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Day 02 [1500 hrs.] The Alchemy of Sorrow

[ Lt. Cmdr. Rutherford | Hathev's Quarters | Deck 10 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @P.C. Haring

There was a solid law in nature, that every force required an opposing one. As there was a law in life, that every ounce of happiness bred the potential for an equal measure of sorrow. That with every inch it lifted you off the ground, elevated you into the spiritual ecstasy of bliss, it brought you an inch closer to falling to your ultimate demise. Such was the principle that ruled mortal existences. Something that had only become clear, once the precipice of contentment numbed your senses to the impending shift, and your being only realized the fall once the frigid claws of hell drew around you, pulling you close, and into the abyss. It was the kind of stain on your soul, like ink dripping on white parchment, that could not be eradicated, but glossed over with more darkness. A guarded demeanor, a coat of arms, or sorts, that shielded you from further defilement. But such resistance too, was worn away on the brimstone of time, laying bare the frail sheets of vellum, that made up your essence of being. And just as the daemons that drew you into the deep, this too crept up on you without warning, until one fateful day you realized, you were as vulnerable as you’d ever been.

Which wasn’t a revelation anyone would’ve been inclined to share voluntarily, giving the enemy the key to the secret passage into their stronghold. Let alone the plucky blonde, whose entire career had been built on coaxing forth that kind of disclosure from her enemies, all while keeping her own walls strong and sturdy. A career that had trickled into her life like molten glass, caking over her softer pastures with scorching eagerness, covering everything in smooth crystal. Melding together the person she was, and the one duty needed her to be, while snuffing out that spark that had made her an individual with needs and dreams. But that sort of armor too was brittle and shattered easily at the succinct application of pressure just in the right way. Another illusion of strength and security, that in itself was nothing more than deceptive bedevilment, by one’s own mind. It was the kind of ailment that needed remedy, but also the kind that eluded common sense and motivation. To the point even of defying any attempts at resolution.

Which was why Samantha had walked away from her first psychological appraisal few days prior, and to a lesser extent because of the company that she had found there. Not only eluding the Assistant Chief Counselor but revelations of uncomfortable nature as well. It wasn’t that she didn’t believe her stronghold couldn’t skillfully deflect the most astute of interrogation, but even the slightest chip at the obsidian walls of glass around her, heralded in a greater dread than the Valkyries of her own undoing. But even while her spiritual defiance was that of which legends were made, her real apprehension was squashed profoundly by the reality of duty, and the chain of command she was embedded in. So, as the summoning had shifted to a higher level of authority, she could not help but answer the call. That was how she had come to stand before the gates of Helheim now. Dreading the ethereal judgment waiting beyond the silvery sheaths. A woman whom she shared a cultural and biological bond with, that only furthered the blonde’s foreboding apprehension, in what deft sorcery Hathev would employ to break down her fortress.

Prompting the door panel to a chime, the diplomat straightened her shoulders and plucked at the hem of her uniform jacket, evocating whatever countenance she could, to strengthen her first line of defense, that perfectly groomed superficial vision of strength. Blue emeralds fell across the opening chasm, onto the chaise-lounge on the opposite side of the room. Perched upon like a baroque sculpture, the counselor herself, wrapped in the same blends of artificial fiber. Albeit with a differently colored tunic. The dichotomy hitting her like a heat flash, how in scenarios such as these the inquisitee, was supposed to take the devout position of vulnerable horizontality, under the watchful towering of one’s therapist. It certainly prompted Sam to cast measurable doubt, across her beautiful features, as to where this was heading. Not disregarding the possibility that whatever witchcraft was abrewing here, was specifically designed to put her at a disadvantage, in keeping up her defenses.

“Commander.” she heralded lightly, letting azure pools shift through the rest of the room to gauge the presence of support or backup. Yet, ultimately, that icy blue gaze fell back upon the Vulcan woman, her delicate features of subdued strength and inherent elegance. “Was there anything I could help you with?” her voice hesitant, the diplomat herself could not adequately gauge the significance of the moment. Which perturbed her, like touching upon the smooth surface of a dark pond, sending ripples across a reflection twisting into turmoil. The revelation on meaning disguised behind one’s own delusion, the blonde’s mind tiptoed around an admission to what turned out to be inevitable, no matter the struggle, no matter the urge to turn and run.

But that didn’t mean her mind could not play around just a little bit longer.

