At Aldrich's suggestion, Lyn pays Doctor Anders another visit.
Location: Ander's Office -- Vanguard
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 1152
Kamran never misses an appointment. At least not so far. So he's already in his little makeshift office, filling out a form on the small table that currently serves as a desk. He looks tidy, as usual.
Lyn scheduled an appointment with Kamran right after speaking with Aldrich. She raps her knuckles on the hatch to his office, looking tired and worn out. "Hey, Doc," she offers.
"Come in," Kamran invites warmly. "Why don't you have a seat? Tell me what's been going on for you, if you want to."
Lyn moves across the room to settle into a chair awkwardly. "I frakked up on a mission last night. I got triggered by something down on Picon, that reminded me of something on Aquaria, and I froze up."
Kamran sets his pen down and tilts his head slightly at Lyn. "Which would you like to talk about first, the trigger and your memories of Aquaria, or what happened during the mission?"
Lyn lets out a breath, making the wisps of hair on her forehead jump up and down for a moment. "I talked to the chaplain. He's a good friend, and after what I told him, he told me I should talk to you about it. I didn't tell you about it, back then. Honestly, it only came back to me in bits and pieces over the last few years, then it started to show up in my nightmares more regularly. I think," Lyn looks at him grimly, "I think it's why I ended up in your care back then."
Kamran nods softly. "Why don't you try recounting to me now what you've remembered?" he suggests. "Sometimes the more we state things aloud, the more we are able to contend with them."
Lyn nods slowly. "You know I spent that week on Aquaria after the attack, looking for survivors and coming back empty handed. You know about all the corpses I found, all the traces of people being taken, killed, or running. But you didn't know about the two survivors I did find." Who didn't make it off the planet.
"I'd been in Akranes, looking for signs of Jonas' family and only finding frozen civilians in a grocery store, who I buried. I'd gotten a drop package with the message that they were pulling all the SAR scouts out that night, and given coordinates for extraction. I headed to the area, which was in an Akranes park that had been blow to shit by the Cylons already. A memorial park I think, I forget who it was to," Lyn relates, looking down at her hands as she fiddles with them in her lap
Kamran nods slowly. "An Akranes park," he repeats softly. "And what happened then?"
Kamran nods again, listening attentively to the story. "You were going to rescue them," he repeats. "But what happened?"
Lyn begins to shift in agitation on the chair, her heartbeat speeding up, her eyes unfocusing as she remembers. "When the signal finally came, I rushed them to the park and put them behind a partly destroyed statue of whoever the park was dedicated to. I told them to stay there, because I had to move to the clear area of the park and drop a smoke signal for the Libran Raptor to land. It was snowing, and windy, and the ash was everywhere mingled with the flakes. I remember Annie started crying again, but we were so close to out, I didn't think about it. Everything was grey until I pulled the pin and the orange smoke went off. And then Emma screamed, and I heard a voice saying 'Let me help you.' It wasn't a human voice. It was the Nannybot. It sounded cheerful and robotic, but I turned around just in time for Emma to stop screaming when the thing snapped her neck. It was like everything slowed down, as I watched Annie fall from her arms to the ground, still crying, and the red eye of the bot focused on me."
She looks up at him. "It stepped forward and it's metal foot, I remember how large it was because they needed the Aquarian models to be able to distribute their weight more evenly so they wouldn't fall through ice. It's foot came down on the baby's skull. The sound has never left me. The sound of my own screams still bounce around in my head in the mmiddle of the night."
"That sounds like a very disturbing experience," Kamran replies, expression gently sympathetic, yet calm. "How did you feel about what happened?"
"It kept saying it. 'Let me help you.' It ran at me and I tried to shoot it but after that long week I was out of ammo. It hit me, knocked the rifle out of my hand, and broke my arm," She had a cast on her forearm when he treated her. And terrible, awful marks on her throat. "I went into a rage. We'd been so close, they'd survived the impossible for a week and they were right there ready for rescue. I couldn't see anything but red, like Annie's blood. I pulled out my climbing axe and hit it again and again and again but it wouldn't DIE. And it kept saying it over and over, even when it grabbed me by the throat and started to squeeze. Then the words changed. It said, 'Let me help you die," while I was blacking out, feeling myself slipping away. " That explains the marks.
Then there were shots and it dropped me and fell. The Raptor had landed while I was in a rage, and the ECO blew the Cylon's head off. I remember being dragged me into the bird while some others had gone to look at Emma, found Annie, started vomitting. I don't remember what happened after that. I woke up in a padded room with you sitting in a chair watching me." Lyn's eyes turn to look at him. "It's the nightmare that wakes me up most nights, and I have to go throw up and hide somewhere til the shaking stops."
Kamran still doesn't reach for his pen, but he is in fact watching Lyn again, much as he did some time ago. Before his beard. "And how did you feel about what happened?" he repeats. "Or how do you feel now?"
"Last night, in the town we were reconning," Lyn explains," a half-destroyed Nannybot stepped out of a transport and said 'Let me help you, then struck one of my people. And I was back there, again, and I froze up until Ingvar snapped me out of it. I was so badly shaken up, I made a bad call. He and Wagner got injured by a passing patrol before we made it back to evac." She grimaces at him. "So I feel like maybe I shouldn't be leading field missions. If I freeze up and get myself killed, that's on me, Doc. But Ingvar is going to be in Sick Bay for a while, he could have died, and Wagner is hurting. I'm pretty sure Costello and Hayes won't want to follow me anywhere again either."
"Lyn," Kamran says softly, "I realize that it's important for you to tell this story now, and I'm happy to listen, but I notice that you seem to be resisting naming any of your feelings. Do you think there's a reason for that?"
