Part of Starbase Bravo: Sundered Wings and Bravo Fleet: Sundered Wings

Report to the Boss

Starbase Bravo, Sector Hotel-Turquoise, Deck 375 Counseling Office B
June 2400
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In her office, Heriah finalized some of the reports LT Weld needed before he sent them on up the chain of command. She touched on the progress she was making with LTJG Oin’sun and that she recommended him to continue with his cross training when time allowed, her first and, so far, only session with Cadet Ford along with recommendations for further sessions as she continued to assess Ford’s needs, and lastly, Heriah’s meeting with Ensign Lihran.

Heriah’s report did not offer much in the way of details of their respective issues, just that progress was being made, that they continued to operate optimally and that they did not appear to be a threat to themselves or anyone around them.

Additionally, Heriah’s report contained a tally of her meetings with refugees arriving daily, who needed further counseling and who Security should have BOLO’s for. The report also contained Heriah’s in-office sessions, scheduled meetings as well as walk-ins.

Basically, it was all that Bravo Command needed to know. They needed to know that their lower ranking personnel were all soldiering along and getting the job done, meeting demands as they cropped up and putting out the fires that would sprout up here and there.

Heriah even added the additional hours she put in after her normal duty shifts to continue with helping out with the civilians and refugees as well as the various meetings in her own quarters.

She wrote it up quite exceptionally, making herself sound a bit…indispensable, as she once said to LT Weld. Hopefully he would find the report optimal and without the need to edit or add his own flair to it before sending it up.

Tapping away at her PADD, Heriah saved the report and sent her PADD to standby after sending the reports to the in-office PADD. Heriah’s PADD was Heriah’s PADD and none other’s. Grabbing the in-office one, she stood and marched out of her office. Going through the lobby she heard the soft music playing and did a quick survey of some of the people waiting to be seen which equated to only the amount she could count on one hand. Counseling cadets and others attending the Academy on Mellstoxx III were seeing to them as she passed.

Heriah arrived at her boss’s door and pressed the chime.

From within the office, Elegy Weld responded, “Come,” to unlock the doors.  As the doors slid apart, a clear view of Elegy weld was obscured through seven overlapping holographic computer panes.  Each pane was mostly translucent, but the overlapping cluster of data acted as dazzle camouflage for the Trill resident psychiatrist.  With his legs draped over the back and his head and shoulders hanging off the seat, Elegy’s lanky frame was, essentially, sitting upside down in one of the armchairs.  He swiped a hand through the air to manipulate the location of the overlapping holographic LCARS frames, sorting through Starfleet anthropological articles on Romulan family trees, households, and marriages.  Half of the data on the screens blatantly contradicted each other, and the nature of Romulan culture meant it was impossible to know if the contradictions were due to bad research or due to intentional deception.

Once Elegy made eye-contact with his visitor, he murmured, “Ah, Heriah, hullo!”  He gracefully tumbled himself down from the armchair and rose to his feet.  Elegy scooped up his uniform jacket from off the back of his chair and shrugged it on over his undershirt.  “How is the day treating you?” he asked.

“Um, it has been well, sir. I mean Elegy.” Heriah slowly stepped inside. The door slid to a close behind her. “I don’t mean to interrupt anything. If this is a bad time…was that a form of inversion therapy?” she finally asked, referring to his seated posture as she had entered. The gym had inversion tables and, though Heriah had never tried one herself, she had seen others using it.

Elegy squinted at Heriah’s question and looked back to the chair he’d been draped over.  “No, nothing like that.  I was– I guess I was comfortable?  I don’t know.  I was engrossed in the reading,” Elegy explained absent-mindedly, although he sounded like he was re-examining his own feelings on the matter as each word came out.  He closed his uniform jacket down the front, and he enthused, “I almost feel like I understand how Romulan society is supposed to work?  And I almost feel like I understand how Romulan society works in practice.  But I can’t quite reconcile the two.”  He breathed out a huff of idle frustration and wiped a hand through the holographic projections, which switched off the LCARS panes.

Heriah listened to his words and understood his dilemma the best she could. Taking a seat, she placed her PADD on standby as the delivery of these reports was suddenly not as important for the moment.

