Information (and Weyr) Management

Xanadu Weyr - Weyrleaders' Office
Office and retreat, this is the domain of Xanadu's Weyrleaders. The door is in the eastern wall, quite close to the southern end while the northern wall is dominated by big, expansive windows, framed by sumptuous deep blue drapes edged with a brilliant gold braid and tied back with a thick rope of braided gold and blue cord. In between, the eastern wall is covered floor to ceiling with shelves that house all sorts of records, manuals and supplies that are used on a day-to-day basis. The southern wall has the Weyrleader's desk — plain fellis wood, well polished and masculine. From behind his desk, the Weyrleader can look straight through the windows and out onto the main airspace of Xanadu. The western wall is where the Weyrwoman's desk resides: a lovely piece of furniture made of warm cherry wood. From her seat, a glance sideways gives her an equally good prospect out the window. There are a few other seats, some comfortably arranged around a low round table for small, informal meetings while there also some that can be drawn up to one of the desks.
On the south side of the door, the space is occupied by a low oblong table where refreshments can be set without someone needing to intrude. There is also an 'incoming' tray where incoming correspondence or similar items can be left.

The hours kept by starcrafters tend to be skewed from those of the rest of the Weyr. This can make arranging meetings difficult; the usual compromise is to place them early for the starcrafter and late for everyone else. Last night was an exception, as Jethaniel allowed the starcrafters to dictate the schedule, though not the content, of the meeting. This meant it started at the nocturnal equivalent of mid-morning - or, for Jethaniel, shortly after suppertime - and continued through much of a starcraft day. The length of the meeting was possible for the starcrafters due to the fact that the telescope was being recalibrated. That - or, more precisely, the reason why it was being recalibrated - was also one of the primary topics of the meeting. A frequent refrain, in among requests for better equipment that ranged from demanding to, occasionally, outright rude. The requests themselves were nothing new. The tones were, but given the circumstances, Jethaniel made no objections to the mode of delivery… merely the requests themselves. He continued his denials - alternated with requests for details about the recalibration process - until, somewhat after midnight, the meeting concluded.

Some few hours later, after dawn, Jethaniel returned to his office. He spent the morning in careful construction of an incident report and revised budget. He spent his lunch break reviewing them. Now it's early afternoon, and Jethaniel - documents in hand and fortified by klah - knocks on Thea's door.

"Come in!" The answer to the knock comes after a few seconds of delay and sounds absent. When he opens the door, he'll see her reading a document, but she manages to tear her eyes away to see who's entering. "Oh, hi Jethaniel." Peer. "You look beat." Despite the klah, apparently. She hasn't been up to the observatory to peek at the stars in awhile, hasn't run into any starcrafters because her late night schedule (yes, she has one) takes her in the opposite direction of where they'd frequent. It pretty much takes her where most folks wouldn't think to look, so she doesn't know about meetings, demands or incidents - yet. "Not sleeping well?" she asks with concern as she waves him to a chair.

Jethaniel enters when summoned, and he smiles briefly at her description of him. Klah can only do so much, and his primary purpose in the consumption of it is to retain mental functioning and wakefulness, not the appearance thereof. The actual mental function is, however, more difficult to assess, as he does not have an unbiased perspective for testing it. The closest that could be achieved is some form of a challenge-response system - "Hello, Thea." …for example. He takes a seat in that chair, closing his eyes for a moment. Just a moment. He's not going to fall asleep. He's simply conducting a (flawed) self-assessment of his mental functioning. "The quality of the sleep," he says as he opens his eyes again, "is not the issue. Merely the quantity of it." Those documents of his are kept in his hand instead of being moved further into Thea's sight. "A peripheral consequence of a recent issue."

"I… see." Thea doesn't pry, exactly but her steward's health is of primary importance to her and not just because the smooth functioning of the Weyr depends on it. She's genuinely concerned and it shows in the troubled expression and knitting of dark brows as she processes his answer. Okay, let's try this again, "Something's keeping you up at night? Do you need to take a sabatical to, ah, deal with things?" Because from her experience, the things that have in the past kept her up at night, are personal in nature. Waitwait. A peripheral consequence of a recent issue? "You're not sick are you?" Now she's peering at him more searchingly.

