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CH02: S [D02|1305] The Right Stuff

[ Lt. Cmdr. Hathev | Corridor near Main Sickbay | Deck 11 | Vector 02| USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Juzzie

Stardate: 57651.97
April 17, 2381
13:05 Hours

Hathev exited the turbolift with more speed than she had intended and had to stop herself from running.  She was five minutes and twenty three seconds late for her next appointment and, given that she was scheduled to meet with Lieutenant Rhys Williams, she was not satisfied with her own lack of punctuality. 

She had been in main engineering and had been waylaid by an overly talkative  Petty Officer Zil Arex.  Even with her scheduled commitment pressing on her time, the Petty officer had felt the need to share with her his assessment of whom he felt required her services.  Calling the conversation 'uncomfortable' would be a kindness.  Her only out had been to suggest she send him a message with his notes.  He  had said he would, and Hathev had no doubt she would find a message waiting for her by the end of the day.  The only question remained what she would do with it. 

She continued her accelerated pace, moving as fast as she could without appearing rushed.  Conveniently, the door to sickbay lay only a few meters from the lift.  The doors parted as she approached, allowing her entrance.

[  Main Sickbay | Deck 11 | Vector 02| USS Theurgy ]

Sickbay remained mostly idle as she entered, a situation she suspected would not last as the Theurgy drew ever closer to the Klingon homeworld, and only one person sat in the waiting area outside her office.

Not only am I running late, but my 'patient' is on time.  Ironic.

In her experience, Humans were not often the most punctual.  She slowed to a stop and met the Lieutenant's eye.

"I apologize for my tardiness, Lieutenant.  I was unexpectedly delayed in my return.  I trust you have not been waiting long," she asked as she keyed her office door open and motioned for Mr. Williams to enter.

"Please come in and make yourself comfortable.  If you desire refreshment, please feel free to avail yourself of the replicator."

((OOC- Placement of Rhys as waiting for Hathev done in coordination with @Juzzie ))

Re: CH02: S [D02|1305] The Right Stuff

Reply #1
[Lt. Rhys Williams| Main Sickbay | Deck 11 | Vector 02| USS Theurgy ] attn: @P.C. Haring

Rhys had arrived not just on time but very early. His anxiety about this meeting had been playing out all the possible negative scenarios in his head. One of them was that he would be late. So of course, Rhys had headed on his way about half an hour before he really needed to. That unfortunately meant he was sat in the waiting room all on his own. With his own ugly thoughts

Rhys had been surprised that he was the only one there. Hathev’s office was set up within the main sickbay, which was normally a hive of activity. Of course, the ship was approaching Q’onos so he imagined most people were at the posts, or if not trying to relax themselves on the approach. Not a situation liable to produce many accidents. Of course, the fact he was so early was a possible factor.

Rhys spent most of his time asking the computer to double check the time. As the minutes ticked to the allotted time, he noticed Hathev was right. Rhys was not the kind of person to judge her for being late. He was more likely to panic and wonder if he had the wrong day or time. Had he missed their meeting? Or was it later maybe.

Eventually however, his Vulcan superior arrived. She apologised for her lateness and Rhys felt eager in his relief standing up formally as she entered the room. “Oh no I’ve not been waiting long.” He had been waiting a long time but that was his own fault really, so he decided to keep quiet on that score.

Hathev invited him into her office, and Rhys went inside and took a seat opposite her desk. His hands felt sweaty and he had no idea what to do with them. He fidgeted a bit before letting them settle in his lap. Their last meeting had not been pleasant for him. She had relieved him of duty. He hoped that this matter would be reversed here, but he felt he did not dare hope on that score. He had been a mess the last time he met. He had been in the middle of a horrific nervous breakdown. He had made progress, Stellan had been counselling him. Hopefully this would be enough. Rhys needed the routine of work to keep himself functioning. 

Re: CH02: S [D02|1305] The Right Stuff

Reply #2
[ Lt. Cmdr. Hathev | Chief Counselor’s office | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Juzzie 

When last she had seen the Lieutenant it had been to relieve him of duty.  It was not a task she had envied herself or would envy anyone in a similar situation.  But her responsibilities as his superior officer, and head of the counseling department demanded no less of her.  In the weeks since, she had kept her distance both professionally and personally, not wanting to hover while he worked through his issues and to give herself as much of an unbiased basis with which to evaluate him as she could. 

