Starbase 237 Promenade deck - Lieutenant Witley summoned to meet Captain Cobb

Posted Aug. 7, 2022, 8:06 p.m. by Lieutenant Laural Corynn Witley, Ph.D., M.D. (Counselor) (Lori Miller)

Posted by Captain Zachariah Cobb (Commanding Officer) in Starbase 237 Promenade deck - Lieutenant Witley summoned to meet Captain Cobb

Posted by Lieutenant Laural Corynn Witley, Ph.D., M.D. (Counselor) in Starbase 237 Promenade deck - Lieutenant Witley summoned to meet Captain Cobb

Posted by Captain Zachariah Cobb (Commanding Officer) in Starbase 237 Promenade deck - Lieutenant Witley summoned to meet Captain Cobb
Posted by… suppressed (4) by the Post Ghost! 👻
OOC: I’ll be repeating this thread for each department in turn, so feel free to jump in to any that apply to you

IC: Deep blue liquor scorched a trail down the old man’s throat, the tumbler’s contents swallowed rapidly in a singular, desperate gulp, as of one crawling the burning sands of the Sahara to quench thirst with the last water on Earth. Six months since anything more than weak tea had graced Cobb’s lips, the ARU’s reputation for prisoner welfare egregious. But as trembling hands procured a second measure, thoughts turned to the captain’s mandatory plans for the day. And in that moment Zachariah found himself beset by a longing for the solitude of his former cell.

The location of ARU headquarters, official designation Starbase 237 or ‘Hades’ for those who dwelled within, was classified. For decades had they transmitted warnings of unstable conditions around the Bardeezi nebula to keep all other travellers at bay. But draw back those curtains of ionized gas and a true marvel of engineering would be seen, recalling for Cobb his mother’s favourite lillies, three ‘petals’ forming detachable containment districts around a gargantuan, central stem. And coiled like a serpent at the middle of the stem, the most breathtaking place on the station - the promenade deck.

No individual was permitted at the starbase without sufficient clearance, still compartmentalisation was what the ARU did best. So when Cobb suggested meeting the crew of the Leviathan on the ‘outdoor’ promenade - an imperceptible forcefield the only barrier between its occupants and deep space - Admiral Roebuck sequestered an entire quadrant of the popular, circular deck. And it was here, with large desk and chair replacing the usual recreational seating, that Captain Zachariah Cobb would hold court, as one by one the Leviathan’s department members submitted to his inquisitive glare.

“If I didn’t know you better”, the Admiral laughed as he sampled the refreshment platter’s red strawberries, “I would say that you, Zachariah Cobb, are nervous.”
The captain snorted, draining his glass before refilling again to the brim. “You’re damned right I’m nervous. The last crew I commanded are still in mandatory counselling. And that’s just the ones who managed to make it back.”
Roebuck shrugged a warm smile to reassure his troubled friend. “You have a good crew, Zachariah. I think you’ll be impressed.”
“It’s not them that concerns me.”

The denouement of his statement remained unspoken, Roebuck stepping in to propel events forward in the captain’s hesitant stead.

=^= Lieutenant Witley, this is Admiral Roebuck. Please present yourself at the north-west quadrant of the promenade deck in one hour, to meet your new commanding officer, Captain Cobb. =^=

  • Captain Zachariah Cobb

“Acknowledged,” Laural replied evenly, although inside it still felt surreal an Admiral would be summoning her for anything. Laural had worked her way through the ranks like anyone in Starfleet and she’d done her fair share of advocating for her disabled peers, but she was under no illusion the brass as a whole gave much thought to people like her in their day to day plans for the Fleet. Whether that was because she served as a counselor, because she used a grav-chair, or a combination of the two, Wit didn’t know, but ultimately, she was just happy to do what she loved and to keep her head down.

It took a bit of time to weave her way along the promenade and to make her way to her destination, the hum of her grav-chair drowned out until she was nearly before both men. She ignored it of course, but couldn’t help but be curious about what sort of first impression she made, even if it was entirely non-verbal initially. Times like this made her wish she was a telepath or a true empath. “Laural Witley, reporting as ordered, sirs.”

~Dr. Laural Witley, Chief Counselor

No man is an island. Zachariah Cobb knew that about as well as anyone and better than most. He appreciated the contribution from every member of his crew but particularly, and with good reason, from his counselor. He had been blessed, on their previous voyage, with a counselor who doubled equally as confidant and friend. And so it was with a particular degree of anticipation that he now awaited this meeting with her replacement and his new moral compass.

