Posted by Lieutenant Issac Forgrave (Chief of Security) in Sanity Check - Forgrave’s Check-in with the ship’s Counselor
Posted by Lieutenant Commander Janusz Korczak (Counselor) in Sanity Check - Forgrave’s Check-in with the ship’s Counselor
Posted by Lieutenant Issac Forgrave (Chief of Security) in Sanity Check - Forgrave’s Check-in with the ship’s Counselor
Posted by… suppressed (17) by the Post Ghost! 👻
As Issac made his way through the halls of the Viking, he tried to keep track of the various signs and labels that he passed, starting to build a map in his head. It would be a while before he would be confident about making his way around, but in the meantime the schematic downloaded to his PaDD would do well enough. Map in hand, it wasn’t long before he found himself in front of the Ships’ Counselor office, and he knocked firmly, awaiting a response.
The door slid open silently to a room much different than most of the ship. It seemed the new Counselor was efficient at making the space less ‘clinical.
The office was obviously different from the rest of the ship. It had the feel more of an old fashioned den or study than an office. It was lit in a more subdued manner than the rest of the ship by wall mounted lights; and bookcases now lined one wall, filled with copies and originals of many texts on many different subjects and in more than a few languages. The desk was moved, set against the opposite wall facing away from the corner, window to the left of a person seated at the desk and allowing for a large open space in the middle. Here there was a couch and a few chairs, one chair which sat in front of and facing away from the desk. A low table graced the middle of the area, and on it was a small bowl filled with softly glowing crystals. Pictures hung on the walls, some were even old photographs.
The man seated at the desk was wholly plain looking. So plain looking in fact that he may have been overlooked entirely except for the fact that he wore actual glasses on his face.
Korczak rose and said “Lt. Forgrave, a pleasure. I am Lieutenant Commander Korczak.” and he held out his hands to the new arrival. “Please, have a seat. Would you care for anything to drink?” he asked politely. The man’s voice was clear and easy to understand, but his accent was certainly unique… as if two wholly unrelated accents were vying for supremacy, but neither one was dominant.
Issac found himself glancing around the office as he entered; trying to get a feel for the person behind the desk from how they’d made this place their ‘home’. It was remarkably cozy; in stark contrast to the generally sterile environment of a starship. Not wanting to be rude, he tore his attention away from the office to its occupant; shaking the offered hand with a firm, steady grip. “Lt. Commander Korczak; Pleased to meet you.” The Lieutenant’s voice was deep and smooth; rounded tones betraying his Appalachian-American origins. His own mental ears twitched; trying to recognize the odd accent, before quickly shelving the oddity for later thought.
“Ah, thanks - coffee please; black.” Issac was not one to turn down coffee; regardless of time or occasion. Moving somewhat stiffly and carefully in the unfamiliar space, he took a seat on the couch across from the desk; not quite settling in, leaving his back upright and clear of the padded upright.
Korczak smiled and went to the replicator, getting the coffee and cup of blackberry currant tea for himself. Setting the drinks on the low table, he took a seat in the lone chair facing away from the desk and said “Please relax, Lieutenant. I know new people and new assessments can be stressful; but I assure you from reviewing your record I have no preconceived misgivings. So we will just talk for a bit, yes?” he asked as he pushed the glasses slightly up his nose and smiled a friendly smile. Another thing became apparent at that moment, a difference between the man and any other Counselor… he had no means of taking notes. He simply sat, hands in his lap and legs together. “So… how has your arrival gone so far? A substantial change from the Dresden, isn’t it?” he asked in the odd accented voice.
Issac nodded in acknowledgement of his stiffness; and grabbing the steaming mug of coffee, leaned back in the sofa. He grinned as he took a tentative sip of the dark brew; remembering the Ops Officer that worked his magic on the Dresden to create the best coffee to ever come out of a replicator. Stores really did spoil us…
“Talking works just fine ‘fer me, Sir.” He noted the absence of note-taking equipment, and wondered if there was a recording device tucked away somewhere - unlikely, considering the confidentiality associated with the role of counselor, but it was impossible to say without a more thorough search than his darting eyes could perform. Temporarily pushing the suspicious part of his mind aside, he considered the events of the past week. “Yea; it’s quite a change comin’ here. Can’t say it was expected; but then it seems like Star-Fleet ain’t opposed ta keeping its people in the dark at times.” Issac shrugged.
Korczak smiled and said “No… I don’t suppose that is something they give too much thought to at all. But I am do not think that way. If you see something you want to look at, Lieutenant, please do so. Just because we are talking doesn’t mean you can’t look around. I wouldn’t have these things out if I wanted people not to look at them.”
