Unofficial Literary Challenge #10: Prompt #2: Teaching the Next Generation
The Akira-class U.S.S. Hijinx approached Spacedock. Ships of all shapes and sizes trafficked the area, a-buzz of daily operations and adventure endcaps.
"What a ride! Who knew about that whole thing with the Iconians? Am I right?" Captain Andrea Reynolds commented in finality.
Lieutenant Bo turned from the helm and shrugged. "It feels like they've been ramping up to something forever. Well, it's over now."
"Is it, though? Will it ever be?" Lane asked from tactical.
Reynolds nodded. "Make a note for us to never encounter them again."
"Captain Reynolds," came a voice from the view screen. "Hello. I am Crewman Kereg from Starfleet Academy. I'm a temporary intern here and I broke in to your ship's systems in order to communicate with you."
The Captain did a double-take. "Why didn't you just hail us?"
"My intention was to impress you with my skills in order to expedite receptiveness."
Reynolds stood up. "Well, Crewman, you've succeeded, despite the fact I'm legally obligated to report you and have you stripped of your uniform."
"I had a good run. Anyway, the reason I'm calling is because Captain Seifer was slated as a guest speaker for one of our forums, but due to some unfortunate happenings with his crew coming back from the dead and an odd Winter Wonderland adventure, he is unable to make it in time."
She nodded again. "Yeah, you dodged a phaser beam there. But, I have no desire to be an assumed role model of sorts at all? In fact, I offer the wrong advice to my crew, daily, to keep them on their toes."
"--Great, Captain. You said I should ask Gerry out, and he turned out to be such a jerk! My emotions! Uggh," Jolene complained, entering the Bridge.
Reynolds turned back to the view screen. "You see? She should've been less trusting of her superior officer."
"That's fine, ma'am. We'll take on what we can get. Besides, if Lieutenant Ferra catches me failing in my duty again, I'll never get sold! He makes us clean the hairballs out of his uniforms."
The Captain arched her head. "What? --Never mind. --Yes, fine. I will do this. But, no, I am not changing my uniform at Spacedock. I'm certain that Cardassian tailor is a spy of some sort. I mean, come on."
Later, Reynolds and Bo beamed down to Starfleet Academy and were met with Commander Meyer upon the commencement of a hasty corridor trek.
"I'm thankful that you could make it, Captain. The students at this forum are looking forward to hearing of your in-field experience. Do you see a lot of particles where you go? That's mostly what I'm interested in, personally," Meyer conversed.
Despite the quick pace, Reynolds gave him an odd look. "Yes?"
"Fascinating; just fascinating!" he replied. "Also, how wonderful is it that we have a Betazoid at the Academy? All other Betazoid officers have been re-assigned in the past month-- not to mention, any Ullians, Aenars, and Cairns-- for reasons of coincidence, is my guess. I don't know. I'm mostly focused on the particles."
At the door to the hall, they were met with Jeffery Scharf, who was holding a padd with a list of guest speakers.
"Aren't you the bartender?" Reynolds asked.
Scharf activated his padd. "Staff's been a bit spotty, lately. Though, I can get you a drink. --Oroku Seifer, right?"
"Andrea Reynolds," she corrected in half disbelief. "You mean this whole time Seifer's Trill host name was Oroku? I had no idea."
Bo turned to her. "Did you know Uhura's first name was Nyota?"
But as her shock erupted, she was quickly pushed out onto stage. With nothing prepared and no idea what to talk about, she was unsure at what to say.
"Ahem," she started at the audience of students. "I'm Captain Andrea Reynolds of the Federation Starship Hijinx. As you know, in-field work is riddled with crazy floating head aliens and homicidal, one-dimensional, leather-bound villians-- Some of which are British in translated-accent. For those not familiar with canon, their personalities and dialogue are dumbed dow---"
But then it was at that moment she could sense it: The students in the audience were not who they appeared to be. They were altered somehow. Her Betazoid mind-reading began picking up suppressed thoughts of deception, multiplied by the seat.
"By the rip-torn pants of Kirk?! You're all being controlled by Bluegill neural parasites???" she announced over the air, unintentionally giving up any tactical advantage.
All the students stood up, simultaneously in shock. But, before they could escape, a force field stretched around the seating area, trapping the students inside!
Out, from the other end of the stage, Admiral Herthel stepped, clapping the slow clap in appreciation for Reynold's efforts. "Bravo, bravo, Captain! We suspected this batch was infected, after hundreds upon hundreds of ships returned from the Delta Quadrant, from teaming up with Eldex on Kartella Prime-- But, after all the telepaths at the Academy were reassigned, we weren't sure. You see, our tricorders are all out at the shop."
"How was a Trill supposed to help you in this?"
Herthel nodded at the rational question. "We were going to let them infect Seifer, and watch the symbiont/Bluegill stomach-battle of the century, but your arrival facilitated a less messy, less abdomen-explosive solution. It's fine, I guess," he sighed in half-disappointment. "It's mostly fine."
"Neural parasites at Starfleet?? Who'd ever have thought??" Bo stepped out in complete and honest shock. "Well, clearly it's never been done before. Clever plan. Just plain clever."
Reynolds turned back to Herthel. "Well, I'm still here if you'd like me to continue my lecture with any un-parasitic students, if they exist."
"Huh? Oh, we don't ever need in-field lectures on those kinds of experiences. Starfleet installs cameras throughout all starships for perfect high definition replay. You ever see the footage from Spock's death scene aboard the amazingly refit Enterprise? It's like it was edited by a professional, but in reality, the playback shots were chosen at random by the computer."
Captain Reynolds rolled her eyes in lost patience. "You know what? Next time you need me to save the Academy-- and you will-- I'd appreciate a call first! Thanks."
To that, she and her subordinate left the increasingly student-moan-sounding/forcefield-slap-noisy arena. Herthel shrugged and turned to watch his catch of drone-like students stumbling all over each other.