Initial surprise at her arrival by grav-chair was quickly dissolved by a warm and mischevious smile.
“I bet that thing comes in handy for outrunning anomalies, eh? Cobb. Captain Zachariah Cobb. At your service.”

Charming to the last. Of course the half-bottle of whiskey sunk throughout the day’s activities was a help. So too the promise of one final, warming glass.
“Can I offer you a drink, Lieutenant Witley?” he called out, already pouring one for himself.

  • Captain Zachariah Cobb

Laural wasn’t a true telepath or empath, but she thought she may have detected a small amount of surprise in Cobb’s eyes. To his credit, he addressed the elephant in the room by making a joke. She much preferred that to the awkward stammering that came with someone noticing her unique appearance and what that might mean, and then working desperately not to call attention to it. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, sir. Yes, this model serves me quite well, but I’m working on getting it souped up, as they say, to chase down the people who regularly ignore the required psych evaluation.” At his offer of the drink, she shook her head, “I’m still on duty, I’m afraid, so something nonalcoholic will have to do. I hope you won’t think less of me sir if I request something fruity?”

~Doctor Laural Witley, Chief Counselor

“I’m willing to forgive this time,” Cobb winked, handing Witley a virgin concoction. “And I’m glad you’ll be holding this crew to account when it comes to evaluations. Myself included. The ARU is unique within Starfleet for our interests. But such terrors can exert a heavy toll. And while every man and woman onboard has been cleared to battle these monsters, a mind can only accept so much horror before it surrenders and falls to the void.”

A grunt, long fingers raking nervously through silver flecked hair. “Yours too, Dr Witley. Counselling a team submerged in nightmares is a heavy burden. You will see and hear things that will stay with you to the end of your days. So I have to ask, since you seem such an amiable sort, what in the seven hells has brought you to this role?”

  • Captain Zachariah Cobb

Witley accepted the concoction with gratitude and took a sip from it, relishing in its sweetness before considering Cobb’s words. Despite their solemnity, Laural offered a small smile, appreciating the way he could address serious matters while avoiding the gruffness that others thought such discussions required.

“The truthful, albeit perhaps clichéd, answer is I like a challenge, sir. While I can appreciate the role mental health professionals like myself play in ships and bases of the line, a part of me has always known I would be happiest with opportunities to deepen my knowledge to apply it in any number of specialized ways.” She paused, then added, “The part of my answer that doesn’t remotely smack of cliché is I am a living, breathing, example of a sentient being who doesn’t quite fit the standard mold, and if anyone simply tried to handle me by capturing me or controlling me, I believe it would certainly be his or her loss. In short, people made an effort to understand me even though I was different. I think I owe nothing less to my colleagues and anyone or anything we might encounter.”

It was an honest answer and a personal one at that, but still, looking at,, she couldn’t help but wonder if he would respect it if not relate. She got the distinct impression she was looking at a potentially traumatized man himself, someone who was speaking with far more personal experience than she realized.

~Doctor Laural Witley, Chief Counselor

Cobb’s eyes never left Laural’s as she spoke, as if through them he could view the machinations of her consciousness at work. When silence once again fell, he found himself expressing a murmured yet honest appreciation of her words; “I like that.”

A pause to drink and to collect professional thought. Then, “So rarely do any of us fit the standard mould,” although his glance towards the Admiral suggested one who most certainly did. “Duty by numbers might wash on some of the smaller exploration vessels of the fleets, but in the ARU, and particularly the Leviathan, it is our differences and our individual talents that see us uniquely qualified for these roles. There are no classes at the Academy on anomalies, no exams to be taken in containment architecture or expedient capture. Ours is a world where the rules are learned quickly to save the lives of us all. No stakes could be higher than the continued existence of the universe herself.”

Did she consider his words fantastical? Hyperbolic? It was often remarked that Cobb had a flair for dramatics. But this speech came from the terrifying and uncomfortable forge of truth.
“Questions, Doctor Witley? I imagine you might have more than a few? Strike now while you find me in honest mood and I shall speak plainly.” A chuckle from the Admiral caused him to add, “Relatively plainly. No sense in dissipating every shred of mystery that forms a captain and risk you revealing me as no more than mere man.”

  • Captain Zachariah Cobb

“Perish the thought, sir,” Laural answered dryly, but with a smile that revealed her teasing intentions. More seriously, she added, “At the risk of sounding like a wet behind the ears newbie, I’d appreciate hearing your thoughts on what you see as my role here. Generally speaking, I understand I’m here to provide guidance to the command staff, psychological support to the crew, and to make myself of use for the anomalies we encounter in whatever way might make sense, but is there something more I should know, particularly to best support you in your role here?”

~Dr. Laural Witley, Chief Counselor

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