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

Who Counsels the Counselor

Starbase Bravo
June 2400
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Cynndle glanced over at the display on the wall and cursed inwardly when he noticed the time. Turning around he walked quickly to the turbolift but after a few strides, he slowed back to his regular pace, his mind wandering back to what the Romulan child had told him and to the call he had with Captain Thevius regarding Lihran.

After what seemed like only a few moments he realized he was standing in front of Heriah’s door. Looking around slightly confused for a second he shrugged, “Damn my mind has been drifting, keep thinking about that…” his eyes drifted across her name on the control console “…no, won’t be an officer…”

He reached out and tapped the door control so that it would chime notifying her that he was here. “Time to see the counsellor” he muttered under his breath.

Heriah had only been in her quarters for a few minutes. It had been another day of dealing with refugees though thankfully the influx was greatly reduced and many had been relocated to an established camp on Mellstoxx III. Still, seeing patient after patient, hearing story of woe after story of woe, giving advice and more advice, that little antagonistic voice started growing ever louder.

The second she had marched into her quarters, she was already setting her hypospray to deliver a dose and, once that dose has been delivered, she put the monocorder on her finger.

It was then that the chime at her door sounded. Heriah immediately started toward the door and, not even looking at the monocorder, she set another dose with the hypospray. Heriah did not even need to look at the monocorder as she felt out of sorts. And when Heriah was out of sorts, only one thing did the trick; benzocyatizine.

Pulling her hair to one side, she pressed the hypospray to her neck as she entered the proximity of her door. “Enter,” she said as she sent forth the second dose.

The door slid open invitingly as she pulled the hypospray away from her neck. “Cynndle,” she said in near surprise. She gave a wave and noticed the monocorder was still on her finger. It was glowing a steady green and she snatched it off, pocketing it immediately.

“Sorry. Do come in.”

Nodding to Heriah he walked in and had a look around. The quarters were as he remembered with the same familiar scent of the Trill sabrebeast perfume in the air. He began to wander towards the chair he had sat in during his last two visits when he noticed a book sitting on the table beside the twin lilacs, as he stepped past it noticed the title ‘Codex of Ț’Ril’ before sitting down in his chair. Leaning back he crossed his right ankle over his other knee and sighed. “So Heriah, how are things? It’s been a while since we spoke.”

“Yes, it has,” she said as she stepped toward the lavatory. She was only in there for the second to put the monocorder away. Back in the main quarters, she fiddled with the hypospray in her hand. “Things have been stressful.” She noticed Cynndle did not make any mention of the hypospray but his eyes went to it twice now. It had suddenly become the grand sabrebeast in the room. She put it down on the table next to the ‘Codex of Ț’Ril and took her seat. “But getting better. The crisis summit is over and Starfleet seems to have started construction of a refugee camp on the planet below. Maybe life aboard Bravo can return to some form of normalcy. You? Things going well for you I hope.”

Trying hard not to look at the hypospray he nodded as Heriah spoke, “Stressful is fairly accurate I would say though I can only imagine the extra pressures on you and the counselling teams with the refugees…” he said before pausing and his eye unconsciously drifting to the table… “Things on my end are what they are. Overseeing the refugee influx from the operations side has meant a lot of extra shifts but it has started to ease up and return to normal. Fairly routine now…for the most part…still trying to sort out the issues with the power junctions. You were right, by the way, some kids have been involved, in part. I have a couple of ensigns in security running it down now and hope to speak to them soon.” he said before stopping and gesturing to the replicator. “Mind if I get a drink? You want anything?”

“No. Thank you,” she said. “I am satisfied at the moment. Do help yourself.”

“Thanks.” He said as he stood and walked to the replicator, as he did he continued. “But the interesting part is I don’t think they are doing it alone.” Reaching the replicator he said “Oolong Tea, hot.” before continuing to be turned to face Heriah and leaned back on the wall while the replicator produced the drink. “The other day I came across a young Romulan child who was opening a panel. Some boys hid her teddy bear, well nei’ɽrh, in it. But the interesting part is that she saw someone tampering with the panel before she got there. They, well she, did some interesting work on it.” He picked up the drink and headed back to the chair. “Honestly just gave me more questions.”

