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Mens sana in corpore sano

Posted on Tue Mar 12th, 2019 @ 12:50am by Lieutenant Commander Eve Coventina & Lieutenant Narira Atay
Edited on on Tue Mar 12th, 2019 @ 12:50am

Mission: Mission 29: Shore leave, supporting Leadership of SB-214
Location: USS Asgard: Counsellors Office
Timeline: 29th March 2392


Now she had seen the doctor, Narira knew the next step to settling in was to warn the counsellor about her condition. It felt a little strange. She'd seen plenty of counsellors during her time in Starfleet. But this would probably be her last. The person she could well be making end of life decisions with, if Daystrom's new hail-mary implant didn't work, which was likely.

She arrived at the office for her appointment with a good five minutes to spare, then rang the chime, and waited, padd tapping against her thigh out of nerves.

Eve opened the door herself rather than call her in, smiling gently to her as she smoothed down the simple, turquoise dress she wore rather than a uniform. "Lieutenant Narira Atay? I'm Eve Coventina, it's a pleasure to meet you. Please, come on in," she motioned for her to come inside the office with a smile, already moving for the replicator. "Can I get you anything?"

Narira moved in as bidden, into a familarish consulting room, with its easy chairs and pleasant, informal decor. She wasn't sure if she should sit or not, just yet, so remained standing. "Plomeek Tea, if its not too much trouble. With citrus, please."

"Of course," Eve assured with a small smile, getting her tea and a glass of iced tea for herself. She moved to sit on the sofa, setting the drinks down before motioning for Narira to join her. "Make yourself comfortable and tell me a bit about yourself."

Narira took the tea and sat down in one of the chairs. "There's not a lot to tell. I'm an engineer, I've been in Starfleet for nearly seven years, not counting the academy. I'm betazoid." She took a deep breath and dived right in. "I have a condition that means my telepathy is very strong, and out of control. To the point where if there aren't significant developments in the next few years, I may have to be lobotomized, for the safety of myself and others."

Eve nodded gently as she settled back to listen. She knew of her condition of course, but it was better to hear it from the patient's point of view. "How are you responding to your medication at the moment?"

"I'm on the maximum safe dose, and i'm building an immunity. But i've got 24 to 26 hours of normal functioning on average as long as I get my dose every day." Narira sipped her tea. If it ever got to the point where she had to take it more than once a day, it was a toss up whether the medication would poison her before her brain exploded.

"And where does that keep you?" Eve asked softly as she held her glass between both hands. "I mean...with your medication, how strong is your telepathy on a day to day basis?"

"Completely dead. I can't receive or project at all. When its on I don't have any control over it. Once the drugs start wearing off i only have a small amount of time before Im completely overwhelmed. I'd not only be able to hear everyone on this ship, I wouldn't be able to not hear them."

Eve nodded with understanding at her description, resting her chin in her hand and her elbow on her knee as she leant in a little closer. "Is that difficult on a day to day basis? To lose that...extra sense entirely?" she asked softly.

"Yes and no." Narira said, making a little up and down gesture with the flat of her hand. "I'd like to be able to talk to my parents. There's a closeness that you get from telepathy that I haven't felt in years, because I just deafen people if I don't suppress it. And its also hard to know whether other people are saying something deliberately mean, or just thoughtless, or poor choice of words, or are deliberately shit stirring. But its also good to not know what everyone really thinks of everyone else. Betazoids are honest, but tactful. Other species not so much. And quite frankly when you've been exposed to what a group of people cooped up on a long and lonely trip think about, you can't scrub that out of your brain."

Eve nodded as she spoke, taking it in with a slight frown for the other woman's position. "I'm so sorry," she said softly, holding her eyes, her own eyes showing that she really did mean it. "It can't be easy. Losing something so....entwined with the Betazoid identity."

"Its not gone, so much as...on hold." Narira shrugged, trying to pretend it was no big deal. "And the alternative is brain damage, to everyone including me, in at least a ten kilometre radius. Needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. And I like not having a fatal aneurysm."

