SIM:Lt.JG Jackford Kolk - Breakdown
Rogers: Well I would suggest varying your routine as much as possible. Stay in other people's company all the time. I have an idea about tracking Commander Wilde that hopefully will alert me anytime the two of you are in close proximity.
Kolk: Sounds reasonable.
Parker: You should probably change your shifts too.
Kolk: We'll see. That would complicate ship operations a lot more than it may be worth, but I'll consider it. ::standing and looking to Reed:: Well, see you tomorrow, Ensign. Diagnostics never wait... unless, of course, something else comes up.
::Jack lifted Addy back onto his shoulder and began leading her away from the table.::
Kolk: Shall we congratulate the Walkers before we get you home?
Parker: By the looks of it, it won't be easy to get to them. Why don't you put me back in my carrier. You can then go congratulate the newlyweds and then you can tuck me into bed.
Kolk: Alright, I'll be back.
::By the time Jack had heartily congratulated the Wacky Walkers, Addy was already back in her sleigh. Despite his general weariness, Jack couldn't help but smile briefly at the sight of her lying there. She still looked like a modern version of the Queen of Sheba.::
Parker: You are not taking me home, yet, are you?
Kolk: It's been a long day, and I do need to get through those crew evals...
Parker: What do you want to do now?
::He moved behind the hover-sleigh and began carting Addy out of the Twilight's Edge. The way she was positioned on the cart made it hard for her to look at him, and Jack was thankful for that. He didn't know when it had happened, but something inside him had shifted gears and he found himself not very interested in talking to Addy, and he was pretty sure he wouldn't be able to sleep any time soon either, no matter how tired he was.::
Kolk: I don't know, Addy. I just...
::He let the sentence die a slow death because there was no worthwhile way to complete it. He didn't want to go to his quarters; he didn't want to go to Jarod's quarters; and, most of all, he didn't want to go to hers. But he had no idea how to tell her. For each and every reason he could think to give, there was that nagging voice that said, "She just won't understand," and tonight that voice was louder than anything in him. Louder than his desire to understand Danny Wilde's anger toward him. Louder than his desire to be loved. At this moment, it was louder even than his desire to captain his own starship.::
Kolk: I'm so tired... ::then more softly, hoping she wouldn't hear:: ...of everything.
Parker: Oh… Do you want to…
::A part of him knew that she was just trying to help him, or at least to understand him. But the part that reigned right now just wanted to be left in peace.::
Kolk: No. I don't want to talk about it.
::He had snapped at her and he knew it, but he also knew that it wouldn't be the last time tonight unless he kept his mouth shut, at least until he got her home.::
::He didn't want to talk and he didn't want to fight about it, so he didn't say another word the whole way back.::
((Lt. J.G. Parker's Quarters, Deck 4, USS Ronin - Later))
::Jack slid the hoversleigh toward Addison's bedroom in silence. When it reached the bed, he hesitated a few moments before moving around to lift her into bed. When he finally did, he clenched his jaw and tried not to look at her face, but... he saw it and his heart softened just a little.::
Kolk: ::looking at the floor:: I'm sorry. I...
Parker: Don’t worry about it. Are you staying?
::He helped her off the cart and into bed much more gently than he'd expected to be able to. Something about her made it hard for him to stay mad at her, especially when it was just for a stupid reason like her trying to help him instead of leaving him alone. But he still knew he needed some time to himself.::
Kolk: ::shaking his head.:: No, I... I need to get this thing back to the cargo back and...
Kolk: I'm sorry, Addy. I just need some time to think.
Parker: Look, about Danny Wilde…
::The longer he stayed, the more unsettled he felt. His whole body was screaming so loud to get out of there that he almost felt sick.::
Kolk: ::snapping at her again:: No! It's not Danny, it's... I don't know! I just... I have to go.
::He stomped off toward the exit, dragging the anti-grav unit toward the door.::
Parker: Just leave. I will see you tomorrow.