By the time she’d retrieved her drink from the replicator, Mr. Williams had already seated himself in one of the guest chairs for her desk.  It had been her intention to use the couches, but she refrained from comment.  While he was not her patient per se, she would, for now, treat him as if he were which meant she would allow him to lead the meeting in terms of tone and topic.

She took her seat across from him, set her drink down and neatly rested her hands on her desk, her fingers intertwined.  His face radiated tension, he fidgeted with his hands which showed signs of sweat, and he seemed uncertain of what physical posture he should adopt. 

He hadn’t specified a reason for this meeting when he had requested it, but given their last interaction, logic dictated he would, at some point, request to be returned to his duties.  Even so, she reminded herself that it was he who had called the meeting and he who would have to be the one to dictate it’s terms.

“It’s good to see you, Lieutenant.  You’re looking well.    How may I help you today?”

Re: CH02: S [D02|1305] The Right Stuff

Reply #3
[Lt. Rhys Williams| Main Sickbay | Deck 11 | Vector 02| USS Theurgy ] attn: @P.C. Haring

Rhys had no idea how this meeting would go. He did not have a strong read on Hatev’s behaviour or thoughts. The fact that she had asked him what he wanted was a surprise to him. She had to know, there was no way she couldn’t know he wanted to return to duty. The only option was she was aiming to treat this as a counselling session. It made sense from her perspective, one of his issues had been an inability to open up about how he himself felt.

However, it had been his understanding that if he sought treatment and showed some improvement he would be allowed to return. He had in a strange way enjoyed his sessions with Stellan. The man had a way of putting Rhys at ease. Every session between the two seemed to turn into some deeper philosophical discussion.

“I want to return to work and I think I’m ready to.” He said as firmly as he could. Though Rhys being Rhys there was some nervousness in there all be it tightly controlled. Of course, he also knew that for his own peace of mind he would have to return to work eventually. He was not the kind of person who thrived without something to occupy his thoughts. 

He remembered being dismissed, and the strange combination of despair and relief. Despair as being taken from his work was the worst punishment he could imagine, and relief as he had lost all self-confidence. “I think I have developed a rapport with Stellan and I aim to continue attending sessions with him. I feel I am in a better more settled space.” He had to learn to let go, that not everything that went wrong around him was in some way his fault. He had to reach into the heart of his illness and overcome it.

Re: CH02: S [D02|1305] The Right Stuff

Reply #4
[ Lt. Cmdr. Hathev | Chief Counselor’s office | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Juzzie 

Hathev regarded her subordinate with curiosity and intrigue.  She had, of course, anticipated this and while he did seem to be in a more productive psychological state then when last she saw him.  Truth be told, she wanted to put him back on duty.  The department remained short staffed, and she found herself still having difficulties trusting Mr. Foster’s judgment.

She took her coffee in her hand as she casually stood up.  “Let us discuss your request, Mister Williams.  Please make yourself comfortable.”

Hathev stepped up to the replicator.  “Have you had lunch, Lieutenant?  Would you care for anything?”

She ordered a cup of soup for herself, plus whatever Mr. Williams wanted.  She would have preferred solid food over the soup, but drinking the soup would lend to a more efficient conversation.

Taking a seat in her counseling area, she made a point not to sit in the wingback chair she usually used in her formal counseling sessions with the crew.  No.  She wanted this to be a more casual conversation between colleagues as opposed to a formal session.

“I am curious to hear how you’ve been progressing with Mr. Foster.  It is welcome news that you feel he his helping you.  Could you elaborate?

Re: CH02: S [D02|1305] The Right Stuff

Reply #5
[Lt. Rhys Williams| Main Sickbay | Deck 11 | Vector 02| USS Theurgy ] attn: @P.C. Haring

Rhys was invited to sit which he did. He was often obviously and nervous and anxious person in one on one conversations like this. Today was no different, with the added pressure that if the meeting did not go well, he would still be sitting on the side lines. Sitting on the side-lines was not a position in which Rhys was comfortable or happy. He needed to work. For her part the Lt. Commander was trying to make him feel more comfortable. Though there was no way he could eat during a stressful situation like this.

“Just a cup of tea please.”
He responded politely. That was something that always helped him feel a little better and soothed in general. The Lt. Commander seemed to have ordered herself some soup. When it was proffered, Rhys took the tea in his hands and let it warm them, he took a deep breath and smelled the tea and felt himself relax a little.

