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Day 03 [1130 hrs.] Oldest of Wounds

[ Ens. Ryuan Sel | Security Office | Deck 15 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @FollowTomorrow

Dread was not the right word for the emotion Sel felt as she walked toward the counselor’s office. She felt as if her stomach might drop out at any second or as if she had swallowed several kilos of lead shot. Her throat felt tight, like it had been tied in numerous knots. She did not like going to see anyone who was an expert on the mind, anyone who would try to fix her mind. One handsy therapist in her youth she had been forced too see because of a violent outburst had made sure of that. She had only made the appointment as it was standard procedure to do so after a life threatening injury of any sort, and hers had been especially nasty. Yet she knew she could have easily talked her way out of it. She could have submitted a couple of forms and delayed it indefinitely. And had it only been that she would have skipped it, but it was not just that, not by a long shot.

She honestly wished she could understand it, but ever since the injury nothing had seemed to fit quite right. She was normally more casual when it came to sex and sleeping with someone. She was normally a lot of things she didn’t seem to be in that moment.

She paused outside of the counselors office and composed herself, brushing her hair with her fingers so that it fell over the shaved side. She had not kept up with her usual shaving, so hair was growing back. She also had not put her earring back in, so there was a noticeable hole in her ear and a small indent where the cuff usually latched on. Since her near fatal incident she had done very little to keep herself up, not even bothering with her usual simple makeup. She had skipped more than a few showers and she had a disheveled way about her, though not so much as to stand out. Simply enough to make her look more frayed, not as well maintained as normal.

Finally she gathered herself together and pressed the door chime. There was no point in delaying this.

Re: Day 03 [1130 hrs.] Oldest of Wounds

Reply #1
[ Lt. Zelosa Ejek | Counselor's Office | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Absinthe 

Ejek sat in her office in silence. She was in one of her soft armchairs, leaning on the side of it just a little as she read a document on her PADD. It was files on Ryuan Sel, a patient that would have been seeing B’Nila, but due to department re-organization, had been passed onto her. On the side table next to her was a cup of water, and a decorative, woven basket with little flowers nestled in it. Next to that was another chair, not quite facing one another, but sitting side by side. There was a circle rug between them, a holographic fireplace before both chairs. An indistinct smell, warm and nostalgic, wafted through the room. Now that she had time to redecorate, it felt more like someone’s home than an office.

Still, with all the effort she put into this room, she was troubled. Her patient was Bajoran, and that alone would give off red flags. Bajorans don’t take too kindly to Cardassians anymore, for good reason.  On top of that, she had experienced some hardship at the hands of Dominion. So all in all, she was set up for failure here. She took a deep breath and opened the drawer of the side table. She set the PADD away and took a drink of her water. If the worst happens, usually she’d just refer her to another counselor. Now, she wasn’t sure if there was another counselor ready to handle this responsibility. The thought occurred to her, again, to offer training on trauma to her department.

She heard her chime go off. Right on time too. The promptness pleased her.
“Come in,” She answered, standing up and making her way to the door to greet her. When it slid open, her visitor would be greeted by the grey, scaley, cool blooded Cardassian that she would most likely dislike. She tried to keep a calm, but stern face. Her hair was up in it’s immaculate ponytail, as usual, and she had not a wrinkle nor speck of dust on her person. She hoped her cool facade would make the incoming harshness easier to bear…
“Ensign Ryuan Sel, I presume?”

Re: Day 03 [1130 hrs.] Oldest of Wounds

Reply #2
[ Ens. Ryuan Sel | Counselor's Office | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @FollowTomorrow

There was a moment, and only a moment, before the door opened, before Sel saw the counselor and she knew, when the possibility of this session not being a total waste of her time was still entertained in Sel's mind.

Then the door opened.

Then the door opened and it seemed as if the world stopped. Sel saw the counselor and she knew. She knew at that moment that this was a total waste of her time and energy. She knew then that nothing good could come from remaining and trying to speak with the woman before her. She knew this because quite clearly the woman was a Cardassian, a Cardie, a wraith damned spoonhead.

But Sel took a step forward and the door slid shut behind her.

"I am Ryuan Sel," she said in that formal sort of way that almost hid contempt but did not do it well enough to convince anyone it was not there. Not that she made any real attempt to hide it either, no the formal tone was simply because she wanted to remain as a professional. She was here because it was the rules and she followed the rules, or at least she mostly followed the rules.

