BCH #008: The Deep End
The Deep End
Summary: Demos questions Stavrian about Tuata's death. One conversation leads into a very different one by the end.
Date: 18 Feb 2041 AE
Related Logs: The Tenth Sparrow
Demos Stavrian 

[ Security Hub ]----—[ Deck 6 - Battlestar Cerberus ]

More than just an office for the Marines and their XO, this room has remote surveillance views of the Brigs as well as a state of the art communications center built into the far bulkhead. A locked and heavily armored door to the aft leads into another room, the white lettering on it reading 'ARMORY.' There are a few desks scattered around the room for getting necessary paperwork done and the Commandant's picture hangs on the wall next to one of the President.

-=[ Condition Level: 3 - All Clear ]=---------

The Security Hub is a fairly busy place today. There is a Private on guard duty just inside the door and Demos is walking from the front desk back to what appears to be an interviewer's desk complete with 'witness' chair. On the way, she tosses a pack of cigarettes onto a shelf below a coffeepot. Claiming a seat at the secondary desk, she leans back and closes her eyes. The file remains on the desk, closed but waiting for her attention.

Interview time rescheduled around a shift in duty hours. Sickbay Happens. Stavrian's in his forward medic fatigues as he walks into the security hub, punctual for this new timeslot with the MPs. Stopping at the front desk, he has a quiet word with the sergeant there, who points him back towards where Demos is. The JG nods, and the sound of his bootsteps announce his presence soon enough. "Sergeant Demos."

Opening her eyes at the sound of bootsteps, she at least does not appear asleep when the JG approaches. "Yes, sir?" Her gaze flickers over the man, taking in his attire, demeanor, and tone. "Lieutenant Stavrian?" A glance at her duty roster shows that the appointment time is indeed at hand and she smiles at the medic, "Please. Have a seat. May I offer you coffee or tea?" For both seem to be available on a shelf nearby. "Thank you for coming down." Or is it up?

"Tea would be great, thanks." Stavrian doesn't smile back, though there's nothing particularly chilly in his demeanor. He settles into the chair, nodding to the MP. His eyes make one subtle flicker around at his surroundings, even though he's been in this room before, then the startling blues return to the sergeant across from him. "Sure. It's no trouble."

Demos nods and stands. "Coming up." Moving to the counter, she pours hot water into a mug. A basket of assorted prepared teas is claimed from a cupboard and she brings both to the desk. Setting them down before you, she attempts a smile again, though it is brief. "Help yourself, sir. There is a selection." Reclaiming her seat, she leans forward slightly. Her finger touches something and a low whirr begins, "This conversation is being recorded, sir. This interview is between Junior Lieutenant Jesse Stavrain and Sergeant Phaedra Demos. It is regarding Niree Tuata and covers a variety of incidents and dates. Are you ready, sir?" At that last, she turns to Stavrian and tilts her head slightly to one side.

Stavrian nods his thanks rather than have the verbal reponse mess up her tape. He picks up a wrapped teabag and pulls the outer envelope open with a soft scratchy sound of the staple coming loose. "Yes."

Demos nods, "Thank you, sir." She pauses briefly to find a fresh piece of paper and a pen. "Now, if you would, sir. Please describe the first time you became aware of Niree Tuata. Go into detail, please. Even the smallest rememberances could be important."

Stavrian drops the teabag into the cup of hot water, letting the string hang over the side. "The first time?" His hands wrap around the bottom of it. "Master Sergeant Barclay had sent a memorandum to Medical on February 11th, requesting medical observation of Miss Tuata as she hadn't eaten or drunk for 11 hours by that point - due to religious reasons. I and several of the doctors volunteered to help monitor her, and Captain Diego scheduled our rotations."

Demos nods, "Thank you." She makes a brief note, then sits back again, "What was the result of that, sir? Did someone other than yourself visit Ms. Tuata first? And then, if you please, describe your first encounter with Ms. Tuata." She toys briefly with her pen, then sets it on the table in favor of her coffee mug.

"There were doctors in to see her first, yes," Stavrian nods slightly. "The MD in before me had noted that she had started eating some small items provided by Master Sergeant Barclay, and that her condition was stable." He pauses to blow on the top of his tea and looks at Demos, giving her a second in case she has questions there before he goes on.

Demos scritches a note, then nods, "Thank you." She lifts her mug and blows across the surface to send a ripple over the surface of the liquid. She nods then, "Please go on, sir."

