Psychological Warfare

When Captain Morton arrived just outside holodeck-3 and noticed that it was already in use, he frowned. He made a note that he'd have to reprimand Ensign whats-his-name for failing to follow up properly on his request, but in the meantime, he entered the holodeck, wondering if perhaps the person using the it currently would be done soon.

It was the sudden shriek of surprise and the abrupt sobbing of a holo-character that piqued the Captain's interest and when he moseyed further in, he spotted Counselor Sedai standing in the midst of a group of holo-characters, a PADD in her hand, and a rapt expression of fascination that was positively Vulcan.

"... Counselor?"

She pivoted at the interruption, blinking at the sight of the base commander. "Computer, pause program please." The action froze around them and Katriel lowered her hands to her sides, the empty one stopping to brush some lint off her uniform.

"Captain Morton. Is there something I can do for you?"

"Oh no, not in the slightest, I just thought that I had reserved holodeck-3 for myself in this timeslot, you see, but you're still here so I must be in error and I was planning to go scold an Ensign about it, but the um..." Coby waved a hand at their surroundings. "... what exactly IS it that you're doing?"

"Oh." The counselor eyed the nearest holodeck character, a female human who was presently frozen in the action sobbing into her sleeves, considering what to say. Eventually she shrugged.

"I recently came across this series of programs where... I suppose it was used for entertainment, but principally it's about placing players in circumstances where they are... required to form temporary alliances which are often quickly and easily broken. From a psychological point of view, it's really quite interesting, especially if I am attempting to guess at what alliances are true and who is planning to betray whom."

"... But you're empathic," Coby pointed out, a little befuddled. "Wouldn't you ordinarily be able to know such a thing?"

Katriel smiled faintly. "Perhaps. I suppose some of the fun is in not knowing, however, since they are just photonic characters. I am also always open to developing my ability to detect when beings are choosing to be deceitful by means other than through my empathy. I'm not able to read all species in the end, after all."

The Captain just nodded emphatically at that logic and Katriel tilted her head a little. "Would you be interested in staying to watch, Captain? I must admit that even without a psychology background, the intrigue that goes on can be..... surprisingly compelling," she said, delicately.

Coby stood there for an indecisive moment, but in the end this was his planned recreation time after all. "... if it wouldn't be an imposition..." he started to say.

"Not at all, Captain. I'd be interested to hear your opinion on occurrences, in fact." And Coby wasn't sure if he should feel entirely comfortable with what the counselor's sudden smirk was implying. "Computer, please restart program."

Approximately fifty minutes later...

The two officers exited holodeck-3 and Captain Morton had a completely bowled over expression on his face. The counselor had an only slightly stunned look herself, but when she checked on Coby, it transformed into a mild grin.

"Same time next week, Captain?" she inquired, politely.

"... oh, uh! ... Yes. Yes, I believe so."