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Round 1 Lt Jg Zinna & Ens. Alexander Richards - Dealing with the

Sedrin Belasi

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JP: Lt Jg Zinna & Ens. Alexander Richards - Dealing with the nightmare part 1

[[DS17 promenade, 24 hours after the briefing]]

:: Time with his family should have been a joyous occasion. However for the tall, blond ensign events of the previous mission continued to weigh heavily on his mind. He found himself getting distant from the important things in life. A fact that hadn't gone unnoticed. The worst thing for Alexander was that due to the nature of the previous mission he was unable to discuss anything that happened with his wife. The recurring nightmare after the link had been broken was horrific. He couldn't get those falsified images of London out of his head. He needed to talk to somebody, anybody. It was then that it dawned upon him. The Tiger had one of the best young chief counsellors in the fleet. Alex knew that he hadn't exactly been kind to her way back in the mission briefing but, he knew she was [...] good at her job. Even the captain recognized her abilities. His decision was made. He would speak to Counsellor Zinna, the El Aurian. This went against his inherent fear of telepaths but, if anyone could help him, she could. ::

Richards: =^=Computer, locate Lt Jg Zinna. =^=

Computer: =^=Lt Jg Zinna is located in her office on board the USS Tiger, docking...=^=

Richards: =^=Thank you computer.=^=

:: Richards liked the efficiency of the Star Fleet computer systems but, their penchant for specifics could be rather grating at times. He quickly gathered his thoughts and set about heading to the Tiger for the first time since it arrived. With at least some more free time before their next mission. Richards hadn't even thought of transferring his personal effects over to his new quarters. ::

[[uSS Tiger A, Chief Counsellor Lt Jg Zinna's office, 5 minutes later]]

:: Alexander came before the door to the counsellor’s office and stopped short of ringing the chime. He was almost having second thoughts about this but; his will to get over his problems outweighed his fears of counsellors and telepaths. He pressed the chime after a short pause. ::

Zinna: Come in.

:: Alexander straightened himself up and entered the office. ::

:: All around the room Zinna had put many plants so the office had smelled exotic, but also an herb like smell to calm the mind. ::

Richards: Good day sir. I'm sorry if I've caught you at a bad time, and come to you whilst we are on leave but I have some pressing matters which require your attention. First and foremost. I need a complete psychological re-evaluation following the last mission to assess whether I am fit for duty. Secondly, I am having some major problems that I believe only someone with your 'qualifications' can help with. :: He paused and realized he was being very abrupt again.:: I am so sorry counsellor. I seem to have checked my manners at the door. I haven't even asked if you are free at the moment and available for a session.

Zinna: No no. I've cleared my schedule, because I knew this would be the time people would need me most.

Richards: :: Taking a seat. :: Thank you counsellor. I would like to start before we begin with proceedings with an apology for the way I acted towards you during the last mission. My behaviour towards you in the staff briefing was unacceptable and, the way I brushed you off and ignored your sound advice during the hostage situation was at best foolhardy, at the very worst, could have resulted in the loss of that child's life. :: He looked down, ashamed of the person he had grown in to over his life. ::

:: An apology made her feel immature. It occurred to Zinna that Ensign Richards being the adult here. ::

Zinna: Apology accepted Alexander.

Richards: Thank you counsellor. :: It relieved him immediately that his apology had been accepted. It was almost like a huge weight had been lifted off his chest. ::

Zinna: And I apologize for my yelling during the briefing.

Richards: Although I feel there was no need for you to apologize to me counsellor, I graciously accept your apology. :: He smiled.::

Zinna: Thank you...so let's begin with the re-evaluation. Alexander, how do *you* think the mission went? And remember, you don't have to hold back. If there's something on your chest, or even angry with someone, even me, I'd like to know it all. Just tell me how you think our last mission went.

Richards: In all honesty sir, from what I can remember, the whole thing was a disaster. From the moment the ship was boarded by the Scarlet Brotherhood right through until the destruction of the Independence. It almost felt like a farce to me. Yet I still cannot help but think that my weak mind was over all a part of the problem and not the solution. To allow myself to become part of the problem was an absolute failure of my duties on my part. And it is something I feel I will always regret. Everyone else around me was so strong, and there I was, either injured, absent without leave or causing problems. I even failed in the basic task of working with you on the Bajoran culture and Language. In essence, I have no gripes with a crew who performed admirably during a desperate situation but, with my performance on the mission. In my heart and mind I feel that I failed in the basic sense to uphold the values of Star Fleet.

