PHD 276: Flight
Summary: The CMO summons Timon to his office for a talk.
Date: PHD 276
Related Logs: None

CMO's Office — Sickbay

In the cramped little medical office, Capriel is busy poring over the tidal wave of charts and patient reports that have come in from last night. The CMO isn't often drafted into patient care anymore, but he's got three of his own to look after now. A nurse came by to hand him an old chart, though, of a certain patient finished with rehab. Stathis, Timon LT. And guess who's been sent a summons.

The soft rap of knuckles on the hatch announces that said summons has been received. A half-second later, Ivory moves into the room without waiting for a proper invitation, his hand narrowly avoiding a stack of books and papers lying nearby. He hasn't looked this professional since receiving his commission: dressed to the nines in his dress blues, hair combed back, posture straight, Timon might well have stepped out of a recruitment holovid — if those holovids had deigned to use middle-aged men as their protagonists. "You wanted to see me, sir?"

Capriel is in scrubs, about as professional as Sickbay staff ever get. They even have a spatter of something on the front that one probably doesn't want to think too much about. The Major looks up from the back page of the chart he was frowning over, eyes turning to the uniformed figure in the cramped doorway. "Lieutenant Stathis?"

"Major." Ivory needs to look down to the note in his hand to determine the man's rank. The printout looks like it was crumpled into a ball before being smoothed out. "Sorry about this. I've been avoiding Nurse Finn for the past several days, as I'm sure she's told you. I just — I didn't expect her to bring in the big guns so soon."

Capriel sits up, motioning to the small chair on the other side of the desk. "She's a busy woman, Lieutenant. Though I'm curious as to what, exactly, you did expect her to do? Keep taking time away from other patients to chase after you like a toddler?"

"I was hoping she'd prioritize her ill patients above her healthy ones, Major." Timon takes a seat, legs together, hands in his lap, the note crushed between them. "She wrote it in that report herself: my rehab's gone exceedingly well. I'm just a sliver below my pre-injury readings on a number of physical categories, and I'm a sliver above those readings now that I've been given no choice but to hit the gym every day, or so she’s told me. And with our air wing project having just now come to fruition, I figured she needed a few days away from me, and I a few days away from her." A wan smile flits across the man's face as he sees the blood on the CMO's clothes. "Or maybe I was hoping to put off hearing bad news for as long as possible."

"I hope for your sake it was just that little bit of human fear," Capriel says, his eyes staying levelly on the Raptor pilot across from him. "Because if I ever hear from my staff that you have such an obvious disregard for their orders again, I will be taking it up with the CAG and with your record. Is that clear?" His tone, while not overly harsh, isn't playing games with the man.

"And here I was thinking I'd managed to mask so well that confession about ‘human fear.’" Timon's smile turns sheepish as the note begins to crumple in his fingers. But if he's intimidated by the man's explicit threat, he doesn't show it: after all, Ivory does serve under Marek. Hands forced still, brown eyes meet green ones with remarkable equanimity. "Clear, sir. And just to prove I know where responsibility for all this lies, I'm going to go apologize to Nurse Finn after we're done here. So. Hit me with the news. Let me guess — another three months off the flight line?"

If that appeases Capriel at all, it isn't outwardly obvious. He closes the chart that was open on his desk, putting it up into the two-high wire bin on the corner of the desk. Timon's is sitting over on the right, clearly marked with his name. "Lieutenant, you're going to be off the flight line indefinitely. I know that's not what any pilot wants to hear."

Dead silence from Ivory — and then, slowly and deliberately, rip goes the paper in the pilot's hands. The two halves of Capriel's note flutter to the floor, twirling in the air before settling on a splotch of water on the deck. He doesn't move to pick them up. "I'm in shape," he murmurs absently, eyes dropping to the file on the CMO's desk. "The best shape of my life. I've sworn off red meat, liquor, even dessert — I don’t even smoke — " Perhaps aware he's beginning to ramble, Timon shuts himself up by clearing his throat. "This has nothing to do with my physical fitness, does it."

No interruption of the verbal fumbling from the younger man. Capriel folds his callused hands on the desk, and shakes his head. "No. Your crash left you with a great deal of scar tissue and fractures. The issue is that — " He lifts his right hand, scratching his eyebrow. " — the expected G forces during flight would rip those wide open, for lack of a gentler way to put it. "It's an unacceptable risk. Now, we'll continue to monitor you."

