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Posted on Thu Oct 31st, 2019 @ 11:57pm by Lieutenant Minna Chang
Edited on on Thu Jan 9th, 2020 @ 9:37pm

Mission: E1 Only The Beginning
Location: Starfleet Academy
Timeline: MD00 || Two-Weeks-Ago

((Two-Weeks-Ago, Starfleet Academy))

“Come in, commander” Rear Admiral Charles Randolf (retired) said as the impossibly young-looking Lieutenant Minna Chang knocked at his open door. She looked perhaps 13-years-old? Maybe 12? Despite knowing her for four years now, he still found it completely impossible to reconcile her physical appearance with what had to be the most unusual personnel file in Academy, or even Starfleet history.

Three purple hearts, two silver stars, one of which with valor device, was unusual enough in any era of Starfleet, but was positively unheard of for a 24th officer even after the Dominion. Add to that the fact she was a Romulan War veteran, an impossibility without the interference of a 227-year stint in a cryogenic stasis tube, and it was truly a unique story. None of that was what had troubled Randolph or anyone else at the academy or Starfleet medical. What troubled them all were the horrific injuries she’d suffered and her election for conventional surgery rather than cybernetic replacement of her ruined limbs, joints and left eye.

Medical had, reluctantly, cleared her. From what he understood they had no choice as she had successfully passed the Starfleet physical fitness test and the more difficult security and command physicals required for posting in a security and department head billet on an active starship, and had done so without medication.

She stopped in front of his desk and saluted. “Cadet Minna Chang, reporting as ordered.”

“I told you four-years-ago, you were awarded the rank of Lieutenant” he replied, the same as he did every time she’d reported to him these past four years, and the same as every time she replied the same, “I am a student in the class of 2386. I will use whatever rank I am awarded on graduation.”

He smiled at her reply. It had become something of a ritual between them, he, the senior faculty member in charge of the 2386 cohort, and she, the 22nd century United Earth MACO veteran he found so fascinating. “At ease, CADET. Help yourself to a drink if you’d like one” he motioned to the wall that had both a replicator and a well-stocked liquor cabinet. That was another strange ritual, in which he would offer and she, without asking for clarification, would pour herself a shot, sometimes a double, of scotch whisky.

“Best bring me one as well” he said, also true to form.

Doing as he asked, it was a bit slow going as she struggled slightly with her left hand, using it only to add support while her right did all of the work. Two glasses in hand, she slowly returned to the desk, walking slower and much more carefully as she struggled to keep her own glass, in her left hand, from spilling.

“I’m finalizing the assignments for your class.”

Minna, glass now in her right hand, held it under her nose for a moment and took in the many different scents. She never knew what whisky would be in the decanter, only that it was always Scottish, always of good quality and usually a single malt, highland more often than not. “An Islay, is something bothering you Charles?” Once drinks were poured they always reverted to first name.

“I’m assigning you here to the academy. Who better to teach history than someone who not only studied it, but who actually wrote some of it?”

“You promised me a ship assignment” Minna replied.

“No, you promised you a ship assignment and I said that we will see.”

“It has to be a ship” Minna repled again.

“You haven’t got anything left to prove to anyone. You ran when they said you’d never walk again. You graduated from the 24th century academy when they said your knowledge base was obsolete. You have more fruit salad on your dress whites than most admirals. You’ve earned an easier assignment, here on Earth, with a secretary and across-the-campus access to the best medical care available. You’d be able to control the pain and still have a vital role in training our next generation of leaders.”

“Charles, I have to go back out there.”

“But why? What do you have left to prove?”

“I have nothing to prove, that isn’t it at all. I cannot stay on Earth. Everything is similar, but off. Everyone I ever knew is long dead, and while a few landmarks remain, nothing is as it was. This planet has left me behind.”

“What about a diplomatic or liaison posting? Vulcan?”

“No Charles, a ship. The only place that hasn’t changed at all since my time is Out There, the unknown. The unknown is further away, but it is still the same, comfortable, familiar mystery that it was in the year 2153 when I first put on a uniform.”

“You can’t blame me for trying. What sort of ship would you like?”

“An explorer, whatever is going out the furthest.”

“I’m not authorized to make a Captain or even a First Officer as your fresh from the academy, but you are full Lieutenant and have more combat experience that anyone alive. I'll put you on USS Magellan under Captain Terax.

“I’ll take it” she replied and took another taste. “Laphroaig?”

“Lagavulin” he replied.

“One of these days I’ll guess right.”

“You can practice, I’ll have your graduation gift delivered to your quarters on Destiny.”


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