::At the door, he realized that all of Addy's things were still on the cart, so he stopped and tossed them all onto the sofa. He was only half aware of what he was saying as he called back to her.::
((Elsewhere, USS Ronin - A Bit Later))
::Briskly, he shoved the cart down the corridor to the cargo turbolfit and from there back to the cargo bay it'd come from. Leaving it there, he walked the halls, looking for someplace dark to hide away, out of the way of people who might come to talk him through whatever was bothering him. He knew that no one would be looking for him, that no one beside Addy even knew anything was wrong, but nonetheless he didn't want to be found. Eventually, he wound up crouching on the floor of his office adjacent to Main Engineering, knees in his arms, hiding under his desk, all the lights off. He was afraid and shivering with emotions he couldn't untangle; he didn't know why, and that only made it worse. A large part of his psyche longed for someone to come looking for him--Addy, Jhen, Jarod, anyone--to prove that he mattered to someone, that he was significant and loved. But the fear held him there, under a desk where no one would look. After a number of hours had passed, his exhaustion got the better of him and he lost consciousness in his little cave, slumped over on his side.::
((Beneath the Assistant Chief Engineer's Desk, USS Ronin - Stardate 238411.17))
::Lying crumpled beneath his desk, Lieutenant Junior Grade Jackford Benjamin Kolk roused slowly and exceedingly uncomfortably. His body ached from being contorted unnaturally and his skin cursed him for having bones so close to the surface and too little fatty padding to stop them from crushing it. He was not looking forward to opening his eyes, and he only felt slightly better emotionally. However, he knew he had to wake up and face life eventually... and there was an odd warmth somewhere near him. Still, for several more minutes, he struggled with the same kinds of thoughts he'd had the night before. He didn't want to face life anymore. He wanted to cry desperately, but his bloody eyes wouldn't let him. He wanted to know that someone cared... He could hear his mother telling him that God loved him; he almost thought he could hear a voice in his head that was God's telling him the same thing... but it wasn't enough. He wanted something tangible. Not just a kiss and a hello, or an "I love you" at a wedding. Something out of the ordinary...::
::Another moment's hesitation and then he moved. Instantly he regretted it. The aches that he'd thought were bad enough all got ten times worse. But he'd started, so he kept going, turning his torso so he could lift himself off the floor much the same as he would if he were doing a push-up. He groaned audibly and closed his eyes more tightly for a second before opening them finally. In the darkness, he could see something on a tray nearby. Careful not to hit his head, he maneuvered himself into a sitting position, still underneath the desk, and tried to figure out what it was. But he couldn't, so he got help.::
Kolk: Computer: Lights.
::Too much help. He quickly regretted the command and ducked his face behind his hand.::
Kolk: Ach! No. Low lights.
::The lights dimmed significantly and it was much better. He could comfortably open his eyes all the way and see what was on the tray in front of him. There were a few insulated containers, obviously someone had left him food and a couple drinks, but what interested him most was the PADD. He picked it up and tapped the darkened screen. When it brightened, displaying the message, "You looked like you needed some comfort food. But I wasn't sure if you drank tea or coffee. -Cara Maria. P.S. Smile." Jack felt the tears he'd been begging for all night start to flow like rivers from both eyes. Nearly unable to speak because of all the fluids in his nasal cavities, he stumbled over the name, shocked.::
Kolk: Cara Maria?
::He hadn't expected to be found at all, but if anyone was to come for him, he would've guessed Addy, but... Commander Maria? Thinking for a moment, he realized that she had the best likelihood of finding him, being empathic, but... He was shocked speechless nevertheless... except for two words.::
Kolk: ::whispering:: Thank you...
::Opening the large container first, he found a warmish sausage roll and smiled. It smelled good. After he'd wiped his cheeks dry(ish), it tasted even better than it smelled. After half the roll was gone, he picked a cup, looking for the tea. He would've prefered milk (or chocolate milk) and he'd never liked coffee, but tea was much appreciated. When he'd finished the gift breakfast, he climbed out from under the desk and placed the tray on top. Taking the PADD, he saved the message from Cara in his files so he'd always remember this, then placed the tray and empty containers in his personal replicator and demolecularized them. Plopping in his chair, he slouched and sighed deeply, then wiped the last of the tears from his face.::
Kolk: Computer: Full lights.
::He imagined he should probably start getting back to real life, but he didn't know where to start ...until he glanced at the PADD that still lay apart from the others on his desk.::
Kolk: Display messages.
