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Topic: Day 13 [2030 hrs.] Trials & Tribulations (Read 305 times) previous topic - next topic

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Day 13 [2030 hrs.] Trials & Tribulations
Stardate 57564.76
Day 13
13 March 2381
2030hrs


[ Lt. Cmdr. Cross | Holodeck 02 | Deck 08 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy | Aldea ] Attn: @fiendfall
[Show/Hide]Cross watched as the world around him faded and dissolved, the room and the people in it ceasing to be. From somewhere in the room, Thea's voice gave an announcement of "Test Completed".

Cross wasn't sure how long he'd been in the Holodeck, how long he's been run through these tests Hathev had devised. The Theurgy's Chief Counsellor had said that each test would correlate with an area of control that he might need to work on, allowing her to better assess his current state and diagnose areas which required more time and work to remedy. Her plan had sounded reasonable, though now that Cross had been through two of her scenarios, and had passed both without much effort or problem, he began to doubt the usefulness of the tests.

This had, of course, all been his own damn fault. There had been a minor incident the day before, and he might have overreacted. Hathev, upon learning that he had thrown the rather small, mouthy and fucking useless Ensign Briggs across a torpedo bay, dislocating the man's shoulder as he'd sent him launching through the air, had decided that perhaps a more direct approach to his training would be of benefit. Cross was of a mind that the event had been an accomplishment, rather than a failure. His initial thought had been to stuff Briggs into a fucking torpedo tube, and shortly thereafter to send the useless Shitscale hurtling towards the planet below. It would have been an excellent test, both of the launcher's functionality, and of whether or not Briggs would be as annoying if he were reduced to ash by Aldea's atmosphere.

Cross sighed as Thea announced that test number three was beginning, the world around him changing form a black floor criss-cross with yellow lines and barren wall to an office on a starship. Cross didn't recognize the vessel, though he could tell they were moving at impulse by the movement of the start beyond the viewport. He glanced around the office, it's design practical and it's decorations spartan, and felt a looming sense of apprehension at the next test Hathev had cooked up for him. He sighed as he finally recognized the design of the ship, having only seen it a few times before, and looked up at the ceiling as though calling out against vengeful Gods, though in reality he was simply talking to Hathev outside of the Holodeck.

"Really, Counsellor?" Cross asked, his voice devoid of anything even remotely resembling enthusiasm. "No offence, but did it have to be a hajari Vulcan ship?" He suspected that she had, in fact, picked a Vulcan ship on purpose. Hathev was aware of the fact that Cross had had numerous negative experiences with Vulcans in the past, and so it was only logical for her to employ them in the attempt to find out what might set off his anger.

She may be more tolerant than some Cross thought to himself, as he waited to see if she would respond to his comment, but Hathev is still a Vulcan, all serenity and logic. At least she isn't...

His thoughts were cut off when the doors to the office hissed open, revealing a rather typical looking Vulcan in the next room. The man strode into the office, pulling up short as he noticed Cross standing there. He regarded Cross with an unimpressed expression, or as much of one that a Vulcan could give, as though studying Cross. For his part, Cross simply stared back at the hologram and waited, having no doubt that this Vulcan holocharacter would be just as annoying as the last ones had been. The previous test had involved Ferengi, and while Cross had wanted to rip their greedy, oversized ears clean off their fucking heads, he had easily resisted the urge. Ferengi were annoying, yes, but hardly worthy of losing his temper over. It might have been amusing to listen to the holo-Ferengi squeal as Cross beat him, btu hardly worth the trouble of failing the counsellor's test.

The Vulcan who now stared at him would likely have a different approach to the situation, and for a moment Cross found himself somewhat worried that he would fail the test. Would Hathev take affront to the idea of him losing control and potentially trying to kill a holocharacter that was of their own species? No, she would likely not even consider it. Hathev might be more agreeable than Seren, not that that was particularly hard to achieve, and she might be considerably easier on the eyes, but she was a logical being first. She would likely find the slight apprehension he felt at that moment to be highly illogical. Possibly accompanied by a raise eyebrow.

As long as she doesn't try to feed me more of that tea... Cross grumbled inwardly, scowling at the holocharacter, suddenly finding the artificial fellow's existence to be an annoyance. As the fellow stared at Cross, still not moving, he began to grow more and more annoyed, his jaw tightening as he waited. Finally, after nearly a minute of waiting for the pointy-eared bastard in the flowing purple robes to speak, Cross had had enough. "What the haja are you looking at, kuevdasi?" Cross asked, his brow furrowing in annoyance. The man regarded him silently for another moment, then gracefully made his way towards his desk, his movements aggravatingly slow. Cross thought that, at this rate, he might die of old age before this test got properly underway. Finally, once the man had taken an eon or so to situate himself at the desk, Cross waiting with arms crossed over his chest as the man fussed over his clothing, smoothing out wrinkles in the same way Cross had seen Seren do. Why did Vulcans always worry about the state of their clothes? Was it logical to always look your best? Or to spend so much time preening over one's self?

Speaking of logic, the man had began to speak, his topic of choice being just the thing Cross had been musing about; Logic.

"I would point out that it is illogical to ask what I am looking at, when I would think it perfect obvious that I was looking at you." The Vulcan explained, his tone just as dry and stuffy as Cross had imagined it would be.

"Adeŧa sumir'vadektiŧ izař" Cross muttered after letting out a long sigh. He glanced up at the ceiling, his eyes moving from side to side as though looking for Hathev. Were she there, he would have given her an exasperated look.

"Are you looking for something?" The Vulcan asked, cocking his head to one side as though studying a strange or unfamiliar creature.

"I was hoping for a rope. Or anything to put an end to these tests, really." Cross said, his voice level and giving no hint of humour for the hologram. He knew Hathev was outside the Holodeck and monitoring the entire session, and he knew she would hear the comment.

"Suicide would be an illogical means by which to end a test." The Vulcan informed him, his monotone voice and clipped, precise words irking Cross as the man's voice droned at him. "If you no longer wish to be taking part in a test, then you need simply fail it to end the test, and in doing so, end your discomfort." Cross wondered if the hologram realized he was basically instructing Cross to kill him, since that was among the parameters set out for failing these tests.

The thought brought a dark smile to Cross' features as he raised his head to look at the ceiling once more, intent on addressing Hathev. "How long do I have to put of with him to pass this?" He called out, knowing that angling his head towards the ceiling was completely unnecessary.

"Who is it that you think you are speaking to?" The hologram asked, one eyebrow raising as the holographic Vulcan regarded him with a look of curiosity.

"None of your hajari business, you hajari hesnúrak" Cross growled, casting an annoyed look in the holo-Vulcan's direction. The hologram's other eyebrow rose to join it's partner, giving the Vulcan hologram as much of a look of surprise as a Vulcan could give. Cross wondered if the fucker would have the same expression as Cross' fist slammed into his face repeatedly. Perhaps the cumulative annoyance of the past couple of tests were beginning to take a toll on him, he reflected.

"Your actions are most illogical, Commander." The hologram informed him, the words causing Cross' jaw to tighten, his teeth grinding. "Perhaps if you sit, we can have some tea and discuss your situation?"

Oh fuck, not more Vulcan tea...


Kardasi Translations:
Hajari - Fucking
Haja - Fuck
Kuevdasi - Shitscale
Adeŧa sumir'vadektiŧ izař - Insult: "I liked it when you weren't here yet"
hesnúrak - Rotten Molt

Re: Day 13 [2030 hrs] Trials & Tribulations
Reply #1
[ Lt. Cmdr. Hathev | Holodeck 02 Observation Booth | Deck 08 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Fife

Hathev watched the monitor before her with a studied quietude, a careful calmness. The monitor, only 18 inches in diameter, showed a live feed from within the holodeck, wherein a man stood adrift amongst the grey squares demarcated by ramrod lines of yellow. The man was Lieutenant Commander Cross, and he was about to begin his third trial.

The Vulcan counsellor stood alone in Holodeck 2's observation booth -- a tiny box of a room directly adjacent to the holodeck and containing numerous screens and controls. From here Hathev could discern everything which occurred within, and even make adjustments to the program in real-time. She did not intend to utilise such an ability however, as she had designed each scenario carefully, according to her predictions. Interfering now would only muddy her analysis.

The first and second programs had been completed with apparently little difficulty on the part of Mr Cross; this had been intentional on Hathev's part, both as a means to relax the man into the procedure and as a way to gather data on his baseline state. Whether he had avoided anger in such scenarios as a result of the training she had instilled in him over their past three meetings, or whether such things would never have prompted him to anger even without such instruction, she could not be certain; however she was inclined to lean towards the latter, given the relative newness of her teachings to the man.

In truth, she was ill-contented with the timing of this procedure. When she had suggested to Mr Cross that they might intentionally attempt to trigger his anger that he might practice the techniques for control she was to teach him, she had envisaged that she might be afforded a much greater interim wherein to teach the man such techniques. As it was, not even a week had passed since their initial meeting, and although they had enjoyed two more sessions since their first, and although she had been pleased with the progress the commander appeared to be making, she had nevertheless been concerned to discover the necessity of their beginning this more experimental form of treatment so soon.

Nevertheless, it had indeed become necessary. Circumstances had forced the escalation of her precisely-planned timeline; 'circumstances' here referring to an incident the day previous, whereupon Commander Cross had assaulted and injured a junior officer under his command. The physical damage to the ensign had been relatively minimal; had it not been, the discussions following the incident might have been much different. As it was, Hathev had found this exercise to be the most logical course of action at this time, as it would allow her to carry out a variety of reviews and form a more complete judgement of the man.

