Mallora Vossti/Interview with the Telepath

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 ((Main Sickbay, Deck 7, USS Gorkon))

It had been a long time since Genkos had set foot in this ship’s sickbay, and a strange bubbling tumult of emotions fought a battle in his stomach. The smell was different to his ‘bay on the Resolution, and the carpet a deep green instead of the now-familiar blue. Whoever decided sickbays should have carpets ought to be court marshalled. He’d been summoned by the Gorkon’s newest doctor, primarily for a check-up after his recent… well, incident. He couldn’t blame her for her due diligence, if their positions were switched he was sure he’d be asking her to do the same, but even so, it was not a comfortable feeling.

He folded his arms at the wrists in front of him and leaned on his cane as he waited for this Vossti to appear. The name sounded Betazoid to his ears, and he wondered if she was the first Betazoid doctor they’d had on the Gorkon since he left. If she was, he would have to make sure he kept his emotions under control.

Mallora walked into the main sickbay, still unsure if her patient would be comfortable there, or whether it might have been better to schedule the interview in a more casual setting like the Sto’Vo’Kor lounge, or even Commander Adea’s own quarters. Nevertheless, the decision was made, and she did her best to repress her own nervousness so that her emotions would not unduly influence her Betazoid patient.

At least this interview had been scheduled for the day before Commander Adea was scheduled to depart the Gorkon. Hopefully, this had allowed him plenty of time to distance himself from the traumatic events of the shared nightmare, or at least to depersonalize the memories.

She saw that he was already present and waiting for her. She felt a flush of embarrassment at making the man wait, but she did her best to put on a professional demeanor and walked up to him, pretending confidence.

Vossti: Hello, sir. I’m so glad you were able to come.

Adea: Ah, you must be Doctor Vossti. I believe I owe you my thanks.

Vossti: ::She smiled and averted her eyes at the compliment.:: I was just doing my job, sir. Please, have a seat.

Genkos nodded, smiled, and took the offered chair. They were sequestered in the small biolab near to the entrance, and he stretched out his left leg in front of him.

Adea: Well you have my sincere thanks, I really appreciate what you did. And I hear it was on your first day too, that must have been… an interesting introduction…

Vossti: I admit it was a bit stressful, ::she understated:: but I’m glad it all worked out as well as it did.  ::She took a breath and studied his features.:: This is not a traditional follow-up visit, though sir. The Psychic Parasite that we removed from you has no precedent in the medical literature. I was hoping to ask you some questions about your experience -- in a general sense -- that might aid in more rapid diagnosis and treatment if such a creature appears in the future.

Genkos swallowed once, the lump in his throat bobbing quite enthusiastically. He was quite glad this meeting was with someone he had never met before, that was for certain. Doing this with Loxley or Tali would have been… uncomfortable.

Adea: That makes sense. I can’t say I’m eager to relive that experience however.

Vossti: I won’t be asking for any details of what you may have experienced inside the dream, but I do wish to know how it felt. While it was occurring, did you get any sense that you were in a dream-realm?

Genkos frowned for a moment as he considered. There were the weird Romulan zombies, they were completely unrealistic, but he didn’t remember analysing that at the time.

Adea: I don’t believe I did, no.

Vossti: Within the dream, did you feel that your empathic or telepathic senses were weaker or stronger in any way?

Genkos swallowed again; he briefly wondered if his codes would still let him into his office. A moment of privacy. He ran a hand through his hair, before opening up his mind.

Adea: ~ Do you mind if we do this ::he tapped his forehead:: in here? ~

Vossti: ::She smiled:: ~ That’s fine with me. ~

Adea: ~ Weaker. Much, much weaker. But that was usual for the situation. ~

Vossti: ~ That’s unexpected. How so? ~

Genkos crossed his legs at the ankle, felt a jolt of pain in his left leg, and uncrossed them. It had been nearly a week, but he still wasn’t used to it. A decade of pain, returned, was far from ideal.

Adea: ~ My Skarbek persona, he’s an alcoholic. So much so it has completely deadened his telepathic abilities. They were starting to rebloom near the end of the dream. As he dried out, so to speak. ~

Mallora frowned and paused for a moment before continuing. She had been anticipating a very different answer. She tried to organize her confusion into words so she could ask a coherent question.

Vossti: ~ Forgive me sir, but that is nearly the opposite of what I had expected. I have heard others report that this was the third time that some of the crew had been plunged into this dream realm. Had this trait, this alcoholism, been a previously established aspect of your dream-self? Or was that trait new to this iteration? ~

A heady mix of guilt and shame washed over Genkos. This was just as unpleasant and uncomfortable as he imagined. He tried to imagine the brick wall around his mind, placing each component in there, brick by psychic brick, but to no avail. Emotions washed out of him like waves on a tropical shore.

Adea: ~ Oh ‘Kos was an alcoholic all three times. This was the first time he was allowed to dry out though. I, he, uh, we, ‘Kos was a devoted drinker, and the first two times that dulled any natural abilities he had. ~

Ensign Vossti allowed the emotions from her interviewee to wash over her, and she reflected sympathy back at him in a way only a born Reader could. The fact that they were both Betazoids was only to their benefit.

Genkos shifted uncomfortably in his seat; having his emotions perceived in this way and then answered was still relatively new to him, and it was certainly not what he had expected.

Vossti:  ::Still trying to work through the puzzle of what she was receiving:: ~ When your dream-self’s telepathy started to return, did you … ::she paused to pick the proper phrase:: did you feel it was the return of a curse somehow? Or did it seem to be a beneficial ability? Within the dream, I mean. ~

Genkos mused a moment, a hand stroking his face and finding it rougher than he would like. He made a mental note to shave as soon as he got back to his temporary quarters. He could not abide a beard on his face at such a time. It reminded him of ‘Kos, and of the Skarbek.

Adea: ~ Oh a curse, undoubtedly. ‘Kos Sim was not a happy man. He didn’t need the feelings of those around him to deepen that particular chasm of sorrow. ~

Vossti: ~ Thank you for meeting me and being willing to answer these questions, sir. I hope the interview was not too unpleasant for you, and I bid you a peaceful and relaxing journey to your next post. ~

Adea: ~ We’re done. Oh, well ~ ::he shifted back to verbal communication with a startled grunt:: Thank you. I appreciate that. I’ll, um, see myself out.

Hefting himself to his feet, and wincing as the pain lanced up his left thigh and into his hips, Genkos gave Mallora a nod before limping heavily out of the Sickbay. He was planning to find the first shuttle back to Deluvia. The less time he had to spend in the claustrophobic confines of the ship, the better.

Mallora sat staring at the notes she had taken on her PADD, trying to fit those in with what she had learned about the physiological effects of the Psychic Parasite. It didn’t completely make sense to her yet, but maybe it would when it was all laid out.

She began writing the first draft of her first post-graduate paper.