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  • 📅 February and March 2024 are YE 46.2 in the RP.

RP Concluded Counselor's Assessment: Ralor Zarzen


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RP Date
YE 44.9
RP Location
Star Army Recruitment, Uesureyan Fortress, Kyoto
A shuttle came to an abrupt halt outside of the Uesereyan Fortress, whose imposing silhouette seemed to tower over nearby buildings even though it was only three storeys tall. There was something about the fortress that made it seem bigger than it really was. Perhaps it was the huge slabs of stone from which it was composed, scarred in a war that had torn apart the rest of what is now Kyoto but was then Geshrinopolis decades ago. Then again, it might have been the narrow windows that seemed to be designed to provide maximal cover for those within while still allowing them to return fire on anyone laying siege. Or the parapets and gun turrets along the roof. Or perhaps the sign that said "STAR ARMY OF YAMATAI" was enough. Whatever it was, the building seemed to radiate a quietly intimidating force for all to see.

The shuttle door opened and a woman stepped out, her nearly knee-high combat boots crunching in the hard-packed snow, as she stood to her full height of 5'10", quite tall among Yamataians. She was dressed in the latest Star Army uniform, opting for the skirt and bare legs rather than the cargo pants. The panel on her chest was medical teal and the patch on her shoulder revealed unequivocally that she was a counselor. As she looked down, scanning through the text on a datapad as quickly as she was able, barely a handful of snowflakes descended from the sky above and settled into the thick head of straight black hair that formed a mane around her soft features. As the shuttle door closed behind her, she looked up to glance at the impressive building before hurrying inside.

Skipping to the front of the line to get through security, she showed her credentials and orders and was quickly scanned before being escorted past the waiting room full of soon-to-be recruits, down a set of hallways she remembered from her time here only a couple of months ago to a room with which she was wholly unfamiliar. Inside, she found a young male Minkan sitting at a table with an empty chair across from him.

"Hello, Ralor," Thia said with a friendly smile as she sat down in the chair and laid her datapad on the table. "Call me Thia. Thank you for being patient while I got here. We're still a little light on counselors for now, so I had to fly in from offworld. I'm here to give you a quick mental evaluation. I understand you've been given the standard recruitment questionnaire, so I'll try not to ask you all the same questions. First of all: how are you doing? Can I get you some water or anything?"

Tap. Tap tap. Tap tap tap. The sound of fingers being repeatedly struck against the hard surface of a table paired was the only thing that could be heard if one were to enter the room the young Minkan was sitting in. Ralor knew he had to come to this mental evaluation but he didn’t know it would take a while before a counselor even showed up. Twice now, he’d gotten up from seat and took a peek outside to gaze through the hall to see if anyone was on their way before returning to his chair and trying to combat the growing sense of unease. This was just supposed to be a simple mental evaluation right? Ask him a few questions, say he’s perfectly fine and mentally stable then he leaves. At least that’s how he hoped it would go down.

Ralor had opted to wear his civies to this meeting, figuring that showing up in uniform for what would potentially only be a few minutes of back and forth would be overdoing it a bit. A simple button up shirt and jeans would do just as well! The male was just about to try getting up and checking the hall for a third time before he heard the door open and someone enter the room, causing him to look toward them and arch an eyebrow once the seat across from his was finally occupied.

“Uh, hey Thia. I’m glad you’re finally here, I was beginning to lose my mind in here.” He blinked suddenly after saying that, shaking his head before speaking up again. Probably not the best idea to say something like that to a counselor after all. “Oh! But not literally of course, I’m just saying the wait was a bit longer than I expected! Besides that I’m doing alright! No water necessary.” He replied to her last question, a small smile forming on his face.

Thia laughed and one of her mismatched eyes began to glow, revealing that it was cybernetic. She sat back in her chair and crossed her legs.