“Answers to questions generally breed more questions,” she said watching him take his seat. “There will come a time when you may have to forego learning some answers in favour of what is more important.” Heriah thought briefly. “You mentioned a Romulan child with her ‘teddy bear.’ Not sure what that is, but I assume you are referring to a stuffed animal of sorts.” Heriah nodded as she continued, “I assume you met Runaite. Good kid. Her parents are nowhere to be found and she seems to want to belong somewhere. Hence why she joined the Space Girls I guess. Keep an eye on that one. Security has been alerted that she may be a pick-pocket.”

“And I must apologize by the way,” Heriah immediately continued. “I personally fought for unaccompanied children to remain aboard Bravo while the refugees are being relocated to Mellstoxx III. This means the gangs are still here. The camp down there does not have any security measures in place yet. At least here, we can keep an eye on the kids and perhaps get them on better life paths. If they are involved in this sabotage, their involvement may not go away just yet.”

“It makes sense, there need to be the appropriate systems on the ground to oversee the children. I assume that is a high priority for the teams down there. As for the gangs, they have always been here, doesn’t need to be unaccompanied children, after all, if they are involved it would explain why it was happening before the Romulan incident.” Cynndle said with a shrug.

“Again, I apologize. It is good to see you keeping busy though. It seems you have been working in Ops a lot more as opposed to cross-training. Makes sense. The refugees, Dr. Longfellow’s investigation, I hear you are helping with that, it is all good work and for a good cause. Keep telling yourself that. The benefits will always outweight whatever losses we incur. To get to that end, always seek answers, but seek the answers to the important questions. Seek and you will find. Ask and you will be informed. Sometimes, the answer is sitting right before you. You’ve only the need to ask.”

That second dose of benzocyatizine did the trick. Heriah felt great. Both in being fully united with Rex and for being back in her regular counseling schedule again. Working with the refugees was good but tiresome and chaotic. Here, things were much more under control.

Taking a sip of the tea while he listened Cynndle shorted in amusement. “I assume that isn’t literal and you aren’t the answer,” he said before continuing “There are a lot of questions and we are doing all we can to get to the bottom of it. I have set up some subroutines which will notify me the moment any errors appear similar to what we found before so they can be quickly fixed. Security is also stepping up a bit more now so shouldn’t be long before I, we should have the answers we need. Especially if whoever did it was contracted by those Vulcans to attack Longfellow all those weeks back.”

Speaking of the doctor, Heriah made a mental note to see him. Since that attack on him and with his wife’s command being quarantined because of the blight he was investigating, she needed to check in on him.

“Yes,” she said, “there is that. Best of luck in your investigation. When you find whoever is doing this, I would certain like to speak to him; find out why he is doing this. “Now,” she comforted herself more in her chair. Heriah wanted to get this session underway regarding Cynndle and the struggles that originally landed him at her door, but her eyes went to the codex resting upon the table. She had noticed Cynndle glancing at it a time or two.

‘Surround yourself with those who know and love you,’ echoed the memory from the Alle’Ke’Zonda’er High Priest those years ago. Heriah felt ‘love’ was a tall order, but ‘know’? There was always a beginning.

Normally, Heriah would feel an overwhelming sense to not speak to this. Of course that overwhelming sense was always stemming from Rex. This time, however, she only felt the twinge of a thought to not speak on it. That, and a bit of a nervous reaction over letting someone in. She tried her best to hide it, but did feel a slight cold and burning sensation about her spots. Her decision was made.

“Cynndle,” she leaned forward, resting her elbows upon her knees. Heriah broke eye contact and looked downward a bit. “I feel that…you and I…have…worked together enough, seen each other enough. And we are only going to keep working together. So…I feel that…you…deserve to know something…about me.” She swallowed. A quick glance at the replicator made her wish to head that way and get something to drink, but gave that up to the thought in the back of her mind to stop talking. She sat there and continued. “Rex…my symbiont…has a traumatic past. I knew this when my time came for joining. Knowing what Rex went through, knowing the risks, I…decided to proceed with joining with him. Um…” she sat up, sat back, returned to resting her elbows on her knees. “My joining was…not normal. But joining did take. I…I have my struggles too. Hence the,” and she picked up the hypospray and showed it to him. “Benzocyatizine. It’s a medication that helps stabilize and even boost isoboramine levels. All Trills have isoboramine, but it is largely redundant to the unjoined. It is highly important to the joined, however. And mine…” she looked at the hypospray shortly then to Cynndle, “my levels do not always remain stable.”

