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First Time Can Be Hard

Posted on Tue Mar 12th, 2019 @ 3:40pm by Lieutenant Hetara & Ensign Eska MD

Mission: A Journey to the Stars
Location: Eska's Quarters

After the mass of casualties, Hetara was bone tired, but there was one more patient left to see. Perhaps not a patient in the usual sense, but someone she sensed would be hurting and in need of care - the young Novan doctor. MassCal events were never easy for any physician, but Hetara was sure this had been her first. Hetara remembered only too well the emotional impact of her first, and it hadn't been nearly as severe as this one.

Coming to Eska's quarters, she stopped in front of her door, letting the signal chime. "Eska," she called softly. "It's Dr. Hetara."

"nt'ar." Eska said as the door opened. The air that came out the open door was heavy with moisture and and the smell of earth and dust. The entry had a small area that someone can step into, but room beyond is hidden behind a drape.

Hetara came in and slipped past the curtain. The other side was dark, and it took a moment for her eyes to adjust. "I came by see if you're all right," she said gently. "The first time you face a medical situation that intense, it can be ...difficult to process."

Eska watched as her commanding officer let her eyes adjust to her environment. "'es." She simple said walking over to the woman. She took her hand and lead her to the couch. Eska understand that she was there trying to be helpful. "'ink?" She finally asked.

Hetara nodded. She didn't really need anything, but knew that such simple acts of hospitality could be centering, comforting. "Some tea, please."

Eska only nodded and poured something into two cups. Then she carried it over to her boss. "Lights up to camp fire."

The room brightened to show that it was painted and decorated with stone colors. In the corner was several towers that was covered in various masses, lichens, and mushrooms. On a mannequin stand stood a outfit that is a odd grey color and seemed to be fitted for Eska. Also on the outfit is a pair of bone daggers.

It seemed rather depressing to Hetara, whose preference was for light, shimmering fabrics, and color, but she imagined that this must be what Eska considered 'homey'. She could relate to an outfit involving daggers at least, though the Orion style tended toward slim elegant knives that were easily palmed and usually artfully concealed.

"Thank you," Hetara said, accepting the tea. Deciding to ease into discussion slowly with a bit of small talk, she nodded toward the mannequin. "Is that a traditional outfit for your people?"

"es." Eska answered as she walked up to her moss, lichen and mushrooms. Grabbed a bit of the lichen and placed it in her tea. "Some for 'ink?" She asked gesturing to the fungi.

Ah, so that was what unique horticulture was for... Growing up in an Orion-run lounge, Hetara had seen a lot of things mixed into tea, and other drinks, so unless the lichen was a particularly powerful hallucinogen, the idea didn't faze her. However, those sort of additives made her think of her aunt's home remedies, so she shook her head. "No, thank you," she declined politely. "Plain tea for now, since I plan to get some sleep soon. Have you been able to rest?"

Eska didn't answer right away, but shrugged. "I will." She said very slowly. Then she took a sip of her tea. "Just doing some things." She stated slowly and gestured at the underground fungi she is growing.

"That's good," Hetara replied, knowing that tending living things was often therapeutic. "Look, I don't want to intrude. I just wanted to make sure you're okay. Even experienced battle surgeons can have difficulty - stress, nightmares, flashbacks - after something like what we just faced. It's normal. So if you need time or need to talk, let me know."

"It like Academy." Eska stated moving over a sitting down on one of the rocks. "'eacher said I had Culture Shock." She took another sip of the tea. "Living on skyship is hard and lonely." She stated slowly while staring into her tea cup. "I poor doctor if I suffer." She said with a seriousness.

"I grew up in a more technologically advanced society, but the Academy was culture shock for me too," Hetara said, coming to sit beside her. "And on this ship, I'm also the only one of my species." She put a comforting arm around the younger woman's shoulders. "But we're both doctors, which makes us clan of sorts. And as such, let me tell you that suffering does not make you a poor doctor. In fact, the empathy that causes that suffering is vital to being a good doctor."

She grunted in response. "Those within class, was unfriendly." Eska said looking into her tea. "My hardest work, was easy for others. I barely pass academy. I would have been moved, but my knowledge of underside. I no like reed or 'ite."

Hetara paused. She really wasn't sure what to say to that. It wasn't the emotional fall out she had been in any way expecting, nor one that she knew how to address. "Well, that's in the past," she said finally. "And as far as I'm concerned, you acquitted yourself well today which is when it really counted."

"Today, made me think of before." Eska said with a slow sigh. "'ank you."

"Hey, I understand. I went to Starfleet because my own people don't think women should be doctors. And when I got to the Academy... well, let's just say a lot humans seem to think Orion women are ambulatory sex toys, not people with brains." Her mouth twisted in a wry expression. "But you can't let the opinions of narrow minded jerks define you. You overcame a lot to get where you are now, so you should feel proud."

"I wish to return to my people." Eska said slowly. "But that is impossible, sense I've been exiled."

Hetara sighed. "Look, after your first MassCal, it's not unusual to want to run back to something safe, or even just familiar. I knew someone who ran away and enlisted to escape a really abusive situation, and even he missed home after piecing some poor ensign's guts back together."

"Hmmm..." Eska hummed. "I fine be." She said. "I work still."

"Good. Because you are a good doctor," Hetara assured her. She really didn't know what more she could or should say. She wasn't a counselor, and she was honestly hitting her own wall in terms of mental and emotional resources after dealing with so much trauma. "I need to make some other rounds, but if..." She stopped, rejecting the usual trite 'if you need anything'. "Honestly, I don't know how much help I can be for the other things you're dealing with, but we have a counselor and once we get back, I'll gladly refer you for whatever else you think you might need."

Eska nodded at the Orion woman. "Understand do I." She stated. "'ings get bad, I see 'uter."

Hetara turned the last word around in her head. 'uter... Computer? No that didn't make any sense. She could usually work out Eska's Novan from Standard cognates, but she was coming up empty. Given that Eska seemed to need comfort and counsel not for the trauma she'd witnessed so much as whatever resentment and sense of otherness or inadequacy she carried from her past, putting that into sharper relief by having to ask what she'd said seemed like exactly the wrong thing to do right now. Yet leaving things there seemed wrong...

She swallowed the last of the tea, trying to think of how to respond. Such indecisiveness was not like her - a symptom of how dull her own mind was becoming from exhaustion, as dim as this gray room... she suppressed a grimace, realizing how badly she'd need an energy boost from UV light to keep functioning. That need was affecting her ability to concentrate and the subterranean gloom of Eska's quarters was further affecting her mood.

"Please, don't think you can't or shouldn't come to me for help. I'm just ...very tired... right now, and... " she gave slightly self-deprecating half-smile. "...human psychology is a subject I not 100% on even at my best."

Eska just listened to Hetara talk. "Home go you. Sleep. Order I give." She said.

"Yes, Doctor." Hetara nodded. She smiled as she rose and turned toward the door

"Sleep well." Eska said watching her boss head for the door.

Dr. Hetara
USS Endurance

Ensign Eska
Medical Officer
USS Endurance


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