Fighting the waves
Shore Leave - An Internal Affair
Location: Counseling Suites, USS Asger
Sebell rang the chime on the counselor's suite, and waited for the words. She felt a nervous thread of energy trickling down her spine and immediately despised it. What was she afraid of? What she was here to speak of or that it was a new person to potentially judge her? Both? Neither? She grumbled at herself internally for the fear and stamped it out with a jaunty threat about holding your chin up or else.
Aryen had let her receptionist go and was drinking a well deserved cup of 'real' coffee, savoring the combination of bitter and sweet taste, when she felt a wash of internal conflict and apprehension prickle her senses. She smiled when she became aware of the structured mind of a Vulcan, well half Vulcan. Most half Vulcan she knew leaned towards the Vulcan side of their heritage, this one, not so much. She got up and went out to meet the XO.
"At least you are not running away," Aryen said with a wide knowing grin and a mischievous glint in her black eyes. "Come Madam Boss, into my domain..." she said and invited the XO into her office with playful bow. "Sorry about the coffee smell.." she added, aware of the acute sense of smell the Vulcan side would bring.
"Oh, no. I very much appreciate coffee. It doesn't bother me at all. I hope this is a good time to speak with you." Sebell had noted the distinct absence of the suite's receptionist.
"This is a perfect time," Aryen replied as she indicated for Sebell to take a seat. "I have been wanting contact you for a chat and here you are. Can I offer you some of my freshly ground brew, my one... no correction, 'one' of my luxuries.."
"That would be lovely, thank you," the XO said as she sat down. She looked vaguely uncomfortable.
Once they were both settled, Aryen noticed that Sebell was a little more relaxed. "You seemed a little conflicted earlier, especially about coming to see me." Aryen very seldom revealed what she sensed so directly, and only did so when she felt it would build rapport rather than create suspicion. It was always a risk, but she was willing to take it. "Can you tell me more about that?" she asked. She fully understood how difficult it was for anyone to reveal anything about themselves to a complete stranger. Her sincere interest was clearly visible in her voice.
Sebell lowered her head a little guiltily. "I have a history with counselors. But more than that, I figured that everyone else on the mission would need you first. I am a bit more proficient at monitoring my emotions. I could wait if I needed to wait."
"But you came anyway, despite the 'history'. That makes me think that your reasons are important. I am curious about your prior experiences with counsellors, but firstly, what can I do for you today?" she asked warmly.
The XO folded her hands in her lap, then fidgeted with them as a child might. "On world," she began steadily despite the fidgeting, "we came across colonists who were being controlled to try and kill us. When stunned, they suffered violent seizures and died painfully, so I gave the order to kill. Later on we found a way around this, which is wonderful. I don't think that I made the wrong decision, I just hate that the decision had to be made. I hate that those people were used. I use the word hate in its full meaning."
"I can understand that," Aryen said. Noticing the underlying suppressed energy and sensing the strong emotion, Aryen had an idea. Emotions were felt, physically, so sometimes the best way to deal with emotions were to do something physical, to channel that energy and adrenaline outward. That often made it easier to deal with the rest. "Have you ever boxed before?" she asked.
"No, I don't believe that I have," admitted Sebell with a worried expression. "Should I have?"
"No, " Aryen grinned. "Come, let's go to the holodeck, "where we will do what you have not done before..." she said getting up inviting the confused looking XO to join her. There was clearly no getting out of this.
Sebell followed along curiously, completely confused about how one thing tied into another. She trusted the counselor that they both did.
Once inside the holodeck, Aryen instructed the computer. "Computer load AryenBox2, and add training gear in the lady's change rooms for Commander Briggs and myself." A typical boxing gym appeared, complete with a few boxing rings, some punch bags and speed bags, and of course a trainer who recognized Aryen.
"Be with you in a second sweet thing..." he said turning to adjust a punch bag.
"Commander please get some training clothes on in the change room on the left, while I make a few adjustments," she said smiling.
Sebell nodded and stepped into said changing room. She recognized the wardrobe as being similar to running clothing and changed her clothes.
When Sebell came out, Aryen had added a few boxers, a few women and men. There were a few particularly good looking boxers. "There has to be some eye candy too," she said with a conspiratory wink.
"You sound like my brother," The XO said with a grin. "He's always on the prowl."
Aryen lead Sebell to two punching bags hanging side by side, where she picked up bandages and asked for Sebell's hands. Carefully she began to wrap her hands, after which she helped her with the gloves. "Comfortable?"
"Question: are the bandages because I'm going to hurt myself doing this?" Sebell asked, wriggling her hand inside the bandage to check for comfort.
"It protects your wrist and fingers from injury, yes, but I also added additional protection in the gloves, you should not feel a thing when you box," she said, as she wrapped her own hands and put her gloves on, testing the fit by hitting her hands again each other. Her hair was tied back and her training vest revealed well-toned shoulders and arms, with surprisingly defined legs, which was unexpected given her very feminine appearance and generally gentle personality. There was a tough body and mind under the uniform.
Sebell was built rangier than the counselor with the build of an avid swimmer, and certainly less curves. She listened to the explanation, nodding along as she did.
Aryen led them into a few stretching and warm-up exercises and then took a position in front of one of the punch bags showing Sebell how to position her arms. "You are going to punch this bag like this," she explained demonstrating first in a slow action and then faster. "Okay?" she asked and stepped behind Sebell's punchbag holding it. "Now hit the bag, get the feel of it.."
Now hit- that was something that Sebell could do- and there was force behind it. She stepped back after the first punch and looked at Aryen for direction. "Like that? Or less?"
