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OOC: Part 1 was just Genkos leaving the away team he was on. Part 2 here is where it hit me in the feels. We'll miss you on the Gorkon, @Genkos Adea, but I know you'll have a great time on the Resolution! ---------- ((TIMESKIP - a few days later)) ((Main Shuttlebay, USS Gorkon)) Genkos stood in the Executive Transport Shuttle that they had sent him from Starbase 118 to bring him to his new commission. He looked at the reflective surface of the inactive station, the black mirror reflecting his face back at him. He touched at his forelock, the reason for his transfer. After being brought back from the Brantax asteroid to deal with Gnaxac’s mysterious ailment, Genkos had retired to his quarters and heavily launched himself into a fitful sleep. A stressful series of dreams forced him to relive some the absolute worst moments of his career; causing a riot on Sikuna, fighting for his life on the USS Unpronounceable, the repeated jaunts to an alternate universe where he was a grizzled, alcoholic psychopath and savagely attacking people he had thought were friends on Væron. He had tossed and turned all night, and was finally awoken by Toto’s loud yapping. The littlest pup had clearly been affected by Genkos’ dreams as well, although Genkos wasn’t sure if that was because of telepathic projection or because he’d just been flailing around so much. Either way, as he had stepped into the bathroom and washed his face, he had made a startling discover. The curl of hair above his right eye had gone silver overnight, completely drained of the dark brown of the rest of his hair. Genkos remembered he had stumbled backwards from the mirror in shock. He’d broken his vow of abstinence that night, drinking several glasses of sapphire wine that he had hidden in the bottom drawer of his desk in his office. He had composed a request for reassignment, and then hovered over sending it for a few hours. He had weighed up the positives and negatives for what felt like an absolute age, and in the end, he had concluded that the only reason he had for staying were the friends he had on board. Without really realising it, he had grown afraid of the ship, every away mission was a chance for more death and psychological trauma and he was still reeling from revelations from years ago. He had not more room for new ones, and was in danger of shutting down. But even so, the Gorkon was his home. It was the first ship he had been assigned to, and he would miss so much about it. Drinks in Sto’Vo’Kor, laughing in his office with his fellow medical officers, and being sharked in games of pool by the command staff. He had known, as soon as he had pressed send, that it was the camaraderie and friendship aboard the Gorkon that he would miss the most. He had eschewed having a party in farewell, but instead had met up with those he would miss the most individually. Naturally he had started with Quinn, his request for reassignment soon turning into a personal conversation. Breakfast with Jo and Erin, croissants and some tears from the Betazoid, much like that breakfast so many months ago after his world had been shattered for the upteenth time. A meeting in his office with Cait and Loxley, where he’d toasted them and their abilities. A quick session of tassa’akai with ‘liss, in which he told her, if she did marry Loxley, Genkos would be on the first shuttle back. Finally he’d had a small round of drinks in Sto’Vo’Kor with Arlo, Samira and the rest of the crew. He didn’t tell them he was leaving, he just used it as an excuse to see them all one last time. As someone once said “when I leave, there will be no cake in the break room, I’ll just be gone”. As he piloted the shuttle out of the ship and into the darkness of space, he turned it around for one long last lingering look at the ship that he’d known and loved for the best part of three years, the best (and worst) part of his life. Adea: ::quietly:: Goodbye. Toto raised his head from the makeshift bed that Genkos had made him for the journey, and the Betazoid ruffled his fur. Adea: Good boy. ::Pause:: Computer. Set a course for Starbase 118. Engage. ----------------------- Lieutenant Commander Genkos Adea MD Chief Medical Officer & Second Officer USS Gorkon G239502GS0