“Perhaps you should get into the mind of the Romulans to better understand them. They are a proud and powerful race. Yet, they were once driven from their ancestral homeworld of Vulcan. Theorists suggest they were later driven from Earth. They survived empty and cold space until they found what would become Romulus. Now that is gone. The people have always been followers of the most powerful. It did not matter if the person in charge was brutal and silenced adversaries, he was strong and put forth a terrifying image of Romulus to the rest of the galaxy. Romulan justice was mostly guilty until proven innocent. And this worked. For the average Romulan working an average day, as long as they stayed in line and kept their trust in the man in charge, all was well. Now that a natural disaster has taken all that away, a Romulan future looks like a civil war of at least three factions, a crumbling empire, various Praetors who all put forth the same strong Romulan face even if they oppose the other strong Romulan faces.”

“How is it supposed to work?” and she continued without really expecting an answer, “One strong leader leading the rest in a charge against adversity. How does it work in practice? Average people held underfoot so long that they have only the option of supporting that one leader. How does Romulan society work now? Multiple feet attempting to keep the population underfoot. These feet oftentimes kicking each other, some growing tired, some dying, some attempting to sweep away those that refuse to fall in line. The Romulans have no one person to look to now. There is no singular direction for them to go. Power vacuums are cropping up constantly and your average Romulan is discovering that they are the true strong face of the Romulan people; not some Praetor. While others,” and she motioned behind her, out there and toward the refugee population that continued to grow, “they have been held underfoot so long, they do not know what to do.”

Heriah finished her little speech, with a little help from Rex though she felt he was more attempting to show off. Also fearing she had spoken too at length or out of turn, she silenced herself and looked at Elegy, processing her words.

Taking his time to digest what Heriah had said, Elegy had nodded at each of Heriah’s points and then he stayed silent for a time.  He reached for his tumbler and he sipped at his ice coffee, and then he put it aside.  Sitting himself upright in the armchair, Elegy knowingly remarked, “I suppose we don’t have to look too far into our own history to imagine a government that kept extensive secrets from the galaxy at large, or put the lives of a minority above the majority.”  His expression tightened into a wan smile.

Heriah had her own second meaning to Elegy’s words. There were things those who oversaw Heriah’s joining were keeping from the ‘galaxy at large’ and she was also beginning to suspect there were things being kept secret from even her.

“No, we don’t,” she replied. “How something looks written out is oftentimes vastly different than how that same something is practiced. Therefore, they cannot be reconciled. There is always a politician attempting to make things look better for himself. And now, considering this crisis, all the truths and past hidden events of the old Romulan Empire is beginning to out.”

Taking in a breath through his nose, Elegy said, “I suppose even if I can’t conceive of it, I can still help my patients come to terms with their new situations.”  Lost in thought, he considered it for a moment more, and nodded a couple more times as he considered what that would mean to him.  Suddenly shifting his posture in the chair self-consciously, Elegy clapped his hands together when he said, “I don’t suppose you came to visit me to talk politics.  What can I help you with today instead?”

“Oh…uh…” Heriah recalled the reason for her visit.

‘Delivery reports. Get out.’

“I was simply bringing you the reports you need before they are sent up to higher.” Heriah had the PADD in hand and placed it on the nearby table for Elegy to take. “I hope you like my reporting technique and writing style.” But before he was able to comment, “And might I add…El-Aurians. They may not be counselors but they are great listeners I hear. They too had their homeworld taken from them. We could learn a lot about how to help our Romulan brethren and sisteren from the El-Aurians. Could even see about an El-Aurian counselor if we can find one.”

Although Heriah brushed past the topic, Elegy reached out for the PADD on the table as soon as she mentioned it.  It was like an itch at the back of his mind he couldn’t quite ignore.  As Heriah made a suggestion about El-Aurian counselors, Elegy absently scrolled through the report on the screen, half-reading it, while he listened to what Heriah was saying.  As before, he made little effort to stand on ceremony with her.  “I can’t say I’ve ever met an El-Aurian… I don’t think?” he replied.  Elegy looked up from the report momentarily and then continued his scrolling.  “Have you?”

