Alt-Timeline: Counseling Department Meeting [Tag Dr. Witley]

Posted Sept. 29, 2023, 8:31 p.m. by Lieutenant Laural Corynn Witley, Ph.D., M.D. (Counselor) (Lori Miller)

Posted by Lieutenant Todd Nyman (Chief Counselor) in Alt-Timeline: Counseling Department Meeting [Tag Dr. Witley]

Posted by Lieutenant Laural Corynn Witley, Ph.D., M.D. (Counselor) in Alt-Timeline: Counseling Department Meeting [Tag Dr. Witley]

Posted by Lieutenant Todd Nyman (Chief Counselor) in Alt-Timeline: Counseling Department Meeting [Tag Dr. Witley]
Posted by… suppressed (10) by the Post Ghost! 👻
The Chief Counselor’s Office, now free of boxes and packaging, now resemble a sort of museum of sculpture and pottery. Shelves were lined with pieces from all over the quadrant, along with some pieces made by Nyman himself. A small fountain took up on corner of the desk. One could hear it’s gentle splashing along with the bubbling filter of the turtle tank.

Lieutenant Nyman, satisfied with the arrangement of his new office (at least, for the time being) could now move on to more important matters. There was one Dr. Witley, from what he could tell a very knowledgeable person. She had been on the ship longer, had several sessions with the higher-ranking officers, and had experience as a chief counselor before. On his previous ship, Nyman was more or less the designated “moral officer”, handling both planning for recreational events and regular counseling duties. Being recommended the position of Chief Counselor for the Leviathan was a surprise, and he had a lot to learn about his new responsibilities. This is where he hoped Dr.Witley could help him.

=^= Dr. Witley, =^= he called =^= This is Lieutenant Nyman, would you please meet me in the Chief Counselor’s Office?=^=

~~~ Lieutenant Nyman

“On my way, Lieutenant,” Laural replied pleasantly, tapping her own badge. She was surprised but not disappointed by Nyman’s assignment. Starfleet Command worked in mysterious ways and she learned long ago not to obsess over what their decisions meant for her. She knew how to bloom where she was planted. Making her way to the office easily enough, she pressed the chime , the hum of her chair ever present.

~Dr. Laural Witley, Counselor

Lieutentant Nyman opened the door, ready to meet Dr. Whitley. His appearance was that of a blond, green-eyed human male of average build. Today, he had opted to put his shoulder-length hair in two, Nordic style braids. At first, expecting to meet someone… taller…his gaze was not quite in the right place. He did eventually catch sight of Dr.Whitley. Oh, he thought to himself, That’s what a grav-chair is.

“Thank you for coming doctor,” Lieutenant Nyman greeted her with a smile. Afterwards, stepping out of the way to let her through the door.

“Please, come it. I’m going to get some water, do you need anything?”

~~~ Lieutenant Nyman

Smiling good-naturedly, Laural allowed the moment to pass with ease. Her younger self would’ve not only felt awkwardness wash over her at a time like this, but she would have also felt resignation. Just because she was accustomed to others not knowing what to expect of her because of her disability, it didn’t mean she stopped hoping she would stop sticking out like a sore thumb.

“No, but thank you,” she replied, entering the office easily enough but always ever mindful of other people’s toes. “Welcome aboard.”

~Dr. Laural Witley, Counselor

As soon as the door closed behind her, Nyman began pacing over to his desk. He stopped in front of it, tensed up like a rabbit caught in the open. Then, after taking a deep breath, he turned around to face Dr. Witley with a more somber expression,

“I am going to tell you something in confidence.” he stated, “I would like to think, given our profession, that you can keep this information between us.”

He continued, “This is the first time I have been trusted with a responsibility like this. I hope you don’t think less of me for being… a little nervous. But, it’s my responsibility to be a productive member of this department and support this crew. That all being said, do you have any advice you’d be willing to pass on?”

~~~ Lieutenant Nyman

Laural took a beat before responding. His admission was unexpected and brought with it a variety of emotions. Wit was a professional and she would support Nyman because it was what was best for the crew, but it was concerning to her that someone apparently inexperienced as a leader was given this position. It wasn’t Laural’s ego driving that particular emotional train - she was pragmatic. The potential for awkwardness was vast in a scenario where she had more knowledge and experience but was expected to offer deference. If he was inclined to make her do all the hard work and then take all the credit, she knew there would be little she could do about it. In fact, she had been there before, and while she had no reason to think she was about to be there again, she didn’t really know him yet, and the not knowing was hard.

Wit the professional knew how to compartmentalize and to see the being before her, the one who risked being vulnerable with her when he didn’t have to be. “Perhaps you could share what concerns you most and we can start there? I’d say ‘don’t be a jerk and trust your people to know their jobs’ but that sounds a bit too much like a slogan than hands on help to me.”

~Dr. Laural Witley, Counselor

Nyman smirked. “Yeah, a little.” he said, referring her last comment.

“I guess it’s just… I’m used to being the one taking orders, not giving them. In my previous position I was given a certain amount of responsibility, sure, but I’ve always had someone I could defer to. Someone everyone else already believed in. I mean what if no one… ”

His thought trailed off for a bit. He thought for a moment, pacing over to the window near the back of the office. Looking outward for a moment before turning back toward Laural.

“How can I show the crew that they can depend me?”

