The Real Reason
The Real Reason
Summary: Karan drops by Zaharis' quarters with plenty of questions.
Date: 119 ACH
Related Logs: None

CMO's Quarters Genesis - Deck 13
119 ACH 23777 Souls

The quarters of the Chief Medical Officer are a spacious area, with large inset bookshelves holding Medical Texts, Biological works, and papers on advanced surgical procedures. A table surrounded by chairs is in the main section of the room, ashtrays on the table rest beside a few open books. A small personal head is located off the main room through a doorway. A rack and bed is set into a wall, neatly made. In the rear of the quarters is a desk with a locked file cabinet behind it and chairs placed in front of the desk, while behind it is a nice chair with lower back support. A computer terminal is on the desk with a number of security protocols on it to prevent unauthorized access.

Zaharis is at 'home', an irregular occurence in his life these days. At his table in his off-duties, he's flipping through some files.

There's a knock outside the hatch, and a polite pause so that Zaharis has the opportunity to tell his visitor to go away, then it's sneaked open a fraction.

Zaharis glances towards the hatch. In the short pause he calls out, "Yes, come in."

Hesitance gives way to caution, or at least, that's the expression on the face of Zaharis' erstwhile guest. The chaplain's slumming it today in fatigues, jacket unfastened, and a possibly familiar book tucked under his arm. Or maybe not so familiar, seeing as how it was gathering dust in a box before being lent to Karan. "Good afternoon, sir. I hope I'm not intruding?"

"No, Lieutenant. Come in." Zaharis closes the file he was reading, pushing it closer to the stack of others on the table. That ginkgo plant is alive and well, still in its spot soaking up fake sun under his lamp.

Karan's gaze, admittedly, travels to the plant first, and then the Major. There's a smile, but it's wan and forced-looking. "Thank you." The hatch is nudged shut with the heel of his boot, and he steps in closer, sinking into a crouch by the leafy ginkgo. "I've got a few of these in the hydroponic garden, at the Carina's temple, but.. they don't seem to be doing so well."

"No?" Zaharis looks over at his small green charge. "This one seems happy. I think. It doesn't talk, which is probably for the best."

Karan's expression turns wry at that, and he gives the leaves a little flick of his fingertips. "That's the best part about gardening, sir," is offered drily. He straightens then, and slides the book onto the table, nearly knocking off a container of pens. It's fumbled for and righted, with a mumbled apology.

Zaharis hehs under his breath. "Point taken." The pen fumbling goes politely ignored.

Karan is all thumbs today, it seems. Maybe one of those is a green thumb, if he's lucky. "I should make a confession," he murmurs after a thoughtful pause.

Zaharis says absolutely nothing for a few seconds, then his dark brows make a subtle raise. "Okay…"

Karan examines his fingernails steadily while he speaks. "I was hoping you might know something. About the mission everyone's been talking about. The Peerless."

"What exactly were you curious about?" Zaharis replies. He picks up one of his pens, spinning it gently over his thumb.

"Whether the crew who originally went down, are still alive." It's spoken steadily, without so much as a hitch in his voice. Then his arms are drawn across his body tightly, hands tucking under armpits. It doesn't take much of a trained eye, to see he's wound up tight as a spring.

"I know there's been contact with the pilots," Zaharis says, sitting back in his chair. "And as of last contact they said everyone in the original party was alive."

Karan nods slowly, chewing on his lower lip while Zaharis speaks. Gaze fixed on the ginkgo plant, he replies after a few moments, "Thank you. I'm sure the Lords are watching over them. Do you ever feel as though your hands are tied, sir? In situations where your expertise cannot reach, cannot.. help."

Zaharis raises an eyebrow. He glances at the ginkgo plant, pressing his thumb on the back on the pen. "Every day."

"What do you do for it?" The question's asked openly, Jerome's stare shifting from ginkgo, to CMO.

Zaharis says, "Narrow my focus. I find that within any situation there are many layers. Even if at the outermost one, the big picture, I can't help…there's always something smaller that I can do. So I do it."

Karan makes a little sound that could be a chuckle, but sounds more like a sniff. "I have the gods' ear. So I pray. Sometimes they speak to me, sometimes they don't. I am a divine vessel, but not an Oracle. I have been wrong. I have misunderstood, I have.. made mistakes. In a dark room, without a light." He's rambling. He's probably tired.

"There's no one alive who hasn't made mistakes, Lieutenant," Zaharis replies. "We're not gods."

"What about mistakes that kill innocent people?" returns the chaplain evenly.