She managed to get that much out. The desire to stop talking was growing within. “So, in case you were wondering about the hypospray…that is why. I…felt you deserve to know.”

The tingling sensation of her spots was still there, nervous about his reaction and response.

Cynndle looked at her calmly while she spoke. “Sorry to hear that you, that Rex, you are now part of Rex, sorry I will admit I am never quite sure of the correct way to think of that. It’s why I call you Heriah…. Sorry to hear that there was a traumatic past and the, well your struggles, I know those things can leave a mark on someone.” With a smile, he then shrugged, “I will admit I was curious about the hypo, not in the sense I was concerned. Just that, you know, you see something and your eyes are drawn to it as it presents a question….” he said then paused. “Sorry I was rambling a bit. I am glad the Benzocyatizine is helping to stabilize your levels. Thank you for telling me this. I am sure it was difficult. If you ever want to chat I am but a combadge away.”

“Thanks,” she said with a near laugh of relief. The slight burning sensation of her spots mitigated. They still felt a bit cold though. “I admit to not always being keen on opening up like this.” She put her hands together, holding one in the other, both resting in her lap. “What kind of counselor would I be if people knew of my own struggles? I mean, what…kind of counselor would I be if all I did was bottle them up? Um,” Heriah realized she was start to ramble herself. “I mean, we all have struggles right? And, we are typically drawn to a profession in what we deal with day in and day out.” She did not have the help of that other voice in her head that she had grown accustomed to. As antagonistic as Rex oftentimes was, he was also helpful. “At the Academy I had someone help me through my troubles, so, I figured, I would enjoy helping others through theirs.” She smiled at Cynndle as she finished.

Then Heriah realized something. “Listen to me, carrying on. This session should be all about you. How are you doing, Cynndle? Things going well for you I hope,” she asked completely forgetting she had already asked that question.

Taking a long sip of his tea Cynndle listened to Heriah as she opened up to him before responding. “Everyone has struggles as you have said and as for what kind of counsellor it would make you if people knew? I would think a good one. You are only human after all; well Trill, if you pardon the phrase.”

Heriah nodded her understanding.

“As for me, well I guess I didn’t answer, did I? I haven’t done much cross-training due to the refugee situation though the work was officially with Ops I did spend a fair amount of time working with the engineering teams and medical as the Operations liaison for various things if that counts?” he said with a shrug. “Honestly though, the last couple of months I have been feeling like myself again. I know and well knew that everything on the Dawn wasn’t my fault…” he paused and stared out the viewport for a moment, “…but I would be lying if I don’t dream of it at times. Not that the dreams make me think it is my fault but it was a stressful event and they linger with you I guess.”

“Troubling thoughts do have a way of lingering,” she said. “In fact, hurt and hate is always are far more easily felt state than solace and love.” Heriah glanced at the codex. “I was once informed, and this was years ago…well before my joining with Rex…but I was told to surround myself with people who know and lo…um…are familiar…with me. Do that…and I will survive what is coming. Some cryptic rhetoric there but you understand the meaning. I am certain that advice would apply to you as well.”

Heriah could almost hear the High Priest’s voice echoing in her mind as she spoke. “Only those that you surround yourself with who know and,” something in her made her alter the next word, “are familiar with you will be able to help you survive what is to come.”

Heriah paused a brief moment. “In other words, you are not alone. Let people in. Let someone know your deepest and darkest secrets, even those that you attempt to shield yourself from.” Heriah started to think about an event from her past, Rex’s past to be exact. And the instant she started to think on it, there came an equally powerful desire to not think on it, to push it way down, to forget about it. “Do that, and you will have all the support you need.”

Cynndle leaned back and smiled slightly as he nodded in agreement. “I do agree, hate is easy to feel and left alone it can run rampant though can’t say I hate anyone per se. The events were traumatic and I expect they will be with me, such as these dreams for a long time to come.”

“What you say though about who you keep around you is true, friends help support you through the rough patches…” he continued before he trailed off, staring without focus into the distance, “…even the loss of such friends.” His focus snapped back and he let out a single chuckle under his breath. “That is one of the reasons I struggled when I got here, tried to push through it alone, right. But there are several people here who I have met and work with, yourself included,” he said with a slight smile, “that have helped, a lot. I also really do appreciate that you felt comfortable enough to open up to me.”

