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Who's Counseling Whom?

Posted on Mon May 2nd, 2022 @ 9:51pm by Captain Dirk Taggart & Lieutenant Adora (Addie) Hart

Mission: The Koldaran Encounter
Location: Ready Room

The Penn was underway to assist the Astraea when Captain Taggart excused himself from the bridge. He knew he was worried and stressed but he did not want his crew to feed off of that. His plan was to recompose himself by compartmentalizing how he had felt and focus on the mission. Dirk knew it was not the healthiest way to deal with things but he had to cope somehow. He took a drink of his coffee as he paced through the ready room before sitting on the couch.

After the Captain had left the bridge, Addie allowed him five minutes or so before she crossed the bridge and pressed the chime outside his doors, entering after he granted permission. She scanned the ready room quickly, her eyes finally settling on the form of the Captain sitting on the couch, a mug of coffee in his hands, his grip so tight she could see his knuckles turning white. "Captain?" she enquired softly. "Are you alright?"

Taggart looked up to the Counselor, "I'll be fine, please sit down and have a drink if you wish. I was hoping to recompose myself for a few minutes. I don't want to feed in to the stress of a stressful situation. I guess it's not much of a secret, but Captain Laurens and I, well we were looking forward to some time together, and I'm concerned for well being."

Addie smiled softly, taking a seat on the couch next to him. "Those kinds of things rarely remain secret for long Captain," she said gently. "I'm sure your worried about her. I'm also sure Captain Laurens knows what she's doing. She is a Starfleet Officer and unfortunately these situations come with the job."

"She is a very capable Captain and I have no doubt of her abilities, it's just at the end of the day, and don't take this the wrong way she is a woman under that uniform. And that's who I worry about. Even if she comes through unhurt, she won't come through unharmed Counselor. I know I'm preaching to the choir, but being in a full engagement on the ground, causes it's own kind of hell. I was Security for many years, and I've been through a couple of engagements. The sites, the smells, the sounds never leave. If it wasn't for counseling I don't think I would have made it this far. I'm in a good state now, but I don't wanna see Abbie, I mean Captain Laurens have to wrestle those demons either," the Captain said as he stared into his cup of coffee.

There was a moment of silence as Addie contemplated the words that he had spoken. "Being in command is difficult," she said quietly. "Beyond the tolls of the job, the tolls of intimate relationships are beyond those that most of the rest of the crew could understand. Command gives you more responsibilities, but it also gives you more burdens, burdens that can feel like you have to carry them alone." She paused again, watching him quietly for a moment. "The burden of full engagement may be a struggle, but imagine the burden of walking away and doing nothing? Captain Laurens is a woman under that uniform, that gives her strength too. Don't underestimate that."

"I don't underestimate that," Taggart said gently, "You are right though, it is a burden to be shared. If or when the time comes I just want to be sure I'm not making choices out of selfish reasons, to protect her or my crew. Damn I sound like an Ensign," he said with a laugh, "I've been in combat situations before, and it's the before that is most nerve wracking to me not the during or after."

"But this isn't a normal combat situation though, is it?" Addie probed gently. "A person you care about very deeply is already down there, in harms way. You have an instinctive want and need to protect her, and you can't. Part of you knows that even when you're on the surface, you could put your entire crew between her and the Koldaran and it still might not be enough. The level of uncertainty is well beyond normal Starfleet Captain day to day duties."

"It is, but it is also what I signed up for. I believed I could make a difference, be a good leader, and not be afraid to make tough decisions. Yet here I am at war with myself. It may feel beyond my normal but at the end of the day I'm sitting here worrying about what may not even happen. I need to focus on what I can control."

Dirk took a deep breath and then folded his fingers together. "Lieutenant, I know this is a complete shift in topic, and I swear I'm not diverting the conversation to avoid further discussions but I feel that given your most recent experience with an away mission, I'd like you to remain behind with Kale."

Addie found herself taken aback by the statement, a moment of uncertainty crossing her face, disappearing as quickly as it had appeared in the first place. "Of course Captain," she said quietly. "Is there anything else?"

"This is not a punishment Counselor, you will be working hand in hand up here with Kale and whatever resources are needed. You have shown an affinity with Kale because of your ordeal. I hate to put you into a stressful situation but with the majority of the command staff planet side I need someone up here I can fully count on; and that person is you." Dirk said trying to explain the reasoning behind his decision.

Addie gave a slight nod, feeling at least a little better with his explanation. "Thank you Captain," she replied quietly.

"I'm hoping Kale's call for help went out, I've relayed the initial distress call as well, if anyone missed it the first time they should have no problem picking it up the second time. If anyone from the Federations shows, share the coordinates of our landing party once we have them. I'm asking a lot from you Hart, if you can't handle it tell me now," the Captain said giving her a chance to back out if necessary.

"I can handle it Captain," she said, her voice filled with a confidence that was not echoed in her heart. She felt anxious, nervous, unsure about the responsibility, but she was willing to do what ever needed to be done. "I won't let you down again, I promise."

Captain Taggart smiled, "There is no again, Lieutenant Hart, you have not let me down. You are a Starfleet Officer that has had some rough times lately. It is normal to be harder on yourself than what is actually the case. Your time here has unfortunately been quite eventful and for that I apologize, but at the same it is because of that, that I fully trust, that you will make the right decisions when the time comes."

She nodded quickly. "I will do my best."

"I know you will Counselor, that's all I ask for, you're dismissed if there's nothing else," Dirk said as he stood to return to the bridge.

Addie nodded as she stood up. "Of course Captain," she said softly as she started toward the door. Before exiting, she turned and looked back at him. "Captain, please be careful down there. "

"I will try to come back in one piece," Taggart said as he exited the Ready Room with the Counselor.



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