The Empty Shell - Fan fiction.
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Join Date: Dec 2007
12-19-2011, 07:19 AM
Chapter 5: Strange New World.
Kaylan stepped from the transporter pad and looked around. Her first glimpse of San Francisco. All those people. And very few, if any, Trill amongst them. Suddenly Kaylan felt rather lonely, Here she was, on her own, well, nearly, on a completely different world to the one she came from, and if there were similarities between Earth and Trill, it was still alien enough to be, well, alien to her.
Shaking off her sudden feelings of anxiety, she picked up her bag and slung it over her shoulder. The rest of her baggage was being transported directly to the Academy, but as she wasn’t due there until tomorrow, Kaylan had decided to take a look around this city first. She very quickly came to the conclusion that there were no cities of this size back home, and she thought it would be very easy to get lost here, but Jinx seemed to know the city pretty well, and directed her if she started taking wrong turns.
As evening fell, Jinx led Kaylan back to a transporter pad, and advised her to get on, and beam to Starfleet Academy. She did so, and within a few seconds she was standing in a courtyard or garden surrounded by buildings. The buildings were labelled SFA01, SFA02, and so on. Looking around the garden, she could see a number of other cadets around, some sitting reading, or chatting, others running, either errands, or just for exercise. Kaylan approached a young lady wearing a cadet’s uniform that appeared mostly human, apart from some slight wrinkling above her nose. She wore some kind of elaborate earring that ran from one of the top of ear to lobe.
“Excuse me,” Kaylan said as she got closer. The other woman looked up and gave Kaylan a rather cold stare.
“Yes?” she said.
“Hi, I’ve just arrived. Could you give me directions as to where I go to see about getting my room please?”
“Try building one. You should find it easily enough.” The woman turned back to her datapad and continued reading, effectively blocking Kaylan out of her thoughts.
“Thanks,” said Kaylan as she moved off. The cadet didn’t even register that she had been addressed.
Sure enough, Kaylan found building one easily. Having giant numbers painted on the sides of the buildings really helped, she thought. Stepping inside, she quickly found an information terminal, keyed in her name, and was given directions to a cadet’s lodge, where it seemed she would be living with 5 others until her time at the Academy was completed. Making a note of the directions, she headed off to find her lodge.
Upon arriving there, she walked into the dark building, and realised she was not alone. Curled up in one of the chairs in the corner of the lodge’s common room was a giant cat, it’s black fur blending into the darkness or the room, and it’s green eyes seemingly glowing as it tracked Kaylan’s movement around the lodge. Kaylan placed her bag down next to one of the other chairs and sat down, grinning over at the cat. She got quite a surprise when the cat uncurled itself, stretched, then stood up on its hind legs. It was a lot larger than Kaylan had expected, nearly matching her own height. And it was wearing a cadet’s uniform, or at least, some of a cadet’s uniform.
“Kaylan Jinx, I assume?” the cat spoke, with a decidedly feminine voice. “We were told to expect you. I’m Winter. Not my real name of course, but you people with your stunted tongues couldn’t pronounce it. So far, we just have us two and Miranda in here, but I’d expect the other three rooms to fill up pretty quickly. I’m in that room, and that one is Miranda’s.” Winter pointed out a couple of the doors leading off the common room.
“Hi, yes, I’m Kaylan Jinx. Good to meet you Winter. And if no-one minds, I’ll have that room.” Kaylan pointed to one of the unclaimed rooms.
“Well, it’s a first come, first served basis, so go for it.” Winter replied with a toothy grin.
Kaylan walked into her room and dropped her bag on the bed, quickly unpacking the contents. When she returned to the common room, she saw that Winter had prepared a mug of something hot for both of them, so she picked it up with thanks, and sat down. Winter had gone back to being curled up on her chair.
The pair of them spent the next hour or so drinking Tarkalian tea, chatting and getting to know one another. Winter was of a species called the Caitian and was, more or less, a giant, bipedal cat, complete with tail. One advantage that she had against common household cats, though, was that she had opposable thumbs. She was here to study science, and one day hoped to be assigned back home where she could really help her people. Winter did laugh a little when Kaylan admitted she had joined Starfleet simply so they would provide her with a ship to go exploring the galaxy in, but all the while was nodding and saying it was a brilliant idea.
After a while, they heard the door open, and in walked the woman Kaylan had spoken to back in the garden when she first arrived at the Academy. Winter waved her over as she tried to walk straight through the commons and into her room.
