MD #221: Poking the Bear
MD #221: Poking the Bear
Summary: Dr. Stone calls Captain (or is it Ensign?) Wescott to her office to discuss the fall out of the minor (not so minor) altercation on Mother.
Date: Tue 14/Nov/2017 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: http://battlestarorion.wikidot.com/breakfast-meeting
Samtara Melissa 
CMO's Office - Deck 3 - Battlestar Orion
Deck plating of the same composite that spans the length of the ship is softened with a miniscule area rug placed between the desk and the door. The wall to the left holds a large screen that interfaces with the data and communication system. The wall to the right holds a large whiteboard that is retained as much for sentiment as practicality. Storage lockers are stacked side by side beneath each board, the tops of which serve as additional space along with room for a coffee maker. A pair of comfortably worn chairs take up the floor space to either side of the door and a sleek looking desk faces the door itself with a desk chair that looks as well worn as the two visitor chairs that flank the door.
Fri 01/Jun/2049

Leaving the door to her office open, Sam has a fresh pot of coffee brewing and is standing in front of the large screen to the left of the door, a pensive look on her faces. A series of diagnostic images are displayed on the screen along with outlines for physical therapy and charting intake. The surgeon is holding her datapad in one hand and tapping the surface with the edge of one fingertip while updating both her notes and the files on display.

Melissa shows up at the door as requested. She taps a knuckle on the door as she enters. "Doctor Stone," she greets casually. The Captain wore her blues down. Its not every day the Chief Medical Officer asks to see you, after all. She doesn't have anything like her tablet or gear with her. She just stands by the door and glances to the screen, then back. "You wanted to see me?" That familiar Pican twang. Sam could swear its her mother standing there.

"Yes, and please come in, have a seat," Sam replies as she pauses the display on her tablet and removes her reading glasses to fold and hooks the frames over the collar of the shirt she's wearing. "Would you care for some coffee, Captain?" she offers as she moves the few feet to the side to set out a fresh cup to use and tops off the one she's currently working on.

Melissa turns to the door and closes it without request. If she's going ot be sitting she probably would prefer not to have someone just walking up behind her. The Captain looks healthy, though. Still some lingering cheek numbness from her ejection on Calumet, but otherwise healed. "I'm okay without the coffee for now. Thank you, Doctor." Taking the seat, she crosses her legs and sits back. "hand seems to be pretty well healed. Been a little stiff but its about 95 percent."

Making a mild noise that is mostly noncommittal about the declined offer of caffeine, Sam carries her cup with her and takes the seat that mirrors the one that Melissa claims, keeping the conversation space informal. "That's the downside to the use of our appendages in physical confrontations. No matter how well balanced the application of force to point of impact, there's lingering damage from repeated blunt force applications." She exhales a mild breath then fixes a long, pensive, look at the captain. "I didn't know your mother all that well. Which is to say that I knew her, as in who she was and what her assignment was in general, but on a personal level, I more knew who she was in relation to the number of times she ended up in recovery or for other actions not always duty related. And if I'm right, you've had more than one conversation in the last week from one officer after another, some of whom knew your mother, or thought they did, or didn't at all but infer or imply. People, in general, mean well, even if they don't approach the conversation in a way that goes as intended. And with this, I'm attempting to convey the observation that while in some ways you remind me of your mother, I never had a one on one conversation with her in this manner. And in many ways, both big and small, you are very much different from her, more mature in some ways more reasoned in others. So to see the sheer scope of the damage done," and she waves her free hand to the images on display, "raises a series of questions and tugs at a thread of deeper inquiry."

Melissa folds her hands, leaning back at touch as she listens to Doctor Stone. Her eyes stay focused on the woman but glance down when mom is brought up into this. "I've heard from people that knew her well that we're pretty different but we look pretty similar. Early on, people confused her voice with mine on the radio. Spooked some of the old vets." She sort of avoids the last.. and sort of does not. "I just knocked a couple teeth out, right? Broke his nose? I mean I just kept hitting him. I don't.. know.." Melissa stops before she digs herself deep. "What inquiry?"

