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Day 32 [1100 hrs.] ... for he has risen.

[ Lt. Foster | Counseling Department Offices | Deck 08 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @P.C. Haring
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Walking back into the main counseling offices, Stellan felt like a time traveler, accidentally having stumbled upon a breach in time and space that had transported him to this alternate reality. Everything looked virtually the same, aside from some panels that appeared slightly newer than the rest … but it really wasn’t. Everything had changed. And while only a few months had passed since Jupiter station, to him it seemed as if an aeon had gone by, while he was encased in amber. Only to be resurrected on behest of his sister, of all people, which was a whole different bag of confusions and realities he had to come to terms with. He felt like a mythical golem, being brought back to life by some wizardry of some witch, only slowly getting the feeling of life back into his limbs. His mind, on the contrary, was a whole different matter.

Ever since being unthawed from the ice, he had these strange dreams, memories. A déjà vu here and there, when he was appraised of the happenings in during his slumber. Niga, the Azure Nebula, the Borg, the Calamity. All the pain and suffering. So vivid, as if he had been through it all the same, though he’d been in stasis all this time. It was a riddle he’d need some time to come to terms with … and certainly not the help of another shrink. Today wasn’t about that, anyways. He was being put back into service, and he needed to be, to get a good distance between himself and his own issues, by focusing on those of others. He had yet to meet the new Chief Counselor, which this meeting was about. Hopefully she’d give him the go-ahead to start working again right away, without too many hoops involved. He wasn’t really in a show-jumping mood yet.

“Here to see Commander Hathev.” the man announced himself to the clerk at the front desk, clearing his throat of the dry lump, that had become so much more apparent the moment he spoke. Blue eyes flickering up at him, he was almost startled by the vibrance of them, or more so the sudden influx of amicable feelings flooding his mind, from the plucky brunette. “Hi there.” she greeted, voice almost a mere whisper on her breath. And along came a host of impressions, some not worthy a workplace, that normally would’ve amused Stellan. But while he still wasn’t fully the master of his abilities again, the thoughts and ideas, flooded his cortex unfiltered. Which was always a delightful experience. Like being pummeled under a violent swell, trying desperately to get up for air.

“I’ll … just go in.” Stellan smiled, somewhat wryly. From all the untoward emotions and passions, he could at least filter the readiness of his new superior. So, unless the overzealous receptionist had any founded complaints, he’d try to postpone this particular dilemma for another day. Raising his arm awkwardly, as if to wave her goodbye, the man pushed both fists subsequently into his waist on either side, just to keep them from displaying anymore stupid gestures, as he walked off in the direction of Hathev’s office. Pushing the chime gently, his body momentarily froze with the view of his own behind, as through the eyes of the ensign. Which almost prompted him to turn around in abject fury, but he decided against it as the doors swung open. It was already bad enough the Commander caught him with a sort of peculiar facial expression on his pate.

Nodding curtly, slipping inside, Stellan took a deep breath as the doors closed behind him. There was always something comforting about a door or a wall between him and other people’s minds. Even though it was stupid, as telepathy was merely dependent on distance, not structures in between. It was an associative delusion, as the clinical term went. He obviously understood it well, but at the moment was only focused on the soothing result. Being able to close a door in his head as well, to shut the ensign out of it. Letting the spent air gush from his nostrils, arms crossed behind his back, accentuating his broad chest, the man shot the Vulcan woman a quick charming smile. She was very attractive for her presumed age. Quite elegant … but what Vulcan wasn’t.

“Commander.” he greeted with a nod, his baritone voice only marked by the dryness of his throat for the faintest of impressions by now. Giving it a gently husky quality.

Re: Day 32 [1100 hrs.] ... for he has risen.

Reply #1
[ Lt. Cmdr. Hathev | Chief Counselor’s Office | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy] Attn: @stardust 

To a certain extent, Hathev had been anticipating this appointment since it had been booked to her calendar.   Being Lt. Foster’s commanding officer, she was aware of the situation.   As a department head, it was agreeable to have a member of her staff on the path to returning to duty.   He had been in stasis for longer than she had been aboard since the ship’s flight from Earth.  He had missed everything.   Hathev, herself had been on board for almost a month and was still working to catch up on everything that had happened to the ship and her crew since then.  She could only imagine the difficulty a less disciplined mind would have in doing the same.

The door opened, allowing Foster entry and she returned his nod in kind as she rose to her feet. 

“Lieutenant Foster, I am Lieutenant Commander Hathev.   It is agreeable to meet you and to welcome you back.”

She motioned to the replicator.  “If you desire any refreshment, please feel free to avail yourself and once you are comfortable, we can begin.”

She waited patiently for Foster to take his seat and used the time to study the man and attempt to ascertain his nature.


OOC - Let me know if I need to make any adjustments to this.  I know it's short but I suspect there will be more as we get deeper into the thread.

Re: Day 32 [1100 hrs.] ... for he has risen.

Reply #2
[ Lt. Foster | Counseling Department Offices | Deck 08 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @P.C. Haring
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In a way, it seemed, they were to be on the same playing field, Hathev and her. They both hadn’t been privy to much of the drama that the ship had been going through and were only now slowly coming to terms with it. Though, to be fair, her at least had been physically present for all of it … and to an extent, that had yet to be determined beyond the realm of daydreams and nightmares, also spiritually. But he didn’t feel a sense of nervousness, entering the woman’s offices, as one might’ve been expected to, meeting their new superior for the first time. Also, she was a Vulcan, he could deal with logic, it was emotions that were a little harder to make sense of sometimes. And by that sentiment it was also intriguing how someone who didn’t even experience normal emotions, like most species, had become the head of a department dealing almost exclusively with them. But he wasn’t here to question her suitability for the job … quite the opposite he imagined. This was to see if he was fit to return back to duty and a lot of his personal sanity, actually, hinged on the very fact that she signed off on him being so.

