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Connecting with the Captain

Posted on Mon Feb 7th, 2022 @ 5:23pm by Captain Akeno Misaki & Lieutenant Rania Bhatti

Mission: Arista
Location: USS Wayfarer | Deck 01 | Captain's Ready Room

It was time for first impressions, to make the most of the several minutes that she would have with the Commanding Officer of the Wayfarer, a bit of a privilege really. As the Ship’s new Chief Counsellor, Rania would be part of the Captain’s senior staff and that meant more to do than simply seeing patients and helping them sort through their mental and emotional obstacles, but to be there personally for the Captain, First Officer, and the entirety of the crew in ways an ordinary counsellor, junior or otherwise was not often asked to be.

As part of the Captain’s senior staff, Rania would have a presence at the table. She would attend staff meetings, mission briefings, and possibly be called to the bridge every so often in an advisory capacity, help the command staff see things through from an ethical perspective if not a legal or humanistic one. Having had pulled her hair up, hairpins fastened, clips snapped, and her hijab squarely secured, Rania had left her newly assigned quarters that the quartermaster had shown her to and made her way to the nearest turbolift to take her upward to deck one.

Closing her eyes and taking a deep breath, the ride upward a few decks was smooth and like nothing. This Intrepid class starship was nothing like the older starship she had previously served aboard. It was true explorer, a light cruiser with fifteen decks, outfitted with recent advances in technology. Bio-neural circuitry, variable geometry warp nacelles, and the state of the art in Federation warp cores. She was no engineer, but she could show admiration and respect for the beauty of ingenuity.

The lift came to a stop, reaching its destination. The doorway opened and unveiled a crisp bridge with a layout that looked more than functional. “Captain’s Ready Room?” she asked a young officer that had just begun to walk by her as she stepped out from the lift.

“Over there, ma’am,” the man replied with a gesture to the appropriate side of the bridge. “Just down there and through those doors. The captain is currently in,” added the man.

It was perfect timing then. She knew that the captain had been expecting her, but life aboard a starship was certainly hectic, no less true for a commanding officer. Rania nodded politely and thanked the man before following the direction she was directed. She took a deep breath and walked right up to the woman’s Ready Room, pressing the chime with the lightest yet detectable touch. This is it she thought to herself. She had made it in more ways than one.

Akeno was sitting on the green couches that lined the windows. A finger circled the silver cup of tea as she stared out of the windows at the distant stars. "Come in" she called out.

The Counsellor stepped forward, her heart nearly pounding out of her chest due to nervousness. Be still she thought to herself as though she had any control over that. When she did finally see that Captain face-to-face there was something about the woman that put her at least a little at ease.

"Peace upon you, Captain," the Counsellor greeted her superior officer. She slowly approached the woman sitting on the green couch that lined what likely would be a breathtaking view should the starship ever be in orbit of a planet or moon. Still, it was beautiful nonetheless.

Rania bent down slightly and lay a PaDD upon a nearby coffee table. "My official orders, ma'am. Lieutenant Rania Bhatti reporting for duty."

Akeno nodded, gave the woman a smile and picked up the PADD. After briefly glancing at it she looked over the top of the device. "Oh, you're our new chief counselor. Take a seat, would you like a drink?" She asked softly.

"You are most hospitable, Captain," the Counsellor replied with a pleasant smile and a nod of approval. "I can help myself to the replicator. You have been most kind."

Rania had made her way to the replicator, not wanting the commanding officer to wait on her. It only took a few moments, and Rania returned with a glass of shikanji, chilled. Taking a seat with the beverage in hand, the Counsellor resumed their conversation. "I am, yes. From what I was told, the Wayfarer has not had a Chief Counsellor for a while. Your last was a...Betazoid, I believe?"

"Yes, I do believe they were. Although we haven't had once since I took command" Akeno replied. "You'll be wanting to talk to some of the crew, our last mission was... taxing on some of them. Especially taxing on me"

Naturally, this awoken the inquisitive side one someone who was a cognitive product of the sciences, shaped by her education. As a counsellor especially, the tidbit of information was just dangling there. "Elaborate, please. If this most recent mission has been taxing, then I would like to ensure that the crew are well taken care of."

"Well..." Akeno started. "It was a simple charting mission. However a strange entity lived there. It took control of my body, but also impregnated me to make it a physical form. It referred to itself as Junior" she took a sip of her drink. "From inside me, Junior grew rapidly and managed to take full control of my body. However, Junior didn't last long after it was born. I can tell you, Junior made it very painful for me"

"Hmm," the woman made an audible response of intrigue. "Biologically speaking, that is fascinating yet alarming. One could argue nearly if not entirely parasitic if not by function than by personality. It essentially cuckoo birded you, Captain."

"Pretty much. I went from normal to about eight months the pregnant in less than twenty four hours" Akeno explained. "The physical baby was a perfect clone of myself. We still don't know how the entity did it. But it managed to access my mind through the umbilical chord" she took another sip of her tea. "It was a strange, rather scary experience. However, I do believe that another officer had a similar experience on the Enterprise if I recall"

"Aboard the D if my memory severs me correctly. It was brought up one in a biology course I took at the academy. Deanna Troi was impregnated by an entity in a similar manner, but that was not a hostile life form, but rather an inquisitive one, an explorer much like ourselves, just by a different means. Though what you describe reminds me of an entirely different experience aboard the Enterprise-D also involving their Counsellor."

Rania had a sip of her beverage and placed it down. "Somewhere abouts 2368, I believe. The consciousness of alien entities hijacked the bodies of several of the ship's crew, having what seemed like full control over them. I would say your experience was a bit of an amalgamation."

