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Ghosts that come with you.

Posted on Tue Nov 26th, 2019 @ 5:32am by Lieutenant JG Kevin, Lord Kilbane of Sanquhar & Lieutenant Malik Bancroft

Mission: Delta Operations
Location: Chief Counsellors office.
Timeline: Curent

Kevin sat in his quarters, tears welling up in his eyes, staring at the photograph in his hands. In it was himself, his Assistant Chief Intelligence Officer Shr'Nesh Karadis and seven other happy smiling Starfleet Officers. They were friends he'd had when he served on the USS Frannery, close friends, close like brothers and sisters. That was before 'The Collective' mission had come along, and when that was over, with the exception of Karadis, they were all dead. He'd watched them slowly get tortured day after day, week after week till either they died from being tortured, or took their own lives to stop them being tortured anymore. When Starfleet had finally rescued what was left of the crew, they'd been granted a short time of recovery, but not the luxury of enough time to get them over the mental scarring, because Starfleet needed every able bodied person in their war against 'The Collective'.

Even when that war finished, none of the Frannery survivors got help to get them through the aftermath, and now, here on the USS Pennsylvania, he'd witnessed the missing man table and all the memories came flooding back. True, Karadis was the one person he could turn to in order to have someone who'd help him through the immediate problem, but Kevin required someone with whom he could confide that was a neutral, someone who could sit with him and help him try and understand his feelings of guilt at surviving the torture when nearly all his friends were dead. He was virtually alone on a ship full of strangers he felt isolated.

Tapping his COMM badge he said "Lieutenant Kilbane to Lieutenant Bancroft, Sir, would it be possible for me to meet with you just now?"

Malik had just taken a small break from the so called paperwork he left sitting back in his office and had decided to take a bit of a stroll through the corridors. The sound of his combadge beeping with the voice of the Lieutenant afterwards brought the counselor out of his reverie. He tapped his commbadge. "This is Bancroft. I can meet you in my office in five minutes." he said in a response.

"Thank you Sir, I'll see you there shortly" Kevin replied, and closed the link. A little more than five minutes later, he presented himself at the Chief Councillors office and pressed the buzzer on the door.

Malik had been prepared for the arrival of the Lieutenant. "Come in Mister Kilbane."

The doors opened and Kevin entered the room and walked over towards the desk where the Chief Councillor was sitting. Stopping a few paces before the desk, he stood upright and said "Thank you for seeing me at such short notice Sir, it's very kind of you."

"That's part of my services." said Malik. "Please come in and make yourself comfortable." he said indicating the couch. "Can I get you anything?"

"Thank you Lieutenant" Kevin said as he sat down right on the edge of the couch "I'll have a white tea please."

Malik went over to the replicator and ordered two drinks. After picking up the two glasses of liquids he returned to the couch and sat down. "Here you go." Malik said handing over the cup of tea. "So Lieutenant, What's on your mind?" asked the counselor.

"Thank you Sir" Kevin said, accepting the drink. He took a sip of the tea, and then held it in both hands, allowing himself to gently drop his hands and place them onto his lap. He sat staring at the liquid in the glass for a few moments and then replied to the question he'd been asked "I was at the award ceremony where the two officers were promoted. One of the things that I saw whilst there was the missing man table. I can openly and freely admit it's something I wasn't prepared for, and when I saw it, all the horrors of the last time I was before one came flooding back. As I looked at that table, standing behind it were my tortured fallen comrades form the USS Frannery, those that died horrible deaths. They stood there, eyes missing, arms and legs missing, hands mangled, necks stretched, stomachs torn out and entrails hanging. I realize this has nothing to do with the awards ceremony itself, however, I was aware that there was no time during or indeed after 'The Collective' war where those of us who survived be captured and tortured were able to receive the proper treatment to help us through that horror. The missing man table has triggered that lack of proper treatment, and I'd like to be able to talk with someone about it."

"You've come to the right place." said Malik. "I can understand that seeing the missing man table unexpectedly brought back some unpleasant memories like what you described."

"It did indeed Sir, in my minds eye I can still see them being tortured" Kevin said "and at times, though I know it's in my mind, there are times when I still feel the awful pain what they did to myself. The pain sticks, the rubber hoses they beat me with, what seemed like endless hours stretched on a rack with your muscles screaming because they're literally about to come off your joints. The 'surgery' technics they used where they opened you up and tugged on the veins or the ligaments or sometimes both. I just need to be able to find a way to control the anxiety I feel at times."

"How often do you have these unpleasant memories? Do they manifest at awkward times like at the missing man table or do they sometimes occur in a dream?"

"It's a little of both Sir" Kevin replied and then added "When I'm awake, it's only really situations like the missing man table, or when I read a report of a particularly vicious battle, that I have the memories. When I'm asleep, I sometimes 'meet' the former crewmembers in my dreams, and they ask why it's them who died, and what for."

"There are some techniques that might help with the anxiety from these memories. Meditation is one way. Simple breathing exercises is another and focusing on something positive. The other suggestion I can think of is that I refer you to Doctor Trallos to have him prescribe you something." said Malik.

"I'm happy to go through the techniques with you Sir, to ascertain if they'll be helpful or not, but I'd rather not have something prescribed in case it interferes with my duties" Kevin replied "what techniques are you recommending?"

"Well the first technique I want to start with is how to calm yourself when you start having anxiety attacks." said Malik. "When you start to feel an attack coming on I want you to take deep breaths in through your nose and then release it slowly out through your mouth, like this." said the counselor as he demonstrated the technique.

Kevin watched the Counsellor demonstrate what he was talking about and replied "Very good Sir, that sounds very straight forward. The things I'd really like to get to the bottom of are the dreams of being with my former crewmates who died with them questioning me as to why they're dead and I'm not, and on occasion when I'm awake, seeing them but after they'd been tortured to death. It's not as if I have conversations with them, I'll catch them out the corner of my eye or see them when I'm talking with someone. For instance I could be having this conversation with you, and standing behind you would be Commander Laxwer with his right eye missing and his right arm amputated above the elbow by a hacksaw so the skins still hanging there and the blood slowly dripping."

Feeling a little bit better now that he'd had the chance to speak to the Counsellor, Kevin stood up and said "However, duty calls Sir, I must return to my office to begin my shift. Thank you for your time and thank you for your suggestion, I'll certainly keep trying it."

With that, Kevin bowed slightly at the hip, gave a slight nod, turned and left the office.

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Lieutenant Malik Bancroft
Chief Counsellor
USS Pennsylvania

Lieutenant JG Kevin, Lord Kilbane of Sanquhar
Chief Intelligence Officer
USS Pennsylvania

 

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