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Counselling Session

Posted on Sat Dec 12th, 2020 @ 9:11pm by Lieutenant Nora Morrison M.D. & Lieutenant Commander Rhiana t'Aegis

Mission: Mission 6: To Your Scattered Bodies Go
Location: Mess Hall, USS Firebird
Timeline: 21 May, 2395 - 1600 Hours


Nora settled down at the table near the back of the room with her tray of a simple sandwich and cup of tea. Not for the first time, she questioned whether this was an appropriate place to meet with Rhiana t'Aegis in light of what she had just been through and what she was still facing, but again, not for the first time, she concluded once more this was an appropriate compromise. There was no denying she was concerned. One didn't have to be a counselor to appreciate someone who had been attacked and had a loved one kidnapped might not be in the best frame of mind. Knowing Rhiana had left Sickbay after being badly injured, still in a state of shock, only reinforced her concerns.

It was also true Nora didn't know t'Aegis at all, and the last thing she wanted to do was to leave her feeling judged or scrutinized at this clearly agonizing moment in her life. It was why she had requested the meeting in the mess hall at a quiet corner table where she made arrangements to ensure they weren't disturbed. It wasn't as official as Nora's office, but it wasn't so public either. She had no illusions making this connection would be easy, but God knew if being a counselor was easy, everyone in Starfleet would do it. Morrison resolved even if her attempts at offering support were rebuffed, at least she had planted a seed.

Rhiana t'Aegis arrived at the appointed hour and it was impossible to know from her expression what she was thinking. She intended to keep it that way, especially since she absolutely did not want to be here right now. The call had not come entirely unexpected, of course. Starfleet loved their counsellors, after all. At least Morrison had chosen neutral ground for the meeting which made her rise a little in Rhiana's esteem.

After a cursory look around the mess hall to locate the counsellor, the Romulan first went to a replicator before she made her way over to the corner table, carrying her own small tray with a glass of tea. "Good day, Lieutenant," she greeted politely when she reached the table and sat down her tray. "I hope you have not been waiting for too long."

"Not at all," Nora replied. "Thank you for taking the time to meet with me," she added, taking another beat before continuing. There was no point in beating around the bush, and she expected the Romulan would appreciate directness. "I don't imagine it's a surprise to you that I've asked to speak with you. I would be dishonest if I said I wasn't concerned as a counselor, but I'm not here to assess and pass judgment. I merely want to offer support in light of your attack and Xavi's abduction."

Rhiana gave a slight nod and raised her glass of tea to take a careful sip. At least, the beverage smelled vaguely like tea, though it had an unusual blueish tint. "Thank you, Lieutenant. I appreciate that," the Romulan replied eventually and gently returned the glass to its saucer. She made eye contact with Morrison, but did not say anything else.

"Feel free to call me Nora if you like," Morrison offered. "As I said, it is not my desire to make this an official or mandatory meeting. I am wondering, how are you doing? Understandably, the last time I saw you, you were in quite a bit of shock."

The last time Morrison saw her? Rhiana had to think for a moment when exactly that had been but came up blank. That was probably understandable. Hopefully. The last thing she needed was issues with her short-term memory. She decided to focus on the question at hand. Her usual answer, 'fine', would not do. Noone would believe her. "I am adequate, considering the circumstances," she finally replied.

Of course, Nora didn't expect her to break down or to express her vulnerability in other ways, but at least she wasn't completely closed off. "What does adequate mean to you?"

That was exactly why Rhiana disliked counsellors. They were never satisfied with short answers. She suppressed a sigh. "My performance on duty has not suffered." A pause as she reconsidered. "My overall performance has not suffered. My behaviour immediately after the incident was... inadequate."

The wording of her answer was not surprising and yet, there was a part of Nora that wanted to reassure her she wasn't just valued because of her work. Still, she recognized the answer as being appropriate for Rhiana's Romulan heritage. The goal was to get her talking, which meant Morrison would need to take an approach she would normally not consider under the circumstances because it lacked empathy and sensitivity. It went against her natural instincts, but she knew she was going to have to take some risks if she was going to get anywhere. "I'm wondering, does your behavior immediately after impact how you feel about yourself or how you see yourself?" Her personality and behavior thus far was so controlled and precise, Morrison couldn't help but think her behavior would bother her, perhaps more than she had let on.

