2020-08-09 - So, About Your Issues


Dr. Martin Almer decides to have a chat with Dr. Veronica Kelsey about her attitudes regarding superheroes. 'Cause that will go well.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sun Aug 9 23:56:30 2020
Location: RESCUE Campus

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Given that Dr. Almer is another doctor on her staff, both an employee at RESCUE in the Wellspring and on the medical staff for REACT, Veronica is not the least bit concerned to see him on her meeting schedule. She doesn't already know the purpose of the meeting - her assistant did not have an agenda on this item - but that is not exceedingly rare for her staff. Sometimes people just want to bounce ideas off of one another, and Roni tries her best to be accessible and find time for such 'skull sessions' as a way of being supportive and team-positive.

At the appointed hour, Veronica is already in her office - she shuffled the meeting to a half-day she was planning for various office work, rather than lab or hospital work - and typing away on her computer, nailing down some correspondence. When Martin arrives at her door, Veronica's assistant notifies Roni he has arrived, and soon enough Roni taps the key that acknowledges this and sends the all-clear for his entrance. Moments later, the door opens on its own, actuators whirring as it powers open to admit Martin, sensors denoting his passage and only releasing the door to swing closed once he is clear of its passage.

Moments later, Roni's head pops up as she gives her computer the three-finger salute to lock it down. "Good afternoon, Dr. Almer. Please, come in. This is your meeting, so I'll leave it to you to get us started."

Knowing how busy Dr Kelsey really, Martin conferred with the woman's assistant for a good time. Schedule it and everything. Which means he's at that door at the appointed hour. Coming in, he lifts a hand in greeting and makes sure the door is shut behind him. IDs still in place, the man will sit himself down if there's a chair. "Well, I wanted to know if I could ask you something personal." He's a bit mussed, a bit tired looking, but that's normal. There's nothing wrong with him, excepting perhaps that he's concern.

Veronica arches an eyebrow; most folks don't schedule meetings with her and then lead with a personal question. Even so, she gives Martin a nod to go on. There are indeed multiple seats in front of Roni's desk; indeed, she often rolls out from behind hers to join folks on the same side of the desk. But since she doesn't - yet - know what this is about, she hasn't yet made that move with Martin. This has less to do with any distrust of Martin as it does with mere surprise. "OK. Go ahead." No promise she'll answer, but she's a doctor who keeps her oaths, so she's not going to have him executed for asking.

Baby steps.

"I know it's been a bit, and I'm sorry for that." Martin leads, knowing so very well he's not really all that good at this stuff. It's why he doesn't beat around the busy. "I've been worried about your reaction to super-heroes. It's drastic effects on you. Is there anything I can do to help?" Sure he's tempted to say more, but there's hesitation. This is already touchy ground.

Veronica is calm, passive and waiting … right up until Martin finally gets around to mentioning the subject of this meeting. Then she visibly tenses, and a hint of a frown shapes her lips. "I doubt there is much anyone can do to help, Martin. I have my life experiences. They have informed my view of the usual 'costumed heroes' and the flagrant devastation they leave in their wake. That is why even now I do not don the Augmenta armor and go on 'patrols,' or try to respond to police actions. REACT mobilizes for circumstances beyond the normal response organs, which threaten lives. And we do so when asked for help, or when our sensors have told us of a threat no one else is yet aware of."

In short: REACT are not superheroes. And the distaste she has for them is in her voice. It is not, perhaps, outright contempt, but it is not so very far off either.

Yep, there it is. Martin isn't emoting anything at the moment, just to see her reaction is full. It was muted by him the last couple times he saw it. "I'm not attacking you." Is given back, meeting her gaze if she allows. The red-head too is calm. "You having good reason isn't the issue at all. I've not known you to be frivolous in anything, and I'm sure you've gone over it time and time again. It's how those reasons are affecting you that brings me asking about them."

Veronica sighs and rolls her shoulders a bit, a normal response to tension for her. "How it is affecting me? I don't like them. So, I generally don't deal with them. What else are you seeing?" Sensing might be the better word, but she goes with seeing anyway. She trusts Martin as a doctor; if he is seeing something worth concern and questions, so be it. But she doesn't get it.

Martin smiles for her reaction. "Badly. That's how it's effecting you." But he isn't done yet. "Look.. I'm not good at this stuff, so my apologies if I'm rough in my handling." He shifts in his seat and gathers his words. "The rescue of those gladiators was the most recent, but I've seen this reaction in other instances. If I hadn't been emitting a sense of calm you would have lashed out at someone. You get incredibly tense, argumentative, and aggressive. The brilliant Dr Kelsey I've known the last few months kind of goes right out the window. It's compromising you." His tone is serious, but he's trying not to be harsh. "I haven't been monitoring you health wise, but I can only imagine the stress you are under during those moments as well."

