PHD #320: Omar Comin'
Omar Comin'
Summary: Jesse Stavrian discovers the existence of a very cold case.
Date: 12 Feb 2042 AE
Related Logs: Clankers - Hammer and Anvil, Secret Service, and The Forces of Reaction
Stavrian Omar 
Laundry Room — Deck 3 — Battlestar Cerberus
Industrial washers and dryers line each side of this elongated room, which typically has personnel moving in and out all day and night. These front-loading systems are designed to withstand the rigors of a military beating and still function as expected. A sturdy set of counters run the length of the room for crewmembers to fold their own laundry and dress and pins or patches before and after the process.
Post-Holocaust Day: #320

Routine. It's a joke for medical crew, who spend all day never knowing what's about to trickle or tidal wave through the doors at any given moment. But laundry days, those are as sacrosanct as Stavrian can keep them — always the same times same days as much as he can force them to be. Right now is one of those times, clothes stuffed into the washer and medic sitting on a chair with his feet up on one in front of him. A cigarette burns between his fingers, earphones in, book open on his lap.

PO2 Omar Mason knows the corpsman's schedule by heart. Whether that's because he genuinely likes the guy or because he's an extraordinarily proficient stalker is up for debate; chances are it's some combination of both. And Stavrian obviously doesn't find the orderly's presence sufficiently offensive to prompt a modification to routine — or maybe he knows that no matter what he does, Omar Mason will somehow find out, making active resistance a futile act indeed. After all, it's the flexible reed and not the rooted tree that survives the storm.

And so it is that Stavrian finds his private time rudely interrupted by a loudly whispered "Hey!" And just in case his presence wasn't immediately noted, the short and stocky fellow plucks those earbuds right out of the taller man's ear canal. "Hey!" he whispers again — voice barely audible over the dull whirring of so many dozen washers and dryers. "You've got a minute, right? Sure you do. I bet you're only a quarter ways through the cycle."

The PO2's presence might have been noted, might not. Stavrian's attention is a tough thing to figure out sometimes. When the earbuds are so helpfully removed from ear canals he can't help a slight flinch, less from surprise than from the intrusion into his well-defended personal space. "Shit Omar, can't you knock?" The response is as routine as his laundry days, no matter how Omar has ever chosen to approach him. He flicks ash off the end of the cigarette. "What's up, man?"

"Yeah, yeah. Knocking. Sure." Omar raps his knuckles against the chair he's in the middle of pulling up, running a stubby hand through his greasy comb-over. It's a veritable nest of short black follicles ornamented with dried wax and dandruff. His watery eyes flick this way and that as he speaks — a nervous tic he can't quite correct. The same goes for his nasal voice, which is pitched more often than not in a conspiratorial whisper. "See? Knocking! There. I knocked." Beat. "So. How's kicks? Still doing all that hoo-rah oorah whatever with the squids?"

"Couple times a week. Have to keep tabs on who's scared of needles." Stavrian takes a drag off his cigarette, leaning down to set the book carefully on the floor. His prayer beads are around his wrist as they almost always are, on or off duty. "Why, you want me to pass one a love note?"

"Love note? Pass? Me? Omar 'Footlong' Mason?" The man's beady eyes widen in mock horror. Like he needs help. Then, tilting his head to one side, he purses his lips. "Actually, yeah. Yeah. You know that chick, uh, what's her face, short hair, tits out to here, you know. Yeah. But that's not why I'm here." His voice — already hoarse from whispering — gets even softer as he leans in toward Stavrian's right ear, their shoulders almost touching. "Omar's got something you might want to see."

Stavrian's head draws back, giving Omar a mock-suspicious look with his narrowed blue eyes. "If it's that 'burning sensation' again, I'll write you a pass to the clinic."

"Hah. Haha. Very funny, J." Mason's laugh is so very, very pained. "Can't even get a frakking whore at Pete's to give me the time of day. Me! Omar Mason! A frakking orderly who frakking SAVES LIVES." But even that depressing thought doesn't deflect his attention from the subject at hand. "Anyway. So. Remember that girl I was talking to you about way back in the day, right? Hot little firecracker in Supply." The man burbles happily at the memory.

Stavrian puts the cigarette in his mouth, slouching a little in his chair as he folds his hands behind his head. Omar's war stories about a female — routine wraps her comforting arms around the moment. "Mmmhmm."

"Marissa," the orderly plows on. "You remember her, right? Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I see that blank look." To Omar, this reaction is pretty de rigueur. "My girlfriend? Well. Not really my girlfriend, but. She could have been and we would have been great together if not for that prick of a — Anyway. Marissa. She got conked on the stairwell when the Cylons hit us that one time — you know, clank, clank, boom, yeah? Yeah." Mason's pudgy hands are a-whirl in activity, flying this way and that to emphasize various parts of his narrative. "Well. I was on duty when the docs pulled her in. And I was there when they completely boned the autopsy."

Smoke trickles from Stavrian's nose, the output of a resting dragon. As the curtain of acrid gray between the two men begins to rise towards the suction of the fans above, he slowly takes his hands out from behind his head, sitting up slightly. "What? What are you talking about?"

