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JP - Lt. JG Peters + Ens Yael: First Contact

Sedrin Belasi

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((Main Engineering))

:: Ashley strode into Main Engineering, purple eyes glancing curiously at all the equipment and crews goings abouts. He was on a search… as was usual for *some* crewmembers… for his next appointment. One Cadfael Peters, who he had last seen unconscious on the shuttle that had acted as his method of rescue from the Asphodel. But if the man was back on duty, he was healthy enough to attend a scheduled appointment. He wasn’t going to let people think he was a pushover about these things. ::

:: Cadfael wasn’t known for avoiding the required sessions, though with all the transfers in his record it’s possible one or two sessions may’ve gotten lost in the administrative shuffle; and Ashley wanted to… as a Terran would say… “get the drop on him.” ::

:: What this counselor wanted, this counselor got. ::

:: Finding his mark hard at work at a panel, Ashley made his move. Silent and stealthy, he stepped up behind Peters to make what would be an apparently sudden appearance, his hands clasped behind his back and smile in place. ::

Yael: Lieutenant Peters, I presume?

:: Ashley let the man turn around and gather himself from the interruption. ::

:: Peters heard his rank and name, grateful perhaps that the voice hadn’t recited his serial number and turned around slowly. ::

Peters: Yes, ensign. How can I help you?

Yael: Counselor Yael. ::nodding his greeting:: When last we met, you were quite unconscious. You’re feeling better now?

Peters: Yes. Provided I don’t need to go back into Sickbay any time soon.

Yael: Excellent! Then you can accompany me to the main counseling office for your routine evaluation.

:: It wasn’t phrased as a question, though his polite smile stayed firmly in place. ::

Peters: Routine? Are you sure you aren’t confusing it with my annual?

Yael: Whichever you prefer to address it as, Lieutenant.

:: The engineer’s brows furrowed momentarily, and he blinked a few times to formulate the words before he spoke again. The Denobulan smile was creepy, and a little disorienting. ::

Peters: I had my annual eval when I came aboard, with Counselor Sheridan. I’m sure you’ll find his last note in my record. Though if you’re insistent this is mandatory after I had my ears blown apart, I will accompany you now.

Yael: Consider it a Quarterly Update, with your injuries in mind. ::pausing, his smile never faltering:: Lieutenant, you seem a little frustrated?

:: Peters gave a small huff of exasperation and picked up his tools. The console diagnostic would keep, and he was sure one of the other engineers would catch the results if he was still being held hostage by the counselor. ::

Peters: Tends to make me a bit irritable when they get told “You need to drop everything and go to counseling to make sure you’re considered fit for duty.” If you want to discuss my case with Counselor Sheridan, go ahead. I’m sure he’d be more than happy to accommodate. :: This guy was downright annoying. Vance, at least, was personable. ::

Yael: Counselor Sheridan is not posted at Starbase 118. I’m sure you understand that we counselors leave copious notations for our crewmembers future care, should we be personally absent. As for having you drop everything, unless it’s an emergency, it isn’t as important as your health, is it?

:: The question was bluntly stated, yet still eternally polite, presented with a smile that said “I will stand here and harp at you as long as it takes.” ::

Yael: You see, Counselor Sheridan himself noted you may attempt to *avoid* seeing a different counselor, should they not be persistent in seeing you. ::he paused, head [...]ing to the side slightly almost humorously:: Of course, you would *never* conduct such a professional sleight against a well-meaning fellow crewmember, would you?

:: It was a load of bait. Ashley had had difficult clients to catch before, and had found the firm approach quite successful at ending their days of running away. If they knew a persistent Denobulan might creep up on them at any second, they’d at least be in the mood to get it over with, leading to them coming to him. ::

:: It was also worth noting that several pairs of eyes belonging to the engineering staff were now quite interested in their conversation. ::

Peters: You have no idea how much I would love to conduct such a sleight against you right now… :: His words were caked in sarcasm, but never the less picked up his tools and motioned for the Denobulan to lead the way. ::

Yael: I like to know the crew I serve, Lieutenant. Humor me, and I’ll leave you in peace. ::pause:: Until your next regular bi-annual post-injury psychological update is due.

:: He paused, then he gave Peters an easier smile. ::

Yael: Just joking, Lieutenant.

