USS Adelphi


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Post 03 - Backpost - The t'Nai Files: Karim

Posted on Fri Sep 18th, 2020 @ 10:19pm by Lieutenant Emni t'Nai & Lieutenant Commander Karim MD
Edited on on Wed Oct 14th, 2020 @ 2:58pm

Mission: Episode 2 - The Next Phage
Location: Ten-Forward, USS Adelphi
Timeline: During "The Metreon Paradox"

This post is set during the incident with the Haakonians and Talaxians, prior to the use of the metreon weapon by the terrorists.

Ten-Forward was buzzing, but was not the usual hubbub and contented atmosphere that had punctuated much of the Adelphi's journey towards the rim of the Nacene Reach in the Delta Quadrant. Instead, tension was rife; there continued to be a stand-off between the Talaxians, claiming asylum, and their supposed masters - the Haakonians.

This was the current crew of the Adelphi's first real test in the 'last' quadrant, and they had already found themselves both receiving and loosing phaser fire with natives of the region. As such, many of the crew - some of which had faced very few live-fire combat scenarios and tense conflicts - were finding various means to cope with the drama. Many had retreated to their quarters, for instance, or were losing themselves in work. Others, as was inevitable, sought to wile away the time recreationally.

Karim, the ship's counsellor and so-called diplomat, was in the latter category. Even though a meeting of certain staff members had been planned in the ship's lounge, the mostly-Vulcan officer had already claimed a seat at a small table by the broad windows at the back of Ten-Forward (a name the crew already knew the acerbic man was critical of), and was diligently placing thin metal sticks on a disjointed mass of similarly-hued angular metal.

His eyes did not deviate from the kal-toh set, even as the newcomer came to stand close beside him, as he carefully considered his move. "There is a host of vacant seats elsewhere, Lieutenant," Karim said as he finally placed the piece down, the shape changing into something more refined. His eyes still did not flick away as he picked up another piece and continued to inspect his work. "You would find the company more welcoming, as they either show interest in you or feign it better than I would."

"So you are as acerbic as I had heard." Emni said not bothering to ask if it was alright for her to sit. Gracefully she slide into the seat across from the Vulcan, studying him with the same sort of intensity he was studying his game--a nearly impolite level of observation where the observed anyone else. "I'll leave you to decide if I am defining the term as 'sharply forthright' or 'sour'."

She didn't really expect him to respond to her verbal gambit right away. For one thing she had cornered the counsellor in the midst of kal-toh and although she had not played it herself in some time she was aware that it was a game of mental discipline requiring a certain degree of focus. Vulcans, she had always found, were more difficult to read requiring a more than passing familiarity before their emotional fingerprint came into focus. Similar to seeing a person and having difficulty placing a feeling you have about them. You know there is something there, but there's no evidence to why you feel that way in an intial meeting.

So she sat and she waited.

Still, Karim's eyes did not waver, and there was a silence between them for several moments, the background noise of the patrons being the only real audio around them. Eventually, the counsellor placed another piece, causing another shift, and he collected its successor.

"I shall be more direct with you, Lieutenant: I do not want your company," he stated, eyes narrowing marginally, flicking around the peculiar structure he was gradually morphing into something more cohesive. "There is little requirement for us to interact professionally and I currently have no interest in you personally. Unless you wish to pose some manner of challenge to me in this game, you will find your internal monologue your only companion."

Emni resisted the urge to recoil at the insult laced into the counsellor's dismissal. Instead, she paused to study the kal-toh set. Although Emni wouldn't place herself among accomplished players of the game, she had tried her hand at it often enough to say she was moderately well acquainted with it. The jumble of t'an that the counsellor was moving toward spherical perfection laid out before her.

With a somewhat deliberate mental motion she noted and then filed away the slight spike in Karim's irritation with her. If other races emotional make ups were like being bombarded by a high and changing wind, she found that most Vulcans more closely resembled a light breeze across a still lake. The passing of the breeze was there and notable if you looked closely enough, but to an untrained eye it might look as though no movement took place. It was for that reason that a spike in his irritation warranted a mental note.

As she continued to evaluate the game before the two of them she spoke, mirroring the counsellor's refusal to make eye contact while still keeping her body language open.

"That is an unfortunately short sighted view." she said, her voice quiet enough that most surrounding wouldn't hear her, but loud enough that he certainly would. "To suggest that we have no little reason to interact professionally shows a definite lack of clarity around the emotional state of the crew."

She picked up one of the t'an, holding it gently between her fingers.

"That seems a particularly egregious error for a ship's counselor. And if you had, perhaps, read my dossier, you would know I might be more help to you than annoyance."

A spark of certainty very briefly crossed her features as she placed the piece into the game and was rewarded with the drop of t'an as the set transformed into a slightly more elegant form.

"Shame." she said, finally looking up at him. "I would hope a Vulcan, at least, would recognize the logic of having access to an empath's insight."

Karim had watched t'Nai make her move quite impassively, and his gaze had lingered on the new shape that had subsequently formed for a few more silent seconds, intelligent eyes examining the layout from beneath his mop of mussed hair. Finally, he placed his piece back down with the others and made eye contact with the newcomer, clasping his hands together on the table at the same time.

