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DAY 05: Alien Therapy [1400 hrs.]

DAY 05:  Alien Therapy  [1400 hrs.]   A Joint Post by Doctor Maya and The Counselor

[ USS Theurgy | Deck 09 | Counselor's Office ]

After the treachery of the Harbinger's commanding and executive officers and the psychically induced mutiny that resulted in numerous deaths and assaults at the hands of shipmates, Counselor Hayden O'Conner had no shortage of patients.  To make the line in front of her door even longer, she had to contend with the survivors of the Harbinger that had lost everyone they had served with and found themselves aboard a ship crewed by strangers who didn't trust them.  Therefore it was no mystery why it wasn't until five days after the destruction of the Harbinger and the Calamity that Maya of Vulcan and Lahkesis Saugn could get a counseling appointment, even though they were both members of the medical department.

"Thank you for seeing us," Maya said after all three women were seated.  "I know you are very busy."  Even though thanks were unnecessary Maya was under the impression that it was proper form to thank someone for doing their job, particularly with the morale problems the ship was suffering.  To Maya's way of thinking, it was important for the ship's counselor to keep her morale up and think positive, regardless of the reality of the challenges everyone aboard the Theurgy were currently facing.  That and Maya was attempting to improve her conversational skills.

"Of course," Hayden replied with a gentle smile.  It was true she'd been working non-stop since she'd come aboard and she hadn't felt this tired or this stressed in her life, but she was also finding opportunities to sleep and relax in the chaos when she could.  She figured out early on she would have to or she wouldn't survive.  It was the only thing that would sustain her.  That, and raktajino.  "How may I help you?"

"I regret that it concerns some unpleasant events that happened during the mutiny," Maya replied in professional tone.  "It seems that I inadvertently broke the part of the oath where it says first do no harm.  During a moment of intimacy with Doctor Saugn I shared with her my memories of being violated by Commander Kilinvoss.  Due to my negligence, I am responsible for inflicting harmful memories that may scar her permanently.  What should have been a gesture of affection and comfort has been turned into a traumatic experience that may render Doctor Saugn unfit for duty."  Although Maya's words were calm, they were distant.  The little Vulcan sat ramrod straight and perfectly still.  Her hands that seemed too large for her body seemed to have a life of their own.  They rubbed and caressed each other nonstop as if Maya was preparing to play the piano or perform a magic trick. 

Lahkesis, on the other hand, sat lifelessly next to her, slumped to one side, her light blue eyes almost shut, her tall, slender body appearing like a child's doll that had been posed, rather than a real person.  It was hard to tell if she was breathing.  The medical intern hadn't said a word the entire time.  From this distance, it was easy to see that Saugn's pale blue eyes had no pupils, indicating that she was just as alien, if not more so, than Maya.  This wasn't going to be easy.

When Maya had requested the appointment on behalf of Lahkesis, Hayden thought the Vulcan doctor was simply there to provide background information on her medical condition.  While Maya had done just that, it was also apparent to Hayden, she was not just dealing with one patient, but two.  Hayden was one of the few people who knew just how traumatized Maya still was after being raped, and just how devastated she would be, knowing her pain had caused harm to another.  The challenge now would be to clarify enough information about the circumstances of what happened without causing further harm to Maya.

However, she knew she had to prioritize Lahkesis' well-being at the moment.  "I know you never intended for her to be harmed," Hayden reassured.  "How long did you say she's been like this?  Has she responded to any stimuli since?"

"She has been this way ever since..." the little Vulcan began before turning her head to glance at the taller younger woman sitting on the couch next to her.  "Perhaps I should start at the beginning.  She still responds to stimuli," Maya assured the counselor, "most of the time," she added as she slipped her hand into Lahkesis' and gave it a reassuring squeeze.  "You respond to stimuli don't you dear?" she asked with the first hint of warmth she had displayed since entering Hayden's office.  When Lahkesis didn't respond Maya repeated herself with an encouraging tone foreign to Vulcans.  "Lahkesis dear, the counselor wants to know if you respond to stimuli."
"Y-yes..." the younger woman replied hesitantly before looking away.  "Of course I do," she mumbled almost too softly for human ears. 

"Although I must admit, lately she has been a vegetable," Maya said as she focused her attention on Hayden. 

Lahkesis winced and looked at Maya with a hurt expression.

Maya looked back at Saugn with a puzzled frown before her hazel eyes widened as an epiphany came to her.  "Hm," she blinked.  "My apologies, Lahkesis," she said as she patted the younger woman's hand contritely.

