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Not Okay

Posted on 18 Mar 2020 @ 12:52am by Lieutenant Commander Joey Geisler & Lieutenant Avery Stuart Ph.D.

Mission: Sentience
Location: Counseling
Timeline: MD 2 || 0900 Hours

Joey had so many things going through her mind as she made her way into counseling, the most prominent being how much she hoped Tivan wasn't around. She knew she needed to speak to someone, but the Vulcan woman was the last person she wanted to speak with when it came to anything regarding her personal life. In fact, she'd much rather allow a Nausicaan to punch her in the face. Or perhaps even a Klingon. Being assimilated by the Borg would also be a more pleasant experience as far as she was concerned.

She took a quick look around as she smoothed a hand over the front of her uniform. Joey didn't have an appointment, and hoped someone would be able to see her on such short notice. Without any hesitation, she looked toward Avery's door and made her way toward it, hoping she was available. The Intel Chief would know soon enough, and that prompted her to extend a hand and touch the sensor for the chime.

"Come in," Avery called out, sitting in front of her computer console reviewing her notes. With all of the new crew on board and there were quite a few evaluations to do. She half expected her visitor to be one of the junior counselors with questions. Turning her chair toward the door, she was surprised to see Joey standing there. "Hi," she replied with a smile.

"Hi, there," Joey said with a smile as she moved farther into the office. "I really hope I'm not interrupting anything, but I was wondering if you had a few minutes so we could talk?"

Standing and walking around her desk, Avery gestured for Joey to make herself comfortable in the seating area across from the desk. "Sure. What's up?" Stuart figured the requested time indicated a professional concern or some other small matter.

Joey took a seat once it was offered and sighed. "Where do I even start?" She found herself asking out loud even if she hadn't meant to. Her eyes drifted closed for a moment as she attempted to gather her bearings, then opened them once more to focus on Avery. "Have you met Commander Tivan yet?"

"I have," Avery replied with a nod. She had a feeling she was about to get an earful if her own meeting with Tivan were any indication, but she knew she had to remain professional and not allow her own misgivings to color her interactions with the crew.

"And what exactly do you think of her?" the Intel Chief found herself asking. "And don't worry about your answer might be. I've got nothing positive to say about the woman, but we're going to get there."

Avery hesitated. "Are you asking as a senior officer looking for my professional opinion on behalf of the crew or as someone considering seeking her support?" The fact Joey had revealed her own negative opinion only made her more careful.

Joey shook her head. "I'm not asking as a senior officer looking for a professional opinion, or as someone considering seeking her support for anything. I'm asking strictly out of curiosity as a woman who has had a run in with her. I spoke with her after a briefing yesterday with the intention of confronting her over something that happened a few weeks back," she told Avery with a frown. Chances were she'd need to go into detail there, but planned to wait until she was promoted to. "I was nothing but nice to the woman, and she turned out to be an awful, haughty, intolerable bitch that I'd love to see shipped off on the next available shuttle. And, without naming names, I know I'm not the only one who has had problems with her."

Avery exhaled slowly. She had been afraid of that very thing. "I have some concerns," she replied diplomatically. "It's no secret she has spent much of her career conducting research, and it doesn't appear, at least based on the conversation I had, she's very interested in conducting therapy with the crew, particularly with anyone resistant to it. She made it clear she's going to leave the bulk of the clinical work to myself and the rest of the staff, and when I pressed her about coordinating with one another so that we were on the same page regarding her intentions and planned duties, she said any overlap between what she and I did with the crew was classified. I won't deny she struck me as arrogant, but to be fair, Vulcans are often perceived that way, deserving or not, so I'm trying to keep an open mind. Starfleet Command, for whatever reason has decided to place her in the counseling department rather than the science department given her interest in research. I expect I will be busier than ever handling the clinical side of things and putting out interpersonal fires, but unless she does something illegal or professionally unethical, there's not much I can do."