"You neither hold a position of seniority on the vessel nor display the typically recognisable outwards indications of a empath," he stated cooly. "You do not have Betazoid eyes," he added, as if clarifying a point. "There was no obvious reason, logical or otherwise, for me to take note of you, Lieutenant. There are other Romulans on board this vessel, so your presence for that fact alone would be unremarkable."

He held her gaze, unblinking, for several more seconds, looking to now actually be taking note of her, his eyes analysing her as he had the kal-toh set just moments before. "What is the true purpose of this intrusion?" The counsellor finally asked, head twisting ever so slightly in a very 'Vulcan' fashion. "Why do you take an interest in my department?"

Emni held the counsellor's gaze refusing to break eye contact now that he was not trying to get rid of her. For a brief moment doubt flashed through her mind. Why was she here after all? She wasn't the CMO. But she knew she had a unique skill and as doctor she would be remiss not to use it.

"I was unaware that one had to be senior staff or have particular physical features for the ship's counsellor to take any note." she said letting a touch of sharpness into her tone.

She paused a moment before continuing, leaning back in her chair, situating her left leg over her right and cupping her laced fingers around her knee.

"I may not be senior staff, but I am in a secondary command position. Should something happen to Dr. Grey, heaven forbid, I would be overseeing the whole of Sickbay. So there is some reason to take note purely on my position alone. But let's assume that is not the case. Even then, this is a new crew. Many have not experienced deep space travel like this. Some of our senior staff are quite... junior... in their experience. And we've already been in a fire fight with alien species that this crew has likely never encountered before. It doesn't take much to see that the crew is on edge. And it's as obvious to me as watching a wounded crewman limp into sickbay."

She took a breath, stopping to compose herself. A Vulcan counsellor may be dealing with emotional crew members, but that didn't mean he would react well to an emotional appeal. The health of the crew was at the core of what could get her fired up so she took pains to tamp that enthusiasm down in her delivery.

"An unwell crew -- in body or in mind -- cannot perform at peak efficiency. And that is a danger to us all. As ship's counsellor you are the caretaker of their emotional health while Sickbay tends to the physical. I get a unique insight into the emotional state of the crew from where I sit and I would like, if you're so inclined, to find a way to work together so that fewer crewmen need either of our services."

Although the counsellor's expression remained largely one of expected controlled Vulcan stoicism, there was no denying the barest hint of exasperation at his listening to t'Nai's explanations regarding their respective roles, but he nevertheless seemed interested in the latter part of her commentary. The so-perceived diatribe regarding his duties must not have been a new subject to Karim.

"Explain your proposal to me," he finally said, sitting up a little more stiffly in his chair. "How do you suggest providing me with pertinent information; when will you provide me with insight, and what are the parameters for determining what information is, in fact, worth drawing to my attention? It is not secret the less stalwart and more immature members of the crew chafe against my direct manner. The chief engineer seems more content to hide his problems in a tangle of Orion limbs than to face them directly with me, for instance."

As he spoke, the counsellor turned his attention back to the kal-toh set, apparently having devoted at least a small measure of his attention to the game even when still speaking with t'Nai. He popped another piece down, promptting the shape to become even more organised, now with no loose edges exposed to the two players.

"I make it my business to ensure they do not escape their weaknesses and fallacies," Karim had continued. "Even if, or perhaps especially when, it makes them uncomfortable or hostile." His eyes flicked back from the game to the medical officer. "I presume this philosophy does not cause you to feel similarly and illogically dismayed, so sensitive may your sensibilities be?"

Emni chuckled. The laugh escaping her despite her best efforts to remain stoic during the Vulcan counsellor's delivery.

Instead of responding immediately she turned her attention back to the game, reviewing Karim's latest move and the now fully connected t'an.

She picked up a piece holding the end loosely between her thumb and pointer finger and seemed to absent mindedly flip it from end to end, running the game piece through her grip each time.

"My sensibilities hardly seem any concern of yours if I am providing insight that may assist you."

She moved to place the t'an then paused, changing her mind.

"How you care for the crew's emotional state only concerns me if it fails."

"I am not proposing anything formal, and certainly not a one way flow of information. We meet--you can decide the frequency if you like--and share... insights. I use what you share as I see fit to best perform my duties and vice versa. You can't tell me that some emotional insight would be unhelpful in getting patients, such as the chief engineer, to address the problems you say he is avoiding."

She placed the rod she had been holding then watched the form transform once more, rewarding her with the clatter of t'an, and then stood.

"Perhaps over another game?" She said gesturing to the kal-toh set. "Think about it."

And then without another word the Romulan doctor turned and walked out of the lounge.

His hands clasped together before him on the table, Karim's eyes only briefly followed his fellow Vulcanoid as she departed, before falling back to the game set in front of him. After a few momenths of thoughtful and pensive silence, he knocked the game over quite casually, sending dozens of t'an scattering chaotically across the table as he followed t'Nai's path out of Ten-Forward.

A backpost by

Lieutenant Commander Karim MD
Ship's Counsellor


Lieutenant Emni t'Nai
(Then) Assistant Chief Medical Officer


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