At some level Sel had the desire to do some sort of violence upon the woman, she always had that urge when she was around a Cardie, it wasn't something she figured she'd ever get over. She'd lost everything to the Cardassians and in her mind, she was perfectly justified in hating every single one of them, even if they were not the ones who had hurt her. They were all Cardassians and thus they were all guilty of the crime of being Cardassian. There was no other crime they needed to do for her to hate them any more and in her mind, they could do nothing to make her hate them any less.

"I hope I am not late." She knew she was not, but the goal was to seem friendly, even if her tone and expression gave away that she was neither. "This is an... interesting office." It was decorated comfortably, she hated it. If it had been a bare room with a single large desk and a chair in the middle of it where she was to sit and be tortured she may have liked it more. That would have been honest. Instead, it wore a facade. It disguised what it was and she hated it for that.

Re: Day 03 [1130 hrs.] Oldest of Wounds

Reply #3
[ Lt. Zelosa Ejek | Counselor's Office | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Absinthe

She didn’t need to acknowledge the elephant in the room, as it were. The elephant was doing a wonderful job of announcing itself, thank you very much. She heard it in the tone of Sel’s voice, the positioning of her body. She was a well trained individual, but certain notes of body language were hard to hide. Ejek especially knew the voice and the posture very well. It wouldn’t be her first or last time having an encounter like this.

Though, something made her think that there might be a tiny, tiny chance that this could work. After all, she hadn’t been assaulted yet. ‘Yet’, repeated the negative voice in her brain.
“You’re on time.” She assured her, and gestured her to sit. “Take a seat—or if you’d rather stand, that’s just as well. I, at least, will be sitting.” And to punctuate that, she walked past Sel and took her seat. Her favorite one, closest to the fire. It still had her cup of water on the end table. She'd claimed it long before Sel got here.

“Well," She began, lacing her fingers together, "you were to meet with Counselor B’Nila, but due to department rearrangement she won’t be available for some time. I am the only one available to be your counselor today. You can call me Counselor Ejek, if you like.” She had the impression that she would not be called by her name today, but she tried not to think of it. Instead, she kept her tone solid, not soft. She could be kind, but she wanted to make it clear that she was not a doormat here.

“Whether you’ve been to counseling or not, I’d like to make clear some ground rules. The most important is that I’m your guide, not your superior. You do have the freedom to walk out my door at any time, if you feel uncomfortable, unwilling, or would simply prefer to see B’Nila over me.

With that said, know that we’re sorely understaffed and may not be able to get you an appointment in a timely manner. It may be a while before you’re able to seek any sort of help from someone who isn’t me, and it is this department’s policy to offer help swiftly and efficiently.

I know that this is not the ideal situation for you.” She began her conclusion. Her tone did not soften, but she kept eye contact with the Bajoran. She did not wear a face of anger. After all, what use was anger here? “It isn’t ideal for me either. But ultimately, I am willing to set aside personal feelings, and tolerate some distaste from your end, if the end goal is that you leave my office with some of your burdens lessened.” It was all a genuine statement, and she made an effort to show that, but she knew it could be very futile. Ryuan Sel had been through some Shit, her own race was to blame, and quite frankly she couldn’t blame her for leaving. Part of her wished she would, so she’d have one less stressor today, but another part of her didn’t want that.

Regardless, she sat in her chair, fingers folded, awaiting Sel’s answer. Or, non-answer. She was free to leave whenever she liked. Her door was not locked. She would even help Sel out the front door if she got too violent. She hoped that would not be the case today.

Re: Day 03 [1130 hrs.] Oldest of Wounds

Reply #4
[ Ens. Ryuan Sel | Counselor's Office | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @FollowTomorrow

There was a moment where Sel did consider turning around and walking right out of the office. She knew enough to know that this was going to be an uncomfortable session. That was easy to see, at least as easy to see as the gray ridges on the woman before her's face.  But she also had never been one to back down from a challenge, any sort of challenge.

"I'll sit," she said with a note of stubbornness as she went to the open seat and sat down in it, never breaking eye contact with the woman as she did so. She was still trying to size up the woman. She had no intention of walking out, that would be reported to her superior, but if the fault was on the side of the counselor and not hers, then she wouldn't get any heat for it.

So she would sit through this thing. She'd put up with it because she had to do so. It was standard procedure and she was going to do it. She just wasn't going to make it easy on the counselor, especially a fucking Cardie counselor.

"This isn't easy on you? I wasn't aware Cardassians had been wronged by the people of Bajor. I mean sure we hold a grudge, but I think we are entitled to that," Sel said, her tone dripping with sarcastic venom as she launched into an attack. She did not raise her voice though, she kept herself as cool as she could, as restrained as she could manage. "I mean, I'm sorry that I am a little hostile because you're a member of a race that raped thousands of my people and mutilated my homeworld. Obviously, me being a little hostile because of that is super hard... for you. Because clearly, this is the most ideal situation for me."

