Posted by Lieutenant Tal Abara (Senior Researcher (Cognitive Science)) in Check-Ins | Step 2: Imply an Inkling of Sanity (CNS)
The door slid shut behind her, the softest of whistles announcing her release, as Abara lingered just beyond Cobb’s office. Her mind teemed with ambivalence and enthusiasm in equal measure. And though she stood removed from their discussion, reflection on the words that transpired refused to elude her. Tal hadn’t considered – between the whiskey and tacit apathy – to question just what she was getting herself into. She didn’t need to. But though Abara had few reservations for the work she’d entertain or the risk dangled overhead, she was troubled by a question of integrity and personal honour.
Tal had scaled medicine’s proverbial ladder with the mindset of a healer. She’d hoisted herself up the first rung in grave disillusionment with the nuances of supportive care. Passion and doubt plagued the fledgeling nurse in her stagger to the second. And tired, cramped fingers nearly mistook the third. She’d spent seventeen years under the scrutiny of law, policies and ethics. They conditioned her. Now that she stood without their weight, Tal questioned where her heart – the compassion, mercy and empathy – fit into the scheme of things. Would it cloud her judgement as a scientist? Or would it serve again as an invaluable partner in her pursuits?
Dilemmas like these were salt to the wounds afflicting her heart. She craved the blunt, spitfire judgments once imparted on her by Kara Nakuto. Few people could free her from the grip of reservation and disaster than her. She missed their talks – worse, she missed Kara.
But Tal refused to indulge in daydreams and self-pity. Brushing away the thought with a sigh, she let a lopsided smile infect otherwise sombre features and made a beeline for the turbolift. Coincidentally, the next item on her agenda was a pop-in with the counsellor. Tal bore this in mind but made no effort to subdue or compartmentalise her thoughts. She trusted any keen counsellor would dismantle the attempt within seconds of their meeting. Maybe less.
Minutes elapsed before Tal emerged from the lift onto the counselling deck. Her gaze wandered instinctually around the area before it guided her toward the counsellor’s office. Meandering over, Tal lifted a hand, shook her head, and palmed the chime.
– Tal Abara, Cognitive Researcher
Dean just shook his head. How 90% of people always missed him he never knew. “Lt Abara? Lt Synthi-er will be here in just a moment. She’s in sickbay for a check up. Can I get you something to eat? You’ve been with the captain so if you need something to go with his fine whisky I’m happy to get it.” Oh yes the counseling staff knew where most of the crew was most of the time, and new officers had scheduled check-in appointments. Abara got done with Cobb faster than anticipated. “We’re excited for you to join our little group. I’m Dean, the admirative assistant for the department. Just let me know if you need anything.”
Tal turned about her heel to face Dean, an equally startled and bashful glint flickering through her saturnine features. Somehow his knowledge of her whereabouts didn’t unnerve her so much as his presence. While she never made a point to keep tabs on the Viking’s crew, she could speculate why Leviathan’s team might
“Ah! Hello.” Tal walked over and struck out a calloused hand. “Great to meet you, Dean.” Her apparent diffidence resolved into a mellow smile that strived to meet the latent warmth tainting her copper gaze. Retracting her hand a moment later, Tal allowed a slow shake of her head. Had she eaten today? Surely she’d ingested her share of whiskey and coffee, but anything of nutritional value? Tal lacked the confidence to say. “Uhm.. a good meal sounds wonderful right about now,” she chuckled, “but I’m okay. Thank you.”
Casela stepped off the turbo lift a few minutes later grinning, striding immediately toward the new comer. “Ah Lt Abara yes?” she asked walking up to the lt. “Lt Synthi-er. Did Dean keep you company? I hope you didn’t wait too long. I thought I would be back before you even left Cobb’s office. He’s getting faster. Let’s go into my office.” She palmed the control on the door and stepped inside. The office itself was plain. A couple chairs and a couch. Her desk and a small shelf unit, holding small items away from curious hands, and most knew better than to ask. On the wall were her credentials and a single painting that might be abstract or done by a child. “Have a seat.” This was her office for paper work, evals, and other things. Her counseling sessions were done in therapy rooms about the deck.
