Knowing that this meeting was inevitable, Tomaz paused before he tapped the door chime to the office he now stood outside. The friendly receptionist has guided him to the place and now he was by himself not sure if he wanted to go in.
He had to go in. There was no choice.
“Come in.” The soft voice of Counsellor Horin echoed through the intercom.
Stepping through, once the door opened, Tomaz took in a breath and entered. “Hello Counsellor.”
“Lieutenant Tomaz, it’s a pleasure to meet you.” Horin welcomed him and offered for him to take a seat on one of the multiple seats she had available for him. Sitting in one of the armchairs, she smiled sweetly at home.
Feeling somewhat assured by her friendly disposition, Tomaz took the armchair opposite to her. “It’s nice to meet you too, counsellor.”
Once he was sitting and appeared more relaxed, Horin sat up straight and began the session. “Lieutenant, the purpose of this session is for us to discuss your time on the Quirennal.” After getting an approving nod from him, she carried on. “So I’d like to discuss what I’ve read from your own personal account and report of what happened. Talk to me about Jeddie.”
Taking another breath in, Tomaz kept his posture as he answered her. “He was the child I was given to care for.”
“How old was he?” Horin asked.
“Six.” Tomaz asked, as he stared at the floor.
“Tell me what he looked like. Hair colour, eyes, etc.” Horin said, smiling still as she tried to get more out of Odyssey’s chief strategic operations officer.
“He had the most platinum blonde hair, it was almost white under the right lighting.” Tomas explained, as he spoke a smile grew on him. “He never would let me style it, he liked the fact it just naturally went a certain way along with the odd curls he had on top. He had blue eyes with a hint of green, just like mine. The most adorable dimples when he smiled or laughed.”
Noticing his reaction, Horin could see that Tomaz had grown a strong attachment with the child. “What type of things did you do together?”
“Most of them were around being outside and being active.” He answered. “I suppose coming from Barzan where my folks were always working, I never had those opportunities, so doing those with Jeddie was something special.”
Reflecting his smile, Horin could really see how much this whole situation must have been affecting the lieutenant. “In your report, you stated that you spent some time with Counsellor Samris and Lieutenant Commander T’Rani’s company as they also had young children to care for.”
Confirming that fact with a nod, Tomaz explained to her how the three of them had shared tips and tricks with their children, the different playdates they had arranged and how busy they had become with it all.
“And what about now?” Horin asked, posing the one question she knew may be difficult for him to hear, let alone consider.
He didn’t answer, just shrugged his shoulders and sat back in the chair. It was almost like he was waving the whole thing off. A surrender. A sense of giving up. There was nothing. “I don’t know how to feel.” He started. “At first after we were rescued, I was angry that Jeddie wasn’t returned to the Odyssey with me. I mean, he was literally in my arms one moment and then the next…gone.” He could feel the tears forming. “My heart just felt so heavy, like someone had just rammed a bat’leth in it and left it there. Then when we were told that all of the children, besides Captain Jyster’s, were not real and just holograms…it just hurts.” Looking at Horin with a pained expression, he kept it together. “He was real though.”
“Absolutely.” Horin said, taking a breath. She could feel the strong emotions of devastation, loss, anger and sadness radiating from the Barzan man. “You spent two months, that’s sixty days with a child you came to the conclusion you would be with forever.”
“He called me dad.” Tomaz said as he pushed away the tears with the back of his hand. Shaking his head, trying to remove himself from this situation, Tomaz couldn’t but help feel the way he was feeling. “I’ve heard about people becoming obsessed with their favourite holographic characters, but this I cannot explain. At you know what hurts the most?”
“Tell me Tomaz.”
“I didn’t feel guilty about enjoying my time with Jeddie or being away from the Odyssey.” He admitted. “I know I should have worked harder to leave and the captain’s escape plan was that pull down to reality that I needed, however I had seen the end result of us all being on the Odyssey.”
“You and Jeddie?” Horin checked.
He nodded as he placed his head into his hands. “I’m sorry.” He mumbled.
“You have nothing to apologise for here, Tomaz.” Horin said as she got up and got her patient a glass of cold water from the replicator. She offered him the drink after returning to him, he accepted with a smile and took a sip from it.
“If there’s nothing else that you take away from this session, then make sure you take this away with you.” She said as she sat down closer to him. “You formed that attachment to that child, thinking you two would be together. You followed your captain’s orders in dealing with the situation you were all in to ensure you survived. You made the greatest sacrifice for your crew, you formed a relationship with an alien child who needed you to care for him. In your eyes, he was real and he was real. You placed your heart on the line so that Captain Jyster did not use the power she had to hurt anyone else.”
Tomaz just nodded as he listened to her.
“Tomaz, for what it’s worth I think you made one hell of a dad. No parent should feel guilty for putting their child first, even those who were unexpected and turn out of the blue. Those memories, those feelings, everything you did with Jeddie are real and no-one can take those away from you.” Horin stated. “He was your son and will always have a special place in your heart. Remember that. Remember the time spend with him.”
“It’s just not fair.” Tomaz said after a few seconds. “He was six years old and that bitch of a hologram killed him to save her sons.”
“There is definitely room here for anger for the injustice, but it is important you don’t resent Jorgeh and Wylem for living. They had no choice in the matter.” Horin advised.
“I don’t blame them, as you said they were bystanders in this whole thing.” Tomaz said. “I just wish I was able to bring Jeddie home.”
“To the Odyssey.” He corrected.
“How come?” Horin quizzed.
Scratching the back of his head, Tomaz admitted one more thing to her. “I really enjoyed being a dad and I loved him. I loved the person I became with him in my life.”