S02 Ep04: When Realities Collide (Incidentals)
Location: Walon's Office/Quarters - Engineering
Timeline: Inbetween Away Missions
The list of folks to practice telepathic communication was shorter than Iria had first planned the reasons some begged out she did understand but still, it was disheartening if nothing else.
It was down to just herself and Jorie Quesjti a woman whose paternal grandmother was Deltan; while the rest of her family was human, she was limited to touch-based telepathy, while Iria could try to hear and send thoughts without the need to touch. She felt bad that after all the talking the three half Vulcan’s on board all three had refused to help with the telepathic communication practice because they didn't wish to become distracted from their jobs and relations. So the shortlist was there along with the pros and cons of working with each.
Iria read it once more and then tapped her com badge.
=/\=Walon to Lieutenant Dodd when you have a few moments free can we talk?=/\=
=/\= Dodd here. I get off my shift at 0900. Would you want me to come to your office then? =/\= Dodd replied.
=/\=Only if you are sure you don't want to get some rest first since you'll be getting off your night shift duty.=/\= she replied with a wry grin, she would rather he took some time to relax before coming but it was his choice, on when he arrived for talks.
=/\= I will stop by after my shift. So I will see you in about an hour as this chief engineer is always on shift even when not working the shift in engineering. =/\= Dodd replied to Walon.
Dodd always felt that as the chief engineer, he needed to be available at all times but yet he still planned his downtime. He did not have another shift in actual engineering for forty-eight hours so it was the perfect time to stop and talk to Walon.
=/\=See you then=/\= Iria replied with a wry grin, before allowing the comm channel to close. She walked around her office checking on her plants and then she got her schedule and made note of when Dodd was coming in.
She was on her first cup of hot chocolate by the time he arrived. Iria smiled setting down her mug, "Make yourself at home, I got some hot chocolate from the mess hall in the thermos if you would care for some?"
"Hello, Thank you for allowing me to come meet with you," Dodd stated. "I appreciate the offer of the hot chocolate but I am afraid I better pass as I am nervous and it will not settle well. Not sure why I am nervous but I am."
Dodd then had a seat on the couch across from Iria's desk. He had his hands on his knees and was staring straight at Iria.
"Well first off I want to apologize for the short list I am handing you along with some exercises that should be a safe start when you're ready," Iria said lightly, she paused as she got up from her desk, and offered him the Padd she had been working on. She gave a wry grin as the random quote board on the left side of the office lit up with a vivid green text the words reading
"In brightest day
In darkest night
No evil shall escape my sight."
It wasn't the full quote and she knew someone was teasing her, ( she left some of her comic books on her desk while reading and re-organizing, in between shifts and work, ) not that she minded it was a good quote for the day. It also proved that folks did read what was on her desk if not encrypted. Iria shook her head softly, as she sat back to let him read.
"Let those who worship evil's might, beware the power, of Green Lantern's Light!" Dodd stated. "I believe that is how that quote is to be finished. I have read a few of the ancient comics from the Green Lantern title. A colleague who was from Earth introduced me to them and he told me that the Lanterns were sort of telepaths that used rings to channel their energies for good (or evil in some cases). I found the arc where the Green Lantern became the host for the Parallax interesting."
Dodd then resumed reading from the PADD that Walon handed him.
"I have not read the Parallax parts yet. My adoptive father started reading comic books to me and his sons after they complained about the Dr Seuss being too babyish, been hooked ever since." Iria said softly, Wilson Tomms had started them off on Doctor Strange, and Green Lantern, and added Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman, the Avengers, and numerous others."
She had some 'action figures' of Wonder Woman, Batman, Green Lantern, and a few others on her bookshelves along with her comics and other books in her quarters. Now and again, she would bring in a cup that had one of their 'Logo's' on it. She also enjoyed the holodeck programs that had been coming out for the various comic heroes and their back-stories.
"I do some meditation techniques that I have picked up over the years. Some practices even came from Vulcan methods that help clear the mind of clutter. However, while living on Betazed it is common practice to be free with thought and not hold back. I miss that at times but since I am only half Betazoid, I do struggle more with my Ullian side." Dodd added to the conversation.
