Who Counsels the Counsellor?
The United Divided
Location: Corridors, USS Seraphina
Timeline: following "Getting Ready"
Savin walked with the Trill officer and smiled at her as they stepped inside the lift. His eyes trailed down to the dog then back up at the woman. "You are aware," he started slowly, "that you are not supposed to bring pets to the bridge, unless they medically necessary for you to be there?"
"Yes, I am aware of this," Tara said, taking a moment to look up the nearest empty quarters for her to temporarily vacate, then ordered the lift to that deck. "You are aware that I just got off of a civilian transport and was not informed that I was to be beamed directly to the bridge," she countered.
"No, I was not," the young Vulcan replied, "I was transported back on board only just myself. Myself and the captain we were on...an assignment." He turned to look at her, giving her his undivided attention. "I suppose 'welcome aboard' is in order?" He held out his hand to her, in a very un-Vulcan fashion, "I am Savin, both ship's chief counselor as well as executive officer."
Just as she had with the Captain, Tara took his hand and shook it despite the awkwardness of it. She really did not understand the point of this human social ritual, but she went along with it anyway. "I am Tara Neprem, I'm transferring in as Chief of Operation," she replied with a hint of a smile.
Pulling his hand back, Savin smiled. "You are joined?" he queried. After all he'd not been able to read her service jacket yet and had not been aware they were even receiving a chief of operation. "Operations has not been properly staffed in quite some time, only adequately covered by others."
"It has been in my experience that such coverage is never adequate," Tara said. "And I am joined, but only recently. Starfleet Medical and the Symbiosis Commission has been trying to get me to take some time off to adjust, and I've been putting it off for some time. I finally take the time off and it gets interrupted. Seems to be the story of my lives."
"I know the feeling of suddenly being reassigned," Savin admitted after a moment of consideration. "If you wish to talk, then we can schedule an appointment, if you like. I am, after all, the ship's counselor. Though I will admit, I have no experience with joined Trill...nor unjoined, come to think of it."
"No, I asked for the transfer," Tara corrected him. "I wanted to remain on Deep Space 10, but there was someone that I was hurting with my presence..." Her expression grew sad, and her canine companion nuzzled against her hand to cheer her up. Tara smiled sadly and gave the dog an affectionate pat before looking at Savin with a brighter expression. "And unjoined Trill are no different than non-joined species, psychologically speaking, but joining does complicate the psyche."
"As does being bonded," Savin added, stepping back as the dog moved. "Do you want to talk about it? Your having to move to not hurt someone?"
"No, I do not need to talk about it at this time," Tara said. The lift came to a stop and let them out. Tara seemed to have no issues navigating the corridors, heading straight for her temporary quarters. "But if it helps to sate your curiosity, my prior host was in love with another member of the crew. Though she did not reciprocate those feelings, they were very good friends, and it hurt her greatly to see two very good friends suddenly become one. his feelings had become my own, and I couldn't bear to bring pain to someone I loved, so I left; I took some leave time and requested a transfer."
"Ah...the rules of reassociation," Savin answered knowingly; knew that part about Trill culture. "There is no requirement for you to talk to a counselor, but the offer is there. I do not demand for someone to speak to me unless it is so ordered by the chief medical officer." His smile widened just a fraction. "If you do, get in touch with Jerant if you cannot get hold of me. I am...unable to hear a comm signal and though i have other means, that does not mean I am always able to pick up on it." His smile diminished somewhat. "I am deaf."
"You are very well adapted, I couldn't even tell you were deaf," Tara said, now being mindful to look at him directly when speaking to him. "And strictly speaking, the rules of reassociation do not apply in my situation. Revisiting old friendships is not frowned upon because new dynamics tend to form, but romantic relationships are more complicated, and since Arjin never confessed his feelings, the rules did not apply. Even still, leaving was the right thing to do, I was bringing her nothing but distress; when she looked at me, all she could see was Arjin, and she could not move on from his death." She did not think she needed counseling at this time, but she was grateful she had an outlet for when she felt the need.
"How did he die?" Savin asked carefully, "and how did you adjust to memories of his death?"
"Sabotage," Tara replied. "Deep Space 10 is a converted Nor-class station, like Deep Space 9, and we had a colony ship docked at one of the upper pylons. Arjin had just finished some maintenance on the ship and was still in the pylon with Hope, our friend, when the ship exploded. He shielded her from the worst of it, but it cost him his life. And it was a Cardassian that was responsible, a former Union soldier who did not like that Starfleet had claimed another one of their stations. Finding him and bringing him to justice helped put the memories of Arjin's death to rest."
"Revenge usually does," he offered with a nod, knowing the feeling since he wanted to hunt down the ones who had abducted his commanding officer. "I am certain you will excel in your new...situation," he added, leading her down the corridor. "Here we are. I am certain we can accommodate you with more permanent residency soon. If you have any specific requirements, let me know."
"I do not require much," Tara said with a small smile, opening the door. Sage went straight in to the room and hopped up on the couch, looking quite pleased with himself. "Thank you for walking with me, but I think I can take it from here. I need to unpack my uniform so I can get back to the bridge."
"Take your time, I doubt Commodore D'Tal expects you to appear on duty immediately." He almost jumped as the dog went into the room, not having expected the canine's swift move. "He is fast," he murmured as he stepped back. "Take your time ma'am...we have managed without for a while, I am certain we can manage an hour or two longer."
"Well, I am here and I do not like wasting time," Tara said. "Perhaps while I get ready, you can tell me a bit of what is going on so I am not working blindly."