Stavrian makes one last set of ripples with his breath across the top of the tea. "There was a note from the doctor concerned about her water intake, so I had gotten clearance to bring her tea. Stone flower, which is common on Gemenon and which I figured she'd accept. When I arrived, Lieutenant Karthasi had just gotten there. We checked in." He carefully sips at the hot water. "The cell had been dimmed. Miss Tuata spoke just as we were coming into the cell - she said: 'Visitors. It is a good time for this'. She…" His eyes flicker to the side, calling up the memory of the night. "…greeted us in religious manner, and asserted that she was quite well and that she had started eating. She asked me to hold on the examination for a few minutes. I agreed to this as she appeared in no physical distress, and forcing medical contact off the bat is often a source of great stress. I asked her if I could give her tea, which she agreed to, and I then sat closer to her to help her drink it, where I could observe her closely without agitating her. She then began to speak with Sister Karthasi at length about dreams she was having, and purfying her soul…and fate." His eyes are on his cup and something makes his brows draw together slightly as he relays that part of it. "After a few minutes I noticed that her hands had begun sweating, and she began shivering. I interrupted and told Miss Tuata I needed to examine her. She allowed it, and as she kept speaking to the Sister I noted an irregular heartbeat. I called for a code and began preliminary care for a suspected heart attack. All the while she kept talking. Her condition worsened and she died during the code, about ten minutes after the team arrived from Sickbay."

Demos listens, her expression thoughtful, concern not only for the medic but for the tale she is makeing him tell clear in her gaze. For a moment or two, she remains silent, eyes cast down. The gesture of respect for the dead is evident, but short lived. "I am sorry, Lieutenant, but I need to ask the following questions. First, how long would you say it took for her condition to go from apparently stable to her death? Second, please continue. What happened then?" She leans forward to make another note on her page, then looks up once more.

"From stable to death, I would say approximately thirteen minutes." Stavrian looks up from the teacup, blue eyes meeting hazel. "Time of death was twenty-three-forty-two hours." His eyes shift sideways again, memory recall rather than avoidance. "I remember an MP's radio went off at that exact same moment, saying they had 'found something'." Back to her he looks. His head hasn't moved, only his eyes. "I stayed in the room until her body was released to Sickbay for autopsy, and then I left."

Demos nods again. Seems she is doing a lot of that, "Thirteen minutes." So fast. She blinks, then continues, "I realize that you probably have not had this exact experience before, sir, but would you say that the timeframe was surprising? And was there anything else of note going on at the same time?"

"The timeframe itself wasn't surprising, not for a massive heart attack like she had." Stavrian sips his tea and then rests the cup down again, wrapping his hands loosely around the base. "What was surprising at the time was the heart attack itself. But Captain Diego's autopsy report shed light on that." He, of course, assumes Demos has seen that. "Anything of note…besides her distress over spiritual purification and her descriptions of her dreams, no, there was nothing."

Demos says, "Thank you. Would you be good enough to give me a rundown of the salient points in the autopsy?" Her expression remains neutral, or perhaps respectful. Maybe both. "And, if you would, can you explain your impressions of her spiritual situation? Her emotional state? Beyond what you have already indicated?"

"She had a congenital defect in her heart," Stavrian replies, after a moment. "I'd ask that any question about that be directed to Captain Diego. I'm not a cardiologist. And I'm really not qualified to give subjective impressions of her spiritual or emotional state, Sergeant." His tone's not sharp, merely stating that matter-of-factly.

Demos nods, "Fair enough, and thank you, sir. I have a request in for the autopsy results, but have not heard as of yet." Toying with her pen she looks down at the notes she has taken. "Is there anything else you care to relate, Lieutenant? Anything that struck you while you were in with Miss Tuata?" Looking up once more, she focuses on those ever-blue eyes. Her tone is normal, neither seeking to pry answers, nor chiding, nor gentle. They are just questions.

"I'm sure Lieutenant Karthasi has related everything about her conversation with Miss Tuata," Stavrian says. His voice is duty-neutral, signs of personal opinion left professionally out of it. "I was focused on her medical care, all the details of which I've given you. If I do remember anything else relevant, you'll be the first to know."

Demos sighs just a little, but nods, "Yes, sir. I understand. But, you are a militarily trained professional. Part of your training is in observation, sir. It would be very helpful if you would indulge me." She pauses for a beat, then adds, "And when I asked for observations on Miss Tuata, I did not specify in what area. I was actually interested in your observations of her physical condition. For instance, sir. How long after she drank the stone flower tea did she evince symptoms? Was there any change in the atmosphere of the room that might have aggrivated her condition? You were free to interpret the question as you wished, sir." Once more, she pauses, then continues, "However, if you feel that you have exhausted the subject and provided me with everything you can think of…" A hand lifts, the fingers long and graceful, "Thank you for coming by, Lieutenant. I will let you know if I have any follow up questions. Thank you for offering to let me know if anything else occurs to you, sir."