These tests, designed to prompt the man to anger, would allow her to do a number of things. First, she could observe his emotional state for herself, analysing his behaviour, and his amount of control. Secondly, she could judge the efficacy of the training she had thus far imparted, and make any adjustments to technique or teaching style as necessary. Thirdly, she could take a view as to the man's level of danger to himself and others; this depended both upon his current amount of control and her predictions on how long it would take him to achieve a truly safe level of emotional regulation.

Hathev's position as Vulcan guide and teacher for Mr Cross had never been an official relationship, and thus she did not act in an official capacity at this time. Nevertheless, if she was not satisfied with her judgement of Cross, she would report her findings as duty required.

It was unfortunate that she was forced to reach such a judgement at this stage. So early in Cross' training, it would be difficult to form an accurate analysis of the man's potential. Even worse, she was to reach this judgement by commencing such a delicate procedure. The probability of total success, wherein Cross was never angered, was extremely low; however failure risked sending Cross into a spiral of perceived inadequacy and personal frustration which, if it reached too great heights, could only serve to add to his emotional burden and further weaken his control.

Accordingly, Hathev had taken pains to present the simulation to Cross as an initial evaluation by which she could come to better understand his base situation, stressing that should he be prompted to anger it would not be a failure but rather a valuable data point in mapping the edges of his control. She would have preferred not to judge him thus, but considering the urgency of the matter this was the most logical course. By no other means could she properly analyse his anger; it had been noticeably absent from their previous meetings, and she had barely witnessed even a murmur of its presence.

The third test might be the one to change that. She initiated the program, and watched as the holodeck shifted to simulate the captain's office on board a Suurok-class starship. She had heard, of course, of the antagonism Cross felt towards Seren, his counsellor; a ridiculous and childish emotion, considering the counsellor was duty-bound to aid him and could only intend his assistance. Nevertheless she understood that traditional Vulcan manners and sensibilities frustrated the blunt and heavy-handed commander, and thus she aimed to exploit such a thing. She would be careful in debriefing the test that Cross felt no lingering anger towards Seren or any other Vulcan as a result of her testing.

It seemed her analysis had been correct, by the officer's reaction. She allowed herself a ghost of pride in acknowledgement of her accuracy. As the test continued, Cross exhibited elevated signs of frustration, switching back and forth to Kardasi; however he seemed reluctant to engage with the simulation properly, which was unfortunate. A further marker of his frustration, surely, and yet one which did not help the simulation.

Hathev watched carefully; if Cross continued to distance himself from the simulation, she would be forced to intervene and compel him to engage properly. However, after a tense moment in which Cross seemed to glare holes in the holographic Vulcan before him, he seemed to relent; such intervention would not be necessary after all.

For the rest of the scenario, Mr Cross continued to telegraph his frustration, both in action and in word; yet although his language was colourful, he retained it as the only outward sign of his anger. He was not prompted to violence, despite his clear hatred of the scenario; Hathev allowed it to play out fully and then end, the holograms falling away to reveal the dark criss-cross of the deck once more.

She did not congratulate the man within; such a thing was unnecessary. Nevertheless she was internally pleased to see he had passed the test. She had predicted a directly 50-50 probability of his giving way to anger, and the fact he had not emboldened her in her earlier analysis of Cross. He did exhibit emotional control, a remarkable amount. His outbursts were outliers, not the norm; they had only to quash these statistical anomalies.

They now reached the fourth test, and the penultimate one she had planned. This she anticipated to offer approximately the same amount of challenge as the one previous, with only a 13% difficulty increase. It would be the fifth and final test that would truly stretch his control to breaking point; she anticipated that was the one he would fail, with a 20-80 probability. It was this trial, more even than the others, that she had not wished to subject Cross to at so early a stage; for the scenario involved Cardassians, a trigger she believed was almost guaranteed to engender anger in the subject.

For now, however, she turned her attention to the matter at hand, initiating the fourth scenario. It was more ambitious than the previous ones, a procedurally-generated simulation of a corridor on board a Theurgy-class starship, with all the details -- rooms, doorways, crew -- randomly created from aggregated data. None of it exactly resembled the Theurgy or her personnel, but the similarities were intentionally such that they created an overall sense of familiarity, if not a specific correlation.

This test was more challenging in its choice of belligerent: where the third test had focused upon a figure who had been merely frustrating out of his adherence to logic, this turned to an actively threatening foe. The simulation loaded, and after a moment the klaxons began to sound: battle stations. Cross was afforded barely a second of respite before a transporter haze appeared before him, leaving a Klingon boarding party in its wake. They approached Cross with aggression in their posture.

Of course, danger in itself was hardly enough to trigger anger in the man. Thus Hathev had designed the scenario with an entirely different outcome in mind. And so it was that a small group of randomly-generated crew members, their features aggregate compilations of real faces, chosen and assembled by the computer, stepped out of a door a few feet in front of Cross; and while one of the Klingons continued on his original path to the Vulcan, the others turned to harass these newly-presented targets.

Cross had demonstrated himself to have a protective streak in his behaviour on board the Versant. Just as Hathev had exploited his dislike of Seren, and intended to do the same with his hatred of Cardassians, so too would she utilise this knowledge here. Threatening his own safety would not have been enough; she wondered if threatening the safety of another would finally reveal the anger he held within.
CPO Morgan Song - Engineering - Chief of Maintenance (V2) [Show/Hide]
Lt Cmdr Hathev - Counselling - Chief Counsellor [Show/Hide]
Ensign Inej 'Avi' Avirim - Security - Investigations Officer [Show/Hide]
Xelia - Civillian - Software Engineer [Show/Hide]

Re: Day 13 [2030 hrs] Trials & Tribulations
Reply #2
[ Lt. Cmdr. Cross | Holodeck 02 | Deck 08 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy | Aldea ] Attn: @fiendfall
[Show/Hide]Cross let out a breath as the Vulcan ship faded from existence, being replaced by the barren walls and grid-lined floor of the holodeck. He trusted that Hathev knew what she was doing, but thus far the counsellor's tests had simply been frustrating. Admittedly, he might have considered simply killing the holographic Vulcan to free himself from the entire ordeal, but he had told Counsellor Hathev that he would make a serious effort, and he was not about to begin lying to the woman. She had treated him with more courtesy than more of their species would have, and so he felt the least he could do was humour her during this testing.

Hathev continued to remain silent outside of the holodeck as the next scenario, the fourth, began. The hologrid disappeared, replaced by the corridor of a ship which appeared similar to the Theurgy. Cross raised an eyebrow as he glanced both ahead of him and behind, the corridor looking like that of any Starfleet vessel.

Then the klaxons sounded.

The Red Alert was unmistakable, both by sound and by the red glow that enveloped the corridor around him. Cross had little time to do more than glance around him before the scenario got properly underway. The unmistakable glow of a transporter blossomed in the corridor ahead of him, depositing a Klingon boarding party in plain view.

It had to be Klingons... Cross grumbled inwardly, wishing he hadn't told Hathev about the incident with Khorin. Dealing with the one Klingon had been bad enough, and he had been an ally. Now, facing off with four hostile holographic Klingons, Cross could only imagine how well this test was going to go.

No sooner had that thought crossed his mind than one of the doors further along the corridor hissed open, spewing forth several holographic crew members into the corridor between Cross and the Klingons. Three of the Klingons moved to intercept the crew, though one remained fixed on Cross, stalking forward with a predatory smile on his ugly, ridged face. Cross' hand moved to his hip where his phaser would be on away missions, though found it empty. He sighed then, knowing that would have been too much to ask for. Hathev had said she wanted to test him, to push him to utilize the techniques she had taught him. Granting him the ability to simply stun all the Klingons would have been too easy.

I bet this is revenge for me not liking the tea... Cross thought to himself as the Klingon roared and charged him, his hand drawing one of those dagger-like weapon that Klingons loved so dearly. Cross sidestepped the thrust, his eyes following the path of the blade, then reached out with his prosthetic hand and grasped the Klingon's wrist. He twisted back, bending the arm around painfully and eliciting a rather painful sounding growl form the Klingon in question. Cross glanced up at the ceiling briefly, still not sure why he thought that such a gesture would be like glancing at Hathev, then increased his grip on the Klingon's arm, the metal fingers of the prosthetic digging into flesh with ease. The Klingon's howl of pain only grew and Cross squeezed for all he was worth, the sound of crunching bones audible in the warrior's forearm.

So it does work... Cross mused as he stepped back, avoiding a slash from the dagger as the Klingon took the blade up in his other hand. The warrior lunged again, and Cross used the back of his metallic limb to deflect the blow, bringing his other hand up to strike the Klingon's throat. The gasping, sucking sound that emanated form the wide-eyed face was accompanied by hands grasping at ruined throat, and the Klingon fell to his knees and he desperately tried to breath. Cross slammed a knee into the bastard's face, sending him sprawling backwards, then scooped up the fallen dagger and turned to calmly assess the state of the holographic crew that had stumbled upon the party. Admittedly, his sense of calm had little to do with any technique that Hathev had taught him, stemming more from his knowledge that this was nothing more than a simulation. Regardless, he knew he had to play along.

The crew was not fairing well...

The three Klingons had had the advantage, the crew of the Starfleet vessel having gone running head first into them with no warning. Of the six crew members that had come running into the corridor, only three still lived. Two of the Klingons closed in on the remaining duo, while the third turned to deal with Cross, hefting his bat'leth and dropping into a defensive stance. Cross hefted the dagger, knowing that it was essentially useless in his hands. He had trained in defensive fighting techniques during his time as a security officer, though he had hardly kept up with the training, and had no offensive training with the bladed weapon. But hey, how hard could it be to stick the pointy end in a big, ugly Klingon?

