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PNPC Lt (j.g) Kaedyn Zehn - Self-Help

Kali Nicholotti

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((Starbase 118 - Deck 775))

::It was late when Kaedyn Zehn reluctantly left his office and returned to his empty quarters. With Eliaan away again on the Victory, he felt acutely lonely. That his partner could frequently be called away for duty was something Kaedyn had accepted and had not thought much about before he was joined but he was more aware of Eliaan’s absence now. In a cruel irony, now that he had the memories of all those other people swimming around in his head he felt more alone than when he was just one person and one set of memories.::

::He stood in the middle of their quarters in the dark, not sure what to do next. He felt himself pulling in two directions: his life with Eliaan, even if it was starting to feel unfulfilling, was here on Starbase 118 but his previous host’s son was being taken by his grandmother to Trill.::

::With Eliaan gone, he needed someone to talk to about all this but as he thought of it, he realised that Kaedyn hadn’t had much of a life prior to Joining. His own career had become mostly following Eliaan from one posting to another and somehow he had never been able to develop friendships. He thought of the new Counsellor but he knew she was on the Victory; then there was Jonesy but thought it couldn’t be someone who had been part of Jilenna’s life.::

::Then, from deep within his subconscious, the answer came to him.The most appropriate person to speak to was within himself. While the big personalities of Leora and Zhima and the more recent hosts Reigan and Jilenna loomed heavily in his mind, there was also the quiet, kind, nurturing voice of Zehn’s fourth host Calla.::

::The station’s caretaker, Jinto, had suggested he undertake a zhian'tara ceremony to meet all his hosts. Kaedyn had balked at that suggestion, worried that he would be even more overwhelmed by them all in person. But there was another way, the Trill Rite of Emergence, which would allow him to speak to one of his former hosts.::

::Not knowing if it would even work, he looked up the Rite on the Trill database and replicated the necessary equipment. Having struggled so much to find some outlet for all his feelings, he was excited to now have a plan of action and quickly set up the ritual in the bedroom.::

::Staring into the mirror, he began chanting the ancient Trill words that would allow his past host to reveal herself to him. He could feel himself shake with nerves. What if she didn’t think he was good enough to carry her Symbiont and her memories? How could he, emotional wreck that he was, ever live up to the proud lineage of Zehn? Still, he continued to chant the words that would bring her forth.::

::In the mirror, his reflection rippled and was replaced with the image of a woman. It was amazing how different the many hosts of Zehn looked, despite being more or less parts of the same person. Calla’s skin was pale so that her Trill spots stood out more than his; her auburn hair was worn loose and sat on her shoulders. He noted that they shared a similar colour of green eyes.::

(Calla) Zehn: Kaedyn, it's lovely to meet you

::There was a warm familiarity in her face, despite him having never met her before. All the apprehension he felt at conducting the ritual and asking for help melted away with her warm, accepting smile. Her voice was lower than he had imagined it to be and she seemed to know how to use it in such a manner that it sounded as if she were singing rather than talking.::

(Kaedyn) Zehn: Hello Calla

(Calla) Zehn: Well, you’ve not been having a great time of it recently. Have you?

::He would have laughed, if he had thought the expression of emotion wouldn’t lead him to tears. ::

(Kaedyn) Zehn: No, not really.

(Calla) Zehn: I’m glad you called on me for help.

::Turning from the mirror, he was aware of Calla standing beside him although he knew she was just an image created by his mind and the powerful effects of the Trill mud that bubbled in the urn in front of him. He walked out of the bedroom and into the living area and she followed him.::

(Calla) Zehn: The last time I was on a Starfleet vessel, the quarters were much smaller.

::Never great at small-talk when not directed at patients, Kaedyn found it even harder to with this person who was part of him.

Acknowledging the awkwardness, he wondered whether that contributed to his inability to make new friends and forced himself to take part in the exchange.::

(Kaedyn) Zehn: Yes, the quarters here are much larger than normal.

This is a huge station; everything is on a larger scale it seems.

::The absurdity of the situation, of standing in a room talking to a construct of his mind and the memories held in Zehn, suddenly occurred to him and an involuntary grin crossed his face.::

(Calla) Zehn: What is it?

(Kaedyn) Zehn: You’re a psychologist… don’t you think this is a crazy situation?

::She threw her head back and laughed before sitting down on one of the two sofas in the living area.::

(Calla) Zehn: Crazy isn’t a word I would normally use, its frowned upon in my line of work, but I will agree this is an unusual situation. It can help though.

