CMO Records: Inventory Control 3

DATE: 2041.06.29
PRESENT: Bia, PO3 Victoria Helms (NPC).

Sickbay is never anything calmer than carefully-controlled chaos — and so it is tonight, as well. There are always crewmembers making their way in for assorted bumps and bruises, some of them simple enough matters the dispensary clerk can manage it, others more complicated and sent back for the attending physicians to take a look at.

Somewhere in his dance of organization and routine are both Gracious Bia, Interim CMO, and Petty Officer Helms, one of Medical's stalwart orderlies — and tonight, the former seeks out the latter, as soon as she's made her way in for her shift.

Victoria Helms is one of Gracious' most punctual orderlies. Always on time for her shift, scrubs always cleaned and ironed and crisply tied. Hair the colour of dishwater; too short to wear up, and too long to hope it'll stay out of her eyes. She stealths in tonight with an armload of papers like she always does, the mousy girl easy to overlook for one who isn't looking for her. Her id is flashed as she passes the nurses' station, and she keeps right on walking.

"Miss Helms." The CMO's voice. The same smooth drawl as always. Most times it's gentle and warm. On rare occasions, it snaps out like a bayou alligator with steel jaws. Tonight it's somewhere between the two. Firm, but not unfriendly. "If'n you'll have a word with me, soon as you've got your affairs in order? I'll be in my office." The tall woman watches Victoria for a few seconds before turning and striding off through the office door. It remains open, the CMO visible within, filing papers within a cabinet, occasionally glancing out.

The girl pivots suddenly when her name's called, head jerking toward the source of the voice like a gunshot had gone off. "Yessir," she manages after a moment. Miss Helms doesn't tend to ping anyone's radar, certainly not the CMO's. Swallowing thickly, she takes a moment to compose herself before striding along after.

"Have you a seat?" Good Gracious requests, looking over as the Petty Officer crosses the threshold into her office. The filing cabinet is slid shut on quiet, oiled hinges before she strides back to the door, closing it once Victoria's through. The CLICK is no different than any other door upon the Cerberus makes, except that she so rarely closes her door entirely. Some private matter, then. "I was wondering," she begins, settling on the edge of the desk on the orderly's side, rather than her own chair, her arms folded across her chest. "if there was anything you might want to tell me."

Victoria's eyes skitter once, twice about the small office before she skirts 'round the desk and sinks into one of the chairs opposite. A soft creak issues from the worn springs, for which she flashes what seems an apologetic smile. "Sir-" Voice slightly hoarse, she clears her throat before continuing, "Yes, sir. I…" She licks her lips quickly. "I think we might get more mileage out of the linen rotations if we altered the laundry schedule a bit so we only do the pillowcases and flatsheets on thursdies-" That's roughly how she pronounces it, in her odd little Canceran drawl. "-and the blankets every second friday and bleach once a month instead a' twice, hot water'll get rid of most a' the nasty stuff anyway, there's also the issue of Private Cheswick, sir, he's been harassin' me an' the other girls some'um fierce, though I think they get the worst of it.." And she goes on, unless interrupted, slender fingers knotted tightly together atop her paperwork.

It's a nice enough office — as homely as anything on the Cerberus can be — except maybe when the CMO's called you into a private meeting and sits there like an utterly patient statue, letting your own words roll out and out into the silence. Finally, though, Grace lifts a slim, worn hand and murmurs, "That's enough." Her arms fold again across her chest, head canted slightly, as she studies the orderly in the chair only a few feet away from her. "After Miss Glory-" The old CMO, gunned down in the surprise Centurion attacks. "-passed, my first duties were to take inventory of our remaining stocks. Our numbers weren't matching right, and so I asked the MPs to come install cameras on our medicine cabinets. Then I checked the disposal records, to see what was going missing, when." Her voice doesn't raise, nor does it rime with frost, but her usual easy patience seems very thin and hard. "Is there anything else you'd like to tell me, Miss Helms?"

She stops when bid to do so, lips pressed together again like she's physically trying to prevent more words from spilling out. For such a generally quiet creature, she sure has a lot to say. The tension's released only enough to let a small breath be drawn, and her dark eyes blink a few times in rapid succession. She tosses her head, left to right to left again.

"Well, then. Here's what I'm telling you, Miss Helms." Grace pushes up easily from the edge of the desk, striding back around to her chair — though she doesn't sit, only picks up a folder from it. Coming back around, she continues to speak as she sorts through it, searching for something. "I have these cameras showing you withdrawing every bit of morpha what's gone unaccounted-for since those cameras came in. Weren't much, but it's been slow and steady, and if Miss Glory hain't been killed, it probably would have gone on until we were dry. You've never been anything but a benefit to the department, Victoria. I sure don't understand why you've gone and done this." Which is true, and offered out, clearly, in the look Grace gives, over the folder. "I'm hoping you might explain yourself."