As Cross dodged the first swing of the bat'leth, it became apparent that it was going to prove rather difficult. That is until the Klingon misjudged a swing with the large, cumbersome weapon, leaving Cross an opening and the bat'leth glanced off the wall. Apparently Hathev hadn't programmed the Klingons to be overly competent.

Cross used the opportunity to drive the dagger forward, catching a glancing strike against the Klingon's torso, a thick trail of blood beginning to make it's way down over the warrior's armour. Cross didn't recover fast enough, however, the Klingon grabbing hold of his uniform and slamming his head into the bulkhead. Cross stumbled back, undamaged but dazed, until his back hit the other wall of the corridor. Cross blinked away stars, turning his head to see that only two of the holographic crew still stood, and one was looking much the worse for wear. The Klingons seemed to be taking great delight in their work, and seemed to be attempting to prolong the fun for as long as possible. The idea made Cross' jaw clench.

Breathe... Cross told himself, taking a sharp breath in through his nose. It helped clear the swimming sensation from his head somewhat, enough for him to focus on what he was looking at. The bleeding crewman, a tanned fellow with a blue collared uniform, dark hair and dark eyes which were full of fear, was staggering to the side with one hand clamped over a fresh cut in his right arm. The other crew member, a yellow-clad woman, saw a chance to flee as the Klingons threw their heads back with laughter, breaking into a run back towards Cross. Her features caused him to pull up short. While the dark brown hair was unremarkable, her pale complexion and crystalline blue eyes were not. They reminded him far too much of someone else. Far too much.

Cross' heartrate spiked, his blood thundering in his ears. His jaw muscles practically screamed in protest at how he ground his teeth. Hands clenched into fists as his sides, and his breath seemed ot catch in his throat.

It was too familiar, too close to what had nearly happened before.

Cross saw that the Klingons were not about to let the woman go, one of them turning and drawing his disruptor from its holster. He levelled the weapon at the fleeing woman's back, and Cross found himself shoving off the wall towards the frantic female hologram before he knew what he was doing.

"Blue! Get down!" He bellowed, his voice desperate as hid arm reaching out to try and shove the woman aside, to try and get her out of the way of the shot. It all seemed so similar to what had happened before. So similar to the day he had lost his arm. So similar to the day he had nearly lost her.

Today, however, he was too slow.

Cross felt a sickening jolt in his core as the green flash of the disruptor bolt struck true, the holographic crew member being thrown forward, her legs buckling beneath her. Cross watched in horror as she fell, her body striking the deck hard and coming to a stop, lying perfectly still with those clear eyes gazing at him, but not seeing him.

They looked so very much like Blue's eyes.

Cross scrambled forward, a sense of utter panic seizing him as he reached the woman's still form, rolling her over and grabbing her shoulders. Those eyes stared up at him, that pale face framed by dark brown hair. But Cross didn't see that. Cross didn't see any of it. All he saw were those eyes. In his mind they were framed by black hair. Black hair that had a streak of blue running through it.

He had failed.

He had let her die.

Blue...

Something struck his head then, sending him sprawling forward over her body. The Klingon he had cut was still standing, and had kicked at him. The shock to his senses, coupled with the rage and agony at the perceived loss, was too much.

Cross let out a roar of agony as he spun. He held his left hand like a claw and drove into the warrior's stomach, the metallic fingers finding purchase in amongst the armour and driving in. The shock on the Klingon's face would likely have seemed comical, had Cross been coherent enough to recognize it. As it was, he cared little for anything. Anything, aside from vengeance. It drove him, fuelled him, consumed him. The warrior screamed as Cross drove his fingers deeper into his stomach seemed to fuel him as well, though the scream cut off as Cross' other hand found his throat and squeezed. Another flash of disruptor fire lit the corridor around them, and Cross saw the Klingon with the weapon drawn taking aim again. Swinging the Klingon he currently had skewered about, Cross shoved him between himself and the disruptor just in time, the bleeding warrior convulsing as the disruptor bolt stuck home. Cross tossed the lifeless holo-corpse aside, lunging forward towards the one who had fire the shot. Toward the one who had killed her.

He covered the distance easily, knocking the disruptor pistol aside with one had while the other sought the man's throat. An animalistic snarl tore from Cross' throat, his eyes wide and feral as he tackled the Klingon to the ground. Cross' hand slid up form the man's throat, his fingers gripping the side of the man's head. He lifted that head off the deck, then slammed it down, dazing the warrior. He repeated that motion, lifting and striking, numerous times, again and again, until the Klingon's head left a small puddle of blood in it's wake. Then a boot struck Cross in the temple, sending him sprawling. The Vulcan scrambled to his knees, eyes red with murder as he lunged at his attacker, another animalistic snarl ripping form his lips. His lunge took his quarry by surprise, his hands grabbing either side of the man's head, and finding purchase there as he carried the man down to the deck plating. Then his thumbs snaked over the man's face, seeking their own purchase just as they had during the incident with Khorin. They proved more successful this time, however, and managed to find their mark, hesitating before they drove forward.

The Klingon warrior's body began to seize as Cross drove his fingers into the eyes, through the membrane beyond, and into the Klingon's brain, wrenching the Klingon's head this way and that all the while.

Re: Day 13 [2030 hrs] Trials & Tribulations
Reply #3
[ Lt. Cmdr. Hathev | Holodeck 02 Observation Booth | Deck 08 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Fife

It was with a carefully-curated focus that Hathev studied the data before her. The feed from the holodeck was, unfortunately, not sufficient to read into the minutiae of Mr Cross' expression, rendering any such study inefficient. Nevertheless, his emotions were hardly contained upon his face at the best of times, and thus it was to his body language that she turned during this experiment. Certainly when the man became angered such a thing would, she anticipated, be easy to discern; in the meantime, she was able to parse his thoughts from more subtle reactions.

As with the previous test, he was unfortunately more frustrated at the scenario itself than with anything within it. He displayed a general ill-temper towards the experiment, seemingly reluctant to engage; once again, his knowledge that the situation was simulated for the purpose of evaluation, and entirely devised and operated by Hathev herself, stood in the way of any proper reaction she might exhort from him. It was with an almost casual laziness that Cross responded to the immediate danger before him, exhibiting a resigned boredom in the discovery that he was unarmed, and neatly side-stepping blows intended to draw a more visceral, immediate reaction from the man than simple orneriness.

She suppressed a tinge of disappointment. She would analyse the failures in the experiment after its conclusion; doing such a thing at this time would only distract her and thus prevent her from the gleaning of any further data that might be had, rendering the exercise even more fruitless than before. No, she would continue the experiment until its conclusion, and evaluate both her findings and the methods used to gain them after such completion.

In the meantime, Mr Cross tussled with the simulated Klingons on the holodeck. It had been a Klingon that the newmade Vulcan had become enraged with on the Versant, and Hathev intended to draw upon the experience here; unfortunately it seemed Cross was either aware of that fact, further drawing him from the simulation as it allowed him to see its internal workings, its logic, and thus its edges, or he was simply unfazed by Klingons in this situation, far removed from the intense terror the time on the Versant had normalised.

Nevertheless, of course, it had never been direct personal threat that was the purpose of the test. Cross' desire to protect the simulated crew was minimal, however, as he continued to fight his own Klingons while, mere metres away, that crew was attacked and killed. By the time Cross seemingly became cognisant of their need for his assistance, half their number had been felled already. Another unfortunate outcome, and not in line with her predictions for the test. At least this experiment served to remind her how little she truly knew of the Chief Tactical Officer; after a measly three sessions she had, perhaps, become over-confident in her analysis of his psychology and her ability to predict and manipulate it. This proved her wrong, a necessary check upon her conviction of her own accuracy. She would be more circumspect in future studies.

She continued to watch with detached interest as Mr Cross engaged one of the Klingons attacking the crew in combat, noting the relative ease with which he dealt with the challenge. She had programmed the Klingons to be accurate to life -- uncoordinated, blundering creatures with little sense beyond a misguided search for honour and a determination to seek out violence at every turn -- but she now realised in doing so they hardly posed enough difficulty to the trained officer that faced them. She had not intended to utilise the controls afforded her from within this observation booth, the ability to directly affect the simulation as it ran, but it was clearly apparent that Cross was not fully engaged in that simulation, and increasing the perceived danger would have the effect of tricking his physiology into believing himself to be in real danger, thus drawing him into the moment more honestly and fully. Thus it was to these controls that she turned now, inputting the necessary commands to tweak the difficulty of the combat simulation.

The results were instantaneous. The Klingon currently engaged with Mr Cross recovered from a blow with heightened speed, catching the Vulcan off-guard and slamming him into the bulkhead. This would certainly prove effective, but perhaps she had been over-eager with the increase in difficulty; she watched carefully, fingers hovering over the controls lest she need to adjust them once more. Cross appeared dazed, taking a second to recover; as he no longer posed a threat to them, the simulated Klingons returned to their original purpose once more, murdering a further crew member as Cross leant against the wall. After a moment he appeared to return to himself, becoming aware of his surroundings once more; Hathev followed his gaze to watch another of the crew run towards him, and was pleased to see that this, at least, prompted the man to action. As one of the Klingons prepared to shoot the fleeing woman down, Cross pushed himself off the wall in an attempt to save the woman, shouting at her to--

Shouting at Blue.