He said nothing until he was asked the question of how Stellan had been helping him. He paused for a moment, his eyes going skyward as he wondered exactly how to express his thoughts. “We get along very well together; I am tempted to say I have made a new friend in him.” It certainly felt as if they had friendly relations. He had known very quickly the kinds of things that would put Rhys in a place to talk about his problems. Not always an easy task. “We have a tendency whenever we talk to get into spirited yet friendly academic debates. I always come away feeling I can look at something from a different perspective.” It had surprised Rhys that Stellan had brought out a part of him that enjoyed having those academic arguments. Normally all confrontation was something Rhys abhorred no matter how friendly. He imagined Hathev would have read Stellan’s reports, and this was to complete the circle to get an image of those meetings from all possible perspectives.

Re: CH02: S [D02|1305] The Right Stuff

Reply #6
[ Lt. Cmdr. Hathev | Chief Counselor’s office | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn:

It was agreeable that Mr. Williams had found a positive rapport with Mr. Foster and while Hathev still had her own reservations over the latter’s sutibility as a counselor, she was gratified to see his work was doing some good.

However academic debates were not what she sought in Mr. Williams.  She needed him to show her more.  She needed to see that he had come to understand what had happened to him and that he had the capability to grow beyond it.

She took in the aroma of her own tea and sipped it as he spoke and considered her next question before she spoke again.

“I am gratified that you are finding common ground with Mr. Foster.  Tell me.  In your discussions, have you come to better understand the reasons for which you were relieved of duty in the first place?”

Genuine though it was, Hathev realized the question might have come across more condescending than she had intended. 

Get these emotions in check, Counselor

The tone of her question did not undermine it’s validity, however.  The journey to self understanding was a difficult one, and while she did not expect her staff to have mastered it, as doing so was impossible, she could not permit this moment to pass un-noticed for her young subordinate.

Re: CH02: S [D02|1305] The Right Stuff

Reply #7
[Lt. Rhys Williams| Main Sickbay | Deck 11 | Vector 02| USS Theurgy ] attn: @P.C. Haring

Rhys sipped his tea, it was just how he liked it incredibly strong. His mother had always jokingly called it ‘Builder’s tea’. The milk was barely introduced to the tea, and what you ended up with was something so strong, he could imagine a spoon standing up straight in it. The other reason he had asked for tea was to have something to do with his hands. Rhys was nervous and that often showed itself with fidgeting. He could not fidget, or he would risk burning hot tea going everywhere. He wanted the Commander to have no opportunity to decide not to put him back to work.

Rhys’ relationship with other members of the Counselling department had been strained since he came aboard the Theurgy. Lt. Ejek before her tragic death, and Rhys had had a pretty strong dislike for one another. Commander Hatev and Rhys had only worked together for a very short amount of time before she had to relieve him, and he was afraid she saw him as an incompetent.

Hatev, seeming as cool as ever asked him if he better understood the reasons, he had been relived. In truth some part of him had known and understood her reasoning the moment it had happened. “I had become too emotionally compromised to perform my duties.” Rhys said trying to keep his voice as level and calm as he could. If her question was condescending, Rhys did not seem to notice.

The death of a senior member of the crew by one of Rhys’ patients had damaged him. Rhys had not been in a mentally strong place to begin with. He had been thrust into the position of Chief Counsellor aboard the Cayuga. A position he had been uncomfortable with from the beginning. Rhys was not a natural leader and found the position of being in charge of others, of being an authority, galling and terrifying. On top of that the ship had been attacked and damaged and he had had to try and boost the morale of a crew in dire straits. He had then been on the Theurgy, and therefore become a renegade all while the ship was constantly under attack. Its amazing he had lasted as long as he had.

In truth Rhys was afraid, as this was not the first time, he had had some kind of nervous breakdown. On his very first mission when he had been an ensign on the Mercia, its destruction had affected him very badly. On top of that were all sorts of other unresolved issues. He was not sure what else to say to the Commander. Rhys knew what he had, it had a name. Obsessive Compulsive disorder. It was often wrongly thought to be a condition to do with being obsessively neat. In truth it was more complex. It was about keeping at bay delusional thoughts. OCD people often believed on some level that they were causing bad things around them to happen by thought alone and developed strange rituals to keep those thoughts at bay. It didn’t even matter if the patient was aware that these were delusions it felt real and could still influence behaviour. “I assume you are aware that I have suffered with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and OCD Personality disorder. I imagine its in my files, and that this is not the first time I have had to be relieved of duty.” He felt she probably knew this, but records were not always accurate, and he did not want to be accused of holding anything back from her.

