Moving into a new office

Posted May 20, 2022, 4:22 p.m. by Ensign Kastarak (Doctor / Counsellor) (Richard A)

Posted by Captain Chris Taggart (Captain) in Moving into a new office

Posted by Ensign Kastarak (Doctor / Counsellor) in Moving into a new office

Posted by Captain Chris Taggart (Captain) in Moving into a new office
Posted by… suppressed (5) by the Post Ghost! 👻
OOC: This thread takes place after the T’Aria/Kastarak quarantine story has concluded but before the Chernov’s arrival to Risa

A few days ago, Kastarak received the necessary credentials. He was surprised, he did not expect them to have come so soon. He had received the credentials to perform psychotherapy, or counselling, as well as psychological assessment under supervision (from a remote supervisor at Star Fleet Medical Academy), and been allowed to continue his psychiatry residency that he had been forced to discontinue four years ago when joining Star Fleet Academy.

Back then when he joined Star Fleet Academy, he faced the speciecism from his human and other non-Vulcan leaders (it was mainly the humans…) when he told them he wanted to continue psychiatry residency as a medical doctor. After all, he had already studied it a few years on New Vulcan and had been assigned to a post-traumatic stress disorder unit at a hospital on New Vulcan where Vulcan refugees with severe emotional dysregulation due to PTSD were hospitalized and cared for. But the humans (and one Tellarite, and two Andorians, and one Caitian) stopped him from continuing with psychiatry.

“It’s not appropriate for non-Vulcans to see a Vulcan for their emotional needs. Really, you must understand that.”

“It’s bad enough enduring Vulcan bedside manner when dealing with orthopaedic issues, but when it’s matters of the heart and the soul, that’s just a no. We can’t condone that.”

The quotes went on and on. And while they did not officially ban Kastarak for pursing psychiatry, they made it absolutely clear that their recommendation was in a different direction, and Kastarak understood he had to abide by those recommendations.

Just a few months ago, just a few weeks after his work on the Tasmeen, Kastarak had been able to continue psychiatry – largely thanks to the support of his ER supervisor Dr Valkeapää who, while not understanding psychiatry very well saw Kastarak’s discrimination and pushed for his reinstatement. It worked, and Kastarak could begin some of the standard part-time courses. He passed the necessary exams to begin supervised practice on the Chernov.

Last night, the captain appointed him to the side role as ship counsellor, as the Chernov no longer had Ensign Dran on board. Her office had been totally cleared out – her many chairs were all gone (where, he wondered), and he found some help from Ensign Sutalo – his nurse colleague and somewhat friend – in arranging it.

A few hours of work, and the office was now Kastarak’s and in a different setting. It was much less busy, more minimalist, light and bright, but cozy at the same time, or so Sutalo would say.

“Are you ready to take on patients in this role now?” asked Sutalo, and Kastarak said “yes”.

Now he was ready to help mend not only bodies but minds.

– Ensign Kastarak (Medical officer/Counsellor/Psychiatrist under supervised practice)

Chris pushed to get Kastarak his certifications because the Chernov needed him and seeing that he was in his office he decided to greet him. Ringing the chime to enter Chris gathered himself.

Captain Chris Taggart CO

The door chimed already. It surprised Kastarak, though half a second later he had composed himself, purged the feeling. It was only logical that someone would come, now that he was allowed to do so.

“Enter!” he said, straightened out his uniform, and stood up in attention. Whoever his guest would be, it would be most honourable to show respect.

– Ensign Kastarak (dr/cns)

Chris came walking in with a fika tree. “Just wanted to give you a office warming present.” Sitting it down in the corner and turning back towards Kastarak. “You can move that to where you like. You know..” He shook shook his head. It was painfully obvious that there was something on his mind.

Captain Chris Taggart CO

“Thank you, captain,” said Kastarak. It was an appreciated gift – he was not used to getting gifts and thought he needed to treasure this one to show the captain he was appreciative of the gesture. Moreover, the tree would help the room feel more alive by releasing natural oxygen. Perhaps in time, there would be other plants to join this first one – the captain’s fika.

At the same time, Kastarak noticed that the captain seemed troubled. Kastarak did not want to overstep and say it out loud. He had heard rumours of a Romulan sect where “absolute candour” at every given time was their creed, but he was no such sectarian, though sometimes he wished he were. Sometimes – if not most of the time – absolute candour is the best way. It was a conundrum for Kastarak. Should he tell the captain what he’s noticing and offer time to talk? Or should he respect the dynamics of hierarchy and wait for the captain to initiate conversation?

But then, was not the captain’s body language and split sentences indicative of him already having initiated the topic?

“Would you like to sit down?” asked Kastarak, gesturing to the two armchairs facing each other by the windows. A small coffee table separated them, and there was a glass decanter of water and two empty glasses placed on the table. “I only have water to offer for now, but perhaps we could take a glass of water together.”

Chris smiled. “I’d like that. I’d like that very much.” As he walked over and sat down looking out into space.

In the end, Kastarak felt like he had not fully confronted the captain with what he noticed – he had experienced an emotion of fear, a fear of misinterpreting, a fear of overstepping and a fear of embarrassing himself. Kastarak took note of these emotions of fear – they were important and would help him guide himself to be a better counsellor. Hopefully, he thought, the captain would take on his offer, and begin telling him what was on his mind. If not, Kastarak would have to be a bit more confrontative. He hoped he didnt have to go that far. Then he purged those emotions, returned to a state of full serenity, and awaited the captain’s reply to his offer.

