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Entering her dorm room, Liz still feeling the natural high from her day in the old town, smiled as she saw her roommate relaxing on her bed. “Hey, Jadzia. I had the most marvelous time today.”

“I kind of thought you did.” The raven-haired Trill chuckled. “When you didn’t come back, I figured that you decided to go on into town or so something. So…” She urged, “Where did you go and what did you do?”

Laughing, Liz sat on the bed with Jadzia, leaning casually against the wall. “Well…I did go to the garden and Boothby chased me out and told me to go to old town and I did, and I met this really neat artist who makes holographic shows and then I met her friends at a coffeehouse and then she put on a show at the coffeehouse and I got up and danced! It was so much fun, Jadzia! I hadn’t danced like that since before I entered the Academy.”

“Damn, Liz!” Jadzia chuckled, “You did have a full day. Now…” She mock pouted, “Don’t tell me you’re going to leave the Academy and become a dancer full-time.”

“No.” Liz shook her head. “I love it too much and I meant what I said, I’m going to be captain of a starship by the time I’m forty no matter what. But…” She paused, now pensive, “Maybe Boothby had a point back a few weeks ago when he told me that I shouldn’t be doing this to please my father—maybe I need to think about doing this for the people who need our help and, yes, for myself.”

“Hmmm…” Jadzia vocalized, “Good point. But…” The Trill got up and stretched, “…philosophizing isn’t going to get us through those simulator drills tomorrow—we better bone up on our procedures or Captain Hanson will have our heads.”

“Yeah…you’re right. So…you want to run the tactical this go around or command?” Liz asked as she picked up her padd.

“Command this time, I think.” Jadzia responded, “I did tactical last time.”

“All right!” Liz exclaimed, “Let’s get started!”

************************************************************************

“Bold move, Cadet Shelby…also reckless. You could have lost your entire ship and endangered the colony.”
Captain Hanson chided while inwardly pleased at this young cadet’s daring stroke. “The book calls for you to engage at as far a distance as possible from the colony to give extra time for evacuation. Care to explain to me why you took such a dangerous gamble.”

Refusing to be intimidated by the lecturing starship captain’s scowl, Liz stood up and, taking a deep breath and then exhaling, spoke. “The Cardassian Galor both had better armaments and better shields than my Constellation. There was no way, short of a lucky shot, I could have defeated it in a standup fight. The colony had little warning to prepare shuttles and other craft to escape. The Cardassians would have had more than enough time to defeat me and destroy the colony.” As she made her explanations, a male cadet with dark blond hair, the same one who had danced with her at the Fall Social, nodded his head appraisingly.

Hanson then countered, “The damages your ship would have inflicted on the Cardassians would have slowed it down enough to have given the colonists the necessary time to escape.”

“That’s assuming they didn’t get a lucky shot on me and that they didn’t have reinforcements attacking from off the ecliptic, Sir.” Shelby riposted, “By lying in wait near the hot Jupiter, I was able to lure him into a position where his shielding advantages weren’t an issue.”

“Might I remind you that your shields would be down too?” Hanson argued back, again secretly pleased at the young cadet’s ingenuity and at how she defended her actions.

“That placed us on a level playing field where his advantages no longer applied. By ambushing him in his rear quarter, I caught him where he could not bring most of his weapons to bear while at the same time I was able to deliver an incapacitating shot, taking out his engines.” Shelby argued back.

“And your chance of failure?” Hanson asked.

“Approximately thirty percent.” Liz admitted and then asserted, “But that means it had a seventy percent chance of succeeding versus a seventy-five percent chance of failure using the approved tactic. The only way to have the standard strategy work would be for me to have rammed the Galor—a last ditch measure.”

“Very good Cadet.” Captain Hanson, motioning for Liz to return to her seat, lectured, “There will come times when you as Starfleet officers and perhaps ship captains will have to decide on whether to take the by-the-book approach or take a risk and often you won’t have the luxury of having the time for lengthy introspection. You have to make the call and make it immediately. But, be ready to accept the consequences of your decision. Class dismissed.”

As the cadets stood up from their seats, the captain called out, “Cadet Shelby? A moment of your time, please?”

As Jadzia motioned that she would be waiting by the door, Liz approached the captain, “Sir?”

“Quick thinking on your part, Cadet…” Hanson said as he ran his fingers through his thinning hair. “Have you picked out a field for your initial specialized training yet?”