Victoria's eyes don't leave Gracious' face, not for one moment. The girl looks like she might be a little dumbstruck by what she's hearing, as if she can't quite comprehend what she's being accused of. A long, discomfited silence passes, and then she speaks again, voice thin and thready, "Sir, I…" Her trembling lower lip is caught quickly between her teeth, fingers unwound and then re-wound in a knot once more. "Someone.. asked.. me.. said he only needed a little. Jus' a little, else he couldn't keep goin' on. Jus' a little." Her voice grows so soft, it's barely audible. "I said I couldn', that we needed it for them who was actually hurt, an' he left, an' I couldn' stop thinkin' 'bout that look on his face. So I gave him some. Jus' a little. And then a little more, an' a little more… please don' put me in the brig, sir, I've never had nothing on my record in eight years. Please, sir."

"And a little more, and a little more." There's something in Good Gracious's expression that suggests she's been a part of pharmaceutical theft investigations before. Perhaps from the other point of view. Perhaps it's a line of questioning nearly all medical staff have to endure, at some point in their career. "And then you've got someone out there what really /can't/ go on without it anymore, because of what you've done out of what you figured were kindness and hain't nothing to fix it." She lets out a long, quiet sigh and sets the folder down beside her leg. "Hain't looking to make you set a spell in the brig, Miss Helms, but I will need your locker keys and the name of this fellow you've been thieving for."

The poor girl looks tremulously close to tears, by this point. In fact, she swipes at the corners of her eyes with the tips of still-trembling fingers, head shaking to and fro again when she's asked for a name. "He never.. never gave me his name, sir. An' I never asked. He's, um.." She pauses to try to calm her rapid breathing, which is getting treacherously close to hyperventilation. "Dark hair. Green eyes. Maybe, maybe blue. Not tall, but…" She gestures vaguely with her fingers before dabbing at her eyes again. "Works late shifts."

"Younger? Older? What department was he in? Was there a place you always met him, a particular time?" Grace turns away from Victoria again. There's the hollow scrape of something light dragged against her desktop — a moment later, she offers out a tissue to the orderly, and reminds her, "I'll need your keys, Miss Helms."

The tissue is accepted, and used to dab at her eyes in lieu of her fingertips, then crumpled into her palm as she digs for her keys. "Old- older." The orderly shakes her head when asked about department. "An officer, I think, 'least he seems like one. We, um. Usually in the galley. For lunch. Sometimes he comes in here. It- it started when he was injured, sir, an' I gave him some like the dosage charts say.."

"And then he asked for more." Grace's words are a question, technically, though the last syllable barely lifts at all. "And…" Another sigh. There's no need to lay it all out again. "How often do you meet him? Has he ever said he's distributing it to others?" She holds her hand out, slightly cupped, to accept the keys when they're found. They're set on the far side of the desk, once they're handed over.

The girl shakes her head vehemently, answering the second question before the first: "No, sir, I don' think so. He feels.. he feels terrible bad enough about it as it is. I'm sure of it, I see the way he looks at me…" The keys are finally dug out, and dropped into the CMO's waiting hands; Victoria's shoulders sag slightly, like the weight of carrying them around were far, far more. "Maybe once.. twice a week. No more'n that." Her teeth dig into her lower lip, tearing at the abused skin.

"All right. That's enough for now." The matter of whether Grace trusts Victoria's surety is neatly side-stepped by her not commenting at all. "I'd like you to take your shift off today while I get things in order." It's phrased as a request, even if it's not really one at all. "I'd appreciate if you take the time to think if there's any other details you can remember what you might want to pass along." She crosses to the door, opening it smoothly before looking back to the orderly. "I'll see you tomorrow for your shift, Miss Helms."

The orderly nods her head quickly, dark eyes glued to the taller woman as she rises and crosses to the door. When no threats of imprisonment seem forthcoming, she releases a shaky breath, unwinds her hands, and starts to her feet somewhat clumsily. "Y-yes, sir." Paperwork shuffled to her left hand, she throws up a crisp salute. "I will, sir, thank you." Relief fairly washes off her in waves as she steps past and ducks out quickly— before she can be caught by the scruff of the neck and dragged back in, presumably.

The salute is smooth, the expression somewhere between sympathetic, sorrowful, and cold. Good Gracious replies to Victoria's thanks with only a mute incline of her head, standing there in the doorway to watch the orderly go.

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