Re: Day 02 [1500 hrs.] The Alchemy of Sorrow

Reply #1
[Lt. Cmdr. Hathev | Hathev's Quarters | Deck 10 | Vector 02 | U.S.S. Theurgy] Attn: @stardust 

Hathev had been reading up on her next appointment when the chime to her quarters alerted her to the new arrival.  The Vulcan had found Lieutenant Foster’s report on the first attempt to be insufficient at first, but after reading the short report thoroughly and taking in her own observations of the patient, Hathev had come to understand that she was not one to willingly open up.  Whether from her training, her own innate nature, the way the Vulcna’s second in command in the counseling department had treated Rutherford, or perhaps some combination of the three, had caused her to close down, Hathev did not know.  Regardless, she would need to break through to her. 

She had been considering her options before the chime sounded and had decided that she would attempt to appeal to the Vulcan in the woman.  Even at only one quarter Vulcan, she would have a strong foundation in logic that would, if properly guided, lead Rutherford to the conclusion that her participation was necessary.  If that did not work, however, she would have to appeal to her emotional side and replace the carrot that was the logical conclusion, with a stick that would most certainly elicit an emotional reaction that would compel her compliance.  The latter option was, of course, the less favorable, but as one of the last dozen of the crew who needed their psych evaluation completed, and the only remaining member of the senior staff, the time for patience was coming to an inevitable conclusion.

She bade her visitor to enter, and the doors to her quarters parted on cue as her guest stepped in.  As Hathev had come to expect, the Diplomat presented herself impeccably. She was a picture of beauty by almost every definition, save perhaps for that of the Ferengi.  Her uniform, although fundamentally the same as that of every other crew member aboard ship struck Hathev as particularly clean and crisp and the Diplomat radiated a demeanor of confidence and control that Hathev would have come to expect from anyone who made a career out of the diplomatic arts.

Which told her that Lieutenant Commander Samantha Rutherford would not be an easy appointment.  The Vulcan was not herself a diplomat, of course, but over the decades, she had come to realize the art of diplomatic negotiations relied not just on the knowledge of what your own side was willing to agree upon, but also a sense of the psychology of the party sitting across the table.  What could you push for?  What could you potentially say that was untrue, that could get you closer to your goals?  What could you demand?  What were non starters?  How could a positive or negative rapport affect the willingness to negotiate. 

Hathev shifted in the chaise, letting her feet drop to the deck as she tried to sit upright enough to stand.  She had been released from sickbay for almost a day and a half now and the stiffness in her abdomen still gave her pause.  The wingback chair, the second piece of furniture Cross had helped Hathev replicate and place was a much more fitting place for her to be for this conversation.  The chaise, was far too informal.

“For now,” Hathev said in reply to Rutherford's query on how she could help, “I would welcome your assistance in helping me to stand as I am not yet fully recovered from my injuries and transitioning between seated and standing positions remains a challenge.”

OOC - Also tagging @Ellen Fitz given the reference to Cross.

Re: Day 02 [1500 hrs.] The Alchemy of Sorrow

Reply #2
[ Lt. Cmdr. Rutherford | Hathev's Quarters | Deck 10 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @P.C. Haring

Sam was rather versant on the mechanics of prying one’s creamy caramel core from that shell of impenetrable hard candy. It was as much an institution in her own career, as it was in Andrew’s, and as it seemed, also that of the raven-haired counselor. The difference being that, in both intelligence and diplomacy, you were trying to break down an opponent’s façade, with peace and prosperity hanging in the balance. Whereas to her understanding that kind of deceptive force, was something akin to friendly fire, when employed against fellow officers and crewmen. There was no strategic advantaged to be gained from having her soul pour out like a sack of Halloween candy, dropped on a cold, wet sidewalk, for Hathev’s hungry hands to sift through it hoggishly, in search of that one little strawberry-pop.

Of course, she appreciated the woman’s duty in keeping the crew on the right side of crazy, helping those on the brink of eating their toothpaste, but there was no danger here. No imminent threat. And frankly, it seemed like an utter waste of both their time. So, in the grander spirit of deflection, the blonde deliberately kept playing along the precipice of courteous ignorance, feigning a sense of naivety in regards to her summons. To gauge how much she didn’t want to do this, right now, she was prepared to throw Fisher right in front of her, to distract the Vulcan’s feral compulsion to fix broken psyches. Surely that would give her enough time to jump ship and hire with an Orion property developer.

Manicured brows rose over azure moons, like delicate cirrus vapors, at the advent of an explanation. Though fluffy strips of vapor soon descended into proper rain clouds, as the woman continued. Knowing the temporary explanation as a measure of biding time, rather than an admittance to an entirely harmless reasoning. Like exchanging traditional Vulcan braiding techniques. And while that sounded downright dreadful, it would’ve been preferable to the iron jaws of reality. Thus, sucking in a deep breath through grinding teeth, the commander took a decisive step forward, as if stepping over an invisible threshold, reaching out to lift Hathev off the chaise lounge.

