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Topic: Day 14 [1300] Court Ordered Therapy (Read 478 times) previous topic - next topic

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Day 14 [1300] Court Ordered Therapy
Salem Martin |Counseling Office |USS Theurgy ] attn: @Juzzie 
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Like most things in Salem's life things had gotten shuffled around. So it had been a few weeks since he had attended therapy, partly because his transfer from the Cayuga had been so quick and so sudden that he didn't really have a lot of control over the situation. Partly cause he had never really enjoyed his court ordered therapy sessions, so of course those had been at the bottom of his list of important things to do. Even so he couldn't avoid such an obligation forever.

He sat down at the office waiting for his appointment time. He kind of wondered who would take over his case. He knew for a fact that there was a cardassian on staff, and he hoped that the counselors had enough common sense to not put the guy who had been in a prison camp in the same room as a creature who probably helped to run one in her life.

Of course he had taken some chances to try and ease himself in around the cardy population. He had been on an away mission with one, and even spoken to Durmal for a moment, it had started pleasantly enough but taken a quick negative turn the moment she compared cardassia to the Federation. He still bristled at the words she had spoken about how cardassian's knew better to speak up when they got orders they didn't agree with. The implication obvious they had all agreed that it was okay to treat people like animals so long as it wasn't a cardassian at least.

His disgust for them aside he had also spoken with his sister for the first time in a few years. And that had gone poorly as well, the two of them had reconnected but he had brought with him a lot of bad news and he had probably caused some damage.

then there was the big one, his health. Thankfully the first thing he had done when coming to the Theurgy was get his medication in order, and he still wasn't displaying symptoms but sooner or later it would come out that he was dying, slowly, very slowly he intended to have at least 4 years before symptoms became noticeable but every natural gap in his memory every time his hands started shaking he started to get scared.

All in all Salem was the Cayuga's biggest basket case, and the truth was he didn't know if there was any helping at this point.
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Re: Day 14 [1300] Court Ordered Therapy
Reply #1
[Lt. Rhys Williams|Counsellor's office | Deck 13| Vector 3 | USS Theurgy] attn: @Masorin

Rhys had been trying valiantly to concentrate on his appointments during the course of the day. It felt like there was no end to the stream of people knocking on his and the other Counsellor's doors. It was a big job looking after the mental health of the crew after all they had been through. There were so many cases of stress, mental exhaustion and other concerns to sift through. Not only that a degree of tension between new crewmembers and the Theurgy originals.

However, waiting in his appointments like a tiger in low grass was a crew member of great concern to him. Rhys knew him a little, they had both been on the Cayuga after all. Salem had been under the care of his assistant Counsellor when he had been the Chief on the Cayuga. He had seen the records and knew that attempting to fix Salem was no easy task. Not least because these sessions were mandated, which always made for a testy time.

Images entered Rhys' mind of an attractive guy in his thirties, who seemed empathetic and as friendly as any Starfleet officer. He had a streak of stubbornness, but no more than any other officer. However, it was amazing what people could present on their exterior and hide inside. Rhys was living proof.

Salem had been away from therapy sessions for a few weeks due to recent events and his transfer to the Theurgy. Rhys was expecting tension and awkwardness and in no way looking forward to it. Rhys' office door opened, and he stepped out followed by a young engineer he had been talking to. The poor boy badly needed leave. Rhys sympathetically squeezed his shoulder. "See you when you get back." The crewman nodded uncertainly and left the room.

"Lieutenant? Would you like to step this way please?" Rhys smiled his most winning smile. He was an attractive guy after all, tall and at this moment exuding friendliness. In truth he was nervous, lacking in self confidence and worried he might make Salem's problems worse. However, he always felt that way. Rhys beckoned Salem into his office.

It was not large, a small desk sat at one end. It was untidy, covered in PADDs there was a model of an Excelsior class starship on the desk. On it the designation USS Lichfield, was just visible. Behind the desk were some real books, some were fictional, but the others were on a variety of subjects.  At the other end were a couple of chairs around something that looked like a coffee table. Rhys took one of those chairs and invited Salem to sit opposite him. "Do you have a preferred way to be addressed?"  Rhys smiled, this helped put people at their ease. He was here to help after all in many ways he was providing a service. Being too formal and treating officers who were junior to you as a subordinate did not help. However, some liked the certainty of being addressed by rank or surname.

Re: Day 14 [1300] Court Ordered Therapy
Reply #2
Salem Martin |Counseling Office |USS Theurgy ] attn: @Juzzie 
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The first thing that caught Salem's eye was the model of the excelsior class starship. Salem had a small collection of models though his were smaller for a popular table top war simulation game. This one seemed more like the type you would get after serving on a vessel. It even had the designation the Lichfield, it wasn't a ship that Salem was familiar with. Rhys on the other hand was someone he knew in passing.

