(( Skyfire's Quarters ))
:: He came in and took off his uniform shirt, growling in anger. He missed Sal, and he walked over to a portion of wall where he had 3 counselor insignias with a red circle and slash through it. He ran his hand over the most recent addition. Sal. The only one of the counselors he'd actually enjoyed working with since his graduation from the academy. The only one who he'd opened up to. Though he didn't tell Sal about the encounter during med school, Sal had been the only one of the three who had actually helped him understand his emotions. He punched the wall in his anger, the fist landing on the second of the slashes. ::
SKYFIRE: What is wrong with me?! I can't think straight...myself, emotions, shields...everything...damn it.
:: He picked up his favorite black tank top and put it on, forcing himself to breathe deeply and reinforce his mental shielding. He needed to calm down. He took a few deep breaths as he did so. oO We've got to be out of the asteroid field by now. Oo His eyes closed, and he sat alone until he heard the chime of the door, meditation disrupted. ::
:: As Ensign Riverview made her way into his room, he opened his eyes as he motioned to a chair. ::
SKYFIRE: Have a seat. Can I get you anything?
RIVERVIEW: Thank you, but no.
SKYFIRE: Just to be clear, I bear no grudge against you. What you sensed from me before was toward the post you hold, not any specific person. The reason for this visit was suggested by Lieutenant Collim, and I've had a bad turnover rate of counselors. :: as he gave a nod toward his wall with the symbols on them of the counselors he lost. ::
RIVERVIEW: Well, it is a bit reassuring that you're not trying to eliminate us one by one. Although I do find the high turnover rate rather discomforting. As for what I sensed, I'm an empath, not a telepath. And I try to keep what I feel to myself, rather than use it against those I'm working with. So...I'm just going to sit here and let you share what you want. That way I have a better understanding of what has brought you up to this moment in time.
:: He took a breath and sighed, deciding to start from the beginning of the story with his posting at 118. oO She deserves the full history...Oo ::
SKYFIRE: I was assigned to Starbase 118 just out of the academy. I made the acquaintance of my old friend, Ryoji Chibitsu, a newly minted Ensign who arrived at the same posting a few days after I did. Ryoji stayed behind, to my knowledge. Then we got reassigned to the Excalibur, where I met Ensign Mandany Rose. She was a good counselor, and alas I've only seen her twice. Just after her promotion to Lieutenant JG, she left. Then there was Ensign Taybrim, who arrived at the tail end of our relief efforts to Argurtha. He was the one counselor who I felt like I could talk to. And he got assigned to the Darwin right before we left for this drill. I spoke to Lieutenant Collim before the drill started, and we worked on my mental shields for about 10 minutes. Then the Inferno was unleashed, and the drill began.
RIVERVIEW: Okay, so, that explains why the quick turnover rate. Mental shields can be tricky to deal with, and requires much practice and vigilance to keep them properly working. If you have had success with Lt. Collim in the past with regards to your shields, then perhaps you can continue that work with the Lt. It might make it easier to work with someone you have had a connection with in the past and are familiar with. Otherwise, we could attempt to work on your mental shields during counseling sessions if you prefer.
:: He took a breath and exhaled slowly, not sure where he wanted to go with this. It took him a moment or two before he was able to make his reply. ::
Skyfire: My time with Lt. Collim was brief, as I must've given my chief cause to think I was a saboteur. I went to go work with her just before we started the drill, and it wasn't for very long.
Riverview: Perhaps we should start with where you would like to begin with first? Perhaps finding time, a place, and someone to work with on learning to work on your own mental shields.
Skyfire: If you'd be willing to help me look into that, I'd be grateful. The Lt. gave me her word that she'd help me with my shields if I made an appointment with you and took that first step...I hope you intend to stick around for a while.
:: He nodded slowly, not sure what to think about that. His mind briefly flashed back to the conversation he had with Lieutenant Cross in sickbay less than an hour ago. ::
(( Flashback -- Sickbay, behind a privacy emitter ))
SKYFIRE: Whenever you're ready, Lieutenant.
