How to Make a Counselor Mad as Hell

Posted Oct. 2, 2023, 9:04 p.m. by Lieutenant Junior Grade Vanessa Slade (CNS) (Kate O'Neill)

Posted by Captain Calvin Marius (Captain) in How to Make a Counselor Mad as Hell

Posted by Lieutenant Junior Grade Vanessa Slade (CNS) in How to Make a Counselor Mad as Hell

Posted by Captain Calvin Marius (Captain) in How to Make a Counselor Mad as Hell
Posted by… suppressed (4) by the Post Ghost! 👻

“There are 10-year-olds here.” Calvin responded with the only thing that came to mind. They had a dinner and a holodeck date together. They hadn’t really engaged in PDA in front of children. “Not to mention,” as he collected his thoughts. “This engagement is not yet decided.”

However he was pretty sure that they had the game won.


Vanessa let out a small laugh. “Don’t worry Calvin,” she patted his shoulder. “I’ll get the ruler out and make sure I follow the twelve-inch rule like in the academy.”

Calvin scowled at the affection. He didn’t really mind the act or the initiation, it was the setting. Although if he was being truly honest he would have agreed a little peck while playing off ship (technically) with non-crew members wasn’t a horrible thing.

Vanessa let out a small chuckle and shook her head. “Has it really been that long since someone did something besides salute you? Besides these kids could use a bit of exposure to healthy adult interactions. Most of them equate adults interacting with the police coming but your comfort level is noted. You just don’t get the hero’s welcome here if we win.”

He shrugged, “Saluting become pretty addictive. Captains don’t want to admit it but it feels pretty nice that people have to show deference to you pretty much all the time. Strokes the ego.” He had to confess.

“You’d think a pretty lady giving you a kiss would be better....” He made a face. “I’m not sure.”

As she finished speaking a voice echoed in the space. =/\=Game over.=/\=

“Oh my god, we won,” Vanessa’s face wore a shocked expression but her tone was utter joy. Scrambling up out of the hiding spot with Calvin, she performed a very unsportsmanship like dance complete with hand gestures and several colorful metaphors in Klingon.

“You seem surprised?” He said with an insulted tone. “You had the soldiers and the will, all you needed to add was a little tactics.”

“Dude it is only because you brought a ringer in. He would never survive a rematch if we got to bring in a few of our old people,” one of the opposing team members shouted back. It was clear they were going to be as gracious a loser as Vanessa’s team was in being a winner. “You guys would not have the balls to show if we substituted a few of our people in.”

Calvin pointed at himself and replied, “you are actually calling foul because they added a 50-year-old man to the team?” Calvin was not fifty yet nor was he a typical 40 something.

“Yeah old man, you don’t belong here. This is a young man’s game,” one of the teenagers held his hands out to his side as if try and bait Calvin into fighting him.

“You should be ashamed of your poor sportsmanship. You’ve been winning for months you lose once and you are complaining.”

“There is no trophy for second place,” one of the kids yelled out crossing his arms and glaring at Calvin.

“But there are a lot of lessons to learn in defeat. I suspect you are about to go to school, junior.”

“Or you cheated and we should have won,” another teenager touched his temple and stared off behind his glasses clearing engaged in some form of the galactic media that was systemically rotting the brains of kids 12 to 25.

“Oh honey bring it,” Vanessa curled her fingers and waved them to her. “Name the place and time.”

Vanessa Slade CNS

Calvin leaned into Vanessa whispering, “maybe you shouldn’t poke the bear.” He didn’t want to set them up to get crushed by a group of ringers.

“Our team has a six foot two, two hundred and fifteen-pound grizzly in command and a honey badger as his 2ic. We can’t lose.” Looking up at Calvin she wore an expression of pure confidence as she brought up her hands in a claw-like gesture. “For the record, I am the honey badger. It is a small land mammal in South Africa. Tough as hell and nearly indestructible.” The smirk on her face showed she was trying to tough but with her weight and height, few animals were that imposing.

One of the small, scrawney kids on Calvin’s team tugged at his shirt. “Mr. Griz,” he seemed to embrace the name and now labeled Calvin with it as if it was an avatar, “we can beat them again. Right?” He utterly lacked any confidence in his words as he spoke.