@Hutch @Quinn Reynolds - Thought this was really well written, guys! Lovely look at two old friends! -- ((Earth, Copenhagen)) Jhen Thelev yawned as he lifted the ice-blue teapot from the kitchen counter, pouring hot amber liquid into the glass teacup. Replicating tea was quicker, sure, but he preferred the little ritual of a proper brew. He was looking forward to having the next few days off after a particularly gruelling week of work. Although ‘gruelling’ could also be read as ‘tedious’, ‘dull’ and ‘repetitive’. The Andorian sipped his tea and drummed his fingers on the work surface. It was time, he decided, to do something he’d been putting off for quite some a while. Thelev: =/\= Computer, open a channel to the USS Gorkon, Admiral Quinn Reynolds. =/\= As the Federation logo spun lazily on the screen, Jhen found himself hoping that Quinn wouldn’t be around so he wouldn’t actually have to ask her in person. He had no idea what the time would be on her ship — she could be asleep, or off the ship doing… things. More likely, crawling around in a Jefferies tube fixing stuff on the sly. The thought made him chuckle, and even if he wasn’t exactly thrilled with his reason for contacting her, Jhen still thought it would be good to catch up with an old friend. The Starfleet logo blinked away, replaced by the sight of a mousy-haired woman sat in the panelled mushroom-grey ready room of a Sovereign-class starship. Light reflected off the admiralty brass on her collar, jacket discarded in favour of the grey-yoked vest afforded to command officers. The comm channel established, her eyes and smile came alive when she saw who was on the other end. Reynolds: =/\= Jhen! =/\= Her freckled face was little different to when he’d last seen it and very different to when he’d first seen it, all those years ago. He couldn’t help but smile. Thelev: =/\= Rear Admiral Quinn Reynolds, head of the Tyrellian Sector Taskforce… that’s quite a title you’ve got yourself there. =/\= Reynolds: =/\= It's a mouthful. ::She grinned.:: But you're a sight for sore eyes. How the hell are you? =/\= Thelev: =/\= I’d like to say older and wiser… but just older. It’s good to see you, Quinn. I’ve been meaning to get in touch for ages, but always something gets in the way. And I’m sure you’ve been more than busy out there. =/\= Her expression turned wry, an eyebrow lifting while her head dipped in a nod. Still, the delight continued to dance in her hazel eyes, beyond pleased to see her old friend and academy classmate. He was one of the few people still in the fleet who'd known her back then, in all her easily startled, stammering, and awkward glory. Reynolds: =/\= That's a polite way of putting it. =/\= Thelev: =/\= I know the Gorkon spent some shore leave on Earth last year, but I got called away to Bolus at short notice. Bad timing. =/\= Reynolds: =/\= I know. ::Her grin returned.:: You missed my wedding. =/\= Thelev: =/\= You got married?! ::Jhen was genuinely speechless for a moment:: But… how? Wouldn’t that have meant a whole day being the centre of attention? =/\= Reynolds: =/\= Yes. Yes it did. ::She chuckled.:: Although it turns when you throw a really big party it's fairly easy to hide in the crowd, even when you're the guest of honour. =/\= Thelev: =/\= Wow... I’m sure you were thrilled with that part. =/\= Jhen shook his head as he sipped his tea. Clearly there was a lot he had missed and he felt even more regret for not keeping in touch. He used the pause to regard Quinn for a moment - there was a lot more confidence about her now, hardly surprising given her rank and the fact she’d been commanding starships for years. But there was something else, a sadness maybe, that he couldn’t quite identify. He wondered briefly what those hazel eyes had seen… and thought it best that he didn’t know. Reynolds: =/\= I survived, just about. ::Her smile refusing to budge, she sat back in her seat.:: What about you? It's been forever since we last spoke, what have you been up to? =/\= Thelev: =/\= Me? Oh, I’ve been around here and there. After the Achilles was decommissioned I came back to Earth, spent some time working as a Starfleet liaison at the Federation Treaty Office. I even had a secondment to the Department of Temporal Affairs for a while. I’d say that I couldn’t tell you more because it’s classified, but really it’s because I had no idea what was going on most of the time. ::She grinned and he sipped his tea again, his antenna dipping in the Andorian equivalent of a shrug:: But last few years I’ve been part of Starbase Command. =/\= Reynolds: =/\= Stuck in an office. ::A finger pointed upward and performed