::He sat down across from her, the eerie feeling of speaking to a figment of his mind fading as he spoke to her.::

(Kaedyn) Zehn: Have you done this yourself?

(Calla) Zehn: No, but Jilenna used the Rite of Emergence to call me forth twice. She went through a particularly bad time after her husband died and I would like to think I was able to help her out.

::In the back of his mind, he knew that. It was a strange thing to discuss the memories he carried with someone who had taken part in them. He smiled and nodded slowly, remembering the conversations between Jilenna and Calla.::

(Kaedyn) Zehn: You must get tired of only being called upon when one of us has a problem.

(Calla) Zehn: Kaedyn, I am always a part of you, just as I was a part of Jilenna. If you ever need me then you just need to look inward.

If you are finding that too difficult for whatever reason, you can perform the Rite and speak to me directly. Just think of me as the family therapist, always on call.

::He smiled and then remained quiet for a long time. Calla made no sign of impatience or irritation but instead sat watching him with a calm, almost neutral, look on her face. She had been, he remembered, a very successful psychologist and had seen patients almost until the day she died.::

(Kaedyn) Zehn: Its Janel…

::She nodded slowly, leaning back into the chair and interlocking her fingers. He had caught himself sitting in a similar position recently and smiled as he realised where it had come from.::

(Calla) Zehn: Jilenna’s Janel or third host Janel?

(Kaedyn) Zehn: The baby

(Calla) Zehn: Good, I love Janel as much as all the other hosts but can be difficult to deal with. At my zhian'tara he actually fell out with me and refused to speak to me. My poor brother had to carry his memories for two days before he finally let up and spoke to me again.

I have no idea why Jilenna would want to name her son after him!

::Kaedyn laughed and could feel himself relax into the conversation.

It was, he thought, like speaking to a beloved parent or a close sibling and he realised why Jilenna had taken such comfort from it.::

(Kaedyn) Zehn: Something for me to look forward to then.

(Calla) Zehn: Indeed. Now, why don’t you explain to me what the problem with Janel is?

::He told her about his post-Joining experience, about how he had been determined to return to the station and make sure Janel was okay following his mother’s death and how Mezan was now planning to return to Trill with Janel. He talked about how he felt torn between the two aspects of his life and how he was terrified that he was going to mess everything up.::

(Calla) Zehn: It is very common to experience strong attachments to the families and partners of previous hosts, as I am sure you have been told. These attachments are stronger again with regard to your immediate predecessor and when there are children involved it can be virtually impossible to separate your feelings.

(Kaedyn) Zehn: I guess other hosts are trained to deal with this. This is why people like me aren’t supposed to get symbionts.

::She shook her head, her auburn hair flowing over her shoulders as she moved.::

(Calla) Zehn: Your situation is rare but I don’t think there is enough training in the world to prepare you for how overwhelmed any of us feel when we are given the memories of people who have recently died.

You can’t blame yourself for finding it difficult. I found it difficult, we all did.

::It was comforting to hear. He hadn’t really realised that he was blaming himself for not being able to reconcile his mixed feelings.

He was locked into punishing himself for something that most people would be just as troubled with.::

(Calla) Zehn: You feel pulled between the lives Kaedyn had built for himself with Eliaan and the one torn away from Jilenna too quickly.

Given the fact that you were not planning to be Joined, it is completely natural for your life as Kaedyn Zehn to go in a third direction. It is also natural for you to take elements of Jilenna’s life and incorporate them into your own.

(Kaedyn) Zehn: But how do I reconcile situations where they go in opposite directions?

(Calla) Zehn: Then you have to work out which direction is right for you

(Kaedyn) Zehn: What if I already know the direction but am too scared to articulate it because if I get it then everything I’ve ever wanted comes true and if I don’t then I can’t work out how to live with the regret?

::Calla made no response sensing, he figured, that he had more to say or waiting for him to actually come the point that they had both knew he hadn’t reached yet. He had carried it with him since he had returned to the station. He had danced around it, too afraid to even allow himself to think it fully never mind say it out loud.::

(Kaedyn) Zehn: What if I want to stay here with Eliaan, change my job and adopt Janel? What if that’s the new life that I want?

::A broad smile spread across Calla’s face and she leaned towards him::

(Calla) Zehn: Ah, then this may turn out to be a longer session than you might have expected…


Lieutenant (junior grade) Kaedyn Zehn

Chief Nursing Officer

SB118 / USS Victory

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