Zaharis says, "Daresay that's not as uncommon as most of us hope."

Karan opens his mouth to say something more, and shuts it again. He looks agitated, and hasn't so much as bothered to sit down.

Zaharis spins his pen over his fingers again, watching the other man just stand there. He rubs the tip of his nose. "Would you like some water, Lieutenant?"

Karan lifts his eyes at the question, then one corner of his mouth pulls up wryly. "I don't suppose you have any coffee, sir?"

Zaharis almost smiles. "I wish." He glances at his desk. "Got a couple stale cigarettes, if you want."

Karan makes an 'enh' sort of expression, as to the coffee. It was worth a try, anyway. Stepping closer, he sifts through the stale cigarettes as if in search of one that might be worth smoking. Does he even smoke? "Just the glass of water, please. You're a difficult man to catch, Major. Outside of sickbay, that is." Which sounds vaguely like an accusation, if a gentle one.

"Wasn't aware I was being hunted." Zaharis stands up, crossing the few steps to his desk. He picks up the small carafe of water he keeps handy, filling up a glass and handing it over. He then picks up one of said cigarettes, without sifting first.

"For a couple of days, now," the chaplain confesses, accepting the glass of water with a muted 'thank you'. He must be allergic to chairs, for all he ever seems to use them; it's the edge of the desk that's settled against finally, some of the tension in his shoulders easing. "Do you have much time.. to yourself?" is asked in a vague manner, Karan watching him with that cigarette.

Zaharis lights the cigarette by flicking the lighter down by his side, out of his line of sight, and raising the flame up once it's going strong. He then steps away, returning to his chair. Karan can have the desk. "I take what I need," he answers in a noncomittal sort of tone. "Do you?"

"Do you answer every question with a question, sir?" Ironic that he should say so, really. The water is sipped at, and the CMO watched sidelong for a moment, just a hair away from making eye contact.

"That was the first question I've asked since you came in," Zaharis returns, exhaling some smoke. "Besides the water thing."

"You've done it before," Jerome insists with a slight downturn of his mouth that seems faintly teasing. If, you know, he's capable of being something other than sullen and morose. "You seem to deflect questions a fair bit, I wondered if it was a habit you had in general, or.."

Zaharis smirks, answering with slight cheek. "Maybe."

Karan sips again, and stifles a small smile. "You'd make a good counselor, sir." That, too, is offered with a bit of cheek.

Zaharis snorts quietly. "Thanks." He pulls a drag off the cigarette and flicks his thumb against the filter. "So you've been looking for me for days just to ask about the Peerless?"

The smile falters, then fades, and the cigarette is watched for a long while. Maybe he's rethinking having turned one down. "No, really. It was a compliment. I think." The water in his glass is somewhere near tepid, not nearly as cold as he'd like. The question? He's either stalling on it, or pretending not to have heard.

"I'll take it as one, then," Zaharis replies, apparently deciding to let Karan off the hook by offering some words up. "I used to do counseling. Suspect it sometimes crosses skill sets with what you do."

Karan slides the glass back onto the desk, and adjusts his position slightly. That damned corner is digging into his thigh. "Really? I didn't know that. What made you leave that field, sir?"

"I didn't." Zaharis takes another drag on the cigarette, clearing his throat softly. "It was something I got my license in and did on volunteer basis. Substance abuse counseling."

Karan relaxes a hair more, and chances another faint smile. This one's more curious than anything else. "Why substance abuse?" An ashtray's fished out from under some errant papers, and pushed closer.

"It's something close to me," Zaharis says. He nods his thanks to the ashtray pushing, hooking it even closer with his fingers. Just in time, as a column of ash goes tumbling off the end of the cigarette. "We seem to always deal best or worst with things that have touched us in some way."

"I agree," Jerome replies quietly, leaving the glass of water — half empty — abandoned on the desk for now. "A family member..?" he guesses, watching Zaharis closely.

"Me," Zaharis says, matter-of-factly, and continues in the same tone. "So why are you here, Lieutenant?"

Well, that silences the chaplain for a few moments. Oddly enough, his reaction is to laugh. It's rusty-sounding at first, like something he hasn't done in quite a while, then a bit more throaty. He tips his head back, and laughs. "I'm sorry." He brushes the back of his hand across his eyes. "I'm really sorry." He doesn't seem to have been mocking the man, really. "I.. why am I here?" He rubs his palm up and over his cheek, then back down again over his mouth. "I wanted some company, sir."

