Doctor Cole Shuura, a stub of a human in
a fruity shirt, stood staring through his too small glasses and down the
barrel of his nose to concentrate on a wooden frame in one hand and a
small vial of adhesive in the other. His office was bare minimal as
appropriate to Imperial Navy standards. A simple metal desk and a black
chair was his only furniture. He hummed to himself as he dripped
adhesive slowly down one side on the back of the frame as if there was
still plenty of life and happiness to be had in the galaxy.
Lieutenant Allegra Ames paced
uncomfortably outside of Doctor Shuura's office, wondering if she had
made the wrong decision in scheduling an appointment to see the man. The
olive-gray cap of her uniform was held in her hand, and she nervously
squeezed at it until it was nothing more than a crumpled mess. Her blue
eyes stared down at the cold, duarsteel deck for a while, considering
her options carefully. There was an instinctive impulse to run away and
return to duty, but she was more afraid of running than staying. At long
last, she turned, and pressed the buzzer on the access panel on the door
to let the Doctor know she was outside.
The door was set to open upon any
request to give the warmth of the open door policy. The doors sprang
open and Doctor Shuura carefully added another line of adhesive to his
frame. Without taking his eyes of his project he begged entrance. "Come
in come in. Please do have an uncomfortable seat. I didn't expect anyone
to show up so early. I haven't had a chance to remove such ... standard
equipment as of yet." His voice was the easily excitable type that got
out everything he could before pausing to form the next line of thought.
It wasn't quite home, but at least the welcome felt warm enough.
Allegra stepped through the threshold
into the doctor's office and her eyes instinctively darted over every
corner of the room. "If-if you're not ready I can come back..." she
stammered, quite awkwardly, her gloved hands threatening to tear her cap
in two. At this point, she was looking for virtually any excuse to get
out of this appointment, and she had yet to make eye contact with him.
The doctor turned towards the wall
without a word. He only had one shot to do this right. With all of his
concentration, he lined up the shot. He held up the frame. It looked
even. He quickly and firmly thrust it into the wall, firmly planting it
into its semi-permanent destiny. After he took a step back, he spoke.
"There! Everything else is fluff. That's what counts. The good ol'
CoCo'U. That's even right?" The frame contained a college doctoral
degree in the science of psychology from Collective Commerce University
in Coruscant. The degree was a personnel pride of his and trumped even
his success on the Holonet. With his hopeful successful placement, he
turned back around to give his new ship mate a look. "Stang son of a... "
he trailed, still not use to the beauty of the empire. "I mean your hat.
Is everything okay?"
"My hat?" Allegra asked, completely
unaware of what she had been subconsciously crumpling it in her hands.
"Oh!" she said in a panic-stricken voice as she attempted to straighten
out, but to no avail. "I didn't realize..." she said, swallowing
uncomfortably before tucking it away in the pocket, where only a portion
of it could be seen. The young woman was clearly quite anxious about
The doctor began treatment right away.
He considered this must be like how a surgeon must feel going into
emergency triage. "Have a seat. Have a seat." He repeated while
searching for something to say. "Okay. So I'm going to say right off the
bat you have a personality disorder. That's fine. That's fine." He
repeated again in what he hoped was a soothing voice. "What would be
really embarrassing is if this frame went up crooked. It's fine right?"
He spun on the spot and came back the same way to look her in the eye.
"Yeah, it's great. Forget about that. Forget about the nerves. What is
the core root of your visit?"
"It appears to be level to me, doctor..."
Allegra said, before turning to grab hold of the lone back chair that
was available to her. Reluctantly, she sat down, daintily crossing her
legs as she attempted to regain her composure. "I feel unfulfilled with
my career..." she confessed, struggling to find the right words. She was
not entirely convinced this was not an ISB ruse to collect data on
members of the crew.