Jethaniel dismisses the idea of a sabbatical with a small shake of his head. "That would be counterproductive." Even if, in theory, that would mean he could sleep at night; the logical choices for who would take over the starcrafter meetings would mean he was once again losing sleep, now for reasons such as Thea initially supposed. "I am not sick." Though if he keeps up the lack of sleep, he might yet become so. "It is Weyr business. Certain issues have arisen around the Observatory; I have been meeting with the starcrafters to create a plan for resolution."

Thea's scrutiny eases off with that assurance and she relaxes back against her seat, relieved that he's neither sick nor troubled. Ha, he's not, troubled, right? "Ah, Weyr business." Well, starcrafters do keep late hours, so she's assuming that's when they'll schedule their meetings. "You should take a commensurate amount of time off during the day if you're going to meet with them. It looks like we owe you some off hours." She levels a look at him. Yes? Though resolution implies… "Conflict?" She raises one brow questioningly. She certainly knows they tend to each one feel their research is the most important and the time on the scope can be… haggled over. "Starcrafters aren't always known for their… social skills," she says with a smile lurking in her pale eyes.

Whyever would Jethaniel be troubled? There certainly haven't been any decisions lately that affect his personal life… that he's bringing up with Thea. "I will take compensatory time once things are resolved," he says with a small wave of one hand. He might even file a time sheet to prove it. There is, however, that pending matter of resolution. Why? Jethaniel makes an equivocating gesture to the term conflict, his head inclining and tilting at the same time, then smiles faintly. "Such skills are not required for their craft." Jethaniel glances down, selecting the first of his sheets. "They have, however, some justification. The telescope is currently undergoing unplanned maintenance." He extends the paper to Thea - an Incident Report.

There's the usual details of date, time, and location, of course, but the interesting bit of these things is always the explanation. Jethaniel has written this one very, very carefully.

"An unplanned activation of the primary telescope controls resulted in an emergency shutdown and halting of the hydraulic system. The safety procedures worked as designed, and no damage was sustained to the lenses or casing; however, full recalibration will require at least a sevenday and may take up to a month."

The rest goes on to explain these things in more detail. Carefully omitted are the details of the 'unplanned activation' - which sounds so much more technical than 'button-push thing' - as well as all names except the ones of the starcrafters whose assessment for recalibration time Jethaniel used. So far as this document is concerned, it's as though the controls simply turned on of their own accord.

No reason, no reason at all for him to be troubled. Hah! Those decisions affecting his personal life… she's well aware that she hasn't brought her most recent promotion up with him, but she is planning to. She nods at his assurance to see to his time off. She'll be waiting for that. No working self to death on her watch, thanks. Of the starcrafter's skills, she responds facetiously, "Only when dealing with people; the stars don't mind a bit." Maintenance for machinery is not a surprise to her. Isn't stuff always breaking down? She takes the report and scans it idly. It looks… mundane and routine. Unplanned activation though. "What? Did one of the starcrafters nod off and faceplant on the console?" She's kidding, her smirk clearly says so. Then she coughs, working at sobering. After all, the recaligr- recalatra- recalibration is obviously going to set the starcrafter's schedule back. And he's been meeting with them, so… "How much is this costing the Weyr?" Bottom line, right?

Or perhaps the stars are simply at sufficient distance that the reports they filed complaining of the craft's behavior have not yet reached their destinations. The speed of light is a constant far more inviolable than the number of hours worked per sevenday. As for nature of the incident, Jethaniel frowns. "I am not aware of the precise details." This is technically true, though he's aware of far more than he wrote down. That, rather than the importance of the equipment and the long meetings (and costs) is why he doesn't smile. Still, the report is correct, if… incomplete. "There will, however, be a review of procedures during the downtime." Jethaniel glances down at the other documents he's brought, silent for a moment at the question. "That depends on our handling of the situation. If we negotiate time for some of the starcrafters posted here at Landing and other observatories, and take some as volunteers for vacation at partial pay, I believe we can minimize costs. I have projections for that." He offers a sheet of revised figures, costs for the optimistic, expected, and pessimistic time projections. "Alternatively," he adds after giving her a moment to look, "we can treat this as an opportunity."