“I could …” Sam started out, her voice strained, before temporarily succumbing to a tense groan. “… I could quickly hop over to the nearest nurse’s station for something to help numb your …” ‘agenda’ was the word that teetered on her plump lips like a seesaw. Restrained by the gravity of her diplomatic schooling alone. “… ailments.” was the more diplomatic way of ‘hemming the hog’. Releasing the slender figure into a somewhat upright, yet slightly crooked position, the blonde took a step back, brushing her golden curls behind her ears. Rose petals brushed together, like evening dusk, eyes wide and pondering like a full moon over lush gardens, the woman looked at the other in abject silence, not befitting over either skill or eloquence.

Yet, as she even just attempted to turn to the door for a quick escape, Hathev chained her to the floor with her voice speaking up again confidently. Making the commander’s attempts look like nothing more than a gentle twitch towards the exit. A modicum of defeat and embarrassment visible on her delicate features, as blue eyes searched for a sense of concession, within that little stalemate they had going.

Re: Day 02 [1500 hrs.] The Alchemy of Sorrow

Reply #3
[Lt. Cmdr. Hathev | Hathev's Quarters | Deck 10 | Vector 02 | U.S.S. Theurgy] Attn: @stardust 

Hathev nodded in appreciation as Rutherford helped her to her feet.  Her patient did not seem to know what to do next, offering to help by heading over to the nurses station to acquire medication for her.  It was a kind offer for sure, but one shrouded in deflection and obfuscation.  Even so, Rutherford required somewhat of a more direct approach.

As she crossed the room, she noticed Rutherford turning as if to make for the door.

“That will not be necessary, Commander.  Please sit down and make yourself comfortable..”

She moved gingerly over to the replicator. 

“Vulcan tea, and…”

She paused and turned back to Rutherford.  “Something to drink?”

Turning back after her colleague gave her response, Hathev completed the requested to the replicator.

Carefully, the wounded Vulcan crossed back to the sitting area and served Rutherford, setting her order down on the coffee table.  Hathev set her own drink down on the tray set by the side of her seat and slowly lowered herself in.  It was perhaps more grandiose a statement to be sitting in a wingback armchair.  But considering her current state, the extra padding and support was a welcome relief.

“We both know why I’ve summoned you here, Commander,” Hathev said after a sip of her tea,  “I have had the next hour and a half of your schedule cleared so we may take care of this requirement.”

She paused for a moment, to let that settle with her.

“So, how have you been, Commander?”

Re: Day 02 [1500 hrs.] The Alchemy of Sorrow

Reply #4
[ Lt. Cmdr. Rutherford | Hathev's Quarters | Deck 10 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @P.C. Haring

There was a fable, in earth’s folklore, that described a woman, locked away in a high tower, deep within an enchanted forest, where no one could find her. And even if one could master the treacherous challenge through the cursed thicket, slay the demons and shadows within, they would still run into high walls with no doors or stairs, to lead the heroic champion into the sanctum of her chambers, unless she willed it so. At the last barrier of her charm and wit, conversation spun like cotton-candy spiderwebs, even the almost steadfast soul would be enchanted by her siren song into complacency, starving to death in utter bliss, at the feet of her ivory fortress. Bones piling up against the barbican like thorny underbrush. Only at the behest of her golden tresses, braided into a long rope, would anyone be allowed into the inner realms of her being. The most private refuge of her thoughts and emotions. Where all the memories and experiences of her life were cast against the walls of the rotunda, flickering past beams and brickwork like a nightlight, as she marveled over the torment in its midst.


There was no accomplishment in letting her hair down for Commander Hathev, so to speak, as she stood there at the foot of her tower, wailing against the timbered masonry. In her career the blonde had gone through many an appraisal of her mental state, and never had it wielded any merit but the satisfaction of bureaucracy and a job well done, for whatever poor schmuck had been tasked to pry the vestiges of suffering, from her mind’s cold claws. An experience almost traumatic, in its own right. The effort ironic, against the backdrop of a far bigger plight, in the realm outside her mementos. Yet, if anything, the diplomat understood the call of duty, and how it posed almost a siren’s song itself, to whatever unsuspecting princess it enchanted. So to satisfy at least such a notion, the most she could do was stay put, at behest of the chief counselor, to see how she’d be able to squirm her way out of this, once more.

