MD #046: To Be A Good Mother
Log Title
Summary: Randy talks to Sam about the fleet's ban on projection and makes some requests.
Date: 24/05/2017
Related Logs: None
Randy Samtara 
CMO's Office
Deck plating of the same composite that spans the length of the ship is softened with a miniscule area rug placed between the desk and the door. The wall to the left holds a large screen that interfaces with the data and communication system. The wall to the right holds a large whiteboard that is retained as much for sentiment as practicality. Storage lockers are stacked side by side beneath each board, the tops of which serve as additional space along with room for a coffee maker. A pair of comfortably worn chairs take up the floor space to either side of the door and a sleek looking desk faces the door itself with a desk chair that looks as well worn as the two visitor chairs that flank the door.
09/12/2028

With the heels of her boots propped on the edge of an empty crate that once held medical supplies, a cup of tea held between both hands and a look on her face that conveys both a sense of pleasant well-being and (equally) a marked lack of stress (however momentarily), Sam has the door to her office open and is listening to what sounds like a quiet shift in sickbay. Most of those wounded over the course of combat operations have already convalesced back to their units. The wounded that remain are on the varying road to recovery, and no one - not a single soldier or air wing that came back - is slated for the fatality list. All around sense of well being allows for the cup of tea and the happy look on her face.

For at least two minutes, Randy's been psyching herself out to go and talk to the CMO…after she was told, 'Oh yeah. The doc is in.' It wasn't something she was expecting, hoping for a brief reprieve from what she feels she needs to do. "Um…excuse me Lieutenant, but we really do need this area to remain clear." Randy looks over to the person-in-white-jacket. Must be a doctor or tech or something. She nods as she tugs a little at the collar of her blues. Then she knocks on the frame of the hatch to the CMO's office as she pivots into view. Clearing her throat softly, she says, "Sir? May I have a few minutes of your time?"

Looking up and then away from the large whiteboard that she still uses (as much for nostalgia as anything else), Sam's answering smile is paired with, "By all means, come on in," in a warm tone of voice. "There's tea, if you've a preference, and coffee, of course," she offers.

"Tea will do me just fine," Randy says as she steps through and moves over to serve herself. She takes her tea cloudy and sweet, a custom of the Aquarian people. Then, without asking (tsk tsk), she moves to close the hatch. "Forgive me Colonel. This is…better not for any passerbys." She turns the handle to keep the hatch door closed and takes a seat. Even if she wasn't particularly close to Sam all that time ago, she knows these little initiatives likely won't annoy the doctor. "Where do I start," she murmurs to herself as her eyes drift upwards and then down back to Sam. "It's come to my attention that I've been a rather irresponsible mother lately. I'm sure, as you probably know, that there were abilities that have been passed down because…well…" She coughs, but it's more of a stalling tic than anything. "What I mean-I taught my children never to let anyone ever touch their ears, but, I'm sure you're aware that accidents happen, and what I mean to say is I think maybe now I should have done a bit more than that." All in. "I know the fleet has policies in place against the use of projection, but I was wondering if it might be possible for me to prepare my son for…accidents. I want him to be prepared to be and be able to be a gentleman in such cases, and I'm afraid that if I don't give him hands on experience, he'll be ill-equipped."

Tipping her head slightly to the side as she observes, as much as listens, to what Randy is saying, the look on her face that was quite contently happy at the moment does begin to fade to (at first) a bit of perplexity and then something that is mingled alarm and confusion (secondly) then around to a slow sort of dawning realization that results in Sam's eyebrows arching fairly high. "I gather that your son is, in your words, ill-equipped because has has, as yet, not had any interaction of the sort that is both healthy and human, especially for the young of our particular species," she even phrases her reply delicately, "but with respect to his ears and the absolute nature of non-contact, you're worried that he'll stumble into it and not be prepared for the potential - immediate - ramifications?"

Randy blinks thoughtfully at Sam's nearly coded words. "If you mean he hasn't had sex no I don't think so…" Oops, "but I don't think that's a requirement to having someone touch your ears in life." Her reply? Not so delicate. "I mean he's twenty years old, of course I taught him about safe sex. But yes, I'm much more concerned about his ears and the non-contact. Yes all of that."

