I was once told by a professor that I reminded him of an animal from here on Earth called a deer. The creature he said when confronted with a possible threat instead of
having a first instinct to run it would cease all movement and freeze on the very spot. He stated this after he called on me to present an experiment to a higher level class
and saw the look on my face. See back home if I was confronted with danger my first instinct would be to run, to hide, to find the closest weapon or the nearest exit. In my
present position here at the academy my first instinct was to freeze, for someone that grew up in relative solitude understanding social protocols and academic politics were
not my strength. I often needed to pause, evaluate the situation think of a past interaction I could use as a precedence for my current scenario. Though the presentation had
gone well enough when I walked into the deans office side by side with Ben Solo my first reaction was to appear as prey before a predator. It did not help that at one point I
had researched the earth's deer species to find it had been extinct for decades. In short I felt like a proverbial lamb going to the slaughter. Ben on the other hand almost
radiated calmness, I took his lead and tried to relax my shoulders and meet the dean's eyes instead of taking in every inch of the office with awe and reverence. I was
overwhelmed as I scoped the place out while simultaneously looking for an enemy in every corner that was going to jump out and declare I didn't belong at this university.
"Ah Ben Solo, it has been too long," the dean stated while indicating we should each take one of the seats in front of his desk. He then lowered himself into an oversized chair
that looked very much like a captain's chair on the main deck of a Starfleet ship. Obviously the dean was one of those academics that dreamed of adventure from the
confines of his office. I had taken in that none of the old volumes of books on the shelves had been touched but then again he could just be a collector an do all his research
on the latest technical equipment though my heart was leaping in my chest with the desire to pull one from a shelf and inhale the scents of paper, leather, blood whatever
these volumes were made of depending on their origin. I was brought back to reality when the dean began addressing me.
"Rey Kasey, I believe we have not met though I have reviewed your marks, very high in on all of your studies, you came very highly recommended."
"Thank you sir, its a pleasure," I stumbled out hearing the second name Id branded myself with on my admission papers always through me off.
"I am sure you are both curious to why I called this meeting but I assure you its all great news. Ben I know you have been eager to obtain an assignment as soon as possible
and though you have not completed your courses at Starfleet through the traditional levels, of course the board took into consideration your prior years spent at flight school
and on your excellent military service with the Federation and we really see no reason you wouldn't make a fine edition if you are willing to work as just a Unit Leader on your
first mission, we cant jump through too many rungs of the chain of command now can we," the dean said with a wink in Bens direction. 'We have the perfect fit a new ship
that after its inaugural mission with an experienced crew on loan from several downed ships command plans on naming an entirely new commanding crew. So you can get
your feet wet and your foot in the door." The dean was laying it on he most love having Ben Solo in his office. "The ship is very state of the art should be a great fit for you all
around." The dean paused to smile at Ben.
"Dean Winters, I do appreciate you bringing me and taking time to personal congradulate me your office gets a lot of the credit for luring me to Starfleet Academy. I had just
received word from Commander Pike this morning and am very excited. I very humbled and honored that after this mission to Kashyyyk I am to be named first science officer
of the we might not get to stay in touch its been a pleasure working with you" Ben almost seemed like he was ready to leave after this statement but
impatiently say tapping his fingers on the arm of the chair waiting for the dean to gather his thoughts. He had done a number on the dean though you could tell he had lost
all the wind from his sails the dean couldn't act offend has old Ben Solo had laid just enough of the credit at is feet.
"Oh my I wasnt aware you were aware. Of umm all the details..very informed of course..I had just learned...yes yes the Enterprise...thats all correct of course," he stumbled
on while nodding his head at Ben.
"Well then would you like to stay for a bit of refreshment to celebrate I can have something brought up?" The dean followed with seeming to regain some composure. Bens
reply as just a curt nod to the negative it felt like this whole meeting was coming to an end until I cleared my throat.
"Oh yes cadet Kasey I am pleased to inform you, that you will also be joining the crew of the Enterprise for this trip only to be returned to your studies once done. Professor
Erso can fill you in on the details."
At this my mouth opened to a gap without my consent to do so, even Ben glanced at me with a curious look. "Excuse me professor but I've just finished my first year of
schooling and haven't requested any assignment?" I managed to choke out, the very idea of a long mission in cold cold space was making my vision start to blur.
"Yes but in one year you've completed 2.5 levels from what I was told, above the required hours and you see there is an awful lot of plant life on Kashyyyk apparently. Erso
says you did a vast study on some of it this year and that you are the only on hand expert in whatever blasted things they want collected on this trip. Its a great honor, why
you will be the youngest crew on the ship by 5 moon years I bet. You must be beyond excited for such an opportunity to fall at your feet."
As I sat bewildered by this revelation the two men had begun their ascent from their chairs and their formal good byes I managed to nod a bit and somehow force my body to
stand up and walk me out of the office. I was aware somewhat that my body was very shaky and somehow I knew that Ben Solo was aware of that my the berth he gave me,
I must look like I was going to be sick. He gave me an almost encouraging look and addressed me in an apparent effort I think to comfort me, if he was capable of human
feelings of which I was not yet sure.
"Well then I will see you at 13.31 hours on Stardate 43153.7 aboard the SS Enterprise Cadet Kasey."
That was that and then he was off and I was alone making my way through the halls of Starfleet Academy every step I took I felt a little like I was walking to my own