Side Sim: Me, Mysymbiont, and I - Guest Lounge (Open to all)

Posted Feb. 24, 2021, 9:17 p.m. by Lieutenant Junior Grade Issac Forgrave (Chief of Security) (William Deaton)

Posted by Lieutenant Commander Renveer (Executive Officer) in Side Sim: Me, Mysymbiont, and I - Guest Lounge (Open to all)

Posted by Lieutenant Junior Grade Issac Forgrave (Chief of Security) in Side Sim: Me, Mysymbiont, and I - Guest Lounge (Open to all)

Posted by Lieutenant Commander Renveer (Executive Officer) in Side Sim: Me, Mysymbiont, and I - Guest Lounge (Open to all)
Posted by… suppressed (15) by the Post Ghost! 👻
Finally, with yet another sigh, Molly nodded. “Alright.” She said, more to herself than to anyone in the room. Holloway turned to Renveer. “You can come with on one condition: I can send you out at any point. No questions asked.” Molly’s gaze was laser sharp on the Dresden’s XO, waiting for an agreement on his part. The truth was, she wanted to know what Cet had to say, regardless of how truthful it was, and she didn’t want Renveer’s presence to taint the message. Not to mention, she had done her fair share of interrogations in the past and she was used to getting the information she was after, one way or another, and from the most deceitful people. The last thing she wanted, was for Renveer to witness exactly what tools an Intelligence Officer could use.

Holloway, CO

Renveer’s brow creased for just the tiniest moment before his face settled into a more normal and collected look for the executive officer. “Understood, Captain.” He wasn’t sure how easy it would be to abide by Molly’s terms, but at least he would be present to defend his reputation from the accusations Cet might levy against him. Renveer had hoped that Cet would keep certain details private, but he had the growing suspicion that Cet intended to show all of his cards. The Lieutenant Commander rose to join Forgrave and Holloway as he followed them across the hall to the guest lounge.

Cyon Cet sat at the same table he had been when left alone earlier, although it appeared the tray and utensils he had used to have a light snack had been returned to the replicator. The man had removed his lab coat and hung it around the back of his chair, leaving the bald trill man in a dark blue jumpsuit. His attention snapped to the door as it opened, but he made no move to get up as he expected the entourage of Dresden crew to join him at the table.

“You must be the captain,” Cet said as a way of greeting. “I’m Dr. Cyon Cet, Trill Science Ministry.” His dark eyes flicked to Renveer. “An interesting choice, bringing him along. I doubt that I’ll be able to speak my piece with him here.” Then Cet addressed Renveer. “What makes you so willing to talk to me in public but not in private?”

“Indeed.” Molly said as Cet introduced himself. “Molly Holloway.” She added as a way of her own introduction, ignoring the Trill’s remarks, and sitting down at the table. “If you don’t mind, Lieutenant Forgrave will be joining us as well.” She motioned to the Dresden’s Chief of Security, not mentioning what department he was in. It would probably be obvious to their guest, but Holloway didn’t want to emphasize why security was present, lest he perceive it as a threat or a sign of distrust on their part.

“I’m intend to provide context,” Renveer stated flatly. Cet grunted in amusement.

(Lt. Cmdr. Renveer, XO / Cyon Cet, Trill Science Ministry)

Forgrave remained silent; content to watch both Trill carefully. Seems it’s already kicked off… Issac sat himself in between Renveer and Cet; not making a show of it, but not bothering with subtlety either. Sighing, he turned to face Cet directly. “Sir, I know you’ve explained the purpose of your visit several times now, but could you do so once more? Given the nature of.... all of this, I know I’d sure appreciate hearing the story first-hand; even if in brief.”

Issac was sure he knew what was going on, but his words were honest. And if nothing else, Renveer’s clarifications (and “clarifications”) could prove enlightening…

Forgrave, CoS

“Yes.” Molly concurred. “It is my understanding that it is your wish to have the symbiont Cet join with Commander Renveer. Can you tell us a little more about your decision? As Lieutenant Forgrave mentioned, it would be better to hear the situation first-hand.”

