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

Posted April 3, 2021, 9:42 p.m. by Warrant Officer Hsull (Chief Tactical Officer) (David Stiles)

Posted by Captain Molly Holloway (Commanding Officer) in Side Sim: Me, Mysymbiont, and I - Outside Guest Lounge (Open to all)

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

Posted by Lieutenant Commander Renveer (Executive Officer) in Side Sim: Me, Mysymbiont, and I - Outside Guest Lounge (Open to all)
Posted by… suppressed (23) 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)

OOC: I’m splitting the thread here to make it easier to distinguish between what’s happening inside and outside the lounge. Once they go back in we can merge both threads. I’ve also altered the title to illustrate that change. – Joana

“Not at all.” Molly said promptly. “Do you think I had my affairs in order when I made Captain? Or XO for that matter?” She shook her head and paced back and forth for a moment, her arms crossed over her chest, before stopping right in front of the Executive Officer.

She was not pleased, that much was obvious, but the part of her that had been disappointed by Renveer’s obvious dishonesty earlier on, was drowned by her empathy for the Trill man, her fear of the consequences the whole process might bring to the crew and herself (even if she didn’t want to admit the latter), and her resolve to make sure that whatever the outcome was, it was something that made Renveer happy.

“Now, Commander…” If his gaze met hers, he would see the concern in her eyes. If not, he would be able to hear it in her voice. “… Renveer…” She hoped that by addressing him by his name rather than his rank, it would make the conversation less formal. “… I have no right to sway you one way or another. This is your life, and your personal choice, and I want you to know that whatever decision you make, I will stand behind it.” Holloway let the words float for a moment. “But in order for me to help you, I need to have a clear picture of what I am helping you with.” She chewed on her cheek in thought. Her eyes never leaving the Dresden’s First Officer. “From that door onwards” She motioned to the lounge’s door. “I will be speaking to Cet as the Dresden’s Captain, but here, I am speaking as your friend. So I want you to forget about rank and all that nonsense for a moment.”

Molly resumed her pacing, but quickly stopped in her tracks. “Forgrave was right when he said that he wanted you to decide without coercion. And I’m sure anyone on the crew would agree.” She paced some more and stopped again. “I can’t pretend to understand half of what is going on, and the consequences it may bring to the ship. But we will adjust if need be. All I want is for you to be happy with your decision.” She looked at her shoes, and then back at Renveer. “After all, a miserable Counselor or XO can’t really help the crew.” There was a slight smile on her lips but it was only the pretense of a joke. “And well…” Her expression fell serious again. “I don’t want one to see a friend in pain.”

Holloway placed a hand on Renveer’s shoulder, in what she hoped was a reassuring gesture. That’s what people did when they wanted to reassure another, right? “I don’t need to know anything personal that you don’t feel comfortable sharing. But I do need to know where you lie on all of this. What’s the outcome that you want. What is the best course of action for you. Not for Cyon or the Symbiont. For you.”

Holloway, CO

Renveer’s gaze flickered to the deck plating at Molly’s sympathetic gesture. Her words were not lost on him, least of all her talk of friendship. Molly was the closest friend Renveer had formed in years… although honestly, that was not saying much. This baggage coming back to haunt him was bad enough without it influencing Molly’s opinion of him, maybe driving her away… but from her words, it seemed an irrational fear. Renveer did his best to dismiss the thoughts, though counseling yourself was always infinitely harder than counseling others.

Renveer did not rise from his slouched position against the wall when he finally spoke. “Thank you, Molly. I know what is best for me. I made the decision years ago not to host a symbiont. It is a decision I have both regretted and savored in varying degrees over time. But… I am me, this version of me here in this present moment, because I was free of the influence of a symbiont and the past lives it experienced. I know the symbiont isn’t supposed to take anything away from the person it inhabits… but it does add something, and by definition that causes the person to at the very least be different. I have done so much work to be happy with who I am as I am now. Changing that… risks upsetting whatever balance I’ve found within myself.”