“Or maybe everythin’ was unexpected on their end too - just as likely, I suppose. But ain’t much sense in dwellin’ on the past - I’m here now, and I reckon I intend ta make the most of it. Haven’t had much of a chance ta really get settled in as of yet, but I ain’t seen anything that concerns me as of yet. More just… I reckon yer typical ‘new ship’ acclimatization - all the little things; deck layout, cultural differences, and the like. Viking’s only my second posting, so I reckon I ain’t got the hang of swapping ships yet. But I like what I seen so far. The focus on research an’ exploration versus combat is a change as well; but I certainly ain’t opposed to it. Reckon that was one of the reasons I joined up, after all - ta see more of the universe than I’d ‘a been able to otherwise.”
“Two postings and already a Security Chief? Well done. And yes, it can take some getting used to… changing ships that is. But I’m sure you will manage. So why do you want to see more of the universe?”
Issac flushed at the complement; he’d never been quite sure how to accept them. “Uh, thank’ya; I appreciate it.” The mumbled thanks was genuine, if hard to make out around the sip of coffee that served as a feeble attempt to disguise his embarrassment. He shifted uncomfortably, not sure of what to say. “I can’t say it was wholly of my own doing; I reckon I lucked out, so to speak, with personnel changes and I simply tried to do the best I could.” He shrugged noncommittally. “Seems I done well enough; at least, ain’t been busted down as of yet. Hell, I admit I try an’ work damn hard at my job - I don’t always feel I earned it, but I damn sure try to make sure no-one’s trust has been misplaced.” Issac fell silent; not sure where to go from there.
“Wholly understandable and healthy reactions to new responsibilities. Especially when on takes such duties seriously.” Korczak said in way of encouragement for him to continue.
Taking another long sip of coffee, he considered Korczak’s question, appreciating the change of subject. “I suppose the simple answer… well, by nature, I’m damned curious. I was raised in a… lets say somewhat isolated environment - my da was effectively a Luddite, if you’re familiar with the term. But fer all that, it weren’t like I was limited in what I could do; went ta university and all that. But for most of my life, I stayed in a small town in North Carolina; and never had much of a reason to leave. Least, not until I did.” He fell silent for a moment, contemplating memories; pleasant and otherwise. “Joined up with Star Fleet fer a few reasons; one of which was ta get away and see more of uh, what was out there. Weren’t really running from anything; well, nothing but myself I suppose.” Issac’s mug was drained, and he held the empty ceramic as he contemplated what all had brought him to this point.
Korczak nodded. Glancing at the cup, he said “Please, help yourself to more if you would like. You are not required to stay rooted in the chair for the duration. But I am curious about your father? Why eschew technology? Religion, perhaps? Or was it something else?”
Issac nodded at the suggestion of a refill; and moved over to the replicator do do exactly that. The task bought welcome time to consider the question. He sat down on the couch once more, a thoughtful expression on his face; though there was a set to it that suggested discomfort, or maybe uncertainty. “Reckon I don’t know the full story on that one, ta be honest. I think it really started with my grandpa; I never really got to know him before he died, but from what I remember and what dad told me, he was as close to a genuine luddite as ya could find. Completely anti-tech; particularly in his later years. My guess is that something happened in his past to drive him ta that kinda life, but I don’t know that he ever discussed it. I never found out, ta say the least - despite my lookin’ into it on occasion.”
“Reckon my da is a bit of an easier answer - he was raised into that life, and never much had a reason to break away from it to any large degree. He weren’t as hard-line as Grandaddy Ralph; and from what I can tell, after his passing, he uh, lightened up, so ta speak. Da mainly stuck ta what he knew, but despite raising us in that environment, he encouraged us ta make our own decisions in relation to modern tech. Before he died, he’d made some decent steps ta learning about replicators and other such things, but he generally let me handle anything that he called ‘newfangled’“. Issac let out a bark of wry laughter. “According ta him, anythin’ that looked like it could think for itself couldn’t be trusted; and so he left that stuff ta me. Me an’ my sisters inherited some of his suspicion, of course. But we’ve all gone our own ways now; and I reckon we’ve all integrated into modern society just fine.”
“Do you talk to your family often? Your father? Eschewing technology could make communicating… problematic.” Korczak said with a chuckle. “And what of your sisters? Are they in Star Fleet as well?”
Issac grunted out a short, harsh laugh. “Tech, or lack thereof, ain’t exactly the issue…” He shook his head at nothing in particular; letting the enigmatic statement hang in the air for a brief moment. “Dad died about… well, about half a decade ago.” There was bitterness in his tone, with a note of surprise at the realization of time passed. “Reckon his death, an’ some of the fallout of that, is what led ta me joining Star Fleet. I uh, got disillusioned with the life he had; and I was… uh, emulating, I suppose. Don’t really think I knew what I wanted at the time - just that I needed something different.” Issac fell silent, memories replaying in his head.