She narrowed her eyes and sighed angrily. She had to keep her cool. She had to only hit with words, even if she found herself amping up for a fist fight all the same. She could not punch a counselor, there was no way that was going to look good on her record.

"So sorry that I don't feel like being very nice to you. And sorry, but I feel no sympathy for this being less than ideal for you," she went on, keeping her tone restrained. Her anger did froth and boil just under the surface, her fists clenching and unclenching, but she was not going to push it to a physical level. "This isn't very ideal for me either."

Re: Day 03 [1130 hrs.] Oldest of Wounds

Reply #5
[ Lt. Zelosa Ejek | Counselor's Office | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Absinthe

She had to wonder what compelled the Bajoran to sit and stay with the Cardassian before her. If it were Ejek in Sel’s position, she’d leave with much haste. She didn’t know whether Sel was stubborn, brave, or just had one hell of a problem to talk about. She felt Sel staring at her, but she made no attempt to avoid her eyes nor lock sights with her. She had some of her water and placed it back, using it to distract herself. If she had an allergy to sarcastic venom, she’d be in hives about now.

“All I ask is you keep a level of professionalism suited to your position.” AKA, cool the insults. She hadn’t descended into profanity yet, but she was close.

“With that said, we can begin. I’ll start by asking what symptoms were you having that compelled you to visit counselor B’Nila in the first place? If you could also tell me when they began and how long you’ve had them, that would be helpful.” She elected to side with medical terms, using symptoms to instead create yet another layer between herself and Sel. Most therapist-counselor relationships were founded on some friendship, the intimacy that came from sharing one’s deepest fears and worries. She had a feeling Sel wanted nothing to do with that. She also hoped that, if her concerns were treated as medical ailments rather than emotional, she’d be more likely to describe more of what happened.

She kept her hands folded in her lap and watched Sel with a calmness she’s trained herself to feel while working.

Re: Day 03 [1130 hrs.] Oldest of Wounds

Reply #6
[ Ens. Ryuan Sel | Counselor's Office | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @FollowTomorrow

With a look, Sel made her feelings about being called out about professionalism clear. She was there because she was a professional, but she was also a spitfire and she was not going to back down from a fight. She never had and never would. That was really why she was there on all account anyway.

"How do you want me to start? I am clinically diagnosed with a number of conditions and symptoms," Sel began with a wave of her hand. She really should have failed her psyche eval to even enter Starfleet, but she had started out as enlisted and the rules were less strict for enlisted than for officers and at the time a seething hatred for Cardassians and one hell of a case of Oppositional Defiant Disorder weren't enough to keep her from joining.

"I'm not what you would call the best officer. In fact, the only reason I'm here is that the soft-skulled fucktards who wrote the Security Department handbook insist that if you almost die you need to see a therapist within a week of being cleared physically in order to return to full duty," she went on. Her tone shifted a little from being purely confrontational to a bit more conversational. She was in no mood to talk, but she knew that a word from the woman, even if she was a Cardie, would put her off duty and in the shithouse. So Sel could play nice, or at least as nice as she played with most people.

"So I'm here, talking to you because some other fucktard shot me in the back and broke my spine. I coulda died, so I need to be recertified to return to active duty. The Doc has cleared my body, in more ways than one, so you get to clear my mind."

Re: Day 03 [1130 hrs.] Oldest of Wounds

Reply #7
[ Lt. Zelosa Ejek | Counselor's Office | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Absinthe

There was a number of things she could say about the Federation's nonsensical regulations. Wasn't there supposed to be a psych eval before joining as an officer? Oh right, enlisted doesn't have to do that. Stupid, stupid oversights,  so easily corrected...

As Sel spoke, Ejek pulled out her PADD again to take notes and look up diagnoses. Really, it just gave her hands some work.
"Well, considering that this is the Federation, there are plenty of clumsy oversights and loopholes that would allow you to continue on without having seen a counselor. Surely our understaffing issue would have been sufficient of an excuse if you really did not want to pay a visit." Which was only mostly true. There were others in this department, but they were not ready to handle some of the big stuff. That's all anybody had these days, big stuff.

"Are there any symptoms at all that are unusual to you? Changes in your sleeping, eating, emotional patterns, thoughts, libido, energy level..." She paused, and then felt the need to add onto what she'd already said.