Lyn swallows. "Probably. I feel guilty, like I failed that woman and her little girl. Like maybe," she looks around the room, "Like maybe all the shit I've been going through in the last few months is my penance for surviving after they died on my watch. After I couldn't save anyone."
"Do you think it is likely, given the fact that they were being electronically tracked by the large Cylon, that they would have survived had you not happened upon them by chance?" Kamran asks.
That makes Lyn pause. She was the last one out. "Maybe for a few more days. But there were no more evacs after that pick up. So no, they wouldn't have survived long."
Kamran nods gently. "And you mentioned that you were out of ammunition," he says. "So realistically, it seems to me that there is not much more anyone could have done in the face of a bigger, stronger enemy that is tracking its target and that never tires, without so much as a single shot. Do you agree that for /anyone/ in that situation, not just you, it would have been unlikely for them to reach a better outcome?"
"I can't answer that, doc. Maybe, if I'd let Jonas go with me instead of having him knocked out and carted off world, I'd have some ammo left, or he'd have been able to stay with them when I set the smoke," Lyn says quietly. Even though last night proved Jonas is not so good at stealthy stuff.
"I think you could answer whether it's likely or not," Kamran contends quietly. "My next question is, what does this feeling of guilt and of needing punishment do for you?"
"I feel like I deserve it. Like I need to be punished for all my mistakes," Lyn says quietly, and then pinches the bridge of her nose. "It makes me miserable, and I think I should be miserable. That's the crux of it. I guess, Jonas being so mad at me for leaving him behind, it's all related to what went on, my dad dying in my place, my leaving Jonas, hurting him, not being able to save Emma and Annie. I've been holding on to it all for over two years, punishing myself."
"It sounds like you have a certain attachment to this sadness and guilt, what you refer to as being miserable. Can you imagine what it would be like if you were to stop holding on to it all, as you say?" Kamran probes gently. "Can you imagine what would happen if you were to let go? Are you afraid to do that?"
"A little," Lyn admits, "But I want to let it go. I want to be happy, and I found someone I think I want to be happy with. Someone who understands me. Who has also had a rocky past. Someone who has been there for me since I met him."
"First, have you discussed these feelings with that person?" Kamran asks initially, and continues: "Secondly, I'm a little concerned that you are so closely tying together the idea of letting go of a terrible event in your past with starting a new romantic relationship. Making your recovery contingent on another person can be a risky proposition in more ways than one. Do you think that your moving on from this trauma is contingent on having a romantic partner?"
Lyn nods. "We have. He wanted me to talk to you first." Her expression falls at his words. "I don't know. But, I haven't been in any relationships since Aquaria. I've pushed everyone away because of everything. But I started to feel a little better, like maybe it wasn't all my fault, and I let him in. And, are you saying I'm just imagining this attraction?"
Kamran shakes his head. "No, I'm not saying that at all. What I am saying is that tying your recovery from trauma to the start of a romantic relationship is giving up ownership of your recovery, in a way. Romantic relationships are not under the individual's control because they involve the feelings and decisions of two people. And that is how it should be. However, your individual psychological recovery should be yours alone, so that you can take responsibility and stewardship for it, and so that it is contingent only upon your thoughts, your feelings, and your journey, not complicated by a second person. So it concerns me when you say that you think you could release your feelings of guilt /because/ there is someone you are romantically interested in who you could move on /with/. If you want to start a new relationship and the other person feels the same way, I think that is wonderful. But I think you should be very careful that you do not make that relationship a condition of your recovery. Your feelings of guilt for what happened in the past will be healed by you yourself, not by the presence of a new partner. I think you should be careful about separating the two processes in your mind."
"I just meant, I think I was ready to stop punishing myself, and that seemed to open me up to possibilities," Lyn says quietly. "And I won't make it a condition. This is my fight, not his, and I'm really working on it, doc. I've even started learning to meditate. Not very well yet, but some. Last night just...it threw me for a loop."
"I think meditation can be an excellent tool," Kamran says. "And I think it's a positive thing if you can envision yourself loosening your grip on the guilt and sadness that tie you to that unfortunate event. I just want to make sure that if, for example, your romantic relationship were unsuccessful, that it wouldn't jeopardize your recovery." He leans his elbows on the desk. "How do you feel about what happened last night?"
"Scared. I'm afraid I might freeze up again. I'm afraid it might result in me giving the wrong orders in a command situation. But," Lyn runs a hand through her hair. "I think, I think I came out of it really fast. And I don't think my orders were completely wrong. But they weren't as clear as they should have been. I need to work on that."
Kamran nods once. "It's good to think about what you can specifically improve," he says. "I think it's important for you to take charge of what you do have control over, even if other factors are sometimes out of your control. Now that your memory has come back to you more completely, and you're able to narrate it, I think it is less likely that each subsequent encounter with this kind of stimulus will provoke as strong a response."
Lyn nods. "I hope you're right, Doc. Thank you. I do feel better having gotten it out there."
"You can visit me to talk about this anytime," Kamran offers. "If you remember other details or have different feelings or if you just want to go over the experience again. But I want to remind you, what happened to the mother and child was not something that you caused or that you wanted to happen. It was something that you were fighting against. Even if it wasn't possible for you to prevail, you wanted and strove for only good things for those people. So I don't think you deserve punishment or deserve to feel guilty. And if someone else were in your position, I doubt you'd tell them that what happened was their fault. Consider that."
That seems to sink into the woman's head at least. Lyn lets out a breath and nods, before standing. "I will. Anything else, Doc?"
Kamran smiles at Lyn. "That's more up to you," he says. "But if you've said what you needed to say today, then I'll be here when you want to see me next."
Lyn nods and she takes her leave.