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Who counsels the counselors?

Posted on Sun Mar 28th, 2021 @ 10:31pm by Lieutenant Aurora Vali & Chief Petty Officer Remal Kajun

Mission: The Jungle
Location: USS Liberty
Timeline: Before Leaving the Jungle Planet

The morning breakfast of crispy Panakas and teary eyes lay behind him along with his own personal worries, at least he hoped. The computer indicated Counselor Aurora's current location and he was now treading path to that locale. On his mind were several things, mostly making himself useful once more as a man with an attentive ear and an understanding heart. And two, seeing how a fellow counselor was faring after not only being wounded in the Game, but also having to shoulder an emotional burden of hundreds of Liberty and Manchester crew alike.

Aurora was, as always, in her office pouring over appointment requests and finishing off updating files from her notes from the previous day. She had to admit she was finding it hard work, but she was grateful that it took her mind off her own worries.

He approached her door and pressed the chime, then waited like a professional should.

Aurora looked up from her work and called “Come in”

The doors parted, he stepped inside and cleared his throat. "Hiya. Do you have a moment for an old Bajoran with idle time on his hands?" He gave a quirky little smile. As he stood and waited briefly for her response he eyed the room, taking in what he considered as her 'personality at a glance'.

“Of course I do Remal, please make yourself at home” Aurora motioned to the seats. “Can I get you anything to drink?”

He eased into a seat which was softer than he expected and despite his large frame, compressed in on him on all sides. "Um, no thanks. I'm not really here as a potential patient. I just wanted to check on you, to see how you are doing. i mean, after all, who counsels the counselor right?" It had been a long-running joke throughout his education to hear due to counselors taking on the worries and problems of others, but then who did they have to listen to them?

Aurora smiled. “You’re right there, being a Counselor makes you the one everybody comes to. As a patient I’m not so good, the a-typical adage about counselors and doctors being the worst patients is right!” She offered a smile. “I’m okay ... kind of.” She frowned. “To be honest I don’t know how I feel. I’m always looking after others, I don’t stop to think about myself.”

He nodded in sympathetic understanding. "It's who we are and what we do." He lifted his hands, "so I am here to offer you my services as a fellow counselor and someone who cares enough to listen. But only if you don't mind. It's your show and your ship after all." He had prepared himself for the slight chance she would decline his offering. He wasn't officially a Starfleet officer anymore but that didn't mean he couldn't help her or the civilian population on the ship. His initial thoughts fell on the crew of the Manchester.

Aurora nodded and offered a polite smile. “That’s very kind of you Remal, in all honesty, I could use the help. The Manchester crew all need to talk about their experiences, some more than others. Then there’s our crew as well, I’m somewhat snowed under.”

"I understand. And what about you? If you are not fully sure how to feel about yourself, how will it be when you go to help others?" He smiled, "Would you like to discuss with me your pain and at least see what sort of load you can take off? Or would you rather reserve that for the broad shoulders of your husband, like my wife tends to do?" His offer was genuine to help wherever and anywhere he could. Time and his own faculties be damned right now.

Aurora offered a smile. “I burden my husband with enough of my worries.” She paused. “It’s just I ... I feel like I was a burden on the surface, the Captain needed the care and there I was injured as well. I seem to have spent a lot of time in and out of Sickbay for injuries of late, I know it’s silly but I feel like I’m taking up the medical staff’s time more than I should.”

His frown was obvious, "I was not there the entire time but I seriously doubt you were a burden. And as for sickbay, rest knowing that with Starfleet operations and ships, usually one controlled by my wife you are both going to be the safest and the most in danger you have ever been." Realizing that wasn't exactly reassuring he changed tact.

"What I mean to say is, doctors are there to keep people alive. It's what we, err, they do. Frankly I think many of them would get bored without the odd ailment or two." He shrugged, "Besides you have a future little one to think about, don't you?" He turned to curiosity which rivaled his own personal interests.

