PHD #279: Cleaning Up
Cleaning Up
Summary: After the death on Tauron, Cameron and Vandenberg cross paths again in the showers as the doctor washes away the blood and they both discuss what happened and what is to come.
Date: 02 Dec 2041 AE
Related Logs: A Kind Word and a Gun
Cameron Vandenberg 
Head - Deck 4 - Battlestar Cerberus
Like any normal head on the ship, this one is painted in light grey with some blue around the top of the room. Down the center there are 16 sinks, 8 on each side backed up to each other. Along the hull areas of the room, showers and lockers are toward the back and off to the left of the sinks are closed toilets and open urinals.
Post-Holocaust Day: #279

It's been awhile since Cameron's lost a patient. On Aerilon, before they were rescued, their group of survivors dwindled from twelve to eight. A couple died from radiation poisoning that was just too severe and left untreated for too long for Cameron to be able to do anything about. They were only just recently married and died only a few days apart. Another died from a gunshot wound that had perforated his intestines. Cameron did what he could, but there was only so much he could do without a hospital to work in. The last died from pneumonia, suddenly and abruptly. He had been shocked when Taim had just shot the man that had been in the process of surrendering. No. Not shot. Executed. Those three shots were perfectly aimed, a lovely trio of bullets straight to the chest. Taim could have aimed for an arm, a shoulder, a leg. But no. He aimed to kill. Deliberately. He might have claimed self defense, but Cameron felt strongly that the man knew exactly what he was doing.

He did everything he could, even though he knew the man didn't have a chance. He was bleeding out hard and fast, and even if Cameron hadn't done a postmortem, he could have guessed that one of his arteries had been hit, the man going into cardiac arrest almost immediately, bleeding out faster than any Raptor could have gotten him back. But still he had tried. Packed his chest with gauze and bandages, tried to keep pressure on the wound to stem the flow and then in a rhythm to try to get his heart beating again. All in vain. He came back to the Cerberus bloodstained and silent and now? Now he's washing it all clean. The blood has long since stopped circling down the drain, but Cameron stands beneath the hot streaming water still, hands pressed against the tile, head tilted down as water pours over his hair and back, tags marking him as a civilian contractor dangling down from his neck, giving him permission to use this head, rather than alarm the civilian population by showering there.

Natalie is just emerging from one of the showers, one towel wrapped around her and another being run through her hair to dry it out as best as can be. There's a small scratch on her cheek from the earlier gunfight but she otherwise looks fine. The woman heads for a sink where her small bath kit is still waiting on the shelf below the mirror. She wipes the steam off the mirror and looks at herself for a few seconds, a blank expression staring back at herself. Its a second before she looks past it towards Cameron's showering form. "Doin' alright, Cameron?" she asks lightly, just loud enough to be heard over the sound of the water pressure. Her eyes only linger for a second before she reaches for her baggie.

He's gotten over his initial reticence with regards to the heads being co-ed, so to speak, and Lords know that Cameron is intimately familiar with the human form. Still, he was a civilian, accustomed to having privacy and affording it as much as possible to his patients. Now… now he doesn't know what he is, but he has learned to keep his eyes to himself and doesn't mind nudity - his or anyone else's. His head lifts, water pouring over his features before he pulls himself together and straightens up, turning off the water before running his hands through his hair, streaking it back and squeezing the excess out before turning around and grabbing the towel that he hung up close by, rubbing at his hair first and then his body before tying it around his hips. Ocean eyes lift once more to Van's face, a crooked half-smile, half-grimace touching his lips as he doesn't reply but asks instead, "Cameron now? Not Doctor Adair?" Van's been formal with him for awhile now. Ever since he made the mistake of trying to help her when she was wounded as they fled from Aerilon.

Cameron might be new, but this is also sorta new to Vandenberg. Ground-side stuff is a little different. But she seems to be embracing it without a problem. She's shameless. The woman doesn't hide her glances but nor does she make a big deal of it either. When in Rome.. She takes the toothbrush from her bag and loads it up, giving the man a light smile back in the mirror. Her hair towel has already been discarded onto the sink in front of her. "We're both fair close to nekkid, Cam. I think I can dispense with the formalities like most people. If you still want to call me Lieutenant, you're welcome to but my towel isn't sportin' pips." She goes about brushing her teeth and stares back at herself in silence for about 30 seconds before spitting into the sink. "Doin' alright? That kind of shit is never easy to see the first time." Its said quietly, almost as if in some kind of reflection upon her own memories. Those green eyes turn down to the sink as she washes out the brush.

