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 A Feelings Emergency

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T'Pren Inabnet

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PostSubject: A Feelings Emergency   Sat May 10, 2014 3:28 am

It took T'Pren approximately three hours, sixteen minutes before she decided her feelings were, in fact, an emergency. She couldn't sleep. She couldn't drink alcohol. She couldn't be in her quarters. And nothing was sufficiently distracting her. At least Commander Rai could get drunk and not flip out. That was all Pren wanted, really. Just to be completely drunk and not cry in front of everyone.

Of course, she also didn't particularly want to try out a Klingon counselor with this particular level of dilemma, but beggars can't be choosers and so the half-Vulcan found herself padding softly through the area where Akhil was supposed to be on duty. Her brows were furrowed anxiously and her jaw was clenched as she slowly approached her destination.
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Akhil

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PostSubject: Re: A Feelings Emergency   Sat May 10, 2014 11:11 am

The Klingon wasn't hard to spot. The hallways were deserted, and he stood at the end of the hall in front of a set of doors like a solitary stone-faced sentry, a d'k tahg tucked into his wide belt. He spotted T'Pren when she turned the corner and nodded to her.

"Petty officer Rainar's daughter has been having nightmares. I promised to stand guard against the monsters tonight so she could sleep easily. How are you?" he said.
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T'Pren Inabnet

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PostSubject: Re: A Feelings Emergency   Sat May 10, 2014 11:41 am

The look with which T'Pren regarded the towering Klingon was a queer one indeed, full of barely contained feeling and gobsmacked surprise, all of it rolled up in her father's image. So being a monster guard for a little girl was not exactly helping the lieutenant keep it together.

She stopped a few feet away because she was feeling deeply uncertain, but also because it helped not to have to crane to look him in the eye. And she shrugged shyly at the question before looking down at her feet, so apparently the extra space wasn't necessary after all.

"I've been better," she told her feet.
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Akhil

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PostSubject: Re: A Feelings Emergency   Sat May 10, 2014 11:57 am

Akhil seemed unconcerned by the look she gave him. When children experienced trauma and have had the necessary feeling of security taken away from them, something as seemingly pointless as a person 20 times their size standing guard against imaginary danger - a monster on their side - could make all the difference.

"Would you like to talk about it?" he said. He knew the answer, but he felt it was best practice to let people open up in their own time while he offered a listening ear. Looking the way he did, he knew he had to proceed with as much extra caution as possible. "We can sit down. The floor is not as comfortable as the chairs in my quarters, but it is not so bad."
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T'Pren Inabnet

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PostSubject: Re: A Feelings Emergency   Sat May 10, 2014 12:02 pm

Sitting down seemed like a really, really great idea, and almost as soon as the counselor said the words, T'Pren put her back to the wall and slid down it, her knees up and her arms tucked securely in the space left between her thighs and her chest. She looked at her leggings rather than at the Klingon, and then up and down the hall whenever she remembered that she was a Starfleet officer and not a child.

"I don't know where to start," she murmured finally, her features scrunching slightly in consternation. "Usually counselors have read my file before..."
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PostSubject: Re: A Feelings Emergency   Sat May 10, 2014 12:06 pm

Akhil lowered himself beside her. "Why don't you start with today. Tell me about your day."
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PostSubject: Re: A Feelings Emergency   Sat May 10, 2014 12:25 pm

T'Pren looked sideways at Akhil at that, amused by the whole span of her ridiculous day and also by the image the two of them must make sitting together in the corridor.

"I took a shuttle here from the ship and met the Commander. And he immediately brought up my dead father." She tilted her head in acquiescence, "Well. He brought up his guitar because he was carrying it for me. So I'm sure I made a great first impression."

T'Pren rolled her eyes and sighed. "Betazoids."

"And then..." Her face flushed green and she turned her attention firmly back to her legs. "And then my quarters are so...Cardassian and I just...I can't..."
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PostSubject: Re: A Feelings Emergency   Sat May 10, 2014 12:57 pm

Akhil looked at her. She was not Bajoran. But then, of course, Bajorans were not the only people who ever suffered at the hands of the Cardassians. As T'Pren looked down at her legs, the wavy hair shifted, and he noticed the slightly pointed ear. Half-Vulcan, of course. He decided to focus on the first half of what she said. "Do you not like to speak of your father?"
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PostSubject: Re: A Feelings Emergency   Sat May 10, 2014 1:01 pm

T'Pren gave a sharp toss of her shoulders in response to the question, staring hard now at her kneecaps.

"What is there to say?" she wondered, and that green blush was fueled momentarily by an edge of anger. "They're gone and I have only one thing left of either of them. What good does it do to talk about them to people who will never know them or really care?"