“Combat has variables so victory is never assured. But if this is the level of talent that they are going to display. I’d say we definitely have a chance.” There was a reason why they have been losing consistently for the past year. One new player and some basic tactics wasn’t going to change the fact that they were significantly out matched, at least by history.

The little boy looked up at Calvin beaming. The comment should not have had such a positive reaction. Calvin had not smacked talked or promised anything but the boy clearly was not accustomed to verbal praise in any form. Leaning in, he wrapped his arms around Calvin middle and side hugged him grinning broadly.

Not wanting the rest of the team to follow suit, Vanessa gently peeled him off of Calvin. “He said I have talent Nessa. I can’t wait to tell Poppy.”

“Of course you do,” she roughed up his hair.

“I can’t wait to tell Poppy,” one of the older kids mimicked back causing a round of laughter among the other team.

“You aren’t allowed to bring anyone who hasn’t played on your team in the last six months.”


“Um…uh Cal…Cal,” Vanessa dropped her miming and began to tug his shirt like one of his mini recruits. “I don’t think we should make that rule.”

“Hmm, why?”

“Because these little snots have older brothers and they are complete and utter jack,” she started a more brusque elaboration of descriptors before remembering the punks were still just children and her team was taking in every detail as if they were a team of historians taking the event down for posterity.

Calvin shrugged, “No one bring ringers who are worse than their normal players. And I wouldn’t want to play against the scrubs anyway. If there is no challenge then there is no glory in the victory.” Calvin said with a deep tone.

“You should have studied your Klingon philosophers.” Not that there was too much philosophy in their texts, most of it was better ways to kill things and honor and stuff.

“I should have been studying the Art of War,” she let out a small chuckle.

“Done,” one of the kids let out a laugh and fist-bumped his friend. “See you tomorrow losers,” they yelled walking away.

“We pick the terrain,” Vanessa added quickly trying to come up with any advantage they could. The wave above his head indicated the terms were set. =/\=Computer end program=/\= she stated watching the walls disappear from a park to the metal ones of the Genny.

Given their performance, Vanessa was far more concerned than he would have liked.

Glancing at Calvin she let out a deep sigh and fell back slightly into the wall feeling a sense of dread. “I think we need a drink. Wanna go to the lounge,” she asked.

Vanessa Slade CNS

“I guess,” He looked down at her. “I’m going to need a roster list of our players and theirs.” He thought for a moment. “Do you have any tapes of the engagements? If they were done via holographic technology it could have been saved.”

“Oh it was saved but the Battle of Alqinto had less gore and it was a massacre compared to our defeats. I can send it to you.” His comment brought a brilliant smile to her face. He was invested in this project of hers. Not hip deep involved but more like this toes breaking the water of a puddle but it was something.

“Their victories have made them overconfident. I which we had made this challenge before we had this engagement.” He reveal a good combat technique and revealed the fact that they had a tactician on the team. “But there is something we can learn from their former tactics and how they use there ‘talent’“.

“Like Monday morning quarterbacking?” Her tone had a slightly questioning tone to it. “Where everyone gets together and they talk about the game and how to improve it but like with real advice and not we will get them next time,” Vanessa fisted one hand and swung it in a go get ‘em tiger gesture. While Vanessa was no longer exactly a newbie to the crew of the Genesis, she still had not cemented the bonds off duty most of the senior staff had between them. This was not the crew’s fault but Vanessa’s. She spent so much time keeping things going off the ship, she hadn’t cultivated real relationships on the ship past easy, breezy, and casual. It was also difficult as a counselor to form tight bonds when at any moment you needed to be an independent sounding board. Aside from a dinner one night and the occasional drink in the lounge this was the first time she spent some real get-to-know-you time with Calvin. Vanessa could not deny she liked this other side of the Captain.

He rubbed his chin, “Maybe we can get them some free cases of soda and pizza the night before. Getting them wired and full of grease might have its own value.”


Moving forward, she plowed into his body hugging him tightly. It was like hitting a brick wall causing Vanessa to bounce off slightly before half whispering, “Thank you.” Her reaction was completely inappropriate in more ways to count and it only took her a second to process what she was doing and who she was actually doing it to. Releasing her grip she took a step back and smoothed a non-existent wrinkle off her shirt. “Sorry Sir it is just…you have no idea how much that would mean to them. I do what I can but,” Vanessa stopped rambling as she looked at Calvin. Hooking her thumb over her shoulder she gave him a slightly embarrassed smile. “Could we skip the lounge and go someplace a bit more quiet like the officer’s mess? I would like to explain what just happened here.” Turning to face him, she started walking backward as she continued talking. “Besides pizza sounds amazing. How are you not starving?”

