Taking Time – Welcome Back
by Lieutenant JG Hannah Andeti & Lieutenant Commander Michael Evans

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Post Details

Title   Welcome Back
Mission   Taking Time
Author(s)   Lieutenant JG Hannah Andeti & Lieutenant Commander Michael Evans
Posted   Fri Jan 22, 2010 @ 10:30pm
Location   Main Sickbay
Timeline   Shoreleave 1, 1100
It had been far too long, as far as the counselor was concerned, since she had sat back and relaxed with a good cupa joe, as the humans said, let alone with a fellow coffee lover. Morning appointments at an end and coffee tray in hand, she headed for the only other person she could think of who would enjoy sharing a mid-morning break. It had been a while since she'd surprised the doctor in this way and hoped that it wouldn't be an unwelcome interruption.

She was tense as she approached the sickbay, a feeling that she hadn't been able to shake for a couple of days now, but for the life of her she couldn't figure out why the mission had left her so wound up and so emotionally tired. She hadn't even been on the away team down to the planet and even the return to starbase couldn't shake an unusual feeling she had about . . . well, about everything.

The sickbay was blessedly empty but certainly not quiet and Hannah headed directly for Doctor Evans' office . . . both her destination and the source of the strange music. She listened hard forgetting to knock as she stood in the doorway, trying to figure out what the interesting music was.

In some ways it sounded like a pipe organ was playing, but in others like a glass harp. There was also something else... a subtle chanting? Michael was leaning back in his chair, eyes closed, a look of concentration on his face. Sensing someone nearby he opened his eyes and sat up straight, starting a little at an unexpected visitor. "Hannah," he managed, then smiled. "Hi... um, come on in."

He began clearing some of the detritus rather unceremoniously from his desk. "Oliver's been here, as you can see." The frantic clearing continued. "I've been getting lax in turning in my reports in a timely manner." A space was finally cleared and he stood to help Andeti steady the tray as it was carefully placed in the vacuation. He inhaled deeply. "Ah... how did you know this was just what I needed?"

"Just lucky I guess." The counselor grinned, laying the tray down and dropping herself into one of the office chairs. She pointed vaguely at the ceiling to indicate the music, reaching with her other hand to begin pouring the hot brown liquid into their cups. "What is this?"

"Unusual, isn't it? It's a Caladonian chant with hydraulophone accompaniment," he said. "Pure music... no intended meaning." He shrugged as he took a proferred cup of coffee. "I like the patterns. It's relaxing." He sipped and grimaced, making a pleasurable sound in his throat.

They sipped in a companionable silence for a few moments, each enjoying the vice. "So... how have things been?" Michael asked, his tone full of meaning. He didn't have to specify what 'things' he was referring to. The last mission had left everyone a little... unsettled.

Hannah scowled and looked at her cup, wondering at the doctor's ability to cut directly to what was bothering her. He would have made a good counselor. "Tired." She said after a moment, knowing that didn't even come close to the lethargy that seemed to have come over her. She looked up at the doctor and offered a smile. "I don't know what happened down on that planet, but whatever it was I get the impression we're a lot better off now." She didn't voice the continued unease that she had been feeling and sipped her coffee.

"I never really knew that Volaris fellow meself," Michael said over his mug. "Earlond seemed rather relieved to be rid of him." He sipped again. "If half of the half-stories I've heard are even half true... can't say I blame him." He frowned and lowered his mug a little. He knew that it was sometimes necessary in Starfleet to defend one's self, one's crew, even the Federation by injuring or killing others. But it did bother him a little, it being contrary to his nature and his office. Maybe that's why he'd been feeling so off lately.

"Still," he said and took another couple of sips. He thought a moment before asking not unkindly, "Hannah, who do you talk to when one of your patients.... I mean, if a patient under you care should suicide or something..." He looked at her carefully. "How do you handle that?"

The counselor glanced up to the Doctor, eyes searching his over the rim of her mug. After a moment she lowered it to the desk. "It's hard, certainly. I'd think it's a lot like you losing a patient, nothing really prepares you for it but you try not to take these things personally. As a counselor you try to provide people with the tools to help themselves but sometimes . . . sometimes that isn't enough." She finished quickly and for some reason found herself thinking about her sister, Elle. After a moment she snapped her eyes back to the doctor. "Why do you ask?"

Michael fiddled with his cup. "Oh, just curious I guess," he said, flashing her a quick smile that disappeared just as quickly. He wasn't quite meeting her eyes. "That little tiff with those Remans kinda' shook me up a little. Started me thinking about things." He twiddled the cup in circles on the desktop, looking at it sideways. "Me, if someone dies on me, I can usually pinpoint or take a pretty good guess at why they died... a disease process, a slip of the scalpel, a ph-phaser wound. I often know if it was my f-fault or not. But in your profession..." he gestured at the counselor.

He shook himself and took a breath, "Bah, don't mind me. I always manage to get over it." He swigged the rest of his coffee down. "I know that was rather personal of me," he said, meeting her eyes again. "Something about this mission really... got to me or something. Sorry if I've made you uncomfortable."

The counselor smiled. "Not at all." She paused, wondering if she should change the subject, but instead plowed on. "I guess nowadays there aren't that many psychological illnesses that are uncured. So with most people, it's usually a matter of remembering that, well, when it comes down to it the only person responsible for someone's psychological well being is that person themselves." She smiled again and almost laughed. "I guess I'm making counseling sound a bit redundant."

The doctor still wasn't meeting her eye and Hannah took a long drink from her cooling mug, then reached to re-fill their mugs in the silence. "Did something happen on the planet that you're blaming yourself for?"

As she refilled his mug Michael had risen and walked to the replicator. It glowed and hummed as he said, "That's just it. I didn't personally kill anyone on the planet. And though I've been in combat before," he brought a tray of biscuitty items back and set them on the table as he continued, "and it's always bothered me a little to cause harm..." He shook his head.

"I've been in worse situations," he said, now nibbling a shortbread cookie. "But for some reason I came back from that planet feeling like I'd had the weight of the worlds on my shoulders." He sipped from his now steaming cup and pushed the plate of cookies towards Hannah, offering her some. He thought a moment, then gave a slight shrug. "I dunno. It's like I'm missing something."

Hannah picked up one of the biscuits but didn't bite into it. For all the time she had spent on Earth she was still inexperienced with rich human sweets. "I know exactly what you mean, actually," the counselor offered. "I've felt . . . almost overwhelmed lately. As though I'd been awake for weeks instead of stuck on the ship for a fairly mundane mission." She frowned. "Maybe it's just one of those things. The stress of the past few missions getting to us, I mean." She bit into the sugar cookie and followed it up with a sip of coffee.

Michael wasn't so sure, but he didn't pursue it any further. It felt good to talk about it, but the subject was depressing him. They continued to sip coffee and munch an occasional biscuit while the music continued soothingly in the background, or rather Michael munched and Hannah nibbled a bit. Who knows what happened? Regardless, the odd feeling continued to pervade. Perhaps it would dissipate... with time.

OFF

A Joint Post by:

Lieutenant JG Hannah Andeti
Chief Counselor
USS Tethys

and

Lt. Commander Michael Evans
CMO / Second Officer
USS Tethys