"Keep in mind that answering in the positive doesn't necessarily mean that I'll be relieving you of duty." In all actuality, she might do that, depending on the severity of the symptoms. She wouldn't say that though, she knew better. Sel needed to be in control to feel at ease here. Despite acting so cold towards the Bajoran, on some level Ejek wanted her to feel less angry with her.

Re: Day 03 [1130 hrs.] Oldest of Wounds

Reply #8
[ Ens. Ryuan Sel | Counselor's Office | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @FollowTomorrow

At that Sel blinked. She had not been certain what to expect from this counseling session, not really, but she had not expected a question like that.

"What exactly, does me getting shot, have to do with my libido?" She asked raising an eyebrow. It seemed like an odd question to her, even if she knew little about therapy and whatnot, it just seemed odd. "Am I supposed to be more horny or less horny because someone shot me in the fucking back?"

She scowled. She vaguely remembered some psyche class lesson about how boys wanted to bang their moms and girls wanted to bang their dads. Was that what this was about? It had sounded stupid then and it seemed just as stupid now.

"Is this one of those things where you psyche people obsess over sex for an hour and try and figure out if some pervert touched me when I was a little kid? Because the answer is no, or at least that's the only answer you'll ever fucking get from me," she went on defensively. She did not like to be questioned about her sex life, and even though she had not really been, she took it as being questioned.

"I mean I was a born a slave and they never cut out my womb to turn me into a more useful sex slave, so clearly I wasn't one of them, okay?" she went on her tone getting more defensive by the second. "And I don't appreciate you bringing all of this up, so can we just move one?"

Re: Day 03 [1130 hrs.] Oldest of Wounds

Reply #9
[ Lt. Zelosa Ejek | Counselor's Office | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Absinthe

It was interesting that she became defensive over this question. Or, it would be, if she wasn’t already defensive over everything else. No, no answers today, she supposed. She wanted to push her just a little bit more. She had a feeling that she could be just about there…

She let Sel finish and let a beat go by before she continued. She paid careful attention to her voice and body language, keeping care to remain stoic, but not aggressive. “Well, to explain it as quickly as possible,” She began, folding her hands over her PADD, “You’ve went through trauma. Even though you’ve been through far worse trauma, it’s always possible that your brain is responding to this one differently. Trauma will cause your brain, most importantly the limbic system, to either not react at all, or overreact. That means it’s possible that you could experience sexual dysfunction, or sudden high drive. You could find yourself feeling distant, numbed, or just have no sexual attraction, or you could become clingy, more emotional, more attached, and usually in an unhealthy way, than you were in the past.”

“These things could happen not because of who you are, but rather because your brain is...malfunctioning, for lack of a better word.” She was trying to keep things as simple as possible. This was volumes of information being condensed down, and so much was lost in her explanation. She hated that, but it was important to convey regardless.

“I’m not asking these questions to disrespect you, but rather they are questions meant to pick up symptoms. I won’t continue to press the issue,” she lied, ever so easily, “but I want you to be aware of what can happen after trauma. If you start having those sorts of symptoms, it’s important to find help as soon as possible, before it becomes far worse, or even past the point of no return.”

She took a breath, letting the information she’d dropped in Sel’s lap sink in. She hoped that it would stir her to “Well, assuming you have no symptoms, we will move on in a moment...” She carried on the pause as she tapped on her PADD, marking down her checklists and typing a quick note for herself later.

"Is there anything else you want to talk to me about?"

Re: Day 03 [1130 hrs.] Oldest of Wounds

Reply #10
[ Ens. Ryuan Sel | Counselor's Office | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @FollowTomorrow

For a long moment, Sel was silent. Things had been different recently. She'd been different. Was it the getting shot that had done it? Was that even possible? She was usually much more open and carefree when it came to relationships, she didn't really have any long-term ones and when she did it was never that emotional. She didn't do that.

And yet she had been doing that. She'd been basically dating someone, well perhaps not dating, but she had no interest in fucking anyone else. That alone was new for her. She tried to think if it really happened before or after she'd been shot if she could even think of anyone else she cared about like that.

She couldn't escape the feeling that the Cardie woman was right, that maybe the shot had fucked up her head. Maybe that's all that it was between her and Sarresh. Maybe that's all it could ever be, the most intense it could be was just her brain being fucked up and one day it would get right and then she'd leave him just like she'd left a dozen other men.

"What if..." She began but stopped herself. It was way too fucking vulnerable, but she needed answers, she had to know. And it seemed like the Cardie woman was the only way she was gonna find out, at least any time soon. "What if I started a relationship and I don't know if it's me or my brain being all fucked up?"

