Still With You
Still With You
Summary: Rhea and Zaharis talk about the war after the officers' meeting.
Date: 4 ACH (16 November 2008)
Related Logs: None

Naval Officer Berthings Genesis - Deck 12
3 ACH 6735 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 checked in at Sickbay to properly delegate all this stuff to be done, made his nightly call over to the PAS, then grabbed his laptop to head to berthings. He reaches his bunk and pulls off his fatigues shirt, setting the laptop case on the mattress by his leg. His handheld is beeping like usual and he pulls it off his belt, leaning over his legs to tap out a reply.

Rhea went on a similar delegation run to Engineering. She beat Zaharis back to the berthings, though, what with his call to the PAS. She's laying in her bunk, but it's open. The light on. She's restlessly reading over an article from one of her old magazines, on FTL installation. She looks exhausted, but her head's too busy to rest.

Zaharis finishes the messages and sends, rubbing his hand over his face. He presses his thumb and middle fingers against his temples for about half a minute, feeling the headache coming, then sits back up. A glance towards Rhea's bunk shows her light on and he slowly stands up, crossing the short distance to the middle row. His knuckles gently tap the vertical beam attached to the bunk above Rhea's.

Rhea looks up, putting down her magazine. She looks almost grateful to have an excuse to set it aside. However long she's been here, she's still on the first page of her article. She blinks, as if trying to clear her head. "Hey, you." She scoots her legs up to make room in the little space. "Sit down. Take a load off."

"Hey." Zaharis ducks under the top bunk, sitting down and drawing his socked feet up onto the mattress frame. "You looked like you were working over here. You know I can't let you get away with that."

"I depend on you to keep me idle," Rhea says dryly. She passes Jesse one of her pillows. In case he wants to lean his head against it. "I just…couldn't get to sleep. Too much coffee, I think. I can't get myself settled."

"Yeah, that's a bitch." Zaharis takes the pillow, sliding it behind his back between him and the wall. "Coffee. War. You know, same dif."

Rhea laughs. Putting her head back against her bunk and just taking a moment to do it. Probably more than the quip warranted. But it's the first honest release of emotion she'd had in many, many hours. "Yeah. It's a bitch all right…Oh, frak, Jesse, what are we doing out here?"

Zaharis smiles a little when she laughs, then it fades. He really has to think about her question, resting his head back against the wall. "We…" He pauses. "…we got lucky." The words are simple but his tone is complicated, threaded with all kinds of unsure undertones. "I don't know the reason. I don't know if there -is- a reason. We're here and that's really all I'm sure of."

"Lucky. Yeah. Maybe. I don't feel so lucky right now," Rhea says, taking a deep breath. "Frak. War. I joined the military to pay for college. To get the frak off Sagittaron. I was gonna be in and out. Two years. I'm not a frakking soldier. I was good at the work. I love the work but…I never imagined this."

"Think there's a couple thousand people thinking the same thing right now, Rhea." Zaharis rubs his chin and draws his feet closer to him on the mattress, resting his arms atop his knees. "It's like they tell you all through training 'Yeah, you know, military. Got to be ready for war one of these days, train train train!'. And you're like 'Pfft, whatever'."

"Yeah. Peace time. Chance to see the colonies. Play with the latest technology. My recruiter actually told me, 'the Cylons have been gone for twenty years. The closet I've come to an enemy is a drunk Marine in the officer's club.'" She snorts. "All I've wanted to do since this whole mess started is go be with my son. And my husband. They're the only things I've done in my entire life that are worth a damn. I don't even know where he is. Not gonna know for a long time, apparently. Dammit!" She slaps the top of her bunk with her palm.

Zaharis doesn't flinch. He folds his legs in indian-style and turns on the mattress so he's facing her instead of having to turn his head, resting his arms down on his knees. "Hey. Rhea, look at me."

Rhea takes a deep breath, trying to compose herself. Or at least stop hitting things. She nods her head, lifting her eyes to regard Zaharis. "I'm sorry…"

"No, frak that." Zaharis has never been afraid to look right at people, and he holds her eyes. "Hit whatever you want to. Hell, hit me if you need to, I can take it. But listen to me. Reece is here, and he's safe, and it was you bringing him here that kept him that way. Okay?" He keeps his voice soft. "He's still with you."

Rhea blinks, but she manages to keep them focused on Jesse. "He's okay. I know. Knowing that is pretty much the one thing keeping me sane right now. I love him so much…" She takes a deep breath. "I've just got so much rolling around in my head right now, y'know, and I can't…I hate to fly. Ephraim ever tell you that? Not battlestars, frak, I could jump all day and live the rest of my life on the damn things. But on Raptors, shuttles…freaks me out a little. Even after eighteen years in the Navy. Ephraim used to say it was because I didn't have my hand on the power switch. I wasn't in control."

Zaharis barely smiles, and it fades again. "He never told me. But yeah…I can see that. It's hard not being in control. Doesn't feel safe, makes you feel vulnerable."

Rhea laughs, nodding. "Yeah. I was never good at vulnerable. I hate feeling like that. Like everything's spinning around you and you're just caught up in it. I haven't felt like that since I was a kid…" She sighs. "Anyway. How're you?"

