simon_doctor: (crew)
He sits staring at the screen for something close to a minute, trying to persuade himself that it's real.

This is to confirm our receipt of your formal acceptance.

We are pleased to welcome you to Greenleaf-Iskelion.

Please expect communication from the human resources specialist attached to our research and clinical services department regarding the time, date, and location of your orientation. This will occur after you have completed relocation to Logan City, Praxed. Your attached specialist will assist you with the logistics of your move as well.

Your anticipated formal start date is February 1, 2524. We have appended a copy of your formal job description.

We look forward to a fruitful working relationship with you. Please do not hesitate to let your specialist know of any concerns or issues that we can help you resolve.

Best regards,

Cline Guo
Senior Chief Officer for Human Resources

It's one of the harder things he's ever had to do, raising his voice at the dinner table that night, even after Kaylee's steady nod. Seeing them all look at him; knowing they already know, or suspect, what he's going to say.

"I," he starts -- and absurdly, all he can think of is the day the engines blew out, the first year he was on this ship; it was his birthday, and they made him a cake.

This crew's been my family. And this ship's been my home.

"You all know by now that I've been offered a job, on Praxed."

A long beat, a deep breath.

"It seems I'm taking it."
simon_doctor: (with Kaylee - talking)
"He says he's not mad at you."

They're sitting on the green couch in the upstairs room at Milliways that he's come to think of as theirs. Simon's cradling a teacup between his palms.
simon_doctor: (Serenity)
Serenity has a cargo pickup scheduled on Hadrian in a week. They've been there before; Mal likes to get there well ahead of time, so as to be sure they set eyes on whoever's coming before they land. They'll be there for about a day.

The thing about Hadrian is that it's well off the beaten track, and vast areas of it are inhabitable but uninhabited. Including long stretches of sandy coastline, favored by free traders for their lack of cover.

Further south along the coast than they've been before, though, there are a few beach houses, favored by tourists looking to get away from pretty much everything for a little while.

Simon's not aware of the existence of these until he gets a wave from Jordie, about two days before the cargo pickup in question.

Sand gusts outward in a circle as the shuttle carefully settles to the ground, well above the high-tide mark. Simon steps out, shading his eyes with one hand against the early-afternoon sun, and peers toward the cottage on the shore for any sign of life.
simon_doctor: (Serenity)
After Kaylee's conversation with Mal, Simon's a lot more uncertain about how this one is going to go.

But he's twice as certain as before that it's necessary.

It's late at night, and he's hoping to find Mal on the bridge.
simon_doctor: (Default)
It's midafternoon, ship's time. Nobody else is likely to be around.

Simon taps lightly on the door to River's room.
simon_doctor: (encyclopedia)
The first surprise is that the textwave reaches him care of Serenity.

The second is its content.

Dr. Tam,

Ni hao. In regard to our earlier offer, you mentioned the possibility of revisiting the question in a year's time.

I'd like to take this opportunity to introduce you to Drs. Michael Oberste and Hana Mitel, who are heading our newest program: a rotating mobile clinic circuit on the Rim and Border worlds, to begin work within the next two months. They hope to establish a working relationship with you, as the most experienced doctor currently practicing in an area that we all believe has been too long neglected. I have appended a missive from Drs. Oberste and Mitel, including the names of the eight physicians working under them.

Also appended you will find a revisited proposal regarding the assistant directorship of the Rural Health Research Initiative. While it is not the same job we offered you last year, I think you may find it an interesting one.

I hope to hear from you soon.

Best regards,

Dr. Gloria Kaneka

He sits staring at the text for several minutes before he opens either of the attachments. The first one is brief but courteous, and includes at least one name he recognizes from the training course on the portable imager at Gage.

The second attachment does, in fact, prove to be a very interesting one.

It's quite some time before Simon gets to sleep, that night.
simon_doctor: (Default)
It's late ship's night, and Simon can't sleep.

He's talked the offer over with Kaylee again, after Dr. Stantz confirmed that he could help. They've agreed that she'll talk to Mal, and he'll talk to River. Soon; it'll have to be soon.

He hasn't talked to her yet about his conversation with his father. He's going to have to, he knows, but she's got enough to worry about right now.

And somewhere in the back of his mind is a further worry, about how long it's been since he's heard from Jordie. The brief textwave from his aunt said he was fine, but....

It's late ship's night, and he can't sleep, and there's tea in the kitchen.
simon_doctor: (eyes)
He still can't get anywhere near River, but he has a lead now.

He goes through his workday as though everything is normal, and there are moments when he could almost believe that everything really is. That all of this is some paranoid fantasy, brought about by who knows what buried impulses.

He keeps one of River's letters in his pockets, the decoded version, for those moments.

Maybe he really is paranoid, as his mother's suggested. Maybe he's crazy. But he's not wrong.

Simon steps out of the hospital doors and moves briskly toward the sidewalk, bag in hand.
simon_doctor: (encyclopedia)
The last textwave he got from Jordie said I'm going off-grid for a few weeks.

It's been close to a month, and Simon's looking through his inbound messages and wondering if he should write.
simon_doctor: (brilliant doctor)
It's another day; another job on a Rim planet. Cargo to pick up, and a mobile clinic stop a few miles away from where Serenity's landed. They're expected to take about the same amount of time.

They don't, quite.

The clinic shuttle finally appears about five minutes before scheduled takeoff.

"Glad you could join us, Doc," comes Wash's voice over the speakers, cheerfully sardonic. "Your landing pad's clear."

"Thank you," comes Simon's voice in response. "Docking now." And that's all.