a circular motion.:: I know the feeling. =/\= Thelev: =/\= That’s why I was contacting you, actually. Although I’d been putting it off because it felt too selfish. Hells, it feels even more selfish now…. ::Jhen sighed:: I want to get back out there, Quinn. Sitting in an office planetside, attending the odd meeting is, well, let's say it’s not exactly exciting. I miss being on a starship, on a bridge. I put in a transfer request months ago, but I’ve heard nothing. So… I was wondering if you had any ships that needed a new Chief of Ops or something...? =/\= He left the question hanging, his azure features turning a little plum-coloured with embarrassment. Her smile softened in reply, a gentle amusement creeping into her expression. Quinn hadn't been asked for many favours in her career, usually only by those in desperate situations seeking an equally desperate escape. Perhaps she didn't seem the type, and perhaps she wasn't; the last time she'd pulled a significant favour for a friend, it had backfired to say the least. Come to think of it, the last time she'd been asked for a favour was over a year ago now, when Sienelis — resigned to what she'd thought had been an early doom, or at the very least, exile — had asked if she could let Johns' insubordination toward a JAG officer slide. Quinn had done that and one better; she'd promoted the young Petty Officer. A decision that in retrospect, had really turned out quite well. Reynolds: =/\= I'm fairly sure I still owe you for hauling me and my ship out of an ocean, so... =/\= Thelev: =/\= Ha! You know, I had actually forgotten about that. ::He shook his head slowly.:: So many crazy adventures, you need the memory of a Cardassian to keep track of them all. Or just be a highly organised flag officer. But that’s exactly the sort of stuff I miss. =/\= Reynolds: =/\= Let me see what I can do. The Hawking is due to join our taskforce and the crew roster isn't finalised. How does an Oracle class sound? =/\= Jhen’s dark eyes sparkled and her smile widened again, delighted to have delighted. Intentional or not, he'd picked the perfect time to ask and she was more than willing to oblige. Perhaps she'd accumulated a bit of a reputation for it, offering positions in the taskforce for officers like Walter and Harry, Sienelis and Bjarnadottir, who for various reasons had asked her or been asked by her for a posting in the task force. Thelev: =/\= Well now! That would be quite something. ::he held up one blue hand:: But you know you don’t owe me any special treatment. If I was offered the job of technician on a prison transport right now I’d take it, just to get back out into the black. =/\= Reynolds: =/\= I'm just offering a posting to a good officer. You'll have to do all the hard work. =/\= Thelev: =/\= Ha! ::he laughed again:: Seems reasonable, Quinn. I’d like a challenge more taxing than sourcing a thousand stem bolts for Starbase 118. Although don’t get me wrong, those stem bolts can be tricky to find. ::The Andorian finished his tea with a flourish and placed the cup down on the surface in front of him.:: I appreciate it more than I can say. Thank you. =/\= Reynolds: =/\= You're very welcome. =/\= Thelev: =/\= Well, with that out of the way, I think there’s a few things you have to bring me up to speed on. Such as who is Mr Reynolds? =/\= Reynolds: =/\= Well. ::She grinned, a familiar touch of pink colouring freckled cheeks.:: I don't think you ever met Walter Brunsig... And so the conversation ran on, two old friends with a great deal to catch up on. Conversation, laughter and reminiscence ran on long into the small hours, counted in cups of tea and aching cheeks, until the two friends bid each other good night, to meet again soon. -- Commander Jhen Thelev Simmed by Lt (jg) Loxley Medical Officer USS Gorkon R238401JT0 & Rear Admiral Quinn Reynolds Commanding Officer USS Gorkon T238401QR0
