Social Engineering

Xanadu Weyr - Steward's Office

The office of the Steward is a place for things to pass through. On the side of the wooden desk nearest the door are a pair of boxes labeled In and Out. The center of the desk provides a place to process those papers, with a set of draftsman's tools - pens, pencils, rulers and compasses - tucked in a small wooden box. The computer, as it receives fewer messages, is set off to the side of the desk.
One thing that stays in the office is the Steward himself - at least, so long as he holds that office - and so there's a comfortable chair behind that desk, as well as a pair of plain wooden ones in front of it for those passing through.
Bookshelves line the walls, crammed with tomes ranging in topic from weather patterns of the southern continent to crop output for the last one hundred turns. They are some the many things of which a Steward must have a passing knowledge - one sufficient to let him delegate the rest. To record the events so delegated, there are a pair of file cabinets full of paperwork not yet so historical as to merit relocation to the archives.

An open door policy tends to lead to interruptions, but those interruptions lead in turn to a better understanding of the ebb and flow of life within the Weyr. Therefore, Jethaniel has found it advantageous to maintain such a policy, except at such times as he finds it necessary to provide some aspect of his work with an undivided focus - or previously found such, and has not yet re-opened his door. This is not one of those times, and so his door is slightly open as he pores over an old record.

Soriana nudges that door open the rest of the way, offering a smile. "Hi Jethaniel!" Her tone is bright, quick. Nothing at all is wrong but pay attention now. She had all the way from the stores to here to practice it in her head, and while she's still not sure she got it perfect, it seems more or less right. "Got a minute?"

Jethaniel lifts his attention from those pages to regard Soriana. "Ah." The gold weyrling. In approximately three months, she will, presumably, be his approximate equal on the Weyr org chart. At the moment, she has little to distinguish herself to him save some vague associations to various technical problems of the past. These act in her favor, so he smiles slightly. "Most likely several. May I help you?"

"I hope so!" Still with the smile. Not a huge one, oh no. Soriana's using more or less the one she practiced for telling histrionic greenriders about the condition of their lifemates. Calm, happy, brisk because she's got a dozen other patients after this one. "I'm finishing some stores requisitions Thea gave me-" true, if perhaps misleading "-and I need access to the fireworks cabinet." Not actually true. Need and Want are very different things. "Thea's busy now-" true, as far as she knows "-so I was wondering if you could help me out?"

"Ah." The story is certainly plausible. Thea's tendency to be busy is well-documented; so is this Soriana's ongoing training in weyrwoman-related tasks as a prerequisite for her upcoming movement on the org chart. While it may, in fact, be a violation of procedures for Soriana to be doing this by herself… Thea's tendency to throw people in at the deep end and short-circuit procedures when she sees fit is also well-documented. Jethaniel can, if necessary, provide a first-hand account of such behavior on the part of the senior weyrwoman. "Very well. One moment." If he's going to be going that way, there are several other tasks he could perform for purposes of efficiency.

"Of course!" Soriana will just use the time to try and control her grin. Y-A-Y! No, no, gotta keep it subtle. Yay, she can do her job, not YAY, she can make things go boom with pretty colors. Subtle. Think of… paperwork. Yes. Think of very boring paperwork. Like stores requisi- no. More boring. Like the radio manual. Shards, now that's a book that brings 'dull' to new levels. It's a blunt object of the highest order.

Jethaniel fails to observe the gleeful smile on Soriana's face, because his attention is on his desk and the papers and drawers thereof. He collects, in addition to a small stack of papers, a cable requiring a certain adapter and a stripped screw that requires sizing and replacement. He could, of course, have these things taken care of by a handyman or posted techcrafter, but the inefficiency of doing it himself is countered by the satisfaction. Having so prepared himself for the journey to the stores, he rises.

Onwards! Upwards! And always going boom! Soriana is still fighting occasional battles against that grin as she heads back to the stores with Jethaniel. She makes no attempt at conversation along the way, because she's pretty sure asking what the most awesome fireworks are would make him suspicious and… that's about the limit of the topics she's able to come up with right now. She'll just save her breath and work on taming her grin into an innocent smile.

While explosions of various sorts are, in fact, happening constantly - particularly if one observes at a molecular or stellar level - it is somewhat misleading to consider them as always happening. For one thing, each individual explosion occurs at a specified point in time. A very small point, in fact - though it may release the kinetic energy to begin a cascade additional exothermic reactions. For another, most of these explosions are sufficiently small (or large) as to be generally uninteresting from an anthropocentric position. As is so often the case, the aspects of a domain interesting to any specific observer are a very small subset of the total domain. Jethaniel and Soriana arrive at the storerooms, and make their way through the various supplies. Upon reaching the fireworks cabinet, Jethaniel sets down the things he's carrying on a nearby shelf and brings out his key. It clicks in the lock, and the cabinet swings open. Within are a wide variety of devices capable of producing an explosion. They are, overall, remarkably similar in mechanism and result, but the ways in which they differ are quite interesting from the anthropocentric viewpoint.

It's okay. Soriana doesn't mind being misled by the universe. She's perfectly okay with finding these things interesting! The grin comes back as the cabinet swings open, but only for a moment, because she's also got to think fast. Okay. So. She wants things that will explode pretty. Nothing too big, because that'd be suspicious. Not too much, because, again, suspicious. Nothing too loud, because… well, that would make people suspicious and make them investigate, and they might be disappointed by the relative lack of greenriders. Now is one of those moments when Soriana wishes she had her mentor on hand, but she does her best regardless. A pack of sparklers, that's a good start. And… okay, a couple of small rockets. Ones that'll stay close to the ground and not set the foliage on fire. She hopes. She also hopes that her kid-in-the-candy-shop (goldrider-in-the-firework-shop?) staring can pass for trying to figure out the orgnizational scheme. And… there. Don't get greedy. Get while the getting's good. "Okay! That's it."

Fortunately for Soriana, Jethaniel's thoughts are mostly on his future tasks, and as such, he pays little attention to her expressions. He does, however, make a count of the fireworks she takes, and lists them out on an inventory sheet on the inside of the cabinet. Dangerous materials get cross-checked. He initials this particular withdrawal, then locks the cabinet once more before proceeding with his own business.

Okay so… there's a record of this. Good to know. That means that Soriana dutifully records these fireworks on her pre-initialed authorization form before finally finishing it off and filing it… according to procedures. See? She's learned So Very Much today. Now… it's time to abscond with her handcart of joy! This will be the Best. Party. Ever.

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