The Empty Shell - Fan fiction.
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Join Date: Dec 2007
01-11-2012, 03:19 AM
Chapter 6: Academy.
Kaylan remembered where it was from when she first arrived, and led the way there in pretty short order. During the walk over, she discovered that Henriette was going into Tactical too. Apparently, her family told Henriette that her marksman skills were going to waste on something she called raccoons and they pushed her to join Starfleet. To ‘shoot some varmints who need shooting’, or so Henriette’s pa (whatever that was; at first, Kaylan suspected it was some kind of semi-intelligent pet, but as the day progressed and she talked with Henriette more, she realised that she was referring to her father) had said.
Again, Kaylan shared that she was hoping to gain captaincy of a starship so she could go and explore the universe. Henriette’s only comment was “Well, if you need a Chief Tactical Officer, you know where to find me.”
Upon arriving at the building marked SFA03, Kaylan and Henriette saw there was quite a crowd outside, just about everyone wearing civilian clothes, although, as with everywhere else in the Academy, there were a few people wearing cadet uniforms. The people seemed to be mostly between 20 and 30 years old, although with some species, it was very difficult to tell. Either way, Kaylan thought that everyone there would be considered reasonably ‘young’ by their civilization’s standards.
Everyone, that is, apart from the three people wearing complete Starfleet uniforms who were exiting building SFA03. Two of them spoke quietly with the third for a few minutes, then turned and walked away. The third figure stepped onto a small podium which had been raised to allow him a better view of the cadets, and allow the cadets a better view of him.
Jinx did not recognise him. Both he and Kaylan were, however, surprised to see spots running out of his grey hair line and down the sides of his face. Spots remarkably similar to those Kaylan had down her face (and the rest of her body, but no-one on this planet apart from the man on the podium would likely know that). He was wearing a mostly red uniform, with black shoulders, and his rank pips consisted of 3 small dots contained within a box.
“He’s Trill!!!” Kaylan exclaimed mentally to Jinx.
“He is” replied Jinx, equally shocked to see another Trill here, especially one wearing Vice Admiral pips, “I wonder if –“
“Shhh, he is talking.” Kaylan strained to hear him.
“Good morning Cadets. I am Vice Admiral Jorel Quinn, commander of Starfleet Academy. Today, you start on a road to a new life, one dedicated to the safety and protection of all citizens in the United Federation of Planets. Of course, that safety and protection could take any number of forms.
“In just a few years some of you will be out there” – Quinn raised his arm and motioned towards the sky, indicating the galaxy at large – “serving on starships, travelling the galaxy, meeting new species, and doing good deeds in the name of Starfleet and the Federation.
“Some of you will concentrate on research, developing new ways of helping Federation citizens, or healing them.
“Others of you will remain here, on Earth, or on one of our other member worlds, working with the Civil Engineer Corps, or the Daystrom Institute, or one of any number of organisations committed to making life better for Federation citizens.
“Finally, there are those of you will join our thin red line, and serve as protectors of our great Federation. There are always threats out there, whether from a Klingon raiding party, or if the Borg ever decide to invade again, and Starfleet’s Tactical and Security division will be there to defend our own.
“But, for you, those days are not here yet. However, you do have an important decision to make today. Which of our three schools will you select? Science and Medical? Operations and Engineering? Or Tactical and Security?
“For today only, your names have been added to a security roster, and we are permitting you to roam the Academy, visiting classes and lecturers as you see fit. We would ask, however, that if you join a lecture in progress, please do not interrupt, and save any questions for the end. All of this is so you can formulate a decision as to how you want your future with Starfleet to proceed. If you are still unable to decide what you would like to do, there are counsellors available to speak to in SFA01.
“Even if you believe already that you know which school you would prefer to join, I would still recommend taking advantage of our open day to take a look at the other schools. There are always some cadets who change their minds after the lessons have begun, and having a greater understanding of what the schools do can save time and worry later.
“Once you have made your decision, you will need to sign up to the register for your school. You will find the registers on terminals outside of the following buildings. Science, SFA02; Engineering, SFA03; Tactical, SFA03.
“Finally, I would just like to say welcome to Starfleet Academy, and may you have the best of luck in the coming years.”
Quinn stepped down from the podium, and walked back into SFA03. He was out of sight before Kaylan could try to push through the crowd to reach him. Over the next few minutes, the crowd began to disperse, breaking up into smaller groups as the cadets began to wander through and around the Academy. Kaylan quite quickly found herself walking around with Henriette for company.
Henriette was a curious sort, and over the course of the day, Kaylan found herself telling her a lot about life on Trill, and the Joining.
“So, you’re telling me you have a worm in your gut?” Henriette looked vaguely sick at the thought.
“No, no, no. Nothing like that,” explained Kaylan, “Jinx looks much more like a slug than a worm.”
Henriette definitely looked sick.
“A slug indeed,” said Jinx to Kaylan in the depths of their shared consciousness. He sounded vaguely offended.
“I know it’s not very flattering Jinx, but compared to the rest of the animals on Earth, they are the ones you look the most like. Sorry.” Jinx could feel Kaylan’s amusement through the apology.
A little later, when Henriette was looking a more normal colour, she broached the subject again.
“So, this slug...” she started.
“Symbiont, not slug. They are called symbionts.” Jinx quickly interjected, usurping Kaylan’s voice briefly, startling Kaylan.
“Ok, this symbiont? Right, symbiont. It can hear everything we are saying? Does it know what you are thinking? Does Quinn have one? I noticed he was a Trill too when he was talking. Do all Trills have them?”
“Well Jinx, you wanted my mouth. You can answer her this time.” Kaylan thought, and mentally sat back to watch the show.
Jinx, not to be beaten, immediately started talking, explaining how the bond between symbiont and host worked, how they shared feelings and thoughts, and how memories and, to some extent, personality of previous hosts lived on through the symbiont.
He then went on to explain that on Trill, every candidate for Joining had to go through some rigorous tests and prove to the Commission that they were worthy of being Joined, and that only a very small percentage of the population (the Trill population, not the Symbiont population) could be Joined at all.
By the time he finished speaking, Henriette looked rather confused, but when Jinx asked her if she needed anything clarifying, she shook her head and said she got it.
“She doesn’t ‘get it’”, Kaylan thought to Jinx.
“I know, but she wanted answers, and now she has them,” replied Jinx, “If she needs anything clarifying, we will do that when she asks. She needs to work out what we just told her first, though.”
“By the way, how did you know Quinn isn’t Joined?” Kaylan asked.
“I couldn’t sense a symbiont within him.” Jinx replied, surprised that Kaylan had thought to ask.
“Oh. So, back when we were on Trill, and I thought I was going crazy and had to get away from everyone. The reason we went climbing in the first place... That was actually you sensing their symbionts?”
“Indeed it was, well done Kaylan. Very few hosts actually figure that out. The ‘sense’ as you put it is actually very faint, so it is difficult even for hosts to pick up on. It is one of the reasons Toram and Pezan recommended we went someplace quiet. You’ll get used to it as time progresses.”
Between walking around looking at the Academy, and the conversation with Henriette, it was approaching dusk by the time the pair of them reported back to SFA03 to register for their classes.