"I understand completely," she said as she idly started smoothing out and straightening the pleats of her skirt. "I also understand you're from Ternifac. Is that right? Did you grow up there, or was it just the last place you lived before you enlisted? I spent the last 4 years there, almost 5. Until I took a commission as a counselor. It can be pretty rough there, but since I grew up in Nepleslia, that just made it seem more like home."
Ralor took a deep breath, sitting back in his chair also and stretching his arms out slightly. “Yes that’s right. I did grow up in Ternifac. And calling it pretty rough is probably an understatement, at least for most people’s standards. I should know, I had a pretty nasty accident back in my youth.” He leaned forward now, eyes staring into hers for a moment as he tilted his head in genuine curiosity “Did you enjoy your five years there? What did you do?”
"What did I do? I asked questions of strangers much as I'm doing now, but in a less professional role," Thia smiled again. This time, it wasn't a warm and welcoming smile like she'd given him at first, but an asymmetric grin, bearing her sharp canine tooth on one side of her face. "I did enjoy it. I enjoy people, and the people in Ternifac are some of the very best. There are more people in Kyoto, but most of them are comfortable and content. People come to Kyoto to be that way. But people go to Ternifac because they want something else. I like that kind of people. I guess I like asking questions of people who are at least a little uncomfortable."

Realizing that she had been leaning forward in her chair as she spoke, Thia was suddenly aware of how tense her body had become. It was as if she were readying herself to pounce, she thought as she forced herself to relax again. Her features softened, and she lay her hands in her lap again before continuing. "Tell me more about your nasty accident."
He nodded along as he listened to her speak, noting the sharp tooth that stuck out of one side of her mouth as she answered his question. From the way leaned forward ever so slightly in her seat and how she talked, Ralor was beginning to think that Thia was no ordinary counselor. It wasn’t until after she leaned back in her chair that he adjusted himself in his seat, putting a closed fist up to his mouth and clearing his throat.

“Right. The accident.” He repeated quietly, looking down as he placed both hands on the table and began drumming his fingers on the table idly. Looking up once more he smiled at her, though it didn’t reach his eyes at all. “Ever get in trouble for a mistake? A simple misunderstanding? Wrong place at the wrong time?” He asked her though not waiting for an answer as he continued on. “That’s what happened to me. I wasn’t an innocent little kid growing up, I did some pickpocketing and stealing, breaking and entering that sorta thing. But that night I decided to sneak down into the basement of this arcade I frequently visited and I happen to come across two important looking people having a conversation.”

He paused, shaking his head and letting out a sigh before he continues his little story. “Turns out they were Ikemen, up and comers I think. Doesn’t matter now at least. Well after I got caught turning to exit and forget all about that place, one of them decided I should be punished for eavesdropping. Guess he had a point to prove or something I don’t know. Wanted to break my arms and legs just because I was somewhere I shouldn’t have been.” The smile he had given her before was gone, his gaze darkening as he finally stopped drumming his fingers on the table and stared directly into Thia’s eyes. “Apparently I didn’t look afraid enough. Or maybe it was because I wasn’t begging for forgiveness or something. Either way the guy lost it and instead of settling for just breaking my limbs he and his pack of goons beat me to within an inch of my life. I must’ve been pretty fucked up because now I’m in this body.” He flexed his fingers and balled them into a fist. “I hope one day I’ll be able to return home and visit that arcade again, take a stroll down in the basement and see if the people who did that to me are even still around. Of course they wouldn’t even recognize me but I’m sure I’d make them remember me.”
"I have a bad habit of inserting myself into situations at the wrong place and time. It's how I ended up with a head full of cybernetics," she replied. For emphasis, she focused her cybernetic eye on him and zoomed in on his face, causing the eye to glow brighter and make a faint whirring sound. "What would you hope to accomplish by making those Ikemen remember you again? I know it might seem hypocritical of a member of the Star Army to say so, but whatever you do to them, they'll likely just start planning to do again to you twice over. I know it's hard, but someone has to make the choice to end the cycle of violence."
“What would I hope to accomplish? Revenge probably. Even if they did start planning something I doubt they’d follow through, isn’t the Star Army untouchable? The cycle would end on my terms.” He leaned back in his chair, staring at her glowing cybernetic eye before breaking out in a huge grin. “Of course this is all hypothetically speaking. Like I said, the ones who caused my accident are probably long gone or dead by now.”
"As long as we're speaking hypothetically, the Star Army isn't officially untouchable, and in the military you're subject to stricter rules. I'm not a lawyer, but I believe if you get caught fighting with civilians, they'll be tried in civilian court while you'd be in a court martial." Thia took a moment to uncross her legs and pivot slightly in her chair before crossing her legs the other way. "Is this «accident» the reason you're enlisting?"
“Ah. Stricter rules you say? And only if I get caught would I get court-martialed while those criminals grease the palms of judge and jury to get away with light sentences or potentially even scot free. Sounds about right.” Ralor grumbled quietly, scooting his chair a bit closer to the table so he could prop an elbow up and rest his chin in the palm of his hand. “No it’s not the reason for my enlistment. Figured I’d use my second lease on life to do something worthwhile for a change. So I chose to enlist in the Star Army. Maybe it’ll turn out to be a great decision for me!”
"I hope it will. You're taking on a lot of personal risks to provide a service for the Empire, and with that service comes commensurate rewards," Thia picked up her datapad, scrolled for moment, then put it down again with a quiet chuckle. "I had a whole thing here about mitigating mental health risks, but you can get into that with whichever counselor is assigned to you. I'll just say that the greatest reward is probably to have a second family, the crew with whom you'll serve. Things don't always go smoothly, but they'll be there for you when you need them. How smoothly are things going with your first family?"
Ralor took a moment to consider what she said, violet eyes looking along her uniform then focused most notably on her sleeve before he brought his gaze back up to her face. “Ah but why not talk with your superiors about getting yourself assigned to me? I mean we’ve already built quite the rapport wouldn’t you agree? I’m sure you have a least some pull around here, given that you’re an officer right?” He gave her yet another smile though this one seemed entirely genuine. “And I’d hate to repeat my origin story to some other smuck who isn’t as understanding as you. They might try to send me to some sort of boring therapy session or something.”

