Crazy feels in this for an officer trying to deal with the fallout from a secondment to the KDF. Amazing writing as always from @Sera zh' Aella and @Quinn Reynolds.
((Spa - Cochtois Lagoon))
:: Wearing a dark blue shirt and smart black pants, Sera strode purposely through the spa lobby. The attire wasn't weather appropriate, the heat and sunshine would normally have made her uncomfortable in such a dark outfit but right now she wasn't concerned with comfort. She wasn't quite marching like a cadet on the parade ground, but if anyone had paid attention to her they would have seen many similar features. The stern-faced determination and the measured posture with her shoulders back and head held high. Only now she was using the drilled movements as façade to hide her inner emotional turmoil, a crutch to lean on as she tried to perform an act which her heart rebelled against but that her brain knew was absolutely necessary. ::
:: Sera's career hadn't exactly been the stuff of legends but she did have a few achievements that she was incredibly proud of. Leading an away team on the Romulan Republic colony of Sikuna and the resulting action on the bridge of the IRW D'delnor was probably her finest achievement. But there were other less dramatic things which she held close to her heart, most importantly she still considered it an honoured to wear the uniform each day. It was an honour she doubted that she deserved, so perhaps it was fitting that she was having this meeting in civilian wear. Maybe the absence of her uniform would make the unpalatable task a little easier.::
:: When Sera approached the Admiral's table she felt a lump in her throat and the urge to turn and run. For a moment she paused in her tracks and considered indulging the thought, but only for the briefest of moments. squashing those feelings deep down inside her, she continued up to the table with renewed determination. When the flag officer noticed her, Sera came to attention despite officially being on shore leave and civilian clothing. Formality would be the only way to get through this.::
zh'Aella: Admiral Reynolds, Sir.
Reynolds: Hello Lieutenant. Would you like to take a seat?
::Sera remained standing but took the offer as permission to relax her stance. In contrast to her sombre clothing, the Admiral was wearing a light, draped shirt and capri pants, sandals on her feet. Wherever her combadge was, it had been stowed safely out of sight.::
zh'Aella: Thank you for agreeing to see me, Sir. I won't take up much of your time.
Reynolds: It's fine. ::She offered a quick smile.:: What can I do for you?
:: From her pants pocket Sera withdrew a PADD and her combadge. She gazed at the iconic symbol for several seconds before putting it and the padd down on the table. She found herself wringing her hands again and placed them both behind her back.::
zh'Aella: Admiral Reynolds, I'm officially offering my resignation.
:: It wasn't too often that someone caught the Admiral off-guard, but Sera had achieved it. Her eyebrows shot up, lips parting wordlessly before she caught herself and sat up in her chair.::
Reynolds: I beg your pardon?
::The look on the admiral's face made it harder and Sera felt herself waver slightly.::
zh'Aella: Yes sir, the uniform is too important to me to be disgraced my actions or worse, my potential actions.
Reynolds: You're going to have to explain.
::Sera shuffled uneasily, had the Admiral not heard about the incident in the ‘Cargo’ hold? Hadn't the civilian mental health nurse advised her of his preliminary diagnosis?::
zh'Aella: Sir, there probably a report waiting in your queue. I started having… relieving memories when we were receiving our medical assessments on the Yarahla. ::Her hands were back in front of her, trembling at the memory.:: I was so confused that I threw an Orion Security officer to the ground under the belief that I was still serving with the Klingons.
Reynolds: Yes, I saw it happen. ::She paused.:: What triggered it?
:: Sera’s antennae shuddered in embarrassment at the thought of her Commanding Officer watching her break with reality but she forced herself to continue, an explanation was owed for the outburst.::
zh'Aella: The Gre'Thor found a detention area on an Orion pirate base. It was ugly… I tried to kill the pirate leader and was restrained by two enlisted crewmembers.
::She knew that the admission would be the end of her career, but that was precisely why she'd sought out this meeting. She wasn’t going to stain the end of her career further by lying to someone she respected. But to Sera’s surprise, the Admiral kept her response guarded.::
Reynolds: I see.
::With that unexpected response, Sera felt compelled to continue as she stood under the gaze of her CO.::
zh'Aella: I've been diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I don't want another incident to tarnish the Gorkon and I don't want my friends to get hurt because of my failure.
