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Messages - Eater of Clowns

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2821
The phones go off in the evenings.  We are not receptionists.  We are dispatchers.  A receptionist is someone who is there to help you.  A dispatcher is someone who you are interrupting from doing actual work.  So when the receptionist turns the phone off in the evening and you get a voice that sounds like it would happily toss you a heavy stone while you drowned, you are talking to the dispatcher.

“Dispatch.”  That is all.  It is the department, perhaps the name of the speaker.  No ‘how can I help you’ or ‘how can I direct your call,’ just ‘dispatch.’  In fact, we don’t really want to help you.  It just happens that helping you is the fastest way of getting off the line.

“Hi, I’m not sure if I have the right department.  I’m looking for the caseworker for NS unit.”

“Administrative staff has stepped out for the day, you’ll have to call back tomorrow during business hours.”
Click.

We don’t take messages.  We don’t take them from one staff member to another, we don’t take them from civilians to inmates.  We connect you to the right phone extension or to the right person, and the faster we can do this the happier we’ll both be.

“Dispatch.”

“My boyfriend got locked up and I want to put money in his canteen.”

“I’m going to send you to the inmate information line.”  Transfer, click.

That’s because we know how communication works.  You get the gist but the details get all mangled up.  And when you’re giving a story with details, it’s the details that get questioned.  Can’t answer a question about something we weren’t directly privy to, so we send you to the person who was.  We are the middle man, and we are more than happy to cut ourselves out.

“Dispatch.”

“I’d like to speak with Officer Smith.”

“I’m going to send you to the control desk.”  Transfer, click.

The phones rings and one of seven people are on the line.  The first can’t string a thought together, but can manage a sentence.  The second has something clearly in mind, but can’t actually speak it.  The third doesn’t understand that you can’t solve all of their problems.  The fourth manages to talk without a fraction of a pause, somehow not breathing.  The fifth can only speak in shrieks.  The sixth is your boss.  The seventh is an actual nice person.  One through six overlap.  In two years I have spoken with seven a total of three times, and they probably only qualify because it was a very short conversation.

Then there’s the calls coming from a line that you can tell from the ID are going to be misdials.
“Sheriff’s Office.”

“Hello, is this Dr. Springer’s office?”

“No, this is the Sheriff’s Office.”

“What number is this?”

“It’s the number for the Sheriff’s Office.”

They never believe you.  Like you were mistaken.  No, sir, you’re right, this is Papa Gino’s Pizzeria, answering for a county sheriff’s office three times was my mistake.  Let me offer you some bread sticks.
But every so often the phone can be difficult instead of a nuisance.  It is for these reasons that Pete has learned to avoid it.

Pete’s the newest hire, the only one with less time than me, and holds the title of the reddest human being I’ve ever met.  The office is thankfully devoid of sharp objects, because I’m fairly certain he is composed entirely of blood, which upon disturbing would then spray like a power wash through our equipment.  Pete’s a simple guy.  The processes of the office that have an established solution are the ones he’s quite good at.  They don’t require very much judgment or, well, thinking.

The phone is where that gets complicated.  People are on the other line of that thing, and they are notoriously untidy.

Pete’s more of an ambulance call kind of guy.  The ambulance calls on the radio, they tell you the hospital they want to talk to, and you patch their signal through to that location.  Clean, simple, totally unlike humans on phones.

So rather often, they get me.  And, worse, they get me when I’m busy.  And, even worse, they might even get me when it’s so busy that I haven’t had a moment to eat my supper.  Hungry people are funny things.  Call me at one hour and you’re just an inconvenience.  Call me at another and you are an obstacle preventing me from undertaking a biological imperative which falls under the category of a requirement to live.  That needs to be addressed suitably.

“Dispatch.”

“Hi, I wanted to know if someone is there.”

“Yes.  Several people.  Thanks for checking.”  Click.

2822
So, since there is actually no way I could be more cynical about my job, and since there's no grand mystery to solve, I went wth highlighting Vimes' strong ability to describe the mindset and proper method of police work.  Here's part one, of three, one for each week on the quest:

A good copper does the job that’s in front of them.  A dispatcher that does the job in front of him is ignoring the jobs to the left, right, behind, and probably another one or two also in front of him.  There’s two parts of the job.  The waiting part, that’s where the punch clock turns into a shackle.  Then there’s the working part.  That’s when your field of vision needs take on certain aspects of the house fly.  You aren’t a dispatcher unless you’re absolutely miserable doing either.

Nobody’s perfected this more than Mick.  You meet him and he’s personable enough, the kind of guy that was always a bit of a hot shot in his youth that’s put on a bit of paunch after a marriage and a couple of kids.  Then the radio goes off.

“Uuugh,” he pronounces.  He dispatches, and he’s done, then, “sickening already.”

The pronounced groan is how we identify him.  The conversation generally goes “Who did you work with last night,” and the response is, “uuuugh.”