:: Like so many before her, she attempted to engage him in some small talk. At the very least figuring out what his name was, since he hadn't officially done so in front of her. oO Didn't introduce myself to the last Ensign either....Oo as she gradually increased her speed. ::
SKYFIRE: Lieutenant Chythar Daniel Skyfire, at your service. You can call me CD informally if you wish.
:: He paused. He phrased it differently than he had on the last one, partially because he couldn't allow himself to think of all his lost friends. The ones he'd been silently mourning the loss either through transfer, lack of communication, or injury. He was wanting to keep the pain from his mind and voice. Again, the faint thought of Johanna nearly brought tears to his eyes. He looked down at the readings and blinked rapidly to avoid crying. oO Last thing I want to do, cry in front of a marine. Oo ::
CROSS: I don’t know you well enough yet, Lt. Hopefully we can change that soon. I am Debra Cross.
Skyfire: Perhaps that can change. :: He replied with a wink. :: There is more to me than meets the eye.
:: He paused again, biting his tongue. She was attractive in his mind, the battle scars giving him a bit of a thrill as he admired from a distance of across the room. ::
Cross: Well there's more to me than the marine and adrenaline junkie.
Skyfire: I sort of figured. Perhaps we can meet over coffee sometime.
Cross: Are you getting the data you need or would you prefer some push-ups or pull-ups? A few dozen should get my heart racing. Or if you have something else in mind?
:: He looked at the monitor and shook his head. ::
Skyfire: You know your body better than I do, so I defer to your expertise in this matter. If you think push-ups are the answer, let's do that instead.
:: He looked at the monitor and shook his head. ::
CROSS: Just say the word.
:: He smiled and complied, hooking her up to a heart monitor and gave a nod. ::
SKYFIRE: Whenever you're ready, Lieutenant.
:: Again, he watched her body as she began the pushups, thinking to himself oO Again with the formalities, CD. You can't make up your mind if you're attracted to her or not. Oo followed by another thought moments later oO Oh, shut up. Keep those thoughts to yourself. Really. Oo He forced himself to breathe slowly and reinforce his mental shields while he gathered the baseline. ::
CROSS: I think that should do it unless you need another hundred.
:: As she stood up, he nodded slightly and began removing the equipment from her. He forced himself to keep himself professional despite the fact he wanted desperately to run a finger over the scars. He was definitely trying not to shake. He longed for physical contact. Something that wasn't involving saving anyone's life. He never realized until this moment how alone he truly was. As he pulled the last of the sticky tape off, he spoke in reply and steadied his hand. ::
SKYFIRE: I got what I needed, yes. I'm sorry...the last time I actually had any sort of physical contact, I was pumping adrenaline and wintergreen tea into Lieutenant Cuthbert's heart to save his life.
CROSS: That is a noble thing to do, to pull someone back from the brink of death is not an easy thing to do and I know how much of an impression it makes of someone. I was a combat medic so know what you are going through. But you also need to take care of yourself and your needs, it will help a lot. Your body will tell you what you need, you just need to make sure that you listen to it take the opportunity that is given to you………
:: As he snapped out of his flashback, the words registered. She continued. ::
CROSS: Maybe it is in front of you right now, you just need to take it. You ok?
SKYFIRE: Sorry...I just...I'll be OK. You have a clean bill of health, lieutenant. Cleared for duty.
CROSS: Thank you lieutenant. If you need to talk……
SKYFIRE: Glad to be of help.
(( End flashback ))
:: It was at this moment that Lt. Cross's words registered. He blinked a couple of times before reacting. ::
SKYFIRE: Lieutenant Collim seems to be the only one I've found since Sal left who actually is willing to help me on that level, so she's probably my best bet. I'm willing to discuss progress made, if we make any.
SKYFIRE: I think that's all for now, then I can at least let her know I've spoken to you initially. Reschedule for another time?
SKYFIRE: I'll let you know.
