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Ensign Regan Wilde & Counsellor R'Ariel [JP] - The Painting on the Wall


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I wanted to add this here to show my appreciation for @R'Ariel and to say thank you for such a fun JP. This was very fun to collaborate on and I LOVE the ending. Thanks!!

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((USS Arrow - Deck 3; Counselling Suite))

Regan arrived a little ahead of the scheduled time for his first counselling session aboard the Arrow. It was ironic that a battleship like the Arrow had a counselling suite but no elaborate leisure facilities. Still, he imagined the past crews, particularly those of the Dominion War, would have issues they needed to work out. Regan had never seen war, yet still needed the opportunity to talk, and air his emotions from time to time.

He pressed the chime and waited to be called in.

R'Ariel: oOThat would be Regan.Oo

The diminutive half Caitian half Deltan smiled. Their first encounter had been perfectly timed, a rapier wit that cut through the very tense air in the sick bay.

R'Ariel: Please come in, Regan.

R'Ariel - smiling - ushered the young Ensign in. She glanced around the suite, joining in his observations, even if it wasn't a new experience for her, it was for him.

The Counselling Suite was very different to the rest of the ship. It had personality, rather than the dull metallic corridors he was used to seeing every day. Much to the thanks of Counsellor R'Ariel, he wondered. This was supposed to be a safe space after all. It was very bright and inviting, and upon entering he found the Caitian/Deltan officer already seated.

Wilde: Good day, Counsellor!

R'Ariel: A pleasure to see you again.

Wilde: I hope you're settled in nicely aboard. I understand you had joined the crew slightly before me.

R'Ariel: Chronologically that is true, I think our mutual friend, Nurse Sivok would affirm.

R'Ariel winked, and gestured for him to sit. He took a seat on the long comfortable sofa. 

Wilde: I suppose I should start by apologising for the little scene in Sickbay the other day. I should have learned by now never to try and match wits with a Vulcan.

R'Ariel: And disappoint the Vulcans?  Why do you think Vulcans take assignments surrounded by us emotional creatures?

Regan chuckled. He was sure Sivok was a good sport really.

Wilde: So, shall we address the findings of the ever-astute Ensign Sivok and my humourous defense mechanisms, or shall we go straight to the elephant in the room?

R'Ariel: I think we should address the prospect for coffee, tea or... juice?

R'Ariel: oO 101 in alcoholic counseling, alcoholics relax better with a drink... Non alcoholic drinks of course oO.

R'Ariel: I for one am going to have some Bahgol.

Wilde: In that case I'll take a cup of Tarkalean tea, extra sweet.

Regan lay back on the comfortable couch. His eyes were drawn to a painting on the other side of the room. He liked it, but couldn't say why. It seemed to be an abstract of some kind. Definitely not of human creation. He supposed he had better get used to spending more time in the room. Though his counselling sessions weren't mandatory, he liked to keep them regularly. They did help, though the compulsory substance test in his physical left a bad taste in his mouth.

Wilde: The long and short of it is clear, Counsellor. I am an alcoholic. I can say the words, I can admit it, though I wasn't quite ready for the crew to find out so quickly. It's still a stigma that tends to follow me around...

R'Ariel: Follows you around, you say? In Sickbay earlier I shared with you my heritage, half Caitian. Which means, wherever I go, there is a "tail".

She smirked, drawing out her tail from behind the desk, and let it dance about briefly before resuming to speak.

R'Ariel: And just like a tale, it is often outside your direct control, AND just like a tail, it may always be with you, around you ::she pulled her tail around her body:: it does not definite you, it is mere a single semblance of a part of you, but your choices ::she forcefully tucked her tail behind her desk:: are yours and that is the greater truth by which we know ourselves, and then are known by others.

Regan couldn't help but smile. He liked the Counsellor. She was direct, honest and playful. All attributes he needed right now in his life. And she certainly had a point. But the truth of the matter was nothing to do with outward appearances, more perceptions.

Wilde: Agreed, but to my knowledge, there is no shame attached to having a tail because of your genetic heritage. We don't discriminate because races look different. When I first came on board I read through the crew manifest. There was Ensign R'Ariel, ship's counsellor, Caitian. So I knew to expect a different physical appearance from most of the crew. Lt.Commander Eerie is a Brikar, so I know he will look incredibly different than most of his peers. When you look at my crew profile, you see Regan Wilde, male, human. Nothing so out of the ordinary. Human, as basic as H2O. But then you get to know me, and the truth comes out. I have had an alcohol dependency. Then perceptions change. People begin to wonder what happened. Am I safe to be around? Can I go into the mess hall when there's alcohol being served? Is there a certain way to talk to me about it? And the most damning question of all - how long before I relapse?

He spoke truthfully and as openly as he could. He had been ashamed of it before, and he still was. When he'd tried to make friends at the academy and they'd often invite him to social gatherings, the usual student hangouts - bars, cafes, parties. Then as soon as they realised the temptation he would be under, the invites stopped.

R'Ariel: Sounds like a real battle.