It was not Miss Tiran, Hathev judged with detached calmness, as the disruptor bolt struck the simulated woman squarely between the shoulder blades. The hair was the wrong colour, Hathev decided, as the woman fell to the deck, her head twisted to one side, her eyes lifeless. The features were not even particularly similar, Hathev resolved, as Cross dashed to reach the body, as he pulled her to him, as he stared at her with pure and genuine horror etched upon his features, visible even through the feed. It was not Miss Tiran who lay dead upon the deck, but it was she Cross mourned all the same.

And then Cross became the other he had warned her of since their first meeting.

The man's rage exploded with a violence she had not thought possible of him, of anyone. It was bestial and aggressive, with no thought for personal preservation or possible consequence; there was no intelligence in it, no sentience. Cross launched himself at the Klingons to carry out a series of attacks that were appalling in their primordial, visceral execution; unarmed, he fought and killed with his bare hands till only the whites of his eyes and his bared teeth shone out from his blood-splattered face.

Hathev's shock was so great that it bound her in place for a moment, unable to do much more than bear witness to the extreme violence played out before her. When she became sensible once more, she rushed to shut down the program, the Klingon dying under Cross vanishing with the rest of the scene, leaving the man alone in the dark deck. Hathev did not wait to see his reaction to this; instead she exited the booth swiftly and moved towards the holodeck. Procedural generation had been the most efficient course of action and yet it had allowed for this to occur, this-- Had she tailored every aspect of this test as she had the others, this would never have happened. Certainly, she had intended to trigger the man's rage but not in this manner, not-- The witnessing of such a thing had been--

She composed herself. Such thoughts aided her little, and Commander Cross even less. She was here to assist him, and she would fulfil that duty. Thus she ordered the door to open, and stepped through the threshold onto the empty holodeck.

'Commander,' she said sharply as she did so -- a reprimand designed in both tone and wording to remind him of his position and therefore return him to reality. 'Are you yourself?'
CPO Morgan Song - Engineering - Chief of Maintenance (V2) [Show/Hide]
Lt Cmdr Hathev - Counselling - Chief Counsellor [Show/Hide]
Ensign Inej 'Avi' Avirim - Security - Investigations Officer [Show/Hide]
Xelia - Civillian - Software Engineer [Show/Hide]

Re: Day 13 [2030 hrs] Trials & Tribulations
Reply #4
[ Lt. Cmdr. Cross | Holodeck 02 | Deck 08 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy | Aldea ] Attn: @fiendfall
[Show/Hide]Cross barely registered the blood, holographic though it was, which had spurted onto his face as he burtally assaulted the Klingons. Nor was he aware that the Klingons were holograms. Nothing in the way of coherent thought registered as he continued the killing, only the need to do it. The hatred. The rage.

As so it was that, the simulation having ended, Cross found himself without an outlet for that anger, without a target for that rage. He was alone in a blank room, the bodies and blood and corridors fading from view, leaving him in the cold, empty space of a hologrid. Cross whirled about, looking this way and that in search for someone, something to direct his malice towards, but in vain.

Where was he?

Was he still... No... It couldn't be...

Was this the Versant?

Had it all been a lie? The rescue? The Theurgy? Blue? Kai?

Had he never left the Savi ship?

Was he still in this hell?

Eyes wild, Cross searched his surroundings, his overwhelming anger having been joined by a spike a fear which seemed to lance through his very being.

Then he heard the voice speak behind him.

Cross whirled about, launching himself into motion even before he knew who or what had addressed him. His right hand lashed out, reaching, searching. It found purchase, grasping and holding. Something warm. Something soft.

It wasn't real. Just another hologram. His mind told him, a tiny voice barely audible through the red haze that clouded his vision. Another Savi trick!

He had no idea who he held as his momentum carried them both to the floor, Cross' hand firmly grasping the person's neck as he pinned them beneath him.

Re: Day 13 [2030 hrs] Trials & Tribulations
Reply #5
[ Lt. Cmdr. Hathev | Holodeck 02 | Deck 08 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Fife

Inside the holodeck, the Commander stood with his back to her. He exhibited tension in every line of his body, panting away the exertion of his rage. She moved towards him slowly, as if taming a wild beast -- for the analogy was more apt than she had allowed, preferring to believe it as alarmist exaggeration rather than accurate description. She had believed she understood Vulcan anger; she had seen it herself, after all, time and again, and she had seen the destruction left in its wake. But for all his lack of control, his belligerence, his violence, even, Kireil had never been like this.

She stepped towards Cross, speaking carefully, and her question was answered before the words were even cold in her mouth. In a single, fluid motion, he twisted round to face her and she could see the wildness around his eyes, the instinct that drove him forwards more surely than intellect -- and forwards he came, crossing the distance between them in seconds and slamming into her, his flesh hand catching her throat in an iron grip, his momentum sending them both to the floor. The air was forced from Hathev's lungs as she hit the ground, the commander's weight crushing on top of her, pinning her down -- but it was more than that which dazed her. His anger was stunning in its intensity, the rage bleeding through his skin upon hers, the feral aggression but also the pain, the fear, the desperation, like a creature fighting for its life, and this had been what she had intended but not in this manner, never like this. This went far beyond anger and into something deeply jagged and sharp within him, something broken and left all razor edges; she felt it within herself now too, seeping through her with his touch, unbalancing her mind as surely as he unbalanced her body, even as his own pressed her to the ground, unyielding in his strength, in his size.

She struggled against him, attempting to pry his fingers from her throat, pushing, beating upon his chest when that proved for naught, but Cross held her fast just as he had held the Klingons before her. Looking into his eyes, so close to her own, she knew there was nothing preventing him from enacting his rage upon her as he had them, from killing her beneath him without a thought -- if the Klingons had posed little challenge, what hope had she when he could snap her with ease, and she powerless to stop him?

'Cease this!' she ordered, a note of something creeping into her voice, the desperation in her chest his or hers she did not know. 'Commander!' Her hands, where moments ago they had scrabbled against him, now came to grasp his shoulders, balling in his shirt, exhorting him to return to himself before it was too late. 'Cross, you are not yourself!'
  • Last Edit: October 01, 2019, 07:14:47 PM by fiendfall
CPO Morgan Song - Engineering - Chief of Maintenance (V2) [Show/Hide]
Lt Cmdr Hathev - Counselling - Chief Counsellor [Show/Hide]
Ensign Inej 'Avi' Avirim - Security - Investigations Officer [Show/Hide]
Xelia - Civillian - Software Engineer [Show/Hide]

Re: Day 13 [2030 hrs] Trials & Tribulations
Reply #6
[ Lt. Cmdr. Cross | Holodeck 02 | Deck 08 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy | Aldea ] Attn: @fiendfall
[Show/Hide]Cross had felt a change as the momentum had carried them to the floor, a surge of awareness that had not been there previously. His anger made it hard to discern exactly what he was feeling as he found himself pinning the other being to the deck, his hand firmly grasping them by the neck. He felt anger, hatred, and fear. He felt loss.

He had failed her...

But the fear was not just his own. He felt a new fear from without, coupled with its own anger, a fear that seemed to resonate with his own. This new influx of emotion was different from the torrent that coursed through him, however. Restrained. Held at bay by a sense of calm, a sense of stability that also held with it an aspect of desperation. He felt his own emotions reflected back along with these new one. These foreign emotions were like a pond, one that moments ago might have been serene, calm, and without a ripple, though now they were buffeted by a wind. His own, by comparison, were like a tempest. Cross himself had no notion of any of this, lost to his anger as he was. He had no thought of who this new being was, be they Klingon or Savi or something altogether different.

And yet while the flood of new emotion gave him pause, his metallic left hand began to rise in preparation to strike. He heard words being uttered, but paid them no heed. He felt hands prying at his own, attempting to break his grip and, failing in that, beating at his shoulders and chest before grasping at his shirt. The sense of desperation seemed to intensify, though the voice gave little sign of it form what he could hear, only the faintest hint of it seeping into the speaker's tone.

His left hand had continued to rise up, and was now poised to be driven home into this new threat. And yet he wavered, the hand hovering in mid-air.

His pale, unblinking eyes bored into those of the one he had pinned, his gaze locked on theirs. They were close enough that the other person would likely see his Vulcan second eyelids sweep over his eyes, and he could make out the lighter ring of colour around the hazel eyes which peered back at him, the faintest hint of fear having seeped through the façade and into that gaze. Cross' face was twisted in a silent snarl, his upper lip curled back to expose teeth and his every muscle tensed in anticipation of a fight. His breathing was fast and ragged, each breath forcing it's way through gritted teeth.

And yet as he heard the one he had pinned to the ground speak, calling him by name, he hesitated further, his metallic fist continuing to hand hang in the air as if to signal his uncertainty.

Re: Day 13 [2030 hrs] Trials & Tribulations
Reply #7
[ Lt. Cmdr. Hathev | Holodeck 02 | Deck 08 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Fife

Even before they left her mouth, Hathev knew her words fell upon ears insensible to their meaning; yet she persisted, stubborn in her knowledge that no matter the wildness overtaking Cross' mind, he still remained within, even as his fingers dug into her throat, crushed her trachea beneath their unyielding, uncompromising, unrecognising strength. His face, mere inches from her own, betrayed no sign that he knew her, no sign that he was aware of himself, his surroundings, or even his actions -- he was, truly and completely, removed from himself in this moment, and she nothing but the fool who dared disturb him in such a state.

Her hands gripped his shirt, fingers twisted in the material like it might save her. For while she knew her logic was sound, and Cross would eventually return to himself, to the gentle, thoughtful man she had met with before, and be horrified at his actions, she had no assurance this transformation would occur before her own expiry. She should have requested an officer from Security stand by for such an occurrence, but truly she had not predicted this series of events, and therefore what cause had she to plan for it?

