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Topic: CH02: S [D02|1129] Justice bends the Arrow at your Heart (Read 112 times) previous topic - next topic

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CH02: S [D02|1129] Justice bends the Arrow at your Heart
[ Lt. Foster | Counseling Department Offices| Deck 08 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Juzzie
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It hadn't even been a day since the spearhead lounge bombing, and the tremendous fallout that had followed. A shockwave reverberating through the ship, that transcended the initial trembling, delayed by the speed of mouth to mouth propaganda, as news traveled to the farthest reaches of its bowels. A shift in the general demeanor of the congregated spirits abord the vessel. Like a sea of candles, flickering and cowering, as a gust of wind wreaked havok across them. Some even going out, in the process. Stellan could sense that a lot of souls had gone dark, in the aftermath, and while he could not pinpoint the distinct individuals in this sea of people - that he was only slowly getting used to filtering out again - he was hoping they would find a way to the counselling offices by their own volition. Or at least by reference.

He had been taken aside by Commander Hathev the night before, when the departments had called in after the incident, to convey the captain's orders and the departmental strategies onward ... the crisis management procedures, if you want. During that conversation, it had transpired that Lieutenant Ejek had been a victim of the bombing, and that he was apparently in line to accede to the Assistant Chief Counselor position, despite his rather recent return to duty. Oh well, he hadn't known the Cardassian woman, so any emotional sentiment towards her was nothing more than manners dictated in the sense of sympathy and grief. It had been a rather turbulent few days, for sure. But if he wasn't going to be able to hold it together, then who would.

So, as the crisis management required, Stellan was holding open-office hours on the day after the events. Giving people the opportunity to seek him out without having to go through the process of making an appointment in advance and then potentially waiting a week or two. With trauma, just as with a fire, it was an issue of timing. You could quench the smallest of embers quickly, if you addressed it soon enough, just like you could a psychological disorder. Something that became infinitely harder once it festered and burrowed into the subconscious, becoming a part of the very essence of a being. And as much as he enjoyed untangling such intricated webs of infestation of the mind, it was commonly deemed inhuman, to let a person suffer deliberately, until it came to such severity. So, he conceded.

Ironically, one of his very own had put in a request to see him that day: Lieutenant Williams - or Rhys, as he was more affectionately called around the department - himself. A fellow counselor, struggling with his own demons, seemingly less successfully repressive as Stellan himself. No judgment there. Taking the time to actually deal with it, on top of seeking help, was probably the more healthy and sane approach. Maybe through addressing some of the other man's troubles, he could deal with some of his own in one session. It was all about efficency, really, on a day after the entire ship was bombed into trauma. Yet they hadn't had too much contact outside of that either. Rhys being a considerable new addition to the crew and Stellan having been in stasis for the better part of the journey, until only just recently. But they were on amicable enough terms to warrant a certain sense of personal involvement in the matter.

Leaning back in his swiveling office chair, the most comfortable thing he could imagine in terms of desk-ware on a starship, the man casually rested his feet on the tabletop, legs crossed at the ankles. A PADD fixed to his hand, extended above his midst, tapping the screen occasionally with an input pen, to make some notes to a patient's file. A young ensign, exhibiting increased sexual activity, explained away with her alien heritage, which did not quite validate the entirety of it. An intriguing subject indeed. But he wasn't going to follow that 'passion project' any further today, as the door-chime rang. His attention instantly sprung to the familiar mind behind the bulkhead, feeling the wisp of pain and mixed emotions, emanating through the telepathic ether. "Come in." he instructed, pulling his feet down from the desk not quite soon enough, before the doors slid open.

Let's figure this mess out, he thought to himself, displaying a thin-lipped smile that could easily be construed as pleasant and warm, on the outside.

"How does it feel?" he inquired with a gentle chipper to his baritone voice. " "Walking into an office and there's already a counselor there ..."

Re: CH02: S [D02|1129] Justice bends the Arrow at your Heart
Reply #1
[Lt. Rhys Williams| Counselling Department Offices| Deck 08 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @stardust

Rhys did not know Lt. Stellan Foster. Not very well anyway. He had not been a member of the crew long and when Rhys had first joined Foster had still been in cryo as far as Rhys was aware. For the limited amount of time they had been active together on the Theurgy, they had not really graduated beyond nodding acquaintances.

