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The "Talk"

Posted on Wednesday February 12th, 2020 @ 10:42pm by Commander Kanaka Shakura & Cadet Freshman Grade Caleb Johnson

Mission: Shakedown Cruise
Location: U.S.S. Poseidon; Chief Counsellors' Office, Deck 6
Timeline: Day 004 - 0910 Hours
Tags: Post-Departure, Post-Fighter Incident, Counselling, Graydon Pregnancy

Following on from his 'meeting' with Chloe and Freya, Caleb was confused. He hadn't expected any of this. He needed to talk to someone who would hopefully be impartial, so he headed to the Counsellors Office, hoping to get some advice from them before deciding what to do. He walked up to the door and pressed the buzzer, waiting for an answer.

Kana had just concluded a meeting with Lieutenant Canaan Serine and was finishing her log of the events when the chime sounded. She was curious as to who it could be; perhaps Lieutenant Freya Mannerheim had arrived early for her appointment? Ending her log and standing up from her desk, the First Officer and Chief Counsellor called out. "Come in!" she waited patiently and with lingering curiosity to see who it would be.

Caleb walked into the office, and stood before the Counsellors desk. "Sorry to disturb you without an appointment Counsellor. I just needed someone to talk to about some...things." He said, looking a little nervous, for the first time since he came aboard the ship.

The Chief Counsellor and First Officer gave the young man a curious look as she studied him with her eyes for a moment. He was your archetypal teenage male, shifting around with the typical awkwardness they all seemed to have. Yet this young man in particular seemed to be concerned with something specific. She recognised who he was after searching her mind for a few moments, thinking back on the updated manifest she had reviewed that morning.

"Ah, you must be Cadet Freshmen Johnson. A trainee nurse in our Medical department, correct? I'll forgive the intrusion this time." She said, half-teasingly. "What seems to be the matter, Cadet?" She relaxed a little as she went back to looking over a PADD in front of her, waiting to hear the young man's explanation.

“I need some advice. An ex-partner of mine has approached me, advising that she is pregnant. And I’m unsure whether this child is mine or not. What do I do?” He asked.

The Chief Counsellor's attention was quickly brought back to the young Cadet. While she did well to conceal it, Kana knew exactly who Caleb was referring to - fellow Cadet Chloe Graydon, who had only informed her yesterday of the unexpected pregnancy - and while it was entirely possible he could be talking about someone else, those odds were very slim. Since Chloe hadn't disclosed his identity to her yesterday, and Caleb wasn't disclosing hers now, she would have to respect that desire for anonymity for the time being. Perhaps this presented her with an opportunity.

"I see. Please, sit down." The Lieutenant Commander gestured to the chair across from her desk, putting her PADD away. "Lets get straight to it: how do you feel about this news? If the child is indeed yours, what do you want to do?"

"I don't know...part of me wants to be there and help...but we didn't part on the best of terms at the time. I'm worried, nervous, concerned for her as well..." Caleb trailed off.

"That's natural." Kana gave a reassuring smile. "When you say that you didn't part on the best of terms; may I ask what happened?"

"We got into an argument...just before we left the Academy. I can't remember the specifics but I might have shouted I didn't want to see her again..." He answered. He was ashamed of what had happened, but he couldn't change the past.

The Chief Counsellor tilted her head just slightly. She could sense his shame and embarrassment at what had happened. It was ambiguous whether he really did forget all the details, or whether he was just reluctant to share, but that wasn't important right now. It would be a conversation to be had when and if both he and Chloe sought reconciliation, which Kana would certainly be prepared to mediate. That was for them to decide.

"We can all say hurtful things to one another when we're angry." She continued with her reassuring sentiments. "You're both young, going through a very transformative time in your lives. Especially now. Emotions will be running high, and these things take time to temper."

She let a moment of silence pass, before continuing. "How do you feel about becoming a father?"

"Again, nervous, worried...scared." He answered. "I'm scared I'm not good enough, that I won't be a good father, that she won't want me back if I try to go back..." He said.

Kana sighed and shook her head. "Nobody can expect that of you, Cadet Johnson. Even grown men don't know what they're doing with their first-born; while there are some techniques you can learn, and I'm sure we can help to prepare you with those things, there's no manual on how to be a perfect parent. It's something you can only learn through the challenge of the moment. What matters is that your heart is in it and you apply yourself as best you can to every situation. Same for the mother."

Another reassuring smile, she then continued. "As for whether the mother will want you back, who can say. All I can say for certain is that the child will need you no matter what, and that if both you and the mother want to be mature adults about this, you will allow them that. Apart from that, I can only encourage that you try to remain civil with them and communicate that you wish to support them as best you can. If needs be, I can always help to facilitate that discussion."

Caleb nodded again. "She's already been to see you about this, hasn't she?" Caleb said, a little more bluntly than he had meant to be.

Kana tilted her head again. She could sense that Caleb had no idea whether Chloe had or hadn't been, but he was hedging his bets to see what the Counsellor knew. Unfortunately for him, she was a Betazoid. "I speak to many people aboard this ship, Cadet Johnson. All that matters to you right now is the conversation we're having here and now. To that end, are we agreed that an approach going forward is to approach the mother, offer your support, and we can see from there whether my assistance in reconciling your relationship is necessary?"

Caleb nodded, defeated. "I guess." He replied.

"Chin up, Cadet Johnson." The Executive Officer chirped up, compelling the young man to pick himself up. "You're going to have to start growing up now, and grow up fast. I know that's not going to be easy, but I believe you can do it, so long as we keep communicating and work together for your sake, as well as for the mother and your child. Are we agreed on that?"

Caleb nodded again. "I'm going to need help...lot's of help." He said simply. "Will you help?" He asked.

Kana simply smirked and raised her shoulders and arms in a sarcastic shrug. "I suppose..." She shot him a stare which looked at him, baffled, surprised he would expect anything less. "Such is my duty, Cadet Johnson, and one I perform willingly. All I ask is that you perform yours too, both on and off-duty. Will that be all?"

Caleb nodded. "Yes, thank you for your time Commander." He said, raising from his seat and heading for the door.

The Chief Counsellor watched him leave, waiting patiently for him to exit the room and for the doors to close before letting out a long sigh. "Kids these days..." She remarked openly to herself with a deliberate hint of irony, knowing it's something her mother used to openly say about her. Thinking for a moment, she then proceeded to go about putting together a log to reflect on what she had learnt.

=/\= End =/\=

Commander Kanaka Shakura
Executive Officer & Chief Counsellor
USS Poseidon


Cadet Freshman Grade Caleb Johnson
Medical Cadet
USS Poseidon


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