((Promenade - Commercial District Starbase 118))
Oh boy, did Alora know all about that. Since the accident, she had been struggling with bad memories. Since the festival, her mind and heart had been dealing with a mixture of feelings that had been oh so welcome, and yet not. With them, those memories had been dug up, tossed at her again and again, a reminder of what she once had, what she shouldn’t want, even if under some sort of spell not of her doing.
Bailey: ::twisting her hands in the fabric of her dress:: Would you allow me a favor? As silly as it sounds I have this photo wall above my bed. Well, to be honest they are more drawing than photos. I was hoping to add ones of the crew.
DeVeau: A favour?
It wasn’t a yes. But it wasn’t a no. An eyebrow arched upward, a silent encouragement for the woman to continue.
Here Sheila looked away to where Ali lay. She hadn’t so much asked her favor to Alora but it sat there on her tongue. Perhaps her friend in front of her deserved to know. Would it be so bad? If she didn’t tell then she would have to wait. Of course she knew she would have to attend a medical and counseling appointment sooner or later. Until then maybe just maybe through the act of talking with a genuine friend she would find some relief.
Bailey: If you had a photo or… if I could make a sketch…
DeVeau: Of me?
That was an unexpected request. Alora had known other people who drew, and while she’d done doodles, she’d never really gotten into that type of art. Brightening her expression, her smile returned and she nodded.
DeVeau: Of course. But again, I think you’re deflecting.
Was she? That was likely the truth. Yet her request wasn’t lost on her. She may not have thought of it much during the festival, other than asking to draw Lukin and Talas. Nevertheless it gave her pause for thought. How did she break it to Alora? Maybe she had seen others struggle, struggled herself but this seemed like almost too much. And for a moment, just a moment she had nothing to say to that. It was like her uncle catching her sweeping up crumbs for one second too long. Holding her in his arms til she started to enjoy it.
DeVeau: While I don’t deny that was probably something you did intend to ask me, am I correct that there’s more to this than that?
Bailey: There is more but you would think me foolish.
Once more, she didn’t speak. Instead, Alora let the silence attempt to cajole the woman to say more. Why had Sheila said Alora wouldn’t want to be her friend?
Bailey: See I’m beginning to think I don’t belong here on this station. I’m afraid.
DeVeau: You don’t have to be afraid with me, okay?
Bailey: I’m afraid that I’m too broken. Sure I got out of his control but I’m starting to wish I hadn’t.
DeVeau: Who’s control?
Now that she was beginning to talk it was coming easier. Far easier than she imagined it would when it came time to talk with Yael. He would ask her questions in return, wonder why she had done it, examine her feelings. Alora was the opposite. She was letting her talk, likely say more than she would otherwise. And here the talking emptied her soul. Made the intense emotion vanish for a bit. Of course they were still there yet her body was more numb to them than before.
Bailey: My uncle’s. His name does not need saying.
Alora nodded slowly. If it really mattered, if she really wanted to be nosy, there were ways to find out that information. Honestly, though, it wasn’t relevant. Not at that moment.
Bailey: ::here Sheila leaned forward a bit to rest her elbows on her knees:: Do you ever feel like you’re floating? Floating in space with no control over your body? I’m not sure what to say..nothing has happened since I joined the academy. Yet I wonder why I still become distant.
Alora leaned back on the bench, her eyes shifting away to focus beyond Sheila for a moment. Not floating. No. Not quite like that, but she had a sense of what Sheila was getting at. For her, it was different. It was as if a switch went off in her brain, and she couldn’t quite get control of herself, of what was happening, of her reaction. Instead, it was like she was a ship at warp speed without any way to break out of it. So maybe not the same, but similar. The idea that she was not really a part of reality any longer, but outside of it. Yeah, she could understand that. Alora’s gaze returned to the doctor.
Bailey: I’m sorry. It’s confusing. I have little idea what makes me think the way I do.
Here Sheila paused. The best way to describe it was to think in massive abstracts.
A place where her skin burned, turning the owner around in circles. Circles that confused, frustrated, irritated. A manèges that never ended. A body spinning in circles in one larger circle. A revolution in orbit. A fantasy of locations. It was as if her life flashed before her eyes, tempting her to bring back the lost sensation, bring back what her body missed, craved. Made her eyes burn, ready to turn into the woman across from her, never mind the distance.
Ignoring that Sheila instead reached up with the heels of her hands to wipe at her eyes. She wasn’t crying yet her eyes were becoming red with wetness. At the movement Alistair jumped as if assuming she was attempting to scratch at herself again. Somehow one of her hands found its way into his fur.