::There were a few Engineering messages, most likely saying "Nothing's wrong. Why don't we go somewhere to get shot up so I can have work to do?" etc. One from Sarah that actually made him laugh. It simply said, "Get your work done, or else..." He smiled as he typed his reply, "What work? There's nothing to fix and I did all my evals when we docked." oO ...while I was waiting for Addy and Jhen to wake up. Oo When he sent the message, a twinge of sadness slowly reclaimed his face as he thought of how Addy must be feeling. He checked the time and was sad to find he was far too late to meet her and Thelev for breakfast... and if it hadn't been shoreleave, he'd have missed half his shift already; good thing it was optional at the moment... He was such an idiot. How had he gotten like this? Looking back at the screen, he noticed the one message he hadn't been expecting. It was from the new counselor, audio. He played it and listened with a crinkly above his nose.::
Ehlanii: =/\= Lt. JG Kolk. This is Ensign Ehlanii, the Ship's Counselor. Your file has been passed on to me, and I am hoping to schedule an appointment at a time convenient for you. Please contact me at your earliest convenience. Sincerely, Ensign Ehlanii. =/\=
Kolk: oO My file was passed on to her? Who had my... Maybe that Ensign who helped with the ghost creatures? Or... Cara? Oo
::He checked the time code. It came last night, so it was unlikely, but he couldn't be sure. He sighed and looked at the floor. Ordinarily he would've just deleted the message and ignored the counselor's request. But after last night...::
Kolk: =/\= Lt. Kolk to-- =/\=
::His voice had come out sounding far too much like he'd been crying. He had, of course, but there was no sense in letting the whole ship know it. He coughed to try and clear it, then tried again.::
Kolk: =/\= Lt. Kolk to Ensign Ehlanii. =/\= oO Better, but she'll know... oh, smeg it. Oo ::coughing again:: =/\= You wanted to talk to me? =/\=
Ehlanii: =/\= I did, Lieutenant. I was hoping we could set up a time to meet. =/\=
Kolk: =/\= I'm free right now, if you... =/\= ::looking at himself:: =/\= Um, no. On second thought, give me an hour. Your office? Or mine? =/\=
::He was a complete disaster, and he hadn't even checked his hair yet. If he knew his hair, it would look like a Kazon had a bad hair day. And feeling the way he did right now, he wasn't in the mood to rush through a shower. He needed to give the hot water time to wake him up and wash the fear and sadness out of him, at least a little.::
Ehlanii: =/\= An hour sounds great. How about my office? =/\=
Kolk: =/\= Thanks. See you in an hour, then. Kolk out. =/\=
::He stood sloppily and took a few slow steps toward the door, but then realized he'd forgotten the most important thing he'd meant to do ever since breakfast. He smiled just a mite and slid back into his chair. Tapping a few keys, he composed a short message to be sent to Lt. Commander Maria right away. It simply said: "Thank you, Cara. Really." Then he left to get ready for real life.::
((Lt. J.G. Kolk's Quarters, Deck 4 - A Bit Later))
::Jack was just finishing getting dressed when the call came in from the Chief of Ops.::
Thelev: =/\= Thelev to Kolk. How's things, Jack? =/\=
::Jack sighed and half-smiled at the sound of his friend's voice.::
Kolk: =/\= Oh, I'm... okay. What's up? =/\=
Thelev: =/\= Sorry I missed breakfast this morning, overslept, and I didn't even have a late night. So what did I miss? =/\=
Kolk: =/\= Oh, that. Yeah... I overslept too. =/\=
Thelev: =/\= You sure you're ok? I'm on my way to the Double Shot now to grab something to eat, want to join me? I'll shout you a chocolate milk. =/\=
::Jack smiled. Chocolate milk was always tempting, and a counseling session with a friend sounded infinitely better than one with an actual counselor. But, thinking back on how he'd woken up this morning, he knew he needed professional help, if only this once.::
Kolk: =/\= Sorry, mate. I'd love to, but I've... got some work to catch up on before the next mission interrupts leave. =/\=
Thelev: =/\= Oh, right. Well maybe later? Just let me know, I'm not going anywhere =/\=
Kolk: =/\= Thanks, Jhen. Maybe I'll meet you for dinner. Enjoy your lunch. Jack out. =/\=
::After closing the line, he finished suiting up and still had twenty minutes before his session. Now all he had to do was talk himself into going...::
((Counseling Office, USS Ronin - A Short While Later))
::Although he was dressing in a crisp, clean uniform, Kolk still felt confused and scared. He had wrestled with himself about whether he'd even keep the meeting with Ensign Ehlanii, but the more he thought about it, the more he had to admit that he needed help. However, that didn't stop him from hesitating before pressing the door chime.::
Ehlanii: Enter. ::The doors slid open.:: Ahh, Lt. Kolk. Come on in.