"I haven't had a chance for daily telepathic communication with anyone since I was six." she said lightly, after a pause she added, "It was a big adjustment to learn I couldn't just telepathically say I wanted something to eat or ask for something else. I found it challenging to find out who I could hear and who might hear me." she gave a sad smile.
"I learned for folks that I could hear I had to be at least four feet close to hear normal conversation, shouting thoughts I can hear from seven feet though those usually give me migraines" she admittedly missed telepathic communication.
But she felt It was a trade-off she focused on helping others and did her best when random thoughts got heard, and on occasions when someone did hear her she did enjoy it while the moments last. "I was trained by a Vulcan professor at the academy to put up mental shields and since I want to try and help you, I am going to lower them, we can see if you hear me and if I can hear you if you want to try?"
"I am open to trying. I just need to have more regular telepathic communications than I get and that will greatly help me in the long-run. When living on Betazed, it is a part of daily life and then living on a ship with limited telepathic traffic makes it hard to maintain, or so I think." Dodd stated.
He took a more relaxed position on the couch which made him feel more comfortable with Walon. Dodd had hoped that maybe with her coaching that he would be able to forgive himself for losing control with the Orion whose mind he scrambled on the last mission.
Iria nodded and then let her mental shields down, after a moment to get used to having them down completely, she tried to send a thought to Dodd to see if he could hear her.
<< Hello? >> she sent out tentatively.
<< Is it me you're looking for? >> Dodd replied telepathically. He thought he was being funny as he knew it was from an ancient Earth song and he thought it would keep the mood friendly and fun.
<< Hello back to you. >> Dodd thought back to Walon.
<< I have not heard a Lionel Richie reply before, that was very clever! >> Iria replied in delighted amusement. She was also more surprised and curious that his tone and mental voice did not sound overwhelming in her mind. She smiled.
<< Well first greetings have been successfully heard, what would you like to talk about now? >>
<< I am not sure that I have not had a full conversation in this fashion since I left Betazed. >> Dodd replied.
<< I would like to know more about your background and race, as I have never met anyone like you before >> Dodd shifted his position on her sofa to a more relaxed pose and that also opened the sofa up to invite her to sit next to him while they did this mental exercise.
<< Actually, you might have but they might have been hiding >>she paused and gave a wry grin, as she continued her tone honest and relaxed.
<< Growing up we are told not to shift in front of others so they cannot use the knowledge to hurt us. Sometimes though it cannot be avoided or well I actually trust you and the Captain most among the crew >> she smiled.
As she moved from her leaning position against her desk; to the open space, he'd provided on the couch, as she got settled.
<< As for my background, I grew up on a freighter until I was six. I spend as much time as a cat, as I am a woman. I have memories of my Mom and Aunts arguing about who shifted first and how we are able to shift from person to cat and back but only as cats and people. They never really solved it or at least not that I can remember. From stories my family would tell, the first of us to work with those that were not Isisien went by the name Isis, her companions Gary Seven and Roberta Lincoln, they had several adventures, or so I was able to dig up later, but the records I found are incomplete >> she gave a small shrug.
<< Shifting does not hurt and I can go back and forth easily if I get hurt the wound is there; when I shift, far as I know that is normal >> she paused and gave a cheekily playful grin.
<< Anything else you want to know? >>
<< I remember reading records about Gary Seven and Ms Lincoln. From what I know, Isis was sent undercover to gather data on Khan Noonien Singh and was then fatally injured when his bodyguard and possible son threw a knife at Ms Lincoln and Isis sacrificed herself >> Dodd replied.
<< How long can you remain in feline form? I wonder if the felines worshipped by ancient Terran cultures were really Isisiens? >>
Dodd was not intending this session to go beyond a standard meeting but he was sensing feelings he had not felt in an extremely long time. It had been too long since he had opened his mind like this and back on Betazed, you could not hide any thought or feeling in the telepathic sense and so now things were coming to the surface that he was not ready to open up about it.
