Jamie had thought he’d gotten himself together, having forced himself to focus on the duties he’s been given by the CMO, and to not think of anything else. But it was during quieter times when his thoughts would come back, and all attempts to hide behind the strict military facade falls apart.
“Excuse me. Sorry, I’ll be right back…” he mumbled to the nurse he’d been helping to stock one of sickbay’s supply rooms. He could hardly concentrate on the task. He’d been thinking too much about Oliver, his father, his mates… everything about home.
Jamie stormed out of sickbay, rushed to the nearest head and was glad to find it empty. He leaned over the sink, resting his arms over its harsh, metal edge. The mixture of extraordinary stress, fatigue, despondence and fear culminated in a wave of nausea that he fought hard against. He couldn’t quite keep everything bottled up inside, and so he burst into tears, letting out the pain of immeasurable loss, sobbing uncontrollably.
The door opened. Jamie kept his head down initially, but upon noticing it was yet another officer he was about to encounter, straightened up. Embarrassed, he took a deep breath in and quickly reached out to the nearby hand towel next to the sink, drying his face off so he’d appear at least somewhat presentable. It probably wasn’t good for anyone on the ship to realise he was a bit soft, not when they’re at war.
“Sorry, sir,” he said, somewhat nasally, congested from the crying he tried to hide. The man in front of him was a Captain.
“Relax, Specialist, you’re not the first one to have a break down today, and you won’t be the last.” Cooper said. “At least you didn’t do it in the middle of CIC,” he said with a smirk. “Captain Cooper Yates, nav officer,” he said extending a hand.
Jamie accepted it. “Jamie Perth, sir. Medic.” He tried sniffing away his blocked nose, to only moderate effect. “Were you… on this ship when the attack occurred today?”
“No I was on leave from the Solaria, on Virgon during the attack. Luckily managed to get aboard the Achilles before she jumped,” Cooper said in a sombre tone. “Yourself?”
“I had just departed Scorpia Fleet Yards on a medical Raptor. Had just gone through re-entry into the atmosphere when the bombs hit. We were transporting a patient to one of the hospitals on the surface. We think the re-entry masked us from being detected by the Cylons…” The young medic steadied himself by holding onto the edge of the sink again, turning away as if trying to avoid being seen, as tears began to well up in his eyes again. “Saw the centre of Argentum… It was in ruins…”
“Virgon wasn’t much better. I had been out along the coast in Raptor at the time, far enough out to not be caught in the initial bombardment.” Coop said, “Anyway, we survived, I’m sure your skills will be in high demand in the coming weeks.”
Jamie took a moment to get himself together again. He took a quick breath in and exhaled sharply, still feeling awkward. “Hopefully not,” he commented. “If my skills end up in high demand, it means we’ll be having a heap of casualties and some very sick people.”
“It’s an unfortunate reality of our current situation.” Coop said. “Hopefully more people survived than this little group we have forming here. A few thousand out of billions.”
The medic couldn’t be sure where all this optimism was coming from in other people. The man he’d met at the missing persons board, Ryan, seemed to share it as well. Maybe that was Jamie’s problem, and why he was having so much trouble coming to terms with the attacks. Perhaps it was a military thing – putting on a tough face in the direst of circumstances. He was, after all, a reservist who underwent Fleet duties only one or two months a year. At least until now.
“It’ll take decades – if not a century or more – for us to rebuild,” he suggested. But there was no use thinking of whether humanity would ever return to the scale it once was. With little doubt, it certainly wasn’t something he’d see in his lifetime.
“Anyway,” he said, shaking his head off the thought. “Sorry, sir. I better head back to sickbay. I’ll let you… continue on with your business. Was nice to meet you, Captain.” He began making his way out the door.
“Specialist,” Coop said with a nod as he watched the other man leave.