But then the ire ebbed and she sighed out some tension, "That's not strictly true. I do talk about them. But only some things. Only to some people."
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PostSubject: Re: A Feelings Emergency   Sat May 10, 2014 1:08 pm

Akhil nodded, and decided not to push it just yet. "My father was human," he offered instead.
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PostSubject: Re: A Feelings Emergency   Sat May 10, 2014 1:16 pm

It was such an unexpected thing to say that the young lieutenant looked up at the counselor in surprise, her face impassive except for her wrinkled brow.

But then, against her trauma's best efforts, she grinned. "That makes a little more sense." She tilted her chin by way of apology. "I mean no offense to your Klingon side, of course." And to make sure she was understood, she explained, "I have a human father." She smiled just a little, "And I have a Vulcan father." But the smile quickly turned morose. "Had."


Last edited by T'Pren Inabnet on Sat May 10, 2014 3:09 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: A Feelings Emergency   Sat May 10, 2014 1:20 pm

"None taken" Akhil nodded. "Humans and Vulcans have very conflicting natures... And I know from experience that it is not easy to grow up between two cultures." The Klingon looked at her. "You carry yourself well. I am certain your parents would be proud of you."
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PostSubject: Re: A Feelings Emergency   Sat May 10, 2014 1:28 pm

The half-Vulcan grimaced at that, and her chest lifted dramatically as she shoved down a sob with excessive force.

"Thank you for saying so," she replied politely, her jaw all knotted up, "but I'm usually not like this at all. I was doing so..." And here came the tears, gentle and hot down her cheeks, "...so well and I thought coming here would be something I could handle, that being this close to where they died and to where I was imprisoned...that being surrounded by Cardassians would be healing somehow, but I..."
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PostSubject: Re: A Feelings Emergency   Sat May 10, 2014 1:38 pm

Akhil was silent, an image of the girl's past beginning to shape in his mind. He would look over her file when he got back to his quarters first thing, he decided. Sleep could wait. He could already see that she was the type to drive herself too hard while repressing the emotional toll that took on her. He let her cry. When T'Pren caused and glanced up, she saw his huge hand in front of her face, holding out a handkerchief the size of a small tablecloth. "I think you have had a very trying first day. Do not feel guilty for reacting to it the way you are."
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PostSubject: Re: A Feelings Emergency   Sat May 10, 2014 1:47 pm

T'Pren did eventually look up when she lost the ability to keep rambling and gratefully accepted the cloth, resisting the urge to wear it as a scarf. Instead she used it as it was intended, wiping her tears up her cheekbones and trying to rein in the urge to cry. Because communication was more important at the moment.

At the mention of her hard first day, she laughed slightly hysterically. "You have no idea. The Orb of Serenity," and now she was laugh-crying, "decided to talk to me...in the form of my dead dad." It was funny and awful and absurd and she reacted accordingly.

"Oh," she added lightly, "and then I had to handle a live Obsidian Order bomb. The last time I encountered anything like it was the day I escaped back to the Federation."
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PostSubject: Re: A Feelings Emergency   Sat May 10, 2014 2:10 pm

Akhil frowned, listening to the bizarre recounting of the T'Pren's day. "Just how old are you, lieutenant?"
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PostSubject: Re: A Feelings Emergency   Sat May 10, 2014 2:18 pm

There was a flash of something proud and affronted when Akhil asked her age, but T'Pren breathed in slowly and exhaled it through her nose and reminded herself that it probably had no particularly negative connotations.

"Twenty-nine," she admitted, flushing green again. "But just barely." She used the handkerchief now more to hide her blushing than to dry her tears and waited nervously for whatever the Klingon would have to say about her age.
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PostSubject: Re: A Feelings Emergency   Sat May 10, 2014 11:57 pm

When she looked up, she was greeted with a startling sight - a smile played with the corners of Akhil's stern mouth. He was looking at her with kind admiration that he made no attempt to disguise. "Lieutenant. You are very brave and accomplished for your age," he said slowly, "But you also strike me as a person who takes on too much. Would you agree with me?"
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PostSubject: Re: A Feelings Emergency   Sun May 11, 2014 12:06 am

Even as T'Pren turned a particularly verdant green from her neck to her pointed ears (or what can be seen of them) at the compliment, she helplessly returned Akhil's smile, relieved both to find she wasn't being judged for her age -- she was fast-tracked through the ranks, after all -- and because smiling at all was a pleasant change.

