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Alora DeVeau

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Alora DeVeau last won the day on September 15

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About Alora DeVeau

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  • Birthday 02/24/1978

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  1. ((Level 34 Medical Isolation Ward, Deep Space 9 )) Geoff waited for the doors to seal behind them before crossing his arms over his chest. The room looked like fairly standard guest quarters with a few extra machines bolted to the walls and corners, but aside from that and the crackle of an isolation field over the window, there was little to distract them. The ideal setting for Alieth’s promised ‘discussion.’ Something was buzzing within Teller’s skull and, the more time went on, the more it was going from a distraction to a fullscale assault on his conscious mind. Teller: Doc...what the hell is going on with me? Alieth: It is not easy to explain, but I suppose that you would agree with me that a sudden enthusiasm for zhar-kur tei and an encyclopaedic knowledge of Surak's teachings is not something you can acquire in an ordinary temporary anomaly Teller: So it’s probably a bad time to mention that I nearly flunked basic Vulcan philosophy at the Academy? Alieth: The fact that you were right only makes it worse Geoff shrugged expansively, still completely at a loss. Teller: So are you going to tell me what’s going on or do I need to guess? transporter duplicate? Changeling? Are you a hologram? ::Geoff poked her shoulder, then himself in mock panic:: AM I A HOLOGRAM?! She uncrossed her arms and averted her eyes. For a split second, she nibbled on her lower lip, till it took on a deep green hue. Alieth: Lieute-.... ::She did not finish the word, but closed her eyes and lowered her head a bit. The moment she looked into his eyes again there was an elusive expression on her countenance. And yet, an expression.:: ... Geoffrey John... I could explain this. Or I can just show you. I think that the latter will be more convenient. She made another short pause, and when she spoke again, she stressed her words. Alieth: It will be the most beneficial for the three of us Geoff’s total number of questions kept increasing. Teller: Show me? Wait, what do you mean the three…. One look at Alieth’s expression told him this situation was of the gravest importance to her. Geoff trusted her, as an officer and as a friend, and something within him encouraged that trust - a sense of deep agreement. Geoff sat in the chair indicated and waited as Alieth closed her eyes, quietly centering herself, before extending her fingers towards the side of his face. Geoff heard words, first in his ears and then within his mind, before a flood of images began. ((Five years ago, Flat complex 26, first floor, Chi-ree, Xial, Vulcan )) The wind rustled the soft gauze of the curtains. There was a storm looming. However, not a spring storm, that would bring water and life to the thirsty oasis on the outskirts of the city, but a sand and lightning storm, that would threaten to cause havoc in its wake. Exactly like the storm that was brewing within her. At the foot of her bed, Mu-kur emitted a low, anxious, bothered snarl. The female sehlat smelt the tempest, both inside and outside, and neither of them pleased her. The irritable animal rose to her feet and leapt up to the bed, right on top of the elaborate wedding dress that Alieth should be wearing at that moment. The young Vulcan sat down next to the animal and ran a hand over her coarse fur. Under her fingers, instead of the familiar affection and the simple and sincere mind of the animal, she found nothing but irritation. That reaction was understandable and, nevertheless, she was extremely upset for it. She caught a muffled sob struggling to leave her chest. Her soon-to-be husband's condition began to percolate through the bond that had tied them since childhood and her control of emotions was, to say the least, imperfect. Alieth: I do not like it either, Mu-kur, ::she said as she took the massive shaggy cheeks of the animal and placed her immense head in her lap:: But what it is, is, and we can only accept it. Sern: And yet, acceptance is not always the way. Alieth: SERN! He took a step closer to the door frame, folding his arms and leaning against it as he stood in profile. She gave a small, humourless snort, yet the corners of her lips curled into an improper little smile. She didn't care, if anyone really knew her, it was the man resting under the lintel. Sern: You delay. Alieth: And you mention the most obvious things, as usual. Although her words had a harsh quality, her tone was soft. This was a conversation they had shared a thousand times, both familiar and reassuring. But almost immediately, this little joy sublimated in the presence of the impending storm. Alieth: You know it is already too late to cancel the engagement. She stroked the sehlat's heavy head again and buried her fingers in the long fur. Alieth: I just wish I had had more time for... :: shaking her head: It does not matter any more, musing about implausible futures is pointless Sern: You know there is another way. You are not bound yet. Another snort echoed in the small room, even more bitter than the former. Alieth searched for Sern's eyes, but he still had his sight somewhere in one of the jambs. This only made her more frustrated, and the predator on her lap snarled in annoyance, echoing her emotions. Alieth: For that matter, we might as well be. Every alternative available is either overdue or foolish. He turned his head to study her face. Her behavior was… most unusual. Sern: Please - enlighten me as to where, exactly, the logic lies in that decision, Al’rig-pseth. Alieth: What else is left to do? Resort to a ritual that has not been practised for decades? And at what price? Sern: Precisely. The ritual would not exist were it not intended to be used. He stepped further in, pausing to run a hand through the thick fur on the sehlat’s back. Alieth: Asenara… you cannot be serious about that. Sern: I assure you - I would not have extended the offer if I were not. She moved her from the feline's fur to Sern's countenance, looking for...something. A teasing expression, hesitation, doubt... whatever, something that suggested that he would not take the risk that his previous words entailed. What she found was quite different. Alieth: You are aware that what can happen if... Sern: I am - and if this is the way it must be done, then the risk is one I choose to accept. If you wish to continue with Spahn, then I will not stop you. But I know as well as you that this is not the future you planned. I simply seek to provide an alternative - the only alternative available. She sat in silence and listened carefully to his words. His hands remained motionless over Mu-Kur's spine. As he finished his speech, they looked at each other for a brief moment... and before Alieth had a chance to think what she was doing, she found herself hugging tightly to her closest friend. ((Temple. Vulcan Forge, Xial, Vulcan )) The Temple grounds had been there for innumerable generations. Desert sands had ravaged them for endless centuries, until the original building shape had become diffuse, reduced to a succession of arches under high pillars. Behind the veil that covered her face, Alieth deemed them as a crown of fangs. Or, perhaps, the bars of a cage. The small procession that escorted her made a final turn to meet the group that was waiting there. The Matriarch T'Mihn, sat on the platform that dominated the temple, on her right, the relatives and supporters of her future husband gathered in a small circle around him. Alieth turned to seek Sern's gaze, hesitation plain in her face. Then, she moved forward to her right and, with that simple step, the ceremony began. The matriarch recited the words that had been repeated so many times, that comes from the time of the beginning without change, the very heart and soul of Vulcan. The audience rang the bells and Spahn proceeded to walk towards the gong, holding the mallet with trembling, pale hands. The storm raged, thundering on every metal instrument as invisible raindrops. The mallet drew a wide arc and rose to the sky to strike the copper plate… ...and she ran through the open space to block its path and declare with a shaky voice. Alieth: Kal-if-fee Spahn stared at her for a while. At first, there was confusion on his face, then frustration that grew into furious anger as he turned to the crowd in search of the one who would challenge his right. The storm kicked up whorls of dust from the temple ground, the tempest reflected in the black pools of Spahn’s eyes. There was rage there, rage and desire percolating dangerously, ready to explode on the challenger. Sern set his jaw and raised his gaze to meet those wild eyes. Untamed. One might even say, frightening. He did not hear Alieth’s words as she crossed back, through the rush of wind and the thunderous beating of his own heart. T’Mihn: Alieth, thee will choose thy Champion If there was judgment or surprise in the old woman, her voice didn't reveal it. Alieth: As it was in the dawn of our days, and it is today, as it will be for all tomorrows, I make my choice. The traditional words fell from her lips like a litany, with the weight of tradition and what was to come. The subsequent break, though, was all but too long. Alieth: This one. Her arm extended forward, finger outstretched, naming Sern as the challenger. The fabric of her sleeve snapped and whipped around her arm, shifting the appendage with the changing winds. Disguising, perhaps, her own trepidation. Holding her gaze now, he stepped forward, further isolating himself from the others. A marked man. (A little theme music) Up close, the pulsating green veins showed through Spahn’s skin - the plak tow running full-force now. Targets. The two stepped three paces apart. The weapon’s shaft sank into Sern’s hands - heavy, ceremonial… Impractically weighted for ordinary use, but lending just the right amount of gravitas to the ritual that crossed a thousand generations. Kill or be killed. Sern adjusted his grip to better suit the ancient, oversized lirpa. He widened his stance, digging his heels into the dirt. Standing ready. T’Mihn: Fal’i’kal! Careful steps, left over right, moving through the space as a circle. Never turn your back, never take your eyes off the blade… Sern shifted the lirpa to his other side as he and Spahn continued to circle… Suddenly, Spahn’s blade launched forward, slicing through the air with an audible whung - propelled by an energy completely primal, devoid of all strategy beyond kill. Sern leapt backwards, narrowly dodging the fattest part of the curved blade. He countered the swing with a hard whack from the shaft of the lirpa, knocking Spahn off-balance with the force. As Spahn staggered backwards, Sern raised the weapon over his shoulder. He thrust forward with it as he advanced one step, then two… finally catching the other man in the shoulder with a heavy blow from the blunt end. The final strike forced Spahn to the ground. Sern advanced one final step, pure raw anger coursing through his mind to match Spahn’s. He raised the lirpa, blade poised to deliver one final, deadly blow from above… ... His blade sank deep - not into flesh, but sand. Sern growled, yanking the weapon back up and whipping around as he searched the shifting sands for his target. A sudden blow to the ankle knocked Sern off his feet, landing flat on his back with a forceful crack. He tensed, expecting any second to feel the lirpa blade plunge into his own body. Nothing. Silence, if not for the howling storm. Sern pressed the lirpa’s weighted end into the sand, climbing slowly along the length to his feet. The storm had only intensified since the challenge began - or perhaps it was his own adrenaline-enhanced senses drawing every little detail out from the background. He could scarcely make out the shadowy figures of the marriage party gathered along the edge of the ring, watching, waiting… The sound of his own heavy breathing filled his ears as he, too, watched and waited. Searching, wondering… Had he struck a lucky blow? A roar emanated from behind him. Sern snapped around with barely half a second to block a wild swing from Spahn’s lirpa as it came within centimeters of separating his arm from his body. He retreated quickly, blocking as blow after blow after blow rained down upon him. Finally, he managed to strike back, catching Spahn’s blade with his own and giving a hard shove to one side. Metal caught stone with a ringing clang - the reverberation suddenly silenced as the blade shattered. Sern ducked low, scurrying out of the immediate radius to regain the upper hand. He advanced, the lirpa slicing through the air only to be met by his opponent’s blunt blocks. The jagged edge sliced past his ear, past his side - missing and missing again. Sern slammed through a few hard, quick rebuttals of his own, until… … … … They missed each other and found their marks. A fountain of green poured from the incision across Spahn’s neck, slowing gradually to a rhythmic spurt that arced outwards under failing pressure. Sern released his grip on the lirpa, letting it fall to the sand beside him. The two men stared at one another for a moment, the deafening silence building. Sern only noticed his own wound as Spahn collapsed to the sand, taking the jagged, green-stained blade with him. A sharp pain ripped through his abdomen. And when touched, his hand came away green… Before she even knew what she was doing, Alieth had crossed the sand, the vaporous dress shaken behind her in the storm. By the time he reached him, Sern had collapsed. She dropped to her knees beside him as she ripped her sleeve. Alieth: No, nononono The patch of dress she was holding over the wound immediately dyed green and soaked with blood, which slipped through her fingers and ran down her wrists until it eventually flowed into the ever-thirsty sands of the Forge. Alieth: No, please Asenara, stay with me. Do not leave me, please, stay with me. All her knowledge, all the years of study, all the preparation had vanished from her mind, and she tried unsuccessfully to stop the river flowing from the wound, with only her hands and her despair. Sern: I - I cannot... There was nothing she could do. Nothing. She cupped his cheek in her hand and leaned to rest her forehead on his. Alieth: (in desperate sobbing) Sern... Asenara, stay with me… do not leave me… not like this, don’t leave me, please. His hand rose between them, the muscles of his arm spasming with sheer effort. His fingers aligned along her cheekbone and the edge of her face. Sern: Vokau. Her hand ran over his wounded body until her index and middle finger caressed his. And just moments later, his hand slipped into the sand. Nothing but dust in the wind moved for a long time. ((Level 34 Medical Isolation Ward, Deep Space 9)) (OOC - Only Teller can hear Sern. Telepathic communication is signified by ‘~’ marks.) Geoff gasped and sagged backwards, the connection between them broken. His hand reflexively went towards the wound that wasn’t there, but he felt a very real ache where the blade had cut deeply. He blinked, his hand dripping with green blood one moment and then clean the next. His headache, a deep ringing echo behind his eyes, had grown to nearly blinding proportions. Teller: What...the hell...was that…. Alieth: That is what it was. And how I lost him, the one you carry now, the first time Sern: ~That is, until the Bond was broken. By you.~ Geoff’s eyes snapped open at the intensity of the foreign voice. He looked around the room like a panicked animal, unable to locate its source. Teller: WHAT?! WHAT the hell are you doing here? Sern: ~Ah - now you hear me…~ She opened her eyes, surprised by Teller’s words and leaned forward. Alieth: (speaking hastly) WHAT-What do you mean you...? Standing up and getting ready to auscultate him:: Can you hear him? it is not supposed to be feasible for a psy-null alien to... Sern: ~I assumed you would have come to that conclusion on your own by now… Autopilot functions do not entirely extend to the beings actually piloting the vessel.~ Teller: No wait stop you’re both talking at the same time… Alieth: Of course, of course. Allow me to replicate a relaxing infusion, sharing your mind with another person can be distressing when untrained.... Maybe a chamomile? Or tilleul? or… Without waiting for an answer, Alieth jumped out of her seat and made her way swiftly to the replicator. Sern: ~An excellent suggestion. That Klingon infusion you keep drinking is decidedly unpalatable, not to mention incredibly damaging to your digestive system.