[JP]: Ensign Dekas & Counselor R'Kala - Sleepless in Space: Part I

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Erin Green

Jan 25, 2022, 12:28:05 AM1/25/22
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((Dekas’ Quarters, Deck 14, USS Juneau))

Dekas had rearranged the space at least six times in the last two hours. He’d done the same the previous three nights. The nights before that he’d roamed the ship to fatigue again. And some nights prior to that he’d offered extra help in Engineering during a night shift and fell asleep in a Jefferies Tube. At the time he’d tried to rationalize that happening as just a fluke.

But he could sleep anywhere else. He could sleep in sickbay, he could sleep in The Clanhouse, the mess hall, a Jefferies Tube, a particularly soothing holodeck setting. At least twice he’d ended up on Deck 24 in the ship’s bowling alley that up to that point he didn’t even realize was there. But almost never his quarters. Not without endless specifications to be met only for him to leave the room again. 

His room had to be rearranged. But not like that, or that, or that, and definitely not like that. Walking the energy out. Sleeping on the floor rather than his bed for whatever reason, and that was uncomfortable on his wings so obviously it made sense that he’d need to leave the room. He tried to justify all of it to himself as something he would have dealt with at some point anyway. That these things happen to people at times. Maybe he was homesick. Maybe he was just used to being in Sickbay and it’d thrown him off.

Any excuse as long as he could avoid sleeping in his own bed. (Too many justifications snuggled up under those covers, and they got grumpy if they didn’t get 8 hours of uninterrupted rest. Best to let those things lie.)

But he was exhausted. To the point that it was dangerous to even consider trying to work on anything serious. That was his main reason to take R’Kala up on counseling when he did. He wouldn’t allow himself to be a hazard to the ship just because he felt ridiculous about not being able to sleep for what he considered ‘no reason.’

He forced himself to stay in his quarters a while longer and sent R’Kala a message in that time. A message he’d rewritten too many times for the two sentences it ended up being.


FROM: Ensign Dekas

TO: Counselor R’Kala

SUBJECT: I think I need a session.


MESSAGE: Your doors are open, yes? Would sometime early afternoon tomorrow be a good time?


FROM: Ensign R’Kala

TO: Ensign Dekas

SUBJECT: RE: I think I need a session

MESSAGE: I have an opening at 1300 hours. See you then, Ensign.



((Counseling Suite, Deck 7, USS Juneau))

((Early afternoon the next day))

Dekas had shamefully ended up sleeping against a table in the Clanhouse again. He was on a first-name basis with the people who worked there now. Under any other circumstance that would be fine. But not this one. It only added to the necessity for this.

He clicked the button that would let R’Kala know he was there.

R’Kala was standing in front of the replicator when she heard the chime ring. She grabbed her cup of coffee and walked over to her desk. She sat down. 

R’Kala: Enter.

Once he had the affirmative he stepped inside.

Dekas: ::Bowing in greeting:: Hello, R’Kala. Counselor? I’m not sure which one you prefer I use.

R’Kala: Either is fine, Dekas. Please, take a seat. ::gesturing to the seat in front of her::

Dekas: Noted.

He stopped stalling and actually sat down, his wings settling around the back of the chair.

This was the Klingon’s first official counseling appointment, so she wanted it to go well. She crossed her arms and leaned forward over the desk. 

R’Kala: So, why don’t you tell me why you’re here today?

Dekas: I, ah. oO Start over, Dekas Oo As an Engineer… I’m-I’m afraid ::He paused, struggling inexplicably to get his words out. He’d expected this to be very easy for him as it’d never been an issue to talk about his feelings before.:: I can’t seem to sleep in my quarters. At all. It’s, hm, it’s affecting my ability to work. And that is dangerous. To work near a warp core when I can’t guarantee I’m not going to fall asleep on the spot. I don’t know why this is happening.

R’Kala nodded as the engineer spoke. This was certainly a serious situation. She didn’t like the possibility of her first client being someone with the potential of being relieved of duty. 

R’Kala: When did this start?

Dekas: About 5 days after I got discharged from sickbay after what happened to me.

She nodded and took a sip of her coffee. 

R’Kala: I see. And I noticed that you said, in your quarters?

Dekas: Just my quarters. I can sleep anywhere else. Ended up in odd places the last three weeks or so. Now it’s mostly the Clanhouse I end up in. But obviously since I mostly fail to sleep for hours beforehand, I don’t necessarily get much sleep even there because then it’s morning before I know it. Which I don’t stay asleep for. I didn’t want it to be noticed by anyone of concern up to this point. I’m just exhausted.

R’Kala: Yes, I can see how that can be a problem while on duty. ::pause:: Aurelians are bipedals, but there are certainly different physiological traits between them and other humanoids. Is this a physical discomfort or do you feel it’s something more emotional?