::His voice sounded annoyingly shakey in his ears.::
Ehlanii: Have a seat. ::She motioned to a chair and moved from behind her desk to a nearby chair.:: How can I help you today?
Kolk: Well, I'm not exactly sure. I...
::Karynn waited for him to continue.::
Kolk: I woke up beneath my desk this morning because I... I don't know. I just got scared.
Ehlanii: Please, Lieutenant, have a seat. ::Again, she pointed to the chair across from her.::
Kolk: Oh, right. Sorry.
::He walked over to the seat and tried to sit in it, but he just couldn't get comfortable.::
Ehlanii: ::Karynn smiled compassionately:: So tell me about your fear.
Kolk: Well... ::The bridge of Jack's nose crinkled as he thought about it.:: It was deeper than any fear I'd felt before. It... It felt like... Well, I don't know. I just needed to get away, away from everyone. I had to hide. But I don't know why, you know?
::He looked at the counselor for once, actually looked, and she seemed to be interested but clearly just wanted to let him get it out, so he looked back at the floor (and the wall, and the desk, and the PADDs on the desk, and the leg of his chair, and... well, you get the idea) and continued.::
Kolk: I found out at the wedding that Danny Wilde... Well, you know about that, I guess, but... I wasn't afraid of Danny. I... I don't know.
Ehlanii: ::smiling gently:: Well then I suppose it's a good thing you came to see me.
Kolk: I... Yeah. I think... ::looking in her eyes, just for a moment:: I need help.
::He opened his mouth, but didn't know where to go from there, so he shut it again.::
Ehlanii: I get the impression you might have some ideas about your fears. Why don't we start with those theories?
Kolk: Okay. Um... When I was leaving the Twilight's Edge, I... I felt trapped and... Addy wanted to go somewhere else, but I just took her home.
::He glanced at Ehlanii again.::
Kolk: I'm sorry, I know that's not what you asked, but...
Ehlanii: It's ok. Keep going with that.
::He didn't want to stay in the chair; he wanted to stand up and pace back and forth in the small room. But he wasn't sure if he was allowed to, so he just shifted uncomfortably again.::
Kolk: I wanted to yell at her to leave me alone, even though most of the way back she didn't even say anything. I wanted to just toss the anti-grav sled into her quarters and run down the corridor to... ::his brow furrowed again:: I have no idea where. ::His eyes stopped darting about the room and he focussed on one spot while he remembered the night before.:: But when I got there, I knew I should help her into bed, and then I saw her face and I couldn't yell at her. ::He smiled wispfully.::
::Karynn saw him shifting uncomfortably in his seat.::
Ehlanii: You don't have to stay in that seat. Would you prefer to pace? ::She smiled again, helping him feel a bit more at ease.::
Kolk: ::chuckling:: Thank you.
::He stayed in his seat for the moment, but felt his muscles starting to relax.::
Kolk: I promised her I would meet her and Lieutenant Thelev for breakfast... I think. I ran out of there pretty fast. After that I just... ::he stood:: I think I'll take you up on your offer, Doc. ::walking slowly at first:: Anyway, I remember wandering for a while, but then people started wandering about getting ready for alpha shift. I didn't want to be seen or talked to, so I went to my office. ::smiling jovially:: No one ever goes in there.
Ehlanii: ::Karynn smiled at the reference.:: So what were you afraid of Lt. Parker asking you?
::Jack stopped pacing and looked at the woman. He hadn't expected that question, and he wasn't sure he wanted to answer it. But... he had asked for this. Taking a deep breath, he took a stab at it.::
Kolk: Well, I think I was afraid she might ask... if I loved her.
::He considered saying more, but it was harder than it should have been.::
Ehlanii: And why does the possibility of that question worry you?
::Jack was tempted to glare at her, but instead he plopped down in his chair again.::
Kolk: At the wedding she told me that she loved me... and clearly meant it, and... I simply pointed to Rogers, who was hounding me, and dodged saying it back, but... I'm sure she knew.
Ehlanii: Sure she knew what?
Kolk: ::he had to laugh at that:: Well, I'm not sure, really. That I wasn't ready to say it, I guess? That I... don't really know how I feel about her yet? I mean... I care about her. I enjoy her company, but... we've never really talked, you know? I mean, a few things now and then, but... Well, I can't say why, but every time something's bothering me I just... clam up around her.
Ehlanii: Do you have any ideas?
