The pile of PADDs had grown slightly in the last hour, as Neyes attempted to assuage his mind by flooding it with distraction. Work was the best option right at that moment, given how there was so much to do now that the warp drive had been officially brought online. Landon was a man on a mission, whether said mission was to repair his broken heart, or to finally repair the Charon once and for all, no one could tell. His face was plain and emotionless with the lines of someone at work. He would read, and then maybe 'Hmmm' every so often. The Engineer wasn't one to talk to himself in quiet situations, and had all but gotten used to the fact someone would be around him at all times.
"You're still there." Neyes said, matter of fact. The real intention was to ask the obvious question, 'why'.
He was, of course, referring to the counselor seated in the corner of the medical bay. Nothing in her hands but the idle motions of a woman trying to crack a puzzle she didn't understand. Her stern and analyzing stares had been cutting a hole in the side of his head for the last two hours as he'd been working. Her dark hair fell down in locks from a tight bun in the back, and her dark eyes seemed to pierce whatever defenses he'd been trying to build between them as she decided when to make her next move. It had been a stand of up until now, you see. Karyna would say something to goat him, coax him, tease him, influence him, or just simply anger him, and Neyes would swat it down from the conversation with frightening apathy. There seemed to be nothing she could say which would allow her to penetrate his steely fortress of brood and mystery.
"Come on." She sighed. Finally appealing to the realist in him. "We've been here for hours. You know you're never going to leave if we don't talk about SOMETHING, so you might as well budge and let me in. Come on. Bring it."
Landon cracked a grin. He liked her, and her unfailing logic merited at least some kind of reward. She had been staring at him for quite a while now, and he admired her determination. "You know I can remember almost everyone I've ever killed?" He said, without turning to face her.
Karyna made a face. "Oh." Not what she had in mind. "How... How does that make you feel?" Silently she kicked herself for chiming in with such a clichéd response.
Neyes slowly set the PADD down, and looked around at her. The cortical monitor on his forhead blinked, the auto-hypo with anti-stimulants poked out from his neck, and the armature implant on his right arm all made him look like some kind of robotic humanoid. He made a little gassy-infant face and squelched his voice as he mocked her. "Oh gee wizz, Doc. It makes me feel all angry and sad and stuff. I can't sleep and the bad people in my head are always making me do bad things! Can you make them go away?"
She pursed her lips in irritation.
He rolled his eyes, realizing it probably wasn't the best time to be poking fun at someone trying to help him. Fine, he thought to himself. You win this round. "Counselor, I just mean... shouldn't killing someone bother me more than losing a relationship? I have killed... T'dhyu... quite a few." The ways he'd killed with daggers alone all seemed to bounce around, adding up to some monstrous number. "It doesn't seem to bother me though. I have ended lives, destroyed realities by stopping someone's existence, annihilating their future, hurting their loved ones and cutting short their potential as animated and sentient beings..."
Karyna, shuffled a little in her seat. "You think that should bother you more? Is it possible killing is just something you see as a job, like a side-effect of protecting someone?"
"You really want to know?" He raised an eyebrow at her, thinking of all the reasons he'd killed people.
She tapped her PADD, "You're not answering my question, Commander."
"OK." He tapped his knee, trying to place his thoughts. There was always this feeling he carried around that killing someone was only necessary if his future or the future of someone he cared about was in jeopardy if he didn't. Only then did he do it if the situation called for it. Obviously anyone capable of firing a phaser was also equally capable of vaporizing him in his sleep, but they had to give him a reason. A serious threat, or a fight. Maybe a war. The brutal and unceremonious murder of his Mother, Father, and baby Brother, for instance.
"Yes. But why do I remember them? I can recall dates, faces, names. At least when I knew their names. It's not because I'm proud of it, but I also don't really feel remorse. It's one of the more interesting parts of being joined, I suppose. I get to recall all the bad things along with the good. You'd think after all this time, all the adventures and all the wars, that Neyes would forget SOMETHING. But I remember everyone. And it doesn't bother me. Honestly it's just something I've learned to accept."
Karyna nodded, "So what does bother you?"
Landon seemed to grow uncomfortable and rigid. "What if this is what it means to live this long? What if I lose touch. Say I just keep having these things happen to me over the next couple centuries and eventually I just don't give a shit anymore? Do I want to live a life like that? At first it's exciting to know that once you're done with this life you get to do it all over again, learning from the past and moving forward. Now though... it just seems like I'm weaving my way through a life of disappointments."
