Chaos Theories
Chaos Theories
Summary: Zaharis is on AIQ following his confession to Regas, and he and Reed talk in berthings.
Date: 43 ACH
Related Logs: Confession is Good for the Soul

Naval Officer Berthings Genesis - Deck 12
43 ACH 6285 Souls

Naval Officer berthings are setup with bunks on either side of the area. Each bunk holds two Officers and lockers are between the bunks for their personal items. A table sits in the center of the room with six chairs around it for use in recreation or studying. There is also a shower and changing room off this area.

Zaharis' curtain has been closed since last night, his sleeping area silent. Bunkmate from heaven.

Reed pulls open his curtain, rubbing his eyes as he takes his cane and starts levering himself up to stand, rumpled and with thick black bedhead. He starts moving toward the bathroom, stiffly. Frak, morning muscular soreness.

A few people mill about in berthings, not many. Couple two-fingered salutes go Reed's way as he shuffles along. Hatch opens and closes every so often.

Reed offers the approperate grunts and nods as he goes to the bathroom, then comes out as rumpled as before. He moves back along the bunks, pausing as he stops in front of Zaharis' bunk, looking at the curtain, thinking.

The curtain doesn't say anything. It's ugly, dull-lookin thing. In one corner, some previous occupant wrote their tiny initials in permanent marker: H.M.

Reed releases a breath through his nose briefly, then in a low, directed voice at the curtain, "Ya awake?" Then he stands there, waiting to see if there's an answer.

"Yeah." Zaharis sounds like he might not have been awake before, but he is now. There's the sound of him clearing his throat quietly and turning over, then he tugs the curtain back.

Reed looks at the doctor, and shakes his head, "No, wrong answer. You were asleep." He turns, "Go get back to it. The Penguin King needs your help in the rest of your dream."

Zaharis hehs quietly. "It's okay." He doesn't close the curtain as Reed turns, just resting his head back against the pillow and gently rubbing his eyes.

Reed stops, turning back, "Well, now, I've done it then. Okay, I guess I should put you back to sleep with my boring company."

"You can try." Zaharis scratches his fingers through his hair and opens his eyes again, looking at the bottom of the bunk over him. Despite the sleep he doesn't look well-rested quite yet, though a difference between last night and today is noticeable. His voice isn't as flat.

Reed leans on his cane, thinking, "A veterinarian. Where -does- she get those jokes?"

"Knows she has to be ready when I pick on her for being an engineer," Zaharis replies. The humour's a bit off, but a little is there. "Pre-emptive strike."

Reed nods, "Yeah, I suppose so. Did you know that a Weapons Tech approached me earlier? Actually asked me if I could work with him on designing a singularity weapon?" He shakes his head, "Like I can do that shit again. I found that somewhat amusing."

Zaharis manages a faint smile. "Did they. That's good." He rubs the end of his nose. "Can't technically give you a medical order to sit down. But I'm sure you'd rather do that than make me page a doctor all the way up here to give the order instead."

Reed plants his cane, settling down with a sigh, "Alright. So, what's going on in your head? Any master plans?"

Zaharis slowly folds his arms under his head, looking up at the top bunk again. "It's not really up to me. They'll make a decision on what's best for the fleet and that's that."

Reed nods, "Well, yes, of course. That's a requirement. But how are you going to handle it? Cause dropping it with 'Well it's their problem now.' doesn't work. Not with anyone."

Zaharis chuckles under his breath, quietly. It's not a sarcastic sound, nor self-pitying. "Think I'm trash, don't you."

Reed sighs, shaking his head, "You're doing it again. projecting thoughts on me. No, I don't think you're trash. I think you're being dense. I think you're circling a new drain, and haven't even considered that you have an active part in what's happening to you. you're just looking around at the walls as you go around and saying 'Well, frak, someone else has the final say in the matter so what I do won't make a difference so I'll just sit here and flounder till my fate gets handed to me.'" He looks at Zaharis, "You're the most brilliant medical mind in this fleet, you frakking goober, but you have a disturbing habit of being convinced you're not worth trying to save so you don't look out for yourself."

Zaharis exhales slowly through his nose. "I'm writing what Regas told me to write. That's what active I can be, and what difference it'll make in the end is in the air. Even you know that."

Reed nods, "Yes, it is, but what you write is going to get his attention. That's the best you've got right now." He rubs the back of his neck. "So you don't have to feel alone in all this."