The Counsellor was fascinated. "A perfect copy or approximation of yourself, clone not necessarily though possible. It certainly sounds like it scanned your genetics to create its own appearance."

Akeno nodded. "I've always wanted my own child, but I wasn't expecting it to have been like this. Junior disappeared after being born. We can only presume that the entity was incompatible with a permanent human form" she told her. "Most of all though, I believe that Junior was lonely. One feeling I can strongly relate to."

"Biologically speaking, it was a life form, but not your child. Whatever means it used to take form within you, and hijack your biological functions and neurological abilities, you were merely a vessel...conduit for its actions." Rania was careful with her wording. "When you are ready to have a child, it will be yours either genetically or by adoption. The experience you had was neither."

"Yeah I guess" Akeno replied. "This certainly turned into a counselling session didn't it" she smiled slightly nervously.

Counsellor Bhatti was quick to shake her head. "No, not at all. This was a scientific discussion about your experience with an alien entity. You merely entertained a curios Counsellor with a background in biology. A proper counselling session will examine more on how you felt, and less about the entity."

"I guess you're right" Akeno replied. "But enough about that. Tell me about yourself Lieutenant. How did you find yourself here on this slightly dysfunctional Intrepid Class?" She asked with a hint of humour.

"Sounds like you solved why I am here already, Captain," Rania replied and smiled. "Dysfunctional is certainly an adjective that merits a Chief Counsellor, though I was not sure why I was assigned here until you said it" teased the woman. "That may just have something to do with it," added the Counsellor.

In truth she was not entirely sure. "I go where the orders send me," she explained. "I did not choose your starship as an assignment, but I suspect I can bring some much needed counselling to the uh...dysfunctional crew," the woman stated still being playful. "I was born and raised on Xanthan in the Delphic Expanse, but left as a teenager."

"I see. So a bit of a different background. You're not the only ones. Both my parents were declared Killed in Action aboard the Starship Pegasus" she explained. She paused for a moment. "I joined Starfleet to find out the truth of what happened. However its classified, not even my current rank can access that information"

"My only family, my grandparents were killed in the Dominion War. They were in San Francisco when the Breen Attacked" she told her simply. "I'm only the Captain because Starfleet are short of CO's right now."

"And I am your Chief Counsellor because the majority of experienced ones are stationed as starbases, planetside, or on hospital ships," she noted. "The Wayfarer is only my second posting. I know that probably will not make many all that comfortable knowing."

"Well, welcome to the family. It's still fairly new and inexperienced, but I think we'll all get closer as we get back out there" Akeno pulled herself off the couch and stretched. It was obvious from how her uniform pulled up slightly that she still had some leftover 'baby fat' on her tummy from Junior. "But I'll admit, it feels good to be back out exploring and not fighting Dominion ships."

Rania nodded. "Remember when Starfleet used to be about exploration?," she quipped in response and sighed. "I joined to see new things and open my mind to the abnormal and unknown, not to lose friends to the brutality of warfare. I am looking forward to a return to what Starfleet was" she added.

"Captain, I had most of my belongings brought aboard from the station already, but a few things still need to be brought aboard. I do have a bit of a personal request. I have a cat that I just cannot part with. She keeps me company, and admittedly is a bit of a trouble maker. Would I be permitted to have her aboard the Wayfarer?"

"I don't see why not" Akeno replied. "I'm sure you'll settle in well here. I believe the first thing you should do is clear the dust from the Counselling suite and get to know the ship and crew" she suggested.

It was an agreeable thing. "My suite," she smiled. "That is much more than I am used to. It is on the fifth deck, correct?" asked the Counsellor. She was still familiarizing herself with the starship.

Akeno nodded. "Yes, all medical and our primary science facilities are located on deck five. You should be adjacent to the main sickbay. We don't have a permament Chief Medical Officer yet, so check in with one of the medical staff when you have chance. No doubt you'll all be working closely together"

"I can do that," Rania said though the thought of a physician made her a bit uncomfortable. "This ship is equipped with an EMH, would it be alright if I activated it first medical needs? I'll work with the other medical staff of course."

"If you think thats necessary. Although I've used the EMH Mark One. It was... a unpleasant visit. I've never activated one since" Akeno smiled back. "Well, I'll let you get settled in. If you need anything, let me know. We don't have an XO on board yet, so I'm handling pretty much all the staff assignments"

"Is ours a Mark I or Mark II?" she inquired. "If you need any assistance in the meantime, just let me know, Captain."

"Wayfarer is a new ship. Only a year out of spacedock, she was finished just towards the end of the war, although she never saw action. So I imagine we have a Mark two. But I'm not sure, never turned it on" Akeno shrugged. "However, you are officially dismissed, unless you have anything else?"

The Counsellor picked up her drink to take it with her. "No ma'am, I will get my cat and rest if my belongings, settle into my quarters, and then begin to explore the ship and its crew."

Akeno nodded. "Welcome aboard the Wayfarer Lieutenant" she said with a slight bow an old Japanese tradition before holding out a hand, a more conventional Human gesture.

Counsellor Bhatti gave a slight bow. Though she did not take the woman's hand. "A pleasure to serve under your leadership, Captain. I will see you again soon."

'Unusual' Akeno thought at the lieutenant not shaking hands. She simply withdrew it when she left and returned back to her desk. Perhaps her culture didn't 'do' handshakes. She shrugged it off and went back to her status reports.

Posting by

Captain Akeno Misaki
Commanding Officer

Lieutenant Rania Bhatti
Chief Counsellor


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