((Trillius Prime - Symbiosis Commission; Psychiatric Wing))
Rafi Rodan - as he was now - paced the room in swift and steady strides. He. This was very new. Until now Rodan had been two females. First Shona, then Zosha. Now he was a man.
They try to prepare you for this, in the pools, and in the Joining of Symbiont and Host. After all, it was as much an experience for Rodan as it was for Rafi. Personalities and experiences are supposed to blend like sugar into water. Two very separate things becoming one in the mix. But when a Symbiont moves from one sex to another, especially after two life times of being one or the other, they must be evaluated. As rare as it is, sometimes the change isn't always the smoothest.
Rodan: I have given birth to two children! Now I am a man!
Dr. Foult: You've always been a man. Two weeks ago you were one man. Rafi. Now, you're Rodan. With ninety-eight years worth of knowledge and experience.
Rodan: Exactly! I have a century of knowledge of being female! How are you supposed to cope with that? I took a sonic shower the other day and started to shave my legs...
He tugged at his jacket a little self-consciously. Rafi was not particularly a mans-man, all gruff and grizzly, but as a private investigator he liked to think he had a reputation to uphold. Part of the reason he had a few extra sessions with Dr. Foult was his - or Rodans - inability to transition as smoothly as expected.
Initiates are coached and trained for years about the emotional and psychological changes of Joining and how it affects the mind of the Host to change from one sex to another. The incident with Rafi and the sonic shower was a blip, a momentary faux-pas excused by the recent Joining procedure. Ninety eight years as a woman was a long time, of course. In time, Rodan would adjust to being male after so many years of living as a female.
Dr. Foult: Understandable. Habits are hard to break. Think of it as a natural reflex or kind of muscle memory. Though I don't think shaved legs diminishes your gender role. I think you're looking too deep into this.
Rodan: I just have a hard time adjusting. My beard for instance. I've had a beard for years. But ever since I Joined I feel like it's an unnecessary attachment to my face! But I love this beard!
Dr. Foult: Maybe living as two women for ninety eight years has given you a body hair complex?
Rodan: Very funny!
Dr. Foult: Look, all Symbionts live as all sexes. It's part of the reason why we Join. It's one hundred percent counterproductive to only have male or female Hosts. You were coached on this before you were Joined. You knew Rodan had two female previous Hosts and you passed all the psych requirements. This feeling is temporary, I assure you.
Rodan: You're right. ::He inhaled a deep breath then let it out.:: I'm worrying over nothing. It's just strange, that's all. Very new. I feel like I should be... acting a different way. Walking a different way.
Dr. Foult: I think that's Rafi's rather old fashioned thinking coming to the forefront.
Rafi shook his head and then nodded.
Rodan: You're right. Somewhere in there Shona is scolding me for such primitive thinking. I knew it as soon as I said it. Man, she was a bossy old broad.
Dr. Foult raised his eyebrows in amusement and tapped the edge of his writing stylus on his PADD.
Dr. Foult: Hey, she was a fine Commission psychiatrist. Taught me a lot, too. With her gumption, you should adjust fine. How do you feel otherwise?
Rodan: I feel great! There's tons of great memories knocking around inside my head.
Dr. Foult: Consider it a fresh perspective. Now you have an insight into different ways of thinking, of living, of experiencing things. That's all unique to you, now. Do you remember waking up as Zosha after she was Joined?
Rodan: I do. It was... surreal. I remember waking up and having that awful feeling of death. But being fine. And living. I was me... but with a whole other life in my head too.
Dr. Foult: But the transition from Shona to Zosha? How was that?
Rodan: Different to this. But it seemed very natural. Zosha was younger. Healthier. It felt like... a fresh start. Of course I couldn't see my children or my grandchildren again. There was actually very little desire to carry on with Shona's life. That sounds really crappy to say, but it's true. I kind of feel like that now, that Zosha's family have been robbed due to the way she died. But I can't go and console them, can I?
Dr. Foult shook his head sadly. Reassociation was forbidden by law in Trill society. When a Joined Trill dies, the next Host cannot just resume the old life of the previous one. That wasn't the purpose of Joining.
Rodan: But I had... new life. And new goals. Different...
Dr. Foult: And you don't feel that now?
Rodan: Actually. I do. I feel exactly the same. New life, but... different.
((USS Arrow - Deck 1; Bridge))
Joining - and living as different people; entities and beings - is bread and butter for Trill. It's as natural as sneezing.
But this wasn't Joining. This was alien. This was... unnatural.
Maz was initially amused at waking up in yet another body. A male, again, a tall, stronger, more athletic male than any of his previous male Hosts. For him it was like waking up in the body of Hercules. But deep down, something just wasn't right. This wasn't his body. He was an intruder. An unwelcome house guest who refused to leave. Or couldn't leave. A prisoner?
He looked down at the large hands of Chief Serinus. These weren't his hands. He could move them and wiggle the digits alright, but these hands had competed in athletics at the academy, detained people under arrest. His own hands had done none of that. He could juggle test tubes if he tried, but a lot of them broke.
Rodan (as Serinus): So... ::He pursed his lips for something to say, but found he didn't really have the right words.:: I guess I'll... go do some... security... stuff...
Maria laughed, then turned to him.
Collins (as Alvarez): Don't stray too far, now, just keep a watch here on the Bridge and make sure we don't get caught flat-footed.
Rodan (as Serinus): Right! Of course. ::Beat.:: And how would one go about doing... that?
Collins: Just look tough! And shout out if something gets close to us?
Maz raised an eyebrow. Look tough. Right. That shouldn't be too difficult?
Collins (as Alvarez): First thing's first, HOW exactly did they do this to us? Like, how specifically, energy wise, is something like this possible?
Rodan: My guess is with an advanced type of biometric scanner. My scans before the Switch indicated it had scanned for specific biochemical patterns in our frontal lobes. Most standard medical scans don't pinpoint such patterns. Highly intrusive. If they could, I don't know... extract those patterns, and displace them with the whole crew...?
He was waffling. He could feel it. That little probe managed to extract biomolecular data and then... swap it? They'd be throwing him into a padded cell soon.
Collins: But wouldn't that take a MASSIVE amount of power? That ball thing just looked like a little...thing, right? How could it have generated that kind of output?
Rodan (as Serinus): Powerful enough to scan the whole seven decks of the Arrow in seconds. However, the data it collected from each person is so complex...
Even the thought of how it displaced entire consciousnesses was beginning to boggle his own mind. What even was his own mind any more?
Collins: God, I'm sorry. I just...this is so freaking WEIRD.
Collins: I am going to hold you to that, Commander. Let me know if you see anything...strange.
Collins: Honestly, not much of any use, I don't think. Just a lot of itineraries and staging instructions. Something also about the "Starfleet Performance Venue". I have no idea...
Collins: No, what are YOU talking about? What performance?
Lieutenant JG Maz Rodan
USS Arrow, NCC 69829