Holloway, CO

Cet inhaled deeply through his nose and then exhaled via the same route with a prolonged emphasis that conveyed his dwindling patience. However, when he spoke it was with a measured tone, perhaps holding a little bit more respect for the ship’s captain than other officers he had spoke to so far. “I have come to request that Renveer accept the Cet symbiont and that your crew assists in the procedure that would be required. The joining of the Cet symbiont and this host was traumatic in such a way that has resulted in unreconcilable differences. I, Cyon, am miserable, and the Cet symbiont is unhappy with their time being in the wrong host.”

I, Cyon, am miserable, and the Cet symbiont is unhappy with their time being in the wrong host. So they got married and now wanted a divorce. Only this divorce was deadly for the host. Maybe Cet didn’t need a new partner, but rather, both host and symbiont just needed a marriage counselor?

Many times, it is in the most serious of situations that one’s brain decides to delve into thoughts that might not be the most appropriate for the time. On the present situation, Molly tried not to smile as her mind produced images of both Cyon and Cet sitting on a couch somewhere, on a couple’s therapy session. She shook her head softly coming back to the task at hand.

Renveer’s expression turned pained as he winced at Cet’s words. He avoided the man’s gaze and the eyes of anyone else at the table.

“What Renveer likely failed to tell you,” Cet said with a bitterness, “is that ten years ago, he completed the joining program and was next in line to inherent the Cet symbiont. When the last host died, Renveer was contacted to return to Trill immediately to be joined with Cet. He abandoned the symbiont.”

Despite the slight pause, Renveer did not interrupt.

“I was a surgery technician,” Cyon continued, “set to assist with the joining procedure. When we realized that Renveer was not coming, we had to join the symbiont with a temporary host because of its wounded condition. I was that host. Unfortunately, there were no other viable hosts that had been matched with the Cet symbiont within range. And when ninety-three hours passed… the joining that was meant to be temporary was made final.”

“I was out of range too,” Renveer stated weakly.

“Which was illegal as the next selected host of a symbiont. You were expected to remain within ninety-three hours of Trill for that exact reason. That only makes it worse that you pre-meditated being unable to fulfill your responsibilities, rather than backing out last-minute.” Cet shook his head in exasperation. “Renveer’s actions left me in this state. I expect him to help me correct his mistake.”

Renveer only set his jaw. Stone-faced, he had receded into himself, though it was quite apparent that he was having many thoughts beneath the surface.

(Lt. Cmdr. Renveer and Cyon Cet)

Holloway didn’t look at Renveer. Not out of anger or disappointment, but rather because she didn’t think she needed to. Even if what Cet was saying was true, it was not her business to know what had led the Dresden’s Executive Officer to make that decision ten years ago. And judging by Renveer’s evasiveness to her and Forgrave’s questions just moments before, it was clearly a deeply personal subject that Molly wanted to breach as little as possible. It did, however, make it clear that Renveer had been lying to them in the past conversation, but that was nothing Molly didn’t suspect already. And if she hadn’t been surprised then, it wasn’t now that she was going to be.

“Doctor Cet… I am not going to pretend to understand Trill culture at its fullest. I was not born on Trill, and therefore there are aspects of the relationship between symbionts and hosts that escape me. So, I hope you forgive me if anything I say it out of line.” Molly started, but soon paused to organize her thoughts.

“First of all, Commander Renveer’s past decisions are not mine to judge. Being a Starfleet officer means there’s no telling where one are going to be sent to next. Commander Renveer was already a Starfleet officer ten years ago, so he was likely more than ninety-three hours away from Trill because his job so demanded it. It seems to me that your accusation that the Commander pre-meditated being away is rather unfounded.” Renveer had been adamant that the reason he had left the joining program had been because he thought that life as a Starfleet officer would put the symbiont at risk. Maybe that was the case. Or maybe he had had a change of heart and had make sure he was far away enough from Trill. Molly didn’t really care.

Renveer gulped at Molly’s words. She was giving him the benfit of the doubt, which he appreciated. But having his dirty laundry aired in front of her and Forgrave was excruciating. He wanted to deny everything, to call Cet a liar, but he couldn’t.

