Quinn Reynolds Posted July 3, 2020 Share Posted July 3, 2020 ((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 3 Quote Link to comment
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