“The sharing of one’s deepest and darkest secrets, well, that really shows a level of trust that can be hard to find and takes time to build. Though I guess it depends on the type of secret, or what a secret is?” Cynndle said with a shrug before picking up his mug and looking down at it, making a slightly disappointed face before finishing it off. “Though it depends on the individuals involved as well from my experience, the holder of the secret and the recipient.”

“I agree, and thank you, by the way. I am glad to help. Similarly, several I have met here and work with here, including you, have helped me. I…do not…always take my own advice.” But she was wanting to do that now. “Trust is something that takes time and is something that needs a foundation before it can be pursued. Trust foundations though can be slowly built upon or you can slam one down and trust yourself to believe it is sturdy. For instance,” and Heriah sat back thinking briefly. Again there came an overwhelming thought to not speak on a particular thing. She went with a not-so-dark event in her past. Not so dark, but painful all the same.

“At the Joining Commission, when I was called in, there were many other Trill all hoping to be the one walking out as newly joined. They all had their families and/or friends. Many were happy and confident. Others, nervous and anxious. I was the latter and I also had no one there to comfort me. No friends and no family. My sisters were far away working the family business. They also succumb to my mother’s thumb. She’s a magnate, my mother, and owner of the business. I slid out from under that thumb. All I dreamed about was becoming joined. When that dream started looking more like a pipe dream, I turned to Starfleet. That dream did come true,” she looked down at her torso, “obviously. But, I am still cut off from my family if my mother has anything to say about it. That and…it would have been nice if someone showed that day at the Joining Commission.”

There was a lot more to it than that, but Heriah felt she had spoken enough. “I’m not asking you to detail anything to me. I just wanted to put down an example of a trust foundation. It’s all true, what I said.” Heriah smiled. She felt good in getting that out. Still, there was no retaliation or comments from Rex. It left Heriah curious as to why Rex was always so resistant to opening up. Letting things out seemed to unburden the conscience.

Cynndle sat back in his chair and looked at Heriah and gave her a sad smile, “I am really sorry to hear that about your family. I can only imagine how difficult it would have been to go through something as life-changing as the joining.” Letting out a sigh he continued, “May not be family but you have people here who value you, and your friendship, care about you…when you need them.”

Heriah felt a profound sense of relief in hearing that. It meant that she was doing what she needed to fulfill what the High Priest had said to her; to surround herself with those who know and love her. It also meant that, as long as this continued, there would come a great trial that she needed to survive. That thought alone made her, a small bit, terrified. Taken that the High Priest actually knew what he was talking about.

“I will admit, I don’t have anything of equivalent to share really, beyond what we have already discussed and my well embarrassing lack do action with that girl all those years back.” Waving a hand dismissively he continued, “not that it is even a remotely comparable event. But I can say this…I do trust you Heriah Rex.”

“And I hope to never damage that trust,” she said. “Nothing would prove more dishonorable for me to do so.” She had a sudden thought and spoke up immediately. “Speaking of that girl all those years back…have you found yourself in a similar situation yet? Now that the crisis summit is over, I hear that Bravo’s command staff is planning an event. There is still no word on what or where…or when for that matter. They are just in the planning stages. With all your cross-training and all the women in Ops, I find it doubtful you have not met anyone that has caught your eye.”

“Glad to hear that, I hope the same, I would hate to damage any trust that we have built between us.” Cynndle leaned back and shrugged. “Hmm…Honestly, I haven’t given it any thought what with everything going on. I had heard about a planned soirée but, well, sort of left it at that.”

“Same,” she said. “Heard about it but have not given it much thought.” But, as station counselor, Heriah knew she needed to at least make an appearance.

He shifted slightly in his chair and a nervous smile crossed his face, “If it wouldn’t be inappropriate, would you like to join me?” Before Heriah had a chance to respond he added, “As friends.”

Heriah opened her mouth and appeared to speak a few incoherent syllables but nothing audible reported from her mouth. There was, of course, a line she was not able to cross. By definition, she was the doctor and he was the patient, but Cynndle’s ‘friends’ addendum made that line real fuzzy. There did not seem to be anyone else that could offer approval or denial. Surprisingly, there was still nothing from Rex.

Heriah finally rediscovered how to use her vocal chords. “That…sounds acceptable. That sounds great. Let’s…let’s do it.” But the whole putting words into sentences thing proved a bit lacking.

