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[Round 1] "The Man, The Mystery"

James T. Kolk

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LtCmdr Danny Wilde - "The Man, The Mystery" - Partial JP with Lt Karynn Ehlanii

((USS Ronin - Danny's Office))

::After the promotions party which had been held on DS17 danny quickly learned that it was always all business for the Executive Officer of any starship. Where once he had enjoyed the luxury of a lie in, he now had reports to fill out, inspections to carry out and rostars to update. He didn't like it. As a former CoS and CTO, he enjoyed the privilege of merely dumping his daily and weekly reports on the FO's desk and leaving. Now he was the recipient of these reports, and the department heads relished dumping their PADD's on the mighty stack already assembled on his desk.::

::He tried engaging them in conversation, but it seems he taught them a few tricks of his own...::

"I have a coolant leak in Engineering!"

"Those tactical sensors won't fix themselves!"

"Och, I cannae talk now ya daft man. I have new vaccines to dish out, lad!"

::Frustrated he picked up as many PADD's as he could and left for sunnier climbs.::

((USS Ronin - Corridor))

:: On his way to the bridge he happened to catch a glimpse at the content of the PADD on top of his pile. It outlined the transfer of Lieutenant.jg Llewelyn to Starbase 118, and the Counsellors positio vacant. No Counsellor?? Did he wake up in a parallel universe? He counted today as one of the more pleasant days he had had since taking FO.::

::All he had to do now was persuade Ben not to take on another Counsellor... with them being station at DS17 practically permenantly, and the Ronin never leaving the Ithassa Region, the crew could always use the services of the stations counselling staff. No one need ever try and pick his brain again! There were exceptions to this rule, however. Alana being one. Karynn being the other. He still remembered the night she had managed to get beneath his barriers...::

((Flashback - USS Ronin: Holodeck 1 - Midnight))

::Danny slipped quietly into the Holodeck roughly 5 minutes before Karynn was supposed to arrive. Slinking into the silver studded room, he produced a small isolinear rod from his pocket and deposited it in the wall console near the entrance of the Holodeck. Within the seconds, the basic room had materialized into a modern dance studio complete with wooden polished floor and tap area.::

Wilde: I must be mad...

::The programmed was set at night, paralleling the current time in the ships computer, and the faint sound of soft jazz was coming in through the window, where a club had just finished its set and people were spilling into the street beyond.::

::The doors to the Holodeck parted, and the ships counselor entered. Danny smiled in welcome.::

Ehlanii: I'm ready. Teach away.

Wilde: Well first we'll start with posture. The key to good form is posture and procedure. Without it, your dancing will be sloppy.

Ehlanii: Starting with the fundamentals is always good. So working on posture first sounds good. When do I get to learn actual steps?

Wilde: We'll do some posture work, then go through steps. We'll start with something basic and work up to it.

::The Haliian smiled and held out her hands.::

Ehlanii: Alright then. Lay on, Macduff.

::She smiled slightly at her own joke, a reference to the play they had put on together.::

::The pair started practising walking. It sounded silly, but walking properly increased balance and reflexivity, then they worked on some basic steps of a waltz.::

Wilde: Of course, the learning of the steps is mandatory, but true excellence comes from practice. Soon you'll be able to add your own style to the dance. You just need to practice.

Ehlanii: ::laughing lightly:: Practice, practice, practice. Got it. Really, its just like when I learned to play musical instruments growing up. Think Amber would have any other advice?

Wilde: She'd say the same thing. She had to take the lessons too. She was just as good as me, I remember. Of course, we had a strict teacher.

::Karynn's eyes glinted mischeviously. She couldn't resist the opportunity.::

Ehlanii: Not as strict as mine, I'd imagine. Although I think it would be interesting to meet her sometime.

Wilde: ::chuckling:: I have a holographic version of her programmed into this recreation, but decided to spare you the harrassment. I figure myself a pretty good teacher anyway.

Ehlanii: ::bowing her head slightly:: And for that, I thank you. You are a good teacher, or at least I think so. Not that I have a whole lot to compare it to.