:: Stronger insults hinged on the edge of his tongue, and he didn’t like the fact this guy was starting to get on his nerves. Bringing up the bi-annual post-injury psych eval just made his mood less friendly. So instead of cursing the man out in front of the other engineers, he settled on the mildest one he could think of, in reference to a Star Wars beast of some sort. ::

Peters: You...son of a gundark, you….

Yael: ::grinning, turning to lead the way out:: Flatterer.

:: Cadfael’s mood had gone from chipper to angry in five minutes, just by talking to the Denobulan who seemed hell-bent on making his day a nightmare. There wasn’t anything he could do about it except humor Yael, then maybe earn five minutes or longer of uninterrupted work. The fact Vance was no longer posted to Starbase 118 just made it worse. Peters didn’t dignify that line with a response, inwardly thinking of all the ways he could punch the man’s lights out so he could get back to work. The thought of a court-martial flashed briefly through the engineer’s mind. ::

Peters: oO It’d be worth it… Oo

((Main Counseling Office - 5 minutes later))

Yael: Please help yourself to the replicator. Or, I have some Denobulan coffee prepared if you’d like to try it.

:: Ashley stepped up to the desk and poured the bluish, steaming, liquidated tree bark into a mug, waiting for Peters answer as he took a seat at one end of the couch. ::

Peters: Coffee’s good… :: he took the offered seat as far away as he could manage from the creepy yet annoying Denobulan, not usually the sort to want to punch a guy after ten minutes. ::

Yael: ::heading right into things:: I’ve been informed you and Vance Sheridan were close friends. You must miss him.

:: That just stung, and Cadfael picked up the cup of Denobulan coffee. Every reminder Vance was gone just drove the knife deeper into his mind. He had a friend, then lost him because of a transfer. And he didn’t think he’d trust another counselor again. ::

Peters: Don’t go rubbing salt into the wound, alright? It’s none of your [...] business anyway.

:: Ashley’s smile never wavered, but he did manage a very slight expression that amounted to “tisk tisk.” ::

Yael: No salt intended, Lieutenant. But the answer is very much there, isn’t it. ::the anger was definitely an answer of sorts:: Have you had many close acquaintances on the Starbase aside Mr. Sheridan?

:: Cadfael’s muscles tensed, and he tightened his grip around the coffee cup. While he probably couldn’t break it, he was considering throwing it at the counselor just for being annoying. The smug grin on his face was creepy and annoying at the same time, and again the questions just pried open the fact he missed Vance. ::

Peters: Look, doc. Not your game, alright? You don’t need to know whether I have any friends or not.

:: There was a pause as Ashley set his mug down, before shifting slightly in his seat, hands folding easily in his lap as his purple eyes set solidly on Peters. ::

Yael: Lieutenant, it is in fact my “game.” If I believe your habits to be unsustainable, negatively impacting you on a personal level, or downright unhealthy, I can… and *will*... pull you from duty. ::pausing:: Not to mention, as a professional favor to Counselor Sheridan, I have been asked to keep a “close eye” on you, as it were.

:: The smile went from stern to wry all without changing very much at all. It was very much an expression rooted in the eyes, expertly masked and yet expressive all at the same time. ::

:: The anger in Cadfael’s eyes burned through his otherwise neutral facial expression and he sipped the strange coffee in order to prevent himself from speaking. He sat in silence for several moments, unblinking. He didn’t relax, and wasn’t in the mood to play “be civil to the counselor” at all. He wasn’t Vance. ::

Peters: Professional favor? :: It was a very pointed question, but that’s all. ::

Yael: Yes. His personal notation in your file was vibrantly stated, and I intend to follow through with his request. ::continuing regardless:: I think it’s admirable, that you’ve earned the worry of a good friend. It demonstrates something of your character.

:: Albeit, not the part that was currently glowering at the Denobulan. ::

:: Cadfael sighed, and set down the coffee. He didn’t seem to notice he was now out of coffee, nor did his posture relax at all. It was clear he wasn’t going to win, but he did not feel comfortable around this guy after spending the last however long it was since they met wanting to punch him in the face. oO He isn’t Vance. Oo ::

Peters: And what would that be?

Yael: What do *you* think it is?

:: Ahhh, the classic answering of questions with more questions. Ashley knew he was pushing the man, but it was the approach recommended to him, and he was sticking with it until proven ineffective. Peters’ anger would be something he might have to chip away at over time. ::

Peters: That’s why Vance asked you to look after me, isn’t it? So you could tell me?