“I was considering Command, Sir.” Liz replied.

“While Command does have much to offer.” Hanson pointed out, “You might want to consider specializing initially in Security/Tactical.” The captain then explained, “With command, you’ll be spending most of your time on the helm or manning bridge stations and generally on gamma and delta watches. However, working security/tactical will place you in a wide variety of situation both on ship and on landing parties where you’ll be able to exercise more individual initiative. That broad range of experience would serve you well when you do transfer to command as a full lieutenant or lieutenant commander or commander.” He then stated as additional motivation, “Some of our best starship captains started off in security. Do the names James T. Kirk and Marietta DeVeers ring any bells?”

“Thank you, Sir.” Liz replied nodding her head, “I’ll definitely give your words careful thought.

“You do that, Cadet.” Captain Hanson smiled, “You’ve got the potential to go far. Whether you do so or not, is up to you.”

“Not bad, Liz!” Jadzia exclaimed as she put a friendly arm around her roommate’s shoulder. “For that—dinner’s on me.”

“Sound good to me, Jadz.” Liz smiled and then quipped, “Well…that’s one practical out of the way, now two more exams and that’ll be it for the week.”

“So…what are your plans for the weekend?” Jadzia asked, “Back to the old city?”

“Yeah.” Liz smiled and then tempted, “You can come with, you know. Jason’s working pretty hard at Julliard right now—he’s got a recital coming up in London soon that I’m hoping to be able to go to, but Sandy and Raul and Heather are here and they’re lots of fun.”

“I’m tempted.” Jadzia sighed, “But I’ve got to get that xenoarchaeology paper done. Rain check though?”

“Sure thing, Jadz.” Liz grinned, “Now…how about that dinner and you can tell me all about that cute guy in your astrophysics class.”

*************************************************************************

“Hey, Anya” Liz smiled at her mother on the viewscreen in her room, “I was just calling to check in and see how things were going back home.”

“Hi, dragam!” Anna smiled back, “How’s my lany?”
“I’m doing fine, Mom.” Liz replied, her grin still on her face. “I aced my last exam—of course…” She said, her smile turning into a smug grin, “This week, we’re attending a series of lectures on the different branches—you know we have to choose a specialization by the end of our plebe year.”

“Yeah, I know.” Anna grinned, “So…what are you thinking?”

“Hmmm…” Liz considered, “I’m torn between Command and Tactical/Security. Both have their pluses and minuses.”

“And it’s not as if you can’t switch once you get into service.” Anna completed, “David’s had to a few times, you know. He started off in Command, then went to Operations, now, that he’s first officer on the Redoubtable, he’s back in Command.”

“Yeah…that’s true, Anya.” Liz nodded her head, “But, Captain Hanson says that that first branch decision can be a big one.”

“So…what does he advise, dragam?”

“He says I should think about tactical—that it would give me more opportunities to use my initiative earlier in my career than if I choose Command.”

“He’s got a point there.” Anna pointed out and then changed the subject, “So…what about these new friends of yours?”

“They’re so much fun to be around Mom!” Liz exclaimed, “Sandy and I get together every weekend now and usually Raul and Heather join us and when Jason gets a break from his work, he joins us too. We go to concerts and shows and perform and just hang out. It’s great!”

“That’s good.” Anna nodded her head approvingly. “I’m glad you’re getting out more. It’s not healthy to be cooped up in that room all day with nothing but padds to keep you company.”

“Well…” Liz smiled, “I’m getting to be good friends with Jadzia, my roommate. We started off kind of rocky, but she’s lots of fun and works as hard as I do.”

“So…what’s she like?”

“She’s an unjoined Trill.” Liz replied, “But she’s studying so that the Symbiote Commission will approve her receiving a symbiote.”

“That takes a lot of hard work.” Anna noted.

“Tell me about it.” Liz sighed, “Sometimes I think she works harder than me.”

“Then she needs to get out more too.” Anna declared, “You should take her out with you sometime to see your new friends.”

“Yeah.” Liz nodded her head, “I think she’d have fun.”

“Good.” Anna nodded her head approvingly, “And I’m glad you’re finding a life outside those Academy walls.”

“Don’t let Father hear you say that.” Liz groaned, her smile disappearing. “He’d say that it’s taking away from my studies and that I’m not holding up the Shelby and Wesley names.”

“Now, dragam!” Anna gently chided, “You know your father loves you and is proud of you.”