“Sometimes a life-altering change is needed to deal with a great loss.” Korczak said quietly, yet supportively.
“I uh, keep up with my sisters when I can; we get on well, but I can’t say we’re super close. We each got our own lives, ya know? Keira’s in Star Fleet - joined up outta high school. She’s on an exploration vessel as a xenobiologist; but I’ll be damned if I can remember the name of the ship… Either way, it’s rare that anyone hears from her. Naida’s easier to get a hold of; she’s a professor on Earth; researches alien languages. We all chat when we can; or maybe more accurately, when we remember. I make more of an effort to keep up with mom; though I think that’s more for her sake than mine.” Issac shifted uncomfortably at the admission, but he didn’t shy away from it.
Korczak watched the man squirm in silence, letting him address his feelings internally for now.
“On the whole, I was the only one ta really follow my folks; or more accurately my dad, in the lack of tech. And even then, it was more tradition and lip service on my part than anything else. When I was a teenager, I started going my own way; and ended up sorta… half an’ half, if ya will. Dad never gave me too much grief over it - I think he likely had some doubts about his dad’s beliefs, but just didn’t really know any other way. But that’s just guesswork on my end. Void knows he had his faults; but he never pushed his beliefs on any of us.” He took a long drink of coffee; falling silent after. His eyes stared through the table, into the past as memories previously pushed aside resurfaced.
Korczak let him sit in silence for several long moments before softly clearing his throat to bring Forgrave back to the here and now. “Family can be a difficult river to navigate. They come with untold hidden obstacles that can affect smooth and meaningful communication. Always keep in mind that such difficulties are magnified by distance and time. I would encourage your to make a more consistent effort to communicate with your sisters, especially.” and he took a pause as he thought about the man’s record.
“Yeah; that’s uh, heh.” Issac let out a short chuckle. “Been telling myself for… longer than I’d care ta think about that I’d get in more regular contact with my folks; just… ain’t happened as of yet. Always seems ta be something that comes up first. Alternately, maybe that’s just me making excuses, eh?”
“Tell me about the liquidation of Forgrave’s Hand Tool; what brough that about and how that affected you after.”
OOC: Thanks for the bump; I’d missed this thread!
“Don’t know that there was much thought put into it at the time; once I’d made my decision, I knew I needed ta act on it. I know how easy is is fer me ta slide into routine; and I weren’t exactly in the best shape then; but I reckon I’m getting ahead of myself a hair. After dad died, I got most everything he owned; which was the shop, and well… more than his fair share of debt.” Issac let out a long sigh laced with bitterness; though softened with age.
“Dad had done most all of the accounting himself; and it turned out that it was more art than anything else. Between tryin’ ta resolve that mess, deal with his death, and trying ta keep up with work… well, I weren’t in a good place ta say the least. Got myself in some minor trouble; which was enough ta get me ta look at what I was doin’ ta myself, and it weren’t good. Came ta the conclusion I needed ta get out and away from where I was. Ended up talking with Keira one night, and woke up with Star Fleet rattling around my mind. Decided I was gonna make that happen; come void or hard vacuum. Started selling off the shop and its contents that day.” He was silent for a moment, taking a drink from his mug and letting his voice rest briefly.
“I reckon I had a couple ‘a goals; give or take.” He counted off on his hand as he continued. “Clear out the inventory and shop; I didn’t want ta have to manage it, or worry about it after the fact. I needed ta get enough profit to clear the debts I’d inherited; that was actually a bit easier than I’d feared. With hindsight, I lost a lot of money; or at least, left it on the metaphorical table. But I didn’t get robbed at least - there ain’t exactly a large crowd in that line of work, and we knew most of ‘em. And I guess last, I wanted ta do all that in a bit of a hurry; I decided that I wanted ta get everything settled ‘fore the end of the year.”
“Managed to get it all done in time to get into the academy on their next recruitment cycle. Ended up hanging on to the property; I rent it out now, though I ain’t been back in years. On the whole…” Issac took a deep breath, contemplating what all had lead to ‘now’. “I can’t say I regret it; selling it all off. A’ course, I do wonder what it’d been like, if I’d done something different. But I don’t dwell on it; that’s not what I done, and I think I’m happy with how things ended up. Leastwise, I can’t really make a fair comparison, eh?”
