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Lt. JG. Karen Stendhal & Lt. Cmdr. DeVeau - "The Counselor and the Counseled"

Sal Taybrim

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A really lovely conversation that shows both characters beautifully ❤️
((Starbase 118 Ops - Karen Stendhal’s Office))
Alora stood outside the doors that led to the office of one of the
base’s counselors.  She had requested an appointment and been assigned
Karen Stendhal.  She inhaled three times, small steps. Small steps. 
Then she let go.  As much as Alora appreciated counseling, and knew it
was useful and helpful, it was still hard to go.  She encouraged others,
but she also understood their hesitation.  With Raymond, she had a great
rapport.  They were friends.  Talking to him was easy.  However, he
suggested she get established with a counselor on her station.  Raymond
was available when he could be, and he would continue to do so, but he
said it was good to establish with someone who could be present in
person. So...Alora was going to take his advice.  At least this was
someone with whom she was passingly familiar.  Karen Stendhal had been
one of the women she’d met at the tea shoppe, so at least she wasn’t a
complete stranger.
Finally, Alora stepped forward and the doors parted.  Stepping into the
office, Alora smiled at the woman she hadn’t seen much of since their
little tea party.
Karen was just finishing to get the things done in her new office.
She chose a new area after she took over Malko, the previous counselor
of the Station, cos she thought that a fresh start would be better and
also cos the crew was used to him and probably everybody was still
missing him or waiting for his return.
The office now was looking more like her one aboard of USS Columbia, or
at least in her mind it was. A large sofa next to a smaller one with a
tea table, few chairs, a big holographic painting representing the pink
lake of Mitzawal with the forest cherry of happiness in flower.
Piles of pad was on her new desk, loads of files still waiting for her.
She still didn’t had time to finish, also because the previous mission.
DeVeau: Hi Karen.
Stendhal: Hi Alora. It's nice to see you again.
Said Karen with a gentle handshake with both of her hands.
A deep look in her eyes for an empathic preview of the reasons of her
visit, but without any ‘intrusions’ of her thoughts...
DeVeau: Yeah.  I uh...thought I’d come in, get established with a
counselor.  You know, that sort of thing.
Stendhal: Yeah, you know that I’m quite new here? I’m certainly still
establishing here as a counselor! Do you like a cuppa tea and a chat?
She smiled blinking her eyes as she noticed that she feelt a bit uneasy
to go to for counseling,  so she tried to drop it to a simply chat with
a friend.
DeVeau: Tea would be great.
And appropriate considering how they met.  Besides, tea always made a
situation better.
DeVeau:. I prefer herbal, though, if that's okay.
Stendhal: Well, no worries! Do you know that probably you are the first
one coming here? What an honor!
She jokes, showing up a posh box with a large choice of herbal tea bags.
Alora chuckled softly as she sat down on the smaller sofa in lieu of one
of the chairs.
DeVeau: Being new doesn't make you any less capable.  You were the one
listed with an open appointment at the time I requested, so it worked
out well.
Stendhal: Well, I’m glad that I was free, so hopefully I’ll be able to
help you.
Karen slowly walked to the large sofa sitting down on the side closer as
possible to Alora. She had a thought back about her first experience on
board of the Columbia, with Luna and her pink hairs. She smiled as the
dark hairs of Alora was certainly an improvement.
The kettle was ready on the small table so she poured the tea in two
cups. An Herbal tea and a decaf tea with a shot of milk for herself.
Alora accepted the warm cup of tea and sipped at it.  It was a light and
fruity concoction, right up her alley.  She detected hints of some
citrus fruit, possibly Bajoran in origin along with some sort of spice
that was similar to cinnamon, but with a little cooler pallette.
DeVeau: Thank you.
Stendhal: You’re very welcome! Don’t forget to pick up a cookie with
your tea! You have to accept a cookie in order to interact with me.
On the small table there was also a selection of various kinds of
biscuits..There was also a cuddling relaxing music in the background.
Alora examined them a moment before picking up a chocolate chip cookie. 
Chocolate always improved things.
DeVeau:. We'll, I'm not sure where to start.  I'll admit to feeling awkward.
Karen joined her hands together but touching the end of her fingers only.
