SIM:JP: Capt. Rahman & LtCmdr. Moonsong: Standing in the Shadows
Author's Note: The following is compiled from several sims to present the completed scene.
The events in this SIM occurred on stardate 239403.23.
//Captain's Log, Stardate 239403.23
Having restocked our supplies, we're proceeding along to Antor II, the capital of the Colonial Coalition. The crew seems to have enjoyed the reprieve offered by Esperance... well, most of them.//
((Captain's Quarters, USS Veritas))
Rahman: Damn it!
::Roshanara winced as she picked up her bare right foot, rubbing her little toe that she'd stubbed on a crate she'd kept planning to unpack since she moved in yet remained on the deck where she put it three months ago.::
::She sat down on the small couch, and as she massaged the side of her foot, her door chime rang.::
Rahman: oO Just great... Oo
::She looked around for her shoes, but they remained elusive.::
Rahman: Just a moment...
::Still having no luck, she grabbed on some socks at least before asking her guest to enter.::
:: Raissa was surprised to get a request to go to the captain’s quarters but perhaps she shouldn’t have been. It would be easier, for appearances sake, perhaps that she see the Captain in her quarters instead of Raissa’s office. She rang the chime and the door opened.::
Moonsong: ::Her expression neutral:: You wished to see me, Captain.
Rahman: Counselor, thank you for coming.
Moonsong: Of course.
::Rahman gestured to the chair next to the couch.::
Rahman: Please, have a seat.
:: Raissa moved to the indicated seat and crossed her legs to look relaxed. While she had known Rahman for a number of years, their relationship was strictly polite and professional. When Raissa had spoken in a less than professional manner about the captain’s relationship, she had been shut down fast and brutal. It hurt but she learned her lesson and kept her distance.::
Moonsong: Thank you, captain.
Rahman: Can I get you anything?
Moonsong: No, thank you.
Rahman: So I received your request about additional personnel to help with your workload.
Moonsong: I is unrealistic for one person to maintain the mental health of well over two hundred people including themselves in addition to other duties as assigned.
Rahman: I can imagine.
Moonsong: And your decision?
Rahman: Well, I've checked with Starfleet Medical and Starfleet Personnel, and it turns out that there's an assistant ship's counselor who's interested in a deep space assignment as he finishes his training.
::"Justin something" as she recalled the man's name.::
Moonsong: Thank you. I am glad someone was found. Deep assignments are difficult.
Rahman: I've forwarded his personnel file to you for review, but he'd be able to join us when we get to Antor.
Moonsong: ::nods:: I will meet with him when he comes aboard. Thank you, captain.
::The captain hesitated for a moment, now that "business" was concluded.::
Rahman: There was another thing...
Moonsong: ::Raissa’s eyebrow went up slightly:: Yes?
::Roshanara looked down at her hands, thinking over her words. She'd already practiced a few variations in her head, but now they still seemed lacking.::
Rahman: And maybe we should wait until we set up a more formal appointment...
::After a short pause, the counselor spoke gently enough.::
Moonsong: I am free now, Captain.
Rahman: I just... I've been thinking about Captain Kells a lot lately.
::A faint smile briefly touched Raissa's lips thinking about Aron. She owed him a letter.::
::Roshanara saw Moonsong smile ever so slightly just at the mere mention of Kells. And she could feel the change of emotion from the counselor as well from the memories brought forth. It was one of warmth and happiness, like a small, glowing fire that lit up the room.::
::And one that wasn't the same as when Moonsong was ordinarily around her.::
Moonsong: In what way?
Rahman: The kind of captain he was. How command seemed to come naturally to him, and how his particular style suited him well, earning him the trust and even friendship of his crew--including yours, if I'm correct?
Moonsong: He did have a style of his own.
::Roshanara nodded, a very slight grin of her own now escaping.::
Rahman: Hmmph, that he did.
Moonsong: I do not need to tell you that you are two different people, therefore your… styles will differ.
::That was true. But was perhaps one style simply better than another?::
Rahman: I suppose, but I've been wondering about my... "style."