Now a dispatcher is a funny kind of character.  They don’t like people very much.  They like being the ones with all the information.  They need things to be organized.  And they need to not care a whole lot about it.
You get someone who cares too much, and they’re going to be broken by Daniels.

Daniels is the K9 officer, and there has never been a more appropriate match between a job description and the person who does it.

“Daniels to Dispatch.”

“Uuugh.  Go ahead K9.”

“I’m out on Route 34, westbound.  Small vehicle disabled in the left turn lane.  I’ll be standing by.  Just for the log, show me out on Route 34, westbound with that vehicle.  It’s in a bad spot waiting for a tow.  Show me out with it.  For the log, Mick.”

For Daniels the log is magic.  It is salvation, a witness to life’s every event.  And with Daniels, there are a lot of events.  Broken down cars, drivers without licenses, lost motorists, confused elderly, unregistered cars, warrants, everything.  And all of it for the log.

“Sickening already,” Mick says.

You have to let him do it.  The only thing worse than groaning and taking every call we get is, for him, having someone else do it.

“Daniels to Dispatch.”

“Uuugh.  Go ahead Daniels.”

“Yeah I’m out with that vehicle.  Driver says she’s broken down, already called for a tow.  Do me a favor, Mick, get on the line with the police department and see if they can send a tow.  Sometimes they’re faster.  And show me standing by in the log, Mick.”

“Received.”

Today is Sunday.  Sunday is always a punch-clock-is-your-enemy kind of day.  With the exception of K9 Daniels.

“Daniels to Dispatch.”

“Dispatch.”

“You can show me clear of that location, for the log.  The towing company showed up.  So I’ll be off the scene en route back to the station.”

“Received.”

Infinitely.  Because some coppers actually do the job that’s in front of them.  It’s just that for some, the job seems a lot more alive.  You spend a few weeks with Daniels and you notice a pattern of things just happening around him.  For anyone else, it would be a day as normal.  But for Daniels, a day as normal included no less than two tow trucks, a drug search, a bilingual interpreter, three reams of paper, more reports than most entire agencies can accomplish in a year, and a quick chat up in the dispatch room with a guy who just can’t seem to sit still.

Mick hates it, but that’s because Mick hates work.  It’s not that he doesn’t like to work, it’s just that work qualifies as something.  Work being something, and things which Mick hates being everything, the natural conclusion is one stubbornly pessimistic dispatcher.

I like Daniels because he’s a nice guy, and that’s all there is to it.  Nice guy who has a way of getting under people’s skin, but a nice guy.  I’ve worked with a copper who does nothing.  He goes through the motions, having us do all the paperwork, moving about for the sake of looking busy, and then when it comes time for him to take action he simply doesn’t.

That one was why I don’t hate the log.  It’s about liability, and a dangerously inactive copper is more than ready to make excuses as to why he’s dangerously inactive when that sort of thing gets noticed.  And dispatch is where the blame tends to go.

So you sit, and you wait.  Sitting in the office you can’t make things happen.  But when they do, you do them all.  You make the little world of policing go around, to make sure a copper that’s moving about isn’t doing so in one place.

2823
Richard Nixon's glittering half-life sarcophagus / Re: CRAMULUS
« on: April 10, 2011, 04:37:27 pm »
THIS WHOLE THING MAKES EOC A SAD.

CRAM IS GOOD.  ROGER IS GOOD.  PD IS GOOD.

WHY ARE NOT FRIENDS? 


:cry: :cry:

2824
I love how surreal these are all getting.

This.   :D

2825
I love the idea of naive Sams getting mixed up with a hooker.  And it makes a bit of sick sense.  He's out.  Where the fuck does he even start?  This looks like as good a place as any.

2826
These are great, CPD.   :)

Thanks, Eater of Clowns.

I kinda wanna swing the arc to where James and/or Constable Wilkins end up with the Paynites and Payne, fighting to save the school from the monsters AND the law enforcement agency . . . but I'm kinda reluctant to cross over into the Paynite arc - stepping on toes and all that.

ETA: I am seeing all sorts of posts on the last few pages of this thread that I did not notice before. Either everyone was posting at the same side or my connex is whack.

You know, I never said Sams is dead.  And I haven't much thought about what to do with him above ground.   :wink:

You wanna run with it or do you want me to?

By all means, if you have any ideas, go for it.   :)

2827
These are great, CPD.   :)

Thanks, Eater of Clowns.

I kinda wanna swing the arc to where James and/or Constable Wilkins end up with the Paynites and Payne, fighting to save the school from the monsters AND the law enforcement agency . . . but I'm kinda reluctant to cross over into the Paynite arc - stepping on toes and all that.

ETA: I am seeing all sorts of posts on the last few pages of this thread that I did not notice before. Either everyone was posting at the same side or my connex is whack.

You know, I never said Sams is dead.  And I haven't much thought about what to do with him above ground.   :wink:

2828
EFO says: "Seriously, I would pity you, but this... this is the stupidest thing ever."

AHAHAHA -gasp-

the res had to call the plumber during his evening off..

when he gets here and asks whats wrong Im going to respond, "I ate nothing but oranges all day."

