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This Again

Posted on Wed Nov 28th, 2018 @ 10:19am by Lieutenant JG T'Shan & Lieutenant Commander Jael Steiger

Mission: Spoilt Settlers
Location: XO's Office

T'Shan pressed the buzzer on the XO's office door firmly. She was not proud to consider how many different First Officer's she'd had first meetings with over her short career. She was obliged to make this one last.

It came as no surprise to Jael that the crew was going to be a revolving door, especially with the personality types that were being sent her and Alexia’s way. She didn’t think of it as a bad thing, just expected under the circumstances. With the sudden departure of Lieutenant Griffin upon arrival at Starbase 1 (under questionable circumstances due to the colonists’ takeover), Jael was buried neck-deep in one transfer request approved by Admiral Vernon and sent her way.

Lieutenant J.G. T’Shan had stood out to both Admiral Vernon and Jael; an outlandish character with a very unique mix of Andorian and Vulcan blood who worked harder but played even harder. She had been put on the Starfleet shit list after a rather high-profile rendezvous with a certain Klingon that ended in catastrophe. However, she had already been making her way down that path with her preference for not-so-healthy extracurricular activities.

Vernon believed Jael would be good for T’Shan; they were both similarly cold and distant with newcomers and often chose logic over emotion. T’Shan just had a bit more difficulty in keeping on the straight-and-narrow. With her help, he knew T’Shan was young enough to be able to regain a positive reputation and reach her leadership goals. Jael agreed. There was no attitude problem, just a woman torn between two completely different cultures and trying to feel like she is able to keep herself together.

Raising her eyes at the sound of the chime, Jael placed down the PADD on her desk and stood up from her chair. “Enter,” she commanded, looking forward to meeting the woman and get a bit deeper into her psyche.

T'Shan entered and stood at attention a few steps from the desk. "Lieutenant Junior Grade T'Shanthosa Vylanhahr-Liinatlath reporting for duty, sir." T'Shan said as had always been the routine, and would be forever more. She found giving her abbreviated name sometimes lead to confusion in the computer systems, it was always better to give the XO everything and let them sort it out.

Jael's lips curled slightly at the mouthful of a name that came out of the officer. "You would prefer Lieutenant T'Shan, yes?"

"That's correct, sir." T'Shan said evenly, watching her superior closely.

Nodding, Jael came from around her desk. "You may relax, Lieutenant." As the officer dropped to a more informal stance, Jael looked up at her, almost having to crane her neck to lock eyes. “You requested this transfer, yes?”

"Yes sir, at my father's advice. He explained that this assignment would be appropriate for someone with my.. experience." She said hesitantly.

Jael nodded as her lips relaxed and her face fell to a more neutral gaze. "I have read your file, Lieutenant, but I would like to be able to hear about your experience from you. What type of experience have you had with Starfleet that would make you feel like you would qualify for this assignment?"

"I have got a lot to give, sir. I know I've made mistakes, but I've carried my Academy dormitory's motto with me since I first learned it: Ancora Imparo. I am still learning. I know I've made mistakes. I know I'll probably make a few more, but they will never be the same mistakes. I don't think it's possible for me to screw up any worse than I have But I'm still learning. And I have advantages others don't. I have a duty to use those advantages to serve the needs of the many. I can think of no more fitting purpose than keeping the city-sized population of a Galaxy-class ship safe, sir." T'Shan explained succinctly.

Jael remained stone-still as she listened to the steady, unwavering voice. “Ancora Imparo: Still I am learning. Michelangelo, yes?”

"I had not thought to research the origin, sir. The sentiment seemed to suffice. History has never much taken my interest." She admitted.

Jael nodded. “I agree that we all make mistakes, Lieutenant. And it is very good you admit to this. We should all be in a state of constant learning, as the galaxy is too vast for any one person to know absolutely everything, though some may try to appear they do.” She grinned slightly at the statement. “You have done well in the Academy. You are a very smart person. I will be honest with you, however. Your choices in your off-duty activities have me concerned. I need my Security Chief to be in 100% mental and physical shape, especially with the tasks we will be given by Starfleet. You are responsible for the safety of this ship and this crew. The task becomes infinitely harder while suffering from the symptoms of a hangover.”