"Yeah. That's what I thought." Omar's wide mouth spreads into a catlike smile, rubbing his hands together as he inhales some of that sweet, sweet smoke. "You remember how it was that day, right? CMO? Dead! Deputy CMO? Also dead! Deputy's CMO's Deputy? Alive? Bzzzzzzt. WRONG." His not insignificant nose wrinkles as he delivers the inevitable conclusion. "Also dead! So there I was, looking at this beautiful broad while some bumblefrak doctor goes 'Ahem time of death was blah blah blah cause of death was blah blah CYLON duh!' but me, Omar Mason? Something doesn't sit right with me, so after bumblefrak asks me to bring her to the morgue, Omar brings her to the morgue." His grin only widens further. "But not before Omar took pictures."

"Yeah, I remember," Stavrian replies udner his breath, more for his own benefit than Omar's. He lets his elbows rest on his knees, smoke curling in little wisps by his hands. "Pictures. Of a body." His brows have lifted, one slightly higher than the other. "First of all, let's refrain from calling the dead 'broads', as that's fairly disturbing. Second, why in Hades did you do that?"

"Yeah, yeah. Call me creepy. I know it's what you're thinking. First, I'm out there in the operating room fighting for justice, J, so don't you even dare. Don't you even dare." Omar's grin turns just a bit crooked. "And second — come on, you should have seen that A and those Ts. Cylons didn't get her there. But seriously. Seriously. I said she was dating some royal cock, right? Awful for her. Just awful. Fighting all the time, screaming at each other — actually, that might have been the sex. Actually, I think that was the sex. But they definitely fought too, no question. He even beat on her. And — killed her."

Stavrian takes the time to sit back again, drawing his ankle up onto his knee. Time to drag off the cigarette, time to fold his arms over his chest and purse lips that rarely smile anyway. "So we've gone from 'remember this girl' to 'she died in that attack' to 'you think the doctor messed up' to 'the guy that was banging her instead of you killed her'. You do know what this sounds like a load of, right? I will give you a friendly hint — it's not laundry."

"Hey, J, I know, all right?" Long-suffering Omar rocks back in his chair, shrugging artfully and artlessly all at once. "I know what it looks like. But I'm telling you, buddy, I saw them go down into that stairwell together. Was I following her? Maybe. Sure. Fine. Does it matter? Hell frakking no. Hello? Murder? Alarm bells? Whee-oo-whee-oo-whee-oo?" More dandruff flutters forward from his hair as the man gets increasingly animated. "And get this. The guy? None other than the guy who frakked your squiddy friends yesterday. Piers. Yeah, that was his name. Piers."

Breath. Breath. Each one gently moves Stavrian's shoulders as he regards the other man. "You know what, Omar? You can be a total dickhead, but I still like you. People that I like, I try to give benefit of the doubt, and the biggest benefit of the doubt I can give you right now is that you're not making shit up just to get back at some guy because he took your girl. So help me out here." His blue eyes are dead level on Omar. "Did you see this happen?"

"Total dickhead." Omar just shakes his head sadly. "Look. Yeah. Sure I'm a dickhead. And no, I didn't get eyes on the deal going down, otherwise I would have gone to the MPs like tha-a-at, right? Right." The man's breath comes quick and fast as he stares right back into Stavrian's baby blues. "Just can't sit on this any longer, J. Just take a look at the photos. Five minutes out of your day. You think there's nothing there, you keep those photos and do whatever you want with them. Burn them, shred them, jerk off to them. Whatever. Okay?" And that there in his voice is the desperation of a very flawed man trying for once in his life to do the right thing.

It's hard.

"Why won't you just go straight to the MPs?" Stavrian returns, keeping his voice level and low. "No offense here, but if there's something going on then you're asking me to potentially get my neck on a guillotine, alleging that a doctor frakked up. That's pretty serious where I'm coming from. So I need to know…why me and not turn them straight in?"

"Because you're a frakking genius, J, that's why, and because I'm a godsdamned orderly who only knows how to take dictation from frakkers with degrees, and because — " Omar's voice catches in his throat, and it takes him a while to swallow the lump that's formed somewhere between his tonsils and esophagus. "I liked her, okay? Fine. There it is. I liked her. Not like I liked the others." Beat. "Come on, J. Don't make me beg."

"I'm glad your heart grew six sizes that day, Mr. Grinch. But it's not your ass on the line if someone sees me digging around," Stavrian points out, still sounding unconvinced that this is indeed a good idea. "If something is on these photos, you know it's got to go up the chain. Medical and po-lice. If I take the heat you better not frak me when it comes time for you to give a statement. Got that?"

Omar doesn't answer, instead bounding to his feet in an attempt to envelop the tall corpsman in a long and sweaty hug. "You're the best," he says, his usual whisper exultant. "The frakking best. Other people say you're a stuck-up son of a bitch, but you know what Omar tells them? Omar tells them you're Jesse frakking Stavrian, and you can't spell best without three of the letters in your frakking name, that's what Omar tells them. Don't you worry, J. I won't let you down, no-sir-ee, I won't let you down." And with that he's trundling off, his waddling steps making him seem like a penguin dressed in off-duty sweats two sizes too small. "Don't worry about finding me!" he calls, almost as an afterthought. "I'll find you!"

Stavrian reacts to being accosted in close quarters like he does with anyone — he freezes so tensely that it's like hugging a redwood trunk. Even after let go he stays in that uncomfortable paralysis, as though it took a few seconds for his heart to stop pounding. "Yeah," he says under his breath. "I'm sure you will." He drops his cigarette onto the floor and crushes it under his heel, blowing a stream of air through pursed lips that puffs out his cheeks. Book scooped back up, he returns to it without much further thought to the past few minutes. It's Omar. How bad could this possibly be, right?

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