((Interior. U.S.S. Arrow, Deck 3. Just Outside the Counselor's Office.))
Collins: How are you holding up? Really? They were working on me and I saw you and Doctor Mason talking with The Captain across the Sickbay. I didn't want to be a bother at the moment. Plus, you know...my hand was almost a late supper for a...kinda...wolf-cat thing.
Quentin Collins felt himself shrugging and offering little else by way of an answer. There was still a metric ton of stuff they didn't know about The Midnight Planet. Things they would likely never know. Chief amongst that void of knowledge was just what exactly DID attack him and the rest of their party. Scans of his wound and the teeth pattern that had stridated his boots suggested some sort of lupine-based quadruped. But that was where the answers really stopped.
Quentin didn't love completely the unknowing, but he loved living more and thought that he might have gotten off easy in the hindsight. The Counselor sighed again and turned her shining eyes back to him.
R'Ariel: What were those things?
Collins: I honestly couldn't even say. Everything about that planet was backwards and pointedly mean.
Silence permeated through the corridor as they continued toward the Sickbay entrance. R'Ariel let her head drop, and her eyes closed carefully. Quentin's gait slowed and his eyes dipped themselves slightly. Something was coming. Something that took her a little bit of time to ramp up to. So Quentin allowed her all the time and space she needed.
R'Ariel: I want to apologize for my behavior, I don't really remember it all too well, I'm not sure how much of what I remember was symbolic, and how much was literal, but ::she paused, unsure of how to finish:: I am very sorry for any pain or problems I caused you. If there is anything I can do to make it up to you?
Quentin smiled sheepishly and he slipped his hands into the pockets of his trousers to keep them from swanning about as he spoke. He didn't want anything distracting him from the very obvious, but just as vital conversation they were about to have.
Collins: Thank you for saying so, Counselor, but please know I don't hold any grudges or your behavior against you. You were clearly under the influences of forces beyond your control and those forces responded as they willed. I know that wasn't you. Not the REAL you, anyway. I am just happy you are safe and back with us.
He took a beat, slyly smiling as he did so.
Collins: Though...I would imagine it would give us plenty to talk about in a session. If you were so inclined?
Seemingly satisfied with his answer, they walked stoically into The Counselor's office proper. Quentin was still a slight step behind so as to not crowd her but he was more relieved now than he was upon his approach. Hearing that The Counselor was up and around was one thing, but actually seeing it for himself and conversing idly with her allowed him to finally breathe as easy as he normally did. Maybe even a touch better once they had talked a bit more.
After a few more moments, The Counselor spoke again as she selected her chosen seating arrangement.
R'Ariel: There was a kind of tree snatching too, or did I dream that? I know either I tried to help or I did help?
She shrugged her shoulders in a short, almost haughty fashion, but Quentin waved away her frustration.
Collins: You absolutely did. Against a tree with a BEAK, no less. It had tangled The Captain and myself up and you and Chief Serinus hauled us down. Like I said, MEAN. I didn't even know planets COULD be mean.
R'Ariel: I remember an awful excruciating bad taste.
She said, sticking her tongue out to comically illustrate the point. Which drew a tight laugh from Quentin as he sat opposite of her.
Collins: Bajoran cabbage they were not. But that's life in Starfleet, right? Middling to bad food and hostile work environments.
Collins: It's better than what I would have been doing on Earth, that's for sure. I feel like I've mentioned this before, but my mother wanted me to be a teacher.
Collins: Honestly, I think I would have been driven to madness. Cooped up in a lecture hall all day. Dealing with students. AND other teachers? Bleh, no, thank you.
Collins: No, that's a fair point actually. The other junior officers and enlisted Science Staff. I suppose they are like students in a way. I just...always try to make sure we are always on an equal footing with one another. I would...hate for any of them to think me superior to them. Not that I think I'm superior to anyone! It's just...man, it didn't take long for me to make this awkward, huh?
Quentin Collins III
Chief Science Officer
U.S.S. ARROW NCC-69829