Psychology: Parris Island Style
Mission 2: Heaven On Earth
Location: Counseling Offices
Maddy, having just successfully completed her phaser qualifications, awaited someone who probably had done so with far less trouble, Captain Azhul. I wonder how Gunny feels about having a woman, a Bajoran woman at that, as a boss? She wondered, though she wouldn't dare voice that thought to him. As she waited, she made some tea for them both, hoping this would be a great experience for both of them.
Naxea sighed heavily as she approached the counseling office belonging to a Cadet Masters. She hated psychologists and these damned required exams. She pressed the door chime harder than she wanted.
"Come in, please." Maddy greeted cheerfully, taking a seat in her big chair as she did, "Welcome Captain!"
"Thank you," Naxea replied, remaining diplomatic as she entered. She wanted to be anywhere but trapped in an office with a counselor...or a 'shrink' as she have heard some of her troops refer to counselors as.
Maddy was a little ashamed of herself as she realized the first thing she'd noticed about this accomplished woman was that she was, in a word, stunning, "So, would you like some tea before we get started?"
"I'd go for a cup of Raktajino instead," Naxea replied. "I've never been a fan of tea--not much taste to them."
"Okay, raktajino it is." Maddy smiled, "Hope replicated is okay." Why can't I keep my eyes off of her? Damn it, Granola, focus! She laughed a little, realizing her psyche had just called her by the nickname Gunny gave her; she wondered if the little voice in her head would start to sound like him.
"So is there any specific reason for this meeting?" Naxea asked as Masters got the raktajino. "I do have quite a bit to do before the Elysium departs."
"Just need some psych evals done by order of the Chief Counselor." Maddy replied with a smile, "I asked for you since we've got a mutual friend, Gunny Rhodes."
"Ah, how do you know Rhodes?" Naxea asked as she was handed the raktajino. "Thank you."
"I was one of the draftee riflepeople, Captain." Maddy reminded her, "So this isn't our first meeting, either, just our first formal one."
"Ah, now I remember," Naxea replied. "Sorry, it's been a hectic time since I've come aboard. As I recall, you seemed close with Cadet Robeson. I'm sorry--he was a good kid."
"Was?" Maddy raised an eyebrow, then realized the Captain, who Mark would be serving under after graduation, hadn't heard, "You mean nobody told you? Mark is alive. He's in stasis and that's why they emergency transferred Dr. Strode here, she's one of the top three neurosurgeons in Starfleet. She's already started working on regrowing and restarting the damaged areas of his brain. Isn't that the best news?"
"He's alive?" Naxea said, sitting forward, her anger rising at not being told. "No, nobody told me, I'm going to find who dropped the ball on that, trust me. But yes, it is good news to he hear Robeson will be recovering--he is very lucky."
"It's been a long road for him, and it's going to be a lot longer." Maddy said honestly, "But if you want information, Doctor Strode would be your best option. Don't worry, she's brilliant. That's why Admiral Brett sent her here to us."
"Thank you. I intend to speak to him and Robeson," Naxea said, before pausing for a moment. "So are you two in a relationship?"
"Her. Dr. Strode is a woman." Maddy said proudly, "And, no, I mean, I was trying to get his attention obviously, he's just a beautiful example of a person, but he seemed kind of oblivious to me. And aren't I the one who's supposed to be asking the questions?"
"I'm not normally the one to suggest who hooks up with who, but if he's oblivious to you, then you aren't trying hard enough. Don't beat around the bush--just ask him. Life is too short otherwise. As for asking questions, ask them," Naxea replied before taking a long sip of her raktajino.
Not only was this woman beautiful, she was also fierce; Maddy wished she could be like that. But, that would lead her into the actual exam, so it was a good opening if nothing else, "So, is it always that simple for you, Captain?" She asked, "Just see what you want and just go after it? What do you guys call that... don't tell me... I know... Hung chao?"
Naxea stifled a chuckle. "Do you mean gung ho? And yes, I do go after things I want. I learned at an early age how fragile life is. When most kids on other planets would be playing games, I was learning to survive."
"You grew up under the occupation." Maddy stated what was now very obvious, "How does that affect you now? Nightmares? Sleeplessness? Any paranoia? How do you feel about the Cardassians and the other Dominion races?"
"Cardassians can never be forgiven for what they did to my people," Naxea said sharply. "Even though I have a younger half-cardassian brother. As for the Dominion, I trust them about as much as a Ferengi in a business negotiation." She paused as she took another sip of raktajino. "As for nightmares, no I haven't had any in over a year."
"That's good." Maddy nodded, setting down her PADD, "You know, a few short weeks ago I would've been horrified by what you just said, but now, after what we went through with the Romulans, I mean, I know we're supposed to be accepting of other cultures, but right now I know I would get tense if I was around a strange Romulan. I mean, is that awful, or is it normal, do we have PTSD or what?" Maddy realized now that this was no longer a proper counseling exam, but a survivor's support group. She also realized that Captain Azhul was fine to continue her duties, yeah, she was nuts, but to do this sort of thing you had to be.
"It's normal. It was your first time in combat and that is something you never forget," Naxea began. "It changes you from the first shot. Your feelings will likely pass after time passes, so I doubt it's PTSD--I've seen enough people suffer from that in my life to know it when I see it. Thing is, you should be proud--you're alive and you didn't get anyone killed."
"I am. But I feel bad about it." Maddy began, "I mean, my whole life to that point was about pacifism, non-violence, and helping people. But when Gunny Rhodes slapped that rifle in my arms, told me 'Stock tight against the shoulder for accuracy, squeeze the trigger slowly, this end towards enemy' all I wanted to do was live. At that moment, nothing but my own survival mattered. I've never been so terrified in my existence..."
Realizing she'd begun to cry, Maddy wiped the tears away from her eyes with a nearby tissue, "You know what?" She began, "I don't need to examine you anymore, Captain, you're beyond fit for duty. Let's just go get a drink and see if we can't make ourselves feel better the old fashioned way."
Naxea couldn't help herself but smile at the young woman. "Sure. I believe you're going to do just fine in Starfleet, Ms. Masters," she replied as she stood.
"I think so, too." Madelaine smiled, "And not just because Starfleet is such a forward thinking, feminist organization that advocates female leadership, either, but because I've survived this long without Gunny killing me." She laughed and opened the door for the Captain, if nothing else she was going to enjoy getting to know this woman.