2237-01-10 - By the Book

Eli and Cate don't exactly see eye-to-eye on the value of regulations.

Date: 2237-01-10

Location: Sickbay

Related Scenes: None

Plot: None

Scene Number: 946

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A little while ago, a marine patrol came back from the surface with a few injured in tow. Only one was bad off - a young private fresh from Picon with a bad wound to his leg. Cate was the medic with him, and she's hung around sickbay afterward even though it's not technically her shift. She traded out her bloodstained uniform jacket for a scrub top from the supply closet, and is currently doing some "paper"work on the computer near the admin area.

Stitching up people wounded in battle is Eli's specialty. Still, it wasn't an easy surgery or a short one, either. He emerges, looking bedraggled and distracted. He nearly breezes right by Cate. He stops, glances at her. "He's going to keep his leg," he says after a moment.

Cate hadn't noticed Eli passing by until he spoke, then her head turns toward him. The relief in her face is obvious. "That's great. Nice save." Not in the life sense but in the limb sense. "Everyone else has been patched up and sent off already."

"It's going to take some rehabilitation, but he might even be able to stay on the ship. We'll see. It's too early to tell." Eli fingers his hands through his hair and sucks in a breath. "I need coffee. You want a coffee?" He motions towards the lounge.

"Well, even if he needs to be transferred out for rehab, at least he's got a chance. Kid that age is too young to be losing his leg," Cate reasons. She saves her work and logs off, nodding to his suggestion. "Never say no to coffee, that's my motto. You coming up on the end of your shift, at least?"

"Shift technically ended two hours ago, but I wasn't about to step away in the middle of surgery," says Eli wryly. "And I can never sleep right after a shift. Hence, coffee." He waits for her to finish, then starts for the lounge.

"I'm sure Tremblay appreciates you not letting go of his artery when the clock struck nine," Cate responds with a smirk. "And yeah, me either. I need to wind down. Which would probably be easier without coffee, but well... coffee." She follows him to the lounge. "So why'd you pick surgery?" Random nosiness for the win(?).

"Because it was something that either gave me the chance to have a cushy job in a big city hospital somewhere, or it would get me out in the field. Can't say that for podiatry." Eli mutters a little thanks to the gods when he realizes someone put a fresh pot on. The lounge smells too good for it to be old.

"Yeah, I mean, dermatologists don't see a lot of action," Cate agrees. "So you always had a hankering for field work?" She leans against the cabinet where the coffee pot rests, waiting while he gets his cup first.

"I grew up doing field work," Eli pauses, then wobbles his head, "Of a sort. Guess some part of me knew I'd never be happy with the quiet life. I'm either a field doctor or I'm an ER doctor. I've accepted that's going to be my career path until I'm too old to do it."

"Of a sort?" Cate wonders aloud, a creased brow showing that she doesn't quite follow his meaning there. But she nods. "You're in a good spot here, at least, doing what you're good at."

Eli looks back at Cate. He pauses for a moment as he considers how much to reveal. He fills a mug with coffee while he thinks, and one for her as well. "My mother ran a clinic on Scorpia. I pretty much grew up in it."

Cate takes the coffee with a quiet thanks. She's surprised by his explanation, but then smiles. "Really, huh. That's cool. My grandpa ran a clinic back home too. He and grandma pretty much raised me from the time I was eight, so... I spent a lot of time there. Guess it rubs off. Was your mom a surgeon too, or more generalist?"

Eli chuckles and shakes his head. "It was a clan clinic. Which means she was patching up thugs and drug dealers so the authorities - the ones that weren't being paid off - stayed out of clan business. My mother did the best she could with anything they threw at her."

Cate's brows shoot up a bit in surprise, but she doesn't seem put off by it. "Sounds like she had to. Sink or swim, huh." She turns back to the counter to put an unhealthy dollop of sugar into her coffee, stirring it up.

"Mhmm," says Eli noncommittaly. He has decided the coffee is fresh enough to not need any doctoring. He sips it and his facial muscles visibly relax.

Cate takes a tentative sip of coffee. Finding it suitably sweetened, she takes a bigger drink then before observing with wry amusement, "So, I have to say, you never struck me as the sort to be helping patch up thugs and drug dealers. Always so serious, figured you for a by-the-book kind of guy."