This could be why! Mysteries of the universe solved: Why stars cooperate with starcrafters. Thea absorbs Jethaniel's answer in silence. For a man who usually will say things with 147 big words when 4 or 5 smaller ones will do, he's being unusually… concise. Vague too. "Are you sure you're feeling well?" The Weyrwoman is squinty-eyed in her concern for him, tempted - even though she's nowhere near older than him to be motherly - to put her hand to his brow and feel for fever. You see, he's making sense. With a technical-type of report. And he's not confusing her with complexities. She runs her eyes down the list of figures, though that is certainly detailed enough! "Vacation during the downtime. Excellent." Though he doesn't know the details of how it happened. Some careless starcrafter, no doubt. "In any job, there's the potential for accidents, though I hope the person responsible will be helping to defray the cost." She lifts her eyes from his precise figures (in triplicate!) and asks, "Opportunity?"

Perhaps Jethaniel's terseness can be ascribed to lack of sleep? Though, if he's gotten that little rest, surely he should have had the chance to conduct a full investigation into primary, secondary, and tertiary causes. He lowers his head at the question. "I will visit the infirmary for an assessment." And get a healer's note to… er… not skip work. … He's barely arguing, either. Maybe he is coming down with something. His gaze remains lowered until Thea speaks again, then rises as he nods. He knows what vacation is, see? As for defraying the costs, "That has been included in the calculations." Though the exact origin thereof isn't on this sheet, for it's not a starcrafter at all. Still, any change in the headwoman's salary can surely be ascribed to a revocation of bonuses Ocelara had earned during her tenure. "There are improvement projects the starcrafters have been requesting; one of the costs for such projects is downtime on the telescope." Jethaniel smiles, very faintly, before he continues. "Certain of those improvements could be conducted with significant overlap to the calibration process." They're cheaper now than ever… which does not mean the costs are trivial. "This does, of course, require making an unplanned investment." A significant one, potentially; the sheet Jethaniel now offers outlines several possible plans, showing the equipment costs and the efficiencies gained in each case.

Now Thea is really worried. The man is humble, she'll give him that, but she's never seen him this… is he listless? She can't quite decide. She's staring at his bent head. Nobody volunteers to go to the healers for a checkup. She isn't worried about the starcrafters or the backed up schedule. Nothing was damaged he'd said. So why's he looking so haunted? Not looking her in the eye? She takes his sheets absently, scanning them but not really studying them. She'd have to take a half-day to do that and besides, that's what she's got him for. He knows the Weyr budget better than she does. "So, okay if it's not going to put the Weyr deeply in debt and the starcraft will invest in it too, go ahead." Her final approval will, of course come as a signature after she's reviewed these forms, but… a thought nags at the back of her mind. "Jethaniel. Are you unhappy?"

Appeal to authority - in the form of a healer's assessment of his health - is a flawed technique of argument. Jethaniel is aware of that fact, but he is also abundantly (and unhappily) aware that he is not entirely presenting this situation to Thea in good faith. Oh, all the facts he's presented are true, and the Weyr budget and Observatory will be in good shape afterward. He will even, most likely, be able to coax efficiency out of the situation and make things better than before. Nevertheless. He nods to her confirmation to proceed - which he expected, but it's better procedure to obtain pre-approval than to have to retract external statements. He'd have brought it to her at this stage even if he weren't trying to make sure the story she hears is one that doesn't include… a certain blonde fact. Having received that confirmation, his intended task here is done, and he shifts his weight in preparation to rise before she stops him with a word. Jethaniel looks to her at the question. More precisely, he stares, surprise evident as he attempts to gather thoughts other than the ones he carefully prepared before coming here. "…why do you ask?" What gave it away? Which is, perhaps, not the best question, but his attempt at thought-gathering was a partial success at best.

Thea places the reports on her desk and folds her arms over them, leaning forwards a little and seeking to make eye contact with him. If he doesn't avoid it, he'll see a mixture of concern, trust and growing dismay. "Ah, ah, I asked you first," she says with a half-smile. Then she sighs and tells him anyway, "I asked because I may not be all that great with technology (putting it mildly - she's terrible with it) or schematics but I can read people. You look miserable. I'd want to know if it wasn't my fault, but I suspect that it is." She pauses, tilts her head while continuing to eye him. "There isn't anyone who I trust more than you, Jethaniel. Except maybe Seryth." Sorry N'shen, but you're a very close second? "Would you please tell me what's wrong?" She asks because he did say the issue is Weyr related, not personal.

