“I’m surprised Mettex isn’t joining us.” Horin noted after welcoming her next patient into her office and gesturing for Slyvexs to pick somewhere to sit.
Taking a seat on the sofa opposite to Counsellor Horin’s chair, the Denobulan doctor waved the idea off about her husband coming. “No, I felt this session should be just me but I do appreciate you being flexible and considering having him here.”
“I know that for some Denobulans, talking about your feelings it’s something you prefer to do as part of your family units.” Horin shared as she got herself comfortable in her chair. Placing a pillow behind her back, she sat up straight as she began the session. “So, Doctor Slyvexs, where do you want to start?”
Crossing her hands together and placing them on her lap, the doctor shrugged. “I would say start at the beginning, but I’m not sure I need to. I know you want to fully assess us over our thoughts and feelings over the whole situation, but for me I didn’t have an issue at the start of it all.”
Taking down what she was saying, Horin placed the PADD she was using to record her thoughts down onto her lap. “Why not?”
“I suppose a combination of medical training, the oaths I took as a doctor and my own life experience as a parent, as well as a grandparent, I didn’t feel like we were initially trapped.” Slyvexs shared. “To me, we were answering a distress call and helping people who needed our immediate attention.”
“From what I’ve read, after your captivity took place, you were the one to lead Odyssey’s efforts in undertaking medical examinations of all of the children and curing them from their issue you discovered after they had been in stasis for so long.” Horin remarked, she peaked down at the PADD to confirm what she had just said.
“Indeed, I found acute cellular degradation in them all.” Slyvexs confirmed. “However, I think back to then and I am certain the instruments I was given to treat them had been designed to show me what I needed to see to hide the charade that Captain Jyster was putting on.”
“Did you test the captain’s actual organic sons on your return to Odyssey?” Horin quizzed as she pushed a stray hair back behind her left ear.
Nodding twice, Slyvexs explained how she had given them a complete assessment and her scans had shown that they did suffer from the degradation but the cure she had administered had worked well like a tick. “My assumption now is that Captain Jyster had just copied those readings from her sons and spread it across the programs of the other children she had created.”
“Talk to me how that all made you feel.” Horin asked as she reached forward and picked up a glass of water to sip on it.
Considering the question for a moment, Slyvexs went on to share her reflection. “Angry at myself for not realising sooner. I suppose the notion that Captain Jyster was tricking us on a low level did not cross my mind. I mean, who creates replicas of dead children for their own children to interact with?”
Horin understood why Slyvexs would say such a thing. “It’s a good question, do you have any thoughts on it?”
“Besides my own judgement at how barbaric it is or was, I can appreciate the need for company.” Slyvexs answered. “That said, I wouldn’t make a pretend family and convince others they’re real.”
“Quite an extreme to be a part of.” Horin stated.
“Yes,” Slyvexs agreed, “If we had been told that they were just a projection of light and force fields from the get go, I am certain that things would have gone a different way. The logic behind it all seems so far-fetched, so unrealistic, but I suppose when someone has been active for so long and had to make a number of sacrifices and ended up putting their children first above anyone else, then it would have an impact on someone’s programming.”
“The need for companionship can be a powerful motivator with decision making.” Horin commented before moving on. “I note in your report and several others, that your role as part of this community was different compared to most of the others.”
“That’s one way of putting it.” Slyvexs said. “Captain Jyster had created a small hospital complex for me and a few of the others who were from Odyssey’s medical department but to be honest it was very unnecessary. No-one was ever hurt or badly injured.”
Shaking her head, Horin corrected the doctor. “No, sorry Slyvexs, I meant that the fact was that neither you nor Mettex were giving any children to care for. By a long stretch, you and your husband have the most amount of childcare and parenting experience from anyone else on Odyssey, but Captain Jyster didn’t see it that way. Can we talk about that?”
Chuckling somewhat, Slyvexs knew this issue would be raised. “My thoughts around that is that perhaps Captain Jyster was unable to determine if the impact we would have on her fake children would eventually lead to us working out her subterfuge. Mettex thought the same. Certain individuals did not have direct and regular interaction in caring for the young people in a family like setting. We helped with teaching them or providing other forms of care, but not direct support. Commander Hunsen and Lieutenant Commander Jen were in that category too.”
“How did that make you feel?” Horin asked.
Looking up at the ceiling of Horin’s office, the doctor rubbed her chin and the ridges on it as she pondered for a moment. “Initially, I suppose I was surprised that we didn’t have any children. When we had been told as a group that we would be caring for them, I envisioned Mettex and I being parents again. That brought back some good memories, we even sat down and spoke about what lessons we learnt from raising our own children and helping with our grandchildren. We didn’t want to repeat any mistakes like before, but when I was told we wouldn’t have direct involvement, I guess a part of me was hurt by that.”
“How do you feel now about it?”
“Relieved,” admitted Slyvexs. “This may sound awful on some level, but it gave Mettex and I more time together compared to what I am used to do my job as Odyssey’s chief medical officer, but along with that it gave us the perfect cover to assist with the escape plan.”
Horin sat up in her chair and nodded to show she understood where Slyvexs was coming from. “I believe the human phrase ‘swings and roundabouts’ applies here.”
“Indeed.” The doctor replied. “As I said, it was nice to spend more quality time with my husband, but the fact we were being held against our will made the whole situation weirder than expected.”
“Weirder, how?” Horin challenged.
Reflecting carefully on her thoughts and feelings, Slyvexs eventually opened up. “I’m ashamed to admit it, but I quite enjoyed being away from my duties on Odyssey and somehow Mettex and I were able to find the positives a lot sooner than anyone else. It’s weird for me as I never thought that after all of my years in Starfleet service I would think that.”
“Imprisonment can make our minds think obscure thoughts, ones we may not normally have.” Horin stated. “Did you ever share that with anyone, besides Mettex?”
Shaking her head, Slyvexs replied with a simple ‘no’, she took a breath. “Everyone we spoke to missed their time on Odyssey. For some reason I had this incline in the back of mind that we were safe, we were going to be okay and we would return home, eventually.”
“And what about after that started to look less-likely?” Horin probed, softly. She wanted to determine if Slyvexs would admit or realise how she was thinking at the time.
“I think I just came to accept that we needed to make our lives comfortable, almost wait the whole thing out.” Slyvexs answered honestly. “A few times, I felt myself getting too comfortable and taking things for granted, but then I would have to give myself my own splash of cold water to remember I was being held against my will.”
“Did you have much interaction with Captain Jyster?”
“Not as much as the captain, she was only bothered about coming to me when I was treating her sons. She was always hovering around like an annoying flying insect.” Slyvexs stated. “It’s what made me think, what I shared earlier, about her deciding if I knew too much then I’d be one of the ones discovering her secrets.”
“Doctor, I hope you don’t mind me asking this, but do you have any regrets from your time away?” Horin tested.
Pausing for a much longer period of time than before, Slyvexs just nodded. “I wish I had seen the cover-up sooner. I should have inspected more stasis tubes and conducted thorough examinations, if I had then I may have saved my colleagues from the heartache and pain they’re going through now.” She then sat forward, “but I don’t regret the time I spent with Mettex. Our lives did become comfortable there.”
Horin nodded and just thanked the doctor for her honesty before they moved on.