Wednesday, June 29, 2005

See, Tarkin IS a jerk

I've only had a few run-ins with Grand Moff Tarkin during my Imperial career. Most of those times, he and I were in the same meeting and Tarkin was quick to put the verbal smackdown on anyone who spoke out of line. He's really an unpleasant fellow to be around - I don't care what Captain Stupid says otherwise. So I wasn't exactly pleased to hear that Tarkin would be individually visiting each section during the first few weeks aboard the "Death Star."

I'm wondering if he's using the old Clone Wars technology to make multiple copies of himself in order to pull this off. The "Death Star" is really, really big. I imagine it would take several months to actually visit each section, even if you were just doing a fly-by hello. Which, of course, Tarkin won't because he's way too much of a jerk to do that. He's the type of person to stand over your shoulder and criticize the way you press a button on your control panel - you know, too much pressure on the botton, gloves not clean enough so they don't get the proper grip, wrists not held up in an upright fashion to prevent repetitive strain while firing turbolasers, that sort of thing.

Seeing that we're in the weapons department, Tarkin decided we would be among the first to be visited. Now I previously whined about Captain Big Nose and the rather boring ensemble gathered here. There is one guy who's actually pretty cool, and I think he might even be lazier than me. I call him Fun Commander. I don't think we'll ever be great friends, but at least he's not strict duty man like Captain Big Nose and his consortium of stick-up-the-butt officer pals.

I got the memo about Tarkin's visit so I made sure that my "Look real busy while not really doing anything" talents were set to active. Apparently, Fun Commander missed the memo. Here is the wackiness that ensued.

Tarkin: Well, I see that you have a fine turbolaser crew here. What is your name, son?

GM: Grumpy Moff, sir!

Tarkin: Very good, Grumpy Moff. Where were stationed previously?

GM: Star Destroyer Devastator, under the supervision of Grand Moff Dabow, sir!

Tarkin: Ah, yes, Dabow. Respectable fellow, though he is a little soft around the edges at times. Sometimes, I think Dabow believes we are on Imperial vacation, but we are not, are we Grumpy Moff?

GM: No sir! Vacations are not for Imperials, sir! Unless, um, they use their allocated vacation time, sir! Then vacations are ok, sir! But not during times of crisis or, um, other...times...when you shouldn't be on vacation...sir! (Tarkin cocks one eyebrow and his sullen cheeks waver as he grimaces. I think he's not sure what to think about my rambling.) Except, um, during instances of family emergencies or other Emperor-approved absences, sir! Sick time is also ok to use, if you have accumulated the proper amount of hours necessary except, um, when you're not really sick, then, uh, you shouldn't use sick time, you should use vacation time, Sir! (I let out a big breath and the blood drains from my face after that breathlessly worded exchange)

Tarkin: Well, I am glad to see that someone here has read the Imperial handbook on employee vacation and time off.

GM: Sir, yes sir!

Tarkin: And you (turning to Captain Big Nose), what is your name and occupation?

CBN: Captain Big Nose, sir! Supervisor for the 423 and 424 turbolaser division, sir! We are the most precise turbolaser crew in the fleet and we would love to demonstrate our capabilities for you at any time, sir!

Jeez, why don't you brag a little more? Captain Big Nose's monster schnauz appears to be magnetically drawn to Tarkin's butt.

Tarkin: Excellent attitude, young man. That's why we brought you on board the Death Star. Now, why don't you show me -

Suddenly, the door to the work section opens up and it's Fun Commander. Now, keep in mind that normally there's some leeway to arrival in the morning. He's really only 3 minutes late, but he picked the wrong 3 minutes to be late. Fun Commander trots in, nods hello to me, and then sees Tarkin. He stops dead in his tracks and his face becomes as white as Hoth on a blizzard morning.

FC: Oh...Grand Moff Tarkin...sir, I mean, um, good to see you sir! Fine morning for turbolasers, isn't it?

Tarkin: You, young man, are late to your duties!

Captain Big Nose: Fun Commander, you knew that Grand Moff Tarkin was touring our area today! Arriving late represents the entire turbolaser staff poorly!

Fun Commander shoots turbolasers from his eyes to Captain Big Nose and turns back to Tarkin.

FC: I'm, ah, sorry sir, the elevator was backed up today and uh...

Tarkin: The Empire will not tolerate excuses or poor work. You must be at your station on time every day that you are assigned to work. There is no exception to this rule.

Grumpy Moff: Um, what if you call in sick? You know, like we just talked about, if you have accumulated sick time and you wake up not feeling...

Tarkin: YES, sick time is allowable but your supervisor must be notified at least one hour in advance. (Tarkin steps forward toward Fun Commander. Even though Fun Commander is several inches taller than Tarkin, right now he seems about four feet shorter than him) Did you call your supervisor to tell him that you would be late?

FC: Well, no, the elevator was backed up going from...

Tarkin: EVERY STATION AND CONSOLE HAS COMMUNICATIONS. DID YOU NOTIFY YOUR SUPERVISOR?

FC: (looks to me and receives a quick, worried shrug of the shoulders) Um...no sir...no, I did not.

Tarkin: Well, it seems as if SOME members of this team are the best of the best (nods to Captain Big Nose) while some may not be cut out for the Death Star. I would sharpen up my act if I were you, young man.

FC: Yes sir! Your advice is noted, sir!

Tarkin: Good. Now if you'll excuse me, I must visit the other weapons sections. But before I leave, Fun Commander, may I ask you a question?

FC: Sir, yes sir!

Tarkin: What is your home planet?

FC: Berforse, sir! (Fun Commander pauses in thought) May I ask why you wish to know?

Tarkin cracks a wry smile and taps his temple.

Tarkin: Oh, I'll just tuck that away in here in case we ever fly by it. You never know when this station will need to test its...capabilities.

The room falls silent other than the click-clacks of Tarkin's boots as he walks out the door.

Yes sir, Tarkin certainly is a jerk.

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