Location: Holodeck 2
Timeline: 18 hrs before 'Good ol Days'
The security officer approached and lunged. In quick action his world turned upside down and he crashed to the mat.
"Better than last time," Banks commented as she tied her hair back again. "Next time you need to not hesitate when you want to make your move."
As the man walked to the back of the line the next stepped up. Henry had asked her to help teach some of these guys some new moves in addition to their normal training.
Millie set her gym bag down on a bench, watching the training with a hint of a smirk. Banks never pulled any punches. While it made her good at her job, it also had a tendency to alienate her a little from the rest of the crew. It was something she'd nudged at with her sessions with Tricia, but the woman was always a bit of a hard sell.
The counselor seated herself on the floor, starting into her stretching routine.
About ten minutes later Banks plopped down next to Millie. "Some of them show potential. Most show very little intelligence."
Millie chuckled. "Be patient. It looked like they were making progress." She gave a stretch, reaching and grabbing one of her ankles.
"So what's new with ship gossip? You get all the good secrets."
Millie laughed. "What makes you think people are actually WILLING to tell me their secrets?" She prodded Tricia with her toes, indicating who the comment was directed towards.
"I mean other people. I already know I'm messed up."
"You realize that any secrets I know are privileged information, right?" Millie grinned, stretching both arms up over her head.
"What is it with you medical types and secrecy? Chance won't tell me if anyone comes in sickbay with an embarrassing injury."
"Perhaps because those involved don't want others to know their embarrassing secrets." Millie gave a deep exhale, crossing her legs in front of her. "How have you been? Any new secrets I need to know about?"
Banks laid back on the floor looking at the ceiling. "It's been a big change since Keiran showed up and don't get me wrong he's great and I have a lot of fun with him...but some nights I lay in bed like this envisioning non-mom action." She paused, giving Millie the side eye. "Sometimes when Chance is asleep I'll sneak down to a holodeck and just rampage through a program and then shower and slip back into bed before he wakes up but I sleep sooo good afterwards."
"It's hard to make such a drastic change in your life, especially when you have someone depending on you." A grin played at the corner of the counselor's lips. "But, you know...that's the first time I've heard you refer to yourself as 'mom'."
Banks stiffened a little. "I've said from the start I'm not trying to replace her." Her tone was slightly defensive.
Millie reached over, putting a hand on Tricia's arm. "Relax. It's a good thing. I never said that you would ever replace his biological mother. It's not uncommon for children to have multiple parents that have taken on the mother or father roles, both in human and non-human species."
Banks nodded, easing her posture. "I'd be lying if I didn't say the whole experience has gone smoother and faster than I expected. The one thing I thought I'd never have."
"And children can be highly resilient. My sessions with Keiran are going well." Millie smiled, noticing the ease return to Patricia's body language.
"What's he say about us?"
Millie opened her mouth, as if to say something...but stopped. She took a breath. "He's adjusting well to his new environment. There are things he misses, which is to be expected. But like grief with anyone, it often comes in waves. Children, especially, will go through varying cycles of grief as they get older and their brains re-process their loss. There's no...quick fix, I guess."
"Maybe he shouldn't be cooped up on a starship. All the places he gets to play aren't even real."
"I think you underestimate the power of parental input in his growth. He deserves a chance to get to know you, to get to know Chance. He has Henry and Edra, and all of the children. There's a whole branch of the family that he should get to know. And you have the support of all of your friends here on the crew." The counselor smirked. "Besides...he likes the 'adventures' on the holodeck with you and Chance."
"That's not what I mean. Maybe...we ought to be raising him someplace that doesn't risk being blown up every day."
"You share the concern of every parent enlisted in Starfleet." Millie sighed. "It's not easy, and there's no right answer." She paused. "Would you ever be able to completely walk away from this kind of life?"
"If we moved to some stable world I'm sure Chance could find work as a doctor and I could always pick up, you know, freelance work."
"And how much would you be gone? How much of his childhood would Keiran spend without both of his mothers?" Millie asked, gently.
"Why do I get the feeling no matter what I said you're going to come back with there's never a good answer or plan?"
"Probably because their is no right answer. Either way, there's risk." Millie folded her hands on her lap. "If you stay as a family on the ship, there's a risk of exposing him to whatever danger we encounter. If you take him off the ship, he grows up without one or both of you. I wish there really WAS a right answer. It would make counseling a shipful of families much easier."
"At least I have them now. Wherever we go."
Millie stretched out on her stomach, propping herself up on her elbows. "And how does it feel to finally have roots?"
"I never really thought about it. It's nice."
The counselor smiled. "Somehow, I imagine spending the years after your retirement on the Crow family ranch has to give you a sense of security."
"Who said anything about retirement?"
Millie chuckled. She should have known. "You mean you're going to leave Chance to deal with grandchildren all by himself?" she said with a wink.
"Oh don't say grandchildren. I'm already going gray."
"Whatever you want...Grandma. Or do you prefer Nana? Abuela?" Millie giggled.
Banks gave her a dry look before relaxing it. "I have a long long time before I have to worry about that."
The counselor gave a smirk. "As long as we're both alive to see that day, right?"
"He's just a little boy, can't I keep him like that?"
"You could always...adopt another little one..." Millie grinned a little wider. "Or three..."
Banks didn't say anything to that but her eyes were thinking it over. "Well, anyways on that note I need to get back to quarters and start on dinner. But I almost forgot..." she went to a small bag and returned with a data chip. "Everyone's clearing out of here and you have the next session reserved according to the manifest. Give that program a try." She smirked at Millie as she headed to the door.
Millie watched Tricia's retreat, giving a skeptical raise of her eyebrow as the door shut behind her friend. She gave a sigh of resignation, walked to the control panel, and inserted the data chip.
"Computer, run program."
A lush, tropical paradise unfolded in front of her. The wispy fabric of the luxurious cabana fluttered in the crisp ocean breeze, and the water lapped the beach a few feet from where she stood. Millie , looked around: a plush massage table, a deep basin for soaking in...and a large bed, littered with rose petals.
"We meet again, my lovely..."
Millie jumped at the sound of the voice behind her, and she spun quickly. There stood Mourib, her dancer/conquest from the girls' night holodeck party with Caressa, clad in just a---
"Oh, wow..." Millie whispered, her cheeks flushing pink.
Lieutenant JG Aemilia "Millie" Stepanova
Chief Counselor, USS Mercutio
Chief Intelligence Officer, USS Mercutio