There come questions and then a dismissal of them. Thus, Stavrian's hand doesn't come up yet. "Would you like answers to those or not?"

Demos lifts a brow slightly, her lips twitching in a faint smile, "Please." The hand lowers and she folds one with the other on her desk, "And thank you."

Stavrian half-smiles, the right side of his mouth moving. "Let's be frank, Sergeant. You want to know if the tea was responsible for her death. Can we address it that way, for efficiency's sake?" He shifts in his chair, leaning a little weight on his arms on the desk. "Tea allergies are mainly due to caffeine or tannins. Caffeine being a diuretic, I would never give a caffeinated drink to a dehydrated patient." That said. "Tannin allergies cause anaphylactic shock, which is easily recognized. Itching of the eyes and face followed by breakout of hives and angioedema, then severely labored breathing, swelling of the tongue, abdominal pain and vomiting, dizziness, and altered mental state. Miss Tuata was not in anaphylactic shock." He gently scratches the side of his nose. "As for things that would have aggravated her, no, I didn't note any. Her condition was one whose hallmark is unprovoked arrhythmia and blood clots. I am very sorry she died in that brig. But that was the cause."

Demos inhales softly, thten shrugs, "Actually, what I want to know, sir is whether she could have absorbed anything from the glop on her hands that could have stayed in her system, mingled with the acids in the foods she ate and combined with the chemicals in the tea to cause the heart attack that killed her. But, as that is reaching so very far out into the void for a cause of death that she might possibly have had the barest modicum of ocntrol over, I hesitated to mention it as a possibility." She half smiles, in part to indicate that she is kidding, and in part to mask that she might not be. "So. As it has been medically established that she did not either accidently or intentionally 'do herself an injury', I can cross that off my list of possibilities. Of far-fetched possibilities." Inhaling, she sighs a little softly, "I am sorry that she died there as well." Shaking her head, she looks down and makes a few notes yet again on her paper. Finally, she sets the pen down and clasps her hands over the paper, "I am sorry if I have come across as beligerent, Lieutenant. That has not been my intent. I am trying to figure out something that contains elements that I am both unfamiliar and a bit uncomfortable with. If that has made me brusk or unpleasant, I hope you will forgive me."

"If she had anything toxic in her system," Stavrian replies, "It would have been noted in her autopsy." He shrugs one shoulder, his voice never losing its patience. "We're not trying to jerk you around here, Sergeant. Nobody's hiding anything from you."

Demos nods, "Which I have not seen yet, Lieutenant. I am sorry if my questions are redundant, but you have information that I do not. Forgive me if I try to get it from a source already at hand rather than waiting for something that I might not get to see." She nods, voice softening, "I know, sir. I do. I am not trying to imply otherwise." Lifting her mug, she almost takes a sip, then looks into the liquid and sets the mug aside. "I am also more than likely highly caffinated as it is." Folding her hands, she slides them along the desk's edge, then sets them in her lap. "Thank you for your time, Lieutenant. If I think of anything else, I will give you a call. And, if you think of anything else… Well, please let me know."

"I will." Stavrian's fingers fiddle absently with that soma braid around his wrist. The tersely efficient answer's given as his eyes glance at the running tape recorder, then back at her.

Once the reply is given, she reaches over to turn off the recorder. "Thank you, sir." Taking a few more notes, she taps the pen on the desk a few times, then shakes her head and puts the paper she was taking notes on into the file on the desk

As the thing's clicked off, Stavrian looks away from the Sergeant again. The wall just to the right of her cheek gains his focus. Or at least his line of sight. His focus might not be quite there. Then he picks up his cup and finishes it off, starting to stand. "Thanks for the tea."

Demos glances up. She half smiles at the man, "Any time, sir. Thanks for coming by." The braid? Her eye finally catches sight of it and she tilts her head just a little, "Oh…" There is something there. An idea half formed and uncertain. Then, she shakes her head and lifts her hand to rub the bridge of her nose between her thumb and forefinger. So close, that notion was. So close and it fled.

Stavrian quirks a brow, looking back at her expectantly. When nothing comes, he nods and starts away. "Gods bless."

Demos says, "You too." The response is quick and practiced but lacks conviction. Then, she frowns a bit and looks up, "Hey, Lieutenant?" More sincerely then, "Thank you. And the same to you." Rising, she gathers up her file and tucks it against her chest, arms crossed in front of her, "I… will confess that the bracelet is part of what confuses me. But, I do not know enough about them to ask the right questions. I am sorry."

