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Part of Starbase Bravo: Q3 2400

My art is more to do with engine grease and metal

Starbase Bravo
July 2400
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Lihran trudged towards the counsellor’s offices rather sullenly. He was told to go in for a psych evaluation after his rather… forceful kidnapping. He was told to go see an Elegy Weld. He stood outside his office and emitted a small sigh, reaching to press the door chime, nervously clasping his hands behind his back. He hid his nervousness under a stoic facade.

From within the office, Elegy Weld said, “Come,” to unlock the doors.  The doors parted, revealing a small compartment that was furnished more like a lounge than an office space.  Standing beside an armchair, Elegy welcomed his new patient with an, “Ensign Lihran, hullo.”  Elegy’s expression was a similarly stoic facade.  Although Elegy allowed more of a placid edge to his expression, he was only using it to hide fatigue.  The past weeks of treating Romulan refugees –and supporting the rest of the understaffed mental health department– had required reserves of energy well beyond typical starbase duty.  Elegy tapped a replicator plate set into a side table and he asked, “Can I get you anything?”

Lihran took a good, solid moment to realise he was being asked that, “Uh, just a basic latte, if you don’t mind.” He fiddled with the sleeve of his uniform momentarily before clasping his hands behind his back. He had a feeling that Elegy was just as fatigued as he was at least, “I hope not to take too much of your time. I need an evaluation to be able to be allowed back to work after…” He trailed off for a moment, “I’m sure you know that already though.”

After ordering the latte and an iced americano for himself, Elegy set down his drink beside his usual chair.  He crossed the compartment to hand the other mug to Lihran, holding the mug in the air between them until Lihran decided what to do with his hands.  Smiling sheepishly, Elegy retorted, “Starfleet reports can be structured with as much artifice as iambic pentameter.  It’s a house style.  I would appreciate it if you could tell me about your experience in your own words.  …Unless you’d rather paint about it?”

It took Lihran yet another moment to realise teh mug was being offered to him. He seemed a bit distant. He reached to take the mug, cupping it in both hands. He wrinkled his nose at the mention of painting, “My art is more to do with engine grease and metal.” He lifted the mug to his lips, taking a sip of the espresso beverage. He spoke, “I would suggest we sit or… something. It is a long story.”

“Please,” Elegy replied, sweeping his free hand to indicate any of the furniture in the room.  “By all means, make yourself comfortable.”  For his part, Elegy padded back to his usual arm chair and he sipped at his coffee after he sat himself down.  “Where did the story start for you?” Elegy asked.

Lihran settled down, letting out a soft sigh, staring into his latte for a long moment as he formulates his next words, “Technically it was started about… 80 or so years ago when… When I joined the Tal Shiar. The whole situation requiring this check in started when I got kidnapped by another Starfleet officer. I was in a holoprogram, quite immersed, and he snuck up in behind me and hit me over the head with my own shield.” His tone suggested he was very bitter about that still.

Looking at Lihran with bewildered eyes, Elegy blinked a couple of times.  “Hearing of someone being kidnapped by a starfleet officer is a first for me, I must admit,” he said, shaking his head.  “Especially from a place of such presumed security.  What happened?”

Lihran lifted a brow, “You are telling me… it was a first for me too. I thought I was…” He hesitated momentarily, cautious about revealing his past. Though it was likely mentioned in his file he realised, “I felt like I was back in the Tal Shiar momentarily. He spoke with a rather wry tone. He leaned back ever so slightly, feeling a little more comfortable, ”The holoprgram was incredibly loud, nor did I lock it. My error there. I was brought along on an intelligence sort of mission, to gather information. The horrible plan was for me to use my past security clearances to gather Romulan data. I did not realise it was a ship I served on till after I boarded. Nor did I realise my ex spouse still captains it. I ended up being stuck there till rescued.”

“Those– those– those,” Elegy said, to a stuttering start.  His eyes widened and he simply nodded at Lihran when he couldn’t find the words, until he was able to find the words.  “Those are stressors on top of stressors on top of stressors,” Elegy said.  “How are those events sitting with you today?  I mean, with what frequency are those events coming to mind – while awake or asleep?”

Lihran snorted, “More than a little.” He sighed, glancing away, then down at his hands, “Not sitting well. I had conveniently forgotten about the horrors of my ex husband till I was living through it again. It all came rushing back to me, piled on top of losing a home. I thought I was healing so well till then.” That last part was a blantant lie. He shook his head, “I’m avoiding sleep, constantly using stimulants to avoid it. I know nightmares will happen if I sleep. If I keep busy, I can stay distracted. When I am idle and not working…” It was rather strange, a Romulan opening up about feelings.

His brow furrowed in concern, Elegy nodded at each of Lihran’s statements.  After taking a sip of his coffee, Elegy tapped a couple of discreet diagnostic notes into a holo-PADD interface.  “And how would you describe your support system aboard the starbase?” Elegy asked, meeting Lihran’s eyes.  He wasn’t quite skilled enough to hide the edge of hope in his inflection.  He added, “Do you have anyone to chug coffee and stay up late with you some nights?”

A faint green flush crossed Lihran’s cheeks and he reached up to tug one of his ears, “Ah, well… I struggle with the whole… friends thing. Not sure if it is because I am Romulan, or my past… Maybe its because I’m big and scary.” He half joked. He dropped his hands in his lap, offering a slight shrug, “There is a few acquaintances I have met up with outside of duty. Nothing more than that. I do not wish to be a nuisance to anyone.”

