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

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Ace Christensen

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Jan 25, 2022, 12:59:45 AMJan 25
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((Counseling Suite, Deck 7, USS Juneau))


R’Kala listened intently as Dekas spoke. Admiring the captain wasn’t an uncommon thought. She was, after all, the commanding officer of the ship and she was an engineer, something the Aurelian engineer sitting in front of her could relate to. It was good though that Dekas was speaking openly about the feelings that he was experiencing as it would be helpful for R’Kala to understand. Understanding how he felt would help her recommend what he could do to overcome his issues.


R’Kala: Why did you feel like they were strangers?


Dekas: I feel like people wouldn’t remember me. They’d remember a big, colorful bird. Not a person with thoughts, feelings, or a life. Just a bird from The Bird Place, right? ::he scoffed:: Call the aviary, I’ve escaped my handlers, flown the coop. Now the bird is being assimilated because it couldn’t think far enough ahead to let the security people go first. Because it’s just a bird, it doesn’t know better!


The loudness of his own voice gave him pause, and he placed a hand against his chest. He wasn’t an angry person, he hadn’t expected to feel anger.


R’Kala wasn’t phased by the loudness or the anger. She grew up around Klingons and if it was one thing they were good at, it was yelling and being angry. 


R’Kala: Are you okay?


Dekas: ::he wiped his eyes:: I am so sorry, that just came right out, didn’t it?


R’Kala: You don’t have to apologize, Dekas. This space ::gestures around the room:: It is supposed to be a space for you to express yourself in whatever capacity. 


Dekas just nodded and tried to breathe a little easier for a moment.


She allowed him to regain his composure before she began talking. Hearing about the experience was truly eye-opening. She would have recommended Dekas to go and speak with Captain Oddas but she realized that that might not be the entirely best suggestion. Based on her exchange with Captain Oddas about becoming the new counselor, she didn’t suspect that the conversation would be as helpful. 


R’Kala: Is that what you feel people think of you? ::looking at her PADD::  “a big, colorful bird. Not a person with thoughts, feelings, or a life. Just a bird from The Bird Place.” ::she looked up from the PADD:: Why so much bird imagery?


Dekas had to think of how to word it. The Bird Place, conceptually, was an ironic in-joke with himself. A phrase that came with the mental capitalization of a legitimate location. Most people didn’t know of Aurelia, that was fine. But he found a lot of the people who did know its existence would light up with recognition only to say something along the lines of, ‘Oh, that’s The Bird Place, right?’ It was also the phrasing those same people would use with their other friends. Not that he was from Aurelia, or even just off-world. But that he was from The Bird Place with no intent to correct themselves. It wasn’t important enough to remember. As if he and all other Aurelians were just mindless birds and not people.


He wrapped a wing around himself to self-soothe.


Dekas: Have you ever had a stranger or an acquaintance, even a friend, say something backhanded or stereotypical about Klingons? Made you feel like they thought you were uncivilized? Sometimes they’ll even get this look on their face, a very specific look, and you suddenly know they’re about to ask an uncomfortable question about something. Something they would not ask you if you were more ‘like them.’


R’Kala had to stop herself from chuckling during such an important moment. People thinking she was uncivilized? That came with being Klingon. Incivility was such a stereotype for Klingons, that people were genuinely surprised to find out that she had been, voluntarily, a scientist instead of some kind of “warrior.” Granted, a lot of these assumptions were based in Klingon traditions, but it was still a form of speciesism. 


R’Kala: oO Yes, and I have gained great patience in stopping myself from ripping someone’s tongue out for saying such offensive things. Oo I’m a Klingon scientist turned counselor, so yes, I have had those moments, Dekas.


Dekas: People do that to me sometimes. I was inexperienced enough at first that I answered those questions no matter how uncomfortable or invasive they were. It took months to notice the depersonalization of comparing me directly to an animal. And I’ve lost count how many times a stranger has petted my wings without asking because they wanted to know if my feathers were soft. It wouldn’t surprise me if there are people on board who only see me as a bird from The Bird Place. It’s not a universal feeling, of course. There are also a lot of people who don’t see me like that at all. But it wouldn’t be the first time, nor would it ever be the last. And it makes everything worse.


