((Starbase 118 - Ashley Yael’s Office)) It was time for “That’s My Counselor”, where Alora made her way down to the counseling offices and sat in a chair and talked for an hour. Thus far, nothing much had come of it. Karen had tried, and as sweet as she was, Alora just couldn’t open up to her like the counselor wanted. Ruwon was easier a little bit, but the science officer still couldn’t dig deep with him. She knew he was trying, and she felt like maybe she could with him. Maybe. Eventually. Possibly.
Unfortunately, Alora wasn’t able to get an appointment with Ruwon. Instead, it was with Ashley. That was all right too. She liked the counselor, and they’d had a good time exploring Japan and Alaska. He seemed a good sort, like Ruwon, and so he was a bit easier to talk to. It helped to have that type of connection outside of those offices.
Alora smiled at the counselor as the doors parted and she wiggled her fingers at him.
DeVeau: Hello there!
Ashley turned to the door as it opened, and smiled as Alora entered. He was getting to know her in his first few weeks on duty. In fact, the more people in his crew that he met, the more content he was with his posting in general. He was feeling good about things, and hoped to help others feel that way as well.
Yael: Lieutenant Commander, good to see you. Come on in.
DeVeau: Good to see you too! Please, call me Alora. ::After all, they’d just hung out together recently. Why all the formality?:: Just here for my weekly counseling session.
Yael: Oh, there is no “just” about it. Please, have a seat. ::pausing:: Can I get you a beverage?
He was standing near the drink replicator already, so he might as well do the leg work.
DeVeau: Sure. Chocolate milk, please.
Alora circled around and plopped down in one of the chairs, then crossed one leg over the other.
Yael: I enjoyed learning more about your homeland, by the way. ::delivering the drink, he held his own coffee and sat:: I think you’re very lucky to come from such a beautiful place.
DeVeau: Thank you. ::Alora took a quick sip.:: Well, I actually wasn’t /born/ there.
DeVeau: I was actually born in Virginia, lived in Atlanta from the time I was a baby until I was ten, and /then/ we moved to Japan.
Alora sipped again at her chocolate milk. Hm. This was probably fil 24b. It tasted like 24b.
Yael: ::smiling:: I’m sure *all* your homes are beautiful.
DeVeau: They were in their own special ways. But Japan would always have the top special place in her heart of her Earth homes. Virginia wasn’t even a memory, though they had visited. Atlanta had been lovely as well, but there was just something about the Land of the Rising sun.
Yael: I have been familiarizing myself with your previous notations. ::pausing:: It seems like they were going… well. But perhaps they weren’t the most effective sessions for you. Is there anything you’d like to elaborate on?
DeVeau: They were going well.
At least as well as they could be considering Alora was unwilling to dig too deeply.
DeVeau: As for anything I’d like to elaborate on, not in particular. Did /you/ have something you wanted me to talk about?
Yael: Hmm... it isn’t to say they weren’t going well. More that, you seemed unwilling thus far to really get into the meat of things. There is a reason you’re coming in weekly, yes? Tell me in your words why that was established.
He liked Alora quite a bit, but wasn’t about to go easy on her. He needed to see just what she was able to handle, and to do that he needed to know her perspective and her limits.
DeVeau: Well, I’ve been in counseling for a while.
It was true. Because of various events, Alora had entered counseling several years before - and sought out her friends for support as well. That was nothing new. She motioned with her glass toward his PADD.
DeVeau: As you can see, I’ve been through some...experiences.
Some very unpleasant experiences. But that wasn’t just what he was looking for. The most recent experience wouldn’t be completely obvious - too much was higher clearance than an Ensign held, but she could tell him some. Some. Not all. Nor was she willing to tell certain aspects as well.
DeVeau: Obviously I can’t give too much detail, but I was recently involved in an accident at a research facility. Everyone involved has been required to have counseling.
The Denobulans eyebrow raised in concerned curiosity. Her file hadn’t mentioned anything about a *recent* event.
Yael: It sounds like there’s a story there to tell. Have you…? Talked to anyone about this?
DeVeau: Oh yes. I have.
Alora nodded then sipped some more of the sweet, chocolatey drink.
DeVeau: I was seeing a different counselor before, but...well, what happened is classified.
Yael: Where your counseling is concerned, my clearance is not an issue. You have doctor-patient privilege. Everything you say here is confidential. The only thing that would change that agreement between us would be illegal dealings, or if I thought you were going to harm yourself.
He wanted to be clear with her so she felt free to speak. He couldn’t help her if he didn’t understand where the problems were sourced.
Once more, Alora sipped at that milk, having made it through half a glass. She mulled over what Ashley said, but she still wasn’t comfortable going into detail. Classified was classified.
DeVeau: I really can’t go into details, but...it was an explosion, and I’m now dealing with a condition that has no known cure.
Realizing he probably wasn’t going to get the full truth, he would take what he could get, and appeal through the formal system for more information after the fact. An explosion and a condition? If she had a TBI from an explosion, whatever counselor was treating her *absolutely* needed to know that.
Yael: Okay. What condition? Are you being treated for symptoms of a traumatic brain injury?
DeVeau: It’s actually not a condition anyone else has.
Alora shifted, her brow furrowing as she attempted to form words that would explain without saying too much.
DeVeau: It’s...kind of a...well, basically a form of cellular degeneration I guess is about as close to anything it could be called.
But not quite. Alora didn’t really know how to describe it. It wasn’t really cellular degeneration, not really, but more of cellular reversal, temporal degeneration. But she couldn’t explain that her cells were literally shifting back in time, so she left it at that.
Ashley was silent for a moment as he wrapped his mind around what she had just said. An untreatable disease? Uncontrollable cellular degeneration? His amethyst eyes set on her and couldn’t leave her, possibly for too long a moment… he finally formulated a thought and blinked, looking away. It hit far too close to home, and with her infectious attitude and outlook it was hard to imagine her facing something like this.
He had to quite forcibly shove his feelings aside and remind himself this was *her* time. It wasn’t about him.
Yael: Okay… ok. If you can’t tell me about the incident *then*, I can at least help you with the situation as it is *now*. ::pausing, he failed to think quickly, still rather shocked by the news:: What are you undergoing now? Is there any palliative treatment? Ongoing care? What are your symptoms? ::realizing he was peppering her with too many questions at once, he simplified them:: Sorry… how are you feeling now?
DeVeau: Oh yes, I’m on some medication that halts it - at least temporarily. If I don’t take it, well...it’s not a good thing. Seems to be working for now. Alora took all the questions in stride. They were few compared to all the other questions she’d been bombarded with when things had first occurred. Debriefing after debriefing in addition to all the medicinal questions - the poking, the prodding, the questions without answers. What Ashley asked was nothing in comparison.
Yael: And your prognosis?
DeVeau: Steady for now. ::And in the process of getting steady, she’d lost several years.:: It took a while to get to that point, but I have to get check ups every couple of months - unless I have an attack. Those are painful.
Very painful. Barely could move, crawl across the floor and do her best to breathe through it, if it goes too long she became paralysed with agony type of pain. So much fun.
Yael: You sound as if you’ve given it thought.
In fact, she was downright calm, in his opinion.
DeVeau: I’ve come to terms with it. I don’t really have a choice in the matter.
Yael: It’s true. There are many things in life beyond the scope of our control. ::pausing:: I’m glad to see you seem able to manage it.
Ensign Ashley Yael
Starbase 118 Ops
Lt. Cmdr. Alora DeVeau
Starbase 118 Ops