“Now… I understand that you are unhappy with Commander Renveer’s actions ten years ago, and that said actions caused you to be joined to a symbiont that is not compatible with you. I also understand that you are unhappy enough that you are willing to end your own life in order to move the Cet symbiont to a different host. What I don’t understand is why, in ten years, no other compatible hosts were found. Surely, the Cet symbiont wouldn’t have died if Commander Renveer hadn’t even joined the program in the first place. There would have been another host in line for this symbiont after his previous host had died. So… why is it that after a decade you are still pursuing Commander Renveer as a host when it is clear that he doesn’t want to do so? Why not look for someone else?” Molly was genuinely curious. If there was anything her teenage years had taught her, it was that when your crush didn’t like you back, there was no use pursuing them. Other people would follow. So why was Cet so hung up on Renveer?

Holloway, CO

Trigger warning: Suicidal Ideation

Cet scoffed and rolled his eyes. “They tell us that the procedure would kill the host, but I’ve suspected for some time that there are things the Symbiosis Commission tells us that simply aren’t true. I have full confidence that with the technology aboard this ship and a competent doctor, which I hope yours is, the procedure would not have an unsatisfactory ending for anyone involved. And if it did…” Cet shrugged. “That’s a risk I’m willing to take.”

“As for why Renveer,” Cet said with a sneer, “as I said, this is his responsibility. The current official next-in-line for the Cet symbiont is an ambassador’s aide. The symbiont has spent the last ten years in the body of an assistant… it deserves a better experience, a better opportunity. Renveer is a lieutenant commander in Starfleet, an executive officer of a warship. The potential things the Cet symbiont could experience and learn here are immense. And when Renveer dies, maybe the aide will have come into her own as a full ambassador.”

Renveer finally looked back towards Cet. He spoke to Molly and Forgrave while staring at the scientist. “What he’s not mentioning is that no other trill would ever agree to put the Cet symbiont in danger with a procedure like that. No doctor, no host. The other approved hosts have sworn to protect symbionts at all costs. Approaching one of them would only get Cet reported to the Symbiosis Commission.”

“But you already broke that oath, Renveer,” Cet admonished sharply. “And now it’s time to atone for your sins. I’ve put up with this long enough. I tried, for ten years. I did what you said, I went to the therapy and performed the rituals and nothing worked. This is the only way. I could blow my brains out to force the transfer to a new host, but I’d prefer an option that at least had some possibility of allowing me to continue my life, unburdened.”

(Lt. Cmdr. Renveer and Cyon Cet)

I did what you said, I went to the therapy and performed the rituals and nothing worked. So this was not new. Renveer had actively been in contact with Cyon Cet in the past, and possibly tried to help the man after his decision not to take the symbiont. Molly could understand how Cyon would be frustrated with Renveer’s actions, and yet, there was a lot Holloway struggled to understand.

“Alright.” Molly’s tone was harsher than before, clearly trying to break the conversation. “No one is going to ‘atone for their sins’. Not on my ship and not on my watch.” Turning to Cet, Holloway continued. “I understand you are frustrated with Commander Renveer’s actions ten years ago, that have made you be joined with a symbiont you are not happy with.” She felt like a vendor trying to appease a customer that was unsatisfied with the product they had bought. Only this product had a consciousness. “But yes, there is a way other than demanding to surgically remove the Cet symbiont from yourself and join it with Commander Renveer. And that is to go ahead with the procedure you talked about, and join the Cet symbiont with the ambassador’s aide that is next in line.” Holloway paused thinking about Renveer’s words about how Cet might get reported to the Symbiosis Commission by any other host if he approached them about going ahead with the procedure. Renveer might not do it, because likely, he was already in trouble after missing his joining appointment. But that didn’t mean that Holloway herself couldn’t do it, or did it?

“Now… please correct me if I am wrong, Dr. Cet. The only things stopping you from doing it are that, on the one hand, you are adamant that Commander Renveer, the person that caused you so much distress, is the one that joins with the symbiont in what you see as some way of ‘justice’.” Molly added the air quotes. “And on the other hand, you want Commander Renveer to be the next host, because your job is not good enough for the symbiont. Where I come from, Dr. Cet, we call that presumption and elitism. Some of us cannot choose the cards we have been dealt and we have to work with them. We don’t have someone actively choosing the cards for us. And what you, Doctor, and the Cet symbiont need to understand is that sometimes, experiencing more ‘menial’…” Holloway added air quotes once more. “… life, work, you name it, has far greater reaches in both experience and personal growth than skipping right to the destination without the journey.” There was a note of frustration in Molly’s tone that hadn’t been there before. As the daughter of an almost destitute waitress and a alcoholic subway conductor, Holloway hadn’t been given a very good hand to start with. But she had made it work. So she hated when people deemed those experiences as worthless. “Commander Renveer is already the Executive Officer of a starship. Don’t you think that the Cet symbiont would have a much more valuable experience being joined with an ambassador’s aide and accompany her in her journey to ambassador, than moving from host to host without going through their learning process?” She paused for a moment. “You said you were a surgeon technician. Would you say that the path that took you to your current position isn’t more valuable than if you had just been placed there knowing everything?”

