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You Got Yourself a Gun

Posted on Fri Aug 27th, 2021 @ 1:34am by Lieutenant Jennifer Bracco, M.D.

Mission: The Place of Skulls
Location: USS Miranda
Timeline: Mission Day 8 at 0842

[Counseling Offices]
[USS Miranda]
[0842 Hours]

"Oh? Let's dig into that a little," Dr. Bracco said, leaning back in her chair and consulting her PADD. She'd been taking notes there with a stylus, preferring the feel of natural handwriting to typing or manipulating wireframe holograms. Both somehow felt distancing between herself and her patients, whereas handwriting seemed to be expected and intrinsically allowed. And there, in her own handwriting from the patient's previous session, was what she was looking for.

"Last time," she said, pushing up her old-Earth style glasses, "you mentioned feeling anxious whenever Ensign Crenshaw was around. That just seeing him triggered a response in your breathing. Is that right?" Bracco asked, her face careworn.

"Yes," Ensign Pravitz nodded quickly, raising a hand to his chest. It looked as if he were measuring his own heartbeats through his uniform top. "It's gotten to that point, now, but it didn't used to be that way. When we aren't working together, he's really fun to be around. But in a work setting," the young man shook his head, "he's always so critical if an idea isn't his own. And if you don't agree with his way of thinking, he takes his toys and goes home, leaving you holding all the baggage."

"I see," Bracco nodded slowly, making another handwritten note on her PADD. "You mentioned before that he makes you feel shut out. That his behavior makes you feel insignificant in your own department. How have you tried to address that with him?" she asked, raising one leg over the other.

"Well, I-I haven't. Not really," Pravtiz replied, shaking his head. "But that's why I come to see you, right? To talk about how I'm feeling so I don't go off on him?"

"Listen," the psychiatrist said, unfolding her legs and learning forward. She removed her glasses and clipped them to the vee-shaped neckline of her uniform. "This is our third session about Mr. Crenshaw. I'm happy to listen to your feelings and help you analyze where they come from. But at some point," her tone grew quiet, "you've got to address the issue directly with him."

"B--but that would be a nightmare," Pravitz seemed to climb up into himself, panicking at the thought of direct confrontation. "Can't...can't we just talk about how I'm feeling and, like, I can learn to breathe through it or something?"

"Breathing does wonders. For awhile, at least," Bracco shook her head, her coppery bob waving from side-to-side across her shoulders. "But that isn't the solution here. If Mr. Crenshaw is physically making you feel sick inside, no amount of breathing exercises or medicine can fix that. You need to tell him what you are telling me," she said, reaching forward to put her PADD on the table. "Explain that when he shuts down and leaves you with the bill, you feel hurt and unworthy. Tell him that you'd prefer to talk through disagreements instead of just accepting them as incompatibilities. See what happens. Do you think you could try that and report back?"

"To whom? You're leaving," Pravitz said sullenly. He looked up and saw the look on Bracco's face, however, and took a deep breath, squaring his shoulders. "I'm scared, but I can try, yes."

"Good then. I'm not sure how long I'll be off the ship," Bracco smiled wanly, "but I'm referring you to Doctor Bankk'losh. He's helping most of my patients while I'm away and I think you'll like him."

"What if I don't?" Pravitz asked forlornly.

"Michael," Bracco used the man's first name, "I know that you are resistant to change. But if you're going to get through your conflict avoidance, you need to keep working on this. It can't wait until I get back, OK?"

"Alright," the man relented. "Doc, I'm sorry we're losing you. You're...really good at this," he sighed deeply as a tone began to softly sound in the background.

"Thank you," Bracco said, her smile widening. "You're in good hands with Doctor Bankk'losh. And, with some luck, I'll be back before you know it. Until then, I'm afraid..."

"...that's all the time we have for today," Pravitz chuckled, knowing what was coming.

"Got it in one," Bracco smirked back, rising from her chair. "Until next time, Michael. Stay strong."

As the man left, Jennifer looked around her lived-in office and let out a sigh of her own. She was going to miss the Miranda. She'd grown very comfortable there over the last few years, becoming quite close with the senior staff and the other counselors she worked with. Her patients, she kept at arm's length, always. But she liked quite a few of them and found herself more than a little sad to leave them behind. Still, she had a job to do and it did little good to dwell on what she was leaving behind.

Moving to the office's closet, she triggered the door's mechanism and withdrew a large canvas bag. Jennifer moved it over to the plush couch and set it there, zippering the bag open to rummage around inside. She'd packed the essentials the night before: uniforms, picture-framed photos of her deceased husband and their two full-grown children, and even some choice jewelry she preferred to wear when off duty. There, too, was a bottle of her husband's preferred cologne. She spritzed a little on the underside of her right wrist and then took a gentle sniff, the scent comforting her and battling a little of her nervousness.

Having gotten temporary transfer orders the day before, the sudden exodus to the USS Sojo -- currently parked across the way, visible through the window of her office -- left Jennifer feeling somewhat whiplashed. But she was determined to fulfill her duty and make sure the crew of the vessel got the care they needed. When their Chief Counselor eventually returned from leave, she would hand them back into his care and return to her home on the Miranda. But for now, it was off to the Sojo.

Lugging the bag up over her shoulder, Jennifer surveyed her office, trying to discern if she'd left anything important behind. And that's when it hit her...she needed something she rarely used but Jennifer would be damned if she were caught without it. Given that not one but two Sojo crew were being medically evacuated after an altercation with the Orions -- bound for the next closest starbase for long-term care -- Jennifer decided it was better to be armed than not. Which was why she opened a drawer in her desk and withdrew a type II phaser. Inspecting the weapon, she nodded, feeling better about her chances out in the wilds this close to the Klingon border.

"Computer," Bracco said softly, "turn off the lights and lock the door behind me. I might be awhile."

=/\= A post by... =/\=

Lieutenant Jennifer Bracco, M.D.
Acting Chief Counselor
Now USS Sojo


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