PHD #340: Large Percentages
Large Percentages
Summary: Charis wakes up in the Recovery Ward to be met by the Cerberus' Surliest Dwarf.
Date: 01 Feb 2042 AE
Related Logs: Nothin.
Charis Vandenberg 
Recovery Ward
Its got beds and sick people.
Post-Holocaust Day: #340

Later into the evening, most of the Recovery Ward is quiet as visiting hours wane. There are only a few people moving around this quiet area of the ship. With only a couple beds occupied, there is only one nurse really needed for this shift though others linger in the main area of Sickbay. One of the occupied beds has a short blond woman sitting beside it with a clipboard. Her hand lingers a pen over the paper but she's looking blankly towards the floor in front of her, lost in thought. Dressed in her duty greens, she is obviously not a Doctor. The woman looks like she's seen better days but isn't deterred by the far-off expression in her eyes. There is an intensity of life there. Around her the ship barely has a low hum of activity and power, the lights turned low at this hour. Only the soft whirr of a circulator fan turns the sound about the room.

Intensity of life is not exactly something that the bed's occupant has been managing of late. Dreaming has often had a considerable degree of intensity to it, to judge from the disturbances to which her 'rest' has often been prone, but she has improved dramatically from first discovery.

Quite apart from anything else, she no longer wants to be able to see the exit at all times, and doesn't seem to flinch at distant sounds.

Indeed, her improvement can safely be said to have come on in leaps and bounds, when she awakes from her doze and doesn't recoil from the proximity of a stranger. There's a definite tightening of muscles - but only a faint hiss of resulting pain announces her awakening. And though her eyes - set amidst her features that are now filling out, and no longer waxen from near-starvation - are distinctly intense and wary, they're no longer bright with fever or fear.

The unknown uniform lifts her head at the hiss of pain and focuses on the patient. She tilts her head with a gentle smile. "Evenin', there miss," she whispers. Is that-? The woman on the stool doesn't make any sudden moves. There isn't even a rush to rise or flow around to scamper around. She just watches the patient with soft green eyes, waiting a few more seconds before speaking up once more. "Can I get you anything? Water? Maybe somethin' to snack on?" That is most -definitely- a Canceran accent. Charis could probably nail it close enough to it being from the northern regions. Notorious bruisers and scrappy fellows, indeed. Though this one seems more intent on being friendly and accommodating.

Quite consciously forcing an attempt at a smile, what Charis achieves is definitely closer to a grimace. Still, the effort might be recognised. "No, no. And… I remember that I'm in a proper medbay", she whispers hoarsely, before managing a slightly more natural version of a smile. "I've had people telling me often enough while trying to get me to calm down."

"I… are we really on a Battlestar, though? I've been told not to ask too many questions and to focus on getting better, I know, but…. I can't help wondering. Trying to work things out."

The green-clad nurse looks up to the electronic readouts while the patient comes back around. She glances over in time to see that more natural effort at a smile and then looks back to the readouts. "Well, miss, I'm not here to tell you to calm down or give you some drivel about trying to force you better through ignorance." She has her own natural, warm smile return as she looks over to the woman on the bed. "Besides, when I get all shot up? Last thing I want is people tellin' me to shut up and focus on getting better. Lot of crap that ia, yeah?" At least she seems friendly. "I'll try and answer what I can. First: Yes, you are actually on a battlestar. The Cerberus, to be exact." She lifts her hand to her chest, pen still woven between fingers. "I'm Lieutenant Natalie Vandenberg. Just a volunteer nurse but I'm also the Marine Operations Officer aboard. Like you, I'm a survivor. Though I think you got me beat for the ass-kickin you brought yourself aboard with." A little compliment from a fellow Canceran.

"I got my ass kicked by a building", Charis says, tone even more dry than her slight hoarseness would provide. "There's nothing very heroic about being the dumb schmuck who turned a ruin into a rubble-heap. But… I'm glad to be here." A heart-beat's pause. "At least on current evidence, anyway. I confess that I have no idea whether you're here to tell me that I need to grab a rifle and get into the firing line or I won't be fed any more."

