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Day 6 [ 1710hrs. ] If He Only Had a Brain

[ Hirek tr’Aimne | Corridor | D. 09 | V. 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Juzzie

He'd climbed trees and dove off cliffs. His trousers were often torn. He would dance at official parties but rarely with the music. And under his tunics, he'd had hidden trinkets and samples from his adventures. He would sing lewd songs of the sailors, often late to his indoctrination lessons, all penitence feigned. In fact, always late for everything he'd felt was in the way of what he truly cared for, but never for a meal. Hirek had never a very good Romulan. Quick-witted, sharp-tongued, duplicitous for sure, but how did you catch a wave? How did you make one like Hirek stay and truly listen? How did you solve a problem like Hirek tr’Aimne?

Existing somewhere between gentle and wild, a riddle and an answer, a cloud and a rock, Hirek tr’Aimne was an incorrigible charismatic. Unpredictable, seemingly as dependable as a moonbeam on a cloudy night, Hirek could drive a veruul from its nest. Be they Romulan or alien, Hirek could leave any confused, their mouths propped open for words they’d left unused so long as he stood before them. He could listen and not hear, speak and mean nothing, giving off the aura of a brainless sex fiend. And he could be a darling or a devil in the blink of an eye, a headache or an angel, depending on which side of the Tal Shiar you were.

And it was because of the Tal Shiar that he now prowled the corridors of a Federation starship, surrounded by supposed renegades of Starfleet in a fight against chaos itself. Only for his desire to see the end of the unprotested rule of the Tal Shiar, to protect his family from any further incursions against them, had Hirek defected. Only for them and the future of a free Romulus was he willing to undergo yet another evaluation. He’d already made it through one—his lips quirked upward at the memory of certain elements of THAT conversation—along with a few other necessary yet irritating conversations with the captain and the ship’s head of Intelligence. And now, he was to report to one of the counselors to receive his psychological evaluation. These humans were supremely naive or uninformed if they believed he’d be honest about most anything in the coming conversation.

Smoothing a hand down the front of his pressed turquoise tunic, Hirek chuckled to himself. He at least had nothing better to do than amuse himself with meaningless conversations, as infuriating as they could be. At least he no longer had to pretend to be a supporter of Romulan idiocy back on Qo’Nos. At least here, he could focus on the real problems and be proactive in solving them. He wasn’t “Romulan” enough to enjoy the pontification without action. And he craved action of any kind at this point.

He stopped outside the office he’d been directed to, but didn’t bother waiting for the counselor inside to give verbal permission before he advanced into the room. It took milliseconds to note the location of said counselor. He was young and of a comparable shape and coloring to Hirek, attractive, though in a reserved fashion if the way he held himself upon seeing Hirek was indicative of his temperament. With a predatory smile, Hirek continued his silent advance forward until he had the counselor wedged between the heat of Hirek’s body and the cool press of the bulkhead behind him.

“I hear you’re the one who intends to get intimate with my mind,” Hirek licked his lips, being slow about looking down the length of the counselor’s body before resetting his gaze on the man’s blue eyes, “plumbing to the depths of my soul to assess if I’m a detriment or an asset to this crew.” Hirek tilted his head to the side, offering the counselor a slow half smile. His accent carried the sing-song lilt of his island home, his voice naturally a deeper timbre when near-whispered. “How would you like to get started? Am I to lie down? Or would you prefer us to remain as we are?”

Re: Day 6 [ 1710hrs. ] If He Only Had a Brain

Reply #1
[Lt. Rhys Williams | Counselling Offices| Deck 09 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @Ellen Fitz

Rhys studied the notes on his next appointment with curiosity and no small amount of worry. All the computers had provided him with were very terse comments from various Federation officials. It was all very vague, and Rhys detected an occasional hint of disapproval in some of the lines.

When people saw Rhys they tended to make certain judgements and draw certain conclusions. Some fair some not so fair. He was shy, quiet, had no self-confidence whatsoever. He was unambitious, kind to a fault, emotionally fragile and socially awkward. However, he was not stupid far from it. He could read between the lines of a personnel profile like that. It screamed at him that large parts of it were classified. It also warned him that this Hirek fellow could sometimes be difficult.

He wondered why Hirek had been assigned to him in particular. Then he remembered Stellan…., the guilt rose up like bile in him for a moment and he had to force it back down. Stellan’s own maverick streak would have been perfect for this guy, or maybe Com. Hathev she was unflappable. Rhys then remembered she was still injured. Maybe he was just the only person available.

Rhys had been stood and been pacing the room. His stomach felt like it was filled with helium and trying to escape via his throat. This was how Hirek found him when he burst him. Rhys had not even had a chance to acknowledge the door chimes when a very handsome Romulan of middle years burst in. Rhys opened his mouth again to say something but soon found himself being walked backwards. Rhys felt the coldness of the bulkhead against his back. This was followed by the warmth of the man in front of him.

Rhys was taller by about two inches but he felt about two feet tall when confronted with the deeply masculine presence in front of him. Hirek made no attempt to disguise that he was looking up and down Rhys body. Rhys’ face went bright red his bright blue eyes wide opened in shock. As Hirek spoke Rhys was clearly breathing heavily. Hirek’s voice while deep had a sing-song rhythm that reminded him of the accent of his home of Wales on earth. Rhys’ accent was a little breathier and he had grown up speaking Welsh as his first language, so his accent was a little stronger than many of his compatriots.

As Hirek spoke there was an unmistakeable flirtatiousness. There was something else to, but Rhys was too far on the backfoot to think about it. Rhys ought to have been angry. He ought to have shoved this guy away and given him a tongue lashing for this frankly intimidating behaviour. However, Rhys didn’t really feel angry, he mostly felt deeply uncomfortable. Not least because his body had chosen to betray him. Rhys raise his hands to the man’s chest to give a timid push in the hopes of persuading Hirek to get out of his personal space before he noticed anything.

Rhys gulped, “Wh-What are you doing?” He had intended to say this firmly. Instead, he just sounded scared. Rhys could not make eye contact with the guy. He looked at the floor, off to the side, at reflections of him in shiny surfaces, his body, but never directly at him. Rhys despite being tall and well built, had a boyish, youthful face and he looked supremely vulnerable.

Re: Day 6 [ 1710hrs. ] If He Only Had a Brain

Reply #2
[Hirek tr’Aimne | Counselling Officers |  D. 09 | V. 02 |  USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Juzzie

Watching the man squirm in front of him and feeling the soft press of his hands against Hirek’s chest confirmed to Hirek that in this situation, Hirek was the dominant one in this room. Though this Starfleet officer had been ordered to assess Hirek’s mental state, that did not mean he intended to lord this assessment over Hirek or abuse his orders by abusing Hirek's status as a non-crewmember or Romulan. No, in his intentionally bold maneuvering, Hirek had determined the prey nature of his handsome companion and firmly established his predatory one.

Raising a hand to trace his fingertips lightly over the back of one of the man’s hands as it rested against the turquoise fabric of his tunic, Hirek leaned his face closer to whisper, “I am assessing you just as you are to assess me. Turnabout is only fair game, is it not?”

Before the man fell into a faint altogether or called security down upon Hirek’s head, both equally likely scenarios, Hirek removed himself from his personal space. Giving one last full-body glimpse, Hirek tipped his head in a feigned formal greeting. He put a hand over his chest as he bowed forward, eyes remaining firmly upon the counselor’s face.

“Hirek tr’Aimne. Defector and bioengineer specialist. May I know my mind-probers name?” He broke eye contact just long enough to note a couch, the desk, and a few chairs. Returning his gaze to the counselor, Hirek raised a single eyebrow, “And I repeat my earlier question. For this assessment, do you want me,” Hirek intentionally paused, licked his lips, then continued, “seated or lying down?”

Re: Day 6 [ 1710hrs. ] If He Only Had a Brain

Reply #3
[Lt. Rhys Williams | Counselling Offices| Deck 09 | USS Theurgy] attn: @Ellen Fitz

Rhys flinched a little as he unexpected found Hirek’s hands caressing the back of his. The flinch became a slight almost imperceptible shiver. The comment about Hirek assessing Rhys just as Rhys was assessing Hirek, crept into his hears like a gentleman thief into the slightly crumbling estate of Rhys’ mind. The voice was smooth and calibrated to both subdue Rhys and arouse him a little.

Rhys wanted to fill the moment of silence wanted to say something, but he could not say the words. Hirek slowly moved out of Rhys’ personal space. The other man had looked up and down Rhys’ body that made Rhys shift uncomfortably. There was a slight bow with a hand over his chest while the Romualn’s eyes focused deep on Rhys’ for a moment. Hirek went to take a seat. Rhys let out a breath he had no idea he had been holding.