:: Zinna nodded. ::

Zinna: I see. And how do you think you can make up for those errors?

Richards: ::He paused before answering, under any other circumstances he would be angry at the abruptness of such a question. But he understood why Zinna had to ask such a difficult question. :: I don't honestly know sir. I have a permanent demerit on my record for my actions in sickbay that almost cost the lives of two fellow officers. I submitted myself for court martial in a meeting with the captain soon after we got back to DS17, but it was rejected. The same goes for my resignation request. I have no idea how I can make up for my actions, even those carried out whilst I was being controlled. I feel that even if I do my best to uphold the values of Star Fleet and perform my duties to the best of my abilities that.. :: He paused, very nearly crying. :: That I will permanently be remembered for failing in my duties and ultimately being responsible for the loss of the ship.

::Zinna nodded and stood. She came around and patted the CCO on his back::

Zinna: Alexander...

::She had sensed he'd become angered by her last question.::

Zinna: Alexander, from what I've seen you're a wonderful officer. But if you don't mind me asking, where did you go when you left?

Richards: In to the crawl spaces sans my comm-badge. I ran away from the problem, fearing I would be accused of dereliction of duty and of being a traitor. What I remember of my three days in there isn’t nice. Messing around with the ships systems, creating a back door through which the Brotherhood could do as they wished. Having far too much time to think about myself as a person, my actions, wanting to stop but not being able to. Unable or unwilling to fight the problems within my own mind. That feeling of being an abject failure of an officer. I also had time to think about my actions in sickbay. I still don't even know if it was I who suggested taking the hostage taker to a console or whatever was controlling me. I feel, lost! :: His heart sank. He almost didn't know who he was anymore. ::

Zinna: Controlled? What do you mean?

Richards: :: Understanding the reasoning behind the questioning. :: Not in control of my actions Counsellor. Trapped in my own mind as if I were a prisoner. Able to see everything I was doing, but unable to stop myself. :: He paused. :: The worst of it is, I felt compelled to tell someone, anyone about what I had done but, a presence within my mind prevented me from doing so. It was horrific. :: He paused again, very solemn and with a few more tears. :: It's hard to explain. Something external to me was in control of me, guiding me, repressing the real me. Now that thing is gone I am just left with guilt and sadness. I joined Star Fleet to serve and uphold the values of the Federation. I had dreams and aspirations. Now they are all gone. Or at least, I feel they are. :: A blank expression came across the ensign’s face. ::

Zinna: Do you think someone was doing this telepathically?

::She felt the nerve to ask, remembering her psychic attack in Security. ::

Richards: :: Pondering on the question for a second. :: It is a distinct possibility. I do not know enough about these things to know for sure. All I know is, that if it were, it only ads to my prejudice against telepaths. No offense meant by that counsellor. But I have an inherent distrust of beings with telepathic abilities. This includes Vulcans to a lesser extent. I even harbour some fear over those who use their abilities wisely, only reading minds when invited. :: He paused. He knew this might cause Zinna some discomfort. :: I mean no offense to you counsellor as I am assured by the captain’s faith in you. I do however still bare a certain, maybe even misplaced fear in you. The reason I came to you instead of one of the counsellors on the station is that. :: He swallowed hard. :: I need your services counsellor. I cannot be sure if it were a telepathic connection. But, your races ability to read minds, maybe.. :: He paused. :: I can't believe I'm asking this. Maybe you could find out whether it was or, whether I am certifiable. I need to know that it wasn't me performing those actions for my own peace of mind. :: He sunk in his chair. ::

:: Zinna sat back in her seat and smelled the plants. ::

Zinna: You want me to read your mind?

Richards: Yes counsellor. It's the only way I'll ever know the truth. I've explained why I don't like telepaths, but even my hatred at the very idea of having another read my thoughts is suppressed by my desire to know the truth. My desire to have answers. :: Richards face was blank. :: I'm at my wits end counsellor!