~ Teller: NO I DON'T WANT HERBAL TEA DAMMIT! Sern: ~I do not see the need for a reaction that strong, Geoffrey. I was merely stating the obvious.~ Alieth: (with admonishing tone) I really fail to perceive the necessity for such a strong reaction, Geoffrey John. Geoff slumped back into the chair, hands on his temples. It was like trying to sort through voices at a party, except somehow the party was happening inside of his skull. Teller: Look, ok, uh….Sern...he’s...just...awake, now. And talking. Won’t shut up actually. I thought Vulcans were supposed to be laconic. ::Geoff groaned and rubbed his temples:: Can you just...ya know...take him back? It’s feeling a little crowded in here ::Teller thunked his knuckles against his throbbing skull:: Alieth: I tried when we shared my memories but his katra seems to have nested in your brain for some reason and I cannot get it back Teller: What do you mean you can’t get him back? Hey, buddy, really sorry about you getting killed but I’m pretty sure my brain is only rated for one occupant. Barely. Sern: ~This was not my choice either, but it would be futile to complain about that which one cannot change.~ Alieth:I guess that means that we have to resort to an expert... on Vulcan. Which may be somewhat problematic given the prevailing circumstances Teller: Vulcan!? Wait, how can there be experts on this? I have so many questions... Sern: ~So, so many… Where to begin… ~ Alieth: First, the legal ones, naturally. From a legal point of view you are the depositary of a stolen asset and, thus, a felon as an accomplice. Teller: Wait, what?! Not only do I have a ghost stuck in my head, I’ve got a stolen ghost stuck in my head? Ok, look, I need some answers, and Chuckles in my head here is getting pretty antsy as well. Ain’t that right Chuckles? Sern: ~ “Chuckles”? ~ Teller: So let me see if I’ve got this all clear. I’ve got your old, dead boyfriend stuck in my skull. Alieth: ::slightly green dye striving to reach the tips of her ears:: My deceased BEST friend is a more apt description Sern: ~Our relationship harbored no emotions of a romantic nature, I assure you.~ Teller: Uh huh, he said that too. I don’t believe either of you. Alieth: (Accompanied by the most dreadful glare of the entire Vulcan repertoire) COMMANDER Sern: ~...While I understand that relationships between Human males and females often struggle to separate the platonic from the romantic, that is decidedly not the case between two Vulcans…~ Teller: Ok, look Chuckles - you and I are going to have to come to some kind of an understanding if you’re going to be crashing on my cerebral couch for a while…. Sern: ~Indeed, perhaps I can be of assistance...~ Geoff’s headache had finally gone down to a minor throb. It didn’t seem like Sern was ‘yelling’ anymore, and Geoff was feeling more like himself. If himself was locked in a small elevator with a Vulcan looming uncomfortably close over his shoulder. Teller: I’ll work it out with Fleet Captain Kells. I bet you a slip of GPL there’s even a Starfleet form for exactly this kind of problem - might even be a procedure book. Alieth...look, we’ll figure this out...somehow. I don’t need a ghost in my head to tell me how important this guy was to you. Start reaching out to whoever you need to on Vulcan and we can start getting the legal issues addressed. It’ll be a fun one for the JAG corp to sink their teeth into. We’re going to fix this - that’s a Good Job Guarantee. Sern: ::slightly irritated:: ~You and I have much to discuss, ~ [TBC!] ((OOC: Some handy Vulcan translation notes: vokau → Remember zhar-kur tei → Verbatim, orange tea. A widely consumed stimulating infusion from Chi-ree)) Fal’i’kal → Begin Kal-if-fee → act of challenge (high vulcan) =============================== Lieutenant Commander Geoffrey Teller Executive Officer USS Thor - NCC 82607 Fleet Captain A. Kells, Commanding V239509GT0 & Lt. JG Alieth Medical Officer USS Thor Fleet Captain A. Kells, Commanding Author ID number: E239702A10 & Sern of Vulcan E239602QD0
  2. ((CO’s Office – The Hub – StarBase 118)) Nodding the woman knew she would find it difficult. She always seemed to know how things would go. The trouble was how to go about it, how to get rid of the feeling so that all she was left with was the knowledge. Taybrim: You might also wish to connect with Doctor Foster. I’m not one much for pets, but I know he breeds and keeps therapy tribbles… and there are certainly other animal options if you are more of a pet person. That got her mind thinking. A therapy animal would be a lot like an emotional support animal. She had read about them in her medical textbook. They comforted their owner but didn’t perform any specific tasks. It was their presence that comforted. However according to the old rules given to emotional support animals they couldn’t go with you many places. What however was used in that respect was a service dog. They went almost everywhere with their owner and helped with medical and psychological aspects by performing specific tasks. They weren’t used much due to the demand of Starfleet life. But her thought was that if she thought one would help her then she could have the dog with her during her everyday work as well as calmer parts of missions. Bailey: Have you heard about service dogs? Taybrim: I have heard of them, but I don’t know much about them. Not many people did. It was an older tool that wasn’t used much anymore. Frankly if Sheila had been on a ship she might not even have suggested the idea. It would have been a lot harder. Her life would have been a lot different too if she lived on a starship. She might not even be having this conversation if she was. No use thinking about that as it wasn’t her current reality. Bailey: Well they assist with their owners medical or mental troubles by performing tasks to help. Taybrim: That sounds fascinating and very beneficial. What do you think about having a service dog as a companion? Bailey: it just occurred to me that...well…::she wasn’t sure how to phrase herself:: I have this feeling that it could help. Taybrim: That is possible. It does have some challenges, but we can certainly overcome those. Bailey: I know they usually accompany their owners to a lot of places. In Starfleet life that won’t always be possible but I figured I could have them around as much as possible. Bailey only figured that if therapy/emotional support animals were still a thing and possible then having a service dog would be too. Plus she only suggested the idea as she had this feeling deep down that having one, having a big strong dog devoted and who loved to assist her, she would feel much more comfortable. They could remind her of her anxious habits, calm her if she ever did end up full on panicking as well as assist her with her mobility. An added treat would be their comfort after a long hard mission where she might have been away from the Base. Taybrim: I think you can look at it in terms of where the dog cannot go and then assume it can accompany you in other places. For instance your dog could bad down in your office in sickbay, staying out of Main sickbay or any patient areas, but available for you if you need to take a break. Dogs are allowed most places in the commercial center, there are plenty of parks and trails to exercise together. You can bring your dog onboard a starship if you are comfortable knowing that the Narendra’s mission can be dangerous and again it can be in the hallways, lounges, your office and quarters. Or there are many options for pet care if you choose to keep a pet on base while you are on mission. That made sense. Not everyone liked dogs or were comfortable being around them. Plus she had to be aware of being professional in her job. Sheila knew though that having the companion around, being hers, even if they had to spend some time in her office, would also help to calm her thoughts, give her something to look forward to. Bailey: Do you ever get this feeling where you know exactly what to do? That that feeling feels so right you don’t even have to question it. I feel that now. Do you think it would be possible for me to get a service dog? Based on how the conversation was going she knew it was possible but in order to ease her mind she wanted to ask about it directly and get a straight answer back. Taybrim: I do think it is possible and I can get you in contact with one of the trainers for service animals on the Starbase. Bailey: That would be majorly appreciated. Sal nodded gently, bringing up some data on a PADD. Taybrim: A well trained animal will follow command and be easy to keep nearby even when you are in different rooms for work purposes. You may even find the animal becomes an asset for recovery work with certain patients – but always check with the patient first, make sure they do not have allergies and gain permission from them to bring the dog in. But I know research shows that for certain patients being able to interact with a compassionate animal improves recovery. Of course, of course. Sheila would be very respectful of her patients and their needs and wants. She would ask first before having her service dog with her during their appointments. Overall she had to tone down her excitement. Earlier she felt like she had to give up. Felt like she was being told to quit. She knew now that she wasn’t. Now though she was starting to have hope. Bailey: Of course. I’ll be extremely respectful. From here though, are there any particular steps I need to take? Taybrim: From here? One step at a time. Get your safe spaces. Plan those out. Get your safe headspace, practice reminding yourself of the facts that you can’t deny – you’re a doctor. You’re a Starfleet officer. You graduated Starfleet academy and have earned your promotions. No one can take any of that away from you. He had a soft tone in his voice. It was always a welcome tone of voice. One that always seemed to calm. Bailey: I do agree that having those spaces is important. Taybrim: And here ::He pressed a PADD into her hands.:: There are two contacts for service animals on StarBase 118. The first specializes in Terran breeds, especially dogs and cats. The second specializes in rescued animals from many worlds. I am sure you will find a perfect companion. ::he did smile at that, encouraging and warm.:: Having this information was going to be very helpful. She was excited to look it over later when her headspace was better. She wouldn’t want to make any wrong decision when choosing. Bailey: Thank you again. ::holding the padd out to Sal:: Would you mind writing down those safe spaces and the name of that woman you mentioned. I don’t want to forget. Taybrim: Response Sheila waited for Sal to take the padd and write down the information. She was grateful for Sal being so open to helping her. With the others she had more or less let them know what had happened but never in this much detail. In both situations she ever felt like she told too much or too little. Now though she felt done. Not in that way that she was upset and over and done with everything but done talking. She now had a lot to think about as well as was getting tired. Plus the conversation was starting to come to its natural end. Bailey: Thank you again. I highly appreciate you being willing to talk about all this with me. Taybrim: Response Bailey: I’m getting a bit tired now so I think I better get going. She had to think about the wording of that for a bit. She didn’t want to sound rude but she was rather feeling a nap or even going to bed early now. Even more so was all the information. It was a lot to take in and even though she was feeling better it wasn’t magically going to stay that way. Now thinking about it she did have a few more facts to add to her list. Sal was a friend; fact. Sal was supportive; fact. She had a plan moving forward; fact as well. Working on getting a service dog was also a big big fact that she was proud of. Taybrim: Response Bailey: Do you mind if I ask for a hug before I go? Taybrim: Response Sheila took her time getting her sweater back on and standing up with the use of her crutches. In getting up her body was very achy due to the emotional release she had just gone through. However Sal was a comfort to hug as well as gentle. Bailey: I’ll see you around yeah? Taybrim: Response With that Sheila waved as she limped out of the office. She was leaving in a happy state. Not an overly happy state. Maybe the word relieved would have been better. Relieved that the initial conversation was over and relieved that she had steps for moving forward. But she still felt a bit empty inside. It was that weird place in the process. Where the first step was over but it would be a while before the second step was taken. In the meantime she would have to work through all the small, but still equally important, feelings that came up. It was not going to be easy but if she could get through telling people about the worst thing that happened to her then she could get through those feelings. TAG/END Lieutenant JG Sheila Bailey Medical Officer Starbase 118 Ops M239512BG0 "Ta-er al-Safar" - The Canary; "No woman should ever suffer at the hands of men" - (Quotes) Sara Lance; Legends Of Tomorrow
  3. ((CO’s Office – The Hub – StarBase 118)) Nodding the woman knew she would find it difficult. She always seemed to know how things would go. The trouble was how to go about it, how to get rid of the feeling so that all she was left with was the knowledge. Taybrim: You might also wish to connect with Doctor Foster. I’m not one much for pets, but I know he breeds and keeps therapy tribbles… and there are certainly other animal options if you are more of a pet person. That got her mind thinking. A therapy animal would be a lot like an emotional support animal. She had read about them in her medical textbook. They comforted their owner but didn’t perform any specific tasks. It was their presence that comforted. However according to the old rules given to emotional support animals they couldn’t go with you many places. What however was used in that respect was a service dog. They went almost everywhere with their owner and helped with medical and psychological aspects by performing specific tasks. They weren’t used much due to the demand of Starfleet life. But her thought was that if she thought one would help her then she could have the dog with her during her everyday work as well as calmer parts of missions. Bailey: Have you heard about service dogs? Taybrim: I have heard of them, but I don’t know much about them. Not many people did. It was an older tool that wasn’t used much anymore. Frankly if Sheila had been on a ship she might not even have suggested the idea. It would have been a lot harder. Her life would have been a lot different too if she lived on a starship. She might not even be having this conversation if she was. No use thinking about that as it wasn’t her current reality. Bailey: Well they assist with their owners medical or mental troubles by performing tasks to help. Taybrim: That sounds fascinating and very beneficial. What do you think about having a service dog as a companion? Bailey: it just occurred to me that...well…::she wasn’t sure how to phrase herself:: I have this feeling that it could help. Taybrim: That is possible. It does have some challenges, but we can certainly overcome those. Bailey: I know they usually accompany their owners to a lot of places. In Starfleet life that won’t always be possible but I figured I could have them around as much as possible. Bailey only figured that if therapy/emotional support animals were still a thing and possible then having a service dog would be too. Plus she only suggested the idea as she had this feeling deep down that having one, having a big strong dog devoted and who loved to assist her, she would feel much more comfortable. They could remind her of her anxious habits, calm her if she ever did end up full on panicking as well as assist her with her mobility. An added treat would be their comfort after a long hard mission where she might have been away from the Base. Taybrim: I think you can look at it in terms of where the dog cannot go and then assume it can accompany you in other places. For instance your dog could bad down in your office in sickbay, staying out of Main sickbay or any patient areas, but available for you if you need to take a break. Dogs are allowed most places in the commercial center, there are plenty of parks and trails to exercise