Feelings...Nothing More Than Feelings...
Posted on 17 Jan 2017 @ 12:20am by Master Chief Petty Officer Daytona Ral
Episode One: Back on the Highway to Hell
Location: Counselor's Office
Timeline: Back Post
Next on Daytona's list was stopping in to see the ship's counselor. He wasn't terribly worried. He liked to be in touch with his feelings. Being a Vulcanoid Rigelian strong, passionate feelings were something he had a lot of. Some people wanted to talk about what Daytona liked to think of as 'The Incident' and he was willing to do that...to a point. Counselors were sworn to secrecy, so the story probably wouldn't get out. For some reason he had seen fit to tell Lieutenant Annette about it. Hopefully, she'd keep her mouth shut.
Daytona entered the counseling center and asked the assistant if there was someone who could see him.
Naomi had just walked out of her Office to coordinate some scheduling with her assistant when she saw the man approach the desk. "Master Chief, I'd be happy to see you" She said as she extended a hand "Lieutenant Manera"
"Master Chief Daytona Ral," Daytona said, shaking the offered hand. "Nice to meet you, ma'am."
Naomi smiled before gesturing him to the door of her office. "Please take a seat" She said once they were inside. "Would you like anything to drink?"
"A frosty Andorian ale would be great," he said following her in. "But since we're on duty, how about a very icy green iced tea, sweet."
Daytona flopped on the couch and put his feet up.
"It all started with my mother..." he said. "Actually, it more accurately started sometime after my father met my mother. There are medical procedures that could have started things before my father met my mother, but then that wouldn't have been the start of me, because I am both my mother's AND my father's offspring. Am I going to fast for you? You might want to write this down..."
Daytona chuckled and sat up.
"Sorry," he said. "I've been through a lot of these."
Naomi chuckled as she retrieved the tea for her patient and a cup of coffee for herself. She would give the tea to the man before sitting down in a chair opposing him. "I see it is not a sense of humour you need help with" She said as she put her cup on the table next to her chair. She grabbed a padd and started to take some very basic notes, many Counselors had started to record conversations but there was something about noting the things down herself that made her treatments and help more effective. "I take it then you have been working through some issues for a longer period of time?"
Daytona accepted his tea and took a long drink.
"Ah,," he said. "That's good. Thanks. And yeah, I've been through an experience or two that warranted talking with a counselor. At least, that's what others thought. See, I spent a good three decades on the military side of Starfleet. The Cardassian Border Wars drew me to Starfleet in the first place. There was a short break in the fighting and then the Federation-Klingon War and the Dominion War. You see things...do things that people shouldn't have to see or do, but you do them, because that's the job, or because you believe in the cause, or because the alternative is your death or somebody else's. So I've seen and done those things, many, many times. And I took all of that on and I processed it and I dealt with it. Sometimes the Starfleet way, talking it out. Sometimes, probably more often, the Rigelian way: making love until you can't see straight and pass out. But I dealt with all of it...except for one event and one event only. That one shook me to the core. The event still gives me nightmares and my reaction to it is why I'm here on this ship and not an S-3 Operations NCO at Starfleet Special Operations Command, and you know what? I'd do it again."
Damn. He'd done it again. What was it about this ship that made him run off at the mouth. Well, if the counselor wanted more, she was going to at least have to ask for it.
Naomi listened closely as Daytona outlined his history, he had clearly been through a lot and she recognized many of her former patients in him though he seemed to be handling things a lot better than they were. "This is a safe place Master Chief, anything you say here will remain between us. You can say anything." She said while she put the padd on her lap.
Daytona regarded the counselor for a moment before speaking.
"I don't think about the things I'd done or seen up until the Second Battle of Chintoka and the months that followed," he said. "At least, I don't think of them and have any significant regrets. Sure, I've got some, but who doesn't? If you live long enough, you live to regret things. I'm probably going to live for a very long time. I'm sure my actions in those wars aren't going to be my only regrets in life. As for what I saw, like said, it was the job and I did it and I saw things. I'm okay with that."
He was sort of rambling. He did that when he got close to that moment.
"After the First Battle of Chintoka," he said, speaking carefully. "The marines set up a forward base there and SOCOM moved part of its operation there. SEAL Team 8, that's four 16 operator platoons and support staff, a Marine Raider company, that's four MSOTs, Marine Special Operations Teams, 14 operators each, plus support staff, and a company of Andorian Rangers, a little over 200 of Rangers and support staff. Oh yeah, eight Starfleet EOD guys split up over the four SEAL platoons. We had some aerospace support attached, too. Some transports and gunships. The conventional Marine force was much larger and the was a Marine Aerospace Wing on the ground.The planet was to be a staging area for operations further into Cardassian space. The SOCOM forces were under command of our commander, the commander of SEAL Team 8, Commander Sh'dar Idrani."
Whenever he told this story, Daytona tended to tell the whole thing, to set the scene. A lot of people died because of one Marine colonel's act of cowardice. Someone had to speak for them. That's what Daytona told himself.