As Hirek spoke and Rhys calmed down Rhys’ logical brain began to slowly fire back into life a gain picking up on phrases. ‘Mind-Prober’ was especially prominent. Whether this man was saying it for humorous effect or not Rhys wasn’t sure, but the choice of the word seemed to indicate a hostility. If not to Rhys directly then to the process.

Rhys was unsure how to respond and did not keep that from being obvious on his face. Rhys wasn’t stupid, timid, emotionally fragile but not stupid. He had a sense of what was happening. This had been an attempt to put him on the backfoot, to put Hirek in charge of this situation. It was not uncommon to encounter resentment towards Counsellors and Counselling especially if you were forced here. Rhys had seen everything from sullen and sulky to barely contained anger, to joking attempts at deflection. Rhys worked hard at trying to make his sessions seem friendly and inviting and make them feel they had as much control as possible of the sessions.

This was new. A routine assessment had started out with a blatant and not very subtle attempt to intimidate him. Most Starfleet officers and personnel were used to these and responded to them with mild irritation and a ‘let’s just get this over with attitude’, as they would for a physical or data processing. Rhys had not interacted with many Romulans but those he had had never encountered one who had been so forward. So, he was pretty sure that this was not some unusual cultural norm that was going over his head. No, this guy was attempting to push his buttons in some way. He wanted a reaction. Unfortunately, he had gotten one. Rhys wanted to stand up for himself. On a level he knew Hirek should not treat him like that, but on another he had no idea how to make his point. Worst still was that nasty voice telling him that he deserved to let people walk all over him.

Rhys took a few short, ragged breaths, he wondered again what Stellan would do in this situation. A much stronger personality than he was. Rhys tried to let some of that confidence and self-assurance that was so clear in Sellan’s speech come into his own. It was half hearted at best.

“I am Lt. Rhys Williams.” He said softly in a breathy sing-song Welsh accent. He swallowed giving himself a little bit of time before saying more. “For this assessment, I would like you to be comfortable. If you would feel happiest sat, lying down, standing, doing a handstand whatever its up to you.” He added the last bit with a weak smile. He’d often put int a little joke to make people feel more at ease, but he was not feeling at ease himself.

He took another breath and tried to articulate something to Hirek. There was anger certainly, but that was overridden by his usual feelings of insecurity. “Can I firstly ask, why you felt the need to approach me like that?” He said trying to keep his voice calm and level. “I think my body language was making it pretty clear that I was finding it uncomfortable.” His voice was soft and nervous, and the words were not the ones he wanted to use. He had wanted to ask him ‘what the fuck do you think you are doing?!’ However, Rhys could never speak like that.

Re: Day 6 [ 1710hrs. ] If He Only Had a Brain

Reply #4
[Hirek tr’Aimne | Counselling Officers |  D. 09 | V. 02 |  USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Juzzie

The man was more skittish than the sand quail of the Uluma islands, known for leaping into a frenzy at the sudden appearance of their shadow. A portion of Hirek’s heart softened as he watched the counselor struggle with how to respond to Hirek’s aggression. What had happened to him to cause him to be so…flighty?

“Well, Lieutenant Rhys Williams,” Hirek smiled; it seemed their accents were not so different from one another despite their different origins, “I would feel happiest without forced assessments. However, as that is not an option for the likes of a Romulan defector, I will content myself with sitting here across from you. And, so you may continue to unravel from the knot I made of you, I promise I won’t invade your personal space again unless invited.” Hirek gave a playful wink at the last statement, almost as if he presumed Rhys would invite him back soon enough.

Rhys’ question had Hirek smiling, though in a sad almost comforting way, the expression a mother might give her child who does not yet know there are worse things than the monsters under the bed.

“I wanted to determine what sort of man you were and whether you would you use your position over me and in this assessment to make my life a living hell while aboard this vessel. Now, while I understand you still could do that as a repercussion for my advances, at the same time, given how you handled the encounter and how you are handling yourself now, I don’t think that’s going to happen. As a Romulan, we feed off of body cues and instinctively press the advantage when we sense a weakness. Some of us are more aware of the process than others, and some of us get more pleasure out of the advantage press than others. You will never meet a Romulan who does not like to be ahead of the game in the superior state. I have only ever worked with Starfleet Intelligence as an operative. This is my first time surrounded by Starfleet officers and my first time onboard a Federation starship. There is more unknown to me than is known. Something else you may learn of Romulans is that they are both covert in tactics but confident to a fault. I tested the waters, so to speak, and now I await the consequences.”

Hirek tipped his head up and down, letting another gaze gently move over the counselor’s body, “If you need help in learning how to mask your body language for future endeavors with Romulans, I would be happy to give advice. As I know, we will be encountered many more in the coming days, and you’ll only get yourself killed if you allow yourself to be read so easily.” Giving a heartfelt sigh, Hirek settled further into his chair. “Now, dear counselor, am I sane? Am I insane? You can ask me whatever questions you like, and I guarantee I’ll answer them, but potentially not with whole truths. That would go against everything Romulan within me. But I promise to answer what truth is pertinent to running and safety of this ship.”

Re: Day 6 [ 1710hrs. ] If He Only Had a Brain

Reply #5
[Lt. Rhys Williams | Counselling Offices| Deck 09 | USS Theurgy] attn: @Ellen Fitz

Hirek triggered something in Rhys, something he did not much like. When the handsome Romulan suggested he would not enter Rhys’ space again without consent and followed that up with a wink Rhys blushed. It was bright clear and obvious. It was like an arrow was pointing to his face saying, ‘ATTENTION I AM REALLY ATTRACTED TO YOU AND I FEEL CONFUSED ABOUT IT’. The voice had an authority to it that put Rhys in a head space he did not fully understand. It also was bringing out his natural, and to Rhys, annoying submissiveness. His tendency to be a follower and his inability to be in charge of his surroundings. Rhys held his rank by skill not but an ability to command authority. In fact Rhys hated being in charge of almost any situation. It was mostly a case of not trusting his own judgement especially if it would impact on someone else. 

Rhys had once been good at least in professional settings at hiding his feelings. Now they tended to be raw, open, and clear for all to see. This was especially true if he was upset or was being flirted with. His calm mask had gradually been eroded over his time in Starfleet.

Hirek stated his reasoning for pushing Rhys’ boundaries. The young man’s professional mind was finally able to switch on again as there seemed to be no pushing from Hirek towards him again for the moment. There was a degree of irritation that anyone could think Rhys of all people would use his power over them. Rhys had to remind himself that concern’s the Romulan was expressing seemed more general the specific. Rhys was not naive enough to believe that no one would ever act in such a way, but he there were better ways of finding out.

What followed was a brief lesson in Romulan psychology, that with the addition of a few needlessly long words could easily have been taking place in a lecture hall at Starfleet Academy. Soon the flirtatiousness returned, and Rhys felt his heartbeat quicken and blood flow in unwelcome directions. He almost became angry at his own body for making things so obvious. The only other reaction out of Rhys was a very uncharacteristic eye roll when Hirek had asked if he was sane or insane. For a moment his irritation at such phraseology being used overriding his usual demeanour.

Once Hirek had stopped speaking, Rhys took a moment and sat in a chair opposite the older man. It was the kind of chair Rhys liked in his sessions. Soft, squashy, and comfortable. The only draw back was it could be tough to get out of it, at least with any dignity. Rhys placed the PADD on his lap and regarded Hirek carefully.

Regarding Hirek’s offer Rhys spoke in non-committal tones. “I am sure there are many things you could teach me.” He showed no outward sign of being aware of the suggestive way such a sentence could be interpreted. Rhys bit his lower lip as he thought of the best way to put his words into the air. “You know this kind of check is normally a box ticking exercise.” Rhys was trying to be a bit more confident but if he looked at Hirek he avoided the Romulan’s eyes. “Bureaucratic nonsense, Starfleet Officers are regularly assessed their Psych profiles gone into over and over. This is normally a formality.”

He sighed, his hands fidgeted nervously the fingers practically winding themselves in knots. “Obviously for you its different. The circumstances of you joining the crew I gather were… unusual. Unusual seems to be common aboard the Theurgy at the moment.” Rhys found his mouth dry but continued to push through. “I am not an intelligence officer. I don’t have the skills or knowledge to assess you, to see if you pose that kind of threat to us.” There was a shrug of his shoulders.

“There is no way I am the ideal person to assess you either, I don’t have the personality or skill.” This statement contained no false modesty. This was Rhys’ own interpretation of his suitability for this task. Rhys had to some extent decided to lay his cards on the table as he could see Hirek was good at reading him. “Stellan would be much better for this job than I.” The way he spoke the name indicated a degree of reverence and that he was talking to himself a little. “Well, I just have to do what I can.” He gave a nervous cough.