Jethaniel meets Thea's eyes with his own, though he doesn't return her smile. His own expression is… troubled. Tired, too - he was telling the truth about that, but it's not the whole story. He could simply repeat that part of it; inform her that his situation is due to lack of rest and that he'll take a day off. Perhaps he could cough and pretend he's got the flu? He starts to open his mouth at Thea's mention of fault, as if to protest. He's the one who's… who is finding his priorities in conflict, and his mouth closes once again, words unsaid. Her statements about trust make a pained look cross his face, and it's too much for him to continue meeting her gaze. Jethaniel looks away. "I… am aware." He frowns, and considers on his words (and priorities) for a long moment before lifting his gaze once again. "May I ask your intentions concerning Darsce?" He's still not answering questions, just asking them back - but he's sitting up a little straighter as he does it.

Thea listens with her heart as well as her ears. He doesn't have to answer her questions verbally because the fleeting expressions that cross Jethaniel's face already have, in a way. She doesn't understand why exactly, but she doesn't need to at this point. Darsce? She doesn't exactly look surprised that he's asking but not for the reason he might imagine. She knows nothing of his personal life. "I was going to talk to you about her, Jethaniel but you know how things get around here." She sighs, "You already know I made her headwoman. I'm sorry about that, because things are going to be a little rough around here for all of us for awhile." Understatement! But her intentions, he'd asked and she directs a thoughtful look at him. No questions are asked. Instead she smiles, a warm radiant sort of one that makes her glass green eyes dance. "To help her." Not a trace of sarcasm there. Not a doubt that she won't be able to accomplish her mission. "She's a great person inside, she just doesn't believe it yet. But she will." And now comes the question, "Why do you ask?"

There are many modes of communication. Jethaniel is fluent in some of them. Technical schematic, he can read easily. Facial expressions are one he is less skilled at understanding, and Thea has doubtless gleaned more knowledge from him than he from her. Similarly certain is the fact that both their knowledge-sets remain incomplete… but there are some things they both know. How things get around here is one of them, and Jethaniel nods. Darsce's rank as headwoman is another, and the steward nods once again. The apology brings a trace of curiosity, one that subsides with her explanation to leave his expression a considering one; the sort of thoughtful look that has a frequent place on his features, putting together the facts he has and waiting for more. This time, he's waiting for the actual answer… and when it comes, there's an flash of emotion in his eyes. Hope, perhaps? He lowers them briefly as he nods, perhaps in time to hide the moment of regret. "I believe she is capable," he says as his gaze rises once again. "I…" he trails off, silent for a moment, and then he half-smiles. "Because I still wish to be Xanadu's Steward." The other half of the smile arrives, and he inclines his head. "Weyrwoman."

Thea does indeed miss the flash of regret in those lowered eyes. He thinks Darsce's capable and Thea? She just smiles wider. "I'm not sure if she is or not, but the point is, she will try to be. Eventually she will have her successes but the will to have them… that will make all the difference." And then she leans forward a little more and confides, "I'll be overlooking a lot of… mishaps, Jethaniel." She's beginning to lean back when he answers her last question. Dark brows quirk in question. Yes? And the rest, when it comes, confuses her. He gets a blink, a blank look. "Why on Pern would I fire the best (heh, well the only) Steward I have because Darsce is Headwoman?" Is he actually going to answer this one?

A great many things come back to a fundamental question of desire. "Indeed so," Jethaniel agrees. If he has speculations as to Darsce's desire to succeed as headwoman, he doesn't share them. Perhaps that's because, insofar as he's aware of her desires, they involve being headwoman only as a second-order effect of fulfilling other urges. As for those mishaps… he simply nods. "I expect it will be a learning experience. I will, however, attempt to keep the mishaps to a manageable level." Which isn't his job as steward, except insofar as attempting to avoid weyr-wide disasters is an implicit part of that role, but he was going to do it anyhow. Besides, if he takes care of them, Thea can overlook things far more blithely from a vantage point of plausible deniability. With these facts in mind, he can even consider his evasion regarding events with the telescope somewhat justified. His priorities are once more aligned. Thea's question makes him smile, for in that he reads an answer to a question he hasn't asked. "You would not. That decision would necessitate a different set of priorities; as such, it is unlikely to become relevant."

