Guilt Stuffed Crabs
Guilt-Stuffed Crabs
Summary: Reed gives Zaharis a botanical facility tour, and hits on a small personal breakthrough.
Date: 9 ACH (22 November 2008)
Related Logs: None

Botanical Labs Support Station PAS - Deck 2
9 ACH 6735 Souls

This area is a large place, leading into the inner workings of the deck. From the Science Labs, there is a small control bank of consoles showing various environmental screens detailing the situations of several different simulated climates in the area. Past that a walkway leads to hatches that extend to sectioned off areas. Each area is a simulated environment with plants carefully cultivated and growing within. From gardens to shrubs and small trees, to large tanks with aquatic kelp and seaweed growing within, the reinforced walls of the areas keep the sections seperate.

Reed is standing under the walkway, down in a lower area of the labs, in a labcoat, writing on a clipboard. Some of the people here lift salute when they see the CMO. "Sir." They say.

Zaharis is out for a walk, apparently. Reed did promise him seaweed and other goodies, so he's got to indulge his curiosity about what they've got in here. He salutes back and all that, passing by the roving scientists. Sightseeing. Hmm, can you eat that?

Reed sniffs. He sniffs again. Nicotine. the CMO is about. Given the fact that they're surrounded by environment seperation tanks left right and center, scents carry well here before getting sucked away to be processed. He looks up, "Doctor." He calls from under Zaharis' feet. "Down here." One of the metal ladders going down rings slightly ad Reed knocks his clipboard against it.

Zaharis likes to be smellable from a hundred feet. Strikes fear into the hearts of medics everywhere. He leans over, spotting Reed between the metal grille lines. "Aha." Down the ladder he heads, neatly jumping off the second to last rung. The CMO's Captain pins on his fatigues collar are gone, replaced with shiny Major. Yet another churned through the carnage of the brassmill today. "Carter. Thought I'd have a poke around the flora, see what's pretty."

Reed nods, looking at Zaharis, "You've caught Promotionitis, Doctor, you'll have to treat not only yourself, but Major Zimmerman, too, I just witnessed the outbreak affect her." He hands the clipboard off to someone, "I want those tanks prepped for high oxygenated water simulation ASAP." They go scampering off, and he looks to Zaharis, "Does that Make Reece Minor Zimmerman? Works on a few levels, that one." He takes a breath, walking toward a smaller tank with sand, water and about twenty largish crabs scuttling around, doing crabby things. "Ahh, reminds me of the days we were all Captains."

At the quip about Reece, Zaharis makes a brief drum motion with his hands and a rimshot noise. "I've got a nice bottle of Picon rum just waiting for condition three so it can make its debut. Maybe you'll join us. Not Reece though, Rhea would kill me." He sets his hands on the railing, looking out at the scuttling crabs. "Eh, well. Necessity is the mother of promotion."

Reed nods, "True on both counts. I'd love to join you, if I can get the hole in my work schedule. Rhea still owes me a drink." He looks at the crabs, "You've been under strict orders to frak for days now, get to it." He looks to Zaharis once more, "Crabs from the Carina. They have a crab resteraunt there, we got a breeding colony. Working out well enough, but not going to be a prime food source. I've got some people working on a replenishing crab chow."

Zaharis smirks at the crabs. "Come on, Carter, when's the last time you could get it on when you had two guys in uniform staring at you?" As if to prove his point he turns his back on the animals, leaning against the railing. "Crab restaurant. Forgot things like that even existed."

Reed chuckles, and moves to stand with Zaharis, "Yeah, okay." He nods, "It was strange going to the Carina. Felt like prewar. Lake, grass, resteraunts. Stores. Sports centers. It was eerie." He shrugs, "Anyway, this is where we're hoping to keep people eating. If those crabs can get properly horny for us, the shells have enough calcium for us forever, and that's just one ot the things." He points down the line of environments, "Come on, let's have a look. We got a lot off the Botanical sublight."

Zaharis nods at the mention of the Carina, though he doesn't comment on his own experiences there. As Reed points he pushes off the railing and starts to trail along, sliding his hands into his pockets. "Lead on, oh fearless gardener."