As Maya explained more about Lahkesis' current state of mind, Hayden was also struck by the amount of warmth Maya displayed.  Had Maya not been in view before her, the counselor might have even questioned her Vulcan heritage.  Granted, they hadn't interacted under the happiest of circumstances before, but still, the transformation was remarkable.

O'Connor was also relieved to see Lahkesis was somewhat responsive even though she was understandably reluctant to engage with the outside world.  Although Maya's comment wasn't the most sensitive, observing Lahkesis' response also indicated she was somewhat emotionally connected to her surroundings.  She would need to tread slowly but things weren't as dire as she first feared.  "I understand you were exposed to some really overwhelming memories," Hayden began addressing Lahkesis directly, "we can talk about that slowly as you feel comfortable, but perhaps we could just start with how you're feeling now?"

"Bad," Lahkesis mumbled as she looked away.

Maya looked at the younger woman and placed the tips of her long fingers on the other woman's face.  The Vulcan's face darkened as she closed her eyes and bowed her head before quickly taking her hand away.  "It concerns the death of Lieutenant Commander Phanatos Kilinvoss.  When Commander Kilinvoss attacked sickbay..."

"I killed him," Lahkesis sobbed.  "I killed him and I didn't need to!  I didn't need to and I killed him anyway!  I hate him and I still want him dead!  Why did I have to kill him?" 

The rest of her words were incoherent as she wept and leaned into Maya, almost knocking her off the couch.  The little Vulcan apparently possessed physical strength out of proportion with her size for she caught the emotional girl and hugged her.  Although Maya's face was a mask of concentration, she did whisper words of comfort that Hayden's human ears couldn't pick up.

Re: DAY 05: Alien Therapy [1400 hrs.]

Reply #1
[ USS Theurgy | Deck 09 | Counselor's Office ]

Under normal circumstances, this would be about the time Hayden would ask if Maya would excuse them so they could talk one-on-one, but they certainly weren't normal circumstances, and as O'Connor observed the interaction between the two women, she couldn't be sure if she asked to be alone with Lahkesis the distraught young woman wouldn't retreat back within herself.

To Maya, Hayden asked, "I'm wondering how much of these emotions are the result of the mind meld? Mixed emotions aren't unique to people who've experienced mind melds, of course, but I don't want to ignore what happened between the two of you and its relevancy to her emotional state."

Maya tilted her head to the left instead of nodding.  "It would seem so.  Her anger at Commander Kilinvoss is a result of the pain he caused me.  Thanks to my telepathic meddling, Lahkesis now bears some of my emotional scars," she said in a casual conversational tone.  "The guilt over killing him is more complex.  Lahkesis actually did that."  The little Vulcan didn't elaborate since Hayden had been there when it happened. 

Hayden nodded. All of those events in sickbay were indeed burns in O'Connor's memory, the thing she did and the things she failed to do. O'Connor turned her attention back to Lahkesis.  "I know you're very confused right now and there's a lot swirling in your head. Will you take some deep breaths for me and take a moment to focus on the present?  You're safe in my office." She paused, then added, "When you feel a bit calmer, I want you to talk to me about what you remember in sickbay that day. I think I think it will help you remember why you took the action you did against Commander Kilinvoss." Hayden knew it wouldn't change the trauma of having killed the man, but at least it would give her a better understanding of the circumstances. Right now it seemed she was overwhelmed with the act of killing. Just as she needed to be grounded to her present environments, she needed to be grounded to the circumstances of her actions.

"I don't want to talk about it," the pink haired girl murmured.  "I don't want to go back there."

"Think of it as draining a cyst," Maya suggested.  "Painful but necessary."

"I... I can't remember," Lahkesis muttered.  "You'll have to start me."

"Very well," Maya replied.  Although her soft mezzo soprano voice remained casual and her neutral catlike expression didn't seem to have changed the greenblooded physician seemed grim.  She reached out to touch the younger doctor, her long spidery digits spreading across the girl's face.  Both women closed their eyes at the same time.  "Remember," Maya whispered before taking her hand away.

"We... we were in sickbay," Lahkesis stammered.  "He, he just barged in.  He started demanding that we give up Doctor Nicander, even though he wasn't even there!  He had already left!  He had escaped through the Jeffries tube!   Phantom was threating to kill us if we didn't tell him where Nicander was and he wasn't there!  I...I could feel  Maya's..." she hesitated as she searched for the right word.  "Fear," she finally decided.  "Fear for herself, and fear for me!  She had just unshackled her emotions to bring Cir'Cie out of her spell..."

