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Saving the "best" for last

Posted on Sat Sep 22nd, 2018 @ 10:45pm by Ensign Avendar Jurot & Lieutenant Commander Mnhei'sahe Dox

Mission: Holographic Horrors
Location: Councilor's Office

There were a few times in her moderately brief career in Starfleet where Melanie Dox was required to speak with a counselor. Most all of these were just routine check ups as her previous assignments were all on starbases shuttling cargo and the like. Nothing exceptionally thrilling or overtly traumatic.

But it was her life prior to Starfleet that gave her something of a reluctance around counselors. Raised on smuggling vessels, Melanie grew up with a considerable amount of stress that culminated with her parents, the aforementioned Smugglers, being arrested by Starfleet when she was only 14. This was a situation that had her seeing a number of therapists upon being relocated to her grandparents home on Earth. Dox found the entire relationship to be generally adversarial and since learning to keep her stronger emotions in check was something of a survival tactic on the smuggling ship she once called home, she was uncomfortable with sharing her feelings more often than not.

But this was a regulation and one that she had to fulfill if she was to be cleared for to duty as a flight control officer onboard the HERA. And her encounter with first officer Rita Paris was something of a minor disaster for her. Dox had tried to restrain herself emotionally but Paris saw through all of that and dug deep enough to get past Dox's emotional defenses. She could only imagine what a trained counsellor was going to do. And after reading the crew manifest on the PaDD that the first officer had given her with her orders she knew this counselor in particular was a Betazoid.

Automatically this put Dox on guard even though she knew that would be even less effective here than it was with the first officer.

Standing in front of the door to the counselors office, Dox took a deep breath and told herself that she was going to just be straight and not try and be defensive. our meetings with the captain and the chief medical officer both went really well and she was trying to hold on to that sense of mild accomplishment. She tap gently on the console outside the door and heard the familiar chirp come from inside.

"Come!" said a melodious voice from inside. The door shushed open, and she saw the new Chief Counselor. Avender Jurot was a very tall Betazoid woman- much taller than Dox. Her skin was very pale, and her wavy auburn hair reached the small of her back. She was very curvy and busty, a fact that her tailored duty uniform accented.

Avender smiled, and walked toward Dox, hand extended. "Lieutenant Dox! Welcome! Right on time, I see. I'm Chief Counselor Avender Jurot. Please call me Avender." The entire room seemed to radiate serenity: a feeling of comfort and perhaps even happiness.

Dox met the handshake with a quick, regulation two pumps before taking her hand back. Her handshake with the First Officer had lingered considerably too long, awkwardly on her part and she was anxious to not repeat that minor mistake. "Lieutenant Junior Grade Melanie Dox reporting as ordered." She purposefully didn't say "Avender", "Ma'am" or "Councilor", feeling as though the suggestion to do so might be a verbal trap of some sort. In spite of her desire to not do so, she was automatically on the defensive.

Avender smiled wider. "Make yourself comfortable, Lieutenant." She indicated a very comfortable looking recliner couch with a chair and a small glass table next to it. On the table was a pitcher of ice water, a glass, and an archaic box of tissues."

"I sense you are guarded, lieutenant," Avender said. "There is no need to be. I am not here to trick or trap you. In fact, I'm here to help you escape the tricks and traps life may deal to you sometime. And while we are being monitored, the feed goes directly into a medical file accessible only to myself, the CMO, and Starfleet Medical. Of course, if there is a threat to the safety of yourself, the ship or crew, regulations specify that I report that to the Captain."

She sat down and crossed her legs. "So, please, call me Avender. I promise nothing bad will happen here."

"Of course I'm guarded." Dox thought to herself. "The first thing you did when I walked in the door was read my mind." But that's not what she said. She realized rather immediately that her thoughts just now we're obviously not private and she closed her eyes for a moment to compose herself before sitting down.

"As you're clearly aware, I'm not... comfortable... around therapists. And therapists that know what I'm thinking put me even LESS at ease." Dox spoke calmly and with a matter-of-fact tone. She was honest if not 100% happy about it. "But... I'm committed to making this work here on the Hera and that means working on myself and how I deal with people. So... I'm trying, Avender. I apologize in advance."

"While I am VERY capable of reading your mind, and much more, I prefer not to do so for many reasons- one of which is because the Captain told me not to do so. As a Betazoid, I also read emotions. You are clearly uncomfortable, and your body language suggests a readiness for physical confrontation- hence tricks or traps," Avender said.

She sighed. "Lieutenant, I could find out everything about you in an instant, but that would not HELP you. Part of therapy is you opening yourself up and examining yourself- your thoughts and some things that are uncomfortable, and then you work through them with my help and experience. I'm NOT here to hurt you. I'm here to help, if you'll let me. If you don't have faith in my abilities or professionalism, I can recommend you see another counselor and it won't be any kind of mark on your record."

The Betazoid woman leaned forward and looked Dox in the eyes with her black pupils. "I'm asking you trust yourself, and to trust me. If I weren't very good at what I do, I wouldn't be here. If I didn't care, I would have already dismissed you. Let's make a leap of faith together, ok?"

In spite of the councilors assurances, Dox didn't feel any more comfortable, but she also didn't want unnecessary conflict on her first day on board. And she sincerely wanted to be better. "Ok. I can try."

"That's all I ask," the Chief Councelor replied.


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