Summary: Rhea visits Zaharis' office to talk about dreams. Memories of the past linger.
Date: 92
Related Logs: None

Chief Medical Officers Office Genesis - Deck 13
92 ACH 23817 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.
Sitting on the file cabinet is a Rod of Asclepius carved from two different types of wood. The rod is made from lighter wood, while the snake is darker. The eye of the snake is inlayed with tiny crystals so that it sparkles in the light. It stands on a smallish pedestal with a legend: Do no harm to thyself nor to others.

Rhea stops in at the nurse's station, to alert them (and Zaharis, by proxy) to her presence. She does make an effort to clank toward his office when he's more-or-less free.

Zaharis is at his desk, in his dark blue scrubs. Going over a very large report of census and census-related numbers throughout the fleet, as he makes his notes on his computer. When someone honks on his wireless and says the ChEng's outside, he presses the little 'Ye May Enter' button near his desk, unlocking the door remotely.

Rhea enters, closing the door behind her. "Hope I'm not interrupting anything too pressing," she says, and for once she sounds sincere about it. There's more hesitation to her barging than usual. "Going over the numbers? Frakking daunting, isn't it? I need to re-inventory the whole of our engineering supplies. Seems we're eating up more and more by the day."

"Yeah," Zaharis replies, resting his elbows on the desk and scratching the tip of his nose. "I remember reading all that socioeconomic paper stuff in medical school. All those theories they used to spout about what would happen to humans if population growth ever outpaced agricultural production. When everyone waved a hand and said bah, it wouldn't happen. It'd take too large a crisis. Man oh man."

"I don't think any of the social scientists planned for a mess like this," Rhea says, settling herself into the chair across from him. She pauses a moment. "You got a minute? This isn't…well, it's not something I wanted to bother you with at the office. Or at all, really. Just something that's been rolling around in the back of my head lately."

Zaharis glances at his computer clock. "Well, technically I'm off-duty." He sits back in his chair, raising both arms up to stretch his tense upper back. "So whatever it is, don't worry that it's interrupting. What's up?"

"Yeah, you are," Rhea says with a faint crooked smirk. "I wasn't going to bring it up, polite soul that I am." She shrugs. "It's nothing. I mean, it really *is* nothing. I just…" She sighs. As if half-embarrassed to say this aloud. "I had a dream. About Ephraim."

"Yeah?" Zaharis unlaces his fingers and lets his hands rest on the arms of his chair. "Not something I'd call unusual…I mean, considering all the stress you've been under."

"I suppose so, yeah," Rhea agrees. She leans her head back against her chair, expression thoughtful. "It wasn't anything too traumatic. We were were…talking. About everyday things. And he was smoking one of those cheap Picon cigarettes. The ones they used to sell on base. I used to hate the smell of those things…"

Zaharis can't help a faint smirk. "Never understood why he went for those. His version of slumming, was the best I could figure." His thumbnail scratches his shoulder. "It's pretty common though, Rhea. Dreams like that. We all want closure, and sometimes a dream's the best way the mind can get that."

"They were part of the whole Navy thing with him, I think," Rhea says with a snort, as to the cigarettes. "Made him feel more like a rough-tough officer. He was always better at the life than I was. He carried it easier." She sighs. "I miss just talking to him, Jesse…You dreamed anything like that since…everything? Not Ephraim specifically but just…anything?"

Zaharis hesitates only briefly. "I…yeah, couple times." Admission made, he adds, "I'd be surprised if there were many people who haven't."

Rhea nods to that, expression sober. Thoughtful. "It's strange. Some days, it's fine. I keep it together. Even find things that make me happy from minute to minute. Other days…" Another sigh. She doesn't seem quite sure where to go from there.

Zaharis speaks gently. "Other days, what?" She should know better than to think she can walk into his office and get off easy.

"Other days I just think about what I've lost. What we've all lost. And I just…" Rhea blinks. Her eyes have gotten rather misty as she dwells on those thoughts. "It all just hits me sometimes. I was looking at the inventory lists today and I thought…this is it. This is where we're at."

Zaharis takes his time regarding her. He then glances at the stacks of numbers he'd been studying. "We've always been mortal, Rhea." He brushes his thumb over something he'd written in pen, feeling the little pressure indentations. "That's where we're at, yes. It's funny, you know. I would guess a lot of people feel afraid because they feel like our survival is out of their hands. But honestly what's more scary is the thought that maybe it's -completely- in our hands."

