dWMS Heiterkeit Valley
deWulf Corporate Democracy
“What do you mean there are ‘irregularities’ with the latest supply shipment?”
Hunter Hafig looked at Lancer Laufs with a glare that could have fused armoured plate. dWNS Heiterkeit Valley had just been commissioned, and the press of the war effort (to say nothing of her abysmal cruising speed) demanded she depart NOW, and let the rest of her supplies catch up over the four months it would take to reach the front lines. But the shift from provisioning at dockside to on the move had thrown her original replenishment schedule into disarray, leaving her vulnerable to mistakes Such as the ones Lancer Laufs had discovered.
“I mean that while we’ve received what we’re supposed to have, we’ve gotten some… extra. I think at least one of our suppliers is trying to use the confusion to ah… correct some inventory discrepancies.”
The glare refused to abate, and Laufs dragged in a fresh breath of air to continue
“The supply order said we’re to receive another 50 general ‘suits for our stocks. We did get a container with the requisite 50 Mark Twelve skinsuits, but the shipment we got was two containers.”
“So we got some extra suits. I’m not seeing the problem here.” Hafig explained, treating the Lancer like he was fresh from the training academy and wholly ignorant in how military logistics tended to work out. “We can always trade them off for some other supplies.”
“Yes, the other container had another 50, but they’re all Mark Eight models. I’m not sure if we have the right plumbing for them in the shops. They won’t interface with our current shipboard connectors.”
Hunter Hafig’s glare softened, eyes going wide in surprise as he processed the information “Mark Eights? Those got supplanted by the Eight-Beths back during the Binary War! Breaker, there was a fleet-wide upgrade to the Mark Nines three months after the armistice!”
Laufs nodded in agreement “That’s what I mean! Technically though, Logistics never did remove the Mark Eights from the official supply lists. Or the Eight-Beths. Or the Nines. Or the Mark Sevens-”
“I get the point, Lancer. So what are we going to do about this?”
“Well, the Eights aren’t bad per-se. Just out-modelled. The real problem is everyone finally standardized on fittings; they went with the ones that Trans-Solar used. They’re a much better connector, and they were becoming common in the civilian market already. But the Mark Eights use the older UAC fitting styles. They’re… serviceable. And they’re an open standard nowadays, so they’re very cheap to build…”
“Did you have a previous job as a spacesuit salesman? Because all I’m hearing is the opening of a sales pitch.”
“I owned a small suit fitting and supply shop on Dave’s World. I was on vacation with my family when it got rezoned as a crater.”
“Point is, the old connections are still really popular in the civilian market. And you can get conversion kits to refit them to the Trans-Solar connectors. But that requires some pretty specialized tools and skills. We just don’t have either aboard. A Protze-Class might; a Granit-Class probably would. I know that the Stülcken and Lürssen-Class ships do have the needed facilities aboard.”
Hafig looked like he had bitten into a piece of meat that was a few days after the best-by date. “Who shipped them to us, by the way?”
“Bluhn & Dehl, of course.”
Bluhn & Dehl were the Navy’s primary corporate chandler. They provided anything that wasn’t military-grade, and a lot of things that were. As a general rule, if it could be carried through a personal airlock they could provide it. Bluhn & Dehl had delivered four full NF-8000 containers full of various supplies, and in the rush they had, through carelessness or guile, added one more shipment of skinsuits that should have instead been disposed of years ago. A complaint would probably be filed, but in all likelihood it would just disappear into the monolith that was B&D’s administration.
Lancer Laufs continued “No idea if this was an accident or an ‘accident’, to be honest. I can’t imagine why they’d have held onto these older space suits for so long, but my guess is that someone at the depot saw an opportunity to get them out of his storage racks with some plausible deniability. They were shipped in excess to our requirements, so we can’t say that we didn’t get what we ordered. Regardless, we won’t have the space to hold them for long. We need to clear the container out of the hold for actual supplies.”
Hunter Hafig gritted his teeth. That was the gripping paw of the issue; they couldn’t just retain the cargo and trade it later for something they did need. They just didn’t have the cubage available. “And we can’t just toss the container out the airlock, can we?” He asked, half in jest but hoping that might be a plausible solution.
“No Sir. We can’t just toss them out. Hrm….” A grin spread across the Lancer’s face. That sweet dawning of realization. “But we can tag the container as filled with dunnage from replenishment. You know, loose bracing, drained chemical tanks, that sort of thing. It’ll get routed out to Mittelsspannung for processing and disposal.”
Hafig smiled “And once it’s off our ship, it’s their problem. Good work Laufs. I want those suits off our ship before we transit in to Grumman.”
“They’ll be offboard by the turn of the watch.”