Thea's only aware that something is keeping Darsce in Xanadu. Beyond that, she really doesn't concern herself. The desire alone is enough to provide motivation for the new headwoman to, well, cooperate and focus on the new track her life has taken. Hopefully it won't come down to Weyr-wide catastrophes - at least she's hoping not. You never know with Darsce, though. And he's willing to help manage them, even. "You will? Thanks, Jethaniel, you're quite helpful." The Weyrwoman beams at him. Of course she wouldn't fire him! Her head starts to bob emphatic agreement and then the rest of his words sink in. She sorts through the wordiness while leveling him with a keen appraisal. It takes longer than reading his facial expression does, this evaluating, before she draws her own conclusions with a nod of approval and a twitch of her mouth. What she says at length might seem irrelevant, but then, she's not in the habit of wasting words. "When I was a junior, the weyrsecond carried me 'cross Weyr while I boot-whacked his head and the Senior didn't so much as blink." She outright grins at him, leaving him to draw his own correlations to his present situation.

The mention of his helpfulness draws a half smile from Jethaniel - not because it isn't true, but because of his motivations. He does not, however, see the need to actually argue. He's sometimes capable of accepting gratitude - as well as answering questions! Perhaps Jethaniel should attempt to deliver his technical documents in phrases of two or three words accompanied by dramatic glances? It appears to be a more efficient mode of communication. The delay in processing this time does not, however, appear to concern him, and as Thea regards him, he looks rather more relaxed than when he arrived. Still tired - that's not going to disappear until he's had a chance to sleep - but no longer troubled. The story brings a questioning tilt to his head, followed by a broadening smile. "I shall endeavor to acquire suitable anecdotes." But not, evidently, to constrain his verbosity. Jethaniel pauses a moment, his gaze lowering briefly to the papers in front of her before lifting again. "Thank you, Thea." He does not specify for what. "I will work on a final proposal with the starcraft." One suitable for signatures and the disbursal of marks. "Ideally…" His lips quirk. "Optimally given the circumstances, you will have it within a day or two. Is there anything else?" While he's here.

No longer troubled. See Cyrus? That is how mindhealing is done! With a 'dare-ya' her tone, the Weyrwoman replies to his endeavor, "See that you do." There's a mock-stern look: that's an order (only, not really, but yes, yes it is!). "You're welcome." She's just given him blanket permission to woo the headwoman and be as indiscreet as he'd like. Well, as indiscreet as Darsce would like. Jethaniel, could use some loosening up. She nods mildly about the proposal and the time frame, confident as always, about his abilities. His question garners a twinkle. Is there anything else? "Yes." Her lips curve in a mischievous smile, "Have fun." First on her list because that's of prime importance. "Get some sleep." Because he needs that for the first. Oh yes. "And don't tell Darsce." He knows what that means, doesn't he? Scary Weyrwoman - Rar!

Jethaniel nods, quite seriously (except for the slight curve of his lips) to that order. He was, after all, intending to do so regardless - but he has no particular inclination to break rules for the mere sake thereof, and is quite satisfied to work within them. He wasn't looking forward to that argument. Thea's yes makes his brow arch as he awaits her instructions. The first makes him smile. The second makes him nod. The third… makes him frown, then nod. "My actions will be on my own initiative." Scary Weyrwoman certainly doesn't approve of her Steward wasting time helping her Headwoman. Not her. …Jethaniel, on the other hand, will find extra hours in his day to help Darsce. He's still got to sleep sometime, though… right? "I may not be in before noon, tomorrow." Right. He's got to sleep, and he'll likely be up late talking to starcrafters. As for having fun… "I will arrange my rest day appropriately." Maybe the same day as Darsce's? These things having been established, he rises to his feet, inclining his head in a nod before heading back to his desk to work (and nap) and work some more. Flex time, here he comes.

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