The terminology of it being ‘agreeable’ to meet him made that young man squirm slightly, however. It was such an innately Vulcan thing to say that it almost bordered the realm of clichés. Despite that, he nodded courteously, trying to at least figure out whether the slight slip of face was something she had picked up on consciously. But he could not sense anything there to indicate a negative impression. So that was relieving.

“I am fine, thank you. I just had my fifth coffee of the day and another one would just be pushing it, I feel like.” he replied to her courteous invitation with an equally well-mannered nod of his handsome pate. Instead opting to take his designated seat, if only so that the pretty lady could sit down as well. Curious, really, he thought that was a chivalrous gesture exclusive to overzealous gentlemen. But he liked it. Made him feel at ease. As much as one could on five cups of coffee. But what was he to do, after his insipid neighbor had been blaring their prog-rock ballads again for the better part of the night.

Raising his thick brows over the black rims of his glasses at the moment of silence, the man brushed his lips together before remedying the temporary stalemate. “Sooo …” he started out calmly. Thin lips curving into an almost perfect circle. “… how are you settling in?” After all, he was a counselor too, he could just as well turn the tables and appraise her instead. Surely he wouldn't mind.

Re: Day 32 [1100 hrs.] ... for he has risen.

Reply #3
Lt. Cmdr. Hathev | Chief Counselor's Office | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy] Attn: @stardust 

Hathev regarded her patient, her subordinate as well, with intrigue.   There was a certain element about him, a certain attitude she had yet to completely identify.  Having not met him until now, she had no frame of reference to determine if this was his natural personality or of he was putting up a façade in a vain effort to impress her.  He had adopted a more casual posture than she had anticipated and, for now, she was content to reciprocate.  It was a logical choice, of course given that when he was to return to duty, Lieutenant Foster would be serving under her.  While she preferred to maintain a certain detachment from her subordinates, she could not deny the facts.   There was no where else to turn for social interaction.   One could not permit themselves to become so isolated.

“It has been a worthwhile challenge to integrate not only myself, but the crew of three ships into one.   As you can imagine, the circumstances surrounding the Theurgy are unique.  Survivors from both the Resolve, and the Ballerophon, of which I am one of the latter, have found themselves integrating with the Theurgy crew to form a single coherent unit.   That, combined with the ship’s renegade status, cut off from Federation support, to say nothing about the parasite invasion itself, makes for a challenge.”

She let that sit out there for a moment.  She had oversimplified the situation considerably.   She had his service record; knew he had been original crew on board ship.  Yet he had missed everything since the ship’s flight from Earth.  For all intents and purposes, he might as well have transferred aboard just this morning, for what he knew about what was going on.

“What about you, Lieutenant?  How are you ‘settling in’?  It is my understanding that you have been in statis since day one.  Given how much you have missed, and the delicate nature of our current situation, do you feel ready to resume your post so quickly without having had the opportunity to fully acquaint yourself with the ship’s logs?”

The logic of the question could not be denied.  It was one Captain Jien should have asked her before giving her the posting.  While shared experience did provide a certain perspective helpful in the therapeutic process, it was not strictly required and, in some cases, the opposite was the more prudent course of action.   However, the circumstances of her own appointment to her post might have caused resentment among certain crew who could have regarded her as an outsider who knew nothing of their struggles having just come aboard.   Somehow, she had managed to avoid that scenario thus far and she would continue to do so as best she could.  Whether or not Lieutenant Foster could as well, remained to be seen and if he could not, he stood to do more harm than good.

Re: Day 32 [1100 hrs.] ... for he has risen.

Reply #4
[ Lt. Foster | Counseling Department Offices | Deck 08 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @P.C. Haring
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For Stellan, honestly, the only time when he could actually remotely develop an understanding for how inferior and vulnerable people could generally feel around him – around anyone with telepathic ability for that matter – was when sitting across from a Vulcan. The species that was not only so damn tightly wound that it was extremely hard to squeeze any internal sentiment from, but also so damn calm and collected that he felt at a general disadvantage in terms of his own emotional states. And he already considered himself one of the more calm and collected ones among the ‘sentient spectrum’ of races. That, however, was determined in relation to usually being surrounded with overly emotional basket cases, to put it in non-scientific terms. So, as a result, he was feeling uncomfortable himself, every time he did not have that empathetic energy to clam himself against. It made him uneasy … if just a little.

He listened to Hathev willingly follow along with his bait and narrate to him what she had no obligation to reveal. Potentially to make him feel at ease and as if he was conducting this interview on his own terms when in reality, she was holding the reigns at all times. He knew the tactic; his picture was next to the description of it in the fact-books. However, he would’ve probably opted for a less gloomy outlook on the entire situation. Then again, not a concept familiar to a Vulcan. For them facts were just facts and the nuances of delivery a pointless art. Pushing his bottom lip up, curving them in a reversed smile, brows raised appreciative of the hard truth, the man nodded complacently. It didn’t really feel like a judgment was expected on behalf of her words. So he let the session move on to the question poised back at him, like a tennis match.