Moonsong: My opinion is that you approach things differently. Aron came at things as a scientist. Observe, analyze, deduce. You approach things as an engineer. You are a fixer. You see a problem, you figure out how to fix it and do so.
::It was so much easier as an engineer. Machines break. You fix them. People and the issues that came up were far more complex and more challenging, even frustrating at times.::
::Raissa paused tilting her head slightly.::
Moonsong: Are you concerned with gaining the trust of this crew?
Rahman: Not so much the trust of the crew.
::She clasped her hands together.::
Rahman: They're professional. Many have served with me before for several years, and I feel a level of trust.
Rahman: But I have felt a change in how people approach me... it began when I took on the role of first officer for Captain Kells. I think our styles complemented each other, actually. But now that he's gone, I wonder if there are aspects of his style that would be beneficial in adopting.
::She took a breath.::
Rahman: Or perhaps at the very least, aspects of his approach when it came to problem-solving or dealing with the crew.
Moonsong: A laudable goal, Captain.
Rahman: Do you have any suggestions?
Moonsong: :: Raissa’s eyebrow went up in a way that would make Saveron proud.:: You will have to try to be more specific, Captain.
::She buckled herself down for the possible response she was going to get to this next inquiry.::
Rahman: ...is there something you think I should work on? Some area I should put more focus?
Moonsong: It depends on what you want. Specifically what you want from the crew and what kind of relationship you want with them.
Rahman: I want of course that trust and confidence we spoke of earlier, but... I've found command to be much lonelier than I'd ever thought.
::She shook her head.::
Rahman: When I was a chief engineer, I was in a position of authority, leading the largest department on the ship, and yet I didn't find the gulf between myself and the lowest-ranked crewman as great as I find it now.
Moonsong: ::Raissa shifted. This was verging on personal.:: You might benefit in getting to know the crew… not as their duty post but as people.
Rahman: That all sounds well and good--"people, not duty posts"--but how to start when there is that separation between parties?
Moonsong: For example… Blake… What are her goals? Does she want to be captain someday? As the current captain… it would be an opportunity for you to get to know her better. She is your right hand. It is clear she has no problem speaking up.
Rahman: I suppose so.
::Blake's threat to tape Roshanara to her captain's chair was certainly audacious--and Roshanara only regretted having never threatened Captain Kells with similar.::
Moonsong: There are of course others…
Rahman: Maybe I just need to accept that something was lost when I took on the job of captain.
Moonsong: ::Raissa frowned slightly.:: What do you think you have lost?
Rahman: I'm never going to be "just one of the boys and girls" down below decks again like I used to be--even as chief engineer. Now, it's not just some impatient redshirt demanding unreasonable repair times from a distance on the bridge--*I'm* that redshirt.
Rahman: You've mentioned my reluctance at donning that color before, when I was first named as a first officer. It was because I still viewed myself as an engineer first. But also perhaps because I didn't want to view myself as having left that... "family" for lack of a better term. But now that is inescapable.
Moonsong: From a professional standpoint, Captain. Such thinking, while common among new captains, is a fallacy.
::Roshanara shifted her gaze up from her hands back to the counselor, curious.::
Moonsong: You will not be able to function for long as captain in such isolation. Far too many captains try to operate under the belief that as commanding officer they are giving up the chance to have a life and that is incorrect.
Rahman: If not a life, then perhaps at least that camaraderie among the crew.
::Raissa considered her relationships with the different captains in her career. Egan Manno, Kells, Washington in addition to a couple captains she had found herself working with the few months she was on Earth. Rahman will have to find her own way.::
Moonsong: While you are no longer just one of the boys and girls below decks, the crew of the ship is still considered a family. You are the head of that family. They are your children, your brothers and sisters, cousins… even the oft annoying in laws. You will learn to deal with each accordingly. Many captains have even found a way to have a spouse and children.
::That thought made the Kriosian smile. She and Tristam hadn’t really discussed such things seriously, but she’d be lying if she said she hadn’t already made some initial evaluations about his potential fitness as a husband and a father.::
Rahman: Yes, and I’ve often wondered how they did it. Even more so now, knowing the demands of the job firsthand.