Stavrian stops, only a pace or two from her desk. His hands slide into his pockets and he turns most of the way back around, weight settled on his back foot. There's a bit of a pause before he answers. "So ask the wrong ones."

Demos taptaps her file against her chest, her expression shunting toward a hair nervous, "I don't want to be offensive." Turning, she bends to open a file cabinet. The folder is put in its place and she closes the drawer. Locking the cabinet, she turns and leans against it for a moment. "And, to be quite honest, I am not sure what those wrong questions are. I am trying to divorce the questions about the bracelet from the investigation. You said she did not have toxins in her bloodstream, so she did not ingest anyting untoward that might have been secreted in her bracelet. She did not inject anything." Shaking her head, she lifts her fists to lightly pound on her forehead for a moment. Then, she relaxes a bit, "It is difficult for me to let go of something when I was so certain. But, the facts do not support the theory. So the theory has been proven incorrect and must be discarded. Very well." Sighing, she stands, "Do you mind if we adjurn somewhere else? I need to get out of this setting for a while… And maybe… you could tell me about the bracelets? Just… talk about them? If you do not mind?"

"The type of bracelet she was wearing wasn't the same as mine." Stavrian puts that out there before anything else. "Just so you know." As to adjourning, he makes a small motion of his head towards the hatch.

Demos looks up, "Oh? I did not know that. Other than that the materials are different. Thank you." She nods, bending to sign out on the duty roster. "Lead on, McDuff." Rising, she slips out the hatch, effectively putting the lie; albeit briefly, to the request.

[ Observation Deck ]----[ Deck 3 - Battlestar Cerberus ]—

With a quiet view to the stars, this tends to be one of the more popular 'quiet areas' of the Cerberus. Up front is a small-unseated area for ceremonies or other activities while the seating rises up behind it. Each level rises up behind the one before it, comfortable chairs and couches set up for crewmembers to relax, get some work done or even take a nap. A large armored plate is lowered during Condition One to protect the interior against a breach in the glass.

-=[ Condition Level: 3 - All Clear ]=---------

Stavrian leads on. Ever so bravely, down the halls and the stairs to the observation deck. "No, it's more than that. They symbolize different things," he says under his breath just outside in the hallway. Pulling the hatch he holds it for her, doing so without thinking.

And so she follows, perhaps less bravely but certainly resolutely, down the hiways and biways of the Cerberus. Reaching the Obs deck, she pauses to let him hold the hatch, also without thinking about it. Stepping through with a murmured 'Thank you' she angles almost automatically to a set of semi-isolated seats to one side of the room. This is an area where a quirk or intent of design has left a space almost free of the murmur of other voices. Claiming a seat, she smooths her uniform, then motions automatically for you to join her. Breeding, education or a natural bent toward the social graces is something she falls back on during times of confusion or stress. "Please, join me?" Then, hearing the phrase, she blushes, "I mean… Okay, never mind. Explain the differences, please?"

Stavrian hehs. Not quite so awkward himself, he settles down into one of the chairs and pulls his right ankle up onto his knee. One arm folds across his waist and the other - the adorned one - lifts to indicate the leather tied around his wrist. "This is a soma bracelet. It's to keep us healthy." The arm drops, joining the other in folding up. "Hers was a Gemenese piece. They call them faith bracelets." His eyes go to his boot toe, the one up on his knee. "They mean that you're a servant to the gods. Submission."

Demos blinks, one brow lifting a bit, "Wait. You mean literally? As in…" She looks over the man's shoulder, her gaze abstracting much as his did back in the Security Hub. "I see. That puts a different bent on things a bit." Licking her lips, she refocuses on the man near her. "So." But, she is not yet ready for that. Looking down, she shakes her head, "That is difficult for me. Just a moment, please."

What came out of Stavrian's mouth just then was as easy for him to say as telling her the color of the sky. When she requests her moment he gives it, silence settling down between them. He's still watching his foot - or rather the ends of his bootlaces. They're loose, as and he moves his foot ever so slightly on his knee, they swing.

Demos takes a bit of time to digest this. Finally, when the silence; marked by the gentle swinging of bootlaces, grows too strong, she looks up. "Okay. She believed that she was literally a servant of the Gods. Or of one of them." She taps her thigh gently with curved fingers. "So, did this bracelet give her some sort of tie to the Gods? In her belief system? As far as you know it?"