((Counselling Suite, Deck 7, USS Gorkon)) Trepidation forming like a stone icicle in the pit of her stomach, Jo Marshall, ever the effective evader of most things emotionally explaining, slipped into the Counselling Suite with her hands clasped behind her back. Some while since she’d last had anything that approached near to counselling, despite sending new Ensigns and fellow officers off for their heads to be shrunk, the guilt of that hypocrisy had finally reached a little pinnacle and toppled over, which led to Jo standing there, which led to Jo feeling uncomfortable. An appointment made with the bubbly Counsellor, Jo pressed the button for the contact on the side of the door. Fortune: Come in! Inside was the usual style of Corliss’ office, various colored chairs, her plant at its home on a shelf, and herself settled in a seat with a PADD, one leg slightly bouncing. Fortune: Jo! It’s nice to see you. Marshall: You too, Corliss. Feels like it’s been an age. The blonde took a quick glance around the counselling office, a representation of the internal workings of their unique counsellor. Fortune: Well, it feels like decades between missions sometimes. It’ll take a bit for my internal clock to reset itself. She chuckled, sweeping a loop of pink hair back behind her ear, gesturing at a chair. Fortune: Come, come, sit, sit. Need anything to drink? Leaving the safety of the doorway behind, Jo walked inside and took up a seat where instructed. Ever comfortable on a ship she knew like the back of her hand, coming for an appointed talk was something that set her on a bit of an edge. With a heavy exhale, Jo relaxed into the chair and smiled. Marshall: Coffee would never go amiss, but I think I’ll go for green tea, this time please. Influence of the better half. Fortune: Strangely, I’m not at all surprised Erin drinks tea. Some people have that feel to them, I suppose. Anything added to it? Marshall: I’ll take it how you have it. ::Said with a grin.:: Show me the ways of the tea. Fortune: A roommate showed me the glory of a dab of honey inside, and I’ve never gone back. Corliss happily replicated them a pair of cups of tea, slipping the steaming cup onto the table between them towards Jo. Her own cupped into her hand, the steam warming her face a little as it curled up. Across from her, the blonde picked up the mug and cradled it in her hands; the little warmth was welcome. Fortune: So! Here to chat things out, I take it? Marshall: If you’re willing to have your ear bent in all kinds of directions. I’m not one for sticking to a particular topic when the flood gates open. Fortune: Everyone likes a listening ear, sometimes just as a sounding board, or just to reason things out to themselves. ::she cooled her tea with a breath, taking a sip.:: If walls could talk, I’m sure they’d report me to Quinn for losing my common sense...and, sometimes, a random object. They always end up on the dresser… Marshall: Always the dresser. Or the coffee table. I’m half convinced there’s a blackhole down the back of the sofa that just randomly drops things back onto various bits of furniture from pockets. Sipping at the warm tea, Jo relaxed a little further into the chair. Never one to sit in a chair like a normal person, she tucked a leg underneath her and leaned to one side. This was just a conversation; nothing to worry about, no hidden depths to probe, no hidden meanings to discover. Just a conversation with a friend over tea. Marshall: It’s been a while since I’ve sat down for this, you know. Last time wasn’t long after we came back from Over There. I’m a bit rusty. Fortune: Momentum is a funny thing like that. Once you get going, there’s no stopping. Marshall: I’ve never found it easy to do, not about me anyway. ::She hazarded a smile, motes of nerves threading through it.:: People can be usually persuaded to talk about themselves more. Anyone who does find this kind of thing easy to do are right up there with those who eat salad for breakfast. Fortune: ::she wrinkled her nose at that thought.:: Salad? I’m more of a waffle person. ::she grinned.:: Actually, a lot of people find it hard to talk about themselves. They’re not sure what to say, or how to say it, until they’re asked questions or something pertains to their interests. Nodding, Jo dropped her gaze to the tea in her mug, floating there without a care in the world. Marshall: What do you suggest? Fortune: Well, your bike...or talking about Erin...oooorrr maybe something you’ve done on shift lately? Maybe anything with the recent mission…? Jo pursed her lips for a moment, teeth chewing on the inside of her cheek, mind revolving around several things simultaneously. Despite the appearance of being as shallow as a teaspoon sometimes, there were hidden depths in there, as deep as the oceans of the planet revolving beneath them, as expansive as the space around them. Marshall: I’m finding it harder to… ::The false start didn’t help and she rolled her eyes at herself.:: Do you ever find yourself so angry with someone it just sits