"Oh," says Timon expressively, who now seems unable to keep his posture straight any longer. They slump forward as he leans backwards, wincing as the un-cushioned metal of his chair cuts deeply into his shoulders. "Would rip?" he asks, after a long moment of contemplation. "Or might rip?"

"At this point, Lieutenant," Capriel's hands fold again, resting down. "Would. I understand you're a flight trainer. We can clear you to keep working in the simulators. But actual flight, I'm afraid, is out."

Timon's fingers twist together on his lap as the older man speaks, knuckles whitening. "What about switching me to ECO?" he asks. "They don't do any of the flying — just the jamming." Scrabbling for straws: he knows, just as the CMO knows, that the backseater is subject to the same physical forces as the pilot up front. but it’s worth a shot.

And Capriel must have some assumptions about Timon's intelligence, as he doesn't even explain the obvious. He just shakes his head. "I'm sorry. I'll be in touch with the CAG today about this. And we'll keep an eye on the situation, but I can't make you any promises about it."

"Yeah." The word's spoken as the first syllable of a much longer sigh. Timon's eyes snap closed as he rubs his forehead with his scarred left hand, fingernails cutting deeply into the thin skin of his scalp. "Yeah." That one's shorter, at least — and a few seconds later, after Ivory’s regained a degree of equanimity, he sits back up, pressing out a few wrinkles in his uniform as he does. "One favor, Major?"

Capriel picks up his pen while Timon processes, giving a few moments of the illusion of privacy that comes with the simple act of looking away. Then his dark green eyes return to the grounded pilot's face. "What's that?"

"Let me take this to the CAG," says Timon — and then, realizing what that must sound like, he elaborates, his hands pressing down hard into his kneecaps. "Don't worry, I'm not trying to pull the end-around on your office. I — " Ivory's voice tightens. "It's something I should tell him myself, is all."

Capriel's thumb presses on the end of the pen, retracting the point with a soft click. Then pushing it back out again. "I need to speak with him, officially," he says, at length. There may be medical issues that Timon won't be able to fully explain, after all. "I'll give you 24 hours. Tell him I allowed it, and I will contact him tomorrow."

"Fair." Timon releases his viselike grip on his knees as he looks back at his file, expression inscrutable. Then, with measured motions, he's bending to pick back up the soggy scraps from the floor. Only when his face is thus conveniently hidden does he trust himself to speak once more: "This scar tissue — it's not going to just disappear, is it."

"No." Capriel's head barely moves as it's shaken back and forth. "There are surgeries that can be done, gradually and with varying expected degrees of success. The problem is that we aren't equipped to do them here." Pre-Warday, Timon would be shipped back to the Colonies before he could blink. "The only thing we can do are regular biopsies to check the formation of further tissue and its strength, and control your pain."

"You aren't equipped." Timon fishes the notes from the ground, crumpling them up in his broad palms. Inky water drips onto his uniform, black stains seeping into his deep blue trousers. "I thought President Adar's plan to cut military spending was a bad idea, Major, but I voted for him anyway. Something about the peace dividend." Ivory's smile is bitter. "Shows me what I know." Beat. "Will that be all?"

Capriel gives Timon a very wry sort of smile in return. "Settle down, Lieutenant," he says, not unsympathetically. "That'll be all, for now. If you wake up with any burning questions about anything, just knock. I'll do what I can."

"Yeah," says Ivory once more, the word like cotton in his mouth. It takes some effort for him to push himself to his feet, but he does so nonetheless. "Thanks for not pulling the soft-shoe routine on me. I appreciate it.” Brown eyes flicker toward the hatch.

Capriel grunts, to that. He opens the chart he'd been working on before the interruption, flipping up the thin pages to the back where he'd been making notes in uncommonly neat handwriting.

That's enough of a dismissal for Timon, who without further ado backs out of the door — for indeed, there isn't enough room for him to turn around without running the risk of knocking something over. The even clicking of boots against deck accompanies him as he goes, the sodden note still bunched tightly in his fist. "Nurse Finn," is the last thing Capriel hears before an orderly shuts the hatch to the CMO's office. "Nancy — you have a moment?"

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