:: As she left his room, he laid back on the bed and sighed. Tears were blurring his vision as he began to realize how much he truly missed his friend aboard the Darwin. He picked up the padd from where he'd set it and composed a message. ::
To: Lieutenant Collim
From: Lieutenant JG Skyfire
Per your suggestion, I made the initial contact with Ensign Riverview after the drill. I will be ready for a subsequent work session on mental shielding whenever it's convenient. Thanks again for this.
He pressed 'send' and set the padd on his nightstand before ordering ::
SKYFIRE: Lights off.
:: As he slipped into sweet oblivion of blissful silence, he let his mind wander. Thinking back on what Lt. Cross had said to him in sickbay, thinking about his session with Collim before the blasted drill started, thinking about how he truly felt regarding Sal, and about all his no-longer-present counselors. ::
(( Timeskip, early the following morning, Skyfire's quarters ))
:: He had been asleep for what seemed a good number of hours once he finally found it before the mysterious message from their chief engineer played in his room. As it started, he woke up suddenly and grabbed the nearest throwable object: a wolf plushie from the bed alongside him. ::
:: He let the message play, blinking away the crustiness of sleep that plagued him. He wanted to go back to sleep, but by the same token he knew that probably wouldn't happen. oO She's leaving. Interesting. Oo He got up and went to take a shower once the image faded, and he didn't have anything he could possibly say to her so there wasn't much need for a farewell from him. ::
:: The shower ended, and he was drying himself off when he heard the captain's voice break the deepening silence that occurred only moments after Luna's message hit. ::
Nicholotti: =/\= Bridge to all hands, we will be engaging the slipstream drive shortly. Senior officers are invited to the bridge if their duties allow, and all departments are to be on high alert. Today, we go where no one has gone before. Let’s make it a memorable day. =/\=
:: Once her voice faded, he walked back over to the wall and ran his hand over the slashes, specifically over the one with only half a slash -- the one representing Ensign Taybrim. He hadn't heard back from him yet, and knew it was only a matter of time before Sal would get the opportunity to transfer back. A waiting game. He was trapped by the will of Command. He hated the fact Command had to make these decisions. And yet. Here he was. Serving on board a Starfleet vessel. The same hatred that took his mother away from him when he was growing up was burning now inside of him. Letting go of the wall slowly, he sat down and took a few moments to strengthen his mental shields using the techniques he learned from Lt. Collim. ::
(( Flashback -- Deck 18, lounge of Excalibur ))
Collim: I can help you with your mental shields.
:: At the mention of his shields apparently needing work, he bit his lip again and attempted to force the emotions from his mind. oO Blast it! Why in Dante's Inferno do I get all the empaths in the fleet!? First MacLaren, then Ryoji-chan, then Rose, then Sal...now Collim....Oo He tried keeping his thoughts to himself, but a brief flash of anger followed that thought. ::
Skyfire: I'm sorry...any tips or assistance you could provide on that subject, I would greatly appreciate it. Possibly...I don't know...help me construct better ones to resist setting off every empath on the ship?
Collim: You don't have to apologize. ::smiling warmly</nowiki>::</nowiki> First, just breath. Take a slow deep breath and release slowly.
::He nodded and sipped his coffee, trying once again to re-focus his calm. :: He nodded and sipped his coffee, trying once again to re-focus his calm. He wasn't in much of a state of mind to do anything more, but he knew that this one lesson was something that would take the most practice. He listened, nodding carefully at appropriate points as she began his lesson. Step by step, focusing on an object and finding his center. After about 10 minutes, he opened his eyes slowly. ::
Collim: It will take time and practice but eventually, it'll get easier.
(( End flashback ))
:: After five or so minutes of deep breathing, he once again felt the calm he tried to maintain in his interactions with his colleagues. He didn't want to set them off, he didn't want to draw attention, and he definitely didn't want to make enemies out of anyone on this ship, the Betazoids especially. Once he felt that calm wash over him, he flexed his recently healed wrist and began to get dressed in order to join the captain on the bridge. ::
Tags: Riverview, Ind: Collim