With a little chuckle of his own, he rubbed the back of his head. “Things are quite well with my first family. Can’t say we’ve experienced any problems after my accident. My parents actually approve of me joining the Star Army and hope I’ll do great things. I promised to keep in touch and I intend to do so!”
Thia sat back in her chair and laid her hands in her lap. She felt like she was being manipulated, which she didn't like - normally she was on the other side of any manipulation. But she couldn't tell what Ralor had to gain from her being his counselor, so she smiled and nodded.

"I'll see what I can do. My rank is shoi, which is to commissioned officers what your rank of santo hei is to enlisted personnel. Which is to say, I'm the lowest an officer can be, once they've graduated from training. So I don't have any pull, unless I want to pull on someone in training. Even then, if they're not below me on the chain of command, they don't really report to me even if I have a higher rank. Just like you don't report to me." Thia shrugged. "But as I said before, we're a little light on counselors. It's a new occupation just introduced late this year. So, if your assigned ship doesn't have a counselor, and there's a good chance it doesn't yet, I can put in a request. Because I agree, we have a good rapport."

At the very least, Thia thought to herself, she was interested to find out why Ralor really wanted her as his counselor. "I'm glad to hear about your parents. Do you have anyone else? Siblings? Close family? Friends?"
“Well that’s all I could ask for. I hope you do put in that request since you agree with me. Then we can talk about all sort of things when we’re off duty! I’ll be looking forward to working with you.” He took a moment to stand to his feet, walking back and forth behind his seat to stretch his legs out while answering her latest questions. “Hm no, no siblings or close family. Not even any friends to speak of. But I’m sure I’ll make plenty of new friends and get a nice second family to enjoy my time with as you put it.” He finished his statement by sitting back down in his chair, letting out a small breath of air and waited for her to follow up on her line of questioning.
"Just a few more questions and then I'll let you go, little violet," Thia gave him a reassuring smile. Almost like her friendly smile when she first walked in, but more subdued. "But they're the hardest ones. Let's start in the context of your «accident». Do you ever have intrusive thoughts about that day? Do you ever find yourself reliving that event as if it just happened? Or vivid dreams or nightmares about it? Or do you feel distressed if something reminds you of it?"
Ralor arched an eyebrow at her calling him little violet, the moniker catching him by surprise before he regained his composure. “Some nights I have dreams about it, no matter what I do it always ends the same. I try not to think too much about the incident itself, so I’m not too distressed by it. Really the only thing I want to do when I do happen to think about it on an odd day or suffer a nightmare is get revenge. Is that such a bad thing? To get back at the ones who wronged you?”