The both of them had come from the Cayuga, and it was probably for the best that Rhys had been assigned to Salem's therapy sessions. He wasn't a lizard skinned monster and he was a familiar face which meant that he had some idea of what to expect. The messy desk reinforced the idea that the counciling department was a touch overworked on this ship. Taking the seat as he was beconed Salem let out a small groan as he sat down, but sat forward not wanting to press his back against the chair.

"Salem is fine." He gave a small nod to his words. While Salem could understand the need for some distance between patient and doctor, he didn't really feel comfortable going through the next hour as 'lieutenant' especially since a lot of what he would end up saying would not look good for a man of his rank and uniform. "Are you familiar with my history or the transcriptions of my last few visits?"

Honestly Salem would be surprised if he was. Rhys was in charge of the Cayuga's counseling department at the time of his transfer but they had all jumped ship so suddenly. Salem had to assume that one of the PADD's on his desk was probably filled with his psychological profile, Salem always kinda wondered what that would read like, but had always been nervous to ask. After all if someone had written him up as a 'risk factor' or said something that would stall out his performance it was probably for the best that he didn't know as to try and avoid some massive over correct or negative reaction.

"How much of my background do you currently know or do you have any questions I can try to answer?" He found that was always the easiest way to start these things, a casual interview to answer and fill in the background after all he was back to step one here as far as he knew.
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Re: Day 14 [1300] Court Ordered Therapy
Reply #3
[Lt. Rhys Williams|Counsellor's office | Deck 13| Vector 3 | USS Theurgy] attn: @Masorin

Rhys looked across at Salem appraisingly. Outwardly at least he seemed relaxed, calm. In his experience people who were 'forced' to seek help tended to be resentful and have passive aggressive body language. This did not seem to be the case. However, Salem had been going to at least a few sessions with other counsellors so it was probably something he was resigned to if nothing else.

Salem also wanted to be called by his first name, so informality would seem to be the order of the day between them. However, when Salem asked him if he was familiar with his case. Rhys sighed sadly and nodded over to his desk, "Not as much as I would like. Sadly, all of us are overworked, not that that is an excuse of course. I know the generalities not specifics." He waved his hand vaguely indicating a degree of frustration at not being able to do as much as he had wanted.

Rhys believed honesty was the best case in terms of treating others and so was always straight forward about exactly what he knew. "I understand that, these sessions are mandated rather than a choice you have made."  Rhys spoke  in a soft sing-song accent, that was clear evidence of his Welsh heritage. His hands moved a lot as he talked. "I understand that you have had some horrific experiences and that has caused you problems and difficulties in interacting with..." He waves his hand vaguely again "...certain people." He spoke euphemistically,  they both of course knew he meant Cardassians.

Salem had asked, what Rhys wanted to know. Rhys was silent for a moment, his hands and fingers steepled in front of his lips as he considered how to approach Salem. Salem in his view was a capable proud officer, it would do no good for Rhys to dominate the proceedings. "What are you comfortable and prepared to tell me?" He paused again under the feeling he had forgotten something. "Oh yes how rude of me. Would you like a drink or something?" Rhys to all who met him tended to give off the impression of a kindly but slightly scatter-brained ball of nervous energy.

Re: Day 14 [1300] Court Ordered Therapy
Reply #4
Salem Martin |Counseling Office |USS Theurgy ] attn: @Juzzie 
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"Starfleet gave me a choice, I could either go to therapy and reenlist as an officer or leave my commission and retire a war hero, neither sat well with me, but I've also been doing these sessions for the better part of three years, after a while you realize that they can be helpful." Salem sighed as he knew everyone would be over worked so he understood still it was annoying he had to go over some of his more basic information down. He got the idea that this guy probably was a bit of an airhead.

"I'll take some chamomile and lavender tea." He let out a sigh waiting for the drink to be replicated as he took it his hand shook slightly as he held the tea, causing the plate and the cup to shake with a small clinking noise whenever he held it, He sipped the drink and put it down.

"I was in a Cardassian prison camp for most of the war." He said with a clear disgust. "Frankly I don't see why they are allowed in Starfleet or even on a Federation ship. The guidelines for the Federation membership clearly states that they have to have attained a level of evolved civilization, they tortured people and used unethical prison treatments up until the last Cardassian labor camp was shut down a year and a half after they had lost the war. As a society that means they have failed the base level of requirement and yet we have three serving aboard this ship. Wearing Starfleet uniforms. So yes I find their presence to be an insult to the uniform that they are pretending to wear."