::Although she was still focused on learning, and repeating, the steps they were practicing, she decided to use the opportunity for her own purposes. After all, surprising Ethan was only part of her reason for asking about dance lessons. She had purposely chosen to not wear her gloves. Their skin to skin contact would make figuring out how he was feeling quite easy.::

Ehlanii: Thanks for being willing to do this. I've been trying to figure out a way to surprise Ethan ever since... well, ever since your Wedding and the... aftermath that followed. I know the whole thing has been rough on him.

Wilde: ::smirking:: It's been rough on us all...

Ehlanii: How have you been holding up? I can only imagine how hard it must be...

::Her voice trailed off slightly, inviting his response.::

::His stiffened slightly, recalling the current state of his new wife. It made him feel completely useless knowing she was so far away, helpless and alone. And what was he doing? Dancing in the Holodeck with another woman.::

Wilde: I cope. My new job role has me doing all sorts of distracting things.

Ehlanii: That wasn't exactly my question.

Wilde: Isn't that what I'm supposed to do? Distract myself?

Ehlanii: It's certainly one way people try to cope. I'm not always sure it's healthy though. But I'm sure there is reason to hope.

::Sadness washed over him for a brief moment. She had a point, but Danny Wilde was no quitter. If it took him a lifetime, he'd find a way.::

Wilde: We have good people here. I think it's a case of all being in it together.

::Karynn noticed his sadness and realized that she had hit a chord. Now she just had to figure out a way to explore it.::

Ehlanii: I agree entirely.

::Noticing she wasn't practicing her steps, he chastised her.::

Wilde: Footwork, Counselor, footwork! You're not paying attention!

Ehlanii: Sorry, Commander.

::Karynn returned to the task at hand - her footwork - but her mind also chugged away at the problem of getting him to open up. She needed a different tactic.::

Ehlanii: Have you talked to her lately?

Wilde: Almost every day. Treatment permitting.

Ehlanii: Well, I suppose that's a good sign. How does it make you feel?

::A spark of realisation; an interrogation?::

Wilde: A professional curiosity?

::A slight grin played across her face as she followed his lead with a bit of flair. She really was enjoying the dancing lesson, and she was glad for the opportunity to prove that she was learning something.::

Ehlanii: I would hope you'd know me better than that, Commander. You're a colleague, and I hope even a friend. I have every interest in making sure that you've had every opportunity to talk about anything that might be on your mind. But I really do want to surprise Ethan with this sometime...

::Especially considering recent events. With him banned from the Achilles by Tess, who knows where he'd end up. She was still a bit upset with him herself. Couldn't he have left well enough alone? She shook off the thoughts. This wasn't about her. She needed a calm, rational mind to help the man she was dancing with.::

Wilde: You could have fooled me...

Ehlanii: ::laughing:: Remember that time she sent me to check up on you? I was just a green ensign then.

Wilde: ::chuckling:: And I was mere hours from coma. I remember. Though that was more Idril's fault. For all her command experience, when it comes to my wellbeing, she'd move Heaven and Earth to get to the bottom of things. Even sending a rookie where Angels fear to tread.

::Another twirl, a movement of feet and bodies and the rhythm of the dance increased.::

Ehlanii: Yeah, an inexperienced science officer turned counselor sent to practically interrogate a trained SFI agent. ::She shook her head.:: It was almost cruel.

Wilde: In all fairness, Karynn, you never stood a chance.

::Her tone became a little more serious.::

Ehlanii: Commander, even the strongest need to talk about what they feel sometimes. Especially when they've experienced as much as you have. If they don't, it ends up building up inside and coming out in other ways and making your life and career more complicated than they need to be. I know you don't want that to happen.

Wilde: You know my history with counselors. It's not that I don't have a wish to talk, I think its fitting that I don't. I think you're entirely right, that a person like me has been through so much since entering Starfleet, that he must feel a need to talk about it. If he doesn't, it may very well harm those he cares about.

Ehlanii: I can't make you... well... technically that isn't true. But I'd rather not. I'd rather it be your idea, your choice. If you see it as opening up to a friend, I don't have to make or keep a record of any of it. I just need to be satisfied that you're ok. Can you trust me?

Wilde: I trust every member of this crew. Believe me that I'd give my life for anyone on this crew. I have no doubts to your sincerity, Karynn. But...

::There it was again, that [...]ed Wilde pride. Some would say arrogance. He wasn't ready for the world to know his problems.::

Ehlanii: But?

