PWD #02: We Need To Talk About Ari
We Need To Talk About Ari
Summary: Duke has a meeting with Iphigenia concerning Aristides Cole, and learns something about himself in the process.
Date: 03/01/13
Related Logs: None
Duke Iphigenia 
Conference Room
A conference room on the Orion.
IC Date

Duke said that he would have a quick talk with Gen about Cole, and his visit right now is to discuss this. However, since the visit takes place by the end of the day, it is more than likely that more personal matters will be discussed as well. As he steps into the Chapel, the man wears his Duty Blues, looking as having received the punishment that normally takes place on the day to day. He marches towards the back room that is normally used for counselling sessions and the man knocks on the door, waiting for Gen to respond…if she's there of course.

The appointment was made and thus it is kept. "Come in." is the soft response. Gen is scrawling notes on a pad in shorthand, and looks up to see Duke when he walks in. "Ah." she says, pleased. "Major, on time as ever."

Duke closes the door behind himself and then looks at Gen, offering a polite smile "I don't like to keep people waiting, Lieutenant" Nor he likes to wait…so, that works. The man steps further inside the office, looking at a chair that is now, empty "May I sit?" asks the DCAG, offering a gentle smile to Gen.

"Of course." she says promptly. "You wanted to speak to me about Lieutenant Cole? I'm at your disposal…to a degree."

And the man takes a seat, nodding his head after that "Yes, I wish to talk about Lieutenant Cole…I want to know, well, whatever you can tell me." Then he nods "To a degree…"

"I imagine foremost on your mind is the question of whether he's fit to be flying." Iphigenia says matter-of-factly. "The answer to your question is yes. I think he proved that during the Reese mission, in point of fact."

"Yes, that is my question." says Duke, considering Gen's last words after that "But no, the Reese alone is not proof enough, there are many different scenarios in which he could have issues. Which is why I come to you for answers." He sits back on his chair "His performance with the Reese was admirable, that goes without saying…but as DCAG, I cannot use just that"

"He hasn't given you any reason to deem him unfit for duty…except, I assume, you've read his jacket. His full, uncensored jacket." Iphigenia doesn't form it as a question.

"I do not deem him unfit" says Duke, shaking his head "And I've read his jacket, yes." Duke just looks at Gen for a moment, nodding his head "Which is why I am checking with you on his Psychological evaluation. If you tell me that he is fit to fly, he is fit to fly…but an expert was required in this matter" And by expert, he means her.

"He's fit to fly. There are however, a few items regarding his regimen that you should be aware of. Have you hears him refer to his wife in the present tense, or perhaps exhibit a certain dismissiveness to references to her death?" Gen asks. She's pretty forthright about it.

"I haven't heard him talking about her in present tense, but I have however, seen him being dismissive." says Duke "This happened when I told him I was sorry about his loss" He crosses his arms over his chest as he listens to this and then adds "Also, as you've read in his Jacket, Captain St.Clair is his sister-in-law…which, perhaps sheds a bit of light on why he gets so tense around her"

"That's it's own issue, and it will be settled between the two of them. It's not something I would encourage you to interfere with unless it directly effects the fighting fit of your air wing." Iphigenia says firmly. "You should be aware that Lieutenant Cole has embraced the practice of a very old cult known as the Orphic tradition. It promotes the idea that the dead are very present in our lives…just seperate. And that through purification one will be reunited with those who've gone ahead in due time. I would suggest refraining from offering condolences or giving indications of sympathy."

"As long as it doesn't interfere with Wing matters, I won't get in the middle of that" says Duke, nodding his head firmly "But I have several different Squadrons under my care, and if I see something that could potentially bring harm to them, I will act" Now, he just listens to what Gen is explaining, and he does arch one eyebrow when she mentions this…cult. "Through…purification?" asks the man. Is she talking about what he thinks she's talking? "In this case, this part of his sheet will be deemed classified. However, allow me to ask "What could happen if people offer condolences to him? I mean, aside from what you told me already"

"Let me answer your question first: nothing. He won't fly off the handle anymore so than the next person dealing with their grief; that's said, do you make the choice to say things to someone knowing that it's not something they appreciate, or challenges their spirituality?" she points out. "For him, she is a present force, and when someone offers condolences, they are denying that. It won't turn him into a gibbering madman."