“Yeah,” she, again, gave an approval and followed that up with an awkward yet approving smile.

Cynndle nodded, “Great..” but paused for a moment and pursed his lips in thought as he guessed what was going through through Heriah’s head“…if that is an issue with the whole doctor patient thing I understand and wouldn’t want you to get in trouble but figure friends can always go to events.”

“Oh, of course. No. No issue at all,” she said, “…that I know of. Hey,” an idea came to her, “if either of our superiors have anything to say, we are going as friends…as acquaintances. If they shove regulation in our faces, what is the worse they can do?” She asked rhetorically, not expecting an answer.

“So, um…,” he started to say, “I realize I may not have been 100% honest before…when I said I hadn’t thought about a relationship with someone. I have in the vague sense of a ‘relationship’ just not the who…if that makes sense.”

“It does…make sense that is…in a sense.” She took a breath and decided to make better sense with her words. “I understand what you are saying. Being honest is paramount for growth and healing. But being honest is always two-fold as you need to be honest with others as well as yourself.”

Just then, Heriah realized something, a possible reason as to all the silence from Rex. She looked to the hypospray lying next to the codex. When she hit herself with it just before inviting Cynndle in, Heriah was suddenly becoming worried that was actually a third dose of the benzocyatizine and not a second.

‘I could be overdosing on the Benzo.’

She looked up at Cynndle. “I think we should wrap this session up. I have another appointment that I need to prepare for,” though Heriah was not even sure of the time.

Cynndle looked at her for a moment after having seen her look at the hypospray. “Ok, always nice to talk to you Heriah.” He stood up and walked towards the door before stopping and turning. “If you ever need to chat about anything, or an ear to listen while you work through something you know where to find me,” he said.

Heriah was stepping up with him. “That’s my line,” she said with a smile. “And I do look forward to accompanying you to…well…whatever the command staff has in mind.”

Cynndle let out a short laugh and smiled at that; “As do I; whatever they have planned I sure we will make the most of it” he said with a wicked smile before his look grew distant for a moment. “I would like to think that even if I hadn’t needed these counsellor sessions we would have still crossed paths and gotten to know each other. It is always nice to catch up Heriah.”

Heriah was nodded and saying, “Yes, it is. And,” she got within the proximity for the door to open, “in any universe, regardless of our stations, even as enemies,” she half laughed at that, “I too like to think our paths would cross. I will see you next time.”

They exchanged pleasantries and their goodbyes, thankfully before Cynndle could catch on to Heriah’s lie about another appointment. As Heriah was alone in her quarters, she turned and rushed back to the sitting area snatching the hypospray up from the table and marched into the lavatory. Grabbing the monocorder, she immediately placed it on her finger and, to her surprise, the light started flashing blue. “Blue? What the frell does that even mean? Computer.”

Bleep bleep.

“Monocorder for recording fluid, element and compound levels in the blood. What does a flashing blue light indicate?”

=^=”Flashing blue light on the monocorder for indicating fluid, element and compound levels in the circulatory system is an indication of oversaturation of the fluid, element, compound, mixture or other substance that is the subject of the scan.”=^=

And Heriah’s monocorder scanned for only isoboramine. This meant she was oversaturated with the stuff. Fiddling with the hypospray, she examined the small screen for dosage levels and the like, brought up the dosage history and saw that she did, in fact, hit herself with it three times within the past 30 minutes.

Placing everything down, Heriah peered at herself in the mirror. “You stupid, stupid girl. What did you do?” She looked herself in the eyes. Nothing out of the ordinary there. Her spots also did not seem to have changed their complexion at all. They did not feel as though on fire nor cold. Nor was there any tingling sensation. Heriah felt herself over and her skin did not feel any different. Opening her mouth and sticking out her tongue, which she felt was unnecessary, showed nothing out of the ordinary.

Heriah continued her self-diagnostic. All the silence from Rex, something she was unaccustomed to, was all due to the triple dose of benzocyatizine. “Is this how normal joinings are supposed to be?”

After a short nervous bout with herself over thinking if she had somehow permanently damaged herself or Rex, Heriah calmed herself with the thought that if anything had been overdone, she would be showing clear side-effects. This was simply a slight miscalculation, a slight overdose. All would be well shortly. “Yeah, all will be well.”

Heriah turned to leave the lavatory. “Rex is sure going to be cross with me later.”