“You are not insane. So far, I think you are manipulative and deeply calculating but I don’t think you are cruel. The move to put me on the backfoot feels more defensive than aggressive.” Rhys drummed his hands on the PADD then for the first time looked at Hirek’s eyes. “I am telling you this because I want to be straight forward with you, certainly more than I expect you to be with me.” Rhys did not know if trust was possible between them, but he felt that pushing in that direction was the best chance of this being at least constructive and not combative.

“I’ve sat on that couch numerous times myself. I know what it feels like to be there because someone has ordered you to be. So I have no intention of using this process to hurt anyone.” Rhys smiled it was small shy smile.  It probably sounded painfully niave to a someone who appeared to be so jaded, but Rhys wanted to establish beyond doubt that he was in no way a threat, though it was probably Hirek already had come to that conclusion.

Re: Day 6 [ 1710hrs. ] If He Only Had a Brain

Reply #6
[Hirek tr’Aimne | Counselling Officers |  D. 09 | V. 02 |  USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Juzzie

Hirek’s eyebrow rose at the unintentional innuendo but he, surprisingly, chose to demurely remain silent instead of pouncing on the opportunity to further goad the counselor. The lieutenant’s reassurance that this was a routine assessment and nothing so invasive as something Intelligence may have arranged, Hirek gave a polite nod as he inwardly felt a portion of the coiled knot of unease unravel. He’d been far more annoyed at the prospect of being assessed and held to Federation standards of decorum and “sanity” by this stranger than he’d admitted to either the captain or Fisher. Whilst he’d been politely compliant outwardly, he’d been gearing up for a fight. A needless one, it now seemed.

Eyes darting past the counselor, he noted the growing familiar sight of a replicator. The captain had had one in her office as well and had used it to order beverages for them both at their initial “debriefing.” Instead of further encroaching on Rhys’ territory, having already made his point and wanting to show the other man he could behave despite initial impressions, Hirek pointed to the machine.

“Do these formalities come with a beverage? I find myself parched,” he couldn’t help it this time and allowed the mischievous smile to pull at his lips after licking them, “and our filling the intermittent silence of this meeting with the clinking of our cups can come as some comfort.”

Watching the nervous ticks of the counselor had an eyebrow rising yet again for Hirek. His confession to lack of expertise or ability was more intriguing than alarming. Rhys mentioned a name that meant nothing to Hirek and found himself lacking in comparison to whoever this enigmatic “Stellan” may have been, leading Hirek to another building opinion. Rhys Williams needed to let go. Or he needed to seize hold. Something needed to “give” for this man if he was ever going to take control of a situation, be it one like this or anything else. Shifting in his seat as he listened to Rhys’ first assessment of Hirek’s actions, that they’d been acts of aggressive defense, Hirek continued to study the lieutenant’s body language, listening to the vocal inflections and pauses, and found himself wondering what it was that had made this powerfully built man act as if he were the size of a ground-dwelling rodent.

Hirek did not attempt to interrupt the man or hurry him along. Instead, with expression pulled back into one of neutral cordiality, he waited until Rhys came to a natural end of his introductory statements and the baton for words was passed back to Hirek. He moved his tongue against the back of his teeth as if tasting his words before he spoke them.

“You will read in my growing file that I defected to your ship by way of shooting one of your colleagues. Or rather, she shot herself and me in a fashion that made it appear as if the phaser she’d been using overloaded, and we were both sent to a watery grave. This would be why my initial ‘welcome’ to the ship was with restraints, and my first evening was spent in your brig. So unusual is a very polite way of putting it.” Hirek folded his hands together and hooked them over his knee, drawing one leg over the other. “Manipulating circumstances to ensure the protection of my family back home. Calculating the conditions to be ripe for a defection. Yes, I will accept these monikers without shame, as should all Romulans. Though, having been already introduced to one of your Romulan colleagues, I can already assure you that I am not a very ‘good’ Romulan, so I would hate for you to hold me up as a shining example of all that represents my people.”

Again rolling his tongue against the inside of his cheeks, not having spoken Federation standard in quite some time and finding the excessive use of the language an interesting venture for his muscles, Hirek paused. He didn’t have to address the man’s self-doubt or comparisons yet, considering how he’d started this formality, Hirek felt the need to.

“I have no basis for comparison between you and this Stellan, and being Romulan, I know better than to presume skill based on first impressions. From where I sit, you are likely far more capable and calculating yourself than you verbally give yourself credit for.” Nodding toward the PADD, where he assumed his file had already been uploaded, Hirek let his smile morph into one of genuine quality without effort for flirtation or beguilement. “Now, what sort of questions do these formalities require?”

Re: Day 6 [ 1710hrs. ] If He Only Had a Brain

Reply #7
[Lt. Rhys Williams | Counselling Offices| Deck 09 | USS Theurgy]  attn: @Ellen Fitz

During their meeting Rhys had been so discombobulated by Hirek’s approach and by trying to form his words into coherent sentences he had completely forgotten to offer the older man something. It took Hirek reminding him to make the offer. Feeling more than a little mortified Rhys was apologetic. “Oh, I am so sorry. Here I am going on so much, what would you like.” Rhys said struggling a little to get out of the squashy chair and move to the replicator. 

Rhys at this point wished he could order a nice glass of Gin to steady his nerves, but he was on duty. “English Breakfast Tea, hot.” Tea was the next best thing. It had almost the status of a panacea across the British Isles. If something wrong, tea was offered. If something went well tea was offered. If there was a gap in a conversation you had no idea how to fill, tea was offered.

Rhys could not avoid noticing the way the handsome Romulan licked his lips and the pleasing way he smiled. The young Welshman found himself biting his own lip an unconscious marker that indicated attraction. He yet again was not even really aware that he was doing it.

Hirek went into greater detail about how he had ended up on board. Rhys had read this of course but the casual way Hirek described it was a little unnerving, especially to a person who tended to worry about hurting others to point of trying to make himself as in offensive and insignificant as possible.  He accepted being called manipulative. Rhys simply nodded at Hirek’s choice to laude manipulation as a character trait.  “The term manipulative has a negative connotation, and it can be a destructive trait for those around you, but it can also be an essential part of someone’s psychological defence mechanism.” He wanted to make it clear that while he had been freaked out initially by Hirek’s behaviour that his descriptors were intended to be value neutral.

Hirek smiled again as he asked Rhys about the sorts of questions he had to ask. The smile seemed to Rhys to be a little more a smile of amusement. There was a part of himself that he tried to supress that hoped more flirtation would come, just a little less direct than Hirek’s initially appearance. Rhys however supressed that unprofessional thought as much as he could.

“We’ve addressed many of them already.” Said Rhys nodding towards the PADD. “What I think would be most useful to discuss would be, do you foresee any difficulties integrating into the crew.” It was clear when the metaphorical spot light was on Hirek rather than Rhys the young man was much more comfortable.

Re: Day 6 [ 1710hrs. ] If He Only Had a Brain

Reply #8
[Hirek tr’Aimne | Counselling Offices |  D. 09 | V. 02 |  USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Juzzie

“Whatever you are having will be sufficient for me,” Hirek called after the counselor. He enjoyed the view of the man’s momentary retreat to the replicator as well as the continued signs that the manner in which he spoke, the obvious attention he paid the counselor, were just enough to throw the sandy-haired man off his norm and get at his nerves. “It will allow me insight into your taste.” He was again intentional with his word choice, understanding the difference between the singular and plural form of the word and how one carried a certain level of innuendo whereas the other did not.

The counselor’s effort to “support” Hirek brought a smile to the Romulan’s face, “I believe connotation for words varies from culture to culture, dear counselor. What you call manipulative, I may call strategically influential, and we can walk away from this session feeling as if we’ve spoken to a wall without any filtration of understanding.” He accepted the tea when it was offered, holding it up for a sniff. “Strong, subtle, malty.” Hirek pulled in a tentative sip, letting the amber liquid roll over his tongue a few times for a full flavor profile before he swallowed. “Bitter aftertaste but hints of nutty undertones. I will venture a guess that this is a very traditional beverage for your place of origin and is something that one grows into drinking as they age, reflecting a growing sense of maturity and independence?”

After taking another long sip, Hirek held the tea saucer between his fingers and leveled a sardonically amused smile at Rhys, “Difficulties integrating? You were listening when I so casually mentioned I shot your colleague. I have already been given verbal threats and what I believe are called ‘death glares’ by those who were on the planet’s surface during the defection. Your captain was cordial enough when we met, and your head of Intelligence made it clear that given my long-standing history with his department, he had no doubts about my loyalty to seeing the end of the Tal Shiar or my willingness to work with ‘integrity’ for as long as necessary with the crew, but we both know that just because those in charge who have greater insight on circumstances show less reservation for integration that does not mean the trickle-down effect will be successful. I foresee arguments, though I will not seek to start any. I foresee the potential for physical altercations, though again, I will not seek to instigate them. I foresee continued distrust and doubt lingering in the minds and gazes of everyone I meet who does not have the full picture. And I predict that only an isolated group of individuals, assuredly the minority, will ever look upon me with the closest equivalent to warmth and affection they can offer one such as myself.” Hirek saluted the counselor with his teacup before drinking down the last of the tea in one gulp. The clink of the empty cup against saucer sounded before he spoke again, “I am old enough, lieutenant, and I have lived enough, albeit without as much exposure to alien cultures, to be fairly accurate in my predictions and find them acceptable. Some things must be accepted in the short term to achieve success in the long term, and if I wish to end the tyranny of the Tal Shiar on my home planet and ensure my family’s safety for generations to come, then I must accept the present circumstances with as much charming aplomb as I was gifted by my genetic lineage.”