With her head bowed, eyes shut, and hands clasped Maya appeared to be praying.

"It all happened so fast!" Lahkesis continued.  "You and Vinata came up behind him and it all happened it at once!  I felt Maya in my head, her cool calculated diagnosis of the situation.  She used a scalpel to puncture his brachial artery  and he was finished!  But then something broke in me and found myself scampering across the floor and grabbing his phaser!  I don't remember what it was set on anymore.   I just kept shooting and shooting..."

Re: DAY 05: Alien Therapy [1400 hrs.]

Reply #2
[ USS Theurgy | Deck 09 | Counselor's Office ]

Hayden was wary when she saw Maya place her hand on Lahkesis' face, as the counselor was mindful a mind meld had contributed to the young woman's mental state to begin with, but the counselor was more relieved as Lahkesis began to recount past events, not as though she were Maya and seeing things through the Vulcan's eyes, but as herself, a separate being.  "We were all being threatened," Hayden said firmly but calmly.  "Phantom was enraged and saying he was going to kill us if we didn't give him Dr. Nicander.  I want you to take a breath and then answer me honestly, Lahkesis.  Reliving things as you are now, do you believe Phantom was willing and capable of carrying out his threats?"

"I..." Lahkesis stammered.  "Yes, he was willing.  He was more than willing, but thanks to the injury Maya gave him he wouldn't be able to.  She nicked his brachial artery, causing him to bleed out.  He would have been dead in a minute anyway... but I had to kill him!  Ninety seconds was just too long!  Too many people had died already!   I had to slay the dragon, had to destroy the monster once and for all!"

"Or," Hayden challenged gently, "is it possible you understood in that moment a minute is long enough for a very large, very angry man bent on killing people to use his last ounce of strength to kill one of your colleagues?  That as long as he could still move and react, however short a time that might be, he still posed a threat to everyone around him?  Think about it.  Picture that moment in your head.  Are you honestly telling me your primary thought was to be the hero?"

Lahkesis and Maya both closed their eyes.  Only Lahkesis opened them.  "No," she hissed.  "I was still afraid of him... afraid that he'd break Maya's neck or call his shipmates or find some way to kill us all!  He was dangerous!" she sobbed.  "He was like a wild animal!  He was a killer!  The only way to be sure was to kill him myself!"  The pink haired young woman covered her face and wept into her hands.

Maya continued to sit very still with her eyes closed and her head bowed as if praying.

Hayden allowed the admission to hang in the air for several moments. Part of the time the counselor wanted the distressed young woman present to just absorb what she had admitted, but O'Connor had to admit, at least only to herself at first, that she needed time to swallow the lump in her throat. She believed with every fiber of her being Phantom had to be stopped and his death was a clear case of self-defense. That said, his death was a painful moment for all of them. As healers, none of them wanted to believe anyone was beyond redemption, and given what Phantom had already endured, his death at one of their hands was particularly poignant.

Gently, Hayden offered, "it's perfectly normal to feel pain over what you've done. No one won that day, and no matter the circumstances, for a healer to take a life or for a healer to lose a life, it is an experience that requires mourning. It isn't contradictory to absolutely believe you did what was necessary but also feel completely devastated that you had no other choice. I'd worry more if you weren't grieving this loss."

O'Connor noticed Maya had gone silent and a large part of her wanted to ensure she was okay, but to turn her attention to Maya now would be to undo any report or she had developed with Lahkesis.

"Th-thank you Counselor, I know I don't look it but I feel s-so much better," Lahkesis gasped as she struggled to compose herself.  "I-it feels so good just to get it all out," she choked and wiped her face despite the fact that she wasn't shedding any tears; although honey colored deposit seemed to be forming around her eyes.  It was as if Lahkesis' tears and nasal mucus were composed of tree sap, and for all O'Connor knew, they probably were.  Didn't her biological tissues have more in common with plants rather than animals?  The pink haired girl glanced at the silent Vulcan beside her.  "Uh-oh, it looks like Maya could use a session as well.  Do you need any privacy?" 

"I'm glad I could be of service," Hayden replied sincerely to Lahkesis. "Getting your emotions out can be an important first step to healing from trauma, but please know you can come to me any time if you need to discuss this further. Sometimes releasing your emotions is just the beginning to healing."