She nodded. They were now truly getting into the root of the problem, and even though she herself was very humanoid, she understood where Dekas was coming from. 


R’Kala: So this depersonalization that you experience because of your species, what do you think is the correlation with your sleep symptoms after your attempted assimilation?


Dekas: Maybe the idea of what happened– of the assimilation happening to me doesn’t impact people as strongly as it would have if one of the humanoid members of the team had gone through it instead. Because they don’t have to look at me and imagine someone they know going through it. ::he wrapped his other wing around himself now:: I think beyond the comfort of white noise, that is part of why I find it easier to sleep anywhere else.


R’Kala: Please elaborate.


Dekas: If I sleep somewhere publicly and visibly, people are forced to see me. Have a thought about me. They can start a conversation with me and get to know me. And if I die there they have to face it a lot more directly than if I died in my quarters where it could just be an unfortunate circumstance that wouldn’t even phase them.


R’Kala: I see.


She leaned back in her chair. Now they had gotten down to what needed to be said out loud. She let out a soft “hmm” as she held her chin. Trying to determine their next course of action to deal with Dekas’ issue. She stood up and recycled her coffee mug into the replicator and sat back down.


R’Kala: Dekas, I’m not going to declare you unfit for duty, even if you might be falling asleep on the job. I think you and I should meet again after I do some analysis on my own. What I will recommend to you, and I’ll speak to the chief medical officer though, is that you be given permission for the time being to sleep in Sickbay—of course only if there is space available. Additionally, I spend a lot of time in this suite, even where there aren’t clients. ::she gestured to the couch behind him:: And there is a place here for you. How does that all sound?


It was an option he hadn’t expected to be offered, but it eased a spot in his mind just a little to know he had options, at least for now. For the first time since the start of this, he smiled in his avian way and nodded.


Dekas: It sounds relieving. I’ll try to sleep in my quarters occasionally. But I don’t know if that fear will come back and stop sleep from happening.


R’Kala: We can work further on a plan to make you more comfortable sleeping in your own quarters, but right now what’s important is making sure you’re rested enough to be an engineer. 


Dekas: I appreciate that.


They certainly weren’t finished, but then again, no person was “fixed” after one session with a therapist. These moments were always work-in-progress. 


R’Kala: How do you feel about that plan so far? And is there anything else you’d like to tell me before the end of our session?


Dekas: I like this idea, and I think it will be helpful. But I suppose my only question left is whether it would be better to be completely transparent if people ask, or if I should be handling it more with you for now? Not dishonest with people, just a little more reserved until I know better how to go about it? I know that one is up to me more than anyone else, but I like having thoughts to consider. It makes it an easier decision in the moments those things come up.


R’Kala: You’re correct that it is completely up to you. ::she paused for a moment:: You should only give out information about information that you’re comfortable giving out. Since you are cleared for duty, there is no specific need to disclose. You can even limit it to only a few people you feel comfortable with. 


Dekas: ::Nodding:: I’ll take that into consideration. Thank you, R’Kala.


R’Kala: You’re welcome, Dekas. 


Dekas took one deep cleansing breath then carefully stood before giving the Counselor a full bow of respect.


Dekas: Until next time, then. Whether that is the next session… or me needing a nap.


R’Kala: Have a good shoreleave.


With that, Dekas took his leave. He felt like there was a weight lifted off his shoulders now that he’d said all of it out loud. Maybe the weight wasn’t all the way gone, but it was a start.  


R’Kala nodded to herself and turned to her monitor to begin writing a psychological report about her appointment. 


[End Scene]



Ensign Dekas

Engineering

USS Juneau

J239802D12


&


Ensign R’Kala, Ph.D.

Ship’s Counselor

USS Juneau

I238808Z10


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