Hirek leaned forward to set the saucer on Rhys’ desk, tipping his chin towards the man’s body, “Now I must ask, do you foresee any more intimate integration between the two of us, or shall I count you among those who view my presence with a bitter distaste and distrust?”

Re: Day 6 [ 1710hrs. ] If He Only Had a Brain

Reply #9
[Lt. Rhys Williams | Counselling Offices| Deck 09 | USS Theurgy] attn: @Ellen Fitz

Rhys felt predatory eyes on him as the Romulan requested to have what he was having. Its like everything Hirek did was calculate to confuse Rhys or to put him on edge. Maybe Rhys was just too sensitive, that was a distinct possibility. There was something dangerous and alluring in the way Hirek looked at him, like he was mouse in the path of a cat and the cat was trying to decide whether to eat him or just play with him. The reference to taste certainly accentuated that feeling.

As he approached Hirek again to hand him his cup of tea, the older man in Rhys’ view continued to defend himself against the use of the word manipulative. He wondered whether this mean Hirek had not quite believed Rhys when the counsellor said he was not placing a value judgement on the word. That would seem to match up with his character so far. Hirek seemed to treat the tea like a wine connoisseur giving it a sniff an, a delicate sip. Rhys knew he was just being cautious as anyone one would with a new drink of foodstuff, but the sight amused him, and a little smile appeared on his face for the first time in the interview. He also resisted the urge to laugh a little. He remembered how his own family had drunk tea, in large well-loved and chipped mugs taking huge gulps while it was still scalding hot. His mother had joked about the Williams family being born with asbestos throats.

Hirek then took a moment to describe the flavour and what place he felt tea might hold in his culture. Again Rhys was faintly amused. Regarding Hirek’s comment about maturity and independence, Rhys simply replied, “That’s an interesting thought, in its own way.” He said with a wry smile. “It’s a panacea. Had a hard day at work? Tea. Feeling a bit off in the morning? Tea. Something’s gone well? Tea. A close family member died? Tea.” He had remembered when his mother died. He had sat in silence not saying anything while hot steaming cups of tea were pushed into his hands. He had drunk them without thinking. He tried not to get to misty eyed, Hirek was perceptive, and Rhys had no desire to begin discussing his woes with a man he wasn’t sure he entirely trusted or felt comfortable with yet.

Hirek answered his question about integration. Hirek seemed amused at the question. Rhys chuckled and shrugged, “I told you the questions are very formulaic. Wait till I get to the bit about narcotics.” This was a good rapport building exercise. It was good that the hoops they had to jump through were so standard it gave counsellor and interviewee something to bond over. Other Counsellors like to adapt the questions, Rhys didn’t because there was something a bit more disarming about a counsellor who agreed that the questions were terrible and superfluous but was apologetically asking them.

Nothing Hirek said about his integration with the crew surprised him. Rhys did wonder though how even someone as independent minded as this guy clearly would cope with having to exist alongside a cold and unaccepting crew. He doubted Hirek would ever admit it if it came to bother him but Rhys was sympathetic. It was going to be trying and any individual no matter how solitary eventually would need companionship. His arrogance and self-assurance would certainly help him though. “I hear what you say, but if it does get… overwhelming, I am here to help.”

However, Hirek was soon back to flirting. At the mention of intimacy Rhys of course returned to his bright red hue. He smiled it was a shy, little nervous smile. It was clear he was delighted at the implication that there was something about him Hirek liked or found compelling. It was also reasonably clear that even though Rhys was by all accounts conventionally attractive, the fact that someone might think that of him came as a surprise. He stumbled over his words a little as he tried to speak back. He had to take a moment to calm down before speaking. “I think you would think me a fool if I gave you my complete trust if for nothing else than this is the first time I’ve met you.” He allowed his eyes to drift a little more obviously over Hirek’s body. “I certainly don’t view your presence with disgust.” His eyes returned to his hands that were clasped together on his desk as if he felt he shouldn’t have looked at Hirek like that.

Re: Day 6 [ 1710hrs. ] If He Only Had a Brain

Reply #10
[Hirek tr’Aimne | Counselling Offices |  D. 09 | V. 02 |  USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Juzzie

“There are similar panaceas on Romulus. Some are teas, others are foods, and still, others are more physically inclined.” Hirek enjoyed the reaction he got from Rhys as he licked his lips and was slow about scratching at the side of his neck, eyes firmly locked on the Welsh man’s face.

It was fascinating to Hirek how this man was so open with his emotional expressions where the average Romulan child already knew how to express their delight at a gift and completely disguise the fact that they abhorred it. Rhys easily shifted from one emotive state to the next as well, further lending himself to a status of curiosity to Hirek. In direct response to either something Hirek said or his own mental commentary, Rhy would exude nervous anxiety, then amusement, and then concern, and all in the span of seconds. How very un-Romulan of him. And how very intriguing.

“Narcotics?” Hirek chuckled as he fell back against the chair again, letting his legs sprawl open for a moment as he exaggerated a relaxed state. “The best inducer of the ‘high’ feeling drugs may bring is sex. The second best is sailing.” Offering a wink in Rhys’ direction, Hirek sat up straighter and immediately waved away any concern Rhys may have had towards Hirek’s future status. “Unless you’re willing to help me relieve the stress via sailing or sex, I think I’ll be able to work my way through it without issue.”

Watching and listening to Rhys stumble over his words and not quite knowing how to respond to direct flirtation was more than a little entertaining to the Romulan. He knew many would find his entertainment marginally sadistic. But he wasn’t bothered by what they thought. Not especially when the reddening of Rhys’ cheeks had Hirek wondering if the blush extended down his neck and across his chest as well. And would his chest be hairless as most Vulcanoid’s were, or would he display hair where Hirek had none?

Hirek grinned, “It pleases me that I don’t disgust you. Though there are many other things you might do that would please me more. But,” he clapped his hands together suddenly, “if I’m not mistaken, this meeting is supposed to be about me and not you. So, dear Rhys, what else do you need to ask me for us to move through this formulaic meeting?”

Re: Day 6 [ 1710hrs. ] If He Only Had a Brain

Reply #11
[Lt. Rhys Williams | Counselling Offices| Deck 09 | USS Theurgy] attn: @Ellen Fitz

Despite Hirek’s unerring ability to put him off balance Rhys felt that gradually a rapport was being developed between the two of them. He was not naive enough to believe Hirek trusted him yet, nor did he fully trust the Romulan but an understanding seemed to be slowly forming. To Rhys there was nothing better than that feeling on some level that he was beginning to ‘get’ another person. Of course, Hirek continued to not so subtly flirt with Rhys, and despite Rhys’ obvious blushing and embarrassment he was clearly pleased. It was nice to be though of as worth flirting with, especially for someone still trying to find his feet and confidence.

When Hirek said that he preferred sex and sailing when responding to Rhys’ comment about narcotics Rhys sighed dramatically. He raised his eyebrows is a comical ‘really?!’ kind of way, but it was clearly more out of amusement than actual frustration or anger. He still blushed but the fact that he could joke back in such a way demonstrated he was relaxing a little. He pointedly avoided commenting on the sex part for now and simply said. “I love sailing or anything to do with messing about in water to be honest.” He smiled softly at the older man. “If it would help, we could take a trip in the holodeck sometime.” Rhys was delighted at the prospect of sharing a hobby with someone on board, it helped that Hirek was attractive. He also genuinely hoped that if negativity on board did get too much that it would help the man opposite.

Hirek’s hint that Rhys could do other things that might please him more, caused the young Welshman to open shut his mouth a few times. However, before he could formulate a response Hirek had clapped his hands together and was pressing on with the discussion. “Oh... um… yes well…” Rhys cleared his throat before continuing. “Have you been diagnosed with any mental health disorders that we should be aware of, and if so are you on any medication for them?” Rhys doubted he would get a clear answer on this one but he was now just reading the form on his PADD. All the time he was trying not to imagine what ‘pleasing’ Hirek would look like.

