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Topic: SD 57561.14: First Steps (Read 142 times) previous topic - next topic

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SD 57561.14: First Steps
First Steps

STARDATE 57561.14
MARCH 12, 2381
1100 HRS.

[ PO1 Mickayla MacGregor | Outside Main Sickbay | Deck 11 | USS Theurgy | Aldea ] Attn: @fiendfall
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To the Counselling Department

My name is Mickayla MacGregor, Petty Officer First Class, formerly of the USS Endeavour. I am requesting a scheduled appointment to discuss everything that has happened recently. I am having some trouble adapting to all the recent changes in my circumstances. I hope someone in your department can spare the time to meet with me.

Mickayla MacGregor


Mickayla remembered the message that she had sent two days prior as she walked along the passageways of Deck 11 towards the Main Sickbay. She had received a reply to her request for an appointment the evening prior and, despite the short notice, knew that she needed it. She just hadn't been expecting to be meeting with the Chief Counsellor.

"Probably doesn't trust anyone else to handle the crazy Klingon manslaughter," Mickayla thought to herself as she walked through the doors and into the waiting room. "Can't say I blame them." Walking up to the reception duty station, she addressed the NCO there.

"Good morning, I have an appointment with the Chief Counsellor at 1100 hours," Mickayla informed them.

"Petty Officer MacGregor?" the receptionist enquired after a quick check.

"That's correct," Mickayla confirmed.

"Have a seat," the NCO directed. "I will inform Counsellor Hathev of your arrival."
Lorad [Show/Hide]
Lt. JG Donna 'Chance' Petterson [Show/Hide]
PO1 Mickayla MacGregor [Show/Hide]
Samala [Show/Hide]

Re: SD 57561.14: First Steps
Reply #1
[ Lt Cmdr Hathev | Chief Counsellor's Office, Main Sickbay | Deck 11 | USS Theurgy | Aldea ] Attn: @Stegro88 

And so, Aldea. Hathev was glad of the respite the planet offered, if only as it afforded opportunity to perform her duties in a more amenable situation than had been offered to the Theurgy in months, it seemed. She was still compiling her list of personnel she considered most at risk; in the meantime, however, she had been glad to see no small number of requests made of her department completely unprompted.

Her first patient was to be one who had made such a request. Mickayla MacGregor, a human-Klingon hybrid from the Endeavour who had been among those rescued from the Versant. Hathev would not pretend knowledge of the intricacies of the situation with the Versant; although it seemed she was not the only one. Information had been scarce, and thus she found herself approaching the agreed time for the appointment with far less than her usual amount of preparation. It was somewhat disconcerting, but not unexpected: even if she had taken a Theurgy crewmember as her first patient, there would have been much about their experiences of which she would have been uninformed.

Still, she could perform some preparations at least. She lowered the ambient temperature of the office down from her preferred heat, arranged the seats in such a way that would invite her patient to take the couch, and replicated a plate of assorted biscuits for the coffee table.

Perfectly on time, she was hailed by Reception; she took a moment to smooth her skirt, settled herself at her desk, and made ready to receive her very first patient aboard the Theurgy.

'Thank you, officer. You may send MacGregor in.'

It was only a few metres from the waiting area to her own door, and so mere moments later her door chirped and slid open to allow the petty officer entrance.

MacGregor stood a few inches taller than Hathev, hair falling long around her cranial ridge; she was well-built and appeared strong, as would be expected of a Security officer. There seemed to be a slightly defensive tilt to her stance, although it was no more than could be expected -- the first of these meetings was always something of a battle, each party feeling the other out, and though Hathev promised aid she knew it came at the cost of personal honesty; a cost that could prove painful and humiliating, and, for some at least, too great. Considering the circumstances, it was only logical for MacGregor to exhibit some reticence; it was merely Hathev's duty to bypass it. Everything in her office had been prepared to put her patient at ease; now all that remained was her own conduct.

Accordingly, she stood, crossing the room to greet her guest.  'You are welcome here,' she said; an unnecessary statement but one worth reiterating. She extended a hand, steeling herself for the human greeting.  'My name is Hathev, you have my thanks for joining me. Please, make yourself comfortable.'
CPO Morgan Song - Engineering - Chief of Maintenance (V2)
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Lt Cmdr Hathev - Counselling - Chief Counsellor
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Re: SD 57561.14: First Steps
Reply #2
[ PO1 Mickayla MacGregor | Outside Main Sickbay | Deck 11 | USS Theurgy | Aldea ] Attn: @fiendfall
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"Thank for taking the time to see me, Lieutenant Commander Hathev," Mickayla said by way of a greeting as she entered the room. Not knowing how exactly to proceed, she stood in the centre of the room, her arms behind her back. She noticed the Vulcan counsellor eyeing her but pushed the discomfort of being examined aside. She was here to get help with those feelings, among other things.

