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LtJG Evan Delano & Capt Quinn Reynolds: Behind Every Good Security


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(( Counselling Suite, USS Garuda ))


::When he was still a young child on Earth, the juvenile advocate in New York City insisted that he be entered into regular therapy sessions. The distaste from those days still lingered with him as he pressed his finger to the panel next to the counseling suite. ::


:: He had nothing against counselors, of course - those he’d dealt with were some of the most sincere people he’d ever met. It was the therapy process that made him uncomfortable. Seeking it out made him feel as if he were still broken in the same way that eight-year-old boy on Vulcan had been all those years ago. ::


::The doors opened, and the tall security officer stepped into the room. He’d spent the better part of his life avoiding offices like this one, but it was nice. The Garuda’s normal lighting had been replaced with a full spectrum “skylight” that mimicked real sunlight so accurately that it warmed the skin. There were several soft chairs and sofas, as well as a coffee table, and a much larger table off to one side of the room. Pieces of art were scattered around, and fresh -- or freshly replicated -- flowers stood in a vase on the table. There was no sign of a desk or personal workspace; all in all, it looked more like a living room than an office.::


Delano: Good morning, Commander Valen.


:: The younger officer eyed the furniture as if evaluating his options. He finally settled on a small sofa that looked more practical than some of the other options. ::


Valen: Call me Carys. ::She deposited herself in one of the chairs nearby, legs crossed.:: I'm not one for formality.


::That much was evident from her uniform. Jacket unzipped, the teal collar underneath unfastened to below the hollow at the base of her throat, she was hardly a good example of a neat and perfectly pressed officer.::


Delano: Of course, Com-- Carys.


:: The man’s cheeks blushed green. ::


Delano: I’m still getting used to that. The Academy is so rigid compared to actual Starship duty. At least compared to the ships I’ve served on. I’ll try to remember.


::She grinned at him, a quiet chuckle escaping her lips.::


Valen: All I can ask. So what can I do for you?


Delano: I was going to make an appointment, but the counseling suite isn’t far from my quarters and ::He paused, then started again.:: I’ve been having a little trouble lately, and I’m not sure if it’s something I should be concerned about.


Valen: ::She nodded.:: This is a good place to find out. What's the trouble?


:: He looked at the carpet and adjusted his position on the sofa. ::


Delano: (quietly) It’s hard to explain.


:: He took a moment to collect his thoughts before continuing. ::


Delano: I’ve been an officer for over a year now, but I still feel like I’ve just left the Academy. I’ve been thinking about home a lot lately, and now… I don’t know. I worked so hard to get out here. Now that I am, I’m wondering if it was all a mistake.


:: He looked to the counselor. ::


Delano: Maybe I’m just homesick.


Valen: Where's home?


Delano: Earth. Near a place called Seminoe.


Valen: Do you find that you're thinking about anything in particular? ::She gestured in the air.:: Places you've been, people you spent time with, certain events?


:: That was another question that was difficult to answer. ::


Delano: Juvenile records are sealed once a minor reaches adulthood, correct?


Valen: They are.


:: He nodded. ::



Delano: There was an incident when I was very young. A boy from my school class was teasing me and I lost control. I hurt him… badly. When it was settled,I was sent to five years on Vulcan, effectively exiled from Earth while my father arranged for me to learn some basic Vulcan meditation techniques. If he hadn’t intervened, I would have been in a correctional facility instead. I’ve been thinking a lot about that moment. What happened. Why. How it shaped me.



Delano: (After a pause, he added) And my parents. Home too, of course. I miss the people I left behind, but I’m under the impression that much is normal.


::She offered him a smile, and nodded.::


Valen: It certainly is. ::She paused.:: If you think back to that time, how you felt. Are there parallels to how you're feeling now?


Delano: Parallels? No, not exactly. Shadows, maybe? I talked to a lot of counselors after it happened. As an adult, it seems pretty obvious now that I felt like an outsider. The kids in school used to make fun of my ears and eyebrows and such. It used to make me so angry. What I’ve been feeling now - I’m more depressed than angry.


