Parthenon - Telling a Tale

Posted June 10, 2021, 3:24 p.m. by Commander Tello Anaar (Executive Officer) (D Grisham)

Having cut their conversation short in the corridor on the day she’d arrived, Tello remembered her suggestion to Cmdr Nightstalker that they meet for a drink and she would explain more about her unusual telepathic assaults. After her shift on the bridge, she headed for the lounge to decompress. Now was as good a time as any if the Caitian was free.

=/\=Anaar to Nightstalker. Cmdr, I am off duty and headed for the Parthenon. Would you care to join me?=/\=

—Anaar, XO

=/\= I am in the corner booth to the back right Commander, may I order you anything while I await your arrival? =/\=

Stark Nightstalker CIO

His response brought a smile to her face. =/\=Coffee, cream and sugar.=/\= She wanted to be completely sober to tell the tale. Alcohol had a way of influencing the way it happened and she wanted the CIO to have every detail to the best of her memory. She’d decided to trust him with this one very odd aspect of her development. Further into the room now, she spotted him just where he said he was. With an ease she didn’t feel with everyone, Tello slipped into the cushioned seat and looked across the table at the Caitian. “Thank you for meeting me on short notice—this is—unusual to say the least.”

—Anaar, XO

Stark smiled and raised one eyebrow slightly, “No thanks necessary,” he slid over the beverage she had asked for and continued, “I excel at “unusual”“.

An ensign came into the Parthenon, looked around, spotted Anaar and strode purposefully toward the booth. Tensing slightly Stark moved side ways in the booth and nailed the hapless ensign with a stare that had them pause for less than a second, and then leave the way they had come if not slightly quicker than the speed at which they had arrived. Stark relaxed again.

He leaned forward slightly, “So how can I help?”.

Stark Nightstalker CIO

Several servers had cruised by but politely ignored the two as if they had been instructed to. A few seconds later Marishka herself walked by with an elaborate bouquet of flowers for a table near them. A trained eye would have caught her nod towards Stark but few others would have been the wiser.

  • Marishka

A flicker of his eyes was all he did in return, but he knew Marishka was there if needed and his acknowledgment was as much of a thank you as any of them would ever need to give the other.

Stark Nightstalker CIO

Tello took a sip of the coffee and lay her arms around it on the table. “Before I tell you about Salar…I want to ask you something. I’m sure in your line of work the phrase ‘trust your gut’ comes into play, doesn’t it? Or ‘trust your instincts’ or something that means the same thing?”

“Well, my gut is telling me to trust you. So what I want to ask you is if you will be the one to respond if I get lost in someone else’s emotions and can’t get back on my own?”

—Anaar, XO

“I will” he said simply and sincerely, “all I need to know is how I can help as I’d rather not exacerbate the situation.” He paused briefly and then continued “Being able to recognise warning signs would also be a help”.

Stark Nightstalker CIO

“It would be nice if I could tell you there were signs it was going to happen, but there aren’t. Suddenly, I’m just in it—someone else’s emotional turmoil. The best way to stop it is to make physical contact with me, grab me or something—put a restraining hand on me, hold me back—and get me to look at you because if I’m focusing on you, it is more difficult for the other emotions to stay strong enough to hold my mind. I need you to ground me to the here and now.”

Tello sipped at the coffee again. “It really doesn’t happen very often. And the experience with Salar Mory was a one off, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen again.”

—Anaar, XO

Stark nodded, “Observation is my life so I shall remain vigilant.” His eyes narrowed in thought. ” A couple of questions…” He flicked out a claw on one paw, “Does a sharp pain help, hinder or have no effect on the refocusing process? Second question, What do you think contributed to the experience with Solar Mory being a one off?”

Stark Nightstalker CIO

Anaar thought about it for a moment. “I think pain is worth trying. If I’m not experiencing physical pain along with the emotions that take me, it might work. If I’m overcome by someone’s memory of being crushed, I doubt a scratch would do it though.” She looked at his extended claw. “And Salar? He was mad—as in out of his mind, and I was very young. I hadn’t experienced a wash before. That’s what I call it because its like suddenly I’m washed in emotions that aren’t mine.”