He understood that on his own situation, the cold hard facts seemed like an illusive concept to be picked up on in log entries. Like isolinear data chips, spilled out of one’s mind and onto the floor. But he had lived through each and every event somehow, while being technically asleep, and had not for one second considered having to read up on any of it, ironically. It was a notion that both marveled and frightened him … dealing with it in front of Hathev was no exception to that particular emotional dilemma. A burden not faced that he envied her for.

“With all due respect, ma’am, a trauma is a trauma. Psychological conditions rarely come with an instruction manual attached to them. No matter where you are or what you missed. I am a trained specialist, I can adapt, and I have.” he told her with vibrant determination to his baritone voice. There was no doubt in his mind that whatever anyone experienced due to the history listed by Hathev, that he had the tools to address them. No matter how long he was ‘gone’ or how much he’d ‘missed’. He actually felt the slightest ping of offense by a Vulcan assuming he would not be able to do his job due to a frame of reference on current events. He was a telepath, he was aware of current events, painfully so. He had been caught up the first night back ‘under the living’. When all the moods and sentiments of the entire crew broke over him like a tsunami wave.

“If you’re worried I am stable enough to resume my duties, I think you’ll find my records showing, that I can give any Vulcan a run for their money, in terms of professionalism and self-control.” he concluded with an almost definitive nod to his statement. “Though with infinitely better bedside manners.”

A gentle smirk, tucking at the corner of scruff lined lips, coy, if not boyish. But certainly infectious.

Re: Day 32 [1100 hrs.] ... for he has risen.

Reply #5
[ Lt. Cmdr. Hathev | Chief Counselor's Office | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy] Attn: @stardust

Hathev studied the Lietuenant, working to understand him.  He exuded a quality about him, one of supreme confidence, bordering on arrogance.  It would not suit him.

“While I am not questioning your professional training, I am questioning your sense of empathy.  This ship is in a unique set of circumstances, one that has cut us off from the Federation, and cut this crew off from their loved ones.  There are no reinforcements, no re-assignments, and no crew rotations.  As a result, the only people this crew can turn to are those on this ship who have, by definition, a shared experience.  Given your stasis, you have missed everything this crew has experienced.  So I question your logic in choosing to remain ignorant of the trials your patients have gone through, when attempting to counsel them.  Given the professional training you are so proud of, I would have thought the first step in your therapeutic approach would be to develop a common ground with which to empathize with their emotional needs.”

It was then that she sensed the presence poking at the periphery of her mind.  Anger flared only to be suppressed just as quickly.

Or perhaps you think that the charm and charisma with which you are trying to make a futile effort to impress me, combined with using your latent telepathic ability to invade the minds of your patients is sufficient.  She projected the thought into the connection Stellan was trying to make, ensuring he would hear it in his mind as well.

“I am neither worried, nor not worried, Lieutenant,” she spoke aloud as she projected the thought into his mind, essentially carrying two independent conversations at once.  “You are correct that I am evaluating your fitness to return to duty aboard this ship as a member of *my* staff."

In attempting to invade my mind without my knowledge or consent you are in violation of Starfleet protocols, medical ethical standards and, most importantly, my personal being.

“ ‘Giving a Vulcan a run for their money’ may be a notable achievement among your friends while you are intoxicated at the Below  Decks lounge, but to me it means nothing.  I am more concerned about your state of mind than I am about your wasted efforts at bravado.“

By most legal definitions you are committing assault on my person.  Now get out of my mind before I take action that will leave your mind in such a state to do little more than recite Pi to the one hundred thousandth digit.  If I ever get so much as a hint that you have invaded a member of this crew’s mind without their prior consent I will not only have you relieved of duty, but I will also have your commission.  I will then have you sedated and placed back into stasis until such time as I can have you put off this ship.

“With that in mind, I suggest you consider everything I have said, and we start again, this time without the adolescent efforts to prove just how superior you think you are.

Re: Day 32 [1100 hrs.] ... for he has risen.

Reply #6
[ Lt. Foster | Counseling Department Offices | Deck 08 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @P.C. Haring 
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And while Stellan basked in the warm embrace of his confidence, a storm was brewing on the horizon, that eluded him until the hail started to pelt down on him. The white in his eyes increasing slightly, as his lids widened, nostrils flaring ever so slightly in an almost pathetic realization that he was being called out on – well – everything. It wasn’t really something he was used, let alone fine with. Stubborn superiority was certainly something he had inherited form his father, alongside the genetically enhanced telepathic traits, that came curtesy of the man’s wealth and power. So now a Vulcan was questioning his sense of empathy?! A gentle chuckle reverberated from his throat, muffled almost entirely against the roof of his mouth, where it left a sarcastic taste. That was like a Romulan calling someone out for being deceptive. Or a Klingon for being overly violent. He couldn’t fault the woman for not knowing, though, that he had a distinct memory of almost everything that had happened, despite not having lived through it first person. Even though he hadn’t been able to quantify it yet, he could’ve had the impressions of every single crewmember imprinted somewhere in his psyche, from these past months.

But hell, if she already thought his confidence was making him unfit for duty, one could only imagine what she’d judge the combined trauma of a couple hundred souls would be.

