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Lt Commander Foster - Companion Animals

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Jamie has this wonderful ability to infuse humour among the drama and yet never does that humour ever undermine the overall tone of a dramatic and serious topic in a sim.  


(CMO’s Office - Starbase 118)

Shar’Wyn Foster liked to think of himself as a very smooth, persuasive and attractive man.  And maybe once upon a time he was – when he was younger he had a lovely fresh veneer of arrogance and roguishness.  It was the way he used to keep everyone at arm’s length so they wouldn’t find out that underneath that veneer was a very soft and vulnerable person.

When he was younger this worked.  Then he joined Starfleet at that veneer started to show immediate cracks.  He patched the cracks, taking arrogance away and filling it with a gruff sassy demeanor and a dry sense of humor which fit him better, trying to build up walls to protect that soft core.

And then the walls had shattered.

In the five years since he had put them back together in piecemeal ways, trying to admit to himself that he really wasn’t smooth, persuasive or roguishly charming as he would like to believe.  He was awkward, sarcastic and frequently tired of keeping up the charade.  And yet that persona was as much of a comfort blanket as it was a protection.

But it also highlighted how uneven and awkward his words were when he was trying to honestly connect to someone, coming out as a messy jumble that sometimes made assumptions and sometimes just didn’t sound right.  Which was almost certainly why Doctor Bailey spoke to sane, rational reasonable people like Taybrim and Nijil about this first.

Not that Wyn would ever in a million years let Nijil know that the Rekarian was considered more rational than he.  He would never live that down.

Foster: I mean, patients tell doctors things all the time because they need something fixed. But I get it, we’re colleagues. Colleagues who take care of other people. That makes it harder to try to take care of yourself sometimes.

Bailey: Taking care of others always seems to come first.

Oh wasn’t that true?  It was such a doctor thing to do.  Heal the world but forget to heal yourself.  Maybe all doctors were secretly masochists and this was how they dealt with it?

Who knew.  All he knew was that Bailey certainly wasn’t the first medic to place others above herself.

Foster: Ok, so what in specific in your files are you referring to?

He was searching as to not leap to conclusions and make assumptions; which was something he was admittedly good at and something that also generally got him into trouble.

The question was filled with an awkward silence that Wyn was pretty sure he caused even though he didn’t really know how he caused it.

Foster: Ok, How about this, you talk, I’ll listen…


He pressed his lips together, antennae curling downwards, indicating that he would shut his fool mouth and just listen.

Bailey: Here. ::Bailey passed Foster a PADD showing her medical file. Highlighted was the first entry made by an unknown Elaysian doctor::

He accepted and started to scan the files.  Contusions, osteo-regenerations, a host of minor injuries that immediately raised his suspicions as to what might be causing it.

As one of his professors once said ‘if it happens once a year it’s an accident.  If it happens once a week it’s a problem’

His antennae raised and tensed, something which caused him to wince a little feeling a rolling soreness down one side from the twitch.  Still, his reaction was one of recognition and anger.

Foster: There is a pattern of consistent injury here…

He trailed off.  He was letting her speak, not speaking for her.  Not making assumptions or leaping to conclusions.  Listen to yourself, dummy and shut up.

Bailey: The notes are a bit vague. But the big word that should be added is abuse. My uncle should be labeled abusive.

For a moment he closed his eyes, set the PADD on the desk and clenched his fist.  He stayed still; the moment passed.  His deep blue eyes fixed on her, filled with a complex wash of emotions. 

There was never an excuse for abuse in his mind.  Not once, not ever.  Even if it had happened in the past, even if the abuser had already been rightly punished, he was still angry that it had happened. 

But he was a doctor and plenty of terrible things made him angry.  A doctor had to swallow that and be calm for the good of the patient and that’s exactly what he did.

Foster: Your uncle is a criminal.  ::He said without thinking.  Stop.  Reverse.  He took a breath and started again.::  I mean… I’m sorry.  That should have never happened to you.  Ever.  It’s wrong.  It’s bad.  I’m sorry.  ::Once again, real smooth.  But honest.  He tipped his antennae forward towards her:: Do you need a therapy tribble?

It was the best he could offer at the moment.  Despite taking those two required counselling classes in Starfleet medical, he wasn’t very good at actually counselling.  He generally left that to the counselors.

Bailey: I’ve talked with Nijil and Taybrim about the subject so I’m not here to break down in your office. I want to make you aware of my situation, that I’ve been abused, that it’s affected me mentally on missions, and that I’d like to change how I’m going to handle it. ::she ended breathing in a full breathe before holding it in::

He could empathize.  Not sympathize.  Empathize.  He understood what it was like to try to hold oneself together in a mission where it felt your mind was crumbling inside, while you tried to make it shut up long enough to keep your hands steady enough to administer first aid.

Foster: That’s really brave.  And healthy.  And I want to support it.

It was the best words he could come up with, while still holding his own cards close and behind those ever-present walls.  

Bailey: What can you do? May I? ::She gestured to the PADD, carefully taking it back in order to pull up the information Taybrim had given her last shore leave about dog trainers, then handed it back:: The idea of a service dog has been on my mind lately. ::She left the statement open in order for Foster to ask any questions he so wished. Voice his own opinion::

He read it over and considered, looking at the information.

Foster: I’d be a hypocrite to say no as I have three tribbles and a cat-tribble hybrid in this very office.  ::he said evenly.:: Main sickbay is generally an entry point so animals are not generally allowed but they aren’t forbidden either.  We want to make sure it stays open and comfortable for any species who might be allergic or afraid of canines – or tribbles or Triberius. ::The little orange ball of fluff gave him a side-eye:: but you can bring a trained animal with you and keep it in your personal office space. 

Bailey: ?

Foster: I mean this place has offices bigger than quarters on most starships so I don’t really see a problem. 

This was true.  The sheer size of StarBase 118 offered many luxuries when it came to spaces including office space.

Bailey: ?

Foster: Well that is true.  I am flexible.  You work hard and I trust that if you need to adjust your schedule you’ll still work hard.  Not everyone needs to be on for a full eight or ten hours.

He, himself vastly preferred six-hour shift pulling extra time when needed for surgery.

Bailey: ?

Foster: I guess I’d say baby steps.  A service animal is first and foremost for you.  Then, if it seems right you can introduce them to others who might benefit.  No one has to make that decision right now.  Focus on step one.

Bailey: ?

Foster: Ok, what other ideas or concerns do you have?

Bailey: ?


Lt Commander Shar’Wyn Foster
Chief Medical Officer
StarBase 118 Ops


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