The shuttle docks. The last pieces of cargo have been fastened down in the cargo bay, and everyone's aboard. The ramp lifts, the airlock closes, and Serenity breaks atmo only about two minutes behind schedule.

Simon hasn't emerged from the shuttle.
simon_doctor: (encyclopedia)
Jordie --

I haven't been as good about keeping in touch as I might have been.

We've settled back into something close to our usual routine by now. It's strange; I expected to miss Osiris, but I didn't expect Kaylee to miss it even more than I do. Living on board ship again is taking some reacclimating.

How have you been? Any interesting news? (Real or fabricated?)

simon_doctor: (with Kaylee - hands)
The night they find out the ship is going to be in dock on Praxed over a few days, including one particular day, they have a long and subdued conversation.

The day before they make planetfall, Kaylee has a few quiet words with Mal.

Serenity lands late morning, local time. They've each packed a small overnight bag, and Simon's found a good hotel not far from the docks.

They've got errands to run, but those will wait until tomorrow. )
simon_doctor: (with Kaylee - smiling)
The weather's good this morning; the air's chilly but the sun's bright and warm, and the sky is a clear translucent blue with no hint of rain.

The major marketplace of Logan City is spread out ahead of them, a thousand bright colors and a cacophony of voices, swarming and busy and alive. It doesn't feel like starting over, because you can't start over, but it's good enough for now. And they have things to accomplish.
simon_doctor: (Default)
It's their last night on Osiris. Their ship to Persephone leaves Isis Spaceport early tomorrow morning; they're going to have to leave before it's full daylight.

The apartment is very nearly as bare tonight as it was when they first saw it; the closest thing to furnishing, right now, is two sleeping bags spread out on the bedroom floor.
simon_doctor: (Default)
It's morning. Simon has been awake for a little while yet; Kaylee is still asleep.

Though it's anyone's guess how much longer she will be, with the smells of coffee and cooking starting to pervade the little cabin.
simon_doctor: (pleased)
When he sees the restored skimmer, Simon stops in his tracks. The suitcase he's towing bumps into his ankle; he barely notices.

"Kaylee," he says, starting to smile. "It's lìngrén jingyì."
simon_doctor: (crew)
Wednesday, Serenity makes a cargo drop on a little moon out back of beyond. Everyone on board gets a chance to stretch their legs while the captain's negotiating with his disreputable buyers; under her father's watchful eye, Naomi Warren-Washburne spends some quality time playing in the dirt with three or four other kids. One, a six-year-old boy, has a nasty-sounding cough that makes Wash nervous after a little while, and he brings Naomi back to the ship sooner than he'd planned.

(Not quite soon enough.)

Friday morning Naomi is uncharacteristically listless, and by the afternoon she's started coughing and whimpering. A textwave marked URGENT is dispatched, and Simon makes his return to the ship several hours earlier than usual.


"It's the damp-lung," Kaylee says flatly. "Seen enough of it to know. Had it myself, when I was eight."

"This doesn't make sense," Simon's muttering, flicking between pages of his medical encyclopedia. "Kaylee, are these always the symptoms of damp-lung? High fever, swollen throat, wheezing, that very harsh cough? Usually a children's disease?"

"Shi a. Why don't that make sense?"

"That part makes perfect sense. What doesn't make sense is that every test I've run indicates that Naomi has CPB. Ah, children's pneumonic bronchiolitis. And that's ... " He looks up from the screen. "That's supposed to have been stamped out."

"Well." She leans against the doorframe, arms folded. "Guess not. Or not out here."


By Saturday afternoon Naomi's fever breaks, and starts sinking.

Dinner conversation is mostly on the subject of home remedies for the damp-lung. Simon's bemused by some of the suggestions: the bag of salt and orange peel to be placed under the bed or in the sick child's pocket is possibly the weirdest one, though the hot ginger-and-garlic infusion championed by Ma Cobb may have some real therapeutic value.

Sometime near the end of the meal, a tiny figure in a white nightshirt peers into the kitchen, pads silently over to Simon's chair, climbs into his lap, and puts her dark curly head down on his shoulder as though utterly exhausted.

By the time he's taken her temperature one more time (down another .4) and handed her off to Zoe to carry back to bed, she's already mostly asleep again.


Sunday midmorning, Naomi's temperature is within a degree of normal and her coughing has all but completely stopped. Simon pronounces her recovering well, and promises both worried parents to come back to check on her Monday afternoon. She should keep resting, he tells them, and drink plenty of fluids.

Yes, including the ginger-garlic infusion if she'll drink it. (It can't hurt.)
simon_doctor: (Default)
Visits are nice, when you're convalescing.

Even if they can only happen over a vidscreen.
simon_doctor: (pensive)
The last two days before the exams are spent in the most intensive cramming he's ever done in his life. Kaylee makes him stop periodically: to eat, to sleep, to take a break before his eyes fall out of his head. He grumbles about that being physiologically unlikely, but doesn't argue.

On the last night, he firmly puts the texts away in time to get eight hours of uninterrupted sleep. The exams would be grueling even if he weren't coming off of a debilitating illness; the last thing he needs is to attempt to sit for them with a brain full of fatigue toxins.

He tells himself that, and finally manages to drop off with seven hours to go.


When Simon steps into the apartment late that afternoon and closes the door behind him, he's moving slowly as an old man and aching in every limb. And smiling a small exhausted smile.
simon_doctor: (Default)
The last day of classes is over, and that means Hell Week officially begins tonight.

Simon's sitting on the couch with his datareader, several overlapping screens open at once, and is touch-tapping notes into at least three of them with his stylus.
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