Re: Day 6 [ 1710hrs. ] If He Only Had a Brain

Reply #12
[Hirek tr’Aimne | Counselling Offices |  D. 09 | V. 02 |  USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Juzzie

“Holodeck.” Hirek tasted the word and paused, going back over the crash course orientation he’d received. “Ah, yes, the escape room. I’ve never experienced anything of that nature before, but I find it fascinating. Noting of that nature existed aboard the vessels I served on but that shouldn’t surprise you, considering the generalized data available to Starfleet regarding Romulan vessels and our military.” He shrugged, “I only served when required or drafted, much preferring my lectures at the college or my self-imposed exile at home.”

Hirek stood and followed Rhys’ footsteps to the replicator. As he was still getting acquainted with how the ship’s systems worked in response to queries, Hirek merely replicated Rhys’ earlier order in order to refill his teacup. Pivoting on his feet, Hirek placed the steaming saucer on the desk, then shifted closer to Rhys just long enough to seize his cup and saucer with a cheeky grin.

“Did you grow up along the sea as well? Or were you relegated to large lakes?” Hirek called the question over his shoulder as he went about refilling Rhys’ tea. “What sort of vessels did you sail with? What was the basic make-up?” Standing next to Rhys’ knees, he asked the last question as the counselor sat behind the desk. Hirek’s smile was playful as he bent closer and, with exaggeratedly slow movements, placed the tea within reach of the man. The Romulan fairly danced back around the desk and dropped back into his chair without bothering to see how his proximity had influenced Rhys.

They shifted back into the required questions for a time and Hirek smiled. “I believe most human counselors would label the average Romulan as paranoid xenophobics with an irrational arrogance.” He saluted Rhys with his teacup before taking a sip and sighing. “I’ve always been a quick learner and a keen observer, making me the perfect informant, apparently. But that aside, I’ve not been aboard your ship for very long and I’ve already noted and defined the responses of my fellow crewmembers. That and taking some time to read through what your records have to say about my people has been entertaining, to say the least. I'll admit many assumptions are not without warrant, but there are many generalizations. But I recognize I am saying that as a failure of a Romulan, even by my own people’s standards. An ambassador of the minority, so to say, of the other factions that still do exist on Romulus, though in persecution or in secret.” Lifting his cup, Hirek stared at the amber liquid a moment before smiling and returning his gaze to the counselor, “If you count tea, ale, and a sardonic sense of humor as medication, then I am well-medicated. Otherwise, there is nothing of note to share. How about you?” Hirek raised an eyebrow as he took a sip, then purposefully clinked the glass together before adding, “Your shyness and reserve, is that a mental health disorder or were you mistreated in your past? Or is it learned behavior from your clan?”

Re: Day 6 [ 1710hrs. ] If He Only Had a Brain

Reply #13
[Lt. Rhys Williams | Counselling Offices| Deck 09 | USS Theurgy] attn: @Ellen Fitz

As Hirek seemed to roll the word ‘holodeck’ around on his tongue it suddenly occurred to Rhys, that it was easy to assume what was common and normal in the Federation was common everywhere. He wondered what diversions they had aboard Romulan ships that were not present on Federation ones. He had never thought of Romulans as a particularly fun-loving people anyway, but it was hard to get a good impression a group that did its best to resist being analysed.

Hirek had approached and grinned a grin that made Rhys feel slightly weak at the knees. It was certainly a good job the young Counsellor was sitting down. Hirek was learning how he could affect Rhys very quickly, that was obvious to Rhys even as he was powerless to stop it. He had taken Rhys’ cup from his unresisting hands and was busy refilling it. The older man then, very unfairly as Rhys was concerned, asked him more questions. How on earth he was expected to answer when he was in this position he had no idea, but he would do his best.

“I er…. I was born on a tiny Island called Angelsey.” Said Rhys trying to collect himself around the powerful presence of the Romulan. I lived right on the Menai Straight. Mum and Dad renovated an old Yacht. We went on trips in it since I was tiny.” He said for a moment getting a faraway look as he could almost taste salt and smell fresh air. “Not far mainly along the mainland or sometimes over to Ireland.” He blushed as he realised these locations would likely mean nothing to his guest. “Apologies.” He said softly.

Hirek soon moved back to his place, there was a grace to his movements. Rhys again felt slightly embarrassed that he was staring at the other man’s body.  Hirek then began to describe an average Romulan’s mental state. Paranoid certainly seemed to fit Hirek, but then again if Rhys had lived in Romulan society he might well have become paranoid himself. It was survival as much as anything. Hirek was very clear to point out that he felt he was different from most Romulans an aberration. Rhys couldn’t really comment as Hirek was the first Romulan he had had any kind of substantive conversation with. He was intrigued by the idea, however. Indeed, Hirek seemed proud of his differences, something which endeared him to the young Welshman.

Then Hirek asked a very personal question. This one however did not unbalance him in the way some might have expected it would. Rhys did indeed have his issues it was obvious there was no point in hiding it. It was also useful. Sometimes patients were reluctant to share as they felt that he wouldn’t be able to understand what they were going through. He could then demonstrate that he absolutely could understand. It was another rapport maker. Once Rhys had been sensitive about it, that feeling was receding now. He had explained it so many times.

He took a breath and spoke calmly in a level voice. “I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Sometimes I have these delusional thoughts that I can cause bad things to happen just by thinking about them.” He shrugged “I am aware that this is impossible, but the delusions feel real enough.” He paused swallowing some tea. “Anyway, this leads to ritualistic behaviour in an attempt to distract the mind from these thoughts. Some people clean excessively, some people are constantly counting in their heads, it can manifest in any number of ways.” The way he spoke was as if he was reading a clinical textbook off the inside of his eyelids. He deliberately avoided going into detail about his own behaviours or any causes. Though it was possible to notice, that when he was not speaking Rhys' fingers tended to twist and grip each other in various patterns, or other times he would tap out a Rythm on the floor with his right leg.  “I’ve also had a couple of nervous breakdowns on duty. It's one of the reasons I became a counsellor, I wanted to help people and prevent them feeling the way I had felt.” He wasn’t sure how Hirek would take any of this, would he perceive him as weak?

Re: Day 6 [ 1710hrs. ] If He Only Had a Brain

Reply #14
[Hirek tr’Aimne | Counselling Offices |  D. 09 | V. 02 |  USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Juzzie

Hirek smiled at the shared experiences, “An islander meets an islander; what a fantastical delight this is proving to be. Though I don’t really know what a yacht looks like, do you have pictures?” His eyes darted over the shelving in the office, then returned to rest on Rhys’ face, “I’m curious if the shipbuilding is so dramatically different between our cultures.”

Hirek was slow about drinking his tea while Rhys answered his question. He’d never heard the term before, but he’d met more than a few individuals who exhibited the habits Rhys spoke of. In a way, nearly every Romulan could be diagnosed with this “disorder,” as many of these were mere habits for the average Romulan. He said as much to Rhys, his comment made with an amused smirk. But then he fell silent again as Rhys continued, sharing about more recent events, though in a vague manner. It was not lost on Hirek, how Rhys’ voice and demeanor had changed when it came time for him to share about his diagnosis or his breakdowns while on duty. And far from dissuading him from asking for more information due to the obvious discomfort sharing brought Rhys, Hirek was more intrigued.

“I suppose the closest thing to a breakdown I have had, in case that is a future question you’re to ask, happened soon after they executed my uncle for crimes against the Senate. When I discovered he’d been executed because of betrayal, I swore revenge, and that was when I first connected to Starfleet Intelligence. My ‘breakdown’ drove me to connect with a presumed enemy of the Empire. Another ‘breakdown’ could be what drove me to Qo’Nos as a plant within the Tal Shiar cell there because it would only be desperation that would fuel such a decision on my part.” Hirek’s eyes remained on the last dregs of his second cup of tea when he asked a follow-up question of the handsome Welshman, “What brought about your breakdowns? You do not strike me as the type of man to break under routine pressure.” He tipped the cup against his lips and watched Rhys while he finished off the last of his tea.

Re: Day 6 [ 1710hrs. ] If He Only Had a Brain

Reply #15
[Lt. Rhys Williams | Counselling Offices| Deck 09 | USS Theurgy] attn: @Ellen Fitz

Rhys smiled when Hirek took interest in his sailing and asked if he had an picture. There was a shelf behind his desk, in front of a viewport. Rhys nodded towards it. “There is over there.” On the shelf were two pictures and an array of small models. Some were of sea faring vessels others included Federation starships of various vintages. He stood and moved towards them, clearly indicating that Hirek could do so to if he wished. In one of the picture’s was a long wite vessel, it was antiquated and had an indication that at one point it had been driven by steam. On it was marked in curly lettering ‘Arawn’. The picture on the other side of the shelf was one of a young woman in an older style gold Starfleet uniform. Next to her was a young boy with a wide if slightly awkward grin, it was clearly Rhys. “The ship is quite old it was built originally in 1885 I believe. My parents spent a lot of their free time working on it and I helped where I could.” He looked wistfully from picture to picture.

