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World of Doors

Posted on Sat May 6th, 2017 @ 5:21am by Commander Tyro Adina & Lieutenant Commander Hadley & Ensign Lenore Fitzpatrick Ph.D.

Mission: Chapter 3 - Outbreak
Location: CDO's Office, USS Tranquility
Timeline: prior to Kin Yao resolution


"I'm glad our schedules finally synched up," Lenore began as she settled her grav-chair across from Hadley. The office was impressive, befitting of the Chief Diplomat aboard a diplomatic vessel. Lenore's office was quite large as well but was nothing in comparison. She had occasion to visit some other diplomatic areas aboard but this was the first time she had been to the inner sanctum so to speak. "I know how busy you've been."

Hadley's smile was real. "I am, too. And I'm probably not the only one glad to have you here." She got up and came from around the thick wooden desk to join Lenore. "I'm probably not supposed to say anything but... I think my Protocol Officer is smitten." Hadley moved to the replicator. "Can I get you something to drink?"

"I'd love a raktajino, if it's not too much trouble," Lenore replied.

"No trouble at all," Hadley said before ordering and dancing her way over to the counselor. "It strikes me that there's usually a discontinuity in the way you get to interact with the crew." Hadley looked the other woman directly in the eyes, searching for truth. "How have you been?"

Lenore offered a genuine grin. "You know, I was just about to ask you that." She chuckled, then added, "I'll do you the courtesy of giving you a genuine answer instead of trying to deflect your question like so many of my clients do. "I'm troubled by all of this Kin Yao conflict. I know we're all doing the best we can and I'm certainly experienced enough to know missions can't all end with fantasy happy endings, but I find myself wishing I could do more to help."

"I wish you could as well, Lenore. This is all building to an ending I'm not entirely comfortable with." Hadley's poker face was a force to be reckoned, but Lenore was adept at seeing into people's subconscious motivations. Hadley presented as haunted or hunted, or both. "The truth is, we could use your help around here in so many ways."

Lenore found Hadley's choice of words curious and met her gaze head-on. "Are you suggesting I haven't been helpful so far Commander?" Fitzpatrick wanted to give the Chief Diplomat the benefit of the doubt in case she had misunderstood her intentions, but the same time, Lenore wanted to make clear how her words had been received.

"Challenge accepted. I'm tired, Lenore. And I'm sorry if that came off wrong. I think it might have. And I'm a diplomat and one of Tranquility's most senior officers... and that's just unacceptable on my part. I don't mean to suggest your efforts are unnoticed or your contributions under-appreciated. That certainly is not the case. What I mean to say is that here in the ship's Diplomatic department I see a fantastic set of opportunities, if you're interested and if you have the time. Your expertise could be an incredible boon to negotiations, in potential First Contact situations, in providing trainings for my Diplomatic detachment, and in so many other areas. I see the fruits of your labours. I appreciate your talents and the extremely high quality of the work you do for those aboard. I think the greater community could benefit from your perspective. You impressed me in your interaction with the Kin on Aricelli. There was a quality, a sensitivity and openness, to that interaction I don't often find even inside graduates of Starfleet's Diplomatic Corps. I'm saying if you have the time in your already busy schedule given your not inconsiderable responsibilities to the crew, and if you have the inclination - you're certainly under no obligation, you're always welcome here in Tranquility's Chancery. Yours would be a welcome, trusted voice that I feel could be a strengthening presence inside the Federation. It was meant as an invitation not a condemnation. In whatever capacity you feel comfortable with. I think you're one of the finest counselor's in the fleet. I think your voice is valuable and contributions without parallel. Believe me, if I thought otherwise you'd be the first to know. I think helpful is a bit of an understatement. And while I understand that I'm exhausted - given the situation on Aricelli, taking on duties as a Bridge officer, meetings with the Kin that almost killed Lieutenant Amata, the death of my brother - I am pretty good at what I do, as well. It worries me that your thoughts took you where they did, Doctor. Are you feeling undervalued or as though your work goes underappreciated aboard Tranquility?"

It was certainly not the kind of reply Lenore expected, and while Fitzpatrick found it surprising Hadley would go from such elaborate praise to turning Lenore's question back on her, Lenore sensed no subterfuge or manipulation on Hadley's part. Lenore truly believed the chief diplomatic officer was being sincere in wanting to make sure Lenore didn't feel underappreciated.

Fitzpatrick smiled wanly. "I don't feel that way and haven't been. When you said you could have used my help around 'here,' I thought you were referring to the ship as a whole, not your department. My apologies for misunderstanding you. You certainly have every reason to feel tired after all you've been through." She paused, then added, "I truly appreciate all of your kind words concerning my efforts, and just so I'm clear, I am more than willing to assist you and your department whenever I can and whenever you need. I believe I said as much to the captain when I boarded, but I regret that I didn't communicate such a sentiment before now. Given the Tranquility's mission, the weight on your shoulders must be tremendous, and I'm reminded even though we all have our own jobs to do, I wouldn't be doing my job nearly as well if I that you think for a moment, you had to shoulder any personal or professional burden alone."

It was Lenore's turn to express her sincerity. She realized now Hadley was trying to reach out for support as much as she was trying to accomplish anything else.

Hadley smiled, tired but confident. It had been a long couple of days and though she had advocated for Seondeok's right to self-determine, it wasn't the outcome she had been hoping for. It felt too much like an execution. And it felt like things were moving inexorably toward that end. She was walking the tightrope of advocating for the cultural identity of the Kin and fighting her own enculturated perspectives.

But that was almost over now, for better or worse. And worth wasting Lenore's time.

Hadley's smile remained in place.