"Apparently I give that impression. I've even been called a snob. Though I think that might be a doctor thing as much as anything." Eli leans against the wall, coffee in hand. He closes his eyes for a moment. "Lemme guess, you took me for a middle class kid with a lot of ambition who pushed my way through medical school?"

"I think most doctors get called a snob at some point. Occupational hazard." Cate gives a what-can-you-do shrug. "Most middle class kids don't get attacked by scalpel-wielding clansmen," she points out with a smirk. "But the first time I met you, you were re-organizing the supply closet, and you don't butt heads with the Colonel half as often as I do, so... that's why I figured by-the-book."

"I'm not by the book, but I am certainly by a book," says Eli with a bit of a grin. "I like to do things my way. And I believe certain regulations are in place for a reason. Certain one are stupid, but as you know, in medicine, procedures are there for a reason. Everyone needs to know what everyone else is doing and how they're doing it. Otherwise people die."

Cate smirks. "Well, I'll agree that not every reg is stupid." But that's about as far as she'll go. Though further reflection on the point causes the smirk to fade to a more somber expression. She covers it by taking another sip of coffee. "Least someone made a fresh pot."

"The fact that we're all coming from different militaries makes it even more important that we try to follow regs, as far as I'm concerned. You have everyone going off half-cocked, doing things their way, and the Cylons are gonna beat our asses." Eli keeps his eyes closed as he takes a mouthful of coffee. "Regs have the power to unite us, as stupid as it sounds."

Cate shakes her head a little. "We're not going to beat the Cylons by blindly following a rulebook. Come on, you know as well as anyone that there's the way they teach you in med school and then the way things get done in the real world. If a rule makes sense, you're gonna follow it because it makes sense, not because some manual told you to."

"There's a difference between breaking stupid rules and doing things a better way and breaking them for the sake of breaking them. Some people piss all over regs because they think they're hotshots who are beyond the regs." Eli rolls his shoulders and adjusts his lean against the wall. "By regs, I mean like how to operate in a crisis, what to document on patient files, that sort of thing. I'm not talking about fraternization and uniform code."

"I'm not saying you should break all the rules just for the hell of it," Cate clarifies, sipping at her coffee. "But exactly - the world's not going to end because Newton dated an enlisted girl or I went to bed in a civilian T-shirt. There are a lot of regs that are just there for dumb-ass reasons. Like the one that says marines can't be doctors, for instance." That one causes her to grit her teeth for a moment, before she slants him a look. "But come on - you really mean to tell me you've never fudged a chart or broken some 'real' procedure for good reason?"

"I try to be very careful with that sort of thing," says Eli with a lifted shoulder. "But yes, I've done it. But there's something to be said for keeping discipline. If someone can't be expected to follow the seemingly insignificant regs, then they're less likely to respect the more important ones. This is especially important for the new recruits. What might seem insignificant, like putting equipment back in precisely the right place, could put someone's life in danger when they lose precious seconds looking for the equipment. I tend to approach the regulations like someone didn't pull them out of their ass just for the hell of it."

"Whereas I tend to think if there were less stupid regulations, it'd make people respect the ones you did have more." Cate shrugs. "I grew up in a place where a hell of a lot of laws were there for idiotic or downright nefarious reasons, so... I tend to take the opposite approach."

"And I grew up somewhere where the rules didn't matter at all. What was fine one day could get you shot the next," says Eli. "I guess I like knowing where I stand." He says this into his coffee in a sort of half-mumble.

Cate gives him a sympathetic look for a moment, then shrugs again. "Happy middle ground would be nice." A little smirk. "Contrary to what Colonel Collins thinks, I'm really not an anarchist."

"And contrary to what half the ship thinks, I'm not a stickler for the rules." Eli forestalls any disbelief by adding, "I'm really not. I don't report people when they break the rules unless it's dangerous." He pauses, then, "I just glare at them and make them think I'm going to report them." He cracks the tiniest of smiles.

Cate smirks. "Well, you've definitely got them all fooled. Don't worry, your secret's safe with me." She finishes off her coffee and says, "I should get out of here before someone puts me to work. Good job with Tremblay." She lifts the empty cup in a mock salute before tossing it in the bin.

"Mhmm, me, too. Though regulations state I can't pull more than a double if those hours have been active and not on-call." Wry, that. Eli sets his nearly empty coffee down. "And I'm going to hit my rack before my brain has a chance to recognize the caffeine."

Cate chuckles softly. "Now that's one reg I can get behind," she comments over her shoulder as she heads out.


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