Stendhal: From the beginning? Or whatever place you feel more
comfortable with? We can even just talk about your experiences and how
you feel now that you’re back aboard the Station? Anything…
Anything.  It was such an open ended invitation, it really didn’t help,
though Alora knew the counselor was trying to prevent limiting her.
DeVeau: Ah, back aboard the station. It’s good to be back home.  It
always is, especially after a mission.
Especially after a mission that involved the Borg!  Even if it was a
rogue collective, they still gave her the heebie jeebies.
DeVeau: I know you were on that mission too. I have to admit, I’m glad
it’s over.
Stendhal: Yes I was on the mission too and I’m very glad it is over too.
Karen had a sip of tea.
DeVeau: The Borg frighten me - and that’s putting it mildly.  I would
say getting assimilated is one of my worst nightmares.
One of them, but not the top one.  She had others that overshadowed even
that.  Unfortunately, they weren’t of what could be, but what had
already come to pass.
Stendhal: Sorry Alora, are you here to talk about our fear of the Borg?
Karen had another sip of her tea looking for her reactions in a kind
way, always smiling. At the first look Alora DeVeau was a strong one,
with a very stable personality, and a beautiful woman. Karen looked
directly in her eyes, there was something deeper, something not in her
Alora hesitated.  Not really, no, though that was certainly something
they could talk about and work on processing, but there were other
reasons why she had come.  The problem was, trying to open up.  Getting
started was the worst part.  Once she got started, sometimes it was
easier.  Sometimes.
Karen moved even closer, risking to fall on the floor because she was
sitting now in a tiny tiny space on the edge of the sofa. She took one
of her PADD abandoned on the tea table and she tapped something, then
she put it on her lap.
Stendhal: mm…
She just said, like an almost silent affirmation.
DeVeau: I suppose that might be good to discuss.
It was true, but it also wasn’t the main reason why she was coming. The
main reason was difficult. Extremely difficult.  Alora wasn’t sure she
could talk about that - even if the woman was nice and approachable. 
Raymond had been there when everything had happened. He’d come to visit
her in Sickbay.  This was a bit of a different scenario - even if Alora
knew it was necessary.
DeVeau: It was...interesting, facing that fear, I guess.  Okay, not
interesting.  Terrifying.
Karen's left eyebrow moved up a bit, Alora was holding something very
Under the surface and behind those green eyes. Anyway, she wouldn't
force her too much. oO She will open up when it will be the right time!
Oo She thought.
Stendhal: Yes terrifying, I don't like the Borg, well who likes them?
Have you met them in person?
DeVeau: I haven’t, but I suppose there’s going to be a first time. The
Borg don’t seem to be going away.
Stendhal: I agree, I'm afraid that they won't give up easily…For sure I
won't suggest anymore to use nanities as a shortcut to solve a problem! 
I did that when we were researching about the deadly fog. Bad idea!!!
DeVeau: Oh?
Now Alora was curious.  She nibbled on her cookie, then took a sip of
the tea before asking.
DeVeau: Why do you say that?
Stendhal: Cos there was really a risk to lose control of the nanites,
little or big now we know what’s happened to the USS Nimitz.
DeVeau: But if there's an effective way to fight an enemy, particularly
using technology that they use, shouldn’t that be done?
Stendhal: We find a safer way using different technologies, with little
robots to get rid of the poisonous gas. Much better than playing God
with nanites…There’s also some theories about the species 001, at the
beginning they were like us… Then to reach the perfection they started
to include the ‘synthetic’ and the nano tech. We know how it finished...
DeVeau: Why do you think it was playing God?
Stendhal: Uh ? Err isn't It some kind of unnatural manipulation of
things? Like… what's happened, you know, the eugenics like Khan and
DeVeau: What about those who currently have nanites?  Those who need
them to survive?  What about those who don’t currently have nanites, but
whose lives were saved because of them?  What if there were a way to
safely control them and be sure they wouldn’t pose a threat?
Karen paused for a moment, for Alora that topic was something of? Personal?
Stendhal: Well everybody thinks to be able to control them, but then we
finish in a Nimitz situation… Everything screwed up, with a bunch of
drones with pseudolatin nicknames killing and assimilating everything
and everybody...
