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Re: CHAPTER 02: Unspeakable [2140 hrs.]

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CHAPTER 02: Unspeakable 

[ USS Theurgy | 'Below Decks' | Deck Seven | 2140 hrs. ]      A joint post by Doctor Maya and The Counselor



Billy Bob O'Connell sat in the crew lounge known as 'Below Decks' drinking a sarsaparilla and reading a PADD.  He was dressed archaically, but fortunately there were at least three planets in the Federation where that look had come back.  A rust brown shirt with a buttoned collar and long sleeves, golden beige trousers, and comfortable shoes covered his body instead of a uniform.  He looked at the view of the black outside the window before glancing at his chronometer.  2140 hours.  That meant he had only been in the room for two minutes.  But was Counselor O'Connor going to show?

Hayden entered 'Below Decks' at 2141 hours, having returned to her quarters just to grab a light weight sweater to pull over her green sundress.  She expected it to be cool in the lounge compared to the holodeck, and the sweater added another layer of conservatism to her attire, which seemed to be important to O'Connell.  Hayden didn't mind as she wasn't the wild dressing type anyway.  Eager to get to the bottom of Billy Bob's as yet unidentified troubles, she spotted him easily enough and approached.  "Hi."

"Well, hello Darlin'," Billy smiled.  "I didn't think you were goin' t' show!  Pull up a seat and sit a spell, make yourself at home!"  He didn't know why he was so happy to see her.  He supposed that he needed more help than he thought.

"Why wouldn't I show?" Hayden asked with a grin, taking a seat as offered.  "I would never stand up a friend."  Hayden couldn't help but note the man was ready to think she wasn't going to show all too easily.  She hadn't expected his self-esteem to be an issue, at least not so transparently.  Was this what Eve was alluding to?

"Nine times outta ten when a fella wants to get a lady as purdy as you by her lonesome he's got only one thing on his mind," William blushed before taking a sip of his nonalcoholic drink to cover.  "If I was you, I'd certainly think twice before taking a fella up on his invitation."  Where the hell did that come from?  Billy had gone from a lady-killer to a concerned father.   It was as if getting infected by an alien pollen had done what two decades in Starfleet had failed to do:  Hit Billy Bob with a the old age stick and transform him from a horny young skirt chaser into a celibate priest.

Hayden didn't know what to make of the man's comment.  Was he signaling his intentions by talking around them?  O'Connor had no desire to fend off a guy right now, even if what she was fending off was mind games.  Playing back what he'd said in her head, she ventured, "You keep putting yourself in my shoes.  Have you regretted someone else's invitation of late?"

Boy did William O'Connell regret accepting that invitation from that enchanting electronics technician while they were in Mahéwa System.   Once that alien pollen got in him, it started changing him from the inside!  The mere recollection made his stomach turn and his skin crawl.   "Go to the head of the class Counselor," Billy Bob sighed as he took a sip and looked away.  "It takes a lot to pull the wool over your eyes."  He was then quiet, which was unusual for him if Hayden's brief acquaintance the maintenance chief gave her an accurate picture of his personality.

"I think you're just more direct than you realize," Hayden replied, "and I'm a good listener," she added gently, not looking at him fully, sensing it might make him feel too exposed.  Instead, she reached for the water that he must have ordered for her, perhaps while she decided what she wanted.

"Hope you don't mind water," he mumbled.  "If it's not synthohol, I really don't know what to get ya."  He scratched his neck and looked away.  It was no big deal feeling shy around an enchantress like Hayden O'Connor, but that wasn't why he was feeling nervous. 

"Water's perfect," Hayden replied, wanting to inspire even the smallest bit of self-confidence, or at the very least not say anything that would cause his to plummet further.  It may have been a bit co-dependent, but it was in keeping with her desire for him to open up. 

Billy scratched at his arm before trying to start again.  "It's not easy for anybody, being branded a traitor for something you didn't do, and being marked for death by the guys who framed ya," he drawled, "but that ain't the real reason I'm such a mess.  Did they get around to telling you what happened to us in the Mahéwa System?"

"I'm familiar with the events from the reports," Hayden answered with a nod.  "I'm not sure the reports can truly capture the psychological cost," Hayden added, not wanting to push per se, but wanting to keep the door open by expressing some validation for whatever he was about to tell her.

"They sure don't," Billy grunted in relief.  He fidgeted in his seat and looked away.  He looked at her, hemmed and hawed and looked away again.  "Hell of a thing," he shivered.

"Are you willing to talk about it?"  The question seemed better than asking if he was able or if he wanted to, as she imagined she knew the answer easily enough.  He could certainly speak the words but he probably didn't want to as much as he knew he needed to. 

"Workin' on it," he muttered.

"Is that why you said you're a mess?" she asked at almost the same time.

He scowled and stared at his glass instead of her.  He took a large gulp his drink and nearly emptied it, but it was an empty gesture.  It was sarsaparilla, not even something with synthohol; the worst it could do to him was send him to the head.  Billy Bob never admitted this to his cronies but he had been drinking a lot of synthohol and soft drinks lately and pretending it was the hard stuff.   There was too much work and too many people depending on him to allow himself to indulge in the hard stuff unsupervised.  That didn't stop him from getting his hands on a bottle and using it as a trade item later.

"I reckon you could say that," he finally admitted.  "So how 'bout you?  As long as we're baring our souls here, you got anything that's eatin' at yuh?   There ain't anyone aboard this ship who doesn't."  When she hesitated, he smiled.  "Come on," he teased.  "It don't have to be true, just believable.  It ain't that hard to sell me something I'll buy.  I'm feeling gullible right now."

