Long gone were the days Lieutenant Elegy Weld could lose himself in the therapeutic process of speaking to his patients. Between the Century Storm and the Romulan crisis, serving Starbase Bravo had already given Weld the intensive lived experience as a counselor to match his schooling. Since taking over as deputy director of psychiatry, his duty shifts had become more about hospital administration and performance reviews than patient care. With the mounting reports about Breen border skirmishes conflicting with reports of a ghost invasion fleet from the Dominion in the Deneb Sector, Weld had shifted his focus on cross-training for the counsellors. Considering the kind of combat Starfleet officers could be forced to endure while defending against the Dominion, Starbase Bravo’s counsellors would need a whole other toolkit to support those officers in their recovery.
That was why it was past 1500 hours when Weld saw his first patient for the day. He allowed an, “enter,” when he heard the chime. His new patient was waiting for him on the other side of his office door.
Arcturus took a long deep breath, his hand moving up to run through his hair. His mind raced with drought and uncertainty, he began to take a step away from the door when the words “Enter” coiled around his soil. Finding new strength and courage he took a couple steps forward into the maw of vulnerability. Not too sure what to do, he grasped his hands in front of him as he looked at his new counsellor before him. “Sir..” fumbling over his words slightly, as the weight of his mind presses down upon him. “Am Arcturus and am here for my appointment…”
After crossing the compartment, Weld approached Arcturus to offer him a brisk handshake.
“Welcome to Starbase Bravo, Arcturus,” Weld said amid a broad smile. “I’m Counselor Weld. Please make yourself comfortable anywhere you’d like. I was about to replicate a tea. Can I get you anything?”
“Thank you, Counselor, you have a very nice office” he glanced around the room, his eyes set upon the perfect location, a place that enabled him to be close to the wall and enable him to watch the door. “No thank you am fine.” He took a seat, letting out a contented sign.
With his freshly-replicated tea in hand, Weld navigated over to the side of the compartment where Arcturus had gotten settled. Making himself comfortable in a plush wing chair, Weld asked, “What can you tell me about your last counseling session? What would you say are the benefits, or frustrations, you have experienced in counseling — thus far in your Starfleet career?”
”I need one of these chairs for my work…well to be honest, this is my first visit. I kept talking about my nightmares to my bunkmates, so they suggested that I to come to talk to you about them. Charlie Rogers in engineering said that you are helping him through his struggles…” he slightly shifts in his seat. “So here I am…”
Plucking up a PADD from a side table, Weld tapped in a quick note. As a mental aside, he mentioned, “I can send you the replicator pattern for that chair if you’d like…” As soon as he note was recorded, Weld set down the PADD on his lap and he returned his full attention to Arcturus.
“Can you tell me,” Weld asked, “how disruptive these dreams have been to your sleep patterns?”
“I am affected by the dreams off and on. I sometimes get these communications from some ships near the Breen border. Most of the time they are just normal, routine messages. But whenever I hear the voice of a Breen, their distorted machine-like tone, it just runs shivers down my spine and I have such a hard time focusing on the rest of the day cause it pulls me back to when my parents were killed…I was on the call with them when it happened…”
Acrturus took a deep breath as his eyes became fixed and then shook his head to break out of it of the moment. “It was a difficult time…they always wanted me to go into a career focused on tactical like the rest of the family, but I chose science instead because I wanted something different…now they are dead and maybe, maybe I could do something on a starship…you know…did I make the right decision…? I know I shouldn’t hate the Breen; I know that I am a good person and that I accept all species but….”
Arcturus’ face slightly switched into expressions of hatred and disgust, eyes focused ahead of him as he continued.
“Every time I hear a Breen failure, every time I hear we save one more person, I think that should be me, I should be doing that. Every time a Breen death occurs, I question, has my family’s death been average? I want the Breen dead, I want them to suffer, I want them to fear ever hurting another soil in this galaxy. I want them to feel like I feel…” the passion of his emotions surging out of him he catches himself, closing his eyes as his voice becomes shaking, rubbing his sweaty hands, tears filling and coursing down his cheeks unchecked…his voice cracking as he shakes his one hand in a slow manner, with his index finger coming to attention.
“But…I can’t…because…” Arcturus raised slightly to attention from his hunched-over position, the mantle that he earlier discarded, his vulnerability that he left at the door as once again retreated. “I am a Starfleet Officer, an example of those around me….” He bit his lower lip…”So this week….this week has been far worse for my nightmares…4 days of constant bombardment and I can’t handle it much more….and I need help….your help Doctor Weld.”
Offering his rapt attention, Weld nodded at each of the stories Arcturus shared as the other man unburdened himself. When Arcturus asked for his help, Weld took a sip of his tea to give them both space for consideration.
“I’m hearing you talk about how much the voice modulation of the Breen affects you,” Weld said slowly in acknowledgement. “Sound can establish such a deep link with sense memory. I don’t mean to suggest this as a permanent solution… but I wonder what it might feel like if you requested rotation to a different duty station? Limit your exposure to the Breen temporarily, while you work through your treatment with me?”
Arcturus took a long deep breath, his right-hand coursing through his hair. “I have been hearing that a lot lately from those that really know me…with so many telling me that I need to take a step back and now you are informing me that this might help me become better…I can see the wisdom of it.” He fidgeted slightly in his seat, his fingers lightly tracing designs into the chair before glancing up. “I just feel awful that I just got that position and now request to be transferred. Okay…how should I go about asking to be transferred to another area? Would you go with me to talk to the Commander? Or notify him? What are my next steps?”
“Arcturus, I’m afraid to say that’s going to be the easy part,” Weld replied. “I can help you to prepare a request. I’m sure you won’t have to be transferred to another department. We are very, very far from the Deneb Sector. There are plenty of other communication needs on the starbase that have nothing to do with the Breen skirmish. The real work is going to be re-visiting your feeling about the Breen, processing them, and building strategies to lessen the impact those feelings have on your daily life.”
He nodded slowly as he listened to Dr Weld. “Thank you Doctor,” he remarked slightly slumped into his chair, looking at the armrest and then back to him. “Sound like we both have a lot of work to put into this and am all in and am ready to put the work in, whatever it takes.” He took a deep breath, forcing a small smile. “I want to one day function normally visually and auditorily around the Breen,…so when do we meet again?”
“Sleep is vitally important to every aspect of health, Arcturus,” Weld remarked. “Would tomorrow be too soon?”