"No, which is why I'm placing this area under classified status. I won't offer any more condolences, but if things were to be know, some others might…that is what I'm talking about" says Duke now. "Let's go back to that purification part…I assume purification as in death? Correct me if I'm wrong please."

Iphigenia's eyes go wide. "Oh, very wrong." she says. "Purification, as in abstention. From alcohol, sex, and meat, for one thing. He also fasts and practices self-mortification. Both of which are within his religious rights," This is gently, but firmly stressed, "while being strictly monitored and held to limitations."

Duke smiles at this and says "Can't be right every time" And, the smile that he shows her is a smile that pretty much says he's glad he doesn't have a potential suicide in his Wing. As for the rest, his expression returns to full seriousness and he just nods to Gen "So, what do you recommend, Lieutenant?" How to keep Cole monitored? He's like a firecracker.

"I don't recommend anything other than the status quo." she says frankly. "I'm advising you of his spiritual practices to keep harmony within your air-wing and in your dealings with him. His spiritual life is a private matter, but you're his CO. The fact that he's…exuberant, that's one part just him, and some part the way he's dealing with his pain. But I tell you with full confidence, and I've signed off as much: Aristides Cole will serve the Colonies to the best of his abilities, and is not a danger to those around him or to any missions he participates in."

"Very well then, he will not be pulled from rotation and…he is of course, not going to be bothered when doing his spiritual practices." says Duke now, relaxing a little more now. "Good, then it's settled and the matter is closed…unless of course you have some additions" Now, the man just closes his eyes and takes a deep breath "Also wanted to talk with you about, well…more personal matters, but I'll leave them aside if there are other things you would like to discuss first"

Iphigenia cocks her head. "I can't say that I do, but of course I'm happy to listen if you've got something to get off your chest."

Duke just nods and then starts considering his next words "I've been thinking a lot…after our last meeting. I think, perhaps…a big chunk of blame over my divorce falls on me, for being so…locked up in this world…." Meaning the Military. "Our communication started failing, we fought…I think that perhaps I didn't want to listen to her" He looks down and takes a deep breath "I want to write to her, but I know the mail will be checked. But I can't wait for another 18 months to ask her…because at that point, who knos"

"The censoring primarily involves Piraeus and our objective here." she reminds him with a light smile. "I'm sure if you kept it personal, you should have no problems. Besides, even with things as they are, I suspect she'd rather hear about you and your life rather than fret over what you can't tell her."

"I don't intend for her to take me back…if, if we are divorced, then we are divorced but…I just" he licks his lips now "We didn't end on a bad note, but there was never clarity…I just assumed it was because of the fighting and the distance…but if there was more, I need to know" explains Duke to Gen now, nodding his head slowly and then just leaning back against chair. He waves a hand "I am now considering myself, off-duty…" he looks at the time "Which is something I should have started a while ago"

"If it's an imposition," Iphigenia suggests after a moment, "May I read your letter, before you send it? I won't be offended if you say no. It is an intimate matter."

Duke closes his eyes, leaning his head against the chair, just resting his eyes for a moment. When Gen talks again, he looks at her and considers her question "Yes, yes…you can read the letter. However, what would you be looking for in particular?"

"That suggests a level of analysis I'm not prepared to offer." she replies. "But it would give me an idea of where you are emotionally, and if you felt receptive, perhaps I could offer a certain perspective of what a woman might think, reading it. If you have a female friend that you'd trust, I'd encourage you to allow her to read it if you weren't comfortable with my doing so."