Valen: Anger can lead into depression, especially if you believe that you *shouldn't* be angry. You can start to internalise the anger, feeling guilty about it, trying to hide it from others, and so the slippery slope begins. ::She let that rest for a moment, then continued.:: Has there been anything in particular on the Garuda that's troubled you?


Delano: There was the incident with Doctor Saveron when I first came on board.


:: He explained how the Vulcan’s unexpected appearance had brought back unbidden memories and emotions from the time he’d spent on Vulcan. ::


Delano: For a very brief moment, all the shame and frustration of those years just came back at me, and I nearly lost control.


:: As she nodded, he flushed again, averting his eyes. ::


Delano: This probably isn’t the kind of thing you would want to hear from a security officer.


::She smiled in response, the silver chains of her earring swaying as she tilted her head to the side.::


Valen: It's why I'm here; you've realised you have a problem, and you need a little help with it. It's no different than heading to sickbay with the 'flu.


Delano: Perhaps, though I don’t think this is going to be as simple as a hypospray.


Valen: True enough. ::She chuckled.:: But then I'd be out of a job, wouldn't I?


:: He mirrored her smile as best as he could. In a way, it felt good to talk about this with someone. He hadn’t been this candid with anyone for a very long time. He trusted the Carys, but Evan had always valued his privacy. Only his family - and Mei’konda - knew all of this.::


Delano: One of the security professors at the Academy at a lecture used to say something like:


::He lowered his voice to sound more authoritative ::


Delano: “Behind every good security chief is a really good ‘shrink.’”


Valen: Wise man.


Delano: I thought it was a joke, but I guess I know what he meant now.


::She smiled at him, offering a nod.::


Valen: When we're inside our own heads, dealing with things on our own, it's easy to fall into circular thinking. We can just go around and around, never making any progress, feeling worse with every circuit. A good counsellor can help you step outside of that, give you the tools to recognise unhelpful thought processes and provide you with the tools to get past them.


::She paused, tapping her leg in thought.::


Valen: So you've told me a lot about what brings your mood down. What makes you feel good?


Delano: I honestly enjoy my work. Even when I was in Operations, I felt productive and useful. Everyone on Garuda has been very welcoming.


Valen: It's great that you're fulfilled by your work, but there's more to life than our jobs. What do you do with your own time?


Delano: Outside of work? I guess I like being active. Solving problems. Improving myself. Helping others. Always working towards a goal. I spend a lot of time in the gym and using exercise programs on the holodeck. But I guess that’s just part of my job.


:: He looked genuinely surprised. ::


Valen: You look as though you've never thought about it in that way before.


Delano: I mean, I always have enough to keep me busy. But I was never much for idle hobbies. Alora-- Lieutenant DeVeau, I mean, was suggesting I try taking up a musical instrument a few days ago.


Valen: If you enjoy it, that's reason itself to pursue it. Many people find it helpful to have an outlet completely unrelated to their work. Learning an instrument might suit how you like to spend your hobby time -- progressing, improving, working toward a goal -- while with the advantage that you'll never have to fret about how your progression may or may not affect your work.


Delano: It sounds like a good idea. I’m not sure music is the right direction for me, but I’ll come up with something.


Valen: We've covered a lot of ground so far. I think it might be an idea to leave it there for today, unless there's anything you want to talk about?


Delano: Not really. I just felt like I needed someone to talk to about all of this. I really appreciate you making the time without an appointment.


::She beamed a smile at him, rising from her chair.::


Valen: It's no problem. I'll schedule another session, if that sounds good to you. Just let me know if the time doesn't fit into your schedule, and we'll rearrange.


Delano: Thank you, Carys.


Valen: I'll see you soon.


===


Lieutenant (JG) Evan Delano

Assistant Chief of Security/Tactical

USS Garuda


and


Commander Valen Carys

Counsellor

USS Garuda

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