"Scares the frak out of me," Rhea affirms softly. "It's like a wave sometimes. Overwhelming. Feel like I'm barely avoiding being swallowed up in it. Maybe that's where everybody's at. I don't think anybody's survival is out of their hands right now. We're all we've got. We're all so dependent on each other. It's one thing to know your mortal. Another to be faced with…it could all end. Tomorrow. Not just our lives but…everything we are as a species. Just like that."

Zaharis smiles a little bit. "Do you really care about 'everything we are as a species'? I guess I do because I'm obligated to talk about all this in the faceless 'we'. We're all obligated to." He shakes his head. "But you know, sometimes it's okay to say frak it, I'm scared for me and mine."

Rhea gets a faint laugh out of that. "Part of me does. So far I've just focused on holding it together. This ship, my snipes, my kid…things I can control. Or pretend I can control." She snorts. "I just…sometimes I wonder if he was the lucky one. Ephraim." She says it very softly.

Zaharis' dark eyes make a very subtle flicker up and to the side at Ephraim's name, as if he'd noticed a shadow on the wall. Then they're back on her. "Do you really?"

"I…I don't know," Rhea says, letting out another long breath. "It just seems…so much has been lost. I wonder if we can ever be more than just refugees. And part of me envies him. I don't want to say it Jesse but…it's just so hard, y'know?"

"You can say it, Rhea," Zaharis replies, spreading his hands on his desk. "You spend all day telling other people that there are silver linings and that they still have each other and maybe it'll work out and lots of other happy horseshit like that. So go ahead and say it. Say it's shitty. Say this frakking sucks and damn, sometimes you might even hate Ephraim for getting out the easy way."

"This does frakking suck a lot of the time," Rhea admits. Chuckling softly as she says it. She spends a moment just laughing, as if glad for the release of it. "Gods, Jesse, I miss him so much."

"Yeah, me too," Zaharis admits, barely smiling. "Reece is so much like him. Shit."

"He really is. Going to be as tall as him soon. Frak. I'm so sick of not being able to loom over the men in my life." Mention of her son makes Rhea smile, a genuine smile. "He told me he wanted to be a doctor the other day."

Zaharis smirks. A genuine smirk. "Did he? Hell, good thing Ephraim's not here after all. I'd owe him a hundred cubits. I thought by the time he was twelve he'd want to be an archeologist."

Rhea snorts. "Archeologist was last year. If I'd known there was some sort of bet I would've tipped you off. It was between Pyramid player and video game designer." She shrugs. "I just want there to be any kind of future for him, whatever the frak he wants to do."

Zaharis exhales through his nose. His arm makes a V over his chest as he reaches across to rub his thumb into the front of his shoulder. "Yeah." There's a very long pause, then his head shakes slowly. "Gods, Rhea. Do you understand how spectacular he is? With everything that's happened. All of us, his father - twice. But he's still talking about the future. I wasn't talking about the future when I was twelve, and that was just…Scorpia. Hopelessness. This magnitude of loss wasn't even fathomable, we'd given up way before this. But here Reece is, wanting to be a doctor. After all this." He exhales quietly. "Something's still there."

"I'd like to think Reece grew up with his head in a better place than you did. Than we both did," Rhea says. "When I was twelve…I just wanted to run away. Get the frak off Sagittaron. I didn't care where. It wasn't so much hope as wanting to break out. Reece…I wanted to give him something more than that. He is a spectacular kid, Jesse. He deserves better than what the Cylons, and all of if you go back a few generations, have made for him."

"I just wanted…" Zaharis pauses to think about that, and ends up just scratching the back of his neck. His tone shifts. "Reece deserves much better. Whether he'll get it, I don't know. Everyone deserves better than what we and life give them. Oh well. But you know what, just in case we're wiped out tomorrow and that's the end of the dream? Tell him he better not be late to that first aid class tonight."

Rhea smirks at that. "I'll tell him. Apparently he's quite the working man now. One of my POs put him to work looking after the ducks over on the Carina." She chuckles. "I don't think they quite replace his dog. But he seems to be enjoying it."

"He's looking after…ducks?" Zaharis quirks both brows, drily. "He'll regret that one day, after puberty hits."

"Hits him or the ducks?" Rhea replies dryly, crooking a half-smile.

Zaharis thinks about that for a long second before giving Rhea a suitably intellectual answer. "…oh, ew."