"Yes, it feels so good to j-just get it out," stammered the young physician, her skin becoming glossy and waxy as an aroma of peonies and agrimony filled the room.  Since her cells had more in common with plants than animals Lahkesis didn't blush the way a human would, but her body language was surprisingly Terran.  She was feeling embarrassed at her release of but grateful too.  Or was she embarrassed about displaying emotion in front of the Vulcan? 

Lahkesis looked over at Maya, who was still bowing her head, sitting as still as a statue with her eyes closed.  She could have gone to sleep, or been frozen in time. 

"Maya has something she wants to tell you but she doesn't want me to hear it," Lahkesis announced quietly.  She placed two fingers on the back of Maya's hand.  "It's alright Maya, I know what it is."

When Maya didn't respond to Hayden's words or those of Lahkesis, O'Connor too grew concerned. "Doctor, would you like to speak to me in private?"

The little Vulcan took a breath.  It wasn't a deep breath, it was a natural intake of air that allowed Maya to assure the other women that she was still alive and could hear them.  Finally she spoke.  "Yes Counselor, I believe that would be best."

Re: DAY 05: Alien Therapy [1400 hrs.]

Reply #3
[ USS Theurgy | Deck 09 | Counselor's Office ]

Lahkesis patted the back of Maya's hand before rising from the couch and glancing at Hayden before she glided to the door.  When she passed O'Connor, the counselor could smell the scent of daffodils.  

After the door slid shut, Maya waited almost an entire minute before speaking.  "I have harmed that child more than all of the mutineers have," she announced in a calm quiet voice.  "I have given her my burdens when she is scarcely capable of shouldering her own.  I have broken both the Stemic and the Hippocratic Oath," she said as she referred to Stem of Vulcan's TiShear region and Hippocrates of Earth's Greece, both considered by their respective worlds to be the fathers of modern medicine.  "I need to remove any traces of my memories from her mind, end our physic bond, and isolate myself from her before I do more damage."  She finally looked up and stared lifelessly at Hayden.  "But I cannot leave her utterly alone.  Someone must replace me.  Someone who is not an empath.  Can you think of anyone who would be compatible with her?"

Hayden's heart broke to hear Maya sounding so defeated. As usual, she was focused on the needs of others before herself, but in this case, she was being hardest on herself for things she couldn't possibly control. "I know you would never intentionally hurt anyone, Maya, and I'm certain she does as well. You are still traumatized after all you endured, and you can't possibly control all of your emotions and memories. No one can replace you in her life, but I can offer emotional support to her in my capacity as a counselor," O'Connor offered. "As you know, I have no psychic abilities to speak of, which has been a blessing and curse at times." Of course, in light of recent missions it had been more of a blessing, but Hayden would be lying if she said she didn't sometimes have the capacity to help others using her mind the way Maya could.

"A blessing and a curse," Maya repeated as she stared vacantly off into space before glancing back at Hayden.  "A very apt description," she decided.  "I suppose that in my own tele-empathic ability could be considered both a gift and a curse."

She looked back at Hayden with her large unblinking hazel eyes.  "I did not choose my profession.  It was chosen for me.  As a child I scored unusually high in psychic ability.  I was chosen to enter the medical field, starting as a sexual therapist once I completed my tele-empathic training.   As you are aware, every adult Vulcan suffers from a condition known as ponn farr every seven years until undergoing teleeth no geesta during late middle age. Back when I was young, alternative methods of treatment were not always available.  Even today some Vulcans develop an allergy to the medication.  It was necessary to find a compatible partner for single Vulcans, one who could psychically bond with them and adjust to their biorhythms.  In my day, the state did just that.  I was one of the surrogates selected.  That was how I started medicine."

"You must understand, Vulcan was a different planet than it is now," she continued.  "I haven't been back to Vulcan in two hundred and thirty one years, two months and three days."  She stopped when she saw the reaction on Hayden's face.  "Perhaps I should explain."

"Please, feel free," Hayden replied. "You told me previously of your past as a sexual surrogate, but I don't think we talked about the selection process or what it was like for you growing up." Of course, Maya's past had come up because Hayden had been concerned about how she was coping following being raped by Phantom. To Hayden, it had seemed Maya was suppressing all of her emotions surrounding the experience and the counselor was concerned that eventually, all of her emotions would eventually overwhelm her. Frankly, O'Connor had still been concerned after the Vulcan had told her of her past, but Hayden was also aware of just how extensive her psychological repression skills were. As it turned out, Maya wasn't simply capable of just pushing down her emotions long enough to get through for a stress, healthy or not, she had been conditioned to bury far more for far longer. It didn't reassure Hayden any, but it did make her aware of just how complicated and lengthy any true recovery process would be. O'Connor was more than willing to assist, but she was also aware of all of the challenges they were about to face as a crew, and as such, she felt an obligation to let Maya make choices concerning her own recovery.

