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Lt. J.G. Mreh K'hal & Ensign Tia Lyrenna


Mreh was feeling slightly better after a quick mauling session in the holodeck; the randomly generated Trill males didn't know what hit them. Relieved of his very primal urges, he decided he'd better check on Ensign Tia, as she'd seemed quite upset, much more than he'd figured the tiny woman to take on. JoNs had mentioned that he'd been going pretty hard on her; he hadn't been, at least not on purpose, and he could only assume that the Commander had misinterpreted one aspect of an ongoing conversation. But if the usually very observant JoNs could make that mistake, he wanted to make sure that Tia hadn't. From the holodeck he made his way to the sciences section. Popping into the science lab just to be sure since it was on the way, he didn't find her there. Having heard her say something about Stellar Cartography, he walked there and entered.


The door had opened. Tia decided it would not be logical to blame the door. Attacking the door, hardly less so. Attacking whomever caused the door to open? Perhaps that would not be logical, either. She would breathe. That, at least, would be logical. She would breathe deep, from her center, and seek stillness, peace and quiet. The probability that the person who had entered was an angry warrior? Perhaps 94.38 percent? But perhaps it would not prove necessary to attack. She would breathe. Deeply. From the center. And perhaps cower a bit down behind the chair so he or she wouldn't see her.


The room was pretty dark, and the central holosphere was busy updating with the newest scans of the unknown space they were traveling in. He couldn't see her immediately, so he took a good sniff. She was there, no doubt of it. Following his nose, he walked around the ring, his eyes sweeping the space as he transited. He was about to consider his nose faulty as he reached the far side, but then he saw the shiny dome of her head crouched down behind a chair. An ear flicked to the side in concern and some degree of amusement. He stepped up behind the chair and looked down on her head.


"Mreh?" He was one of the good ones. Why did it have to be one of the good ones? Why did she want one of the bad ones? She glanced up, making eye contact briefly, then quickly closed her own eyes. Amusement? Did he consider her funny? Was it logical to attack one of the good ones? No. The anger was not from her. It was not hers. Where had she left her goggles? Eyes still closed, she felt around the floor near where she knelt.


"Hello, Tia. Drop a star down there?" He asked wryly. Moving around to the side so he could see her better, he leaned against the nearby console and crossed his arms over his chest. Looking her over as she felt around the floor for something, he sighed. "I wanted to drop by, be sure that you knew that my venting on the bridge wasn't aimed at you. Commander JoNs thought I was being an 'ass,' and that's a direct quote. Now that my head's a little clearer, I can say I haven't seen you that upset before, or expected it of you. Are you all right?"


"Not a star," she replied, reaching around with her hands until stumbling eventually into 'just where I left them.' She lifted her goggles into place. Using eye movement and blinks on the menus projected on by the goggles, she rapidly selected the default scanning mode that told her where he was, but not in enough detail that her mind started leaping towards reading his emotions. She breathed again. Properly. From her center. "I have an hypothesis," she stated. "I am all right. The entire ship, as a whole, is mad." She paused. "Literally."


With a nod, he chuckled. "Figuratively as well, I guess." Those goggles again. Since she seemed to see just fine on her own without them, he wondered what they were really for. "It's been a tense time on board lately. Then we have way too many big egos, too many exuberant personalities, most of both tending to clash with each other. Not to mention sexual tension. It's like a mass session on a trampoline; you can never tell who's landing on whom. So, there's bound to be emotional instability more often than not. I guess your empathic abilities are really humming right now, eh?"


"I don't think 'humming' is quite the right word. Pressure? Too much anger? Should I be angry?" She paused. "Do you think they searched my quarters too?"


"Everyone's quarters have been searched, Corizon and JoNs' included, which is another one of those tensions." He took a nearby chair, settled in with his feet resting on a console, and shook his head. She obviously had more than the standard empathic talent, that was certain. "Your emotions are your own to feel. If you want to be mad about everyone else being mad, that'd certainly be understandable. I suppose you don't have experience in having to vent this much emotion."


She paused. "Vent? I do not vent." She paused, considering. "I... Um... Run away. I don't suppose you know where I can find a nice lifeless mindless desert?" Stellar Cartography was a poor imitation.


