USS Aeon - Prologue - Counting On The Counselor
USS Aeon - Prologue
Location: XO's Office
"Apparently she is some kind of celebrity." The thought pulsed through Castor's mind as he pushed the chime next to the XO's door. It was several seconds before the clock would strike 8:30. Castor smiled, punctual as ever. Unfortunately the follow-up thought was: "You still look like crap." The rough previous night had left its marks. In his younger days a short night would not have showed, but Castor Navin was beginning to feel his 52 years.
"Enter!" called a voice from inside. Alexandria looked up from her desk as Castor entered. She was in her usual state - hair tied up in a neat bun, her uniform impeccable. A neat stack of PaDD occupied the left hand side of her desk. The way she was looking, a pair of reading glasses would not have been out of place - despite the fact that no one had needed glasses for a long time.
"Ensign Navin," she stated formally. "Please sit down. Thank you for reporting to me so punctually. I appreciate it."
Castor sat down, but was a rigid as if he was standing at attention. The appearance of the woman before him almost seemed to scream at him to follow her orders and for him to be as precise as this Commander. He got the distinct feeling that if there was even one ion in the wrong place, he would fail to meet up to her standards. Castor found it strange that a person who he had met only seconds before could give off such an aura. He wasn't sure yet if he liked it at all.
"Thank you ma'am. I'm of the opinion the agreed upon time is the agreed upon time, and not some approximation."
"Looks like we'll be getting along famously, then," nodded Alexandria. She brought a PaDD to the top of the pile and started scrolling through it, while nodding as if recalling events.
"Let me start off by saying that I am fully aware of your capabilities, Ensign," she said after a moment. "Your rank doesn't do your experience justice and I want you to know I realize that. I also want you to know that I personally lobbied for your assignment here."
Castor looked at her in surprise, "I guess a thank you is in order then, but may I ask why?"
"It's not every day that you get the chance to get a battle-proven officer as Chief Counselor aboard your ship," replied Alexandra. "I have some combat experience myself, including post-combat counseling and... it is not the same, talking to someone who hasn't experienced actual combat. Considering we are going to be patrolling the Neutral Zone... your particular skill set may yet come in handy."
"Well, my counseling experience is still limited and, wait..." Castor paused, quickly replaying Alexandria's last sentence in his head. "We are patrolling the neutral zone? I thought this was a science vessel?" The thought of another combat mission made his palms sweaty, so he placed them on his trousers to hide the fact that he was getting very uncomfortable.
Alexandria nodded, not seeing Castor's distress or simply disregarding it. "Apparently, the Federation is out of combat vessels and with the destruction of the Romulan Empire, they need every ship to watch the situation. Who knows what could happen. Which is why I'm so glad to have you along - if we do run into trouble, we'll need some proven soldiers to deal with whatever comes at us. I can count on you, can't I, Ensign?"
-Count on me, are you crazy?- Castor disregarded his initial impulse at an answer and took a second to contemplate what he was going to say. If he said 'no' his career in Starfleet was over, that was evident to him. Saying 'yes' though would probably be a lie and would most likely get people in danger. He opted for a more neutral counter question: "I assume you have read my medical record, psychological history specifically?"
"Quite thoroughly, actually," said Alexandria. "Who else to provide psychological counseling to younger officers dealing with war, than an experienced warrior?"
She folded her arms in front of her and sat back in her chair. "Why? Are you unsure of your ability to handle your new profession? You did graduate as a fully capable psychiatrist, didn't you?"
Going over the conversation again in his head made Castor feel a little silly. She never actually said that he would have to fight. He forced himself to relax a bit, counseling he knew he could handle. If that was all he would be called on to do, he would be fine.
"Yes ma'am, graduated and confident in my abilities as a counselor." Castor resisted the urge to put some extra emphasis on the word counselor. Trying to move the conversation to less dangerous waters he asked: "Will we be patrolling for a long time or is this a short time deal before we can get to the scientific part of our voyage?"
"That's unclear, at the moment," said Alexandria. "First, we'll escort Commodore Moroi to Starbase 244. Then we'll start our patrol. Further others have not been made clear to me, as of yet."
She nodded, as if deciding that the conversation was over.
"Ensign, thank you for your time and punctuality. I'm looking forward to working with you."
Castor knew when he was being dismissed but was still taken a bit aback by the abruptness of it. He also knew it was pointless to try and extend the conversation.
"Likewise ma'am." He stood up and saluted, and then walked out.
Commander Alexandria Munro
Ensign Castor Navin