He joins her at the sink, eyes upon her reflection, meeting her gaze there, rather than on her actual person. "Fair enough," he offers softly, his lips still quirked ever so slightly, though the man's usual bright humor is definitely subdued after the shooting. "Was wondering if you were still pissed at me, but I guess not any more." He opens his mouth before he realizes, "Frak. I don't even know your first name…." he confesses with no little embarrassment. Not really his fault. It was always Lieutenant this and Vandenberg that and El-tee, and while he gave her his full name upon first meeting, she only gave him her last name and rank. His cheeks are flushed with both the heat of his shower and embarrassment now. He turns, leaning against one of the sinks as his gaze flickers briefly over her form, taking in the scars, the burns, marring her back and the soft undersides of her arms, a small frown touching his features as he sees and reads the tattoo on her shoulder blade. "The kind of surgery I do… the work I do. Losing someone isn't a very common experience. But he just killed that man. Executed him. He knew what he was doing. Those shots were precise. Three of them. He wanted him dead." His eyes shift to Van's as Cameron confesses, "I don't know which bothers me more. Losing that man, or knowing that he was murdered on purpose."

"Natalie." It's a smile that comes with the name as she glances back to him before she reaches for a hair brush. A gentle sigh meets her features with his question of being mad. The brush is run through her hair as she works at a few tangles from the shower. "Look, Cam," she begins softly. The woman is looking back at herself. "It happened. I'm over it. I argue about little shit because I can't argue about big stuff. I'm from Canceron, too." Argumentative people, to be sure. Probably something to do with the heat. "You did good today. You listened. You weren't trying to be a hero. Hero's get killed. We need you alive. Your death might mean that a lot of people down the road might not survive injuries and wounds. Its my job to get shot so you don't have to. That's why I was mad. Like I said though? I'm over it. Its how I am. Furious one minute? Give me a few days." She catches a more serious tangle and works at it from the underside while Cameron talks about the loss. "Yeah. I know the feeling. I saw a lot of that on Tauron and Sag. That asshole knew what he was doing. I'll bet Taim's shots were some kind of retribution killing. Ieuan will probably try to kill him for it." A sigh leaves her. "It never ends. Machines are trying to kill humanity and these people carry out grudge matches."

"I was pissed too," Cam replies, glancing away to stare at the tiled wall. "As important as your job is to you, well, you were wounded. And that was important to me." Turning back, however, he offers her a wry smile in turn as he notes, "But likewise, I'm over it." His head bobs at her compliment as he murmurs, "Been hearin' that a lot lately it seems." He watches her hands as she works at the knot methodically, determinedly. "It's like…. I can't understand it. The world is coming to an end. What do petty issues have to do with anything now? How can that be still so important? But then, we don't know anything. We don't know who are the actual 'criminals'. We found the Raupatu first, so they become 'good guys'…. but for all we know they're murderous criminals. We don't know who started the firefight. Maybe it was the Raupatu who were stealing from the other group? We don't know anything, most importantly which, if any of them, we can trust." Which causes the doctor to think. "You should lean on Eddie. He was very freaked out. I think you might be able to get straight answers out of him. He likes to talk and he seems to say more than he should, always catching himself before he says too much it seems…"

"Mm." Natalie makes the sound in reply to his comments on being mad. "Just remember one thing: If you get shot? I can't fix you. If I get shot? You can fix me and then I can protect you again. Its a team effort that must work a certain way." She dips her head and finally works through the knot. She finishes quickly after that and tosses the brush into her bag. A stick of deodorant next. "See, here's the thing. After you pointed out the item about their fresh wounds? We've been suspicious. Internal security is very different from outward. O'Hare knows his ply and that's why I defer to him on this stuff. Outward is operations for the most part - me. But its a close relationship. I knew we can't be too sure of anyone we find. But outwardly we have to appear to trust everyone - or no one - until we know who we are really backing. In a situation like that down there?" Van takes a long sigh and stares back at herself once more. The naked expression of her washed face is as blank as that of a fresh recruit. She might have been considered 'pretty' at one point before the Marines. "We trust nobody. Who gets leaned on is O'Hares call, not mine. For now, everyone is innocent until we know more. Its why I'm going to talk to Ieuan tomorrow and you're going with me."