“To be precise, ma’am, I haven’t implied that I wouldn’t be up to speed on the specific anamnesis of my respective patients. In due time. As I haven’t even been assigned anyone yet, to base my research on. It would be highly illogical to acquaint myself with 980 individual experiences preemptively. If I did that, how effective a counselor could I be?!” he said plainly, with just the slightest hint if disapproval in his voice. Her demeaning tone went far beyond that stoic venom of a Vulcan. As did the vivid thoughts in her head, which were far more … colorful … than her species’ on average. At the lack of a better word. A quick burst of fire, warming the face of his telepathic avatar, shortly thereafter dipped into the far more venomous ring of her telepathic voice. Her outward expression was obviously more refined than what was going on behind closed doors, so to speak. Intriguing.

Her appraisal of him, while exceedingly apt, was just as interesting. The emotions attached to the word ‘invade’ … as if it were the nail her entire argument was hung upon. He wasn’t afraid. There was only one way he had been taught to deal with conflict, and that was to push against it, until it broke. A sentiment only heightened by his frustration with being misinterpreted. Letting her speak verbally, her words had no real meaning to them, so they could’ve just as well limited themselves to a far more superior means of conversation. The corners of his mouth crept up slightly, inappropriately, as she narrated to him Starfleet protocol. When they both knew that was for normal people in normal circumstances … whereas this was far from it. They could not permit even just one trained medical professional to be put on the bench.

Leaning forward a bit, showing how unintimidated he was by her attempts at exerting ice-cold Vulcan logic on him, with a serving of hot superior fudge on top, the man narrowed his eyes slightly, a confident, delighted glimmer to the obsidian orbs. “Not all humans are boastful alcoholics, but thanks for the lesson in Vulcan preconceptions. So, let’s talk about the state of mind …” he spoke, telepathically adding: It shouldn’t make you this mad that I am in your head, shouldn’t it? It’s not very Vulcan. It’s not very superior. So, what exactly are you? Hiding behind legal definitions and that wall of repression. A Vulcan wouldn’t be opposed to telepathic intrusions. It’s illogical. Telepathy is the only truly honest way of communication. The only way you could really measure my state of mind ... and yours.

Sending along a good sense of what he was truly feeling in the moment, the unscathed confidence, the self-righteousness, the oppressiveness with which he leaned down onto her emotional barriers. Peering deep into her conscience, like beam of light, melting through a block of ice. Pushing, pushing, pushing … until he eased up, almost taking a sick pleasure out of the sheer notion. Or the fact that she had pushed first. Leaning back in his chair more casually, he crossed his legs. He now knew that while it had been meant as such, there was no real threat there. Not one that couldn’t be countered with an even bigger one. They were all at the verge of cracking, he potentially even had a leg up for not having been there consciously through all of it. For a half Human, half Betazoid, he had incredibly mental discipline … or a heightened capacity for self-delusion. It merely depended on the point of view, really.

“Tell you what, you’ll consider that we just cut this short and you put me back to duty, so I can actually help people. And who knows, maybe I can help you too.”

Re: Day 32 [1100 hrs.] ... for he has risen.

Reply #7
[ Lt. Cmdr. Hathev | Chief Counselor's Office | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy] Attn: @stardust 

He refused to respect her privacy.  He refused to respect her request.  He taunted her about her anger.  He wanted the fight.  He wanted the struggle.  He wanted to prove his dominance over her.  After all, if he could 'give a Vulcan a run for their money' once, why would he not want to do it again?

He pressed into her mind, pushing against her barriers pushing to see just how far he could go waiting for her to react.

Then came his suggestion that she merely clear him for duty so he could help people, and possibly even help her.  No.  She would keep her own counsel. 

"Your request is noted.  However, we have more to discuss before I am prepared to clear you."

She understood his game.  He wanted her to struggle against his will, wanted to feel her anger.  He wanted her to react.  And react she did.

She relented. 

Relaxing her mental defenses, she allowed him to press into her barriers, allowed them to open around him granting him access like a tunnel through a mountain.  In her mind she made a place for him, gave it form and pulled him into it.

He might perceive his surroundings as though he were standing on a transparent platform.  Doors surrounded him, meticulously organized in a spherical pattern in clean rows and columns extending in all directions as far as the eyes could see, each one etched with a date and time, each one representing a single moment in over one hundred seventeen years of identic memories- every stimulus to which Hathev had been exposed to no matter how brief, no matter how consciously aware of it she might have been.  Each memory, each moment indexed, catalogued, and compartmentalized with a Vulcan's precision, each one etched in stone, unforgettable, unassailable and, for Lieutenant Foster, inaccessible.

Whisps of white light passed out of the doors seeming at random intervals in no predictable pattern, floating through the void and converging in the middle to be absorbed by a sphere of light, a convergence.  Anger, sadness, fear, hope, sorrow, joy, frustration, discouragement, encouragement, amusement, serenity, happiness and, yes, even love- every emotion to which she had ever been exposed all melded together into a single gestalt any one emotion inseparable from any other, their raw primal power within the Vulcan's one hundred- and seventeen-year-old psyche unfettered by useless frivolities of context and meaning.

Is this what you wanted, Lieutenant?  Is this what you believe you have the right to probe at your whim?  Is this what to which you believe you are free to take by force?

The ball of light began to shrink, compressing onto itself even as more wisps of emotional energy continued to fuel it as Hathev focused and poured her will into the convergence.

Perhaps you failed to consider the words of Nietzsche.

The convergence continued to collapse into itself, hovering above the representation of Hathev herself, clad in all black and then collapsing further to the size of a softball, hovering in her open left hand.