Hirek returned to the subject of mental health and his belief that most Romulans had OCD. Rhys again wasn’t sure how accurate that was, but he had nothing else to go off than what Hirek had said. If that was the case, it was concerning to Rhys that an entire people could suffer from a trauma like that. Hirek seemed interested in Rhys’ thoughts about mental health. He talked at length about his journey out of the Romulan Empire and how much of it could be seen as a breakdown.

Rhys was sure that he probably should have been more suspicious of Hirek’s probing questions about his mental health. However Rhys considered it part of his growth to be more open about what he had felt. He had been ashamed of what had happened on one level and on another Stellan and Hathev had shown him better ways of thinking about it. It wasn’t always easy.

Rhys sighed and looked back at Hirek and sighed, he gave a small sad shrug. “Its almost never one incident. Its like a table being overloaded who can really say what the responsible thing was when it finally collapsed?” He toyed with the model of an Excelsior class ship. “My mother was killed when I was young at Wolf-359. We had been in some petty argument before she left and in a fit of childish peake I told her I wished her dead.” He shook his head, “I guess that’s where it all started. Then I joined up, and my first ship I was on was destroyed I suspect by the parasites.” He chuckled softly without humour. “That’s when I had the first breakdown. I was unable to function. It did produce a bright side, I was so impressed by the help I received I wanted to learn to do the same. So I became a counsellor.” He grinned a slight hint of pride this time, as he waved his hands over his body indicating his now blue trimmed uniform.

“Just as I felt like my career was going well, my ship was attacked by the Borg in the Azure Nebula. I ended up on the Cayuga where I found out the Federation had been taken over by a parasite, and then…” He swallowed at the most recent memory. “A patient of mine murdered a member of the crew…” He shook his head. “Que mental break number two. I’ve only recently been cleared for duty.” He looked Hirek directly in the eye and repeated a question that the Romulan had asked earlier. “What’s the verdict am I crazy?” He laughed.

Re: Day 6 [ 1710hrs. ] If He Only Had a Brain

Reply #16
[Hirek tr’Aimne | Counselling Offices |  D. 09 | V. 02 |  USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Juzzie

Hirek enjoyed the view of Rhys standing and moving away but didn’t dawdle before joining him closer to the viewport. The office's lighting was different here, most subtle in a fashion, and it cast Rhys’ features more dramatically. Hirek waited until Rhys moved away from the picture before he stepped closer, picking it up to inspect it. His eyes were first on the vessel, years of life spent on the water, directing his focus onto the Terran ship. Then, as Rhys shared more details of the picture, Hirek pulled his focus away from the ship and noted the child and the woman.

“She is beautiful.” Hirek pointed to the woman, then directed his fingertip over the boy. “And this looks like a boy full of mischief and wonderment.”

Hirek replaced the picture as Rhys shifted the conversation back to his own battle with breakdowns. The longer Rhys spoke, the more Hirek found himself intrigued. Angling his body to lean against the shelves facing Rhys, he loosely crossed his arms over his chest to further signal to the Welshman that he wasn’t about to molest him amidst this vulnerable sharing. Hirek also refrained from giving the man a lecherous grin when Rhys’ hands hovered in the air over his body, very much drawing Hirek’s attention to the muscled form that was hidden from view because of the uniform. There would be time enough for that.

“Capitalizing on opportunities that arise from ashes is quite Romulan of you, Rhys.” Hirek finally spoke, his eyes moving over the details of Rhys’ uniform, a smile tugging at one side of his mouth. “While I do not know all the nuances of a typical Terran family,” he broke eye contact with Rhys long enough to nod toward the photo, “based on that visual evidence, I do not believe your mother would have believed your parting words. Quite unlike my last words to my wife before she went back on duty when I told her, as I always did after we finished fighting and fucking, that if this was the last time, I saw her, I would be grateful for her absence. I know she did not think of me in her last moments before her ship exploded. And I do not miss her. Again, quite unlike yourself. That you regret and feel her absence is further proof, at least to me, that there was far more kindness and genuine affection shared between you than ever existed between my wife and I.”

Hirek uncrossed his arms just long enough to reach up and tug at his ear, an amused smile softening his features.

“If that had been a Romulan ship, I doubt anyone would have felt you were at fault for the murder. In fact, they may have awarded you some badge or medal because likely the murder was connected to intrigue, and one less person involved with intrigue the better. Regardless, unless you as the counselor, had been encouraging the murderer to carry out that act, again, it does not seem plausible or reasonable to presume that you had anything to do with their choices.” Hirek shrugged, crossing his arms again and shaking his head at Rhys’ question, “The verdict is you’re alive. All survival efforts require ingenuity and resilience, and depending on the cultural framework, we can construe those efforts as crazy or sane.”

Hirek pushed off the shelf and moved a step closer. He would abide by what he’d promised Rhys earlier. He would not touch the man nor invade his space further without invitation. But that didn’t mean he couldn’t SAY something.

“For example,” he stopped in his approach and once more leaned against the shelf, gaze languidly moving over Rhys’ form, “my earlier intimidation tactics, sane or crazy?” He smirked with a half-shrug. “The coping mechanism of seeking pleasure and companionship during times of stress, which I’m assuming is just as true a factor with humans as it is with Romulans, sane or crazy?” His arms recrossed over his chest as he continued, “My desire to comb my fingers through your hair right now, tugging your head back, and pressing a soft kiss to your throat right over that bobbing evidence of all the times you gulp as you fidget in discomfort, sane or crazy?” Hirek gestured with one hand toward Rhys’ shoulders, “My curiosity to see the muscles of your shoulders shift and ripple under your skin as you hold yourself above me, sane or crazy?” Hirek curled his arm back and remained as still as a predator waiting to pounce. “My interest in knowing how you taste as I run my tongue across your lips, how you smell as I dip my head to press a kiss beneath your ear, how you feel as I wrap my arms around you, sane or crazy?”

Hirek raised an eyebrow as he fell silent, waiting for Rhys’ response. Would it be an invitation to find out? Or would it be a request that he leave?

Re: Day 6 [ 1710hrs. ] If He Only Had a Brain

Reply #17
[Lt. Rhys Williams | Counselling Offices| Deck 09 | USS Theurgy] attn: @Ellen Fitz

As Rhys showed the pictures and models to Hirek the Romulan commented that ‘she was beautiful’. For a moment Rhys thought he meant the boat but then it was clear he was talking about the picture of his mother. She had been that was true, he had remembered her as a kind presence in his early life, one who was strong and dedicated. The only tension had been that she was gone for so long the burden of being the son of a Starfleet officer. Hirek also commented on Rhys’ appearance as young boy. The older man saw him as a boy full of ‘mischief’ Rhys just nodded, it wasn’t really true he had been a bit of a goody two shoes really, but he did not want to shatter Hirek’s illusion.

Hirek then attempted to compare his relationship to his wife to Rhys’ relationship with his mother. They seemed very different relationships. He claimed not miss her or regret her death, yet he on some level clearly understood Rhys’ feelings on the matter. Rhys was left wondering if there was someone Hirek had lost that he regrated the loss of. Rhys just knew he missed his mother like a fibre gone from his heart.

Then Hirek addressed Rhys’ former patient. Hirek was kind about this in some respects saying all the right things. Not for the first time the young Welshman was forced to wonder who was counselling who. He also wondered if this kindness was a tactic to. Unsurprisingly Hirek was hard to read, and Rhys was not arrogant enough to believe that this brief meeting had given him a window to his soul.

It did not take Hirek long to return to his unsettling unnerving flirting. The more he spoke the redder his face got, which was not the only physical affect that he had on the young man. Rhys also found himself unconsciously biting his lip as his mind lingered on the alluring images conjured by Hirek’s skilful tongue. He almost started to sweat coldly as the thought arose unbidden ‘Is this all that this man’s tongue can do?’ When the older man stopped speaking, he seemed to Rhys to be waiting there was a tension in his body. It would be deeply unprofessional to say what was swirling in Rhys’ head, but he was going to he felt unable to stop himself.

“A mixture of the two, but something being crazy doesn’t always mean its bad.” Rhys said his voice barely above a whisper as he found himself moving closer to Hirek’s space. Rhys cocked his head a little to one side, “You want to do all that?” It felt like a stupid comment, after all the man had painted a picture in vivid terms. They were no so close they were almost touching. The new voice that had emerged since Stellan’s accident was pressing him to override his shyness and professional sensibilities. He wanted to be pounced by this guy a terrifying thought to realise. “You do seem… to have  a lot of frustration in there.” He smiled shyly, and latched on to HIrek’s comment about coping mechanisms. “I did offer to help you with the stress of integration didn’t I?” He blushed fiercely. Rhys was taller than Hirek, but despite that Rhys almost appeared to be looking up at him like he was much smaller. His blue eyes bright and wide like a small animal caught in bright lights.

