Not expecting to find a huge bouquet of flowers waiting for her on her arrival into her office, Counsellor Horin smiled as she approached them and noticed they were Muktok mixed with Uttaroses. Both plants smelt sweet and the Muktok made a beautiful chiming noise as it was touched. Looking at the note attached to it, Horin smiled at the words.
“To the reunification of the Fourth and Seventh Houses. – Love TBH x”
Shaking her head as well as smirking at Hunsen’s comment, they had joked the evening before about faking a reunion just to find out how Horin’s mother would react to the news of their dinner together. As she placed the flowers into a vase and filled it with water the door chime went off and she looked over her right shoulder. “Come in.” She announced.
The door opened allowing for her next patient to come in: Lukiz Jen. The joined Trill officer poked his head in. “I know I’m early ma’am, but I was worried about being late and not finding the complex in time.”
Smiling still at her guest, Horin placed the vase down on the coffee table between her chair and the sofas she had encouraged her patients to use. “No, do not worry at all, Mister Jen. Please come in and make yourself comfortable.”
Settling into the same couch that others had used in the past day, Odyssey’s chief operation officer sat comfortably with his hands grasped together on his lap. “Those are lovely.” He pointed at the flower arrangement she had just placed down. “That looks like Uttaroses with Muktok.”
“You’ve got a good eye for Betazoid flowers.” Horin stated as she picked up her PADD to take notes before sitting down.
“It’s not mine,” Jen answered. “Daubin, my previous host, had an amateur interest in botany.”
Remembering that Jen’s previous host was a counsellor, Horin remained smiling in a pleasant tone. “Well he must have had a good memory to recall flowers and their species.” She said, “So, shall we begin?”
Nodding with approval, Jen looked at the counsellor. “Please.”
“We need to discuss your time on the Quirennal, everything you share with me will be in the strictest confidence unless anything you share-”
“-breaks any Starfleet protocols or incriminates me in actions that are not expected of a Starfleet officer. I know the phrase all too well, ma’am.” Jen interrupted with.
“Indeed,” Horin stated as she looked at her notes to see the types of questions she had for Jen. “Before we proceed though, I want to make it clear that however much I respect what previous hosts mean to joined Trill, I must insist that Daubin does not take over and it’s Lukiz who I speak to.”
“I understand ma’am.” Jen said, sounding a bit sheepish that he had shown off with Daubin’s memories.
“Talk to me about your time on the Quirennal, your role after Captain McCallister made the decision for you all to remain on the ship while others returned.” Horin started with.
“For someone who has been a parent in a previous life, I was a bit surprised I didn’t pass whatever test Captain Jyster made to determine who would become a parent or carer to the young people. Instead I was placed into a more mentor role for a group of older teenagers.” Jen explained.
Glancing down at the report filed by the Trill, Horin reminded herself of what he had said about it all. “Yes that’s right, you and a few others lived in accommodation in what you called the Halls of Residence? Explain to me what that was about.”
“Well originally we were told by Captain Jyster that due to the high number of young people she had, there was not enough of us to care for all of her children, so those who she deemed to be close to adulthood would be placed into their own dorms, almost like what cadets are given in their first couple of years at the academy. A group of them, no more than about six shared a room and then from there she assigned a few of us to be their mentors.” Jen explained. “We checked in on them, made sure they got themselves up every morning and ready to attend classes, then we ended up organising different activities during the evenings to do with them or giving them time to socialise with each other.”
“How did you find that experience?” Horin quizzed.
Considering the question for a moment, Jen pondered carefully about it. “At the time I suppose I took the captain’s position on it, the fact is to us they were real and these young people needed us to care for them. I suppose I found the relationships I built with my little squad,” He looked at her and smiled briefly, “that’s what I called them. I did grow fond of them and when we started to privately discuss our escape plan, there was a part of me that wanted to ensure they came with us.”
Horin nodded as she showed she understood what Jen was sharing. “And now that you look back with what you know, can you tell me Lukiz how that makes you feel?”
“Angry.” He quickly answered with. “Angry that with all of the experience I have, not just as Lukiz but with everything else I know from my previous hosts, that I didn’t catch on sooner that they weren’t real.”