Sam reaches for her datapad and taps at the screen briefly until the display behind her changes to side by side diagnostic images. "The patient on the left received blunt force trauma to groin and stomach, severe bruising is the lasting result, he'll be ok more or less in about another week. The bruising will go down slowly but it'll fade, nothing lasting that can't be eased over time." She highlights the second patient's scans, "Patient number two," she looks up and pins a thoughtful look at Melissa, "do you want to know their names, by the way?" she wonders in a curious aside before continuing with the rather lengthy recitation of the injuries, corresponding lingering and lasting damage and then current plans for continuing medical care. Sam keeps the medical terminology to a minimum, outlining the real condition and status before she sums up with, ".. presuming that the blindness becomes partial and no other brain or motor functions have lasting impact or impaired function, the patient could return to his former occupation in no less than another six weeks. At minimum. Until then has has no way to work or support himself or anything else in that matter. For most working adults," she says as she sets the datapad aside, "being out of work for a week would be a hardship. Out of work for a month could be financially crippling. Two months? It can take a year or more to recover, financially. With the was the economy stands, such as it is, I have no idea what this will mean to him, long and short term, but it makes me wonder if someone who can't work can actually survive with the way things are now." She falls silent again, searching the captain's face, "Were you aware of the scope of the injuries?"

She recognizes the guy on the left. Her eyes narrow at seeing him. Its clear that there is some held animosity there. She does have to double-take at the guy next to him. "No, not interested in names," is breathed. Her hand lifts and covers her lips as she stares and listens. There's a lot to be said about the silence and the growing, sickly feeling within. Samtara can tell that Melissa was really not aware of how badly she had hurt him. Or permanently mess him up. That face is going to be burned into the back of her eyelids for a long time. 'I did that.' The finaly question gets a subtle shake of her head. "No, I had no idea. Oh my Gods. I just kept hitting him over.. and over.." She had blood spittle and splash on her face, uniform, all over her hands, too. It was even in her hair. "It didn't even really register that I might've actually hurt him til the next morning when I woke up."

"Our actions, thought word deed, have consequences. To ourselves. To those we interact with. Some are lasting, some are transient, some are just.." Sam moves one hand in a subtle wave, "fleeting. Some," she tips her head slightly, "will stay with you for the rest of your life. You can't take back what you did. You can't change it, and you can't make it better. You did what you did for a reason, and while I don't know the point by point what and why, I'd prefer to think that you had a good reason to strike out in the first place. But what worries me is why you didn't have a stopping point."

Melissa looks away and down from the face, no longer wanting to see it. Sam might have trouble being able to tell if its out of disgust with the face or herself, or if she even feels anything other than not wanting to see it. She keeps her emotions schooled deeply and hidden. "I had my reasons, yeah." The pilot drops her hand and folds them once more in her lap. The last has her look directly to Sam with that flat expression. Its the same expression a lot of aircrew and Marines get when they are worried that what they say might get them revoked from duty. "You know I can't agree with that statement, sir. Not in uniform and in your office. I'm guessin you probably know why, too."

"Three words," Sam agrees with a nod, tapping the screen of her datapad once more and this time pulling up Melissa's own chart. "I'm not the resident psychologist for a reason, Captain. I'm a surgeon and aside from that I'm a general practitioner as needed, all around hands on deck in times of war. What am I to put in your chart as reasonable rationale for what and why? If I declare you medically unfit for duty until you undergo a scheduled course of therapy sessions it removes you from flight status and possibly endangers the rest of your wing and through that this ship and the lives of the fleet at large. If I refrain from declaring you so, the risk to your on-going mental and emotional health could continue to mount until you have another moment like this," she reaches for her cup of coffee and sits in contemplative silence again for a moment before asking: "What's your solution to this? Where do you go from here?"

The more Melissa hears, the more she starts to crack that facade. There's anger brewing on her face. Nothing violent, but there is real frustration. There's no shying away from the CMO now, eyes meeting Sam's. "Doctor, I've been stripped of leadership of my squadron. That's gone. My chances of ever making CAG, let alone Admiral, are pretty much toast due to my actions. To make it better, I'm probably going to be demoted to Ensign. I've taken all this in stride and I think I've done a very healthy job of being professional about this. Want something to put in my file? How about 'Don't insult the memory of a dead woman, who did her best under the worst circumstances, to the face of a grieving daughter.' Does that work for how I go forward?" Every word spoken as flat as possible.

"You're angry. That's good. That's healthy. That's real," Sam replies in the same conversational tone of voice. "The question that remains is this: Where is your line between angry enough to need to vent and angry enough to chew steel, spit out tacks and punch peoples faces in until their bones are shattered?"