together. You can bring your dog onboard a starship if you are comfortable knowing that the Narendra’s mission can be dangerous and again it can be in the hallways, lounges, your office and quarters. Or there are many options for pet care if you choose to keep a pet on base while you are on mission. That made sense. Not everyone liked dogs or were comfortable being around them. Plus she had to be aware of being professional in her job. Sheila knew though that having the companion around, being hers, even if they had to spend some time in her office, would also help to calm her thoughts, give her something to look forward to. Bailey: Do you ever get this feeling where you know exactly what to do? That that feeling feels so right you don’t even have to question it. I feel that now. Do you think it would be possible for me to get a service dog? Based on how the conversation was going she knew it was possible but in order to ease her mind she wanted to ask about it directly and get a straight answer back. Taybrim: I do think it is possible and I can get you in contact with one of the trainers for service animals on the Starbase. Bailey: That would be majorly appreciated. Sal nodded gently, bringing up some data on a PADD. Taybrim: A well trained animal will follow command and be easy to keep nearby even when you are in different rooms for work purposes. You may even find the animal becomes an asset for recovery work with certain patients – but always check with the patient first, make sure they do not have allergies and gain permission from them to bring the dog in. But I know research shows that for certain patients being able to interact with a compassionate animal improves recovery. Of course, of course. Sheila would be very respectful of her patients and their needs and wants. She would ask first before having her service dog with her during their appointments. Overall she had to tone down her excitement. Earlier she felt like she had to give up. Felt like she was being told to quit. She knew now that she wasn’t. Now though she was starting to have hope. Bailey: Of course. I’ll be extremely respectful. From here though, are there any particular steps I need to take? Taybrim: From here? One step at a time. Get your safe spaces. Plan those out. Get your safe headspace, practice reminding yourself of the facts that you can’t deny – you’re a doctor. You’re a Starfleet officer. You graduated Starfleet academy and have earned your promotions. No one can take any of that away from you. He had a soft tone in his voice. It was always a welcome tone of voice. One that always seemed to calm. Bailey: I do agree that having those spaces is important. Taybrim: And here ::He pressed a PADD into her hands.:: There are two contacts for service animals on StarBase 118. The first specializes in Terran breeds, especially dogs and cats. The second specializes in rescued animals from many worlds. I am sure you will find a perfect companion. ::he did smile at that, encouraging and warm.:: Having this information was going to be very helpful. She was excited to look it over later when her headspace was better. She wouldn’t want to make any wrong decision when choosing. Bailey: Thank you again. ::holding the padd out to Sal:: Would you mind writing down those safe spaces and the name of that woman you mentioned. I don’t want to forget. Taybrim: Response Sheila waited for Sal to take the padd and write down the information. She was grateful for Sal being so open to helping her. With the others she had more or less let them know what had happened but never in this much detail. In both situations she ever felt like she told too much or too little. Now though she felt done. Not in that way that she was upset and over and done with everything but done talking. She now had a lot to think about as well as was getting tired. Plus the conversation was starting to come to its natural end. Bailey: Thank you again. I highly appreciate you being willing to talk about all this with me. Taybrim: Response Bailey: I’m getting a bit tired now so I think I better get going. She had to think about the wording of that for a bit. She didn’t want to sound rude but she was rather feeling a nap or even going to bed early now. Even more so was all the information. It was a lot to take in and even though she was feeling better it wasn’t magically going to stay that way. Now thinking about it she did have a few more facts to add to her list. Sal was a friend; fact. Sal was supportive; fact. She had a plan moving forward; fact as well. Working on getting a service dog was also a big big fact that she was proud of. Taybrim: Response Bailey: Do you mind if I ask for a hug before I go? Taybrim: Response Sheila took her time getting her sweater back on and standing up with the use of her crutches. In getting up her body was very achy due to the emotional release she had just gone through. However Sal was a comfort to hug as well as gentle. Bailey: I’ll see you around yeah? Taybrim: Response With that Sheila waved as she limped out of the office. She was leaving in a happy state. Not an overly happy state. Maybe the word relieved would have been better. Relieved that the initial conversation was over and relieved that she had steps for moving forward. But she still felt a bit empty inside. It was that weird place in the process. Where the first step was over but it would be a while before the second step was taken. In the meantime she would have to work through all the small, but still equally important, feelings that came up. It was not going to be easy but if she could get through telling people about the worst thing that happened to her then she could get through those feelings. TAG/END Lieutenant JG Sheila Bailey Medical Officer Starbase 118 Ops M239512BG0 "Ta-er al-Safar" - The Canary; "No woman should ever suffer at the hands of men" - (Quotes) Sara Lance; Legends Of Tomorrow
  4. ((CO’s Office – The Hub – StarBase 118)) The conversation had progressed to ideas for how to move forward. This was, at once, one of the most exciting and daunting parts of the conversation. He was there to guide the ideas and make sure the task didn’t feel insurmountable or that ideas were discarded as bad ideas before being considered. There were so many options available and he didn’t want to assume one thing would work or would not work. Assumptions were not his prerogative nor was the decision his to make. He was more like a tour guide of ideas, pointing out the possible. Taybrim: You might also wish to connect with Doctor Foster. I’m not one much for pets, but I know he breeds and keeps therapy tribbles… and there are certainly other animal options if you are more of a pet person. Pets were a curious sideline in Starfleet rules – they were allowed on starships with permission at certain ranks, and more openly for those of higher ranks. StarBase 118 had the luxury of more space which meant more options for everything from housing to having various types of pets including therapy and service animals. There was also a much greater access to specially trained animals to provide physical support, emotional support and many other options. Bailey: Have you heard about service dogs? Taybrim: I have heard of them, but I don’t know much about them. Pets were uncommon on Betazed due to the awkwardness of telepathy paired with animals, so Sal was no expert on pets. But he also could clearly see the benefits they had for most species. Even he had grown more fond of the idea of pets as he lost his telepathic abilities. Not that he wanted a pet, but he had grown more fond of other people’s pets. Bailey: Well they assist with their owners medical or mental troubles by performing tasks to help. Taybrim: That sounds fascinating and very beneficial. What do you think about having a service dog as a companion? Bailey: it just occurred to me that...well…::she wasn’t sure how to phrase herself:: I have this feeling that it could help. Sal nodded slowly, considering the logistics of how that would work. He knew it could work, the question now was how would that work. Taybrim: That is possible. It does have some challenges, but we can certainly overcome those. Bailey: I know they usually accompany their owners to a lot of places. In Starfleet life that won’t always be possible but I figured I could have them around as much as possible. Taybrim: I think you can look at it in terms of where the dog cannot go and then assume it can accompany you in other places. For instance your dog could bad down in your office in sickbay, staying out of Main sickbay or any patient areas, but available for you if you need to take a break. Dogs are allowed most places in the commercial center, there are plenty of parks and trails to exercise together. You can bring your dog onboard a starship if you are comfortable knowing that the Narendra’s mission can be dangerous and again it can be in the hallways, lounges, your office and quarters. Or there are many options for pet care if you choose to keep a pet on base while you are on mission. Just don’t let Commander Dal pet sit. He was a compassionate gentle person who had the reputation of losing pets and then finding them bathing in the Bajoran temple reflection pool… Bailey: Do you ever get this feeling where you know exactly what to do? That that feeling feels so right you don’t even have to question it. I feel that now. Do you think it would be possible for me to get a service dog? Taybrim: I do think it is possible and I can get you in contact with one of the trainers for service animals on the Starbase. Bailey: ? He nodded gently, bringing up some data on a PADD Taybrim: A well trained animal will follow command and be easy to keep nearby even when you are in different rooms for work purposes. You may even find the animal becomes an asset for recovery work with certain patients – but always check with the patient first, make sure they do not have allergies and gain permission from them to bring the dog in. But I know research shows that for certain patients being able to interact with a compassionate animal improves recovery. Bailey: ? Taybrim: From here? One step at a time. Get your safe spaces. Plan those out. Get your safe headspace, practice reminding yourself of the facts that you can’t deny – you’re a doctor. You’re a Starfleet officer. You graduated Starfleet academy and have earned your promotions. No one can take any of that away from you. He had a soft tone in his voice, like a vocal smile, warm and supportive as he walked through the conversation in recap. Bailey: ? Taybrim: And here ::He pressed a PADD into her hands.:: There are two contacts for service animals on StarBase 118. The first specializes in Terran breeds, especially dogs and cats. The second specializes in rescued animals from many worlds. I am sure you will find a perfect companion. ::he did smile at that, encouraging and warm.:: Bailey: ? ~*~ tags/tbc ~*~ Sal Taybrim Friend and counselor StarBase 118 Ops "Why do we fly? Because we have dreamt of it for so long that we must" ~Julian Beck E239010ST0
  5. ((Starbase 118 - Doctor Foster’s Quarters)) Rue considered herself rationally brave and functionally adult. She had her duties, and responsibilities, and day to day routines. She took care of herself...mostly. And then there was the consideration that she had her own moments where her emotional fuses just blew. And then there was the Andorian doctor who for so long, she considered her rock. Her anchor. And then in the holosim she had watched that facade cracked and now she was filled with questions upon questions. How had she missed it? Was she blind, or just was he that careful about hiding things? Why did he hide it - did he not trust her? The questions were piling up and she didn’t want to let them fester. And so she made the difficult choice of going to talk to him. She made a light call, just offered to stop by. She had to be honest and genuine, couldn’t contrive, and she also knew - she had to be ready for a climb. One that likely..would require multiple tries. She steeled herself as she approached the doctor’s door and pressed the panel to alert that she was there, waiting for him to invite her in, or open the doors. Foster: … ::in the dim light of his quarters he rolled over to give the door a vicious bit of side-eye:: Oh, come on now. He was having a perfectly good time brooding all alone is his quarters. It was that enjoyable sort of brooding, the sort before you fell too far when the darkness and the silence and the melancholy just felt good. Like a bit of relief from the intensity of the mission. Of course such brooding would easily go too far, turn into a vast lonely wasteland, cut off from friends and family. That stupid chime rang again and he rolled his eyes at it. Foster: Yeah, yeah, come in. Blackwell::As she entered, she kept an unguarded smile on her face: Hey Wyn - ::And before he could contrive an excuse, she brought up a box - a puzzle:: I was hoping you were not too busy today, and thought we could share a quiet afternoon together. He looked around his quite plain, quite bare, quite standard quarters. They had been better decorated in times past, but now he felt he was living like a transient, hopping from ship to ship, position to position. It was painfully apparent how spartan they were, and he was still looking for an excuse to say he was busy. He was… reading… technical… journals… on shore leave… Yeah, that was pitiful. Foster: I mean, sure? I didn’t think that was your thing. Blackwell: On occasion, when the mood strikes. It tended to be the one thing Lucas and I could do together and not fight when we were kids. :She glanced for a place to place down the puzzle:: Foster: Sounds thrilling. ::He intoned, stretching to lounge bonelessly on the couch.:: Here I thought prime shore leave activities included hot tubs and loungers on Little Risa and getting embarrassingly drunk… Which he usually didn’t do any of those things. But he might be cajoled to go to Little Risa after sundown when it wasn’t so hot. Blackwell::She gave a light shrug. She was dressed in a comfortable long sleeved top with blue and black stripes and rather old fashioned denim jeans. It was something she appreciated from her father’s studies on ancient Earth antiquities as denim tended to be sturdy enough for her not to worry about ripping, and yet comfortable. She slipped off her shoes as she walked in, preferring to be barefoot:: Oh, I know that a lot of the crew is getting into various forms of harmless trouble ::she smiled lightly, while she positioned a coffee table between them, and opening the box to set out the pieces. The picture on the box suggested the completed picture would be a winter scene - a lovely cabin and snow against a night sky.:: I have been more just taking it a bit slow this leave. Nothing wrong with a vacation that includes a bit of actual down time. Suspicious doctor was suspicious. He watched her all in good cheer and pleasant commentary and decided that it was all too nice, too happy and too pleasant. Then again he might be paranoid. Might. No. He was paranoid. Starfleet had made him paranoid. Foster: Next you’re gonna tell me that something mindless is the very best thing to take your mind off of the fact that we almost got killed by a pack of Klingon ships. As she set out the pieces, she could feel his eyes on him and knew that the [...]ly senses he possessed were quite alert. That made the proverbial ice a bit slippery, but she decided regardless of her own trepidations - not impossible to pass. And if she slipped, she’d just get back up. She had to. But it was when he was the first one to speak that she felt a proverbial foot slide a bit under her. Blackwell::Her eyes lifted to him, the heels of her palm resting on the table. Answer too slow, and it looked like evasion. Lie, and that was definitely an evasion. She wanted truth, and so she would have to respond with that. She gave a slight gesture with her hands, flexing her fingers, keeping her eyes up:: No, for that I tend to prefer some exercise, something to get me moving. ::She paused for a moment:: Something a counselor recommended. Foster: Exercise is a medically proven way to release endorphins and regulate neurochemicals. ::he said academically:: I’m sure Saveron knew that. Blackwell: The Vulcan counselor, who was for her, still a bitter-sweet memory. She missed Saveron, his clarity, and his shared interest in terrible romance novels. She gave a bit of a wry smile and nodded:: He recommended ways to reduce stress, and process things - yes. Foster: That begs the question ::he lifted his