Reed moves along the row of environments, some gardens growing, a few shrubs, "We had a few of these environments up and running for a while, but we really got busy with the botanical ship we stripped here. Got as much as we could and managed to save a lot of it." He walks past a collection of flower plants in pots. "A lot of them really don't need specific environments, but they don't really help us that much yet, either." He stops in front of a clump of reddish grass growing in a sandy environment and frowns at it. "This is from TER-745."

Zaharis crouches down, resting his arms on his knees so he can get a better look at the stalks. "Hardy bastards. Find out anything about its physiology?"

Reed nods, "Oh tons. Works on a filtered nitrogen process. Extracts minerals from the soil and slowly works its way through solid stone, keeps it latched onto the ground in the windstorms." He looks away from the plant. "Fascinating really, but not useful at the moment. Down the hall are the algae tanks and the seaweed and kelp growth centers. We're trying to get the biomass up to a point we can feed people and keep production. It's about numbers now."

Zaharis' knees make an unpleasant crack as he stands back up, continuing the little walk now. "I know. We've just finished a rundown on each ship in the fleet. Projected food demand and rate of consumption broken down by population, with groups of activity levels considered on each vessel. We'll shoot you over a copy if it'll help."

Reed walks to a large tank of uninteresting green crap. "I'll take it, but it won't help." He looks to the tanks, lips pursed. "This isn't going to be ready in time. I've got other options going to stretch our food till it's ready, namely Major Zimmerman making protein resequencers." He looks to Zaharis, smiling, "Lovely, chewey protein bars. Yummy food like objects. After some of that, they'll be begging for an algae gruel to use as a dipping sauce."

"Algae's not so bad." Zaharis replies, bravely. "Considering we'll be smoking the stuff too before long, we'd better get used to it. Keep us updated. We'll need to know from medical standpoint exactly what's in them and what they yield. People are allergic to the craziest shit."

Reed moves to a clipboard, and taps it on the peg. "This is a complete breakdown of the stuff as it grows. Each growth pod has one, and the techs can get you copies on demand. You'll have complete access to all nutritional and chemical data you could ever want. Also there are other labs working on medicinal growth projects, and you should have access at your fingertips to get those. Don't worry, if you want to down in data, we got it here for you to swim in."

"My mental lungs have gills," Zaharis assures Reed, and he steps forward to have a glance over the clipboard for now. "The lactose intolerant will never have to worry again."

Reed pffts, "Much as I like milk, it's not a requirement. And that's what we're looking at here, requirements." He rubs his head, looking around. "I should have focused more on Botany in classes." He muses to himself.

"That was humour, Carter. Calm yourself." Zaharis is still reading the clipboard over. "Your botanists will do fine. Can't specialise in everything at once."

Reed nods, "I know, I'm trying to overcompensate, jumping at scientific shadows, trying to look everywhere at once." He leans against a tank. The Kelp fails to mind. "I'm really hoping we can slow down to Condition Three"

"We will." Zaharis finishes his preliminary read-over, enough seeds planted in his head to last a couple months. "Can't stay in top gear forever, makes things fall apart. And people." He's naturally, more concerned with the latter than the former.

Reed nods, "I heard that. Though the blood drive came at a good time. Everyone working all the time, no one's been polluting themselves, perfect time to tap a few veins."

Zaharis smirks, but it's mild. "More like time to strap people to a bed and force them into ten minutes' of rest without telling them our dirty plan. I think I saw more people getting sleep in there than I have in the bunks in a week."

Reed nods, "Maybe." He blinks, "Incidentally, the dose of the seditive worked perfectly. Let me set my internal clock and I'm on a two four hour sleep schedule now. Not perfect, but it's helping a lot, though it's tryin to turn into a six and two hour. I think I'm trying to normalize."

Zaharis nods once, setting a hand on part of the railing and leaning on it. "Are the interruptions due to necessary schedule or that you naturally wake up like that?" Anxiety scale assessment, activate.

Reed considers, "Alarms. I haven't slept through any, but once I forgot to set my alarm and I slept six hours, the next four hour shift I woke up at two hours." He shrugs, "what's that tell you, Doctor?"