Re: CH02: S [D02|1305] The Right Stuff

Reply #8
[ Lt. Cmdr. Hathev | Chief Counselor’s office | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Juzzie 

Hathev offered the Lieutenant an acknowledging nod.  In her experience, the most significant hurdle to addressing one’s mental health was akin to the most significant hurdle in dealing with addiction…admitting the issue existed in the first place.

In the case of mental health, a failure to admit the problem was not always as much an issue of denial as it was an issue of not recognizing the issue existed in the first place.  That the Lieutenant had so readily admitted and acknowledged his own failings showed a sense of self awareness that would earn him his place on the duty roster.

But for Hathev, that was only half of what she had hoped to accomplish.

“I am aware of your medical conditions, Lieutenant and I do not hold that against you.  Your surmise is correct that in my judgment you had become emotionally compromised.”

She took a drink of her own, allowing herself a moment to collect her thoughts.

“It is a disadvantageous position in which we counselors find ourselves, especially on board the Theurgy.  We are a short staffed department responsible for the mental health of nearly 1,000 people aboard all operating in highly unusual, highly stressful circumstances.  That is our job, our responsibility, and as a whole everyone in this department, yourself included, does their work admirably.”

She paused to let that settle in.

“But given our circumstances, we in this department have one problem we can not easily address….how do we care for our own mental health?  After all, as sentient beings, we have our own needs to address.  Logic dictates that we must turn to each other.  So, I would ask you this,” she said taking great care to keep her voice as neutral as possible, which for a Vulcan was as natural as breathing.  But she was also keenly aware of the perception that Vulcans could be condescending.  It was not a perception with which she agreed, of course, but as a counselor, she had to account for it’s existence.  “Why would you wait until being relieved of duty to seek the help you needed?”

Re: CH02: S [D02|1305] The Right Stuff

Reply #9
[ Lt. Cmdr. Hathev | Chief Counselor's office | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @P.C. Haring

As Rhys had expected the Commander was aware at least on paper of his pervious issues with mental health. Of course, the last time this had happened to him he was not a counsellor he was an operations officer on his first posting. The USS Mercia had been destroyed in circumstances Rhys was still trying to mentally piece together himself. There was no question it was understandable that a raw ensign would who was not mentally the healthiest to begin with would react like that in such circumstances. In fact, the incident and a particularly gifted counsellor on Earth had persuaded him to go back to the academy and become one himself. He had wanted to help others the way he had been helped.

The Commander talked about the tough job they had. That was true. They were outcasts fugitives struggling on and on against what felt like an impossible situation. Mentally speaking there was a high casualty rate on the Theurgy, which was not surprising. When the Commander complimented the work of the department and made it clear she was including him in that, there was a faint blush to his cheeks. Rhys often had problems taking ‘compliments’ this one however was different. She was a Vulcan not prone to exaggeration, somehow it meant more coming from her than it would from a member of a more overtly emotional species. He however, said nothing never really quite sure how to respond to praise.

That of course was the carrot the stick came a moment later. Why had not he turned to others in the department. There was no counter to that, her point was fair. Were he in her place, he would be asking the same question. He had an answer not a good one, but it had felt correct in the emotional chaos. “Considering my history of mental health problems, I was concerned that I would be considered unfit to practice at all.” The idea of not being able to do his job was horrifying to him in ways he found hard to express. “I recognise now that I was catastrophising, but in the chaos of that time it felt more true than the truth if that makes sense?” He said not sure if he was expressing himself accurately.

Re: CH02: S [D02|1305] The Right Stuff

Reply #10
[ Lt. Cmdr. Hathev | Chief Counselor’s office | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Juzzie

Hathev continued to find satisfaction in Mr Rhys’s self awareness.  Whether it he had always had that sense, or had recently developed it, Hathev did not know, though she suspected the latter.  Regardless, the ability for one to carry that self awareness was, indeed, a vital skill and in that moment, the Vulcan knew she would authorize his return to active duty, though she would not yet voice that decision.

“For as illogical a sentiment as that is, therein exists a certain logic even if it may be flawed.”

The statement was harsher than she had anticipated and she knew that an elaboration was very much in order. 

“Depression and anxiety often go hand in hand with one another, and can often present a conclusion that seems logical and obvious.  However, often times that logical construct is based on a false premise.  Your conclusion that your own mental health issues could preclude you from practicing would have logical merit but for the unspoken premise that in order to be a mental health practitioner, you yourself must be completely free of your own mental health issues.  That premise is, to be blunt, false.”

Pausing to let that sit with her subordinate, Hathev took a drink before continuing.