Renveer inhaled deeply through his nose. “But this is not just a question about what is the best course of action for me. I have a responsibility to Cyon, to the Cet symbiont, and to my culture. Selfishly, I’d prefer to simply send Cet on his way and be done with it. But I can’t do that, I can’t leave him in his current state. I don’t know what kind of consequences that might bring.”

The trill man looked up to meet Molly’s eyes for the first time since leaving the lounge. “The best course of action for me requires me to be selfish. And I’m don’t think I’ll be able to sleep at night if I do that. He needs help. I just don’t know how to find a middle ground here.”

(Lt. Cmdr. Renveer, XO)

“Sometimes selfishness is the best course of action…” Molly muttered. It was her time to turn her gaze away from Renveer, almost embarrassed by her own words. “… but then again, sometimes it isn’t.”

The truth was, perhaps rather selfishly as well, Molly didn’t want Renveer to become a different person. Much like him, the Dresden’s First Officer had been the closest friend she had formed in a long time. Well, without counting Cal, but he was different than anyone else in her life. However, Molly didn’t voice her thoughts, for as much as Cyon Cet was the little man sitting on one of Renveer’s shoulders, telling him to take the symbiont, Molly didn’t want to be the the other sitting on the opposite shoulder telling him not to.

As the CO of the ship, and well, as an Intelligence officer, Molly could make Cet disappear just as easily as he had been allowed on board. In fact, she wanted nothing more than to be told that was the plan, so that they could all put this behind their backs and return to their normal day to day lives. But she wouldn’t want Renveer to live with the weight of those actions, so that was now out of the question.

Finally, Molly nodded. Her gaze back to Renveer’s. “Let’s find that middle ground, then.” She paused briefly before continuing. “I know Trill culture is different than Human… and so there are a few things that I will never understand… but… to put in Terran terms everything that was discussed inside…” She motioned to the door with her chin. “… it seems to me that what Cyon Cet needs is either a divorce or couple’s therapy.” She paused again for a moment. “The former would require the symbiont to be removed and placed on another host. I personally think that approaching the ambassador’s aide that was supposed to be next in line after you, about the possibility of taking the Cet symbiont earlier than expected, is a good middle ground. I don’t understand why Cet is so opposed to it…”

“As for the latter… You’ll probably think I’m an idiot for suggesting this, but at this point, I think that every suggestion is a good suggestion…” She gave Renveer an embarrassed smile. “Cet mentioned he had tried therapy with no results. What kind of therapy is customary on Trill? Would it be too preposterous to send him to an actual relationship counselor? After all, they are two different entities inhabiting the same space… it’s not too different than two people living in the same house right…?” Molly felt like an idiot, but in her head it made sense.

Holloway, CO

Renveer considered Molly’s words, biting the inside of his lip in thought. “I imagine the reason Cet does not want to contact the ambassador’s aide is because he would be effectively doing to her what I did to him. Forcing the symbiont on her because of his own reluctance to wield the responsibility. Whether or not she would accept the symbiont or the plan, which she likely wouldn’t due to the danger it poses, Cet would just replace his current frustration with guilt, probably never seeing the act as anything other than passing on a curse. At least if he gives the symbiont to me, well it would restore what was… meant to be, for better or worse.”

Molly’s second suggestion was one Renveer had considered himself, many times. “Unfortunately, Cet refuses to talk to any trill other than me about his predicament. Or at least he does not discuss the full extent of it with anyone else. He did complete several of our rituals meant to alleviate the disharmony between host and symbiont, but to admit to the Commission that those measures did not work would be both humiliating and dangerous to our culture’s faith in those practices themselves.”

Renveer sighed. “The problem is that it’s not supposed to be like two people living in one house. And honestly… well, if the general trill populace heard that something like this could happen to people who joined, if Cet spoke publicly about the… plight he’s felt as a result… that could upset our entire societal relationship with the symbionts, even create a host shortage. Which is why Cet has only discussed this privately, with me. Yes, there would be personal shame on his part for asking for help publicly, but there would be disruption to our entire belief system as well.”

“This is uncharted territory,” Renveer finished. “At least if there has been another case like this, it has been kept quiet.”