"I will," Savin promised, now fully outside her quarters. "Let me know when you are ready ma'am. I will be on the bridge."
"Is everything alright, Commander?" Tara asked as she watched him step back yet again. She stood in the doorway, casting a curious glance his way. He didn't seem to want to enter her quarters. Actually, he seemed to be put off by Sage earlier. Was he afraid of dogs? Or maybe he simply did not like them? Or perhaps it was a simple misunderstanding? "I asked if you would fill me in while I got ready. That would be considerably easier if you were inside my quarters."
"I see....yes that would be easier," Savin conceded, "can you...keep the canine in line?" He gestured towards the large dog, while staying close to the door.
"Sage?" she asked, looking over to her companion. Then she looked back to Savin. "Sage is very gentle, but if it helps, I can have him go to the bedroom," Tara offered.
"Please," he all but begged of her. "I am...not comfortable with canines."
Tara didn't hesitate, she simply whistled and said "Bedroom," and like that Sage hopped off the couch and sauntered into the bedroom. With Sage safely out of sight, Tara offered once again for Savin to come inside. "Is that better?" she asked, gesturing to the couch.
Savin nodded as he inched towards the couch, afraid the dog might yet come back. "Thank you. What would you like to know?"
"Well, for starters, what's going on? What's the emergency?" Tara asked, making sure she was done talking to him before turning to set her duffle on the dining table to dig through it for her uniform.
"Captain Amanda Williams has been abducted from the courtroom where her court martial was being conducted." The Vulcan's expression hardened instantly, though his eyes took on a hint of alarm. "And we are setting out to retrieve her and make those that took her pay for their transgression."
Tara found her uniform, then looked back at Savin. "Is it known why she was abducted, or by whom?" she asked. "Actually, why was she being court marshaled?" she added, in case the reason was relevant to her abduction. Then she ducked into the bedroom to get changed.
Savin shook his head. "No, the reason or the abductors are not known. She was court marshaled on her own request." He gritted his teeth as he continued. "She wanted to be held accountable for things she has done in the past months. I do not really wish to discuss those details, as I do not agree with her request." He didn't seem to notice the operations chief had stepped away. "The things she did, she did to save our lives, if she had not I certainly would be quite dead."
'Captain's just don't get kidnapped for no reason,' Kareel pointed out in the back of Tara's mind as she undressed.
'I agree,' Arjin chimed in. 'There's something seriously wrong with this situation.'
Tara certainly agreed, and popped her head out of the bedroom so Savin could see her. From the doorway, he could also see one of her bare shoulders, her auburn tresses framing her pale skin. "Something she did made someone want to kidnap her," she stated. "I know you don't want to talk about what she did, but something in there might help you figure out why she was taken. Maybe I don't need to know the specifics, but I can be useful as a sounding board if you want to work through some of it." Then she popped back into the bedroom to finish dressing.
Without a secondary counsellor on board, Savin really had no-one to talk to so it might be useful. But he wasn't ready. "I wanted to testify on her behalf," he started, "but i was called for the prosecution and my testimony damned her instead of helping her." he gave her a quick outline of what happened, without going into the more private details. "I will do anything to get her back," he finished, "I owe her too much, not to make the effort."
Tara came out of her bedroom a few short minutes later, dressed in her uniform and rebraiding her hair for duty. From the expression of intense concentration, he could tell she was giving the matter a great deal of thought. After a moment, she sighed. She had nothing to offer him that could help. "We'll get her back," she said, hoping that would at least give him a little comfort. She finished her long braid and tossed it back over her shoulder to swing down her back. "I am ready to return to the bridge if you are."
"I am," he replied, getting back to his feet. "You must think me overly emotional," he added as they walked back into the corridor. "Or overly attached to my commanding officer. The truth is, I have feelings for her. Feelings, that I cannot act on for various reasons."
"I know exactly how you feel," Tara replied with a sad smile on her face. "Do not think for a second that those feelings make you weak. They are what they are, and we cannot chose who we love. We will get her back, I promise."
"I am bonded," Savin replied, "and I am Vulcan, I am not supposed to feel like this." He wished that he could bury these feelings, but he couldn't.
They stepped inside the turbolift. "She does not return these feelings but to me it is a matter of honour. She saved my life countless of times. Not just everyone on this ship, but mine personally."
"My symbiont has lived a relatively short life, I do not have the wisdom of generations to draw upon to give you any sage-like advice," Tara started as the lift began its ascent back to the bridge. "But we have lived long enough to know that only you can decide if these feelings are right or wrong. It doesn't matter that you are a Vulcan or bonded, trying to deny how you feel will only cause conflict within yourself."
"I do not know if it is right or wrong. I cherish my wife, I am grateful for what she did for me and she knows of my feelings for Amanda. I would assume, since she is human, she may not be happy with that."
"The point is, right or wrong, you have to learn to accept, because only then can you learn to live with the choices you make as a result. And I know what it's like to love someone you cannot have, how much it hurts you both... But you have to accept those feelings and the situation for what they are so that you can move on. And it will hurt, for a long time, but after a while you don't mind it so much..." Tara's, and Arjin's, experiences with love still hurt, but she was content knowing that the object of their affection was safe and happy.
"Perhaps in time," Savin agreed. "When you have time, meet with Lieutenant Grimm to get your security clearance sorted."
"I will do so," Tara replied with a nod. With such a change in topic, he clearly was done talking about it. But she had to add, "Commander, we will find her."
"I know," Savin replied softly, before the doors opened. "Thank you."
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