Summary: Rhea and Zaharis discuss matters after the Department Head meeting.
Date: 6 BCH (7 November 2008)
Related Logs: None

Chief Medical Officers Office Genesis - Deck 13
5 BCH 2235 Souls

The office of the Chief Medical Officer is a small room, used mostly for consultations and review of sensitive patient materials than the paperwork of the Medical department, which goes through the Naval Administrative offices. Still somehow it has file cabinets along one wall stuffed full of papers, two chairs in front of a desk behind which a large leather chair is set. On the desk sits a computer terminal.

Zaharis apparently hadn't been lying about stealing the shrink's furniture. The two chairs normally in front of his desk are gone for the night, replaced with a long, nicely upholstered couch that doesn't match the rest of the room. He's out of blues and into fatigues with the shirt unbuttoned so he won't be mistaken for 'actively on duty', flipping through some random files.

Rhea doesn't take too long to wind her way up to Medical. She can change speedily. And coffee is always an incentive. She walks in without much ceremony. The couch is eyed. "You weren't kidding. Medical getting assigned interior decorators now?"

Zaharis pushes a mug her way, from near the big carafe of fresh brew. "I consider it a custody battle. I'm fully prepared to go to court for paternity. I mean look at it…" He gestures to the black couch, then to his dark hair, then back to the couch. "He-/llo/."

Rhea laughs. And promptly sits on the couch. Experimentally. After getting a feel for it, she seems to decide she approves, and settles in for coffee drinking. She beams at Zaharis, expression mock-sweet. "I've been waiting for years for you to bring me a little bastard child to play with." The couch is given a pat. "You can call me Auntie Rhea," she tells it.

"It doesn't talk." Zaharis reaches over and pours a mug of coffee for himself. "I think the psych office traumatised it. Ironic as that's supposed to be." He settles back once he's poured his cup. "But, you know. Regas and Carter want us to spread our seed, so I had to oblige."

"He's adorable. I think he has your eyes," Rhea chuckles, comfortable with her feet up and a little more caffeine in her system. But her expression turns a little more serious at mention of the seeds. "Quite the show, huh?"

"Yeah." Zaharis' voice likewise turns a bit more pensive. He sips his coffee, after gently blowing on the steaming surface. "You know, I couldn't help thinking, Rhea. Why tell us now about the whole project?" He glances over at her. "I mean, we've been up here how long, some of us? Then again, not everyone looked surprised. Starting to think I'm the only one that didn't know."

Rhea nods at that, a thin frown coming to her lips. She downs more coffee. "I've been out here almost two years, and I just got the word a few days ago. Don't feel left out. It wasn't for show. Nothing like that has ever been jumped before. I wasn't joking. There are plenty of engineers who'd think what they were attempting was impossible. If things go tits-up with the project, there are certain things the CAG and I will have to do. So we both got a small preview." She still sounds awed by the whole thing.

Zaharis rubs his chin, thoughtfully. "But why now? Why not six months ago, why not when we're nearly done? There's always a reason someone makes a huge disclosure…there's always a time and a place. There's always a why."

"That station's nearly complete. It's ready to make its first attempt at a jump. Genesis' mission will have to change if it manages that successfully. These classified don't like to tell you anything until you need to know it. I guess we need to know now." There's a hint of irritation in Rhea's tone. More than she usually shows for the secretive nature of life out in this corner of space.

Zaharis watches her for a moment. "I suppose." He doesn't quite sound convinced that that's all it is. "Well, we'll see. Now I've got to get busy looking at all the PAS's files to see exactly what living organisms they've been bringing up here. They can poke at them all they want, but if they get blown into the vent system by accident then it'll become my problem. And I /really/ hate being caught unaware."

"The spooks like to catch us poor slobs unaware, Jesse. It's how they earn their spy wings," Rhea says dryly. She drains some more coffee from her cup, thoughtful. "You go through your days out here, you forget where you are. It almost starts to feel routine. But this…" She regards the doctor, hazel eyes wide. Half in disbelief, half in wonder. "Nothing like this has ever been attempted before. It will revolutionize hyperlight theory if it actually works. I never thought I'd get to see anything like it…"

"Must be sort of like the first day they launched a Battlestar," Zaharis manages to smile now. "One of those milestone for humanity type things. I just hope it turns out the way they're dreaming it will."

"Closest thing to it in my lifetime," Rhea says. A rather girlish thrill of anticipation in her voice overriding whatever annoyance the secrecy may cause. She loves the big toys. Though there's still that undercurrent of worry. "It's been tested and re-tested. Major Carter seems optimistic. Though you can't simulate something like that. Things tend to go wild when you take them out of the lab."

"Tell me about it." Zaharis is well-acquainted with the notion. "Risk is no reason not to go ahead, just more reason to put safeguards in to catch the bits that happen to fall off in the process." He sips his coffee. "So where are they jumping the thing to?"