"Fair enough," Cameron replies as Van's logic is perfectly sound. The doctor in him rebels a little, his duty and purpose is to save lives after all. But if he gets killed trying to save a life, how many more will be lost? But he doesn't like it. That much is clear by the small wrinkling of his nose. Cameron doesn't like the idea that his life is somehow more important than someone else's. Than Van's. His hands rest on the sink behind him, content to air dry for the moment. "I would guess that they've been having turf wars, or something more personal, with this other group for awhile. Struggle for survival or maybe something else. Eddie mentioned anti-rads, which I can fully understand someone wanting for their survival. But instead of telling them about us, the Raupatu fought them instead. Could have been settled peaceably. Easily." His head tilts as he listens and looks at her. Vandenberg is better than 'pretty'. Pretty has a glib foolishness to it that Vandenberg has gone beyond. Scarred body or not, she is an attractive woman. Cameron's brow lifts as she tells him that he's coming with her tomorrow, surprised, but replies, "I'm glad that you're going to go and hear his side of the story. But you might mention to O'Hare," whomever that is, since Cameron has not met him or her yet, "about Eddie. In case someone else hasn't noticed his reactions. It may not be your call, but we need to report anything that might be useful. And I think Eddie might be useful in getting to the truth. He was not happy with the situation and he was not happy with Taim. I think he's a little afraid of Taim."

"Its never as simple as turf wars with the Taurians, Doc. I spent three years on deployment on this planet fighting insurgencies. I -still- don't full understand all of it. Some of these hatreds go back generations. Families hating families, rivalries that gain whole new meanings after the original has been forgotten." Natalie turns away from the sink and heads for a locker. "Now don't get me wrong, here. There is nothing -wrong- with these people." She opens the locker and starts pulling out some clothes. "If you have a Taurian on your side, there are far few more dedicated and lethal fighters. I have a deep respect for them." The unceremoniously drops the towel to the floor and steps into the panties before pulling on the sports bra. "But you have to remember that these people are far more complicated than the news would ever let you believe. They have a definition of pride and honor that pales anything you've ever considered in your life." Those scars, apparently, run the length of her body and arms. There's a very noticeable chunk taken from her lower back on the right side, the scar a darker tan than the rest of her. "I'll talk to O'Hare about Eddie after I talk to Ieuan about him. Walking into tomorrow? Remember that its all about respect, Cam. You want it? You better give it in spades. Just be yourself and don't worry about politics." She pauses to smile at him before getting dressed the rest of the way. "I know you've got a big heart. Your momma told me so and you wear the bastard on your sleeve just like she said. Remember that and we'll be alright." We? She may very well be saying it might just be the two of them.

If he wants to be a part of the conversation, he'll have to follow after her it seems. Pushing off from the sink, Cameron trails after Van to the lockers, opening his own and pulling out the clean clothes that he left in there. He has the decency to look away when she drops her towel, undoing his own before slipping on underwear and his cargo pants, picking up his familiar and favorite heather grey sweater, fingers running over the cable knit as he stands there shirtless for a while, listening. Of course he's turned back to her by now replying, "I know they are a complicated people. Which is why I worry. Right now we really need simplicity. I'm not sure we have the time and manpower to sort out… complicated." The number of scars is rather worrisome and he can't help but wonder if they were earned in battle or somewhere else. "I can do respect. I'm all about respect," he replies with a small smile and a chuckle as she talks about his big heart being out on his sleeve. "Yeah, I know. You'd think, being a surgeon, I would stick that back on the inside where it belongs, right?" He jokes. But before he can lose the courage he steps toward her and asks, "What does this mean?" his fingers ever so lightly touching the tattoo on her shoulder blade. "I mean, I know what it means, but what does it mean?" It's a personal question and he's full prepared for her to slap his hand away, if not his face. And then her grammar strikes him and he blinks and echoes, "Wait, we? Just the two of us are going tomorrow??"

Natalie shakes her head. "Simplicity is not an option. Its a wish. Its almost never simple with the Taurian. I know you're all about respect, just.." She takes a breath. "We've -both- got to remember that they are not the bumbling, backwards people TV likes to portray. Any stereotype you've got needs to go out the window in even the smallest way. Respect them. To the N'th degree. After my tours? I'll never discount them again." She chuckles to his joke but nor does she shy away from the touch. She's already got her sweatpants on but little else so the tat is still easy to make out. Natalie probably knows what he's pointing to before he touches her. "Heh. 'Not worth a rats ass'." There's a sheepish smile. He knows it, obviously, but its her own reminder. "Uh- uhm, its kind of hard to explain. Like, a tunnel rat? We would search caves and these tight tunnels the insurgents would use. Alone. We never got a lot of credit. Our attrition rates were always high. It was a dark joke that nobody gave a shit about our work at the higher levels. The only people that cared about us were each other. I spent ten years doing it. Booby traps, spiders, bugs, rats, cesspools of human waste.. Lots of traps, though. They were designed to collapse the tunnels on us. In ten years, I had to abandon four people under my command. We dug out one hundred sixty-two. Not always alive. The only people who gave a rats ass about us? Were each other." To his last she only smirks. "Yes. Us. Maybe one or two more. I gave my word, its a bond to the fleet. They know you're a Doctor who worked to save one of their own. That's a bond in itself."