"A building? Hell, you're even tougher than I thought." Vandenberg screws up a smirk at the woman on the bed. But at the rest of her words, Natalie shakes her head. "Nope. I'm just here to ask you a few medical-related questions while you're awake. If you want to pick up a rifle, that is entirely your choice and one we don't force on anyone. Unless you're current military. We try to accommodate." Natalie holds her little smirk. "But I suspect you're going to be a week or two before you can even get into shape for combat so relax while you consider your options, yeah?" Natalie sits back in the stool and crosses her legs. "May I call you Charis? I know you've had some demands from the doctors and needing clarification on things. Please understand that we apologize for not being able to have clear conversations before. If you have any questions for me about anything at all, I can probably answer most." Marine Operations would be one of the best people to ask, after all. "Or I can begin with my questions for you. The choice is yours."

Still somewhat fuzzy-minded from the pharmaceuticals in her bloodstream, Charis clearly has to concentrate to follow all of that… but at the end she nods carefully. "Charis Nikea Apollonaris, Supervisory Special Agent in the Colonial Investigation Bureau. Tasked to the Special Joint Taskforce, to direct Fleet Reserve actions on Tauron, with a view to neutralising an interplanetary smuggling ring routed through the ICTC - among other middlemen - that had connections to the financing of terrorist and other major criminal organisations. All a very hush-hush, high clearance mission… and totally irrelevant now, from all I saw and heard on-planet. But I can try to answer any questions you have, certainly."

Natalie blinks. That was apparently not what she was expecting. A page on the clipboard is flipped and she quickly begins short-handing notes. She's still jotting a few seconds after Charis finishes, finally looking up when she does. "Aye, what you heard on planet would be correct. I'm afraid its not much of a pretty mural we have to paint, but its the only picture we've got." She takes a breath. "Well Special Agent Apollonaris, I'm mainly looking to ascertain your health. I'm a Marine later. Patient health comes first. First, I need to know if anything hurts more than anything else. Second, would it be okay if I touched you? If you'd rather me not I can try and work around it."

Lifting an eyebrow, Charis manages a slightly raspy chuckle. Wherever she was living before rescue, it doesn't seem to have been too kind to her vocal cords. "Where and how you touch me might provoke differing responses", she says, a hint of mischief in her expression. "But no… feel free. I think that most of the aches and pains I'm aware of are… well. What you'd expect. My posture was not exactly the best, of late, and I pulled all sorts of muscles and strained ligaments while hunched around my injuries feeling sorry for myself. But I already feel as if I'm a good couple of inches wider than I was a short time ago, as I start to relax again. I'm aware I'm no longer constantly taut across the shoulders, for one thing. My neck certainly appreciates that."

Natalie gives her own chuckle. "I'm sorry, the sensual massage therapy is reserved for Friday nights and the Studly Sponge Bath is Saturday afternoons. Tonight I'm just going to be checking bandages and such, taking your pulse." She jots down the notes with a light smile, nodding about how the woman feels. "And yes, you are wider. Thankfully. You were approaching liver failure with how low your vitamin levels were. I actually have another booster shot of vitamins for you in a few minutes. But you should be more relaxed. We've got you on a slow drip of morpha. If you want me to slow it down, I can so you can help clear your head?" The goal here is obviously comfort for Charis. She rises from the stool and sets her clipboard aside.. Vandenberg is obviously not tall. Maybe a few inches over five feet? Her hand moves slowly to take the woman's wrist and get a pulse with the time on her watch. "Do you have any idea what the date is, Special Agent?"

"Any idea? Heh. Yes. We must be into '42 by now", Charis says, watching her the taking of her pulse… and relaxing her arm after a little tension had come into it. Clearly visible on the upper part of the inside of her forearm is a detailed tattoo of an old-fashioned scroll, very slightly unfurled.

"That's correct. First of February, actually. Well on into another year." Vandenberg looks to her watch still, timing the beats of her hart before letting go and picking up the clipboard. "If you feel threatened at any time, Special Agent? Please let me know. I'd rather keep your stress levels low if I can. But you're a big girl so I kinda doubt you need any coddling." Natalie flashes another grin. "So, interesting tat. Religious ink or do you just like the design?" She glances up from writing for a moment.

