Counselor's Office - Cadet Taurean Seeks Therapy

Posted Feb. 5, 2020, 7:31 a.m. by Cadet Anders Taurean (Scientist) (Nicholas Tardive)

Posted by Lieutenant Commander Janusz Korczak (Counselor) in Counselor’s Office - Cadet Taurean Seeks Therapy

Posted by Cadet Anders Taurean (Scientist) in Counselor’s Office - Cadet Taurean Seeks Therapy

Posted by Lieutenant Commander Janusz Korczak (Counselor) in Counselor’s Office - Cadet Taurean Seeks Therapy

Posted by Cadet Anders Taurean (Scientist) in Counselor’s Office - Cadet Taurean Seeks Therapy

Posted by Lieutenant Commander Janusz Korczak (Counselor) in Counselor’s Office - Cadet Taurean Seeks Therapy

Posted by Cadet Anders Taurean (Scientist) in Counselor’s Office - Cadet Taurean Seeks Therapy

Posted by Lieutenant Commander Janusz Korczak (Counselor) in Counselor’s Office - Cadet Taurean Seeks Therapy

Posted by Cadet Anders Taurean (Scientist) in Counselor’s Office - Cadet Taurean Seeks Therapy

Posted by Lieutenant Commander Janusz Korczak (Counselor) in Counselor’s Office - Cadet Taurean Seeks Therapy

Posted by Cadet Anders Taurean (Scientist) in Counselor’s Office - Cadet Taurean Seeks Therapy

Posted by Lieutenant Commander Janusz Korczak (Counselor) in Counselor’s Office - Cadet Taurean Seeks Therapy

Posted by Cadet Anders Taurean (Scientist) in Counselor’s Office - Cadet Taurean Seeks Therapy
After nearly two years in and out of doctor and counselor offices, Cadet Taurean couldn’t tell if that was where he felt most comfortable or if he just didn’t know how to talk to anybody else at this point. But those two years of tests and surgeries and therapy and more therapy, Anders found himself running out of words, thoughts even. It was unavoidable this time.

Realizing that he was standing just off to the side of the Counselor’s office, Anders let out a deep sigh and rubbed his forehead. He thanked all luck that, for once, the halls of the Challenger seemed empty enough to avoid other officers. It was as if every time he went to check in - be it the Counselor, CSO or doctor - Anders was caught in his own little world. Since his injury, since Lillian passed, the young Cadet found his mind wandering off into its own personal cosmos. Every time to this point, Anders would come to reality and find himself making eye contact with another member of the ship, only to play it off like a bad actor.

‘Okay, man, it’s not that bad. Just go, just go,’ he went from self-reassuring to self-pleading, and took another deep breath before pressing the door chime with a focused determination. ‘It’ll be quick and easy and then you’re ready for duty…’

Foolishly, Anders hoped that would make everything seem okay in an instant. It didn’t.

(Cadet Anders Taurean, Science Division)

An oddly accented voice sounded out from inside and “You may enter.” and the door slid open to reveal a space unlike any other on the ship.

The office was lit in a more subdued manner than the rest of the ship; with the light coming from wall lamps rather than the typical overhead lighting and giving a less harsh and much warmer glow. Multiple bookcases with glass enclosed shelves lined one wall, filled with copies and originals of many texts on many different subjects, and a quick glance would show multiple languages as well. The desk was set at an angle against the opposite wall to the door in the corner, allowing for a large open space in the middle. Here there was a couch and a few chairs, one of which sat in front of and facing away from the desk. Pictures hung on the walls, some were even old photographs. Each depicted either places, individuals, or groups of people, and many were in black and white.

Seated at the desk was a plain looking human male with brown hair and brown eyes. He average looking; the kind of person that would be lost in a crowd of more than four or five people. He wore the blue uniform of the Science and Medical Sections, and Lieutenant Commander pips showed on his collar. There was one distinguishing feature about the man, however. Actual glasses were perched on his nose. He looked up, and the very odd accent issued forth, as if multiple accents were vying for control. “Hello, Cadet. What can I do for you?”

Lt. Cmdr. Korczac, CNS

“Hi, Counselor, eh,” for some reason Anders lost his capacity to transfer words from tongue tip beyond the caverns of his mouth. Maybe it was the man’s competing accents or maybe that was just an easy excuse the cadet could cling to, “I’m just, checking in, you know. New cadet and all.”

He let silence fill the comfortable-by-design office, with an invasive, high-pitched mandolin riff playing at the top of his mind. In the depths of that mind came 20th-century basketball play-calls he would sink into as a teenager. Looking about the room with meaningless noise in his mind, Anders noted that the counselor seemed steeped in ephemera - paper books and printed photos and glasses - and just as quickly let those notes float from his head. Every so often one could run into such a person, and they somehow seemed more pleased with life than the digital-reliant humans of the 24th century.