When you push into the Abyss, the Abyss pushes back.

Hathev did not push, she shoved. 

With as much mental might as she could allow before risking injury to the Lieutenant's own psyche the shoved the convergence - one hundred and seventeen years of compressed, raw, and unfettered emotion back through the telepathic link Foster had created.  The ball expanded as it surged forward growing into a wall, expanding and unavoidable, hitting him, ejecting him from her mind overwhelming him in one instant and then gone in the next as she locked down her mind tighter than a Ferengi money vault.

She stood from her seat and crossed over to the replicator, ordering a glass of ice water and a Vulcan tea.  She sipped the tea for herself and set the water on the coffee table in front of the Lieutenant.  He would want that when he regained his composure.

"Now that we fully understand each other,” she stated as she took her seat, her tone and demeanor as neutral as any Vulcan.  "Tell me about your therapeutic approach.  I would like to know how you go about counseling your patients."

Re: Day 32 [1100 hrs.] ... for he has risen.

Reply #8
[ Lt. Foster | Counseling Department Offices | Deck 08 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @P.C. Haring 
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Stellan felt like Hathev was trying to make this exceedingly difficult, all while exerting her own assumed superiority in terms of pure logic and control. That was the Vulcan way, after all. And while he had previously faired rather cordially with other members of her species, he was now questioning whether she was just especially infuriating or if he was indeed having a bad day himself. Either way, their interaction had quickly spiraled out of control, like two fire beats caught at a stalemate, circling around a common epicenter, while snarling dangerously and erecting their dorsal spike. Surely a reference she could understand. Why she still insisted to speak with her voice and her actions, rather than the far superior union of the minds was beyond him. It was so primitive, at least in regards to Klingons and Betazoids.

“You would think so.” He simply remarked flippantly, almost irked by the way how he couldn’t chip away at her calm as successfully as he had hoped there, for a moment. There was this glimmer of emotion within her, but it was nothing more than that. And no matter how much he chipped away at the overlying durasteel of Vulcan frigidness, he could not unearth more than the ambers of his persistent intrusions, bouncing off the walls.

Yet then, suddenly, the floodgates opened and Stellan stumbled into the center of her conscience. A notion so impressive it made his body jerk slightly, as if waking from a dream of falling. He’d felt the sensation so vividly, his body had no choice but to initially react to it, even though it wasn’t real. That’s when he knew they had connected.

Truly, her mind was a boring as he had imagined. Beautiful, yes, simple, yes, logical … absolutely. A librarians wet dream. She obviously did a great job at cleaning away even the last dust-bunnies of intriguing thoughts, prior to letting anyone over the threshold of her humble abode. This was obviously to show him that there was nothing to see her, or, far more deviously, a ploy. Which didn’t exactly elicit a sense of terror, in the man, but rather one of curiosity. After all, plots and traps were not exactly very Vulcan. Devoid of any logic and honor. Random flutters of sentiments and ideas started to aggregate towards the center of the space, focusing into an ever growing ball of light. Narrowing his eyes, though nothing more than a show of contempt and a mere figment of his telepathic avatar, he watched a mirage of Hathev’s appearance manifest beneath the accumulation of ill contempt. How vain, to have an image of herself be the vocal point of her own mind, he thought – but was soon surprised by the violent push he received.

Out of her mind, across the room, and bouncing back into his own head so violently, it gave him telepathic backlash. A sensation so powerful and seemingly real, once more, that his body reacted by subconsciously attempting to evade the ‘blast’. Jerking his legs into a straight line, feet planted against the floor, his physical presence tried to dodge back, toppling the chair and rolling over backwards unintentionally. Finding himself hurling to the ground, as his mind reconnected with his body fully, Stellan was out of it for a few seconds before his telepathic view and his physical one congregated once more.

Out of the blur, across the shambles of his lounge chair, he witnessed Hathev getting up seemingly unimpaired, making her way over to the replicator smoothly. Running a hand through his hair the man huffed, sitting on the floor for a moment, before getting up and re-erecting his seat. He still felt a bit dizzy, but made no obvious play about it. “I believe it’s ‘When you STARE into the abyss’, but sure, Nietzsche, good choice.” He admitted, though with no remorse to speak of, lining his words. He obviously didn’t consider her reaction a lesson worth learning. Not from her, not from anyone. If he wanted, he presumed, he could drive her physical body through the wall, if he only willed it hard enough. But that surely would’ve raised some brass eye-brows beyond her skeptically inclined ones. He didn’t really need that kind of attention right now, especially since he had so diligently worked on diverting it towards his sister instead.

Slipping back down into his seat, the counselor assumed the very exactly same position and stance he had before, if only to prove that he’d decided to move past her assault and pretend they were still on the same level. Even though, in his mind, that was because they both had committed some kind of act now that wasn’t exactly befitting of an officer, and not because Hathev had proven a point. Kismet, if you were.

“Well, I’d like to get to know someone, understand their motivations, before letting them reflect upon what they themselves consider to be their ailments and shortcomings, rather than blindly trusting files and scientific testaments. You’d be surprised how much you can learn from a person if you just opened your mind to them.” he replied calmly, not skipping any opportunity to sound like he was casting judgments.