He rolled his eyes as he sat back in his chair. He figured that would probably not go over well, it didn't go over well with his last few councelors, but he wasn't going to hold back his mouth while he was here. Besides that brought him to the next larger thing why his hands actually shook now every time he held something.

"Because of the treatment I received inside of their 'care' I have been diagnosed with Irumodic Syndrome. Currently I do not show symptoms outside of the base nerve degradation, hence why my hands shake, and I'm taking medication to maintain myself, but I am the single youngest patient to ever be diagnosed with the genetic disease, due in large part to my time malnourished and beaten at the hands of people just like them, so yes, I have a bit of a struggle when dealing with them. I'm dying and it is the fault of their society, how am I not supposed to hold that anger towards them?" That had been just one of the questions he had been struggling with over the last few years.
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Re: Day 14 [1300] Court Ordered Therapy
Reply #5
[Lt. Rhys Williams| Counsellor's office| Deck 13| Vector 3| USS Theurgy] Attn: @Masorin

The shaking of Salem's hand did not go unnoticed by Rhys as he handed the other man his tea. Nor did any of his comments. "English tea, milk, no sugar please." He said to the replicator and turned back to take his seat. "Retiring with 'honour' before your time or taking some therapy sessions is not much of a choice." He said sipping his tea. He imagined what it would be like to be in Salem's position, choosing between being forcibly retired from the job he lived or being patronised in regular meetings.

Salem talked, and Rhys was content to let him do that. He was providing valuable information and more importantly getting stuff off his chest even if it wasn't for the first time. People underestimated how useful being able to vent was for someone. From what Rhys heard it sounded like Salem needed this release and had such a lot of feelings to express. Rhys was calm not saying a word, sipping his tea and listening intently. He knew about Salem's issues with Cardassians and why it was considered an issue. Rhys personally knew two on the ship as it was and one of them, he was not so fond of but the other he had nothing but warm feelings for. He had been an officer onboard the Cayuga who had always been friendly and compassionate towards Rhys.  

There were, however, new things that Rhys learnt. The illness he had not been aware of at least not in detail. The reports he had seen had been more interested in Salem's mental health. Some had been quite cutting, or at least so far as those reports could be. As a Starfleet officer you were meant to abhor any sense of racism even if it came from an understandable place, and Rhys certainly did not share Salem's views on Cardassians... well maybe one. However, looking at it from a judgemental perspective was totally unhelpful for the patient. That was why Rhys nodded. "I'd be very surprised if you didn't harbour any anger towards them. I would in your place, as I think most others would." Now the trick would be how do you stop this prejudice from festering. "I am not going to tell you your anger is invalid; it is very valid and very justified. The Cardassians brutalised you. I am here to help you overcome the anger."

Rhys lent forward in his chair. "I want you to speak as freely as you feel able to." He wanted Salem not to be concerned about how he came across or about not offending Rhys' sensibilities. Rhys was quiet for a moment as he mulled over his question. "Tell me about your interactions with Cardassians in Starfleet." Rhys knew in the end that the best way to overcome a prejudice as deep seated as this was exposure. At some point Salem would have to interact with Cardassians who did not meet his expectations. That would take some time, however. Throwing Salem in with them early on would be far too much he was too angry in too much pain to judge fairly, even the fluffiest Cardassian. No Rhys would have to diffuse that bomb long before putting him to the test.

Re: Day 14 [1300] Court Ordered Therapy
Reply #6
Salem Martin |Counseling Office |USS Theurgy ] attn: @Juzzie 
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"On a good day I don't have any." Salem said with a bit of glib humor honestly he knew that some part of what he would say here would go on his record. Was it weird that he was still worried about his career? He was on a ship that had a higher mortality rate than the original Enterprise, and it wasn't like he would ever be able to serve officially in Starfleet the entire crew of the Cayuga had gone missing and was probably on some sort of prison world by now. So it wasn't like he had a career anymore. So why was he always worried that a red flag would stop him from getting to full liutenant, or even Lt Commander?

He took a deep breath for a moment and tried to calm his nerves and talk about his actual experiences with the Cardassian's he had to deal with on this ship. "Well like you I served on the Cayuga, and that was the first time I was ever on a ship with Cardassian's that weren't enemies." He let out a small sigh.