DeVeau: Right, but the nanites we’re dealing with are not of our
creation, they aren’t of our technology.  What’s to say, though, that we
can’t learn from that?  What’s to say we can’t find way to improve and
make that technology
Stendhal: Maybe one day we'll do, but for now isn't it like with the
If used well it may improve our life, but is illegal, because the
improved humans become dangerous at one point.  Anyway… Do you have any
experience with nanites?
Karen tapped something else on her pad..
DeVeau: Some, though this is the first time I’ve dealt with the Borg
Though Alora did have to admit, her experience with them was minimal and
had only been in the context of missions.  She was a Botanist and a
Zoologist, so that was where her specialties lay, though that hadn’t
stopped captains from assigning her to deal with scientific concepts
outside of those specialties.  She’d learned from the beginning that all
officers had to be flexible and adaptable.
DeVeau: Do you?
Stendhal: Nope not really, not before last mission. Anyway I didn't mean
the Borg, but the nanites in general and the one builded in labs for
medical research …It seems that for you is really an important matter…
DeVeau: Really?  I was about to say it sounds like an important matter
to you.
Alora’s lips curled up in a small smile.
DeVeau: You certainly seem to have strong feelings about them.  Have you
had previous experiences, not necessarily with the nanites themselves,
but with bad consequences related to the Borg or other nanites?
Stendhal: No, not really...
DeVeau: I’m curious, then, why you seem to have such a strong stance
against them.
Stendhal: This must be a misunderstanding of some kind here.
Karen nervously had another sip of tea, who was counseling who now?
DeVeau: Yes, you mentioned eugenics, and that is illegal, but is
manipulating the genetic cold of a preborn person the same as using
nanites?  If so, how?  Why is there no difference between them?
Stendhal: I don’t know, honestly is just an opinion in front of a cup of
tea.  Well, it seems like you had raised up your ‘shields’ instead of
opening and relaxing, my dear …
Now what do you like to do?
DeVeau: Actually, no, I'm quite relaxed.  I found the conversation
interesting.  It seemed to matter to you as well.
Alora sipped at her own tea, her smile hidden only briefly.
DeVeau:. It's a topic that requires discussion and contemplation, and
certainly not one with easy answers.  However, by talking about it, it
helps us wrestle with the hard questions while, at the same time, allows
us to learn more about others as well as ourselves. ::She paused for a
moment to allow herself to finish her cup before continuing.:: Is there
anything you would like to discuss?
Stendhal: Well, you are not an easy client, did you know that?
DeVeau: I am?
Stendhal: Alora, the fact that you come here means that probably you
have something to talk about you... Statistically and in my experience
is about family issues about the choice of starfleet or similar, but it
can also be about love, work or some issues related to workmates.
I don't think you are in this categories.You seem strong and in good
health conditions too.
She smiled at Alora.
So did that mean Karen didn’t think she needed counseling?  Raymond
might have something to say about that, but Alora wasn’t going to
argue.  She liked Karen, but she just wasn’t feeling the comfort she
needed to feel to open up to the woman.
DeVeau:  ::With a giggle and a grin.:: Does that mean I get a clean bill
of health?
Stendhal: Ehm not really, my dear. You won a weekly appointment with me.
It will take what it takes, one hour, one month or one forever! Do you
prefer Tuesday or Thursday?
She smiled.
DeVeau: Tuesday, after my shift is over.
Which could change, depending on what was needed and when, but Alora was
pretty sure the counselors knew that.
DeVeau: Will that work for you?
Stendhal: Yes of course. That will be perfect!
DeVeau: Great,  I’ll see you then.
Stendhal: See you and thanks for the nice conversation. Can't wait for
our next one.
She smiled again.
Alora rose and nodded, returning the smile.  As she left, however, she
was unsatisfied. Karen was extremely nice.  So sweet. But...Alora just
didn’t feel like she had clicked.  Of course, that could also simply be
because she hadn’t given her enough time.  She supposed only time would
Liutenant JG Karen Trisha Stendhal
Starbase 118 Ops
ID: C239604KS0
Lt. Cmdr. Alora DeVeau
Science Officer
Starbase 118 Ops
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