The Hows and Whys
The Hows and Whys
Summary: Zaharis drops in on Fotilas.
Date: 44 ACH
Related Logs: Directives, The Ovarian Opus

Executive Officers Quarters Genesis - Deck 12
44 ACH 6285 Souls

The XO's quarters are nice, although not as large as the CO's quarters. A desk, small seating area, head and sleeping quarters are here along with anything else the XO may need for their living conditions.

The XO is sitting on the edge of his desk reading a report. He has the same displeased look about him as before. Though, for once, his desk looks a little less cluttered. Like he's caught up on his paperwork. With the knock, there's a simple 'Enter!' and the man looks up to the CMO. "Why do I get the idea I already know what this is about?" He's back in uniform, as well. Sidearm strapped to his hip as usual.

Zaharis steps through the hatch, in his off-duties and with cigarette smoke trailing after him. He pauses and smiles a bit at Fotilas at that greeting. "Come on, let's at least start out civil. Back up. Hi, sir. How are you? Can I smoke in here?" The former question, he sounds like might care about. The latter, not so much.

Fotilas looks to the man and sags at the shoulders. He shakes his head and looks to the table nearby. "Yeah, sorry. Been on the defensive. Even lost it at Rhea last night in the gym. Frakkin shameful." He waves a dismissive hand to Zaharis. "Yes, that's fine. Smoke if you like." The small report is tossed behind him onto the desk and he looks back to the CMO. "Afternoon, Major."

"Just call me Jesse. I'm not here on strict business." Zaharis finds himself a seat and something to ash the cigarette in, whether the object's meant to be for that or not. The pack's set down within easy reach, as is his lighter. "Imagine lot of people are on your ass today, yeah. What happened with Rhea?"

Fotilas nods to the Doctor and looks to him for a moment. "The last twenty-four hours? Yeah. Some. But the lack of it from certain people has me madder than anything." He slaps his hands onto his knees lightly and sighs. "With Rhea? She sent an unhappy memo. I was unhappy about its format. Unhappy things were said. Its past, though. Hopefully." Meeting them all for those drinks the night before was such a relief for him. And then to have to turn and make enemies? It strains the soul.

Zaharis nods, settling back in the chair. "I heard about the memo. Haven't read it, but she said she sent one off." He looks as though he's about to say soemthing more, but pauses that train of thought for a moment. "What do you mean by the lack of it?"

"It was.. 'personal.'" Fotilas seems to strain the word to make it understood that yes, that's putting it VERY lightly. He takes a long breath with the CMO's last question and he quirks a brow. "Well so far the only DH's I've heard from are Rhea, and now you. A directive from Command like that? I'd hoped that more people would speak out. Or at least come to me about it. I don't know if any has or how many people have gone straight to Regas with it, but I'm not going to be pleased with those that have - if they're around. The chain of command exists for a reason." A hand lifts to pinch the bridge of his nose for a moment. "But yes, what can I do for you, Jesse?"

"Well, this all is sort of what I came up here about." Zaharis smiles a little. "Not to have something done for me, just to hear what you had to say about it. It and the reactions to it."

Fotilas doesn't skip a beat. "On the record, I stand beside the Commander in this Directive. He issued it and as the senior officer on board this ship, he should run Genesis as he see fits. That JAG has issue with it is JAG's perogative. I'm open to feedback from the Department Heads, but an order is an order. Questioning orders in wartime, in our situation, is a dangerous prospect and sets a poor example for the officers and enlisted under us." He ends it there, pausing for a few moments. "That is my official position on the directive."

Zaharis doesn't skip a beat either. "And off the record? You're an XO, but you're still human. At least in this room. And it'll go no further."

Fotilas turns and looks behind him. He takes his log book off his desk and turns to the page prior, handing it to Zaharis. "You won't see this log very often." On the top of the page are quick topics covered in the discussion with Regas the day before. At the bottom of it: 'Official Protest logged with Commander Tarik Regas in regards to Maternal Marriage Directive. 1035 Ship Standard Time.' Its signed as well by the XO alone. "I think that Regas is issuing orders that he has zero business being involved in. Ordering marriage?" Fotilas shakes his head. "The idea makes me sick."

Zaharis sits up and takes the log, glancing over the words. He smiles slightly and sets it back on the desk. "You know," he says after a second or two. "I can't decide whether Regas is off his nut or…if the man's a frakking genius." He smiles a bit at Fotilas. "You know that old joke, Jameson? That one…'How do you make someone forget about a little headache? Take a sledgehammer to his knee'?"