Moonsong: The truth is, you cannot be captain alone. You need at least one person you can trust to tell you the truth yet still respect your position. That person will be confidante, friend, support when you need it. ::pause.:: You will need someone like that.
::Roshanara’s smile soured slightly. That person honestly was Del, her physician and best friend. In fact, he’d actually been her first officer for a while on the Syracuse. But now he was off somewhere else, having his own much-needed adventures away.::
Rahman: I suppose I’ve never been one to make friends easily. True friends, that is. Not just friendly work acquaintances.
Moonsong: ::She could easily relate to that.:: I understand.
Rahman: It seems like that will be even harder now as captain. People still tend to be a bit guarded around you, even if you tell them to stand at ease for instance.
Moonsong: True. It is an inherent perception of the position.
::She nodded, deciding to commit.::
Rahman: I’ll just have to try then.
Moonsong: That would be a good start.
::She smiled again, looking back at Moonsong.::
Rahman: Thank you, counselor. I really appreciate it.
Moonsong: Of course, Captain.
::She picked up her cup from the table and took a sip before holding it securely in her hands.::
::As the captain picked up her cup from the table, Raissa decided that was a dismissal and prepare to leave. She was surprised when Rahman spoke again..::
Rahman: So besides the overwhelming workload, how have you found this new assignment?
::The woman seemed startled by Roshanara's inquiry.::
Moonsong: I beg your pardon?
Rahman: Veritas. The Shoals. Either one.
Moonsong: To answer your question, I am finding it quite challenging. I am more aware of the isolation than I expected. Thus my insistence on additional personnel. My aide is working toward becoming a counselor herself, however she is not there yet.
Rahman: ::nods:: I suppose we all have some of our own adjusting to do here.
Moonsong: ::she paused a moment.:: If I may be blunt captain, is this your attempt to make friends with me?
::She shook her head.::
Rahman: No, not really. But you are the ship's counselor, and I would be remiss to ignore your needs to perform your vital function aboard Veritas.
::Raissa studied her for a long moment. Rahman was not an easy person for her to deal with beyond obeying orders.::
Moonsong: In that case, I believe we need to address the altercation that occurred that put a wall between us.
Rahman: "Altercation?" I don't recall anyone ending up in sickbay.
Moonsong: There are more than one meaning to that word.
::She leaned back a bit, interlocking her fingers.::
Rahman: All right, then, counselor. Let's address it. It's been long enough, hasn't it?
Moonsong: Almost a year
::Her eyes locked with Moonsong's.::
Rahman: Do you feel the wall between us is undeserved?
Moonsong: :: Raissa met her gaze calmly. :: Only you can answer that, Captain.
::She replied rather quickly.::
Rahman: You can probably guess my answer then.
Moonsong: You placed it there.
::The two women continued to stare back at each other, the air between them practically forming ice particles.::
Moonsong: ::With some rather harsh language.:: My concern at the time was for a friend.
Rahman: Your friend. My partner.
Moonsong: This limits my ability to act as your counselor as you have set the line I cannot cross. :: pause. :: To be blunt, you are difficult to deal with. As long as I do my duty in a purely professional manner, I do not feel as if I am treading thin ice with you.
Rahman: Perhaps then it would be best to keep things professional where it concerns us.
::Roshanara looked down at her hands for a moment and then shook her head.::
Rahman: Look, you don't have to stay here. We were all brought back together after Invicta because of a "favor" from an Admiral, but maybe it was better having done our separate ways. Especially if you feel this wall impedes the working relationship a counselor needs with her captain.
Moonsong: This does not mean I question your ability to command. You have more than proven yourself in that aspect.
::She looked back up at Moonsong, almost wanting to laugh right there.::
Rahman: Have I really? To you?
Moonsong: To command? Yes. There is no question.
Rahman: You don't have to mince your words, counselor. I knew how close you were to Captain Kells--how much you respected him and valued him as another one of your friends. That respect and friendship--I know I have not earned either from you since he stepped back from command.