"Sorry. You can call me Charis", the patient murmurs apologetically. "You don't have to keep using the title. And… I'm sure I should make some crack about having been on a great diet and being deeply disappointed you think I'm in any way 'big', but frankly it's too much effort just now… Ummm. Both. An indication of my love of knowledge… and of how much of the total I might be considered to have read."

"You got it Charis." Natalie nods and motions to the bedsheets. "I'm going to roll these down to check on the results of the surgery on your leg," she informs lightly before turning them down as indicated. She snorts a bit of a laugh, though. "I know, right? Geez. No! You look great! Oh-Em-Gee!" she says quietly with a faked 'Blondie Caprican' accent. The Marine gives Charis a smirk and looks back to the leg. She doesn't touch but she looks over the bandage with a keen eye. "Yeah? Pretty religious, myself. I tend to not openly practice, though. In my prior units it was customary but now?" A light shake over her head as she stands back straight. "I keep clear. I'd say whomever you're prayin to kept a good eye on you, though. Despite the injuries you seem to be healing pretty well. We should have you back on your feet faster than a rabbit's fart, yeah?"

"Doing jack shit is the basic treatment for a broken femur", Charis responds, managing a hint of a chuckle. "And that I could certainly manage to do, while holed up and trying not to go too rapidly bonkers. My ribs and hand, I was less kind to. But they seem to be improving, too. I'm thinking I should probably start some more serious physiotherapy about now…"

Shaking her head, the agent musters a wry smile. "Perhaps Momus was looking out for me, after my years of swearing by him", she murmurs. "I fear that I might not have been doing too much on behalf of any of the other Lords, given the number of people we lost over time…"

"Yeah you did well with the leg." Natalie lifts the covers back up to her waist. "You'll have to talk to the Doctors about when you can start therapy. I'd love to sign you off but I'm afraid my expertise was learned on the battlefield. I've never seen medical school so they get the final call." She flashes another smirk, though it fades a touch. "'Ey. Don't worry your head over that. The tinny bastards have been hunting us all pretty fierce. We've lost a lot. Even after Warday. We've seen some things that'll bring a grown man to tears. Lost six hundred people, myself, on Aerilon last July. It weren't the Gods but I know they were there to help how they could." She reaches a hand out towards her ribs. "I'm only going to rest my fingers gently. Rate the pain on one to ten, with ten being the worst pain you've ever felt." Two fingers rest where her bandage is under the gown with only the slightest of pressures.

Charis winces sharply - but at news of Vandenberg's losses. "Mmmm. Probably about a three, and it feels more muscular than deep", she muses after considering the pressure for a few moments. "I had them locked solid to crush the pain, I'm sure. And they're complaining now that they're loose again. But it feels like the bone's knitted. I'm… well. It felt really wrong when they were actually broken…"

"Yeah," Vandenberg sighs at the wince of her losses. "Kicks you in the gut twice as hard when you realize that the number lost was a sizable percentage of what's left of humanity. Makes some nights tough to sleep." The Marine flashes a short smile at Charis and moves along. "Hmm, okay. Three." She takes up the clipboard and starts taking more notes. "Yeah broken ribs don't just hurt like a bastard but they can kill you if they puncture a lung. ..I'm going to ask you to just bear with it a few more days and try not to sit up just yet unless the Doctor asks you to. It won't just hurt, you could re-injure yourself." She reaches into her pocket and removes a thermometer. "Gonna stick this in your ear for about ten seconds, okay?" And she moves to do so. "How long were you injured like this?"

Charis looks rather as if she would like to keep the thermometer in sight at all times, but manages to force herself to hold still for her nurse. And it's clear that her renewed unease was largely caused by some of Vandenberg's commentary. "Me? Ummm. Early December. About four weeks before I was picked up. To… spare the leg, if I moved at all, I had to use upper-body strength a lot. So the ribs and fingers… I kept stressing them any time I judged things badly. But… sizable percentage? Seriously? Things are that bad?"

