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Learning about love

Posted on Fri Jan 13th, 2017 @ 5:09am by Ensign Anastasia Bogolyubov

Mission: S1E3 - Operation Adrestia
Location: Counselor's Office
Timeline: MD18 -- 1000

Anastasia had attracted more than one look as she made her way from her work space on Deck 15 up to the Counselor's Office on Deck 11. Not that the Russian science officer wasn't usually worth a surreptitious look by passersby, either for her aesthetically pleasing appearance or her (more oft than not) odd mannerisms. But today Anastasia seemed incapable of walking more than a few steps without bubbling over with giggles and immediately covering her mouth.

It was with this buoyant mood that Anastasia presented herself in front of Counselor Jaya's office entrance, bouncing on her toes as she waited, and radiating blissful well being.

Jaya felt pleased in her next patient's development. It was not so long ago that Anastasia had requested regularly scheduled sessions, and yet the lack of strict regularity had not put the science officer off her ease. One could note that they had since become fast friends, but Jaya's psychoanalytical prowess knew that had little to do with it. Friends of higher functioning autists and savants became and remained so due to their understanding, not due to any exemptions. Jaya knew better than anyone not to expect a free pass from Anastasia's expectations of strict social structures, so Anastasia's newfound flexibility could not at all be chalked up to friendship.

Indeed, something else had catalyzed her recent growth.

"Come in!" Jaya put on her widest grin, knowing that Anastasia was largely deaf to the volume of her emotional frequencies that were obvious to most others, even to the point of overwhelming them. Body language, on the other hand, she knew was as a second language.

When the doors parted, the glow around Anastasia might as well have been visible for as strongly as it emanated from her. Jaya's grin folded into a smirk. "Anastasia, I am glad to see you. No doubt you have much to tell me."

Anastasia said nothing, but moved directly to Jaya and wrapped her arms around the other woman, actually lifting the smaller woman a few centimeters off the floor.

Jaya laughed and returned the embrace as best she was able. "Thank you," she said. "I don't often receive such eager hugs. They're like a warm blanket in winter, and yours more so."

"I am very happy," Anastasia said solemnly as she abruptly broke the hug, stepping back. She giggled, then covered her mouth, a broad grin visible underneath. "But it is confusing, and I find myself trying to impose order on it, and I worry that will destroy it."

"Happiness is not like an equation to be balanced or processed," Jaya said. She chewed her lip for a moment to think in mathematical terms. "Happiness is the equation through which we balance and process everything else. Is there a new variable in your life?"

"I..." Anastasia stopped, her eyebrow furrowing. "She's not embarrassed about me, but sometimes I think she should be. She's brave and beautiful and compassionate and wonderful and I'm...I'm anomalous." The joy that Anastasia had been exuding earlier had all but disappeared.

"Anastasia." Jaya's lips coiled into a mischievous smirk as she enunciated each syllable of her name. "You little vixen! I thought I was supposed to help you fall in love, and then you go and do it all on your own." Her smirk fell into a wide grin. "Now it's my turn to be happy, in this case, it's for you." Jaya turned to the sofa and patted it on the arm. "Come, sit and tell me everything. Who is it? How did it happen?"

"Have you interacted with the Chief of Flight Control, Lieutenant Annie Wilson?" Anastasia asked as she sat down.

Jaya shook her head. "No, but I can see you have," she said with a wink.

Anastasia ducked her head and uncharacteristically giggled. "I love her. And she loves me. I know. I...Jaya, do you know what a Canar is?"

"I do," Jaya said meekly. "It's a Haliaan talisman which amplifies telepathy... and the union of lovers." This was what had broken through Anastasia's barriers. "Anastasia, have you used your Canar with Annie?"

Anastasia nodded, then quickly added, "It's lonely in here. It's's like being the only human in a universe populated by Tamarians. I can sense emotions, but I have to block that off, because it confuses me more. But Annie..." at the mention of her lover, Anastasia's face became peaceful, content. But then it became confused again. "But now I project a future, about marriage, and children. I think perhaps I should resign my commission and remain on board as a civilian specialist. I mean, when Commander Avram or Lieutenant Johansson or somebody else comes to me to devise an algorithm or decipher coding or anything along those lines, I don't need to be in uniform to do that. And Annie is bright and courageous and ingenuous and..." There was a clear light of adulation in Anastasia eyes as she listed off Annie's qualities. "It will be easier for her to move about if we aren't both officers."