"In my experience, the invitation to have sex is equally an invitation to explore each other's bodies, I would imagine that his ears would be a point of interest to any of his partners," Sam replies, clarifying her own answer before she lifts her cup of tea, takes a moderate sip, and studies Randy for another long - silent - moment over the edge of the mug before she exhales a small sound that is almost quite nearly a breath of laughter. "Forgive me, I have six children of my own. I can't even begin to count the number of times I've had the sex talk with my children, with friends they brought home because their respective parents weren't comfortable having the talk with them, and it's a little amusing to be having this conversation now concerning a physician in my command. Alright," and she leans comfortably back in her chair, intrigued. "What would you like me to do to help?"

"Usually, yes," But that's all Randy says on the nature of sex and ears and bodies, perhaps reining in her own words after a few have tumbled out. "Colonel, I have also had way too many of those talks. It's like once everyone knew I had had it with my son they wanted me to talk to their kids too. Or at least it felt like that for a time. Not that I think I was particularly good at it." She seems to loosen up a little at that commonality, and smiles faintly. "Well. I'd just like to be able to teach my son, safely, preferably in private where no one's going to court martial him or I for doing what I should have done years ago. But I confess, part of the reason I didn't do it myself, or realize the need, was because I practiced abstaining as well. I understand, as someone with people under your command, if you were to witness this, you'd have to report it…" Randy 'tests the waters' like someone doing a canonball off the high dive, though she is a bit delicate in how she phrases it. "I came to you because I trust you. I just don't want my son to get in trouble for anything."

Once again Sam's eyebrows do that slow, but very high, arch upward toward her hairline. Instead of responding with something aghast or accusatory, Sam responds as one mother to another. "There's a time to report and a time to do what's necessary to secure the health, and 'health' ecompasses more than just vitals and making sure that blood is on the inside and not on the outside, of those in our command. We're a family, maybe now more than ever." She sets her mug down and smooths her hands together for a moment, flexing her fingers before she wonders, "You need a safe place to do what needs to be done, which is the first of the things that I may offer you by way of assistance. What else though?"

There's a hint of guilt in Randy's features, at the corners of her eyes, how her brow gathers slightly. It's not something the Lieutenant thought she'd ever do…ask someone to go against any kind of code, and because of her, but for her children, she'd do anything. Her brow arches slightly at Sam's reply. "I'm glad you feel that way." She lifts her tea for a first sip, a sign of the slight ease of tension. "Well, as I said. I haven't exactly been a model in this department, and I had an accident of my own recently that will fade with no one the wiser, left me a bit rattled. I told one of my colleagues, one of the Lines, and she offered to teach me what she can. I haven't taken her up on the offer yet, but I think that it's important that I know what the fr-…what I'm doing before I go trying to prepare my son." Again, there's that shame, realized belatedly…like someone who suddenly has a gun under their bed but realizes they never learned to use it properly. Only she didn't buy a gun…this isn't some responsibility she can just toss in the trash and pretend it doesn't exist…not anymore. "That's all I need…all I'm asking for."

"Perhaps the fleet's policy of not actually establishing a safe zone and training protocol to accompany same was a mistake," Sam replies, her expression pensive and thoughtful. "Many of us, myself included, have to many things rambling around in our respective heads to welcome the notion of allowing anyone else, however good intentioned, to get a glimpse or share a glimpse. That doesn't mean that it isn't necessary. It's akin to teaching someone how to use the most deadly and efficient of martial arts but not teaching the equally and vitally important understanding of what NOT to do just because the skill set is in place and muscle memory has been attuned. Perhaps your friend show speak discreetly with others of the lines that are aboard the Orion and arrange a meeting, if not an actual training and support session?"

"I don't know. I think maybe questioning that is probably more in your wheelhouse," Randy starts to respond, but then quiets to let the Colonel finish her thoughts. "Myself too. I guess I feared everyone's mind would be as stormy as my own," the most polite way to say it, but something about being in Sam's presence forces a change in Randy. She speaks and acts a little more measured than what could be compared of her behavior down in the pubs like Charlie's. "I don't know if my friend would be alright doing that…but I can think of someone who might be more suited. I'm not an expert at bringing about change sir, but I am pretty good at keeping secrets…and I think maybe it might be best to start small. If it works, and seems positive, then that'd provide more evidence of it as a positive thing. Large groups are hard to keep quiet and secret. Aren't you afraid of someone shutting it down before it even has a chance to demonstrate anything…beneficial or not?"