Stavrian looks up too, at the sound of her voice. Just his eyes, so he ends up looking at her from under his brows at first. "You answered your own question. Many of the devout believe exactly that, that the relationship between gods and man is master and servant. Our duty is to submit to their will."

Demos says, "No, I mean…" She blinks, then looks away again. "I suppose that I did. But, I… I mean literally? Like… they pass the devout information and so on and the devout do their bidding? Like. Notes in class or something?" Although the words might be unintentionally silly, she is struggling to find a way to understand it. "That is… very odd to me. I am sorry, it is… A strange, etherial and somewhat disjoined notion." A long shudder runs down her spine, "A very disconcerting notion."

"No…well. Sometimes." Stavrian tips his head and scratches idly at his hairline behind his ear. "It isn't only the devout that the gods speak to, in their way. It's just that the devout recognize the messages. Dreams and omens, and…" He lowers his hand, settling arms over waist again. "…these signs of the way Fate is taking us. Or the way we chase after fate, some say."

Demos inhales, "Like the sacrifice the Sister did. And the dream of birds." Lifting both hands, she runs her fingers through her hair until she gets to the bun at the back of her head. Tuggint the stays out, she lets her hair swing free. Her tone, and her gaze remain somewhat flat, as though she faces something terrifying and does not wish to give it that much power. "And the timing. Maybe." It is so close. But, she lowers her gaze and does not see the whatever it is that looms there in the darkness between the stars.

"Some people believe that everything is a sign in its own way. As Lachesis measures out Clotho's threads of life, they weave." Stavrian lifts a hand a little, making a small S shape in the air over his leg. "And everything is strung together, tugging on each other. Inseparable."

Demos draws a slow breath, holds it for a while, then releases it. "And, is that… I mean… Does your bracelet represent anything more than health? Does it hold that level of significance?" She shakes her head, "No. I.. I mean is it a healing or health on a level beyond the physical?" She pauses, "You are a PA, right? A medical professional. How does a braclet that is primarily woven threads or fabric or whatever help keep you healthy?" Although her tone is sort of insistant, it is the tone of one trying to hold onto something slippery that keeps almost escaping, "Really?"

Stavrian nods when she asks about his station. He glances at his wrist, then back at her, and that all gets a very faint grin. Teeth included. "Well I know what keeps you healthy. Asking questions. Your lung capacity's amazing."

Demos blushes a deep crimson, a horrified look briefly touching her gaze. "I am sorry, sir. I did not realize the time. You probably have a bazillion things to do and here I am keeping you lollygagging. Please excuse me." She rises in a graceful sort of lift, "Thank you for your time. And your patience."

"I'm off-duty until tomorrow." Stavrian stays in his comfortable seat, still looking a little amused. "But I didn't mean to freak you out, Sergeant. If you really want to know, I'll tell you next time. And I won't be as much of a shit about it, I promise."

Demos nods, "I really did want to know, Lieutenant." She looks down, "I don't think you are being a 'shit', exactly. I have taken up an inordinate amount of your time, sir. I am sure that you have more important ways to spend your off time. I just… Its the religious angle, I guess. I feel as though I am trying to understand a plant. Or a fish. Or… Maybe I am the plant or fish. It is very foreign to me and every time I almost understand it, it slithers away like an eel." She shrugs, "Maybe I am not wired to get it, sir. And I feel like a bit of a 'shit' myself whenever I ask about it. As though someone will think that I am being condescending. Or worse. Maybe I am being unintentionally condescending. See? It is a subject frought with peril." More softly then, "I honestly do not get it. I am honestly trying. And I honestly do not want to offend." Her smile turns a bit lopsided and she nods toward the door, "Enjoy the rest of your evening, sir." Turning, she begins the trek to the hatch, perhaps a bit enlightened; but more likely just a bit more confused than before.

Stavrian is quiet through all that, and quiet as she turns to go. Pulling his foot further up on his thigh, he reaches for those dangling boot laces and starts to re-tie them. "You know what they say about getting trapped in a flooded river, Sergeant?" He doesn't look up to see if she turns around, nor does he wait for a response. "That the ones who drown are the ones that spend all their energy thrashing and fighting. They get so tired struggling that they wear themselves out and down they go. If you want to survive, you have to just…let go and float." He tugs on the laces, finishing the knot.

Demos pauses to listen, though she does not turn around. As the man speaks, she leans her forehead against the bulkhead. Her response is soft, low and carries a touch of amusement, "You are using a watery metaphore to educate a woman from the mountains, Lieutenant. Still… Point taken." Turning at last, she flashes the PA a smile that might be lost, "Good night, sir." Slipping out, she lets the hatch close softly behind her.

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