“Yeah, Anya, I guess so.” Liz sighed, “I just wish he’d say it to me sometimes.” Taking a deep breath, she exhaled, “Well…I gotta go now. Take care, Anya, and I love you.”

“You take care too, dragam!”

**************************************************************************

Pressing the door to the enunciator, Liz was soon greeted by a cheerful “Come in!” The statuesque blonde apologized as she greeted her guest with a hug and kiss on the cheek, “People keep telling me to get a new door installed, “But, I keep telling them I like the look and the feel of the old door.”

Smiling, Liz returned Sandy’s hug and kiss, agreeing as she took in the stylish décor of her new friend’s room, “Yeah…A sliding door would be out of place, I guess.”

“Wouldn’t it though?” Sandy smiled. “Why don’t you take that jacket and those boots off…they’ve got to be uncomfortable. I’ve got some slippers here for you to slip into if you want. As for myself, I prefer to go barefoot.”

“Thanks.” Liz said as she took her jacket off and hung it on a rack. You sure it’s ok for me to take my boots off?” Liz asked, not wanting to impose on her friend’s hospitality.

“Yeah. Go ahead.” Sandy entreated, “You can put them next to the rack under your coat.” Smiling as the blonde cadet took off her boots and socks and then placed them neatly under her jacket, she gestured towards a plush couch. “Have a seat. I just got in some wine in—Chateau Picard, 2348—a bit young, maybe, but still pretty good.”

“Thanks.” Liz replied as she sat down on the couch, almost moaning with pleasure at how comfortable it felt.

“Feels good, doesn’t it?” Sandy remarked as she popped the cork to the wine bottle and poured the contents into a carafe.

“Yeah.” Liz practically purred, “Where did you get it?”

“It’s replicated.” Sandy replied with a half grin as he poured the decanted wine into two glasses and then made her way to the couch, “I can’t afford the real thing yet.” Handing a glass of wine to her new friend, Sandy quickly stopped her before she could drink it. “No…no…no…Liz, dear.”

“Huh?” A confused Liz vocalized.

“Don’t just drink the wine, Liz.” Sandy smiled, “Let all your senses experience it.” Her smile still on her face, the statuesque blonde joined Liz on the couch, drinking in the natural scent of her blonde guest. “Take the wine and swirl it around in the glass a little like this…see the color?” Smiling as Liz imitated her actions, Sandy praised, Yeah…that’s it, baby. Now…” She asked, “What do you see in the wine?”

“Well…” Liz pondered.

“Don’t think about it, love.” Sandy said, “Just go with what you feel.”

“It’s a translucent red.” Liz observed and then held so that the sun’s rays would pass through it. “Wow…” She exclaimed, “The sunlight makes the red seem almost alive…”

“Now you’re getting it, baby!” Sandy exclaimed proudly, “Ok…next…take the wine and swirl it—not too hard…nice and gentle…that’s it.” The artist nodded her head in satisfaction as Liz gently swirled the wine in her glass. “Now…bring the glass up to your nose and sniff it…gently…” Che chuckled, “Don’t sniff too deep…you’re not a Tellarite, you know.”

Chuckling, Liz did a she was told. Once again smiling in approval, Sandy encouraged, “Ok…what did it smell like? Remember…” She reminded, “Don’t think about it…just go with your feelings.”

“It’s fruity…but not overpowering.” Liz observed, “If anything, it reminded me more of flowers.”

“Very good.” Sandy praised, impressed at her guest’s progress, “Now…sip it, but don’t drink it yet. Just let it linger on your taste buds.” Grinning slightly as Liz followed her instructions, Sandy explained, “Some snobs like to swish the wine around in their mouths, but I don’t like doing that. For one thing…” She giggled, “It makes you look silly. For another…” She said, her giggles now replaced by an amused grin, “It’s no more effective than just letting it linger for a few seconds. Now…” She smiled, “Go ahead and swallow it. So…what did it taste like?”

“Just a little bit acidic, but not too much.” Liz replied, “It felt just sharp enough to let me know it was there, but not so sharp as to bite…” Did I get it right?” She asked with a serious look on her face.

“Relax, honey.” Sandy smiled warmly, motioning for Liz to get comfortable on the couch, “You did just fine. Everyone perceives sensations differently. What’s sweet to some is sour to others. What is it the Vulcans say? Infinite Combinations in Infinite Diversity?” Seeing Liz’s slight nod of her head as confirmation, Sandy asked, “So…how did it feel using all your senses?”