Re: DAY 05: Alien Therapy [1400 hrs.]

Reply #4
[ USS Theurgy | Deck 09 | Counselor's Office ]

"I suppose we should review my history," Maya mused thoughtfully.  "It would allow us to determine which of my burdens Lahkesis is now carrying.  I was born in the year... no, that's the Vulcan calendar.  For Earth the year would be 2105, in your 22nd century less than a decade before your first world government was founded.  In those days Vulcan didn't have the freedoms I've heard it enjoys now.  Like many utopias, it was a bit more totalitarian.  The fate of its children was chosen logically, based off their aptitudes.  Everyone knew their purpose; there was no waste of skill or talent.  Of course especially strong willed individuals could shape their destiny, that is a constant, but the society I grew up in didn't exactly encourage it.

"My psychic prowess, and scholastic test scores combined with my personality profile indicated that I was best suited for... medicine," the little Vulcan continued after a narrowing her eyes and pausing at a distant memory.  "I began as a sexual surrogate while working my way through medical school.  It is difficult to describe to an outsider, but a mere physical coupling will not shake off the effects of the blood fever.  A victim suffering the affliction that plagues my species every seven years must create a mental link with a compatible partner.  That is why important families arrange betrothals so early.  In this way it ensures that when the marriage actually takes place the two are psychically compatible enough to serve each other during the crisis."

Hayden nodded. "I remember you sharing this with me the night you were attacked. It still troubles me you were used in such a way." Saying she was troubled was actually an understatement. What Maya described sounded to O'Connor a lot like sexual slavery dressed up with noble overtones. At least if there had only been some sort of compensation being exchanged, there would be a clearer sense of choice, although Hayden knew circumstances often lead people to "choose" to become sex workers only in the sense that people choose not to die. However, Hayden saw what was done to Maya as much worse because it was a way to take advantage of her desire to help people and her talents, which O'Connor believed could've been used in a number of ways.

"Do not concern yourself Counselor," the little Vulcan replied stiffly.  Hayden could almost sense the walls going up as Maya recited the rationalization she must have heard many times before.  "The decision was... logical. My high esper rating meant that I could touch the minds of nearly any patient that came to me.  I must confess it was... difficult... contacting so many minds when they were in such an anguished and erratic state but I was prepared for it by my training.  I can not only link with other minds, I can reprogram my own mind.  I can compartmentalize my mind or put myself in a trance without the need for other telepaths to do so.  All Vulcans can do this to some degree but I can arrange my thoughts or place myself in a hypnotic trance at will."

"That's what concerns me," Hayden pointed out. "Humanoids can develop a similar ability after being exposed to repeated severe trauma. It's called dissociation. Depending on the nature and severity of the trauma a humanoid has been exposed to, he or she can dissociate at the mere hint they're about to experience additional trauma, whether they're about to be hurt in reality or not. In such a dissociative state, they are vulnerable to suggestion and additional victimization. To me, it doesn't matter how rigorous someone has been trained, at some point compartments break down, and at best a person has an emotional breakdown, and at worst, he or she become so fractured, he or she is unable to fully function in the universe again. Are you concerned you're vulnerable to being taken advantage of in a dissociative state?"

"Hm," Maya cocked her head to the side, narrowed her eyes and pressed her hands together, spreading her long fingers as if creating a fan.  "I had not considered that possibility, not consciously, but you have a point," she conceded as she curled her fingers so that only her fingertips and the parts of her palms closest to her wrists were touching.  "Despite my training I have proved no more resistant to the influence of the Ishtar entity than any other member of the crew," she continued as her fingers idly curled and uncurled while keeping her fingertips touching their counterparts on her opposite hand.  "Now that you mention it, it seems entirely feasible that I could be more susceptible to suggestion than most.  I suppose one could say that I've been trained to place myself in a dissociative state.  When I'm not making telepathic contact with someone, the more intense the emotional stimulus, the more my mesiofrontal cortex reacts to suppress any outbreak of passion."