Re: Day 03 [1130 hrs.] Oldest of Wounds

Reply #11
[ Lt. Zelosa Ejek | Counselor's Office | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Absinthe

Ejek felt the silence coming before it hit. It was critical that she did not pay it mind. She used it as a convenient excuse to keep taking down notes on her PADD. Really, she had nothing left to add, but it kept Sel from feeling like she was expected to talk.

Privately, she felt a sense of pride. She had needled open her tough outer shell and planted a thought in her head. She found vulnerability in an invulnerable person. She considered it a triumph of skill.

She was patient for Sel. She had plenty of time in this session. When she first spoke, Ejek lowered her PADD and her eyes met Sel’s.

“Trauma doesn’t make your feelings any less real. Just more erratic. Your relationship would be just as real regardless of whether or not trauma caused it.”  She didn’t want to push for more information, she could risk Sel shutting down. At the same time, she needed some more information, or else the advice she gave would be irrelevant. She’d just have to go off guesses and assumptions…

“Something to know about trauma, or any abnormal’s only ‘abnormal’ if it meets three out of four criteria. If it is deviant, dysfunctional, dangerous, or distressing. Now, I don’t know anything about the situation, or if this is just hypothetical, but as long as the relationship isn’t meeting those criteria, and you're happy and safe in said relationship, I don’t see any need to take action regarding it."

Re: Day 03 [1130 hrs.] Oldest of Wounds

Reply #12
[ Ens. Ryuan Sel | Counselor's Office | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @FollowTomorrow

There was a moment of silence as Sel considered that. She wasn't sure if her relationship with Sarresh was any of those things, only that it was not normal for her. That by itself left her feeling uncertain about it, and that made her more uneasy. She didn't like to be uncertain, about anything, especially not about the men in her life. That was supposed to be the area she had control over.

"What if it's not quite any of those four, but it's still not normal?" she asked, shifting uncomfortably in her chair. She disliked needing to be open for the Cardassian, but it didn't look like there was any other way she was going to get the answers she needed. "I mean... What if after I was injured I got myself into a relationship that wasn't like any that I've been in before? What if I'm not sure if it's me who got into the relationship or this fucked up trauma that you mentioned? Like, not unhealthy, but not like any I've had before. Or at least not what you people would call unhealthy,"

She didn't want to give any real details about what was going on, she valued her privacy too much to just come out and say anything.

She leaned back in her chair and sighed, running her fingers over her ear, her fingertip lingering for a second over the small hole where her earring once hung.

"What if I've never had a healthy relationship before?" she asked, her voice suddenly sounding very small.

Re: Day 03 [1130 hrs.] Oldest of Wounds

Reply #13
[ Lt. Zelosa Ejek | Counselor's Office | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Absinthe

For Sel, this must’ve been difficult. She came in here with her shields at maximum and weapons set to kill, and now she sat here in front of Ejek, weapons put away, cautiously probing. If she changed her behavior, she ran the risk of Sel clamming back up again. If she didn’t, she might give Sel the impression she doesn’t care. It was a balancing act.

She smiled, but just a little. Like she was trying to hide it. She wasn’t, really. “Well then, I’d have to congratulate you on what sounds like something very special for you.” She put her PADD face down on her lap. No need to be taking notes here.

“It’s certainly unusual to experience trauma and then find yourself in a better position than you once were. Certainly it’s not in the diagnostic manual as a symptom, but maybe something about the experience changed how you view yourself, your life. If you’ve never had a healthy relationship before...maybe something about being shot has made you feel, on some level, that you deserve better than you had been getting before.” She suggested. “Without details, I couldn’t say for sure, but that is a common example.”

“So to answer your question, was it you or the trauma? I’d say my answer is this; does it matter whether you or the trauma got you into the relationship? Ultimately, what matters is that you are happy. That’s what you need to be asking yourself, does this make you happy?”

Re: Day 03 [1130 hrs.] Oldest of Wounds

Reply #14
[ Ens. Ryuan Sel | Counselor's Office | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @FollowTomorrow

As she listened, Sel bit her lip in thought. Was she happy? She honestly didn't know. She felt stressed and disoriented. She wanted it to be simple. It had been simple when she wasn't in a healthy relationship, or at least she had told herself it was simple.

All she had to do in those quick relationships was fuck or be fucked. It felt good and that was all that mattered. She didn't need anything more. But now... Now things weren't like that. It wasn't like she could just decide she liked the cute guy or girl from another department and screw their brains out and not look back. Now she felt like if she did that, she'd feel some sort of guilt.