"I don't," Zaharis says. And then he amends, "I don't and I do. You see it from the outside, you can't help that. So does Adele. So does Rhea, with the nice added bonus that she's been hurt by family that fell into the drain and didn't come out. I hate hurting any of you."

Reed nods, "Yeah I know, and I won't deny that you have, but you know what? We're all grown up and we can take it, and get over it. Doesn't mean the back of your head might not go bald with the amount of smacks upside it that you're going to get, but we can deal. We're not made of glass.

"No, you're not." Zaharis replies, still watching the metal lattice that supports the bunk over his head. "I don't like being a drug addict, Carter. I've long since accepted it, but I don't like it. I'm not proud of it. Once people know what you are you're never again a person to them, you're always 'the junkie'. The one everyone keeps an eye on all the time, the one nobody trusts. Not saying it's not for good reason but frak's sake. Sometimes you just want to be a person again."

Reed nods, "I can see how that would drive you nuts, yeah. I guess it's dependant on the person in question and how they react to it. Some people can't handle it, or let it rest.

"Not saying they're wrong to," Zaharis says. "Sometimes labeling someone and sticking to that label is the only way we really know how to deal with people. Dial-A-Reaction. Brrrrt, tick tick tick…REMF prick, start reaction program 774. Brrrt, tick tick tick…testosterone-laden Marine, start reaction program 182."

Reed tilts his head to one side, "Yeah, but that also alienates the person, doesn't help maintaining the peoples stability, right?"

Zaharis draws a breath. "Well, you know the psychological question. Do people earn labels because of the way they are? Or are they the way they are because they're labelled?"

Reed nods, "Chicken or the egg, right. which actually, it's the Egg, but that's beside the point. the question is valid.

"I know. I live it." Zaharis finally looks at Reed and smirks slightly. "You live it too. You REMF motherfrakker."

Reed shrugs, lightly, "Hard to be anything else when you go from the academy to the labs, to CIC."

"Still." Zaharis nods, closing his eyes to gently rub the left one. "It's how people treat you automatically. Most won't see a person behind that, who's much more that where he went to school and what department he's in."

Reed nods, "True enough. You wishing it hadn't gotten put in the light?"

"Of course," Zaharis replies, opening his eyes again as he rests his hand down on his chest. "Who wants the sum of all their parts to just add up to a mistake?"

Reed considers, "I don't really know how you reconciled the addiction, knowing the lack of guarantees, and holding your position for so long, honestly."

"It was because I didn't do it alone," Zaharis says, crossing his socked feet at the ankles. "Nobody can do it alone. I was a sobriety counselor on Picon. Clinic work. You have to be an addict in order to do it, five years or more sober. Sounds disgustingly altruistic but it's true…knowing people are looking up to you, and those people on the same level as you have been where you've been…it fills you with steel."

Reed nods, "Dodging around the joke about Cylons filling you with steel as well for the moment. You were separated from that as Genesis CMO. What support structure did you have when you were the Medical bigwig?"

Zaharis half-smiles at the Cylon reference, wryly. Then he answers, "None. Probably obvious now."

Reed nods, thinking, "Okay." He sighs, considering, "So you're away from the group support of others who understand what I and everyone else who hasn't been through it cannot understand, from what you've said. Insanely high pressure, leadership role. People depending on you and giving you their problems, and you've got the access codes to the drugs. I don't need by chemistry degree to put this formula together."

"I don't know if it's that plain." Zaharis says, after a few moments. "In an equation, X plus Y plus Z will always have the same result. But that's not life, Carter. Life is not an equation. It's not a formula where there's always the same result and it's predictable, and you always know what to add or subtract to influence the outcome. You're not that way. Neither am I. That's what I mean when I say there are people behind these labels, that we're more than just dial-a-person. People are /not/ just the sum of their environment."

Reed looks to Zaharis, "It's not that plain, people influence their environment, to make changes in it, and affect things to help them. But." He looks around, "Environment does also affect the person. And the environment we're in, taking into account the situation we're in? That's not something to be discounted."

"No, it's not," Zaharis replies. "But if we went by environment, I wouldn't be here in the first place. There's always circumstance. But we're not just numbers to be plugged into its equation. /We are not trapped/." His voice doesn't raise, though it gains intensity right there. "And you know what? Yeah, I made a mistake. Nine days of a mistake, after years. Why does the equation have to equal the mistake? Why is suddenly the environment all about proving that I can't handle it?"

