The CEO of the company was annoyed. More than annoyed. He put the report down and buzzed his secretary.
“Yes sir?” she said.
“Who's in charge of scheduling?”
“I believe that's Ms. Martinez.”
“She's in charge that department?”
“I want to see her. Right now.”
“I want to see Larry Griffins, too. I want both of them here immediately.”
He drummed his fingers as he waited impatiently for his incompetent staff. This was inexcusable, so they damned well better have a good excuse. The two finally came in together with worried looks on their faces; neither had actually met the highest ranking officer in the company, although the head of financial had spoken with him on the fone a few times, and the CEO had an angry look on his face.
He said said “Miss Martinez...”
“Missus,” she said defiantly. She was going to get fired anyway, she thought, even though she didn't know why. If she were going to get fired, she'd not be disrespected.
“Sorry, Missus Martinez,” the CEO answered sarcastically. “I'd like to know why Mars two eighty four didn't wait a week and a half to launch. And you, Mister Griffins, why are you letting stockholders' money be wasted like that?”
Both looked puzzled, and said in unison “Sir?” Martinez added “I don't understand. We schedule according to launch booster availability as the requests come in, in order. Rush jobs are first in line.”
“And you allow this, Griffins?”
“I'm sorry, sir, I don't understand, either.”
“Christ!” Green exclaimed, exasperated. “Didn't either of you two go to college?”
“Yes sir, I went to U of I,” Martinez said.
“I have an MBA from...” Griffins started.
Green interrupted him. “It's basic physics, people! Orbital mechanics! My boat captains think you're really ignorant, they know how stupid it is to launch at the wrong time and are reporting on it, and they're only high school graduates who probably can't even do algebra.”
Martinez frowned. “I only had one physics class, my major was math.”
Green shook his head. “Look, you two need to communicate better with the other departments. Especially you, Mr. Griffins.
“Mrs. Martinez, we have astrophysicists who could save this company a lot of money if you'd let them. Don't just have them plot trajectories, talk to them and even more importantly listen to them. Don't just have them guide ships, I want them to guide how you do what you do and more importantly, when. If that ship had waited a week and a half before leaving, it would have gotten there much sooner. We're paying for food and fuel and this is a tremendous waste, not to mention a great inconvenience for our paying clients.
“Griffins, this is mostly on you. You're supposed to be finding ways to save this company money and undereducated boat captains are doing a better job of it than you are. I have reports that we're underenginnering parts to save money, and spending even more to replace them. Don't issue orders to engineering; you're not an engineer. Listen to them, make sure you find out repair costs and calculate that in with engineering and manufacturing costs, you should have learned that when you got your business degree. Let engineering decide how strong the parts need to be, that's why they hold engineering degrees.
“Martinez, from now on consult with astrophysics for scheduling! Make sure that rush orders will get there as fast as possible, not launch as fast as possible. Travelers or animal cargo should be scheduled so they're on the ship the shortest amount of time unless there's a rush job in front of it, because we have to feed them, and the pork on our first class flights is incredibly expensive and none of the food or animal feed is free. Astrophysics can figure this stuff out, talk to them. Listen to them. You should already be doing it. Now get back to work, both of you.”
They left and he buzzed his secretary. “I want a meeting with all department heads tomorrow at nine in the morning.” These people were going to communicate with each other or he'd replace them all.
“Yes, sir. Mister Bush is on vacation in Rio though, sir.”
“Then have whoever he left in charge attend and contact Bush and tell him he'd damned well better be there by teleconference, and I don't care if he's on the beach in South America naked with a tablet.”
“Yes sir,” she said. “Wow,” she thought, “he's really in a bad mood today!”
He picked up his tablet and started reading again.