Sam's expression alters subtly to allow a small smile to form, and a distinctive gleam in her eyes. "Lieutenant, one thing i learned in the last war is that I don't seem particularly capable of walking away from a fight that needs to be won. You're right, however, we need to be discreet and start small and if it goes well we extrapolate from there. So, we've circled back, you need a safe place to practice and no prying eyes. Funny how I have just the place," and she sweeps her hand around her office. "It's sort of cramped though the chairs are a lot more comfortable this time around, I should send a note to the last CMO who ran this show before they transferred me back in."

"I do not doubt it," Randy says with an appreciative look at Sam's fervor. "That seems convenient…and yes, I noticed. I still remember the few times I've been in this office and how uncomfortable the chairs were. As for details," it's like Sam has given Randy some call to action and Randy's already latching on, "I think obviously this should be happening after hours. If there are times that are better for this, or if you'd like to supervise it, we should work that out. I don't think we should be emailing this. Nothing that can't be easily destroyed. That way, if something goes down, you can just claim plausible deniability…and a better location for that might be helpful in the midterm." Little sneak.

"Paper, when properly policed, can't be hacked," Sam reminds even as she gives a measured nod in return. "I don't imagine that you want an audience right out of the gate. This feels very much like it's going to be a personal journey and emotional one as well. The last thing you need is a peanut gallery or someone asking, in an academic snoot, 'And, Randy, how does this make you feel?'," she notes with a small but decisive shake of her head. "If you, all, reach a consensus and would welcome the observation, I'd be intrigued to do so. But I will absolutely not stomp my way in and demand to observe. I'll let you know when, and as, need arises if we must re-schedule. Typically it'll only be when we have a wave of wounded or an influx of some sort of illness that is incapacitating large groups of people."

"Aye. That's true. It's best policed with only an original," Randy agrees with a small smirk. "Not really no." She reaches up to rub the back of her neck a little at the thought. "I won't push it. I think just getting to the point where we's comfortable…doing something like that at all, and not necessarily with everyone there, would be a big step…if people even care to." Randy steals another sip of her tea and nods. "That, probably will be pretty obvious," she says with a bit of a wry chuckle. "I'd be worried if anyone was thinking about still going to a secret projection meeting while people are suffering so widely." Randy takes a deep breath and lets out a sigh. "Well thank you Doctor. I don't want to take up anymore of your time…but if there's anything else you think of that you'd like to go over with me later, I'll make sure to pop my head around periodically to give you the chance." She knows the CMO is busy, and without the ability to use email about such things, it might require a little bit of creativity to keep the lines of communication open without arousing suspicions. Randy pushes up from her chair and then gestures the mug towards the Colonel, "Should I bring this back or take it to the mess when I'm done?" She's always wondered if the DHs get secretly replenished mugs and cups and things at some absurd hour of the day.

"The only way for two people to keep a secret, Lieutenant, is if one of them is dead. This will get out, at some point, so you're going to need to forward think a solution to the potential damage control. Test out some ideas, let them percolate a bit, then figure out as a group what you're going to do. Secrecy is all well and good, in novels and action or suspense flicks. In reality, we don't - collecitvely - react well to secrecy. We all appreciate privacy, and discretion, but secrets will out, almost 100% of the time, eventually," Sam replies, her voice both somber and absolutely serious. "And Lieutenant? You can drop in at any time. I don't have 'off' hours. If I'm not on shift, send one of the nurses to get me, I don't mind." This said as she glances down at the mug then laughs, "Six children, Lieutenant. I am an expert at washing dishes as well. My husband and I have a long standing agreement, I wash, he dries and puts away. I am reasonably confident in my ability to wash and dry your mug and mine."

"Don't I know it." Randy grits her teeth lightly, her lips parted slightly. "Well, let's just take this as it comes and I'll think on it as you suggest. It'd be better to out it ourselves so we control the outcome better." She starts to move towards the hatch, /with/ the mug, but as she's called, looks back to the Colonel. "Oh I don't doubt it. I just want to finish my tea." Then she escapes before the CMO can pretend to stop her…or not.

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