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SHIP STATUS

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Bridging The Gap
Episode 11 - Family Matters
Stardate 73834.3
MD005 0900 hrs

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Have A Little Faith

Posted on Tue Nov 7th, 2017 @ 5:03am by
Edited on on Thu May 31st, 2018 @ 11:35am

Mission: Episode 1 - Pioneering Spirit
Location: Deck 5 - Counselling Office
Timeline: MD002 1430 Hrs
Tags: SD 71364.1430



Patricia still found herself puzzling over the chess game from the day before. While the woman knew that it was the worst thing that a person could do; to linger and not move on, to twist and turn your moves in your head until you became obsessed with why you did this instead of that; she still struggled to put the event behind her. A singular thought still played through her mind...the officer couldn’t believe she’d have made such a rookie move to have lost her queen so easily. She was no professional, certainly not by Santiago’s standards but still...he’d taken her queen.

Patricia knew that were she to gave it more time, she might have looked even further into her thoughts. Was it the loss of the queen or the man who took it that she couldn’t get out of her mind. Was it the distraction Santiago had posed that had done the real harm and perhaps that subtle question of was there something more and had truly taken her unaware?

As she entered the counselling suite, Patricia found herself a little confused as her thoughts were pulled away by a suddenly more pressing matter; the sound of somebody crying before the rather loud sound of a nose being blown echoed after. “Hello?” The officer called out.

Suzie’s squeezed the damp tissue in her hand as her eyes opened wide; realisation dawned on her that she was no-longer alone. “Ah...yes...one second!” Pressing the sleeve of her jacket against her eyes, the young woman willed herself to buck up...she was old enough now to know problems couldn’t be dealt with by just crying. She was a Starfleet officer for crying out loud. This assignment wasn’t going to become any easily by her crying tears over it. Everyone had bad days; she should be dealing with her own better.

Using the same sleeve to wipe her damp cheeks, Suzie used her now raggedy tissue to wipe her nose once more before moving to intercept the new person; she had a job to do and she damn well would show that she could do it. “Sorry...I...ah...ye...what can I do for you?”

Watching as the teal dressed woman moved towards her, Patricia gave a small smile as she took in the blood shot swollen eyes; turning a blind eye to the still slightly streaming nose. “Ensign Quinn I assume? I’m Lieutenant Commander Patricia Montgomery. I thought to come by and put a face to the name...I believe that until our Chief Counsellor and Chief Medical Officer came aboard that we are to be working closely together in the interim.”

Suzie could feel her face go white as realisation dawned on her. Montgomery...Lieutenant Commander...Executive Officer...Doctor Montgomery...the woman who was to be her tutor and guide through her second year of residence while she was onboard....Shit...there was no other easier way of putting it...

Pulling her back up straighter, tilting her head back slightly to improve her stature; Suzie came to attention in order to try and salvage the situation. “Ma’am...I am Ensign Suzanne Quinn. I apologise.”

Patricia worked hard to hide her smile...eleven years ago she wondered if she might have reacted similar to a superior coming across her on what was obviously a very bad day. If she was honest and looked close enough, there would have been occasions similar to this in her own career also. “At ease Ensign, I hope that I’m not interrupting anything?”

Suzie frantically shook her head before rubbing her sleeve across her nose, a slight flush crossed her cheeks as she realised the action she had just undertaken, “No...I’m between sessions. I’m not due my next appointment for about...ah...” drawing a blank, it took the counsellor a few moments more to think, “...fifteen minutes?”

“Fifteen minutes? Are you certain about that?” Patricia had a twinkle in her eye at the question, teasing the young woman to try and put her at a little ease.

“I...ah...” Suzie felt the tears threaten again as she moved to her desk, leaning forward to call up her planner in order to make absolute certain she remembered right. “I’m sorry...I should know these things...I mean I should have all of my appointments in order and remembered and sorted...this isn’t good enough behaviour...” The tears pushed at the girl’s eyes as again she used her sleeve to try and force them back.

It was obvious to anyone on the outside looking in that the young officer was being overly hard on herself. The issue was not the tears but what the reason behind the tears was...sometimes the reason warranted the girl’s behaviour but more often than not Patricia found that officers so young were more harder on themselves than they were anybody else. “How about a tea? Or a coffee?” Without awaiting a response, the executive officer had turned to the room’s replicator and programmed in her own choice as she waited for a response.

Suzie rubbed her now damp sleeve across her eyes again as she visually tried to follow the officer’s path across the office. She didn’t understand why at this point the woman hadn’t run and had her reassigned...it was evident she wasn’t the right person for this...she was crying in the presence of her executive officer for crying out loud. Even worse! She was meant to be a counsellor who helped people sort through their feelings and here she was, unable to sort through even her own. “I’m sorry Ma’am...you would expect better behaviour from your ship’s counsellor.”

Patricia smiled at the woman’s words, turning away from the replicator with two mugs of green tea in her hand; indicating for the woman to take a seat as she lowered herself in the other. “Sit down for a minute and take a deep breath. I’ve always found it easier to gather myself back together when I just take a handful of personal minutes to calm myself down.”

Suzie found herself hesitating for a minute, the woman was her superior officer. The counsellor knew that her behaviour right now was unbecoming of a Starfleet officer and she would be better off to retreat. The thought of retreat muddled the young woman’s thoughts even further as it brought forward two further questions. Firstly, was the seat an invite or an order...if it was an order than she’d do even more harm not following it. Secondly...why was the Commander being so nice...surely she had more important things to do and places to be. More important people to be looking after. “Umm...ok...”

