Gatty walked briskly to his next destination. Normally he would be running. However, he had been running messages all morning and was fatigued. This one wasn't important anyway - Just a note saying that some supply orders had been placed on hold for until the next week. People became upset about things like this, but not very. There was a common understanding that the supply officers and various workers were too few to handle the high demand placed upon them. Even if it had not been obvious beforehand, the fact that an elite soldier was taking the time to deliver such trivial messages ought to have alerted the recipient to this fact.
Gatty knocked three times on the door, as per proper decorum for when a door is shut and one knows not what is going on inside.
"Enter," called a gruff voice from inside.
Gatty did so, walking three paces into the room and coming to attention.
"I have a message from Capt. Li in supply, sir"
"Read it, then"
Gatty unscrolled the parchment in the most efficient of ways.
"Capt. Tassadon -
Due to increased demand, your current order has been placed on hold until next week. I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you, and am currently working to correct the situation.
(P. S. - I feel I should let you know that your order would have been taken care of on time, were it not for the needs of certain battle ready squadrons.)"
Gatty re-scrolled the message and awaited a reply. Capt. Tassadon gripped the sides of his chair.
Gatty hesitated to answer. He expected the captain to vent more about the situation.
"Yes, sir," Gatty said after a half minute of silence.
It was not the position of a messenger to explain the contents of a message, as there might be vital information which the messenger would not know. Therefore, Gatty simply repeated the pertinate portion of the message.
"Do you have any idea how many times I have requests placed on hold"
"More than once, sir," Gatty replied in absolute truthfulness. As Capt. Tassadon had said 'again,' he could be certain this was a reoccuring incident.
"This is ridiculous, isn't it?" the Captain asked, becoming more and more angry.
"My opinion is irrelevant, sir, "Gatty replied. He hated when they asked things like that. He was not supposed to give his opinion on messages and they knew this. They should have known, anyway. Anyone with common sense and a bit of rank ought to have known that those under them were not supposed to speak their minds. They reminded the underlings of this with punishments often enough.
"Your opinion is relevant in this case. After all, you deliver these all the time so you would know if this is happening to everyone or just to a select few"
"Sir, supply is not my department. I do not have any knowledge of what is normal for it. If you would like, sir, I can write a message asking Capt. Li to explain"
"I don't want to wait. These messages take too long to get too and fro. Besides, you're a smart enough kid. You ought to be able to infer something"
"Sir, I am not privy to any real information and no matter the case, my opinion is irrelevant"
The captain scoffed.
"Well, it sure as hell must be nice to never have to back up your words with anything. You never have to worry about being wrong because it's always someone else's work that you are doing"
Gatty grit his teeth. Nice? Easy? Why did people think this job was so easy? It could be very easy. However, that would require the control factor of everyone being reasonable. And captains were far from reasonable.
"You've got to have some information"
"Sir, I apologize but I have no information."
This badgering continued, becoming worse and worse. Gatty's answer remained the same, while the captain used more and more of his interrogation techniques to try and break Gatty, to try and force him to give an answer. Gatty cursed this simple message, for it was often the things which appeared simple that were the hardest to perform in this job.
"You know what? I've had enough of this. What's your name"
"LCDR Gatty Chirashi, sir"
"Alright, Gatty. You can take a message for me now. I want you to address it to your captain. Tell him that I want to see him about you and your uncooperative attitude"
Though Gatty was good about keeping his expression blank while doing busy work around the Vione, this made him grimace. Didn't this captain understand what it was like working with Dirandau? Captain Tassadon's simple annoyance was going to turn into quite a bit of pain for Gatty. And Gatty wasn't even the one that he should've been after. The supply department should've been the one to suffer this.
Gatty unfurled the scroll and wrote the captain's words.
"Are there any further remarks, sir"
"Yes. Tell him that if you were one of my men, I'd have run you through by now just to keep you out of my misery"
The captain laughed as he saw Gatty's expression. Gatty had been forced to do this a few times, but he never quite got used to the idea of insulting himself in the most deplorable of ways and not believing a word of it. It was rare that a person had to verbally dishonor themselves like that. And his own captain took it to heart. Dirandau would go and squabble with the person who defiled the honor of one of his men, but that didn't mean that the unwarranted punishment would be forgotten.