Dekas: If you asked me that even two days ago I would’ve said it was only physical. But I don’t think I can continue lying to myself and say that’s the only thing. The pain I was feeling when I first got discharged from sickbay after being… ::a beat as he glanced over at the wall now:: after what happened, it eased up as expected after a few days, and was mostly gone a few days after that. Anything I’ve done to mitigate my inability to stay in my room isn’t related to that pain. I’m just confused. It would make more sense if I was struggling to visit the sickbay after all that. But I’m not.

The Aurelian didn’t like saying that he had ‘been assimilated’. He knew stories of people who’d really gone through it. People who were lucky (or perhaps unlucky) enough to have their lives given back to them days, weeks, months, or even years after being a pawn of The Collective. People who still had pieces of the Borg in their own bodies because to remove it would be fatal. Constant reminders of that nightmare. And he wasn’t suffering from nightmares, just a degree of insomnia. 

To say he’d been assimilated even partially sounded wrong. It sounded disconnected from him. He didn’t have anything to show for it, he didn’t think it was enough to even be having insomnia over. And it didn’t make sense that whatever he actually had been through would keep him from being comfortable in his quarters. It hadn’t happened there. 

She noticed his reluctance to say it aloud, to state what had happened to him. After hearing him explain what was happening, she could also tell that this was not solely a physical issue. This issue ran deeper. She leaned back in her chair, contemplating everything that her feathered colleague had said just now before she spoke. 

R’Kala: Why do you feel comfortable sleeping everywhere but your quarters?

Dekas: ::his head tilted to the side in thought:: I think I just find it comforting to hear people around? The sick bay has doctors and nurses or patients. The Clanhouse has staff or people visiting. The mess hall is similar. Engineering has engineers. Holodecks have fake people, but people. My quarters just have me.

R’Kala: Dekas, I can’t even imagine what you must have gone through. In fact, I’ve only read about that experience. Assimilation ::she paused after stating the word, wanting him to know it was okay to say it:: is a violative process, whether it is stopped or not. Do you acknowledge that?

Dekas flinched slightly hearing both the word ‘assimilation’ and ‘violative’ when it applied to himself. As though hearing R’Kala say it where he struggled to suddenly made it more real. And more terrifying. It took a few seconds to breathe before he could talk without feeling like he’d cry. He’d avoided crying about it even alone. He’d avoided thinking about it whenever he could. It was over, that urge shouldn’t still be there.

Dekas: ::voice cracking:: Yes.

She let out a soft sigh and wiped the condensation from her empty coffee mug. 

R’Kala: What makes assimilation so traumatic—psychologically—is that it is a violation of our bodies and minds. It is nonconsensual. Our minds and bodies are like miniature homes for our existence, our souls. And when we’re violated, it’s hard to talk about it because we must reflect on those moments. 

She paused for a moment, allowing Dekas time to absorb what she had said. She hoped that he was understanding everything that she had said so far because that was the easy part of this session. The next part would be much more difficult. In order to even begin thinking of offering solutions to help with his insomnia, she would need to know everything from the start.

R’Kala: Dekas, tell me what that experience was like for you.

There was that urge to cry again, and he didn’t like it. Never in his life had he been discouraged from his emotions. Aurelians were emotional, intuitive people. It was counterproductive to pretend or repress even the seemingly negative ones so long as there was accountability and growth after the fact when it was necessary. 

But there weren’t many of his people who knew the way this felt. Shame was a rare emotion for Aurelians. It was a rare emotion for Dekas, yet he felt it in the pit of his stomach like it was a rock he’d swallowed, and his hand went to cover the side of his neck without thinking. And it took a solid minute to speak as his mind was somewhere between trying to dissociate from the memories and pushing everything to the forefront at once.

Dekas: It was awful. I-I felt… ::a small uncomfortable hum:: I was so close to clicking my combadge, and telling the Captain how sorry I was for letting her down. And how much I wanted her to forgive me even if I didn’t deserve it. I wanted to say that to everyone before they had to kill me. But I was surrounded by people I didn’t know. ::it was at this point he started crying:: I-I think Major Han was the only exception, and he had to make sure things were taken care of first. I admire Captain Oddas as a leader and a friend, and I wanted her to hear it from me. I didn’t want her to hear it from someone else. I wanted to be myself as the last thing she knew of me, and maybe it’s stupid but I wanted her to know me. It would have put her at risk while she was on the planet to even attempt to tell her. So I contacted the ship instead. But I wanted to tell her so badly because it was so isolating, and it hurt so much, and I just wanted to talk to a friend because who wants to be surrounded by complete strangers when they’re about to mercilessly die? At that point, I might as well be alone.

Dekas forgot about those thoughts. The temptation to tell Captain Oddas at the end of it all. He wasn’t even sure that he processed just how hard it was not to, or how much he’d actually wanted to. And with the gratitude he had for those strangers at the time, it hadn’t actively occurred to him that he felt alone because physically he understood that he wasn’t. But it left him feeling very alone in a way that was a lot harder to handle after the fact.


Ensign Dekas


USS Juneau



Ensign R’Kala, Ph.D.

Ship’s Counselor

USS Juneau


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