"I don't trust them, I don't want either of them on the bridge. We have a scientist and a navigator. The scientist, Billa? I think I don't know their names very well. He was always so talkitive when he transferred onto the Cayuga, it took me months to finally get him to understand that unless it was for work I didn't want to talk to him. Especially on my free time. He I can kinda understand, he's a jovial nut who just wants people to like him. He gave up after he realized I wasn't gonna sit down and play any games with him, and for that he has my respect, and gratitude at least now he doesn't try to waist my time." In his mind he had been as civil as possible, but he knew he had probably used words not so friendly. "Then we have the navigator Durmal."

"My latest interaction pretty much sums up my feelings on her. We were both assigned to an away mission on the allegiant it's too small to try and actively avoid one other person, so I decided to try and call her over for a lunch. It went better than I expected at first. Under the guise of wanting her opinion of the ship I was able to get that she was smart, knew what she was doing, and had clearly been attentive in her work. But then she tried to bring politics into the talk and I got nasty."

He folded his arms and sank back into his seat. He remembered the words so vividly.

Ensign Mektari Dumral | Mess Hall | USS Allegiant ] Attn: @Masorin
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"We Cardassians are raised with duty in mind, to always follow orders for the greater good of our people, yet we also know that there's no such thing as blind loyalty and if your leaders are making questionable decisions that go against the rules you do something about it."

"She said that cardassian's would question any higher up that made decisions that went against their rules or beliefs." He scowled for a moment the memory still blunt in his mind. "So that implies everything they did was perfectly a-okay within their society. The torture, murder of families, sexual violence against prisoners, all of that was justified within their system of society." He shook his head. "I know I wanted to punch her, but I didn't, and really that's about all I can say on that interaction. For a moment I thought this woman was smart, and in a second she showed me she was a calloused lizard skin monster just like the rest of them."
  • Last Edit: November 27, 2019, 07:08:03 AM by Masorin
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Re: Day 14 [1300] Court Ordered Therapy
Reply #7
[Lt. Rhys Williams| Counsellor's office| Deck 13| Vector 3| USS Theurgy] attn: @Masorin

Salem's anger seemed to flow out like river that had burst its banks. It started gradually then picked up pace the more he spoke. That much was clear. The question was how he was going to handle this. This was the first session so neither of them should be expecting too much really, but there was at least one little hint that made Rhys feel like things could change for Salem.

That was the mention of Bila. Rhys knew the officer to not super well they had interacted a few times, but the guy was as far as Rhys could tell as even tempered and friendly as any Starfleet Officer he had ever met. Rhys was not so good at making friends but there he felt he would stand a good chance if he had the bravery to stand out like that. Salem clearly respected him, and if not for his hatred of Cardassians might even like him. That was something to consider.

Then he mentioned Dumral a person he knew a lot less well than Bila. His interactions with her were brief and could be counted on one hand. As he listened to Salem's discussion about her and what she had said he made a mental note to talk to her to get her side of things. However, even without hearing it he could tell that clumsy phrasing had been the only real problem with what she said. If you were calm and thinking rationally you would know what she was getting at. However, Salem was not in the position of being calm or thinking rationally. 

Rhys thought for a moment and then said, "Speaking out about a leader's actions in Starfleet is one thing. Speaking out against a totalitarian dictatorship is quite another." He wondered if that was the right thing to say. It was of course accurate, but Salem's anger and prejudice required him NOT to understand it. Of course he also wanted to point out the horrors of humanity that there were things human leaders of the past could have taught to the Cardassians and that only by the cause of the cataclysm of World War Three had the fluffy Federation begun to emerge.

Rhys sipped his tea and made a few more notes on his PADD before looking up again. "I have another question Salem." This would be the key. "What do you want to achieve with these sessions?" Technically he realised Salem had been forced into these sessions, but if in the end the guy wanted to hold on to his hatred there was little Rhys or any Councillor could do. Change could be inspired and helped along but at the end of the day it had to come from the inside. 

Re: Day 14 [1300] Court Ordered Therapy
Reply #8
Salem Martin |Counseling Office |USS Theurgy ] attn: @Juzzie 
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What did he want from these sessions. In truth it wasn't something he had really thought about. What he wanted in general was a bit of a nebulious concept. There was a time he wanted a family, a career, a ship of his own. He still wanted those things of course, but getting them would be a hollow victory. He had been so focused on his career up till now, and yet he had given that up when he had joined the theurgy to be closer to his last living relative.

A family? Any man or woman he was with would have to accept that his life would be a bit on the fleeting side, that made him want to with draw from the private part of his life for sure.

Career? He was a traitor by proxy, if he hadn't joined the Theurgy to fight the Borg than he would have been on the prison shuttle that the Cayuga crew had been on when it had vanished. He could work his way up to Lt Commander, that would at least catch him up to his twin sister, but becoming a captain of a ship was kind of a lost cause.