“Lieutenant, to quote a human adage ‘no one is perfect’.  You do not need to be above the issues of mental health in order to practice.  You simply need to be aware of your condition, know how to address your needs, and go about doing so when the situation requires and I would challenge you to continue to avail yourself of the therapeutic techniques offered by Lieutenant Foster and/or myself as you need.”

“Do you believe you can do that?”

Re: CH02: S [D02|1305] The Right Stuff

Reply #11
[ Lt. Rhys Williams | Chief Counselor's office | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @P.C. Haring

Rhys was not worried by the harshness of the Commander’s tone. It was no less harsh than the things he had been saying to himself in recent days. He had served with Vulcans before and felt on some level he understood them. They could be direct and frank sometimes excessively so, at least for interacting with a more emotional species. However, it almost never came from a place of malice. The intention was not to hurt him, but to signal that she understood what he meant. Rhys was happy to take it in the spirit it was meant. He simply nodded to what she said.

As she pointed out that his premise was in error he again nodded. “Indeed, if I had thought about it more… logically I would have seen things in a different light. After all my problems are noted in my file and I was still able to become a counsellor.” In fact, he had been briefly Chief Counsellor of the USS Cayuga. A much smaller ship of course and never a role he felt comfortable in. Rhys was not a natural leader.

When she asked if he could again confide and seek treatment from Stellan and herself. Rhys smiled this time. “Definitely, I believe he and I have developed a rapport.” For a moment he realised that this might sound like he was dismissing her as a source of help. “And I feel much more comfortable coming to you Sir.” IT was true she had done much in this meeting to set his mind at ease.

Re: CH02: S [D02|1305] The Right Stuff

Reply #12
[ Lt. Cmdr. Hathev | Chief Counselor’s office | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Juzzie 

Hathev nodded as Mr. Williams confided his newfound comfort in speaking with her.  That, more than anything else in this matter, was most important.

“I am pleased to hear you say that, Mr. Williams.” 

She paused to see if he picked up on her use of an emotional descriptor.

“It is my wish that you are comfortable coming to me with any of your concerns or needs, not just as your senior officer, but more importantly as a fellow crewmate.  I am also gratified that you have found the assistance you need.  I also note that you believe you are ready to resume your duties.”

Standing up, she stepped over to her desk and retrieved a PADD, before retaking her seat.  Activating the display, she tapped through the screens and pulled up the counseling department’s duty roster.  It still had more than a few open spots on it, but if what she had heard at the latest briefing was concerned, she might have a new psychiatrist on board sometime soon.  How the Captain had found her one, she neither knew nor desired to inquire over.  Assuming that came to pass, at least the department would be back to minimal staffing needs.  She could still use an assistant or two, but that was a luxury she did not have available to her.

“I concur with your self assessment and am returning you to active duty status effective immediately.”

She tapped the appropriate command on the PADD, and the indicator next to Mr. Williams’s name changed accordingly. 

“I will have the scheduling system begin contacting patients with whom you were previously working and so they may be returned to your therapeutic care.”

She did not verbalize the added benefit that would see both her schedule and that of Stellan Foster lighten accordingly.

“Will this be acceptable to you, Mr. Williams?”

Re: CH02: S [D02|1305] The Right Stuff

Reply #13
[ Lt. Rhys Williams | Chief Counselor's office | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ]  attn: @P.C. Haring

When Hathev used the word ‘pleased’, Rhys found himself wondering what that really meant for her. Was it a genuine vestige of emotion, or was it merely and affectation of her speech created to make the more emotionally inclined around her feel comfortable? He wasn’t sure which it was or if he would ever really know which it was. Rhys simply nodded and smiled in response to that comment.

He watched his superior retrieve a PADD after talking about how gratified she was. He of course knew there was a more practical reason she was satisfied with this turn of events. The Department had been understaffed even before what had happened to him. In addition, the problems the crew seemed to be regularly embroiled in were stressful and emotionally taxing. Hathev and Stellan would need all the help they could get. Was it even possible that he was being cleared earlier than he ought to have been? Possibly, though there was no one really to remonstrate with her if she got it wrong.

However, at the end of the day when she acknowledged that she would be returning him to duty, it was a tremendous relief. It visibly showed on his face, a weight had been lifted from his shoulders and small spark had entered his eye.

When Hathev asked if this was an acceptable outcome to him, he was able to restrain himself from rolling his eyes. It was the best news he had heard in some time. “More than acceptable.” He said unable to keep the big cheesy grin from his face. This time things would be different.


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