((Starbase 118 Ops - Ballroom))
Yael: My second order as Captain. No one can be taller than the Captain.
DeVeau: At least I don’t have to worry about that.
He struck a somewhat regal and obnoxious pose for a moment.
Yael: Bow, *peasants.* Your Captain has arrived.
DeVeau: Now wait a second, that’s not a good captain!
Yael: You didn’t specify if this was a democracy, a republic, or a monarchy.
DeVeau: Never mind, I’m going with Captain Taybrim!
Yael: Yeah… that’s probably for the best. The power seems to be going to my horns.
He reached up and stroked a horn, chuckling.
DeVeau: I’d say never trust someone with horns, but that would be unkind as there are some really lovely people with horns. How about, never trust Yael with horns?
Yael: That’ll do just fine. Now, Yael *without* horns can be quite magnanimous.
DeVeau: Oh, he can, can he?
Yael: ::clearing his throat:: Sorry, am I badgering you? I rather enjoy our back’and’forths. ::pausing:: There are so few people I can really do it with.
DeVeau: Badgering me?
Alora laughed, once more shaking her head. Why was he worried about that? Could he not tell that she enjoyed it just as much? It was nice to be able to have that sort of banter with someone.
DeVeau: Of course not. Just remember, however, what goes around, comes around.
Yael: ::chuckling:: Of course. Don’t dish it if you can’t take it.
DeVeau: Are you sure you don’t want to dance? If you don’t know how, I could just show you a couple of simple moves. It doesn’t have to be fancy.
There was a pause, and Ashley really considered it… but thus far his controlled contact on the holodeck was limited. This was a far more *real* situation with so many people present, which somehow made it seem more poignant.
Yael: Sorry. ::smiling at her still, he answered simply::
DeVeau: All right.
Once again, there was disappointment. If Alora had the opportunity, she’d dance with everyone that night, particularly those whom she’d befriended, but she didn’t want to make Ashley uncomfortable. Maybe he’d be more willing to dance in a more private setting - she could give him lessons, and then maybe he’d be more comfortable doing it in public. She’d offer it to him later.
DeVeau: Well, if you don’t want to dance, have you checked out the Haunted Mansion?
Yael: I have not. Is it good? I imagine it draws from the haunting stories of many cultures.
DeVeau: Oh yes. There are spooky stories and legends from all sorts of homeworlds. I know for a fact there’s one from Denobula.
Yael: Well, we *definitely* need to check it out then.
The pair went to the Haunted Mansion, and it did seem quite thematic and dramatic. There were multiple rooms, each with a different theme from a different culture. Still, Ashley couldn’t help smiling and restraining a laugh at most of it. He’d seen enough *real* scary things to be too impacted by an entertaining fake, no matter how well crafted. He snuck past a creature proposing to be Fek’lhr, the Klingon devil, and chuckled at the seeping fangs even as he kept out of reach.
DeVeau: Not the least bit intimidated?
Yael: Devils have *nothing* on delving into the psyche’s of my crewmates.
He quipped light-heartedly.
DeVeau: Of all the psyche’s, and without giving names, which one was the scariest? Is that allowed? To ask that?
Alora ducked through the door into another hallway. A pah-wraith swept around the room, screeching its murderous intent. Although a holographic spectre, every time it rushed by, a cold wind child the occupants. Alora was grateful for the coat to help ward off the chill of it.
Yael: Oh, that’s fine. To speak in generalities. ::pausing, he let the pah-wraith pass over:: I’d say the most spine-chilling encounters I’ve had were with incarcerated prisoners on Earth, though Denobula has its share of violent criminals. They have… interesting minds… and seem utterly devoid of empathy or social responsibility.
DeVeau: Is it really scary sometimes? To do that sort of thing?
Yael: Only when you’re alone in the room with them.
He said that almost flippantly, as if it were just another duty to perform, and hardly a risk to take. By that time, Alora had learned that there was often more to what Ashley said than what he might indicate in his words or tone. She glanced over at him as she led the way to the next door, dodging the pah-wraith as it swung toward them once more.
DeVeau: I don’t know if I could do that. I think I’d be too frightened.
Yael: But you can’t let on that they’re getting to you. It really is as if they can smell fear. Once they have the sense they can scare you, impact you emotionally, it’s over. Your impact is diminished because you get sucked into their mind-game..
DeVeau: What sort of mind games?
Yael: The ones where they weave you into their internalized drama. Where you’re no longer an external factor stepping into the sphere in which they exist.
DeVeau: How is that different from what you do here?
Yael: Whereas with most counseling, you want to get to know your crew closely, be able to understand them on a personal level, if not as friends then as people with similar purposes. With the violent offenders there is no personability to it. You have to remain as poised on day 300 as you are on day 3, not letting them get close to you even as you try to make sense of them.
DeVeau: That sounds really hard.
The room they passed into sported no spectres . Rather, it was a scene of devastation. Trees twisted and angry, some reached for the sky, their bare branches like fists, cursing the heavens. Others bent down, as if in agony. The sky roiled above them, clouds curling over and out and under and over each other. Of everything, a red hue descended and surrounded them, as if looking through a heated, hateful lens. It seemed as if heat should have poured over them, but instead, bone chilling cold slapped at their faces, the wind merciless.
Yael: It’s a beast of a different nature, that’s for sure. ::then, to the room:: This, however, is definitely still creepy!
DeVeau: This looks like a nightmare.
Ashley looked around them and felt the cold effect, nodding in agreement.
DeVeau: I’m about ready to go back. My feet are itching for more dancing. Are you sure I can’t convince you?
Yael: ::smiling again:: Now *that* would be scary.
DeVeau: One last question though.
DeVeau: Out of curiosity, was your most difficult patient?
Yael: If you’re thinking it was you, it’s not even close. You’ve been a pleasant walk through a garden in comparison to some.
DeVeau: I guess I’m just going to have to try harder.
Alora allowed a little cackle, a hint of a witch slipping into the sound.
DeVeau: Are you going to continue or come back with me?
Yael: Oh, lead the way. I’ve had my fill for the moment.
Ensign Ashley Yael
Starbase 118 Ops
Lt. Cmdr. Alora DeVeau
Starbase 118 Ops