Rhea shrugs. "Frak it I know. I'm no pilot. CAG Rue's got the coordinates, I'm sure. I'm hoping I can watch the whole thing from the comfort of the Genesis and give Carter a hearty congratulations when he returns." Though she's more cautious than optimistic.

"With not even a nosebleed to show for it." Zaharis raises his coffee mug as if it salute to the idea. "Anyway, whatever happens we'll be ready. We're the frakkin Colonial fleet, no worries." Okay, that was a wee bit sardonic. But he smiles anyway.

"So say we all," Rhea toasts. A touch sardonic herself. She smiles back at the doctor. And, as she does, her smile crooks a notch. Her mind off hyperlight drives for a second. "So. Anything you want to gab about, my dear old friend?"

Zaharis sips his coffee, allowing himself a moment or two more of being pensive about all this before he pulls himself out of it. "Like what, pookie?"

Rhea sticks her tongue out at the doctor, in response to the nickname. She regards him some more, doing that one-eyebrow-arching thing. "As I recall, when I asked you what was going on between you and the good Doctor Pike, you told me it was nothing." She smirks. "You been holding out me?"

"What? I wasn't lying at the time." Zaharis sips his coffee, lazily. "And you hadn't asked again, so I consider it a failure of curiosity, not of disclosure."

Rhea snorts, mock-affronted. "You wound me, Zaharis. C'mon. If I were Ephraim you'd have taken me out for a drink and told me a sordid, heavily-exaggerated story of the whole thing in detail. I guess we're not bros." She sniffs into her coffee.

"No, you're…missing a few necessary parts for that sort of relationship. Plus, we have no alcohol. " Zaharis replies, making an overly serious face for a moment. He puts his coffee mug down, picking up a pen to click with his thumb. "I don't know what it is you want to hear. No, it's not 'nothing' anymore."

"There's always the bar," Rhea counters, grinning. "And, what? My 'parts' could give you some perspective on the whole thing. I can give you technical advice." She's clearly joking now. Her coffee cup is drained, so she stretches off the couch to get another. "So I hear. You happy about that?" That's her only question.

Zaharis pauses, as though that question had never occurred to him before. "She seems to be," he replies. "She's only going to be up here for six months, so…you know. If she enjoys herself then my work is done."

Rhea sips her new cup, leaving it black, as she always does. "I'm sure you'll show her a good time. And I hope you enjoy yourself, too. I like Adele. Once you get past the Caprican designer suits, she strikes me as a good egg. She seems like she could use some fun. And, if she hurts you, I'll break her teeth for you." She chuckles, but she's only half-joking. His happiness is her main concern, not so much the contractor's.

"I like the suits. I need that little reminder every so often that I'm playing out of my league." Zaharis looks back down at his coffee as he picks it, taking a sip. "Yes, I'll show her a good time. I'll be the catalyst that makes her realise she really wants that stable, reliable man in tweed with a big house and 2.5 children. Contact with me seems to do that for women." Only half-kidding.

Rhea doesn't find it funny. She shakes her head, giving him a long look. "She'd be damn lucky to play in your league," she says firmly. Leaving it at that.

Zaharis smirks into his coffee cup. "If you can say that with a straight face, then you don't know me very well."

Rhea sighs. Then, approaches Zaharis and reaches out a hand to ruffle his hair. A little more roughly than necessary. "Don't talk that way about my friends. Or I'll break your teeth. I've known you for thirteen years, Jesse. You're family. And you're a damn good man."

"Okay, okay. I hate pity parties." Zaharis knocks her hand away, though not sharply. "So who won the basketball game?" He asks, abruptly switching topics. "Saw you decked the staff sergeant pretty good, there." He grins.

Rhea lightly slaps back at his hand, though it's playful. She looks tempted to say more, but she just sticks her tongue out at him and flops back onto the couch. "The chaplain whipped us both. Up one side of the court and down the other. I think she's a demon. Is D'Artanion okay? She hit her head pretty good but she seemed to be walking straight."

"She's fine." Zaharis waves a hand. "Marines can handle a little head trauma every now again. They're trained for it." He reaches for the carafe to refresh his coffee. "And I believe it about the chaplain. She could probably be her own Pyramid team by herself."

"I should've known better than to mess with a religious type," Rhea says wryly. "I'll stick to playing my fellow department heads. At least we're on the same level of sad." She downs some more from her own cup. It's cool enough to gulp now, but still hot enough not to taste truly horrid. "That reminds me, you still owe my son a game. I'll tell him not to hurt you." She winks.

"No, I told him I owed him a game -if- he beat my top score in Tetris." Zaharis holds up a finger. "Which I know that if that had actually happened I'd have heard about it by now." He takes a sip of coffee. "He did seem to like getting out for a swim."

