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Lt JG Jarkil & Ens Oliver - "I'm just the same as I was"

Posted on 2021-04-06 18:02 by Lieutenant JG Cillian Jarkil & Ensign Genevieve Oliver M.D., Ph.D.
Edited on on 2021-05-13 05:53

Mission: Toys in the Attic
Location: Dr. Oliver's Office, USS Joshua Norton -B

Genevieve exhaled slowly as she stared out her viewport holding a mug of warm raktajino in her hands. She could admit, if only to herself, she was feeling a bit nervous and a bit embarrassed as a result. In some ways, the feeling struck her as somewhat illogical. After all, although her current location was new, sitting in an office waiting for a counseling client to arrive certainly wasn't. In fact, if she were to focus exclusively on the view and the furniture that surrounded her, her environment couldn't have been more familiar.

Was it the shininess of the ship? A number of people had reported feeling a bit uneasy around such newness, almost as if they didn't feel they deserved it. Whether that was the reason or it had more to do with the potential glitches that could occur, Oliver didn't know, but both explanations had validity.

Was she anxious about seeing Cillian again? That wasn't really it either. Despite needing time to feel comfortable and to process his life-threatening experience personally before he could convey it to anyone else, the half human/half-Denobulan was a genuinely kind man who'd given her no reason to think he disdained the therapeutic process or her role within it. They'd managed to build some rapport and together, were slowly examining the psychological wounds he'd suffered. Like all trauma survivors, he had good days and bad, and the process wasn't a straight line, but rather like the peeling of an onion, layer by layer.

Upon greater reflection, Oliver realized her anxiety had more to do with her new position. Although she was the one who'd advocated being placed aboard the Joshua Norton given her expertise, and more importantly, as a means to provide some degree of continuity of care since she'd been part of the team that had conducted psychological assessments and treatment following the destruction of the previous vessel, being part of the crew officially meant she was no longer just an objective observer.

Genevieve had never been just a cool observer of anyone and sometimes her passion for the well-being of others had earned her questioning looks by her colleagues in the forensic field, but there was no doubt there was a difference between caring passionately about a crew's well-being and doing so while working and socializing alongside them.

It wasn't a challenge completely unfamiliar to any counselor within Starfleet, but it was one that was only going to be met with the passage of time, and Genevieve had to admit she was impatient to meet it. Fortunately, the door chime pulled her out of her self-indulgent musings.

She was grateful for the chance to go to work.

Cillian had taken a while to get into the habit of talking in these sessions. He'd found it easier to open up to Veda than he had to Gen when they'd first met. Still, it had been a requirement, and now that they were back on a ship, he needed to check in just once more to confirm his mental state before his visits to the counselling department became voluntary rather than compulsory.

He stepped through the opening door as he was given permission to enter, and he strode in, taking a seat on the couch and settling himself back against the cushions, laying one arm along the back of the couch as he smiled at the counselor he'd been assigned since they'd arrived back on Earth.

"Good afternoon Genevieve, how are ye finding life on ship?" he asked with a smile.

Genevieve smiled in return and found herself a bit more at ease now that a familiar face was before her. Cillian may have been reticent to talk at first, but she'd always found him to be good natured and friendly even if he was reluctant to discuss what he'd been through. "It's a little unnerving to be around so much newness to be honest. I can't decide if spilling something on the carpet will make me feel at home or extremely guilty."

"I wouldn' worry too much about that, nothin' replicatin' a rug can't fix..." he said with a grin. "Speakin' of... mind if I grab a drink?" he said, rising to his feet and moving to the replicator. "Russian cinnamon and chocolate tea, hot," he said and waited for a moment as it materialised before moving back to the couch and taking a sip. "Or ye could conjure up a rug and spill whatever ye want on it..." he suggest with a mischievous grin.

Genevieve chuckled. "I'll put that on my to do list for later." She waited until he had made himself comfortable again and offered, "How are you doing really?"

"I... I'm okay," he said after a pause as he thought, really thought about it. "Being back on a ship is... kind o' weird, last time I were on a ship like this... and I know it's a different class and it's new but the corridors have that same feel, the hum is similar... anyway, it blew up, and... I only just made it off before it did. So, naturally, it's a little weird," he explained. "But apart from that I... I managed to propose a step forward with my girlfriend that didn't freak her out, so that felt good," he added with a grin, not a full Denobulan one, but a grin none the less.

Oliver smiled. "That's wonderful. It is important to find reasons to push forward." Genevieve didn't believe he was intentionally deflecting from his earlier feelings, but it was her job to explore what could be below the surface of his words. "When you say being back on the ship is weird, will you tell me more about that?" She wondered if ' weird ' was code for an experience of flashbacks or other physiological cues or something else entirely.

"When yeh've run through a ship and slid under a bulkhead and then the corridor section ye just slid out of collapses behind ye... Getting back on a ship full of corridors that look exactly the same is gonna put ye on edge. I always knew that though, and I was ready fer it, because we talked about the risk of PTSD before we got back on the ship. I'm just... lettin' ye know that's where I'm at," he replied honestly, though maybe a little frustrated by the line of questioning. He took a swig of his tea and set the mug down on the table between them. They had discussed the possibility of flashbacks and such before and he'd been mentally prepared for the worst. But the worst hadn't happened, by every manner of self assessment he had, he thought he was in pretty damn good shape. There was a moment, when they'd been about to leave when he nearly beamed Rusty off the ship and arranged for her to be sent home, but apart from that...

