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Catalyst

Posted on Wed Jun 19th, 2019 @ 10:34pm by Lieutenant Christine Descharmes & Ensign Jiang Ying Yue & Lieutenant JG Isabelle Veran PhD

Mission: Points Of Light
Location: Shanghai Counseling Offices
Timeline: before "Back in the Saddle, Part 2"

ON:

Christine scowled. A nap hadn't done anything to appease her current mood. She was still tired and feeling a bit off, something she hadn't been able to shake. She stood with hands in pockets, looking around the counseling offices back on the Shanghai. In reality, it hadn't been actually been that long, but to her it seemed forever and she was glad to be back.

Isabelle walked into the Counselling offices, she sensed Christine before she saw her offering a smile as she made her way to Christine's office. "Is everything alright?" She looked at Christine curiously.

At the sound of the voice, Christine jumped and turned around. She must have been seriously lost in thought as she hadn't heard her approach. "Fine," she answered quickly and was probably more blunt than she should have been. She eyed her for a few seconds. "How are things going here?"

“So far so good” Isabelle offered a smile. “Though I do have to ask why it is you have ignored several requests from Starfleet for a psyche evaluation on Commander Barnes? I have since arranged to see the Commander myself.”

"What?" she snapped, her attention now coming back into focus."You went behind my back?"

“No I did what Starfleet have ordered the counselling department to do.” Isabelle looked at Christine concernedly. “Is that a problem?”

Christine stared at her for a full minute. She raised an eyebrow. "Excuse me? The last time I checked I was still the department head. And it has to go through me!" Her voice raised, unintentionally though and a look of panic crossed her face. She took her hands out of her pockets and crossed her arms in front of her. She began to pace her office. She didn't say the other thought that crossed her mind. She quashed the feeling of intense jealousy that suddenly flared up as she turned around and looked Isabelle up and down. Christine shook her head. "You went behind my back," she said, with as much calmness as she could muster. "Why did you not talk to me before you messaged my--before you messaged him?" She began to pace again.

“You’re jealous?” Isabelle looked at Christine surprised. “Is there something going on between Commander Barnes and yourself? Is that why you haven’t done his psychological evaluation or is there more to it than that?”

She paused. Her back was to the other counselor, she was facing the desk and the wall behind it. "Stay out of my head," she said abruptly. "It's a personal relationship and that's not the only reason. And that's not the point."

"For reference Lieutenant I wasn't in your head, I can feel your emotions quite plainly." Isabelle held out a PADD she was holding. "As for going behind your back, you left me with a pile of PADDs to work from most of which contained orders from Starfleet wanting an evaluation of Commander Barnes. The last of which threatened an investigation of yourself and the counselling department if the evaluation wasn't on their desk by a certain date. That date is fast approaching and as such I am fulfilling Starfleet's orders."

Christine turned around and roughly grabbed the PADD that she held out, briefly skimming it before she tossed it onto her desk. She stared at it for awhile, sticking her hands in her pockets as she was about to start fidgeting and she needed to keep them still. "They didn't give me enough time!" she cried out, her voice shaking. "You...don't understand."

"Then enlighten me." Isabelle looked at Christine trying to keep her calm and not let Christine's mood rub off on her. "What is it I'm not understanding?"

"All right, fine," she said. She stared at Isabelle for a while, and pulled her hands out of her pockets. She fiddled with the ring on the left hand nervously. "It's...complicated. James and I have a history. I thought he was dead up until three weeks ago. I'm..I'm still trying to process that."

“Okay I guess I can see how awkward that must be for you, but Starfleet won’t take any more excuses Christine.” Isabelle sighed. “Tell me more about this....history, the two of you have.”