“I’m sure you’re not the only one who feels that way, Lukiz.” Horin said with a reassuring smile. “It is perfectly fine for you to feel that way. It’s a natural emotional response to the situation.”
“However, the more and more I think about those kids on my squad, part of me just wishes I could have bottled up their programs and had saved them somehow. We could have transferred them to Odyssey and their memories, their lives, would still exist. I feel guilty that we couldn’t have done more for them.”
“It’s interesting you use the term guilty, can you expand further on that for me please?” Horin asked as she sat further straight in her chair, showing she was listening intently.
Standing up and wandering up and down beside the sofa, the joined Trill rubbed his face as he tried to think about the words he needed to use to explain it all. “I suppose the system engineer in me has been able to reflect on what we now know and if there had been some clue that we could have spotted sooner, then I reckon I could have found a way to save them. I mean everything that Captain Jyster had built was based on real life. Each one of those advanced isomorphs or holograms, whatever you call them, were based on actual young people that she had on her crew. Their memories, their thoughts, everything she had about them is now lost to oblivion.”
“Do you honestly think under the circumstances you were all in that saving their programs would have been possible?” Horin asked next.
Shrugging his shoulders as he sat back down, he just didn’t know. “Maybe, I’d like to think we could have found a way if we had the opportunity. That whole moment just seemed to have passed us by so quickly, it felt like we were flying at warp nine that everything just happened and before I knew it we were saved and back on Odyssey.”
“It sounds like you are frustrated at not being able to memorialise those you become attached to.” Horin offered.
“In some ways, yeah I suppose I am. I mean we spent two months with them, every single day of our lives from the moment we were awake in the mornings to late at evening.” Jen stated. “I sat up one night giving one of those kids my advice on life and sharing my own experiences with them, but it was all for nothing. So I just feel that if we had saved their programs, then in some ways…maybe our time there would have been worth it. It’s just knowing that the impact I had was…well for nothing just doesn’t sit right with me. There’s no justification at the loss of life, there’s no sense of redemption for the choices that Captain Jyster made. She let those kids die so her own would live. There could have been some way we could have ensured their sacrifice gave some meaning. Am I making sense?”
“Perfect sense.” agreed Horin. “When we experience a mass loss of life, it certainly makes us reconsider our decisions that we made when we knew those people. Again, it’s perfectly normal to feel and react like that.”
“It makes me think back to my time during the Dominion War.” Jen shared, he stopped himself and realised what he said. “Sorry, I meant Razrim’s experience. I’ll stop, sorry.” He became flustered with himself.
Curious to the mild slip up, Horin encouraged Jen to share more. “Do tell me more about Razrim’s experience.”
“Razrim was the host of the Jen symbiont before Daubin, she served in Starfleet as well, in security in fact. She was assigned to the U-S-S Rhapsody and she experienced losing a number of her colleagues during the Second Battle of Chin’toka. For weeks she experienced a sense of survivor’s guilt, maybe I’m going through the same thing.”
“Only I’m allowed to make those assessments.” Horin interjected. “Lukiz, do you mind if I ask how Daubin received the Jen host?”
Nodding, Jen shared the story of his symbiont freely. “Razrim was injured during the Battle of Cardassia while she served on the Malinche. Daubin was serving on the Malinche too, he had already passed the assessments to become a Trill host and was waiting for symbiont, so when Jen needed a new host, the Trill Symbiosis Commission picked him.” He paused. “And before you say it, yes the trauma of losing two hosts who were serving in the line of duty could be a lot for a symbiont. I’ve undergone a lot of counselling, therapy and support to help Jen.” The ops officer placed a hand over his stomach, an almost protective instinct.
“Yes, I saw that in your record. You served under Captain McCallister during your joining when Daubin was killed on the Triton.” Horin said as she read her PADD.
“The Triton was my first assignment and Captain McCallister was very accommodating in giving me the time I needed to take a sabbatical to deal with my joining.” Jen replied. “I owe him as he ensured I had a career to return to when I was ready to.”