<< Well that solves that question I had not found the answer too >>Iria replied softly, she noticed something had changed during their conversation but she was not sure exactly how to describe the change. It was not uncomfortable to her senses or anything but, it was new. She chalked it up to whatever for the time being and answered his question as best as she could.
<< I have no idea really; no other Isisien I have met has ever given a straight answer on that
one >> Her expression turned thoughtful and she gave a light laugh, << I do not remember trying to just stay feline for more than a few hours, might have to give that a test during my next shore leave to find out. >>
<< I must ask how many Isisiens are there in Starfleet? >> Dodd asked. He was attempting to focus his mind away from the feelings he was developing before they were present for Walon to sense. << How often do you see your family? >>
<< Officially, there are two others. I ran into five more who are in hiding mostly because they prefer being "ship's mascot' though I am sure their Captains' are aware of them >> she replied sheepishly, Iria had gotten quite an ear full for having 'conversations with ship's cats', whom were not of her own ship.
<< I have not seen my adopted brothers and adoptive father since I graduated but I get letters frequently and send them just as often. What about your family, do you see them very often? >>
<< I do not see my half-sister as much as I should. However, she is on Betazed and teaches at the university there. She is not married and the last communiqué I got, she had just started seeing a gentleman who is half Vulcan and half Betazoid, who was just assigned to teach at the university. >> Dodd replied. He was sensing that Walon was noticing his feelings and was hoping that she did not think they were about her. << So you have had conversations with feline mascots on other ships? >>
Dodd was really enjoying getting to know Walon. He was starting to reveal buried feelings of his late fiancé. She was a redheaded beauty that he fell for in college before he joined Starfleet. While he has been engaged in this mental conversation with Walon, the feelings he felt for Elizabeth have been coming to the surface and he has been trying to repress them. He was not ready to discuss her with anyone just yet.
<< We talked mostly of how some folks insist in disliking felines but when they are near them in feline form around they get the most attention from the folks that dislike them, and how some replicators never get the taste of tuna salad quite right. Comparing how fur colours differ from hair colour and how even when hair is dyed the fur does not keep the dye unless the roots are dyed. Curious as to why that is and such >> she paused as her head started to pound with what promised to be a wonderfully uncomfortable migraine if she did not take a break soon.
Iria was torn for a moment she had missed talking like this so much, but the threat of a migraine was a reminder that overdoing it was not fun...
<< Hey, I am sensing you are not feeling well. Should we continue this at another time? I do not want you to suffer from an exercise to help me maintain control of my abilities >> Dodd asked.
"I am sorry, it's been a while, since talking like that for me," she said aloud feeling embarrassed but admitting that it was best to give her head a break before she ended up regretting it. She would not be able to help him or anyone else very much if she was hurting too much to talk... "If you are up for it maybe we can schedule some time tomorrow afternoon or something to continue?" she asked with a sheepish yet honest smile.
"I would be up to it, I would be willing to talk some more," Dodd replied. "You just let me know when would be good for you and I will see what I can do."
"Anytime after 1600 hours should be fine otherwise we'll have to try and reschedule in a few days," she said after a moment's pause as she thought over the schedule she had for the next few days.
"Anytime after 1600 works for me" Dodd replied. "And if we had to do it over a meal, which works as well. Why don't you just let me know what day works best for you and I will be sure to be there."
Iria nodded thinking quickly and after a moment said lightly, "Would around 1900 hours be alright and do you want to meet in the mess hall or would you rather meet here?"
"Sound good. I am glad you are willing to help me better control my abilities. I have never had to have a much focus until I got to this ship. I appreciate it a lot." Dodd replied.
"Anytime, and see you then," Iria replied with a smile as she stood up to walk him to the doorway.
Dodd departed Walon's office and smiled back at her as he turned to walk down the corridor. He as looking forward to the next chance to have a telepathic conversation with someone he enjoyed being in the company of.
Iria smiled as he left, and after the doors closed, she made some notes and got up from the couch, there was still a lot to do that day. Iria hummed happily even if her head hurt, it was going to be a long day but so far, it was not a bad one.
LT. Remington Dodd
Lt.j.g. Iria Walon