The pale Vulcan separated her hands to rest them on her thighs as gave O'Connor her full attention.  "Unlike most humanoid species, traumatic memories are not only psychologically disturbing to Vulcans, but have physical consequences as well," she explained. "The Vulcan brain, in reordering neural pathways, can literally lobotomize itself.  Until my people abandoned our emotions and followed the ways of Surak, our life expectancy was roughly analogous to that of your species. Even though we didn't age at the same rate, before we devoted ourselves to logic and reason we usually died from a number of different neurological disorders. But returning to your question, am I concerned I am vulnerable to being taken advantage of in a dissociative state?  I think it is theoretically possible, but unlikely when one takes into account my rebellious nature."

O'Connor nodded politely. It wasn't an entirely satisfactory answer, but she knew that would need to be addressed at another time. For right now, Maya was interested in conveying her history to help another, and Hayden wasn't about to dissuade her from that if it meant she could get more insight into Maya in the process.  To the best of her knowledge, Maya had never been contradictory or rebellious at any time unless one counted her actions defending sickbay from the telepathically conditioned mutineers last week.  Could it be that humans weren't the only species capable of deluding themselves?

Maya leaned back in her chair and narrowed her eyes, her long spidery fingers gripping the edge of the cushion on the couch she was sitting on.  Could she be asking herself the same question?

Re: DAY 05: Alien Therapy [1400 hrs.]

Reply #5
[ USS Theurgy | Deck 09 | Counselor's Office ]

“Now that you mention it, it seems that I’ve spent my entire life in service to others,” the green blooded physician admitted.  “The cost of my education was service to my government, as if serving as a sexual facilitator wasn’t enough.”  Although her voice was cool and steady, Maya’s large hazel eyes narrowed and her blank, catlike expression from a certain angle looked like a frown.  “I joined the High Command and served as the ship’s doctor aboard the Vulcan naval ship D’ykr for the mandatory five years before mustering out into the civilian sector.  It was then I heard about the Interstellar Medical Exchange,” she continued, her demeanor softening almost imperceptibly.  “The Interspecies Medical Exchange was an interspecies program initiated by the Vulcan High Command that involved several Alpha and Beta Quadrant governments, including Earth, Vulcan, Denobula and Mazar. It was a medical exchange program that allowed doctors from each planet to volunteer their services on alien worlds with the intent to better their understanding of xenobiology.

“Looking back it is apparent that my interest chiefly lied in studying culture other than my own,” the little Vulcan admitted.   “I did not even admit it to myself at the time.  While serving with the Medical Exchange I learned the same thing that my people taught had taught yours when we made first contact in your 21st century:  That there were other cultures out there and the way of life one grew up with was not the only one available. What I really wanted to do was travel, meet new people, and make genuine friends. I needed to start over and find a place I truly belonged.”

Hayden continued to listen to Maya recount her history. In many ways, the little Vulcan's motivations weren't any different from her own or others who sought to serve Starfleet. The desire to meet people different from those one had known was a powerful draw, and the opportunity to help them in the process was just icing on the proverbial Galactic cake.

“When the Xindi attacked your planet, I was disappointed with the way my people abandoned your ancestors, so I offered my services to Earth’s Starfleet.  When Earth entered the war with the Romulans, I was serving as the ship’s doctor aboard the NX class USS Discovery.  I learned a great deal about your culture from reading your literature and watching the medium called ‘movies’,” Maya said as she made air quotes with her somewhat oversized hands.  Hayden could tell that Maya was finally becoming animated and less like a talking statue. 

O'Connor smiled. What was it about human entertainment that was so fascinating to other cultures? She'd known many of her own people who were enthusiasts of their own ancient culture. In particular, movies and ancient television shows.

“Our spacecraft was nearly destroyed in the Battle of Cheron,” the older woman explained.  “To this day we do not know how we came here, but the theory is that the amount of energy expended during the battle created a breach in the space/time continuum that brought us to your century.  This phenomena has been recorded several times since then, but the Discovery has the honor of the jumping the highest number of years on record.

“Most of the crew did not survive, but I and a number of officers were rescued by the USS Imperator, and made contact with your Starfleet.  My counselor aboard that ship was Jien Ives, who is now the commanding officer of this vessel, a strange coincidence, won’t you agree?” Maya asked as she became more casual and conversational.  Her attitude seemed to have the tiniest hint of flippancy, and a spark was in her eyes that Hayden hadn’t seen before.   “Naturally, the crew of the Discovery was devastated when they learned what had happened, but I couldn’t shake a perception of liberty.”