Wilde: I have issues. Issues that are best not aired in public. I fear that if I unburden some of the things I carry, I might not be able to stop. The crux of the matter shouldn't be if I trust you. It should be whether you are ready for it...

Ehlanii: Maybe you should let me make that decision. Danny... I may not be the most experienced counselor in the fleet, but I've learned in my time on this ship. If I bite off more than I can chew, let that be my fault.

::The pace of the music increased, transforming into an Earth tango. She was pushing him, goading him into talking. Very well, if she thought she was ready for it - so be it.::

Wilde: Because it's all my fault! Don't you see? The whole rotten situation we're in is my fault! Idril is dying, the entire Trill race too. Our crewmates are dead, and the man I let do it is swanning around the galaxy free as a bird!

::His anger flowed through their connection. All Karynn allowed herself was a slight blink as she quickly internally began sorting through his emotions, keeping them separate from their own. She didn't need to get angry back. But she knew he needed to let it out and she had every intention of letting him do so.::

Ehlanii: It wasn't you. It was him.

Wilde: That's not true. Me, from whichever dimension, loved her, and yet this happened. How could he have loved her so much to allow the whole series of events to unfold? He abandoned his post, destroyed DS17 and crossed realities to get to her. If that's what I would have done in his place - then Danny Wilde is better off dead!

::Her voice was calm.:: Ehlanii: You aren't alone in feeling that way. And it's not an entirely irrational feeling. But we're more than our genes. Our experiences help shape who we are. The other Danny spent years in a war he felt he couldn't win. He saw all of his friends die. Already you're different people.

Wilde: You don't know that. No one knows that because I was never put in that situation. How do you know that I wouldn't do the same thing if I had fought that war?

Ehlanii: ::She shook her head:: No. There's more. There was a stream of thought on Earth, one I greatly believe, that our choices shape who we are and what we will become. Every time we choose to do something good, that makes us a better person. Every time we choose to do something bad, it changes us into a worse person. The other Danny chose over and over to violate those moral precepts that you both hold so dear. It changed him. You've made different choices. And you know where your weaknesses are. You can choose now to make those decisions that you believe are right.

Wilde: Our hands were forced - in both dimensions. We were both taken away at the drop of hat and at that point the fabric of that reality changed.

::The music was whirling. Karynn's attention was split between the steps and her counseling. She stumbled slightly but recovered.::

Ehlanii: I'm sorry. Go on.

Wilde: No I'm sorry. You know me not to let my guard down. It is my cross to bear.

::Karynn smiled slightly. It seemed as though the whole command staff carried the weight of the world on their shoulders, each feeling full responsibility for the situations they faced.::

Ehlanii: If Commander Walker said that, what would you say?

Wilde: Simple: I would agree with him. He's no saint, either. I think we're both finally learning that.

::Her eyebrow arched slightly.:: Ehlanii: Really? Are you sure?

::He sighed, unable to hold up that tough facade anymore.::

Wilde: I would say he's arrogant, pig-headed, irrational and a touch more conceited than he believes.

Ehlanii: ::smiling:: That's a bit closer to the mark.

Wilde: We're working on our professional relationship. It includes the Holodeck, but instead of dancing we get to beat each other's brains out. It beats doing it on the bridge.

::He smiled, the earlier outburst fading.::

Ehlanii: And what about Captain Mar?

Wilde: She was just as stubborn. Back on the Indy, she used to get so mad at her team that she'd end up rolling her sleeves up and doing something completely menial when a crewman of limited training could have done it, just so she could see that it was done to her satisfaction. She is like that now, as Captain. Much like me, too stubborn.

::She smiled internally. He was still deflecting in a way, telling her about the others instead of talking about himself. But sometimes the best way to look at a person's inner workings was to listen to how they viewed others. One of her professors had mentioned that we tend to see ourselves in others - and that it was often those things about ourselves that we hate that we react to in others.::

Ehlanii: Why do you say that?

Wilde: She couldn't let go. Refused to. She broke my nose the day I left ::he traced the fracture line with his finger - he still meant to get that reset.:: caught the sight of blood and fainted in the shower. Security thought we were mad.

Ehlanii: ::laughing:: She broke your nose?

