The night before launch
Authors: Lt. Cmdr. Alenis Meru and Lt. (JG) Arvel Darze
“Damn,” muttered Alenis as she emptied the last pill from the bottle. For the past few months, she’d been taking tranquilizers nightly to help her sleep. They were prescribed by her doctor on the ShiKahr, after Alenis practically begged him to give her something to help her relax at night.
But tonight, her fear wasn't the Borg. She had an appointment in the morning that she was dreading. Starfleet's mandatory psychological assessment program, for officers with a history of mental health issues. She'd been on the program since that fateful day three years ago, when as Chief Tactical Officer, her ship was destroyed with the loss of most of the crew.
With a drink of water, she took her last pill and went to bed, hoping she wouldn’t have the dream again.
The morning of the launch
Arvel had been rummaging around the Counselor's Office, getting things setup in his own particular way. He was a follower of the early Interspecies Medical Exchange Doctor Phlox's way of bringing animals on board. He had to get clearance for all sorts of creatures which he kept mostly in the Counselor's office behind a door normally used for medical storage but, thanks to his suggestions was now partially opened to the Counselor's office via a door that was left open.
The layout of the Counselor's Office was of a typical layout found aboard the Galaxy-class Explorer's, which had gotten the original layout of this type of Counselor's Office from the class of ship that he was currently aboard. "Not ever older just better," was the motto that the Starfleet Corps of Engineers had told him about the Miranda-class design when they had a new Counselor's office for him.
Thankfully he hadn't met with the Captain yet; he had done all this ground work through the First Officer - an interesting man that Arvel had yet to decide what he thought about him.
Now he knew who the Captain was and that relationship well was complicated hence why he didn't want to talk to her just yet.
And yet... here she was. As he had heard her voice, he turned around and looked at her.
“Doctor, I’m sorry I didn’t make an appointment, but-- Arvel?” Alenis stood there, empty pill bottle in hand. People said it was a small galaxy, but she'd never expected to see this man again.
"Why hello!" He smiled instantly and yet genuinely, "Its good to see you again..." He wasn't sure what to call her but stuck with the Naval traditional term, "Captain," He said with a knowing grin, "Though the title doesn't match the pips on your collar yet..so what shall I call you?"
"I'm sure that's just an oversight on the part of command. Ma'am or Captain is fine." Alenis returned a nervous smile. Her feelings towards him were complicated, and seeing him again was like being immersed in a jumble of emotions. "Or Meru, in the proper setting." Her eyes frantically darted around his office, as though they couldn't bear to focus on him. "I wish this were a social call, doctor, but I've got my mandatory psychological assessment."
He looked around the office, "Though since you came down here and since you have an assessment I think Meru is appropriate." He said, "Now since you had time to come down here I think you should take a seat on my couch and we shall plan out the assessment."
He was trying to act as professional as he could so he couldn't betray what he was really feeling.
Though it had been a long time since she last saw him, Alenis could tell that something was wrong. There was just something off about his tone of voice, and she could sense some discomfort in her eyes. Not that she could blame him. The last time she saw him, her bags were packed and she had a shuttle to catch. She didn't want to end their relationship, but just couldn't turn down this new assignment. "Are you sure?" she asked. "I don't even know why this is necessary, if you could just give me a refill, I could be on my way," she added offering the empty pill bottle to Arvel.
"You know that's not how it works. And I would be remiss if I let you just up and take something that's strong enough to tranq a Gorn who's having a bad hair day." He added for emphasis, "Who is the quack that gave you license to take something as strong as these? You weren't taking anything when you decided to up and leave." He shook the bottle she had given him in his hand.
"Also I know you to know better than to ask me to give you something that is bad for you. If it wasn't for the fact that we've had a previous relationship," he stated simply for her though he knew what he meant as he gave her a stare, "I would relieve you of duty on the spot! We can't have the Captain of a old ship like this Miranda-class frigate passing out or zonking out from to many of these! Explain to me very simply what got you started on these and what we can do to get you to stop taking these right now without relieving you of duty?"
"Those pills were prescribed to me by the Chief Medical Officer on my previous assignment. They help me sleep." She let out a sigh. She knew her weak attempt to evade treatment wouldn't work on Arvel; she could never lie to or hide anything from him. Well, except for that one time. "I've had a lot of trouble sleeping. Ever since I started having those dreams about the Gol and the battle with the Borg." Alenis let out a deep breath. "As for our relationship, if that's going to be an issue, maybe we should talk about it--" she was interrupted by the call of a large bird in a cage "--though this might not be the best time and place for that."
"And what better place to talk about your talking things to sleep that could kill certain animals," Arvel responded again as he cooed at the bird to quiet it down, "I picked that one up on Alamis IV she actually has a soft soothing coo that calms some of my more less sane patients at times." He looked right at Meru, "I could use her on you. This drug is highly addictive, and right now is a good a time as any to get you a better way to sleep than this vile thing." He paused and watched her carefully, "What you need to do is talk about what happened there during the battle not suppress it. Also Vulcan neuropressure would help, and since I studied how to do it properly we could do that as well to help you sleep."
"Well, you're the doctor," said Alenis as she resigned herself to his treatment.
Arvel smiled and then said, "Yes I am, and I know what is best for you. I don't have any appointments so do you want to start with the neuropressure?" He asked.
Alenis glanced at the chronometer. She didn't have any pressing matters to tend to; at least nothing that couldn't be pushed back a few hours. "Sure," she said, unable to come up with an excuse. "On his couch here?" she asked as she began removing her tunic. Her back to the doctor, Alenis pulled her undershirt over her head and clutched it to her chest. Though there was nothing that he hadn't seen before, she wasn't quite ready to relax in front of Arvel yet.
"Yes of course," He said giving a slight smile as he helped her and performed the pressure as expertly as he had learned how to do so and then he looked at her and simply said, "You are still tense so that you will need to come back tomorrow and again the next time. If you prefer more intimate setting we can do so in your quarters tomorrow."
"I... sure, that would be great," replied Alenis.
Noticing her hesitation he raised an eyebrow like the Vulcan's would have his first thought was to apologize but then again he did nothing wrong it was just a step by step thing to gain her trust, "I remember you liked this bird." He said as he opened the cage as she put her tunic on herself, "She remembers you, and in fact has been a bit testy since you left the last assignment we were together on. She will help you soothe and coo at you. You will wear her during your duty shift. Which starts when exactly?" He added.
"I'm the captain; I'm always on duty," replied Alenis jokingly as she beckoned the brightly coloured bird to perch on her hand. Though there was an element of truth to her statement. She worked long hours, and even when she did get a couple hours to do as she pleased, she would be constantly thinking about the ship. From Arvel's expression, she could tell immediately that that wasn't something he wanted to hear. "I remember you, Ko-ko. It's been a while," she quickly added as the bird lept onto her hand with a flap of her wings. She was with Arvel when he first got the bird, and it was Alenis who named her. "You're a good bird, aren't you, Ko-ko?"
Introducing Ko-ko, Chief Morale Officer
Capt. Alenis Meru