Previous Next

Happy On The Outside

Posted on Wed Nov 30th, 2016 @ 8:38pm by Captain Claudia Ainscow

Mission: S1E2 - Unity
Location: Counselling Room
Timeline: Mission Day 10; 08:30

Claudia had decided it was time she needed to speak to somebody about how she really felt. On the outside she always tried to present to her colleagues and friends that she was happy and just fine - but in reality she wasn't. Most importantly Claudia regretted the last 8 years she'd not been able to see her daughter more than once or twice a year - although she'd now made arrangements to change that they were still a few weeks away from being realised - and there were other things bothering the Vindex's commanding officer too. Hoping that Jaya had got her request for an appointment Claudia waited outside the counselling room and after a moment she pressed the chime.

" goes" Claudia said.

Jaya sensed Claudia's reluctant approach from down the corridor. The captain was nothing if not punctual, though she was certainly a cloud of apprehension. She manually opened the door and greeted Claudia with a smile. "Welcome, Captain. Please come in." She gestured toward the sofa which faced a large Impressionist mural of a waterfall opposite the door. As she led Claudia toward the seating area, she allowed the moment of silence to stretch into two as she empathically probed Claudia's disposition in search of her true burden. After offering the sofa with an open hand, Jaya said, "Would you like some refreshments?"

Claudia walked into the room - pleased that Jaya had indeed got her request for an appointment - and sat on the sofa which was offered to her. Deciding that she wasn't quite comfortable she kicked her shoes off and swung herself around to lie on the sofa instead. Pausing for a moment Claudia looked at Jaya and nodded.

"A cup of tea please Ensign. Milk and sugar" Claudia replied.

After repeating the order to the replicator--times two for herself--Jaya brought a cup to Claudia before nestling herself on the other end of the sofa. "Seyalian tea," she cooed, closing her eyes to savor the aroma before taking a sip. "It's from my home on Delta IV. Have you had it before?"

"Thank you" Claudia said.

Claudia accepted the drink and smiled. She took a sip out of the mug of the previously unknown beverage and found that she liked it. There were certainly plenty of varieties of tea aboard the Vindex for Claudia to choose from.

"I haven't Ensign - but it's very nice" Claudia replied.

"So how does the new rank fit?" Jaya said, taking a stab at what was bothering Claudia.

Claudia smiled. "It's alright I suppose. It's just a surprise to be promoted up to Captain so quickly after assuming command of the Vindex. That isn't why I'm here though - I'm coping with the job just fine. More than fine in fact...especially since I had an assistant assigned to the ship to help me out"

A number of emotions flooded Jaya's senses--a flash of passion, a flutter of excitement, a sting of pain, a fearful numbness. "I think I understand," Jaya said, opening her eyes and smiling. She decided to be direct. "So how long have you been sleeping together?"

Claudia went bright red with embarrassment. She'd almost forgotten that Jaya was able to sense things but she wasn't annoyed about it in the slightest. Jaya was there to help her and Claudia knew she needed to get things off her chest if she was going to make any progress in feeling more like herself again.

"Just once - the night beore last. I felt so alive...I just don't know how to feel about it now...or her" Claudia replied.

Claudia then took another sip of her tea and savoured the taste. She was definitely going to be having some more of the Seyalian tea again - sooner rather than later.

"Sexual attraction can be a very confusing feeling for younger species," Jaya explained in her least condescending tone. "The most freeing sexual expression can become destructive if used recklessly. Hence the Deltan Oath of Celibacy required for Starfleet service. Many species have developed religions to form moral codes of conduct which involve the safe expression of our sexual beings, and the common denominator within them all is that sex should not be used medicinally." Jaya halted, looked to one side as she assessed her words, and began again. "What I mean is that many times a sexually immature being will use the pleasure of sex to avoid stressful or even traumatic thoughts and feelings. While it's certainly pleasant to 'vent steam,' as you humans like to describe recreational sex--" Jaya grinned. "--it would be prudent to ensure you aren't actually using a sexual encounter to repress how you really feel about other issues."
Jaya set her tea on the table. It had cooled enough for her to stir with her fingertip. She sat watching it swirl as she spoke. "There is a fascinating expression I have heard from your Earth's region of Tibet: man is given ten fingers, so even if he were to cut one off and use only nine, he would still have ten nonetheless." Jaya looked back up at the captain. "Claudia, are there any feelings you've been running from that might spoil the joy of intimacy?"

"It just happened...she was there when nobody else was. My family and I aren't on great terms...apparently I abandoned my daughter on them and was only interested in my career. I let her go and live with my family because it wasn't safe out here then and it isn't now - I did it to protect her. I've just been used to having nobody around to be there I don't even know what to do when I have someone...and I've just found it so hard to...yeah. I enjoyed sleeping with her and it meant something but I just don't know how I feel about...what we both want from it" Claudia replied.

"A wise precaution regarding your daughter." Jaya filled her eyes with admiration, emoting the feeling very strongly. "Such hard decisions make you ideal for command. You're able to make the painful choice so long as it's the right one. I suspect that is just what you'll do with Rebecca. If you find that you're both just looking for pleasant distractions, then perhaps a sex-free intimate expression would be healthier for the both of you in the long run given your vulnerable state. But if you find that you're merely wrestling with false guilt from finding happiness in the face of your family's disapproval and your daughter's absence, then allow yourself and Rebecca to enjoy the treasure of happiness together." Jaya rested her hand on Claudia's. "Life punishes us far too regularly for us to punish ourselves. If your heart would be free, then let it."

Claudia wanted to be happy with her daughter and a partner but somehow she felt held back. Her family didn't agree with Claudia's decision but they accepted it - Claudia had seen Grace a few times a year since she was born - although she always made sure she was there for her daughter's birthday every year. Claudia felt incredibly guilty she'd missed out on eight years of her daughter's life and her sister Heidi didn't let her forget it either.