Now that little tidbit Hayden didn't know. Of course, it wasn't as if she had interacted terribly often with Ives that the captain would have reason to tell her such an interesting fact, but for a moment, O'Connor wondered if there was much more to Jien Ives than even she expected. From the moment they met, she had always known he kept certain things close to the vest and she had gotten the sense she would never truly know Ives in even the ways she got to know most people, but now it seemed the mystery of their commanding officer went even a bit deeper.

“I was free,” the greenblooded woman admitted.  “The separate governments of my time had joined into a United Federation of Planets where freedom to live one’s life was protected and tolerance was not merely encouraged, it was mandatory.  I never had to return to the restrictive civilization I had come from again.  In this cosmopolitan century, neighbors of foreign ancestry are commonplace and no longer deserve comment.  I could completely abandon the ways of my people and travel the Federation until I found a world that suited my temperament.

“Of course, I had to update my skills if I wanted to seek employment in this new century,” the raven haired physician admitted as she raised an exuberant forefinger.  “The Federation was arming itself for a conflict with a civilization from the Gamma Quadrant known as the ‘Dominion’,” she continued as she made her air quotes with hands infinitely more expressive than her face.  “My application was accepted at Starfleet Medical.  They were looking for doctors with military experience and past left me void of any political inclinations that may have disqualified me.

“The rest is a matter of historical record,” Maya continued.  “My graduation and my time aboard the USS Galaxy can be described as positive, but after I transferred aboard the Theurgy, the contamination of Starfleet Command was discovered.  Since corruption in the Vulcan High Command had been exposed in my own time, I found the truth relatively easy to accept.  But still, quite irrationally, I cannot shake a sensation of disappointment.  Naturally, I had very high hopes for your civilization.  It was what I had been subconsciously looking forward to when I left my people over two centuries ago.  I do not believe there is any price that would be too high for me to pay to preserve it.

“The trouble is, that it brought back a confining sensation of isolation to me,” the little Vulcan admitted.  “There is no need for concern; I’ve lived with isolation all my life, but it seems a terrible burden to inflict on Lahkesis, wouldn’t you agree?  And when that crippling sensation of isolation is added the trauma of having to make contact with minds in a disturbed or irrational state the mental stress is increased.  I have made contact with so many minds that have been infected with T’Rena’s indoctrination that I cannot entirely trust my own convictions.  I have had lapses in memory where I’ve found myself in lewd or compromising situations.  Even now I cannot be sure if…” Maya stopped talking and the little Vulcan broke eye contact with Hayden to look at her hands.  Her hands were no longer animated now; they were now in her lap, each fingertip touching its counterpart on the opposing hand.

"If?" Hayden prompted gently.

“Yesterday, I started investigating what happened to Lieutenant Isley during the Black Opal mission,” Maya explained as she regarded Hayden with a blank expression on her long pale face.  “Just before he flew on the Black Opal mission, I administered a milliliter of hyvroxilated quint-ethyl metacetamin to him to treat him for pain.  Reviewing my actions, I must conclude that I misdiagnosed him and gave him the wrong prescription.  It is plausible that I am the one who is responsible for the death of Skye Carver.”

Re: DAY 05: Alien Therapy [1400 hrs.]

Reply #6
[ USS Theurgy | Deck 09 | Counselor's Office ]

Hayden exhaled slowly. With this latest revelation, the concerns she expressed earlier had come full circle. She didn't entirely understand how Maya had come to have mental contact with Lahkesis in the first place, but regardless, the damage had already been done. Indeed, if Maya was correct, the damage was just beginning. "These lapses in memory will have to be addressed," O'Connor began, "but as for your more immediate concern related to the lieutenant, there's something you should know. While the circumstances surrounding Skye Carver's death are still being investigated, Isley admitted today that he was having trouble focusing and had even been daydreaming just before Skye was killed. It's entirely possible this, in addition to the effects of the medication, were the cause of the tragedy, not your intervention at all."

"That is kind of you to say, but the fact remains that the only one who handled his medication was me," Maya confessed.  She wrinkled her forehead and tilted her head to the left slightly as she pressed the heels of her palms together and let her digits curl so that her fingertips were touching.  "Although the computer claims that the drug would not cause hallucinations the amount I gave him was too high a dose to permit him to fly.  The amount I gave him would make it difficult for one of your people to walk a straight line, let alone keep their focus.  It is a small wonder that he shot the wrong target.  He was disoriented from both the medication and the rush of adrenaline.  It is fortunate that I did not take two lives that day."