Melissa hold her expression. "Yeah, its real. Ever feel cornered, like someone is waiting for you to pivot the wrong direction so they can trap you? I'm a pilot, Doctor. I don't like this." She seems to mean it. Wescott looks very uncomfortable, unwilling to commit to anything like an answer. She just clams up and seems to want to leave.

"I do, actually. From real experience of actually being held prisoner to ones such as this, that are as much professional as they are personal. Which is why I'm talking to you," Sam explains after setting her coffee cup aside and leaning slightly forward. "Anyone who says that they understand what you're going through? They're full of shit. No one understands. Because what you're going through is unique, it's internal, it's real, it's personal, and it's your journey. It's your life. People who have similar experiences are similar, but it is not the same. No two emotional experiences are identical. Ever. It's one of the few absolutes that I feel are genuinely valid. No. I don't know what you're going through, exactly. Nor do you know what I'm going through, exactly. Or anyone else on this ship, anywhere, ever. We assume. We presume. We infer. We guess. We summarize. We theorize. We fake it and hope that we're right. And no," she leans back slightly again, "you don't like this. And there's absolutely no reason why you should. But here's the thing, and this is the part that's going to matter. You have to own this." She waits a beat then sighs, "You have to own your emotions, your responses, your anger, your rage, all of it. You have to own it. And then you have to figure out how to channel it and either burn it off in a controlled way and use it as fuel, or it's going to burn your life down to the ashes. You feel like this has already taken everything away from you? Captain, there's always - always - something else that can be taken away. There's always one more step, one more thing. You want to hold on to what you have left and see where you can go from here? Then you have to own this and figure out how to control it, and not let it control you. Your emotional state can't be taking a turn at the wheel, to use a metaphor. Use the rage, don't let it use you. IF there's a next time, do you want to be standing with me in the morgue staring down at some idiot who just couldn't stop yanking on your chain? Because that's as likely an outcome as what could have happened. One lucky shot to the nose and cartilage is in the brain and you're up on manslaughter charges."

Melissa frowns again, still staring at the Doctor. She still looks like she might get up any second and walk out. The discomfort is nearly a taste in the air. "I didn't ask for anyone's empathy. I didn't ask for anyone's sympathy, either. I'm not asking people to go easy on me, Doctor. I'm also not behaving like a child and throwing tantrums. I'm a godsdamned Captain in the Colonial Fleet. If one of MY," and she sticks a thumb to her chest, "did what I did? I'd want the exact same thing from her that I ave been doing. Own it by not denying it. Face it and hold your head up. Yeah I feel like shit but that doesn't mean I need ot go on a drinking binge to highlight my inability to control myself." Sam wanted emotion, now she has it. Her voice isn't raised, but the intensity has rocketed up. "I'm well aware I can lose a lot more. Maybe one day if I'm lucky I can officially command a squad again. And how I use my rage is up to me. You said you won't understand it, then just leave it alone." She pauses, nearly biting the last word, "Sir."

"You know that I can't do that," Sam replies in a solemn voice. "Medically speaking, you know that I can't. I'm recommending to the CAG that you have a minimum of therapy sessions with one of our staff psychologists. I'm not, at present, recommending that you be removed from flight status. That recommendation will remain on hold as long as you make your appointments on schedule, combat situations permitting of course. But you will be required to attend a minimum of the appointments scheduled and, pending the recommendations from there, further actions will be reviewed."

Melissa's anger suddenly fades. It goes deceptively calm and very suddenly. "Wonderful. Then I know that the next time I have a problem, or a pilot comes to me for advice on who they should talk to, I can make a very well-educated recommendation on who they should and should not talk to. As much as I appreciate you holding my flight status over my head, its been noted, Doctor. I absolutely look forward to my therapy sessions where absolutely nothing negative could possibly come from it and no pilot has ever regretted a visit." Melissa stands from the chair. "Am I free to go now, Doctor?"

The expression on Sam's face remains that of calm assessment, waiting out the expected response until the pilot rises from the chair with the request to leave. "You're excused," she says in a mild tone of voice, one eyebrow arched subtly as she waits to see just precisely how the pilot comports herself on her way out.

Melissa stares at the Doctor for a full second after the pilot has been excused, then turns to leave. She departs and carefully closes the door as if nothing had occurred inside. Melissa has been the perfect officer for ten years, not a single mark on her record, and the literal poster-girl for the Navy. Stuffing emotions down is probably old hat for her by now.

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