(Lt. Cmdr. Renveer, XO)

Molly listened in silence, and then remained quiet for a moment processing each and every one of Renveer’s words.

Cet refuses to talk to any trill other than me about his predicament. The sentence came back to the front of Molly’s mind. “Well…” She finally started. “… what if it wasn’t a Trill? Could our Counselor, or any other counselor for that matter, help him in any way? I know it sounds like a weird suggestion, but if he refuses to talk to any Trill other than you… maybe speaking to someone of a different culture might provide him with different insight that could be useful for him to work on, and maybe even accept, his coexistence with the symbiont?”

After a pause, Molly continued. “If there was any other case like this… even if it was kept quiet… I imagine there might still be records of it. I imagine that it would be the target of at least some sociological studies, no? If so, where on Trill might records such as these be kept?”

Holloway, CO

Renveer sighed. “I’m sure those records would be kept locked away with the Commission, an organization that Cet is frightened of. We could try to convince him to seek their help again, but I’m not convinced that he would be open to the idea. He’s been a bit paranoid about the Commission in the past.”

Something that Molly had said made Renveer stop and think, however. “Maybe… hmm, yes, maybe. I think I, and Cet, have assumed that a non-Trill would not understand the complexities of the situation at hand… but as you’ve said, maybe that would be an asset. If a non-Trill could speak with him and analyze the problem without the cultural bias we experience, it’s possible that he could be persuaded to see the issue from a new perspective. Subtracting the cultural aspect would be extremely difficult, but might make the situation a bit simpler and thus easier to answer.” Renveer groaned lightly. “Unfortunately, that type of work takes time. And if Cet leaves the ship, monitoring that progress will be difficult to do.”

(Lt. Cmdr. Renveer, XO)

OOC: Sorry it took me so long to reply to this!!! – Joana

“What if Cet remained on board? Do you think Lieutenant Gadi might be able to do the job?” She paused before adding. “And well… would you be able to live with him on board?” It was, unfortunately, the only suggestion Molly was able to offer. “Although, if Cet would agree to see someone non-Trill outside of the Dresden, it would at least give you a little more time to breathe.”

Holloway sighed softly and glanced at the door. They should probably go back inside soon. She didn’t want to leave Forgrave alone with their guest longer than necessary. When she looked back at Renveer, she did so with warmth in her gaze. “I’m sorry…” She finally said. “I wish I could be of more assistance… Rest assured that I’ll do anything in my power to help you. Even if that means removing Cet from the ship.” Molly had a myriad of toold at her disposal. Moreso than the average Starfleet captain, due to her connection to Starfleet Intelligence. She didn’t say it, but she didn’t need to. All she wanted was to let Renveer know that whatever happened, she would be on his side.

“Is there anything else that you want to tell me before we go back inside?”

Holloway, CO

Hsull had been wandering about the ship trying to familiarize himself with the layout and meet members of the crew. As he roamed he carried his cane, he didn’t really need it any more and only set the tip on the deck every fourth or fifth step he took, it was more of an affectation than a need,.....and there were the other reasons he carried it. He wanted the crew to get used to seeing him with it, hopefully he would never need what was concealed inside but “err on the side of caution.”

As he rounded a curve in the passageway he noticed a familiar scent, it was the XO and with it was another scent, this one was definitely female and the pheromones she was giving off marked her as a bit anxious and concerned about something. He continued down the passageway and came upon the XO and a female officer who had captains pips on her collar, he assumed this to be the CO Capt. Holloway. His ears swiveled forward a bit and he ran a hand over his head, smoothing his ruff, he would have to start wearing it in a ponytail or something as it was getting too long. He approached the two officers, “Cdr., good to see you again and I assume this must be Capt. Holloway. Ma’am, Chief Warrant Officer Hsull your new Tactical Officer, I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting you yet.” Hsull switched the cane to his left paw and held out his right to the Captain, careful to keep his claws fully retracted. “I was thinking of getting a cup of coffee in the lounge, could I interest either of you in something ?” Large blue eyes watched the two officers carefully and the tufted ears rotated forward expectantly.

Hsull - TO

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