"I understand, sir. I do not experience hangovers. As I said, I have distinct advantages, for which I am thankful. Though, if you believe that my off-duty behavior is an issue, I am willing to consult with medical staff regarding a treatment plan. To be perfectly honest, my methods may seem unique, but my condition is also thus. I am in control. I am Vulcan."

The words echoed in Jael’s mind. She could feel the effort the officer pushed forth when saying those words. They were words that she more than likely had to repeat out loud during her schooling on Vulcan. She didn’t necessarily believe T’Shan believed the words herself. “You are also Andorian. It must be very difficult for you to have to balance the emotional tendencies of an Andorian with the logical upbringings of a Vulcan.”

"There are challenges, sir, this is true. I am not marked as attaining Kolinahr, but Andorian blood is not entirely a curse. I was raised in the Imperial Guard Academy. They may encourage passions, but they also taught me early how to feel what I need to feel. I may not have total mastery of my emotions, but they do not control me."

Jael raised her eyebrow slightly at her. "I am going to ask a direct question. It is not meant to be accusatory, only to understand as a part of my duties aboard the Centaurus. And, unlike yourself, I believe history is a great tool to help us view the present and the future. Do you turn to, or have you ever turned to, chemical stimulants and depressants and maybe some other outside matters to assist in controlling your emotions, Lieutenant?"

"I have sir, and I do, in my off-duty time. There is little however that I have made a habit of, other than the dubious benefits of alcohol to assist me with rest. Idleness is far more difficult to manage than duty. On duty I have focus, purpose, distractions and idle emotions do not have an opportunity." T'Shan explained. She did not feel it was incumbent upon her to justify herself, only to give the XO all the information she had. "In the school of mental discipline I studied on Vulcan, we learned there are two kinds of emotions. Reactive emotions, those we feel in response to stimuli, and surface emotions, those that make up the core of our psyche. My reactive emotions are in control. My surface emotions tend to shift cyclically, though what direction they will go is rarely predicted accurately. In truth Commander, I believe the best solution to my physiological disadvantages may be chemical. I was in talks with my previous psychiatrist to try a treatment called Athymiax, developed for the treatment of Bendii syndrome. Unfortunately my particularities make it a difficult prospect to get a prescription for much of anything with any effect."

Jael's eyebrows furrowed a bit. Bendii syndrome? That was a bit of a stretch for a psychiatrist to take, and showed how desperate both T'Shan and her doctor must have been. “As a Doctor I can certainly appreciate the need of medication. When I had asked my question I wanted to understand your recreational use of chemicals, not your prescription use. I just wanted to clarify that.” She gave her a slight grin. “The Vulcan teachings have helped you with your reactive emotions, which is half of the battle. Have you ever considered your efforts to subdue your underlying emotions, the ones that trigger those drastic mood swings, with your current teachings may be hurting you more than helping you?”

"It is the ongoing struggle that defines every Vulcan's life, sir. I am simply further behind than most. There are several Vulcan relaxants and meditative aides, particularly jan'eth, t'sku and dried ullmeek taken as tea. All are registered and approved by the Vulcan Therapeutic Goods Council. I do not rely on any, though oftentimes I can't sleep without a cup of hot ullmeek or a 40 ounce Romulan Ale. But that is my ongoing challenge. I have not yet had a chance to speak with the health professionals on board, but I will consult them in my ongoing quest for balance." T'Shan explained.

Jael placed her hand up to T'Shan to keep the poor officer from running out of breath. "Please, save your promises for another time. Right now, you are very overwhelmed after everything that happened and are running around like a vole with its head chopped off." Moving behind her desk, Jael pressed a few buttons on her console. "You just told me that you do not rely on depressants then in the same sentence advised me you cannot sleep without drinking a fair amount of Romulan Ale, which is a very strong beverage though the alcohol is not as effective against your physiology. It is also very dangerous to mix different types of chemicals, both prescription and non-prescription. Your body has very much become dependent on a taste of that intoxicating beverage to believe it is feeling at ease. You are disconnected from yourself, both mentally and physically, and are reaching out in desperation to feel better and find some sort of a balance. On a scale of 1 to 10, how relaxed are you feeling right now?"

"If ten is most relaxed, a six." T'Shan said honestly. She did not expect a human to understand.