Wilde: Oh that's not even the best part. I learn from a reliable source sometime later that she'd hijacked a shuttle, stolen an Ensign and made a course after me. Anassasi was furious, she got demoted, you know. I'd managed to disable the tracking device she put in my engine by the time I got the moon of Talaris. As I say, she was stubborn.

Ehlanii: What happened?

Wilde: The rest, as they say, is history. The Grendellai attacked, the Achilles swooped in and saved them, I returned two years later - promotion, transfer, coma, promotion, marriage the usual story.

Ehlanii: ::laughing:: Not exactly what I'd call the usual story.

::Karynn thought about things a little bit. He was talking, and that was getting them somewhere. She was trying to keep up with the footwork, but at the same time she figured he had caught on. The dancing was a way to get him to let her in, and he had done that.::

Ehlanii: And that's what got Captain Mar... the other one... killed? Coming after you?

::He was still dancing, although he seemed to think that the Counselor had now abandoned her pretense of learning and was now heavily engaged in the psycoanalysis she had always craved. The hairs on his neck stood on end as he thought about the other version of the same events and he tightened his grip on her frame.::

Wilde: Exactly that! Too stubborn in both universes. For heavens sake why couldn't she have just stayed put and trust me to do my job? Too headstrong and look where it got her there? Dead! That's what caused that Wilde to lose it.

Ehlanii: Her death?

Wilde: ::shaking his head, solemnly:: I don't think so, no. Not the fact she died. The fact that she followed him. Followed me. If she'd have died in this universe, too. I would have done the same. I can feel it. He loved her, as I do with all my being. But I think deep down, he secretly blamed her. As I think...so do I...

::Ah so that was it. Now they were getting somewhere. This was something they needed to explore - for his sake. She nodded slightly.::

Ehlanii: The other Mar? Or this one? Or both?

Wilde: I don't know... both. Both as stubborn...

::What was he accomplishing here? Self-blame and arrogance went hand in hand with him. This was nothing new. He wasn't going to learn anything new that he didn't already know.::

Ehlanii: Go on.

Wilde: Things happen that change the course of history. We should know this by now. People die, and people are responsible.

Ehlanii: And you fear that it could happen here too?

Wilde: Of course it could. In the blink of an eye. That's what's scary.

Ehlanii: Have you talked about this with her?

Wilde: Are you mad? We've both got a long road ahead of us, and this will not make it any easier.

::Karynn nodded slightly. He had a point. Timing in discussing it would be critical. But at the same time, she felt strongly that the couple needed to talk about it. She guessed that he probably wasn't alone in his fears about the current situation, and knowing that someone else shared those anxieties might help. Perhaps, one day, he'd consider the suggestion. Right now, however, she had other avenues to explore.::

Ehlanii: What about you? You've admitted that you're stubborn too. Does that bother you?

Wilde: Nope.

::He smiled as they continued the steps. She was a fast learner, and he threw in a few quick steps to try and phase her.::

::Karynn arched her eyebrow. His answer was too swift and brief. And on top of that he was trying to distract her with dancing.::

Ehlanii: Really?

Wilde: What else do you want me to say? I'm stubborn, I can live with that. However it does concern me that my insular nature might be too much in my new position. As I said, things change far too quickly, and what if my approach to life affects someone on the crew. When I got married I thought it would change the way I thought about things in general, but it hasn't. I'm still the ex-spy who still longs for the chase.

Ehlanii: Marriage usually doesn't change personalities. They run too deeply for that. Priorities, perhaps, but not the way we fundamentally see things.

Wilde: And what of you, Counselor? Does that bother you?

::The Haliian smiled slightly. He was quite the deflector. Since he had been so open, she decided to reciprocate... eventually... once she understood his question anyway.::

Ehlanii: Does what bother me?

Wilde: That one day I might have to order someone close to you - Ethan, perhaps - to his death for the sake of the Federation.

Ehlanii: Ah.

::Karynn stopped dancing to really give his question some honest thought. Would it bother her? Ben had asked her a smiliar question a few months ago at the Wilde mansion. He blamed himself for Ethan's injury and asked her if she blamed him. She didn't then. But this was a slightly different question. What if Commander Wilde directly ordered Ethan to sacrifice his life? Did that possibility bother her? She chewed the inside of her lip.::

Ehlanii: I'm not sure. ::she paused, still thinking.:: Perhaps it does... at least some.