"Regas' ability to issue orders isn't in question. But I don't believe he's attempting a distraction, either." If he's bothered by the personal address, it doesn't show. "I've heard other things and witnessed certain actions before that make me take this directive all too seriously." Fotilas isn't amused. "We have an officer pregnant that brought this about. I was there when he issued the directive to her face. But he made no decree about it being fleetwide, which.. Jesse, that disturbed the hell out of me. Keeping orders like that quiet?" The Colonel's gaze moves back across the room, shaking his head. "So I forced the issue. I intentionally riled the Commander so he would order me to issue it. Make it public. I cannot publicly disagree with Regas, but I will fight tooth and nail for good officers and protect them any way I can. If I hadn't issued that order, Regas would have attempted to pass that directive quietly on every pregnancy we would see. Better to head that off now and save the first and finest." At some point, Fots looked back to Zharis to watch for a reaction.

"I'll take your word, obviously I wasn't there." Zaharis sits back again and takes a drag off his cigarette. "But I don't know. It's an illegal order and a useless one. Regas knows that, he's not crazy. I'd bet you he knew nuts to rights that Salin would come slamming in waving Jaggery around. And I bet he was ready from the start to tell Salin to go and find another way…but not alone. Sledgehammer to the knee. Regas is tired of solving everyone's problems, so he flaps out a doozy and lays it on us to come together and fix it like grownups."

"Hell yes its an illegal order. Why do you think I posted it places JAG couldn't miss it?" Fotilas is still not amused. Its been a long two days thus far. "As for him knowing? I don't think he cares. He made some pretty personal comments to me on the matter that had no business even being discussed. And I'll tell ya, Jesse.. I hope to Gods you're right. I do. Becaise if you're wrong, we're going to see more orders like this and it will eventually alienate Command from everyone. Now I might be the XO but this sure as shit ain't a hightower." He moves from his perch on the desk and falls into the couch and looks to the CMO. "I'll assume you're working on something? You're talking like its a responsibility you have taken on during your AIQ."

"I think he took a very big risk," Zaharis says, rubbing the side of his thumb by his lip. "Including with you. It could very well backfire, if people don't respect the chain of command's ability to come together and deal with this like the military should, which shouldn't be losing our shit and squawking like chickens. I mean, think about it. How deep do you have to go to get nearly every hand on this ship to band together about an issue? Pretty damn deep. And Regas went there. He knows if he pushes it -too- far it'll backfire just like you say, and I don't think he'll go that far. He's not ignorant. But something in me has this feeling that we're being challenged right now, as a ship and as a military. Not to just flail and scream at each other but to think…and not only that but to put aside all the pettiness that's been going on lately and think about what's best for the fleet. And make a plan about it. That's why we're here. I mean, yeah…I could be wrong. I really do pray I'm not. Like really, I sure as shit pray I'm not. But I've seen some cooperation even already that I never thought I'd see."

"It can still backfire. Even if he took a huge risk, its already marred this command. Can you honestly sit there and tell me that the rest of this ship thinks like you do on this topic?" The Colonel's brow rises expectantly. "Right now, they know that Command issued an order that has infuriated everyone. They don't care about coming together. And you had better believe they're not going to forget this. While yes, maybe you are right. Maybe this is a risk to get us to band together.. but there are better ways." His hands lift to rub at his temples, eyes closing. "This directive is going to come back to hit us in the ass one day, even if it was just an idea to bring us together."

"I'm not saying it was the best idea. Or even that it was a good idea at all." Zaharis sighs quietly and takes a drag off his cigarette. "I'm just saying what my gut's telling me. And you know what, even if I'm wrong about Regas' motives it still stands that we know something has to be done. And those of us that don't want to watch the ship fall apart have a duty to deal with it in responsible manner. Now I'm sorry that you got the frakked end of the stick having to be the one to issue that. But when Salin came charging into Regas' quarters to protest, Regas said alright, you can work out something else that's feasible. That's what Salin's doing, you saw his memo this morning. He wrote that after he and I and Rhea spent a couple hours talking about it. She's going to pull her department together to work on her part and I'm pulling mine together to work on mine. In the meantime Salin's got more work to do too. And honestly I suggest you talk to him. Regas said he wanted the two of you to work together."