Van removes the thermometer as soon as it beeps and she checks it, jotting down the results. She shakes her head at the mention of having to drag herself around. "Gods, girl. You've got one helluva strong will to keep fighting," she sighs. "I'm glad we've got people like you getting patched up. If you ever want a place with the Corps I think you might have it." She cuts a quick smile to Charis and then back to her notations. It fades though as she asks about things being so bad. "I guess nobody has really had time to explain what our situation is, have they?" She wets her lips and gives the woman her whole attention. "Look.. Charis? Things are pretty bad. As far as we know, you are on the only assembled battlegroup left of the Colonial Navy. Four ships plus one converted cargo ship for civilian use."

Charis blinks dully at Van for a few moments, then takes in a long and somewhat shuddering breath. "I… can see why they didn't want to trouble the poor invalid", she croaks. "At least, not while I was still prone to trying to hide under the bed when I got too confused on the meds…. Lords above - that's all that's left? Honestly?"

"Ya call yourself an invalid again and I'll break ya twice over, Miss Special Agent," Vandenberg chides gently with a touch of her own special brand of humor. She takes a breath and folds her arms over her chest. "But yes, that's what we've got. This battlestar, two frigates and an escort carrier. The Cylons used some serious electronic warfare to nail our fleet and destroyed it. Best estimates say the war was over in a matter of hours. I'm afraid the colonies haven't fared much better. The nuclear strikes on Tauron were fairly typical of what we've seen. Some worse. Some not as bad." Its never easy to break news like this.

"I was a gibbering paranoiac at times", Charis points out quietly. "Though it seems as if that might have been a thoroughly appropriate response. But… it's… have… has there been confirmation of the fate of other ships and colonies/ how bad it is, I mean? I'm sorry." She closes her eyes. "I'm an intelligence analyst, primarily. My response to a bad situation is to ask for information. So that I can work out how to improve it. Fix it if possible. Not instincts that are likely to be of the greatest of use when… when dealing with this."

Natalie shakes her head softly. "Hush," she whispers. "Don't downplay yourself. Everyone has had to deal with this in their own ways. Its rough to try and swallow. I was a fairly nice person much like the one in front of you before it all went down. I'm not the friendliest combat commander." She doesn't reach out to touch Charis but moves closer to lean a hip against the bed. "This battlegroup was at Picon Anchorage when the attacks hit. We lost approximately a quarter of the fleet there in front of this ship. Another sixty or so percent at Virgon. The rest is unaccounted for and presumed lost. I'm afraid its something we've been looking at for close to a year. It doesn't look like there's a way around it. The best we can do right now is try to kick them where it hurts and fight for our own future. Though..where that future might be is in question. None of the colonies will likely be habitable for humanity for a minimum of a few generations."

Charis absorbs that, as best she can, before gulping quite audibly. "That's… less than optimal as one of my superiors was prone to saying. But… there's just one civilian ship? And four…? How many people are there in the fleet?" She sounds quite genuinely scared.

"There's nothing optimal about this situation, love," Natalie offers with a shake of her head. A flyaway strand of hair is tucked behind an ear. "But yes, that's correct. We're looking at roughly five thousand people left. We believe there may be more trapped behind enemy lines but we have no way to get to them. The Cylons have consolidated their forces around the central and more industrial colonies. They've abandoned Tauron, Aerilon - where I was, and Sagittaron. Leonis and Aquaria have been utterly ruined. We can't even set foot on either colony. But Leonis saw a major operation by this group earlier last year. The Cylons nuked it again afterwards." She's not going to sugarcoat it. "Its pretty bad."

Charis's eyes widen… then close once more. "Five…." She can't even finish the number, instead biting her lip and sucking in another shuddering breath. "I was hoping for… many, many times that even just on Tauron. I wasn't even certain anywhere else had been overrun", she croaks.

Vandenberg watches the reaction with some sadness and sympathy. Its a long moment before she says anything else. "Caprica, Canceron, and Libran have seen the heaviest occupation. They've set up shop and what we think are homes on Caprica and Libran. They're mining Canceron. Virgon is another place that's not going to be seeing natural life anytime soon. Gemenon has some occupation forces. To be honest we just don't know who survived and how many are left on those worlds. We just can't get to them. With all my heart I'd love to steal a Raptor and airborne drop on Canceron but it ain't happening. We ain't much of a force left but we're beating ass where we choose to stand and fight and that's no lie. We ain't just bloodied a few noses, Charis. We straight broke them more than a few times."