Stellan predecessor as the other assistant chief counsellor had never been Rhys' biggest fan and he was never fond of her in return. However, he had certainly never wanted the Cardassian to die. In fairness many of her views had been right and perhaps that was why he had struggled to get along with her.

He had known that self-care was key. That looking after his fellow crew required him to look after himself. That was always the hardest thing to do as the one person on the whole crew that he hated most was himself. Then there had been one his patients murdering someone. It had all come crashing down and Commander had had no choice but to relive him of duty, until he agreed to seek counselling.

As he was allowed to enter Foster's office, there was a slight hint of disapproval that Stellan clearly had his feet up on the desk. However, that quickly retreated into the background. He felt awful for having thought that even for a moment, this guy had held it together. Rhys had not been able to.

Stellan asked how it felt to be receiving counselling as a counsellor. In truth Rhys felt like a fraud. There had been a bombing there were people who deserved this treatment. He should have held it together and been doing his job. Instead he had been a liability as always. He was tempted to lie and say this was fine, but Stellan was not stupid. "This feels wrong on every level." He said taking a seat opposite Stellan and let out a shaky sigh and ran his fingers through his hair. "It feels like I have failed to the worst possible degree."
  • Last Edit: November 07, 2020, 07:23:15 PM by Juzzie

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Re: CH02: S [D02|1129] Justice bends the Arrow at your Heart
Reply #2
[ Lt. Foster | Counseling Department Offices| Deck 08 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Juzzie
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The instant ping of disapproval hit Stellan like a spiritual brick, as it shot into the forefront of his telepathic appraisal, of the man that just sauntered into his office. But it did not strike him as offensive, but rather amusing. Most of the mental proclivities of people amused him, when he abstracted them into urges, delusions and motivations. Which was likely the healthiest approach to the job he could think of; least the best he knew. Rhys was the best example of how the shadow could consume you, if got to close. He had seen it many times, it was always sad to watch. Sad in terms of good counselors, therapists and psychiatrists, becoming their own subjects, rather than the cure.

In many instances, Stellan even found that his telepathy negated many of the questions he asked, but he understood the necessity of coaxing that revelation forth from someone's subconscious. Even if he could read the disdain clearly, it didn't always mean that so could his patients themselves. Healing was a lot about addressing the problem within one's self. Accepting and overcoming the trauma, being big parts too. So, in a way, Rhys' replies were even more revealing than his thoughts.

The dark-haired counselor nodded slowly, at the first statement, not letting his obsidian eyes trail just for a second. The fact that words matched emotions and conscious intent, were a start. So at the very least he was not victim to any malicious delusions, but rather a skewed sample of subjective impressions. He also appreciated the honesty. Even more so in the wake of a subtle, yet redacted, shift towards deception, he'd picked up on. Sure, many considered it unfair for Stellan to nonchalantly probe everyone's minds. First and foremost, his sister, whom he had used to hone the very skill.

"There is a reason they say: Doctors are the worst patients." he replied gently, a trustful smile on his thin lips, lined by scarce scruff, accumulating on his upper lip and chin. "What exactly do you reckon you failed at?" he subsequently inquired, already knowing the answer. Already having prepared a counter argument. Psychology was seldom a science of surprise, not really. As much as people considered their counterparts to be unpredictable at times, they really weren't. Admittedly, it was sometimes hard to predict an outcome, not knowing all the facts, like upbringing, childhood impressions, stress levels, personal attachments ... but once you had a wider picture, every action was merely a reaction, in essence, guided by one, or more, of these factors.
  • Last Edit: November 08, 2020, 12:43:04 AM by stardust

Re: CH02: S [D02|1129] Justice bends the Arrow at your Heart
Reply #3
[Lt. Rhys Williams| Counselling Department Offices| Deck 08 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @stardust

When Stellan talked about doctors being the worst patients, Rhys had to agree certainly when it came to himself. He was tense already and fighting the urge to just walk out. He didn't really want to talk about his problems. Which was the root in some way of many of his problems. His problems had never been an easy thing for him to define. He knew that the diagnoses of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and OCPD (Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder) would be on his profile somewhere along with other issues. After all this was not the first time he had 'cracked up'.