“It felt…great!” Liz grinned, “Like everything was fully engaged.”

“That’s because it was, Liz.” Sandy chuckled, “Don’t be afraid to use all of your senses—let them take you where they want to go. You’ll almost always enjoy the result.”

As the young women were talking on the couch, Liz was once again entranced by Sandy’s perfume. Shyly, she asked, “What sort of perfume do you use?”

“You like it.” Sandy smiled, pleased. Seeing Liz’s nod of her head, Sandy got up and went into her bedroom, coming out moments later with a small crystal atomizer. “It’s a Deltan perfume…I think it translates out to Passion’s Flower.” Don’t worry, she giggled, this one doesn’t have any pheromones in it. Although…” She flashed a wicked grin, “The ones that do are awful nice.” Hearing Liz’s nervous giggle, Sandy quickly backpedaled, “Would you like to try some?”

“Sure.” Liz replied as Sandy gave her the atomizer, squirting gently on her wrists.

“Don’t worry about it if it doesn’t work for you, Liz. Between me and Heather, I think we’ve cornered the market on perfumes. I’m sure we’ve got something that works for you,” the lovely artist joked. Smiling as she gestured with her head towards the studio, Sandy tempted, “Would you like to help me out with a project.”

“Sure.” Liz smiled, “What sort of help do you need?”

“Remember when we knocked them dead at Vincenzo’s with our dance and holo-image performance?

“Yeah.” Liz smiled, “I enjoyed getting back on the dance floor. Why?”

“Well, I was thinking…maybe we could polish up the routine—maybe enter it in a contest or a show?” Sandy ventured, “What do think?”

“Yeah.” Liz grinned, “I’d like that.” Then her lips turned down in a frown, “But…I’m afraid it might get in the way of my classes.”

“It won’t, love.” Sandy pleaded, “We’ll work around your schedule. Your Academy classes take priority—ok?”

“Ok!” Liz grinned, “So…where do we start?

“I’d like to introduce you to Renee…she’s a friend. She’s also a choreographer. I think she might have some ideas about routines, steps, and music. What do you think?”

“I think that’d be great.” Liz smiled, “So…when and where?”

“Hmmm…I have to get with her to check her schedule, but…does this upcoming Saturday sound good?

“Works for me.” Liz grinned, “I don’t have duty that weekend, so I’m free.”

“Great!” Sandy replied and then suggested, “You know…there’s a Centauran restaurant that just opened up and I’ve got an Ionic chiton I’m just dying to wear—how does that sound?”

“Sounds good.’ Liz nodded her head, “I guess I can replicate a chiton.”

“All right…it’s a date then.” Sandy chuckled, adding, “Would it be all right if I invited Raul, Jason, and Heather?

“Sure.” Liz grinned, and then asked, “Would it be all right if I invited my roommate to come along? She’s a really great person.”

“What’s she like?” Sandy asked, curious.

“She’s an unjoined Trill.” Liz answered back, “She’s trying to get approval from the Symbiote Commission to be joined.”

“She sounds like an interesting person.” Sandy grinned, “Sure…bring her along…the more the merrier.”

******************************************************************

“So…want to come with me to the Centauran restaurant?” Liz asked her roommate as they walked out of their Comparative Cultural Dynamics course.

“Sounds interesting.” Jadzia smiled, “Sure…why not?”

“Is this a private get-together or can anyone join?”

Recognizing the blond cadet with a slight English accent from several of their classes, Liz queried, “Aubrey, right?”

“Yeah…Jason Aubrey.” The young cadet responded.

“Hmmm…Yeah…sure…some more guys to balance us girls would be good.” Liz agreed and added with a smile, “It’s a Centauran Six restaurant—so dress accordingly.”

“Not a problem.” Jason replied, “I can replicate a tunic-pants combination that should fit right in.”

“Great. See you at the transporter pad at 1800 then.”

Liz replicated a pale green Ionic chiton to wear for dinner, while Jadzia chose the basic white with gold trim.

“You’re both looking good.” Jason’s lips turned up in a slight smile as he appeared in a stylish tunic-pants combination. “Shall we go—I’m famished.”

“Sure.” Liz smiled as the three cadets stepped up on the transporter pad. “My friends are going to meet us at the front.”