Veronica eyes Martin curiously, waiting. She listens, hearing him out, letting him say what he feels the need to say. He would be aware enough that she is feeling tense and on guard, but she is not aggressive; she is not shutting down. "I do not trust so-called superheroes. I'm not making any secret of that. I'm not super in favor of modern policing, but that's not something I feel terribly qualified to discuss. But superheroics is not protected by the government. It's not a government program voted on and supported by voters' wills."

Martin rubs at the back of his head. "I must be saying this badly." Wry in tone, he considers again. Tense is fine. Shutting down is what concerns him and he's grateful that's not happening. "I don't have a problem with you not trusting super-heroes. Really, that's so not what concerns me. Everyone has ample reason for that. It's some of the source of this issue, but I'm not your therapist." He pauses there to smile a little. "I'm worried about /you/. Not as the co head of this company, or in your armor.. just you. This is hurting you. It will continue to hurt you. Can I do anything to help?"

Roni frowns and rolls around the desk, approaching Martin. "I do not see how this is hurting me. As you have said, I'm far from the only person who feels this way. You say this isn't about the company, so this is about me, the person. The woman. So … how is this hurting me? I feel what I feel. We are all entitled to our feelings. Where's the damage? I can't even figure out what we are supposedly discussing fixing, let alone what you could do to accomplish that."

Leaning forward some, he clasps his hands together. "That's where I get caught. I'm not sure." How? Martin doesn't know. He looks sheepish for it. "And please, I am so not telling you what you feel is wrong. Let's not put words in my mouth. Let's not try and derail the optic." The red-head gives a firm look for that. "I think.. you being aware of it is important. As RESCUE, dealing with super-heroes is going to happen a lot, and your ..dislike is clouding your judgement. It's making for bad decisions. That will have effects on all of us in the long run. Hell, you even employ two super-heroes, but they seem a strange blind spot in your thinking. Maybe it's time to stop hating all of them and start being more selective."

Veronica tilts her head slightly to the side, as if literally trying to regard Martin from a different angle. "I do not employ any superheroes." she states unequivocally. And she doesn't. Seriously, look at the payroll: not one person has 'superhero' in their job title or description, anywhere. Dr. Henry Philip McCoy is employed as a doctor, and Ms. Hisako Ichiki is employed as an architecture intern, and as a contributing specialist in REACT operations. The hazard pay for that last is how she is making a good two thirds of her pay. But no superheroes on the payroll, here.

Is Roni aware that Hank is a superhero? Maybe, at some level. But really no. She knew him as a scientist from papers he has published and research he has done. And she hired him for that and his desire to pursue medicine. The superhero part just never entered into it for her. It's a bit less true with Hisako, but even so she had no idea the young woman was actually a superheroine when she hired her, and that has never entered her mental lexicon. Mutants? Yes, she knew that. But so what? She's not prejudiced!

Sorry, Martin grins about that. "Like I said.. there's an interesting blind spot there." For there are indeed two super-heroes in RESCUE. "Claiming that's not what they were hired for doesn't change what they are. You don't want to admit that you actually like two of the group you dislike. You don't want to see. Super-heroes are people. Plain and simple. Some are good, and some are bad. A lot are in between." Shrugging for this, he remains leaned forward. There is a sense of gentle amusement from him. "Whatever happened to you stop blaming everyone in a group for the actions of a few."

That choice of words rocks Veronica back in her hair, and the whipsaw of her emotions is palpable and a little scary. "Whatever happened to me?" she questions sharply.

Uh oh. Seems like Martin managed to poke the bear.

"Look around you, Doctor." Veronica picks up, her words taking on a biting, razor-sharp tone. "Take a really, really good look. 'Whatever happened to me' was that I was orphaned and crippled at the age of eleven."

Well, that at least explains why she feels so strongly about this. "I watched my parents murdered and my life changed forever almost ended by the casual collateral damage of a supervillain-superhero battle. They answer to no one. They are not trained. They respect no boundaries, and cannot be held accountable for their actions, inactions, or recklessness. So yes, Doctor: I have a problem with superheroes. If you and I make a mistake treating someone, they or their family have at least some measure of recompense: we can be held accountable."