The first time he had suffered a nervous breakdown, had been as a young Ensign in the Operations department of the USS Mercia. Already not the most mentally well Starfleet officer, the destruction of the ship had led to a complete collapse. He had been treated back on earth and had been so enamoured with the help he received that he wanted to do the same for others. He had returned to the Academy and studied Counselling.

He had served on the Cayuga for the next three years and had got quite good at throwing up a wall. He had his coping strategies down for those delusions that swam into his mind every now and then. Then of course disaster had struck that ship in the worst way. He had in some deluded way believed himself partially responsible even though that was not possible, and he had ended up back at square one. Gradually the mask of normalcy had crumbled. It finally shattered with the murder of Theurgy's Ex O by one of his own patients. His confidence had completely shattered, and the delusions had been intense. He knew they weren't real, that he wasn't somehow causing misfortune and disaster all around him... but they FELT real. More real than the deck beneath his feet.

He laughed a mirthless laugh at Foster asking what he had failed at. "My job, my duty of care the members of this crew." His fingers writhed over none another in a clear sign of discomfort. "One of my patients killed someone." Had there been something there in that poor lost guy that Rhys had missed? The part of him that really hated himself wondered allowed if Rhys had caused it to happen. IT wasn't possible. Rhys knew logically that Brett Hansen had taken it upon himself to commit the crime. However, the feeling that he had in someway directly caused it felt more real than the thing he knew was the truth.

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Re: CH02: S [D02|1129] Justice bends the Arrow at your Heart
Reply #4
[ Lt. Foster | Counseling Department Offices| Deck 08 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Juzzie
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Rhys' list of accomplishments was as long as those of his ailments. Which was all one person could only hope for, in Stellan's eyes. For their demons and angels to hold balance, among the scales that defined a character. For there was one thing, in a person's life, they had entire control over. It was not their body, which could fail, their wit or charisma, which could fall on deaf ears. No, it was one's conviction, that touched the very essence of a soul. The intent, and purpose, with which someone burdened themselves with, deliberately, in a reality that could be navigated in sheer ignorance and bliss, all the same. It spoke highly of the Lieutenant, his journey into his profession, the sacrificial routine with which he had treated patients in the past ... leading to his ultimate fracture, even. How poetic a hero he was, in tales unsung. No statues erected in his honors, no tall tales passed down over generations, for the apparitions he'd slain. No, those would be the champions that no one would praise, for they did not desire it.

Then there were the inevitable pitfalls, that came with being a hero, in a world more flawed and twisted, than any ancient tale could be. When developing a different set of standards for oneself, way beyond the judgment passed on others, setting oneself up for failure. And the man's past was marked with holding court over his own shortcomings more relentlessly and more biased, than he ever would for someone else. A selfless act indeed.

Placing his PADD down delicately atop the desk, nary making a sound, Stellan folded his digits into a basket, leaning forward atop the triangle of forearms, perched upon his elbows, at the very precipice of the tabletop. "The first rule, of any healing professional, is to take care of oneself. You cannot mend a wound with hands broken yourself. As you cannot mend a broken mind, while not allowing your own to heal first." he stated calmly, dark brows rising beyond the rims of his glasses, dipping a pale forehead into layers of gentle pleads. "At the same time, not every wound can be healed, not every mind fixed. That's the sad truth we all operate under. But it shall not diminish our effort, as it shall not dimmish our conviction."

Feeling as if the educational portion, the groundwork of his therapeutic approach, was quickly coming to a theatrical end, the counselor let his torso slide back against the gently relenting support of his chair. "You need to accept that, even as a trained physician, you cannot mend everyone ... least of all yourself. That is the most difficult task of all. We all carry burdens of the past, and the trick is not to try and cast out the shadows, but to accept them as the offshoot of light. All that has happened, is a part of you now ... so, where do we go from here? What is it truly, that most agitates you about your own condition? Think in subjective terms, do not take the outside world or how you'll affect it into consideration."