"What's too much?" she wondered wryly, though the question was earnest at heart. "I was kept in captivity for almost half my life. I educated myself, but only what the Obsidian Order would allow me. There are things at which I am so behind I probably will never catch up."

The lieutenant finished it off with a one-shoulder shrug. "I spent too much time idle. It's made me restless."
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PostSubject: Re: A Feelings Emergency   Sun May 11, 2014 12:30 am

"That is understandable," Akhil said, looking straight ahead again to spare her the embarrassed blushing. "I find it is in most species' nature to keep busy. To keep boredom, fear, worry at bay. To affirm our own existence. A great Klingon poet once wrote of Mordek, the hero of his great epic, that a warrior kills to keep himself alive. It is an interesting turn of phrase, for of course he means that in battle, you must kill to survive. But, metaphorically, the warrior affirms his own existence in defiance of the universe and the gods..." Akhil drifted off, and looked at her to see if she was following. "You keep busy to prove yourself. You blame yourself for things that have happened to you, and you wish to make up for what is not your fault."
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PostSubject: Re: A Feelings Emergency   Sun May 11, 2014 12:42 am

While Akhil talked about Klingon poetry, T'Pren took the opportunity to collect herself a little, letting her tears dry (for now, anyway) and relaxing a little for the first time since the red alert first went off. She let her legs go out in front of her and chewed thoughtfully on her bottom lip while she stared at her feet. The green vanished in patches from her cheeks.

The half-Vulcan stayed quiet for a long time after the half-Klingon finished, clearly following very attentively and then some. Finally, she lifted her slanted brows, though she kept her gaze on her boots.

"You're good," she stated frankly.

After another pregnant pause, she let out a hard breath and tilted her head back to look at the ceiling of the corridor. "The woman pretending to be the Kai -- a Cardassian doctor with Obsidian Order ties -- I've heard her voice before. Maybe many times before, but definitely at least once. When I was fifteen. I remember her voice giving instructions over a speaker. I remember a very bright light so that I couldn't see the faces of the scientists. I remember I was strapped to a table." She shook her head. "But that's it. Between the other-dimensional being using my dad's image and the way this place looks and that bomb and her voice...it's like I never got out. I thought I could take control of what happened if I came here."

T'Pren shook her head helplessly one more time. "I don't know."
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PostSubject: Re: A Feelings Emergency   Sun May 11, 2014 1:05 am

Akhil did not wish to feel flattered - he had barely begun his attempts to help. But he was glad that T'Pren was beginning to relax around him.

"Exposure therapy can be helpful, but it is also dangerous. If you would like my help, I can try to guide you through it," Akhil said, "But I think you overexposed yourself to too many bad memories and experiences all at once. It would be better to proceed with caution and with help." He paused, and looked at her again. Next to him, she seemed a child, but he no longer saw her as one. "I would be honored to help you, if you would like to let me."
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PostSubject: Re: A Feelings Emergency   Sun May 11, 2014 1:16 am

The young lieutenant couldn't help but smile almost affectionately at the much bigger counselor's offer, and just the idea that she can still do this thing...still take control and serve here without falling apart...sent a rush of relief through her muscles. Her shoulders dropped several inches and her breathing started to come easier.

"I love it when Klingons talk about honor," she replied, her smile only growing. Then, with sincerity, T'Pren added, "I would very much appreciate your help."
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PostSubject: Re: A Feelings Emergency   Sun May 11, 2014 1:27 am

"I am glad," Akhil replied, a reassuring smile passing over his lips once more. "For a more immediate solution to the problem of your quarters - have you considered making them more personal? Perhaps buying something from the Promenade that you like? To make it feel more like home and less... Cardassian." He reached for the jagged knife in his belt and extended it, handle first, toward T'Pren, "I am fond of fine Klingon blades. They remind me of home and my family, and the noble release of battle. I keep them around in my quarters. Perhaps you could do something similar."
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PostSubject: Re: A Feelings Emergency   Sun May 11, 2014 1:38 am

Ooh, shiny!

T'Pren's eyes lit up when the handle came her way, but the respect and delicacy with which she took it was testament to her not just her weapons knowledge but her reverence for ritual. She did get some Vulcan, after all.

"It's beautiful," she said as she ran her thumb expertly along the blade. After studying it as long as she felt was polite, the lieutenant turned it around to offer the handle back to Akhil.

"Everything I had exploded with my fathers' ship. Everything they had too." She shrugged uncertainly. "I lived with absolutely nothing for eight years and then at the Academy there didn't seem to be a point. My dad's guitar was in storage on Earth, but that's all I have. Nothing of my father's even." T'Pren smiled self-depricatingly. "I wouldn't know where to start or even really what I like."
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