Avery had been honest but she wondered if she had said too much. Starfleet was about following orders and respecting the chain of command. She figured the brass had assigned Tivan to give Avery a break and some assistance. She worked hard not to take it personally, but there was no denying she was in an awkward position. For better or worse, Avery was going to be out of the senior loop. She wasn't going to be attending briefings, serving on the bridge, or acting as a primary adviser to the command staff, at least not if the Vulcan had taken a traditional approach to her position. Perhaps much of that would be delegated to Avery anyway, if their conversation had been any indication, but that didn't change the command structure within the department. How was she supposed to complain without it looking and sounding like sour grapes? However Avery felt about the new arrival, unless things changed in the department, it didn't serve her to be anything but supportive.

"To be perfectly honest, I don't wish to speak to her on a personal level, much less a professional. She's arrogant, haughty, and impossible to get along with no matter how hard the other party tries. I absolutely refuse to put myself through that, which is why I'm here seeing you right now. You've been with this crew for a really long time. You know what we've all gone through," Joey explained. She wasn't usually one to seek any kind of counseling, but something inside of her told her it was time. "The things she said to me..." The taller woman took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "Perhaps, I should have just let the fact she opted to get naked in front of my husband go, but that's just not who I am."

She paused. "I was angry when Harvey first told me. So angry that I wanted nothing more than to rearrange her face just before shoving her head up her backside, but then, I thought about Alison and Jameson. I don't want to be that overly violent person I used to be. They don't deserve a mother like that. So, I chose a different path, and it got me nowhere. I'm so frustrated."

Only Avery's practiced professional facade kept her jaw from hitting the floor, but even so, her eyes widened. "She got naked in front of the Captain? I'd say frustration is just one of many valid emotions in that case." She wanted and needed more details, but didn't want to press. Clearly, Joey was grappling with more than just Tivan, and Avery wanted to be sensitive to that. Even so, Avery was beginning to wonder if Tivan's attitude and behavior were symptomatic of something much more troubling. Personality and cultural differences could only provide so much leeway. Counselors in and out of Starfleet were required to act in accordance with specific behavior and ethical standards.

"Harvey was in the pool on deck eight, and I guess she was looking for him to speak with him or something. I don't know if they were alone or not, but that bitch knew exactly what she was doing. It's impossible not to see another person in the water no matter how deep said person happens to be swimming," the frustrated woman stated, shaking her head. Joey trusted Harvey with her life, but Tivan? There was no trusting the Vulcan woman, and she was supposed to be someone who helped others? Not likely. "I'm not upset with Harvey. He didn't do anything wrong. I don't even think I'm really upset with her, either, but that doesn't make me any less frustrated. How hard is it to say I'm sorry to someone?"

Avery frowned, replaying the details she had heard in her mind. "I don't understand. If she wanted to talk to him, and she ended up locating him, how could she not know he was there? Didn't she seek him out in the first place?" Following up on what Joey added, she offered, "so you're not upset about her being naked in front of your husband, but you are upset she won't apologize for it?"

"Yes. No. I don't know," Joey sighed. "I don't like her, and I'm not going to pretend that I do, but Commander Tivan isn't the only thing that's bothering me. Yesterday was a bad day, and I doubt today is going to be any better."

Putting aside the questionable Vulcan for now, Avery followed up. "What's going on?"

"Where do I begin? I met my new Senior Analyst today, the one who took Petty Officer Torg's job, and he seems to be a real ass," Joey started, turning her attention back to Avery. "And there's more about Torg, too, but we'll get there. I haven't really worked much since the twins were born, so yesterday was my first full day back in the saddle. It was just as overwhelming as I remember it being, maybe even a little more."

"You've been through a lot, mentally and physically," Avery reassured. "It's perfectly normal for you to need some time to adjust. I'd be more concerned if you weren't feeling that way. You said your Senior Analyst seems like an ass. What happened?"