"Love, as well as life, is not about the path of least resistance," Jaya said. "It is good that you wish to sacrifice as a display of devotion for your newfound love, but unless it is something both you and Annie truly want, do not make it lightly."
Jaya reached for Anastasia's hand and slid their fingers together. It was a technique for angstful children and addled elderly adults, but perhaps it would ease Anastasia's anxiety as well.
"Anastasia, nature abhors a vacuum. Annie fell in love with you as you are, and I suspect she would not want that to change unnecessarily. There's no telling what would fill it." When Jaya realized she was being too abstract, she tried a different tack.
"What if you were meritoriously promoted to full Lieutenant? What if... by some unpredicted chain of events you were left in command, and Starfleet decided to sustain your battlefield promotion?" Jaya held up her free hand. "Bear with me, this is only hypothetical. Would a hypothetical Captain Anastasia Bogolyubov wish for Annie to resign her commission as a show of love?"
She turned her head and smiled, allowing Anastasia a moment to process and consider her question.

Anastasia paused, about to argue the impossibility of such a situation developing, when she forced herself to consider it as a hypothetical. "I would not," she finally decided, "Because being a Starfleet Officer is who she is. But I am a mathematician who can be equally as efficient as a Starfleet Officer or a civilian specialist on a starship. As long as I can stay on a starship, I would be content."

"To continue the hypothetical scenario, Anastasia, even if Annie would be content as a freighter pilot or civilian CONN consultant, is that the Annie you fell in love with?" Jaya pursed her lips, pressing the point. "Would that arbitrary sacrifice make you love her more than you already do?"

"It''s not quantifiable," Anastasia finally worked out. "I fell in love with Annie. I don't want her to make sacrifices. I want her to be happy. she wants me to be happy." The last sentence was said a tone of surprise.

"Remember, happiness is not an equation to balance, but the operation through which our lives' equations order themselves." Jaya jostled the Anastasia's hand which she still held firmly clasped. "Decide what you really want to do, and that is what will make Annie happy. In a relationship, there is a composite happiness which is predicated on the individual happiness of the other person." Jaya released Anastasia's hand, then covered it with both of hers. "If Annie has even the smallest notion that you would resign your commission for her and not for yourself, then she will be afraid that one day you might resent her. No amount of present day promises can assuage the fear of future developments."

"What if I decide I want to resign for myself?" Anastasia asked. "Being with Annie has made me consider possibilities I had never considered before. Jaya, I know others find my physical appearance appealing and my personal interaction disconcerting. I had my family, I had my mathematics. And now..." Anastasia looked down and squeezed Jaya's hand, "I have more."

Anastasia paused, a thoughtful look on her face. "So I should not sacrifice for Annie, but what about sacrificing for myself and Annie? If it brought something we both wanted?"

"That sounds like a decision you should make together," Jaya replied. "One of the first rules about relationships is that joint decisions can't be made unilaterally." She paused for a moment, smiling at Anastasia and enjoying her company. And her candor. "Anastasia, you say that now you have more. Let me ask you this: is there any particular reason you cannot have it all?"

"Reality is finite," Anastasia answered. "If resources such as time are limited, it becomes apparent that there is a hierarchical order in which they must be allotted."

"Forgive me," Jaya said, correcting her literal syntax. "I meant to ask, is there any particular reason you cannot have a full life with Annie along with everything else you mentioned--your family, your calling... your kittens?"

"Prokhvost and Annie get along quite well," Anastasia said happily before adding in a confidential tone, "Though I think Prokvhost sometimes takes advantage of Max's good nature. Max is Annie's dog. He is a very good boy," Anastasia said emphatically. "Not that Prokhvost does not have many fine qualities, but I think he is sometimes very opportunistic."

"He's certainly a sweet and feisty boy," Jaya agreed. "Would you consider sending him away in order to pursue your relationship with Annie, or do you think there's room in your life and your heart for both of them?"

"No!" It was an uncharacteristically emotional shout from Anastasia, but her face reflected the horror of losing her Maine coon kitten. "I love Annie and Max and Prokhvost."

"You also love your job," Jaya said. "You can have it all." She caught her slip up. "That is, all that was mentioned."

"And I should talk to Annie about my feelings on these things," Anastasia said with a nod, not catching Jaya's slip.

"Communication is key," Jaya said, returning Anastasia's nod. "Never forget that." She stared at Anastasia committing that to memory and couldn't help but grin. "Oh, Anastasia," she said, pulling her into another embrace. "I can see why Annie loves you!"

"I do not understand," Anastasia admitted, "But I know that she does. So I suppose love transcends understanding." The look on Anastasia's face was one that mixed confusion and contentment.

"Anastasia, that is probably the most profound thing I have ever heard." Jaya chuckled to herself. "Never sell yourself short again, all right?"

Anastasia nodded, stood up and held her arms open. "I am glad that you are my friend, Jaya."

"Always," Jaya promised. "And likewise."


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