“I lived on Betazed with my father, who allowed me much more freedom than my friends had. It had something to do with my mother being gone and his inability to devote as much time to being the sole care giver as two parents would have divided between them. I was 13 and off on one of my adventures that day. It was around lunch time when I stopped in a small shop to get a Sadi, which is a tart fruit. I was just about to ask the clerk for it when I felt overcome with sadness and rage.”

The memory was disturbing so Tello took another drink from her cup to give herself a moment. “The sadness was more than that…misery or desolation come closer, but still they aren’t deep enough. That feeling plus rage—it was more than my young mind could identify or handle. You have to understand, what I feel isn’t the same thing a full blooded Betazoid would. They would sense the emotion, put a name to it and help the sender if they could. What happens to me is that I feel exactly what the sender is feeling with all its rawness and intensity. Salar Mory was sitting near the register, having a bite to eat. He didn’t mean to push his emotions onto me, its just what he was feeling while he was sitting there. Anyway, I was told later that I became violent and tried to destroy anything and everything, while crying and screaming, ‘they can’t be gone, they can’t be gone’ over and over.”

—Anaar, XO

Stark had remained silent throughout the story and then paused a moment after so that she could catch a breath.

“I think I understand, or at least as much as someone in my position can”. Stark’s eyes grew reflective as he looked into his own past.

“Would it be fair to say that people think that being part Betazoid means you get the best of both worlds but in truth sometimes you get the worst of both, the ability to sense but not the full package that allows you to block it out. Like having the flow of a river but only half a dam to stop it, creating this wash”.

Growing reflective again Stark made his way through the story Anaar had just shared. “Can you remember what snapped you out of it that time?”

Stark Nightstalker CIO

Anaar cleared her throat and continued. “I’ve never understood how he could sit there looking so…normal…while his thoughts and feelings were in such turmoil. He was grieving. His wife and son had been killed in a freak traffic accident about two weeks earlier. A malfunction of a directional sensor crashed them into the side of a building and they were both killed on impact. Salar Mory just couldn’t get his head around it. The vehicle builder should have been held responsible for the bad chip, but they were trying to say it was his wife’s fault for not paying attention.”

Tello took a deep breath and another swallow of coffee. “It was a self driving vehicle. She didn’t have to pay attention. That was where the rage came from. Anyway, I was under his influence for about twelve hours. I had to be sedated and retrained. I was back to myself when I woke up and saw my father sitting at my bedside. I was also terrified when he explained to me what had happened.”

—Anaar, XO

“Complete mind simpatico,” Stark grimaced, “The Vulcans treat it as a fable but only because they’re afraid of it and what it signifies. I know it can happen as I also know someone who can keep two minds working one body for weeks at a time, although they have a genetic advantage that makes it easier. However they are both in control symbiotically unlike your experience, hence your terror”. His eyes softened, “It must be hard with this hanging over you”.

Stark Nightstalker CIO

Tello nodded. “Some times are harder than others. New life forms always make me wary because I don’t know how we will interact mentally with each other. Will I be more susceptible to their emotions or not? Its just a situational thing, really. Like I said, it probably won’t happen intensely enough that I can’t control it, but never say never, right?”

The fact that it had already happened on the Athena with Hammor, even though it was minor, was a concern for Anaar.

—Anaar, XO

“Never,” Stark savoured the world, “Never is forever and forever is a long time in a universe set with infinite possibilities. Have you ever considered that your issue might be because of resonance within you rather than pressure from without. We don’t like to acknowledge the things we carry down deep but is it possible that part of you reaches out for those things that you don’t want to consciously own?”

Stark Nightstalker CIO

Auburn brows raised as she considered the question. “Actually, no…I hadn’t thought of that possibility. That would make the situation worse.” She thought hard about it for a moment and then looked at Nightstalker. “No, I don’t think I’m reaching out for it. I’d much rather have normal Betazoid traits or none at all, than what I turned out with.”
She finished the cup of coffee and waived over a server for a refill.

“So, I just need to know that if it becomes an issue, you’ll be there to pull me out of it or watch over me until I’m safe.”

—Anaar, XO

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