She began to pace again, still playing with her ring. "It's not awkward. That's..not why I did it. I just wanted more time. I just..." Christine paused, both in speech and in her fidgeting. She crossed her arms tightly in front of her. "I know what it looks like." She shook her head and turned back to Isabelle. "I would call it off and on? We met when I was a bartender on the first Shanghai, before it was destroyed a few years ago. We'd date and then he'd leave on one of his super secret I-can't-tell-you-where-I'm-going missions. Except the last time. He didn't come back. He left without saying good-bye. And then he disappeared for three years." Her voice started shaking, her bottom lip trembling.

“So you thought if he was alive he’d have contacted you to say so.” Isabelle nodded. “Why don’t you sit down Christine, pacing backwards and forwards isn’t going to help.” She motioned to the seats. “So you assumed he was dead. So what happened between you when you found out he was alive?”

"Yes..that's..it," she paused, confused. Christine sat down in the closest seat, she fidgeted with her hands still, spinning her ring around with the thumb and index finger of her right hand. It was strange having the roles reversed in her own office. "Nothing," she admitted. "I couldn't do anything. On Cyen. He was a captive. I was part of the diplomatic detail with Mei. We spent five minutes together. Alone. And then eight days with our every move monitored." She frowned, remembering how she felt when she first saw him. "I--was angry. The first few days. That he just showed up again. I just shoved what I really felt away."

"And now?" Isabelle studied Christine and the way she kept spinning the ring on her finger. "Where do the two of you stand now? Are you afraid to conduct his psychological evaluation? would your feelings cloud your objectiveness?"

"Where do we stand now? What kind of question is that?" she asked, glancing over at Isabelle. Her eyes were unnerving and the way she kept looking at her. It only caused her to fidget even more. "Do you conduct psych evals with those whom you've had a personal relationship? I didn't realize they allowed that now. " It was sarcastic, laced with a bit of anger.

"That's not what I meant Christine and you know it!!" Isabelle couldn't help but feel that Christine was accusing her of being after her man. "I don't have any personal interest in Commander Barnes" She looked away. "I don't have any interest in men right now." She turned back around. "And no, I wouldn't conduct an evaluation on someone with whom I was involved. Why didn't you ask anyone else to do it for you?"

Christine shifted in her seat and turned to look at her. She paused for a minute. "Well, I'm not that offended if you did have an interest..He's a very attractive man," she said finally. She was curious about her following statement but switched her thoughts to the last question. "He told me where he had been. And I have a good feeling what that kind of place does to someone. He told me he wasn't ready."

"All the more reason to get him some help!" Isabelle sighed. "You've left both yourself and the Commander open to investigation at the highest level. I'm just trying to help sort it out."

"I don't know what to say," Christine admitted. She stood up again and began to pace, shoving her hands back in her pocket.

"Give me permission to continue with my evaluation." Isabelle looked at Christine. "Let's make it official and then we can talk about you. You're obviously not coping with your responsibilities as Counsellor right now, you can't help others when you don't know how to help yourself."

She still paced, although much slower and less frantic than she had been. Christine turned to her, took her left hand out and waved it around. "Fine," she said,"We'll do it your way. But I don't want the report crossing my desk. I..don't want to know if it's a pass or a fail. Just...send it directly. And go easy on him. I'm the one who has to live with him."

"Do you think I'm on a witch hunt here?" Isabelle looked at Christine. "I'm just trying to do my job! I'm not here to cause you or the Commander any problems okay?"

"Fine!" she cried out, then lowered her voice, "Fine. You're just doing your job. Just..do whatever you do. I'll stop...avoiding it."

"Very well" Isabelle nodded. "Do you want to talk to me some more about you or would you prefer to wait for another time?"

Christine hesitated. She didn't know what she wanted at this point. She frowned. Before she could formulate an answer however, the XO's voice came over the comm, calling for a senior staff meeting. "Well, that answers that question," she said and moved towards the door. She paused at the entrance, composing herself first. "Talk to Jiang if you need anything."

“I will thank you” Isabelle offered a brief smile.

Jiang, busy with a few tasks in the main area of the counseling offices, watched as Christine left her office. "Lieutenant Descharmes," the petite woman said, rushing over to her superior officer and holding up a padd. "I just have a question about-" but was stopped in her tracks just a foot from Christine as the latter gave her a stern look.