there? Fortune: Ah, stewing anger? ::she popped her lips in thought.:: Sometimes, if I’m frustrated. It’s a normal response to certain events, but it’s not healthy to keep it rolling around like a hot ball in a pan, you know? Marshall: I’m aware completely ignoring these issues is an unhealthy coping mechanism, ::she took a sip of tea and exhaled,:: so I’m ignoring that fact, too. Fortune: Ignorance may be bliss, but only up until whatever it is sideswipes us across the face. The young blonde exhaled again, this time through her nose as the tea mug came down away from her lips and rested in her lap. On the out breath, her shoulders relaxed and she willed her heart to stop beating so fast, like a drum behind her ribs, solid and consistent. Marshall: I— ::She bit her lip at the false start again and closed her eyes.:: When we were trapped in the dreamworld, ‘Kos and Erin did a mind meld to get back and wake the Admiral up. They… I don’t know, merged minds? Is that a thing Betazoids can do? Fortune: Not…::she paused, as if trying to work through her words.:: Not...really...in a way. Marshall: It’s a difficult one to explain, ::she exhaled with a self-deprecating smile,:: I’ve thought about this in so many ways. Is it like how Vulcans share their melds? Like how Deltans do? Or something else entirely. Fortune: Not like Vulcan melding, in...a way. So. ::She sighed, raising her hand up, then placing it back down in thought.:: So there is something, like bonding, but it’s not something any one Betazoid can do on their own. A blonde eyebrow raised as Jo took a sip of warm, fragrant tea, enjoying the soothing effects of it more than anything else, though still surprised she hadn’t tried to drown in the contents of the mug. Marshall: You guys do this in groups? Fortune: Oh you need priestesses, some people from the Houses to stand over and ensure all goes well. ::she flittered her fingers in the air.:: But not like how Vulcans can...reach in and grab someone’s mind. I...suppose our difference would be like...well, like a river. ::she placed her cup down, lacing her fingers together.:: With Vulcans, they’re fisherman. They can reach in, grab up someone’s thoughts, and physically touch them. With us, or rather, in my experience, it’s like...grazing the river. You can touch the river, but not the fish. Marshall: And you make a bond with the river or the fish? ::She scratched at her cheek with a slender finger, confusion bouncing around on her features.:: I’m not sure I understand. Fortune: There’s not a bond as much, unless a familial link of course. Is...there something you’re worried about for the both of them? Wrinkling her nose, Jo looked down at the liquid in the mug sloshing around as she held the vessel in her hands. That was the Skarbek; this simmering layer of viscous liquid and the rest of it beneath the surface. They were different people in there, leading different lives under different circumstances, but out of it… She chewed her lips as she looked back up at the lively counsellor and her shoulders deflated. Marshall: Yes and no, with a hefty dose of I don’t know in there, too. ::Her tongue stuck in her cheek and she exhaled heavily.:: Erin says it’s like a library in her mind; there are all these books there dedicated to Kos’ life and she could choose to read whatever she wanted, but she doesn’t. It’s a choice not to. Fortune: How intriguing to think of it like a library...and kind of her not to intrude in on his privacy. Is it the fact she’s able to access those memories…? Marshall: That she’s in that position in the first place. That she’s walking around with someone else’s every thought and memory in her head. It didn’t do anything, it didn’t change anything, it just implanted this in her head and her in his. She leaned forward and placed the mug down on the table, fingers threading into her hair as she sat back, curling one leg beneath her. Visible agitation wasn’t in Jo’s litany of behaviours and she didn’t know what to do with herself while every cell tried to vibrate on an unfamiliar wavelength. To Corliss, it was like watching sparks of electricity around a statue, shifting and crackling in equal measure. Marshall: He knows more about her than I ever will, and he knows more about me than I want anyone but her to know. Fortune: And...you don’t like that. Jo chewed the inside of her cheek as blue eyes unfocused somewhere around where the table was; the serious side of the middle Marshall