Jael pressed a few more buttons before running her eyes over the woman. "Okay. And what is a typical scenario that would cause that number to drop?"

"Poor-quality sleep. Sensory fatigue. Interrupted sleep. Telepathic feedback. In the past the onset of my.. time, as a Vulcan has also lead to a slow diminishing of stress management, rather than the sudden onset of illogic most others experience before the pon farr. However I am not due again for at least four years." T'Shan explained, her antennae still and stable as flagmasts.

Jael nodded slowly at T'Shan. The officer was being honest though only to a certain extent. She was still trying to protect herself and her weak spots by stretching her Vulcan side too thin. "What about scenarios involving outside stressors?"

"Incompetence. Subordinates who fail to learn lessons or require me to do their jobs for them. Three-quarters of the female population of the Archimedes became pregnant at once during one of our missions. I found their emotionality... vexing. As I found the Chief of Security's attempts to 'get to know' me. And inevitably the hormonal output of the women was infectious. Fortunately the deleterious effects ended soon after my transfer away." She said, feeling suddenly like she was making a report. "It is not Vulcan, but things annoy me. I cannot always identify what they will be ahead of time."

"You are only half-Vulcan, and it seems like you sometimes forget that. I, too, can be as you said 'annoyed' by some things but it is also how you react to those things that can create unnecessary stress." Jael sat down at her desk to ease off the pressure from the officer. "It is perfectly acceptable to be annoyed with a given situation, such as the ones that you have just stated. Those are very annoying situations. What is your typical response when you are faced with one of those annoying situations?"

"I recite the mantras and litanies, and focus on becalming thoughts. The Hot Springs of the Vylanhahrine. The oasis of Gol. When I get a chance, I meditate on the annoyance, and focus on the techniques of kolinahr to analyze and disperse the emotional effect." T'Shan explained as clinically as the process felt.

"Is it safe to assume you turn to your other chosen methods when your Vulcan teachings do not work?" Jael was trying her best to try to find a hole in the woman's protective layer so she could reach in and help the woman find the inner peace she was so desperate for. T'Shan was trying very hard to be a Vulcan that she was trying to hide the rest of herself.

"Moods are moods, sir. I understand that as a Vulcan I must hold myself to a higher standard of emotional control, but as you say, I am not entirely Vulcan. With all due respect, I do not believe the emotions of any other crewmember would face this level of scrutiny without a specific incident to account for." T'Shan said, a sliver of frustration evident.

Jael paused for a moment at her slight outburst. It wasn't entirely surprising that the meeting pushed her to a slightly overdramatic opinion of her work. She folded her hands slowly in front on her on top of the desk and let her sharp green eyes darken with seriousness. "My line of questioning is not to scrutinize, Lieutenant. It is to assist in my understanding of who you are and why you are standing in front of me right now. I am not judging you, or scrutinizing you as you just stated, for not being more Vulcan. Your race has nothing to do with my concern over your emotional health. You are here because one of the methods you used to cope with your emotional stress caused a high-profile scandal and directly influenced the death of a member high society and an entire planet's population." She paused, reinforcing the lock her eyes had on the officer. "I am asking these questions so I can make sure something to that extent does not happen again. Now, I am sure you are very tired and would like to get settled in. As soon as possible please meet with your assigned counselor and physician, and I will be checking in with you in a day or two. Do you have any questions or concerns you would like to address with me?"

"The circumstances are unlikely to be repeated, sir, even if they were, there is no life remaining on their world, another bombardment would do little but waste ammunition." T'Shan responded with cold Vulcan analysis. She had blamed for herself for what had happened, but she knew logically it was not her fault; she may have been the cause, but not the vector. "If that will be all, sir, I believe I have quite a bit of catching up ahead of me."

Jael looked T'Shan over once more before giving her a slow nod. "That will be all, Lieutenant. Dismissed." This was going to be a tricky case for her and Alexia. She had quite a bit of her own learning to do as the officer's disposition was rather unique. The longer she worked on the Centaurus, the more Jael realized that her initial thoughts on her own reassignment had been incorrect. This was ranked among some of her more challenging assignments in her career.

"Thank you for your time, sir." T'Shan said, making her way through the parting doors. She needed a drink.


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