"I'm not sure." He said softly sadness crept into his voice. "I have to start thinking about... what happens when my mind stops working. What happens when I start to show symptoms."

He sighed. "I don't really know what I want anymore, I suppose it's a bit morbid but I'm going to loose my mind at some point in the next five years, being able to die without regrets would probably be the closest thing I can get to closure."

He shrugged. "I mean of course I would like to live, but that's not realistic. I'd like to hit the rank of commander before than." He said with a soft shurg. "So I guess that counts as a goal? to be able to work without my personal problems with someone affecting the proffesional and end up denying me a chance to actually progress." Not that there was a lot of chance for progression on a ship like the theurgy.
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Re: Day 14 [1300] Court Ordered Therapy
Reply #9
[Lt. Rhys Williams| Counsellor's office | USS Theurgy] attn: @Masorin

Rhys noted that Salem's demeanour had changed. The anger had fallen away a little and now coming through was a well of sadness and regret. Rhys could hardly blame the man. He was still relatively young and he had one of the cruellest conditions there was. People were trapped in prison's made of flesh. They broke down came with complex emotional baggage. Really the only way to be free was to be so in your mind. Your imagination and thoughts could take you anywhere. However, loosing who you are as a person was such a horrible feeling. Bit by bit you stopped being who you are aware for every stage till the final one.


He looked Salem straight in the eyes with sincerity. "Don't worry too much on that first point. We are going to take care of you. Illness or not, patient or not you are a member of our crew and we will help you however we can." In truth they would have to anyway, with the Theurgy in the situation it was in there was no way he could be put into the hands of the relevant Starfleet authorities anyway. However, even so Rhys had  a feeling like he wanted to put an arm around this guy himself.

Rhys did raise his eyebrows at the mention of dying without regrets. As far as he was concerned everyone died with them. To be a living sentient being was to make choices and making choices inevitably meant regrets. However, this was not the best time to mention that. He had to try and do his best to keep this guy up mentally. That would be tricky, but in the end possible.

"Well Salem I think I can help you with that final goal." In the end he would have to try and separate individual Cardassians on the crew from Salem's specific trauma about them. It had been done, he imagined what it must have been like when the first Klingons joined Starfleet for those who had lost relatives and friends to the Empire. If this were a practice on earth his first job would be to find others who had similar experiences and get Salem and them to chat. That might be tough, and indeed a horrible thought slipped into his mind. Rhys had been through something catastrophic to. His eyes flicked unwittingly to the model ship on his desk. His mother's death.... and the destruction of his first ship. In fact that is why Ensign Williams ops officer eventually became Lt. Williams Counsellor. He had been broken and was still piecing himself together. The Counsellor half of him was prodding him into action, telling him that this could be an opportunity to address his own problems. The other part of him, the one that squirmed away inside him like a worm brought up all the pain and misery that would bring up.

Rhys realised he had been silent for a little bit of time and smiled weakly at Salem. "What I want to do, is put you in a group with other survivors of similar events. Only if you like of course, I am not going to force this on you, but I think it would be helpful." A voice that always seemed to come in his mother's voice said. 'You can't run from your problems forever, talking about it could help both of you.' In the end if there was no one available who qualified or was willing to Rhys knew he would have to help himself. Even the thought of it brought him out in a cold sweat.

Re: Day 14 [1300] Court Ordered Therapy
Reply #10
Salem Martin |Counseling Office |USS Theurgy ] attn: @Juzzie 
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In their current situation Salem didn't really have a lot of hope in terms of healing or surviving past the point the doctors had given him. He wasn't really sure if the crew would take care of him. Eventually when he stopped being an asset and started to be a drain on resources the crew would have to make a choice if he was worth keeping around, thankfully that could very well come after the entire ship was destroyed or something else had come along.

He was curious at the suggestion that the Rhys made. How many others could there actually be for this kind of trauma? The Dominion war hadn't been that long ago, but most tried to forget that it happened or from what he had seen progressed forward. He had to wonder how many people were stuck in the past like him, how many people had experiences with Cardassian labor camps. It was a curious idea, but at the same time kind of frightening.

This was information he had only ever shared with a few others. His sister and this therapist were among the few people who knew he was actively dying outside of the medical professionals aboard the ship. He didn't want to get any kind of special treatment, and he wanted to keep as much information under wraps as possible.

"I think, as long as the information about my health is kept confidential I'd be willing to participate in a group therapy." He didn't really know how much information was shared in groups, he didn't want to actively have to hide anything, but at the same time he didn't want to just talk about all that had ailed him to this point. "I think it might be interesting to hear from other survivors of the war, but the truth is I'd be curious to hear how others cope."
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