Charis laughs, albeit both bitterly and shakily. "No, no. Cut your losses. Preserve the main force. I understand", she says sourly. "It's… why I told people to leave me. A one-legged cripple could have killed everyone else. Probably would have. I… gather at least some of them made it out. Thankfully. I didn't let everyone down. But…."

The decidedly earthy oaths that follow are, perhaps fortunately, delivered in the Sagittaran dialect she studied, before she sighs and shakes her head once more. "So… I'd guess there might not be a vast amount of call for a counter-terror and organized crime specialist. Do you have any idea what's planned for me?"

"Gutsy, Charis. I can understand the logic but we don't subscribe to that any longer. We're all too valuable. Everyone comes home or nobody comes home. I can't answer for your friends, though, sadly. Marine S-Two would have a listing of survivors with the fleet. I can get you a list if you would like." Natalie is trying to be as helpful as she can. She's probably the woman to give her right arm for someone - maybe. For the rest, Natalie shrugs but gives a light smile at the Sag accent. "You make your own life. Same way it was before the bombs. I was involved in COIN-" counter-insurgency "operations on Sag and Tauron. Six years on Sag alone. I mostly did subsurface and mountain warfare. Wouldn't think there would be much use for that here on a battlestar but they keep me busy. We're assaulting a Cylon rig in a few days and its my entry plan." Just a little bit of pride there. "You were a cop before, there's still a call for cops. Military Police or we're close to setting up a civilian police force on their freighter. If you're an analyst you could look at taking a job in Tactical. To be honest, most of the work for you would probably fall with the military. Otherwise there's botany, bartending, teaching, stripping, or attempting a job in politics on the civvie freighter. Maybe a few other things if you are creative. Depends on what you passion is - or if you even want to stay active. I won't be shy in saying I'd love to have someone with your skillset in the Marines."

Nodding slowly - albeit still with a brow arched in response to some of Van's comments - Charis musters a rather wobbly smile. "Thank you. Though don't make the mistake of thinking I'm the kind of spy or special agent fictional authors like to write about. Most of the damage I've personally done to people was on a Pyramid court, and I was largely a desk-jockey for the Bureau - even if they put my desk in some pretty 'interesting' places at times…. But… thank you. It's… this is… this sounds so much worse than anything I'd let myself fear. It'll… take a while to sink in. But…."

A deep sigh, then the agent slowly shakes her head. "Looking to keep myself busy. Do something productive would seem wise. So… any and all posts needing filled, I'd… I'd be glad to hear about. Whether it's intelligence analysis or… cleaning laundry. I'm not sure how rapidly I'll manage to get my head around this all, so…"

Vandenberg shakes her head. "Spies are fun for movies and fiction. I wouldn't expect you to have more skill than a Lieutenant or even a Captain at this stuff. But hey, like I said, this isn't a recruiting drive. We need people with a head for investigation. But even more we need intelligent people with their heads on straight. I can tell you now that if you decide the military is right for you right now, you will learn things that will shake you to the core, love. I'm not the same person I was a few months ago. And if anything, I've found myself more religious than I could have ever imagined." She winks and rises from her lean on the bed. "But think it over. There's no rush. You be who you want to be. Anyhow I need to get to my project. I have to assemble five hundred pounds of high explosive in the next two days. Party time. You try and get some sleep. I'll have the doc in here for you in the morning, yeah?" She takes up the clipboard and takes a step back.

"Thank you. And… Take care of yourself", Charis says, raising one hand (albeit rather carefully) in a gesture of farewell. A slight pause, then she manages another smile. "And don't you dare die on me", she instructs, her accent abruptly pure Canceron - albeit not exactly the same as Van's own. "From what you say, there are too damn few of us left to keep the fancy-arsed ponces in line any more."

Van's face brightens at the accent. "Ain't enough Cylons in that place to take me down. You just get better and don't let anyone tell you to sit down and shut up. We got a reputation to uphold, aye?" She winks. "You need anything, you just ask for me or come find me. I'll help you out best I can. We'll see you kicking arse again in no time." She lifts the clipboard in farewell and heads for the hatch.

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