Title: The Holiday Season
One of the things that Beryl liked least about being the boss was having to call meetings to pass on the directives from on high. But she was the one running the Housekeeping and Supply departments, so she had to call them when she had directives to pass on. For good or for bad. Thankfully, this was one that she was happy to cooperate with.
“Okay, boys and girls, gather ‘round,” Beryl called as her whole crew crowded into the kitchen. She kept a weather eye on her swing shift personnel. They were seated at the kitchen table eating breakfast while trying to wake up. She wished them luck.
“So, what’s the news, Chief?” Jones asked. As her second, he had got to hold down the fort while she was in the weekly senior staff meeting. Most of the time, she talked over the news she got from them with him first, but this was something at truly affected them all and she needed to get it all out in one mass distribution.
“The news is… By Earth’s calendar, we’re entering the winter holiday season,” Beryl watched as everyone checked their watches. “Really folks, it’s that time of year. Given that, Dr. Weir and the Colonel want to start ramping up the city’s holiday spirit. We’ve got the resources to do the decorations, food, drink and all kinds of good things now that we’ve reconnected to Earth.”
“So what, we’re going to do Christmas, Thanksgiving and assorted holidays from Earth for everyone?” Brooks asked.
“That’s what’s being requested,” Beryl confirmed. She looked around at her staff and sighed. “I’ll be asking Teyla if her people have any midwinter festivals they might want to celebrate as well. Also, we will need to see if there are any dishes they would want us to add to the mix.”
Spenser raised a hand and waved it at her. When she nodded at him, he waved a hand around the space they were gathered in. “Have you asked Dr. Weir if we can get more room for our kitchens? While these are good for the day to day matters, cooking holiday dishes on top of the regular meals is going to strain the space. We’re almost too big for here as is.”
“I know,” Beryl agreed. “And I’ve informed the Colonel and Dr. Weir of our issues, but we haven’t gotten any news on a new space being available. If we do get one, I want to convert this space to be a café where we can serve readymade meals and drinks. Full hot meals would be out of any new facility we get. From breakfast to mid-rats.”
From the wave of noise that drew, the thought of a new facility was appreciated. “If we do that though, we’re going to need more people. Because we’re just able to cover our shifts in here. If we add another facility, that means growth. And potentially a legit Supply Officer.”
Jones pulled an epic bitch face at that thought. Beryl couldn’t blame him for that. She wasn’t thrilled at the thought of dealing with an actual officer in charge of her people. She had gotten used to running her department as she saw fit and letting someone else in made her skin crawl.
Jones looked like he was in the same mental place before he got a thoughtful look. “What about getting you promoted to Warrant?”
“Really? I’ve never wanted to be an officer and that would mean that I would need to go back to Earth of all that schooling,” Beryl complained. “Which would mean that would either need to step up or the SGC would need to send someone out here to cover.”
“But you would come back. And maybe you can get most of the schooling out of the way while you’re out here,” Jones offered.
Beryl sighed and shrugged. “I’ll look into it.”
She glared at her second and he just smiled at her. “You’re a bastard, Jones. At any rate, we need to come up with a list of holidays we’ll be celebrating, foods for them and recipes. Yes, we will try everything out on ourselves first, but we still need to know what we want. Also, if there are any specialty foods, we need to know within the next three weeks so we can get them on the supply lists. The Daedalus can only hold so much, remember.”
“So, we’re not just doing American holidays? Or Athosian?” MS2 Draper, her swing shift lead asked.
“No,” Beryl shook her head. “The Expedition is firmly international and so our holidays need to be as well. We’ll be working with everyone.”
“It might be wise then, to put out an email to everyone so they can contribute their thoughts on this,” Draper said. “And see if anyone has any family recipes they might want to share. Or meals. Because I’m not gonna lie, I don’t know how anyone from other countries celebrate the holidays.”
“That sounds like a good plan,” Beryl conceded. “Put one together and send it to me for approval. Does anyone have anything else?”
The room was silent for several beats while her people either looked at each other or the walls. Jones stepped up and moved to stand in front with her. “I know this doesn’t fit the happy feeling that we’re trying to foster, but we have to mention it. Given that we’re talking about the holidays, we need to be conscious that there are people who don’t celebrate them. Or have issues with them.”
Jones looked around at everyone and waved a hand, encompassing the whole city. “While we can decorate, cook and try to make the season more festive for those who like them, not everyone does like them. We need to remember that depression, suicide and substance abuse all go up during that period. Be aware. We see everyone, every day. Most of us are essentially invisible to the rank and file of the city, especially the science corps.
“Since we are out here in Pegasus, and most of the people staffing Atlantis are loners, we know that can mean people who are for the most part alone. Step up, keep an eye out. If you see someone deteriorating, let the Chief or I know. If we aren’t available, let Dr. Heightmeyer know,” Jones finished, voice somber.
“I want to second this,” Beryl said. “We haven’t lost anyone to suicide since we came out here, but there have been a few close calls that were averted in part because of you all. Your knowledge of the people who inhabit this city has made a major difference in everyone’s lives. But if you are one of the people who have issues with the holidays, let me know. I’ll find you something to do that keeps you away from the merry, but keeps you busy and useful. I am not going to try to traumatize anyone.”
“Thank you, Chief,” Sutton, one of the night shift workers piped up. “Count me as one of those. The holidays aren’t merry for me at all. But I’ll do what I can to carry the load on the day to day stuff.”
“Sounds good,” Beryl confirmed. She looked at the younger woman and nodded towards the door. “How about you get with Bates and see if his teams have found anything? And if they haven’t see if he can add it to the list? You should have a good idea on what we need,” She waited while she got up and left. “Okay, people. Let’s get brainstorming.”
The room erupted in cheerful chatter as everyone put forth an idea and she smiled. She had good people. And maybe, the holidays would be good for everyone after all.