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Topic: Day 05 [1000 hrs] The Art of Tactful Candor (Read 43 times) previous topic - next topic

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Day 05 [1000 hrs] The Art of Tactful Candor
[ Deacon | Hallway | Deck 9 | Vector 2 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @FollowTomorrow 

March 15, 2381
1000 hrs

To say he was tense would be an understatement.  Bad enough that he woke once more to stare into the monkey face that he wore and the grooming it required so as to meet with the minimum of monkey standards, but now, for the second time in as many weeks it seemed, he found himself moving through the halls on Vector 2 en route to another counseling session, not that he'd found the first to be of any particular value.  Truth be told, he found it not only personally intrusive to have her enter his thoughts unsolicited, but he found her lack of awareness of his people and his culture insulting.  Wasn't it a counselor's place to prepare in advance of their sessions?  That seemed eminently practical to him, at least.

He did his best to keep his eyes to the deck plating before him, finding the distraction of his booted feet and the self-disgust it brought with it better than the perpetual feeling that something was coming for him, that his world lay in ruins and he was helpless at its heart. One hand to the wall to steady himself, he paused, the racing of his now singular heart beating in his chest.  The feeling had come on too easily and that frightened him.  Casting a gaze over his shoulder, he was almost certain that something was there, but what?  The Savi?  No, this sensation predated the Savi, no matter how much he protested.  This was deeper.

Setting his jaw, he braced himself, determined not to give another counselor cause or opportunity to burrow into his subconscious.  If they wished to avail themselves of his inner most thoughts, they would need to pry them from his lips.  He tapped at the bridge of the glasses he wore -- the doctor that had treated him most recently had recommended them as a means to cope with the loss of his ziirgah, taking the edge off the fluctuating level of awareness until he was as empathically blind as the other monkeys around him.  On the one hand, it meant no longer hiding his nascent telepathic abilities for fear of sthondat and the loss of station, but it had been part of him for so long, and now he was without it and it left an emptiness -- a void between himself and others.

With a sigh and a faint shaking of his head, he resumed his march.  K'Ren had done her best to break him from his shell, as the humans would say, as he supposed he should say.  The night before, she and the holograms at engaged in a subterfuge to keep him from Below Decks so that she could prepare a... birthday party.  A human custom apparently, or he might more accurately say a non-Kzinti custom.  Kzinti saw no point in celebrating the day of their birth... who could remember such a day?  Better, he'd been taught, to celebrate and embrace one's accomplishments rather than the accidental happenstance one could not otherwise control.  But, some had insisted, that it was not so much a celebration of years, but of relationships that would otherwise never have existed and the lives impacted.  Plus, they did admit that there was something culturally relevant about this particular birthday -- his 21st it seemed, although the details eluded him.

There was a certain amount of poetry in the sentiment, he supposed, such that he did what he could to participate in the event rather than avoid it altogether.  He found that he did not mind the gift giving either, especially when it came to personalizing their new living space.  It was still very much a balancing act not to dominate their quarters as would be appropriate on Homeworld.  K'Ren needed her own unique space as much as he did.  To that end, he left some elements in the small proprietor's quarters adjacent to Below Decks.  It was ultimately practical, too, should they be caught in a future situation with the vectors so long apart as well.

His glasses granted him a few other amenities for which he was thankful.  First, aside from numbing his ziirgah, the restricted the visual spectrum that reached his eyes.  There was still some faint perception of the ultraviolet and infrared, but prolonged exposure lead to eyestrain and migraines and though he was loathe to restrict yet another sense, he suspected he was far more tolerable without having to operate through nigh constant pain.  But above all else, the glasses provided a faint holographic display intended to help offset his inability to discern the face and features of the rest of the crew, adding simple geometric features in conjunction with a ready display of their name and rank so that he could be assured the identity of those with whom he spoke

Even now, a display rolled across his retinas as he stood before the door.  "Zelosa Ejek," he said to himself.  "Sounds Cardassian.  Well, that should keep her out of my head at least."  And with the tip of his claw, he rang the door chime.
  • Last Edit: August 16, 2019, 09:06:15 AM by steelphoenix

Re: Day 05 [1000 hrs] The Art of Tactful Candor
Reply #1
[ Lt. Zelosa Ejek | Counseling Office | Vector 2 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @steelphoenix  

Day after day, Ejek had been working hard. This morning was no different. After her usual light breakfast of nothing more than tea, she spent about ten minutes to herself, enjoying the silence, and she was once again busy. There was little time to waste with so much work to be done. She privately hoped that competent counselors would find their way to the department soon--she didn't know how much of this work schedule she could take before she burnt out.