brimming up to the surface through those deep layers where she kept it as buried as possible. It made her heart hurt to think about, and had done for the longest time; tarred on the inside, set aflame and left to burn. She bit her lips as the rolling urge to burst into tears in a hot ball of rage melted and stemmed. Marshall: I can’t be mad about it and I can’t even begin to talk to Erin about it. She’s the one with all of this to deal with, not me. What kind of person feels like this is anything to do with me? Fortune: A private person. A concerned one. And, it makes you human, Jo. Marshall: Does it have to? Fortune: Well, mortal, human, same? ::she laughed, shaking her head.:: All the same, it makes you a person. If there’s something besides ‘just a feeling’ that’s making you worried, for instance, some new habit she has or the like, then I’d suggest encouraging her to talk to someone about it. With a shake of her head, the young blonde lifted the mug to take a drink, thinking through the year since. Erin hadn’t changed; still as funny, unassuming and genius as ever. Jo had lost countless hours watching her talk, laugh and frown and so much love had given her the strength to seek counselling for all the anger with nowhere to go. Marshall: And if there’s not, what do you suggest? Fortune: Well...I suppose you should think about your view on privacy. A frown crested for a second and Jo leaned forward, elbows on her knees as she looked at Corliss as though self-reflection were a foreign concept. Her hand found the back of her neck, feeling coming in waves like fluctuations in temperature. Growing up in a Federation colony, the majority population Bajoran, the sharing of telepathic and empathic thoughts and feelings was a near foreign concept to her until she started seeing more of the galaxy. Perhaps picking up on the fact she didn’t know quite what to say, Corliss continued. Fortune: It wasn’t until I went to Academy that the foreign thought of someone not knowing what I was thinking, or about to do, had settled into my mind, and made me feel...alone. For some of my friends, the thought of their families being able to access and stroll through their mind like a walk in the park made them cringe. ::she shrugged, lacing her fingers together as she watched the other.:: Every feeling someone feels is valid. I do think you need to talk to Erin about this. It’s about her, and about Genkos, and about your relationship as well, and being open and honest in a relationship is something I always encourage. Nodding, as though the information had filtered through her mind and wrapped in vines around her heart, her lips disappeared behind her teeth for a second as she thought on it, then exhaled again slumping back into the chair, hands on the arms of it, fingers drumming. Talking to Genkos would be difficult, talking to Erin doubly so. Pinpricks of tears started at the corner of her eyes as her jaw clenched at the back, one long breath exhaled and she smiled; a fleeting thing that barely remained. Marshall: How are you, Corliss? I’m sorry I haven’t asked. ::Picking up her mug again, she smiled.:: Your hair looks good, as always. Fortune: Ah, do you think? ::she slipped a hand up to a stray curl, winding the pink hair in a small circle.:: I gave it all a good scrubbing on my shift off, it’s my own form of stress-relief, I suppose. ::she cracked a grin, tilting her head.:: Would you like to talk about my wigs, I take it? Marshall: I can only take so much talking about me. ::Her lips thinned into a smile that verged on the self-deprecating, or mawkish, certainly nothing joyful.:: And it’s a rare occasion we see each other; not properly since we were on Nassau playing pirates. Fortune: It’s hard talking about oneself, it’s true. We tend to prey upon our own fears and embolden them in ways that others don’t tend to see them. ::she hummed, shrugging.:: Plus, I think I made a convincing pirate captain. A chuckle through a mouthful of tea shook Jo’s shoulders and she nodded, remembering full well the destructive force that was the Captain persona Corliss had undertaken on their Nassau journey. It wasn’t the most welcoming of places; even when they’d first touched down, it was touch and go whether they would be able to stay or not, and Jo recalled trying to think of an easy escape route should it go south. Marshall: The fact that you pulled the character out of the hat with a seconds’ notice was incredible; that you