Her Biggest Challenge to Date
Episode 8: A Greater Power
Location: Counsellor's Office
Timeline: Day 183 at 0950
It had been nearly a full week since Zar had been 'isolated' within his quarters to rest, yet rest was the last thing that he was able to do. He felt like he did back when he was in that penal colony, isolated from everyone and everything that he knew; except the counsellor. It was one of the reasons why he strongly disliked them in the first place, not that they did not know their profession, but it reminded him of a period in his life where he would much rather push beyond. Life has a funny sense of humor and irony as he would find himself now forced to re-live this experience and more than likely over and over and over again, until finally he cracked within himself. As he walked into the counsellor's office, he saw that a couple of people were already sitting down waiting, their eyes looked him over; and as quickly as they stared at him, they all shifted in their seats as if he was some sort of infectious disease. He knew what they were all thinking in their minds, and Zar had every right to leave and return to his quarters; but he was mandated to either go through this process or leave the Nogura. Hell, it would have been easy to leave the Nogura if Captain Drayton had accepted his resignation, but even he denied the Bolian his chance to escape. Zar himself knew that he was on the edge, no sleep in four days; it was his mental training and conditioning that barely kept him sane. Yet what was sanity? For everyone sanity was something expressed on a totally different level, but for him: his sanity was other peoples insanity. Zar scanned the room briefly and took a seat next to an officer, who scoffed as he sat next to her. She rose out of her chair and walked out the room, and others themselves started whispering, Zar let out a heavy sigh as he was not mentally ready to handle this. He was barley keeping himself together as it was and he felt more of himself die to the ever growing insanity that was brewing deep within; straining and climbing its way to break free. He stood up as quickly as he had sat down and started walking towards the door towards freedom; towards his solace, his piece of his lonely quarters, to his precious mental training to keep the darkness away.
"Leaving so soon Commander?" a female voice from behind called out, stopping the Bolian in his tracks. Although they had not met before, Idra Kizohl felt like she knew this man. She had ready report after report on countless different incidents and postings regarding this man. He was clearly troubled and had things to work through. Today was the start of that process.
Zar grunted and nearly had his foot out the door, all he had to do was continue to walk out, but something was keeping this grown man from doing so. He was free to make his own choices in life, but he wasn't free to choose the consequences. "Honestly, yes I planned on it," Zar replied as he kept his hand the wall. All he need to do was use his arm to push himself forward and his feet would do the rest.
"I wouldn't advise that Commander," a stern, male voice spoke from behind as Captain Drayton appeared in the doorway next to the Counsellor. "We need to talk," the Captain frowned before disappearing back into the Counsellor's office.
"Very well," replied Zar as he walked back into the counsellor's office and walked into the private office.
Idra stepped aside and allowed the Bolian to enter, flashing him a smile as he walked by. Once everyone was inside, the Counsellor pressed the chime and closed the door, leaving them alone from the outside world. She looked at Drayton as she took her seat.
"Alright, what do we need to talk about? " replied Zar as he stood in the now closed doorway.
"I want to play you something and see what you think," the Captain told as he perched on the edge of the sofa and picked up a data PADD. He pressed the button and looked at the Bolian.
"I have honestly thought of killing myself now more than ever. Captain Desai-Scott has pushed me to that level," the voice began, much to the dismay of the Captain and the Counsellor, no doubt to the Commander as well since it was his log. "I no longer care about this uniform (tears and ripping audible on the recording), I no longer care about my rank, (now sounds of metal bouncing everywhere could be heard) I care not even for me, I have nothing. I am nothing and when you are nothing you will never be missed (the sound of a heavy object being tossed onto a nearby table was heard mid-recording) but no matter how hard I try, I cannot remove the darkness, I cannot bring myself to end my own life. I am in my prison once more, I am being tortured for my decisions..." the Captain pressed the button on the PADD and stopped the recording, watching the Bolian in silence.
Zar sat their with a calm, emotionless, glazed look on his face, another thing he learned from his childhood; sometimes in diplomatic matters it is good to display your best 'poker face' as the humans call it. "The question is not what I think, but rather what it causes you and the counsellor to think?" Zar replied as he stood their with his hands folded.
"To say we are concerned, Zar, is an understatement," Drayton revealed. Gone was the angry look of a few nights before and now, one of sheer concern for his colleague. "I'm not going to talk through this with you, that is Idra's job. I'm here, officially, to remove you from active duty, permanently, until such a time as you are deemed fit to return to service. You will be under the care of the medical department until then. If they decide that you need more specialised care than they can provide here, then you will be transferred to a medical facility. Likely, Starfleet Medical itself," the Captain told the Bolian quietly. "You are under orders to co-operate fully with any and all requests made by Counsellor Kizohl and the rest of the Medical department. Do you understand?"