"Are you disappointed with your life? Or with Landon's." She started to lean forward a little. He'd suddenly popped, and apparently once he started talking, it was all she could do to keep up.
"I feel silly asking this question. But I guess after all this time I still don't understand what the point of it all is. I'd love to say I'm some iconic temple of wisdom and knowledge, but it just isn't true. At my age you start to compare everything to what you've already done. Because let's face it, I've been most places, seen most species, I speak nine languages, and I can calculate a manual jump to warp in half the time it took anyone else in my class. I know a lot. I know what life feels like. Death has jammed it's angry fist up my backside so many times now I can't remember what it feels like to be in a place where I don't worry about someone trying to kill me.
"I fall in love with an amazing woman, human, interestingly enough, and then she vanishes from my life. Out of all the things I can think of that happen, I only get upset when someone that means something to me gets hurt. Shouldn't I be enlightened enough to care about everyone?"
"I think you're putting too much pressure on yourself, Commander. Even humans know that they can't be caught up in the issues of everyone. It's too much for anyone, even you. Just because you have the experience of centuries doesn't mean you're any different on the inside than the host you carries you. You're really only 26, don't forget that. Your next host will be young, probably too, and you'll have to face that all over again."
Landon rubbed the palm of his hand against his short hair. "I don't know if I want to, or if I can. I guess, that's what I'm feeling."
Karyna leaned back a little. The conversation had taken a darker spin, and she hand't exactly been expecting it. From what the crew had said, Landon was a bastion of integrity and work ethic even with the drugs. The sudden introduction of the possibility of a suicide was something she would not have been ready to peg on him, and probably would have thought it nearly impossible. Trill were basically conditioned tanks. Their bodies were prepared both mentally and physically to care for their culture's most important articles, the Symbionts. Taking one's own life would be an unforgivable grievance against the honor and pride of their race. If it was the Neyes symbiont's gesture, however, he'd need to be referred to a specialist. A Trill psychologist, maybe.
She blinked as she suddenly noticed he was staring at her in annoyance. She'd drifted off into thought without realizing it.
"Are you done wondering if I'm going to off myself or not?" He chided.
"Well you did say you weren't thinking about living through another lifetime, Sir." She held up a hand defensively.
"One. Killing myself would be a tragic loss of skill to this ship, one which you all need desperately, I might add. Two, my death would release me to haunt all the poor bastards who deserve to never sleep again. I'd much rather they simply sleep forever, but I just haven't gotten around to it yet. I have things to do, Counselor. I won't die before they do."
"Yes. Well. As long as you're sure that's not the problem."
"You're safe. My brains shall remain where they are for now." He grinned, enjoying watching her try to keep pace with his feelings. He couldn't even really pull it off, and he certainly didn't expect her to be able to.
Landon already knew what was wrong. He took drugs to deal with the morbid curiosity of wondering if he was cursed to fail at everything that mattered, or if he was some kind of monster who wreaked havoc on the lives of those he didn't outright kill. He remained in Starfleet as a place to hide, from his losses. It was enough for him to simply wake up in the morning and do his job, not having to think about his family or Lexi. The problem with doing a job was that he needed to do it better than anyone else. Neyes needed to be the shining star in every situation, and there was no way he was going to accomplish it sad and tired. Drugs were the necessary bridge for him to deal with the problem in an efficient and timely manner. It had gotten out of hand, though, he had to admit. It felt too good to forget about anyone but himself for so long.
"If that's all, Doc. I have a lot of reading and status reports to catch up on before returning to duty." Landon spoke kindly, but made it clear he was most likely done with the discussion."
Karyna eyed him, unsure if she'd actually made progress or not. That was to be expected though. Her main goal was to get him to talk, and it had been accomplished with flying colors. "Alright, Commander. I'll release you back to active duty. You'll be required to see a Counselor at least once a month for the next 6 months, though. Is that understood?"
Landon looked at her and winked. "Yes, ma'am. I'll be there. Thank you."
With that, she stood and walked out of sickbay. She'd have a lot of reading to do before speaking with him again, she imagined...
=/\= End Log =/\=
Lieutenant Commander Landon Neyes