kept it up while an Andorian with a mohawk asked for the docking fee was something else. I can just about remember you talking to the docking agents when we were trying to leave. Fortune: Well, I think had they pressured more questions, I might have cracked. I do like the name Marisol however, it’s very...rolls off the tongue, hm? Marshall: It does. Maybe she’ll make a reappearance one day. Their trip there had been anything but simple, and resulted in the near-death of not only the Orion trying to prevent their escape, but Jo had almost tripped the light fantastic too; sitting in the back of that shuttlecraft, preparing for the eventuality that seemed a little too inevitable. With Corliss’ quick thinking, they’d finally got free of the asteroid and back into space to meet up with the Triumphant, and it couldn’t have come soon enough. Fortune: How are you and Erin? Beyond the…::she wiggled her fingers in the air.:: with Genkos, how are things when you’re together? Anything new? Any sentient plants I might need to warn the Admiral about?? ::she teased.:: Marshall: There’s always sentient plants to warn the Admiral about. ::She grinned at the mention of her partner and settled a bit further into the chair, not quite the live wire she’d walked in as.:: We’re fine, at least I think we are. She’s met my parents recently, she seems to get along with my younger brother fairly well, through a mutual love of adrenaline rushes and building things. Fortune: Ah, a pair, are they? ::she chuckled.:: It’s good they’re getting along, I know some feel anxiety over if their family will care for someone they are in a relationship with. ::she took a sip of her tea again, humming.:: Mm. So...what’s brought all this on then? Marshall: Guilt, I think. ::Her teeth chewed around on the inside of her lips, the feeling like a warm stone sinking from heart downwards.:: She’s empathic; I know she can feel it when I’m… ::Her hands made a gesture as though she were holding a lump of energy between her palms.:: A tiny ball of rage. Corliss nodded. People in a rage tended to sit like a stone around her, feeling like they were about to burn to a crisp should they continue to smoulder. It certainly was an odd feeling. Fortune: Yes. She’s most likely waiting for you to come to her about whatever it is. I’m told it’s improper to bring up someone else’s emotions if they don’t talk about it first. Jo chewed the soft fleshy bit of her cheek as she nodded slowly, trying not to imagine how hard it would be if their roles were reversed, knowing she’d be afraid of asking the question in case the answer shattered them like glass. But they were made of stronger stuff than melted sand, sustained heavier blows than an internalised quarry over a Betazoid/Deltan mind warp. As if knowing Jo needed an explanation from the part of a Betazoid, Corliss continued. Fortune: Thoughts, emotions, they’re all kept tight under lock and key. Those of us who can easily feel or read them, we try not to step into the pitfalls of privacy that others may have. ::she paused.:: It can be hard, especially if you care for them, but can’t bring it up under the pretence of privacy. Marshall: You're right. I haven't really... ::she sighed with the words,:: thought about how it feels for her. You'd think an operations officer would be half decent at communicating. ::Swallowing down a swell of emotion and ran a hand into her hair, she exhaled a laugh.:: Selfish in more ways than one. Fortune: Not selfish...well...::she gave a helpless shrug.:: It's so much easier to read someone's mind than to talk it out that speaking can oft seem straining. Speaking was often straining, especially about the tumultuous warp core performing the fusion reaction every day. Jo felt selfish, and that was the issue; at the core of herself, where her internal M/ARA drive pumped fluid around her vitals. Erin — the ichor and nectar of her life as they tried to navigate being together — was different. Part of her wasn’t human, and it was that part which made Jo’s spine tingle and flesh goose and read from her skin that crosscurrent of emotions. It was selfish that Jo had tried to hide it for so long while Erin could feel it simmering beneath. Fortune: Lots of couples dance the dance of 'do I or don't I?'