Rhiana took a sip of her tea. While she did not like this line of questioning, she appreciated the counsellor being rather straight forward. "I am not usually insubordinate." Appreciating the question did not mean that she could not remain rather evasive. And she did not know whether the counsellor had heard about the... disagreement she had had with the captain and Smith shortly after the Incident.

It was not the degree of openess she had hoped for, but Nora was pleased it wasn't a total deflection either. "I understand you had a different idea of how things should proceed," Morrison affirmed with a nod, acknowledging the comment on the Romulan's usual behavior.

Rhiana breathed in deeply and let the air out slowly while she pondered how to phrase her answer. "I had information the captain did not. I cannot blame him for the decision he made based on that." And yet, she did. When the captain had rebuked her, forbade her from leaving the ship, she had felt... not quite betrayed, but disappointed, certain that had she not been a Romulan, he would have allowed her to leave.

"You said you don't blame him for his decision, and yet, you were angry with him for not agreeing with your approach. I'm wondering where that anger came from if, as you said, he didn't have the information you did?"

Rhiana breathed in again. And out. She wanted to be honest with the counsellor, mostly because lies would probably be difficult to uphold and she had never been a great lier. But she did not exactly feel at ease with opening up to what amounted to a stranger, even if she was the ship's counsellor. She took another breath. "I expected him to trust me."

Nora didn't know the other woman well, but her impression was the answer was sincere. Taking a moment to consider her response, she offered, "I suspect he expected the same, though I think perhaps what you see as a sign of lack of trust, he sees as a rejection of all the crew stands for and all the support we have to offer."

"How can it be a rejection if none of the crew's support could have given the answer I needed and I knew exactly where to get that answer?" Rhiana's voice became slightly more animated but remained low to avoid being overheard by others than the counsellor. "I was not abandoning the vessel nor my post. Quite to the contrary. It was my fault that Xavi was taken. I have to save him."

There it was. Rhiana blamed herself for the kidnapping. "I don't believe you're at fault for this, but even if I did, does it mean you have to save him alone? What bonds this crew is more than just duty and happening to share the same space. I am truly sorry if you haven't felt welcome here. That's the last thing I want anyone to feel."

"This is not about feeling welcome or not, Lieutenant," Rhiana replied somewhat harshly. "This is about the fact that I am the chief of security of this vessel and I had known about a threat to Xavi for some time. But I did not take any particular additional security measures, believing that he would be safe aboard. My beliefs were wrong. Utterly and completely wrong. I had sworn to protect the boy, my ward, and yet I failed him. He is now in the hands of one of the most dangerous Romulans alive. Him being her kin will not protect him from her forever."

"So in addition to saving your ward, this is about your redemption," Nora replied evenly. "You can't receive absolution for your sins if you receive help from any of us, is that it? As I said before, I don't believe you are to blame for any of this, but for the sake of argument, even if I did, what you're saying doesn't make sense. By your own admission, you exhibited poor judgment at a time when you knew the threat was lurking and failed to take proper action. Despite this perspective, you want me to believe your judgment has miraculously improved now that you've been attacked and the boy you care for has actually been taken? You expected the captain to trust you, but if your own perspective is to be believed, your judgment hasn't proven to be sound even before this highly traumatic and personal situation occurred. Doesn't that suggest an even stronger case for at least considering the perspective of someone more objective and perhaps accepting help?"

Rhiana remained silent for several heartbeats. Not quite meeting the counsellor's eyes but also not looking away from her. She did not move and her expression did not show the inner turmoil that Morrison's words had caused, though she was somewhat pale. After some time, she stood abruptly, inclined her head in greeting and picked up her tray with the mostly empty glass of tea. "I have to prepare for the away missions. Thank you for your time, Lieutenant." Without waiting for a reply from the other woman, Rhiana walked away swiftly, with only a short stop at the replicator to recycle her glass.

After the door to the mess hall had closed behind her, the Romulan's shoulders sagged and she leaned against the wall, fighting against tears.


Lieutenant Commander Rhiana t'Aegis
Second Officer/Chief Security/Tactical Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298

Lieutenant Nora Morrison
Chief Counselor
USS Firebird NCC-88298


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