"I see in Tranquility an opportunity for grand collaboration. All of Starfleet's best, brightest, and most dedicated, all working toward peaceful resolutions and lasting positive impact on the quadrant. That starts with a Commander who's a bit of a maverick but whom I'd follow into Hell, an XO who's a talented diplomat whom I hope can rejoin us soon, a diplomatic team made of some very colourful individuals, to the synergy that can be accomplished on so many levels. This ship has an Assistant Chief Engineer with a keen mind and a vested interest in seeing resolution to the problems of warp stresses on subspace, a Klingon serving in a remarkably non-combatant role, Romulans and Vulcans serving side by side, an Orion in a trusted capacity as the Captain's right hand, a head nurse that is a binary pair, an Operations boatswain that struggles perpetually against her own cultural background while performing duties that require her to accommodate the needs of races with perspectives she can't quite wrap her head around...In just my own department I see people with backgrounds in every economic strata from the lowest of the disadvantaged (Lieutenant Karima, Yeoman Tsisia) to almost the station of royalty on their homeworlds (my personal assistant Ensign Tollitson). They have so much potential. Lieutenant Tersim knows more about varied cultures and traditions and customary practice than anyone I've ever met. Donovan Clarke holds no official rank but his work as a filmmaker and expositor of difficult truths has benefited the galaxy in ways most will never know anything about. His media expertise is unparalleled and I couldn't imagine doing the work we do without him.

"Within my department I see every member of the support staff of completely equal value to the Diplomatic Officers. Within the greater context of the ship, I see Diplomatic as just one small part of the whole. I spoke to the Commander about the importance of having a Diplomatic Officer on the Bridge at any given moment. This being the flagship of the Diplomatic fleet. Imagine my surprise when not only was my request heard but I also found myself made a staff officer. Diplomatic presence on the Bridge is an excellent first step. I'd also like to see a Diplomatic presence on every away team. And I'd like to see cross-training. Inviting you, and your considerable perspective, is an excellent first step.

"But that's not why I invited you here.

"I think it's important to be a part of the ship's community as a whole. I know there can be a separation that comes with our positions. While everyone turns to you for support and looks to you as a source of grounding and care, I wanted to make sure you know there are those who would gladly be there for you as well.

"I have a great respect for your work, Lenore. More than colleagues, I'd like us to be friends."

It was hard to miss the passion in Hadley's words once again, and Fitzpatrick couldn't help but think what a great orator she must be on a diplomatic stage. Beyond the professional however, Lenore could also see how much the other woman believed, on a personal level, in what she was saying. Taking a few moments to gather her thoughts, Fitzpatrick replied, "I would like that very much. You're correct in that my work requires me to keep a certain distance from the rest of the crew to maintain my objectivity, and I would be lying if I said that didn't make serving lonely at times. That said, I'm not so stubborn as to deny the need for friends or pursuits outside work, and I would very much welcome your friendship. I see what we do as two sides of the same coin, and if we're going to lean on anyone, it makes sense it would be one another."

Hadley's smile went from red giant to supernova. "Exactly."

She swirled her tea. "What was it like on the ground with the away team on Aricelli? That must have been quite an experience."

Lenore nodded and considered the question for a few moments before offering, "it certainly was. Obviously, it was chaotic and the tension was thick. Many people were clearly grateful for our help, but others were also clearly suspicious of our motives. I expected distrust amongst people who had been hurt, but it was frustrating to encounter so many people who were also so secretive and willing to speak in circles."

Hadley's countenance became more strictly composed. "In my own interactions onboard I found in Seondeok, the Kin most commonly referred to as 'Helmet,' I found her initially incredibly unresponsive. It took hours of patient waiting, acclimitization and assurance before she responded even in the smallest of ways. After that it took an inordinate amount of time to overcome aggression and xenophobia." Hadley fell quiet. "Aggression I was able to help her feel brave enough to move beyond...Xenophobia we were able overcome on a person to person level. Culturally...very little progress was made." Hadley shook her head both in disbelief and to dispel the memory. "It was like some ingrained cultural imperative prevented her from even seeing me as a human being initially. It was frustrating. No. Troubling. It challenged much of what I believe about...all the things that unite us."

Lenore nodded. She had felt much the same way, and it was a comfort to hear someone else echo the same sentiments. "My experience was much the same. As a therapist, I understand bridges can't always be built with people within a matter of minutes, but still, the realities and pressures of our mission intruded. I want to believe if I had all of the time in the world, I would've been able to break through her resistance, but obviously, circumstances didn't allow for all the time in the world."

"Seondeok referred often to Fang as a criminal. Did you ever get an indication of anything like that, Lenore?"

Lenore thought for a moment, then shook her head. "Nothing was said like that that I can recall. As I said, she was very reluctant to talk to me and getting her to say anything was like pulling teeth."

"My hope is that this will all be over soon." Hadley's uncharacteristic dispassionate honesty made a curious undertone. "My fear is that our part of this will soon come to conclusion. One satisfactory to the requirements of the mission, concessions sensitive to the cultural needs of Seondeok and the others, appeasement for the Federation's need for justice - maybe even an end to the conflict on Aricelli - but hollow for the crew. You may have your work cut out for you."

Lenore nodded. "I share your hopes and fears. While I know this crew in particular carries great expectations for their shared mission, in part because of its hopeful undertones and uniqueness, in my experience, no matter what the mission or overriding aim of any ship, every crew has to learn how to cope with outcomes that are less than perfect. It may sound glib, but I believe it also happens to be true that perfect is the enemy of good."

:: OFF ::

Chief Diplomatic Officer
Lt. Commander, USS Tranquility

Lenore Fitzpatrick
Ship's Counselor, P.H.D.
Ensign, USS Tranquility


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