“Well we don’t as yet” Aurora offered a brief smile. “It seems that because I’m a hybrid I can’t conceive naturally. Anna has done tests and submitted a request to the experts to see if they’ll approve my having medical assistance to have a baby. We just have to wait and see what they say. I have to admit I do feel disappointed and guilty that I can’t give my husband a child the natural way.”

"There should be no reason for you to be guilty for something you cannot change. It is literally in your genes. Worry and disappointment lead tp dead end roads and lost time from those more important things in life, each other. And how is your husband receiving the news? "

“Savar is as logical as any other Vulcan” Aurora smiled. “He also tells me to stop worrying, I guess that’s just the kind of person I am. I think as a Counsellor I worry about others and find satisfaction in helping them resolve their problems. As for me I go on worrying about my own problems.” She shrugged her shoulders.

His brows raised in mutual agreeableness "I get that completely. That is why we carry the broad shoulders and the heavy hearts around with us all the time. The difference is we can't allow worry to eat away at us or let it consume our jobs. It is a game of faces really. The one we wear out there," He pointed to the door. "Versus the one we wear in here."

Aurora nodded. “That’s very true, no matter what we feel we have to be there for everyone else and put on a brace face at all times.”

He switched gears thinking they had reached an understanding. "So have you had a chance to meat any of the Manchester crew yet? I bet there are some interesting stories after 10 years on an alien world."

“I’ve done a quick meet and greet session, assessing who needs to take priority. They all need to talk about their experiences but it’s going to take time to get through them all. I could use your help in that respect, I don’t want to keep people waiting.”

"Well Im available now if you'd be okay shunting some of the families my way. Perhaps you'd even be willing to take a walk and introduce me to the families you've met so we're all on familiar ground?" He knew he could do this himself, but this was him making sure that she was the leading party on board the ship and that he would take his direction from her.

“Sure, that’d be nice” Aurora smiled. “It’ll give me chance to spend more time with you and get to know you better. I don’t want you to feel as though you have to assume duties aboard ship though unless you really want to of course.”

"I just want to help out. I've done my bit for the Federation. right now I'm just trying to do something to fit in." He inched forward in the chair until he was on the edge before climbing up and out of it. He then straightened his tunic and motioned for the door, "Care to lead the way? Perhaps we can talk about me if you want, but I'd rather like to get to know you better as well. Always good to know a fellow colleague.

Aurora smiled as she stood as well. “In that case feel free to ask whatever you’d like to know.” She started to head towards the door.

His mind was on children yet he did not want it to betray him. As they entered the aisleway and continued to the turbo-lift he asked, "So, tell me how you and Mr. Savar met. I'm sure the taming of a Vulcan so young could not have been an easy feat to muster."

Aurora nodded. “Savar and I met years ago, at the time our parents saw us as a perfect match. As per Vulcan custom, we were betrothed to one another, but at the time I couldn’t face being tied down. It felt ... rushed somehow. Since I came on board and we were reunited, I’ve come to realize how big a mistake I made. We are bonded now, a bond that is for life.”

He nodded in understanding, "Betrothals are a rough ordeal for everyone involved. I've seen situations where it has worked out well, but in most cases, the act is tantamount to servitude. Love often forms over time, though many would say it's Stockholm Syndrome and not love. Anyway, I'm glad the two of you were able to find one another and reconcile in order to bond. Might I just say, the ceremony was lovely."

“Thank you” Aurora smiled the biggest smile yet. “It was a dream come true.”

"And now you have plans for children. Any thoughts to names or if you plan to raise the baby on the Liberty or not?" He asked as the lift doors opened, revealing the corridor which led to the crew of the Manchester who were still mostly in the cargo bay.

“To be honest I haven’t considered names yet, as for where we’d raise our child ... it would be here aboard ship, at least to start with. Our careers are here, I know some people believe ships aren’t suited to raising children but there are plenty of families who’d disagree.”

