SIM:Lael Rosek - Social Graces Part I (Gorkon)

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"Lounge Conversations"
Lieutenant Junior Grade Lael Rosek
HCO Officer
Starbase 118
USS Gorkon NCC 82293
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"Social Graces, Part II"
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((Sto’Vo”Kor Lounge, USS Gorkon))
{{Time Index: A month after the Starship Graveyard}}

::The darkened lounge had wires hanging from the ceiling, support beams atop of tables, some upturned chairs, and broken plexiglass all over the place. CD looked like he was one of those scruffy looking rogues from a holonovel: long hair, face with the sort of rugged goatee and a five o’clock shadow that got out of control. The hearing loss he’d suffered a month before had been treated, though it was still difficult trying to pay attention to every little noise. The one he missed the most was the pattering of little Devlin on the floor nearby.::

::Now he sat in the darkened room, his uniform tattered to pieces, and his only non-tattered clothing was a pair of black pants, boots, and a tank top. Whether he was able to find clean socks was up for debate.::

::Lael entered the lounge in search of a soothing cup of tea, only to find Skyfire sitting by himself. She frowned. He had certainly seen better days...though they were all suffering in some way. The only reason she’d been able to stay ahead of the hopelessness was Jansen. She imagined poor Chythar alone and it made her heart ache for him. She stood across the room, laying a hand on his shoulder in a gesture of comfort.::

::CD tensed up as he was approached, his reflexes somewhat dulled by the days of sleepless nights. Resting still for four hours at a time was not the same thing as sleep, and he knew this lesson all too well. Once her hand was on his shoulder, he had to restrain himself from grabbing and breaking it.::

Skyfire: Hi. How’re you? ::His voice seemed somewhat distant, his gaze focused on the viewport outside.::</nowiki>

::Feeling his body tense under her hand, she pulled it away.::

Rosek: ::murmurs:: I’m sorry, I didn’t think.

Skyfire: It’s fine. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting anyone to come look for me. Except maybe Dr. Orrey to talk to me about the blast and how I feel about it…

::He turned to face her and motioned to one of the empty chairs and table that still sat right in the room, away from the debris.::

::Lael slid into the chair across from him, leaning close.::

Rosek: ::smiles wanly:: Counselors, huh? Always using that trite old line. How are you supposed to feel?

::CD gave a somewhat clueless shrug as he didn’t have a good answer.::

Skyfire: Like a victim? Recovering, I guess. Damned if I know...

Rosek: Never been a big fan of shrinks myself.

Skyfire: Me neither. I break them. Orrey’s number 8 for me. ::He paused and took a moment to do some mental math.:: I think.

::He leaned back in the chair, gradually unclenching his fist and attempting to relax. It wasn’t easy, with the weight of the entire ship’s morale resting on his shoulders. Getting any of them to laugh these days was almost a joke in of itself, and not a terribly good one at that.::

Rosek: ::laughs:: I’ve been to at least 3 or 4 myself. ::grins impishly:: I guess 4 if you count Jansen.

::Counselors. He needed a change of subject before he went ballistic.::

Skyfire: I took a look at your medical record some time ago...you’ve seen your share of pain, I’m sure.

Rosek: ::sighs:: Yeah. Between my rock climbing accident which technically left me paralyzed and being kidnapped, tortured, and violated by a group of particularly nasty Romulans, I’ve run the gambit on issues.

::He’d seen his fair share of issues too. Four explosions, linked nervous system and telepathy, injected himself with a virus on purpose, taken a beating for that stupid action. He didn’t elaborate on his own problems, which seemed petty by comparison.::

Skyfire: You don’t have to explain. ::He paused thoughtfully.:: I admit, one of the hardest things I’ve had to do since I got Devlin was leave him behind...and the fact I’m still a bachelor hasn’t helped. ::His fist once again tensed, but this time it was the stress of not having his dog catching up to him.::

Rosek: ::lays a hand on top of his:: It can’t be easy not having someone. I can’t imagine what I’d do without Jansen. ::smiles wanly::

Skyfire: It isn’t...

Rosek: But I hope you know...you’re far from alone. We...the crew...we’re here for you...your family. ::murmurs:: I’m here.

::How many times had he heard that phrase uttered by counselors? He couldn’t count. He’d lost his blood-relatives, he’d lost his dog, he’s lost a patient here in this strange hell of a universe, and he was rapidly losing his sanity.::

Skyfire: But what does that mean? I can’t just walk up to a crewmate and start hitting on them to try lightening the mood… ::There was a thoughtful pause.:: Or maybe I could, I haven’t thought of that. Some of them might even like it. ::He gave a faint chuckle, but felt terrible and hollow. His own joke wasn’t funny to him now. Nothing was.::

Rosek: ::lays a hand on his cheek and smiles faintly:: If I was single, I wouldn’t mind. Flirting has a funny way of making us feel better.

