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Part of USS Seattle: In A World Called Catasrophe

Standing Tall Still

USS Seattle
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[USS Seattle - Chief Counselor’s Office]

 

Turkana IV was a horror show. Lieutenant Yuhiro Kolem had been reading up on the failed colony since now one of her patients was the Seattle’s new Assistant Chief Strategic Officer Claudia Jara. Other Starfleet officers had come from there but it was rare. Starfleet ships were chased away from the colony, which had devolved into civil war that had lasted for decades. The violence that Jara would have faced was astonishing, and Kolem wanted to ensure that the woman felt safe and supported aboard the Seattle.

Thinking about it she had heard stories though no ships had gone since the USS Enterprise-D back when their Chief Security Officer was a survivor from the planet. Or had been, Kolem was not sure on the exact timeline, but few people got off the planet and being able to ensure that they (or at least Claudia Jara) were given a safe and comfortable time of it was important in Kolem’s eyes.

They were equally ranked, and Jara had far more Starfleet experience that Kolem. Clearly she had not just beamed off the planet which was what she said immediately upon sitting down.

”You known I’m not a broken woman, I didn’t just beam off Turkana IV and step onto the Seattle,” Jara said.

Kolem nodded, “I have these sessions with half the crew I just wanted to make sure you‘re in a good place, no matter what’s going on. Trust me people from Mars, or Venus now, or wherever can be just as messy in their lives. Here I don’t want you to think about rank, or duty, just being you. Some people worry about feeling weak and that can get in the way of the work we are meant to be doing.”

Jara nodded, “Look I get it, and I’m not recommending Turkana IV as our next shore leave destination. It’s just people hear where I’m from and assume I’m damaged which isn’t the case. It was hard, I had to do things to survive I’m not going to talk about, but I survived and I excel at what I do.”

It had been a coin flip to decide who was going to be the Chief Strategic Officer, with Jara ending up second. Both candidates had, as Kolem understood, come highly recommended from their previous COs and both had a great deal of experience. They also seemed to get along thus far early into the posting, which Kolem was grateful for. 

“I just want you to know you can tell me anything. Sometimes us women don’t report things, don’t talk about the bad things because we feel pressure to fit into a role that’s often male defined,” Kolem said.

”Sure, yeah my job probably seems like one that a man should do,” Jara said, ”But I’m good at it.”

”Okay I’ll let it drop,” Kolem said. The desire to press Jara was tempered by the fact that the woman felt like she was telling the truth. There was some pain there when she mentioned Turkana IV, but not quite the horror that she imaged that surviving on the planet would have taken. Everyone came from different backgrounds, and between the Anaheim and now the Seattle it was as if she was meeting people for the first session almost every session. Kolem wondered what it would feel like after ten years or so on a ship. When people became long term colleagues not new people she was still just meeting.

”Do you have anything in our first visit?” she asked the other woman.

Jara shook her head, “I don’t think so. I guess it’s just nice to see you take this seriously. I sort of had visions that you were going to be a Troi wannabe, but you seem pretty genuine, which is nice.”

”I try to be genuine. As dorky as that sounds,” Kolem said.

Jara smiled, “It’s nice. So what’s the ship like?”

”I don’t know, the senior staff has been together a few months on the Anaheim. I like to think we’re close, but it’s not like we’ve been together for a full tour year yet. Most of the crew is new to me, the Anaheim was mostly doctors and nurses. This is more a patrol ship,“ Kolem said.

”You’re from Mars right?” Jara asked, “Do they have BBQs?”

”Yeah, we do, but it’s an Earth thing originally I think,” Kolem said.

”We should do that, on the holodeck. A pool party and barbecue,“ Jara said, “get to bond a bit.”

Kolem smiled, nodding in agreement, “That sounds like a lovely idea.”

 


 

[Chief Counselor‘s Quarters]

 

William Hume stretched and lay on the bed in his boxers, “So how was today?”

”Good actually. It’s nice not going to a disaster zone or just coming from one, the crew is lighter,” Kolem said, “their tension is gone. People are nervous about things, we’re hunting raiders and pirates, but it’s better. I mean I think we’d all be more relaxed taking dignitaries around, but this is good.“

Setting her head atop of his stomach like a pillow she relaxed. They had not doubled had to double up in quarters, though for his first time in Starfleet the young security officer had his own room. Still he spent as many nights as he could in the room of Yuhiro Kolem. 

