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Final Session? [Backpost]

Posted on 13 Jun 2017 @ 2:31pm by Captain Harvey Geisler & Lieutenant Avery Stuart Ph.D.

Mission: The Finnean Crisis
Location: Deep Space 11
Timeline: August 2388

After managing to get just a couple hours sleep when she finally turned over the last patient to the oncoming shift at the hospital, Avery made a mental list of those she wanted to find and speak to before the inevitable whirlwind of debriefings, evaluations, and reassignments began. It was hard to put what she was feeling into words, but faced with the possibility of never seeing these familiar faces in one place again, Stuart had an almost manic compulsion to see as many people as she could one more time. These were her people, her flock, so to speak, and that they had been flung all over by the recent tragedy just made the compulsion to care for them that much stronger.

Fortunately, the person at the top of her list was easy to find. He had been given an office apparently and was going to be put to work in the interim, to Stuart's dismay. She may not of known how to say in that anymore, but at the very least, she could see him. Exhaling slowly, she rang the chime outside the unfamiliar door.

The chime echoed in the small office, something not even half the size of what he had on the Black Hawk. Harvey himself joked that it was a broom closet that they'd managed to fit in a desk and a couple of chairs. There wasn't even a window. "Come!" he called, not even bothering to look up at the open door, thinking it was yet another yeoman to deliver some updates from the brass.

Avery entered as the doors hissed open, and once they had closed behind her, she offered, "Nice place you have here. I suppose this is the Starfleet version of purgatory."

Harvey recognized the familiar voice, and looked up to flash a friendly smile at his former Counselor. "Well, you know the old naval tradition... Captains going down with their ships?" Gesturing at the room, he added, "Seems this could be the reason."

As much as she appreciated Geisler's good humor, she didn't like the topic and she couldn't help but wonder if his choice of joke revealed insights into how he was feeling. "I've come to make sure you haven't been beating yourself up too hard over the loss." She decided it was best to get right to the point.

"Beating myself up?" he parroted. Shaking his head, he explained. "No. If anything, I'm mourning the loss of a friend." He gestured for her to enter fully and join him in the broom closet by taking the free chair in the room.

Avery sat as invited and replied, "I'm glad to hear you're not drowning in guilt. Mourning is to be expected, of course, but it's good to know you're not blaming yourself for events because nothing is your fault."

Harvey could beg to differ when it came to a few different things, like the Marine Major from the Chimera that loved to torment his crew, especially up to the very end. "Personally, I'm thankful this crisis is nearly over." Even though they'd been free of the Consortium for days, the condition they'd left New Bajor in, along with the filtering and debriefings the newly arrived Starfleet personnel had to subject the entire Task Force to was still a sore subject.

"Now the briefings and reviews begin," Avery replied matter-of-factly. "Such a process is routine and necessary in the grand scheme of things, but it can certainly open some emotional wounds that may be just beginning to heal. How are you dealing with all of this, really?"

He took in a deep breath before heaving a large sigh. His eyes wandered away, spotting the plaque he'd taken from the bridge a few days ago. He hadn't bothered to clean the soot-covered item yet, nor did he think he'd be doing so anytime soon. "The Black Hawk was my first command, Avery," he said. "I've been on ships that were lost during the Dominion War, but that was nothing. Never cared until I lost my own."

Avery nodded silently. "I won't pretend to know exactly how you feel, but I do know you've experienced a trauma, and while that's true for all of us, you've also experienced an additional wound in losing your command. You may know and truly believe intellectually there was nothing you could do to prevent that, but I think this is one of those times when even knowing that, you can't escape your feelings. Don't fight them, sir. Let them come and let the people who care about you support you."

"What's to escape?" countered Harvey. "I'm certainly thankful that we didn't lose more than we did." Harvey sighed. "If anything, I'm just pissed."

"That makes sense," Avery replied. "Anger usually follows hurt, fear, or frustration."

Not a single one of those three words could sum what Harvey felt inside. "There's angry, doctor," he said, leaning back in his chair. "And then there's pissed. I'm pissed that the Consortium made a play for the quadrant. I'm pissed that thousands of innocent lives were not just lost, but died at the hands of each other thinking that they were dying for the right reasons. And, I'm pissed that my ship and members of Starfleet under my command got caught up in it."

Avery exhaled slowly and offered a nod. "I'd say you're entitled to feel those things. In fact, I'd say we all are. The most important thing is not to blame ourselves for things out of our control. I'm not saying it's easy," Avery added softly, her words filled with the weight of that emotion, "but it's possible with effort. Talking helps. Not talking about things doesn't make them go away."

"What more is there to talk about?" Harvey asked. "We've been living this nightmare for the last few months, and even now that the Consortium is gone, we're still cleaning up their mess."

"That much is true," Avery nodded. "Not talking about it won't change that, it will only cause your feelings to fester. I know you have Joey for support, and I know this is not the first time you've been through something traumatic. What do you think you could do to cope with your emotions this time? Anything healthy?" She asked with a smile.

"I fear my emotions will have to wait," Harvey stated. "Thanks to the Consortium, we've got several thousand displaced personnel. As a senior officer without a command, my duty is to help everyone be processed accordingly before dispersed to leave or reassignment. Coping will have to wait until I get to Earth."

"I respect your dedication to duty, sir, and I would expect no less from you. Just promise me you won't avoid dealing with your emotions for too long. The more you push them down, the more likely they are to overwhelm you when you least want them to, whether you want to take time to deal with them or not. You are just as deserving of time to grieve as everyone else. Just promise me you'll take care of yourself," she added with a gentle smile.

Harvey nodded. "I'll do my best, when the time comes," he told her.

Avery just hoped the time would come no sooner than when he was ready and not before. She was tempted to ask him when he would know when the time came, but she sensed he wasn't about to share more than what he had. Instead, she could think of only one more thing left to say, "It was an honor serving with you, sir. You did everything you could for your crew and more. Even if you can't believe that now, I hope someday you will."

The Captain sat still for a moment, considering her words. "I will, Counselor. Thank you."

Taking one last long look at Harvey, realizing this could be the last time she would ever see him again,Avery offered a smile and took her leave. She hated not being able to take the crew's pain away, Harvey's most of all, but she wasn't so arrogant as to think she could erase all of the hurt after what they had been through, but it was difficult to think she was leaving the crew she cared about still in so much turmoil. she could only hope in time she would learn to let that regret go.

 

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