Allyn Gibson wrote:
Starfleet is clearly an organization that tolerates, even encourages, a certain level of individualism. (Worf's baldric, for one obvious thing. The class clowns of Corps of Engineers for another. And let's not forget Barclay.) T'Ryssa happens to serve in an organization that lets her be herself.
Up to a point. Remember, Trys has not advanced very far in the ranks because of her discipline problems. She's probably got a long list of reprimands in her file.
The fact is, to be blunt, the T'Ryssa we met at the start of the novel was a poor officer. But the attack on Rhea
and her survivor's guilt forced her to take a good look at herself and begin making an earnest effort to improve. Picard chose to try her out because he sensed that desire to better herself and was willing to try to encourage it.
And she couldn't have had a better mentor (or father figure) to bring her in line. Picard is stern and disciplined enough to teach her restraint, but he's also a man with experience in academia, making him patient with problem students and inclined to respect his crew's diverse opinions and approaches rather than imposing a rigid hierarchy. That's the kind of environment where someone like Trys can thrive: one that gives her focus without clamping down too hard on her individuality.