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Victim No More

Posted on 10 Mar 2017 @ 7:42pm by Lieutenant Commander Temerant Bast & Lieutenant Avery Stuart Ph.D.

Mission: Endgame
Location: Sickbay
Timeline: MD13 || 0930 Hours

Avery entered sickbay and this time, without needing to be directed, she approached Bast's bio bed immediately. Stuart knew exactly where he was because she was aware of when he'd been brought aboard unconscious. It seemed the man had yet to catch a break. First, he had been drugged and forced to commit horrible acts at the best of the Consortium, and now he'd been captured and tortured. She knew from her personal interactions with him that he had come to terms for the most part with the former event, even with having access to a previous host's memories of a prior sexual assault, but it was simple fact that multiple traumas in a short period of time could have an especially detrimental effect on someone's mental health, regardless of how much support might be available after each event.

It was for this reason Stuart sought to touch base with him as soon as possible. She couldn't control how forthcoming he was or whether he chose to cover whatever true emotions he might be feeling, but at the very least, she could offer her support and help him begin to process whatever memories might be lingering. In any case, he'd experienced something that resulted in his life being threatened, and that was never an easy thing to cope with, even with the best support and the most positive outlook.

Approaching the bed, Avery offered with a sly smile, "We have to stop meeting like this, Commander."

"I'd like nothing more, Counselor," replied Bast. He wasn't sure how to react to the Counselor's arrival. He had anticipated it, of course, given the events on the asteroid base, and given his brush with death. But unlike their previous professional encounter, she wasn't here to meet a victim.

More seriously, Stuart asked, "How are you? Just in case you're wondering, I'm not just asking about you physically," she added with another wry smile.

"How do I feel?" he repeated. His eyes drifted away, as he searched his feelings in an attempt to describe them. "A few months ago I was drugged, assaulted and mentally raped by the Selamat. Forced to betray Starfleet, and open fire on my friends. Two days ago, another Selamat tried to do it again."

His eyes turned to steel as he looked back at her. "No more. I got to bash his head in."

"You've described your actions, but I've yet to hear a description of your feelings," Avery pointed out gently.

"My feelings," repeated Bast. His eyes searched the emptiness around him, trying to wrap his head around her question. "I don't remember having any feelings at that point. It was a moment of pure adrenaline. How does a prey feel about killing its predator?"

Stuart nodded. "In the moment, your priority was survival. When I asked about your feelings, I actually meant your feelings about what happened now that you've gotten some distance from it," Avery clarified.

"Relief. Relief at being able to resist his psychic attack. Relief at being able to overpower him. Relief at getting our crew out of there."

"That's understandable. If that's the extent of what you felt, I'm not here to judge you. That said, I know sometimes the ability to be violent and aggressive, even when it's done in self-defense, can surprise and bother some people because it goes against who they think they are and what they're capable of. Even though you prevailed, having to fight for your life again so soon is itself a traumatic event that has the potential to lead to any number of mixed feelings." In fact, Avery had read research which suggested some survivors of attempted sexual assaults experienced worse psychological outcomes than survivors of completed rapes because even avoiding such a consequence was a reminder of how close they had truly come to a completed event. Some researchers even theorized that being able to survive such an attempt only reinforced for survivors that such outcomes were in their control, after all.

"I think," began Temerant slowly, measuring his words, "it might be a bit too soon for me to tell exactly if that was the full extent of how I felt. But as a Starfleet officer, it was my duty to try to escape, and rescue my crewmates. Doubly so, since I was also the ship's Acting First Officer."

"It may take some time for your emotions to catch up with you," Avery acknowledged. "I don't know what you will or won't feel in the coming days, I guess I just wanted to remind you if you noticed any changes or a particular emotional wave arrives, it would be normal. Perhaps I'm preaching to the choir by now, but you know me," Avery added with a smile.

"I know, and I appreciate it," replied Temerant. "I'll be sure to seek you out if I feel the need."

Avery didn't doubt his sincerity, but she also knew it was easier in some cases not to reach out. "Would it be okay with you if I checked in with you in a couple of weeks?"

"That's fine," replied Temerant, a bit eager to put an end to the discussion.

Avery smiled. She knew he wasn't eager, but he'd agreed to see her, which was a step in the right direction. "Great, I will see you then." With that, Stuart took her leave.

 

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