-grinning for a moment. If only she could hold onto that enthusiasm, she might actually be happy about sitting at that desk after graduation, doing data-checking and initialing forms. Sadly, this particular enthusiasm is not likely to last, but she does lean in to take a look at the form. Seems simple enough. "Okay," she says, and nods again. Her eyes glance up to the first line as Thea starts with… the second. Well, maybe Thea's just assuming the requested-by is Sori herself. Not gonna correct that assumption, nope! "I, uh don't have a stock number." Does anyone? Who could possibly remember all those random-seeming strings of letters and numbers? "But it's those strings of outdoor lights."

"They'll date and sign at the bottom," Thea adds even though that's really a given, since the spot for the signature and date is clearly seen. Under that is Filled by _ and underneath that is Reviewed by ___. It's that last line that the Weyrwoman's pen taptaps idly. "This is where you - or one of the other juniors will sign and then subtract the totals from the supply ledger at the end of the day." It's a tedious, outdated process and she knows it. "We could have Jethaniel set up a computer network if you, Esiae and Sorrin would like. I grew up without them and Eledri never could get me comfortable with them." Ahh those stock numbers! "They're on the shelves under each item," Thea explains, eyeing Soriana's sheet (that she still can't see) askance. Colored lights? In the middle of winter? But no, she doesn't ask. "Greenriders," is all she says with a roll of her eyes. Her assumption is off by a mile, isn't it?

Nice and simple (and tedious). Soriana nods again. "And the supply ledger… Ocelara has that?" That's… doable. Especially if people continue to decide that they Don't Want To Know. "I like computers." Don't ask her to do anything more complicated than look up funny videos, but Soriana's pretty sure spreadsheets are easier than that. You just type in numbers and the computer does all the rest! Like magic! But, she's not the only one, so. "I'll ask what they think." Until then… better learn the paper-based version. Y'know, for when the power goes out and everyone suddenly needs extra blankets. Or glow in the dark… "I guess people want some strange things sometimes, huh?" She laughs, slightly awkward. So many wrong assumptions. Such helpful wrong assumptions, and yet… it's uncomfortably close to deception. "Are there rules about what it's okay to give out? And to who?"

"Nono, we have- er, the junior weyrwomen have the one for-" She should start at the beginning. Taking a breath, Thea rattles off, "These'll wind up in your inboxes. Ocelara gets the report totaling goods requisitioned at the end of the day." Back to the ledger-question. "There are three ledgers: Jethaniel has one. He gets the requisitions from the crafters, builders, Riders wings, dragonhealer, weyr maintenance and repairs and totals those in his ledger. Ocelara has another. She gets the requisitions for the infirmary, the kitchen and the cavern supplies and keeps track of them in her ledger. And you girls handle the storage cavern requisitions for the weyrfolk. That's what your ledger is for." At least they don't get them all? But then, "You get summaries from both Headwoman and Steward." Whee, they get to drown in redundancy. She's leading Soriana towards the electrical area. There are all sorts of bundled cords, a bin of those colored lights and other bits and gizmos from electrical plates, switches and plugs to lightbulbs. Strange? Hoo boy! "Uh huh, like you wouldn't believe. Yeah, there's limits per person per month, things like that. If it's in here, folks can usually have them, but y'know if they keep losing or breaking things then they get to have a chat with Ocelara. Or Jethaniel."

Never mind drowning in paperwork, Soriana might drown in the explanations of paperwork. "…oh. Okay." She thinks. Maybe. "So… it's mostly a matter of keeping track of things." In triplicate. "Unless someone's being a problem about it, and then something gets done." Her conscience is easing. Sure, Thea may be getting the wrong idea, but it's not like this is something not allowed. It's perfectly okay! As long as the weyrlings don't fall asleep in their lessons the next day because of it. Soriana looks along at the electrical section, crouching down to pick out the right things. She has to check against what Ka'el wrote a few times to figure it out, but hopefully Thea won't see the form. Though, really. Thea's practically old! She's like… parent-age. So her eyesight's bound to be going. Soriana's just looking at the bins, anyhow. Here's the one she wants! "So the number for these is…" and she rattles it off. "And the quantity is…" Okay, so that much distance, and each one is this length, so… "Three."

This is why all explanations should be written in a file. Maybe there are training manuals in the musty archives but has Thea ever thought to check? Nope. If she's had time to check she's been doing things like grabbing a bite to eat or sleeping. And breathing. Someday… an organization-loving (crazed) weyrwoman will arise as Senior who seminars them all to boredom while feeding them handouts and simultaneously using a sophisticated screen display so it's all laid out perfectly and recalled for them at the click of a mouse. "Pretty much," agrees the Weyrwoman completely at ease with the weyrling’s vague grasping of the mundane that will fill her life. She's wracking her brain to see if she's left anything else rather than peering myopically at Soriana's sheet. Old indeed! "What's next?"

The light strings are taken out and looped around Soriana's shoulder like some sort of strange and colorful bandolier. "An extension cord." Not actually next on the list, but it's right here, so! Might as well save time and pick it up now. Soriana reads off the number - maybe that future Senior can provide some sort of rhyme or reason behind these numbers, too? Y'know, in between the twenty time-saving tips to work smarter, not harder and the seven social engineering techniques you won't know how you lived without. Until then, Soriana will just have to stumble along somehow or other. As long as the Weyr doesn't burn down, it's all good, so! What's next? "A grill." She pauses, peering at the sheet closer. "Oh, wait, no. Just the grill rack itself, not the… fire-holding part. And a pair of tongs." The tongs are not actually on Ka'el's list, but if he's going to be roasting things, he's not going to be flipping them over with his metalworking tongs, so, he'll be getting a pair of tongs to go with his grill. So says the Sori.