Holloway, CO

Cet crossed his arms and scowled at Holloway’s accusations of ‘presumption and elitism’, but his expression wavered as she kept talking. Something she said had got through to him and made the cerebral man stop and think. Renveer was also caught slightly off-guard by Molly’s approach. He glanced at her out of the corner of his eye, but made sure that their gazes didn’t meet. It was almost as if both men, the logical scientist and the intuitive counselor, were both asking themselves ‘why didn’t I think of it like that?’

Cet was not one to concede, however. “So what you’re suggesting,” he said with a huff, “is that I kill myself and let the ambassador’s aide deal with the consequences? That hardly seems fair to push the consequences of Renveer’s actions onto her to deal with. And as Renveer said, that makes my chances of survival zero. No one on Trill will help me attempt a procedure that could at least possibly be successful at keeping me alive. You’d prefer I just die outright?” There was a flash of anger in the last question, though it was likely projected. Cet’s demeanor was hardened, but maybe revealingly so. The man obviously did not want to die. But he also did not want to keep living this way.

Renveer let out a quiet sigh and closed his eyes in an attempt to swallow his frustration. This was a conversation he had entertained with Cet many times before. And it was an argument he had never been able to win, obviously.

(Lt. Cmdr. Renveer, XO)

Forgrave had been silent so far; not really sure of what to say - he didn’t consider himself to be all that great at words, and he sure didn’t want to make the situation worse. But Cet’s words had raised a point in Issac’s mind, and in a quiet voice he broke his silence. “Sir, you speak of justice and related things, but is that what’s needed here? I may be wrong here; and please correct me if I am. But it seems to me, neither you nor Renveer are all that keen on bein’ a host; you know damn well how that’s worked out fer you - would you be so adamant as ta force that on another? An how does the… symbiont feel about this? Would they be satisfied with living within an unwilling host?”

Issac sighed, and looked at Cyon Cet directly. “I sure can’t blame ya fer wanting ta be free of this prison you feel trapped in; frankly, I suspect I’d feel the same. But it seems ya might be mixin’ up justice an’ revenge; and it may be that neither is what’s best for any of ya.”

-Forgrave, CoS

Molly had crossed her arms and leaned back on her chair. She had had a comeback ready to Cet’s words, but when Forgrave spoke they were lost in the back of her mind.

The questions the CoS had raised reflected yet another viewpoint that Holloway hadn’t considered. Leaning forward, she propped her elbows on the table. Her gaze never left Cet, indicating she was most curious to hear his reply. “Lieutenant Forgrave raised yet another valid point, Dr. Cet. No one wants you to die in the outright. And you did mention that you being a host has left you miserable, and that the Cet symbiont is unhappy being the wrong host. That you shared… irreconcilable differences. It was the way you described it, if I am not mistaken. You claim to have the best interests of the Cet symbiont in mind, and yet, have you considered that Commander Renveer’s unwilingness to be a host might produce the same irreconciliable differences between him and the Cet symbiont?”

Holloway, CO

Renveer shifted, prompting Cet to pause before responding to Forgrave and Holloway, having anticipated what the executive officer might say. Renveer’s discomfort was clear as he feebly managed, “I wouldn’t be an unwilling host.”

Molly’s head turned abruptly to face Renveer, surprised at his words. She opened her mouth to speak, but Forgrave was faster than her.

“That ain’t the same as bein’ a willing host, Renveer…” Issac spoke quietly and with concern; though it wasn’t quite a rebuttal to the XO’s words.