:: Zinna breathed deeply. The plants calmed her. She usually didn't have a problem reading people's minds, but with someone who didn't trust telepaths she felt a bit nervous. ::

:: Richards felt ill at ease. It almost made him feel queasy. Like he was allowing himself to be violated. He wiped that thought from his mind. oO It's never a violation when you allow them in. Relax, just relax. You need to do this. You need to know the truth! Oo He calmed himself very quickly again, allowing his mind to almost sleep as he felt the counsellors presence. ::

Zinna: I'm sensing something now...

:: Richards face went blank, almost trance like. Those images, the corridor, the child, his fellow crew mates in sick bay, the EMH. Then darkness, a figure, London.. Burning.. Hid family! The nightmare! :;

Richards: Arch!

Zinna: Alexander?

::Zinna sat back down in her seat looking a little sick. ::

:: Richards eyes opened. He was white as a sheet. Looking at the counsellor, she looked a little shaken. ::

Richards: Are you ok counsellor?

Zinna: I'm fine...it's what I saw...

Richards: You saw it as well. That figure.. Is that a darker side of me. Am I really responsible. Did I really do that of my own volition?

Zinna: No, you didn't. You were telepathically being controlled.

Richards: Locked in my mind. That darkness. Counsellor, if I was being telepathically controlled, why can't I forgive myself. What was that creature, why did it show me those images.

:: Richards collapsed, he was feeling drained emotionally and physically. ::

:: Zinna quickly hurried from her chair and helped the CCO off the floor. ::

Zinna: oO That figure...is the one I saw...in Security. Oo

:: Zinna helped Richards into his chair and replicated some water for him. ::

Zinna: Alexander, that figure...has tortured me once...telepathically.

Richards: The one that we just saw in my mind. :: He paused, taking another gulp of water.:: Thank you for the water counsellor. So you mean I wasn't the only one given a nightmare by this figure. It was horrible! Are you ok counsellor? We can call an end and reschedule if you don't feel capable right now of continuing. As much as I want to know the truth and be done with these inner demons taunting me. I do not wish to risk the health of another officer to get those answers sir. :: He looked her. He still held his fear of telepaths, his under lying hatred but, Zinna was going a long way to lift those fears. He didn't think he could ever be friends with her. However, he did feel that maybe, just maybe he could come to trust the counsellor.::

:: Zinna shook her head. ::

Zinna: No, no, I can handle the strain. But why do you think this happened? And why us?

Richards: :: A little apprehensive of continuing having noted the way the counsellor expressed herself. :: If I knew the answer to those questions counsellor, I think I'd be sat where you are and you would be sat where I am. :: He took another drink. :: I could theorize on my side that perhaps whoever invaded our minds saw that I have had no training in resisting telepathic attacks. Even a level 1 empath/telepath could read me like a book. I almost think whoever or whatever it was chose me because I was an easy target. From what I can gather of your personality, there is no way that is the case with you. :: Richards finished the glass of water. :: What I can say is, knowing that you saw the same creature I did, perhaps after this session is over, I won’t be the only one needing to talk to someone. :: He looked the superior officer in the eye, almost with a hint of worry about the counsellor’s mental state. ::

Zinna: oO Oh so I'm not allowed to ask questions? Oo

::Zinna rolled her eyes showing she didn't need to talk to anyone else. ::

Zinna: This is your session not mines, Ensign. Has the nightmare happened more than once?

:: Richards noted that Zinna, like all counsellors he had encountered focused on their patients and deflected any questions about themselves. Typical but understandable. He couldn't hold that against the counsellor, it was after all her job. ::

Richards: It has counsellor. Only once whilst we were out on the Indy. I only remembered it as we flew away from the other universe. Ever since I've been having the same dream every night. It won’t go away. It is leaving me restless and driving a wedge between myself and my wife. I can't talk to her about it and it is driving her and me insane. I want it to stop. I need it to stop. It puts an unnatural fear in to me. I don't like the emotions it stirs up in me either. :: He stopped after realizing he was ranting like a lunatic. ::

Zinna: Why don't you want to discuss it with your wife?