Hayden was torn.  Obviously her decision to not ask any direct questions about his experiences hadn't paid off.  Despite getting the impression he clearly wanted to talk about it, her general statement had not been taken by him as an invitation to share more, but as a sign to move on.  She didn't want to push, but she didn't want him to think she didn't care either.  She decided to take another gamble.  "It wasn't your fault," she offered quietly.  "Whatever you did or didn't do in the Mahewa system, you aren't responsible for, and I would never blame you or judge you for struggling in any way afterward."

O'Connor paused, "As for me, I am responsible for a choice I made, and I can't blame a virus or a sentient organism for it."

"A choice that you made?" the skepticism in Billy's voice couldn't be hidden.  "What could you have possibly done that equates t' bein'..." he stopped and closed his eyes and shivered before opening them again.  "To havin' somethin' growin' in yuh, havin' somethin' that ain't right, havin' somethin' makin' changes in ya and makin' yuh spread the love to everyone around yuh?"  He hadn't meant to sound so belligerent, but he figured the counselor had met plenty of cantankerous hotheads like him before.  A wounded animal tends to snap at those around them, even those who offer to pull the thorn out the wounded animal's paw.

Hayden had succeeded in getting him to talk about what was bothering him, but she hadn't meant for it to be a competition, or a mutual pity party.  In fact, she really hadn't wanted to discuss herself at all, but she now understood it would have been unfair not to.  She wasn't bothered by his tone as much as she was bothered by seeing events as a contest.  "I think pain is pain, whatever the event," she said, taking a sip of her water.  "I think there's a difference between choosing to sacrifice people's lives to save others, and not being given a choice.  Your body did what it was coerced to do, but your body isn't you.  Not the real you, anyway."

"Much obliged, Counselor," Billy sighed as he looked down at his glass.  "That's mighty kindly of you.  It's just that every time I see a pretty girl my body tends to react, you know what I'm sayin'?" he blushed as he broke into a rueful grin.  "My body is ready to get back in the race but my brain ain't quite out of the hospital yet.  And when the two don't get along it gets mighty distractin.'"  He paused and looked at her as he heaved a large sigh.  "The cap'n and the new chief engineer need a chief who can stay on the trail, but the mule I'm ridin' seems to be meandering all over the place.  Every trail has some puddles, and there's no place 'round the campfire for a quitter's blanket. I mean, what's done is done, and I need to put it behind me, but when I'm in close quarters with a woman it all comes crashin' back, you know what I mean?"

Hayden resisted the impulse to smile, not about what O'Connell said, which was poignant, but the colorful way he chose to express it.  It was completely in keeping with what she knew of the man, which admittedly wasn't a lot, but it conveyed the unique challenges and the discomfort she would have expected any male to experience following a series of sexual assaults.  The fact the entire crew had experienced something similar did not mitigate the aftermath. 

Aware her choice of words could influence whether he kept talking or felt too emasculated to continue, she offered, "I wasn't there when all that happened, so I can't say I know exactly what you feel, but what you're describing makes complete sense given what happened to you.  From what I've heard from the crew, you're not alone in your struggles in the least.  Whether male or female, the body is designed to react to sexual contact and makes no distinction between wanted and unwanted contact, but the mind," and here she chose to take a risk, "and the heart, carry all the reminders of the original violation.  Some of the crew, the men in particular, have resisted voicing these feelings for fear of feeling less of a man somehow.  There are also women who are afraid they'll be labeled too feminine or too weak if they admit they're really struggling with their own feelings or with just feeling safe.  I commend your honesty, O'Connell," Hayden added, "and I know counseling could help if you'd be willing to stop by?"

O'Connor didn't want to take advantage of a casual moment by getting too formal, but she saw O'Connell's admission as his way of reaching out for support.  To not offer help when she knew she had the means to ease his pain was against Hayden's nature as a person and as a therapist.

Billy Bob blushed and looked away as he started laughing bitterly.  "That's mighty nice of you, but it's uh, a mite more tangled then that," he stammered as he fidgeted in his seat and rubbed his nose.  "I mean, I grew up on Nimbus Three.  That world grows cavemen the old fashioned way; you know what I'm sayin'?  Where I come from, a feller clubbed a woman on the head and dragged her home by the hair and at a weddin' bride carried a shotgun instead of a bouquet."  Now Chief O'Connell was scratching the back of his head.  He kept trying to look in Hayden's direction but his head kept turning away.  "It'd be a lot more easier if you was, uh, some old guy with grey hair instead of what every man dreams of.  No offense Counselor, but when the Almighty made you he used only the best sugar, spice and everything nice he had in stock." 

By now the maintenance chief was blushing.  "I know it ain't my place to say this but it's kind of hard to talk about this here particular subject, with uh... with a member of the fair sex, and you're so fair it's a mite unfair, if y'know what I'm sayin'," he burbled. "I think I'll shut up and make room for my other foot now."   By now he was squirming in his seat so much that it was possible to believe that he was possessed by the ghost of Elvis Presley and was trying to give a concert.

The last thing Hayden wanted was to make Billy uncomfortable, and though he had referenced her looks from the moment they met, O'Connor just didn't think about how her external appearance could help or hinder her relationships with people as they related to her work.  She knew she wasn't unattractive, but that didn't mean she considered her looks to being close to the most interesting thing about her.  She paused, not quite sure what to say more because of her own shyness than his sexual challenges.  After a while she said, "I thank you for your kind words.  Therapeutically speaking, have you considered that I may be just the therapist you need?  If you can work through your issues with me as your guide, wouldn't it be like facing your biggest challenge?"

