2237-11-25 - Different Priorities

Stirling and Colin chat about career priorities and catch up on the news from Stirling's family.

Date: 2237-11-25

Location: Barracks - PNAB Northolt

Related Scenes: None

Plot: None

Scene Number: 1591

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Post supper was a popular time in housing. Most of the denizens of the block were returning to their rooms for a quiet evening, or sharing in one of the common living areas to wind down before another night of sleep. Colin, though? He never got that chance. He'd retreated to Stirling's room after he'd come off shift at the clinic. A quick shower and a change of clothes found him in sweatpants and a t-shirt at his desk. A light, a glass of wine, and a corked bottle decorate the surface along with a tall stack of folders. The doctor had a pair of glasses perched on his nose, all stylish black angular frames and flawless lenses. He marks a piece of paper, takes a sip of his wine, and absently twirls it.

Despite having flown a patrol earlier in the day - one which had her up and out of the room at the crack of dawn - Stirling hasn't really had a chance to be off-duty since - as evidenced by the fact that she's only just now carrying her supper back to the room in a plastic container. The door opens, the CAG entering in her duty blues. There's just a tiny moment of surprise when she sees Colin there, but she smiles. "Evening."

He's mid-sip of wine when she enters. Because, naturally, there's no worse position to be in. His head turns at the opening of the door, allowing him to sip and swallow while observing. That had to be a remnant of medical school. "Evening." His response is warm and is accompanied by a smile. He turns just enough to make two more marks on the chart he's working on. The pen is then abandoned to the table top as his hands pick up the folder for closer inspection. "I was starting to think you'd taken my advice about napping while flying. This has been a doozy of a duty day."

Stirling smiles. "That's almost every day around here," she observes mildly. "I see you're still hard at work. The paperwork never ends, does it?" She closes the door behind her and moves over to the other desk, setting down her dinner container. She takes a moment to unbutton and remove her outer blue jacket, exposing the white blouse beneath. She has to undo a cuff to get it over the self-prescribed brace on her wrist.

"I'm pretty sure-" Colin begins, squinting, and looking at something small is the midst of that chart. "-that when I die, I'm either going to be Hades accountant, or I'm going to QA all of his medical charts. That would be a fitting punishment for the fun I've had in life." His tone is rather dull. That chart returns to the desk, gets another mark of that pen, and is closed and moved to a different pile. The doctor's hand reaches for his own self-prescribed brace. This one, though, comes in liquid form. He doesn't remark as she removes her arm from the blouse. It's afterward, with his head somewhat tilted and that glass parked in his fingers, that he raises an eyebrow. "How're you feeling today?"

Stirling chuckles softly. "You must have had a lot of fun if you deserve that much punishment." She looks at him askance as she sits down at her desk. "Though you don't exactly strike me as the 'party animal' sort." The food container is opened, revealing a salad with some chicken sprinkled on top. She smiles at his concerned question. "My wrist is sore, my neck and shoulders are sore, and I have a headache that probably has more to do with junior pilots being junior pilots than any sort of injury," she relates lightly. "Thank you for asking. Quiet day in sickbay?"

"Quiet enough. It was a day full of gallbladders and colds. Nothing too challenging. I think some of our my colleagues actually managed to finish up some back charting from raid. If there was confetti for incredibly mundane things? I assure you it would be raining from the heavens." Colin's reply comes with a light chuckle. He reaches forward, grasping the wine bottle and tugging the cork out with his thumb and index finger. "Me? No, not really. I was always too busy for that sort of thing. I had... different priorities, I suppose." He raises the wine bottle to the rim of his glass, tilting expertly as the liquid changes containers. "What about you? Were you one to tear up the town when you were younger?" He looks up, studying her wrist with a calculated expression before he raises the bottle slightly. "Would you like to join me? It's so high class, it has a cork rather than a screw top. I mean, does it get much better than that?"

"I imagine there's some rough acclimating to the weather here, particularly for those from warmer climates," Stirling observes when he mentions the colds. As for partying? "No, sad to say, I was always this serious. My mother was a diplomatic aide, so there were 'expectations' you see." The airquotes are audible, but in a fond way that's supported by her easy smile on the subject. "Thank you, but no - I don't drink when we're in a combat zone. Oh -" She suddenly remembers something, and pulls a folded sheet of paper from her jacket pocket. "Max sent me this today," she says with an amused smile. It's a very six-year-old drawing of scribbles and lines that if you squint at it in just the right way looks like it's probably meant to be a space battle.

"Then these days? I don't know when you find time to drink." Colin replies with a smile, settling the bottle back on his desk and glancing back at her. It's the paper that draws his attention, not her face or her air quotes. The bottle of that wine glass comes into contact with the wood. He leans forward, reaching out a hand to more closely examine such a serious piece of art. There's a genuine interest in the doctor. He even pushes his glasses further up the bridge of his nose to examine the lines and slashes. To say that it breeds a smile? Well, that doesn't do the expression justice. "That kid is really something. He was one of the more fun young men I've had the opportunity to chat with in quite some time." He grins, pointing at a particular smudge in the middle of the page. "Looks like he did a rendition of you in there. Not... being a diplomats daughter, by the look of it."

"On Scorpia," Stirling answers readily. And he's seen her indulge in a glass of wine there. "That's about the only time we're at condition four these days. Well, that and the rare special occasion," she admits with a vague gesture of acknowledgement using her good hand. She smiles. "You think that's supposed to be me?" She sounds amused. "Thank you though. He really is wonderful. Mother says his wrist has healed well." The smile flickers, then, sadness visible in her eyes, and she picks up her fork and focuses her attention on her salad.