"What if I don't know if I'm happy?" She asked with a heavy sigh, sinking further back in her chair. She felt crushed by it all, by the pressure she had not really remembered signing up for.

With a heavy sigh, she pulled herself upright and leaned forward.

"A short time ago, before I was shot, during the mutiny, before we got to Starbase 84. Me and… a guy were under the effect of these pheromones. And… Well, we did our job and then we fucked each other’s brains out. And then we met again after and did it again. And now I just… I keep thinking about him… And only him,“ Sel explained. She fret with her sleeve as she spoke, clearly uncomfortable speaking to anyone about it at all. "I hadn’t thought about it much, but it started getting more emotionally intense right after I got shot. That was when we saw each other again. And I guess…”

She leaned back again, taking a heavy breath. She was, at this point, more speaking out loud than to the woman across from her. She wanted to put it all in some kind d of context, to figure out what had happened and why.

“I needed him after I was hurt and he was there. And now I’m terrified that I still need him. That I’m becoming dependent upon him,” she ran her hand over her ear again, her finger moving over the hole. “I’ve never been dependent upon anyone…”

Re: Day 03 [1130 hrs.] Oldest of Wounds

Reply #15
[ Lt. Zelosa Ejek | Counselor's Office | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Absinthe

She nods as she listens. Here was the tale of new love. It was bittersweet and scary. And it...made her feel jealous? No, that’s not it. Put that feeling back in the closet it came from.

“I understand. It makes you feel vulnerable in a way you’re not used to feeling.” The PADD goes on the table. There’s really not much to diagnose here, this isn’t trauma. “It’s brand new territory. And, I daresay you haven’t had any role models for this before either.”

“To be’re not entirely dependent on him. Should he stop existing one day, you’re still capable of doing your job and living your life. And...if he loves you the way you love him, he’s just as dependent on you too. That’s something you’ll have to talk to him about, so you two can make agreements, set boundaries. A relationship like this is founded on communication and respect for one another. If he has that, and you have that...then the two of you will want for nothing.” She smiled. She...wished she had that sort of relationship. No, she doesn’t. Back to the closet with ye.

“It’s going to take a lot of courage to navigate this, if you choose to let it continue. It’s a different type of courage than the kind it takes to stare down death, as you’ve done before. But I believe you have it in you to conquer this challenge as well. You wouldn’t have come this far if you didn’t have a certain strength within you.” She wanted to say ‘you wouldn’t have sat so long with this Cardie if you didn’t have good taste’, but that was simply far too hammy. It would’ve been entertaining though.

Still...she was jealous. She felt it behind her mental closet. She was how old and still single? Never dated a man. Had she even had a first kiss? She couldn’t dwell on these questions. After all, what sort of clean-cut Cardassian man—hell, even a woman-- would ever desire Ejek, a pale imitation of a Cardassian woman. No, she’s better off focusing on her career, and in specific, the work she’s doing right now.

"You certainly won't have to face this alone either. You have my support, if you'll accept it." She hoped she would. Personally, she'd rather Sel not go to B'Nila for relationship advice...

Re: Day 03 [1130 hrs.] Oldest of Wounds

Reply #16
[ Ens. Ryuan Sel | Counselor's Office | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @FollowTomorrow

As she listened to the other woman speak Sel could not help but look inward and wonder about these new feelings, about what they meant to her and for her future. She had never been the sort for serious self-reflection, and yet she had found herself doing it more and more. She preferred to simply act on her impulses, that was easy to do. She could act on instinct and say to herself that the consequences didn't matter as she would deal with them when she got there, getting out of any trouble the same way she got into it.

But everything seemed to be different now.

Or at least everything seemed to be changing. She felt less certain of who she was and her place in the galaxy. She had not even been able to bring herself to put back on her earring, to light her blood red candle and meditate, to engage her spiritual side at all. She had told herself that it was because of her injury, that the injury had fucked her up.

But that wasn't true and she knew it.

"I don't..." she paused and swallowed hard. "I don't lean on others for support. Not anyone. Not Sarresh..." She looked up, making a moment of eye-contact. "Not you..." There was pain in her voice. The statement was less of one of defiance and more one of a simple unspoken truth. She didn't lean on others because in her mind it wasn't safe to do it. People could leave you, they could walk away on their own or they could simply be taken in the night. Either way, the results were the same, she would be alone.

Re: Day 03 [1130 hrs.] Oldest of Wounds

Reply #17
[ Lt. Zelosa Ejek | Counselor's Office | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Absinthe

The flame that had burnt so hot before now flickered down to an ember in front of her. In truth, it pulled on Ejek’s heartstrings. In a way...their issues were similar. So when she spoke, it was with honesty, and honesty sounded just like everything else she said.