"Hm." says Duke as he looks at Gen. "A perspective of what a woman might think?" asks the man, smiling at this a little bit. There is a little mischief in the smile he shows her but soon, Duke nods his head again "There is, and I will show the letter to her. But I would also like to see what you make of it" Now, he just closes his eyes and rubs them with his fingers. "Gen, have you ever had the feeling that you don't belong somewhere? I don't know if we talked about this"

"Frequently." she says, matter-of-factly. "It's not uncommon, particularly for those of us who tend to err toward being more introverted."

He nods after Gen explains "By the way, sorry about the bad dream…is there anything I can do for you?" Kinda of an out of the blue thing but he just remembered what Cole said. "I don't know, I guess I focus on the /what if/ scenarios a little too much. What if I stayed back in Aerilon. What if I stayed back in Picon"

"You have nothing to apologize for, and I'm recovered, thank you." she says smoothly. "Do you remember when I talked about how divorce was an ending, and like death, it goes through the stages of grief? Those what-ifs are part of that. I don't know if it's a comfort to you, but people are often surprised and relieved to realize other people do go through the same emotional journeys they do."

The man thinks about this and slowly nods his head "Well, I can't say I'm displeased by this but, I find it fair to ask…do you know when these things normally stop? Can you trace me a calendar or something like that?" He shakes his head now "I'm just tired, Gen…and believe when I say that I want to forget but, I can't, I really can't"

Iphigenia shakes her head. "It doesn't stop." she says. "It's a combination of chemicals and environment, when one feels that type of isolation. You can retrain your brain, but it takes time and dedication, and for some people, medication. Are you familiar with the term 'cognitive behavioral therapy'?"

Duke's look…those eyes show defeat as she reveals that it never ends, ever. He just considers this for a moment as he sits back against his chair and then looks at her "I, don't believe I'm familiar with that….no. Please, explain?" Another gentle smile is offered to Gen as he waits for her words, which he hopes bring something he could use to focus better, find his place.

"Believe it or not, our circumstances and our environment creates patterns of behavior that our brain adjusts itself to. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a technique used in helping those who need to learn how to re-think their emotional responses into something healthier. It's utilized most often for those dealing with depression." Her look is quite pointed when she says the last.

Duke listens and when she says the word depression and gives him that look, the man shifts a little uncomfortably on his chair "I'm…not…" He stops himself, takes a deep breath "I'm not depressed, I'm…just trying to understand" He doesn't even know what's happening, he might as well be depressed, in all honesty. "How, how do you do that?" Finally asks Duke, perhaps accepting what's right in front of his face.

Iphigenia cocks her head. "Abuse of alcohol. A sense of isolation. Feelings of hopelessness, and questioning the value of one's self-worth. Does this sound familiar at all?"

"I haven't abused alcohol for a long time, Gen" says the man now, tensing quite a bit as she mentions all those points. He does nod in the end "Yes, it does however, sound familiar." The man goes silent now, just studying his options "I want to get better…"

"I know you do." she says softly. "And the fact that you are starting to reach outside of yourself helps."

He nods after she says this, apparently having made up his mind for real "So, Gen…..where do I have to start?" It might be a long, or a short journey…and who knows, in a few days, things might seem all different.

"You've already started." she says. "You've made the decision to reach out to your ex-wife. You've started to come to me on a regular basis. These are signs of healing, Richard. I understand why you may feel like there should be some kind of internal switch you can flip to not feel as you do…but the truth is, there isn't."

It seems that the provided data is slowly clicking with him, because Duke nods and stands up, adjusting his jacket and taking a deep breath "I understand. Perhaps we can continue talking about this during our next session…hopefully it'll be soon enough" says Duke now, showing a faint, soft smile to Gen. "Thank you, Gen…for all your help"

The session appears to be over. But then, Gen has just handed him a lot of information, and a mirror with which to look at himself. It's not a light burden. "Of course. We have our appointments, but let me know if you need me."

A heavy burden, that's what it is…but one that Duke will contemplate upon when he can. Before that, comes duty, and he has a lot of work to do "I will, Gen. Again, thank you" For that, he nods before he takes a step backwards, turning around and heading for the door now.

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