Joey shrugged a single shoulder. "It's just a vibe I get off of him. Torg... he was a little rough around the edges, but we had a mutual respect for one another. With Petty Officer Klim Sokamin and I... I just don't think that's going to happen. Knowing I'm going to have to deal with him every day..." Her voice trailed off as she closed her eyes. "Maybe it's because of the shoes he's filling. Torg was great at what he did, and we got along. I guess... I miss him. And yesterday when I saw Sokamin... I guess it just really set the fact that Torg is gone. And, my best friend is the one who killed him."

Avery took a beat to respond and then slowly nodded her head. "We've all been through so much for so long. Every time I thought the universe couldn't possibly pile more on our shoulders and we would finally be able to process it all, more kept coming. I can't promise the universe is done throwing us curveballs and I can't give you a timeline for healing, but I can tell you, what you're describing is perfectly understandable. I'm encouraged by the insight you've shown just now, recognizing your reactions were driven by your own thoughts and feelings and not by Petty Officer Sokamin."

"Maybe," she said softly, giving what Avery just said some thought. But was it really her own thoughts and feelings? Or was Klim truly an ass? Joey was sure she'd know the answer to that as more time passed by. "I don't necessarily feel any better, but I don't feel any worse. That's progress, right?"

Avery smiled. "Feelings are to be managed, not fought. I'd say holding steady is its own type of victory. Not that I desire to open recent wounds, but you mentioned Counselor Tivan said some things to you that upset you. What hit a little close?" Stuart wasn't interested in Tivan's role in the exchange as much as she wanted to know what had shaken Joey emotionally.

"Nothing she said upset me exactly," Joey clarified. "For that to happen, I'd have to really care about the things she was saying in the first place. However, for someone who is supposed to help others with their problems, I think Commander Tivan is the wrong person for the job. Based off of the brief discussion I had with her, I don't really think she cares about anyone on this ship, or what they're actually feeling." She took a calming breath and let it out as slowly as she could. "It doesn't really matter, though. I believe she's here to stay, and all I can do is avoid her. I'm not so sure I want to talk about her anymore, either."

It was difficult for Avery not to visibly wince at Joey's words. Stuart wanted to give Tivan a chance and not judge her too harshly too soon, but Joey wasn't the first person to express such strong feelings among the crew or even just the senior leadership. That, coupled with her own first-hand experience, lead Avery to think she needed to express her concerns sooner rather than later to someone within command aboard. Choosing to do otherwise would be a failure of her own obligations to the crew and to her profession, but she also feared there wouldn't be much she could due to change things, and that was even more troublesome. Avery had resisted taking such action because she feared it would just come across as sour grapes, but she realized it was a wrist she was going to have to take for the sake of the crew. "I appreciate your candor. Like you, I'm not sure anything will change in terms of personnel structure, but that doesn't mean as a crew advocate I can't make these concerns known. Putting that all aside for now, how else may I be of service?"

"Just that you don't mention me by name when this is brought up as far as 'personnel structure' goes," Joey responded. She knew exactly what that meant.

"I would never do that," Avery reassured. "As far as I'm concerned, this is all covered by confidentiality. It would be professionally irresponsible of me not to advocate for the crew, but I'll admit, I am concerned coming from me, it will just look like sour grapes. I believe all of you know me better than that, of course, but I'm not exactly unbiased in the eyes of Starfleet Command."

"We do," Joey said with a nod of her head. And trusted her more, also. "I have a feeling you're going to be seeing me again in the future, but I think I should probably get back to my duties. I wish you luck expressing your concerns, and I really hope it does some good." Although, she seriously doubted it would.

"Me too," Avery replied, although she also wondered if it would make a difference. "Don't be a stranger," she added. "My door is always open, whether you need a proper session or just a friendly chat."

"I'll remember that," she said as she rose to her feet. Joey felt no better leaving than she did when she walked in. It was time to go back to doing her duties while on the clock, and pretending she was okay off of it. The only two people she felt she didn't need to pretend with were her children, but they made feeling happy easy. In every other aspect of her life, Joey just was not okay.

 

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