"That doesn't make it easy though," Eve said softly, shaking her head with a gentle smile that couldn't quite how much she felt for her. "And that would be natural, if you felt it was difficult, or unfair, or a sense of loss. I think most would."

The Counsellor was right. It wasn't easy. Sometimes she wanted nothing more than to be 'normal'. But even if she couldn't be normal, something less chaotic would be good. "Sometimes I think it would be nice to be... I mean, even if I can't get the strength down to normal, it would be nice to be a photon torpedo, and not a hurricane."

Eve smiled fondly at the colourful turn of phrase, nodding with understanding at what she meant. "How is it for you when you are with other Betazoids?" she asked softly, wondering how it felt for her in that situation, but also if she'd experienced a difference in how other Betazoids treated her.

"I don't like it. Most are confused, most give me pitying looks. A lot literally can't talk to me because they've got out of the habit of verbalising. Others just don't understand how I can't talk. Or think that i'm not putting enough effort into shielding. I lack the willpower. I'm not trying hard enough..." She trailed off, trying not to sound bitter over the people who considered her problem a lack of character rather than a disability.

Eve didn't need to share Narira's heritage to see the feeling behind the words. She nodded gently, leaning a little into her, resting her elbow on her knee and her chin in her hand, her voice gentle. "And what would you say? If you could be open and honest? To those comments and assumptions?"

There was a pause. "Fuck you." She said, with some venom. "Fuck you all. You should be grateful that I'm medicated because if you felt what its like to really be me, you'd have ten seconds of understanding what I deal with before I ripped your consciousness to little shreds with whats left of my sanity." Then she realised how strong that sounded, and looked at the floor, embarrassed. "Sorry."

"Don't be," Eve said quickly, shaking her head with a slight frown. "I think you've needed to say that for awhile. I think there's a lot more in there you need to say and feel too. But there's time. And you do have time, no matter how uncertain it feels for you, for how long there is, there is time."

"That's kind of the problem," Narira sighed. "I don't have time. My condition is accelerating. There's some work going on a daystrom for a limiter implant, but if they can't get it right, then in may be three years, possibly two, I'm goign to... Well there is surgery, but its very risky. There's so much to take out. Becuase my paracortex regenerates, they have to take out everything. Its practically a lobotomy."

"But there is time," Eve said softly, holding her eyes with a gentle smile. "Whether it's three years, three months, three's time. And it's even more precious. So you have to choose how you will use that time. Whether you spend it angry and scared...or if you try and make each day good and fulfilling. We could talk more often if you like, to help with that."

"That's probably wise." Narira admitted. She'd be lying if she said she wasn't scared of what could happen. "I've got a big bucket list. Help weeding down if nothing else." Only so much was practical, and at the top was serving in a juicy dangerous mission, and now she'd landed one she wasn't keen on jeopardising it.

"It's a good start," Eve agreed with a warm smile, leaning to her with real curiosity. "Do you mind telling me what's on the top of it? I'm just being nosy, you can say no if you want to..."

"No. its fine. Top of my list is kind of being here. I wanted an assignment where the engineers are really needed. Maybe see some combat. Don't get me wrong. I don't have a death wish. I want to stay alive. But engineers are needed most when things aren't working. And as a rule ships that just survey supernova don't really stop working. But under fire? Thats when you need an engineer."

"So that's what drives you. You like fixing things," Eve said softly, shaking her head with an empathetic frown. "It must be so difficult and frustrating for you, being unable to 'fix' this part of your life."

"I think its why I got into engineering. At least I can fix everything else." Narira looked down at her hands where the new flesh on her fingers was stil pink and shiny after burning them on the booby trapped dilithium chamber on the Sara Hale. "One thing I can't fix doesn't seem so bad, compared to that. And machines don't try and think at you."

Eve chuckled softly at the way she'd put it, shaking her head gently. "Machines...don't quite offer the same comfort as people though?" she suggested gently. "It could get...lonely."