– Ensign Kastarak (Doctor/Counsellor)

He didn’t take the water, he just watched out into endless space for awhile and then he began to speak flatly without looking at Kastarak.
“Do you ever wonder what’s out there? Like really out there. We have come so far in the last hundred years but it is still an eyedropper drop into the biggest ocean. Maybe not even that much. Do you think that this universe is even more imphathomly huge because of time differences? Meaning that one that was here just a few months ago could easily be here, at this very point but a few years or more in the future?” Turning to look at Kastarak with tears in his eyes welling up.

“I miss them all greatly Kastarak. My wife, Kane and Warren.” He smiled briefly. “That’s what Kane called him. I never knew why, but it would always piss him off…Mwezi. Mwezi was his name. I was the Chief Medical Officer of the Chernov when I got married and lost my wife, Nave, on our honeymoon in Risa. I woke up in the hospital with all this hardware attached to me. Apparently I almost died as well. I didn’t even have time to process what happened before I was transported back to the Chernov as the new XO. Then mission after bloody mission with no time to grieve and heal.” He took a sop of water then continued.

“But I didn’t have time to. I couldn’t let down the crew and fail. Then one day I promoted to Captain and given command of the Chernov. Every since then was the same as when I was the XO. Bloody mission after bloody mission. Then my two best friends died. I lost it a couple times, briefly. I’m sure the current CMO filled you in on my recent display of emotional weakness. I need help Kastarak. I can’t continue like this…” he was crying now…”I just can’t!” He put his head down and covered his face with his hands.

Captain Chris Taggart CO

While Chris spoke, Kastarak listened in silence. It seemed important to simply anchor Chris. This very second, Chris was no captain, no man in command over Kastarak, but simply a man with a lot of pain inside of him, a man in a sudden emotional crisis. It appeared to Kastarak as though Chris had experienced much loss – the deaths of the closest people in his life, a wife, friends, colleagues – people that he loved – and with emotional scars that have in no way healed. The loss appeared as sharp now as it did at the time of the loss.

At this point, Chris was in an emotional crisis. As such, it would not be the wisest time to try and sooth Chris’s emotions, but simply to help him acknowledge the loss and pain in him.

Kastarak was deeply unsure of how to approach Chris in this situation. On one hand, his instinct told him that he should devise a plan for analysing the problem followed by treatment. On the other hand, this is crisis right now. Perhaps it would be best to simply allow Chris the space to explore these thoughts and feelings in a safe manner, without the rigidity of plans and goals.

“You carry a great load of pain and loss within you,” said Kastarak softly, acknowledging what Chris had said, and remembering the time that Chris turned up in a crisis to Sickbay, with his broken bionic arm, and a panic attack caused him to faint. Moreover, Chris described despair for the future, and conveyed existential thoughts. Could Chris perhaps have suicidal ideation? Did he think of his own death as a liberation from this pain? Did he have plans? Kastarak took a note of these questions in his mind, and decided to be aware of them for the rest of the conversation.

Yet Kastarak, despite his analysis of the situation, was at a loss of how to talk to Chris in this. Chris was human, and was acting extremely human-like. None of Kastarak’s patients in residency on New Vulcan were humans, they were Vulcans, and Vulcans in distress communicate in rather different ways. It was difficult for Kastarak, but he hoped his outward serenity would be strong enough to help anchor Chris in the moment, and feel safe in this situation, and be able to share more of his pain and loss, and to give Kastarak more information. Now was not the time to come with advice and make interventions. Now was the time to listen.

Chris was re-acting to trauma, to pain, to loss, to doubts of identity. But something caused him to disgorge this from his mind. Had something happened, or was it that Kastarak simply appeared safe and trusting, and this was enough to trigger this reaction in Chris?

“I am here with you,” said Kastarak. “Please continue. I am here.”

– Ensign Kastarak (doctor / counsellor)

Wiping away his tears and looking up. “Of course I carry a great load on me! It is my decisions that result in the deaths of the crew. Mine alone! Sure I didn’t pull the trigger so to speak but I ordered those brave beings to battle or it was my decisions in battle that resulted in their untimely deaths. It was not my fault that my wife died. I did try to save her. That was just a freak accident.”

He stood up quickly. “But Kane and Mwezi!” He shouted. “I couldn’t do a single damn thing and when I did try to save Kane, he must have realized that something was coming and punched me hard in the face to let go of him. I didn’t let go but was pushed back fast enough to miss what happened to him happen to me. All that was left of him was his hand! His hand Kastarak! Now it is floating in my tank with my body parts.” Pulling his hair a little with both of his hands.

“How does a person just decenigrate? Just atomize to nothing! There was no blood, no anything!” He started walking around the room looking a crazy eyed. “That’s why I think Kane and Mwezi were transported somewhere else! To a different time and place in space.” He stopped and looked directly at Kastarak.

“That’s how I know and believe time travel is real Kastarak. You just can’t atomize to nowhere! Right? Right?”

Captain Chris Taggart CO

Kastarak was curious as to what had triggered this strong emotional reaction right now. Was it because the ship was approaching/orbiting Risa (OOC: I’m not sure when this post is set, but I think we’re either approaching Risa or orbiting – you decide which Travis as whatever reason you have for Chris’s reaction might be related to events on the surface, or it may not....)? Or were the other reasons? Had he somehow triggered this himself?

While Chris spoke, Kastarak imagined rather vividly what had happened when Nave died, when Kane died, and when Mwezi died. The latter two deaths seemed more difficult for Chris, as if they were not fully processed. Perhaps it was because the Chris had no proof that they were dead. Like he said, I think Kane and Mwezi were transported somewhere else! To a different time and place in space. Those were echoed in Kastarak’s mind as he tried to process his client’s thoughts and feelings.

“Do you have any other indications that that might have happened?”

– Ensign Kastarak (doctor / counsellor)

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