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Counseling a Kat

Posted on Thu Aug 1st, 2019 @ 6:40am by Lieutenant Commander Katherine Malbrooke & Lieutenant Junior Grade Zhara Rynn
Edited on on Fri Aug 2nd, 2019 @ 9:08pm

1,229 words; about a 6 minute read

Mission: Episode 7 - Home Again
Location: Deck 5 - Counseling Office - USS Pioneer
Timeline: MD008 1000 hrs

Kat figured that now that she was assigned to the USS Pioneer, she should get up to date on her evaluations. It also gave her a chance to meet some of the crew. When she saw that a new counselor had come aboard, she decided it would be the perfect time for her to say hello and to get checked out.

She walked into the outer office and paused, not sure if she should have made an appointment first.

A dark-haired woman poked her head out of a doorway and smiled. She was dressed in a deep green dress that stopped just below her knees. “Hello. Can I help you?”

“Yes. I’d like to get my routine evaluation if one of the counselors is free.”

Zhara smiled. “Of course. I hope you don’t mind dogs.”

Kat shook her head. “Not at all.” She followed the other woman into the room and paused. “This is quite the office.” The music was just loud enough to be heard, the lighting made the place feel warm and cozy, and the waterfall under the lights was delightful. She walked over to look at it.

“It’s lovely, isn’t it? I find it is both decorative and practical. Running water is considered to be very soothing. Computer, stop music.” She indicated the conversation area. “Please, have a seat. Would you like some herb tea or something stronger?”

“How strong do you have?” Kat asked, both amused and curious.

“Nothing alcoholic. I want you to relax, not lose your inhibitions.” She smiled. “Is there something you prefer?”

Kat raised an eyebrow. “Surprise me.”

Zhara looked at Kat for a long moment and nodded. “Carrot tea, I think. To match your hair. Sugar?”

Kat chuckled. “Yes, please.” She wasn’t familiar with carrot tea, but it sounded interesting.

Zhara brought over a tray with two cups of carrot tea, a small sugar bowl, and a plate of cookies. She set it on the coffee table and put one lump in Kat’s cup and two in her own and set Kat’s cup on a saucer in front of her. “Please, help yourself. I made the cookies myself.”

‘You bake, too?” Kat took a cookie and bit into it. “Very nice.” She waved the cookie around the room. “So, why all this?”

“I believe that one should engage one’s senses on a regular basis,” Zhara said, sitting down in a chair and taking a cookie for herself. “We often inhibit ourselves by ignoring them. For example, the scent of fresh-baked cookies evokes pleasant memories in most people. Different types of sounds and scents are relaxing, which makes my job easier.”

“Nice. I’ll have to remember that.” She thought of several ways she could use the information later. Kat looked at the candle. “Is that vanilla?”

Zhara smiled. “It is. One of my favorite scents. It goes along with the cookies. Too many people find floral scents cloying. I like spices.”

“Nice.” Kat set her cookie down and stirred her tea before taking a sip. “So is this.”

Zhara smiled. “So, commander, should we start with introductions? I am Zhara Rynn. I assume you are the captain’s wife?”

Kat laughed. “I am. I didn’t know I was that infamous.” She took another sip of her tea, finding it more enjoyable than she would have expected.

“There are not many redheads on this ship, and you are new to the crew, as am I.”

It was a valid point. “So, counselor, what do you want to know about me?”

“I must admit, I also look up the commanding officers and their families. It’s always good to know your superiors.” Zhara stirred her own tea for a moment. “So, tell me, do you find time to relax when not on duty?”

“When I can. I love the outdoors. Especially horseback riding. That’s how Tyler and I met. And I play some musical instruments.”

“That sounds lovely.” Zhara picked up an old-fashioned pad of paper and made some notations. She played several instruments, too. It was a wonderful way to relax. “Do you and your husband get to go horseback riding much?”

“No. We’re both so busy. But now that I’m on the Pioneer, I hope we’ll find more time.”

“As do I.” The counselor smiled. “It’s important for couples to spend time together enjoying shared activities. How about your work? Do you find it satisfying?”

Kat grinned. “Oh, yes. I love being an engineer. It always fascinated me.”

“Do you and your husband support each other in your careers? That’s always vital when working in a career as demanding as Starfleet,” Zhara said.

“Yes. Until recently, I was stationed on Empok Nor so we could be together whenever he came in to dock. Until now, Starfleet didn’t want us both on the same ship.”

Zhara nodded. “You seem to have a good work/life balance. And you look happy.” She made a couple more notes and set the pad down. “I’m satisfied, as long as the tests look good.” She pulled out a PADD and handed it to Kat. “This is a standard evaluation. Just answer the questions honestly. As long as they look good, you’ll be done for now.” Zhara smiled. “And please help yourself to more cookies.”

Kat took the PADD and thumbed through it before going back to the top and answering the questions. She absentmindedly picked up another cookie to munch on.

To give the woman some privacy, Zhara took her tea over to her desk and looked up the commander’s personnel file in case there was anything she needed to be aware of.

The door pushed open and Sophia padded in. She went over to Kat and sniffed her.

“Why, hello,” the redhead said, putting the PADD down to rub the poodle’s hair. “I assume you belong here?” She looked up at Zhara.

“Yes. Sophia is a therapy dog. She’s wonderful with children and people who need her. Petting an animal can be a great help to some people.” Satisfied with what she’d read, Zhara pulled out her sketchpad and left the two to make acquaintance.

Sophia nudged Kat and she rubbed the dog for another minute, then picked up her PADD to continue taking the test.

The dog went over to her bed and curled up beside the couch.

When Kat was finished, she stood and gave the tablet to the counselor. “Is there anything else?”

Zhara took it and smiled. “No. Have another cookie. I have plenty. It was very nice meeting you.”

“And you,” Kat said. It had been a most unusual session, but the counselor seemed to fit on the ship. She grabbed another cookie and paused to pet the dog. “Thanks, counselor.”

“Any time.” Zhara came around the desk to take Kat’s hand in both of hers. “Come back any time you want to chat. My door is always open, figuratively speaking.”

“I just might do that.” Kat smiled and went out the door.

A Joint Post By

Lieutenant Commander Katherine Malbrooke
Mission Advisor, USS Pioneer

Lieutenant JG Zhara Rynn
Counselor, USS Pioneer


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