Ralor sighed, leaning back into his seat slumping in it really. “Little Violet?”
Thia barely caught the raised eyebrow before he responded. Ralor didn't seem to be too shaken up about it, though, to his credit. So she listened to what he said and then paused to think. Sitting quietly for a few moments felt deeply wrong to her, since in her previous life she was always playing at a disadvantage. Her marks always had to have their ears full of words, whether hers or their own. Otherwise they'd have enough time to stop and think about what they were telling to a random woman in a bar.

But Thia held all the power in this situation. She could declare Ralor unfit for duty, and it was her job to make that call. But she quickly dismissed the idea. As much as Ralor wanted revenge, he didn't seem to be acting irrationally.

"Revenge is bad enough to put an otherwise good person somewhere they can't do any good, which is what I'm concerned with. But the thought of revenge is perfectly reasonable after what you've been through," Thia reassured him as she gave him a sympathetic look. "I hope that by the time you get your first leave, I'll have convinced you that you don't need revenge. Or whoever your assigned counselor ends up being, which we'll see."

Thia uncrossed and stretched her legs, an action that fluidly evolved into standing from her chair and giving him a nod. "I'm going to give you a positive assessment, but recommend that you meet with your counselor on a regular basis. Honestly, I recommend that to everyone, so don't take it personally."

Picking up her datapad, she tucked it under her arm as if to make it clear they were reaching the end of their conversation. "As for Little Violet, it's an old habit of mine that's hard to shake. I grew up in a squat with a hundred other kids, and somehow I became the de facto leader, so I'd give the new kids nicknames when they arrived. It was my way of giving them permission to become someone new, if they wanted, at least while I was around. So I guess you have the same opportunity. You can keep being Ralor Zarzen all the time. Or you can sometimes be Little Violet."
Ralor was looking up at the ceiling for a while as he listened to Thia speak, the whole spiel about good people and revenge did make a little bit of sense but still he didn’t completely change his mind on it. It was only when he heard her say that she’d give him a positive assessment that he looked at her once more to see her now standing on her feet. “Well that’s good at least. A positive assessment should exempt me from a few of those sessions right? How much of a regular basis are we talking here?” The young Minkan asked, getting to his feet also and taking a few steps closer toward Thia his head slightly tilted.

“Well I guess it doesn’t matter really, forget I asked. And I guess I’m okay with being Little Violet, though I doubt many people will even refer to me as such aside from you. Guess it’ll be an inside thing between friends. I’ll have to come up with something for you one day.” He replied, rubbing his chin already thinking of potential ideas to refer to her by the next time they meet. Something befitting the de facto leader of a bunch of kids in her youth.
"It's up to you more than it's up to me," Thia replied with a shrug. "If I'm your counselor, my door will always be open if you want to talk, unless I'm with someone else. But I would recommend meeting at least after each mission, and maybe more often depending on how you're doing. Even just for a quick check-in."

Thia smiled again. Not the friendly smile she'd given when she first walked in, nor the smile of a predator on the hunt when she reminisced what she did before her commission. This time she was surprised and amused. Her cybernetic eye flashed for a moment before she spoke again. "In all my years, nobody has given me a nickname. I'm looking forward to hearing what you come up with."

Turning to go, Thia opened the door but then paused and looked back. "If you don't have anything better to do, I have a little time before my shuttle offworld. Want to get a coffee or something stronger? You have my word that anything we talk about over drinks will be off the record."
It was Ralor’s turn to shrug now, after hearing that it would be completely up to him how often he visited his assigned counselor. “So I can just peek my head in through the doorway and let them know I’m still alive and not insane. I think I can do that.” He said with a smirk, before following behind her and giving her a pat on the shoulder.

“I’ll have to take you up on the offer some other time Thia. It’ll also give me time to come up with a good nickname for you. I have some things I need to get sorted out now that I’m finished here.” Ralor smiled one last time before he slipped past her and walked out of the room, giving her a little farewell wave without looking back.