They rounded the corner just beyond the cargo bay, he nodded. "I can see the pros and cons of a family life here, however the longer I'm out here the more I realize, this is where the adventure happens. This is where the friendships take place. Besides, I doubt I could drag Rhen off this ship without a fight, despite our dreams of a simple retirement on a beach on Bajor." He motioned to the cargo bay. "After you." The doors opened revealing the huddled mass within.

Aurora nodded and walked through the cargo bay doors. “That sounds lovely though, living by the sea in your retirement years.” She offered polite smiles and nods to those in the cargo bay as they slowly strolled in. She was interrupted as a young child came racing over to say hello with a curious wave and a smile. “Hello Zak” She gently knelt down and accepted a quick hug before the child ran off again. “That’s Zak, he hasn’t spoken since he saw his father pass away two years ago.”

Remal watched as Zak ran off and looked about the room. "Seems like you've familiarized yourself with many of them. Is there anyone you have yet to work with or anyone with a unique situation you would like me to help out with? I'm told I am good with kids. But Im not partial. I know many here have lost loved ones."

“There are a whole host of families who need help, for some their children have never seen the inside of a starship before.” She pointed to several people. “I’d start with Andrew and his family, he recently lost his wife after a long illness he’s struggling to cope with two children and his loss.”

"Okay, care to introduce me so that a familiar face is seen with another friendly face? Tends to help with association and transition when there has been trauma, or so I've experienced." He was polite and courteous even as he made his request, eager to get started.

“Of course” Aurora nodded and lead him towards the single father of two before they were both stopped in their tracks by another man.

“Excuse me Counsellor” he placed his hand on Aurora’s arm. “You said you’d ask for me, did you ask?”

Aurora offered a smile. “I wanted to be sure you were serious before requesting transport for you Joren.” She looked to Remal. “This is Joren, he has a family he raised on the planet. He’s requested that he and his family be allowed to go back.”

Remal looked at him with a puzzled expression, "You mean to say you have made a family with one of the locals and now wish to return to the planet we just escaped from?" While he could grasp giving up his career to spend his life with someone he loved, he struggled to comprehend remaining in a place where you were both second-class citizen and potential Game fodder.

Joren nodded. “I have to go back! We all do!” He motioned to his family who’d come with him. “That’s my family’s home, they don’t want to be stuck out here. We have to go back!”

Aurora gave Remal a glance. “I’ve tried convincing Joren that there are lovely new worlds, safer worlds for his family to go to.”

Remal understood the connection to home and the pull it held upon one's life. And love, however often fleeting, was a strong pull as well. "You fully understand this means you'd be giving up your commission as a Starfleet officer? And you've thought this through to its end and are sure you need to maintain the roots you've created here and no other place? Now, think long and hard about what this means for everyone involved." Rational sense sometimes worked but rarely in the mind of a man who had already established a plan.

“It’s our home! Their home!” Joren glanced at his family. “Who am I to take it away from them!” He glanced at Aurora. “My mind is made up Counsellor, make the arrangements!”

"Sounds like his mind is made up. Do you know if there are others who may have a similar situation, or are he and his family unique in this matter?"

“So far he’s unique, no one has requested to go back. They’re all glad to be leaving.”

"Alright, well I will get busy making arrangements for them to go back down and then get started by familiarizing myself with more of the Manchester crew. That should help take some of the load off you, and once we get back to DS9, you'll be free to relax and maybe make baby plans. Are you okay with that?"

Aurora nodded. “It sounds wonderful.” She smiled warmly. “I’d like you and Rhenora to come over for dinner one night whilst we’re at DS9. That’s if you’d like to of course?”

He smiled warmly, "I'm sure that would be lovely. I'll mention it to her, unless you'd like to do the honors of course." He looked at Joren, "Come Joren, gather your family. We'll see about sending you home."



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