"What? Where do you think we're going to get those eggs?" Rhea rejoins with a chuckle. She wrinkles her nose. "You're right. I don't terribly want to think about duck puberty." She pushes herself out of the chair, leaning against it for a moment. "I should shove off. Let you get back to your inventories. Go dig into mine. I just…I needed to get my head in order. You're good about that."

"That boy's masculinity is in serious danger," Zaharis mutters, drumming his fingers on the arms of his chair. As she stands he lifts his chin and brows. "Out of here already? You don't have to, you know."

Rhea snorts at Zaharis. "I'm sure you'll find a way to raise him to be a proper man. Teach him to grunt and scratch himself and all that." She lingers, continuing to lean against the chair. "I'd ask for coffee, but I'm trying to ween down my intake before it gets painful. I could hang around for a cup of water, if you don't mind the company."

"Cup of water, might as well. I don't keep coffee in here anymore anyway." Zaharis stands up, grabbing two mugs off his file cabinet. True to his word, that carafe on his desk now only holds water. "Altair gave me a carton of cigarettes he got from somewhere. Figure they're the last I'll ever see, so I'm trying to associate each one with a good memory." He smirks, opening his desk drawer and plucking a cigarette from the pack hidden inside.

Rhea doesn't seem sure whether to laugh or shake her head. So she just takes her water and sits again. "I'll take that as a compliment, that you're blackening your lungs for me." She sips. "Good memories. Right. I tell you about that propulsion researcher we plucked off the Visser base? Asenov. Frak. I spent a good part of my professional life reading his theories in technical journals. Anyway. He's from Tauron. We got to talking a little about the geography. I always did love that colony, the few times Ephraim took me back to visit his folks. The cities and the countrywide."

<Trait Roll> Zaharis rolls Willpower and achieves a degree of Superb (6).

Zaharis picks up his lighter, flicking it to life and tossing it aside once the stick of tar is lit. "Never been to Tauron. Ephraim used to say you could lean out a window anywhere on the planet and spit, and chances are you'd hit a Zimmermann. No relation to him, but still."

Rhea chuckles at that. "It was a common name on the part of the colony where he grew up. Frightening as it is to think of 'Zimmermann' was common. Too many damn syllables. I remember my first time there, after we got married. His uncle had a house in the Valley of a Hundred Lakes. I'd never seen any place so green. Not that we spent much time on the water…gods, we were so young."

"Your maiden name was Carey, wasn't it," Zaharis remarks, in that way of a spontaneous memory. "I remember, because when Ephraim told me that I kept thinking 'Man, all three of her names are girly, she must be an airhead'." He pauses to take a drag off the cigarette. "Wasn't one of my most scientific predictions, but I was proud of it at the time."

"Carey. Yeah. Rhea *Jo* Carey, asshole, so girly *that*," Rhea says, in her ever-lovingly profane way. "I used to want to change my first name when I was a kid. My mom picked it. Wife of Cronus. Kind of daunting. When I was ten, I wanted to be 'Penelope.' Glad I stuck with this."

"Well, you know, Jo like…heehee, I'm Joooooooo," Zaharis punctuates this by making a noise in his best falsetto and twirling a finger into his dark hair. Then he picks up his cigarette. "I'm glad you stuck with it too. The 'Jo' not so much, but I can be a gentleman and keep my ridicule of that part behind your back."

"Jo this, Doctor Tenor," Rhea retorts, kicking at foot under his desk. At his desk. And the desk is the only thing her toe hits or has any intention of hitting. She kids about giving him a higher octave. Really.

Zaharis moves his leg back instinctively. "Hey, I admitted I was wrong. Think of the children!"

"Won't someone *please* think of the children!?" Rhea mock-despairs, in a dramatic faux-Aerelon accent. She laughs, winking at the CMO.

"See, always works on females." Zaharis smirks triumphantly. And scoots his chair back a hair more, just in case.

Rhea snorts. "I could still female you if I wanted to. Don't think I wouldn't. Anyway. How long you off duty for? You look like you could use a break. Wanna hit the Mess? See what variety of algae they're trying to jello today?"

Zaharis smirks. "Maybe another hour before I need to get some sleep." He glances at the piles of reports, then knocks some ash off his cigarette and stands. "Food's more useful at this point than anything else I could do to try and focus."

"Not like the reports won't be there after you've gotten some sleep. I wonder when we're going to run out of paper?" Rhea says. She sounds like she's half-looking forward to that particular shortage. She stands, finishing her water, to escort the CMO to a lovely dinner.

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