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Insider Perspective

Posted on Sun Mar 11th, 2018 @ 8:53pm by Captain Alexander Kurtz & Lieutenant JG Julienne Keating M.D.

Mission: Earth
Location: Ready Room, USS Valkyrie
Timeline: MD11 - 0915hrs

The Captain's ready room needed some cosmetic changes. The office had a fairly overwhelming painting hanging within it showing a mythological Valkyrie that certainly drew the eye, but looked hugely out of place. Alex had removed it and covered it. He intended to put it into storage at some point, and add it to the inventory of Commander Kincaid's possessions. It didn't seem like something his next of kin would be too interested in though. He would probably replace it with an LCARS display screen, something more practical than a painting.

The door chimed, he was expecting Lieutenant Keating having invited her to discuss the crew's current mental state. “Come in.” He stood as the Counselor entered, offering her a seat opposite his. “Thank you for coming Lieutenant, can I get you anything?”

"No, but thank you, sir," Julienne replied, taking a moment to look around at the not unfamiliar office before she sat. It was strange to be in the office with someone other than Captain Kincaid. She did not know the man that well, but she had respected him greatly. He always struck her as someone open-minded and well meaning.

“The main reason I invited you here was to get an idea of how the crew is holding up.” He began. “Losing a commanding officer is a difficult thing to process and I'd like to know what the general feeling is.”

"They are working very hard to adjust," the therapist replied frankly. "On the one hand, they understand that change and loss is a part of Starfleet service, but on the other hand, they are starting to realize there is no way to shortcut feelings, especially grief. I would caution you against making any major changes too quickly. It's perfectly understandable you would want to get to know and relate to the crew, but I think it would be helpful if you would follow their lead for a while when it comes to connecting."

That wasn't exactly what Alex had wanted to hear, standard procedure for a new commanding officer was to institute a few changes when they first took command of a ship. It helped put their mark on the ship, let the crew feel that things had changed. Frankly, he could see a number of changes that he wanted to make. Keating was probably right though, bereavement was a very different prospect to a Captain being promoted away. “We should be here in orbit of Earth for a while longer, then we've got a long trip out to Deep Space 12. I won't institute any major changes until we get out to the station.” He said. “What was Kincaid like as a commanding officer?”

She paused, considering how best to answer the question. She had nothing negative to offer, but the truth was, she didn't really know the man well. "He was very professional and mission focused," the counselor began, "I always knew I could come to him with any concerns or advice, but the truth is, I didn't really know much about the man personally. He wasn't exactly ashamed to talk about himself, but at the same time, he didn't volunteer any personal information. I truly didn't know him all that well."

“The crew hadn't been together long, so that's understandable.” Alex said nodding slowly. He knew that he would have to play things carefully in these first few weeks aboard the Valkyrie, to let the crew adjust rather than force it. As cold as it seemed, in some ways it was better that Kincaid hadn't been more established aboard the ship. “The other most senior officers, Nosske and Blackwater both have... reputations. What's the general feeling amongst the crew about those two?”

"Mixed," Keating replied after a beat. "Obviously, the crew as a whole understands both of them got where they are for a reason, but I'm sure it will come as no surprise both of them have a tendency to rub some people the wrong way. I can speak more specifically about Blackwater in that her behavior can be somewhat childish and unnecessarily rude. I'm not sure how motivated she is to change any of that, considering it hasn't kept her out of Starfleet or prevented her from doing what she enjoys."

“Now, I'm no psychiatric expert,” Alex began. “But I got the impression that her attitude was something of a defence mechanism to keep people at a distance. Do you have any recommendations about how to get the best from her?”

"No one's reasons excuse them from all consequences, sir," Julienne replied simply. "In fact, I've found after a trauma, people still want to have some boundaries placed upon them if only to remind them their pain hasn't changed them so much in the eyes of others they no longer deserve praise or accountability. You're going to have to pick your battles with her, Captain, that's true, and I'm not saying you should always present yourself as a hard ass to her, but I am saying don't be afraid to call her out on the behavior you believe is most unacceptable, as you would any member of the crew who messes up. You're only holding her to the standards she agreed to when she accepted her role here."

“I was hoping you'd say something like that.” He replied. From his dealings with Blackwater so far, as well as her record, he had come to a similar conclusion. “Have you got any other concerns I should know about when it comes to the crew?”

"I think we've covered the broad strokes for now, but I will provide a report if I identify anything else specific." She hesitated then, finally offering, "Sir, I won't presume a familiarity we don't have considering this is our first meeting, but I would be remiss as your adviser if I didn't ask how you're doing after all you've been through."

“Clean bill of mental health as well as physical.” Alex assured her. “I know there may we'll be issues that come up during the course of my duties, but I'm confident we can work through them. I'll let you take a look at my record and we can discuss anything you'd like to in a few days. I'm afraid I've got a meeting with operations for now though. Thank you for your time Lieutenant.”


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