"Whether or not I got any end of the stick is irrelevant, Jesse. I expected to issue the order. Being hated by the crew is part of my job." Fotilas just accepts it. There's nothing he can do to change it. "Now as far as what has to be done? I tried having that discussion with Regas and he basically said nothing. I was going to ask him if I could get together with you and a few others on the matter when he got up to walk out on the talk." The XO finally opens his eyes and looks back to the Major. "If Salin wants my help, I cannot give it officially. Lords.. Regas should know that. That's driving a public wedge into command."

"Regas said," Zaharis repeats, patiently, "For Altair to work with you and hand him back an alternate solution. That's what he said. How he deals with issuing it will be up to him, but fact is that's what he wants you and Salin to do. Refuse if you want, but Regas sanctioned it himself, so I don't see what the issue is. You don't have to sit in the mess hall and crow it out to the ship. Just call him." He rubs his thumb above his eyebrow.

Fotilas, still, isn't amused. "I'd ask you why I'm hearing this from you right now and not Major Altair - yesterday, but something tells me you can't answer that question." His gaze falls away once more and he looks to the floor. "I'll work with him. I wanted to start trouble-shooting this problem when I first heard the officer was pregnant. Indeed, I already had with her - to an extent. But yeah, I'll hunt him down. Glad you have Rhea on it, too. I might disagree with her presented arguments in their format, but she has the right mindset and ideas about it."

"Because I have a big frakking mouth, and Salin's probably still wading through paperwork up to his ass. It's not his fault." Zaharis shrugs. "And off the record, I know people need to be pushed. So damned if I go roundabout at times, but I'm going to push it when it counts.

Fots' expression hasn't change since he went back to looking at the table. "Just make sure you're careful about your pushing. Pick your battles. I won't go head-to-head with Regas on this one. We're going to face more divisive issues than this down the road. Especially if we start getting tighter on rations." He's quiet for a moment, tired gaze unwavering. "About how many mothers can we handle for pre-natal and postpartum care before the ship is out of supplies for them specifically?"

"Asking you to make a call to Salin isn't a battle. Good grief." Zaharis gives up on it for now, settling back and picking up a new cigarette. "How many? That's not a question I can quantify like that. Some pregnancies use more resources than others. But I can tell you now we have almost nothing. It's a combat vessel; pregnant women went back to the colonies. We don't have setups for births, we don't have a NICU, we don't have incubators, we don't have baby formula, food, pediatric medications, or any other baby supplies. The Carina has some emergency pediatric capability but not much."

Fotilas glances up to Zaharis for a fleeting moment, then back to the table. "I wasn't refusing to work with Salin, Major. I was telling you more than that. I was saying something about how I will have to stand with Regas on the order to a certain extent." He shakes his head and the rest of the information flows over him. Its all soaked-up. Probably about what he expected to hear, though. "So what you are telling me is that this ship has zero capability to handle what we are about to be faced with. Is that right?" A pause. "It sounds like we are going to need to visit the Colonies and drop into a major city to raid a hospital."

Zaharis hehs. "That would be nice. I mean, to be fair I don't expect some massive explosions of birth or anything. Just concerned over the inevitable that there will -be- some." He stretches out his legs, trying to relax his back. "To an extent we can do prenatal care with what we have. But one thing that needs to be decided is whether the base of medical care for a pregnant soldier is going to be the Genesis or the Carina. But we already need to get the Carina set up as well as we possibly can to handle any civilian pregnancies. And as a fleet we just don't have the resources to do that in two different bays."

"I don't expect a massive explosion of births, either. However I have to prepare the ship for as many circumstances as I can. As it stands, its going to be hard losing anyone because we are stretched so thin. But? Because of that we may require two bays." Fotilas lifts his eyes again to Zaharis. "We're stripping the Persius of anything useful and flying it into a star with a slowly decaying orbit. Theoretically, we can build anything we want as long as Major Zimmermann is capable - and I don't think there is much she can't do with her team." A hand lifts and rubs at his forehead. "The problem is that we can't lose officers and enlisted to constantly shuttle to the Carina and back. And I'm not talking about mothers. I mean fathers as well. As far as I'm concerned, we should rip out the Post Office and build a nursery there."

Zaharis now really frowns. "You're willing to advocate keeping pregnant women and young children on a combat vessel?"

Fotilas shrugs. "Every vessel in this fleet is under constant threat. Yes, we are a larger target than the Carina. However the Carina is far more vulnerable. If we're attacked, what would your priorities be? Defending the civilian vessel? Or defending the Genesis? Additionally, we also have to look at how thinly stretched we are. When Warday hit, we were already understaffed. We're straining to keep the Pandora operational with a skeleton crew. What would you like us to do with our pregnant women? Or were you all planning to pull line officers and enlisted off this boat?"