"I hear we're heading to a Class M for a short leave, perhaps you'll find a desert there. But Ensign... Tia, we're on a starship, and likely to be in that boat, literally, most of the time. You'll have to find a way of coping when you can't access a desert. I find ripping creatures to bloody ribbons with my claws to be quite cathartic." He grinned, fangs in full view. "Holographic, of course. Obviously you're not equipped to do that, so perhaps you'd be better off with a weapon. Or yelling. Yelling is always good."


"Is that why everyone is yelling lately?"


“Physical manifestations of emotion often help to dissipate them. Doesn't solve the whole problem, of course, you still have to deal with the base root of the situation, psychologically. In your case, unless you plan on hosting group counseling sessions, you can't deal with the root yourself, since it doesn't belong to you."


"I... don't know. I have never found holodecks satisfactory. Holo-persona... are empty. They fool the eyes, but not the mind? If I am going to 'vent' as you say, I would have to vent on something I can feel. Something I can sense. I'm also not sure of group counseling sessions. I am not ready by a long reach to be a counselor, and sitting down in a room full of people with emotional disturbances... And... Venting isn't logical. Anger should be kept under control, not released?"


"It takes a lot of skill to internalize emotion completely, not to mention extraordinary psychosomatic control that most species don't have. Vulcans, of course, do.” He paused and then waved a paw in her direction. “You certainly take a very Vulcan approach for someone with that tell-tale shiny pate of yours," he said, smiling. "Not to mention your empathy seems to be beyond the usual Deltan level."


"My father is of Betazed. I fear I could not tolerate Betazed. Too much emotion. Too much projection of emotion. They love swimming in emotion. I got lost in it. They sent met to Vulcan, where there is far less projection taking place, and where they tried to teach me control, discipline, and... dare I say... logic."


"Ahh," he said, rubbing a paw under his chin. "That explains a lot." After looking at her a moment, organizing this thoughts, he continued. "You said 'tried' to teach you the Vulcan disciplines. I take it that it worked, but up to a point?"


"Up to a point. I passed many of their early tests. I can walk across a desert with nothing but a robe and a knife. This seemed important, once. It is still, I think. But I cannot master my emotions to the point that a true Vulcan would wish to mind meld with me. I am no Vulcan. The higher disciplines are closed to me."


"Which is logical, in its own way," he said. Leaning forward in his chair, Mreh smiled at her sympathetically. "It's not just your own emotions; it's the reaction to everyone else's with whom you come in contact that you have to control. Given similar talents, it would be difficult even for a Vulcan to master that high quantity of feelings." Tapping a finger on his knee, he thought a moment and decided being direct would be much better suited to her, especially now. "You've been entirely too logical in approach to a completely illogical situation."


"I am a completely illogical situation."


"If you are an 'illogical situation' why would the logical approach of not venting your anger work?"


"I take it you have not studied Surak?"


"My knowledge of Surakian philosophy is limited only to what helped me treat Vulcan medical crises," he admitted. "Though even treating Vulcans for anything other than standard trauma was an oddity."


Tia sighed. "Yes, their control would be too perfect for anything else. It had to be perfect. You can't imagine how much there is between those pointed ears that needs to be controlled. Allowing anger and aggression to hold sway would have resulted in self immolation of Vulcan. It would result in perpetual anger, endless squabbling, chaos, war, hate, improper searches, and helm officers refusing orders from conn that make perfect sense. The only proper and logical thing to do is... run away and hide. So said Surak. Could Surak possibly be wrong?" Unfortunately, Surak had not specifically warned that one should lock doors when one runs away and hides.


"Ah, but that's the problem here. The Vulcan brain has naturally narrow connections between the emotive center and other centers of their green-blooded brains. That's what makes their emotion so powerful and intrusive; also it's what makes it possible for them to exert that control; they can keep the emotion in its base and not let it leak out. Betazoids and Deltans neurological profile is much wider in that area. Betazoids specifically. You said they 'love swimming in emotion.' Their brains are built that way. Neural connections to the intellectual center, memory, even their sense processing center is able to access the emotive base without filtering through other areas.


"So, was Surak wrong? For Vulcans, it seems not. For Betazoid/Deltan hybrids... maybe Surak's approach is a good start, but not the be-all and end-all of getting through the day," the Caitian suggested.


"I do have some plans," Tia commented.