"Feet itch." Zaharis illustrates this point by scratching one sole, screwing up his face for a second. Thankfully his socks are clean. He rests his arm back on his leg, folding his hands. "Look, I make a pretty shitty optimist. I'm not going to pretend like I think everything's going to be okay. We got here and now, tomorrow could be completely frakked. So I'm going to tell now, cause now's all I know I got. If you need me, I'm here. Anytime you need, anything you need. Okay?"

"Okay," Rhea says with an unsteady little nod. "You know the same goes for you, right? I'm really glad you're here, Jesse. If you ever need…anything…" She trails off. And leans in, without much warning, to hug him. Tightly.

Zaharis wraps his arms around her back, giving her a hug back the way a protective older brother might. "We're all going to take this one day at a time. It's all we can do."

Rhea lays her head against his shoulder, some of the tension sagging out of her. As much from exhaustion as anything else. She lets him prop her up. "One day at a time. Right. I can handle that. Reece…the work in Engineering…there's so much to do. Keeps you from having time to think."

"Except when you're lying in your bunk pretending to read a magazine," Zaharis replies. He leaves one arm around her shoulders, reassurance as she sags. He falls silent for a few seconds. "What put you to sleep when you were a kid?"

"The smell of chamalla smoke and the musical sound of knifings in the alley down the street," Rhea says, with the same anti-fondness of which she always speaks of Sagittaron. She forces a laugh. OK. Perhaps the wrong time for her brand of Sag humor. She sighs. "My dad worked a lot. I had trouble falling asleep when he wasn't in the apartment. Sometimes he'd get home and come into my room and tell me stories. Just everyday stuff. He wasn't a literary guy. About the ships he'd worked on, the people he'd met…before I realized it I was dreaming about them…what about you?"

Zaharis smirks at the Sag humour, regardless. Her question makes him quiet for a while. "Blankets." He says this as though this were the first time he'd ever thought about it. "If I could…get myself wrapped up really tight in them, so I couldn't move. I'd fall asleep."

Rhea smiles at that, nodding her head a little. "Makes sense. I guess it goes back to the same thing. Whatever makes you feel safe."

"Good old human truths," Zaharis replies. "Can always count on that, if nothing else."

"Human truths. Yeah. Makes you almost envy the robots, doesn't it?" Rhea says wryly. "I wonder if Cylons ever have trouble falling asleep at night…If they even sleep…"

"Who knows," Zaharis says. One leg stretches out and he carefully rolls his ankle to ease his muscles, his arm staying rested around her shoulders. "Who knows why they do what they do. Why they did what they've done."

"They're machines," Rhea says, actually on ground she's comfortable with for this. "I don't think their motivations run very deep. Somewhere along the line, as we were building them smarter and smarter, they got advanced enough that a little went on and they realized they were being frakked with. And they hate us. And they want to kill us. It's logical. It's horrible but…it makes sense. Humans are the ones who're harder to figure out."

"Probably because we tell ourselves this giant lie that everything -can- be figured out," Zaharis answers, his voice quiet and dry. "We search for truth with this built-in clause that just because we look, an answer has to be waiting for us."

Rhea makes a soft "Hmph" sound at that. She's an engineer. And a control freak. There /is/ an answer to it all out there somewhere, dammit. Not that she argues aloud. "The only answer I want is a location for the Persius. Then, all will be right with my little world again. War and killer robots notwithstanding."

Zaharis smiles a little at her 'hmpf'ing, but says nothing more about it. He lets her talk, leaning his head back. "We'll find her." Intact, with crew alive? Blown to bits? He's not going to speculate aloud right now. "Hang in there."

"Ephraim's a good officer. And a proud member of the rear echelon. He'll hang in there," Rhea says. She manages to /sound/ confident, at least. She straightens up, not leaning so hard on the CMO anymore, though she seems reluctant to let him go. "I should let you get some sleep."

"He'll hang in there with a chain of paperclips if he has to," Zaharis smiles as she sits up, then shrugs one shoulder. He lifts his chin, indicating the pillow at the top of the bunk. "I got time. Why don't you lie down. Easier to drift off if your eyes are closed." A pause. "I'll tell you a story about my old ship if you want."

"Aww. How sweet," Rhea says. Mockingly. She takes him up on it, though, easing down and closing her eyes. "Take some of the blanket, while you're here. I don't mind sharing. Ephraim always hogs the covers. Selfish frakker." She curses him with true love and affection.

Zaharis smirks. He pulls just a little of the blanket over, enough to keep his feet warm, and settles comfortably against the wall. Watching her until she's followed the doctor's orders, he starts in a low voice, talking a bit more slowly. "So this was the Odyssey, about three years ago. Mercury class, newly commissioned. Gorgeous ship…" And on it goes, about her design, then pieces of tales about her crew, his voice never changing.

Rhea concentrates on listening, which helps her relax. Ah, yeah. Ship design. That's a pretty story. For a long time she is just quietly listening, letting the details wash over her. But, eventually, she's lulled to sleep.

Zaharis keeps talking for a while after her breathing slows, just to be sure. Then he sits for a few minutes in silence, watching the wall across the room, before he carefully climbs over her feet and off the mattress, holding the beam above him for balance. He pulls the curtain shut across her bunk and heads back to his own, picking up his handheld to get back to work.

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