Reaching Out
Reaching Out
Summary: Zaharis tells Reighner something quite personal, and both open up a bit about what's happened.
Date: 13 ACH
Related Logs: Related Logs (Say None if there aren't any; don't leave blank)

Viewing Deck Support Station PAS - Deck 4
13 ACH 6735 Souls

As the rings on the station rotate slowly, it is never really felt, but the viewport allows a wonderful viewing of space. Here, the four, large panels give a showing that is worth just sitting and watching the stars float by. Seating is more of a lounge, than a theater type. All couches are bolted down, but extremely comfortable for sitting and relaxing. There is even a mini-refreshment bar along the back wall, which is self-serve.

Reighner sits at one of the couches, nursing a cup of coffee and reading a textbook.

Zaharis heads up to the viewing deck after a stretch in the PAS' medical facility. Fatigues shirt undone, he heads for the side table where the coffee is, pouring out a cup and leaving it nicely black. He starts for the couches, slowing his steps when he sees one occupied. "Hey, Matt."

"Jesse," Reighner answers, glancing up. "Coming off?"

Zaharis nods, setting his coffee down. "Enough's in order that I don't feel guilty about it." He sits down in one of the nearby armchairs. "How are you feeling?"

It looks like Reighner keeps reading for a few more seconds after Zaharis asks. He leans back and looks up, figuring that it wasn't a 'how do you do' sort of question. "I'm fine."

Zaharis smiles, just a little. It's brief. "If that's true, then you're the only one on the station who is. And I find that to believe."

Reighner looks back down at his textbook. "Something you need, Jesse?"

"Sort of." Zaharis rests his arms on the chair. "There was something I wanted to tell you. Last night wouldn't have been such a good time, but I wanted to do it now, if you'll listen to me for just a minute."

Reighner looks back up, expression empty. He crosses his legs, ankle to knee, and closes his textbook over it. "Go ahead."

Zaharis seems to hesitate, as if the next words out of his mouth might be 'never mind'. Then he talks, quietly. "Listen, I know it feels like nobody gets it up here. Everyone trying to smile. Lot of people saying they had nothing really dear to them back home, and they don't understand." He clears his throat quietly, glancing at his hand as he taps his fingers on the chair arm. "My daughter was on Picon, Matt. My little girl. She's…she was…six years old. Beautiful, beautiful girl, had my eyes." A brief pause. "You know, when those 20 Marines came in from battle the other night, I…" He gently scratches his nose. "I almost frakked up a Corporal's arm in surgery, because I couldn't focus. Because I kept thinking that there wasn't one faceless person I didn't give a shit about in that room who I wouldn't have let die right there on the table, if it meant I could just have one minute more with my daughter." His fingernail picks at the chair and he looks back at Reighner. "I'm not saying this because I want you to say anything back. I don't expect you to. I just…wanted you to know that you're not feeling what you're feeling alone."

Reighner stays still for a few moments. He exhales audibly through his nose and looks away, thoughtfully. "Thanks."

Zaharis nods and looks away towards the viewport, no longer than keen to look someone in the eye. He picks up his coffee, picking at ridge in the cup with his fingernail before sipping it.

Reighner takes a slow sip. There's a pregnant pause as he looks at the stars. "Did you get to say goodbye?"

Zaharis shakes his head slowly. "No. I missed her sixth birthday. Just gotten transferred up here, told myself I shouldn't report in late. I'd make it up to her. That's what I said, I'd…have time later." He takes a sip of coffee, looking down into the cup as he lowers it to his leg. "Did you?"

"Reed warned me before the blackout was put out," Reighner answers. "I told them that I'd be back in six months." He looks up at the ceiling, jutting out his Adam's apple. "At least I told them I loved them."

Zaharis keeps his eyes on his coffee, running his thumb across the cup rim. "I wish I had." He tips the cup on his leg and rests it flat again. "What were their names?"

Reighner sighs and looks forward. "Abby and Michal. They were just starting middle school."

Zaharis sips his coffee, slowly, and his attention raises to the stars outside. "Diana was starting first grade. When she finished kindergarden they'd given her these prayer beads from her first time learning about the gods at temple. She sent them to me two months ago. I love them and I hate them."

"First grade?" Reighner glances at Zaharis. "You must have had her pretty late, then."

"Calling me old?" Zaharis looks back at Reighner, with a brief glimmer of a smirk. He rubs his eyebrow, shrugging one shoulder. "I was thirty…she wasn't planned. How old were yours?"

Reighner laughs abruptly in a bittersweet way. "12 and 13. Michal is older."

Zaharis barely smiles. "They take after you, with all the science stuff?"

"No, more after their mother." Reighner smiles slightly. "She's an ethicist, so they're always on my case if I'm doing something wrong. Especially with chore rules."

Zaharis laughs under his breath. "A microcosm of society in your living room, that's impressive." The faint smile fades and he lifts his coffee for a slow sip. "Married a long time?"

Reighner nods. "Fifteen years. Met in graduate school."

"Never heard of an ethicist before who put all that study to such practical use." Zaharis lets his head rest back against the chair. "Sounds like she was a good woman, Matt."

"She was," Reighner answers in a dull voice. He presses his lips together, watching scenes in his mind's eye. He eventually asks, "Was Diana your only child?"

"Yeah." Zaharis' tone doesn't quite seem to know how it feels about that fact. No further explanations come, just silence for a while. "I keep thinking I see them everywhere. Her and her mother. I keep hearing their voices. Even when I'm by myself, just in the shower or in my office. Do you ever feel like you're going crazy like that?"

Reighner replies, "It's worst in the morning. For a split moment, I feel like everything's as it should be, that she's right next to me and my children are down the hall." He shakes his head and takes another drink of coffee. "So you weren't married, then?"

Zaharis nods at Reighner's first words, processing them silently before he answers. "No, never married. Thought about it. We were together a year before Diana was born, and almost three years after, but the Navy widow thing got to be too much. She married some civil engineer."

"Right," Reighner mumbles, having heard stories like it during training. He taps his fist against the armrest lightly and falls into a contemplative silence.

Zaharis also lets silence fall for a few seconds, taking a sip of his cooling coffee. "Things just got all frakked up." He could be referring to the story he just told, but he's watching the stars outside the viewport now. "What the hell do you do now."

Reighner doesn't have an answer for that, so he simply nods slowly.

Zaharis probably would have been surprised if Reighner had ventured an actual answer. Before he can let himself think too much on the problem, he finishes his coffee sits forward. "Need to go check on some things, Matt. I wish I had some wisdom that would mean something to you, but I know nothing means anything to me right now so I'm not going to try. But thanks…for talking. And I'm here if you decide you want someone around."

Reed comes in from Passageway.
Reed has arrived.

Reighner nods. He sighs and offers Zaharis a smile. A weak one, although something he hasn't done in a long time. "Thanks." He's sitting on a couch with a coffee on the endtable and a textbook over his crossed legs.

Reed enters the Viewing deck, in his blues, and wearing his sidearm for some obscure reason, he looks about, approaching the doctors, "Hello, gentlemen." He says with a smile, looking from one to the other.

Zaharis returns the same kind of smile. His posture is drained from the conversation, but he straightens his shoulders as he stands up, picking up his empty cup. Turning around, he nods to Reed. "Hey, Carter. I was just on my way back to the Genesis, so you two have fun. Maybe I'll see you a bit later."

"Reed," Reighner says, looking over his shoulder. His eyes go down to the man's sidearm.

(And it continues…)

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