~~~ Lieutenant Nyman

The therapist in Laural felt for Nyman. Starfleet didn’t exactly ask if any of them were emotionally ready for their postings, and while that was certainly to be expected for an organization that to her looked more ‘military’ than ‘quasi-military’ every day, it was also not an irrelevant or even minor factor when it came to successful missions. “I’m not trying to be cheeky here, but putting on my therapist’s hat for a moment, what do you think the answer to that might be? Why did they select you?”

~Dr. Laural Witley, Counselor

Until now, this is something he hadn’t considered. He knew why he had been assigned to this ship, more or less. But why had they assigned him to this specific position was some thing he hadn’t questioned.

“I think… Maybe it’s…” Nyman started, somewhat stumbling. He looked down and suddenly seemed very interested in the many ways his thumbs could still fidget while clasping his hands together.

“I’ve worked very hard to get where I’m at. To be good at what I do. To be a prod- to be a productive member of every crew I’ve been a part of.”

He looked up from his hands and let out a little laugh, “I don’t really have anything else in my life. None of the usual distractions. That’s probably why.”

~~~ Lieutenant Nyman

Laural found herself curious about the origin of his self-doubt. On the one hand, he recognized his hard work, but on the other, he seemed to immediately discount it. “I’m wondering why you so quickly dismiss your hard work? I don’t wish to try, but I can’t help but wonder if something happened your previous postings that would make you believe your promotion was the result of simply not having any other entanglements?”

~Dr. Laural Witley, Counselor

Lieutenant Nyman realized that maybe he had let too much slip with that last comment. She seemed to have picked up a little on his sense of regret. By choosing to become an officer, Nyman conceded that he would have to work harder than anyone to prove himself. All while being under constant scrutiny. This level of dedication didn’t leave him with time for much else.

“What I meant was,” he said, thinking carefully about his next words,

“I’d like to think it was because of my loyalty and commitment to my position, over everything else, that proved that I would be ready to handle this assignment. And I’d like to think I was just the best choice.”

There was still, in the back of his mind, that ever-present worry that in the eyes of Starfleet Command, he was nothing more than a curiosity. This position was just some kind of experiment, or technique for extracting information. He still wasn’t completely sure if he was one wrong move from a containment cell. This was the root of that self-doubt she had picked up on. Of course, he had no intention of outright saying so.

“Then again,” he continued, “It does make me a little… nervous… that I am coming in behind such an accomplished counselor such as yourself.”

~~~ Lieutenant Nyman, Counselor

Laural had no psionic abilities to speak of, but she had found her human intuion served her quite well, and right now, she had more than a hint that he was not saying as much as he was. Wit didn’t know what to do with that in this moment, and in her experience, that meant the best course of action was to do nothing for now. Focusing on his last statement, she took a beat before offering, “I’m not going to put a curse on you or vow to take you down, if that’s what you mean.” Her smile made it clear she was teasing. She was and always would be a team player, but as pragmatic she was, his appointment and self-doubt put her in an awkward position.

~Dr. Laural Witley, Counselor

“That’s a relief,” he said with a little laugh.

It almost slipped his mind how competitive certain humans could get. He, though, didn’t want to come across that way. The counseling department was a team, and he had every intention of them working together as a team.

“I really don’t look at it is me being your… ‘superior’ anyway, other than on paper of course.”

Nyman continued with more gentle smile and calm genuineness to his voice,

“You are more than qualified to fill in the gaps where I’m not necessarily the expert. And because of that, I really do look forward to working with you, Dr. Whitley.”

~~~ Lieutenant Nyman, Counselor

Laural’s smile was genuine. “I appreciate that, Lieutenant. As…complicated…as this situation is for me with all my mixed emotions, I know this isn’t easy for you either, and I appreciate the trust you’ve placed in me by sharing your own reservations. I hope you feel comfortable continuing to do that, as we all need someone we can confide in, and given our roles here, that can’t be just anyone. I too am not one to throw my weight around as long as the work gets done well, so I look forward to rolling up my sleeves alongside you.”

~Dr. Laural Witley, Counselor

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