She grew lightheaded; now was not the time for idle retrospection.

Cross, his face twisted into a feral snarl, teeth bared and eyes wild, drew back his metal hand to drive it down with a force that was truly terrifying to conceive. She felt it, then: a spark of fear within her, breaking the bounds of her tightly-held control, setting her mental walls ablaze as it caught. She fought to dampen it -- fear served her not at all, it would only make her impulsive and witless; her hands clenched infinitessimally as she wrestled herself back within acceptable bounds.

It took barely a fraction of a second, and yet that time was long enough to enact the change her words had been unable to: Cross paused. His hand hung Damoclean above her, ready to wreak violence and yet briefly stayed; his expression muddied, and she felt his confusion bleed into her, his moment of uncertainty, his hesitation. He began to wake within himself, still more than half-dreaming, and yet it was enough.

His ears may have been unable to hear her, his eyes unable to recognise her; but his mind, it seemed, could yet be reached.

Her hands moved from his shoulders, coming up to clasp his face, spread from cheek to jaw and holding, firm and resolute; she called upon her most piercing stare and turned it towards him, pinning him before her, forbidding him from making any further move. Were she to meld with him now, she could attempt to draw the emotions from him and dispose of them safely herself, purging them like poison as she had been taught to; yet to open her mind to a subject in this state would risk irreparable damage to her psyche, with the probability of such an occurrence unacceptably high. No, she would have to rely upon a more basic form of telepathy that would nevertheless retain her mind's protection; thus she steeled herself with a breath, and with its outletting dispelled all lingering emotion within herself, both her own and reflections of those external, returning herself to a state of tranquility and control.

'Release me,' she said, calm and cold, and with the words she allowed something of herself to percolate into Cross: her equanimity, her sangfroid -- even her breath, slow and serene, felt through the hand tight upon her neck. 'Cross, you must regain yourself.'

It was not a meld, and the results would therefore be limited; yet he had responded to telepathy before, without that being her intent, thus she could predict such a technique wielded knowingly could prove all the stronger. If she was incorrect, she would have little option for a second attempt -- and less time to make one.

'You came to me that you might learn control,' she said, and if her voice was strained it was only due to the constriction of her larynx. 'Show me our work has not been in vain, Cross. Wrest yourself from this madness!'
CPO Morgan Song - Engineering - Chief of Maintenance (V2) [Show/Hide]
Lt Cmdr Hathev - Counselling - Chief Counsellor [Show/Hide]
Ensign Inej 'Avi' Avirim - Security - Investigations Officer [Show/Hide]
Xelia - Civillian - Software Engineer [Show/Hide]

Re: Day 13 [2030 hrs] Trials & Tribulations
Reply #8
[ Lt. Cmdr. Cross | Holodeck 02 | Deck 08 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy | Aldea ] Attn: @fiendfall
[Show/Hide]He felt hands gripping the fabric of his tunic, twisting the material as though it would have some effect on the current situation, as if they were hoping to somehow wring the strength from him and free themselves. He felt the body of the person he had pinned to the floor shifting as they struggled against him, though to no avail. The eyes that bored into his held his gaze firmly, however, which only caused him to hesitate further. The emotional mingling that he felt within him continued to give him pause, the sensation disorienting. His grip still held the person's throat, pinning them firmly to the deck plating without any sign of slackening.

The next moment he felt the hands release his tunic, then saw them in his periphery just before he felt them. They gripped his head on either side, grasping it tightly, the palms of those hands warm on his cheeks and jaw. The foreign emotions that seemed to radiate within him stronger now, intensified with the contact. The emotions had changed somewhat. The fear and desperation, the anger that he had felt, had receded somewhat, the thin veil of control that had just barely masked them before having solidified into a calmer, firmer barrier. The eyes, which continued to bore into his, stared with increased intensity, and though silently ordering him to hold, to move no further.

He heard the person exhale, felt the breath on his face, and felt the emotional state of the alien feelings within him calm further towards tranquility. Then he heard them speak again, the voice sounding familiar now as he felt the calm collected other in his mind begin to seep into his own emotional turmoil, slowing the roiling mass of anger and hatred ever so slightly.

"Cross, you must regain yourself."

The voice was steady now, cool and level, the hint of emotion from before having vanished. The voice was familiar, one that he knew.

"You came to me that you might learn control. Show me our work has not been in vain, Cross." His name. The voice, female. She knew him, and he recognised the voice, his anger abating enough to allow that recognition. "Wrest yourself from this madness!"

The calm of the emotions he was feeling from her was a stark contrast to his own inner storm, the winds of anger buffeting against the serene wall of control that she was exhibiting. The reflection of his own tumultuous emotional state continued to disorient him, and so he continued to waver for a moment, steel fist poised to strike.

And yet it did not fall.

Instead, Cross' fist loosened, the fingers coming apart slightly, though still poised above them. Still ready to fall.

Frustrated, confused by the words, Cross loosened his grip on the woman's throat, though he still held her pinned beneath him. He shifted his grip, his thumb pressing into the flesh beneath her jaw, forcing her head to tilt upwards. It was a face he recognized. He knew that now, though he still questioned it. Could he still be on the Versant? Could this be another trick of the Savi, some elaborate hoax? Could the Savi still be holding him, waiting to wipe his memories? Or waiting to recycle him to feed their ship?

Cross closed his eyes tightly, shaking his head as though trying to clear his thoughts, though the woman's grip held firm throughout the motion, the warmth of her hands a constant sensation against his face. When he opened them again, she was still there, her gaze still holding his.

"Who...?" Cross growled, his eyes hard as he stared at her, as though trying to discern her intent. He increased the pressure with which he held her, as thought trying to squeeze the truth from her. "Where the haja am I? How... do I know you're hajari real?"



Kardasi Translations:
Haja - Fuck
Hajari - Fucking

Re: Day 13 [2030 hrs] Trials & Tribulations
Reply #9
[ Lt. Cmdr. Hathev | Holodeck 02 | Deck 08 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Fife

She felt something come loose, a thread unpicked; its name was doubt, and it tempered Cross' anger with an uncertainty that gave him pause. She could feel his confusion seeping into her, his desperation, though it was with no more gentleness than before that he handled her now, forcing her head upwards. She met his gaze coolly, the turmoil behind his eyes clouded with hesitation, with something almost adjacent to recognition. He still did not know her, but he perhaps suspected that he should. She could feel his intense vulnerability seeping into her, see it in the lines of his face, in the tension of his shoulders, even before he spoke to confirm it.

The flicker of understanding was there, but the context was lacking, the meaning, just as he lacked the understanding of his situation more widely. Where am I, he had asked, and how do I know you're real. Something unacceptably close to guilt rose unbidden; she stamped it out. A useless sentiment. She had been inadvertent in her causing of this, in her triggering of an emotional flashback. She would not be so careless again.

'My name is Hathev,' she said to him now, meeting his gaze with her own, still tethered to him physically, mentally. Where before there had been no intelligence in him, nothing but anger and fear and pain, now he had at least returned to himself enough to look around himself. He might not have known her, or his surroundings, yet that was preferable to the uncomprehending and uncaring visage with which she had been faced only moments before.

'We are on board the Federation Starship USS Theurgy NX-79854,' she said, speaking calmly and clearly even as his thumb dug into the softness of her jaw. 'You met me here six days ago, Cross. You did not much enjoy my offerings of beverage.' Sensory triggers were among the strongest at recalling memory; considering the vehemence with which Cross had seemed to dislike the tea, it was not inconceivable that such a thing could be employed in their favour now.

He had as yet made no move to prevent her from speaking and thus she continued: 'We are currently on Holodeck 2, although there is no program running. Do you recognise your surroundings, Cross?' This was one of the few occasions in which repetition was not wasteful; with each use of his name she served to remind him of his personhood and of the connection between them.

She paused the briefest of seconds to calculate the best course. It had been the perceived death of Miss Tiran which had caused this episode, and thus it would be reasonable to assume the content of Cross' waking nightmare involved the Versant and the Savi. Did he imagine himself back aboard that cursed ship? She disliked acting upon so little information but sometimes supposition was necessary.

'We did not meet until after you left the Versant, Cross,' she said, authoritative. 'Thus my presence here proves you cannot yet remain aboard. Look around you. You know this ship.' She held his gaze, steady. 'You know me, Commander.' She brushed a thumb lightly along his cheekbone, sending him a wave of her calm, her certainty. 'You feel me. I am real, and you are safe.'
CPO Morgan Song - Engineering - Chief of Maintenance (V2) [Show/Hide]
Lt Cmdr Hathev - Counselling - Chief Counsellor [Show/Hide]
Ensign Inej 'Avi' Avirim - Security - Investigations Officer [Show/Hide]
Xelia - Civillian - Software Engineer [Show/Hide]

Re: Day 13 [2030 hrs] Trials & Tribulations
Reply #10
[ Lt. Cmdr. Cross | Holodeck 02 | Deck 08 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy | Aldea ] Attn: @fiendfall
[Show/Hide]"My name is Hathev"

His eyes remained locked on hers, his pale gaze filled with uncertainty as she continued to speak. The physical contact, his hand on her neck, continued to provide him with a sense of her, a presence in the back of his mind of calm control.

Hathev...

The name was one he knew, and the eyes that stared back at him held a familiarity even if the presence in his mind did not. The voice was familiar as well as Hathev continued to speak, her tone level and calm, her words certain and voiced with clarity. She claimed they were aboard the Theurgy, another name Cross recognized. She claimed they had met six days prior. She claimed he had disliked...