Materializing in front of the restaurant, Liz immediately recognized her friends. “Sandy…Raul…Heather. Hope you didn’t mind, but I brought an extra with Jadzia.” As Liz hugged and kissed her artist friends, she introduced them to Aubrey and Jadzia.

“I hope you don’t mind…” Raul said. “Jason sends his love but said that he had to give a performance recital for a grade in a couple of days and needed to practice, so I invited Hector and Tholis to join us. Hector’s an architect and Tholis is here on a fellowship from Denobula.”

“I’m studying early Federation history.” Tholis explained his lips curled up in a wide Denobulan grin.

“And this is Renee. The choreographer I was telling you about, Liz.” Sandy introduced.

“Hi!” Liz smiled as she greeted the newcomers with kisses on the cheeks.

Entering the restaurants, the little group was taken to an area with plenty of divans so that the diners could recline and eat. Remembering Sandy’s lessons about freeing all of her senses, Liz took the time to savor the wine’s color, aroma, and texture before finally drinking it. Observing her actions, Jason inquired, “So…what do you think of the wine?”

“Smooth…” She remarked, “Pleasant smell…not too sweet. But it’s missing a little something…I’d say it’s ordinary more than anything else.”

Nodding his head, Jason agreed, “Yeah. It’s not a bad wine…but not a great one either. Perfectly suitable for a low-key dinner like this though.”

“Try the stuffed grape leaves.” Sandy urged, “They’re scrumptious.”

“Not bad.” Jadzia nodded smiled.

“So…” Sandy said, addressing her next remarks to Liz and Renee, “What do you think?”

“Hmmm…” Renee mused, “I’d need to see Liz perform so that I can get an idea on where to go.” Turning to Liz, the choreographer asked, “Can you meet me sometime next week? I’d like to see how you move.”

“Sure.” Liz nodded her head as she handed Renee her padd. “Just leave me your number and we’ll set up a time.”

“Great.” Renee smiled, “We can meet at my studio” She said as she entered the information of Liz’s padd.

Pleasant conversation and good humor reigned during dinner as Liz felt herself relaxing and enjoying the company of her new friends, until the evening drawing to a close, everyone said their goodbyes. “I’ll see you guys later.” Liz smiled as she hugged and kissed her friends and then touching their comm badges, the cadets transported back to the Academy.

“Great time, Jason.” Liz smiled as she said bid her fellow cadet good night.

“Yeah.” Jadzia grinned, “We’ve got to do this again sometime.”

Walking back to their room, Jadzia whispered to her roommate, “Hey Liz…what do you think of Jason?”

“I don’t know…” Liz whispered back, “He’s cute and seems like an ok guy, but something in the back of my head keeps saying, ‘watch out.’”

“Yeah…” Jadzia nodded her head, raising her voice back to a normal level now that they were safely in their room. “Something about him just doesn’t seem right, but I can’t put my finger on it.”

With a yawn and a stretch, the Trill stated, “I’m turning in…big day tomorrow.”

“Same here…” Then noting a flashing light on her monitor, Liz exhaled, “Got a message…better take that first.” Taking a deep breath, Liz commanded, “Play messages.” Then, seeing the face on the viewscreen, Liz held her breath.

“Hello, Elizabeth.” Exhaling as she saw her father on the viewscreen, Liz listened quietly. “I received your midterm reports and I’m pleased that you’re doing so well. Keep up the good work. Keep on doing what you’re doing, I know your grandfathers would be pleased. If all goes well, I’m hoping to make it home for extended leave by the end of your term, so, I hope to see you then. I have to go now, duty calls. Until later.” The message then ended.

“Well…” Jadzia whispered, “At least he called and said he’d be home at the end of the term. Maybe you’ll get the chance to spend some time with him.”

“Maybe.” Liz replied with a sigh, “Or something else will turn up to keep him from coming home.”

“Give him a chance at least, Liz.” Jadzia urged.

“Don’t lock the door before he even has a chance to knock.”

“You’re right, Jadz. “I’ll try. But you know…it takes two. He needs to make the effort too.”

“Well…” Jadzia cautiously ventured, “I get the impression he’s not one for overt shows of affection.”

“I just wish he’d show some affection.” Liz grumbled as she put on her sleep shirt. “A word…a gesture…anything.” Slipping into bed, Liz ordered the lights to turn off. “’Night, Jadz.”

“Night, Liz.”