And he had, actually, learned a great deal about Hathev, even though she thought she had won the battle by asserting her high ground. He figured her to be a fraud, now more than mere minutes ago. Not because of how she was intent on hiding herself from him, but because of how she hid behind her professionalism even just now, when he was nowhere near her mind. That sort of self-delusion ran deep, he should know, he studied the damn subject for six years, and people’s minds for far longer. She may have had the ages of wisdom on her side, but she lacked the conviction to do what was necessary, in order to evolve in he profession. Vulcans, always stuck in their framework of rules and logic. No wonder they were still on the same level they had been on for hundreds of years.

“What about you, Commander? How do you go about fostering an environment that enables your subordinates to provide the most efficient care possible?”

Two could play this game.

Re: Day 32 [1100 hrs.] ... for he has risen.

Reply #9
[ Lt. Cmdr. Hathev | Chief Counselor's Office | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy] Attn: @stardust

Hathev had not expected her push to literally knock Mr. Foster out of his seat and she was ashamed to concede that a small part of her took pleasure in knocking the arrogant officer on his ass.  Still, this was no way to begin a working relationship and she suspected that her own actions had probably not endeared herself to him either.  She even found herself wondering if she had been too harsh on him.  Yes, matters of personal privacy were of concern.  As a sentient being she took that seriously.  As a Vulcan, and one dealing with a situation that might brand her a true outcast one day, she protected her privacy even more.  Betazoids, she knew, also valued privacy and as a society had enacted laws and ethical practices about using their telepathic abilities to violate that privacy, rules that had been adopted Federation wide.

So yes, it made her angry when Lieutenant Foster had not only seemed to disregard those rules, but also pushed harder against her when she protested.  Even so, had she over-reacted?  A question for another time.  For now, best to put the incident behind her and move on.

“You will find that you and I are more alike in that regard than you may realize, Mr. Foster,” she offered in response to his comments about his therapeutic approach.  Self realization is the most effective therapeutic form.”

She found herself wondering if she would eventually be able to lead Mr. Foster to his own self realization about the way he had tried to assault her and why that incident, isolated though it may or may not be, gave her cause for concern.

Hathev picked up on the innate trap laying within his question to her.  Even so, the inquiry was logical and appropriate given their relationship, so she treated it as sincere.

“Generally speaking, I allow my staff, a wide berth where it comes to the execution of their responsibilities.  I, of course, provide my expectations and standards but so long as those are followed I endeavor to remain as ‘hands off’ as possible, while still making myself available to provide additional resources or serve as a sounding board when necessary.”

She took a sip of her tea.

“Given our circumstances my expectations for you, as well as every other member of this department, are high though not unreasonable.  The Theurgy may be considered a renegade vessel, but we are still a Starfleet vessel and crew and we must conduct ourselves accordingly.  IF we do not, then we are no better than the traitors we are presumed to be.”

Re: Day 32 [1100 hrs.] ... for he has risen.

Reply #10
[ Lt. Foster | Counseling Department Offices | Deck 08 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @P.C. Haring 
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Inevitably, the dynamic between the two counselors had ultimately shifted. Where once had been an unevenness of telepathic inception, there was now a silent understanding that more subtle means of coercion were advised. Thus an era of ‘cold-war’ began, where Stellan would act more carefully and covertly, in getting his way. He was as adaptable as the next crook. Surely, that wasn’t a side of him he particularly held in high regard, nor was it one he showed off ever. A notion hitting a little too close to him, as that very demeanor, was a cold reminder of the parts and pieces of his father, which infused his genes and psyche. That part of him that did not care about rules and regulations, even common sense and courtesy. The part that always vied to get its way. Even if that meant feigning to back down by projecting the subtle air of understanding to the point Hathev had intended to make. For as much as he was skilled in eliciting the most honest of revelations from the minds of others, he was also incredibly adept at incepting what he wanted others to gleam of him, in return. If they so chose to take a peak.

Her next comment struck the man as somewhat uncomfortable, like a rusty needle or slimy swamp. He didn’t want to consider himself more alike than necessary to a Vulcan, ever. But at the same time, he wondered if her species could appreciate the irony in her words. More so since he got the idea that Hathev of all people was beating around the proverbial bush that was her own demons more skillfully than most patients he’d had. But one telepathic push and physical display of lack in grace was more than enough to dissuade them man from trying to unravel that mess in any therapeutic fashion. He’d rather pry from it whatever he could to leverage his own progression. The ever opportunistic streak present that his father always fostered. Yet, if the intent had been to show him how much of his childhood demons still controlled his life, potentially he’d have to grant her that small success, at least.

So, by the time that his boss started to answer the question he’d posed more so as a measure of defiance and assertion of power, rather than an actual prod for information, he’d already slightly checked out. However, he could not elude the chuckle breaking through, as she said she would foster a ‘hands off’ approach. Even more so as he could still feel the faint sense of doubt about her very own assault on him and the illogicality of it against her own struggles. As that had certainly been a rather divine comedy.

“Sounds great.” He replied, omitting to lace the words with some kind of emotional gravity. Yet a simplicity that a Vulcan would be able to appreciate, no doubt. Nodding casually as her views on which way they were supposed to act, in the situation they were in, was where Stellan whole heartedly disagreed. Any situation warranted its own set of rules and history was marked with empires falling because they could not adapt and rather held on to their humanity, or whatever it was that made them sleep at night.