"And are there any other remarks, sir"
"Then if there are no further remarks, sir, I must deliver my other messages"
"What do you think you're doing? I still have to reply to Captain Li. That was the point of you coming here, wasn't it? Or did you forget? Or maybe you just weren't paying attention in the first place. I think that's the most likely"
"No, sir. I asked if there were any other remarks and you stated that there were none. As per decorum, I must"
"And you just assumed that I meant no remarks for anything. Assumptions are the mark of a lazy person. Add that to the remarks. That you're just lazy"
Gatty unfurled the scroll once again and added that to the post script remark. The captain smirked, glad as most were when the hands he lashed out with struck something and caused an effect.
"Now I have another message for you to give. I'm not going to bother Captain Li anymore. I want you to go to his supervisor. I assume you know who that is"
"He is not in my chain of command, sir"
"Well find out who he is. I want him to explain the meaning of this, of why these battle-ready squadrons always put my orders on hold"
Gatty did not want to bother Captain Li's supervisor. As beleaguered as Captain Li was, his supervisor was undoubtedly more so. Not only that, but Gatty did know the answer. Rather than take away from the already low efficiency of the supply department, he took it upon himself to inform this lovely person of the truth.
"Sir, the battle-ready squadrons are the elite soldiers of Zaibach. They must be ready at all times in cases of emergency. Without them, our army could not be so victorious and most likely Zaibach would lose in this war. Thus, all priority is given to them when a conflict with another squadron occurs"
"Are you saying that my men aren't important"
"Sir, we are all important to the army"
"But you are saying that mine are less worthy"
"No, sir. I said that those who are not in a battle-ready squadron do not need to be ready for emergencies and thus their supplies can be placed on hold with less repercussions"
"Which is essentially saying that my men do not matter"
"Sir, I said no such thing"
"You did. Stop arguing"
Gatty became silent. The man just wanted to call him wrong. He could do nothing about it. Strange that a person whose job was to pass information on to others was rarely allowed to speak and clarify.
"You're one of them, aren't you"
"One of who, sir"
"One of those battle-ready squadrons"
It was obvious from his uniform. However, this Captain deserved a little consideration. After all, his answers were proving beyond a doubt that he was thick-headed and idiotic.
"Of course!" he cried in a most condescending tone. He then began laughing, maintaining that horrible tone.
"Of course you're going to defend this and say it's necessary! They're helping you out, aren't they? You must love this, right? You arrogant little bastard"
Captain Tassadon glowered at Gatty.
"You're enjoying every moment of this, aren't you"
"My opinion is irrelevant, sir"
So long as he kept to the script, he'd be fine. If he just repeated what he had been taught, he'd be fine. He clung to those words like a branch in a raging river. He hoped that the Dragonslayers would go to battle soon, as it was a much more enjoyable circumstance. He was allowed to exercise his skill and the only one trying to defeat him was the enemy, not his compatriots.
"I've had enough of you and your smug arrogance. Should've known. Anyone that wears that uniform of yours is arrogant, just like your leader"
That was more than enough.
"Sir, I must remind you that due to the rules of loyalty, I must leave if you continue to disparage my Lord"
"What? Can't handle the truth"
"I can, sir"
"Then why complain when I tell you what it is"
"I apologize sir, but I can not agree with your views about my Captain"
"Just say you agree and I'll let you go"
"I can not, sir"
"Fine! Then just take the message for Captain Li's supervisor. Tell him that battle-ready squadrons, while they are near the top in priority, that the others of us must be given a chance at some point"
"Sir, might I suggest that you word that differently? Using the word must makes this appear as if you are giving him an order"
"It does not"
"Sir, I apologize. I was only offering this advice to save you some trouble"
"What do you care? You're just the messenger. Take the message I give you and keep quiet"
Capt. Tassadon had tired of playing with Gatty's head. It didn't seem to respond to the things he did to it in a way that interested him enough to continue.
Gatty wrote down Capt. Tassadon's message.
