Tangled Webs

DAVD, 2009

Or, what happens when your Department gets decimated and nobody cares

Thornelius Archimedes III looked disapprovingly at the four members of his department standing before his desk. The senior operatives of my Intelligence and Medical divisions should not, I repeat, not be having axe-fights in the cafeteria, he said slowly. Rile X shuffled his feet uncomfortably, while Fizz R the Bizarre - of course - looked back defiantly, and even showed hints of a grin. With a mental sigh, the Big Thorn turned his attention to the other two.

And you. You are Division Heads. When your Agents are squabbling, the appropriate response is to put a stop to it, do you understand? Put a stop to it. Not cheer them on until the DIA have to step in to break them up.

He started it! the Spirit Tree protested immediately, waving a branch at his colleague. He was saying... the Tree trailed off, then finished lamely, ... things.

I'm sure he was, the Big Thorn said dryly. What sort of 'things'?

The Elder Evil Tree shook his branches disdainfully. I was merely telling my dear co-worker about the likelihood of his division being closed down in the near future, he said. The Spirit Tree and Fizz R started to protest, but he continued speaking over them. A full Medical Division simply isn't practical in the present-

If you don't all shut up right now I will close both your divisions down! the Big Thorn exclaimed. Listen, I know things have been hard in DAVD these past three years. Agent India's foolhardy expedition left us in extremely poor shape. He waved a branch in Rile X's direction. You know as well as I that the Intelligence division was left with only the most junior operative, and that only because he was out getting a drink when India came through. We were in real danger of being scrapped.

"We're doing better now, though," Rile X said softly. "We've got a dozen agents in Intel, nearly fifty in Action, and five Medical staff..."

Precisely, the Big Thorn agreed. Despite our hard times, we are a fully functional department again. Or we would be, if you weren't all at one another's biomass so often.

"Nurse Suzine says conflict resolution is essential to any working relationship," Fizz R said. "I figures axes were as good a way as any."

The fact that you are nicknamed 'the Bizarre' doesn't-

"It's not a nickname!"

-does not mean you have to think up the most ridiculous excuses possible, the Big Thorn told him. There is no conflict here - just petty grievances getting out of hand. And it stops. Now.

What are we supposed to do if it doesn't? the Spirit Tree asked. I'm sure he's going to push his agents into-

Only because you'd get there first otherwise, the Elder Evil Tree said calmly. Thornelius Archimedes III rattled his thorns irritably.

It will stop. They won't have a choice. As of now, there is to be no contact between Intel and Medical personnel outside of a mission context. Any violations will lead to the personnel in question visiting one of the Black Box Fics.

Fizz R actually looked slightly intrigued, but Rile X shuddered. "I'll tell them, sir," he promised. "I... I don't think you'll have any further trouble."

Good. You two are dismissed; go back to your offices. The Big Thorn turned to his two Division Heads. Now then, colleagues - let's get down to some conflict resolution of our own, shall we? He paused. If you're lucky, I won't even need the axe.

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