::A painful reminder of his loneliness. No Devlin, no partner, no family. Well, except in the sense that one’s family was their crew. Which...didn’t seem to help him at this moment. CD just nodded. Nothing he could say in reply. He knew the effects of flirtation, but hadn’t flirted in so long that he wasn’t sure he remembered how to. Last one who had flirted with him openly was a certain Gabrielle Porchevska aboard the Invicta.::

Rosek: I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make you feel worse. ::kisses his stubbled cheek:: Any girl would be lucky to have you.

::The kiss was unexpected, and he raised a brow quizzically as she pulled back to her chair. Ris had told him the same thing, once upon a time, but that seemed so long ago now that it didn’t matter. He wasn’t sure he’d even have another conversation with her, or anyone from his home universe who wasn’t on the ship.::

Skyfire: Name one. ::His voice had a hint of bitterness to it, as though this conversation just made his hollow feeling worsen like salt in an open wound.::

Rosek: ::smirks:: Don’t think I didn’t notice that crewwoman flirting with you during that briefing the other day.

::Is that what flirting looked like? Maybe it was just his deadened perceptions. He made no verbal reply, but shook his head. After contemplating for a few moments, he replied steadily.::

Skyfire: Don’t know what you’re talking about. If that’s what flirting has become, then I must be oblivious. ::He blew a strand of hair from his face and tucked it behind his ear.:: Gabi always said I was socially awkward…

Rosek: ::smiles:: Some of us are just more obvious about it than others. I never had a problem talking to men...or women for that matter. ::shrugs:: Just came natural, I guess.

::He’d been given a book once on social interactions for dummies. It was probably locked in the debris that made up his room. There was no way he could think of to get back in there, and there was no person on the entire ship he felt close enough to in order to attempt a meaningful and honest go at a romance. Stripey had said a few times that it was hopeless. CD was beginning to agree.::

Skyfire: Right. ::He tried to keep the bitterness out of his voice, but didn’t manage it very well.::

Rosek: ::pauses:: I could give you lessons if you want.

Stripey: oO Is that supposed to be a joke? It’s not even funny! Besides, she’s taken! Oo

Skyfire: ::muttered:: If I agree, will you shut up, Stripey? ::then to Lael:: Don’t think it’ll work.

Rosek: No, seriously. All you need is to build your confidence with a willing instructor.

Skyfire: Gabi once offered me the same thing, and that had about as much chance as a snowball in hell. Besides, Jansen might object.

Rosek: I’m sure as long as I was open about it, he’d understand. It’s a legitimate therapeutic practice, after all.

Skyfire: oO I can’t believe this. We’re trapped in hell, with no way home, and I’m being given the social graces course I never received on the Invicta. Peachy. Oo Okey….So you’re going to shrink me with social graces and flirtation, despite the fact I’m usually oblivious to such cues?

Rosek: ::pauses:: Do you find me attractive?

::That was a difficult question to answer. One thing he’d learned a long time ago: artists use lies to tell the truth while politicians used lies to cover it up.::

Skyfire: Want me to lie or tell the truth?

Rosek: The truth would probably be most helpful.

Skyfire: If you weren’t dating my counselor, I’d have asked you for a dance in the holodeck before I fed Officer Kelly to Dracula. ::He was referring to the makeshift transfusion between Kelly and Vess in the holographic nightmare aboard A-1 nearly a year ago.::

Rosek: ::smiles and squeezes his hand:: And I’d have said yes in a heartbeat. See? You’re not so bad at this flirting thing after all.

Skyfire: Maybe so...but we’re still trapped, and I don’t feel I know any of you well enough to even consider asking such a thing. Even phrasing the question is eluding me in light of all the...the… ::He indicated their crumbling lounge.:: ...chaos…?

Rosek: ::arches an eyebrow:: And yet you would have asked me to dance even without knowing me very well. Isn’t that the point of dating? Getting to know someone? Because I’ll tell you...the only reason Jansen and I knew each other at all before we started dating is because we were friends first.

::He hated it when Jansen did that...and now she was starting to sound just like him.::

Skyfire: I hate it when he does that...he’s rubbing off on you.

Rosek: ::smiles:: Can’t say that’s a bad thing if you’re admitting it. Besides, it’s logic, C.D.

Skyfire: OK, Saveron. Cut it out with your mind games.

::He ran a hand along his face and realized he’d goofed. Saveron wasn’t here, but the Vulcan had left an impression or two on him. He hated logic, but perhaps she had a point. Who was he friends with in this infernal hell? Tan was in a coma and didn’t like him because of Safine. Alex made him morale officer, and he’d kind of gotten to know the man during this trip. No other names came up on his “people I got close to” list.::

Skyfire: Sorry, Lael. ::He paused again.:: I hate logic.

Rosek: ::smiles:: And yet, you know I’m right.

Skyfire: So...now what? Walk up to Alex with a picture of Devlin and admit that I can’t handle the stress? I feel like I’m losing what little sanity I had.

Rosek: That’s up to you, but I’d like to help you if I can.

TBC…

---

Lieutenant Commander Chythar Skyfire
CMO
USS Gorkon
O239002CD0

&

LtJG Lael Rosek
HCO Officer
USS Gorkon
I238110RH0