"Any further remarks, sir"
Gatty re-scrolled the message, pondering how the others would react when he delivered a message to them so late. No one was going to be happy. Not that they ever were unless he informed them that they were either getting promoted or that they were going into battle.
"I sure as hell hope I never have to deal with you again. You are by far the worst messenger I've ever worked with"
Capt. Tassadon sat back on his chair, trying to decide who he would bother to borrow supplies from for the time being.
"You are dismissed," he said, waving his hand in Gatty's direction without looking.
"Thank you, sir."
Gatty turned on his heels and quickly left before the captain could decide to do anything else to him. Grudgingly, he went to Dirandau's quarters. He knocked three times.
"What is it"
Gatty would normally have been disturbed by not recieving a command to enter, but he knew better. Dirandau rarely wanted him in his quarters. With the constant state of disrepair they were in, Gatty was glad for every moment he was not inside them.
"I have a message for you from Capt. Tassadon, sir"
"Tassadon? ...Tas...damnit. I hate hearing from him"
Dirandau stared into his empty wine glass. He hadn't been feeling well and took to drinking for the day. Gatty was interrupting this time honored ritual of Hope's forgotten children.
"So read it already"
Gatty read every insulting word that Tassadon had fed to him. Like a bitter poison, they burned him from the inside out.
Gatty repeated the message.
Dirandau folded his arms.
"How the hell do you manage to piss everyone off so much"
"I do not know, sir"
"You know this is my off time, right"
"...damnit...Why didn't you just tell him what he wanted to hear and get it over with? You've wasted so much time. Messengers are supposed to be efficient. If you can't even manage to be on time, what am I supposed to do with you? The only reason Capt. Li asked for you to help him is because he knows me and he knows that I demand perfection. You screw up and he doesn't know that anymore. He knows that he can't depend on you. Word gets around and our reputation lowers. Time for review comes up, and then we don't get our usual high marks. I don't want to join those idiots that hate me because I'm better than them, you know. We are better than that. I'm much better than that"
His words were punctuated by downing an entire glass.
"You had better be careful. If I can't trust you for this, I will replace you"
Gatty felt ill. The Dragonslayers were everything to Dirandau. He wanted nothing more than for their group to succeed. Gatty wanted to have that happen. But they weren't being allowed to succeed, considering present circumstances. He was certain Dirandau understood this and knew full-well that if things didn't change, they couldn't succeed. It was either that Dirandau didn't care about this fact or, more likely, didn't want to know it.
Gatty heard the familiar shattering of glass and a feral growl. There were the usual shrieks of frustrations and the ranting of a very angry young man. This system had him too well pegged down. If Zaibach was to succeed, they needed good soldiers to defeat the enemy, to accomplish objectives. If the good soldiers could not succeed and were continually left at the hands of jealous compatriots, useless and unknowledgeable politicians and idiotic servicemen, what good were they doing? They'd all die. They'd all just be made into front-line fodder and forgotten. And Zaibach would fail.
People wondered why Dirandau was so pushy. Why he was always yelling and making demands. If he wasn't loud, no one would hear him amidst the din of this great and useless machine.
Gatty wanted to be what Dirandau needed. He really did. If it were possible, he would've been perfect. He would have forgotten every stupid thought that had ever come into his head that didn't help in situations like this. He would have known every answer that Dirandau ever needed. He would've known how to help Dirandau calm down and how to fill that gargantuan void which alcohol only seemed to help widen. He would've known how to stop the pain, how to stop this madness.
But he didn't know. He was just the messenger. That's all he'd ever be.
I'm sorry if this seems a bit OOC. This whole thing was completely inspired by my job as a customer service agent, so I might've done a thing or two which wasn't fitting because of that.
Gatty seems to be customer service incarnate, so who better to use for venting frustration about that type of job? I think that customer service in general needs...well, not respect. Because people have gone for that and there are some who do have respect for it, but they still make it a horrible experience to have. I think that people need training in how to behave around customer service workers, and they need to realize that these people are working a job. They are doing a simple job which is made horrible by the fact that others think it is so simple. The insanity and stupidity is painful and stress is a killer.