William O'Connell stared at her for a second before he burst out laughing.  "That's a good one!" he chuckled.  "Why walk when you can run?  I get yuh, Counselor.  If you're afraid of horses, why not try to break the meanest one in the stable?  You got a point though.  If'n things were different, I reckon we could take things slow, but with Starfleet goin' after us, we gotta man up real fast.  You got yourself a deal Counselor.  I'll sign up for therapy jus' 'cause you're so gosh darn inventive!  If you can think that fast, you can keep my head together so I can keep the ship from flyin' apart next time we go to warp." 

Hayden smiled.  She had taken a gamble and it had paid off.  "I will send you an appointment time before I head to bed tonight.  I appreciate your candor, and I promise to be respectful and sensitive to your challenges.  It takes a lot of courage to be honest about how you're dealing with all this, but I promise you, you're not alone.  Nothing you could ever say will make me turn you away."

"Oh yeah," he nodded absently.  "I'm not alone.  Heck, I figure if I get cold feet it won't matter, 'cause you'll be so darn busy I'll be able to cut to the back of the line if I'm too yellow.  We better put me up at the front unless someone more mission critical needs yuh just to keep me honest.  With all the things that need fixin' around here though, don't be surprised if I have to cancel and ain't just makin' excuses."  Making a decision he stroked his chin before shaking her hand.  "Let's shake on it, so I can't wriggle out of it.  Put me down for tomorrow if you can squeeze me in.  The longer we put it off the harder it'll be for me to show up."

"Deal," Hayden offered sincerely, presenting her hand for O'Connell to shake.  "I know the idea of talking about this stuff is daunting, but there's no pressure to talk about everything in one sitting.  We'll go at your pace, and consider you've already taken the hardest step by admitting you need help."





Re: CHAPTER 02: Unspeakable [2140 hrs.]

Reply #2
CHAPTER 02: Unspeakable [2140 hrs.]

[ USS Theurgy | Ship's Corridor | Deck Five | 2200 hrs. ]      A joint post by Doctor Maya and The Counselor



The doors to the holodeck opened and Ensign Maya walked out into the corridor with slow measured steps.  The little Vulcan was back in her diaphanous white toga.  Although the toga concealed much of her body, it didn't hide the avocado green bruises on her neck, bruises that were in the shape of fingerprints.  It was obvious to any discerning eye that either Maya participated in erotic asphyxiation, or that someone had tried to strangle her. 

Maya's bare feet trod over the carpeted floor of the Theurgy's corridor until she made it to the turbolift.  The doors to the turbolift hissed open, revealing the new ship's counselor, Hayden O'Connor.  Maya stared blankly at the Hayden for a moment, not saying a word. 
 
Hayden was in reasonably high spirits, or at least higher than before, after her talk with Billy Bob O'Connell.  It felt good to socialize, and more importantly, to help someone by listening.  At least, it took her mind off her own problems for a while, and it reminded her she still had a purpose in her life, even if she had made one terrible decision.

At first, when the turbolift doors opened and Hayden saw the toga, she felt the beginnings of a laugh enter her throat and her lips start to turn upward into a smile.  The togas were so counter to what she was used to seeing; they still caught her by surprise in the silliest of ways.  Almost immediately after she felt the laugh tickle her throat, however, she felt her breath catch, the tone of her surprise altogether different.  The green bruises instantly caught Hayden's eye, especially against the paleness of Maya's skin and her attire.

It was only a second or two later that Hayden's eyes met the doctor's, and she was even more startled to see the blankness in them.  "Maya?  What happened?"  Hayden's tone was one of clear concern.  Her instinct was to reach out to Maya, but she resisted, suddenly fearing Maya might retreat.

"It is all right Counselor," the little Vulcan replied as if in a trance.  "It is nothing that need concern you."

Although the content of the message was meant to be reassuring, the tone of Maya's voice only increased Hayden's sense of dread.  What the hell happened?  Was Maya in shock?  Hayden's eyes travelled once again to the bruises on Maya's neck, which now seemed an even angrier green.  She hadn't noticed the shape of the bruises before, but as they were the only immediate clue as to what was amiss, O'Connor tried to get a closer look without spooking Maya.  Recognizing the impressions of finger tips, Hayden knew she was looking at a medical emergency.  If Maya's airway had been blocked for as long as the bruises suggested, her disorientation could reflect her brain being deprived of oxygen.  Worse yet, she had to rule out a broken hyoid bone, whose potential free floating fragments could cause injury.

"I'm concerned, Maya.  I can see you're in pain and you've been hurt.  I can help, ok?"  She held out her hand for Maya to take, figuring it was a fair compromise between ushering her into the turbolift without discussion and leaving the decision entirely up to her.  She kept her words simple, getting the sense that was best given Maya's apparent mental state.

Maya stared straight ahead before finally noticing Hayden's extended hand.  She stared at it and blinked, but nothing registered on her face.  Finally she delicately brushed Hayden's palm with the fore and middle finger of her right hand.    Her eyes left Hayden's hand and wandered up to the taller woman's face.  Maya swayed on her feet like a drunken sleepwalker.  She closed her eyes and a shiver  went through her body.  She opened her large hazel eyes and looked up at Hayden with a trace of confusion.  "I've been hurt?"  Her mezzosoprano voice was calm if a bit stilted. 

If Hayden hadn't been convinced of the medical threat before, seeing Maya sway and shiver confirmed O'Connor's suspicion Maya was in shock.  Hayden didn't know exactly what had happened, but she knew she had to render aid quickly.  O'Connor considered calling for a site to site transport, but thinking of the bruising she'd seen and Maya's potential resistance; she decided the least amount of fanfare was best for now.  "Yes, you've been hurt, and I'm concerned for your safety.  I'd like you to come to sickbay with me now.  Is that ok?"