Another second or two of that and the thought broke out, like a signal through static, and Anders realized he should probably introduce himself formally.

“Cadet Anders Taurean,” he said in almost a whisper. People often expressed shock at his soft, unassuming voice in contrast to his somewhat imposing physical framework. Loud and boisterous was not a setting available to this cadet.

With every utterance of his surname, Anders worried that whoever he spoke to would know him in some way. His father, DaJon, cut his teeth in the Dominion War, rising from Lt. Commander to Captain in the two years the war engulfed the Alpha Quadrant in flame and detritus. DaJon Taurean spent the final months of the war, and the following fourteen years, at the control of the USS Marmaromenos. The son, however, was entering the end of his sixth year in the Academy after taking a year off that hung over his record as the clouds of an endless ice storm. If someone didn’t know him for one reason, it was for the other. And the high profile didn’t sit right with the quieter, more academic Taurean.

No amount of counseling seemed to ease these discomforts, and this was visible in his eyes, which seemed unable to meet the Counselor’s own for more than a moment at a time.

(Cadet Anders Taurean, Science Division)

Korczak watched the young man for a few moments, his face a blank expanse. Finally, he broke the silence and said “Welcome, Cadet. I am Lieutenant Commander Korczak. Please - ” and he indicated the seating area, ” - make yourself comfortable. If you would like something to drink, the replicator is well stocked and at your disposal.” and he rose from his seat after tapping a few commands into his desk interface.

Moving around the desk, Korczak took his seat in the solitary chair facing the ‘counseling’ area. Unlike any other counselor taking an assessment, Korczak had no PaDD, no note taking materials of any kind. “How was your trip to the Challenger, Cadet? Uneventful, I hope?”

Korczak, CNS

Taking half of what was offered him, Anders sprang into the chair adjacent from the counselor as if he’d been waiting years to take a seat. His fingers and leg diluted left over nervous energy with off-beat tapping and bouncing. He kept looking around the office as if it bothered him in a familiar way. The cadet felt the pain flair up in his right arm and ignored it as he’d gotten used to doing.

“Fine,” Anders started to shrug off the question, but relented quickly. “Slow, but it flew by in an instant. A cosmic spatial paradox. Somewhat unsettling, actually.”

In reality this was the first time Anders left Earth, but leaving Earth turned out to be no different than when he left Buenos Aires for San Fran the first time. As if noticing the continuous tapping and bouncing of his restless extremities, or it finally had begun to bother him, the cadet used the fidgeting hand to control the fidgeting leg. This calmed him for a bit; just long enough to get an itch to drink espresso.

Challenger seems a fine ship,” He offered as if the counselor might need to engage in small talk for whatever reason, “with a veteran crew a cadet could learn much from.”

(Cadet Anders Taurean, Science Division)

Korczak smiled in a friendly manner and nodded once slowly. “Well, that is the point of an Academy ship, don’t you think? To help new members of Star Fleet learn as much as they can in a real-world environment?” and he eyes glanced down at the hand on the leg. Setting his own hands in his lap, Korczak said “You seem a bit apprehensive, Cadet. Something troubling you?”

Korczak, CNS

Anders smiled, genuinely, not forcibly. His face was a chiseled stone slab until his mouth curled open and shone past his self-doubt and invasive thoughts: “I’m troubled in quite a constant fashion, I must admit.”

He stopped for a moment, stretching a hand over his smiling mouth, thinking.

“When I returned to San Francisco, after my leave of absence from the Academy, I felt like a new student. The people I had grown close to before leaving graduated before I came back. My mentor given command of a ship. Those who knew where I went and why, they looked at me as if I had betrayed Starfleet to some degree– or, at the least, lost my dedication or care for it. And now I’m stuck between the veteran officers aboard the ship with access to my Academy record, and other cadets who are going to have to find out at some point.”

Dropping the hand from covering his mouth, Anders’ smile had faded to a thin grin spread across a nervously closed mouth. He shrugged, trying to play it off.

“I’ve spent two years in-or-around the offices of counselors or people convinced they know how to help me heal. Having to talk about this at all to anybody is just, a lot to handle.”

(Cadet Anders Taurean, Science Division)

Korczak listened as the Cadet spoke, and nodded in acknowledgment of his last statement. “Well, one of the things I find most frustrating with many of my colleagues is that they believe only they know how to heal those who have suffered loss… as you have. They tend to focus on how to fix the issues now, and ignore the fact that most often what is needed to recover is simply… time.” and he looked at Anders for a long moment.

“Let’s talk about something else for a moment, shall we? Tell me… how is your son? Do you speak with him often?”

Korczak, CNS

Thankful of the passing in subject matter, the young cadet released another genuine smile as he imagined young Kiron taking his first steps.

“He’s well.” Anders’ smile grew in exponents, “Everybody tells you they grow so fast but photons travel at the speed of the observer. One moment you’re marveling at their ability to roll back and forth, the next they’re pointing toward Betelgeuse and saying ‘estrella’.”

