Grace and Farah had never been to Dolonis. They were surprised by what they found. From the description, they were expecting a drab, sterile place, full of akumillians in lab coats with kind smiles. Instead, it was very colourful.
The colours weren’t bright, rather they were fairly muted but there were a lot of them. Blues, violets, greens, pale pinks & the like. The workers were similarly attired. When the Cerberus crew arrived, they were each led away by a separate akumillian.
Grace found herself with a petite man wearing a lavender suit. He sat in a comfortable chair and had her take a seat in an identical one beside his.
“I am Bilnious. When you’re ready, you can tell me about your grief,” he said. That was it. He closed his eyes and faced away from her. A part of Grace wanted to see how long he’d wait before saying anything else but it wasn’t the time or place. She took a little time to get her thoughts together and told him everything.
Everything about that last, horrible battle, about Allison’s final holo message and about her own sorrow about the whole thing.
All the while he listened. It was strange talking to him. Whenever she talked to Lucy, there was this… power emanating from her. This sense that at any moment she could easily end you. With Bilnious, that sensation wasn’t there. Rather, he radiated warmth and compassion. Grace figured it was probably a professional difference. That akumillians learned to project sensations that aided them in their regular work.
After listening to her, Bilnious looked like he was deep in thought. “I’m so sorry,” his voice was completely sincere. “I do hope we can help you. Given your personality type, I would suggest starting with reflective therapy. I would say that we should follow that up with solitary memory immersion therapy. After that, we can try some group exchange therapy and then we’ll see where you’re at.”
“What do those entail exactly?” Grace asked. Reflective therapy seemed obvious enough but the other two… What exactly did “group exchange therapy” mean?
“Oh, my apologies,” Bilnious stated. “I’d forgotten that it’s your first time. allow me to explain. For reflective therapy we put you in a capsule that looks similar to a stasis chamber. It’s designed to heighten your focus and your introspective abilities. Which will allow you to fully connect with your emotions surrounding your horrible loss. Memory immersion therapy uses the same principle, but instead of connecting to your emotions, it goes on a deeper level, allowing you to vividly recall times you spent with your dear friend. Group exchange therapy will broadcast your exact feelings to someone from your group and theirs to you.”
“I know how they feel,” Grace said. “We’re all suffering the same loss after all.”
“Forgive me, Miss,” Bilnious said “but that isn’t true. You may, indeed be suffering from the same loss, but you aren’t suffering the same way. Experiencing one another’s suffering will allow the both of you to place your own in perspective and sharing that moment of empathy will allow you to both better understand that you aren’t alone and aid you in facing your own challenges.”
“And who would I be doing this procedure with?” Grace asked.
“Whoever you wish,” Bilnious said. “Provided, of course, that they agree. You already have someone in mind?”
“I do,” Grace said.
“Then, you find the plan acceptable?”
“Well, you’re the expert on this stuff,” Grace said. “I’ll trust your judgement.”
“Thank you,” Bilnious said. “But the important thing is that you’re comfortable and that you get the help you need. You mustn’t hesitate to decline if something seems uncomfortable to you.”
“Oh, don’t worry,” Grace said. “None of it seems bad.”
Bilnious nodded. “Very well. Then I’ll make the preparations for your reflective therapy. At the longest, it could be an hour. Will you be all right being by yourself for that time?”
“I’ll be fine,” Grace reassured him.
He bowed and made his way out, reassuring Grace that he would return shortly.
Y4-R1’s Personal Log
My expedition has failed at its primary objective. However, it has aided me in an unanticipated way. Lunais has permitted me to remain within the garden, at least on a temporary basis. She has been listening to my feelings of loss and shown support for the turmoil I have been subjected to as a result of Allison’s death.
I am still damaged. I do not know if the damage will ever be repairable. Regardless, her assistance is gradually making my difficulties more bearable.
I do not know what extent of recovery will be necessary for me to return to the Cerberus. Nor do I know how much time will pass before I reach that point. I am not even certain how I will recognise it. I am still lost.