"Please I would prefer that my patients did not see me like this," Maya replied in a surprisingly straightforward and businesslike manner.  "There is an explanation for my condition; it is nothing you need concern yourself over."

Hayden could understand Maya's reluctance to be seen by anyone, but it was her change in tone that once again startled Hayden.  One moment she seemed in shock and the next, there was hardly any emotion at all.  The trauma therapist in her was now alarmed as much as the physician.  "You're hurt," Hayden repeated, "possibly with life-threatening injuries," she added, "and I am concerned.  Will you come with me to my quarters?  We'll have privacy there and I can examine you."  As far as O'Connor was concerned, whatever the explanation for Maya's condition, she required treatment, and as a doctor, Hayden could not leave a patient in jeopardy, even if that patient was a doctor herself.

Maya paused to consider this, rocking back and forth on her feet for almost a minute as her half lidded eyes stared at nothing.  "Very well," she finally said as she opened them enough to look at Hayden.  "Your quarters should be private enough to conduct your examination.  I will accompany you," she added as she entered the turbolift to stand beside the taller woman.   Her movements were slow and deliberate, yet somehow jerky like a marionette.



Re: CHAPTER 02: Unspeakable [2140 hrs.]

Reply #3
CHAPTER 02:

[ USS Theurgy | Dr. Hayden O'Connor's Quarters | Deck 5 | 2205 hrs. ]

Hayden's mind was racing in the short ride in the turbolift and the walk to her quarters with Maya.  She had no idea what had happened to her or what kind of explanation she had for the nasty finger print bruises on her neck, but O'Connor knew deep down there was no reasonable explanation that didn't involve an encounter that involved some degree of physical force by another person.  If such force was part of a mutually accepted interaction, why was Maya acting so dazed and confused?  She'd seen how the doctor was walking, and it wasn't a stretch to see the doctor was in pain, though Hayden wasn't prepared to speculate about what had happened beyond what was obvious by her visible bruises.

Any way she thought about it, Hayden knew she was looking at a potential crime, and as such, she had to do what she could to provide Maya medical care and to preserve evidence of the event, whatever that turned out to be.  She suspected Maya wasn't going to be interested in reporting what happened, but Hayden felt an obligation to be as careful about collecting evidence and information as possible, right down to whether she touched Maya in the turbolift and whether she asked her additional questions.  Too many interviews could muddy the waters, and the last thing Hayden wanted to do was make Maya feel like she was being interrogated.

Hayden walked beside Maya with one arm behind her back, not touching her, but prepared to catch her if she stumbled.  The smaller woman seemed so fragile and unsteady, and it was all Hayden could do not to wrap her arm around her.

When the doors to Hayden's quarters opened and Maya entered with her, the doors closing behind them, Hayden breathed an internal sigh of relief. 

She looked to the smaller doctor, knowing she was going to have to take some leaps of faith.  "Maya, I promise I'm not going to hurt you, and I'm not going to make you do or say anything you don't want to do or say, but it's clear to me someone else gave you those bruises, and if the person who hurt you didn't have permission to bruise you, then I'd like to take some notes, just in case we need them later, ok?  They can be just for us right now, ok?"

Hayden stopped talking then, not wanting to overwhelm the doctor.  O'Connor's first obligation was to take care of Maya, and the reality of being able to punish one of their own in their present circumstances was muddy, but Hayden would be damned if her incompetence was going to make that reality cloudier.

"Very well," the little Vulcan replied in a distant dreamlike voice.  It was as if she was sleepwalking.  Wherever Maya's attention was, it wasn't here in Hayden's quarters.  "What is it that you require Counselor?"

Going into physician mode, Hayden knew she needed to prioritize, and that meant checking for life-threatening injuries first.  She needed to grab her medical supplies from the bedroom and perhaps a change of clothes for Maya, assuming the medical tricorder revealed other injuries.  She would also grab a PADD to record Maya's statement, as she wanted to get Maya's recollections with as little contamination as possible.  First things first, however.  "Why don't you sit on the couch here, and once you're seated, I'll get my medical supplies from my room, ok?"  Hayden came forward to guide Maya to the couch as gently as possible, all while avoiding contact with her for evidence preservation.  "Stay right there.  I'll be right back."

In short order, Hayden grabbed every bit of medical equipment in her quarters, suddenly grateful she had decided to keep a variety of tricorders and kits with her in the event she was in her quarters at the time of a ship-wide emergency and needed to tend to the wounded before she could reach sickbay.  She wouldn't be able to do surgery or complex neurological repairs but most everything else she could handle, from plasma burns to delivering babies.  Not knowing what she would need, she grabbed it all, kits hanging from each shoulder and a nightgown and PADD under her arm.

Relieved that Maya hadn't left and was still breathing, she walked over to the couch and sat not far from the Vulcan, opening the emergency med kit beside her and pulling out a medical tricorder.  Setting the PADD nearby on the coffee table, she pressed record so that every bit of their exchange would be preserved.  Hayden suppressed a sigh of relief as she determined quickly Maya hadn't suffered a broken hyoid bone but had suffered, just as it appeared, deep bruising to her neck.  As the tricorder traveled lower, Hayden frowned, noting signs of other injuries.  As she had feared and perhaps suspected all along in the back of her mind, she was looking at something far more than someone who'd been roughed up.  Unless...the exchange had been rough but consensual?  Had that been the explanation Maya alluded to?  Except if that was the case, why was Maya behaving so out of it?