**************************************************************************

Rematerializing on the transporter pad at the Big Ben exhibit, Liz waved as she saw Jason waiting for her. “Jason—over here?”

“Lizzy!” Jason called back as he rushed to meet the pretty blonde wearing, instead of her usual cadet uniform, a tank-top shirt, black leather jacket, and tight jeans. “Looking good!” He flattered as the pair hugged and kissed.

“You’re not looking so bad yourself.” Liz smiled as her eyes took in the handsome young man wearing a shirt with leather jacket and jeans. “So…when does your concert start?

“We’ve got a couple of hours, love.” Jason grinned, “Long enough for us to take in a few sites and grab some fish and chips” He quipped as he took his blonde companion’s hand, “You know, if you’re in London, you have to have fish and chips.”

“Of course.” Liz nodded her head as she moved a little closer in to Jason. “So…what have you got planned after the concert.”

Smiling, Jason teased, “I’m saving that for a surprise.”

Feeling adventurous, Liz flirted, “I love surprises.”

As they walked past Big Ben, Jason shook his head, “Pity it’s just a restoration.”

“Yeah.” Liz nodded her head, “We lost so much during the 21st century. Still…” She smiled, “We’re building something good here.”

“Won’t disagree with that, love.” Jason grinned.
As the pair walked together, they enjoyed each other’s company with conversation and subtle flirtation until they came to an outdoor food vendor.

“Here we go, love. The best fish and chips in London if I do say so myself. Approaching the vendor, he ordered for both him and Liz and then returned, “Here you go, Liz. I got both curry sauce and gravy for your chips—didn’t know which you’d want, and a big cola—you’re gonna want that, believe me. Well…love…” He said as he took a bite from his fish, then dipping one of his chips into the curry sauce, ate it, washing it down with a healthy swig of cola, “Dig in.”

“Hmmm…” Liz vocalized as she dived hungrily into her meal, dipping her chips in the gravy instead of the curry. “This is great!”

“The national fast food of Britain.” Jason joked.
After eating, Jason and Liz made their way to the concert hall where Jason was performing, “C’mon, Lizzy, got you a backstage pass.”

“All right!” Liz exclaimed as she joined Jason backstage and watched while he and his fellow musicians tuned up and prepped for the concert. Then, the curtain raised, and Jason and his band played, each song better than the first, until coming to the final song of the concert, Jason spoke up so that everyone in the hall could hear, “I want to dedicate this song to a special, beautiful woman who also happens to be a Starfleet cadet, Liz Shelby!”

Taken by surprise by the dedication, Liz was in a daze as Jason played what was to her, the greatest song she ever heard. And then when it ended with roaring applause, Jason motioned for Liz come on stage.

“No…” Liz shook her head, more than a little intimidated.

“It’s all right, love—they’re gonna love you as much as I do—you watch.” Jason encouraged.

Feeling his gentle tug on her hand, Liz walked with him to the stage and as she came on stage, the applause grew even louder. “See…I told you they’re gonna love you.” He said with a flirty wink.

The rest of the night was even more fantastic for Liz as Jason, as good as his word, surprised her by taking her to the Bag O’ Nails music club where Jason introduced her to his many musician friends who then, on hearing that she was a dancer pleaded incessantly with her until she final relented, dancing while Jason and some of his friends played both classics and new compositions. Then, the evening over, Jason escorted Liz to the transporter pad.

“I had a wonderful time, Jason!” Liz gushed enthusiastically, “Thanks!”

“It was my treat, love. I’m glad you enjoyed it.” Jason smiled.

“Well…” Liz sighed, “I guess I better get going now.” Then, impulsively, she kissed Jason on the lips. “That was nice.” Liz remarked in a throaty voice.

“Yeah…it was, love.” Jason replied as he returned her kiss. “’til we meet again!”

As Liz entered her room, Jadzia jibed, “Well…well…well…look who the sehlat dragged in. Have a good time?”

“Oh, yeah!” Liz replied with a wicked grin.

“So…” Jadzia motioned for Liz to join her at the edge of her bed, “Details! I want to know all about it and don’t leave anything out.”

“All right.” Liz smiled, “Well first we went and…” The pair gossiped until, both tired, they finally bid each other a sleepy good night.

*************************************************************************

“We better get a move on, Liz.” Jadzia urged, “You know how S’Von is when your late to class.”