Patricia smiled easily as she watched the woman moving into a seat, holding out the spare mug in offering. “Everybody has days like these...some of us more than others and if everyone’s to be honest...when your a counsellor you sometimes have to learn to cry or the frustration and anguish you encounter at times can be just overwhelming. You can only help others if you help yourself first.”

Suzie found herself hesitating again before taking the mug between both hands and sitting into the offered chair. “How do you do it...I mean I thought being a medical doctor was hard; making life and death decisions. Even deciding the right medications and right treatments while the person lying in front of you depends solely on you. This...” The counsellor glanced around the room before looking back at her superior officer, “...this should be a walk in the park in comparison.”

Patricia smiled at the analogy as she sat back into her own seat; crossed her legs at the knee as she studied the other woman. “When your a medical doctor your patient has no choice but to trust you. They have to trust that you know your job and can help them or they will be even worse off than before they encountered you. Being a psychiatrist or a counselor...you have to earn a persons trust from the very first word. Earning that trust is especially hard when the person who sits infront of you is already weary and cautious and you need to find a path through that. Trust is the simple fact alone that makes this job even harder.”

“But they don’t want to trust! They want to skip around, pretend that everything’s alright and that they don’t need help!” Suzie felt a small bubble pop inside her body as she hopped a little in her seat in reaction to the surge in her emotions; sending the liquid spilling unnoticed over the front of her jacket. “They just see me as an inconvenience...another box that needs to be ticked and placed out of the way.”

Patricia’s hand moved to the table between both woman as she took a tissue from the box and held it out to the other woman, reflecting on the irony that there was no tears now but still spillages to be mopped up. “Everybody wants to trust...its only that for some trust is more hard to earn than others. It’s then that you need to learn not to take it personally. A lot of people don’t wish to discuss their feelings or their thoughts; they feel that perhaps counseling is an invasion rather than an aid to help them in their journey. More often than not you can’t change this perception; you can only work with what a person is willing to give you.”

“Then what’s the point!!” This time Suzie took the offered tissue as more of the liquid went spilling across her hand and jacket sleeve, carelessly wipe away the tea. “Why bother having counselors if we just aren’t wanted by the people who enable us to do our job? Are we meant to just lie back, put our feet up and do a cross word?!? I’ve yet to meet a person who wants to actually see me.”

Pulling more tissues from the box, Patricia was biting the inside of her cheek to hide the broader smile. It wasn’t that she found the situation funny, it was more so the echoing of feelings and emotions Patricia herself had long ago experienced; that only time and patience had thought her the answers to. “Then you wait...you wait for that one person who does need you. You wait for that conversation where one single word or emotion triggers a response within you that encourages that person to trust you...to want to open up. You wait for those moments when life is just overwhelming and nobody else can understand but maybe you can because you listen without judgement. You don’t need to help a whole crew...you just need to help those who might need it.”

Suzie sat back into her seat feeling deflated. She understood what the older woman said but still it didn’t feel right. “So what do you do? Sit on your hands and wait for people to come to you? Go searching for people?”

“A little bit of both.” Patricia unfolded her knees as she drank back the last of her tea before sitting forward. “A brand new ship and a brand new crew...Everybody is required to be declared mentally as well as medically fit. Some will come to you to get it over and done with...some will require just a little more coxing as they’ll try to put it off for as long as possible. Just listen and you’ll know what is right.”

Clasping her hands infront of her knees, Patricia studied the young woman a little longer, “You were chosen for this position Suzanne because of the potential you show. Your so passionate about how you feel because you care...you now need to learn how to funnel that all energy and passion into being a good counsellor. Trust your instincts when you pick up that tiny piece of information, use your skills to expand and trust will come easy. It’ll be hard but if you believe in yourself, eventually everyone else will too.”

Studying the cup in her hands, Suzie avoided the other woman’s glance as she moved the material between her fingers. The words made sense...it was the application that didn’t. The young counsellor knew that she needed time but...time was just so frustrating. Although it was all beyond her control it was still so frustrating. Waiting when she could be taking action...it just wasn’t natural.

Letting out a long sigh, Suzie allowed her body to slouch back against the chair before placing the remnants of her drink on the table. “I understand...I promise I do...I just...it just...” The counsellor let out an aggravated sigh before throwing her hands into the air. “I’ll give it a try. I haven’t given up before...it makes no sense to give up now.”

Smiling, Patricia moved to her feet before collecting both cups to deposit them back into the replicator. “Change your uniform jacket and I believe then that you have a PADD full of people to begin tackling Ensign. If there’s any further problems my door is always open.”

Looking down, Suzie saw the spillage on her jacket front and the state of her sleeve between snot and tea for the first time. A slight flush crossed her cheeks as she made to start to remove it; quickly making her way to the door, hitting her hip off of the desk edge as she moved past. “Feck...sorry!” Realising the word had slipped past her lips, the flush on Suzie’s cheeks grew darker as she tried to promptly exit the room. “Right away Ma’am...ah...bye!”

Watching as the woman swiftly exited the room; Patricia could only shake her head and laugh. She wasn’t certain now who she worried about more...the student counsellor or the people she was to encounter.


A Joint Post By:

Lieutenant Commander Patricia Montgomery M.D.
Executive Officer, USS Pioneer


Ensign Suzanne Quinn M.D.
Counselor, USS Pioneer

 

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