Especially in an environment where time was an issue and the stress of impending doom was high, there was no merit in following along the dignified guidelines of a society living in peace and prosperity. There was only the cold hard formula of weighing the measure against the result. Sure, if she wanted to keep waving that Federation banner around while the world around her crumbled, more power to her. Surely she’d look just darling doing it too. But Stellan would rather adapt to the situation and employ his unique gifts to push forward a definitive resolution, rather than a well-meant mantra.

Though, as the saying went, there was no arguing with a Vulcan, so he simply smiled and nodded. “Very well.” He replied, hoping that would dissuade her from pressing the mawkish matter further. After all, she could not possibly be a hypocrite and gleam into his mind it understand his true intent, that would’ve been rather imprudent. So she’d have to take him at face-value, doubts or not. And she’d never be able to prove his true intentions otherwise … thus solidifying his very point.

In this situation they were in, it was stubborn and idiotic, not to pursue ever avenue available to them.

“Anything else?”

Re: Day 32 [1100 hrs.] ... for he has risen.

Reply #11
[ Lt. Cmdr. Hathev | Chief Counselor's Office | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy] Attn:

Hathev appraised her subordinate, still concerned that she had not gotten through to him.  His tone with her had gone from the arrogant smug superiority to apathetic almost.  She did not expect him to turn around immediately and in that regard she was not disappointed.  Yet something was still off.  Perhaps it was his faux submission to her authority.  Perhaps it was that she could not get him out of her mind.  While she was satisfied that she had successfully pushed his telepathic intrusion back, she still could not put the implications of the experience behind her.

How could she be certain he wouldn’t try the same stunt with his patients.  If they consented to his use of telepathy to read their thoughts and push into their minds, she would not object.  But if they either did not consent or, worse, were unaware of his actions, the violation would be something she could not overlook.  Logically she could not in good conscious return him to duty.  However, with resources and personnel as limited as they were, logic also dictated she needed to make use of what resources she had even if they were less than her preferred ideal.  Even so, there was a standard and if she put him back on duty knowing he would not uphold that standard, she would be just as culpable.

“Anything else?”

The words hit her like a sliver through her skin and she sensed her own tension.

“I’m sorry, Lieutenant.  Am I boring you?”

Re: Day 32 [1100 hrs.] ... for he has risen.

Reply #12
[ Lt. Foster | Counseling Department Offices | Deck 08 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @P.C. Haring
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The beautiful irony, that slowly unfolded in their whole interaction like a well structured play, was that Hathev’s own mawkish ideas of morality and equality prevented her from definitely assessing whether Stellan was truthful or not. Whether he was just playing into her demands or whether he actually agreed. And while he didn’t actively peruse her mind like a replicator menu anymore, there were still the unmistakable hints of ideas and sentiments she transmitted that he could easily pick up on passively.

Such as her uncertainty, her ‘worry’, her doubts. It washed over him like a wave of tropical current. Warm and comfortable. In away, in a twisted mind, it proved him right in his assertions, that telepathy was a gift that had to be used, not quantified and suppressed under rules that were made for mere Humans and Vulcans, not someone as gifted as him. That was like saying a warp nine engine could only fly at warp 6 all the time as to not offend the ships that couldn’t reach warp nine.

But, even though unnecessary, he had already made enough of a case in his mind to grant himself immunity from her immediate ‘rules’. Something she would never find out about lest breaking her own rules. And he could very well appreciate the irony in that little conundrum as well. So to say he was feeling rather content and satisfied was an understatement. Surely it was something the Vulcan could too pick up on. Whichever way she interpreted it was entirely up to her, in lieu of further telepathic probing.

“Oh, far from it.” he chuckled well-manneredly. Had it not been for their small squabble a minute ago that skewed the charming display, one could’ve construed it for genuinely appreciative. “I actually found this very entertaining.”

OOC: Sorry for the wait! Deadline is done and I hope the reply was worth the wait <3

Re: Day 32 [1100 hrs.] ... for he has risen.

Reply #13
[ Lt. Cmdr. Hathev | Chief Counselor's Office | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy] Attn: @stardust 

Hathev was growing wary of this back and forth, yet for some reason, she suspected Lieutenant Foster was actually enjoying it.  The sense came from more than just the obviousness of of his words about the entertainment value of the meeting.  His posture, his demeanor, his tone, his very choice of words all spoke volumes. 

“And what, precisely, do you find entertaining about this meeting, Lieutenant?  Do not concern yourself with ‘holding back’.  Afterall, as a Vulcan, I have no emotions to injure.”

There was a hint of frustration in her voice.  It would give Stellan what he wanted, she knew, and he would consider that a ‘victory’.  But to an extent she did not care.  He had come to her for permission to come back to duty, and thus far he had shown no indication that he was fit to hold down a posting much less be on active duty.  Still, given the limitations of crew availability, it would be illogical to sideline him needlessly.  That said, it did not mean she had to make it easy for him to do so.

And yet, as she awaited his likely insubordinate answer, she already found herself working two steps ahead in their inevitable exchange.  Like a proper game of kal-toh, there existed a logical progression to this conversation, one that would lead to an eventual stalemate where neither she nor Mr. Foster would be successful in swaying the other’s opinion.  Hathev had to acknowledge that she might be in the ‘weaker’ position given the limited resources available to her in terms of crew.  But that did not mean her stance was any less important, nor did it invalidate her point.

Yes, she would return him to duty.  On that matter she had little choice.  But she would make her expectations clear, document same and then allow Mr. Foster to singk or swim on his own.  She expected he would sink, though she carried no desire to be correct in that expectation.

Time would tell.