Lt Synthi-er, CNS
Dean called out with a grin, “She hasn’t eaten!” And it quickly turned to a hearty laugh as Casela raised a brow and grinned shaking her head at him. There was some by-play or private joke at work there. But a trained counselor like Abara would know it was strictly between them and not malicious. Casela quickly replicated three plates, full of sandwiches, fruit, raw veggies, and even some junk food. For herself was a bowl of fruit from Betazed. “Help yourself.”
Tal shook her head, a chuckle escaping her lips at the pair’s easy banter. “Don’t mind if I do!” Her eyes glittered with a mixture of interest and indecision. What to choose? Go for the classy fruit, the daring raw veggies, or the hearty sandwich? Decisive in all but her food, Tal took a little bit of everything. Well, excluding carrots. She detested them. “Thank you.”
Casela nodded, “Of course. Leviathan keeps us all busy. We have to keep an eye on each other. So that being said, as the newest member of the counseling department, you have an office here on the deck. When working with the anomalies you will have access to the containment decks. As for lab space you will have to speak to DaiMon Lazol the head of science and ARU. On this deck we converted two rooms into a small mess hall so there is no reason for anyone to not eat. There are a myriad of rooms available for art, meditation, music, games. There is still empty space as well. So if you need something, just put in a request.” Casela plucked several pieces of fruit out of her power, savoring them.
“That’s me,” Abara greeted and lifted her hand to Dean in a wave goodbye. Tending her gaze to Synthi-er, Tal drifted into her office and delayed just shy of the door. Her silence extended a moment of appreciation for its simple design. From the floor to the walls, instinct guided her to the obscure painting and the various odds-and-ends adorning the Counsellor’s shelves. She lingered on a question long enough to find her way to a seat, only to release it into a comfortable unknown. “I’ve had far worse company than Dean,” Tal released a chuckle that tempered into a grin. “How are you, Lieutenant?”
— Tal Abara, Cognitive Researcher
“I honestly don’t know what we would do without Dean. He is amazing at what he does.” Now what he did was up in the air. He did a lot and Casela didn’t know how she’d managed the last couple of months except for him. She sat and took a slice of fruit. “I am doing very well. And yourself? How have you found your first day on board so far?”
Lt Synthi-er, CNS
‘What he does’ left room for the imagination to wander, but Tal chose not to venture down that rabbit hole. She sensed Dean was good for Casela, and that was enough to appease her curiosity. When asked about her day, a sheepishness crept across her face. “I know I’ve been inculcated with scepticism by my previous tours, but part of me is still waiting for the next shoe to drop.” She furrowed her brow, her following words tainted with a freckle of surprise. “Frankly, it’s been a good day. Smoother than I anticipated, but I cannot complain.”
– Tal Abara, Cognitive Science
Casela had been at this long enough to know that Tal was curious, but she would learn soon enough all about Dean. He was amazing. “Everything you’ve heard is true. Some may have been exaggerated a bit, but not by much. I have footage I’d like you to watch. You are here to help determine the effects on the crew of these anomalies, and to also study the anomalies. You and I are the only ones with the clearance to do so, study the anomalies, by the way. But I think it would be a good idea for you to know what it is you have been assigned to do.”
Casela turned her large display screen on, typing in her access and security codes (never one to speak them aloud) and swiveled it around for Madison to see. The screen began to play the security footage of Dave’s Breach. (OOC: Here is the thread that Dave’s breach thread https://www.star-fleet.com/core/stf1/leviathan/posts/103028/ ).
Casela waited a moment after it ended, “We lost 89% of the crew in that encounter. All but 12 of them in the first 2 minutes. This ship, this crew, is our home and our family. This is not even the only incident. This was breach on our ship. There is others you can see, the capture and containment of them, which is even more violent most of the time. But this” she taps the screen, “Was in our home.”
Lt Synthi-er, CNS
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