Re: Day 6 [ 1710hrs. ] If He Only Had a Brain

Reply #18
[Hirek tr’Aimne | Counselling Offices |  D. 09 | V. 02 |  USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Juzzie

Hirek’s mind was already undressing the man squirming in front of him, his mouth already filled with the imagined taste of Rhys’ skin as he pressed open-mouthed kisses to Rhys’ chest. Inhaling his scent on a deep breath, Hirek was content to watch Rhys and not move to touch him. He’d earlier made a promise not to invade the man’s personal space again unless invited, and with that was the unspoken addition of touch. He would not touch Rhys unless Rhys asked for it. Hirek inwardly smirked, his mind darting to the imagined sound of Rhys begging for it on his knees.

Hirek’s curiosity on how Rhys would respond to his shameless feigned queries was not left in suspense for long. He gave a single nod of agreement to Rhys’ first comment, then another nod accompanied by a languidly lecherous smile at the whispered question of his wanting to do everything he’d said to Rhys. Rhys’ movement forward into Hirek’s space was not unnoticed by the Romulan. Yet, Hirek remained still, the only movement that of his chest as he breathed and his eyes as he drank in the details of Rhys’ emotions as they displayed themselves in full array across the man’s handsome features.

Considering the responding flirtation Rhys leveled at Hirek, fierce blush included, it seemed his refraining from movement and comment had worked in Hirek’s favor. Instead of having to chase the Welshman across the room tossing not-so-subtle innuendos at his feet to trip over, the Welshman was now awakening to his own desires, and so far, it seemed Hirek was in direct line of sight for that desire.

“It is true,” Hirek kept his voice soft, intentionally whispering in the hope that Rhys would shift even closer, tempting them both even further. “I have not shared physical pleasure with anyone in months.” His smile softened as he cocked his head to the side and stared up at Rhys, his body still placidly leaning against the shelves. “I am curious what sort of help you now have in mind.”

Hirek finally moved, one arm unhooking from across his chest. His hand moved purposefully in the air between them, angled as if he would touch Rhys, but at the last moment, reaching up and running a single finger from the tip of his own ear down to tug at the lobe. Having demonstrated in that moment to Rhys that he would not violate his earlier promise, even amid this building desire, Hirek dropped his hand to his side. Would the shy counselor grow emboldened in the face of Hirek’s restraint, or would he shy away, doubting himself? Hirek hoped for the former, but prepared himself for the latter.

Re: Day 6 [ 1710hrs. ] If He Only Had a Brain

Reply #19
[Lt. Rhys Williams | Counselling Offices| Deck 09 | USS Theurgy] attn@: @Ellen Fitz

Was he really going to do this? The thought echoed in the recesses of his mind. Followed by the question ‘What is the ‘this’ I am wondering about doing?’ The voices in his head were all there. The vicious nasty one that told him he was ugly and worthless all the time, though that one had been getting noticeably quieter. A second that wedeled, cowered and warned about professionalism. Then there was the new voice, it spoke in bold confident tones about how professionalism could go to hell and if he wanted to do something he should do it.

It was obvious to Rhys that the older Romulan was mentally undressing him at a minimum. It was also obvious to Rhys that he wanted to surrender to this guy and let him do what he wanted. Hirek was still and waiting for him. Rhys had expected the other man to pounce as soon as the young Welshman made it clear that he was giving himself over to Hirek. He leaned languidly against the shelves Rhys unable to keep his eyes drifting along his body.

Hirek made no attempt to touch him and merely stayed where he was, using tantalising words and body posture. Rhys was able to see that he wanted to determine how far Rhys would go, if he would initiate something. Had Rhys been more naive he might have assumed that Hirek was genuinely respecting his boundaries for moral reasons. Rhys was not so naive to completely buy that. He suspected the other man was thrilled by the idea of Rhys throwing himself at Hirek.

Rhys took a moment to think, it was only the span of a few seconds, but it seemed to him that he was taking hours to come to a decision. Rhys stepped forward so now they were so close. His hands slowly pressed onto Hirek’s chest, not this time to push him away but just to touch him. He knew he should have made some sultry flirtatious remark, about being willing to do ‘anything’ to help. However, he was so nervous he doubted he could form the words. His heart was beating quick and the hands on Hirek’s chest tremble just a little.  Rhys leant down slowly till their lips came together. It started soft gentle and chaste, but the longer they were in contact the more pressure was applied, the more devilish the kiss became.

Re: Day 6 [ 1710hrs. ] If He Only Had a Brain

Reply #20
[Hirek tr’Aimne | Counselling Offices |  D. 09 | V. 02 |  USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Juzzie

Hirek’s patience was rewarded. Though he was careful not to show any signs of celebration. That would likely not be interpreted as positively as Hirek would intend. Instead, Hirek slowly leaned against Rhys’ hands, careful not to move too fast for fear of startling him. When Hirek felt warm breath fan across his skin then firm lips press against his, Hirek’s eyes drifted closed of their own accord. He tipped his head to the side and gently, ever so gently, increased the pressure of the kiss. Hirek felt Rhys shift through their sparse touch, not immune to the kiss any more than Hirek was. Hirek pulled Rhys’ lower lip between his teeth. He felt Rhys’ heartbeat speed up when Hirek uncrossed his arms and wrapped a warm hand around the back of Rhys’ neck. He used this simple anchoring touch to pull Rhys closer, molding the Welshman to his own body. Hirek relaxed. Having Rhy pressed against him, chest-to-chest, hip-to-hip, released a tension he'd been holding almost from the moment he met the counselor. No, it was from long before. A damned tension that had been building for months on end, building into a semi-restrained beast that stared petulantly at Hirek from his subconscious, whining to be let off the chain. Not yet.

As the kiss increased in intensity, Hirek lifted his hand away from Rhys’ neck just enough to trace his fingertips across the sensitive skin at Rhys’ hairline. As Rhys responded to the tantalizing touch, Hirek opened his mouth slightly, just enough to run his tongue along Rhys’ bottom lip. Moving his other free hand forward, Hirek placed it on Rhys’ hip. Hirek pivoted forward until he had Rhys’ back pressed against the bookshelves in a mirrored version of their first meeting. Hirek liked the feeling of trapping the shy man between his warm body and the hardness of the books and based on the counselor’s response, it seemed that Rhys wasn’t as opposed this time around.

Hirek wondered what he could do to incite a stronger response, inwardly smirking as he nipped at Rhys’ lower lip, then sucked away any potential sting. Hirek took this opportunity to slip his tongue between Rhys’ lips, finally tasting him. There was the tea, of course, but then there was the unique taste that was Rhys, a taste Hirek would delight to have more of. He pressed more firmly against Rhys, his heart rate increasing as Hirek gave himself over to the temptations he’d been resisting for so long. He alternated between caressing his tongue with Rhys and leaving little nips along his lips, mimicking with his mouth what he very much wanted to do elsewhere and with far less clothing between them.

One hand still cupped around the back of his head, Hirek tugged at Rhys’ hair as he angled his head to the side more, deepening the kiss to a level he knew they'd both appreciate. He rewarded Rhys’ participation in this lust-filled interlude by smoothing the hand that had been on the counselor’s waist over the rounded side of his hip and down further until Hirek could cup a firm hold on Rhys’ bum, pulling him up against Hirek in one firm move. While Hirek would’ve been perfectly content to keep kissing Rhys senseless as he also ventured closer to the edge one does not back away from easily, he also wanted to allow the counselor to “escape,” so to speak, in case Hirek had taken the initially shy kiss offered by the Welshman and escalated it far beyond Rhys’ comfort zone. Hirek was many dastardly things, but he’d never taken advantage of someone sexually.

Softening the kiss to a gentle whisper of lips against lips, Hirek pulled back and stared at the thoroughly kissed counselor’s expression with a wry smile. "That was…surprising." His gaze focused on Rhys’ lips, but eventually traveled back to his eyes. “And very welcome.” He kept one hand on Rhys’ bum, very reluctant to let go now that he had a good grip on it. The other hand, however, Hirek pulled away from the back of Rhys’ neck, taking to tracing light touches along the Welshman’s jawline, then up and over the hyper-sensitive skin of Rhys’ lips. “Would you like me to stop, Rhys?”

Re: Day 6 [ 1710hrs. ] If He Only Had a Brain

Reply #21
[Lt. Rhys Williams | Counselling Offices| Deck 09 | USS Theurgy] attn: @Ellen Fitz

Rhys was surprised, not only at himself but at Hirek’s initial restraint. Taking his time as they kissed and not pushing anything too much yet. Though as the Romulan pulled at Rhys’ lower lip, the young Welshman was unable to prevent a loud gasp escaping his throat. The more that Hirek pulled them together the more obvious it was that Rhys was enjoying the exchange. Rhys found his own hands at the older man’s hips and slowly moved them up and down his sides. There was something that was just right about being this close to another person’s body feeling their warmth, their sent in Rhys’ nostrils.