. People, in general, do that as well. They don't want to talk about something, but at the same time, wish the other party just...knew what they were thinking. If you...want, there's also mediation you two could do. Marshall: As in diplomatic mediation? Fortune: Mostly I sit here as you two talk to one another, and fill the silences in-between with compliments to your uniforms for the day. ::she cracked a grin, chuckling.:: But no, some people find a serious talk daunting and having someone they can rely on, a little, to help get their words across, helpful. The thought had some merit as Jo’s blonde eyebrows furrowed in thought, winding her way through how that would work between them when a red blush caught her cheeks as she remembered how Deltans usually took their diplomatic mediation. With a grin, she shook her head. Marshall: I errr, I think it might be best if I do this one alone, Counselor if you don’t mind. Fortune: Ah, no insult taken, but it’s there if you’d like it to be. Has our talk panned out like you thought it would? ::she smiled.:: I’m told counselling can be…’an experience’. Not sure what that could entail. Marshall: An experience. ::She smiled with an exhaled laugh, heart feeling a little lighter for the moment, even if it wouldn’t last long.:: I haven’t had counselling like this for anything other than work and myself for a long time, and I’m glad it was with you. Fortune: You’re kind, Jo. ::she chuckled.:: So, what’ve you got in mind then? Marshall: Some kind of an action plan, I think. ::That was the best way she worked, after all. Give her a task list and it would all be done in no time; let her mind wander and she’d be thinking of new bike parts.:: Erin deserves an explanation and I… ::she forced the words out as they tried to stop in her throat,:: need to talk about this with her. It’s not going to be easy, but nothing worth having ever is, is it? Fortune: That’s how the saying goes, I believe. So! ::she clapped her hands, looking excited.:: Action plan it is! Some people find writing out what they want to say easier so that they can let it all out at once. The blonde nodded again, the process of getting her thoughts down onto a PADD to make sense of them seemed like a good idea. Seeing everything in a line would give it a priority, give it purpose, let her refine her thoughts before they came tumbling out into her partner’s lap like tribbles from an overhead storage locker. Fortune: There’s no guessing how she’ll respond, but you can take the time to craft out your beginning explanation, that way there’s no...hesitation, or fumbling for words. And then, from there, the conversation flows. Marshall: I think I might just have to do that, Corliss, thank you. ::She smiled and let out a breath to relax her shoulders again; armed with a plan, it would be easier. Armed with a plan, she could do next to anything. It was only two steps. Two steps she could do. It filled the inner cavity with a motivation; a need to press on and do it now.:: Would you… would you mind if we cut the session here and I go do just that? Fortune: Oh! Not a problem at all! ::her hands fluttered a bit in the air, although she figured Jo would want to go and get started now that she had a starting point.:: It’s always as long or as short as you prefer. If you need me, I’ll be here! Filled with the inspiration to do just that, Jo deposited the empty mug into the recycling pad of the replicator and when she returned to Corliss, it was with a growing sense of gratitude, perhaps a little bit of a high now they were finding a way through those mental blockages like her brain had started to speak in a language she understood instead of strings of curses. Fortune: As my great-grandmother would say, may fortune be with you! And probably an admonishment on not visiting more often. Marshall: Then, I’ll definitely try to. Next time, I’ll bring danishes and we can talk about my parents. ::Her lips twinged in a smile, definitely finding its way to her eyes this time.:: Thank you, Corliss. I was dreading this and… you’ve actually made me feel a lot better about it. Like I can try and do this. Fortune: I’ve never doubted you, Jo. Danishes sound very good! I’ll look forward to it. ::she grinned, pleased with how relaxed Jo looked now.:: There was a slight moment of hesitation, as if Jo wanted to say something else and just couldn’t quite bring herself to, then she smiled and shook her head. Another time, perhaps. She had other things to worry about. fin -- Lieutenant Corliss Fortune Highest Quality Counsellor Brain USS Gorkon G239510CF0 & Lt. Commander Jo Marshall First Officer USS Gorkon, NCC-82293 G239304JM0