“Hey, Miranda, come meet the new blood. She is staying here with us. Miranda, this is Kaylan, and Kaylan, this is Miranda.”
Kaylan stood and offered Miranda her hand to shake, but Miranda simply muttered something, then turned and walked into her room, closing the door behind her. Kaylan watched her walk away in astonishment, until Winter came over and placed a hand on her shoulder.
“Miranda has always been a bit like that. Standoffish. It comes from being a member of some obscenely rich family from Bajor and being ordered to come to Starfleet Academy by her parents. She doesn’t want to be here, so goes out of her way to be miserable.”
“Sounds like a real charmer.” Was Kaylan’s reply.
Winter gave her a grin. “Oh, she’s not too bad, once you get to know her.”
Later that night, she was lying in bed awake and thinking about her new situation and discussing the day with Jinx.
“Well, Winter seems nice enough, but Miranda struck me as being a bit... cold.”
“It no doubt is because she is not here of her own free will. Give her some time and she will come around.” Jinx advised her. “I recall seeing several new entrants to the Commission back on Trill who had been forced there by parents or guardians. They resented it at first, but soon grew accustomed. As I understand it, even one of the current Elders was one of the reluctant ones.”
“Wow... I guess anyone can get used to anything if one of our Elders rebelled against going into the Commission.” Kaylan paused. “Wait a moment, is this your attempt to make me feel more comfortable here?”
“Well, I have sensed that you are not very happy.”
“Oh, I just miss home, but I’ll be fine. I think we’ll be too busy to miss anywhere soon enough. I noticed they put us in with two scientist cadets. Well, Winter is science and she says Miranda is going medical, but they both wear blue in either case. Do you think they are expecting us to go science too? I hope not. Science would bore me I think.”
“Don’t be so sure,” Jinx said, with an amused feeling behind his words. “Remember I’ve had both science and medical hosts. I think you’ll find science more interesting than you think.” He could feel Kaylan grimace with that thought and laughed at her.
“Ugh, no thanks,” she thought back at him. “Out of the options Fless told us about, I’m thinking Tactical. Sounds like they get the more interesting jobs.”
“Well, if you can call ‘Point and Fire’ interesting, then I suppose it could be for you.” Jinx thought with another laugh.
Kaylan snorted a laugh then lay there in the darkness until sleep took her.
The following morning, Kaylan was woken up by the sounds of a loud voice coming through her bedroom door. Pulling herself up and into some clothes, she pushed the door open and stepped into the common area, searching for both the pot of coffee Winter told her would be there, and the source of the loud voice. She quickly found the two together, along with Winter.
“Morning Winter,” Kaylan said as she stepped up to pour herself coffee and give the newcomer a once over. Whoever she was, she was female and apparently human. Judging from the bags, she was one of their other roommates. Wonderful. She stuck her hand out, only for the human to take it and give it a hearty shake.
“Hi, I’m Kaylan Jinx. I take it you are our latest addition?”
“Hey, yeah, I’m Henriette. Good to meet you, and good to finally be here.”
“Henriette?” thought Jinx. “But that is a French name, and she doesn’t sound French.” Kaylan enquired on Jinx’s behalf.
“What? France? Oh no, I’m not from France, but I do have family over there. That’s how I ended up with the name. It belonged to my great-great-grandmother. I come from Texas.” Henriette drawled in that typical Texan accent. “I’m guessing you ain’t from these parts either Jinx? Them spots kinda give it away.”
“No, I’m a Trill, from Trill.” Kaylan was starting to wonder if this Henriette had any way of turning the volume down. Everything she said came out as a shout, or near enough. “Have you met Miranda yet? She is Bajoran.”
“The snobby one? Yeah, I saw her on my way in. She was leaving with a PADD under her arm. Anyone else I should know about, or are us four it until further notice?”
“We are ‘it’ as you put it for now,” said Winter, before going into the usual welcome speech.
After a few more minutes, once Henriette had deposited her bags into her room, the building comms beeped. Kaylan made it to them first and pressed the button. A voice came from the device on the wall.
“Could all unassigned cadets please report to the briefing hall in SFA03. Repeat, could all unassigned cadets please report to the briefing hall in SFA03.” She glanced over at Henriette.
“I guess that’s us, or do you know what you are doing yet?”
“Nope. Technically I’m unassigned too, but I know what I want to do.”
“Ok, let’s go then. See you later Winter.” Kaylan gave her a wave and left with Henriette for the walk over to SFA03.