Vanessa Slade CNS

“Not for us for them. We get a full night sleep and they get wild and crazy.”

Her nose wrinkled up slightly before the smile spread on her face. “I am loving where your head is at but since I don’t see any other team members here maybe I should say thank you in that healthy adult manner I referenced earlier.”

“What do I get if I suggest adding a laxative to the pizza?” Her response was more than he thought he deserved.

“Um what won’t you get,” she countered, “along with my undying respect for that cunning mind you hide behind the taciturn communication style.”

“You can ‘reward’ me I guess, but I don’t think 20 minutes of game play is worth that much.” He didn’t know how women rated value. The time was minimal, but unbeknownst to him, she was rating the attention he was paying to something that was important to him.


“You have zero clue how much that twenty minutes of gameplay was worth,” she countered. Moving to the door, Vanessa pulled the rubber band out that was holding her hair in a ponytail letting it fall around her face and shoulders. “Positive reinforcement is like a narcotic. It can raise your heart rate, mood, and all the happy hormones that reduce stress and depression.”

“We do like reinforcement.” He used the royal we in this case. Plus he suspected that he would enjoy the positive reinforcement.

Moving into the turbo she pressed the level where both their quarters and the officer’s mess were located. “Percy is a great kid and just soaks up the positive. Not all kids are that easy to reach with such minimal effort.” Reaching over she touched his arm and squeezed it. Affection was difficult on any level in Starfleet especially when rank came into play. As a counselor, she knew the biggest psychological issue with Captains was not bad decisions or losses but loneliness. Any meaningful relationship, regardless of whether it was romantic or platonic, tended to be under intense scrutiny. This often meant a CO was either alone or had to be in large groups to keep the tongue wagging at bay. In the turbo, however, there was a moment of privacy.

“Percy?” He pursed his lips. He hopes were quickly dashed.

“Don’t look so defeated,” Vanessa watched the numbers on the turbo count off. “You have no idea where we are going to yet.” She did not make eye contact with him but the smile on her face was hard to miss. “And for the next three minutes, you are on candid camera?” Nodding up to the security camera, she cleared her throat. Vanessa did plan on giving Calvin more positive reinforcement than he could handle but not recorded for public consumption.

“You did really really good out there and honestly it didn’t matter if the kids won or lost. You showed up for them, but I am so behind the lax pizza to make sure we win again,” Vanessa gave Calvin a brilliant smile before letting go of his arm.

“There will have to be significant planning if we want to win next week. Particularly if they are going to come with some ‘ringers’” Calvin paused the thought of his reinforcement passed for the moment.

“Would these kids do some homework?” He could put some basic tactics on a computer page for them and they could memorize a few moves that would give them some advantages. They couldn’t train… he never could get them out. “Or maybe a few tactical sims. We could even walk through some situations photographically.”

“After today I am pretty sure they would would memorize the Art of War if you asked them too,” she replied in a matter of fact tone.

Marius growled happily. He could put in few feints, a couple flanking maneuvers, what a two by two cover was, suppressing fire… which might be the most valuable thing they could learn. Lay down suppressing fire while a second element flanks the enemy… quiet like. Give him enough time, he could get these kid in a position they could give the marines a run for their money.

“Victory is greater that defeat, but I was speaking the truth previously. There are valuable lessons learned even when one loses.” He did understand that a person could get their morale destroyed if they never won.


“Yes but I don’t lose,” she said in a playful tone before stepping through the now-open turbo door. Turning she faced Calvin and held the doors open symbolically. “I gave you a taste of what we are up against and you said we needed to discuss tactics soooo,” she let her voice trail slightly as she backed up and let go of the doors. “Are you going to follow my six or take point?” Vanessa knew little about actual fighting. She did know enough about how to use the lingo to her advantage. She also did not really give Calvin a choice turning on her heel and leading him to her quarters.

“Please,” He choked, “if you haven’t taken an L you haven’t been in a fight. Even the Harlem Globe Trotters lost, and the other team was literally paid to lose to them.”

