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Liar, Liar

Posted on 06 Oct 2017 @ 3:59pm by Lieutenant Commander Jayla Kij & Captain Harvey Geisler

Mission: The Finnean Crisis
Location: Turbolift
Timeline: November 7, 2388

Wandering the corridors wasn't usually Jayla's chosen pastime, but she couldn't think of what else to do. She didn't really have any friends aside from Jace and she didn't want to annoy him by looking for him every time she was feeling lonely. She'd thought of Cal, but she didn't really know him all that well, yet. She might annoy him, too.

Since when was she worried about annoying people? Feeling lonely and worrying about annoying people was completely foreign to her, but here she was killing it.

She came to a turbo lift and without even thinking about it, she stepped onto it. But, where to go? "Deck... twelve," she said at random. What was even on deck twelve? She was about to find out.

The turbolift ride didn't last too long for it stopped to pick up another passenger. Harvey had been taking a walk to clear his mind and process the sequence of events from the last few days. Yet, even now, his face was buried in the PADD he carried. It wasn't until he gave the computer his destination and looked up that he realized that he wasn't alone in the car. "Jayla," he greeted immediately, not even realizing that he didn't use her formal title seeing how he was in uniform.

With a surprised blink, Jayla attempted to smile warmly, but exactly failed to appear anything other than nervous. "H- hi, sir," she replied awkwardly. What the heck was wrong with her lately? She'd never felt awkward around anyone in her life and suddenly, she couldn't string two words together in the presence of an old friend! She sighed agitatedly and shook her head, unsure of how to correct the issue.

Harvey took note of her exasperation. After all, it was hard not to notice it lately. She'd never been the same since their trip to the alternate universe. And, as much as he hoped she was seeking professional help, he knew all too well how much time was involved in it all. "How are the personnel we retrieved from the surface?"

"They're doing well," she replied, glad of something to talk about. "We're keeping three overnight for observation. One had a collapsed lung, the second had a severe concussion and the third had sepsis in one leg. They're going to heal up just fine, but we want to make sure they don't have any relapses or anything."

Harvey nodded. Three out of several hundred kept for observation... That was an impressive ratio. As for the mental trauma, he was certain there weren't enough counselors to go around in the meantime. "I'm sure it took a lot from our freshly stocked stores. We'll probably have to request new supplies from Deep Space 11, as I wouldn't trust anything coming from Deep Space 15 from a while."

But, Jayla didn't know how to reply to that. She nodded, feeling even more awkward than before. Her brain searched for something to say, but she could not force it to work. In the end, she just stood there stupidly, feeling like a bit of a dunce.

Again, Harvey couldn't help but notice her response... or lack thereof. "Computer," he said, lowering the PADD to his side. "Stop." He turned to face Jayla, giving her his full attention. "What is it?" he demanded, his tone calm, showing hints of compassion for her.

"I... nothing," answered Jayla, hesitantly. "I'm fine. I'm just... still having trouble adjusting. I'll be fine."

"You keep saying that," Harvey said. "Honestly, I'm having a hard time believing you."

"Well, what do you want me to say?" she replied irritably. "That I'm uncomfortable here and I just want to go home? That I've been feeling awkward and I'm not sure how to fix it? That I suddenly find myself craving solitude instead of friends? I've read four books since coming back on duty. Four! Because I just don't feel like talking to anyone. Do you really want to have all that poured on you?"

Harvey didn't immediately reply, absorbing the information that was just vomited all over him. His mouth quickly took control, speaking before he was thinking. "Yes," he told her. "Jayla... You're a friend, a colleague, and a shipmate. As a friend, I care for your well-being. As a colleague and a shipmate, I worry that you're letting this... this discomfort interfere with the well-being of nearly eight hundred people on this ship."

"Has anything I've done suggested that my ability to treat patients has been hindered?" she pointed out. "No, medicine isn't a problem. I can deal with people professionally. I just don't want to be around them socially. No, that's wrong. I want to be around people. I just don't want to talk to them."

"Keeping a distance keeps you disconnected from everyone, even patients," Harvey told her. "I should know, being an expert on pushing people away. It's why I was forced to give up medicine."

"I said nothing about distance," she replied. "I said I don't want to talk to them." Well, not all of them, she thought to herself. There were a few people she wanted to talk to, but the most disturbing part was that she had no idea how to handle her old friends. Why should it be so hard to talk to Harvey or to compose a letter to Bast or Camila? None of it made sense.

"No, but it will happen," Harvey told her. "It started happening the moment you stopped being Jayla. At least, the Jayla we all know."

Stopped being Jayla. That thought made her sad and she looked away from him quickly. "I don't know how to be her anymore," she said quietly. "Maybe she's gone for good. Maybe this is just who I am now."

He sighed, slowly waving his wrist down by his leg, letting the PADD flap beside his leg. "Look," he said, placing his free hand on her shoulder. "Jayla, I get it. I've... been there. I was there just a few months ago. You don't know it, but you helped pull me out of it. You. Mac. Mila. Joey. Adam... It took an army to pull me out of my lifelong depression. And I refuse to believe that who you were, who I loved, is gone for good."

The pain that showed on her face betrayed her heart and mind. "And what if she is?" she asked. "Sometimes I feel normal, but most of the time, I just want to curl up in a ball and pretend I don't exist. What if who I was has been erased and replaced with this new melancholy version?" She swallowed the lump in her throat and dashed away a couple of tears. "Thing is, it only seems to happen when I'm around my old friends," she added almost in a whisper. "And I don't know why."

"Have you talked to Lieutenant Stuart?" Harvey asked, hoping she might have taken his advice from a few days ago. "And I'm sorry if you feel I'm pushing you too hard. I know it takes a while." As he was not a counselor, he was nowhere near qualified to help her mental state. If all he could do was just open her eyes, and it sounded like he was, then he'd count it as a win.

"I have an appointment," she replied vaguely. "Don't worry about me. I'll be fine." But, her tone was flat and she wouldn't look him in the eye.

It was too late for that. But Harvey was getting the message loud and clear. “All right then,” he said. Harvey sighed and removed his hand from her shoulder. “Computer, resume.” The familiar hum returned as the lift again began to move.

Almost immediately, Jayla felt horrible and opened her mouth to say something, but stopped herself when she realized she didn't know what to say. So, instead, she simply waited until the lift stopped and the doors opened. Without even looking to see where it had stopped, she headed out, just wanting to be on her own.

Harvey considered following her, but for the moment, he was certain that would do more harm than good. Therefore, he remained standing and allowed the turbolift doors to close.


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