It was amazing what could be felt about a partner just by touch alone. Hirek was tense, there was a powerful body that was doing its best to restrain itself. Doubtless Hirek was worried about going too hard too fast with Rhys and scaring him off. Rhys was grateful of that even if he was doing that for selfish reasons. 

Next Rhys felt the Romulan’ gently brush his fingertips across the skin of his hairline. Any tension in Rhys’ body immediately evaporated and his mouth opened wider unwittingly. Rhys felt a tongue against his lip. Soon he was pressed back against the bookshelf pinned by Hirek’s mass. Previously he had objected even been scared, but this time the strange charisma of this Romulan was working on him. He was very much under his spell at this point, it also helped that along with the shyness was a clear and obvious submissive streak in Rhys. He wasn’t in charge or really in control of this situation and while that was frightening on one level, he had no desire to change this.

As the younger man was pinned to the bookshelf, this seemed to precipitate a more assertive action from Hirek. Rhys responded as best he could in kind. As he felt his bottom lip bitten then sucked the soft gasp that Hirek had gotten earlier gave way to a low needy moan that surprised its own creator. Rhys’ own hands slid over Hirek’s back before his right ended up on the side of the older man’s face as they kissed. He made a little surprised noise as his backside was grasped and in response Rhys’ hips pressed further into Hirek’ his arousal obvious and prominent.

Soon however Hirek stopped his onslaught of sensory attacks. Rhys met Hirek’s eyes his cheeks a vivid burning red, as Hirek asked a very unfair question. Rhys knew he shouldn’t continue this that this was deeply unprofessional and a breach of ethics. However, he was at a point where another part of him was doing the thinking.  So, he shook his head. “No…” he said breathlessly.

Re: Day 6 [ 1710hrs. ] If He Only Had a Brain

Reply #22
[Hirek tr’Aimne | Counselling Offices |  D. 09 | V. 02 |  USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Juzzie

Hirek’s cock twitched at the sounds Rhys made, his lips pulling back into a smile even as he kissed the counselor senselessly. He felt the heavy length of Rhys’ erection against his belly, adding to the moment's pleasure. It had been difficult to pull back, to offer Rhys the out. His fingertips traced along Rhys’ collarbone as he awaited the man’s answer. But at Rhys’ breathless answer, Hirek immediately responded.

Moving his hand from Rhys’ rear back up to the man’s hip, Hirek kept a strong grip. His other hand wove back to Rhys’ neck, fingers curling into the softness of his hair. Though the beast inside him demanded he rush into this, after all, Rhys had given him permission in a fashion, Hirek didn’t want to rush this. If they went as far as his beast desired, there would be consequences. Rhys’ rational side may catch up and drive a wedge between them, or the counselor would use this interlude for further self-beratement—there was no way Hirek could stop that. But there would be consequences even if he stopped altogether. Regardless, if Hirek rushed through the pleasure that was the process, then there was no telling when he’d get the opportunity to ravish the man again. And to rush through a coveted dessert was no way to end a delightful meal.

Though his grip was strong on Rhys’ hip, when Hirek leaned forward, he was gentle in brushing the tip of his nose against the junction of Rhys’ neck and shoulder, audibly breathing in the Welshman’s scent. He placed his lips over the rapid pulse he found, tongue darting out to taste. Lingering a moment longer, his hand on Rhys’ hip edged down to massage into the side of Rhys’ thigh. After another heartbeat, Hirek traced his lips up Rhys’ neck to his ear. The bite he left on Rhys’ earlobe was as light as his kisses.

“What do you want, Rhys?” Hirek pressed his hips against the counselor, allowing the man to feel the length of his arousal through the tunic as Hirek whispered the question. “Or,” Hirek removed his hand from Rhys neck and snaked it around Rhys’ waist while, with the other, he traced ghost-light touches up Rhys’ side before firmly, boldly, moving the hand between them and taking hold of Rhys’ inner thigh, not quite touching Rhys’ mirrored erection, but close enough to brush along its edge. “I suppose the better question would be, where do you want me?”

Awaiting further direction, Hirek contented himself by pressing another kiss against Rhys’ neck, directly below his ear, and nuzzling his face against the Welshman’s neck. Even if Rhys’ rational mind finally clicked with what was happening and pushed Hirek away, Hirek was immensely happier now than when he’d come in the door. He had not been lying or exaggerating when he’d confessed to not having lain with someone in months. It was closer to a year, to be precise. Though this had not exactly been his intention with his earlier intimidation tactics or his shameless flirting, at least not this quickly, Hirek was certainly delighted to be where he was, on the cusp of something that could prove both diverting and pleasurable.

Re: Day 6 [ 1710hrs. ] If He Only Had a Brain

Reply #23
[Lt. Rhys Williams | Counselling Offices| Deck 09 | USS Theurgy] attn: @Ellen Fitz

Hirek’s touch felt expert, a little like Rhys was an instrument being touched and caressed in exactly the right way to create the right sounds that he wanted. Rhys’ brief breathless answer to his question seemed to delight the older Romulan if his touch was anything to go by. The younger man shivered as he felt fingertips caress the sensitive skin of his neck and into his fair hair. Now that Rhys was pinned and had agreed to sharing this moment with him, Hirek seemed to take his time. Rhys enjoyed that, he liked the feeling of being explored and enjoyed by someone else.

As Hirek homed in on Rhys’ neck, a soft needy mewling sound came out of Rhys that had he been in his right mind he might have been embarrassed about. His head was leaned to one side exposing more of his neck to Hirek’s attentions. There was a slight jump as Hirek’s hand moved along his thigh, but Rhys made no attempt to move or push him away.

Rhys could feel Hirek’s own arousal pressing into him as he spoke, and he felt a measure of delight that he had caused that in some way. There was no greater aphrodisiac than being desirable to someone. Hirek was asking him questions again, which was so unfair, expecting Rhys to think rationally under these conditions.

… You….” He said his words barely above a whisper. “Anywhere.” He said trying to answer the question as best he could. His heartbeat like a canon was constantly firing shells from inside him, his breathing was deep and his head felt light. He raised his voice a little and addressed the computer of the vessel. “Please could you secure the door to the office?” There was an acknowledging sound from a wall console. As Hirek nuzzled his neck, Rhys found himself saying a foolish thing. “I mean if you still are interested in…. releasing some stress.” His face was pink, and his hand dropped from Hirek’s side to grip the Romulan’s backside mirroring what he had done before.

Re: Day 6 [ 1710hrs. ] If He Only Had a Brain

Reply #24
[Hirek tr’Aimne | Counselling Offices |  D. 09 | V. 02 |  USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Juzzie

Rhys’ words, the flush of his face, the submission to this moment and HIM, worked to unlock Hirek’s hunger. His cock was hard; the head tingling unbearably, hot and swollen, a drop forming at the tip. Hirek intentionally shifted half a step out of Rhys’ touch, letting the cool air of the room fall between them. His smile remained voracious, his hands coming up between them and splaying open on Rhys’ chest.

“Is that not what a counselor offers?” His touch was gentle, and firm, moving in slow designs down Rhys’ torso as he spoke. “Release?”

Hirek paused a moment as his hands reached Rhys’ waist, still rational enough to weigh the consequences of his actions and then determining that he’d given Rhys enough opportunities to kick him out and end this. On a breath, Hirek moved with the swift silence of a predator. Gripping Rhys’ waist, Hirek easily lifted the taller man. He crushed his mouth against Rhys’, pivoting on his feet and moving back to the desk. Responsiveness entered his body in the flex of Rhys’ rhythm with Hirek’s. He gave no heed to what destruction or disarray depositing the Welshman on its surface might bring. Instead, with a plop, Hirek had Rhys’ ass on his own desk and stepped between the counselor’s legs, hands keeping their grip on the man’s hips. Hirek alternated between demanding and waiting for more, his kisses deep.

After a moment, Hirek swam up to the surface of consciousness and withdrew from the kiss. He slid his right hand up Rhys’ torso to once more cup the man’s face, holding captive Rhys’ gaze, while his left hand shifted forward and down, moving to cup Rhys intimately. Hirek curled his fingers along the underside of Rhys’ testicles until he arrived at the base of Rhys’ penis. Hirek watched Rhys’ expression as he trailed his fingers along its length, noting with interest the texture still felt through the layers of clothing between them. He stroked the counselor slowly, right to the tip, then, with a smile, moved this hand to cup the back of Rhys’ waist, hauling his body forward, closer to the edge of the desk. Hirek leaned forward, his body against Rhys’ chest, and once more, Hirek’s mouth found his.

“If you want more,” Hirek whispered between kisses, “you’re going to have to tell me PRECISELY what you want.” He knew Rhys was submissive by nature, and he gloried in the challenge such a task would bring, his stomach clenching in anticipation at what Rhys why say or do in response to his demand.

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