"What?" Christine said and none too politely either. She saw the padd in hand and took it from her, glancing over the data it contained. "I told you to take care of this," she said and thrust it back at Ensign Jiang with such force that she was made to take a step backwards. "Don't come to me with every little thing! Figure it out yourself! That's what they teach at the Academy, isn't it?" she snapped, brushing past the younger counselor. She didn't intend for it to come out the way it sounded, but she was in a rush now and didn't want to be late to the staff briefing.

Jiang stood there for a minute, her mouth opened and closed but with no sound and her almond-shaped eyes wide with both fear and surprise. She watched the door hiss shut behind Christine. Her dark eyes darted around the room, there were no witnesses to..whatever this scene was and for the moment, she was at a loss.

“Are you alright?” Isabelle appeared at the doorway, she’d been just approaching the door as she’d heard Christine speaking to Jiang.

Jiang turned to the office door and the voice that spoke. It was the redheaded counselor, she hadn't really spoken to her much outside of a few short hellos since Jiang transferred three weeks ago. "I don't know," Ying answered, running her hand through her short, black hair. "I'm just...ever since she came back from Cyen she's been so up and down. "

Isabelle nodded. "So I've seen. Was there something you needed? Is there anything I can do to help you?"

Jiang paused. "Not really," she admitted. She looked down at the padd in her hand and scrolled through some of the information. After a few minutes, she looked back up. "There were just...some psychology papers on PTSD she wanted me to find. I just had something I wanted to confirm. I'll just put it on her desk. So. Nothing. I'll wait until she's back." She stopped talking suddenly, realizing she was rambling on in her usual way. "Is everything going to be okay?"

"To be honest...I'm not sure." Isabelle shrugged her shoulders. "Did she want the PTSD papers for anything in particular?"

She paled, her already porcelain skin whiter than it already was. "I don't know. She doesn't tell me anything. I assumed it would be for a patient but she didn't seem that interested in it now. I mean, I just run errands right now and thought she might be finally allowing me a patient of my own. Usually I'm just dropping off stuff in her office. Like this padd. Or messages from the communication center." Jiang paused in her speech, tilted her head and her eyes grew wide. "Wait. Stop the shuttle for a second. Is this about the communique from Starfleet? I mean, no, I didn't read anything," she fumbled over the last sentence, realizing she gave away the fact that she snooped.

"So Christine saw the communique or was it just you?" Isabelle looked at Jiang. "You're not the one in trouble here, I just need to know what's going on so I can do my job and help Christine too."

She shifted from one foot to the next, she hated being under intense scrutiny. I said too much, she thought. "I don't know what you want me to say," she said, finally. It was a long silence. Jiang hated awkward silences. One of the reasons she usually rambled on. "I read it on the way from the communication center on Seppala. She asked me about it later. What's going on?"

"All I can say for sure is that I think Christine needs help." Isabelle sighed. "I think she's stressed and finding her workload hard to bear at present. As for the PTSD I might have an idea on that too."

"That explains a lot. So a patient?" Jiang asked. "You probably shouldn't tell me who. But can I help? I like her, she's a nice person."

"To be honest I'm not sure what to do for the best." Isabelle shook her head and sighed. "I think Christine needs help but it's convincing her of that fact that's going to be the hard part."

Jiang nodded. "Okay. I mean, whatever you want me to do. Just ask. I'm supposed to be making your job easier anyway."

“I don’t want you getting into trouble Jiang, I wasn’t planning on causing any trouble either but I think I might have to speak with the Captain. It might be the only way to get Christine to seek the help that she needs.”

:OFF

Lieutenant Christine Descharmes
Chief Counselor, USS Shanghai

Lieutenant Isabelle Veran, Ph.D
Counselor, USS Shanghai

Ensign Jiang Ying Yue
Counselor & Counselor's Aide, USS Shanghai

 

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