Wilde: Every day is a battle. A battle with myself. I can go to bars. I can be in the mess hall if someone orders alcohol. That doesn't bother me. But I know if I let my guard down and have one drink, I am at the mercy of temptation. One drink leads to another. And I don't go crazy drunk, I'm not dancing on tables making a fool of myself. Sometimes I wish that was the case. I just literally don't stop. I've spent many hours just drinking. Drinking to function. Drinking to forget. Drinking to make it through the day. The academy was tough on me - the first time that is. At the time I wasn't ready for such regimented structure. I needed... something just to get through classes.

R'Ariel nodded solemnly, as she listened, as she felt this conflicted security officer, as an empath felt. The experience was deep, and meaningful in a person and now shared way.

Wilde: In a way, synthehol is worse. It gives all the attributes of alcohol without the effects. It's like... ::He thought for words.:: If I have enough synthehol, my brain will want to seek out the real thing. I don't know if I'm making myself clear. ::He gave a small chuckle.:: It's like my mind recognises the addictive substances, and so craves it. Even though it's not present in the liquid itself, it's like a muscle memory. Pretty soon I'd be looking for the alcohol to satisfy the need. So I just steer clear. If we were to have a party on the ship now, I'd stick to juice.

R'Ariel: Addictions are often a silent struggle, recognized within ourselves when we have the courage to confront them. Your dedication is admirable Regan. There is a lot that can be said about addiction...

Wilde: Even after hundreds of years of research, addiction is still quite a mystery for some people. I've tried several medical tests for it. I spoke to a doctor on Earth about anti-intoxicants. I've never tried them though, I've been too afraid.  Afraid they won't work. Or afraid they will. It seems like I'd be cheating, somehow. Does that make sense? 'Oh it's ok, the alcoholic can drink now there's a magic potion that stops him getting too out of it'. It seems like a cheat.

R'Ariel: It is my experience, the only true cheating of life we experience is denying ourselves choices that may improve our life.

She shifted in her chair so she could get a view of the abstract art that had attracted Mr Wilde's attention earlier.  She directed his attention back to the art.

R'Ariel: If I may, I want to ask you a very different question, and then we can return to this very thing if that is okay with you.

Wilde: Of course

R'Ariel: I want you to tell me what you see in this art.  Put all your focus on it.  ::pausing as she sipped her meaty-tea:: Now tell me about it.

Regan tilted his head to one side as he studied the painting. It was a curious thing. He had no idea of the origin of the artwork, no clue who painted it, or what civilization the artist came from. It was definitely abstract, and in the bold, colourful strokes of paint Regan saw a man. Or a male-like figure.

Wilde: I find the image very masculine. The form, the use of colour and the intensity of the brush on the canvas. The form seems like a man to me. A man, mixed with lighter, brighter strokes. Like… caught in a transporter beam.

R'Ariel: Now keep your attention on the art, and close your eyes, and now tell me what you think the message in this art is.

Regan did as he was told. He closed his eyes and his mind immediately recreated the painting in his head. He thought very carefully, his mind dissecting the image and trying to patch in a meaning to it.

Wilde: Well, I’d be happier if I knew more about the piece.

R'Ariel: You know what they say, in art, there is no wrong answer, just share what you feel.

Wilde: The man is very strong. He’s big, bold; a provider, a hunter, maybe? But he’s caught in this light. It might be light, or it might be energy, or it might represent energy? Maybe mental energy. He’s not bathed in it, he’s trapped. It has a hold of him. But the man is strong, and he’s breaking free. He’s escaping. He’s coming out of the light and into his own space.

Regan opened his eyes. He suddenly had a flash of clarity. He gave a big smile to the Caitian/Deltan counsellor.

Wilde: I think I get the message now, R’Ariel. 

She smiled brightly. This is why she became a counselor, and one of those times being an empath was so rewarding, she could practically bathe in the warmth of his clarity.

R’Ariel: Guess that means I was right about you. So proud to know you, and I am glad we have someone of your courage keeping watch over this ship.

Wilde: It’s amazing that all that came from one painting, but I guess we see what we really think.

R’Ariel: Indeed. There is no power in that art, the convictions and courage are yours. Just try to keep that image alive in your eyes when you need it.  

Wilde: I guess I can live with that. I suppose I do live within my own personal shroud of negative energy. ::He sighed.:: I’m not an unconfident person. I’m quite outgoing, but I do often doubt my own potential. Especially when it comes to Starfleet. Sometimes I feel like an imposter in this uniform.

R’Ariel: I don't know a person on this ship who demonstrates a greater right to the courageous security-gold than you Mr Wilde. I hope you can accept that as the truth that I see.

Regan nodded and sipped his Tarkalean tea. It was nice being able to relax in this space. He liked the Counsellor very much, and looked forward to more visits, taking tea and talking about a variety of things. He had enjoyed the art therapy technique and was glad she didn’t opt for more intrusive, or telepathic modes of counseling. The last thing he needed right now was to relive some bad memories from the not-so-distant past.

R'Ariel: oO Now where did that painting come from? Oo

She nonchalantly turned so she could stare at the art herself. The little secret buried in the 4-foot counselor was, she had no idea where this painting came from. Another gift from the previous occupants no doubt...

R'Ariel: oO What do I see? Oo

Her tail swayed gently.

END

Ensign Regan Wilde

Security

USS Arrow

C237708DW0

&

Ensign R'Ariel

Counsellor

USS Arrow

J239706R10  

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