"You are welcome here," the counsellor replied, standing up and crossing the room to greet Mickayla, her hand extending in a human greeting. "My name is Hathev, you have my thanks for joining me. Please, make yourself comfortable."

"Thank you, ma'am," Mickayla acknowledge, gently grasping the officer's hand for a moment before releasing it and moving to sit on the couch. Since being forcibly altered into a full-blooded Klingon, she had struggled with her mindset, emotions, reactions to events and just her general day to day activities. Case in point, she never used to sleep naked and yet the last two nights she had done just that and was seriously contemplating continuing the trend. The smallest things could set her off one moment and then not exist the next. She needed help to make sense of it all.

"Counsellor Hathev, ah," Mickayla tried to begin, except, she didn't know how. Words wouldn't come and she suddenly felt like she was wasting a senior officer's time with her own inadequacies. "My apologies, ma'am," Mickayla said, standing back up and heading for the door. "I'm sorry for wasting your time."
Lorad [Show/Hide]
Lt. JG Donna 'Chance' Petterson [Show/Hide]
PO1 Mickayla MacGregor [Show/Hide]
Samala [Show/Hide]

Re: SD 57561.14: First Steps
Reply #3
[ Lt Cmdr Hathev | Chief Counsellor's Office, Main Sickbay | Deck 11 | USS Theurgy | Aldea ]

MacGregor's uncertainty belied her Klingon heritage; curious. The petty had remained in the centre of the room until Hathev ushered her to a seat, and even as she sat she seemed uncomfortable and out of place. All to be expected of a new patient -- to be preferred, even, as those who feigned nonchalance were often dishonest not only with their counsellor but with themselves.

Hathev moved to seat herself opposite MacGregor, allowing the other woman space to speak. She did not like to take charge so early in a session unless it proved necessary, preferring to allow her patients to introduce themselves and their concerns unprompted. She had also foregone the traditional counsellor's PADD on which to take notes; the risk of her forgetting details was minimal, and in any case outweighed by the benefits offered by the arrangement. She had found patients could perceive note-taking as assessment rather than memory aid; illogical though this perception was, it could hold remarkable sway over an anxious individual.

She lent back in her chair, crossing a leg elegantly and considering the officer before her. MacGregor seemed to struggle with vocalising her thoughts; for a moment she teetered, searching for words, and then something, whether frustration or insecurity, spurred her give up. She stood and made to leave, offering apologies as she did.

Hathev swivelled her chair slightly, but made no move to stop MacGregor. If the woman wished to leave there would be little purpose in forcing her to stay. A patient must want treatment for anything Hathev could offer to be of use.

'You need not apologise, officer,'
she said. 'No time is wasted that is beneficial to a patient; thus unless you believe it inconceivable that my services may be of aid to you, it would be quite impossible for you to waste my time, nor I yours. If we conclude our meeting and you do not feel it has helped, then at the very least you can be confident in discounting counselling as a treatment option, and the time will have been of use even then. By leaving now you gain little; in my experience, that would be the greatest waste.'

Gesturing once more to the seat MacGregor had only recently vacated, she softened her tone. 'I have a duty to perform, officer; I urge you to allow me to do so. '
CPO Morgan Song - Engineering - Chief of Maintenance (V2)
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Lt Cmdr Hathev - Counselling - Chief Counsellor
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Re: SD 57561.14: First Steps
Reply #4
[ PO1 Mickayla MacGregor | Chief Counsellor's Office | Main Sickbay | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy | Aldea ] Attn: @fiendfall
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Hathev's words had caused Mickayla to pause in her departure, her mind in turmoil with memories of everything that had happened up to that point and thoughts of everything that could happen in the future as a result them. She didn't know where to begin. She had lost everything that made sense in her life. The only thing that remained was her status as a Starfleet officer. Her sense of duty. And like that, the realisation of the one remaining thing that she still had at that moment, everything became clearer. Her mind was not any calmer but now there was a point where she could be and let the storm surround her but not consume her.