She didn't really have time to wonder either. She had two counseling sessions already, and only fifteen minutes between this one and her next to prepare. Her next client was Deacon, a Kzinti--or formerly one. Medical records had a hard time explaining exactly what happened, but it seemed that he was one of the many impromptu race changes that seemed to suddenly plague the ship. Regardless, Kzinti was his culture, a culture she had never heard of until now. Worst of all, the Theurgy's computers had very little on Kzinti individual psychology, and the bare-boned basics of Kzinti sociology.

She sat back and frowned at the readout on the screen. Hardly anything. Even Efrosians had more data on them, and it was straight up punishable by death to reveal cultural information to an outsider on Efros. She tilted her chair back as she thought...

It would be one of those on-the-fly counseling sessions, she supposed. The first thing she'd have to do is introduce herself, explain how counseling would typically go...Though his file said he had a counseling session before, it was the Federation. As far as she could expect, the counselor could've raped him. She'd treat it as if it were his first. After, she figured she would have to ask why he's coming. She probably could guess, but it's worth asking. Then, bring up his culture. She'd learned the hard way what cultural illiteracy would do in Starfleet. After that...well, it depended on what Deacon wanted. Hell, even her basic plan so far was up in the air. The minute he showed interest in exploring a different topic, she'd have to go there with him.

Clients like this were a challenge. Always. She never knew what she would get. As she heard the chime to her door and she stood up, she wondered if she'd see her Cardassian scales and walk away. At least it would give her 45-50 minutes of free time. She smoothed her hair and skirt and approached the door. She prepared her gentle smile, the door slid open.

"Good morning, I'm Counselor Ejek. It's good to see you, would you like to step inside?" She gestured to the room behind her, still mostly Starfleet standard. Two armchairs at an angle towards each other, a desk behind the chairs, and a swivel chair behind that desk. She finally added a rug, however. Something nice, with warm colors. A gift from Aldea. Anything to make this room look marginally better.
"You'll pardon the drab decor. I've not yet had the chance to decorate with much more than a rug. Feel free to take a seat wherever you feel most comfortable, and I'll explain how my counseling sessions usually go."

Re: Day 05 [1000 hrs] The Art of Tactful Candor
Reply #2
[ Deacon | Counselor's Office | Vector 2 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @FollowTomorrow 

Take a seat wherever he felt most comfortable? His ear would've twitch were it still capable of such things.  A cocked eyebrow simply lacked sufficient nuance.  Would he pick someplace uncomfortable?  There were hardly many options available, and all things considered, what exactly constituted 'comfort'?  Had he a choice, he might turn around and head back to his own office for solitude, or, would that such things were possible, catch a flight back to homeworld.

"Deacon," he stated by way of introduction as he stepped into the office, moving quietly towards one of the two chairs, turning his hip sideways slightly as he sat to afford his tail room to move.  Furniture through the whole of the Federation seemed to favor the monkeys-- the more like them you were, the more their culture and society suited you.  He supposed that was a highlight of his day, if nothing else.

He cast a momentary glance at the rug, not so much to appraise it as to judge its owner.  She had, after all, brought it up, and K'Ren and he had been following a very similar pattern.  If nothing else, the ship seemed in a perpetual state of transition between repairs, a rotating crew and the damage inflicted by one hostile force after another.  Fortunate, then, that they'd managed to find a safe haven if even for a momentary breath.  Come to think of it, he could swear he'd seen that same rug for sale a few days earlier when he'd the opportunity to do a bit of planetside  shopping.

Well, he'd made it inside without the counselor drilling into his skull.  So far this session was far improved over the last.

Re: Day 05 [1000 hrs] The Art of Tactful Candor
Reply #3
[ Lt. Zelosa Ejek | Counseling Office | Vector 2 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @steelphoenix  

He gave his name as Deacon. It's the only word he said. Fair enough. He might be offering her respect, or simply refusing to trust her. Hard to tell. She would find out soon. She took a seat in the opposing chair and crossed her legs.

"Well, Deacon, to start...You may have noticed I am from the Resolve. I still run my counseling sessions just as I did on the Resolve. Most everything you share with me here, stays here, unless you authorize me to release information to outside parties. Exceptions to this are if you disclose to me that you intend to hurt yourself, someone else, or if there is a possibility that a child, elderly, or disabled individual is being abused...Even then, we will talk about it first. I don't simply drop everything and contact my superiors. I like to think I've more tact than that." Some of her ponytail was falling onto her shoulder. She tossed it back.

