“I am so proud of you, darling!” Anfrii gushed, a big smile across her face as she looked at from the screen of the panel in his office.
Luca returned the smile, putting everything he could into the smile so as not to bring forth what was about to follow.
“Oh, I see.” The smile from his mother’s face faded and a somewhat pinched, resentful expression replaced it.
Luca knew fine well where this was heading; he was glad that the two were separated across the many lightyears that were between he and Anfrii; at least across a screen he could pretend ignorance; Lumerians were empaths (though it was more ‘contained’ than most people thought of when they encountered this ability among other races - reserved mainly between family members and others who ‘agreed’ to the exchange … though there had been exceptions) but Anfrii was also a renowned psychiatrist and had an irritating habit of reading into everything anyone did; especially her son.
He was grateful his other mother was an engineer. “I don’t kow what that means, mother; all I did was smile! I am grateful …”
“Oh, please!” Anfrii’s pinched expression settled into something approaching smugness as at her own surety she was right. “Just because it’s not her handing out the compliments, I see they barely mean anything at all!”
Luca sighed ‘Her’ meant his other mother, Joska, to whom he was much closer. “Mother …”
“Just remember that the reason you are in Starfleet listening to the trivial problems of people who are lucky enough to be surrounded by all the luxuries the finest technology in the Federation has to offer is because I …”
“Mother, please …” Luca’s hand crept up to his temple where he pressed, a sign of stress among his people. This visual cue might have caused his mother - an expert in Lumerian behaviour - might have taken notice of and ceased in her tirade.
“… else did you get the aptitude for psychology - if what you did there would even constitute psychology! If you had only followed me in my-”
“Oh no!” Luca exclaimed, looking off to the side as if something had caught his attention. “Mother, the Commodore is calling! It’s an emergency! It’s … red alert … I-have-to-go-love-you-bye.” With that he smacked the ‘End Call’, and slumped back in his chair with an explosive sigh and both hands pressed against his temples. To think; when he was a child it had been his other mother’s calls he had dreaded, but now … “I need to not be in this office,” he said, aloud. “I need a drink.”
‘A drink’ to Luca Vilyan was not any of the many intoxicating beverages that a Lumerian might take to at a time like this (there was a surprisingly large variety of alien drinks that could make his kind inebriated - this was either a blessing or a curse, depending on your outlook. Instead it was a rather elaborate looking smoother he had taken to during his time at the Counselling Academy on Betazed (in fact, his liking to this particular drink had meant he had had to spend more time in the gym than his classmates) and which he now indulged in, but his heart wasn’t in it (he was powering through, regardless).
As he had entered the mess hall he had been greeted by those he passed. He was still new to the ship so he didn’t barely recognised anyone he passed, but they knew him. This was to be expected; a new department head (especially the Chief of Counselling - Luca had once heard a crewmember refer to counsellors on a ship as ‘keepers of secrets’!) tended to make one ‘well-known’ - it didn’t hurt that he had his very own chair on the bridge on the left-hand of the commanding officer! So he smiled as people greeted him with a ‘good afternoon, Counsellor’, sometimes with a ‘sir’ instead of ‘counsellor’ but as a rule he encouraged the use of his role rather than allusions to his rank.
The Lumerian watched his fellow crew members chat, laugh, flirt and tease each other and for a moment felt quite lonely. His position meant he had a more intimate relationship with the crew - perhaps the most, if you discounted the medical staff who knew most people inside and out … literally - but for now he was new, someone to be gossiped about (this was to be expected no matter where in the galaxy once found themselves, either on a starship or in a planetside town), and though he made sure his body language was such that he appeared open and welcoming, for now it seemed that most were not fully ready to take their ease with him.
So Luca Vilyan poked at his smoothie and longed, not for the first time, to be among his fellow junior counselling officers on the USS Paradox with their teasing and jokes and general camaraderie. He knew it would take time to truly be seen as one of the crew, and to feel the same.
He hoped that day would come sooner rather than later.
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