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Part of Starbase Bravo: Sundered Wings and Bravo Fleet: Sundered Wings

Awakening

Starbase Bravo, Sector Hotel-Turquoise, Counseling Office
June 2400
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Neva hadn’t slept in almost a week and her work was suffering because of it. Nothing was helping anymore-no drink (real or synth), running in the holodeck, or late-night walks.  In the end, she’d conceded to take time off. She laughed at the irony as she went to Sickbay. She felt bad enough now to try and hope they do more good than harm.

Neva rounded the corner only to find the Sickbay swarming with people. She’d heard rumors that Romulans had come to SB-4 with some scary virus. Seeing the sea of people, she turned to walk the other way.  

~PAIN…CONFUSION…~ Neva stopped short & clutched her head, her pain rising to the surface. 

~How? Who’s that?~ she found herself replying without volition. 

~Help me! PAIN…Where am I?~ was the reply.

~You’re at Starbase Bravo. You’re going to be ok.~ 

Neva’s eyes widened, dropping her hands to her sides. 

‘This CAN’T be real!’ she mused. ‘What made me do this?’ Eyebrows lowered in confusion. 

Without another chance to have the ‘intruder’ say anymore. ‘This won’t be cured by a hypospray…’

As soon as Neva checked in with the counseling reception desk, Lieutenant Junior Grade Elegy Weld received a discreet comm in his office.  Because he was alone and reviewing a report from his colleague, Ensign Rex, Weld accepted the call from reception.  More than that, Lieutenant Cordon had been one of Weld’s longest-time patients aboard the starbase, although she hadn’t been to see Weld as frequently in recent days.  Weld asked reception to reschedule his next patient and then he made his way out into the reception area.

“Lieutenant Corden –Neva– it’s a pleasure to see you,” Weld said to her.  “If unexpected?”

Neva walked into Elegy’s office, hair unkempt & clothes slept in. She nodded at his welcome, sighing in resignation.  “Hi, Counselor. Need help & I’m out of options. This one’s affecting my work & I can’t make it stop.” She hung her head sat down on the edge of a couch, then looked at the man bleakly. “I went towards Sickbay & turned around when I saw the refugees everyone’s been talking about.” Neva cracked a rueful smile. “Yeah, bad enough to try MEDICAL means…and you KNOW how I feel about that!” She sat up straight & started the deep Breathing techniques he’d suggested, hoping it would help. During this, tears formed in her eyes. She kept up the breathing despite this, unable to stop them…it always went like this of late.

Elegy perched himself on the edge of an armchair, leaning toward Neva to show his full attention and concern for her.  “I understand, Neva, this sounds very serious.  You know I’ll offer you whatever assistance I’m capable of providing,” Elegy affirmed.  He took a few seconds to join in on the breathing exercises with Neva, and then he asked, “Can you describe what’s affecting your work, what it is you can’t stop?”

Neva took a steadying breath. “I’ve been having nightmares, Counselor.” She looked down at her lap, unable to meet his eyes. “It’s what happened in my teens…it’s coming back. In flashes, you see. It came out when I woke up from one. ” She did a full-body shake. “When I walked away from Sickbay…I HEARD someone in. my. HEAD.” she gulped down the lump in her throat and continued. “How can I do that? I haven’t been able to do any…TELEPATHY…in a LONG time.” Neva sighed hard. “the only one who comes CLOSE to doing that with me is my mother, and even THAT is unreliable.” 

Neva clenched and unclenched her hands, unsure as to how to continue. The tears flowed down more.

Remaining tentative in his approach, Elegy nodded at each of the details Neva shared with him, acknowledging the confusion and suffering she was experiencing.  “The body and mind are both exceedingly resilient, Neva,” Elegy said in gentle tones. “For as much as I can recommend strategies or prescribe treatment, you heal yourself in the end.  How much would it surprise you if this healing had come naturally?” 

Neva looked at him incredulously. “Are you KIDDING?!?” She gestured down her body. “Look at me! Do you think I’m walking around like this for my HEALTH?!? How can you SAY that to me?” She streaked out of her seat, her tears starting anew, she stared angrily through them. “HOW can I ‘help myself,’ Counselor? Click my heels together 3 times? Think happy thoughts & fly away from them?” She glared at him, bottom lip trembling.

Neva’s outburst caused Elegy to fully sit back in his chair.  With his question, the furrow in his brow grew deeper, but Elegy didn’t look away or even blink. “I think we’ve had a miscommunication, Neva,” Elegy suggested.  His voice level, Elegy said, “That wasn’t a suggestion for how you should move forward; it was only a guess at how you’ve arrived at where you are today.  This is where you find yourself.  When you were passing through Sickbay, what did you telepathically receive?”

Flumping back into the vacated seat, Neva wiped away her tears, hand finding the tissue box he kept near without looking. “Sickbay?” She echoed. “I felt pain” such HURT from them ”Confusion as to where they were” without thinking” I *replied* to them!” Her eyes found the Counselor’s, shock returning from the memory. “I didn’t think & I  REPLIED to them! Just nat-natural”.” She snuffled a couple of times before throwing away the tissue, eyes never leaving his. “HOW?!? WHY??” She flung out her arms wide as she spoke, palms up. ” I don’t DO that! I can’t…can’t,” she said softly, brows thrust down as far as was possible. “Why?” She echoed almost in a whisper”

“Let’s put aside why for thirty seconds,” Elegy said, and he mimed setting a box aside on the side table, beside his glass of water.  “That’s beyond our understanding, here and now, and it’s certainly beyond our control.  Can you remember what it felt like for you telepathically reply?  Not what you were thinking about it, but what did it feel like to use that figurative muscle in your paracortex?”