Reynolds: Nothing's tarnished, Lieutenant. You've been hurt. It's a wound, not a failing.
::Was the Admiral serious about that? Sera didn't think the flag officer would sugarcoat anything to spare a junior officer's feelings but her words were difficult to accept. By any means of measurement, Sera considered her actions contemptible.::
zh'Aella: Maybe, Sir. But wouldn't the Gorkon be better off with someone else as the Chief of Security? Someone you could trust?
::The warm breeze picked up for a few moments, and it carried with it the scent of barbeque and sweet fruits. Reynolds absently smoothed down the strands of hair that it caught, and in one smooth movement it became a gesture toward the other chair at her table.::
Reynolds: Are you sure you won't sit down? ::She offered the Andorian a small smile.:: If nothing else, you're doing to give me a crick in my neck.
::Sera relented and sat in the chair opposite her commanding officer. Once seated, Quinn gestured for her to continue.::
zh'Aella: I'm afraid that I'll have another episode and do something which cant be undone with an apology.
Reynolds: You've been diagnosed, Sera. Have you started any treatment yet? Counselling, medications..?
::Her face heated at the questions and her antennae shuddered as she realised that she wouldn't be able to give a satisfactory answer.::
zh'Aella: I have a treatment plan which includes medication and therapy. The medication I got on the Yarahla helped alittle. But… :: She stuttered for a moment.:: But, I haven't started therapy yet.
Reynolds: ::Gently,:: Are you planning to?
:: Pride clashed with the knowledge that she needed to seek help, the conflicting feelings causing her head to spin.::
zh'Aella: I was in the process of booking a session, but I'm not sure how talking about my feelings will help. Resigning seemed like the better option. ::Reynolds didn't answer immediately, and Sera's antennae dropped flat to her head.:: Maybe I choose the easier way out.
::Marching up an Admiral and offering her resignation sure didn't feel easy at the time. But perhaps it was easier than discussing, and attempting to manage, her mental state with people she had to see daily.::
Reynolds: There's nothing easy about any of it. ::She paused, considering her response.:: Take it from someone who's stridently private, and spent half her career fleeing in the opposite direction whenever she saw the ship's counsellor... it helps. It's not just talking. It's learning about yourself, understanding yourself and what you've been through. It's about figuring out the techniques that will help you.
:: Sera let out a deep breath and placed her trembling hands on the table. She cupped them in an effort to keep them from trembling, and immediately her right heel began bouncing off the floor causing her leg to shake. It was almost enough to send her into a nervous giggling fit, but only almost.::
zh'Aella: I looked at the symptoms of this... of my, disorder when I got back to my quarters. I haven't experienced many of them yet, but I might in the future. Relieving the flashbacks was bad enough but other symptoms might strike when I'm not expecting them. I don't want to resign, but I honestly don't know if I can do my job while dealing with this.
Reynolds: We have a while before the conference ends and we're back on duty. Take that time to think about it. You have to do what's best for you, and if that really *is* resigning your commission, then that's what it is. ::She paused, woodland eyes intent on Sera.:: But give yourself a little time, and take a little help. If the counsellor clears you for duty, that's good enough for me. Talk with her and start your healing, before making any final decisions.
:: She sat there with her leg vibrating under the table and hands clenched together so fiercely that Sera's mind began to have thoughts of hanging onto a ladder as she was flipped her head over heels. Fortunately the memories were not so vivid that she forgot where she was, but the increased level of anxiety was undeniable. It felt like people at the other tables were watching her, judging her. Sera closed her eyes, recognising the negative feeling and began breathing slowly and deeply. After a minute she felt slightly calmer.::
zh'Aella: Yes sir. I'll start working on it, on healing and get back to you. :: She collected the PADD and combadge from the table.:: I'll hang on to those for a little while longer. I'm sorry for laying this on you, Admiral.
Reynolds: I'm glad that you did. ::She offered a small, kind smile.:: You're not alone in this, Sera.
zh'Aella: Thank you sir.
Reynolds: Alright. ::She paused, about to say something else, and then changed her mind.:: Try and enjoy your shore leave, in the meantime. And if you *do* need anything, just ask.
Lieutenant Sera zh'Aella
Chief of Security and Tactical
Rear Admiral Quinn Reynolds