“Don’t I?” Liz chuckled as her voice took on a flat monotone, “I trust there is a logical reason why you are thirty seconds late to my class, Cadet Idaris?”

“I’m sorry…Commander S’Von…” Jadzia whimpered, playing along, “But I couldn’t get to sleep because of my roommate’s snoring.”

“I don’t snore!” Liz declared with a “Humph. I just sleep loudly sometimes. It’s the damned mattresses.” She complained, “They were made for a Tellarite.”

“Cadets Shelby and Idaris…” The flat monotone of Commander S’Von’s voice immediately silenced the giggling cadets, “I can assure you that Academy mattresses are designed to be comfortable for most of the diverse races that make up Starfleet and the Federation. And if one of you does have a problem with loud nocturnal breathing, then I would suggest that you seek aid at the Academy clinic.”

As he spoke, Liz and Jadzia both noticed the slightly raised eyebrow of the Vulcan instructor. “Now, if you would please take your seats, we can begin today’s lecture. In our last class session, we discussed the importance of never violating the Prime Directive even if it meant mission failure. Can anyone in the class give an example of a case where the Prime Directive was violated and its consequences?”

“Captain Tracy on Omega IV.” Jadzia, raising her hand, spoke up. “His actions supporting the Kohms endangered the cultural, social, and political balance of power between the Kohms and the Yangs. Many scholars…” Jadzia continued, “Point towards Captain Kirk as compounding the problem by translating one of the Yang holy documents, stating that he, in turn, was attempting to influence the society of both tribes.”

“Very good, Cadet Idaris.” S’Von nodded his head. “Do you agree with that interpretation?”

“Yes.” Jadzia reluctantly admitted. “While Kirk’s intentions might have been noble, it was not his place to translate that document. He should have minimized future interference by immediately—preferably out of sight of the Yangs—transporting the landing party and Captain Tracy back to the Enterprise.”

“An astute analysis, Cadet Idaris.” The instructor nodded his head approvingly. “Now, can anyone give an instance where violation of the Prime Directive was beneficial?”

Shelby raised her hand. “Yes, Cadet Shelby?”

“Gamma Trianguli VI, Sir. When Kirk destroyed the computer known as Vaal saving his ship and crew.”

“And forcing the People of Vaal to drastically alter their lives and culture.” Commander S’Von rebutted.

“Giving them the free will to control their own destinies and determine their own paths.” Shelby countered. “Instead of interfering with what was essentially a non-existent culture, Kirk’s actions gave the People of Vaal a chance to determine their own destinies.”

“In other words…” S’Von rejoined, “Offering them a bite from the apple. Putting Kirk in the role of either deity or deceiver. A spirited defense of your position, Cadet Shelby, but remember you and everyone in this class will hopefully become Starfleet officers. That does not give you the right to play God…or Satan. And with that class, our time for the day has expired. Next class session will look at the changing relationship with the Klingon Empire from the time of Jonathon Archer to the Four Years War. Class dismissed.”

“I still think I’m right.” Liz muttered to her roommate as the pair got out of their seats and walked towards the exit. “Better to control your own destiny than be the puppet of others—even a godlike computer—especially a godlike computer.” As his acute Vulcan hearing picked up on the whispered words of the young cadet, S’Von’s eyebrow raised.

********************************************************************

“So…how did it go over at Renee’s?” Jadzia asked as Liz returned from her day at the choreographer’s studio.

“I haven’t been put through my paces that hard since I was dancing in competition.” Liz groaned. “I’m going to have to hit the gym more—I didn’t realize how out of shape I’d gotten.”

“You? Out of shape?” Jadzia exclaimed, “You’re in better shape than three quarters of the cadets in our class.”

“I’m out of shape for serious dancing, Jadz.” Liz admitted. “I’m going to have to step up my game.”

“You’re not thinking about leaving the Academy and dancing professionally, are you?” Jadzia asked, her voice tinged with a mixture of surprise and concern.

“No.” Liz shook her head as her lips turned up in a slight smile, “Like I told you some months ago, my heart’s in Starfleet. But I’m finding out that being in Starfleet doesn’t mean that I have to give up on my wants, needs, and desires. I can command a starship by the time I’m forty, be a damned good dancer and have fun doing it and enjoy life and all the sensations and pleasures that come with it.”

“Sounds like you want it all.” Jadzia remarked.

“Yeah…” Liz nodded her head, “I do.”


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