Unfortunately, given this latest piece of information, Hayden knew she couldn't entirely argue Maya's point. Who's to say what part of what happened wasn't the result of her medication dose? O'Connor's job wasn't to argue those semantics, but to help Maya find a way to move forward. Given what she knew, however, there was also the question of whether she could be trusted on duty. Of course, given what they were about to face, it was the worst possible time to think about removing a medical officer from duty. Still, a compromise medical officer on duty was not desirable either. O'Connor exhaled slowly. "I'm not trying to shirk responsibility, but I am genuinely interested in your point of view. Given your concerns are and what you know about yourself, what do you think the next course of action should be?"

"Standard procedure would have me removed from duty and for you and Doctor Nicander to begin an investigation into my conduct," the little Vulcan replied almost breezily.  It was as if she was talking about someone else rather than herself.  "Doctor Hernandez could take over my shift and I could use the time to fast and meditate in order to clear out the psychic debris that has been accumulating in my mind since January.  The process would take several days if we wished to be thorough.  One of the benefits of being a former surrogate was being trained in meditation techniques that allow me to purge my psyche of foreign influences.  Afterwards, we can run some tests to see if I have improved..."  She abruptly stopped and slowly took a deep breath exhaling just as slowly.  "In normal circumstances the investigation of my conduct would determine whether I should maintain my medical license or my commission," she admitted, "but I believe that for now it is more realistic to consider me a patient who will eventually be returned to duty.  It is not as if Starfleet will be sending another physician to replace me."

Re: DAY 05: Alien Therapy [1400 hrs.]

Reply #7
[ USS Theurgy | Deck 09 | Counselor's Office ]

Hayden nodded. She couldn't disagree with Maya's logic, her reluctance to remove the Vulcan from duty wasn't just an emotional reaction based on personal feelings. If this were a standard Starfleet ship on a standard mission, Hayden wouldn't have hesitated to do as Maya prescribed. She would be removed from duty until such time as an investigation could be completed and Hayden could be assured she was psychologically stable, not just for the sake of the rest of the crew, but most importantly, for the Vulcan herself. Obviously, however, the situation was hardly standard and they hardly had time to enact the perfect solution. O'Connor thinned her lips. The reality was that they couldn't afford to have a compromised medical officer on duty. Any potential help she could be in battle was certainly outweighed by the potential risks she posed. However, that didn't mean she was thrilled about having to go to the CMO and tell him one of his most experienced medical officers would not be available during the most critical battle that could decide whether they were to continue being a crew on the run or finally be allowed to come home.

In the end, Hayden decided she owed it everyone to determine whether a compromise could be had. "I know you said a complete meditative purge usually takes several days. Obviously, with the upcoming battle, we don't have a lot of time to spare, and that's assuming something doesn't happen between now and the rest of our plans. I'm wondering, is it possible for you to speed up this meditative process and purging so that it will take less time, without posing a significant risk to yourself or others? If you don't feel comfortable doing so or such a process would be inadvisable, feel free to say so. My number one priority is the crew's well-being, but that includes you as well, and if you need to be off duty because it's the best thing for you and the crew, then so be it. There's no shame in it."

“I will attempt to purify my psyche the best I can,” Maya agreed as she tilted her head to the right instead of nodding.  “But Doctor Nicander will need everyone in sickbay during the actual mission.  In the meantime for today and the rest of tomorrow I could have a doctor’s note excusing me from duty?” she asked with the slightest hint of hesitancy.

Hayden nodded, though her expression clearly revealed how much she hated her choices.  "I don't relish the idea of leaving you to purge all of this on your own. It's not that I doubt your training or your knowledge; I just feel a responsibility and sincere concern to provide you with support and proper care.  I'd like to continue to see you for therapy and in the meantime, I think the best we can do is have you undergo this purging procedure as soon as possible, assuming that is, that there are no risks to you if such a purge is incomplete.  As your direct superior, I think we also have an obligation to inform Dr. Nicander in case he is not comfortable with you working or something doesn't go as expected.  Is that acceptable?"

“Yes of course,” Maya replied with yet another tilt of her head.  It was uncanny the way Maya was so reasonable, so placid.  To the untrained eye, it was hard to believe the psychological turmoil that the little Vulcan was enduring. 


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