Kolk: Not really.
Ehlanii: Have you thought about explaining any of this to her?
::Jack started shifting in his seat again. Jack knew he didn't have everything figured out with Addy, but it'd been that way for weeks and it hadn't affected his life... much. Well, okay so it'd affected his life, but not his career, which was what mattered. But last night was something completely different, and that did scare him.::
Kolk: You know I don't think this is what was bothering me the most last night...
Ehlanii: So what do you think was bothering you last night?
Kolk: Well, it's hard to explain. I was trying to get away from people, but at the same time I wanted someone to come after me. It didn't make any sense. ::looking her face:: I wanted it to make sense, but that only made it more confusing. If Commander Maria hadn't slipped in and left me breakfast, I don't know if I'd even been here talking to you today.
Ehlanii: So as you were trying to make sense of it, what were some of your theories?
Kolk: Well, ::looking at the floor:: when I was underneath the desk, I found myself thinking a lot about my mum. She never got over my dad's death. She became a teacher, but Jarod and I both knew her heart wasn't always in it. I think... I'm afraid I'm not going to be able to get over loosing her... or Jarod... or Addy... or... ::looking up:: What if you all die and I'm the only one left?
::Karynn smiled gently and thought for a long moment. Jack watched her, tentatively, wondering what she was going to say.::
Ehlanii: I suppose that's a risk we each run when we get close to other people.
Kolk: I know. And I thought I was prepared for that, but... maybe it's more that I'm afraid that I'll let everyone down, that I'll slip up at just the wrong moment and get them all killed, that the people I care about most will be... ::He almost couldn't say it, but she wouldn't know what he was talking about otherwise. He gulped:: skewered... like the Walker from another universe who was killed on the bridge of DS17 during my first mission.
Ehlanii: ::She smiled compassionately.:: I think you aren't alone in that fear. Have you ever tried telling someone else about it?
Kolk: ::laughing:: Yes, I have. Just now, in fact.
::He knew that wasn't what she was after, but he was uncomfortable and stalling. Seeing her incredulous look, he tried again.::
Kolk: But, um, otherwise, I haven't, no.
Ehlanii: Well, at least you've told me. ::she smiled:: Are you good at your job?
Kolk: ::looking at her oddly:: Am I good at my job? ::he laughed:: I'd better be if I want to be Captain some day.
Ehlanii: Have you made any major mistakes yet?
Kolk: Uh... not that I can think of, no. Well, unless you count "inadvertently" insulting the captain the first time I met her, but that was on purpose. I was curious how she'd respond.
Ehlnaii: ::She laughed a bit and then allowed a calm demeanor to return.:: So what makes you think you'd do something that would result in injury to your friends?
::He had to think about that for a minute.::
Kolk: Well... I don't know. I guess that's just kind of where the fear took me; it didn't really come from anywhere reasonable.
Ehlanii: Well, that is often the case with fears. Part of conquering them is figuring out what is reasonable and what isn't. Are you still afraid you might cause your friends' deaths?
::Looking into her eyes, he saw a compassion that truly comforted him. He liked this counselor.::
Kolk: ::He smiled and shook his head.:: No, not really. ... At least, no more than before this all happened.
Ehlanii: ::smiling:: Well, at least that is a start. Do you think you'd feel more comfortable talking to your friends now?
Kolk: ::nodding:: Yeah. Thank you, Counselor.
Ehlanii: I'd like to keep meeting regularly for a while if that's ok.
Kolk: ::standing up:: Sure. Sure. ::then he smiled and looked in her eyes:: Wanna make sure I'm really sane, huh?
Ehlanii: ::laughing as she stood:: I just want to make sure you won't be waking up underneath your desk anytime soon. It was a pleasure meeting you, Lieutenant Kolk.
Kolk: ::bowing courtily:: And you, m'lady.
Ehlanii: ::Karynn laughed at the gesture and walked him to the door.:: How about in two days? Around 0900?
Kolk: Deal. I'll see you then.
::Jack walked out into the corridor confidently, letting the doors slide closed behind him. Once they had, his shoulders slumped. He may have been feeling better, but he still didn't have a plan for the day. He looked both ways, thought for a moment, then picked one and started walking. One foot in front of the other...::
"The Long Road Home"
|Lieutenant J.G. Jackford Kolk
Assistant Chief Engineer
USS Ronin NCC-34523
"Out of the Frying Pan and Into Sarah's Arms"