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Commodore V'Airu - Nature of the Beast

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As CO, Tony's sims are often focused on helping encourage other writers and facilitate teamwork. This scene of his character alone was a nice payoff to a slow burn around a number of things that had been hinted at before, an opportunity to delve into particular character issues, and an excellent climax-builder near the end of our first act.


(( Captain's Ready Room, Deck 1, USS 'Oumuamua ))
Once she was alone, Ossa bent almost double under the weight of the overwhelming depression and the anxiety that had come with it.. She hadn't felt so poorly before, or least not exactly like this. She wasn't sure what to do with herself -- sit at her desk and try to work, collapse on the couch, call Sickbay, summon Counselor Salo, do nothing? She paced her office, uncertain what to do, and unable to do anything at all. She tried to convince herself that each moment was the worst, except that the subsequent moment was worse than the one that came before.
In the jaws of this uncertainty, the deep inaction, she felt something within her shift. She had no way to deal with being overwhelmed by emotions as a traditionally trained Vulcan would, and so her mind flailed and grasped at anything -- and what she found were the mental shields she's long ago erected against reading the thoughts or feelings of others. Since her days on the Crow Dog and the first days of the war, she'd never lowered them again -- and yet down they came, opening her to the feelings around her.
She should have been overwhelmed at once. She hadn't trained for over thirty years, and had forgotten most of what she'd learned on Betazed when she was younger. Even if the emotional bursts were coming in waves, she should have buckled under the weight of her own feelings and the normal emotions of those around her -- Katsim, Kel, Herrick, Solari, bim Brirr, officers and crew on the same deck, below the deck, further and further...
Instead, she felt nothing.
A wonderful nothing, blissful. Her own feelings were there, but quiescent, nearly normal. The burst of depression and anxiety was still there, somehow, but it was matched and complemented by the bursts others were feeling, and -- again, somehow -- they managed to cancel out. She felt, for a moment, and then another, and then another, and then all the moments, as normal as she had before they'd entered the nebula.
V'Airu: =/\= V'Airu to Katsim. I believe-- =/\=
Oh, but there was something more. She cut herself off, tapped the channel closed, and shut her eyes. She didn't know how to sense for what she was feeling, not really, but there was something. She cast her mind out, unsure how to explain even to herself without resorting to metaphor: Ossa looked with eyes that couldn't see, reached with hands that couldn't feel, listened with ears that weren't ears and which she wanted to protect, wanted to listen for something that wouldn't hurt her if it screamed, but she was tantalized by the possibility...
Slowly she recognized associations. There were minds she knew out there, officers and crew who had some telepathic abilities themselves -- Richards, partially Betazoid himself, and Avandar, half-El-Aurian, far from the ship -- Emond, in science, and Nirid, in special ops, closer but still distant. And there was more. There should be more, shouldn't there?
She reached for the mind of the nebula itself, the organism that had been belching its feelings on the hapless crew. She readied herself for its thunder, for the immensity of the entity's mind, and felt--
Nothing. No, not nothing, but nothing new. A wave came, and passed, and she perceived a jumble of feelings, rapidly intensifying and then bleeding away to nothing. But the feelings weren't new, they were simply twisted and amplified, somehow. Their source-- Could that be true? Yes, she thought it was.
The nebula wasn't a life form, it was a mirror. Somehow, it was reflecting the feelings of the crew, and making them almost too strong to withstand, in some cases. The emotions Ossa had experienced since the 'Oumuamua began to experience the pulses were all from members of her crew, transposed to her. The debilitating depression had been something that one of her crew had to deal with, and perhaps had become very good at dealing with -- but it wasn't something the passive nebula phenomenon had broadcast at her specifically.
V'Airu: (quiet; wonderingly) Just a mirror.
A funhouse mirror, a whole labyrinth of funhouse mirrors, but only that. She tapped her comm badge to reopen the channel she'd abruptly closed.
V'Airu: =/\= Katsim, V'Airu again. I've discovered something about the nebula. Please... =/\=
She trailed off for a moment. She'd relieved herself of duty and put Katsim in command, which meant that Katsim, as CO, would need to ensure that she was cleared to return to duty. Damn and double damn.
V'Airu: =/\= Please send someone to recertify me for active service. This shouldn't wait. =/\=
Katsim: =/\= Response =/\=
There were already two medical officers on the bridge, including the recently returned Doctor Kel, and Ossa expected that she would see one of them very soon.


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