"We also engage in forward tactics while the Carina jumps to standby points," Zaharis replies. Really, he's staring at Fotilas now. "When we go to standby, you're going to spare personnel to keep manning a nursery? And if we're damaged you're going to ask Sickbay to cordon off beds meant for soldiers to handle pediatric injury? No, sir, I am strongly against any children on a combat vessel. Adamantly so, and I will gladly go on record against it. Don't split our resources for children; put them on the Carina and concentrate the pediatric effort there. As for pregnant women, I don't support them being on board past the first trimester. If you want to go by rulebooks, every soldier on this vessel needs to be prepared for combat. I'm sorry, but a woman six months pregnant is not combat-able."

"Yes, we do. Which is why I am suggesting we have two nurseries. During planned actions, we shift the children off-boat." Fotilas doesn't seem phased. "As far as personnel and beds? Absolutely not. If we have to raid a hospital for all this equipment you have better believe we will be getting everything required. As far as sparing personnel? No. I would rather see civilian specialists take the role anyway. People who have experience in exactly that field. Go on record if you like, I'll even sign your official protest to verify that I heard it." The last though gets a nod. "And that's where your focus should be. But Major, we aren't playing the same game anymore. We're talking about fighting for our very existence. We're not talking about repopulating the human race right now. Our logistical and tactical situation is a sick joke. We are literally fighting for our ability to survive. Will I cut some slack to pregnant women? Absolutely. Can we afford to lose them?" Fotilas shrugs. "Ask yourself how many females you can afford to lose out of Sickbay for seven to eight months at a time before things start getting dicey."

"Hell, you're already talking about losing some personnel to man a nursery twenty-four hours a day, indefinitely," Zaharis waves a hand. "But I can't be against losing them for a few months to safeguard as best as possible the lives of a mother and unborn child. Perfect. Not -quite- sure how this works out to command but I'll put it into writing to try and make some sense here."

Fotilas quirks a brow. "Since when am I advocating pulling personnel from any department to man a nursery?" Zaharis can get sarcastic, but Fots keeps his cool. "I just finished saying that I would prefer to see civilians brought on board for the job. How would that be pulling resources from Sickbay indefinitely?" The Colonel looks dubious.

Zaharis gives Fotilas a serious look. "Colonel, come on. You honestly in your heart of heart and brain of brains think Regas is going to go for sectioning off a part of a Battlestar to bring in civilians to look after civilians? When we have…well…a whole civilian ship over there?"

"Absolutely not. Which is why we keep two." Fotilas' look doesn't change. "One on the Carina, one on the Genesis. If we're going to raiding for all these supplies? Might as well pack for two. Its not like it'll cost us anything."

Zaharis rubs his temple. "You've missed my point. But I stand where I stand knowing our capabilities. I'll put it in writing."

"No, I didn't miss your point. I know that you're saying that Regas would pull from our Sickbay to staff a nursery on our own ship. However, running two - both by civilians - prevents a few problems." Fotilas watches the CMO. "I can argue the point effectively to Regas. Its simply a matter of numbers. But I can promise that if you take a plan to Regas where you are pulling pregnant women off this ship from their duty after three months, he will shoot it right out of the water. Forget it. If you're proposing that to him then I know him better than you might think." Fotilas sighs, then looks back to the table. "But it in writing and do whatever it is you feel you need to do. I won't stand in your way."

"Keeping children here is an unacceptable risk to them and to us," Zaharis replies, a little tiredly. "Regas said himself he didn't want this ship to be turned into a daycare. Those were his own words. And I will have that about the first trimester too. It may be shot down by majority but I'm sorry, Colonel. I can't silence what I feel from a medical standpoint. If I did I wouldn't be fit to be here."

"Major, if you didn't object I'd have you demoted." Fotilas sounds tired as well. "But I've also him utter those same words about the current crew aboard. Daycare." The man shakes his head. "Whatever decision we come to is going to piss someone off. You can't please everyone. Not anymore than you can save everyone. But Regas might have to deal with it. All depends.. But I need to speak with Altair and Zimmermann on this, too. I have my own ideas formed, but I need to speak to them as well."

Zaharis nods slowly, and is silent for a few seconds. "Did you have any children back there, sir?"