HAHAHA

HA

2829
These are great, CPD.   :)

2830
I don't think Stella is a fair contestant.

Her surname is precisely the sound that the human mouth makes when consuming an orange at a frightening speed.

For all we know, it signifies a long line of orange devourers.

2831
BLUEBERRIES?  CHERRIES?  WHERE IS THE STUPID IN THAT?  I ASK YOU.

The stupid is that blueberries are like $5 a pint.

2832
Been three weeks.  I'll have the write up of acting like Vimes shortly.

2833
Thanks all.  Really glad you enjoyed them.   :D

My favorite part of the project is weaving all the little details together with the various contributors.  Since it isn't under any one person's control, it's the good kind of challenge to take those limitations and really try to make them work.

I'm actually gushing with geekery about the whole thing and could probably go on forever about how cool this is, so I'll stop and let this motherfucker keep rolling on.

2834
**Recording.  Tunnel 9 Staging Grounds.  7/2/13  0750**

"You don't have to do this, you know."

"The needle, please."

"We saw the vids.  You're a bullshitter, it's not your fault the kid listened."

"The needle, Chaplain."

"This'll sting a moment.  We were missing one other, you know.  Tech, worked on the armor."

"Hope he got out alright."

"You hear what I'm saying?  Sams might have made it out."

"The words please, Chaplain."

"Stubborn fuck then still?  Fine, we'll see how stubborn you are after a few runs."

"The words.  Starting to lose my edge to this juice. The words, Chaplain, before I can't muster them any longer."

"This isn't your pla-"

"May this maille."

"May this maille, blessed by Payne, guard thy skin."

"MAY IT GUARD MY SKIN, AS HONOR GUARDS MY SOUL."

"May the servos of thy arms and legs carry thee into peril and back again."

"MAY THEY AID ME THERE IF MY TASK NOT BE DONE, OR LEAVE ME IF MY TIME BE UP."

"May the helm protect thy neck, be thy eyes, and guard thy conciousness."

"MAY MY PRINCIPLES AND FAITH GUARD ME WHERE I SHALL WALK."

"May thy weapon be sharp, and thy skill unerring."

"MAY I BE THE ARMORED FIST OF PAYNE, TO CARRY OUT HIS SENTENCE UPON THE VILE."

**End Recording**

Chaplain's Note:  The preceeding logs chronicle Operator Alec Hayes.  As of this writing, Operator Hayes is no more.

Operator Sams is still missing, presumed dead.  If he was not the unidentified party of the Palmer Incident, I assume he simply managed to run a litte farther before abduction by Nessie.

Given the unfortunate fate of these few, I highly discourage "civilian" only positions in our operation.  In the future, that duty may be filled by former Templars.  We've found that dedication to Payne is drastically increased in those who have faced the Nessie.

2835
**Recording.  Tunnel 9 Operations Lower Office.  6/30/13  0327**

"Hayes, sit down."

"Believe I'll stand."

"This is past the point of games, Hayes."

"Which is why I'm ready to run, Chaplain."

"How far do you think you'd make it?"

"I imagine further than ordinary, given standby teams are tending to the incident."

"You aren't in any danger, Hayes.  Even now.  Just have a seat.  There.  Now, I don't need to ask you why you're here."

"Something to do with whatever is going on."

"Ever the perceptive one.  And yeah, it has something to do with whatever is going on.  I suppose when we get a minute and this is over, reviewing the vids, we won't find out you had anything to do with this."

"What is this, again?"

"A half hour ago, an operator, two runners, and an unidentified fourth party left the perimeter."

"Why the alarm?"

"Because they're, for lack of a better term, civilians.  We can't have them in danger."

"So you decided to drag them back here against their will?"

"Yes."

"Why don't you ask them what it's about then, not me?"

"They aren't in any state to answer us."

"What happened?"

"Rotten luck, as far as we can tell.  It looks like they had a plan.  Where to go, how they intended to get topside, precisely the kind of thing you'd expect to see from very capable people.  Except for one thing."

"That would be what?"

"Didn't bring any weapons.  As close to the perimeter as they were, they probably didn't think they needed any.  One Nessie, as far as we could tell.  Two of them killed outright, the other two caught running in separate directions.  Only one we could identify was Operator Palmer."

"Fuck's sake."

"Pretty chummy with Palmer, weren't you Hayes?"

"Yeah.  Yeah, he was a friend.  Or at least as close to one as you can come down here."

"If you're finding out this way, and I'm not certain you are, then I'm sorry.  What about Operator Sams?"

"Did you find him?"

"We started doing a body count as soon as this all started.  There isn't a way of telling with the state of the bodies, but right now we're assuming he was among them.  But then, until you were found, so were you."

"Sams.  The fucking kid."

"This is a big loss for us all, Hayes."

"Kid never did anything wrong.  He trusted you.  He trusted me.  We fucking killed him.  I...I killed him."

"Thought you might have been invo-Hayes?  Operator Hayes where are you going?"

**End Recording**

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