::Danny nodded, and the music stopped.::

Wilde: Then you understand how hard it is for someone like me to completely open up and let my thoughts out, with my track record and new responsibilites. I don't know about anyone else, but I like my cross to bear. Without it, I wouldn't be the man I am today, someone who people look up to to make certain decisions that no one else will.

Ehlanii: ::nodding slightly:: I understand that. At the same time, I think that even you need someone to talk to - so that the things building up inside don't cloud your ability to make those decisions. I'm not saying don't worry about having to send your friends - or mine- to their deaths. But if you're potentially going to have to make that decision, I have a vested interest in knowing that your head is clear when you make it. And you do too.

Wilde: You're absolutely right...as usual.

Ehlanii: And Commander?

Wilde: Yes, Lieutenant?

Ehlanii: I can't guarantee how I'd react - or whether I'd blame you - if you had to give that order in the future. But I've said before, and I'll say it again, that each of us in Starfleet, myself and Ethan included, knew what we risks we were assuming when we joined. I believe in you, and Captain Mar, and Commander Walker, and I don't think any of you would direct us to give our lives if you didn't think it was necessary to save the ship or the Federation. And speaking for myself, at least, I would gladly give my life for those things.

Wilde: We all feel that way. If we didn't we wouldn't wear the uniform.

Ehlanii: The short version: if I can feel comfortable that your judgement is intact, than ultimately I think I'd forgive you for whatever you ordered, if you believed it was best. Even if that meant loosing Ethan.

Wilde: Thank you... I'm fortunate to have your trust.

::Danny shrugged off the reality of what had just happened. He'd just been analysed by the Counsellor. He'd been duped, but he didn't mind. She was as good as games as he was.::

Wilde: So we can consider this my first session with you, Counsellor?

Ehlanii: ::with a small, gentle smile:: Yes, I think we can. And thank you.

Wilde: For the opportunity to pick my brains?

Ehlanii: ::laughing:: For the dancing lessons, of course.

Wilde: ::Chuckling:: Ah, of course. You're welcome!

((Present Day - Bridge))

::Crossing the bridge he suddenly felt uneasy, as if a watchful pair of eyes followed his every move. Looking around he saw no one who had apparently been watching him. Shrugging, he pressed the chime on the door to Ben's Ready Room. Hhmm, when did it stop being Idril's Ready Room? He awaited the bid to come in before he did so, his proposal all ready.::

::As he entered he placed the PADD's on the desk.::

Wilde: I have a proposal, Captain...now just hear me out...

Walker: Ok...but first I'd like to introduce you to our new Counselor.

::He now noticed someone else in the room. A blur of pink blanketted his senses before he saw the woman beneath it. He smiled his most accommodating smile and nodded.::

Wilde: Pleased to meet you, Ensign... wait, what?

Walker: :: Smiling slightly:: Counselor Mr. Wilde. I'm sure you've heard the term.

Wilde: You're the new...Counsellor?

Javinx: Is there something wrong Sir?

Wilde: Oh no, no problems. We hope you settle in nicely here. We're all crazy you know!

::He laughed a little too forcibly.

Javinx: I guess I will fit right in! :: A soft giggle escapes Renesme's lips.::

Wilde: Of course, your transfer orders?

::He took the PADD from the pink-haired woman and fleetingly glanced at the authorised signature of the Sector Commander who authorised it - Captain Idril Mar.::

Danny: oO Ooh she's good! D*mn you for making me sleep late whilst you snuck this past my very eyes. She knows me too well! Oo

Wilde: Everything seems to be in order. Report to Sickbay for your physical, to Lt. Wood for your security clearance and then I'll see if we have a bunk spare for you.

Javinx: Yes, Sir.

::As the young woman left, Danny's beaming smile turned downwards as he exited.::

Wilde: New Counsellor?? So soon?

Walker: We ARE supposed to have one with us.

Wilde: But we don't need one. I don't need one. You don't need one. I thought that's why we hit each other in the Holodeck every morning?


Lt.Commander Danny Wilde

First Officer

USS Ronin

((Reasong for edit: fixing :o face created by the forum))

Edited by LtCmdr Jackford B. Kolk
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