:: A quick flash of anger crossed Alexander and then left. ::

Richards: What I saw. The horror of it. How it keeps haunting me. I can't because it's so stupid knowing she is lying there next to me in bed with John in his crib in the other room. I can't because I don't want to upset her. She knows something is wrong and that is enough. It is enough that I have to deal with this nightmare let alone push it on to her. But she won’t let it drop, won’t let it just rest with me. I get up, get dressed and just walk around the station. I don't go to the bars, I just find myself staring blankly out the porthole in to space. The horror of what I was shown and how it haunts me is not hers to feel with me. I can't, I won’t let her live with that nightmare. :: Richards had tears streaming down his face. :: I'm sorry counsellor. The thoughts that are in there. They hurt so much. I've talked enough for one session. I'm done here for now and I've only scratched at the surface of what is going on. :: He slumped in the chair and for the first time in months, wept uncontrollably. ::

Zinna: oO I failed to help him get better...but maybe it's good to cry. oO

:: Zinna patted the CCO's back hoping she wasn't invading his space. ::

Zinna: Alexander, we can end this if you're feeling uncomfortable. oO

I know I am. Oo

Richards: ::Still weeping.:: It's. ::break:: It's not a question of. ::break:: Of comfort.. :: He paused and wept more. :: It's the feeling. ::break:: The feeling of every. ::break:: everything slipping away. :: Another long pause with weeping ensued. :: My. ::break:: My marriage. My. :;Break:: My career. :: He paused and looked at the counsellor, only now realizing the physical actions she was taking to try to comfort the grown man. :: You. ::break:: You can't clear. ::break:: Clear me for active. ::break:: Active duty in this state. ::Another long pause with crying continued.:: I need. ::break: I need to get this sorted and soon but. ::break:: But it was naive. ::break:: Naive of me to think. ::break:: Think that it could be done in one. ::break:: One session. ::He paused and continued to weep.:: Maybe. ::break:: Maybe it is for. ::break:: For the best to end the. ::break:: The session now. ::Richards looked inconsolable and his face was a mess. Tears continued to stream down his face. It was as if everything had caught up with him at once and he was having a breakdown.::

Zinna: Alexander, It's okay. I'd like you to come back to me for another session if that's okay. If you don't think you’re fit for duty, than I would advise you to take an easy leave and relax.

:: Richards took a moment to try to regain some composure. The weeping subsided leaving just the marks of tear trails on his face. He was at a low point in his life. All that had happened was now bearing heavy on his soul. Although the session had done nothing to slay his fears of telepaths, or his hatred, he had come to terms with the counsellor. He didn't know whether or not they would ever be friends but he certainly felt like he could be open with her. In this room he had shown more emotion than over the past 5 years and, in essence, to someone that was still a total stranger. Moreover, he felt he could trust her. He knew that Zinna was dedicated to her job. He also knew that the information shared in this room would be between the two of them, his classified medical file and the captain. ::

Richards: I'm more than willing to schedule another session with you counsellor. We've only scratched the surface here today and it's drained me emotionally. I need to get to the bottom of this. I need to deal with it. :: He looked at her again. :: As it stands with me being emotionally frail at the moment I think I'll move in to my quarters on the Tiger. It will give Marissa a break from my night terrors and, I know my roommate isn't due to move in for several days. I mean I can always see my family by day until this is solved.

Zinna: Thank you...Alexander, if you ever need a place to sleep without the worry of worrying someone else. You’re more than welcomed to sleep on the psyche couch while I'm in here doing reports.

:: She knew this was a strange offer, but she only wanted to help, even if he didn't want to be her friend. ::

:: Richards held back a shudder at the offer. In his mind he knew he could trust Zinna but his overriding sense of feeling about telepaths kicked in. ::

Richards: Thanks for the offer counsellor but, no thank you. When would you like me to reschedule for?

:: His composure was almost fully regained. All he needed to do was wash his face and he'd look good as new. At least externally he would anyway. ::

Zinna: oO Good... Oo I'd like to either see you at the end of the week or the beginning of the next...don't forget I'm available for walk-ins.

:: She stood as the CCO stood to leave. She then did the unexpected, and hugged him. ::

Zinna: Alexander, I know you feel unpleasant around me and I didn't get that from reading your mind.

Richards: :: Half reciprocating the hug. :: That's a long story for another time sir. Needless to say, it's me, not you that is the reason for those feelings.

:: He continued to walk towards the door. ::

::Zinna nodded as the CCO exited her office. ::

-END of part 1-

A JP by:

Lt Jg Zinna

Ships Counsellor

USS Tiger A


Ens. Alexander Richards


USS Tiger A

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