"Great, so not only am I removed from active duty; it is a possibility that I will have to go back to the same people that said I was fit to return to duty before? Perfect," he said as he stood their with his arms folded. "I honestly do not know if it will help, eventually word is going to spread across this entire ship of my disgrace. Did you not see the reactions of those people in the waiting room?" he said as he felt his whole world fall apart.
"When you make statements like you did in your log, we have no choice," Idra finally intervened quietly. It was her expert medical opinion that the Bolian was a danger to himself and, possibly, the people around him. She could not, and would not allow him to harm anyone else, let alone himself. "We need to talk through your issues Commander and deal with them. Suicidal thoughts are not something to be scoffed at."
"I can handle it when captain's or the admiralty didn't trust me or gave me those looks, but them!" he said as he pointed at the door. "Those are the ones who," he said as he started getting a bit choked up. He had tried so hard to put the events of the past behind him, his prison sentence, his dishonor and rejection from his family; now he was being removed from active duty. "You don't understand my position....this is all I...I..have. I don't have anything else," he said as he stood their and forced back his emotions.
"We're not taking this away from you Commander," Drayton told as he rose to his feet and looked at the man opposite, "as soon as you are well enough, the Counsellor will pass you fit to return to duty."
"I'm," he said as he stopped talking.
"Sit!" Drayton ordered as he headed for the door, "...and talk. I need my Chief of Operations back." He gave one final look at the Bolian and then left the Counsellor's office.
"So..." Idra smiled as she gestured to the vacant chair, "shall we get started?"
"Might as well," replied Zar as he slowly walked over to the chair and sat down. "I am going to be honest with you Commander, I do not like counsellors and I have my reasons for that; not saying I do not like you personally, but I do not like the profession. It is not that I do not believe that people should not have guidance to deal with emotions and traumas, but some people who are in your profession; do not care about the individual in my fair and my honest opinion, because I have witnessed it first hand."
"If that's the case, I apologise for my colleagues' misguided approach," Idra tried to reassure him as she sat forward in her chair and made sure he knew he had her full attention. "How about we start at the beginning of that log and talk about Captain Desai-Scott. I sense a lot of animosity there," she informed before opening up the floor for him to talk.
"What is there to talk about? I hate the woman, and I think she is the worst captain in Starfleet history." Said Zar as he crossed one leg over the other and leaned back, granted he did not feel comfortable about this. For all Zar wanted to do was bury himself in his work, in his job and hide the rest of his feelings away from the world; but he knew that was not going to happen.
"Why?" the Counsellor queried of her new colleague.
Zar rolled his eyes half way, he knew that she knew why he didn't like her; after all it was written in his after report to Captain Drayton as to what had happened. "There are too many reasons as to say why, however, just to narrow it down. The way she handled the Nogura during those simulations shows what kind of a captain she really is, and it further solidified my position with how she exposed my personal business to the entire crew of the Nogura. At first it was a strong dislike a kind of loathing, but now I hate her and see she is unfit to command a starship in my eyes. Maybe not Starfleet's but certainly in my eyes."
"Let's deal with the simulations first, shall we? I've read the reports on them," the Counsellor nodded. "Captain Drayton tells me that the affects of the simulation amplified everyone's responses, reactions and the like. I also have it on good authority that the Captain is a very competent, highly decorated officer. I understand that in the last simulation she did not cover herself in glory, but from what I've read, from various people's recounts, neither did you," Idra revealed as she sat back, a data PADD on the table recording their conversation for the official record. "Is it possible that you have taken this far too personally?"
"No I do not think I took this too far, and frankly there are conversations that were had that the crew was not privileged too; they wouldn't know how she reacted when I refused to transfer command to her. Now how she treated me in the Ready Room during a tactical meeting that was on her, and also how she accused me of causing a mutiny when that was far from the truth. Ever since she read my file she wanted me removed from command even her ship because I do not fit the profile of a model Starfleet officer. Tell me counsellor, if the Borg had invaded like that had in those simulations; wouldn't you suggest tactics and plans that very well would attempt and try to save the Federation?"