Frowning slightly at Lihran, Elegy squinted at the older Romulan’s square jawed visage.  “Come now, you’re not that scary,” was the retort Elegy tossed back at him at first.  With a slight flush in his own cheeks, Elegy dropped his chin to pointedly look down at his PADD once more.  “Can you tell me about,” Elegy asked gently, “what has led you to believe your friendship would be considered a nuisance?” 

Lihran snorted, “Its the muscles. Trust me…” He hesitated, his smile fading as he glanced away, “I was always told I was a nuisance or a bother by my ex. It kind of stuck with me. I’m constantly watching for danger or signs I am agitating someone, so I can flee or defend myself quicker.” He had never gone into detail about how his ex affected him with anyone, and it showed.

Elegy blinked down at the number of diagnostic checkboxes that Lihran had verbally checked in only the first few minutes of their assessment.  A tight wince marred Elegy’s face and then he tapped the PADD into sleep mode.  Steadying himself, Elegy took a deep breath and he leaned back into the chair.  Looking up, he met Lihran’s eyes and he put on the expression of a neutral mask.  “I’m going to say this plainly,” Elegy said as preamble; “It’s giving me pause that you don’t have a robust support system and you’re not getting rest, not day or night.  I don’t know that I’m inclined to clear you for full and regular duty.”  At that, he made no mention of medical leave, though.

A rather distressed expression crossed Lihran’s face,  “What… What am I to do then?! I can’t force people to tolerate me enough to support me.”

“You can still work,” Elegy said quickly, in slightly placating tone.  “Maybe not on the most critical systems, maybe not for full shifts, at least until you reach a point where you body and your mind are able to truly take rest.  The treatment I prescribe will require your time, and even after those sessions, that leaves you with the real work of reaching a reckoning about how you feel about your ex and what happened to you.”

Lihran is soothed by his words slightly, leaning back almost languidly with a soft sigh, “Alright, that is… fair. What is this treatment you mentioned?” He does the infamous Vulcanoid brow lift as he studies Elegy.

Smiling faintly at the change he witnessed in Lihran’s bearing, Elegy admitted, “That may take me longer to determine.  We have more assessments to work through and then we can decide on what treatment modalities will work for you.” –Elegy fluttered a hand through the air, as if that would evoke ides to his mind– “Perhaps talk therapy, perhaps medication, or other approaches with ocular or aural stimulation.  What kind of experiences have you had with mental health treatment before?”

Childishly and stubbornly Lihran blew a raspberry. An incredibly odd thing to witness a Romulan doing. “Alright, you know best, after all. Uh…” He trailed off, furrowing his brow. He then says sarcastically, “I don’t suppose locking oneself in a cargo bay and screaming and crying counts? If not, I really don’t have any, to be honest. I’ve always been teh type to grin and bear it.”

Nodding gently at Lihran’s sarcasm and deflection, Elegy took it all with mild amusement.  “In that case,” Elegy said, filled with concern and curiosity, “if you’re being coerced to be here by fleet protocol…”  Leaving the question to hang for a moment, Elegy shrugged at Lihran.  “Do you have faith I can be of any service to you at all?”

Lihran furrowed a brow, “I did not mean to come across rudely, my apologies. I am sure you could; if you can handle an older Romulan who has seen far too much for his lifetime and has a lot of baggage…” He paused momentarily, “I would welcome any help you could offer.”

Shaking his head in mild alarm, Elegy interjected, “You didn’t come across as rude.  This is meant to be a space where you can express yourself.”  Sitting back in his armchair, Elegy went on to say, “I’m sure I can handle an older Romulan who has seen far too much, and I have a whole counseling staff to support me.  Is there anything else you’d like to know about me, before we begin in earnest?”

Lihran opened his mouth as if to say the first impulse that came to mind, then closed his mouth promptly as he engaged the brain to mouth filter for once. A green flush crept across his face and he cleared his throat, “Ah, no, not really”

Although Elegy nodded at what Lihran said, he squinted momentarily at what he saw in Lihran’s body language.  A tilt of Elegy’s head and a crease in his brow belied his moment of confusion.  Elegy reached for his PADD and then he hesitated.  “Wait,” Elegy asked, “which one is it?  Not really or no?”

Lihran answered in both humour and embarrassment, being bluntly honest, “I was about to impulsively ask if you were single. That is incredibly improper and I apologize. Not at all related to my mental health.”

Shrugging at the apologies, Elegy remarked, “Like I said, you don’t have to be proper.  Starfleet would like me to be proper.”  Elegy reached for his PADD with the diagnostic questions again and he lifted it to the level of his eyes.  “…But I don’t have a boyfriend telling me what’s proper.”

Lihran lifted a brow, replying, “A shame I am not proper, then…” He let that linger in the air for a moment before he asked earnestly, “Was there anything else that needed to be discussed?” He paused for a beat, then bluntly and quickly added, “Regarding counseling matters, not my interest.”

“Nothing else,” Elegy replied, swallowing a smirk, “but we’ll need to meet again very soon, if we’re going to get you back to full and regular duties.”

Lihran nodded and rose up, wincing slightly, “I will look into booking more appointments in the very near future.”

Remaining seated, Elegy remarked, “I trust you will.”

Lihran nodded and headed towards the door, “I will see you very soon then, I imagine.” He looked back and gave Elegy his characteristic smirk and a wink before he stepped out.