Fotilas lets his gaze settle on Zaharis once more. He has a good idea why this is being asked. "No. No kids. Never married. Mom died when I was very young and I wrote my father off when I was sixteen. My only family has been the Corps and the Navy."

Zaharis gives Fotilas a wry smile. "Just checking." His tone doesn't write the Colonel off for it, just confirming to himself. "So how's that headache of yours now? Think I violated my oath by making it worse, sorry about that."

Right. He knew that was coming. "Yeah. Heard that response my entire career." Fotilas looks back to the table. "Well my heads fine. Its the lack of sleep and compounded stress that will eventually kill me. Early heart attacks and all." Dryly spoken, it could be humor or not. "Don't sweat it, though. You've got nothing to apologize about. You've got valid concerns that you should rightly have. Lord knows I want to agree with you, but I've gotta be cold about this subject." His face goes long. He does't want to. He'd probably be happier married and raising a family.

Zaharis picks up a new cigarette, lighting it as Fotilas talks. He shakes his head at that, exhaling smoke. "You're the one who wants babies on a battlestar. I'll claim the heartless bastard position here." A tap of the cigarette against the ashtray and his tone turns more pensive. "I'm not discounting you just because you don't have kids. There's a difference between 'being a parent' and 'having a kid'. You could be cut out fine for the former, who the hell knows."

"No, my primary concerns with my position are warfighting capability and crew readiness. I have to look at this in those narrow terms. If I look at it any other way, I lose focus and put all of us at risk because then I'm not doing my job. My viewpoint is antiseptic and has more to do with our ability to kill Cylons. Until I get a shift in purpose from Regas towards a settlement mindset, I don't get to be any other way." Fotilas' voice is still dry. "But I know what you're saying. Having kids gives you a different viewpoint. Radically altered perspective. Kinda why I want to talk to Rhea."

"Yeah." Zaharis smiles slightly. "But do me a favour and keep the fathers in mind too, eh? Everyone's painting this as just an issue for women. And it's not."

Fotilas looks back to the CMO once more. "I wasn't thinking it was about women. We're professional officers first. Then humans. I didn't force the issue to protect women. I did it to protect every single crew member from Crewman Logos on the flight deck up to you. I'm not playing favorites. You and I are just as susceptable to that directive as anyone else on board."

"I'm not talking about the directive so much. It's illegal, it's coming down. It's already down." Zaharis shakes his head. "I'm talking about what's about to come up to replace it. If you put your finger on the pulse of the anger around this ship you'll hear what I'm saying. Lots of people are going to bring up mother's rights and mothers this and mothers that. All I'm saying is keep the other half in mind. It really, uh…" He pauses a second. "…it really does damage when you don't."

"Oh c'mon, Jesse. I'm the Executive Officer. My interaction with crew members can't be something approaching that. Besides, I didn't have time to make friends on board before Warday." Fotilas looks slightly amused. "I'd love to. Really. I think it'd be great. But realistically I am isolated. I can't delusion myself into thinking I know exactly how people think all the time. My only interaction with crew is in CIC - which isn't a big conversation location - or Department Meetings."

"Nobody said to know exactly how people think all the time." Zaharis says, his hand opening slightly on his knee. "No, you're not going to take every mind on this ship into account. You can't, I can't. But it doesn't mean ignore things either. Especially not someone sitting right in front of you talking to you." He clears his throat quietly. "I was a father, and that's why my ear's attuned to certain things. No, you can't hear everyone. But you can hear me."

Fotilas' tired eyes don't waver from the man. He watches until the man finishes, and then he leans his head back onto the couch. "Yeah, I know. I'm trying to listen." His hands come up, fingers rubbing harshly into his eyes. "I'm trying, Major. But I don't know anything about you all. I have access to your files but if I had time to read them then I have time to take care of more important things." He takes a very long breath and exhales int othe air above his head. "Jesse I'm sorry but I have a few things I need to take care of. Tell Rhea and Salin I'll want to hear what their thoughts are. I get the idea you'll be passing along what I've said, regardless." The hands stop and just rest over his face.

"Nah, I'm not going to say a word to them besides that you're willing to chat. I'm got my own stuff to take care of." Zaharis puts out the cigarette and stands up. "I'm not asking you to read my file or know me, it's not about me. I'm just trying to tell you a point of view. All you have to do is listen." He taps his fingers on the desk. "Have fun with your stuff. Next time I come up here? It'll be with a deck of cards and I'll refuse to talk about anything work-related at all." He offers Fotilas a faint smile. "Catch you later." And he turns to head out.

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