The tea...

A memory drifting into his mind. He was schooling his features, trying to hide his distaste for the contents of the cup her had just sipped from. The contents, he was informed, were a traditional Vulcan tea. It was she who had informed him, he realized. Hathev.

The tea had been vile, he remembered. Enough so that this woman, Hathev, had been drinking coffee instead. Had he not be so out of sorts, so uncertain of what was happening, he would have laughed at the recollection.

She was speaking again, and he tried to focus on her words as he continued to bore into her with his eyes, as though trying to seek out the untruths, to seek out the deception. The presence in the back of his mind, Hathev's presence, was distracting. The calm serenity of her mind a stark contrast to the tumultuous storm of emotions which still raged within him, albeit much less violently than before.

"...Holodeck 2..." Cross' eyes flicked to the side ever so briefly, as though confirming what she was saying. "...no program running..." That was obviously true, as was made clear by the blank deck and walls with their grid pattern. "Do you recognize your surroundings, Cross? At the sound of his name, his eyes returned to hers, his gaze less manic, less suspicious at the question. If anything, they held more uncertainty now than anything. "We did not meet until after you left the Versant, Cross," she continued, her voice firm and certain.

After you left the Versant...

Hathev...

He remembered. He'd met Hathev in her office a week after he had come aboard the Theurgy. He had spent time earlier that same day with Blue, when she had fitted him for his prosthetic hand.

Blue...

She was alive. She had given him shit, as she always did, and forced him to eat one of those fucking awful yellow pastries she loved so much.

"Thus my presence here proves you cannot yet remain aboard. Look around you. You know this ship." The claim made sense, the statements to accurate, the memories to vivid to be a falsehood created by the Savi. His mind raced, fighting to make sense of it all. Memories flashed in his mind's eye. The Versant's bridge module. A Scion tearing a Bajoran in half. Cross himself lunging forward, shoving Blue out of the way. Searing pain. A Borg cube being torn apart. Tiny flashed a memory, each lasting only a fraction of a second. Then everything stilled as he felt something touch him, a gentle sensation on his face. His eyes focused, meeting hers again as she brushed his cheekbone with her thumb. "You know me, Commander." Her touch brought with it an increased awareness, an increased sense of her calm. "You feel me. I am real, and you are safe." Her presence in him mind spoke of certainty, devoid of any hint of deception. Her touch on his face was comforting, and Cross unconsciously tinted his head to press his cheek into the touch. His grin on her neck loosened, his thumb no longer pressing into her jaw. His eyes, which had remained locked on her throughout the exchange, now glanced down and saw his hand at her throat, and realization dawned on him, his mind crashing back to reality.

Cross' metallic prosthetic slammed into the deck to the side, bracing him as his other hand sprung away from Hathev's neck. Cross, horrified by what he has nearly done, threw himself backwards, scrambling to get off the counsellor whom he had had pinned to the deck. Cross stopped when he had put about a meter of space between them, still sitting on the deck with pale eyes wide with horror as he stared at Hathev.

"Hathev..." he gasped with a mixture of disbelief and fear, "I... oh haja, what did I do? Are you..." Cross rose to a crouch, moving slightly closer to the ship's counsellor and reaching out as though to help her up, though his hand hesitated as though afraid to touch her. "Are you alright? Did I... hurt you?"


Kardasi Translations:
Haja - Fuck

Re: Day 13 [2030 hrs.] Trials & Tribulations
Reply #11
[ Lt. Cmdr. Hathev | Holodeck 02 | Deck 08 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Fife

Hathev held his gaze resolutely, her tranquility stalwart in the face of Cross' mixed emotions, shadowing across his face and seeping from him to her, unable to be contained or directed, catching in eddies around his brow, the corners of his mouth. His thoughts tumbling over one another, dissociated and disjointed, unable to make sense of themselves let alone her own contributions, stumbling upon her mention of the tea. She subdued a spark of satisfaction lest it unbalance him further, and kept speaking, kept hoping something she said would trigger something within him -- for the better, this time.

He had difficulty in holding onto her words, as if their meaning was water through his fingers; she felt his distraction, scuttling round the corners of his mind, but so too did she see him responding, looking around, eyes returning to her own at the mention of his name, brimming with hesitation, uncertainty. There was something there, now, something just behind the eyes, dancing just beyond the tip of his tongue, she could tell, she could feel its presence, hovering just out of reach, clouded by confusion, occasionally focusing briefly, kaleidoscopic, only a touch out of alignment, his mind circling as he attempted to alight upon the answer.

She pressed her advantage, felt his mind race as she spoke, his suspicion breaking like waves upon the rocks of her logic, rendered impotent by the beaches of her calm even as she sent him more, feeding it to him like a lifeline, hand over hand; he need only catch on, and she would pull him back to shore.

He was receptive to her touch, his grip upon her loosening, his emotions dulcifying, quietening. For that moment, he was almost childlike in his openness, his vulnerability, a far cry from either of the versions of himself she had hitherto met; but then, she had been guilty of misjudging his character before, misjudging the range of emotion and behaviour he possessed. What arrogance would it be for her to now claim she understood completely, when it became ever clearer she knew less than before?

You know me, she had said. Yet there were many ways to know a person.

She felt the breakthrough before it happened. A stillness in the air, in the mind, waiting for that final adjustment, that last piece. She could not push him over that brink herself lest she risk shattering the moment. He had to bring himself back, by his own merit; she did not wish to force him from it lest she cause further damage. And indeed, they had initiated this test ostensibly so Cross could practice the techniques she had taught him. Let him do so now.

She willed him to return.

He did.

Everything changed, very quickly. Something within him snapped back into place, and Cross was himself, jolted back with full sensibility of his actions; he released her and leapt away, breaking their connection with his flight, leaving her mind quiet in his absence. Horror coalesced in every aspect of his countenance; his voice, when he spoke, was a hoarse gasp, heavy with the knowledge of what he had done, even as his words expressed uncertainty as to his actions.

Freed once more, Hathev moved into a sitting position smoothly, as if such circumstances were normal occurrences for her. Indeed, this hardly marked the first occasion upon which she had been threatened by a patient, and she had seen far worse danger only the previous week as she had stared down the not only possible but seemingly-likely fate of Borg assimilation. By comparison, the fate Cross had offered her seemed almost preferable. But then, of course, the Borg had not been so close, she could not still feel their touch upon her, echoes of hurt left imprinted upon her skin. Her very mind experienced the sensation of negative temperature, a cold-by-absence, a space once occupied now left chilled.

She would meditate for longer than usual tonight.

Cross approached slowly, seemingly of the belief that it was she who was in danger of startling, as if she were the one who lacked control of herself. She remained impassive, neither inviting nor fleeing from his touch; and yet it never came. He appeared unable to close the final distance, and whatever he had intended to offer was rendered moot. Curious, that he would get so far only to fail over something so simple as a touch.

There was fear in his voice, and thus she moved to assuage him first. 'I am quite well,' she said. Her voice had an unusually rough texture to it; she cleared her throat before continuing. 'You need not concern yourself.' The results were acceptable.

She regarded him for a moment, cataloguing his current status. He seemed entirely restored to his senses, and yet professed to be unaware of the sequence of events that had led to this moment. Her mind supplied several pertinent facts: that disorientation after a flashback was to be expected, especially after the kind of dissociative state she believed Cross had experienced; and similarly, that memory loss was not uncommon in those suffering from PTSD. Nevertheless to experience a total memory blackout during such a flashback was unusual, suggesting a simultaneous overactivity and impairment of the amygdala. She dimly registered her interest in such an affliction, reigning in her focus to return to the matter at hand. Cross required her attention yet.

'What of yourself?' she inquired. 'How do you feel?' She probed further, carefully, with a surgeon's delicacy and precision: 'Are you aware of where we are, and for what purpose we came here? How much can you recall?'
  • Last Edit: October 25, 2019, 11:36:59 AM by fiendfall
CPO Morgan Song - Engineering - Chief of Maintenance (V2) [Show/Hide]
Lt Cmdr Hathev - Counselling - Chief Counsellor [Show/Hide]
Ensign Inej 'Avi' Avirim - Security - Investigations Officer [Show/Hide]
Xelia - Civillian - Software Engineer [Show/Hide]

Re: Day 13 [2030 hrs.] Trials & Tribulations
Reply #12
[ Lt. Cmdr. Cross | Holodeck 02 | Deck 08 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy | Aldea ] Attn: @fiendfall
[Show/Hide]"I am quite well."

Even in his current state of hazy bewilderment, Cross knew the words to be an obvious lie, their falsehood belied but he hoarseness in Hathev's voice as she spoke. She cleared her throat several times in an attempt to rid herself of the rougher texture which coated each syllable she uttered, the sound crowing Cross' guilt to the room each time she did so. As she spoke again, informing him that he need not concern himself, some of the rough edge of her voice had receded, though not all of it.

Need not concern myself? I nearly killed you! Cross mutely roared as she regarded him calmly, analyzing what she was seeing. How she could remain so calm when just moments ago his hands had been around her neck, he did not know. Diminutive though she may be, Lieutenant Commander Hathev was certainly tough. Or stubbornly Vulcan, Cross mused for a moment. It could have been either.

Cross gawked at her as she asked how he was, and whether or not he knew he was aware of where they were and why they were there. He had been moments away from killing her, and here she was, still seated on the floor of the blank holodeck, asking after his wellbeing.

