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Didrik Stennes, “A different calling”


Maxwell Traenor
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(( Deep Space 6, Promenade, Orb of Taste Restaurant ))

:: Didrik had disembarked Darwin at the first opportunity after her arrival at DS6. Dr Cook had kept him on a steady dose of drugs that ameliorated the worst symptoms of his Quantum Slipstream Sickness, but he still felt bouts of nausea when the device that powered Darwin’s faster-than-warp engines ramped up and wound down. ::

:: He sat across a small cafe table from Dr Linnea Hanadani, who had been his therapist when he lived on DS6, between leaving Columbia and joining Darwin. They shared a pot of deka tea at a Terran-Bajoran fusion restaurant which seemed to be popping up everywhere. ::

Hanadani: You look well, Didrik. Pardon me, Counselor Stennes.

:: Didrik blushed at the compliment. ::

Stennes: I feel well. It’s been a long time since I’ve been so clear headed.

Hanadani: Maybe you’ve found your calling then?

Stennes: I don’t know about that. I am really enjoying the challenges of being a counselor, but it’s not exactly being on the bridge of a Starship.

Hanadani: Speaking of which, Didrik, I’ve had a few conversations with Starfleet Medical about you.

:: Didrik froze, mid-sip, suddenly finding it difficult to swallow. He set his cup down and studied the doctor’s expression. She was smiling an ethereal half-smile, but that wasn’t unusual for her. The silence seemed to fill the room. ::

Stennes: And?

Hanadani: And they’ve not been ignorant of the fact that you’ve spend most of the last year working with Starfleet, albeit in a civilian capacity.

Stennes: I’m guessing they weren’t pleased. Last I heard, I was still medically unfit for Starfleet duty.

Hanadani: You’re right, there is a sentiment amongst the doctors in charge of your case that you’ve skirted around their orders. That you’ve exploited a loophole to continue working in environments that may be detrimental to your recovery.

:: Didrik nodded slowly, feeling his commission slipping further and further out of his reach. ::

Stennes: I understand. I always knew that was a possibility. I guess I was just hoping that I’d do such a fantastic job that it would prove I was fully recovered.

Hanadani: No one who has been through what you have can “fully recover,” Didrik. You know that. But recovery isn’t a destination, it’s a journey along which you learn how to cope.

Stennes: I feel like I have learnt to cope.

Hanadani: Then what’s this I heard about you making racial slurs on the bridge of your ship?

Stennes: I don’t know what--

Hanadani: You called your telepathic colleagues “a bunch of spoon-benders”?

Stennes: That is not what I said… exactly.

Hanadani: Didrik…

Stennes: We were in a life threatening situation, two away teams were about to be killed. And besides, I profusely apologized personally to the captain and to everyone else on the bridge. I feel like my contrition should be worth something, I felt terrible for what I said.

Hanadani: Of course it should. Starfleet Medical is continuing to evaluate your condition with a view of reinstating your commission if it’s in yours and Starfleet’s best interest.

Stennes: I’ve been hearing that for two years.

Hanadani: And you may continue hearing it for another two years, or twenty years. That’s Starfleet Medical for you.

:: Didrik’s eyes lowered. It certainly sounded like she was trying to make bad news sound less bad. ::

Stennes: So what should I do?

Hanadani: No matter how many positive evaluations you receive, or how far your recovery has progressed, ultimately, the decision to reinstate you as a Starfleet officer is not, and will never be, yours to make.

:: Didrik nodded. There was such a finality to that statement. Ever since his trauma, he thought that if he worked hard enough, stayed focused enough, he could get his old life back. But such a thing was not possible. ::

Hanadani: I’ve told you this before. You’ve been so single minded about returning to Starfleet, and I’m telling you that you are perfectly capable of living a different, but no less fulfilling life.

Stennes: ::quietly:: You’re right. Everything you’ve said is right.

Hanadani: I don’t want you to give up on something you want, Didrik. I just want you to have realistic expectations.

Stennes: I know. And I do. I really do. I’m enjoying my position on Darwin. Maybe you were right. Maybe I do have a new calling.

Hanadani: That’s the spirit. I care about you, Didrik. Not just as a former patient, and not just as a colleague.

:: She smiled so warmly that Didrik could feel it radiating from her. ::

Hanadani: Excel in whatever you do, Didrik. I know you can.

:: Didrik pressed his thumb onto the paypad and they stood. ::

Hanadani: The university is looking for some guests for a speakers’ series. If you’re staying over a while, I could see about getting you a timeslot.

Didrik: No thanks. Something tells me we may not be at DS6 for very long. I should be getting back to the ship anyway. I need to speak to the captain.

Hanadani: Problem?

Didrik: Maybe.

:: Didrik decided not to talk about the somewhat ironic masquerade ball being planned, and what such an activity said about the current mental state of its attendees. He had a strong feeling that there would be quite a few secrets, not just faces, being unmasked at the event. ::

Didrik: Thank you, for everything.

Hanadani: My pleasure.

:: Didrik wasn’t a hugger, but she pulled him into one and Didrik complied. The diminutive woman looked as though she was being swallowed up by his bearhug. They parted, and Didrik embarked Darwin though the gangway, heading directly for the captain’s ready room. ::

=/\=|=/\=|=/\=|=/\=|=/\=|=/\=|=/\=

Didrik Stennes

Counselor

USS Darwin NCC-99312-A

D238804DS0

=/\=|=/\=|=/\=|=/\=|=/\=|=/\=|=/\=

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