"The thing is hardly anybody knows that I'm attracted to women. Not even my own family - not only do I feel I've missed out on a lot of Grace's life...but I feel bad that I can't be honest with the people I care about. Very few people know I'm a lesbian - my ex partner, Rebecca and yourself. I just don't feel able to be honest with anyone else about it - how can I set myself free and let Rebecca into my life...I've known her for two days and I can't even face her. I just feel I'd let her down like I did the last time I let somebody into my life - that was a long time ago now" Claudia replied.

"Part of every relationship is the slow, controlled revelation of one another, whether that relationship is romantic or platonic," Jaya said. "If somebody turns out to be contrary to your values, then you part ways. There is no shame in a relationship which ends for honest reasons. If somebody resents you because you did not meet their expectations, then they poison themselves." Jaya smiled wanly. "Romance is a messy thing, but it's cleaner when you separate it from your other relationships. You clearly don't want to use Rebecca as a substitute for your sparse relationship with your daughter, which is what you're afraid of doing. But it sounds as though you've exchanged that classic dilemma for a different one -- rather than take advantage of someone, it sounds as though you're denying your romantic feelings in order to validate feelings of inadequacy as a form of penance. Guilt is only good if it leads to positive change. When left unaddressed, it deteriorates into shame, and that, Captain, is nothing but a prison of the mind." Jaya leaned forward for emphasis. "If you cannot find a positive change to implement from the guilt you feel, then abandon it, for it will only trap you."

Claudia wanted to be happy but she felt like it would end the way the last one did without even trying. She did like Rebecca but how far those feelings went - but one thing was for sure - Rebecca had treated Claudia like a princess and for once made her feel special. She just had reservations over the age gap and also what might be thought of the Vindex's Commanding Officer being in a relationship with her Yeoman.

"Do I want someone in my life? Of course I do. It's been six long years since I have had anyone and the other night was the first time in that length of time I've been intimate. I guess it's just...I dunno. I just feel afraid of being rejected - she might have made me feel special but was that just as a friend or more? In all honesty...I'm scared she might not want anything more than just an...arrangement...especially with the age gap. I know I've only known her for two just feels longer...especially after we were intimate together" Claudia replied.

Claudia then took a drink of her tea and fought to hold back the tears. She was struggling to open up about being alone and afraid - she was happy on the outside as Claudia knew she had to be strong for her crew - but behind closed doors she longed for nothing but someone to reassure her it was going to be when she needed it.

"I think that is a conversation that you need to have with Rebecca," Jaya said honestly. "Only the two of you can define the goals of your relationship. If you agree to commit to one another, then you need to put your fears and insecurities aside. They will only defeat you." Jaya turned softer. "I know trust can be a difficult thing. Another one of those difficult choices that seem to find you. Think of yourself as an investment--because you are. Invest wisely, and then guard that investment fiercely." Jaya chuckled. "My mother had a saying--'choose who you love, then love who you choose.'"

"'re right. I'll have to talk to her later...or whenever I can think of the right thing to say. I've always been rubbish in relationships and that's why I've spent so long by myself. I want to change that and get rid of these damned insecurities. I just want to be happy on the inside for once as well. I know it's too soon to talk about love but...she's a good one. I hope whatever happens is what's meant to happen" Claudia replied.

"Easy, now," Jaya said with a flowing giggle. "One step at a time. That's the only way to get anywhere." She paused to collect herself and straighten her curved lips. "I suggest deciding which feelings are legitimate and which are fancy without regard to the consequences. And then? Act on the legitimate feelings without regard for the consequences. Life has a way of helping us adapt to change. You'll learn to live with whatever you decide soon enough."

Claudia nodded. "Yeah. I've got a few other things to deal with first - such as getting this ship to where we're going safely and then dealing with the enemy. Maybe after that I can think about it properly - but you're right. I'll take some time and go with whatever feels right...I appreciate your advice...I'll finish this tea and get out of your way"

Claudia took a long sip of the tea before relaxing. The session was giving her a lot to think about - she needed some time to properly process everything and think about what she really wanted to do about Rebecca. Rebecca was sweet but Claudia didn't want to rush things and risk losing what they would potentially have.

"This is literally my only job on your ship, Captain," Jaya teased. "You are welcome any time." And she meant that. Not everybody could repress the inherent sexual attraction that Deltans tend to generate in most people. Claudia clearly had a strong mind. "And, Captain," Jaya added softly yet firmly, "you have earned my trust in ways that are difficult to explain. I have total faith in whatever decisions you make, whether personal or profesional."

"Thank you Ensign - I appreciate you being here for me to talk to at such short notice. As for trust then it's reciprocated on a similar level - I don't talk to just anyone about what's going on in my personal life but I feel able to share how I feel with you. I appreciate that too - I just do my best to ensure the safety of this crew and vessel whilst carrying out our orders. Except in this one case where we're going against our orders...but that's a story for another time. I'm so proud of this entire crew...I really am" Claudia replied.

Jaya suppressed a giggle and instead offered a reassuring smile. "I understand, Captain." She leaned forward to hug Claudia. "It just seems right." Leaning back, she added, "I know most ship counselors refrain from hugging, but sometimes word alone aren't enough."

Claudia smiled and hugged back. She liked hugs and this one was no different - she'd come to think of Jaya as a friend too. Once she had released Jaya from their embrace Claudia finished her cup of tea and after thanking her for her time she made her way out of the counselling room and up to her ready room. Today was the day she was going to tell Rebecca how she felt about things and hopefully set out on the path she should have taken a long time ago.


Previous Next