"Ah..." Aryen said pleasantly surprised. "Good, keep it coming," she said and repositioned herself so she could absorb the force behind the punches. This seemed to go better than she had expected.
"Okay.." Sebell stepped back then forward and began again. It felt good to move. Her body always felt better in motion. Working, moving, doing, stretching, exerting instead of simply being. If there was just sun on her shoulder and crisp salt air she'd truly be happy. She fell into a rhythm with the hits and it brought her back to the ocean. Roll in, roll out. It was almost meditative.
Now Ayren needed to push harder. "Is that really all you have?" she asked challenging her openly, with a note of disdain in her voice. "Come on, you punch like a puppy," she said and shoved the bag hard towards the XO, catching her unexpectedly causing her to lose her balance slightly.
Sebell righted herself, her expression was curious. "Are you trying to let me vent my anger? I have to be very careful about doing that. I tend to get destructive if I don't remember to turn it into creative means. I have to be very careful, miss. I don't have the training that a vulcan would normally have."
Aryen shrugged. "Point taken. I think it is important that you channel that hate and anger. You have two choices, either get rid that shit here in a safe environment, or allow it that build up and force itself out, out there..." she said pointing towards the holodeck exit. "I am not afraid of anger and strong emotion. I had a Vulcan for a mate and I worked on a Klingon ship. I have a few strong men here that can hold this bag if you feel better about it," Aryen said matter-of-factly. She had not dropped her tone, it was still challenging.
"It's not that I'm afraid of it. I'm not afraid of that I might hurt you. I just want you to understand what it is." Frustration crept into Sebell's voice as she spoke. "I have my arts. I put a lot of emotion into my painting and my guitar. You'll likely get a lot of art. I play out my highs and lows. I sing my blues and joys. I let the ocean swallow me when I need to connect and go home. That's my ultimate peace. Fighting was always something that my father was afraid of for me. He did his best to teach me to think first then act. So much so that it's difficult for me to not do so now. It's my form of functional discipline. It's flawed, but it's what I have."
"Computer, give us a nice warm beach," Aryen instructed. The scenery changed instantly to accommodate her request. "It is good to hear that you have such good coping strategies. And we can most certainly use that. Thing is, because emotion builds up adrenaline in the body, and you seemed to have a lot of that emotional 'energy' stored up in your body, it's important to channel that into strong, challenging physical activity. It's even more effective as a remedy if you can focus that emotion on an activity that would evoke similar feelings. It also releases endorphins that can sooth your mind, like a plaster on a wound. Not the full treatment, but does bring some relieve immediately. I don't want to push you to where you are not comfortable. We can continue with that nice rhythm you had before or go for a run?"
Sebell listened carefully to what the woman said. She didn't want to just hide the upset and brush it over to grow. So exorcising it out it was. "A run would work. Or do you surf? Run in the water? You fight the tension in the water- it's a great work out.."
"Well I made you box, then I suppose you can make me surf...some other time" Aryen grinned. "Let's do the running in the water, it's good resistance..." she said and as they walked into the water, she sobered. "When we run, focus on the resistance, the muscles you use, focus your emotional energy into your movements," she explained. "Oh shit I am going to be stiff," she mumbled as they started their run.
"Resistance," Sebell repeated with a curt nod. "Got it." And off she went again like someone who was used to doing this. Someone who grew up doing just this when her old man couldn't sit her still.
"Oh boy," Aryen said as she started after Sebell. "You are a machine," she remarked as she caught up with said machine woman. "It seems that this is familiar to you," she observed as they fell into a good rhythm, "can you tell me about that?"
"Yes," Sebell was happy to answer. She was beaming at the chance to do the familiar- and the thought that it would help her again. "My family is mixed. My father and oldest brother are human. My youngest brother is part bajoran. We all had to figure how to work together. Many days I was too emotional or had to much energy, so my father would order me out of the house to go run the waves. We lived in Northern California for most of my childhood. This is how I'd refind myself and be calm."
"And I thought my family was mixed...." Aryen chuckled after running for a while. "What happens, how does it help you?" she asked.
"It wears me out. When I'm past all the energy and frenetic emotion I can think clearer even if I'm tired. When I was younger I always seemed to have something to burn off, so I was constantly running waves. Then it was whether I fit in or did I say something stupid or I was cranky at a schoolmate," Sebell laughed. "I was always cranky at a schoolmate. I had difficulty making friends."
Aryen chuckled at the statement. It seemed that Sebell was benefiting from the exercise which was all she hoped for. The two women ran for a while in silence. Actually, Aryen decided that talking and jogging was not the same as running in the waves and talking. So she kept quiet, just trying to keep breathing. She was fit but this was very different from the training she usually did. "And you are brilliant in tiring me out!" Aryen laughed as she eventually stopped, catching her breath. With her hands on her knees she indicated with one hand that she needed to have a break. A wave nearly bumped her over and she made for the beach. "I wanted to make you tired, to burn off that emotional energy..." she explained grimacing. "Now I am tired... should have kept boxing... " Aryen grumbled with mock defeat.
"You did good!" Sebel told her. "Better than most. Thank you for running with me. It means a lot."
"I am so glad you think so..." Aryen said, at last able to speak a full sentence without having to gasp in between. "How are you feeling now? Aryen asked.
"More centered, thank you. And tired," the XO laughed. "It's been a while since I've done this."
A soft smile formed around Aryen's lips, pleased at the outcome of the session. "Mind you, I needed this too..." she admitted as she got up reluctantly. "Some of us need to get going, but stay as long as you need," Aryen said.
"Thank you. I need to change and get back to my duties. I'll just.. be a bit slower about it.." the XO said with a crooked smile.