"Ma'am," Mickayla said, addressing the counsellor as she turned back around to face the Vulcan. "Captain Picard once said that the first duty of every Starfleet officer was to the truth, whether it's scientific truth or historical truth or personal truth. That it was the guiding principle on which Starfleet is based. And that if we could not find it within ourselves to stand up and tell the truth, no matter the cost, then we do not deserve to wear the uniform."

"I have to do this," Mickayla thought to herself as she paused to gather her thoughts. "For better or worse, I need the help. Whether there is a chance to return to what I once was or not, I have to try and accept what I am now; if only to understand what happened to me later."

"Counsellor Hathev, I would be lying to both you, and more importantly, myself, if I told you that I believed my leaving right now would be beneficial to me," Mickayla explained. "On the contrary, I fear that it would do me more, if not permanent, harm. I am not what I once was, and I am not sure how to deal with that. Nothing makes sense to me anymore."
Lorad [Show/Hide]
Lt. JG Donna 'Chance' Petterson [Show/Hide]
PO1 Mickayla MacGregor [Show/Hide]
Samala [Show/Hide]

Re: SD 57561.14: First Steps
Reply #5
[ Lt Cmdr Hathev | Chief Counsellor's Office, Main Sickbay | Deck 11 | USS Theurgy | Aldea ] attn: @Stegro88

Ah, Captain Picard. A man almost Vulcan in his wisdom. This would not be the first time he came to her aid in her duty, nor, she suspected, would it be the last.

'I am glad to see your familiarity with the captain's assessment,' she said. Of all the vessels, and all the crews to whom it pertained, perhaps the Theurgy was among the most deserving. The quest for truth was a central tenet of Starfleet ideology, and one she herself had neglected before her arrival on this ship. It could be a difficult directive, especially when the final frontier to be navigated was the constellation of one's own mind; however that, in Hathev's opinion, was the most worthy cause of them all.

Know thyself, indeed. All other truths shall follow.

For MacGregor, it seemed this was a particularly charged issue. Hathev was not personally aware of the repercussions faced by those who had been aboard the Versant, and she would never base her approach to treatment on hearsay. However what she had been told spoke of a scientific procedure that was as impossible as it was barbaric.

Of course, Hathev had reconsidered what she believed to be impossible many times in the past few days. The concept held little meaning when facing such vast unknowns.

'My duty is to understand,' she said, 'and to aid you in your own understanding. I know little of your troubles but I am here to listen, if you wish it to be so.'

The woman had displayed a certain circumspection in her assessment of her own condition; that she had reached out for assistance of her own accord, and subsequently identified the fact that her immediate dismissal of that assistance could be harmful to her, revealed an encouraging emotional and intellectual coherence. Now all that remained was to develop that coherence into recovery.

'You need not tell your truth to me, officer, nor indeed to any counsellor; however if you are uncertain of that truth, I believe I can assist you in its discovery.' She met the Klingon's gaze with a level stare, though one that was not unkind in its intensity. 'If that is a possibility you wish to explore, please. Sit with me, and we shall approach it together.'
CPO Morgan Song - Engineering - Chief of Maintenance (V2)
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Lt Cmdr Hathev - Counselling - Chief Counsellor
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Re: SD 57561.14: First Steps
Reply #6
[ PO1 Mickayla MacGregor | Chief Counsellor's Office | Main Sickbay | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy | Aldea ] Attn: @fiendfall
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Hathev's words had soothed Mickayla's nerves for the moment and she sat back down without a word as she thought about where, and how, to begin. The Versant, The Endeavour? Her time in Starfleet before that? Or the beginning?

"The beginning, my beginning, such as it was," Mickayla thought to herself as she glanced at the Vulcan. "My entire life has been defined by me being a hybrid, a visible outcast. And yet I found a way to fit in. To have a purpose. Now? Now I have nothing."

"Ma'am," Mickayla began slowly, her voice soft yet under tight control. "I don't know if you are aware of it or not, but I was not born as the full-blooded Klingon that you see now. Rather I was born on Earth to a Human mother with no knowledge of who my father is or was. And that single constant, being a hybrid, has defined everything in my life. How I grew up, studied and lived. The choices I made about my future, enlisting in Starfleet. Everything."

"And now I have none of that," Mickayla considered bitterly. "Not anymore."

"And then, then the Borg happened," Mickayla stated, her voice dropping in temperature. "When the Borg destroyed the Endeavour, I made it to an escape pod with a few others. We drifted through the nebula, hoping for someone, anyone, to rescue us. And someone did. The Versant."

