Life on a battlestar is primarily one of routine. Training drills, physical exercise, work details — all are scheduled in such a way that the Colonial soldier has something to do most of his or her day. Here are a few things that one can expect:

WATCH SYSTEM

All colonial vessels run on a watch system — six four-hour blocks of time. Most vessels will run a 4 hour on/4 hour off/4 hour on/ 8 hour off watch for their divisions — usually three (first, second third; or blue, grey, and green [the colors of the service]; or some other color designator.) This means all divisions rotate through the business day and night throughout their service.

The 4 hours “off” in the middle of the day are ordinarily used for personal matters — including meals, and/or administrative duties or requirements (like urinalysis for drug use, report writing, classwork, physical fitness training, etc.) The two “on” watches the personnel are at their scheduled posts.

WATCH NOTICE

At each watch there is a “watch notice” or “action notice” posted to inform the crew of changes in duty roster, any pertinent information that they need to know like uniform of the day, new directives or regulations, and the like. They are posted throughout the ship and often read over the intercom at the beginning of watches or sometimes simply the changes are read.

Speaking of…

INTERCOM

This frakking thing never shuts up — morning, noon, night — there’s an announcement: do not radiate equipment because of EVA on the hull, vessels being recovered, vessels being launched, pass the word for the [insert name or title], action notice changes, reveille…the intercom alert tone is always going off on a battlestar.

PHYSICAL FITNESS TRAINING

Enlisted crew train together by division and by compartment (for instance, 3rd division portside maintenance crew, 1st division sickbay crew, etc.) They are ordinarily called together in the middle watch of their shift (the “off” shift) for their PT at which time their officer in charge or NCO in charge will take attendance (the “report”), then lead them in exercise. Officers like pilots, etc. often train together separate from the enlisted, or individually if their PT scores are high enough. “Remedial” PT or “fat boy” PT is usually every day, while normal PT is every other day.

Ordinarily, the compartment will find a place large enough for the massed personnel to conduct PT — the flight line, a causeway that sees little traffic, or a cargo hold. Sometimes they will break down to squads or teams so that they can find more usable space. There are weight rooms and gyms on the vessel, but usually these are snagged up on the schedule by the pilots and senior officers and enlisted.

Crew test two times a year to see if they meet the criteria set by Colonial Fleet HQ: a certain number of pushups, sit ups, pull ups, and a 2 mile run (usually conducted on the flight line or on the longest straight corridor or accessway available.) Scoring is by age groups, getting easier as the crewman gets older. CMC requirements are higher than the normal fleet, as are pilot standards. Males and females are required to achieve the same minimum, but scoring is easier for females in the upper body categories beyond that — a point of contention for most of the males in the fleet.

CHOW/MEALS

Meals are available 24 hours a day at the mess halls. There are several throughout the vessel, so that the crew do not have to travel too far from their work stations. Serving the food throughout the day allows for larger batches to be made and cuts down on spoilage and prep time. There are general mess halls for anyone in the crew, and officers’ messes for the officers. There is also a “chiefs mess” that is for the senior enlisted only. Invitation to the chiefs mess is considered a great honor for the officers.

Crew eat as they can.

FITREP (FITNESS REPORT)

This is the twice yearly review of the crewman’s performance. It’s damned lucky if they get done more than once every year. Crew are rated on their physical fitness, their work performance, any commendations/reprimands, and other aspects like doing outside training to improve their readiness.

Bad FITREPs can get a crewmember bounced from service at their reenlistment. Often they will be honorably discharged, but “other than honorable” is also possible. Dishonorable is reserved for serious attitudinal problems or criminal behavior. Even honorable discharges can be barred from reenlistment if they are deemed unable to adapt to service life.

FRATERNIZATION

It’s against the regulations, but everyone knows it happens. Crewmembers will flirt, make friends, and have sexual relations with each other. Among the enlisted, so long as there is no perception of impropriety or favoritism, command will look the other way. In the case of romantic relations, the two are usually reassigned to different divisions or work gangs.

Fraternization between the enlisted and the officer corps is a serious offense. It creates an atmosphere in which good order and respect for the officer tends to break down. (One can hardly expect obedience from the partner in last night’s debauch!) Officers are the ones that bear the brunt of this breach of protocol and can be court martialed for it. Enlisted rarely receive more than a reprimand, as the fault is expected to lie wit the officer who is in a position of power.

Relations between officers is handled much the same way as with enlisted. If it does not present a breakdown in the chain of command, it is grudgingly overlooked.

Realizing the realities of service on a battlestar, Colonial Fleet strongly suggests the use of contraceptives for servicemembers, but only requires it in time of war.

TRAINING

This is a constant in the service — from launch and recovery drills, to fire fighting drills, to combat and gunnery simulations — battlestars are usually engaged in some level of training. FTL training is a bit rarer — most battlestar groups tend to stay in a particular region of the colonies, but will do jump operations a few times a float.

“FLOATS”

Most battlestars will stage operations or maneuvers, called floats, two to three times a year. These floats require train-ups for the train-up for the training for the float. Once on maneuvers, a battlestar group is ordinarily on patrol or doing major combat exercises for two to three months, depending on the size of the exercise. There is TRAINEX (Training Exercise) AEGIS every six months, in which on of the battlestar groups will be pitted against Picon OPFOR (Opposition Force) — a group that is considered the best-of-the-best, as they train near constantly. OPFOR is often the full force, or a slice, of battlestar group Atlantia, and the exercise area or “box” changes every few years and the scenario is usually the training battlestar group vs. OPFOR as Cylons. For a few years prior to the Fall of the Colonies, OPFOR often played the role of separatist groups or pirates, rather than Cylons, showing the changing focus of the government and fleet in those days prior to the attack. No one really expects to win, and it’s the rare ship or group that does…but it can happen.

Between floats, the battlestar group will head into orbit to maintain guard of a Colony world, or put into spacedock for repairs and refit. Leave is only given when a vessel is not on maneuvers, and often not during the train-ups for maneuvers.

EXPECT THE STUPID

No matter how well-trained and run a vessel is, the crewmember can expect to run into stupidity. When reporting aboard a new vessel, the crewmember will be expected to learn the history of the vessel, learn its individual rituals, holidays, and other miscellany. There will never be a quartermaster around when you need bedding. The armorer is unlikely to be found during his “off” watch (the same goes for the mail room guy!) You have a boat full of young kids who often will get into the most obvious bits of trouble — setting up a still, smuggling contraband aboard, getting into relationships they shouldn’t, getting into fights over the same (or nothing), and doing mischief.

The same goes for your equipment — it’s the best the cheapest bidder could provide. 10 bit fuses go out and leave whole frames of the ship dark, or trip an O2 sensor and lock you in a room for no reason. Munition hosts fail with spectacular results, and that damned phone cradle won’t hold the phone for some damned reason, no mater how many times the maintenance crews fix it. Should there be security cameras everywhere? Sure, but there’s not enough money or they couldn’t get enough of the things, or somebody forgot to rig the units during the ship’s construction. Sometimes, things just aren’t the way they should be.

You can complain about it — in fact, that’s another constant: bitching and tall tales telling — but who would listen?

EVERYBODY’S GOT A STORY

Life in the service is routine and boring most days, so people gab to make their days interesting. Sometimes its BS stories that never actually happened, but have come to be accepted as “truth”. Sometimes its gossip. Often it’s complaining when the chief and the lieutenant can’t hear. Most of your day is spent doing mundane tasks and bleating off with your mates.

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