"Worth - Part One"
= Counselor's Office =
Lieutenant Taal Thera sat stiffly in her chair, her twin antennae
curling with mistrust as she studied the new counselor. This man
called Waqas Jilani had summoned her here, just like all his
predecessors, each of them determined to fix her brokenness. All of
them had failed in accomplishing anything but irritating Taal. She
had no desire to sit through yet another series of sessions in which
she would be forced to relive her accident, explain her actions,
discuss her emotions. It was more than she could bear. All she could
hope for was that it would be over quickly.
Jilani, however, refused to begin. He lay there on the patient's
couch, tossing his tribble, Kahless, up and down in the air to catch
him as if it were little more than a furry ball. The tribble did not
appear distressed, either because it was used to the activity or
because it truly had the heart of a warrior.
The silence dragged on and on. Finally, Thera rose to her feet and
began pacing, wringing her glove covered hands anxiously. As she
moved, her own antenna picked up the gentle sound of the alien
exoskeleton that powered the movements of her left limbs, increasing
her frustration. It was too much to bear. Without thinking, Thera
grabbed a vase from a side table and flung it in the general direction
of the counselor. It hit a wall and shattered.
Lieutenant Jilani caught Kahless one last time and turned to look at
her with an amused expression on his face. "Can I help you, Ms.
"It is Lieutenant Thera."
Jilani waved a hand at her dismissively, "A rank earned long ago, the
woman who had earned it long lost."
The Andorian smirked. "Isn't that your job? Isn't that why I am
here? So that you can talk about her feelings and restore her?"
"My job isn't to talk about your feelings." Waqas replied, his tone
completely calm, "And I could not care less about you personally, Ms.
Thera. My job is to ensure the well being of this crew and of
Starfleet. You can be as pathetic as a lost kitten, but if you are up
to doing your job, I am not required to be concerned with you."
The Andorian snorted, "Is that why there is a petition circulating to
have your transferred off this ship? Your patients have not taken
well to your attitude towards counseling."
"Neither will you," he informed her, sitting up. "I take it you have
no wish to enter my care. Your clearly have made very little progress
with your other counselors."
"You people are useless."
Jilani gave her a grin. "What? Men? Brown people? Muslims?"
"Counselors. You have no worth. You talk and talk and talk, as if
the air from your lungs could move the world, but you accomplish
nothing. There is nothing you can do for me."
Taal stared at him for a moment, stunned by the confession. "You do?"
"Yes. I cannot fix you. I cannot restore the great Taal Thera, the
woman who graduated at the top of her class, who was hailed as the
next best thing to come from Starfleet and the pride of Andor. You
are just a shell of her, unworthy of her name. And unworthy of the
uniform that she wore. I cannot restore her and as for you…no one has
any use for you."
The Andorian woman sat down, uncertain of where this was going. Her
confusion must have shown upon her face for Jilani continued. "I am
asking that you be transferred off this ship and that your commission
be revoked. Starfleet has no use for you. We are the best and the
brightest. You…you are neither of those now. Whatever greatness was
in you died on the away mission where you lost your limbs."
"I was protecting innocents! I saved children by sheltering them from a bomb."
"And the entire left side of your body was destroyed. Save not for
the alien attackers, whoever they may have been, being impressed by
your courage, you would have died. Instead, you lived. They grafted
their technology on to you. I know the story. I have seen the
pictures, Taal. You are half machine, ungainly metal fused to blue
skin that cannot be removed without your death. Unfortunate. You
should have died there. Better that than to live like you do, turning
down away missions, cowering alone in your quarters."
The Andorian was breathing heavily now, drawing upon all her
discipline to keep herself from attacking this insufferable man. "You
know nothing about me!"
"I know everything!" Jilani roared back, rising to his feet like a
panther, causing her to cringe away from him. "You cling to old
cultural ideals of purity and disability and you feel yourself
unworthy. You look in the mirror and imagine your beauty that once
moved your husband, a man you left because you could not face the fact
that he lost interest in you because of your deformity."
"You lie," Taal whispered fiercely, "Kerak still loves me. He
followed me here."
"Out of a misplaced sense of duty," Waqas drawled, "And how do you
know he came to the Charon for you. Maybe it was just a coincidence.
A transfer. Have you spoken with him?"
Taal simply looked away.
"I didn't think so. You avoid him because you know he cannot love
you. You do not love yourself."
"Yes," Thera agreed bitterly, "I am unlovable."
"And useless. Pack your things. I am submitting my report and you
will be stripped of the uniform soon enough. Dismissed."
The Andorian did not move, staring at her feet.
Jilani stepped forward, his intense black eyes fixed upon her
intensely. "Get. Out."
"I need Starfleet," Taal whispered quietly.
"I didn't hear you, Ms. Thera."
"I said," she repeated louder, "I need Starfleet. It is all I have left."
"Starfleet does not need you. Empty brigs guard themselves."
"I will NOT leave," the woman snapped, a fire lighting up in her green
eyes and she met his challenging gaze. "I will not."
Jilani shrugged. "There is only one condition upon which I can allow
you to stay."
"You will join the marines and train with them."
Taal stared at him for a moment. Then started to laugh for the first
time in a long time. It came out as a bitter sound. "I cannot be of
use to them."
"You are of no use to the security team either." Waqas countered
easily, "So what difference does it make…except that the marines won't
tolerate your uselessness. You will begin training with them or I
will see you from Starfleet. Is that clear?"
A long moment passed. Then Taal nodded.
"Good," Jilani replied with a cheerful smile. "It is done then. And
Lieutenant Thera…you hold the Purple Heart. That may not mean
anything to you, but to the marines it is a thing of honor. If you
cannot be worthy of yourself or of the uniform, at least be worthy of
= End Log =
Lieutenant Waqas Jilani