"There was a lull in activity for us after taking Chintoka," he continued. "We trained, reviewed intelligence, began planning ops. We enjoyed sleeping with a roof over our heads and hot meals in our bellies. We deployed for some reconnaissance missions and some other stuff I can't talk about, but continued to operate out of Chintoka. Then, out of nowhere, the Breen came. All Hell broke lose. Word was that something was knocking out most of the fleet one shot at a time. In moments we lost our orbital support. The Marines got their act together quick. They did the right things, got their fighters off the ground before the Breen and the Jem'Hadar landed. They provided a fighter screen. Gave precious time to the Marines to evacuate. At first, of course, there was the thought of holding, but holding a planet with no orbital support was pointless. The commanding general got the bright idea to use his available aerospace assets, every troop and supply transport he had, to evacuate the base. He assigned a marine colonel to command the holding action, James Bradick. Commander Idrani volunteered us for a flanking mission to take the pressure off of the marines trying to cover the evacuation. The plan was for us to hold them and then to link up and withdraw together in whatever assets remained. It was a very hard fight. The Rangers were better suited to fight a stand up fight than the SEALs or the Raiders. It's just not what we do. So we harassed them as best we could and it seemed to work because Bradick and his marines were holding the base. We were vastly outnumbered and taking heavy casualties and, for the first time I could remember in more than a quarter century I was scared. I mean bone deep scared. There was no way we were going to win. The only hope we had was that Bradick would hold long enough for us to link up so we could bug out together. I was with Commander Idrani when he called to tell Bradick that we were going to move to link up with him. I remember his response, primarily because if I was scared before that point, I was terrified afterwards. He said 'You're on your own, Idrani. I'm not dying for you.' And with that, we were alone. No one was going to get us out of there. There are a lot of terrible things I remember from that moment till the end of the war. Fighting, killing, starving, being hunted like animals, all while trying to fight a guerrilla action against the enemy. They all haunt me. But what wakes me up in the cold dark of night is those words. 'You're on your own. I'm not dying for you.'"
Naomi listened carefully to process every word he was saying, she had heard many stories like it with her past patients but this one was especially gruesome and she could only imagine what horror it must have been to live through. "Did you ever confront the Colonel about this after you returned?" She asked, she needed a frame of reference to see how far he had gotten in processing the events and how to best help him. That being said she realized this was probably going to be something that would haunt him for his entire life in at least some form.
'Oh I confronted him alright," Daytona said. "Found him in a bar on a starbase, drowning his sorrows. It was late and their weren't too many people in the bar. I lost it. I put a serious beating on him. He fought back. He was a marine, so he fought back pretty well, but you could tell his heart wasn't in it. It was like he knew he deserved it. The barkeep called Security, of course, and they came to break it up. I surrendered. I'd done what I came to do and I wasn't there to beat on some poor masters-at-arms just trying to do their jobs. I thought I was headed to a penal colony, but after I explained what happened and that I intended to file charges of cowardice against the colonel, a deal was struck. You see, the colonel had won a medal for his actions on Chintoka and was up for Brigadier General. I had won a medal for Chintoka, a second Starfleet Cross. If the colonel went on trial for cowardice, and I went on trial for assaulting him over his cowardice, there would be plenty of embarrassment to go around and the brass wanted to avoid that. So, the file on the incident at the bar was redacted and I'm supposed to keep it as quiet as possible, except for things like counseling sessions or other needs of mental and emotional health. I dropped my complaint and the colonel agreed not to press charges. Oh, and I had to take a 'lateral transfer' from SOCOM to Security. They were punishing me, of course, but they sweetened the deal with a promotion to Senior Chief."
Daytona paused a moment, then finished.
"I made my own bed, I know," he said. "I could have just accused the colonel of cowardice and tried to get JAG to press charges. But it was personal to me and it required a personal solution. Among my people, when you are in mourning, you fight until the negative emotions are out of your system. Since joining Starfleet, I either beat a heavy bag or dummy or fought holograms when holotechnology became standard. This time I wanted to feel flesh and bone on my fists."
Naomi nodded "Under circumstances such as yours it is perfectly normal to act out, due to your training it also makes sense that would happen in the form of violence. I have seen similar behaviour from Starfleet personnel who went through a lot less. Have you had any other violent outbursts since that day?" She asked.
Daytona shook his head.
"None that haven't been work related," he said. "Restraining rowdy Fleeters, Jarheads, and even some civilians on the starbase I served on. I was in control for those, though. Didn't lose my temper, just did what needed to be done. I haven't acted out on anyone since. I have acted out on heavy bags and holographic opponents, but that's natural for a Rigelian. We need the physical exertion, whether it's intense physical exercise or sex, preferably both, we need the release."
Daytona looked at his watch.
"Wow," he said. "Look at the time. Gotta go, Doc. Same time next week?"
Once a time and day were agreed upon, Daytona promised that if, and only if, Naomi would swear to keep him supplied with hats that fit, he would return to let her shrink his head some more.