"Yes," The Doctor began "your choice to
enlist in the Galaxy's finest was a tough one and it'll lead to many
obstacles. As a Doctor, I know what you're going through." He took the
seat behind his desk and steepled his fingers to look as philosophical
as possible. "I would also like to let you know, you can tell me
anything. Strict patie-" He stopped himself from using such clinical
words. "...crew member to Doctor confidentiality. I would literally get
choked by Lord Vader ..." he began, but then his hand went to his throat
and he started to struggle for air while he mimed getting choked and
dragged under his desk. "...if I told anyone anything you say," he
finished while regaining his chair. "I'm the ship's counselor. No, not
the Jedi kind. They're dead." Was he going to say that every time?
Allegra instinctively rolled her eyes at
the doctor, wondering if this man would be of any use at all. She felt
she had nothing to lose at this point, and did not seem competent enough
to be able to damage her career in anyway should she open up to him. "My
career started well enough. Assigned to the bridge crew of a command
ship..." she began, lowering her head as she hesitated with whether or not
she should be truthful. "But ... it was not my doing. My father, who was
up until two months ago a member of the Imperial Senate, arranged
everything..." she confessed, for the first time admitting what other
members of the crew long suspected. "I do not belong here. I am not a
skilled enough officer. And with my father no longer able to pull the
strings and use his influence I fear my career will go no further..." she
revealed, in a decidedly vulnerable moment, and shrunk down into the
chair, unable to make eye contact.
Confidence. Nothing but confidence
radiated from Doctor Shuura as he resumed his philosophy pose. Whether
or not it was misplaced was an issue for the Force to decide, but
confidence was there none the less. "It's simple. You say that your
Father gave you everything. But what?! What if you say it ... with a
twist!" He spoke with jubilance. "What if I were to tell you that your
Daddy wasn't there for you at all? What would you think if he did all of
this to complete his own life: to have a successful daughter when all
you wanted ... was a hug? Tell me. What would make you happier? Once you
feel accepted by your Father, you will easily find yourself accepted by
the Empire. That's all this is. The Empire is ... your father." This style
of nonsense is what made Doctor Shuura famous on the net. It was not
intelligent thought or a sound science, but small connections of
pseudo-logic that looped into something a barely-sentient being would
follow and lose track until the words started to have an emotional
meaning. He hoped it worked.
Allegra listened to what the man had to
say intently, wondering if perhaps there was not some logic behind those
words. "It's true ... I suspect he always would have preferred a son to
pass his mantle onto, but he had to make due with me," she said, before
inhaling sharply to fight back the onrush of tears. She became an
uncontrollable, sniveling wreck as she considered the words being said
by the doctor. "He knew I could not have a successful naval career in
the Empire as a woman. That I would never be taken seriously, and it
pained him. This was all for him. You're right..." she said, as she pulled
the black leather gloves from her hand and wiped at her tears with one
of them. "Thank you, Doctor Shuura," she said, as the tears began to
subside, and she regained some composure.
"I'm sorry to say that I do not have my
eye drying tools unpacked at this time; however, you know what you must
do!" He said standing up and raising a fist. "You must call your Father.
Call him and say "I am your daughter! I love you! I don't know if that
satisfies you, but *I am fine*." Taking a deep breath, he sat back down,
leaned back and repeated. "You know what to do. Come see me again." He
said dismissively but in the nicest way possible.
Allegra rose from the chair silently,
quite embarrassed by her display of emotions, but her mind lingered on
the worry that other crew members might see that she had been crying. "I
will contact him, immediately, Doctor," she said confidently, inhaling
sharply in a futile attempt to dry her tears. "Look at me ... I'm a mess,"
she said, more to herself than to him. And with that, she offered a
polite nod and respectful smile, before pivoting on her heels and
retreating to the corridor. Once she was out of the office she stopped
in the passageway to consider what had happened. "What a strange little
man..." she commented to herself, as she placed her crush hat back upon
her head. Finally, she began making her way towards the communications
suite where she would have a much needed conversation with her father.