vivid blue eyes towards her:: What prompted the need for the counseling in the first place? She did not like admitting weakness. Period. She had cracks that she had filled as best as possible, but cracks were never fully whole. Never fully complete. They could still break again. But she recalled her academy combat instructor, who had shaken her after a fight stating in clear terms the reason you lost was you were too inflexible. Bend with the situation, be flexible. Blackwell: ::she glanced to his blue eyes and flexed her hands for a moment:: A few things - first, a little past childhood trauma that left me feeling a bit...vulnerable. ::she wanted to try and say that word easily, and she caught her jaw tighten. She didn’t force it, instead, letting the muscles relax enough for her to continue:: Foster: Childhood trauma? ::He watched her and made a small motion with his fingers:: I suppose if you’re making a list we can come back to that but… ::he shook his head:: Dammit, what did I miss? I mean we were a quarter of the way across the globe and that’s nothing with transporters. Blackwell::she shrugged a little:: I’ll avoid the list - it's simpler to parse it out. :she was talking while digging out pieces with corners and straight edges:: When I was about..twelve, almost thirteen- I was in school and had a project to bring in a piece of family heritage. I brought a necklace that had been passed down for generations. ::she smiled fondly: It went over well, a little too well. A girl in my class took a shine to it, and her boyfriend noticed. ::she considered how to phrase it:: well, we both know that children can be cruel, even in our day and age and they tried to take it. Luke..got in the middle, and broke his wrist. ::she shook her head::.I still remember just thinking ...not only had I lost a piece of our family treasures, but Luke’s talent...all in one stroke. ::she lifted her shoulders and tried to ease the tension coming into them:: He tipped his head to one side, antennae tracking curiously, considering it all. Somehow he had missed that bit of their childhood. Then again he was probably completely immersed in his own struggles at that point. He didn’t know how much things sunk in with human children. He had been pretty resilient back then - resiliency that he lost as he aged. Foster: So your brother got into a fist fight defending you - and apparently got patched up because he seems fine now… and no one ever mentions it so… why did that never come up? Blackwell: Because they thought it was fine…::she said quietly:: they were comforting, and they understood I was upset, but I don’t think even then they quite understood how much it ..sank into me. That...was the summer I decided to start taking martial arts lessons. Anything I could sign up for really. Mom thought it was a strange phase brought on by me watching too many superhero movies from the past. Dad just thought it was funny, and Luke thought I was just being weird. ::she smirked a little bit:: remember when you came to the family reunion - it was that summer ...when I’d learned how to do a throw, that I tossed my cousin into the pond. Foster: I mean at least water’s soft. ::He turned to look to her:: I can understand the reaction, but if everything was OK and put back to normal why did it bother you so much? What was the underlying reason you carried it with you? Perhaps that was blatantly searching, but he figured he’d try it. Sometimes childhoods were easier to talk about because they felt so far away and removed from everything. Blackwell:she gave a small smile and leaned back, taking a moment to pause on gathering the pieces:: I want to say something wise but the honest truth - I suppose...I just felt small. Weak, and defenseless..::she shrugged:: Foster: That’s wasn’t it. ::He challenged almost immediately.:: You’ve never been weak. You punched me enough times as a kid to let me know that early on. ::he fixed those vivid blue eyes upon her.:: Try again... Blackwell:::she pushed off her hands, leaning back in to rest her elbows on the table, meeting his eyes, green against blue. It took a minute for her to be sure that her tone would be even:: Fine...the other piece there is that I was...always if not invincible, at least never afraid of getting hurt. Because it was - me- who would get hurt if I did something silly or reckless. Never anyone else. He nodded, gently. In some ways he could empathize with that. In other ways his pessimism rose to the forefront and retaliated against the idea. Foster: Very chivalrous of you. I would have felt the same. But you can’t always protect everyone. Spoken like someone who had the very real and painful experience of having that proven to them firsthand. Starfleet was great at reminding people of the fragility of life, and how helpless one was most of the time. It was impossible to protect everyone, or even just one person if the circumstances were right. Blackwell:::she considered her response for a moment:: No...but how often are emotions rational, Doctor? Foster: Never. Vulcans will be the first to tell you that. ::he chuckled very slightly.:: Blackwell: Often repeatedly ::she quipped lightly, starting to sort out the pieces:: Anyways...that also got aggravated a bit - by my first mission ::she glanced up to him:: do..you remember hearing about the situation with the Gorkon going missing, and the Yarhala Nine? He nodded a simple assent to that. He had a higher rank than her at the time and had enough clearances to get the basics. Most of it was classified and she had only tiptoed around the issue thus far. Foster: Only the very basics. I did note that you have never talked about it in any sort of detail. Blackwell: You...might find it a little :she wrestled with the words...she wanted to say controversial, but for some reason...popped out with:: surprising..? Foster: Nothing surprises me about Starfleet anymore. ::he said drily. Puzzle all but forgotten about.:: So my ears are open, my mouth is closed. Blackwell::she considered the irony that she was hoping to get him to spill out some of his thoughts, but perhaps this was the way to do it. So she pressed on:: So you recall the Gorkon went missing, right? There were all sorts of conspiracy theories as to why...but that said, Starfleet had not satisfied everyone's needs to find out what. And that is when the USS Yarhala was stolen. ::she picked up a piece and considered it idly:: I was placed on the Clovis, and I thought it would be a somewhat tense but straight forward mission: find the Yarhala, talk them down, bring them back home. Foster: Ok. We’ve seen play out over and over again that all straightforward Starfleet missions… never are. Starfleet had this wonderful habit of coming up with the most mundane of orders and then throwing everything out the window and tossing crews into unimaginable danger. It was as Starfleet as the uniform. Blackwell::she responded with a dry laugh:: No. Turned out the Gorkon was stuck in some sort of rift, those that stole the Yarhala were determined to find them, and all procedures just went out the window first thing. Foster: Oh, yay, unknown rifts. Met a couple of those in my life before. None of them were good. Blackwell: The Clovis got damaged and we ended up on board with the Yarhala...after some...really tense deliberation, we agreed to help them ::she grinned faintly:: Technically, I am pretty sure I should have gotten in trouble for that. Foster: Gotten in trouble how? ::he asked, antennae curled forward in curiosity.:: Wyn could think of a million ways that a Starfleet officer could get in trouble for doing the right thing. That was another one of the pessimistic constants Wyn found in the Starfleet universe. But he was curious as to the specific reasons it affected Prudence Blackwell. Blackwell: Aiding the Yarhala Nine ::she said simply:: I wasn’t forced. I wasn’t pushed to. I did some maneuvering, helped defend, entirely willingly...rather than you know, forcing them to return immediately to base like I was supposed to do. ::she considered:: we found the Gorkon...and it was torn to near ribbons, Wyn. Four hundred people were either killed or injured. ::she tossed the puzzle piece aside:: and when I got back to Mckinley, I was pretty much patted on the head and told it was a good thing I hadn’t helped or I’d be in the trials too. Foster: Wait, what? You went to help an Admiral’s flagship… met a ship that was also aiding an Admiral’s flagship and everyone who helped them was put on trial? What in the everloving tar pits of Deneb was going on? Not that was unfair. Pretty blatantly unfair. In fact he was pretty sure there were protests and boycotts about how unfair it was. Which, in retrospect was probably the light at the end of the tunnel for those involved. Having the support of others was a small relief that reassured that, yes, something did go wrong and no, you weren’t totally crazy. Blackwell: ::she considered for a moment:: Well keep in mind, the Yarhala was considered stolen by Starfleet. Not borrowed. Not requisitioned. Stolen. ::she said firmly:: and a runabout was supposed to bring back an Admiral’s Flagship. ::she waited for him to consider that picture and exhaled:: The Clovis got hit by another enemy. And through a lot of push, pull and crazy maneuvering, we found out the Gorkon was actually stuck in another dimension, and when it came out - it was torn to ribbons. The fact it could still be called a ship - was a miracle. That sounded… weird to say the least. Wyn never really understood how subspace rifts worked. Sometimes they are full of murderous alternatives living a shark life in a war torn universe, and sometimes they were apparently filled with angels who gave his assistants roses. He personally tried to avoid them altogether. Foster: I mean people boycotted the jailing of the Yarhala Nine for weeks until they were released and in the end everyone got promoted so ::he shrugged:: All’s well that ends well? Blackwell: I know ::she moved to adjust how she sat, absently moving to rub her shoulder, a spot that loved to get tense:: It did end alright for those that came back. But it left a bitter taste in my mouth for a while as it just should not have happened. :she wet her lips for a moment:: And given I’d spent the prior year having to explain to my sister in law, brother, mother, that Starfleet was not an organization that practiced cover ups - it sat poorly with me, at the time. Foster: Starfleet practices coverups. ::He said with absolute dead certainty.:: any large organization does. It’s the fact of illogical sentient life. Pessimism and facts taught him that. It was pretty simple when one thought about it. Big organizations had a lot of moving parts and not all of those parts moved in line with the others. And when something broke down it generally was covered up until fixed. Blackwell:::A slight breath at that in a bit of frustration, though not directed at him:: Well, then I was naive...or stubborn. Or both. ::she looked to him:: I wanted to be in Starfleet...and prior to enrolling, had to fight my family about it as ..::she closed her eyes, opening them again:: basically Darcy thinks her parents were killed, not in an accident, but something was covered up…::she shook her head before continuing::...and off and on I’ve prodded into it. Foster: And what did you find? Blackwell:::she exhaled:: Over time, a lot of reports that just didn’t sit right. Contradictions in strange places, or sometimes information that was missing entirely. And I ended up picking it up and down, like a bad habit. Once you picked up a mystery it was hard to put it down, especially if you kept finding a bread crumb trail of clues to lead you forward. Foster: And so you kept looking? ::He prodded.:: Blackwell::She bit the inside of her lip pensively - This was going very very awry. She’d wanted to get into his head, not the other way around: Long story short - I did...maybe. I went to the Salter’s old home to check things out...and found a few pieces. ::she stared at the puzzle for a moment:: but...I ran out of time. Given I was due to Ops..and had no time to really make sure all bases were cleared - I told Darcy I found nothing, packed up my research and got myself here. Foster: What did you find? ::he repeated - he was honestly curious.:: Blackwell::In her mind, the story still sounded rather hard to believe, but she explained quietly:: Short version ::she gave a wry smirk:: At first, nothing, however then I noticed a lot of correspondences with a man named Redwood, out of research and development referencing specific books: cook books, old technological manuals, and just the context seemed ...out of place.Fun note - according to any reliable outside database, those books don’t exist. ::she exhaled:: But I found them at the house. Pouring through them...they seem to have a pattern to them, a cypher..that I haven’t cracked yet. ::she then looked to him and held up a puzzle piece:: But I know a puzzle when I see it... Foster: Circumstantial but you’re sure that it happened sort of thing? Blackwell: Basically. ::she bit her bottom lip:: But I haven’t gone back to it yet...given we’ve been busy, and I’ve...been a bit unnerved. ::she shrugged a little:: He fixed that piercing gaze upon her. That irritating perception that made him such a good doctor also meant he was frustratingly good at picking up signals that there was more of a story to be told. Foster: what made you feel unnerved? Blackwell: Last day I was in California, someone decided to drop a note on a drink they sent me, warning me not to pursue this. Let the dust stay where it was was the exact phrasing. ::and this would be the point where turning the conversation was likely going to be difficult, if not impossible. A sarcastic thought ran through her mind: oOWell played Rue. Well played. Oo:: Both eyebrows and antennae raised at the same time. That was beyond unnerving and went straight into concerning. Foster: Seriously? Rue… you haven’t ever talked to an Intel Officer about this? Not a counselor. An Intel Officer. Someone who would be able to see the bigger picture and help protect her. Blackwell::And the rabbit hole she had dug just started to get deeper and deeper, and she exhaled slowly: No, not yet.::she gave a cautious and sheepish look, and realized this was going to tip the scales:: Wyn bristled with that innate protective response. If it was up to him he would ensure no one could hurt her. But he knew he had limits - there was out of his control and all he could do was plush her towards an expert. Foster: Find someone you trust that can help and get them onboard. He said with the same unyielding tone he had taken to push her to press charges against her ex. She hadn’t exactly taken his advice then either. But that was more of a ‘I’ll punch your friends’ threat not an ‘I’ll kill you in your sleep’ threat. Blackwell:She exhaled slowly and saw again, he was being her rock. But that was what he did - he protected those he cared for...it was innate and instinctual. One of her favorite traits, when it wasn’t directed at her:: If this is a cover up then don’t you think intelligence might be in on it? ::her left hand swung out to her side in a bit of vehement determination, though her voice was even:: I want answers. Foster: ::antennae pressed forward he frowned:: I mean do you want answers? Do you want me to be the one to call your family before a I ship a corpse back for burial? ::harsh, but possible considering her tale:: you can solve both with the right ally. Blackwell::That was a verbal gut punch if there ever was one...and on so many levels. Picturing him having to make that call, her family reacting...a grim picture that combined the worst elements of guilt, survival instinct, and strangely protectiveness, all at once. She thought long and hard for a moment and finally conceded:: Alright. I’ll find someone I trust, and see if I can’t solve this. ::she then found her point of pivoting, as her eyes fixed on him for a long moment:: finding people one can trust to solve problems...is generally good advice. Foster: Generally, yes. ::he said a bit too nonchalantly.:: Blackwell: Well, there is something to be said about your particular hue, Pot. ::she set her hands on her knees, preparing to make a stalwart stand:: Foster: Yeah? ::He canted one antennae upwards in a vaguely irritated expression. He didn’t particularly enjoy emotional blackmail. Which, was certainly a harsh point of view. But he was harsh on himself in general and it generally translated into a harsh, gruff exterior. Blackwell: I...told you what happened with me. What happened..with you...on the holodeck? That got him to perk a brow and he leaned forward, voice a bit thin and tense. What did happen on the holodeck? It was, in a nutshell, a long story. A story that he didn;t want to tell her, one that he would redirect and deflect for as long as possible. Even though he knew, deep down that he should be honest he had built up a thick layer of protection against a very vulnerable subject. Foster: Were you not on the Constitution when the holodeck tried to kill us all? As I watched a friend and lover prove that the brain damage done by a Vulcan mindmeld that he was continually warned against and ordered not to do destroyed his personality and irrevocably changed who he was forever? ::He shook his head.:: I didn’t think that was so classified. Wyn had spent the majority of that holodeck adventure as the king of snark as well. Holodecks never put him in a good mood. Neither did dating engineers apparently, that was more co-incidence and bad history than any actual issues with Engineers. This was also a fantastic explanation for his reaction, all of it true. All of it traumatic and all of it happened. And that’s why it was so brilliant - he was telling a lie with the dead honest truth. Covering up a far deeper more personal trauma with an echo of that trauma. There was a reason T’Reshik and Choi’s mindmeld hurt so much. He had let details slip through the cracks to Saveron, the only person who was fully aware of Wyn’s history. Talking about it once gave him the assurance that no, he wasn’t crazy. It was the push to start the healing process. That was a very long process. He was only a small way along the path to recovery from a trauma he successfully hid from Rue for years. Blackwell:::she watched him lean forward and she steadied herself, keeping her stance. She would bend when she needed, but for now, she could keep a steady stance. She remembered Choi..clearly. She considered the puzzle for a moment, and then back up, her words soft.: I remember the holodeck situation, yes..::she said slowly:: I didn’t realize there was a mind-meld involved...Choi and T’Reshik? Foster: Oh yeah, they mind-melded. It was an absolute [...]