She'll probably be boringly lacking in creativity and talk in a monotone - unless it's Esiae. Then… well training would be something to behold indeed. "Grill rack, hmm? This way." And the weyrwoman heads down the aisle, turns into another, passing between towering shelves with folded jeans, shirts, bins of shoes, racks of jackets until she's in the area of… all things made of metal. Garden equipment, dinged and scuffed, iron fireplace tools, grills, racks, tongs, silver wear, knives and pots and pans - here is the handiwork of smithcrafters past, flaws and imperfections deemed by the journeymen as 'not bad enough to scrap'. No, she's not checking Ka'el's list because she's making sure Soriana is filling out that form correctly.

"…is there a reason for why they're laid out like this?" Soriana just has to ask, because so far, all she's come up with is that these regions were arranged according to how fast the first person carrying a box of that material got tired. That, or maybe a rousing game of darts? While she waits for that answer, she checks through the metal supplies. Ka'el would have criticisms and critiques for all of them! Sori, well… this one doesn't look too banged up. Sold! …or something. Time to fill out the form… huh. "Is it really just 'Metalwork, Misc'?" That's what the nearest sign to the grill rack says, but… well. She's half afraid that means there's a book somewhere with a list of all the Metalwork, Misc that she'll have to go through and find the appropriate sub-category. At least the tongs are easy!

"If there is, I have yet to hear why," is Thea's reply. She's never really thought about the arrangement in here and takes the moments Soriana is picking out her tongs to eye the storage space - what she can see of it - with a critical eye. "Most thing seem to be randomly grouped by type." She turns to look at the jumble of metal objects. "Ah, that sign is just for weyrfolk. You can write grill tongs if you want to but they all get the same stock number." The smiths seem to keep them supplied well enough with their cast-offs. "Someday we should probably organize this place better," she says idly and note - without real urgency. Soriana needs her hands to write, so the weyrwoman reaches for her stuff. "Let me help? What else is on that list?"

So, there isn't some great and sensible scheme that Soriana's missing. That's… good to hear, she supposes with a nod. On the other hand, it means she'll just have to learn her way around by rote. Like… so much else of these weyrwomen duties. Thea's mention of reorganizing things briefly gets Soriana's full and undivided attention, but then the casual tone sinks in. Someday. Not today. Whew. "Yeah, someday…" Not today. Today, she's just got a For Demonstration Purposes list of items, and she hands some the already-collected ones to Thea with a, "Thanks." There's a few more items - nothing too unreasonable, though strange enough that the theoretical greenrider may be suspected of having interesting hobbies (or throwing wild parties). But, hey. Greenriders! Everyone knows how they are, riiiight? Soriana just carefully writes everything down on the form. "…and that's it."

Oh, but it wouldn't be training if Thea let Soriana off this easily! And oh, how those wild greenriders can party, everyone knows how that goes. The weyrwoman eyes the few things she's got in her arms, then looks at Soriana's. "Not quite," she says with a hint of a smirk. "Wait right here." She clanks off down the aisle, returns with a wheeled handcart, the things she'd carried already deposited inside it. This is handed over to Soriana along with another list that she's obviously just hastily jotted down on a scrap piece of paper. On it is written: balloons, night dresses and stockings - ?! - (greenriders!), chocolate syrup, cookies, cake, meat of choice, bread rolls, wine, ale, crackers, cheese, marshmallows (greenriders again!) "You need more practice." And she reaches with her pen to initial that requisition form Soriana has before the rest is filled out. "Have fun!" she says. And then she leaves the weyrling there to find the stuff and fill the requisition alllllll by herself. It's totally against procedure. But hey, it's training - Thea-style!

What? "But…" That is-so everything on the list! Soriana read it. Twice! And a third time as she stands there, waiting for Thea's return. Nope, there's nothing else. The list has been finished! Oh! A handcart. Comprehension dawns across Soriana's face. She understands. "Good ide…" Wait. No. No she does not understand. Comprehension go bye-bye now. Sori sets down the objects in her hands with a clank and reaches for the list Thea gives her. "This…" Uh. And the form's already being initialed. So, clearly, this is an entirely authorized set of withdrawals from the storerooms… for a most definitely wild party. Soriana looks a little dazed. "…yes, Thea." Don't look a gift runner in the mouth? There'll be greenriders in attendance at this party, sure. It's just… nope. No arguments, because it's too late and Thea's already leaving. "I'll just… practice… then." Maybe she'll learn the layout of the stores by the time she's through. From balloons to… night dresses… okay, fine, she'll pick some out in her size. Ka'el will appreciate that, even if it's not quiiiite a party supply. In … that … sense of partying. (Greenriders! Er… make that bronzeriders.) And food, all sorts of food, and… drinks! Well, she does know which ales Ka'el likes best, so… into the handcart they go, along with all the other supplies for a downright epic party. This is no apprentice scrimp and scrounge affair, oh no. This party has resources. (And Soriana now has a much better sense of where things are located in the stores, and all the various places that stock tags can be hidden.) By the time she's through, this might even be a party to make Esiae proud… well, actually. As it turns out, once Soriana's worked her way through the list, there's still an extra line at the bottom of her form… and Sori has gone back and forth past a certain locked cabinet a few times on her criss-crossing of the stores. She knows what's in there! Esiae told her, in loving detail. So, in order to follow the example of her mentor… and further her education in all the parts of how to handle storerooms requisitions… yep. It's time to make a request for access to dangerous materials! But Thea, oh. Thea's probably busy. So Soriana won't bother her. But Jethaniel, well. His door is usually open, now isn't it? Con-ven-ient. (Have fun? Oh, Soriana will. Yes. In. Deed.)

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