"I feel like you're being remarkably calm for someone I was just trying to hajari kill." Cross stated, his words blunt and his voice forlorn. Cross inched forward, cautious in his approach of the counsellor lest she think him intent on trying to harm her again.

"I know where we are, and I know why we were here." He continued, reaching out slowly with his organic hand and touching her chin lightly with his index finger and thumb. That same sensation returned as he did so, that awareness of her. Her calm, her cool serenity. He gently lifted her chin and tipped her head upwards, examining her neck. There was some bruising already visible, and he was certain that, through his touch, she would be quite aware of the fact that he felt absolutely mortified by the sight of it. Cross lifted his eyes then, pale blue meeting hazel as he gently shifted his thumb ever so slightly, running it across her chin and along her jawline. "Touch telepathy," he murmured, his eyes drifting down to his thumb on her chin, "I never had anything like this before the hajari Savi..." His words trailed off, the remainder of the thought left unsaid as he realized what he was doing and quickly removed his hand from Hathev's jawline. "Forgive me." Cross said by way of apology, his cheeks flushing a furious green as he pushed himself up to a standing position. Now towering over the counsellor, Cross held out a hand to help her to her feet.

"To answer the rest of your question, I'm aware we're in the holodeck. And I know you were conducting a series of tests." A slight smile crept across his features as Cross helped Hathev to a standing position, remaining still for a moment as he stood looking down at her, his hand still in contact with hers, taking solace from the sense of calm she exuded. "I imagine I would be right in assuming that this outcome would be considered a failure, as for as the test went." Cross finally released Hathev's hand then, placing the hand on her upper arm instead, his eyes taking on a look of deep concern. "I'm sorry, Hathev. Haja, I never would have agreed to this if I thought this might happen... or that you might get hurt in the process." Cross' pale gaze regarded her worriedly, this woman who he had just a minute previous been choking and ready to pummel to death, this woman who stood a head shorter than him, and yet returned his gaze with calmness, poise and confidence. "Are you sure you're alright? Should we take you to sickbay?"



Kardasi Translations:
Hajari - Fucking
Haja - Fuck
  • Last Edit: October 25, 2019, 06:21:36 AM by Fife

Re: Day 13 [2030 hrs.] Trials & Tribulations
Reply #13
[ Lt. Cmdr. Hathev | Holodeck 02 | Deck 08 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Fife

The sudden breaking of connection, the absolute withdrawal of Cross' presence from her mind, where only moments before it had been almost titanic in its strength and intensity, was disorientating. Her mind was entirely her own, of course; she had probed at the edges of her consciousness already, certifying that nothing of Cross remained. Such a thing was typically only a risk when performing a mind meld, not merely basic telepathy; yet the untamed power of Cross' emotions left her with enough uncertainty that she felt it prudent to perform the check all the same. She found nothing, except a slight emptiness, the shadow of a lack, and the echo chamber of her own thoughts.

It was cold in the holodeck, and Hathev suppressed her bodily reactions to such a state, remaining perfectly still even as her muscles yearned to vibrate, to create friction and heat. She found herself considering the warmth of her quarters and the various soft furnishings she had begun filling it with; on discovering her distraction, she dismissed such thoughts immediately. Her mind had no business wandering so. It was an unpleasant sensation, and spoke to a concerning lack of control; she would be called to reinforce the command of her mental faculties when this situation had concluded.

Only as Cross spoke did she realise her thoughts had drifted once more; she reigned them in tightly, focusing on the man before her once more. His voice betrayed his misery as he spoke, although whether it manifested as guilt or self-pity she could not be certain. She was finding it difficult to assess his emotion in light of their terminated connection; the transition from feeling as he felt, visceral and immediate, to reading such things upon his features, was too great, undertaken too quickly. Of course, it had merely unbalanced her temporarily, and she would correct herself shortly; in the meantime, while she experienced a lack of clarity and certainty that was disconcerting, it was hardly debilitating.

She met his light-eyed gaze and attempted reassurance once more, working to maintain her carefully-constructed tranquility. 'I am well,' she said, only realising as she completed the statement that she had inadvertently committed repetition unnecessarily. She attempted to rectify her mistake: 'The danger is passed, is it not? There is no further cause for concern.'

Cross edged closer to her, every bit as uncertain as he had been only moments before when in the grasp of confusion and loss of selfhood; now, however, this uncertainty seemed to stem from a different source. Unfortunately she again faced difficulty in judging the man's state and thus, unwilling to draw conclusions based on such faulty assessment, she was unable to detemine what that source might be. Her failure in this matter was irksome; worse, it rendered her incapable of predicting his behaviour. She was confident in her judgement that he no longer posed a threat, the only determination she could be certain of at this time; however with no other reliable data, she found she had little inkling of his intentions as he approached.

She was therefore unprepared for the physical contact that manifested. If touch had been impossible for Cross before, he showed no such compunctions now, reaching for her in a startling emulation of the way in which he had held her face before, when he had forced her head upwards that he could meet her gaze with his own wild eyes. He made the same movement now, with a gentleness that was antithetical to the previous iteration; rather than his strength or compulsion, it was merely Hathev's surprise that prevented her from moving to end the connection.

And connection it was. Once more Cross' emotions bled through skin, quieter now the intensity of the previous moment had passed. She identified the strongest sensation as shame; the others reached her too weak to classify considering her current inadequacies. At any other time she doubted she would have had any difficulty in categorising such emotions; her lack of diagnostic ability was becoming frustrating.

She moved her head slightly, indicating her desire to be freed from the man's grasp; almost as if only now becoming aware of his hand upon her, he did so, apologising. His feelings receded from her awareness once more, and she mentally stretched to fill the space left behind.

'You will obtain permission before initiating contact in future,' she said, somewhat brisk. Cross had raised a legitimate point in that telepathy was a new and unexplored experience for him; however he would have to learn that touch among Vulcans held a myriad meanings and was never a casual or thoughtless act. Under other circumstances she might have made allowance for his newness, softening her tone to better appease him; yet she found she had little patience for such inefficiencies at this time.

Indeed, she found she had few of her customary faculties at all.

'We can discuss this matter further at another time,' she said, making more of an effort at gentleness, her register and tone the one used for patients, humans, and children. 'I understand it is unfamiliar to you.'

Cross stood; she found herself having to tilt her head to meet his eye, the muscles in her neck offering complaint at the movement. Perhaps noticing her predicament, he extended a hand to her in an offer of assistance, and waited. He did not verbally seek her consent for the proposed contact, yet the fact that the initiative lay with her was enough. It gave her the necessary time to prepare her defences, as she always did before offering the customary human handshake to patients and colleagues who might appreciate the gesture. It was the head, the face, that produced the most intense connection.

Thus she saw no logical reason to refuse the assistance, if only for expediency's sake. She drew together her control, protecting herself from intrusion. She took his hand, and felt only echoes of him, muted, distant. Correct. With them both standing, Cross related his memories in broad terms -- only the existence of the test -- and offered comment on the likelihood of his having passed.

'The test was not conducted on a binary pass-fail state,' she said, 'although you are accurate in your assumption.' She had not expected him to remain calm throughout the testing, but it had been the final sequence she had predicted would cause him to fail; moreover, at no point in her marking scheme had she allowed for the possibility that Cross would attack a real being, let alone her own personage.

He had brought himself out of his anger, of course, which had been the primary method by which she intended to measure success. However it had not been entirely unassisted, and she could hardly judge his stability based on the assumption that she would always be available to assist in a similar manner. The intensity of his anger, his violence... She could not in good conscience allow the commander to continue to risk the unleashing of such a response upon innocents and crewmates.

Cross' hand moved to her arm, her uniform thankfully offering a screen between them, and she allowed her defences to drop once more. This touch she would allow, a concession made to an individual more tactile than herself, one who, she knew, felt deep remorse and horror at his actions, and wished only to convey such things.

'Your apology is appreciated,' she said, in opposition to the Vulcan norm of dismissal. 'A portion of the fault is mine.' The assignment of blame was usually a fruitless exploit, and yet on this occasion she wished to be clear with the commander lest he over-state his own guilt. 'The test was of my design, and yet I failed to identify all possible outcomes. Furthermore, it was my error that brought me onto the holodeck itself and into your sights.' She fixed him with a piercing look. 'I do not mean to downplay your own part in these events, merely contextualise it.'

His concerns for her health she had no qualms dismissing. 'No lasting damage was sustained,' she said, and then, judging that the commander did not seem entirely convinced: 'I shall relieve any last vestiges of injury in meditation.' That would suffice to alleviate his concerns, no doubt.

Her own, however, would need further attention. 'When you first approached me for assistance, you requested we meet in an unofficial capacity, and I have until this point acquiesced to this arrangement.' Pausing, she considered her next words. In her current unbalanced state she hardly trusted herself to formulate a proper and fair judgement on how to proceed; by turns she calculated reporting Cross to Commander Ducote to be the only conceivable option, or conversely that such a report would be actively misleading considering her own part in the day's events.

It had been an extremely specific trigger that had caused Cross' anger; of course, that was not to say that some other sequence of events could not create the same trigger, but only that considering Cross' success dealing with the other, broader triggers she could hardly conclude Cross to be an indiscriminate danger, or even any danger at all outside of a very particular set of bounds. Thus in conveying the results to one unfamiliar with the nuances of the situation she might only lead to misunderstanding. Moreover, although she had not met with Cross in an official capacity, she still considered it correct to maintain the rules of confidentiality, and she would not break them without proper justification. If she deemed Cross to be a danger to himself or others, she would report him without question; but she could not in good conscience definitively answer that question with her own faculties of judgement in their current state.