The tricorder scans revealed subdermal bruising and pulled muscles all over her body, including bruising to her labia and wearing in her vagina.  There was no mistaking it.  Maya had engaged in sexual intercourse, but if this was an afterglow, the little Vulcan was more alien than Hayden had figured.

Mindful of the recorder that was still going, Hayden said, "Maya, will you tell me where you were tonight?"

"I was in the holodeck," the little Vulcan replied in a disjointed, dreamy fashion.  "A simulation of the Lohlunat  ceremony on Risa."

"Did you stay for the whole ceremony?"

"I stayed for most of it," Maya replied as if in a trance.  "Then I left to mingle."

"Where did you go after the ceremony?"

"I went to a simulation of the steam pools on Risa," Maya replied was her voice grew quiet.  "There was a trail to the hot springs at the top of the mountain."

"Was there anyone with you?"

"No, I was alone," the little Vulcan replied without seeing anything, "but I followed someone up there."

"Whom did you follow?"  Hayden asked.  She continued to scan Maya both to assess her injuries and as a bit of a distraction. She didn't want to influence her, especially given the state she was in, but she had to get a better idea of what happened to know how to make sense of what she saw.  Right now, an exam would support rough sex, but an exam couldn't determine rape.  Only Maya's statement would support or contradict that.  To put Maya through an intrusive forensic exam without understanding the facts would be unnecessary and unethical.

That question brought a reaction.  Maya frowned in concentration.  "One of the Harbinger's officers," she finally replied.

"I'm seeing lots of bruises and pulled muscles, Maya, and I'm also seeing some vaginal and anal tears.  Will you tell me how you received those?"

"I cannot."

Hayden frowned. She was not expecting such a response.  "I'm not following.  Do you mean you can't remember how you sustained these injuries?"

"I can't without..." Maya frowned and tilted her head in concentration.   "Counselor, I respectfully invoke the Seventh Guarantee.   My reply will either break doctor-patient confidentiality or suspend my license to practice medicine."

Hayden's confusion and frown deepened.  That was certainly not the explanation she expected and it still made little sense to the counselor.  Any behavior that could result in something as serious as a suspended medical license was not protected under doctor-patient privilege, and she was hard pressed to think of any behavior which resulted in these serious injuries that could be deemed part of legitimate medical care.  As far as Hayden was concerned, the event was either ethical or it wasn't.  However, first she had to establish some basic facts.  "I respect you're not comfortable identifying the specific person or persons involved, but I'd like to understand what you're saying better.  Is the Harbinger crewmember you followed someone who caused your injuries?"

"Yes."

"Was this person the only one who injured you?"

"Affirmative."

"Did you want this person to touch you in the ways that resulted in your injuries?"

"No.  Certainly not in that way..."  Here Maya finally displayed a sign of life.  Her eyes narrowed, her brow furrowed and her mouth grimaced as if she was in pain.  She still was looking past the counselor rather than at Hayden herself, but this time she was looking at a memory instead of absolutely nothing.

Despite her professionalism, Hayden felt a lump form in her throat.  All evidence, including the words from Maya herself, indicated Maya had been raped by a member of the Harbinger'screw.  It was emotionally difficult enough to work with the crew months after a series of mass sexual assaults, but sitting across from a woman who had just been assaulted brought that reality home at a whole other level.

Hayden bit her lip and took a breath.  She would have to remain calm and not jump to conclusions if she was going to give Maya the help she needed.  Reminded of the Vulcan doctor's word choice and the potential ambiguity, she said, "Maya, I'm your doctor, and I'm going to treat your injuries no matter what.  I won't force you to give me a name, but will you tell me how you came to receive these injuries?  It will help me to know what to look for and what to do next."

It occurred to Hayden Maya hadn't said she didn't want to have sex with the person in question.  If she had wanted sex, that of course didn't mean she had consented to violent sexual contact, but O'Connor realized she was assuming Maya was a victim of a crime when Maya's words could have referenced a consensual encounter taken too far, or an incident in which one of her patients was coerced into the encounter.  Was there another victim involved?  Was this a consensual encounter driven by a male Vulcan's Pon Farr?  Hayden didn't know, and ethically, she couldn't take proper action based on ignorance.

"I... I..." Maya shook her head while maintaining her calm scowl and blinking.  "I apologize, Counselor, but I really need to meditate.  I've compartmentalized my reactions until I can deal with my recent experience and need to integrate myself so I can come to terms with it.  Suffice to say that I encountered an officer who is essential to the mission who was suffering psychological turmoil sufficient to have him removed from duty.  He took it upon himself to call upon my services as a facilitator without going through the proper channels."

Maya frowned and narrowed her eyes at the taller woman.  "I find it puzzling that a ship with a living psychiatric counselor could have someone aboard who is so damaged.  Someone who initiates such actions not out of biological need but out of a desire to hurt--"

The little Vulcan closed her eyes and swayed on her feet with her frown still intact.  Eventually she opened her eyes.  "I provided what services I could," she finally said.  "Although they were not voluntary, I still attempted to do my best.  He is a severely disturbed individual."

Hayden nodded silently and glancing at the PADD with the recorder still running, she said with full resolve, "Based on what you've shared with me, Maya, I'd like to initiate a full forensic medical exam where I'll not only examine you and treat your injuries, I'll also collect evidence and document what I find in case you decide you'd like to report what happened to security.  This exam involves me collecting your clothes, taking pictures of your injuries, as well as swabs, a blood sample, and finger nail scrapings.  I'll also do a pelvic exam where I'll look for injuries and collect any DNA evidence I find.  If you don't want me to collect evidence, I can just examine and treat your injuries.  What type of exam shall I conduct?"