::Raissa wasn’t sure how to respond as Rahman shook her head and took a breath.::
Rahman: But that's fine, really. You know what the truth is? As furious as I was by your words back then--words not said as my personal counselor but as *someone else's* friend--in the end, you were right.
Moonsong: ::Her tone was quiet. :: I know.
Rahman: I didn't know Tristam had been already helping you. Part of me wanted to believe that's because he takes the confidence of his friends seriously, but I know now I was only lying to myself, especially after he left Starfleet to return to Rodul. I don't know what he's thinking. What he's feeling.
Rahman: He's the only person on this ship whose emotions and desires I can't sense. That seemed perfect at one time--exhilarating even. Now, I find it terrifying.
Moonsong: That is a feeling shared by the majority of sentients, I am afraid. You will have to do things the hard way. You’ll have to talk to him. Ask questions. Over time, you will find that it will become easier. You will learn to read his expressions and body language. It is primarily what I do.
::That last bit was a revelation. With all that the counselor had been through since her encounter with the Community that had turned her into a powerful telepath, it was surprisingly comforting to learn that she too still depended on more “traditional” methods to understand others.::
::Maybe that’s all Roshanara really needed now with Tristam.::
::The conversation was giving Raissa a tiny bit of hope. As the ship’s counselor it was an important part of her job that people, including the captain, opened up to her. In all the years she had known Rahman, he attempts to get the woman to open up to her had been a failure, not just the time she harshly shut her down. Only time would tell if she would ever be able to do the same.::
Rahman: To be honest…
::She hesitated. She hated discussing her relationships. Not because it was with Moonsong in particular but because it was one of the few—and greatest—areas of her life she felt most vulnerable. Give her a toaster and ask her to turn it into a subspace transmitter, and she’d find a way. But ask her how she thought things were going in her relationship, and she’d have been oblivious to the truth.::
Rahman: …I don’t know if it will really become easier.
::She tilted her head downward, sullen.::
Rahman: This isn’t the first time. You already know about Ki Shandres. There was another man I was once in love with. His name was Javed.
::She looked back over at Moonsong. She’d only ever told the story to Lidia Ivanova once while the two were socializing and sharing dating horror stories. Certainly not with a formal counselor like now. But she wanted to tell Moonsong, now, and so she began.::
Rahman: We met while I was finishing my master’s. When I was later assigned on my first ship-based assignment, we stayed in a long-distance relationship for two years. I even thought we might get married. We’d spent a holiday together on Casperia. But I couldn’t have been more wrong.
::Raissa listened as the captain… Roshanara recounted the painful memory. The emotion was still there, muted by time, but Raissa understood where she was coming from better.::
Rahman: I just don’t know, counselor… I feel live I’ve been down this path before.
Moonsong: The fact that he has come back and specifically to you, means a great deal.
Rahman: For now perhaps. But maybe he’s still figuring things out himself, and he’ll change his mind again.
Moonsong: ::shrugs slightly.:: I will miss his friendship. But what he means to you is more important. You have someone. Cherish that.
::The captain furrowed her brow.::
Rahman: “Miss his friendship”? What do you mean?
Moonsong: ::shrugs slightly.:: A long story. A misunderstanding I do not think can be fixed.
::She shook her head, almost smiling.::
Rahman: I’ll admit… There was some part of me that wanted to throw Tristam down a turboshaft if I caught him hanging out with you alone after our… “altercation.”
::She decided to leave the part about throwing Moonsong down the shaft, too. It was just a minor detail anyway.::
::Raissa caught a hint of a thought that including her body going down the shaft as well..::
Rahman: But he needs his own set of friends as well.
::She looked back up at the counselor.::
Rahman: And though we might not be friends, that doesn’t mean you can’t be his. I know you’re one of his closest friends. It’s important that he has that.
Moonsong: Time will tell if he will accept that from me. oO Or if I’ll trust him again. Oo
CO, USS Veritas
Ship's Counselor, USS Veritas