"I don't mean to impose, but have you thought that maybe you're trying to hard?" asked the counselor, his hands moving to rest one on top of the other in his lap. "Perhaps if you relax a little, allowing you to be yourself, you may see some improvement?"
Her whiskers began to twitch ever so slightly, but finally the Caitian couldn't help herself any more and roared. "Myself? Oh, counsssselor. I don't know how to be anyone but myself."
She managed to contain her laughter before she'd end up with another bad case of kitty-hiccups and ran a paw over the fur on her head.
"You're not imposing, I mean people come to you forrr advice. And you surrre have a point that maybe I'm trying to hard. But if I don't try, people sometimes get ssssscared." her purr nearly subsided completely at the last statement and she looked just a little helpless, waving her right paw. Good thing that for once there wasn't anything to knock over.
"I don' like people being ssscared. All those pretty humans and Bolians and the people with the spots, and the funny Klingons - okay, those are not easily scared. But the otherrrrs, I don't know how to show them I mean no harm. Other than to stop being too curious about them. Shenn says you got to give people space. But it's not easy giving space when you alrrrready take up most of it."
As if to underline what she'd been saying, M'Riarr absentmindedly tried to get more comfy on the really very soft and cushy couch. She actually managed to stretch into a very comfortable pose, resting her chin on two large paws and by pure chance didn't topple over the coffee table in the process. Tail flicking lazily, she blinked up at the nice human.
"You arrrre not scared, though. Or annoyed. How come?"
Well, I suppose I see no reason to be either," Paul replied with a gentle shrug. "In my time in Starfleet I have been introduced to a great number of new and...'unique' cultures and peoples. And in my lines of work as a doctor, a first officer, and now a counselor, having such predispositions is somewhat frowned upon."
All of that had been completely true; his career had taught him a great deal of patience and understanding when working with difference species.
"Hrrrrmmmm" M'Riarr chuckled a bit which tended to sound like a large cat stuck with a tiny hairball. "Yesss frowned upon, I can see that. Still, you'd be surprised how many people still have - what did you call it? Prrredispositions. I like the word." she stretched out a little more and found that the couch like so many other things was measured for smaller beings than herself. Well, one could always let the back paws dangle off one side.
"Sssso what you are saying is… I don't think I know what you are saying. Not very good with subtleties, which is odd for a Caitian but therrrre you have it. And you don't have to feel bad using some psycho-trick, counselor. If I even notice it…" she grinned a bit again, and her ears moved happily to the sides and back "I won't be offended orrr anything. Actually, it might be fun."
With a grin the counselor shook his head, decided to take the direct route instead, "What I'm saying is that perhaps you should care less about the people around you and relax. You can't change, and should not want to change, who you are. Your size is just a part of that."
After taking in a quick breath he continued, "And, to be honest, the rest of the crew should keep that in mind. Starfleet is a very diverse organization. There are dozens of non-humanoid and other...more exotic species, if you will, in service to the Federation. Perhaps it is -we- that should change our preconceptions in order to better accommodate species such as your own."
"That's verrry nice of you to say, Commanderrrrrrr." M'Riarr purred.
"I thought the only accommodation I'd need would be less fragile things. But you may be rrright. Well, you prrrobably are. And I promise I'll think about it. If engineerrrrring gets a few morrre repair requests, maybe I should ask them if I can help out. Clean the impulse manifolds orrr something."
She felt that this was one of the nicest Counselors she'd come across, with a really friendly smile and a demeanor so calm it made her relax to the point where she could take a nap right here and now.
But a certain rumbling in her stomach insisted on other priorities.
"Say, Commander, have you eaten yet? I think Miss Betty made a… loaf of meat today. Don't know what that is but it sounds delicious."
"I think it's called 'meat loaf,'" Paul said with a smile. "And no, I haven't eaten yet. Though I think it's just about time for it." He thought, for a moment, about discussing the engineering idea a bit more, but decided in the end to save it for later. If she wanted to give it a try, he was not going to stop her. But he felt the effort would come to a complete and sudden end the first time she had to crawl through a Jefferies tube.
"You like to come along to the Rec Rrrrroom, counselor?" M'Riarr jumped up happily and at last, the small table bounced off a giant back paw. Luckily, it did not fall over or hit anything (or anyone) but one of the legs certainly had seen better days.
"Mroooow here we go. I can fix that though." As long as Shenn still had some of his 'Duck tape' it should be good as new.
Giving the nice human a hopeful smile, the large Caitian thought how much nicer it was to eat in company.
Commander Paul Jennings
USS Charon NCC-80111
USS Caron NCC-80111