-show in sickbay, Rue. And in the end after the brain damage was repaired I couldn’t do a single thing to fix it. Two living people, with living brain tissue, but the soul that made them unique was changed. Blackwell::She considered all the various responses. She thought of choi and for a moment felt angry. Damn damn pilot. Handsome, Charismatic, irritating, and as reckless as she was. The only real difference was ..she at least attempted to contain the blast zone.:: You have a right to be angry with him...and her honestly. He was angry. A little. But moreover he was sad. He had lost a friend and lover that day. Brains were delicate things, and messing with minds and memories was very dangerous. In the end only one of the two personalities stayed the same before and after - the other was clearly affected and imprinted by the meld. That would never fully heal. Foster: I mean how many times do I have to tell people not to do something that will kill them, or get themselves hurt and do they listen to me? Usually not. And that’s the thing, right? I’m the doctor, I get to pick up the pieces. Dry, wry, pessimistic. There was the Wyn she knew from the Conny. Blackwell::She felt a sharp pang of guilt, but she steadied herself for a moment:: Well, that depends on I think the person ::A lift of her shoulders:: Some people refuse to learn. And I realize given everything I just dropped on your lap, I’m not a great example of someone who has demonstrated an ability to listen to that advice in the past...and actively listen and learn. :: she looked to him now, and her brow creased:: And I apologize for that. ::the tone was solemn - not uncharacteristic - but one that signaled clearly...he was hitting home:: He shook his head gently, expression softening slightly. Foster: You know you don’t have to apologize. ::He shook his head slightly.:: Why do you do that? That question wasn’t cruel nor accusatory. It was just curious, maybe even a little self-deprecating. Blackwell: Because like it or lump it- you are important to me. ::that part was firm, equally unrelenting, her eyes on his:: Very important. I’d say aside from my family, one of the most important people in my life. Foster: Really? It was an odd tone, as if the admission caught him by surprise and he wasn’t overly sure how to react to that. BUt he wasn’t denying it nor pushing her away either. Blackwell: Yes. ::she kept her eyes on him, watching him quietly:: but how does that make you feel...is what I need to know? He shrugged, watching her carefully. Foster: I mean we talked about this before, but I’ve known you for a long time and you’ve always been like the kid sister I never had. Blackwell: We have talked about this ::she agreed quietly:: But I don’t think we’ve ever sorted out...what we want ::she exhaled at the mention of her being a kid sister comment and swallowed, a sort of weak smile on her lips:: well, I’ll say any sister of yours would be strong, intelligent person I’d like to know. Foster: ::He chuckled:: You are who you make yourself to be. You know I have no biological relationship to my Dad. Blackwell:::she tilted her head to him at that:: And we are both smart enough to know that a lot of times, family doesn’t always depend on biology or genetics. It’s about connections, and that give and take of being part of one another’s lives ::she raised her eyebrows:: It just comes down to what those connections are exactly. He settled back in his chair, fixing an even gaze towards her Foster: That leaves the question of - what do you want? Blackwell:: Well, let me preface this - my wants are the only part of the equation here, Wyn. ::She shifted, standing to sit on the end of his couch, putting herself level with him, hands on her lap:: First - primarily..be.someone you think….no, not think... know you can depend on. ::She looked at him closely:: I don’t know what happens in your mind at times, but sometimes I get the sense you think...one moment of weakness, and that’s it. You protect me. Well, I’m protective of you as well. Every damn time I fly this ship, you are someone - I am protecting- Foster: :::He tinged navy.: I appreciate that… He trailed off, a little wary of where this conversation was going, despite deeply appreciating the sentiment. Blackwell: Second - yes, I like you more than a brother, or more...differently. ::she put her hands up:: I can’t help it. You are handsome, and the fact you are someone who will give me point blank your opinion, or as some would put it - tell it to me straight, is a hell of a lot better than someone who just tries to treat me as if I couldn’t handle it. ::she put up a hand:: however, there is a but to that... Foster: Alright, what’s the but? He was feeling that this was something of waiting for the other shoe to drop. Then again the very thought of intimacy was something he was pretty well and truly burned on. Blackwell: ::she straightened for a moment, and for a moment losing that cheerful nature she held on, her gaze even:: If you think there is a chance for more between us, I want to take it. But you have to want it as well. If there is one thing I do know - I do deserve to have someone who wants me as much as I want them ::she grinned faintly and exhaled:: Because I am worth it. Foster: I agree, you are worth it. ::He said strongly.:: And that was that. He seemed convicted of that. A longer than was comfortable pause fell between them. Blackwell: However…::she prompted: He shook his head very slowly, antennae curling downwards before he fixed her straight in the eyes, gaze absolutely unyielding. Foster: I can’t provide that for you, Rue. I know I can’t. It would be cruel and selfish to lie to you and say that I could just to benefit from your compassion. He didn’t know how else to put that, but honestly. He knew he couldn’t be intimate at this point. He didn’t know if he could ever be intimate again. Physically, mentally, emotionally - on all levels. That trust was taken from him, ripped - literally and figuratively. He simply would not hurt one of his longest and best friends by making promises he could not keep. Blackwell::The words stung. Oh they stung hard, but it was the last part that made her quirk a brow:: Compassion - that makes it sound like somehow I’d be settling for less and you’d be getting more of a benefit. ::She gazed evenly for a moment:: Let’s just be very damn clear here...you are not less, and you would be worth it as well. He shrugged, his expression hardening. Foster: As a friend, steady ear, shoulder to lean on, and Starfleet officer who saves peoples lives? Sure, I’m absolutely worth it. But what you’re asking for is intimacy Rue. That’s what you’re asking for even reciprocation on, right? Blackwell: Her own gaze hardened for a moment:: Let's back up for just a moment, and take me out of the equation ::she moved forward toward him, summoning all of her stubbornness:: Are you saying that you are not worth anyone wanting that sort of relationship with you? You say benefit from my compassion….as if I’m pitying you. ::she stared for a long moment, challenging him, squaring her shoulders: and you act like somehow someone wanting to - work- at that with you...is a waste of time? :And her was where her tone lost that even keel, her own pain forgotten for the moment:: Wonderful. Exactly not what he meant, and yet pinpointing everything he specifically feared she would do. No one pulls pity and waste of time from thin air unless they are somehow projecting some of their thoughts and experiences onto a conversation. Foster: No. ::He frowned and stood.:: Don’t put words into my mouth when you’re in my quarters. Blackwell:::she exhaled a bit and put up a hand, cooling her temper for a moment, and letting him get the space he needed. As two pacing individuals in the space was not ideal, she busied herself putting away the puzzle that was forgotten. Not hastily, just taking a moment:: I misread that then. Fair. Foster: Not fair. You think every calculated movement is to harm you? ::He shook his head:: I don’t say these things to hurt you, but because I have spent the time to realize my own strengths and limitations. Stop making this about some sort of spit-shined rose colored reality where everyone is worthy of love and affection so we just all open up our hearts and things are hunkey dory. If that was true we could hug the Cult into submission, and stop the Borg with the power of feelings. Anger welled up, fighting against his better judgement. She had hit a nerve, and what started as an honest discussion of limitations where no one was the bad guy had taken a sharp turn into his feeling defensive and his tone turning equally sharp. Blackwell:::she looked up at him:: I know you are not trying to hurt me, nor would you ever intentionally harm me. ::she looked up, surprised even at the suggestion of it: I’m more worried you are shutting a door. ::She looked back at him, leaning back:: And actually, I tend to think that feelings are intensely messy. Life is messy. People are messy. And sometimes life is -very- ugly. The cult and the Borg...that’s the ugliest parts of life that we who..want others safe, have to face. I don’t laugh because I don’t know that ugliness is there. I laugh because I -know- its there. But just as we can’t look at everything with rosy glasses..sometimes we also have to remember moments of levity and light. Foster: Sure. I thought this was supposed to be some sort of relaxing night. ::he waved a hand in the air.:: Levity and fun were never on the menu were they? Blackwell:::she considered for a moment:: I was more hoping to talk, but this wasn’t the topic i had in mind, no. ::she chuckled dryly: :Is that admonishment. He shook his head, finding a seat on the other side of the room to flop down into. Foster: No, that’s not admonishing. ::Pause:: Or maybe it is. But you came here with an agenda, didn’t you? So what do you want me to say? ::He asked, sounding frustrated, maybe even a bit lost.:: What are you looking for? He paused a moment, leaving one sentiment unspoken, but there: what do you want from me? Blackwell::she exhaled::: Right now, I think just trust that I’m not trying to harm you..more however clumsy I’m being...I am actually trying to help you..or at least remind you if you ever want it, the help is there to take. ::she pushed her hair back from her face:: What happened in the last holosim, that silly adventure - something rattled you Wyn. More than I’ve ever seen. Foster: Told you I don’t like holosims. ::He returned evenly, calculated.:: Blackwell:::She looked at him, catching the evasion:: I know what I saw. Foster: No, no ::he waved a finger in the air.:: You pulled pity from your own mind not my words and the last targ-ridden thing I want in the world is your pity. Blackwell:::she watched the finger for a moment. There was a temptation to fold her arms, get angry, but instead she kept herself open, arms at her sides. She spoke quietly:: It’s not pity, it’s concern. And perhaps I’m up the wrong tree, misreading some emotions but I know one thing I did not mistake ::She looked to him camly and steadily:: I know what a panic attack looks like. He set his mouth in a thin, hard line. He could deny that was what happened in the holodeck. Sure. But that would be a blatant lie. Foster: You live through enough in Starfleet some things sink in, Rue. You should know that if you felt it rise within you on the bridge, thoughts of the Yarhala and the gutted Gorkon. Maybe you even saw in your mind a view of the Narendra, gutted and adrift? Blackwell: It was more that I saw everyone else, gutted and adrift :she said quietly and nodded in acknowledgement to that image:: He shook his head, looking towards her. Foster: As I told Romyana, I have been in Starfleet for seven years and I have never been through a ship battle as harrowing as the thing we just lived through. If that’s what you went through getting to the Gorkon… ::He gave a low whistle:: I don’t envy you. Blackwell:She gave a bit of wry smirk: It is one of those stories though isn’t it. One of the ones that years from now, some aspiring young recruit is going to read and think something along the lines of ‘What if I was there?’ or imagine somehow they could heroically change or avoid the situation. Be that piece that somehow changes the entire picture. Foster: They think they know what they want when they’re young, and then you live through it and realize that it’s not what you think it is. Blackwell:::She considered for a moment and exhaled deeply to that:: There is that. And then there is another hard choice isn’t there? Foster: Is there? Blackwell: Figuring out how to move on ::She said quietly and simply:: Some people try and fight the pain, stamp it down and ignore it. ::And a wry note:: Which doesn’t work. At all. ::and then she continued:: And others..I guess let it mold them and shape them, and some are actively wise enough to learn from it and actually put that experience to good use. The Andorian eyed the pilot for a moment with a look of clouded suspicion. Maybe he was projecting. Was he hiding stuff from her? Of course he was. He had done so for the past four years with a smile and a sassy joke, and done it with style. The closest she had ever gotten to guessing was the night she drug Ish Th’Zarin into sickbay and he had insisted that one or both of them press charges on Gabe - Rue’s insane ex who assaulted Ish. But she was too caught up in her own anger, fears and concerns to notice any cracks in Wyn’s facade. Foster: That’s called growing up, generally. ::He watched her evenly.:: What did you learn from the Yarhala situation? Blackwell: Well, the situation with the Gorkon and the Yarhala made me more willing to consider outside the line protocols. ::she grinned a bit:: To be taken very carefully, of course :a light wink:: Foster: I mean that seems par for the course with this crew. ::He shrugged:: Jalana was more by the books. Predictable, a sweetheart. Oddas was more rough and tumble but concerned about regulations. This crew? I have it on good authority that protocols are more like suggestions. Wyn didn’t know if that made him feel better about serving with a group of people who had the capability to see the big picture and focus on the important issues over the bureaucracy or terrified because he didn’t know the rules they were playing by. Blackwell:She smirked faintly to that and quietly regarded him for a moment, as she felt a bit of calmer emotions take hold, letting her widen her view. In the back of her mind had been the panic attack and she’d gotten him to acknowledge it. So she was up the wrong emotional tree, but was right - somewhere, the Andorian she considered her rock, there were cracks..it was a question that for now she put in the margins while they talked. To the situation of protocols being suggestions, she grinned faintly: Well, Starfleet is known to have their Mavericks :But something in her face suggested she knew there was another side to that coin. Foster: Well sure, I just never thought I would be assigned under a Captain who thinks that fighting six Klingon ships is all in a day’s work ::He said with a healthy dose of sarcasm:: That’s not being a maverick, that’s called insanity. He even gave it a good smirk, enough humor to say that he wasn’t going to recommend a nuthouse for any of the senior staff - yet. That was, of course, always on the table. Blackwell: Sure, we hear about the ones that were successful, the stories, the heroes ::she lifted her fingers into quotation marks, and shrugged:: I know my own piloting falls out of standard protocol sometimes..I look to adapt. The problem is, balancing the knowledge that protocols exist for a reason...with the fact, you can’t plan for everything. ::she lifted her eyes back to him:: And you can’t control everything either. Foster: I know ::He sighed:: Least of all other people. Wasn’t that the truth? The thing you needed the most in the galaxy was the least controllable. Blackwell::She nodded to that with a slow, wry smile:: And that is where relations and interpersonal connections...are always so tenuous and prone to being snapped - by either individuals holding too tight, not tight enough, or other variables. ::She exhaled slowly:: Foster: ::He gave a long, slow sigh:: I know you want to try a relationship. I’m not blind. ::He looked at her.:: I can’t guarantee it will work - and will that mean our friendship will be hurt if it fails to work? Blackwell:::She considered that for a long moment, rolling his words in her mind for a moment: There’s always things that could hurt a friendship, or any relationship, no matter how careful people are, and no relationship ever comes with a guarantee…..which is why they are so important to take care of. ::She looked to him: I know my flaws, Wyn. I know whoever is with me will require some amount of patience. But that in turn...means I am also learning to be patient. :And then back to him: He offered her a reserved, wry smile. Patience was a virtue that neither of them possessed naturally in spades. Learning to be patient was a lifelong journey. Foster: Learning to be… and are…they are two very different things. Blackwell: ::She huffed:: An old parable from Earth is the tortoise and the hare...Last relationship, however, we were both hares. ::A wry smirk to any potential innuendos that could come of that image, before getting more serious:: This time, I’d rather be the tortoise.. Slow, and steady. Foster: I’ll hold you to that. ::he remarked not unkindly.:: Blackwell:She pushed a bit of hair from her face:: I’d expect nothing less, Doctor ::she gave a faintly amused smile:: He gave her a simple nod back. He would hold her to that. If there was any chance that a relationship between the two of them would work it would need a stable foundation - something that neither had in romance up to this point. Foster: So, are you going to push me for starting requirements? Blackwell: No...for now, why don’t we just plan on a nice trip to see Jalana, and we’ll go from there. Foster: Alright, that’s a deal. ::he gave a single nod and leaned back closing his eyes.:: Maybe a vacation is what we need. Blackwell: I think so ::she exhaled softly and gave a faint smile:: I’m looking forward to it...so, we’ll have a good time, see friends, and just ….let things fall into place. ::she said as she put the puzzle back into, the pictures on the pieces mixed and still in disarray even within the box, then stood up: : I’ll go pack I think ::she was cautious and for now, didn’t cross over to offer an embrace goodbye. Too soon, she thought:: I’ll see you at the shuttle bay. Foster: Yeah, I’ll be there. ::He gave her a smile. Maybe a bit of a half hearted smile, but a smile nonetheless.:: She returned the smile, but it was careful. Genuine, but careful and then walked towards the door, taking one last look and was gone. ~*~ ~fin - for now... ~ ~*~ A JP Between: Lt. Prudence Blackwell Starbase 118 OPS G239308PB And Lt Commander Shar’Wyn Foster Interim Chief Medical Officer StarBase 118 Ops Simmed by: Fleet Captain Sal Taybrim E239010ST0
  6. ((CO’s Office – The Hub – StarBase 118)) oO Someone could cover my post? Oo The thought seemed strange. It made sense. If she needed to step away she 100% would as she would hate to work through when she couldn’t focus on the job. She could also easily designate jobs to other officers if needed. What seemed to hang her up was if someone else told her they were going to take over because, in that moment, she couldn’t do her job. That’s what scared her. Bailey: Let's say that happens. What do I tell them? Since the mission Sheila had started shaking her head whenever bad thoughts entered her mind. She figured it would clear her head of the unwanted thoughts. However it only ever seemed to make her dizzy. Deep breaths worked but these strategies only ever seemed to help her consider the thoughts bad. As if they won’t worth having. What she really should be doing was confronting the thoughts. The thoughts she had surrounding her uncle were real even if what they were telling her were untrue. Taybrim: My advice is to find a few key people you trust and let them know some of what you are doing. Let them know you are working on some important things and may need to step away. You don’t have to tell them everything. For some people you may not need to tell them anything other than you are working on overcoming something. Communication is important so they understand your need for space or silence or to walk away at times and reaffirm your control over your Uncle’s voice inside is a part of a healing process. People will accept that with minimal explanation so long as you are open to them early in the process. Tell a few people? Tell people she could trust? She had already told Malko back when he was counselor. Then she told Nijil as she trusted his invitation to talk after they worked together during a mission. Now she was telling Sal. Sal Sheila trusted more than any of the others. But she had told these people because they had the right to know. Back when she let it slip to Galven, she had used it as a way to justify her actions then and her actions during the mission. But maybe Galven did deserve to know more. Maybe she needed to tell Wyn next. She almost had but maybe, in case she did have to step away, he should know why. He didn’t need the whole story but he needed to at least know what she was working through. Most importantly she had to tell herself. Not in the way she would tell her CO’s but in a way where she told herself a new set of truths. What those truths would be she didn’t know quite yet. Bailey: What about you? Once again Sheila felt like out of all the people she had told Sal was the one she trusted the most. Sure she trusted the rest but sometimes you trust someone enough to tell them everything even down to the smallest detail. With Sal she could feel his empathy as well as compassion. It didn’t settle her mind completely which she was glad about. Sheila would have rather worked her way back to a state of normal on her own. Taybrim: ::Sal smiled:: I will absolutely support you in this. ::he affirmed with deep conviction.:: And I am open for you to tell me how you want me to support you. How did she want to be supported? That was something she didn’t even know yet. Sure talking about it helped. Over time though she knew it would get exhausting to keep repeating herself. However she was clear in knowing that she needed a place she could go when things got bad. Talking wasn’t needed but she would have liked to be around people when she was at her lowest. Not a crowd of people. That seemed like too much incase she did have a full on panic attack but she didn’t want to be completely by herself. Bailey: This might sound silly. Taybrim: I don’t think requests of the heart are ever silly. ::he said gently.:: Bailey: I don’t want to be alone when it gets bad. Taybrim: That’s an honest and vital request. I would not want to be alone either. ::He paused for a moment, his mind starting to go through ideas of how that could be accommodated.:: Do you know who or what you would prefer to have with you when you need support? Bailey: I know I can’t or rather shouldn’t bother those I trust every time. I can’t always have a long chat to work it out. I have to be strong and able to work it out for myself. I just don’t want to be alone. Sheila would resort to being alone if her support was busy. She would hate to feel like it was a mistake to confide in someone if they couldn’t or didn’t want to spare the time for her. She almost felt that in her appointment with German. It was as if he had told her she couldn’t be vulnerable. Of course that wasn’t true. In that moment she wasn’t being professional. She had to be professional when telling someone that she needed space or that she was going through a tough time. Taybrim: I know we can find you the support you need, and there are many around you who are happy to help. The most difficult part may be the simple act of asking. Or deciding. I am here to help you, but the final decision is up to you. Bailey: Logically I would go back to my quarters but that place, thinking about it now, feels lonely, like another reminder, what with the way the furnishings are modeled after my childhood. Her room didn’t always bring up bad memories but she was sure if she was having a bad day that it would definitely not be the best place for her to be. Taybrim: Would you prefer a more public place? ::he queried gently:: Bailey: I guess what I’m asking is if there is a place, a different, place, that I can go. A safe place. Taybrim: ::he nodded an assent:: Yes you have some choices available. As an assistant leader of the medical department, one easily open choice is that you will have an office. Bailey: ::nodding:: I’ve used my office plenty of times but I’m mostly by myself when I do. Taybrim: You do have the ability to change quarters. And there are several choices of safe spaces within the commercial center. There is a spa that is owned and operated by an Elasyian woman who suffered abuse in her younger years and opens her space up to any citizen – women in particular, who are feeling vulnerable. The Bajoran temple has two Prylars who are open to any citizens of any faith in need of support. Our counselling offices also have specifically space spaces in a variety of setups, everything from very stimulating to very calming for crewmembers to release tensions and take some time away. The idea that there was another Elaysian on the Starbase surprised her. Seconds later it saddened her to know that she too had had abuse. Sheila would have to go visit her sometime. What unsettled her however was that this other woman too had suffered like she had. Sheila barely knew how to handle her own suffering that she was scared to open up to someone who had been in a very intensely similar situation. She also felt like at this point in time she didn’t quit yet want to tell someone else her trouble when they had been through it too. Maybe she would wait on that and instead decide to just check out the spa. Bailey: That’s a lot of options. Taybrim: There are many open options ::he nodded:: Making your decisions is a little daunting, but don’t be afraid to try something and change your mind if needed. Nodding the woman knew she would find it difficult. She always seemed to know how things would go. The trouble was how to go about it, how to get rid of the feeling so that all she was left with was the knowledge. Taybrim: You might also wish to connect with Doctor Foster. I’m not one much for pets, but I know he breeds and keeps therapy tribbles… and there are certainly other animal options if you are more of a pet person. That got her mind thinking. A therapy animal would be a lot like an emotional support animal. She had read about them in her medical textbook. They comforted their owner but didn’t perform any specific tasks. It was their presence that comforted. However according to the old rules given to emotional support animals they couldn’t go with you many places. What however was used in that respect was a service dog. They went almost everywhere with their owner and helped with medical and psychological aspects by performing specific tasks. They weren’t used much due to the demand of Starfleet life. But her thought was that if she thought one would help her then she could have the dog with her during her everyday work as well as calmer parts of missions. Bailey: Have you heard about service dogs? Taybrim: Response Bailey: Well they assist with their owners medical or mental troubles by performing tasks to help. Taybrim: Response Bailey: it just occurred to me that...well…::she wasn’t sure how to phrase herself:: I have this feeling that it could help. Taybrim: Response Bailey: I know they usually accompany their owners to a lot of places. In Starfleet life that won’t always be possible but I figured I could have them around as much as possible. Bailey only figured that if therapy/emotional support animals were still a thing and possible then having a service dog would be too. Plus she only suggested the idea as she had this feeling deep down that having one, having a big strong dog devoted and who loved to assist her, she would feel much more comfortable. They could remind her of her anxious habits, calm her if she ever did end up full on panicking as well as assist her with her mobility. An added treat would be their comfort after a long hard mission where she might have been away from the Base. Taybrim: Response Bailey: Do you ever get this feeling where you know exactly what to do? That that feeling feels so right you don’t even have to question it. I feel that now. Do you think it would be possible for me to get a service dog? Taybrim: Response TBC/TAG Lieutenant JG Sheila Bailey Medical Officer Starbase 118 Ops M239512BG0