“Do you have a strong sense of loyalty to him?” Horin asked.
“I do.” Jen said before smirking. “I know that technique, next you plan to ask me if I agreed with his decision to negotiate with Captain Jyster which may then lead to further questioning over what I felt about it all.”
“I hope that’s Lukiz speaking and not Daubin.” Horin commented. “Entertain me though with your response to that though.”
“I don’t blame the captain for making the decision he made. For all we knew Captain Jyster could have destroyed Odyssey in a blink of an eye and we would all still be captured and lost forever. That’s not how I want the Jen legacy to end. Captain McCallister made a decision that would ensure everyone survived.”
“And did you survive?” Horin checked.
“We did. Things could have been a lot worse for us.” Jen mentioned. “We could have been chained up for two months, with no food or water.”
“Tell me more about your escape plan, who came up with that?” Horin asked next. “And how were you involved?”
“It was a collective decision, I suppose Cline led more on the tactical side of it, but my priority was to assist with finding a quick way to remove Captain Jyster’s abilities to stop us.” Jen said. “Cline was adamant we could do it. He was a good source of motivation while we were trapped there.”
“Cline Lenjir?” Horin asked for clarity of which Jen just nodded to her. “I see you both were at the Academy together. Are you two close?”
“We are and we were at the academy with T’Rani too. The three of us were picked by Commander Cambil to join her when Captain McCallister took command of the Triton and later on we were brought onto the Odyssey to serve together.”
“What type of things did Cline do to motivate you?” Horin asked.
Chuckling somewhat, Jen considered just how much he would share and then he realised he may be asked back at another time. “Cline is like a brother to me, just like T’Rani is like a sister. We’ve been through a lot together and the two of them were especially there when I joined with the Jen symbiont. However, I suppose because both of us were made these mentors, Cline and I just got on with it. He’s pretty much a positive guy anyway, but I know I could depend on him whenever, I hope he feels the same way. He is a truly good friend.”
Horin smirked a bit, “Without trying to read your mind Lukiz, I could sense there’s more you wish to share. I’m sorry but your thinking is quite loud.”
Embarrassed at that fact, Jen closed his eyes and winced at it. “Cline is a good wing-man. It’s a human phrase about a friend who helps you out with your love life.”
“Oh right, so he has supported you through your love life?” Horin assumed.
“Somewhat, yeah.” admitted Jen. “You see, before I joined I was dating a fellow crewmate and after Jen was part of me, that relationship changed. Ever since it’s always been a bit difficult with that person, however while we were on the Quirennal that person’s love life was revealed to the entire crew.”
“So that was awkward for you, I suppose your crewmates knew about your history.” Horin surmised from what she had gathered so far.
Nodding once again, Jen elaborated about the situation further. “I was with Tobias Court back when we first joined the Triton. We’ve always had an on/off relationship but it’s not apparent he has moved on to someone else. The whole revelation was a bit of a sting to the heart but Cline was there to keep me going.”
“Why was it a sting?” Horin asked.
Wincing, Jen wobbled his head side to side for a bit before answering. “He’s with Commander Duncan now, with him being our first officer it’s just hard not to be reminded about the time I had with Tobias.”
Not commenting on the fact she knew of Duncan on a personal level, Horin kept her professional pose. “Does their relationship revelation prevent you from doing your job?”
Shaking his head now, Jen gave out a flat out ‘no’ in response. The Trill smoothed out the green khaki top he wore. “It came out of the blue and I am happy for Tobias. I take responsibility for us breaking up as I had become a new person and couldn’t cope with any relationship I was in. I had to return to Trill to deal with my joining, but seeing Tobias with Commander Duncan, especially being a family unit with Captain Jyster’s sons, made me realise that could have been me with him. So maybe it’s a bit of jealousy, a bit of regret but nothing that stops me from being a Starfleet officer and doing my duties.”
Interested to see where she could poke with Jen, Horin probed further with him. “Lukiz, did you ever feel lonely while on the Quirennal?”
About to say ‘no’, Jen stopped himself and he could hear Daubin speaking to him for a moment. “Maybe.” He finally answered with.