"That you're stressed out." Zaharis half-smiles. "Did you really need me to make that diagnosis?"

Reed shrugs, "Naah, seems like I have enough indications myself, but it's good to have a second opinion." He tilts his head, "What about you?"

Zaharis shrugs, his shoulders barely moving. He smiles, drumming his fingers on the railing. "If I could invent a medication for stress, I'd send it over to you first. You might have to wait a couple lifetimes, though. How are you handling it though, Carter? Been having any headaches, stomachaches? Trouble eating?"

Reed shrugs, "Chronic loss of hunger. I put myself on a schedule for eating because I don't feel hungry when I'm working. I look at my food and think about the numbers of how much of this we have." He lifts his shoulder, then blinks, and points to his head, "But my burns have healed up, nicely."

"Keep your liquids up, then." Zaharis crosses one foot over the other. "Thinking about the numbers is well and good, but being undernourished affects one's cognitive abilities. Which we can afford much less than being down an extra full meal a day currently. Plenty of people are working about the food issue, we don't need to guilt ourselves at the moment."

Reed looks at Zaharis, and scowls suddenly, turning away, "Outta your frakkin-" He stops, turned away from Zaharis, "Aw hell, that's it." He turns and thuds his forehead lightly against the kelp tank, "My moment of clarity."

Zaharis doesn't move and doesn't react much to being sworn at. He gives it a few seconds of peace before he speaks again. "What's wrong?"

Reed looks down at the floor by the tank. "My inner vocabulary has revolved around words like loss, and grief. Things I had long experience with from Kellys death. I felt a little worried that I took the loss of everything so well, but she was everything to me and I had that stripped from me once before and made it through it. I didn't really have an emotional reaction, just knew I had to keep going, that there's something more to do, that I was obligated to keep pushing. to stop and care for myself only so I could push more. But I never even thought about what it was pushing me." He rolls himself, turning around without lifting his head from the tank, leaning against it with his back now. "Guilt."

Zaharis nods slowly. He keeps his hands on the railing behind him, leaned back on them. "What do you feel guilty about?" He asks the question in a gentle tone, but not a patronising one.

Reed shrugs, "Walking out on my family on Caprica eight months ago, that being the last time I ever saw them? Having this station, built by minds much greater than yours or mine, and now they're dead and their fruits of genius are mine to command? Not even knowing the Colonies were dying, that humanity itself was being slaughtered till more than a frakking day passed?" He shrugs, "I think that's valid? Just what comes to mind."

"Feelings are always valid," Zaharis answers. "The logic may not be, but emotion is always real. Reed…" He uses the other Major's name for the first time. "There's a difference in our lives between choices and circumstance. We can control the former. We can't the latter. That this station is in your hands now and its rightful owners and creators are gone, that's circumstance, it's out of your control. And I know how now it feels like if you don't kill yourself taking care of it, then you're guilty of something. In some ways you are. You're officer, you're responsible for a shitload of people. If you're doing it for the ones who are still alive, that's one thing — that's a choice that you own, and that you're responsible for. But that the colonies are gone, that circumstance put this in your hands, -that- is not your fault. You can't let yourself be controlled by that part. You have to separate it out, or it's going to drive you crazy."

Reed pulls out his handheld, fingers moving over it. He nods, "Being driven crazy is an easy thing around here, now more than ever." He looks at Zaharis from the screen. "Nice shot, incidentally, completely threw off my little psychological blinders. With things visible, I can grab it, rationalize it out, determine if it's valid or crap, and file it away." He finishes what he was typing and sighs, "I think I'm ready for this now."

Zaharis gives Reed a wry smile. "Take care of yourself. I'm just here to help you do that." He pushes off the railing, glancing at his wrist. "Well. I have a PO coming on shift that I need to spring a commission on. Looking forward to it. Would you like to come along, or are you going to keep busy?"

Reed lifts the handheld, and it beeps, "Just took a number outside LT Sloans door.. So right now, I'm okay to come and watch you scare a PO to death, sure."

Zaharis smiles a little as Reed says where he's going. He reaches over and gives the Major's shoulder a gentle squeeze, then turns for the ladder. "Last one to Sickbay's an impotent crab."

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