“As far as the fallout.... well, iffin’ ya can’t tell, I sure made an effort ta make a clean break from that part of my life - or if not clean, at least a firm break. It was rough; most all my life was spent in or around that shop. But like I said, I was motivated ta make a change; and I stuck with it.”
“So what was the motivator, then? I mean… it wasn’t the passing of your father. Or… it at least doesn’t seem to be from here. No, most of the time someone becomes motivated by the loss of a loved one it is to keep their memory alive and close. Rarely is the opposite true. And much less than that is the drive so strong as to cause a shift in an entire life time of labor.”
“I mean… well, I reckon that ain’t something I’ve really looked at too hard, ya know?” Issac was silent for a moment, face dark. “I think, more ‘n anything else, I was angry. Dad’s death caught us all by surprise; aneurysm don’t give a lot of warning. I was angry that it all was dropped on me without any warning; and then I was angry that all the finances were fragged. There was more to it a course, but those were the highlights. It was a lot to deal with all at once, and well… I reckon I weren’t in the best state myself.”
“Looking back, it’s a bit easier ta see what I coulda done differently; but then, hindsight’s an awful fragger, ain’t it? An regardless of what I shoulda done, what I did was isolate myself and crawl inta a bottle. Foolishly I thought I could handle it all myself; and honestly, I didn’t want any attention to tha situation. It was… embarrassing, right? So here’s this thing that da an I poured ourselves into, and it was like the rug got ripped out underneath me. So I was angry. At myself, at my dad, at the injustice of it all. And every time I walked into the shop… all that anger came back. I tried to keep at it for a bit, but the more I did that, the more I started drinking. Weren’t long before I felt I needed ta drink just ta start the day.” Issac snorted. “At first it felt like that ‘helped’, if ya could call it that. But a course, that didn’t last, if it ever really started ta begin with.”
He snorted again, reliving the bitterness of his past; before rising and getting some water. Somewhat restless, he paced around the room, eyes not focusing on anything in particular. “Didn’t take long ‘fore I got into trouble cause of it all. Got into a fight; spent the night in jail. It was stupid; though of course I weren’t thinking that at the time; just that it was nice ta take my anger out of someone else instead of myself for once. Until that next morning, I hadn’t really considered how self-destructive I’d become. And I reckon that was a bit of an eye-opener ta me. Didn’t know what I wanted ta do, but I came ta the conclusion that I needed ta get away from were I was; metaphorically and literally. Given time, I mighta been able ta get my life back on track where I was, but frankly I uh, well; I reckon I scared myself with how far and fast I’d slid into the gutter. Didn’t want ta risk that happenin again. So when the idea of StarFleet popped up.... well, I felt it was a damned good answer.”
“And now? Is Star Fleet still a good answer? Or is a regret?” Korczak asked somewhat softly. It wasn’t an attack, just a nudge to see if Forgrave could acknowledge consciously where he was now.
Issac let out a soft chuckle. “Well, ain’t all been sunshine an’ roses, that’s fer sure. There’s been times I wondered if I made the right choice; but then, I reckon that’s likely true fer anyone. Just human nature, ya know? Hard not to wonder about what mighta’ been. But on the whole… nah; I don’t regret it. No idea where I’d’a been if I hadn’t joined, but I know where I’m at now, and I reckon I’m pretty happy with it all. Even if they ain’t always easy to remember, I’ve had more good times than bad here; and at the end of tha day, I feel like I’ve got purpose in life. Hard ta ask for much more ‘n that, by my guess.”
Korczak smiled slightly and nodded. “That is a most insightful response, Mr. Forgrave. You seem to have done a, not to sound sensationalistic, but a remarkable job in navigating your life’s events. Now, that isn’t to say that you won’t struggle again. But if you find yourself in such a state, come talk to me. I do not have all the answers and I certainly don’t know all the questions… but I do have a very robust tool chest that I am happy to share.” and he smiled more broadly. “Now do you have any questions for me? I am happy to address anything you wish to know.”
Issac looked away and shuffled awkwardly; uncomfortable with the praise. “Ah, I mean sure, I make it sound simple - it’s been what, six or so years now? I’ve had time and more ‘n a bit of help along tha way; an like ya said, ain’t always easy. But uh, I’ll surely keep yer offer in mind - I reckon it’s your job, yeah, but I do appreciate it.”
“As fer questions… well, don’t think I got any at the moment; least, none that ain’t work related - and I reckon those can wait for a bit. But iffin’ I come up with any down the road, I’ll be sure to reach out.”
Korczak chuckled slightly and said “Then ask your non-work related ones. I am always happy to talk non-shop. It’s a rare break from the task at hand.” and he stood up and went to the replicator. “More coffee, Mr. Forgrave?” he asked as he ordered another tea for himself.
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