Martin totally poked the bear, but he weathers the storm. Especially because the anger, the pain is justified. He deserves the bear. So not faulting her there. In the end he gives, "I was orphaned too." He gives quietly, sympathetic. If to give some perspective here. "And no, I don't understand your pain. I can feel it, I certainly respect it, but I don't know it." There's a pause as he sighs, "But it doesn't change my concerns. You have really good reasons, but maybe it's time to let yourself heal. You help so many others, why won't you help yourself?" There's the motion of a hand. "Look at you! You're amazing. You defy all odds and kick the impossible to the curb.. but you let that pain fester inside you."

Veronica shrugs a bit uncomfortably as Martin pushes this back on her. "It's not hurting me. It just is what it is. I feel how I feel. It doesn't interfere with my life, with doing what I need to do." And no, it really hasn't interfered. But if she were willing to be a tad more self-honest, she might acknowledge that one of her three closest friends in the world was a superhero before she met him, and remains one to this day, even if he doesn't bring it up around her. And that a young woman she very much wants to shepherd into her own better life was a superheroine - however young - before they met, and that part of what that young woman brings to the table here at RESCUE is her ability to field with REACT and use those superheroic talents.

But Roni isn't wrong, either. She has made this work ins pite of that pain. "And as an orphan yourself, you know that is something you will never get over. You can learn to accept it, to move on, to build a life in spite of it. But that loss never goes away."

"If it wasn't hurting you, if it wasn't interfering, I wouldn't be here." Martin disagrees. "There's loss, yes, but there's also moving on. That's a choice you make. I let mine go because over time I came to realize my parents wouldn't want me that way." He pauses again and then shrugs. "I'm sorry I'm upsetting you. Never mind that doesn't help at all." Rueful this time.

Veronica sighs and shakes her head. "Does thinking about that day, about what I lost, hurt me? Of course it does." Veronica responds. "And if I had your talents, I imagine if I could make you relive for a few moments when you lost your parents, there would be pain radiating from you, too." She holds up her hands. "I have no desire to do that. BUt I make my point: some measure of pain is unavoidable." She gestures to Martin. "You say this is hurting me. By which I take you to mean that it is hampering or harming me in some way even when I am not thinking of the loss of my parents. So, tell me doctor: How is this harming me? How is this harming me, or anyone else? Tell me that, and we will know if not how to fix the problem, at least what the problem is in some objective measure, and can discuss amelioration."

Martin sighs again, a frustrated sound. "You love to obfuscate the issue, don't you. I've already told you exactly what the issue is. You don't want to hear." There's a firm look for it too. "This hatred is clouding your judgment making process when it comes to the missions you are undertaking. Because when there are missions, there are almost always super-heroes. You react badly to them no matter what they are doing. That could cost lives. You'll shrug off the blame when it happens, putting everything in that blind spot, but it'll still be your responsibility. Oh, if that super hadn't been there.." He motions a hand and then shrugs. "Not sure if I can't make it any clearer." The man is frustrated, but not angry. Martin understands enough to grasp what's going on.

Veronica listens; she is in fact a reasonable woman. But she hsa her feelings, and they are very much involved in this topic. "I do not automatically trust supers. I don't buy into their hype. I react badly to them because they generally consider us to be the interlopers who should let them handle everything, because they are the professionals. But professionals are held accountable for their actions and inactions. I do not see any real problem with any of that." It hasn't gotten them into trouble yet.

Martin can see where this is going.. and that's no where. He watches her a long moment and rises slowly to his feet. "Okay." Given simply. No anger, only resignation. "Thank you for meeting with me today." The man has reached his limits with a woman who refuses to even consider compromise. Making this worse isn't on the agenda. Already made it bad enough. Before he turns, there's another hesitation. "I'm sorry about your loss." And Martin means that. He knows what it's like to lose everyone, having no family of his own. Yet there's no waiting for a reply. Unless stopped, he'll take his leave.

Veronica is a scientist; she's not used to stopping a conversation before a conclusion is drawn, until all of the evidence is out on the table and has been addressed.

She's also not at all used to, these days, anyone telling her they're done. She's the co-CEO. Hells, even Toni doesn't shut her down like that.

Veronica frowns, but she backs up her chair and lets Martin move. "As I am sorry for yours." she murmurs in response, watching him depart. She's not sure why he would give up in the middle like this, but she's also not going to argue. She's already worked up, and it's going to take a while to calm down and get her head back into her work. In the end she chalks it up as just another of those weird conversations that happens sometimes. Almer didn't resign or anything, so she doesn't see that there's anything to pursue or fix.

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