Perhaps Seren would be available to offer her the same professional advice she had extended to him on the subject of Mr Trent. Certainly, the boy's judgement had been universally sound thus far, and his recent difficulties with control might afford him a unique perspective upon the issue. Thankfully he seemed to exhibit satisfactory control at present, although whether such a thing was a result of the parental meld she had performed upon him or of an unrelated effort of his own, she could not say. That his wisdom would be appreciated, however, there was no question.

Recognising the wanderings of her thoughts, she drew them in once more; yet something of them remained with her. Thus when regarded Cross, it was with a newfound possibility growing in her mind. He had been nothing if not receptive to telepathy, his inexperience rendering his mind both less restrained and less protected. If she could not draw a satisfactory conclusion on his mental state, stability, and relative risk posed, from the test results alone -- a possibility that was looking increasingly likely, given the complications she herself had introduced to the test -- then perhaps forming an objective view of his mind's inner workings was the only way in which she could be certain she was not misrepresenting him, for either the better or the worse. If it became necessary to speak to the Executive Officer, she would approach him with provable facts and concrete judgement, not the uncertainties and opacity of her current findings.

The more she considered the option, the more certain she became it was the best course of action that could be taken at this time. Today's data was corrupted, entirely insufficient to draw a proper conclusion, and thus, rather than act on faulty information, she would simply gather more.

'We have but one recourse left available,' she said to him, then. 'It becomes clear to me that I do not have enough information to assist you properly; certainly my errors today demonstrate this. In light of this, it is your prerogative to terminate this arrangement, in which case I shall inform Commander Ducote of my findings here today, and we may continue in an official capacity if you so wish.' She regarded him neutrally. 'If you do not wish to do so, then I would request the opportunity to gather the data necessary to properly assess your state and aid you accordingly. I would propose a mind meld as the methods of such data acquisition.'

No matter her own opinions on the situation, this decision would be left to Cross, just as he had left it to her in the offering of his hand.
  • Last Edit: October 25, 2019, 07:55:45 PM by fiendfall
CPO Morgan Song - Engineering - Chief of Maintenance (V2) [Show/Hide]
Lt Cmdr Hathev - Counselling - Chief Counsellor [Show/Hide]
Ensign Inej 'Avi' Avirim - Security - Investigations Officer [Show/Hide]
Xelia - Civillian - Software Engineer [Show/Hide]

Re: Day 13 [2030 hrs.] Trials & Tribulations
Reply #14
[ Lt. Cmdr. Cross | Holodeck 02 | Deck 08 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy | Aldea ] Attn: @fiendfall
[Show/Hide]He had begun to feel marginally better as she once again assured him that she was fine. Hathev's rebuke about obtaining permission before touching her caused a fresh wave of blood to go roaring into his cheeks, though the former hybrid's only reply was a brisk nod of understanding. However, his jaw tightened slightly as Hathev move forward to another topic, stating that they could discuss the telepathy at a later time. It wasn't her words that caused the momentary reaction so much as the tone, the counsellor's manner of speaking sounding different than it usually did when she addressed him. Again, Cross opted not to reply, choosing this time to simply let the remarks pass unacknowledged.

He noticed that the contact with the skin of her hand provided a different level of awareness than their previous contact had yielded, and assumed she had decided to mask herself somehow from the telepathic connection, his awareness of her this time being muted, vague. Once she was one her feet, she informed him that the test had not been designed to be a pass/fail scenario, though she added that his assumptions of having failed the test would be correct all the same. The confirmation caused something akin to amusement to bloom in Cross, and while he doubted she would be able to pick up on it, he found a certain level of satisfaction at the notion. That sense of satisfaction was not based on any desire to see Hathev's test fail, but rather from a deeper dislike of such things, a dislike stemming from the years of poking, prodding and testing he had endured at the hands of his Cardassian keepers as both child and young adult. If anything, his "upbringing" had made Cross prone to attempting to sabotage such tests, though that had not been the case in this instance. He had been trying, albeit half-heartedly at times, to adhere to the test.

Hathev had continued to speak, mentioning her own failure to identify this potential outcome while still acknowledging Cross' failure to keep his emotions under control. The fact that the counsellor had decided to enter the holodeck after seeing Cross' state of blind animalistic rage was a matter that he considered bringing up. It was not to point out any fault on her part, but rather that the action she had opted to take had placed her in harms way, a concern he had voiced in their first session when she had initially broached the idea. He had feared hurting her, and not he had done just that.

Perhaps he was just an animal, as the Cardassians had always claimed.

He pushed that thought from his mind as Hathev again issued her claim that no lasting damage had been done, and while he wasn't entirely convinced, he recognized tha the counsellor would not be swayed in her statement. Her next words brought with them more concern, however, as she made mention of their meetings being in an unofficial capacity up until this point. She went on, stating that they could terminate their arrangement if he so chose, though doing so would necessitate her reporting her finding to Commander Ducote. Cross had little doubt of the outcome which would follow such a  report. Cross and Ducote certainly had a good working relationship, and Cross was close to the Commander's fiancée, but sucha  report would leave Ducote little choice but to remove Cross from active duty, and certain strip Cross of his newly attained position aboard the Theurgy. Neither of those were particularly inviting options for the newly minted Vulcan, though at the same time Cross couldn't help but think that such action might be in the best interests of everyone around him. He had nearly killed Hathev, and should such an episode occur outside the confines of the holodeck he could make no guarantees that he wouldn't injure or kill someone were it to occur again.

Hathev had given him another option, however. A mind meld. Following this course of action would allow her to assess him thoroughly, and allow her to gather the necessary information to make a more informed judgement on the matter, and possibly a better course of action for his training and treatment.

Cross sighed, his shoulders sagging slightly as he considered his options. The meld was certainly the more inviting of the two choices, though it would open up the possibility of Hathev gleaning more information on his past that Cross would have liked. At the same time, he had allowed Seren to perform a mind meld during their first session, and that had gone rather well. There had been no emotional backlash from the meld, no lashing out or loss of control. Perhaps the meld was the best option then. Cross raised his gaze, looking at Hathev with an expression of defeated resignation. Likely, should the meld be unsuccessful, Cross would be removed from duty and either confined to quarters or left on Adlea. Neither prospect was particularly inviting.

"I'll agree to the meld." Cross said finally, his pale eyes regarding Hathev with calm resignation. "Seren performed one during out first session, and there were no ill effects. It'll certainly be a safer way to assess things than trying one of these tests again." Cross took a step closer to Hathev, his eyes becoming hard for a moment. "But I want your word, first. If anything happens during the meld, if I so much as look like I might lose control of myself as I did today, you get the haja out of there. No trying to calm me, no trying to stop me." Cross sighed, the look of his eyes taking on a hint of sadness. "I could have killed you today, Hathev. I don't want that on my hajari head, and I won't have you putting yourself in danger. So you word, counsellor. Things go south following the meld, you get out."


Kardasi Translations:
Hajari - Fucking
Haja - Fuck

Re: Day 13 [2030 hrs.] Trials & Tribulations
Reply #15
[ Lt. Cmdr. Hathev | Holodeck 02 | Deck 08 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Fife

Despite her difficulties, Hathev was not so far gone that she could not recognise that Cross was less than enthusiastic about his options, but despite this insight she still found herself hard-pressed to predict which course he might choose. Seeking to pursue all avenues was, she was certain, the more logical choice, but the commander was hardly a logical being. It became a question of lesser evils: which did he fear less, a report or telepathy?

She had not intended to give him an ultimatum such that it would influence his decision, but neither could she have misrepresented one of the options by censoring such a crucial detail. A question of lesser evils, indeed.

Hathev was able to gain little indication as to which direction Cross' thoughts trended, reading only general uncertainty into his face; and then, as he reached his conclusion, a reluctant acceptance. She only watched and waited, keeping still that she did not exacerbate the unwanted firing of pain receptors in her pharyngeal muscles.

'I'll agree to the meld,' Cross said, surrender in his voice. She had not been aware that he had previously melded with Seren; the knowledge sat strangely with her, although for what reason she was unable to discern. An illogical sensation; she dismissed it.

The commander stepped closer to her, stating his single caveat, his condition. Neither entirely reasonable nor entirely unreasonable, it revealed his guilt and fear as enough to stay his hand yet not enough that it would redirect the course. Interesting.

'Your concern is noted,' she said. 'I shall make no repeat of my errors today, you may have my word on that.' Hathev summoned every inch afforded to her, and met his gaze as squarely as she was able. 'Nevertheless, I hope you will allow me as a professional the courtesy of judging my own safety, in the knowledge that self-preservation is the most logical of imperatives.'

She would be more careful in this endeavour, not least to protect her own mind from the turmoil within that of Cross. Melding with him in lucid state, as opposed to the mindless rage of before, would be only marginally more unsafe than any other meld, and Hathev was infinitely practiced in psychological self-protection. She would run her calculations at a time when she better trusted her own mind, but at this time she foresaw an acceptable level of risk.

'I will contact you to arrange the details,' she said, moving away from him. She had little desire to remain longer; the necessary discussions had been completed, and she saw no reason to delay her self-corrections. 'You may expect my correspondence.'

On that, she made her exit.

--FIN
CPO Morgan Song - Engineering - Chief of Maintenance (V2) [Show/Hide]
Lt Cmdr Hathev - Counselling - Chief Counsellor [Show/Hide]
Ensign Inej 'Avi' Avirim - Security - Investigations Officer [Show/Hide]
Xelia - Civillian - Software Engineer [Show/Hide]