“It’s hard. It’’s scary.” She leaned forward, her hands folded in front of her still. “But none of us are an island. A ship cannot run with a crew of one.”

“You’re at a crossroads in your life right now. You didn’t rely on others before. Probably because it could go very wrong. People leave at any time...” Sometimes with no prior warning. Your whole life could go down the tubes in seconds. “...but it’s natural to want to lean. To bond like that.”

“...I won’t push you towards any one decision. But I can say that when you start trusting’s hard. Especially on a ship like this, they could be gone any second. But...there’s great reward to it too. Beautiful things feel even more beautiful. You feel...truly happy.” She sat up and smiled. She was talking about friendships, even though Sel’s problem was love. Really, the advice applied both ways. To trust was integral to both actions. It was difficult, learning to trust. Ejek still didn’t do it easily or very well, but those she extended her trust to…

She hoped Sel would make the leap.

"Maybe it's something you should give some thought to over the next few weeks? You could 'sleep on it', as they say. If you're comfortable doing so, we can keep talking as well, but I will not push you to do anything you don't want to." Any further pushing and she could risk putting Sel through some serious stress...but she left it open to her. If she wanted more out of Ejek, she would be free to do so.

Re: Day 03 [1130 hrs.] Oldest of Wounds

Reply #18
[ Ens. Ryuan Sel | Counselor's Office | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @FollowTomorrow

For a long moment Sel didn't say anything. She was busy considering what the woman had said. Trust was not something she had a natural gift for. She'd been on her own so long, just using other people to meet whatever needs she had at the time. She had told herself that everyone used everyone else. She'd pitied those who got emotionally invested in her when she was with them because it had always ended the same way. She would cut them out of her life and move on.

It had seemed simple, but hindsight made it clear it really wasn't.

A growing part of her was getting annoyed with the damn cardie woman, for making her think all this shit and feel anything at all. She also felt a pang of anger at Sarresh, for putting her in this situation to begin with. But really, she knew she'd put herself in the situation. No one had pressured her and no one had tried to stop her. This was her shit and she'd jumped face first into it.

"And what if I don't want to trust? What if I want to be like I was before I was this fucking mess?" She asked with a glare, her tone getting defensive now. "Why do I need any of this? Why can't I just... I dunno... Not fucking feel..."

She sighed and leaned back in the chair.

"We're all gonna fucking die anyway. If the fucking parasites don't get us then we'll just get ourselves. No one on this shop isn't fucked up," she went on, getting more defensive.

Her walk was coming back up. What openness she had was closing fast. Some quiet voice in her head kept telling her how stupid it was to go to a fucking spoonhead for advice on anything. That it was their fucking fault she was like this to begin with. She didn't need one of them to tell her to be more trusting. If anything she needed to be less trusting of them.

Re: Day 03 [1130 hrs.] Oldest of Wounds

Reply #19
[ Lt. Zelosa Ejek | Counselor's Office | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Absinthe 

Well, she could feel her time up. Sel was closing back up. The Cardassian had done what she could, and now it was time to back the hell off.

Maybe it was her fault. She took the risk of allowing her own feelings to leak through, not something a counselor like herself should do without great care. On the other hand, Sel wouldn’t have allowed herself to be vulnerable forever. She had a time limit regardless of whether Ejek had been emotionally vulnerable or not. She elected to spend no further time on the topic.

“You’re right. Everyone’s got their problems. It’s a constant in this universe, it seems.” She sat back as well, trying to de-escalate with her body posture. She disengaged eye contact and returned back to her PADD, her legs crossed.

“In the end, it’s what we choose to make of our situations, that is how we grow. For better or for worse...Ah, here we are.” She let her last bit of wisdom sound like idle talk, like she was searching for something on her PADD. She wasn’t, everything was organized before the session ever began.

“Well, our time is just about up. The good news is, I can’t officially diagnose you with anything. You’re not ill in any way I can ascertain. I don’t see any need for mandated leave time, unless you’d like to have a day or two off for yourself. I’m required to send you a pamphlet on trauma, but whether you read it or not is up to you...” As she spoke, she sent off the pamphlet. It would appear in Sel’s personal messages, for her to peruse or trash as she saw fit. Really all this was pratter. It was fluff, to ease away from the situation, tone it all down back to 1 instead of 10.

“Is there anything else that you have questions about, or you want to talk about?”