Giving Vandenberg a small wry smile, Cameron points out needlessly, "I'm from Aerilon. That backwater, hick-filled agricultural planet where no one knows their ass from their armpit and nobody ever goes to college or gets off planet, remember? Taurians are like… our industrial brothers. Different worlds, same people." Pulling on his sweater, Cameron notes, "I may have spent years on Caprica, but I was reunited with my roots. I'm not about to judge anyone based on racial stereotypes. Spent enough years working twice as hard as those around me to prove them wrong." His fingers have drifted away from the ink, his head tilting as he hears the story. It's not a happy one, that's for sure, a small frown creasing between his eyebrows as he notes, "Yours has not been an easy life, Natalie. But so long as it's only a joke amongst your own, a symbol of pride and not something you actually believe…." He nods at her response after a moment of thinking, adding, "By going alone, in small numbers, we come across as equals."

Vandenberg smirks and shakes her finger at Cameron. "See, Cam? There you go confounding the norms. Good metaphor. Hadn't considered that." She turns back to her locker and pulls on her duty tanks. The scars almost seem to vanish. This is probably why she's always in long sleeves. "We go in small numbers to make them comfortable. Tauron's been occupied by the military on and off forever. We aren't here to enforce anything. Just save lives. Equals might be part of it. I'm more concerned with giving the impression different from that of their history." His comments about her life get a conflicted view. "I had a boyfriend tell me that a few years ago. I don't think I have, honestly. I chose this life. That tat? All the burns and cuts? Its part of who I am. I don't think I'm worthless, no." That sheepish smile returns as she shuts the locker, leaning against it. "A Marine's life is measured in two ways: Their contribution to the quicker cessation of war and the sacrifices they make in the process. Each is a personal story, Cam. Some are stronger. Some aren't. Few can be measured by the medals they've been awarded. My tat? My busted self? Its my dedication to the men and women I've served with and what they've done. When I die? I die knowing that I bled for some of the finest human beings to have ever lived. After all, ours is not an existence where richness is defined by our possessions and money - but by our experiences and those we shared them with." There is nothing but absolute pride shining back on her face. Natalie's mesh of Marine beliefs and personal outlook seem to have formed their own pristine harmony there.

He chuckles softly, one brow arching as he gives himself a moment to look smug. But after a moment of indulgence he concurs, "Yes. Comfortable. As equals, allies, offering not forcing. It's a good choice." Potentially dangerous, but good. To say that Cameron is okay with Van's easy acceptance of her battle scars would not be quite accurate, but more importantly he is relieved to hear her say that she does not consider herself worthless. That was the greater of the two concerns. "I don't think I'll ever fully understand you, Natalie, and I'm sure that we'll continue to butt heads on occasion, but regardless you impress the hell out of me with your dedication and determination."

"See? You nailed it. Smart chap." Vandenberg chuckles and stands off the locker, slipping her feet into a pair of jogging sneakers. His last gets another smile and she looks away, crossing her arms. "Thanks. Don't think I've ever met someone who actually understood me completely. Came close. Shoulda married the guy when I had the chance before all this insanity, right?." She shakes her head, still smiling. Natalie probably deals with death better than most. "Butting heads is what makes life exciting, though. If everyone agreed? Damn. To hell with that." She takes another step away before turning back to look at the Doctor from closer to the hatch. Her face takes on a more serious expression, but no less warm. "Cam? Don't let today bother you. Nothing will ever get easier again. We're all in it together and that's all we can count on. If people want to fight each other, the only thing we can do is step back. The potential to survive this is too critical to sweat the differences. Murder? Rivalries? At the end of the day you gotta look at what is most important to you and fight for that which contributes. Energy spent elsewhere is wasted." She pauses her words for a second, the smile reaching her eyes. "If they could see you now… Keep making your parents proud, Cam." On those words, she turns to move for the hatch.

"Maybe," is Cameron's reply to getting married. "Might have made it harder for you now though, depending on what happened and what he does. It's a hard time to be close to people and yet we need each other more than ever. High stakes games have never been as risky as having relationships now." Tapping his brow, Cameron points out, "I wents to college. Gots degrees'n'stuff." But he blinks at her advice, for it did bother him and will likely continue to. He absorbs what she says, turns it around in his head before slowing nodding. "I need to take a step back," he concurs thoughtfully. But those final words. As much as the first time she told him his parents dead hurt Cameron? These ones make up for it, that heart she claimed he wore on his sleeve swelling within his chest for a moment as he blinks and then smiles back. "Will do, Natalie. I'll see you tomorrow." And with that he watches as the Lieutenant heads out, taking a seat before pulling on his own boots thoughtfully.

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