Concluding with a nod towards the handsome man, coaxing forth a genuine reflection, Stellan folded his hands into a pyramid, teetering on elbows atop the armrests of his chair.

Re: CH02: S [D02|1129] Justice bends the Arrow at your Heart
Reply #5
[Lt. Rhys Williams| Counselling Department Offices| Deck 08 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @stardust

Stellan was right of course, the first rule about being a professional in any kind of profession where you were helping care for others was self-care. He had learned that both at the academy under his instructor. The first Chief Counsellor aboard the Cayuga Vamte Nayr, the kindly Bajoran from whom he had learned a great deal, had always made it clear how important that was. 

In truth though, Rhys found himself easily able to understand others but not himself on any level. There was too much emotion tied to his feelings about himself to think about his own mental state in any logical way. Of course, he had lost the sense of that when his patient had killed someone.

What Stellan asked of him next was truly difficult for Rhys to answer. After all the route of the delusions was that he was negatively affecting the world around him. It was what led to obsessive behaviour. He had diagnosed it in others and seen the rituals they created to stave off the issue. Some constantly counted batches of numbers, some cleaned things, some locked and unlocked doors, it could be nearly anything.

Stellan seemed in no rush, so Rhys sighed and ran his fingers through his hair and thought. How had it affected him? He remembered the recurrent feeling of anxiousness like a cold feel around his heart, ragged breathing, the self-hatred the little voice that came at moments of emotional stress. It was now a question of vocalising these ideas. "Well at its worst if feel anxious, hyperaware of myself and things that I am doing and thinking." He started to feel a little cold sweat forming under his uniform. His voice was slightly off as if he was very aware of how he was sounding and was trying to keep any obvious shake out of his voice.

"I've struggled to form attachments with people, and well...I feel like an imposter." He looked at Stellan to see if his meaning was clear. "Like I don't deserve my rank or position. It was even worse when I was Chief Counsellor of the Cayuga." He remembered the feeling of relief when he realised he was going to be assistant counsellor on the Theurgy when he had joined the crew.

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Re: CH02: S [D02|1129] Justice bends the Arrow at your Heart
Reply #6
[ Lt. Foster | Counseling Department Offices| Deck 08 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Juzzie
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In a rather telling turn of events Stellan sensed that Rhys was growing agitated by the mere fact that the situation his counselor created was being so calm, so slow in demanding results. He got the idea that blonde man was more set on immediate results than the long-con, which was quite at odds with what a therapist would be taught. He witnessed the man's quarrels with finding answers to the questions, his self-analytical pitfalls and judgments, that cast unfair comparisons to himself by what he had diagnosed in others or felt like having contributed to.

His words soon turned a telepathic sentiment into a vocally expressed one and Stellan had to give credit where credit was due. In that the words described the feelings he sensed rather astutely. But even if they hadn't, he'd still been able to sift the truth from the inner turmoil, as was his advantage in being a partially Betazoid therapist. Nodding slowly, however, he also understood that such sentiments were not mutually shared, and that Rhys still needed outward reassurances over what the man opposite him thought about the answer given.

"It is within the nature of knowledge, that, as it does open up myriads of ways to evolve yourself, it also creates countless ways to judge yourself by, at the same time." he replied, gently shuffling in his seat, balancing the PADD on top of crossed legs. Picking up the pen into an idle grip as it threatened to roll off the tablet's precipice, much like Rhys was about to. The precipice of sanity, in his case.

"Well, let's tackle this issue from the side of reality inward ... you do understand there is a merit system in place, attached to rank. That comprises of considerations like duty, commitment, skill and success. So, the pips on your collar represent a real, objective judgment on your achievements in these regards, maybe that is something to ground yourself in, when pondering such judgments." he started out, narrowing his eyes slightly, as black orbs gazed upon the man with relentless intent. Nodding ever so slightly at the teal tunic wrapping around his collar. "Secondly, not everyone is meant to lead, as harsh as that sounds. There is a certain level of emotional abstraction necessary for that kind of a job ... and I have always believed that those people who do not possess such a psychological mechanism are actually the better adjusted human beings in clinical terms."