“Vulcan tea will be fine.” the blonde replied almost automatically, words dripping from plump lips like cogwheels from a production line. Yet the mere comment posed a far bigger dilemma than she had intended for it to. The other woman’s heritage not exactly being a secret, in her pointed ears and inclined brows, the officer in red was faced with the dichotomy of her position, against the stoic nature of her logical ancestry. A being trained on repressing the very notion she was tasked to understand and validate in others. Like a fish expected to understand the plights of a bird. When the most logical thing, not only in this very instance, would’ve been to sweep everything under the rug and move on with your head held high. Yet as it seemed, that mantra was far more natural seeming to the one-quarter Vulcan in the room, than the full-fledged one. But even as far as blocked passions and rational inclinations went, the diplomat had to withhold her passions, when faced with the meddling of her calendar and her duties, without prior consent. No matter how much Starfleet regulations officially inflated their shrinks’ authorities. 

“I see.” she replied pointedly, like a dagger stab in the dark, as blue eyes fell victim to a cover of lashes, atop plush petals of rosé brushing all that was left in pink vigor from moist pillows. Lowering her delicate frame into the tendered armchair, like silver poured into a mold, Sam crossed her legs gingerly, holding their precipice in place by the stranglehold of both hands, cupping her knee. Letting the last measure of words sink in, however, as if an echo on the desert winds, larimar ponds soon fixed their frozen sparkle on the visage of her counter, conveying all the defiance her stronghold keep could convey. After all, there was no case to be made if evidence could never be found.

“I have been most productive, Counselor.” the woman replied in the typical fashion of her part lineage. “How about you? I understand how irritating physical discomfort can be, even to a Vulcan. All that extra mental discipline necessary to keep going in an orderly fashion. Even more so with the added weight of a recent traumatic experience.” she narrated, a delicate segue around the previously proposed issue. “I am sure you have been evaluated to return to duty in full form, yet, and that your judgments are sound.” A daring glimmer, cast across the brim of a tea mug, as it dipped towards lush pillows of flesh, bedewing them with the bland flavor of steeped root. Revelling in the momentary comfort of her own requiem, the decadence of her own terms. None other refuge availing her.


Re: Day 02 [1500 hrs.] The Alchemy of Sorrow

Reply #5
[Lt. Cmdr. Hathev | Hathev's Quarters | Deck 10 | Vector 02 | U.S.S. Theurgy] Attn: @stardust‍ 

Throughout her career, Hathev had dealt with patients one might describe as ‘difficult’.  Hathev, of course, could recall each and every one of them, remember every word they ever spoke to her and recall every response she had offered in reply, but to bring them to her conscious memory would do a disservice to her duty in the here and now.  Even so, no matter how difficult and stalwart those patients had been in the past, it seemed that none would compare to the woman sitting in front of her.  In her experience, she might describe Lieutenant Commander Rutherford as wound up tighter than a Ferengi’s wallet.

As she had surmised earlier, Hathev concluded that this would take a form more closely resembling a diplomatic negotiation.  It would be a back and forth game of political chess wherein each side would give as little as they could while positioning themselves to gain as much as possible.  Yet despite her stoic nature, the Diplomat had very little leverage over the Counselor.  If she felt it necessary, Hathev would take her active duty and not even Captain Ives could intervene… at least not if s/he still cherished the Federation values and Starfleet regulations that Theurgy fought so hard to defend.

It would not come to that extreme, Hathev knew.  Even so, she was prepared for it.

Rutherfords answer was, as predicted, less than useful and the Vulcan was reminded of a mantra often repeated by one of her instructors at the academy.

While your first question may be the most pertinent, it is also likely the least relevant.*

This exchange here and now, Hathev’s question to Rutherford about how she was doing, and Rutherford’s response followed by the counter about Hathev’s own wellness and ability to do her duty amounted to little more than detente.  A human might liken it to ‘smoke and mirrors’, a metaphor intended to illustrate a diversion from the primary objective.

But in counseling, as in chess, as in diplomacy, opportunities arose wherein detente could be used to ones own advantage.

“You may rest assured, Comamnder, that if my evaluations did not permit me to return to duty, I would not be on duty.  My physical discomfort, while undesirable, is to be expected and thus not worthy of concern.”

Hathev took a sip of her own Tea and locked eyes with her patient.

“As to the trauma of my injuries,” she replied, “I am addressing those issues as needed.”

That would be all she would give on the topic.

“It is curious, however, that you would bring up the topic of trauma, given recent events.  Between the attack on Paris, the destruction of the Spearhead Lounge, and your various away missions into hostile Klingon holdings, both of which could be considered traumatic, to say nothing about anything else I might be omitting, it would be logical…and safe… to say you have seen more than your fair share of physical and psychological trauma.”

She paused to let that settle for a moment.

“It would be Illogical to assume these events had no psychological impact on you, would it not?”

OOC -  *Shamelessly paraphrased/hijaced from Matrix: Reloaded

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