Opening the door to her quarters, Vanessa picked up several shirts that were flung haphazardly over a chair, dumping them into a corner as she headed to the replicator. “So what do you like on your pizza or are you brave enough to be surprised?”

Vanessa Slade CNS

“This room is…” well he wanted to say a mess, but that wouldn’t be polite. “well… its a mess.”

Vanessa looked at him as a smile crossed her face followed by a huge laugh. “If you think this is a mess you should see my home back in Boston. With fourteen of us in one house the living room always resembles a crime scene that has been tossed before the police arrive. I also wasn’t expecting company or I would have had the good sense to hide everything in the bedroom. Take a seat where you can find one,” she gestured to the living room space.”

“Well your mom doesn’t work here.” He looked around and found a chair only half covered with clothes and a PaDD. Picking them up dramatically, he pivoted and put them on her couch.

“For now. Don’t doubt that woman’s tenacity. She raised nine boys. Valerie Slade has the presence of a drill sergeant and the organizational skills of a general. As long as she thinks I am on Vulcan we are safe. It would not be the first time she showed up at our place of work,” Vanessa chuckled. “Besides this is the first time I have not had to live with anyone. Rank does come with privileges and it’s just messy but clean.” She did not seem phased by Calvin’s reaction.

“Maybe I should arrange that you get a roommate, then you’d have to be cleaner by force of social pressure.” He sat down slowly checking behind him so he could be certain that another cluster of trash.

“Apparently, you did not ever speak to my roommates in the academy,” she winked at Calvin. “Sad but true…a pretty face can get you anywhere. I am so hot so when inspection time came around things tended to be overlooked when they were replied to with a sultry ‘yes sir’.” She did not pull any punches in this statement nor feigned that she was only marginally attractive. She owned the fact. “Pathetic…absolutely but one does what one has to, to make it through the day.”

“I guess having a uniform to wear every day helps your wardrobe choices.” He probably wasn’t earning himself many points.

“And keeps down the mess. Could you actually imagine what this place would look like if I had my civvies mixed in,” she said in a tone that seemed to be more serious than sarcastic. Turning to face him she questioned, “last chance for pizza preference.”

“Any kind of meat is fine by me. No pineapple but I’ll take veggies… ” Calvin didn’t fruit his beers or his pizzas.


Replicating two beers she held them close but did not offer Calvin one immediately. “You’re lucky you took that stance on pineapple,” she turned to face him leaning against the wall with the replicator. “I was just about to thank you for your time and send you on your way.” She looked at him for a long second before setting it on the counter and turning to replicate the pizza.

Pulling the pizza from the replicator, she hooked the two bottles of beer between her fingers and moved to the living room. Setting the food and drinks down on the coffee table, Vanessa sat on the couch after taking a slice of pizza. “Oh,” she held up a finger with her free hand, “my place is also mess because I am never here. I have this boss that tends to be a workaholic so there is a huge pressure to keep up with him.” She punctuated her sentence by taking a large bite of pizza and winking at him.

Vanessa Slade CNS

“”These replicators are so wonderful, but for some reason, there are a couple of things it just can’t get right. Steak, pizza, and eggs, you’d think they’d be able to get eggs right. What’s easier than eggs?”

“Um everything,” she stated picking an onion off the top of her slice. “Cook them too long and they are like rubber nuggets. If you don’t cook them long enough its like slimy balls. Add sour cream and they can taste too rich. Crazy enough the secret to perfect eggs is water. One day if you ever come over for breakfast I will show you but I digress. You are right…replicator eggs are the worst by far and we both ate at the academy.”

He looked around. “I’ve seen your office, you don’t keep that area disheveled. In fact most of your areas are kept pristine.” He suspected that since the other areas were work areas and she was getting evaluated on it… at least indirectly.

Calvin took a bite that almost devoured half of a slice in a single gulp. He leaned back affecting an overly comfortable affect a distance image from his formal demeanor in most settings.


“Well, I am never in my office first off,” she continued to pick off each topping as she ate the slice of pizza. “I find sitting in the office or lying down on my couch creates weird vibes. It makes people feel like they are forced to talk. They also are constantly looking at the clock like they are a dead man walking and counting down the minutes to their execution. I prefer to do action therapy,” she let out a laugh as she dropped her crust and dusted off her finger tips before reaching for her beer.

Vanessa Slade CNS

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