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Counselor, Caution Advised

Posted on Sat Jun 22nd, 2019 @ 7:44am by Lieutenant JG Ildri Lanik & Commander Jonathan Mantell

Mission: Snow Birds
Location: Counselor's Office
Timeline: MD02

"How did this happen?" the boy muttered drearily to no one in particular. "I'm smarter than this."

Apparently not. Apparently, rejecting the offer for a promotion put one under suspicion by the ship's captain, and worse. The Forces of Evil that Jack had spent an entire career avoiding if at all possible had finally conspired to trap him in their web of evaluation and confusion. Being cornered by those blue-shirted demons was the worst fate imaginable for the Miran boy, short of perhaps being forced to eat a plate of lima beans.

No, a plate of lima beans was far more appealing than a counseling session.

A heavy sigh escaped the boy's lips as he stood before the door to the Counselor's Office, waiting to push the button for entry. It looked normal enough, but knowing the deceptive tricks and treachery that head doctors employed, it wouldn't have surprised him if the button was far more than it seemed. A hidden contract, perhaps, or an activation for an automated hypospray that would see him knocked out to wake up on their torture couch...

With no automated hypospray having pierced his tender flesh, Jack resigned himself to whatever nefarious terms the hidden contract contained as the doors parted, revealing the lair of the counselor within. The Kriosian woman looked normal enough, but that was how they operated. Sweet and sinister went hand in hand, and Jack was going to have to be on his guard the whole time.

"I'm Jack," the boy offered, not even bothering to mention his rank. It was displayed boldly enough on his uniform, Starfleet's regulations had seen to that. Besides, Jack wasn't quite ready to confess to any more crimes yet, though he was certain the counselor would attempt to wrestle them from his lips. "I think I'm supposed to be here."

Ildri bit her tongue to keep from displaying any emotional reaction to Jack's words. He looked as if she was going to tie him up and torture him relentlessly. "Hi Jack, I'm Ildri." She made no attempt to offer her hand and briefly remembered the human concept of cooties which made her nearly laugh again. "Yes, I did hear you might be stopping by. Usually I ask if you'd like something to drink or eat first, anything you want."

Jack's stomach churned at the thought, and he shook his head vigorously. "No," he said a bit too forcefully, and tried to dial it back a bit too late. He couldn't tip his hand, to let the counselor know that he knew about her tactics. Food and drink, he thought, would be just another way for Ildri to get his guard down and get inside his head. No thank you! His voice was calm this time, however, as the boy said, "No, thank you." He pushed his way into the office, and it was like swimming upstream. The feeling didn't even relent when he sat down, deliberately taking the chair opposite the long sofa. "Let's just get this over with."

Shaking her head a tiny bit, Ildri sat down across from him. "Jack, why are you so nervous? I don't bite. I don't tie people up. I think most people on this ship and the other ships I've served on would consider me to be a good person who just wants to help. None of my patients have ever reported being traumatized by a session with me. What are you expecting?"

"Nervous? I'm not nervous." Jack sprawled back in the chair, swiveling so his head could lay back across one of the upholstered arms and kicked his feet up over the other arm, looking as relaxed as could be. If he was honest, the position was rather comfortable, and that went a long way towards trying to sell the pose. "I'm the poster child for chill!"

"Good," Ildri smiled at him. She just couldn't help it. "Because there is absolutely nothing to be nervous about, we're just talking. I don't have a supply of straight jackets under the cushions nor do I inject truth serum into people to get the real story out of them. I believe people are generally honest with me because they want to help me help themselves. So, Jack. Why do you think you've been asked to see me?"

The counselor's confessions started to really add up now. Biting people, tying them up, injecting truth serum, and using straight jackets. This one was a real deviant. Oh, sure, she professed not to use those things, but that was one of the tricks. Reverse projection or something. He was going to need to be careful now. "The Commodore told me I had to."

"Well that's true. But I'd like to hear in your own words why you think the Commodore told you that you had to have a session with me. I'm very interested on your take of the things that happened." Ildri sipped her tea and watched him expectantly. There was no hint of emotion on her face now but her eyes were a bid wide as she waited.

"Uhh," the boy began, and hesitated. Being asked to incriminate himself? This was trickery of the highest accord! He could see that this counselor was well-skilled, and Jack couldn't just play the innocent card. For once, he missed working with Vulcans, those counselors expected honesty from their patients and usually accepted his plea of innocence at face value. "Oh, he's probably just making sure I'm okay after losing me on a primitive planet in the last mission."

"Well that's certainly a possibility. It is the Captain's responsibility to look after the crew, just as much as it is mine when it comes to their mental well being. But I think most people realize that. I certainly don't take pleasure in removing people from duty and in fact I've yet to have to do that. But I'm sure a smart guy like you realizes that." She was getting nowhere with him and could sit here all afternoon waiting for him to open up so Ildri changed the subject. "Jack, do you like to rockclimb? Would you like to go with me? Martin could come along as well if he likes to climb. I could use someone to show me the holodecks here."

Removing him from duty? That was her goal here? The boy sat up in his chair, alerted now. So much for all the honeyed words and kind demeanor, this one was just as bad as any other counselor. All of them, going back to the earliest of their ilk he had encountered soon after his homeworld was discovered by the Federation, had an agenda; every conversation guided by an ulterior motive. Jack wasn't about to let her threat go unheard, nor unforgotten by the quick change of subject. Trickery be damned, he had plenty of tricks up his own sleeve, too! "Rock climbing?" the boy-officer asked, trying to pass off his new posture as excitement over the prospect. "That sounds awesome!"

Ildri wasn't convinced but she was going to try it anyway. "Tomorrow, 1900 hours. I will invite Martin to come with us. Until then, you can return to duty. I'll see you tomorrow."


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