"That's alright," Zaharis says, as to the laughter. He doesn't look offended at all. "Well…sit down, then. You keep wiggling around like you've got ants up your arse."

"It makes me feel a little like your patient. Sitting there." At the chairs. He doesn't bother gesturing, but he does push off the desk after a moment and resettle in one of them. "Better?" There he goes, being cheeky again.

"You'd probably have to be in critical and on a ventilator before you became my patient," Zaharis takes a drag off the cigarette. "So for now you're doing fine. Just try not to have a stroke or anything."

There's a chuckle from Karan, not quite the belly laugh he gave a few moments ago, but it's humour nonetheless. "That little bug, from the Carina, just about had me knocking on sickbay's door. I was beginning to think it was a conspiracy to put the ship's chaplains out of commission. How long have you been sober, sir?"

Zaharis nods at the mention of the Carina, his expression becoming more serious. "That was quite a scare, the Carina." He glances down at the ashtray at the final question. "Nineteen years…and then I slipped. As of right now, seventy nine days."

Karan's expression sobers as well, and the doctor's watched steadily after he gives his answer. "We've been under tremendous pressure, sir." A considerable pause, as if for self-reflection. "I think a mistake or two, can be forgiven."

"Sometimes. But I can't blame those that don't forgive," Zaharis replies, shrugging one shoulder. "We never have the right to demand forgiveness. Our faults are our own and nobody's else. All we can do is be honest."

Karan gives an absent sort of nod as Zaharis speaks. It isn't dismissive, so much as that he's processing what was said, quite carefully. "The fourth time she shot her arrows, those who to one another and those who towards strangers wrought many deeds of sin, forward men, on whom she will impress her grievous wrath. On their cattle plague feeds, on their tilth feeds frost, and the old men cut their hair in mourning over their sons, and their wives either are smitten or die in childbirth, or, if they escape, bear birds whereof none stands on upright ankle," he quotes, quietly but with unshakeable conviction in what he's spoken.

"But," Zaharis says, exhaling a breath of smoke, "…on whomsoever thou lookest smiling and gracious, for them the tilth bears the corn-ear abundantly, and abundantly prospers the four-footed breed, and abundant waxes their prosperity: neither do they go to the tomb, save when they carry thither the aged." He ashes the cigarette. "You follow Artemis?"

"Did." It's offered after an awkward pause. The pile of cigarettes is sifted through again, one of them teased out between index and middle finger, and toyed with absently. That answer? Probably telling in its own right.

Zaharis lays the lighter on the table at equal distance between them. "Changed your mind?"

Karan's eyes slit a fraction. Maybe he picked up on the double-entendre there. "I've never smoked in my life." A beat. "How can you crave something you've never had?" The cigarette's flipped over again, but he doesn't reach for the lighter.

Zaharis shrugs. "Once your mind's convinced it wants something, it can be difficult to turn that off again. We work in strange ways."

Karan looks up, and gives another little huff that could be a chuckle. The cigarette is tossed back atop the pile. "I should let you get back to your peace and quiet, sir." He brushes his fingertips off on the thigh of his fatigues, and starts back to his feet.

"Suit yourself." Zaharis puts out his own cigarette, which was down to the filter.

Karan pauses a moment, conflicted. Stay, go, stay, go. "Do you have someone, sir?" It comes roughly out of left field, the chaplain having only withdrawn enough so that his knee touches the chair he'd just risen from.

Zaharis exhales the last breath of smoke towards the ceiling in a thin stream. He looks back at Karan. "Pardon?"

Karan runs his tongue across his lips, looking rather like he regrets asking that question. "Someone. Do you have someone, sir?" He elucidates quietly, "Married, girlfriend.."

"Ah." Zaharis scratches the scarred side of his neck. Not nervously; it actually itches. "I have a girlfriend, yes. You? Significant other?" He just rolls the various labels into one.

Cough. Euphemism much? "No. No, not really." It's amended a moment later to, "Someone that I care for. Do you see much of your girlfriend, sir?"

"Not as much as I want to and should," Zaharis says, shrugging lightly. "But I suspect that's the case with nearly everyone in the situation."

"I'm sure," Karan replies gently. He heaves a breath, releasing it somewhat shakily like he's ditched a weight from his shoulders at some point during their talk, and is just now realising the dearth of it. "Don't neglect her too much. I'm sure she's a very lucky woman." Err. He quirks a smile, and then slips out before that can be commented upon.

Karan leaves for Corridor 13A [O].
Karan has left.

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