Yael: No, Lieutenant. That was my personal observation.

:: By the stars, was this Denobulan a smug little bugger…and personal observation be [...]ed. It was going to be a living nightmare to get this guy humored. ::

Peters: So...what, you want me to warm up to you? Tell you whether or not I’m socially inept and awkward with everyone who isn’t Vance? Tell you about the Darwin and how everyone ignored me because I was caught in a space pocket? The Victory, where I can’t remember much of anything except the Sickbay? The smug yet intriguing little gremlin I met in the previously mentioned rift who wound up saving my life? My stupid and desperate maneuver to wire one implant into the ship’s comm system so I could hear the orders that were part of your rescue? The dual EARS implants?

:: He stopped, furious at Yael for even bringing up the personal observations in the first place. Professional favor or not, apparently Vance’s loss affected Cadfael more deeply than he knew. And it hurt just relating these things in a string of questions he didn’t want to answer that were bound to come up anyway. ::

Peters: oO What the bloody hell is wrong with me? Oo

:: Even expecting an outburst, Ashley was surprised at the intensity. He’d been expecting *something,* sure… but not *that.* Purple eyes widened slightly, and he let Peters digest the moment of silence that came once he appeared to finish. He certainly didn’t want to interrupt if the man wasn’t done. ::

:: After a moment, a kind smile on his face, he asked gently… ::

Yael: Did that feel okay, getting all that out? You *have* been through a *lot,* haven’t you.

:: Again, not actually a question. ::

Peters: No slag, Ensign Obvious. Care to tell me something I didn’t know?

:: He was irritable, frustrated as all hell, and this smug little….It was annoying. Some portion of him wanted to walk over there and clock him one across the jaw as he leaned back in the chair, silent for a few more moments. The tears of frustration started to blur his vision, and he blinked them back before he shed a few. ::

:: The Lieutenants ire had certainly been earned, and the anger was obviously rooted in some serious emotional turmoil. But Ashley was less concerned with the engineer “warming up to him” than he was helping the man learn to actually process that anger, and possibly find the next Vance. Peters didn’t have to *like* Ashley. That was beside the point. ::

:: What was more important was the microexpression Ashley had thought he had seen glance across Peter’s expression after his outburst. One of shock. ::

Yael: I’m going to pencil you in for a bi-weekly session, Lieutenant. I believe you can greatly benefit from learning some anger management techniques, which will allow you better ability to socialize with your fellow crew in the future.

:: Bi-weekly sessions. Great. He was going to be seeing this smug little frack twice a week for the rest of his career until such time as Cadfael didn’t need Ashley’s help anymore. This could only get worse from here. Why is it he got along fine with Vance and the new chief of engineering, but lousy with this guy? Maybe it was the persistence in the Denobulan’s manner or maybe that [...] smug grin that wouldn’t go away. He blinked a few more times to keep the tears at bay and just narrowed his eyes at the counselor as though daring him to provoke so he could throw a punch and walk away. ::

Yael: ::indomitable in the face of the sizzling lieutenant before him:: It may be difficult going for you, but you may find yourself at peace with yourself… if you give it a genuine go. But for the moment, I suggest you find something relaxing to do. I’ll let engineering know you won’t be returning today.

:: Enforced introspection wasn’t his preferred method, but he didn’t want the man to simply bury himself in work to attempt to forget all he’d said here. ::

:: Keeping him from engineering was like taking away a canine’s favorite chew toy for punishment. And someone in the heavens was definitely punishing him. This was going to be a living hell for the rest of his tour on the starbase. ::

Peters: You... :: He couldn’t finish the thought and finally, the [...] broke as a single tear streaked his face. Pure anger gleamed in his eyes, hands clenched tightly into fists as he started toward the door. ::

Yael: Lieutenant. ::meaning to halt the man for one last moment::

:: Peters paused in his tracks, wanting to wipe that smug little grin off his face. But there was nothing he could do except walk away before he put himself in sickbay for a broken hand. ::

Yael: Please keep in mind, it isn’t my intent to torment you. I do what I do entirely for your benefit.

:: It was the only thing the Denobulan said without a smile. ::

Peters: Yeah right. :: and walked away without another word, clenching his eyes shut to prevent further tears. ::



Lieutenant JG Cadfael Peters


Starbase 118 Ops



Ensign Ashley Deneve Yael


Starbase 118 Ops

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