Renveer pinched the bridge of his nose and pressed his eyes shut in an attempt to clear his head. “Ten years ago I chose not to proceed with the joining process, yes. But I’m a different person now. And although I am perfectly happy without a symbiont… I respect them and what they’ve done for trill society. I wouldn’t have ‘irreconcilable differences’ with the Cet symbiont.” He paused before continuing cautiously. “I’m not saying I want to be a host, but if I was, I would do everything to be a good one to a symbiont.” Although he knew it wasn’t what they had meant, Renveer found the argument that he would be an unhealthy host like Cyon hurtful. In fact, the assertion made Renveer further consider Cyon’s request… the differences between the two and how they would handle a less-than-ideal situation with a symbiont seemed to be a good reason why Renveer should be the one coping with those consequences.

Cet held a hand out with a look of ‘what he said’ to Forgrave and Holloway. “Renveer is a counselor, after all. Or was, I suppose. If there’s anyone who could reconcile with a symbiont I would imagine it’s him.” Cyon addressed Forgrave’s question with a dismissive tone. “The symbiont and I think as one. What I want is what the symbiont wants.”

(Lt. Cmdr. Renveer and Cyon Cet)


Issac sighed, trying to choose his words carefully; mindful of the possibility of turning this discussion into a circular argument. “I reckon I can see y’all’s points; for sure I can vouch fer people changing over the years. And Cet, I sure ain’t trying ta suggest that ya give up trying ta find a suitable host. I reckon…” Issac paused, grimacing as he considered his words and thoughts. “Hell, I sure can’t pretend ta know what’s best for anyone; all I can try and do is look out for our crew, and those who cross our paths - but when it comes down ta it, I gotta put the crew first. And in this case, that’s my XO. I ain’t in any way opposed ta ya taking on a symbiont, Renveer; I just want ya ta decide on yer own - without coercion.” Issac shot a look at Cet, though it was more pained than fierce.

“Maybe I’m outta line, maybe I’m talking outta my rear; and I’m sorry if that’s the case. But I’d like everyone ta walk away happy outta all this; maybe I’m a fool fer that. But Cet; is Renveer truly the only option ya got? Or are ya fixated on him cause of y’all’s history? Much as I want Renveer lookin’ at this clearly, I hold the same wish for y’all. I ain’t askin’ ya to give up on this; just.... hell, I don’t fraggin’ know.” He leaned back in his chair, before suddenly rising and going over to the replicator. “Forgrave’s brew; one cup.” He stood by the counter, trying to parse the emotions he felt and how to communicate his concerns; coming up at a loss for words.

Forgrave, CoS

There was a crack in Cet’s defensive expression when Forgrave implied that he might not being seeing things clearly. A flash of doubt, maybe a moment of realization. For once it seemed that the scientist had nothing to say in response, at least not immediately. Cet sat in silence for a moment. Pieces of what the Dresden’s crew had said were slowly eroding what stubbornness he had. Cyon Cet was an intelligent individual after all. He was inclined to do his best to look at a problem from all angles, even a personal problem. And they had presented angles that he had not anticipated. Forgrave’s invitation to clearly reflect on that was timely.

Molly let the silence sink between them for a moment as Forgrave walked to the replicator, before speaking. “Reconciliation doesn’t mean happiness.” She paused for a moment before continuing. “And if you and the symbiont think as one, Dr. Cet, then you would know that if the symbiont were to be joined with Renveer, he would share the same misery as his host. Is that what the symbiont wants?” Holloway was far too familiar with the concept that acceptance of a situation in life was not the same as liking it or being free from the pain it caused.

Holloway shook her head softly. Maybe she was biased. Personally, Renveer had been there for her in a really dark time in her life, and had guided her through her own acceptance of the situation. He was one of the few counselors she trusted enough to talk to, and over time he had become a dear friend to her. And now, with the prospect of his joining with the Cet symbiont, Molly was afraid that he would change. And that with it, so would their friendship. In other words, she was afraid of losing him… Was she losing sight of the real issue? Was she losing track of what Renveer wanted in favor of what she wanted?

