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The counsel is in

Posted on Thu Mar 11th, 2021 @ 3:02pm by Commander Savar cha'Salik hei-Surak Talek-sen-deen & Captain Rhenora Kaylen & Lieutenant Aurora Vali

Mission: The Jungle
Location: Brig

Captain Kaylen Rhenora had returned to the bridge with Savar when she paged for the ships councillor Lt Vali to join them.

Aurora was in her office going over a monster list of requests for appointments when Rhenora’s call came over the comms. Heading out it didn’t take long to reach the bridge. Stepping out she smiled as she looked at both Rhenora and Savar. “Reporting as ordered.”

Savar looked up as Aurora spoke. "Lieutenant." He said formally. "We require you to conduct a counseling session with Captain Haldeman to determine in his state of mind. You will find him in the brig."

Aurora nodded. She had wondered how long it would be before she’d have to assess him. “Very well Sir. I’ll head there now.”

"Very good Aurora. When finished, please brief both the Captain and myself on your findings." Savar told her.

Making her way off the bridge Aurora stopped off at her office long enough to pick up a PADD incase she needed to make any notes and headed straight to the brig. Pausing outside she took a deep breath before walking inside, nodding to the guard on duty as she did so. “Captain Haldeman, I’m Lieutenant Vali ships Counsellor. I’m sure you’ve been expecting me.”

Haldeman was lying on the cot when Alicia entered the brig and then addressed him. Sitting up and swinging his legs over the side of the cot he looked at Alicia but didn't get up. "Expecting you? Yes, it figured it was just a matter of time before someone from the counseling department made their way down here."

Aurora smiled and nodded as the security officer brought her over a chair. Taking a seat she looked at Haldeman. “So tell me about you Captain, what chain of events lead to your current predicament?”

He was quiet for several seconds before nodding as if he had reached a decision. "My ship, the Manchester was on an mapping mission of this sector when we were struck with a tractor beam of unbelievable power. We were stuck like a fly on fly paper. Then we were beamed off . The crew into a large compound the senior officers into a jungle to compete in the game." His voice becoming thick with emotion. "We were explained the rules, that if one of us reached the holy idol before time ran out and avoided the hunters and traps, the Manchester crew would live. If we failed they would die." He stopped to see if she had any questions.

Aurora nodded. “I’m guessing you lost? Then they offered you another chance?”

He shook his head, "You guess wrong counselor. I won. I was able to claim the idol and save my crew. However in saving them I doomed myself."

Aurora gave Haldeman a curious look. “In what way did you doom yourself Captain? I thought you did all this to save your crew? If they were already saved then you were free to go.”

He gave a short, sharp, bitter laugh. "Free to go? I'm afraid not counselor. "My ship was in pieces scattered across the planet. My crew was allowed to live as second class citizens. What I meant about dooming myself is just this. I was forced to accept the role of game master to insure my crew continued to live."

Aurora noted what was being said on her PADD, she’d need it to produce an accurate report. “So it all started as you having to do this to keep your crew from further threat of harm.”

He nodded, "It started and continued counselor. It was the sword always hanging over my head."

“At any point did you enjoy the hunt? The feeling of being in control?”

Haldeman gave her a hard look. "You and your Captain seem fixated on that topic. I'll tell you what I told her. I never enjoyed and more importantly I was never in control."

Aurora studied Haldeman’s response, her senses fully trained on the Captain to detect any deception. “I believe you Captain” she offered a smile.

In the meantime Rhenora had left Savar in charge of the rescue operation for the Manchester survivors and was watching the interview from the small screen in her ready room, wondering if Haldeman was giving Aurora the same answers he had given her.

“I know this is a horrible question Captain, but do you feel remorse at what you’ve done?”

Rhenora's gut clenched as she watched the monitor, it would be interesting to see if his words matched the underlying emotion that only Aurora could pick up. Did he feel anything when the crews were wounded or killed? Or was he more concerned about keeping his own safe and therefore it was a win?