“I have. Well…my symbiont has. I, myself, have not. Then again, you may not even know the truth since they appear very human. Most cannot tell an El-Aurian apart from a human.” Heriah sat a brief moment and watched as he skimmed her reports. “If I may, sir, in helping these people come to terms with their new situations, might I suggest you spend time down below in refugee processing. It is one thing to meet people one on one. It is quite another to meet them in mass and hearing their multiple cries.” Heriah did not wish to step over any boundaries. She also felt the ever growing itch from within to be done with this and away from this psychiatrist.

Looking up at that, Elegy put the PADD down in his lap and folded his hands over the device’s display.  “I’m hearing you’ve found a different experience in supporting refugee process and it sounds like it was a meaningful experience for you,” Elegy said, in acknowledgement of what Heriah had proposed to him.  He nodded and didn’t say anything more at first, visibly lost in though.  Elegy admitted, “During the first week of the Century Storm, I offered my services as an emergency medic in refugee processing, more than anything in the realm of mental health.  I’m curious about what it has meant to you to take part in such early interventions?”

‘Different verse to the same song. To me, this means…’

“…that your home can be taken away in an instant and with little to no warning. All that you would have left then is hope. Hope that you will find a place, whether temporary or permanent, that will accept you. Hope…that help will come along sooner rather than later. That is where I see myself stepping in; providing help as soon as I can manage.”

All this time and no one has stepped in to provide me with any real hope.’

‘Rex.’

Heriah crossed her arms over her torso. “To me, this means that I am a bridge, so to speak, between hopelessness and hopefulness. I am a springboard to help get them to a level higher than then slump they find themselves in. I am a punching bag even for those who need to vent. To me, this is the pinnacle of what it means to be a counselor.”

Elegy nodded twice at Heriah’s summation.  He gazed off into the middle distance for another couple of heartbeats, and then he asked Heriah another question.  “If that is the pinnacle of being a counselor,” Elegy asked, “do people have to suffer to give your life meaning?”

“Um…” she said, “well…”

‘Rex?’

‘Oh now you want my help.’

“In my experience, Elegy, life is pain. Anyone who says otherwise is selling something.”

‘Everyone suffers.’

“Everyone suffers but this suffering is always to varying degrees.”

‘Some simply cannot take it…’

“Some simply cannot withhold it any longer and they have to tell someone.”

‘Well I was going to say end it all.’

“So…in a sense…yes. People have to suffer to give my professional life meaning. People who do not suffer at all have no need of a counselor. As for my personal life, no they do not need to suffer to give me meaning. Just…”

‘Go ahead. Say it.’

“…I don’t have any personal relationships.” She broke eye contact. “No one cares…I mean…I do not have anyone close to me. Being a counselor also brings the stigma that any close friends must have a need of a counselor, so they typically stay away.”

Heriah reconnected with his eyes and shrugged. “A counselor’s life is oftentimes a lonely one.”

‘Insanely lonely when joined with you.’

Elegy rubbed his chin with the edge of his index finger and his eyes softened at Heriah in concern.  Given how cheeky his question had been, and Heriah’s past manner with him, he certainly hadn’t expected her to be this vulnerable with him.  “I don’t know that I agree with your entire premise,” Elegy said in uncertain preamble, “but I can’t universally disprove it either.”  He shrugged.  “Maybe if you slow down your path to becoming indispensable, you’ll have a few minutes to become friends with me?  There’s an ease about being able to talk shop to a peer, without translating everything for the laypersons.”

‘You came here to deliver reports and to get out. You delivered the reports. Now get out.’

Heriah started in a slow nod.

‘He’s a shrink. Your boss no less.’

“I think I would like that,” she said. “Afterall…”

‘…the High Priest did tell me to surround myself with those who know and love me.’

‘Crap spouted by a religious fanatic.’

“…afterall, I do need to make friends and know those whom I work with, right?”

Shrugging impishly, Elegy said, “In my humble experience, I’d say it’s worth a try, at least.  What do you have to lose?”