"Sometimes," Narira agreed. "But its not like I can't be with people, its just that intimacy is...risky. And I don't mean emotionally, i mean its physically dangerous. Found that out the hard way."

"What happened," she asked gently, lifting her cup to her lips with both hands, watching her over the rim with calm eyes.

"Two things." Narira admitted. "I started getting involved with a boy in my senior year, a vulcan, Sorbel. He was sweet, and was really good with puzzles, and we hung out a lot talking about philosophy and mechanics and stars, and things just kind of happened, and one days whilst we were fooling around, I realised that even through my drugs I could hear what he was thinking. Which was," She blushed a little. "Rather crude and very flattering. And I was totally into him and things got a bit more.. carried away, and then he stopped.
which was very drustratinng. And he said he'd got a stabbing headache. So I got paranoid, and made him go the doctor. He had an unruptured aneurism pressing on his insula."

Narira paused and wrapped her arms around herself. "It could have been coincidence, but I didn't want to take the chance, so I stopped seeing him. My medication blocked out normal activity, but after that, I couldn't keep him out. And then I went to the Acadey, where I met this really nice boy from Earth, called Jacob. By that point I'd chalked what happed with Sorbel as coincidence, and on our fourth date, and thinks started moving... Well. I won't go into details, but something similar happened. Only this time he had a full anuerysm. He was in surgery for hours after. He made a full recovery eventually, but they had to rebuild his dorsal Striatum. He was in Starfleet Medical for a year."

"Have you spoken with doctors about it?" Eve asked with a frown, shaking her head lightly as she set the cup back down carefully. "Is an intimate relationship something you want to explore further?"

"Well, yes." Narira said. "Most people do. And children. Eventually. I don't think there's many people who want to grow old alone."

Eve smiled weakly at that, shrugging lightly as she looked to her hands that she had rested delicately on her knee where her legs were crossed. "Not everyone plans for that. Not everyone wants or needs a lover for that matter. It's worth thinking about what it is you want."

"I want to be able to connect to people. Fully. Not always keep people at arms length in case i give them a stroke. Im cut off from so much. My family and my culture, and the people around me." Narira stared at the floor for a moment. People around me are starting to have children of their own and I cant relate to that and I just see those distances between me and everyone elae getting bigger."

Eve took a slight breath, the gentle smile remaining even with the ache her words brought her. She knew that feeling well enough. She wouldn't have the joy of a child either. "Is a child something you want for yourself? Or is it just that you see others with that in their life and feel that it should be in yours too? Not every woman choose to have a child after all. There's no...rule saying you have to. Everyone's story is different, it doesn't make it any less special."

"I dont know." Narira admitted. "I just...I want it to be me making the decision, not having it taken away from me. Does that make sense?"

"Yes, yes, it does," Eve said softly as she held her eyes. It made all too much sense to Eve. "Just know that even if some options are taken away, there are so many other options that are still available to you. Think about how you really want to spend your time. If you want to nurture children, I can assure you there many here you can come to know. You don't have to be a mother to nurture and change a child's life."

Narira wanted to think abput it, but her gut reaction escaped before she could be logical about it. "But its not the same."

"No, it's not," Eve agreed with a calm but empathetic smile, shaking her head gently at the point. "But it's more than you would have otherwise. And sometimes, that's what we have to remember. And be sure to be grateful and enjoy the little things we do have, rather than just mourn what we don't have."

"I suppose." Narira shifted a little bit, "But its easy to say when you're not staring down maybe three years left to live."

"I don't think it's easy to say at all," Eve replied honestly, shaking her head slowly. "However, just because it's hard, doesn't mean it isn't true," she added gently, but with firm belief. She glanced to the time when a soft chime sounded. It was probably about right. They'd gone over some difficult subjects, it was enough for her to take in over a session. "Let's leave it there. We can make another appointment, it will give you time to think on what we've talked about today."



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