Basically, everyone he had ever met who had joined Starfleet with the explicit goal to become a department head, XO, Captain or even some sort of Admiral, was borderline sociopathic. Or suffering from other, equally pressing delusions. "How did that make you feel then? To have less responsibility, after coming to Theurgy?" Tapping the stylus pen against the PADD, waking it from a dimmed slumber, a fresh wave of luminescent silver, cast over the man's chiseled features, as he chotted down some notes. All the while listening to Rhys' self-assessments and the way he addressed the questions asked. Mind constantly trained on the things that remained unspoken, for they yielded far more insight than any honest statement ever could.

"Also, can you be more specific about attachments ... which kind of attachments are we talking about specifically?" he inquired, letting the pen rest idly in between his skilled fingers for a moment, obsidian ponds sparkling inquisitively at Rhys once more. "Has your sex-live been affected by it as much, or do you feel like it's more of an emotional attachment, that seems to come by harder, for you." As forward as the question was, it called from a far more personal inquiry that the counselor hoped to gleam from the man merely thinking about the query posed, and the ramifications he'd not be willing to talk about so openly. Sometimes it was just enough to get someone to think about what you wanted to know. Especially for Stellan. "How much sexual activity did you have within, let's say, the last month? Solitary release included."

Re: CH02: S [D02|1129] Justice bends the Arrow at your Heart
Reply #7
[Lt. Rhys Williams| Counselling Department Offices| Deck 08 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @stardust


The more time Rhys spent with Stellan the more he wondered about the way the other man spoke. It seemed to him, to be very formal and academic using interesting phrases. It made Rhys wonder if this was part of the other man's method or if he was in some way reading from a script in his own head. It was with faint embarrassment Rhys realised that this train of thought was him attempting to analyse the man who was supposed to be analysing him. He did his best to think about something else.

Nothing Stellan had said was untrue of course. Starfleet was a professional organisation. Rhys had clearly done enough to impress superiors at one point or another, even if he couldn't see how, he had to accept that was the case. Stellan certainly seemed to understand Rhys's reluctance to have any authority whatsoever. As he did not trust his own judgement that would be doubly the case pertaining to others. He was not entirely convinced by Stellan's thoughts on the ambitious. In some ways he admired those who could have such clear goals about themselves and their future. Rhys was an officer who drifted.

Then Stellan asked about how he felt about not being made department head. The word "Relived." Came out of his lips almost before he realised, he was forming the syllables. Of course, it wasn't the whole truth. His ego small and malnourished as it was, it did exist, and there was a part of him that had missed it. However, that was all bound up with all the events and the Cayuga so it was not easy for Rhys to untangle those threads. Overall relieved was the right word though. He had been tired mentally and physically after those events. While there was that little voice chiding him for losing the position the rest of him was so happy to be following again. "So relieved, I don't think I could have ever run a department on Theurgy. Cayuga, was a smaller ship, less responsibility." He looked around him almost as if for emphasis "This is a different matter."

The attack by the Borg had put him in a weakened state already. It was all too close to home, considering his mother had died at Wolf-359. Of course, in many ways that was where it had all began. This had all come out before in his previous treatments. Doubtless it was on his personnel file somewhere, so Rhys was certainly not going to raise it with Stellan. Rhys figured he had probably read about it already.

Then Stellan completely shocked him by asking him about his sex life. He shouldn't have really been surprised after all Rhys had brought up attachments. However, this line of conversation made him immediately very very uncomfortable. Discussing his patients sex lives, fine. Rhys discussing his own with another person especially one he did not know very well, was hard very hard. Rhys' actually went red faced. It was worse when Stellan asked about sexual activity in the last month. Rhys' heartbeat quickened and he felt a kind of fearful dread at the mere thought of talking about any of this.

There was a long uncomfortable pause, "I was talking about friends." He said eventually. "I form emotional attachments with people easily, sadly the reverse does not seem to be true." He bit his lip as he measured his next response carefully. "Though when I feel down, I certainly loose interest in.... uh sex. Either with other people or by myself." He said hoping that the vague answer he gave would be sufficient to satisfy Stellan's curiosity.