  7. ((CO’s Office – The Hub – StarBase 118)) One of the hardest things for someone who was trying to recover from an abusive relationship and revise their own view of who they were was to give themselves permission to heal. Permission to take the time they needed. Abuse all too often told the person that they were wrong, evil, selfish for worrying about anything but what the abuser wanted. The truth was there was nothing wrong or evil about taking time for one’s self and selfishness was a natural part of a person. Like salt in food, it was absolutely necessary in the right amount to balance the self-esteem. Too much and certainly it could be overpowering, but its presence was crucial nonetheless. Sal felt the need to not only give Sheila permission to think of herself and her own needs, but the counsel on how to manage those needs. Taybrim: My advice is to find a few key people you trust and let them know some of what you are doing. Let them know you are working on some important things and may need to step away. You don’t have to tell them everything. For some people you may not need to tell them anything other than you are working on overcoming something. Communication is important so they understand your need for space or silence or to walk away at times and reaffirm your control over your Uncle’s voice inside is a part of a healing process. People will accept that with minimal explanation so long as you are open to them early in the process. Bailey: What about you? He gave her a soft smile, one with confidence in her. Doctor Bailey was a valuable member of his crew and he knew she could grow and reach even greater heights and wider potential if she was given the support to heal herself. Taybrim: I will absolutely support you in this. ::he affirmed with deep conviction.:: And I am open for you to tell me how you want me to support you. He also felt it was important that Sheila had agency moving forward. He wanted her to have both comfort and control of the healing process – that would not only be the most efficacious, but it supported her growing sense of self. Bailey: This might sound silly. Taybrim: I don’t think requests of the heart are ever silly. ::he said gently.:: Bailey: I don’t want to be alone when it gets bad. Taybrim: That’s an honest and vital request. I would not want to be alone either. ::He paused for a moment, his mind starting to go through ideas of how that could be accommodated.:: Do you know who or what you would prefer to have with you when you need support? That had to be a very personal choice. For some it was a best friend, family member or confidant. For some it would be a more professional ear to talk to and for some it might be a pet. Sometimes Sal had leaned upon people without ever letting them know that he needed support, he just enjoyed the company to still his thoughts. Bailey: I know I can’t or rather shouldn’t bother those I trust every time. I can’t always have a long chat to work it out. I have to be strong and able to work it out for myself. I just don’t want to be alone. Taybrim: I know we can find you the support you need, and there are many around you who are happy to help. The most difficult part may be the simple act of asking. Or deciding. I am here to help you, but the final decision is up to you. Bailey: Logically I would go back to my quarters but that place, thinking about it now, feels lonely, like another reminder, what with the way the furnishings are modeled after my childhood. He could see the stress there, especially if her quarters would trigger memories. Taybrim: Would you prefer a more public place? ::he queried gently:: Not everyone preferred to hide away when they were stressed. Some wanted away from the eyes of others and some wanted to immerse themselves in a sea of other people. Again that was a deeply personal decision. Sal, himself preferred the people – getting lost in the emotions and thoughts of others would help him forget his own. Bailey: I guess what I’m asking is if there is a place, a different, place, that I can go. A safe place. Taybrim: ::he nodded an assent:: Yes you have some choices available. As an assistant leader of the medical department, one easily open choice is that you will have an office. Bailey: ? He leaned back, considering options, nodding slowly as ideas came to mind. Taybrim: You do have the ability to change quarters. And there are several choices of safe spaces within the commercial center. There is a spa that is owned and operated by an Elasyian woman who suffered abuse in her younger years and opens her space up to any citizen – women in particular, who are feeling vulnerable. The Bajoran temple has two Prylars who are open to any citizens of any faith in need of support. Our counselling offices also have specifically space spaces in a variety of set ups, everything from very stimulating to very calming for crewmembers to release tensions and take some time away. Having places for people to go when they were feeling nervous, upset, stressed, or in need of support was important. Despite having a well run station with very little crime, not everyone who travelled to StarBase 118 had lived a life of sunshine and lollipops. Even with the security of the Federation, the threat of the Borg and the Dominion were within recent memory – as Sal was well aware. All of these spaces were available for people of any species and need, to help them deal with whatever they were dealing with. Bailey: ? Taybrim: There are many open options ::he nodded:: Making your decisions is a little daunting, but don’t be afraid to try something and change your mind if needed. Bailey: ? He leaned back, thinking of other resources for ways one could feel more supported no matter where they were or when. Taybrim: You might also wish to connect with Doctor Foster. I’m not one much for pets, but I know he breeds and keeps therapy tribbles… and there are certainly other animal options if you are more of a pet person. Fortunately being on a Starbase allowed far more flexibility for pets than a starship. Sal never had pets growing up – they were not common in Betazoid households. Beyond Moby, who barely pinged Sal’s telepathic senses at all beyond the creatures contentment – which was nice – he had never owned an animal. Bailey: ? ~*~ tags/tbc ~*~ Sal Taybrim Friend and Counselor StarBase 118 Ops
  8. ((CO’s Office – The Hub – StarBase 118)) The Elaysian woman hardly knew what to say at that. In all honesty she felt a bit choked up. Her body was cold but if she put her sweater back on she felt like she would overheat. With that she left her sweater on the floor. It was a silence that seemed to stretch on forever. Sheila could feel the anticipation of what Sal was going to say. Throughout their conversation it was the first time she hadn’t spoken which got her mind thinking in a million different directions. Each option her brain thought of was worse than the last. oO It’s my fault. Sal’s going to want to talk to my Uncle. I’m going to lose my job. Oo she had to shake her head for what seemed like the millionth time since she started being plagued but her thoughts. Taybrim: This may be the hardest part for you. You are a medical officer, a compassionate soul who is dedicated to caring for others. But you need to re-establish your own sense of self beyond what your Uncle taught you. That means setting up a sense of self-preservation where you reinforce the self you believe in when your Uncle’s voice haunts you. ::He leaned forward a bit to explain.:: The reason this will feel so difficult for you is because you will need to be a little selfish. You may not be able to endure other’s emotional trauma while you are protecting yourself and re-establishing a new sense of self outside of your Uncle’s abuse. Sheila Bailey didn’t completely freak out at Sal’s words. From the tension she felt she thought he was going to tell her that she was going to have to step away from Starfleet for a time. If she left she was going to break down fully no doubt about it. But was that what Sal was meaning? She wasn't sure. Sheila figured that he didn’t but thinking about it she in fact didn’t know. Her brain was torn between what she knew and what she felt. In the end her feelings won out. Her feelings won out to the point that she started tearing up. She guessed her friend noticed as Sal reached out, very slowly and put a hand on the table in a calming, stabilizing gesture. Sheila herself didn’t want to touch his hand afraid it would hurt. Afraid it would bring back and trigger the memories of all the times she had touched her Uncle. Of all the times that he had forcibly touched her. Sheila’s body shook at the thought. At the thought of her uncle's rough arms going around her waist. At that she shook her head again and reached for Sal’s hand; she gave it a quick squeeze before pulling back. Bailey: You're not asking me to quit my job are you? Taybrim: No, I’m not. Not in the slightest. ::He reassured in even tones.:: But I am asking you to put yourself first while you start to retrain yourself. Bailey: I...I don’t understand. Her mind was running a million miles an hour. Taybrim: I apologize ::he said openly, honestly:: I’m being complex. Let’s start over. Bailey: Okay...Okay..::Sheila was taking deep breaths as she spoke. Her breath was shaky however, making her feel slightly more uncomfortable:: Let me backup. My Uncle abused me. That is a fact. Sheila was trying to recap some of what they had talked about in order to try and understand what Sal, her friend, was asking her. Make sure those feelings that had her thinking she was going to have to quit could lose. If she broke it down then they would lose and she would be left knowing what she knew all along. That Sal was only asking her to limit herself and know her boundaries. And throughout their conversation he was guiding her through finding herself in a way that didn’t connect to her abuser. Taybrim: That is a fact. ::He punctuated that acknowledgement with a single nod.:: And recognizing that fact is good, it sets you on your journey forward. Bailey: I know it could affect my work, not that I’m going to let it. I am a compassionate person and work strongly in helping others. You’ve just got my brain fighting against my heart. I know your not asking or even telling me to quit right? Taybrim: That is correct. I want you to stay as a medical officer and grow to become a department head or a specialty medic – whichever you are more interested in. I just want you to know that it will be more difficult for you some days because you are in medicine. That said, something being difficult does not mean it is impossible or should not be attempted. Very much the opposite. It is valuable because it is difficult and I know you will become a stronger person as you work through it. As she listened to the man in front of her talk she went about wiping her eyes, her breathing slowing. She had just been confronted with her biggest fear but she knew the right outcome even through the confusion. Sheila was glad that she had taken a step back and asked for clarification. Bailey: Thank you. I’m just so scared. How do I move forward when I work in medicine? Taybrim: That is a good question. I recommend that the first step for you is to focus on re-defining yourself in your own way – by your actions and your desires rather than your abusers words. ::He paused, dark eyes settling upon her:: And I know that you have likely started to do this and found that it is difficult. Bailey thought about that. Sure she knew who she was. But none of it seemed to be set in facts that couldn’t change. If the fact could be twisted by her uncle’s voice then she couldn’t be certain if it represented herself. However she was strong. She had gone four months in Starfleet without her mind bringing up any mention of her Uncle. She hadn’t been all there in those four months but it was four months she would never forget. Bailey: How. Most of who I am can be twisted. Taybrim: Your new view of self is certainly up to you, but it may help to base the first steps on concrete facts. You successfully graduated Starfleet Academy. You are a doctor and a respected medical officer. You are a decorated officer who has earned her promotions. From there you can expand to things that cannot be easily proven but are equally if not more valid – such as you are a compassionate person and a valuable friend. Sheila took that all in. She had passed Starfleet academy. She had healed and saved countless people. That much went into the cold hard facts column of the situation. The rest she knew to be true but her brain, in this moment, wanted to twist it up, make it into a lie. Bailey: I believe you. I believe you but facts don’t make it go away. Taybrim: I know ::he nodded gently:: I know you will have times when there is a conflict and you will hear your Uncle’s voice beat you down and try to reassert his view of you rather than your own view of yourself. And this is why I know it will be difficult. You will need to make a plan for ways you deal with that voice. Things you can do to reassert your own view of self and push back your uncle’s voice. You may need to stop doing something, step away and take time for yourself to rebuild those barriers against his teachings. This will feel selfish at first. But you’re taking time for yourself now so you can be more present and able to shine later. It’s a small price to pay. oO You will need to make a plan for ways you deal with that voice. Oo This was shore leave, a time meant for working out one's problems. That or rest, hang out with friends. It wasn’t always like that. During missions was when she had the hardest time. There usually wasn’t any room for escape. Last mission she had felt so much panic. She had thought she was going to break. Break into a million little pieces the second the situation was over. As it turned out she just went right on with her work. Bailey: But it won’t always be like that. During the mission I had no escape. I couldn’t take a moment to myself. What then? Taybrim: I understand there will be mission situations where you do not have the option of stepping away, such as on Vankoth. That is always a possibility of Starfleet Duty. That said, while those moments are very, very acute – they are not the majority of our time in Starfleet. You will be able to step away and battle your uncle’s voice in the way you need to at most times. Regular duties can also be supported or covered by another person in the department. oO Someone could over my post? Oo The thought seemed strange. It made sense. If she needed to step away she 100% would as she would hate to work through when she could focus on the job. She could also easily designate jobs to other officers if needed. What seemed to hang her up was if someone else told her they were going to take over because, in that moment, she couldn’t do her job. That’s what scared her. Bailey: Let's say that happens. What do I tell them? Taybrim: My advice is to find a few key people you trust and let them know some of what you are doing. Let them know you are working on some important things and may need to step away. You don’t have to tell them everything. For some people you may not need to tell them anything other than you are working on overcoming something. Communication is important so they understand your need for space or silence or to walk away at times and reaffirm your control over your Uncle’s voice inside is a part of a healing process. People will accept that with minimal explanation so long as you are open to them early in the process. Tell a few people. Tell people she could trust. She had already told Malko back when he was counselor. Then she told Nijil as she trusted his invitation to take after they worked together during a mission. Now she was telling Sal. Sal, she trusted more than any of the others. But she had told these people because they had the right to know. Back when she let it slip to Galven, she had used it as a way to justify her actions then and her actions during the mission. But maybe Galven did deserve to know more. Maybe she needed to tell Wyn next. She almost had but maybe, in case she did have to step away, he should know why. He didn’t need the whole story but he needed to at least know what she was working through. Bailey: What about you? Taybrim: I will absolutely support you in this. ::he affirmed with deep conviction.:: And I am open for you to tell me how you want me to support you. How did she want to be supported? That was something she didn’t even know yet. Sure talking about it helped. Over time though she knew it would get exhausting to keep repeating herself. However she was clear in knowing that she needed a place she could go when things got bad. Talking wasn’t needed but she would have liked to be around people when she was at her lowest. Bailey: This might sound silly. Taybrim: Response Bailey: I don’t want to be alone when it gets bad. Taybrim: Response Bailey: I know I can’t or rather shouldn’t bother those I trust every time. I can’t always have a long chat to work it out. I have to be strong and able to work it out for myself. I just don’t want to be alone. Taybrim: Response Bailey: Logically I would go back to my quarters but that place, thinking about it now, feels lonely, like another reminder, what with the way the furnishings are modeled after my childhood. Taybrim: Response Bailey: I guess what I’m asking is if there is a place, a different, place, that I can go. A safe place. Taybrim: Response TBC/TAG Lieutenant JG Sheila Bailey Medical Officer Starbase 118 Ops M239512BG0