"To continue, I am a client-focused counselor. This means I am not in charge here." She smiled, "My rank means nothing in a session. You are the expert, and I am simply here to listen and guide you back onto your path as you need it. That means we talk about only what you are comfortable talking about. And we talk--no telepathy, no mind-melding, unless you specifically request it, and there is good reason. Even then, it would require the involvement of a third party." That bit about mind melding was important to add. Especially since the history of the ship included forcible mind melding. Personally, Ejek was strongly opposed to the practice of mind melding in counseling in the first place.

"Now, I've done reading on your counseling file before you came. I see you've been to a counseling session before mine. You're likely already familiar with much of the concepts that I've shared with you just now, as they are the most basic components of counseling, but I've learned during my tenure not to assume. Would it be too intrusive of me to ask how your previous session went...?"

Re: Day 05 [1000 hrs] The Art of Tactful Candor
Reply #4
[ Deacon | Hallway | Deck 9 | Vector 2 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @FollowTomorrow 

She launched into her own introductions when he considered it fortunate enough that he so much as knew her name, and that was more a benefit of the glasses than anything else.  True, Cardassians were sufficiently unlike Humans that he could tell one from the other with a cursory glance, but absent fur, he had only their hair to draw against, and in that, they weren't wholly dissimilar.  This ship was also not so devoid of Cardassians as to make that her distinguishing trait.  That said, he wondered how he would ever know she'd come from one ship or another.  She could just as easily have been from the Versant and he none the wiser.  How she ran her counseling sessions then as opposed to now was a subject of even more profound ignorance, so it was something she herself had wished to expose.  Perhaps verbalizing some consistency in practice, an unstated allusion to prolonged work in the field.

It was this part of his training that he could scarcely shut off. After some consideration following his initial encounter with the first counselor, he suspected that there might be some parallel in his own position as a Black Priest, although he was less inclined to allow the mentally unfit risk danger to themselves or the pride.  In such cases, it was his obligation and his right to intercede, directly with the Patriarch if necessary, to remove such obstacles to the health of the pride.  And yet even as he reflected on his own observations, she set out a pattern of revelations that might otherwise evoke a similar response in her.

Narrowing his eyes, his lips drew into a slight scowl.  Cardassians were not a telepathic species and he was confident in his own mental defenses at the moment, and yet still, the parallels in thought and speech put him on edge. 

She proceeded to make some excuse for her rank, possibly suspecting that he might hold one when nothing could be further from the truth.  His Federation citizenship was merely a fortuitous circumstance of birth, and any rank he once held in the Patriarchy had long since been stripped by his seeming betrayal.  He had no real obligation to respect one rank over any other with the exception of the Captain, to whom he'd sworn his oath of loyalty.  And above his acknowledged patriarch, there was the Fanged God.

And again, there was the matter of comfort.  First comfort in his seating, and now comfort in topics.  If comfort were indeed the point of these sessions, then he had to wonder what idiocy had driven him so far from it.  Was this not, in fact, intended to root out the fundamentally uncomfortable?  To shed light on dysfunction?  To explore solutions?  Why could none of these sessions be straightforward and forthright, he wondered, rubbing the bridge of his nose with the tips of his fingers.

No telepathy or mind melding.  Again, it was disquietingly apace to his own thoughts and his frown deepened slightly.  She assured him that such matters would only be conducted at his request.  Well, she need not concern herself with that as he was quite certain that she could offer no insight, rationale or bribe that would entice such a request.

Finally she turned to the matter of his first session, to whit his eyes narrowed further, flecks of predatory gold swirling amidst the blue, and his scowl firmly sunk into his features as if his face knew no other form of expression.   What did she expect of him?  Some form of false praise of the first counselor who'd already violated several of her tenants within second of meeting him?  Was this a challenge to get him to disclose something fundamentally uncomfortable?

"If, as you say, the point is for my ease, then you would do well to pretend the previous session never took place," he replied, his accent curiously similar to Humans of a particular regional lineage -- British?  "She took the entirety of the session to disclose what you managed in seconds, and with less clarity and having violated several of your principles in the process."  He turned his head to the side to dislodge this unpleasant recollection and the fundamental insult it had been, sitting quietly for a long moment before he turned to face Ejek again.  "So I will begin this again the way I started with her... I was sent here for assistance in reintegrating with my father's people.  At the time, it was intellectual. Now... now it is quintessential."  He again turned his gaze off to the side to maintain the facade of indifference and surety.

Now he wondered when and where the disaster of this session would arise.
  • Last Edit: August 17, 2019, 07:50:18 AM by steelphoenix