O'Connor was skirting her own ethics.  If there was a rapist in their midst, Hayden had an obligation to see the crime was reported to the authorities to protect the entire crew.  However, as long as Maya didn't name her attacker, she had no specific warning to offer.

"My apologies but I do not wish an examination or the collection of evidence," the injured Vulcan replied.  "Not only would such proceeding endanger my medical license but it runs the risk of removing two officers from active duty, one of which may be mission critical.  In light of our shattered relationship with Starfleet, I cannot allow it.  Every officer or crewmember on our side cannot be spared."

Maya frowned some more, squinting as she contemplated the situation and ran over the data.  "Every officer and crewmember on our side cannot be spared," she repeated quietly.

Hayden felt the prick of hot tears form behind her eyes.  Maya's words may have been driven by logic but their meaning was clear and pierced O'Connor's heart: Maya had convinced herself she didn't matter in the grand scheme...she wasn't mission essential and therefore didn't rate compared to her rapist.  Taking in Maya's battered form and her disoriented mental state, the thought was breathtaking, and for a long moment, Hayden couldn't form words because of the lump in her throat, and then she couldn't speak because too many thoughts threatened to spill out at once.

She had to breathe.  She had to focus.

"Maya," Hayden offered gently, "the man who hurt you has done serious damage outside and inside your body.  I can see you're in pain, and your pain will never be irrelevant to our mission."  Hayden swallowed hard.  "You've done nothing unethical.  You've survived someone else's criminal behavior, and that man is the only one responsible for the consequences.  If he was truly on our side, he wouldn't have hurt a fellow ally.  The only person that matters to me right now is you, and I know you can't treat these injuries on your own.  Even if I collect the evidence of what happened, you don't have to report anything officially.  If you decide you want to report this later, having this evidence will only help you. However, regardless of what you choose about reporting this, please let me examine you.  You don't have to handle any of this alone."

Of course, Hayden was banking on being able to convince Maya to report the crime later.  As long as her attacker remained unknown, ethically, Hayden was in the clear, but she was not naïve enough to think there weren't complications anyway.  O'Connor realized she'd have to deal with that later.  Her focus had to be on the confused and battered woman before her.
 
"You don't understand."  Maya's eyes may have been unfocused, but she was actually looking at Hayden.  That had to mean something.  "I have been trained for this.  I was a facilitator long before you were born.  Out of all the people serving aboard the Theurgy, I am the only one prepared to deal with what has happened.  Before we launched, I renewed my license as a sexual facilitator by long range comms.  Whereas others may be only a victim I have provided a medical service, but since I provided that service without checking with the ship's counselor my facilitator's license may be in jeopardy."

Maya was right, Hayden didn't understand, and though she knew the meaning of the words, the idea of a sexual facilitator seemed something from an ancient era.  She reminded herself not to get distracted from the present concern.  "Under the circumstances, I'm not concerned about pulling your license.  Whatever the service you were trained to perform and why, as you said, this was different."

"Was it?  My people suffer from a biological condition known as ponn farr," the little Vulcan explained.  "Roughly every seven years a mature Vulcan suffers a biological imperative to mate.  If unable to do so, they suffer neurological trauma that eventually results in madness and death.   When I was your age there were no drugs or treatments to counter this and even today many Vulcans suffer allergic reactions to the coitus free alternatives.  It is a fact that not all mature Vulcans are married.  Counselor O'Connor, what do you suppose that the unmarried Vulcans do?"

Hayden was familiar with Pon Farr as a physician as well as its consequences if left unaddressed, but she had to admit she'd never given much thought to what Vulcans who weren't married or in a relationship handled it.  Thinking about it now, she assumed with seven years of warning, arrangements were made in advance.  Given the discussion, however, she knew where things were headed.  "Sexual facilitators."

"Yes, sexual facilitators," the little Vulcan nodded.  "When their blood stirs, they seek treatment from a medical professional trained for that specific task," Maya announced coldly.  Her hazel eyes were still narrow slits and her mouth was a thin hard line.  It was obvious that the memory of that duty was not a pleasant one.   "That was how I entered the medical field.  As a state sponsored sexual facilitator.  I was selected because I scored high in telepathic ability.  Telepathy was frowned upon in those days but they could not deny its medical applications."

It didn't take a therapist to see how Maya felt about how she'd entered the medical field, and knowing her history did give Hayden insight into the kind of trauma the Vulcan had experienced, but none of that had anything to do with what had happened tonight as far as Hayden was concerned.  "Maya, by your own admission, the man who injured you wanted to hurt you and he did so without your consent.  There was no treatment agreement between you prior to this incident, and you were off-duty in a somewhat public place where there was no expectation of privacy.  I understand you want to invoke privilege after the fact, and that's something we can discuss, but none of that changes the fact you have sustained serious injuries that must be examined and treated properly.  Please, Maya, let me at least do that much."

"Very well, but we must keep this discreet," the little Vulcan insisted.

"Of course," Hayden reassured.  "I'm not here to get you in trouble.  You were not on duty and there was no prior agreement between you that you would be his sexual facilitator, but even if there had been, it doesn't mean he has the right to touch you in ways you don't consent to."

Maya's perfect posture vanished as the little Vulcan slumped forward.  "When the blood madness reaches an advanced state there isn't always time to make an appointment," she murmured as she slowly sunk to her knees, "but as a trained professional, I never hesitate to..."  Maya's face contorted in grief and when she spoke again her voice was at a high pitch than her normal mezzosoprano, "...save lives!"  She knelt and leaned forward to touch her forehead to the carpet.  "I s-save l-lives," Maya whispered hoarsely.  "I need to meditate..."