"Central to his world? Everything else happening at the edges of it's focus? I doubt it could be anyone else." Colin's reply comes in that soft Picon accent that, in all honesty, he seemed intent on hiding half the time. It only really came to the forefront when he drank, strangely. The picture is offered another appraising look before he reaches over and puts it down on the edge of her desk. The comment about her mother and the boy's wrist? That earns a soft smile and a glance up toward the ceiling. "His wrist didn't look too bad. And boys his age could probably regrow a limb if we could figure out how to set up the correct environment. Their compensatory systems are absolutely excellent." He brings his glass to his lips as he speaks, taking a slow sip as soon as the train of thought has departed his mind. "How's your Mum doing, though? Hers was a little more of a challenge."

"That's sweet," Stirling decides, eyeing the picture with a different perspective when Colin places it back on the desk. She eats with impeccable manners, even eating out of a plastic food container here with just the two of them. "Mother insists it's fine, though I think she would do that even if they were lopping it off for a prosthetic, so..." Dubious daughter is dubious as to her mother's stoicism. And though the apple doesn't fall far from the tree on the stoic front, Stirling does confess. "It's hard to be deployed away from them." She slants him a look then. "Do you have kids?"

"Unfortunately, no." Colin replies after a moment, his eyes still up on the ceiling in a very idle way. There's a set to his jaw then, when his eyes finally lower to her. The bright green of his eyes watches the container, the fork, and the floor. Never do they seem to fall on the woman. "I suppose I never really had the time. Between medical school, residency, my practice, and the vain quest to become the best surgeon Picon had to offer, I guess I fell a bit flat on that front." He smiles, taking a much more stout drink from that wine glass. "You could see if her doctor could send me her follow-up X-rays, if you'd like. I'd be glad to take a look to make sure the healing all went okay."

Stirling watches him sidelong as she eats, a sad smile tugging at her lips. "Thank you. That's kind of you to offer but I wouldn't feel right prying." She takes another bite and swallows before addressing the topic of children. "I wouldn't say 'fell flat'. Eion and I never planned to have children either. We were both focused on our careers." She lets her eyes drift to the picture on her desk. "Max is my brother's boy."

"I can see the family resemblance, though. I assumed something of the sort was the case when he kept calling you his 'Aunt'." The doctor's tone is quiet and simple. He swirls that wine absently, seeming to grind his teeth as his mind turns something over. "I'd ask why you have your brother's boy, but I think the war might provide me enough of an explanation, right?" There, a knowing smile appears on his lips. "Ainsley and I... Yeah. We never had time either. Ambition kind of crushes the hour glass."

The sad smile lingers. "I adopted him last year, but he's still more comfortable calling me 'Auntie'. I don't see any sense in pushing him on it. Perhaps someday when he's older. Or not." She lets out a soft 'heh'. "I think it's his choice more than mine, whatever the paperwork says." Realizing that she forgot to bring a drink from the cafeteria, she crosses to the mini fridge to get a bottle of water. "It was before the war, actually. Car accident. Eion and I were babysitting that night, and Max lived with us afterward." There's a visible curiosity on her face when he mentions his wife, but she hesitates on the impulse to ask.

The words 'car accident' almost make the doctor flinch. He looks over at Stirling as she crosses the room, his eyes intent on studying her feet in her duty boots as they move across the floor. "Yeah. He'll make his mind up on what to call you eventually. The only downside to 'Auntie' is having to explain your situation a thousand times to a million different people. Reliving that story gets old, I'm sure." The chair creaks when the doctor leans back, crossing one of his legs over the other in the calm way some men always seemed to accomplish. He sets his wine glass down and reaches out for her water, nodding silently at the brace on her wrist. "I know that's why I always hated this planet. We're nowhere near Queenstown, but still. This place has... an air to it, you know?"

"It does a bit," Stirling admits. "Not the explanation I enjoy recounting." She notices that flinch, but since he doesn't seem to be inclined to talk about it, the diplomat's daughter doesn't pry. For now. She does follow up on the latter comment though. "I'm afraid I don't know what air you're speaking of. The war? The weather? Or the general atmosphere?" Her wrist is doing better enough in the brace that she's able to open her own water, taking a sip before returning to her seat.

"No. It's... an expectation, I think. A way things should or used to be." Colin shakes his head, dropping his hand and reaching back over for his wine glass. Those warm green eyes, weary beyond their years, look down into the depths of the dry red. "It's something weird. And, to be honest with you? It's probably just me. Picon has more bad memories than it does good ones. I joined the blasted military to get off this rock." He raises an eyebrow and glances out the window. "I think I understand a little of your story though, Nyssa. Some things... They have a tendency to get inside of you."

"They do indeed," Stirling agrees somberly. "I'm sorry to hear the place brings back bad memories though. Especially with it being your home." There's a note of sympathy in her voice. She fishes out some medication bottles from her pocket and dumps out two pills, downing them with water. The remnants of the food container are disposed of in the trash. "Well, I think I'm going to turn in. My doctor says I should make sure to get enough rest between the muscle relaxers and flying." She offers a sad yet fond smile.

"Your doctor sounds like an absolute stick in the mud." Colin laughs. "Sleep well, Nyssa. I'll be turning in shortly, too. Just... chuck something at me if that desk light does anything to keep you awake?"

"I spent years sleeping in a crowded bunkroom. I think I can manage one little desk light," Stirling replies with a chuckle. She steps over to the closet, unceremoniously changing out of her duty blues and into something more sleepwear-appropriate, hanging the uniform carefully back up until it can be more properly laundered. "Goodnight."

"Goodnight. And... Thanks. Again." Colin says gently. He'd already gone back to annotating charts, not creeping on her by looking over while she changes. That... was the furthest thing from his mind. Ainsley, in all her glory, was wrapped up in that particular swath of grey matter. It was likely he wasn't going to get rid of those thoughts for quite some time.


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