"Having Veda around helps... knowing she's safe, knowing she's there if she stays over," he cleared his throat a little, not normally being the kiss and tell kind of guy, he didn't want to get into his relationship, that wasn't why he needed counselling. "I may have been the one with a disruptor pointed at me chest in that execution, but she were in that escape pod too, and there were a good few hours when I didn't know if she'd made it or not," he admitted. With him and Veda being a thing thing being more recent he'd not really thought about how much her lying next to him at night had helped calm his subconscious enough that he could sleep. Not that he slept a lot though he did tend to sleep more on some nights and those nights did happen to be the nights when she joined him.

Genevieve thought she detected a degree of impatience with her question, but she didn't take it personally. It may have felt to him that she was asking him to re-open the wound by describing what he had already been through, but what she was actually asking was for him to clarify what he meant. For her to assume she understood what he meant by calling the experience ' weird ' would be potentially overlooking any lingering symptoms. "I appreciate you clarifying where are you currently are for me, and I'm glad to know you remember the things we talked about previously and have been able to show yourself patience given what you've been through. I'm glad you have someone to lean on. Much of recovery involves being able to get out of your own head and focus on something else, to find meaning in the experience, no matter how awful." She paused then, and offered, "Many of the crew have shared their continued struggles with survivors' guilt. I'm wondering if that's been true for you of late?"

Cillian's jaw clenched at the mention of meaning in the experience. "There was no meaning in a maniac shooting two people who were innocent of the crimes he accused them of, in cold blood," he said through gritted teeth. Cillian had worked very hard to separate the man in the mirror universe from Admiral Waterhouse. He'd been successful, and the man who'd killed Thal and Borom took on a more faceless entity type figure when he had a nightmare about it. "Do I feel guilty for having the opportunity to take advantage of the cards I was dealt? No, I'm just sorry that opportunity didn't present itself sooner," he said, a little calmer than he had been a moment ago. He took a deep breath, he would never be sorry for not dying in front of Veda with nothing he could do to prevent it.

"That's understandable," Genevieve replied with a nod. "I wasn't suggesting you should find meaning in what he did, but rather, the fact that you survived despite it." It was Oliver's turn to pause with a breath. "All I'm saying is that these sorts of traumatic events change people. That kind of change is inevitable. The good news? You get to decide whether it changes you for the better or the worse."

Cillian sighed. "Yeh've said this already, Doc..." he said heavily. "I'm alive, I want to live the life I've still got the chance to live, but I've got to be careful not to be reckless," he said with a shrug. It was as simple as that.

"Fair enough," Genevieve replied. "That's a point well taken and a credit to your recovery effort. I think sometimes the hardest thing for people working in intelligence, particularly field agents, is striking the balance between recklessness and doing what is necessary to accomplish the mission. I won't deny it takes a certain set of personality traits to work in intelligence and survive over the long-term, and helping people understand how to thread the needle doing what needs to be done and holding onto psychological health isn't possible unless someone is able to offer the sort of reflection you just did." Oliver smiled. "I'm impressed."

Cillian closed his eyes and took a deep breath, after a long moment he opened his eyes again and leaned forward to collect his mug, settling back in his seat before taking another sip. "Thanks," he said, his tone was even, his voice measured, but there was the tiniest hint of pride there. Hell it took a certain type of person to be a pilot, let alone an intelligence operative.

"You're welcome," Oliver replied sincerely. "Just out of curiosity, what specific things do you think you will do or avoid doing that will help you reach that goal? I'm not trying to be a smart ass here, but I have found there's a difference between setting a goal and identifying the specific steps needed to achieve it. We are all different, so it stands to reason the steps you take to reach your goals will be different from anyone else's."

Cillian raised an eyebrow at her question. "I mean no more reckless than I would have been before, you realise... which did include throwing myself off a cliff in a holographic bird costume with an already broken arm so that I had a hope in hell of getting beamed out," he laughed and shook his head. "With what I do, there are always going to be risks, but I've always been good at weighing what is and isn't necessary, I'm just going to make sure the parameters I assess that with are the same as they always were, not exaggerated one way or the other because of what I've been through,"

Genevieve chuckled at the mention of him in a bird costume. That was certainly an interesting thread to pull, and as with many things with Cillian, she had to resist the urge to pull it. "Now that's a story I'd love to hear some time. I don't think I can recall a bird costume in our discussions? As for making sure you assess the risks reasonably, that's a fair point. I think knowing interesting you have good people around you to bounce things off of can help with that."

"If you've got clearance, you can read the mission reports," he said with a grin. "I'm told it's impressive that I was still conscious when I got to sickbay," he said with a grin. "Have you met our Captain? She's worse than me," he chuckled. "Honestly though, it's the same calculation it's always been, I'm the one who's changed and I just need to remember that," he smiled and took a long swig of his tea.

Genevieve's smile widened. "I think our work here is done, though I hope you know you can always come to me if you ever need to hash anything out in the future. As for the Captain, I've not met her yet, but thanks for the heads up. I can already tell, there's never going to be a dull moment around here."

"Thanks, I'll keep that in mind," Cillian said with an easy smile on his face which built into a chuckle as he started to vocalise his next thought. "And once ye do meet her, yeh'll understand why I think that's one thing I can guarantee."

=/\= End Log =/\=

Lieutenant JG Cillian Jarkil
Chief Conn
USS Joshua Norton, NCC-74819-B

Ensign Genevieve Oliver, M.D., Ph.D.
Forensic Psychiatrist
USS Joshua Norton, NCC -74819-B


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