Forgrave was right, in everything he had said. Turning to face Renveer, there was a matter-of-fact look on Molly’s face. “Can I have a word with you? In private? I’m sure Lieutenant Forgrave won’t mind keeping Dr. Cet company for a moment.” Maybe he could even learn something new with Renveer out of the room. Holloway glanced at Forgrave and silently motioned for him to keep an eye on Cet. With a polite smile and a nod to their guest, Molly added. “If you’ll excuse us, we’ll be right back.” And with that, she stood up, motioned for Renveer to follow, and left, waiting just outside of the door to the lounge.

Holloway, CO

Renveer watched Cet for a moment longer, a mix of uncertain emotions on his face. But Cet at least seemed to be considering what had been said, which was more than Renveer had been able to get him to do for years. Slowly Renveer rose to follow the captain, looking back before exiting the room.

Immediately upon leaving the same space as Cet, Renveer’s body language shifted to exhaustion. He sighed and leaned against the wall, closing his eyes and turning his face up to the ceiling. “I’m sorry, Captain.” He was really apologizing to Molly, but addressing her as such was a step too far towards vulnerability for Renveer to express at the moment. “I should have made sure I had all my affairs in order before becoming your executive officer.”

(Lt. Cmdr. Renveer, XO)

Issac remained by the replicator; leaning with his back to the hull. He took a long sip of his coffee, savoring the strong flavor and intense warmth. Letting out a sigh, he spoke quietly to Cyon Cet. “Sir; I reckon you ain’t exactly gotten the welcome ya expected - though no telling iffin’ it’s gone better or worse than ya thought. Fer what it’s worth, I hope ya know I ain’t got nothing against ya; nor yer reason for bein’ here. I’d like ta do what I can ta help ya - but that don’t necessarily mean giving ya what ya think ya want.” Forgrave scoffed, looking down at nothing. “Hell, that’s a lesson I’m still choking down.”

-Forgrave, CoS

Cet dropped his head into his hands, in equal part due to frustration and hopelessness. After a moment of silence, he spoke as he rubbed his face. “I appreciate that, Lieutenant. Perhaps I came aboard with a rather standoffish attitude, but it’s simply because I know that what I’m asking is a difficult request to grant. I figured I’d need to be steadfast in my efforts to convince Renveer and all of you of the necessity.” Cyon raised his head and folded his hands on the table in front of him. “Tell me, Mr. Forgrave. How do you know if what you think you want is not actually the correct choice? Is that not one of our great privileges in life: our ability to create our own destiny and fulfill our own aspirations? Even if those choices end up being mistakes… is it not at least worth taking control of those consequences rather than having them be dictated to you by someone else?”

(Cyon Cet, Trill Science Ministry)

“You uh, ya came ready ta fight. I reckon that’s a reasonable approach, given what I’ve heard.” Issac listened to Cet’s question; feeling a twinge of bitterness from his own past surface within him. Forgrave took another sip of his coffee, and released a long sigh. “I wish I had some pretty, insightful answer for ya, something philosophical or such nonsense… But I ain’t got anything like that.” Issac moved back over to the table, sitting down heavily.

“I don’t think it’s incorrect of me ta say we both got scientific mindsets, yea? So… You got a hypothesis; and for whatever reason you’re awfully invested in it - for whatever reason, you know the result that ya want to get. But then the science comes in… you gotta look at it objectively; take yer preconceptions outta the equation. Maybe that means you get a colleague ta review your methods and data; but however you do it… well, it’s vital if you want objective results.”

“Now… well, you ain’t a science experiment nor a theory ta be tested; and I sure don’t mean ta imply such. You know what you know, and how ya feel, better than any other being could ever presume to. I think you’ve already made a decision - to separate yerself from your symbiont. But the second half ‘a that - who should receive the symbiont… well; you speak of creating your own destiny - don’t others’ got that privilege as well?”

“I sure ain’t against Renveer accepting the symbiont - if that’s what he want’s, well, I’ll support him. But that’s different from being pressured into accepting it.” Issac was quiet for a moment. “I suspect I’m just talkin’ in circles now; fer that I apologize. You’re invested in this; rightfully so. It’s a lot ta ask, and maybe a bit insulting ta ask ya to look at it objectively; but ya ain’t screamin’ and throwing things yet, so I reckon that’s a damn good start.” Issac shot a tired but genuine grin at Cet; commiserating in the frustration of not knowing what the ‘right’ move is.

-Forgrave, CoS

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