"I hope so, we can't have our brilliant scientist hiding under the furniture every time Captain Corizon and Segami butt their hard heads, Victria and Commander Teykier start squabbling, the medical department reanimates the dead, or I want to start shredding senior officers," Mreh said with a grin.


"Oh, I can handle any of the above... one at a time. It's when they are all going at once while...” Tia hesitated, ‘tasting’ the ebb and wash of emotion permeating the ship. “I think everyone but security must be mad at security, and security is even madder a someone else? There is also a streak of mischievous malevolent glee?"


"I do believe there was a search ordered by the Captain. The Marines searched security quarters, and apparently a few of the privates weren't terribly neat or considerate of other's property. So our shooting groups aren't happy with each other. I heard some gold-shirt swearing up a storm with one of his comrades about it on the way down here." He leaned back into the chair and put his paws behind his head. "The fact that all of the above didn't send you on a mass killing spree is a good sign of your temporary control. The fact that I find you hiding in Stellar Cartography trying to control yourself instead of mapping space isn't a good sign. Even if it doesn't involve maiming holograms or yelling, you really need to find an outlet."


"Fine. Who is really and truly responsible for this? The captain? Should I go hit him? Or is random violence really the answer? I should attack whomever is maddest cause they make me mad? Or I tried really hard to find some bad guys hiding in that ion storm, so we could go kill them. Non-random violence, then? Whenever I can't maintain self control, I should look to find a nice war to fight?" Damn. Vulcans don't cry. She wasn't supposed to lose control. Breathe deep? Hit Mreh quick, before the tears show? She couldn't hit him. He was trying to be logical.


"I don't think you'd want to attack Corizon... he's too mean and has claws." he chuckled. Mreh extended his own claws so that Tia could see them, and grinned so his fangs showed. "Obviously, I come from a species still very close to active predation. Violence is the most expedient release valve for me. An outlet doesn't necessarily have to be violent though, or instantly accessed. Some people turn their emotional turbulence into art. Check out Van Gogh if you haven't already. I had a patient once on Earth that told me that when he felt the desire to smack his co-workers senseless, he'd hold it in until he got home and put that energy into building model vehicles."


"Ramson is looking for pilots. Space is even emptier than a desert. I... used to be a pilot. Would wanting a real vehicle be greedy of me?"


"Hmm... that may be an ideal situation for you. It'd give you the space you need, which would help your control re-establish regularly. You can use any of that emotional turbulence to push yourself into becoming a better pilot and doing something both physically active and intellectually intensive... If I were prescribing, which I'm not otherwise Pilot would throw another hissy fit, I'd say that would be a good drug to push on you." Smiling, he ran a paw through his mane. "Not to mention that if you have to take the helm again, the more active piloting experience you have the better I'd feel with you driving my ship."


"Your ship? I thought ships were owned by the chief engineer, and loaned for occasional use by the captain?"


"Oh, the pilot and chief engineer have an equal share that we constantly squabble over. No one would go anywhere without us. Obviously we're capable of action without a CO, or even an XO. We had an idiot security officer making decisions, after all. He may have put is in a position to crash and die horribly, but still we went."


"Still, we went." Tia leaned back, activated a menu series through her goggles, and blinked her way through a series of options. Connect local. Link to holo theater. Set shifted the perspective of the tank from a distant abstract to a close in rapidly moving projection of the area around the ship. Execute. As she removed her goggles, the giant holo display zoomed in, showing Excalibur arcing away from the edge of the ion storm towards freer space. "Still, we go. Think they can manage to avoid hitting things without us?"


"Stranger things have happened,” he said with a shrug. “We're likely to hit something though, that's for sure. This may be a new Akira class vessel, but with Corizon in command, the Excalibur has a tendency to find trouble." He looked at her, pleased to see her a bit more in stride, and the conversation had also tempered his own mood a bit. Though he still planned to go to his quarters and burn an effigy of Segami. He then checked the holo-projection of nearby space. "Looks like the space is pretty well clear on our course to the planet. Still planning on finding a desert?"


"I'll start with a desert. A forge. Maybe I'm not a Vulcan. Maybe I don't really belong in a desert." She glanced again at Mreh, meeting his eyes very briefly, then looking back at the speeding stars. "But I'm not a fighter either. I don't want to fight. Mreh? I want to fly..."


He too continued to look at the stars while he smiled. "You already have your wings, Tia. You just have to start using them."

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