Re: Day 32 [1100 hrs.] ... for he has risen.

Reply #14
[ Lt. Foster | Counseling Department Offices | Deck 08 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @P.C. Haring
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Oh well, if Hathev had been a beautiful hunk of marble, Stellan felt like he would’ve chiped away enough by now to bring forth a grotesque caricature of who the woman saw herself as – which he kinda had managed to regardless. Even for a non-telepath the subtle frustration was almost as palpable as the gentle wrinkle that seemed to form between her brows. A play of light, perhaps, but one that infused the half Betazoid man with utter glee.

“I find it entertaining that you interpret my concession as boredom.” He replied with a slightly sour chuckle, readjusting hiss eat one last time. “So I guess I have to work on my delivery.” And ironically so, if he’d been allowed to communicate with her telepathically, tonality and meaning wouldn’t be such illusive constructs and limiting factors, in this primitive linguistic exchange of theirs.

To Stellan, being subordinate, was not an official position. It was a lifestyle you gave into, a swamp you deliberately threw yourself into, so people could walk over you. Sure, he understood the basic necessity of a chain of command, but he was never one to take someone just at brass-value. If a superior didn’t live up to what he supposed they should, or at least to be superior to him in knowledge and skill, then he had a really hard time taking them seriously.

Leaning forward slightly he gave the Vulcan woman a covert look. “Am I right to assume that you’ll have an eye on me, from now on, ma’am?”

Re: Day 32 [1100 hrs.] ... for he has risen.

Reply #15
[ Lt. Cmdr. Hathev | Chief Counselor's Office | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy] Attn: @stardust 

She eyed her…colleague…once again trying to evaluate the wisdom of her pending decision.  There really was no option, she knew that.  Yet she could not ignore the way he seemed content to play fast and loose with medical ethics.  Unfortunately she was also in the unenviable position of needing him.  She had no other option.  She had no crew rotations, no one from the current crew was qualified, her junior counselors were either dead or in stasis, and her only other living counselor on board she had removed from duty due to his own mental health needs.

Stellan Foster was literally her last…and only choice.

There was only one thing she could do.

“Lieutenant Foster,” she began.  “I want to be clear with you.  I have only just met you and already am not satisfied with your performance as it pertains to the ethical code of conduct that you as not only a Starfleet Officer, but also a medical practitioner swore to uphold.  To be clear, I do not object to your using your telepathic abilities to aid you in the counseling of your patients, so long as you do so with both their knowledge and prior consent.  By not seeking my consent prior to attempting to read me telepathically you, by definition, committed an act of assault, against which I was forced to defend myself.  Were our circumstances different, you would not be as concerned about my ‘keeping an eye on you’ as you would be about whether or not you’d be brought up on charges.”

She paused and let that sink in, though given the way his ego had presented in this meeting she doubted it would.  Regardless, it had to be said.

“However, given our circumstances, I am willing to chalk your actions up to a misguided attempt to impress me.  Yes. Lieutenant Foster, you are returned to duty, and yes, you are right to assume I will be keeping an eye on you.  You may consider yourself placed in a probationary period during which I will be monitoring you and your practice very closely.  I should not have to tell you that I expect you to abide by both the letter and the intent of the Starfleet Code of Medical Ethics and that I will not take any violation of same lightly, nor will I tolerate any form of ‘skirting the line’ on this matter.  If I find that you have violated these expectations or that you have attempted to conceal any such violation, I will, despite our circumstances, relieve you of duty permanently and have you confined if necessary."


“Have I made myself perfectly clear in this matter, Lieutenant?  If I have not, you may feel free to ask whatever questions you feel are necessary to achieve that clarity.  If you have no questions on this matter, you are dismissed.”

Re: Day 32 [1100 hrs.] ... for he has risen.

Reply #16
[ Lt. Foster | Counseling Department Offices | Deck 08 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @P.C. Haring
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Stellan was truly reveling in the perceived actions of his superior. How she tried her best to gauge his reactions toward her, trying to figure out if he was placating her or actually understood her moral preaching. How she narrowed her eyes ever so slightly to focus those hazel orbs, scrunching up her nose barely noticeably. If only she could read his mind … oh wait.

The fact of the matter was, however, that no matter how much she believed he was a danger to everyone’s delicate sense of privacy, he knew he was a damn good therapist because of his relentlessness when it came to skirting around everyone’s sensibilities. Sure, his sister was an ongoing project where tough-love had yet to prove carrying fruits, but in many other cases he had actually gotten results much faster and much more persistently because of how he operated. No matter anyone’s Vulcan closedness.

But, he understood the concept of pretenses, as much as he could feel superiority ooze from every second this little interaction went on. Hathev had little to no wiggle room when it came to staffing her own department before having to answer to the cap why she was the only one showing inkblots around and letting people dance out their feelings. Still, there was no sense it outwardly reveling in it right now, which would only prolong the agony and nuisance on his part, if the lengthy explanations would go on.

And a man could only feign interest for so long.

“Perfectly and exhaustively.” Stellan admitted with a courteous nod. He would not leave her behind without a small sense of contest. “Ma’am.”

Another gentlemanly, albeit well overplayed tip of the head and the man turned on his heel, moving out the doors. But not without starting to let a musical whistle reverberate from his pursed lips. A definite spring to his step he was drawing much more delight from having gotten a hard time than he would’ve from smooth sailings. A challenge, was what it was.

And he loved it.

- FIN

 
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