"How many days did you spend playing that frakking thing to hit that score, anyway?" Rhea asks, somewhat awed. "I didn't know that little machine could go that high." She smirks. "At least he has a goal. He had fun at the pool. Thanks for taking him, by the way. There aren't a lot of kids his own age out here. He has to make his own fun a lot of the time. It meant a lot to him."

"Days?" Zaharis gives Rhea a blank look. "I got that in three hours. With one hand tied behind my back." He beams a brief smile at her. "Your spawn, by the way, is doing fine. He misses Picon but…it's not terrible. He's a well-adjusted kid. Think it'll be good for him to get back to a planet eventually, but he's not self-destructing over there."

"While walking uphill in the rain, no doubt," Rhea quips. She looks down at her coffee cup, then back up at Zaharis. "You really think so?" Doing some fretting. "I just…I want to do right by him, y'know? To give him some stability. I wish I could spend more time with him. Not that he *wants* me around all the time anymore but…" She trails off. "You're sure he's doing okay?"

"He's fine." Zaharis assures her. "Things aren't perfect, but he understands why he's up here and he knows it's not forever." He pauses a moment. "You know I don't want to be too up in your business, Rhea, but…it might help if he had a more solid idea of what was coming next. Just to feel a little more secure. I know you and Ephraim don't exactly know, but maybe for the kid's sake it's time to make some plans. He needs that."

Rhea sighs, crossing her arms along her chest, thoughtful. "What's up, Jesse, is that I'm going back to Picon as soon as Ephraim's tour on the Persius is up. I suspect they won't turn me out of Fleet Headquarters. I'd like to get a teaching gig with the Engineering Corps. I think I'd do well with that." She shrugs. "Ephraim's still got another year in space. Seems like it's too soon to sit down and have that talk with Reece now. I'm afraid it'd just make him restless. Get his hopes up before we hit the home stretch. A few more months, when things're more settled, I'll sit down with him and have that particular talk."

"Less restless than not knowing even what the ballpark figure is?" Zaharis ventures, shrugging one shoulder. "I don't think it'd hurt to tell him, Rhea. You know? That nothing's definite, but here's how it looks now. Kids want to be trusted by adults, let in on what's going on in their lives. You don't have to promise him anything. Just let him know you know how he feels."

Rhea thinks on that. She has to give it a little nod. "Point. Maybe you're right. I can't give him a time-table yet. That wouldn't be a fair. But Ephraim and I have been tossing the idea around for awhile. He should know where our heads are at, what's coming down the line." She gives Zaharis another long look, a faint smile quirking at the corner of her lips.

Zaharis looks right back at her with a half-smile, half-smirk. His fingers tap out four beats of a rhythmless cadence on his chair arms. "What?"

Rhea just grins a moment longer. To make the doctor sweat a little. "You're a good friend to my son," she says finally. "He needs that. Thanks."

"Well. We -are- the same age." Zaharis' fingers do that drumming thing again and he reaches over to a switch by his desk, turning on the extra vent in the small room. The reason why's explained a moment later as he pulls his cigarettes from his desk drawer, tossing them down perilously close to the NO SMOKING placard left by his predecessor.

Rhea snorts at the placard, shaking her head slightly. There's a fondness to her expression, though. "You are a perpetual adolescent. I'm just saying, it means a lot to him. I'm glad he has you around." She swirls the remains of her coffee, to make it as drinkable as possible, before finishing the stuff off. The empty cup is deposited on the desk. "I should get out of your hair. Thanks for the drink."

"I need your minions," Zaharis says, going on without addressing a single word she'd just said to him. He pauses to light up, grabbing her abandoned cup over to use as an ashtray. "I need to recalibrate some of our detection equipment. I have the specs, I just couldn't tell a circuit from my ass with a map. Bright flashy lights, things going 'boop, boop'." His fingers flick as he makes the very well-imitated noise. "Interested?"

Rhea's grins. She likes things that go 'boop, boop.' "I think we can manage that. Work's finishing up on the Pandora, so we aren't stretched quite so thin as we were a week ago. I'll send a tech or two your way. From the sound of things, it shouldn't be *too* much of an undertaking."

"That's what you think." Zaharis exhales a puff of smoke up towards the humming vent. "Once they're done here they get to do the PAS too. -And- whoever does it gets to listen to my Ode to Staphylococcus aureus. I assure you, it even rhymes." Big smile. "Just send the victim on in."

Rhea smirks. "Don't torture my snipes. I've trained them to bite."

Zaharis returns, very mildly. "You -really- want them biting the Infectious Diseases guy?"

"Point. I'll tell them to kick instead, in this case," Rhea replies with a chuckle. With that, she turns to go.

"Bye, Rhea," Zaharis calls out, overly loudly, and he sits up to knock his mouse with his fingertips, screen lighting up again. Back to work.

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