Neva gave him the “you gotta be kidding” look,  her focus sliding to the imaginary box and then to the glass next. The water in the glass was clear…the little remaining condensation sat perched on the sides…the line of water steady & thin…

“I first felt pain” her tone was soft but audible to regular ears. “Like my mother yelling at me…like the last time she was here”, she held her head lightly as she hurt again, still entranced by the line of the water. “They hurt all over…such…PAIN!” Her hands clutched her head a bit more firmly to her head. “Then there was someone” I heard  “help me! I couldn’t help myself, Counselor!” Neva’s gaze now fixed on him, eyes raw with confusion. “I just…I just…REPLIED!” This time, her eyebrows raised, ebony eyes widened. “I didn’t give it a second thought! I just told them they were going to be ok! That they were going to be ok” Her head fell into her hands, shoulders jerking unevenly. “That they were He-e-re..re”

Leaning forward in his chair, Elegy braced his elbows on his knees and his chin on his intertwined fists.  Studying Neva’s expressions, Elegy said, “Receiving telepathic impressions, like that, is an extremely vulnerable position to find yourself.  It’s an intimate exchange.  I can’t profess to understand what that’s like.  Trills have no comparable experience…except perhaps joining…but I haven’t experienced that either.”  He shook his head lightly.  “I hear you say your first instinct was to comfort those Romulan patients, to tell them everything was going to be okay.  How did it feel to give them that moment of comfort?”

She lifted her head & wiped her hand over her eyes. “C-c-c-comfort?? I didn’t. I couldn’t I did, didn’t I?” Neva cocked her head & regarded him. “I just” it was..good!” a slow smile spread across her face. “I felt them” Relax!” Neva looked at him in surprise, a lop-sided grin blossoming. “Oh. My. Gawd! It didn’t HURT!”  

Neva started clapping, then wound down. Her face fell. “It didn’t hurt. How? How is it that DIDN’T hurt this time?”

In reply to Neva’s question, Elegy said, “I don’t know the answer to that,” and he shook his head briefly.  “I’ve studied the biology of telepathy, but each personal experience is unique in itself.”  His green eyes betrayed his excitement at the change Neva was demonstrating in her assumptions.  “What would it mean to you,” he asked, “if it doesn’t hurt you to project compassion in that way?”

Neva sat back in the chair, arms flopping loosely onto the arms and legs sliding straight out and held in place by her heels. “Projecting compassion, huh?” She squeezed the bridge of her nose and then regarded the Counselor calmer than before. “Counselor,  I’m an engineer. I fix problems with COMPUTERS, I don’t fix PEOPLE. That’s your job.” She sat up straight in the chair & steepled her fingers. “The only way I can see myself using that ability is to keep those I work with calm when things are tense. Even then, we’re TRAINED to handle pressure. I’m the LAST person they’ll need to say ‘aw..are you OK? Lemme make you feel better.’” Neva chuckled, leaning her body on one arm & shaking her head. “I may be Betazoid, Counselor, but I just don’t see how my abilities coming back can help in my work.”

“I can see that.  It doesn’t have to be in your work,” Elegy said, agreeing with her amid a couple of nods.  Still, he wouldn’t let it drop.  His gaze searched Neva’s eyes as he went on.  “If it doesn’t hurt,” Elegy asked, “can you not imagine any situation where you would want to experience telepathic communication?”

Neva did a full-body shake, eyes widening. “No! When my abilities were normal,” she made air quotes on the last word, “I. Got. HURT!” She punctuated the last words with a finger tapping on the arm of the chair. “What happened before has left me jaded about my birthright. If telepathy is coming back to me, I’m leaving myself open to THAT again.”  She crossed her arms over her chest & leaned back in the chair, gaze zipping to the wall, unseeing. “I’m not willing to at ALL.” Her breathing stuttered, then came in gulping gasps. “I won’t let ANYONE do that to me…EVER!” She shook her head back and forth, face screwing into a sob. “NEVER!” The word was choked out of her in a watery shout. 

“I can understand that.  It’s perfectly natural to feel that way,”  Elegy is empathetically enthused in reaction to her strong emotions.  He straightened up his posture and put a hand on his knee.  Hopefully, Elegy leaned forward and he asked, “Is this something you can learn to control with practice?”

Neva sighed hard, giving him a peeved look. “Counselor? I have a question…why are you so focused on my abilities? I need help also with my dreams. I’m finding it hard to sleep and NOTHING works. No tiring myself out, no drink, or anything else I try.” She sighed again, this one soft before speaking again. “Although…CAN my abilities be the way to heal THIS part of my problem?” Neva cocked her head, thoughtful. “I don’t know what TO control, Counselor. I’d have to ask another Betazoid that question.”

“On a starbase of this size,” Elegy replied, nodding agreement at Neva’s suggestion, “There are plenty of Betazoids who could help you with their first hand experience.  Not to mention the Betazoid colony on Mellstoxx Three.  That may be your best path to learning.  But if you’d rather talk about your sleep, can you recall if you’ve ever had difficulty sleeping at other points in your life?”

Neva cocked her head, losing herself in thought. After minute or two, she looked back at him. “Not really, now that I think about it. It’s just been since…THAT happened.” A tear slid down her face before she swallowed hard and continued. Maybe a trip to see my mother WOULD be the best thing. Take a leave of absence, be with my people for a while and heal in a way Betazoids can. From what I’ve heard, Betazoids are better at healing maladies of the mind.” She smiled ruefully at the counselor. “Think you could make an Official Recommendation to the Chief Engineer I need a Leave of Absence to the Mellstoxx System where my mother is?” She looked at him hopefully. 

Elegy took a couple notes on his PADD and then he looked up at Neva with concern in his eyes.  “You do need time and space to focus on healing,” Elegy remarked.  “Yes, I’ll submit the recommendation.”