  9. Sal could feel the weight of past experiences pressing down on the conversation between himself and Doctor Bailey. It was as if Marc Clarence was silently sitting in the room, present for the conversation even if he was a million light years away. His words, his action still lived on in a very palpable way. The most frustrating thing about that for Sal is that presence was exactly what an abuser wanted. That gave them power far beyond physical reach – and it was one of the most enduring and terrifying things about abuse. He was not frustrated with Sheila, not in the least. Those who suffered and endured abuse were strong to survive and no blame was theirs. Sal was angry at Marc Clarence, emotions he kept carefully walled away. He knew he could project emotions as well as he could sense them and what he needed to project was calmness and support. He would save the anger for action, for a driving force in helping her in whatever ways she needed. Taybrim: This may be the hardest part for you. You are a medical officer, a compassionate soul who is dedicated to caring for others. But you need to re-establish your own sense of self beyond what your Uncle taught you. That means setting up a sense of self-preservation where you reinforce the self you believe in when your Uncle’s voice haunts you. ::He leaned forward a bit to explain.:: The reason this will feel so difficult for you is because you will need to be a little selfish. You may not be able to endure other’s emotional trauma while you are protecting yourself and re-establishing a new sense of self outside of your Uncle’s abuse. He could feel the tension started to reach a boiling point and fear and panic stoked the flames. Her entire expression tightened as tears threatened to fall. Sal reached out, very slowly and put a hand on the table in a calming, stabilizing gesture. Bailey: You're not asking me to quit my job are you? Taybrim: No, I’m not. Not in the slightest. ::He reassured in even tones.:: But I am asking you to put yourself first while you start to retrain yourself. That was a complex concept, Sal would be the first to admit that. So he started to break down his thought process into smaller steps, to explain each one better. Bailey: I...I don’t understand. Taybrim: I apologize ::he said openly, honestly:: I’m being complex. Let’s start over. He wanted to get a clear line of communication going on what the process towards healing looked like. What the struggle would be moving forward, and how to prepare for that so she had the greatest chance of success. Bailey: Okay..Okay..::Sheila was taking deep breaths as she spoke. Her breath was shaky however, making her feel slightly more uncomfortable:: Let me backup. My Uncle abused me. That is a fact. Taybrim: That is a fact. ::He punctuated that acknowledgement with a single nod.:: And recognizing that fact is good, it sets you on your journey forward. He could see her processing that, working through what the pitfalls were. What she had already experienced on Vankoth and what she feared might happen moving forward. Bailey: I know it could affect my work, not that I’m going to let it. I am a compassionate person and work strongly in helping others. You’ve just got my brain fighting against my heart. I know your not asking or even telling me to quit right? Taybrim: That is correct. I want you to stay as a medical officer and grow to become a department head or a specialty medic – whichever you are more interested in. I just want you to know that it will be more difficult for you some days because you are in medicine. That said, something being difficult does not mean it is impossible or should not be attempted. Very much the opposite. It is valuable because it is difficult and I know you will become a stronger person as you work through it. That much he was sure of. She had already showed so much strength and she had honest, compassionate and supportive friends on StarBase 118. She would succeed, and she would support getting there. Bailey: Thank you. I’m just so scared. How do I move forward when I work in medicine? Taybrim: That is a good question. I recommend that the first step for you is to focus on re-defining yourself in your own way – by your actions and your desires rather than your abusers words. ::He paused, dark eyes settling upon her:: And I know that you have likely started to do this and found that it is difficult. One could know that they succeeded in one thing but still have the voice in the back of their head saying they would fail. That was the horrific power of abuse – and if that voice got loud enough it started to win, and the person could self-sabotage. That was exactly why they were talking. Sheila Bailey was too smart, too strong, too bright to let herself fall into that trap. No matter how hard the journey was, it was worthwhile. He was already impressed by her ability to recognize what she had gone through and seek to heal what was done. Bailey: ? Taybrim: Your new view of self is certainly up to you, but it may help to base the first steps on concrete facts. You successfully graduated Starfleet Academy. You are a doctor and a respected medical officer. You are a decorated officer who has earned her promotions. From there you can expand to things that cannot be easily proven but are equally if not more valid – such as you are a compassionate person and a valuable friend. Each step in re-writing a concept of self was a small one. Some people could certainly hinge their new viewpoint on the less empirical parts of their personality such as kindness, love, or bravery. And in the end those were some of the most important pieces of self. But when the mind was struggling against insidious lies, sometimes cold hard facts were the best things to lean upon. It was hard for the voices inside your head to tell you that you failed as a cadet when you were wearing a Starfleet uniform. Bailey: ? Taybrim: I know ::he nodded gently:: I know you will have times when there is a conflict and you will hear your Uncle’s voice beat you down and try to reassert his view of you rather than your own view of yourself. And this is why I know it will be difficult. You will need to make a plan for ways you deal with that voice. Things you can do to reassert your own view of self and push back your uncle’s voice. You may need to stop doing something, step away and take time for yourself to rebuild those barriers against his teachings. This will feel selfish at first. But you’re taking time for yourself now so you can be more present and able to shine later. It’s a small price to pay. Sal could empathize. He was a compassionate person who would set aside himself to help others if called upon to do so. He could do that easily now because he felt at peace with himself. Peace with his family, peace with his past. But there were time in his life when he was in turmoil and he had to step away and build up walls against the ghosts of his own past. It felt so selfish to do, even cold. But it was worthwhile. Bailey: ? Taybrim: I understand there will be mission situations where you do not have the option of stepping away, such as on Vankoth. That is always a possibility of Starfleet Duty. That said, while those moments are very, very acute – they are not the majority of out time in Starfleet. You will be able to step away and battle your uncle’s voice in the way you need to at most times. Regular duties can also be supported or covered by another person in the department. Bailey: ? Taybrim: My advice is to find a few key people you trust and let them know some of what you are doing. Let them know you are working on some important things and may need to step away. You don’t have to tell them everything. For some people you may not need to tell them anything other than you are working on overcoming something. Communication is important so they understand your need for space or silence or to walk away at times and reaffirm your control over your Uncle’s voice inside is a part of a healing process. People will accept that with minimal explanation so long as you are open to them early in the process. Bailey: ? Taybrim: I will absolutely support you in this. ::he affirmed with deep conviction.:: And I am open for you to tell me how you want me to support you. Bailey: ? ~*~ tags/tbc ~*~ Sal Taybrim Captain, Counselor, Friend StarBase 118 ops
  10. ((CO’s Office – The Hub – StarBase 118)) Bailey: It should. Sheila knew that she was sliding backwards. When she left home for the academy she didn’t have a reminder of her Uncle. Maybe that was because she was getting used to a whole new level of gravity. Her Uncle didn’t even come up when she was first posted to Federation starship. She guessed that her mind had just been strong for too long and it was finally time to face what he had done to her. Overall she was in a constant internal battle where she had a desire to be strong. That was now coming up against that small voice in her head that threw back everything her Uncle said to her; put it right back into her face. Taybrim: ::Gently:: And why would you say that? Bailey: I’ve struggled, in my younger years, to not believe all the abusive things my Uncle told me. Not hurt myself in similar ways. Sal nodded, showing that he was listening. Sheila appreciated that. Taybrim: That is one of the most difficult things you will grapple with. But you can overcome it. Could she overcome what he had done to her? In a way it would always be with her but she could get to a point that it would no longer bother her, that the thoughts would no longer come up and that she would no longer feel she would have to tell her commanding officers what had happened. Those thoughts didn’t come as a surprise to her. She knew the medical science behind what she was going through as she studied it in her training. Sal however made it all that much more real. He spoke reassuringly. He didn’t sugar coat anything. Bailey: I feel that if someone tells you, you are a failure so many times one can not only start believing that but acting like that as well. Taybrim: It is, most unfortunately, a natural part of a being’s ability to learn that means that if you are taught something with enough repetition – including a destructive lie, that the brain will pick up that pattern and absorb it. You are not weak for that, you are simply sentient and capable of learning – a trait that your abuser took advantage of. Sheila was now feeling very uncomfortable. She had told other people but never in this much detail. It physically hurt. Not like the panic she felt during the mission but much more like someone was squeezing her. She pulled off her sweater leaving it on the floor by her chair. She also realized that yes her Uncle had taken advantage of her. He took advantage of her in so many different ways. He had told her that no one other than him would want her. That she couldn’t outshine others; that would draw too much attention to her. Lead to mistakes. And everytime she did something he didn’t approve of he showed her physically that she had messed up. Usually what he did was pull at her hair and throw her around. It would give her a loss of control. These uncomfortable thoughts had her telling her friend, who was sitting across from her, about the worst thing he had done to her. Bailey: I have a permanent reminder of what he did. Under her sweater she was wearing a simple white tank top which made it easier for her to show Sal the small white but still visible scar that she has on her upper spine. She turned around in her chair to do so. The scar didn’t hurt anymore but it left a slight phantom pain anytime she brushed her fingers along it. She was only glad that it was in a hard to reach location as well as in a place that she couldn’t see when she looked in the mirror. Bailey: You see that there? That small white scar? He did that to me and it won’t go away. ::her voice sounded desperate:: Taybrim: I am so very sorry, Sheila. ::His voice was tender, soft.:: No one deserves to have that sort of pain and abuse done to them. No one deserves to have that reminder carried with them. No one as bright or as compassionate as you ever deserves to have their world twisted by an abuser. I am so very sorry. Sal wasn’t faking his honest sympathy. Bailey: I know I don’t deserve what he did to me. ::she turned to get more comfortable in her seat:: I just...feel like I’m stuck in this endless loop of failure. It feels hopeless right now. Taybrim: No ::He shook his head gently, watching her move back into a more comfortable position.:: I don’t think it is hopeless or that you will fail in your career. I think you are farther along the path to recovery than you think you are, but I also know that yes, the road ahead is difficult. Bailey: It’s going to be hard. I know that for a hard cold fact. I studied about the subject in medical school. It’s however not the same thing as fighting the criminals of Starfleet. We go after then as we have strong evidence as to them committing criminal acts. My Uncle, he not only hurt me but after he would tell me how good I was or how much I wanted it. Words like that. Working in Starfleet was easy as they had clear reasons to go after the people they did. Bailey herself knew that the “death fog” was deadly based on its chemical makeup, so in her mind it was a clear black line of bad. With her Uncle however he seemed to go back and forth between black and white so quickly and easily that she wasn’t sure if it really was his intention to hurt her. What she later learned was that yes he did have a reason to hurt her and her sisters. Of course he hurt them less then her but that never made that any easier. Taybrim: I believe in you. I know you can do this. Again, you’ve already taken the first step – you recognize what your Uncle did and you called it out – abuse. You can see it, and you can talk to people about it – that’s not easy and it shows you are strong and brave. Sal’s tone was firm, reassuring. Bailey: I’ve told those I felt had a right to know. I still find it hard to tell myself that I was told lies my whole life. Even when I do it doesn’t make it better. Taybrim: You learned these abusive things through repetition, continually being taught them. You can unlearn them through repetition and continually being taught something else. And, you’re right – simply telling yourself that it’s a lie won’t help. You can know that it’s a lie and still feel those emotional welling within you because you’ve been taught that guilt and shame by a horrible person. You have to unlearn those basic responses. The Elaysian woman hardly knew what to say at that. In all honesty she felt a bit choked up. Her body was cold but if she put her sweater back on she felt like she would overheat. With that she left her sweater on the floor. It was a silence that seemed to stretch on forever. Sheila could feel the anticipation of what Sal was going to say. Throughout their conversation it was the first time she hadn’t spoken which got her mind thinking in a million different directions. Taybrim: This may be the hardest part for you. You are a medical officer, a compassionate soul who is dedicated to caring for others. But you need to re-establish your own sense of self beyond what your Uncle taught you. That means setting up a sense of self-preservation where you reinforce the self you believe in when your Uncle’s voice haunts you. ::He leaned forward a bit to explain.:: The reason this will feel so difficult for you is because you will need to be a little selfish. You may not be able to endure other’s emotional trauma while you are protecting yourself and re-establishing a new sense of self outside of your Uncle’s abuse. Sheila Bailey didn’t completely freak out at Sal’s words. From the tension she felt she thought he was going to tell her that she was going to have to step away from Starfleet for a time. If she left she was going to break down fully no doubt about it. But was that what Sal was meaning? She wasn't sure. Sheila figured that he didn’t but thinking about it she in fact didn’t know. Her brain was torn between what she knew and what she felt. In the end her feelings won out. Her feelings won out to the point that she started tearing up. Bailey: You're not asking me to quit my job are you? Taybrim: Response Bailey: I...I don’t understand. Taybrim: Response Bailey: Okay..Okay..::Sheila was taking deep breaths as she spoke. Her breath was shaky however, making her feel slightly more uncomfortable:: Let me backup. My Uncle abused me. That is a fact. Sheila was trying to recap some of what they had talked about in order to try and understand what Sal, her friend, was asking her. Make sure those feelings that had her thinking she was going to have to quit could lose. If she broke it down then they would lose and she would be left knowing what she knew all along. That Sal was only asking her to limit herself and know her boundaries. And throughout their conversation he was guiding her through finding herself in a way that didn’t connect to her abuser. Taybrim: Response Bailey: I know it could affect my work, not that I’m going to let it. I am a compassionate person and work strongly in helping others. You’ve just got my brain fighting against my heart. I know your not asking or even telling me to quit right? Taybrim: Response As she listened to the man in front of her talk she went about wiping her eyes, her breathing slowing. She had just been confronted with her biggest fear but she knew the right outcome even through the confusion. Sheila was glad that she had taken a step back and asked for clarification. Bailey: Thank you. I’m just so scared. How do I move forward when I work in medicine? Taybrim: Response TBC/TAG Lieutenant JG Sheila Bailey Medical Officer Starbase 118 Ops M239512BG0
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