"Actually, those on the outside monitoring the simulation, Captain Drayton, Commander Brenn and the like, saw everything that you saw; that she saw; that every member of the simulation saw," the Counsellor revealed. There were no secrets from the simulations. They had been monitored and monitored thoroughly, especially the final one. "I genuinely think that the amplified effects of the simulation caused you both to react very differently than you would usually. I cant tell you what I would do in such a situation as it is something I have never had to comprehend. What YOU need to do right now is move past your hatred of the Captain and focus on YOU."
"How do you propose that dear counsellor?" replied Zar as he looked at her. "Because if you haven't noticed, this entire ship has nothing but disdain for me."
"Actually, the thing I have learnt about starships is that things quickly become yesterday's news," the Counsellor responded through pursed lips, "I haven't heard a single person talk about you in the time I've been aboard."
"They may not say anything verbally especially when I am around due to my rank, however I get the strained looks. I get the sudden departures when I walk into a room or an area. Just because it might be yesterday's news to the crew does not mean it is yesterday's news to me or to them."
"I understand your feelings Commander," the Counsellor nodded, "but I assure you, as soon as you do something good, something to remind them of who you really are, they'll forget the nonsense. After all, look at the former Maquis that served on Voyager. If terrorists can be forgiven, so can you," she smiled, trying to reassure him somewhat.
"We shall see counsellor, because if I am correct; it took them a good long while for them to overcome those apprehensions." replied Zar.
"You are not, nor ever have been, a terrorist Commander," the Counsellor responded with a somewhat sterner tone than she had used so far, "give your shipmates some credit and let people make up their own minds. So what if a few of them look at you differently for a while? Your job is to protect them, and you can only do that by being well enough to be on duty. To be well enough, you need to let go of all this... misplaced hatred... of Captain Desai-Scott, put aside the supposed beliefs of your crewmates, and focus on you," she advised the Bolian. She was beginning to get the sense that maybe, just maybe, he didn't want help. Maybe he was actually happy with his situation?
"Just because I am not a terrorist does not mean that people won't be watching me closely dear counsellor. As far as protecting anyone, and being well enough to be on duty, it is at a mute point. However if you want reassurance that I won't kill myself then I give you my word; as far as this misplaced hatred of Captain Scott, that will not go away," Zar said as he gave a pause for a moment and thought about what he was going to say next. "Overnight, it will take quite a bit of time; and I literally mean quite a bit of time for my anger to subside of the drunken captain of Starfleet. As far as the rest of my problems I guess multiple sessions are in my future. Anything that you are going to give me to work on?"
"Yes," Idra smiled as she reached forward to the table and picked up a data PADD, holding it out to him. "I have a holodeck program for you. It is configurable, to a certain extent, but the basics of it are simple; calming, quiet place to focus on breathing and relaxation. At the end of each visit to the holodeck, I'd like you to record your thoughts in the old fashioned paper and pen way," she revealed before relaxing back in her chair again, "you need to take some time to yourself, away from the stresses of duty and requirements. I'll attend whenever you need, but there are some far more skilled holograms that can help with meditative techniques."
"It has been literally years since I've been on a holodeck. The outpost I was on just had one installed the same week I was departing so I never got to break it in," replied Zar as he accepted the PADD from the counsellor. He applied his thumb print to the PADD and scanned down the electronic device and read over some of the things that she was suggesting. "A lot of these techniques I learned when I was a CTO on board the Hood, I usually practice them in my quarters; it will be a first to try them in a holodeck," he said as he continued looking and scanning over the PADD. He was looking forward to getting back to his mediation regimen and was strongly thinking about instituting some of the counsellor's techniques as well. "When will our next appointment be?"
"You tell me," Idra smiled as she drew up her schedule for the coming days on her own data PADD. His response would tell her everything she needed to know about his attitude to the situation he was in.
"Well my schedule is pretty much open since I've been pulled from active duty, so if you want to see how I am doing a week from now that is fine; if you want to see how I'm doing three days from now, that's fine too." replied Zar. "However I doubt three days won't be enough time."
"Three days will be just fine Commander," the Counsellor nodded in agreement as she recorded the information in her calendar. "If you need anything in the meantime, and I do mean anything, please let me know," she added.
"Not a problem counsellor," said Zar as he pulled out a personal PADD and inputted the time and the date of when he would be meeting back with the counsellor. "I have everything logged and I keep my word, you won't have to send security after me." he said with a slight laugh and with that he rose and stretched a bit; and then turned and walked out of her room.
Idra watched the Commander depart from her room and typed on her data PADD, making some additional notes about the session, about the Commander himself and even about the diagnosis she would assign to him.
Until he showed more progress, there was no way she would be clearing him for active duty.