It took every ounce of control Hayden had to keep her tears from flowing.  Clearly, Maya was distraught and desperate to put this rape amongst many behind her using the sophisticated compartmentalizing mechanism she alluded to. Though such a mechanism sounded more sophisticated coming from a Vulcan, avoidance was avoidance.

Letting her emotions guide her rather than her training, Hayden came off the couch and knelt beside Maya, tempted to place a reassuring hand on her shoulder.  The last thing she wanted to do was touch Maya without being invited.  Hayden settled for making every effort for her tone to be as soothing as possible.  "You do save lives, Maya, and you did everything right to survive.  I know you want to push it away as far and as fast as you can, but that's only going to work for a little while, and it won't help the pain inside and out.  Let's get you
examined ok?  Think you can get undressed for me?  We can go in my bedroom for more privacy if you want.  I brought you a night gown to put on."

"Yes, thank you," Maya mumbled in a barely audible voice from where she had placed her forehead on the carpet.  She seized Hayen's forearms as she pulled herself shakily to her feet but continued to look down.  "Please forgive me for that unseemly outburst but I need to mediate," she muttered.  "I really need to meditate.  I have a difficult medical procedure to perform and I must be at my best," she murmured as she turned and tottered through the archway to Hayden's bedroom.  

Re: CHAPTER 02: Unspeakable [2140 hrs.]

Reply #4
CHAPTER 02: Unspeakable [2140 hrs.]

[ USS Theurgy | Dr. Hayden O'Connor's Quarters | Deck 5 | 2205 hrs. ] A joint post by Doctor Maya and The Counselor

Once inside Maya pulled her toga off and proceeded to fold it once, twice, three times.   There was no hesitation.  It was likely she was past caring.  Without her diaphanous raiment Maya's slender body and shaky legs were exposed to view.  Hayden could clearly see angry greenish handprints all over the little Vulcan's body, particularly her shoulders, forearms, thighs, and buttocks.   Olive green scratches marked the neurologist's formerly smooth skin.  She set down her garment on the corner of Hayden's bed before climbing onto it and lying on her side while curling into a fetal position.

Exhaling slowly, Hayden allowed her emotions to wash over her before bringing her focus back to the business at hand.  There would be time to cry and decompress later.  Reaching for her trauma medical kit, Hayden donned the gloves inside.  They were a rather antiquated tool in the age of forcefields and sterile machines, but in the field, those things couldn't always be counted on.  In this case, she used the gloves to pick up the folded toga to place in a sealed bag included in the kit for the preservation of biological items in need of further analysis.  She would mark the bag later with identifying information, but for now, she focused on her naked distressed patient.

"Maya," Hayden offered softly, "I'm going to start by taking some pictures of all your injuries.  Then I'm going to look for bodily fluids on the outside of your body using a special light, and if I find evidence, I'm going to take some swabs of each area.  I'll also need to conduct a pelvic exam and take some swabs of those areas if I find additional evidence, ok?  I'll explain everything as I go, and if at any point, you want a break, you let me know.  If you get cold, I can give you the nightgown I brought."

"Thank you," Maya mumbled in a broken voice.   "I need to meditate," she whispered as she closed her eyes.   She took a deep breath and shivered.  "Computer:  Increase... increase temperature by...

O'Connor was certain the tricorder would reveal much that her visual exam hadn't already shown, but she was also going to have to ask questions as she went to know where to look in particular.  For instance, had Maya's assailant kissed her or licked her?  Had she been assaulted orally as well as vaginally and anally?  Had she scratched him?  Hayden didn't want to prolong Maya's discomfort, but she didn't want to leave any stone unturned.

In the meantime, she selected her tricorder, set it to photographic mode, and began snapping pictures of every bruise and scratch, being careful to take pictures from afar as well as close up.  O'Connor was no security officer, but she had been trained how to conduct a forensic medical exam on the living and the dead, and she knew a picture was worth a thousand words, no matter how precise the tricorder's description.

In the meantime Maya slowly uncurled her body, took a deep breath and shivered.  "Computer:  Increase... increase temperature by ten degrees..."  After the computer chimed in acknowledgement Maya rolled onto her back and moaned.  "I need... I need privacy to reintegrate all of my consciousness or I will repress my memories," she muttered.  "I need to...  if I don't..."

Hayden was torn.  Obviously, she knew memory repression was psychologically damaging for anyone but she wasn't sure what effect meditation would have on Maya either. She clearly had been carrying more trauma inside her than anyone could imagine, and Hayden wasn't convinced Maya's meditation wasn't just a more sophisticated way to help bury her feelings more than integrate them. 

In the end, however, she was not an expert on Vulcan psychology, and who was she to deny her traumatized patient the one thing she asked for comfort?  Time was of the essence for evidence collection purposes, but assuming Maya's meditation only lasted a matter of a few hours, there would still be plenty of time to finish the exam.

Biting her lip and hesitating for only a few more seconds, she offered, "I don't want you to suffer any more than you have, but as you can imagine, there's a limited window for collecting evidence of what happened to you, and any long break in this process could affect your ability to seek justice for what he did.  I know that's not your priority now Maya, and given our circumstances, I don't know how that would work, but as your doctor and your advocate, I want you to understand your options."

Hayden hated sounding like a lawyer, but she had no idea what this healing process entailed.

"Justice... justice is irrelevant right now," Maya sighed.  "It takes courage...  Courage is fear after it's said its prayers."  She shut her eyes.  "I'm sorry but it is essential that I reintegrate all of my compartmentalized consciousness together before I suppress my memories," she announced in a strangely normal voice.  "If I do not I risk multiple personalities or a stroke.  There's no time to invoke the proper state of meditation.  There will be some unpleasantness."