Re: Day 03 [1130 hrs.] Oldest of Wounds

Reply #20
[ Ens. Ryuan Sel | Counselor's Office | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @FollowTomorrow

Pain turned to anger and quickly any walls that had come down were right back. Sel found she was pissed at herself for opening up. None of it mattered anyway. She felt just as confused and fucked up now as when they had started, only now she had spoken about her 'feelings' with some spoonhead cardie bitch and actually considered taking advice. What right did this spooner bitch have to give her advice?

She fumed just under the surface and her body language showed it as her arms tightly folded over her breasts.

But she was not one to run away, not one to back down. She had to cut back. She had to get personal. She could not be the only one fucked within all of this. The only problem was the way she usually fought back against fucking spoonheads was with her fists and beating the shit out of the ship's counselor was not a good idea.

So she took a breath and did her best to calm herself. "So... What the Fuck are you even doing here?" She asked at last, partly out of curiosity, partly on looking for a chink in the cardie woman's armor. "What the fuck is a Cardassian doing playing therapist on a fucking Starfleet ship? Or is this just an excuse to fuck around with people's head? Yet another Cardie fucking around with everyone's head just because they can?"

Sel narrowed her eyes, betting this was some stupid power game. Cardassian seemed to love their fucking power games. And Sel hated being fucked with.

Re: Day 03 [1130 hrs.] Oldest of Wounds

Reply #21
[ Lt. Zelosa Ejek | Counselor's Office | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Absinthe 

On one hand, it was frustrating to be targeted like this. She did what she could to help Sel, and this is what she get? On the other...she knew. This wasn’t personal, as personal as it felt. This was just how Sel functioned, and it certainly wouldn’t go away after just one session. She held her patience. There was no use in cutting back, or divulging deeply personal information. She’d give her an answer though. Ignoring her would only make her angrier, and make Ejek a less likely candidate for visits in the future.

“I am here doing my job, nothing more, nothing less.” She replied, as if Sel had asked more politely. “Just because I am chief counselor doesn’t mean I’m too important to schedule sessions. All that means I have more paperwork on top of my duties.” Paperwork that didn’t talk back, didn’t insult her, didn’t hate her...she much preferred the paperwork on days like this.

“As for why I’m here on a Federation starship...” She mused, wondering just how much information she’d give away. Maybe just enough to whet the curiosity Sel now showed. She’d like her to come back and talk, if not for counseling, then at least so Ejek knew she was still here.
“Let’s just say you weren’t the only one the war took from.” She delivered the line quietly, like she didn't want too many other people to hear. She shifted in her chair, then began to stand up and smooth out her skirt, “We’re out of time in our session today. Normally I wouldn’t be so strict on times, but we’re understaffed and overbooked.” She carried her PADD over to her desk as if ready to put it away, but stopped and pulled up her schedule on it,

“I’d like to be able to see you again, would next weekend fit in your schedule? I have no one scheduled during my lunch slot on Sunday.”

Re: Day 03 [1130 hrs.] Oldest of Wounds

Reply #22
[ Ens. Ryuan Sel | Counselor's Office | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @FollowTomorrow

If there was one thing that got on Sel's nerves it was pointless bullshit, people wasting time rather than just coming out with what they meant when they meant it. And there she sat as the counselor not only deflected her question but did so implying that there was more to it than just that. Sel could have lived with a refusal to say anything, but this was just infuriating. She hated being curious about a god damn spoonhead, but it seemed just that out of place to her. Everything she knew about Cardie's said that no Cardie would ever be the sort of person to help out anyone else with their emotions. It just wasn't their way. So then she was left with the basic problem then that the fucking Cardie in front of her was different.

It was really difficult to paint a race with a broad brush so she could hate all of them when one of them didn't fit into the view she had of them. She had to hate them. She had to because it gave her the strength she needed to not ever forgive them for what happened. She had to hate them for what they did to her family, to her people, to her planet, what they had done to her when she was nothing more than a child. She had to hate all of them.

And she found she was too curious about the woman in front of her. She wanted to know more. Was it even possible that a fucking spoonhead could be just as fucked up by all of the same shit as her? She didn't know. She almost wanted to know.

Without saying anything she got to her feet. The movement was almost so sudden as to be a lounge, but she stopped and moved toward the door.

"I'll let you know. Leave the spot open and if I feel like it, I'll show up, just don't expect anything," she said roughly before walking out of the office and into the hall.

She paused outside the door and leaned against the bulkhead. Her heart was pounding in her chest and she felt anxious. She couldn't figure out what it was, but she needed to let off some steam. She was almost tempted to call Sarresh to her quarters and fuck him just to feel like she could do something right.


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