Neutral Zone Neutrality
Location: USS Hera, Deck 3, Commander Paris' Office
The Starfleet logo shimmered and shifted until an image of an older woman wearing commander's pips appeared. She had flame red hair and intense green eyes. She sat rod straight and her wild curls framed her pale heart-shaped face. The screen was frozen before a computerized voice rambled on, "Input command code. Counselor Assessment Starfleet Command, Counselor Edelweiss presiding counselor, assessment of Lieutenant Junior Grade V'lera."
"Authorization Paris, Rita, LTCDR 867-5309," Rita called out. She'd never changed her command code when her rank had changed, simply because no one would suspect her authorization code to contain the lesser rank. Sitting in her cluttered and busy office, Rita still had twenty minutes before she had to brief the Captain, and she preferred to review the video log in privacy. It wouldn't do for her to be walking the halls listening to the audio where others could hear, and the subtitled version lost nuance from the tonal inflections and choices.
if the Starfleet counselor had offered a video assessment, Rita would certainly hear what she had to say. After all, she had a great deal of respect for the medical personnel of Starfleet Psych, after they had put her back together so long ago.
The computer chirped and the image of the fire pixie came to life. "This log contains private and confidential assessments of a Starfleet officer and is meant for command and medical eyes only. Now," said the woman as she pushed back her chair.
"This assessment will contain several parts to it. The first and perhaps most important will be my assessment of V'lera in her abilities to complete her job. That will be followed by an assessment of V'lera as a personal note and some information as to her background."
The woman stopped and her eyes widened, "Oh my God! I just gave an agenda. V'lera's organization must have rubbed off on me." She smiled, "Figures." Sighing she got up, seeming to pay no attention to the other person's time. She went to the replicator ordered a ginger lemon tea and took her seat again.
"Alright. So to address the elephant in the room. Video assessments are unusual but I like making them. It's more personal. It can make a dry topic fun. That being said nothing about V'lera is dry. If you've got a half-hour to forty-five minutes grab a drink and settle in."
In the cluttered office filled with mementos of a bygone age and a universe that never existed, Rita Paris rolled her eyes and spoke to the screen with a smirk. "You've got 18 minutes and change before my next meeting. Show me what you've got, Edelweiss..."
The screen resumed. "Alright. Let's start with the most important part," Edelweiss rubbed her hands together. "Counseling. V'lera is an enigma. She is a dualist to the end! I mean not only is she part Orion and part Vulcan but it also carries to her work. I mean I was blown away. I must admit some envy there. Let me tell you what I mean." The figure on the screen stood and began to pace back and forth. Work V'lera and personal V'lera are two different people It's....amazing really. In her work life, she has an amazing and sought after ability to turn off her personal side. She tends to be all about the patient. It's like she doesn't exist herself." She motioned wildly with her hand as if she'd discovered a yeti. "V'lera the person hates physical contact. It's the Vulcan in her. I've discovered her touch empathic abilities are slightly higher then the average Vulcan. BUT," she emphasized the word. "While it's a no no personally, professionally she knows when she needs to hold a hand, give a hug, she's kind, empathetic, somewhat unorthodox in her methods but in a good way. She thinks outside the box." Edelweiss sat down.
Internally Rita made a note to have Sonak reach out to the new Counselor. If she was touch averse, perhaps some training might enable her to limit the unpleasant elements of touch telepathy and armor her mind against unwanted contact. Who better for such training than a master of Gol? Curiosity getting the better of her, Paris paused the recording to research.
Born and raised on Vulcan. Curious, as the wise man said. Tapping the PaDD, she continued the report.
"She's kind, deeply loyal, respectful, strong, and endearing, these are all descriptors I got from people who have worked with her as patients. Actually, her previous captain on the Flame was reluctant to have her leave. She sees the big picture, so if someone is an issue she will tell you. In fact, that little fact can be a positive or negative. She tends to be too honest at times, but supplements it with solutions. So basically, if she comes to you with a problem you better believe she'll have an itemized list of solutions...that we'll get into later."