Hayden didn't know if Maya was warning Hayden or herself.  The thought that Maya was worrying about Hayden at a time like this in her own life was heart-breaking.  "I understand."  She didn't of course, not entirely anyway, but she had to trust Maya knew what she was doing.

Maya's eyes closed and she furrowed her brow so much it looked like she was trying to close her face.  "No!" she cried before curling up into a fetal ball.  "No-no-no-no!  No..." the last word was a horse whisper.  "Please I'm trying to help," she sniffed.  "I'm trying to help..."   It was then that Hayden saw one of the most disturbing things a psychiatrist could witness: A Vulcan weeping.   "Don't hurt me," she sniveled as tears trickled out of her eyes.  "Please don't hurt me..."

Hayden closed her eyes against the heart-wrenching scene, torn about what to do next.  Was it over?  Should Hayden go to her?  O'Connor decided she had to wait for permission to approach, lest she interrupt at a crucial time.  She settled on moving closer to the bed, being careful not to come in range of Maya's limbs.  If this process involved literally reliving the entire assault, Hayden didn't want to do anything to risk further harm to Maya.  She closed her eyes and willed herself to send re-assuring vibes toward Maya, having no sense that it would even matter, but knowing she had to do something to keep herself from running from the room.

"Why do you want to hurt me?" Maya wailed as she unrolled her body and flailed helplessly. "Don't you see I'm only trying to help?" she gasped before she rolled her eyes and her entire body flushed a lime green.   She grimaced in pain as she closed her eyes and writhed on the bed, her breath coming quick heaving gasps.   "I... I agree w-with you," she stammered.   "I-I j-just wanted to..."  She gagged as she opened her large hazel eyes as wide as she could  "Y-you don't have to..."  Her body jerked and spasmed as her mouth gaped open.  "Ah!  Ah!  AH!"  the little Vulcan cried as her twisting body threatened to roll off the bed.

Hayden felt her heart beat even faster, though she didn't think that was possible.  She realized then she wasn't just witnessing the end result of the attack or some sped up version of it, but every moment of it, as if she was watching a play with only one actor on stage.  She knew exactly what was happening to Maya just by watching her body respond, and that made the entire thing that much more terrifying because it could mean she was in for hours and hours of this and she wouldn't be able to intervene.

Seeing Maya was in danger of falling off the bed, O'Connor came forward and stood beside it.  She wouldn't dare touch Maya, but she didn't want to risk further injury to Maya.

For such a tiny woman, proportionally Maya had very large hands.   Those hands reached out and clawed the air as the pallid woman relieved her ordeal. "Yes!" Maya cried out in a voice not at all like her own before gasping for breath.  "You're far... ugh!  Too import... mmph!   Important to report!  Haanh!" she grunted out while pushing her slender, undeveloped body against something only the violated Vulcan could perceive.  "It's all... umph!  Right if it's...ooh!  Me... ah!"

Re: CHAPTER 02: Unspeakable [2140 hrs.]

Reply #5
CHAPTER 02: Unspeakable [2140 hrs.]

[ USS Theurgy | Dr. Hayden O'Connor's Quarters | Deck 5 | 2240 hrs. ] A joint post by Doctor Maya and The Counselor

"You're doing great, Maya.  I'm almost done here, just a bit more pressure," Hayden added softly from her position between Maya's legs.  Her voice was the only sound in at least the past thirty minutes.  That in itself was unnerving to Hayden because not that long ago, her quarters had been filled with the frightening re-enactment of Maya's rape by an unnamed Harbinger crewmember.  To watch Maya go from utterly terrified to subdued shock once more was a devastating reminder of what Maya had been through.

Hayden had finished taking photos of Maya's injuries, and collected her fingernails, clothing, and swabs of any external area Hayden believed DNA could remain.  She had then moved on to the more intrusive, but potentially more valuable pelvic exam. She'd taken swabs of Maya's most intimate areas in the hopes of finding even more DNA, praying the water of the steampools where the rape had taken place hadn't destroyed everything.  Now she was finishing the actual repairs of the internal damage.

"I apologize for the unseemly display you were forced to witness," the little Vulcan said in a listless voice.  "You should not have had to see that.  It was unbecoming," she added before once again falling silent.  Although she still did not reveal the identity of her attacker, she made no effort or request for Hayden to keep her findings secret.   After partially recovering from her mnemonic episode, Maya had passively cooperated in the comely counselor's collection of evidence in every way. 

"There, all done," O'Connor announced a few minutes later, pulling Maya's nightgown, or rather, the giant one of Hayden's Maya now wore, back down around Maya's legs. "I've administered a combined antibiotic and pain med on your internal tears, so that should ease discomfort and protect against infection for now, but over the coming days, swelling and some soreness should be expected.  You'll also need a repeat dose of antibiotics in a couple days and I'll want another blood sample just to be safe."

"Thank you Counselor," Maya replied in a calm if somewhat hoarse voice.  "I shall cooperate fully."

Hayden paused, extending a hand so she could help Maya sit up.  "May I get you anything?  Some water, perhaps?  If you like, you can shower here now."

Maya paused before answering, but since she was a Vulcan interpreting her facial expression was a challenge.  "Thank you Counselor, I accept and appreciate your offer," she nodded before daintily walking over to the door accessing the head.  "You've been very attentive," she said absently as she paused in the doorway.  "Counselor, would it be acceptable if I remained here tonight and meditated while you sleep?  I do not wish to be alone tonight."

Pausing to ensure her own emotions didn't get the better of her, Hayden replied, "I wouldn't have it any other way.  You're welcome to stay here as long as you like."



~Fin

 
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