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Cyclopean Matters

Posted on Mon Jan 13th, 2020 @ 9:56am by Lieutenant Tavis Styvek & Warrant Officer Callisi Veera

Mission: Dead Moon
Location: Counselor's Office


She almost laughed at herself. She was a fighter pilot. An ACE, damnit. She had carved lines through Koldaran fighter wings, stared into the bleak heart of space, lanced Cee Beams through the nebula of the outermost fringes. Yet here she stood, her finger hovering over the announcer chime to a single, simple door.

Get some help, she was always told. You don't have to go through this alone, she always heard. Yet, she didn't, and she did. Where did that get her? Well, it got her here. In front of a door.

She took a breath to steel herself, closed her one good eye, and let the breath go. Then, with a confidence restored, she tapped the announcer chime.

Styveck was sitting in his lounge chair listening to gentle music while sipping his spiced tea. The day had been busier than anticipated and it looked like it wasn’t going to slow down. He set down his glass, straightened his uniform and stood to welcome the new arrival, “Enter please.”

The door swished open, almost in sync with Callisi opening her eye. She took a step forward into the room, and then another. Walking seemed to come natural to her, but walking into a counselor's office seemed something different to her.

"Hello. My name is Callisi Veera." she started, "I was wondering if you had some available time to talk? I can schedule an appointment if necessary."

“I have no appointments at the moment, you may talk if you wish. Please have a seat. Would you like a drink, before we begin?” Styveck asked.

"Black tea, please. It reminds me of a blend we have back home." a pause, "And... thank you for being able to see me on short notice. It's hard for me to find someone to talk to about things, so I appreciate the literal open door." she paused again, giving a nod of thanks at the tea. A slow sip, perhaps to calm the nerves, before she started.

"I wanted to talk about those.... things. That invaded the ship and did.... well, that did what they did. Sorry, I've got such a headache over the entire thing, literally sleeping with one eye open." she hesitated for a moment before motioning to her eye patch. She didn't move it, remove it, or really even touch it. She simply brought attention to it for a moment, before continuing. "I ... don't like leaving it active while I sleep, it makes me dream weird dreams, but after the first few nights where I didn't really feel, I guess alone, in my own quarters... I started leaving it on. I regretted it, since it didn't help me feel any more or less secure, but once I was invested in the idea I couldn't think of a good enough reason to disengage it."

Another sip of tea. "I should clarify a little. I have a prosthetic eye." and that, simply put, was that. She added that in as such an afterthought, like she didn't even want to mention it, but figured a moment of shame would spare her the questions she knew would be coming.

Styveck nodded, a human would normally apologize or offer condolences to the loss but that was not his way. "Unfortunately this is your new normal, a prosthetic eye, is like any other tool, it has a use, that is neither good or bad, and it is unfeeling. You have lost a part of physically, but that does not change who you are at your core. You may feel different or look different but you must learn to accept the change. A flower may lose a petal but it is still a flower and serves it's function."

Callisi grumbled a bit, "Yeah, but that flower doesn't have to worry about the looks, the stigma, the whispers..." she took a sip of her tea. "No matter what I chose I'd stand out. I'd be the different one, the odd hair. My only choices that I could make were about timing. Get one now, and live with it, or wait until the medical team arrived in five hours, and get one that looked a little closer to my other eye, but would still stick out. I was different no matter what, but I was needed on the front so..." a pause, another sip of tea.

"I got what I got. They said swapping it out would do more harm than good. So I'm stuck with it, for better or worse. Now, it's a little better cause I can sleep with one eye open. For all the good that does." she shook her head.

"Is it the new eye that angers you or the loss of the old one?" Styveck asked softly. Veera had opened up and been discussing her anger, he had hoped to keep her talking to get to the root of the bitterness and anger.

"Both." she started, not really even realizing the flood gates had been opened. "Ts'usugi culture puts a lot of pressure on appearance. How you dress, how you walk, how you act, how you talk. One little slip can decide your future for you." she paused only to take a breath, "I made one choice. One... and they stripped me of my lead. My rank. My dignity. Everything was in question now. I had to re-earn everything." her tone grew more and more sharp.

"I told the world that I could do it. I showed them that I could climb back up, and still, all I see when I look in the mirror is the same look everyone gave me."

“What exactly do you see when you look into the mirror? An officer who has accomplished more and survived more than the average being or someone who has failed and made a bad decision occasionally?” Styveck asked sincerely.

She took a breath, "I see someone who has suffered, has gone above and beyond. Has survived. Has endured." a pause, "I see a pilot. A wing commander. I see... I see me."

"Those are all things that you have accomplished or things that have been to you. If I asked who you were without your uniform, without your skills or accomplishments, how would you describe yourself Veera?"

There was a pause, "Damaged. But ... working on it. I think."

"I believe that is where we will need to begin, your self identity is tied to your accomplishments or sufferings. You need to learn to define yourself without those things that entrap you. Before we meet again next week I would like you to make a list of as many positive things you can think of, then I want you to review them on a daily basis. When we meet next I want you to describe yourself in positive terms and then tell me who is Callisi Veera."

She gave a nod, "I can do that." a pause, "I'm looking forward to rediscovering her myself." she offered with a soft smile.

“I will be a guide, you must travel the journey. Do you have any questions or thoughts to share before we adjourn?” Styveck asked her.

She thought, she hesitated, she took a breath, she held it, she shook her head and let it go. "No. No I think we're alright for now." a pause, "Thank you. I'll... I'll make that list like you suggested."

“You are welcome. We will meet again in seven days, please send me your availability so I can plan the schedule accordingly, please,” Styveck said signaling the end of their session.

With that, Callisi gave a nod as she stood with, and made her way out. She stood slightly straighter than she did on the way in.

WO Callisi Veera
Blink Fighter Element
USS Astrea

LT Tavis Styveck
Chief Counselor
USS Astrae


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