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Business As Usual - CNS Office - Tag Kingston

Posted March 20, 2023, 7 a.m. by Lieutenant Commander Serena Stone (Executive Officer) (Sam Haynes)

Posted by Lieutenant Junior Grade Janna Kingston (Counsellor) in Business As Usual - CNS Office - Tag Kingston

Posted by Lieutenant Commander Serena Stone (Executive Officer) in Business As Usual - CNS Office - Tag Kingston

Posted by Lieutenant Junior Grade Janna Kingston (Counsellor) in Business As Usual - CNS Office - Tag Kingston
Posted by… suppressed (7) by the Post Ghost! 👻

(snip)

Serena didn’t move to stop her, and as she made contact turned her hand over beneath Janna’s, taking hold, but not restraining, just good contact. Beneath her touch were wear patterns, semi-soft callouses across her palm and at the heel of her palm. Leftovers from a different kind of labor and one not suitable for civilized and polite society. Evidence of countless hours of training.

Janna was right, she was tense again. It only took a moment for her to synch up with the counselor, setting into a box breathing pattern.

Stone

Gaze fixed to Serena’s, Janna let her calmness radiate outward and once she felt the other woman relax she smiled. For the time being she did not remove her hand.

“When our experiences tell us that bad things happen under certain sets of conditions, it’s perfectly reasonable to be conditioned to avoid those circumstances. That’s how we survive, how we stay safe. We need that.”

“But… there can come a part where that inclination can prevent us from living fully in our lives. If we could on occasion set aside the reaction we might find there are other ways of being. But it’s not natural to set that aside. It feels dangerous, risky. And I’m not suggesting you set it aside right now. You need that. That’s okay,” Kingston said very matter-of-factly. “Instead I’m going to give you some homework and if it’s okay with you I‘d like you to come back next week and we can discuss how it went.”

~Janna Kingston, CNS

The redhead nodded. “Alright,” she said, not much more than a murmur, not quite able to meet Janna’s gaze for long suddenly. In some ways she seemed to have almost shrank in her seat a little. “Let’s hear it.”

Stone

Janna’s remained connected to Stone’s and she tilted her head seeking out the XO’s gaze, but not in a confrontational way. “What’s happening for you right now? Just pause and check in with your body and mind.” She didn’t want to move forward without them both knowing where Serena was at.

~Janna Kingston, CNS

How did she even disentangle that or quantify it? Much less without making things worse. Part of her wanted to pull rank and just end things now. And she probably could have, but that didn’t work so well. Didn’t look good on her as an officer, leader, or person in general. And Miss Kingston, despite their disparity .. was one of the few people on the Athena who had the right kind of authority to have her pulled from duty. If she deemed it so, she could have Serena removed as a danger to the ship, crew, and herself.

“I feel like…” she let out a sigh that had so many layers of weight to it. “Nothing I’ve said is right, or correct. Despite it being my reality, and the world I’ve had to live in and survive in. And developed the tools and things I need to thrive in. And in some ways I feel like I’m somehow wrong for it. And I feel like I’ve been in a different fight, and somehow, I’m losing all the way around.” she shook her head, almost imperceptibly, and never was able to meet the blonde’s gaze. “So I’m kind of at a loss.”

Stone

Janna nodded slowly. “What does thriving look and feel like for you, Serena?” She’d come back to the feeling of always being in a fight, but it was important to know what was and wasn’t working for Stone, from her own perspective. Because at the end of the day, Janna didn’t know everything and she could get things wrong. But sometimes the act of confronting something felt like an attack where it really wasn’t. And thus she and Serena needed to keep navigating together.

~Janna Kingston, CNS

The redhead took a deep breath then let it out slowly. Her gaze turning inward, shifting back and forth as she searched and evaluated. Her expression grew increasingly troubled, her frown deepening. Then she settled once more. “I’ve never even considered it, really. I’ve never really given much thought to …” She paused, scrabbling around in her leaky brainpan for the right words. “I’ve never known what it’s like to plan for anything long term. Or even ‘good’ in the short term. As a security officer, I always have to see around the corner. But really I want things to be boring. Means I’m doing my job. As a tactical officer, I’m always looking for the fight. They don’t really teach you how to shut it off. Always running threat assessments. Always expecting the worst. Still hoping for the best. Maybe. But I never plan for things to go right. Always go wrong. And when they do go right… For how long? When does the other shoe drop? What else is gonna screw up a perfectly good day? And it seems like just when things are good… that’s when something goes to hell.” She shrugs and sighs. “So I don’t really know. Other than not having to worry about any of that. Think about it. Feel it, waiting behind every door, in every closet, in every room.”

“At least that’s a start. Anything more, I dunno. Spouse and two point five kids and a white picket fence? I doubt that kind of thing is in the cards. Or that I even want that. I’m probably going to go out in a ‘blaze of glory’ first.”

Stone

Janna smiled softy, filing all the information away for next time. “Okay. Knowing what is true for you, or at least what feels true is important. We just want to know where we’re starting from, because sometimes it can be hard to see what progress we’re making in our lives if we don’t check in with ourselves now and again.”

“Now, I asked if I could give you some homework and we meet again next week. Can we do that together?” Kingston asked.

~Janna Kingston, CNS

Serena tilted her head to the side. “Do what together?” Was she asking about this ‘homework’ or something else? The shift from ‘I’ to ‘we’ did not go unnoticed either, but that she decided she was okay with. It was, after all, meant to be a partnership. Maybe not friends, but certainly on the same team. It was a leadership tactic she made use of herself as needed. And while it was a tactic, a strategy, that didn’t make that sense of unity and being on the same side, same team.. wasn’t unfounded. It didn’t put any wind back in her sails, but she was at least focused and paying attention.

Stone

“Go along on this journey together, wherever it leads. Maybe we find we just need to touch base about the homework and we agree that you’ve got everything you need on your own. Or maybe we’ll decide together to keep meeting. Either way, it’s your choice, Serena. And you might disagree, but we both know Command would not have assigned you as the first officer if they didn’t believe you could do the job. That’s not my concern. The thing I am hoping for you is that you can find a place here where you feel you belong, where you can be the best possible version of yourself so you can inspire the crew you are leading to be the same. But I an only ask and suggest, anything more is counterproductive for both of us.”

~Janna Kingston, CNS

“Maybe,” she murmured. There was something going on out there, within the Federation and Starfleet. Not anything she could put a finger on. Perhaps it was just paranoia. And she’d learned to trust that paranoia. But she couldn’t let that paranoia be her entire personality either. But still, it made the hairs on the back of her neck raise, and that was always something she could trust. More than once, when she thought about it, she’d had that feeling. But it was elusive, and though dismissed, she had filed it away. Yet it nagged at the back of her mind. Why was she here? Really? And the sudden change in command for the Athena. That usually wasn’t done. And most CO’s were able to pick their first officer. Sure, she was in line to advance, but this whole thing was out of the blue.

Questions for later.

For now, the Athena needed leadership. Especially after a sudden and rocky change. And that was her, and Captain Legen. Though more to her because well.. she was the go-to point of contact. Information was coming up the chain to her, to pass on to The Old Man at the top. And then his wishes passed down to her to carry out. That simple, for now.

“Whats the homework?”

Stone


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