"But that was only the beginning of our struggle. The Savi, they tortured us and experimented on us," Mickayla revealed. "All the hybrids, they gave us a choice. One race or the other. I've never liked my Klingon side, even when it benefitted me, so I chose Human. Not that it mattered. Choice was an illusion. I was forcibly altered to a 100% Klingon physiology against my will. My entire life stripped away. I have nothing left."

"And they couldn't even alter me right," Mickayla bemoaned silently.

"I look in the mirror and though I recognise what I see, it's not me. I am acting differently. Thing's I wouldn't do before I am finding myself doing now casually. My reactions to things have changed. I was attacked the other day and instead of stopping the fight I wanted it, looked forward to it. That goes against everything I have been trained to do."

"As I said," Mickayla reiterated. "Nothing makes sense anymore."
Lorad [Show/Hide]
Lt. JG Donna 'Chance' Petterson [Show/Hide]
PO1 Mickayla MacGregor [Show/Hide]
Samala [Show/Hide]

Re: SD 57561.14: First Steps
Reply #7
[ Lt Cmdr Hathev | Chief Counsellor's Office, Main Sickbay | Deck 11 | USS Theurgy | Aldea ] attn: @Stegro88

Listening to MacGregor's tale, Hathev concluded it was little wonder the woman was experiencing such confusion regarding her own selfhood. The specifics of this situation were unlike any Hathev had ever encounted before, much less treated. In broad strokes it was a case of lost self-definition and resulting uncertainty; however while Hathev had treated this issue many times, the most extreme examples she had encountered were due to loss of rank -- an issue so dwarfed in comparison to her current patient's turmoil as to render it almost entirely trivial. Still, the similarities were there, both in symptoms and psychology. Perhaps Hathev could have drawn more upon her experience of such cases were it not for the complicating factors.

Factor the first: MacGregor had not only lost something by which she defined herself, but had been biologically altered. Her DNA had been changed on a fundamental level, which would in turn affect her behaviour in a both natural and permanent fashion. Hathev knew better than most the catastrophic and long-lasting damage that could be caused from ignoring the biological imperative of one's species. This alone would have been enough to complicate the matter far beyond that of simple self-definition, and there was little purpose in pretending otherwise.

The second factor was one Hathev understood even better. She had studied and written about trauma's affect on brain chemistry and construction for twenty years, the way prolonged or repeated violation of personhood would physically rewire the brain as it attempted to protect itself from the protracted horror. Even in less severe cases, any kind of trauma would change a person; the degree of change varied from individual to individual, but personality shifts were an expected symptom of post-traumatic stress.

It was no surprise, then, that MacGregor should experience such a thing. She had been suspended in a state of heightened fear for days on end, had been stripped of her bodily autonomy and personhood, and when forced to make an unimaginable decision, her wishes had been disregarded in a fashion that could only be described as deliberately cruel. She had been violated, body and mind; after enduring so much, it was not surprising MacGregor found herself changed to such a degree that she was unable to recognise herself in her own visage.

Hathev folded her hands in her lap. Were she of the kind to offer platitudes, there would have been a myriad from which to choose.  As it was, however, she had an all-more-delicate balance to navigate. Any fool could say what another wished to hear; the skill came in saying what they needed to hear.

'What was done to you was truly despicable,'
she said; no purpose in mincing words. 'That it has left you uncertain and grieving is very much to be expected. I daresay things will not begin to make sense for some time; but then, that is what we are here to work upon.'

She folded her hands in her lap, considering. 'We cannot change what has happened, nor what has been done to you. Rather, our purpose here is to understand what these events mean for you, and how we can best respond to them.'

A beat as Hathev took a moment to regard the officer. At this juncture it was difficult to gauge the response her words might garner. She did not wish to push too hard, but neither did she see anything to be gained from inefficiency.

Despite being a first-generation hybrid, MacGregor clearly valued her humanity high above her Klingon heritage. It was not difficult to deduce why that might be, nor to see how that disparity could translate into self-hatred considering MacGregor's current situation -- a risk Hathev would need to mitigate the chances of.

Her question would need answering sooner or later. There would be little purpose in dancing around it until she judged MacGregor to be in an optimal position for its answering. No, sometimes surprise was a useful tool, prompting an honest and unconsidered response.

'A place to start, then,' she said, and met MacGregor's gaze firmly, though not unkindly. 'What would it have meant had you become fully human?'
CPO Morgan Song - Engineering - Chief of Maintenance (V2)
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Lt Cmdr Hathev - Counselling - Chief Counsellor
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