"Are you and the Vulcan XO operating from the same script counselor? He asked me the same question. I see the faces, of my crew who died and the others who died. I'm filled with remorse, grief and sickness that this happened! That I was powerless to stop prevent it."

Aurora could sense the truth in every word Haldeman spoke and yet she felt as though he was holding something back. “My husband and I are not singing from the same hymn sheet, as the saying goes, Captain. I simply needed to know if you were telling the truth. I know you are, but I also know you’re holding something back.”

"Your husband? Now that is interesting. If you know I'm telling the truth then after tell Rhenora to let me out rather then treating me like a common criminal."

“You’re avoiding the question Captain” Aurora looked at Haldeman. “What are you holding back? There’s something I can feel it.”

"I have no idea of what you are referring to Counselor." He snapped.

“Oh yes you do” Aurora sat back in her seat. “There’s no way you’ll get out of here until you’ve told me everything.” She looked curiously at Haldeman. “I’m a Betazoid Captain, I can feel everything you feel so I know you’re holding back something from us.” She tapped her PADD. “What shall I put in this Report Captain? That you’re cooperating or not?”

"Put whatever you damn well please counselor! I've answered your questions, I've answered Kaylen's questions. If you want to say I'm not cooperating then be my guest."

“You’ve cooperated to a point Captain” Aurora offered a polite smile. “I can’t help you further if you won’t trust me. I can only report what I know and that is what I’ll do. Tell me Captain, are you married? Is there, or was there someone out there for you?”

"Yes." He said simply.

“Then let me help you” Aurora gave Haldeman a gaze that said she was sincere in her want to help him. “It’ll give you a chance.”

He shook his head, "My wife has made it quite clear she does not want to see me."

Aurora nodded. “I’m sorry to hear that Captain. I will relay my findings to Captain Kaylen and from there what happens is out of my hands. I wish I could help you more, after everything that’s happened, the loss of valued crew ...” She let it trail off. “Thank you for talking to me Captain.” She stood ready to leave.

Meanwhile Captain Rhenora Kaylen continued to watch the monitor in silence, taking in every nuance, every detail of the conversation. It would be paramount in the decision on how to handle Haldemans future.

He was silent for several seconds. "Counselor, my wife is Commander Allison Haldeman. she was the chief operations officer for the Manchester. If you could find her and our daughter Amanda. I would be grateful." As he finished he thought of a name *Alex*

“I will” Aurora nodded before a name suddenly popped into her head. “Alex? Whose Alex?” Aurora looked at Haldeman curiously. “Sorry you were focussing on it so hard I caught the word, it wasn’t intentional.”

"It's alright counselor. You'd find out sooner or later. Alex was our son. He's the reason Allison won't talk to me."

“Was?” She promptly sat back down in her seat. “Do you mind if I ask you about what happened?”

"Alex was our son. He would be fourteen now." Haldeman paused seemed to compose himself and continued. He was killed as a warning to me by the creators of the game not to fight them after I had refused to partake in the game. I was told Allison and Amanda would be next if I didn't."

Aurora shook her head. “I understand now, I am so sorry for your loss.”

"You understand. Allison doesn't. She is mad, refuses to talk to me. Say's I'm responsible for Alex's death and I suppose she is right."

Aurora could have gone into a whole long conversation over it but didn’t. “Trust me Captain, from where I’m sitting you were a victim, you had no way of knowing they’d kill your son as an example.”

He didn't reply, just nodded and walked back to the bunk and sat down. His head was lowered for several long seconds before he raised it and looked at Aurora. "I lost my son, I was not going to lose my wife and daughter or crew."

“I understand” Aurora offered a kind smile. “I’ll find them for you, and I’ll talk to Allison about coming to see you.”

"Thank you counselor." Gratitude was in his voice and eyes.

Aurora nodded. “I’ll come back and see you, make sure you’re alright.” She offered a smile and stood up again nodding to the guard that she was ready to leave.

"I'm sure I'll be right here counselor." He replied simply.


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