Of course, he tried and failed to stay with his son. Lillian so desperately wished to see every second of Kiron’s youth, and it only felt right to attempt that in her stead. And, of course, his mother and father pushed Anders back toward the Academy. They begged him to live a life his own before assuming responsibility over another. Anders recognized these to be wise words of advice, and he couldn’t force himself to argue otherwise.

“I speak to him almost every day,” He continued after a short pause, “My parents tell me the moment he understands where I’ve gone and why, I’m to go at least a week without calling and to enjoy myself. It still feels wrong to be this far away. And at the academy it felt wrong to focus on much else.”

Anders let his head tilt back, resting his craned neck against the top of the chair, and fell silent. But he continued to smile.

(Cadet Anders Taurean, Science Division)

“May I ask why you didn’t keep him with you? Star Fleet may have its flaws, but it has always strived to keep parents and offspring together. And as a Science officer, you have a plethora of duty stations to choose from. So why spend time without him?” he asked non-judgmentally.

Korczak, CNS

“Because,” Anders began, paused to think, and continued, “I’m still so young. I mean I fought my parents on this. Yelled that I’m his father, I should raise him. But as good a dad as I think I’d be, I know I’m beyond unprepared. There’s a life I haven’t lived, and a potential career left unexplored. My parents argued that raising a child, or being a child raised, atop the stress of working on a starship, was worse for the both of us than separation during the early stages of Kiron’s youth.”

He paused, let out a quiet sigh and continued: “and I think they’re right. I’m already overwhelmed by the experience. Not to say I don’t appreciate the opportunity or love that I’m here. But to think that I’d have to leave a shift and have the responsibility of a whole human life beyond my shift? It’s like being the captain of a tiny, sentient starship. To say I’m unprepared is an understatement.”

The cadet sighed again and rubbed his eyes, before looking at the counselor and smiling.

“Yet, as I was leaving Buenos Aires I, eh, adopted a stray cat. Just to see if I could care for some form of life while aboard the Challenger. Was that wrong of me, to do?”

(Cadet Anders Taurean, Science Division)

Korczak looked at Anders and cocked his head to the side slightly, a small furrow in his brow. “So tell me… When you do think you will be ready, Cadet? I will be honest. I am deeply concerned that you are…” and he looked away briefly and mouthed some words in a foreign language, “… ‘taking the easy way out’, I believe is the expression. And I worry that you are, perhaps, using the absence of your son to protect yourself from the loss of your wife… your son’s mother. I mean, to be very direct, there is no science or medical school of thought that finds seperating a human child from their biological parent to be advantageous to the child’s development, expect in cases of abuse and neglect.” and he paused and looked intently at Taurean. “Star Fleet officers do not only what is best at the time, Cadet… but more often than not we do what is best for all of us, regardless of the difficulty of the task personally.” and he paused to see what reaction would come of his words.

Korczak, CNS

His brow furrowed, and for a moment, a rage pinged around inside his chest, both rubber ball and tornado at the same time. Anders kept eye contact with the counselor as he breathed in slow, and breathed out slower.

“Maybe we operate in different schools of thought, counselor,” he replied, taking time again to breathe slow and measured, “I’ll admit I am not beyond Lillian’s passing. I’ll even admit that I’m not sure what it means to be ready. I don’t think anybody’s ready to be a parent.”

Thoughts passed through the young cadet’s head, but all he wanted was to wish the counselor a good day and leave. He’d done that to several of them on earth. Doing so to a starship counselor seemed a bit harder, as at a point his walking away would loop him right back to where he’d turned to leave.

“Counselor, I was in your shoes for almost a full year. I didn’t want to,” he paused to add air quotes as he said the next, “take the easy way out…but I didn’t see myself being able to adequately raise a child and find myself as an independent person, do you see what I mean? I tried so hard to drop out from the Academy and raise Kiron. Do you know what convinced me not to? Being told that doing so - and in turn giving up on my own dreams - would be the easy way out. Every choice I make here, a cadre of counselors is going to find issue with in some regard. But Kiron’s barely old enough to walk himself to his mother’s still-warm grave. What about any of this seems to be the easy way out?”

Anders caught his voice as is raised without his intention, and returned to slow, calm breathing. His thoughts had begun to jumble into a garble of cross-connected dots.

“Apologies, counselor,” he sighed, “but sometimes all the knowledge you can pull from psychological texts and papers doesn’t cover the full scope of human capability. Sometimes every way out is difficult and you have to stick your head down and charge through a path of obstacles. I mean, do you think that what’s best for all of us would be a hurting, confused 24-year old attempting to raise a child while nose-deep in work? Or on an away team wondering if he’ll return home safe to that child? Or wondering if there will be a ship, and a kid, to return to?”

Again, he wanted to ask: what about any of this is the easy way out, counselor?

(Cadet Anders Taurean, Science Division)


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