“You met with Claudia Jara today,” Hume said, it was less a question than a statement.

”I can’t really talk about it,” Kolem said.

”She asked if you were single. I set her straight,” Hume said.

”Hmm, you’re getting in the way of me getting a girlfriend?” Kolem asked.

”While I’m in the picture yes,” he said.

Kolem closed her eyes. Hume felt warm, both in the sense of his body beneath her head and his aura. His whole being seemed to radiate a comfortable warmth. She perhaps dozed off briefly, because they were both silent for a long time. She felt him breathing, a slow steady pace.

”I like her, and having a Strategic Operations team. My sister is in Stat Ops,” he said.

”Oh really you never mention it,” Kolem teased, Hume mentioned his family’s involvement in Starfleet all the time including his sister‘s. Beneath her he chuckled and sighed, as they were quiet. 

They were quiet, and comfortable. Maybe that was wrong, maybe it was dangerous but for now Kolem savored it. Life in space could be hectic, and everyone was just tiny to assemble themselves into a new better version of who they used to be. Lookin back on the couple’s trip to Venus for a wedding she realized that in part was what had been wrong, though they’d never discussed it further. She’s been with her pre-Starfleet friends and had too easily fallen into who the pre-Starfleet Kolem had been and had forced Hume to meet her there. It was not who she was anymore, so why pretend.

Something to discuss in her own next therapy session.

 


 

[Strategic Operations Office]

 

Lieutenants Claudia Jara and her boss Eleanor Dorian looked at the electronic read out, tracking ships that they had encountered on their travels along with ships that other Starfleet ships had encountered. In the center was the USS Seattle, enroute to a new system after determining that there was no trouble within light years of were they were.

”Should we tell the Captain yet?” Jara asked, though they were equally ranked Dorian was slightly more experienced and had become the section chief.

”No, let’s wait until morning. Nothing to do but worry about it right now, it won’t change our orders,” Dorian said, probably correctly.

“Have you met the Counselor yet?” Jara asked.

”Not the Chief, I got assigned the assistant, nice guy, bit of a dweeb,” Dorian said.

”The Chief is nice, pretty. She’s dating the Assistant Chief Security Officer. Also a nice guy,” Jara said.

”Cute?”

”Who the Counselor? Yeah,” Jara said.

”I meant Security guy,” Dorian said.

”I mean if you like athletic and in good shape. And men,” Jara answered.

”Sometime I do,” Dorian said.

“Well as I say they’re dating.”

”Well no posting is perfect,” Dorian said dryly. 

 


 

[Lounge: The Crocodile]

 

Chief Engineer James Young slumped into a booth tired and worn out. The USS Seattle was in good shape, but he’d just started to feel like he knew the ins and outs of the USS Anaheim and now he was having to adapt to all new systems. Literally as the ship was much more modern. Technically there should be less service, but now he had a bigger team to order around and there was more chance of fighting. 

He was nursing his beer when a Vulcan in blue approached. She must have been the new Assistant Chief Medical Officer, and it was unsettling when she smiled at him. He blinked in surprise as she slid into the booth across from him and introduced herself.

”I’m T’Rala Mathews,“ she said, “Doctor T’Rala, but I go by T’Rala.”

“You, ummm, you’re smiling?” he said not sure if it was polite to point out when Vulcans smiled.

”I’m Romulan, raised by humans,” she expained, and Young nodded still not sure of what was going on. He was tired and now a Vulcan or maybe a Romulan was smiling at him. This was how you ended up in a spy thriller holonovel. 

“I see,” was all he could said.

”You’re Young,” she said, “I mean your name.“

”Yes. That’s me,” he confirmed.

”Va’Tok said you had no friends. Well that’s not what he said but that’s what I took from it,” T’Rala explained, “So I joined you. Can I join you?”

”You’re here now so yes?” James Young said.

T’Rala studied him and nodded, “Okay, I’ll be your friend.”

”Thanks?”

”You’re welcome. I know your type, studious, obsessed with your warp drive. You need someone to pull you out of your shell, that’s me,” she said.

”It is?”

”It is.”

Young was quiet for a moment than nodded, “Okay, that’s a fair assessment since you’ve known me for about ten seconds. Va’Tok has no friends either.”

”Yeah but he’s my boss, and boring,” T’Rala said.

”This is weird.”

”Good,” T’Rala said and smiled again, still a disturbing look on a Vulcan in Young’s mind. Not that she was one, but she looked enough like she was.