DeVeau: No. It’s not confusing. I understand.
Maybe they experienced it a little bit differently, but Alora understood. Sheila was dealing with something, something that deeply affected her. Something that had festered and was coming to the surface.
Bailey: I think it would be best if I just showed you. I feel in this case that action explains more than just words.
Here Sheila turned her left arm upward, palm facing the sky. On her lower arm near her elbow was the red spot, scratches and all. Visibly it left the wrist untouched. For one half a second she didn’t want her friend, the woman across from her to see, full willing to pull away. Nevertheless she presented her arm to the woman.
Alora leaned forward and studied the mark. Her expression remained thoughtful, but there was no condemnation. No anger. No blame. She straightened again, then leveled her gaze at the doctor.
DeVeau: And how did that happen?
Alora had a guess, but she wanted Sheila to say it out loud.
Bailey: I wasn’t thinking.
That was the truth. She had not been thinking, only reacting to what emotions she experienced. Now she was being cautious as to what she said, not sure if she was willing to tell Alora. Though it looked like she wouldn’t have to. Her friend gave off a presence of understanding, sympathy, empathy. It was a bit of a relief, not to have to make herself understood.
Bailey: How do you? I don’t know…
Alora inhaled, then let it out slowly. She knew that feeling. Where thought is no longer in control, and your body sort of does it’s own thing. As if a part of you, the rational part, is stuck in a closet somewhere, and all it can do is watch through the cracks to see the chaos erupt.
DeVeau: How do I what?
Bailey: ::thinking:: How do you relax? I need something to take my mind off it all.
Alora threw her head back and laughed. It wasn’t out of mockery, for though their experiences may not be exactly the same, she had at least a semblance of understanding in what Sheila was talking about. Still, she found the question ironic.
DeVeau: Relax? That’s a good question. Perhaps, though, we should clarify relaxing. You said to take your mind off it - which is different from trying to keep your mind from flying away when you need to stay in the here and now. If you’re talking about the first part? Well, I have a lot of hobbies. I keep myself busy. I’m constantly learning new things, going places, seeking out friends and other people to spend time with. I do my best to avoid anything that makes me think of h…
Alora stopped abruptly. Nope. Nope. No. This wasn’t about her. It was about Sheila. Right now, she was in the crisis, and she needed advice, not a sob story from someone else. No.
DeVeau: Of things I don’t want to think about. Triggers. Gotta avoid those if you can. ::And especially the people who triggered you.:: Do things you enjoy. Things that interest you.
At this moment in time the only person that bothered Sheila was her uncle. Not even Lukin, or Talas or even any number of the other enemies she had faced during her time in Starfleet. It was a blessing in a way. She was free from a pile of bother. Yet it was hard to know what would make her think of him. What would send her into dissociation, drive her to burst into tears. Never mind how uncomfortable she felt in her skin. Some days it was the physical pain, the higher gravity that pushed at her, made it so uncomfortable that she wanted to scream. Other days it was the mental. A fight from within making it hard to think, see or even breath.
Bailey: What about when you don’t know? Most days I can forget. Other days I remember when it’s too late and I’m already lost. Worse is when I’m spinning, caught in the middle.
Alora was familiar with that. Sometimes, it hit her, suddenly, overwhelmingly so. Lately, it had gotten better, but not completely.
DeVeau: That’s a hard one. And I don’t have an answer for it.
How could she answer it when she didn’t know for herself? If she did, it would have saved her a lot of grief.
Bailey: It’s tricky, I will agree with that. Definitely skating on thin ice. Sooner or later you’re going to crash into the water.
DeVeau: Or into a wall.
Bailey: Maybe I just need to let it all out again. It’s been years since I truly…
Here her mind swam, losing it’s train of thought. Perhaps Sheila truly did not want to say what was going through her head. Or maybe she just didn’t know what she was thinking anymore. It wasn’t like she had said everything. She still had a cavern of emotion to dig up. Yet now it wasn’t the release of that emotion. Once she told someone she would be empty. Empty in that ‘I can now start moving on’ sort of way. Now it was not like that at all. It was as if a part of her mind was actively stopping her; creating a blank wall she couldn’t pass.
DeVeau: Year since you…?
Alora canted her head. She’d been mostly open, but suddenly Sheila paused, trailed off, leaving the rest of it unspoken. Let it all out? Alora wondered what exactly she meant by that.
Lieutenant Sheila Bailey
Chief Medical Officer
Starbase 118 Ops
"The very first requirement in a hospital is that it should do the sick no harm." - Florence Nightingale
Lt. Cmdr. Alora DeVeau
Chief Science Officer
Starbase 118 Ops