Reed quirks a brow, "Now you seem to think I'm trying to prove you can't handle it." He looks to Zaharis. "I'm trying to understand this. What I see is that this slip came after the deaths of twenty billion people, in the middle of of the frakked situation we're in, with you away from your support of other addicts who can council you. You locking yourself away from friends, and in general, showing that you need to rebuild a new pool of resources to draw upon. There's always circumstance, yes, and ours is frakked. It's not about proving you can't handle it, it's about trying to find a way that you can handle it."

Zaharis reaches up and grabs his electronic tablet off the shelf above his head, flicking it on. It's tossed onto the mattress by Reed's hip, showing a document that's several pages long already but clearly unfinished. "Report to Regas. If we were on the colonies I would have my personnel recommended for rehab, with discharge if they refused. We're not on the colonies, though. I couldn't afford to lose a doctor. And we don't have a Sickbay equipped to deal with detox and addiction counseling. Yet." He exhales slowly through his nose. "I want to change that."

Reed takes the tablet from where it is beside his hip, and sets by Zaharis, nodding, "Find a way to set it up without draining resources too much to outweigh the benefits to someone like Regas." He considers, "I imagine that addiction is like pain. It's ever present, persistant, and patient. you can master it, stare it in the eye and tell it who's boss. But then you blink, you turn away, and it's still there, and it's always there It's more persistant than you, but unlike pain, addiction never goes away, never heals. It's there forever, and always pressing."

Zaharis regards Reed for a moment. "I know you know plenty about what that feels like."

Reed blinks, surprised, and looks to Zaharis, then smirks, "I suppose. I always found it simple to master pain by feeling it and just asking, 'Is this worse than Kellys death?' The answer is simple, and it's no. So, I work through pain. But I can't keep it up forever. I won't fall to pain, but I will fall to exhaustion keeping the pain away. That's the secret I found of facing terrible things and stepping into them. You've gone through pain enough to consider the same method."

"I know." Zaharis replies, simply. "I was doing this a long time before you even met Kelly. It's a little different when it's you and not a hoverbus that's the source of the problem. But not different enough that I don't know what you mean."

Reed tilts his head to the side, "Yeah, still, it's not a technique that just anyone can pick up, fortunately for them." He snorts lightly, "Lucky us."

Zaharis gives Reed a curious look. "It's not? You don't think so?"

Reed shakes his head, "Not really. It takes pain, soul crushing pain to really grasp it fully." He thinks, "Which, actually, I suppose everyone who is left has gotten a healthy dose of now, so.." He makes a gesture, "that was kind of disproving my own point, wasn't it?"

Zaharis barely smiles. "Not really. Not everyone who goes through soul crushing pain learns to handle it. I just don't think the difference is between those who can and those who can't. It's between those who will and those who won't."

Reed considers that, and nods, "Mm yeah, I suppose choice is the underlying value there." He acknowledges the point.

"In some ways." Zaharis nods slightly. "Will and won't isn't always conscious, though. It's not waking up one day and making one choice to push through or not, like flipping a lightswitch. If only it were, life would be a lot easier. Will and won't isn't about the whole world all at once, succeed or fail. It's about the million little pieces in between."

Reed nods, "And there's a lot that can get lost in those little pieces." He takes a breath, then lets it escape slowly, "Well, okay, I think I need to get moving and meet with my torturer to start my PT."

"It's good for you. Puts hair on your chest." Zaharis shifts restlessly on the bunk, picking up the abandoned tablet on the mattress.

Reed plants his cane, and rises with a grunt, "Oh yeah, just what I need." He smirks, and lifts the cane, looking at it, "I have to admit, I kind of like the cane. Well, a cane. Not necessarily this one, but there's something that feels distinguished about using a cane."

"If you're still saying that at the end of PT we'll get you one for your birthday." Is Zaharis joking? Maybe. Maybe not. "All these kids to get off your lawn."

Reed moves to his bunk, and collects a few things for his PT, "No, that's okay, I'll get my own, thanks." He turns, moving for the exit, "I've seen your cane."

Zaharis just grunts. He rests his back against the wall, pulling his tablet onto his legs. Within a few seconds there's the soft tapping of the keys.

Reed leaves for Corridor 12C [O].
Reed has left.

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