Pausing the playback, Paris opened a subfile to start taking notes. Adding the consultation with Sonak, she interpreted what was said. Brutal honesty was often a crutch for a lack of desire to engage social morays, so that could be indicative of future problems. Approaching issues with little tact combined with solutions might be very limiting- while no solutions at all could be problematic, an entire list of solutions often indicated arrogance. That would certainly be something to be on the lookout for as they moved forward. It was also curious that in what was supposed to be such a clinical report, the reviewer was practically gushing. Which in turn made Paris suspicious, and in her notes she tapped out a single word- Pheromones?.
Resolving to reach out to Commander Edelweiss later, in order to see if the review remained consistent, Paris tapped the play button to continue the playback. All while keeping one eye on the clock, as she tended to be mindful of the time, given that she always had somewhere to be soon.
As if the recording reached out into Rita's mind the recording continued, "With respect to her Orion side, V'lera is aware of it and takes monthly pheromone shots to ensure all is well on that end. She is not fond of her Orion side and shuts down with prodded about it." She sighed again.
"That all being said. Now the internal workings of NON-work V'lera." The counselor sipped her drink. "That is a bit different. In her personal life V'lera is shy, withdrawn, unsure in social gatherings. She is a book worm preferring to read and paint and write, she is an amazing writer turning out poetry that is quite beautiful. She seems to be forgiving of others, but holds herself to a very high standard, and is less likely to forgive herself. She is...a survivor of life. I have tried to encourage her to seek out friendships with crewmembers on her new posting. She seems almost afraid of friendships, or unsure of them.”
“Another little duality. Confident and nurturing at work, but shy and unsure outside it. You would think the two would war with one another, but she has a remarkable balance. I hope that there will be Vulcans on the ship; it might help her adapt, as she so heavily leans on her Vulcan side. She is highly organized, to perhaps the point of OCD. I'm not saying she inflicts it on others, but her quarters and office are usually color-coded and alphabetized, and she likes to conjure up chaotic settings on the holodeck just so she can make order out of it.”
“She doesn't like to ask for favours...I see that as a big flaw. I mean, we all need to ask for help sometimes. Her CO and XO worked on that, but she has a bit to go there. In fact, she asked for the Hera assignment, and admitted to feeling guilty about it because the Admiral she called on owed her a favour, so he approved the transfer. She has never, I understand it, called in a favour before. She's on a self-journey, and normally this would have been done years ago, but she's been an adult since she was a child.”
“My recommendations would be to maybe have the CMO or another crew member assist her with exploration of the past. She ... doesn't like to talk about it much. I do know that she participated in some barbaric ritual called Kah-Wan. A Vulcan tradition of sending someone in the desert with no food, water or protection. The person has to fend for themselves and I understand there are many fatalities during this ritual. I think a lot of her distrust stems from that. It takes her a long time to trust people in personal relationships."
She drank her tea. "One other warning. She is a workaholic, and if not monitored, she will work herself to exhaustion. Well, that's pretty much it. These are again my observations, and I do hope they have been helpful."
Sitting back, Rita Paris considered the report. The Kahs-Wan was a ten-day desert ordeal for adolescents, designed to ensure that while Vulcans had turned to logic, they would not grow soft. She’d been to Vulcan’s Forge- as a human she would be hard-pressed to survive there for ten days without food, water or weapons. But it was a tradition, and a literal coming of age in Vulcan society. The fact that the new Counselor seemed so very much not fond of Vulcan, having sought emancipation from her parents and apparently had some trauma which was undefined by a counselor writing her review disturbed Paris on a number of levels. It seemed their new ship’s counselors had issues aplenty, which was concerning to the woman whose job it was to safeguard the crew.
A conversation and consultation with Sonak was most definitely in order for Ms. V’lera. The somber scientist was unparalleled in perception and analysis, and few secrets could be hidden from him. Forwarding the odd report to Captain Telvan, she’d let Sonak draw his own conclusions and report.
“Counselors who need counseling. What is it about the future?” the anachronism muttered as she rose, smoothed out her short skirt, and exited her office to discuss the mundane matters of power allotments and developmental projects with the captain.